Matthew gripped the hockey stick in his hands. He liked the way if felt in his palm; firm, like a weight keeping him tied to the ground. The wooden weapon helped keep him focused on the target he had in mind.
As the dazed, almost groggy, sandy-blonde haired man staggered down the hallway, he passed by a mirror. Pausing for a second, Matthew turned his head to look at his reflection. For a moment, he almost didn't recognize himself.
Shaggy hair. A white hoodie with the signature red maple leaf. Glasses. And behind those were a pair of violet eyes that gazed back at him, half-crazed and insane. A gaze that most people might have told them he "wasn't completely there". But Matthew saw nothing wrong.
He thought about what others might think when they saw him. Maybe they'll notice me now, he thought.
"Who am I?" Mathew laughed quietly to himself. "I'm Canada. Ha, ha... Do you remember me now?"
The loud, cheerful voice cut of Matthew's mini monologue. The half-hysterical nation looked down to see his brother advancing towards him.
"Yo, Matthew!" Alfred grinned stupidly. "You're missing the meeting!" He noticed the hockey stick in his brother's grip. "You gonna play hockey, bro?"
"...Play?" the Canadian smiled slowly to himself, having caught only one word Alfred had spoken. "Like playing games?"
The personification of America blinked. What was Matthew getting at?
"Um... sure. You alright, Matt?" His brow furrowed in concern.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Playing a game," Matthew laughed. "Do you want to play with me? It's a lot of fun." He raised the hockey stick. "Why don't you play with me, Al?"
Alfred took a step back. "Um..." Something about his brother was creeping Alfred out. Why was he walking in the halls anyway, instead of being at the meeting? And with a hockey stick, no less?
"What's the matter, Al? You don't want to play?" Matthew said in that quiet, soft voice of his. "Or maybe you don't remember me again?"
"What? Matt, I..." How could Alfred not remember his brother? Of course he remembered Matthew! The nation was just so quiet that sometimes Alfred didn't see him...
"You don't remember me, do you, Al?" Matthew said oddly, with a smile that some might have mistaken for sorrow. But the light in his eyes told otherwise. "Well, maybe you'll remember if we play a game... You do want to play, don't you?"
The hockey stick suddenly hit Alfred across the back with an unsuspected force that Alfred didn't know Matthew had. He found himself falling forward, landing on his hand and knees as pain shot down his spine. "M-Matt?" Alfred looked up at his brother with a mix of shock, pain, and confusion. But he wasn't able to say another word before something connected with the back of his head.
The force of the now-bloodied hockey stick sent Alfred falling on his stomach, his face buried in the white carpet of the hallway. There was a sharp sting in the back of his head, and Alfred felt a sickeningly warm liquid running down his neck.
"Isn't this a fun game?" Matthew cried, feeling a cold resentment as he saw the red standing against Alfred's pale skin and blonde hair. "Do you remember me now, Al?"
With a groan, Alfred turned his head to look fearfully at Matthew. "M-Matt?" he said again, dazed. "Y-you're losing it, man. Calm down!"
"Oh, I'm perfectly calm," Matthew grinned down at his brother. "Why? Don't you like this game? You can't quit now... we're just getting started!" At that last word, Matthew swung the hockey stuck a third time. He could hear a cracking sound as it hit the back of Alfred's head again.
Though is glasses were askew, Alfred could still clearly see the red of his own blood against the carpet's white.
There's so much of it... Alfred thought as fear hit him with a cold pang in his chest. There was too much of it. He couldn't feel the pain in the back of his head anymore; everything was just cold.
With a glance at Matthew, Alfred came to the realization that this was not his brother anymore. He might have looked and sounded like Matthew, but it wasn't him. It was someone else. the "real" Matthew wasn't coming back. Not in the rest of the time Alfred had left, anyway.
"I hope you remember me now," the "fake Matthew" said coldly. "Do you?"
"W-wha..." Why couldn't Alfred speak right? He knew what he was trying to say, but his speech was slurred.
"No? Well, that's too bad. You lose the game. Good-bye, Alfred." The hockey stick was swung a fourth and final time, and Alfred's world went black. If he were still alive, he might have heard Matthew's quiet laugh.
The Canadian staggered down the hallway again without a glance back at his dead brother. He clutched the stained hockey stick in his hands, gripping the weapon until his knuckles were white. the once-clean hoodie was not splattered with dark scarlet. Bloodstained. His brother's blood.
Other than Alfred's now-lifeless and empty corpse behind him, Matthew was the only one in the hallway.
The nation began to laugh quietly to himself. He was alone again. Wasn't he always alone? Of course he was. No one ever noticed Matthew. But not for long. Soon everyone would remember him. Before they were gone.
"Matthew? M'boy, where were you? First you didn't show up at the meeting, and the next thing I know, Alfred's gone off, the git... Good lord, Matthew. Is that blood?"
In front of the quiet and murderous man, Arthur stood, perhaps a yard or so away. He was close enough for Matthew to depict his wide, astonished green eyes. England's mouth was open in shock.
Is that blood? The words rang in Arthur's mind as he stared at Matthew. No, no. It can't be...
But it looked an awful lot like it.
Matthew was pleased at the sight of his clearly surprised father in front of him. "Hello, Arthur." There was that smile again; that cold, maniacal upturn of Matthew's lips.
It was clear to Arthur that something was not right with his son; for one thing, he clutched a hockey stick in his hands that had been stained with... something red.
"You remember me?" Matthew had a cold, yet almost pleasant tone in his voice.
"Of course I do, Matthew! Why the bloody hell wouldn't I remember my own son?"
"You forgot me before," Matthew said simply, gripping the hockey stick. He remembered all the times he had been mistaken for his now-dead brother. Oh, well. No matter. It won't be an issue now. Because now there was only one of them left.
For a moment, Arthur stood there and stared at Matthew. Realization his him with a sickening pang in his chest.
"Matthew, lad..." Arthur began weakly, feeling as if he didn't want to know the answer to his question, but had to ask anyway. "What have you got on your clothes?"
Glancing down at his stained hoodie again, Matthew replied calmly, "Blood. Alfred's. We were playing a game." He smiled wildly, waving the hockey stick. "Do you want to play, too?"
Arthur felt the color draining from his face. Alfred was dead. Matthew had killed him; for whatever reason, he had killed his own brother. But, no matter how much the personification of England wanted to grieve, he knew now was not the time. Now he had to focus on Matthew -- Matthew, who was normally such a quiet country -- because he had turned his attention on Arthur.
"Do you want to play, too?" Matthew repeated, that smile still on his face. "It was a lot of fun. Maybe you won't forget me again."
"N-now, listen to me..." Arthur said weakly. In truth, he had no clue what he was doing. The only thing Arthur was aware of was that he had to draw Matthew's attention away from himself. "W-what are you doing? Why aren't you at the meeting?"
"Meeting?" Matthew echoed. "I don't care about meetings. In fact, I stopped going to them long ago. But that didn't matter," he smiled slightly to himself. "Nobody noticed I was gone, anyway."
The puzzle in Arthur's mind started to piece itself together, bit by bit. He swallowed, coming to a realization. So Matthew had snapped. The quiet, soft-spoken Canadian had snapped, couldn't take being forgotten anymore, and because of that he had killed Alfred. And now Matthew wanted to kill him.
"You didn't notice I was gone, did you?"
"W-what?" Arthur blinked, searching for something to say. In reality, he had forgotten, at least for a while. But, as much as he wanted to deny it, Matthew was so quiet it made him easy to forget about. "Of course I didn't!" His voice cracked.
Matthew gripped the hockey stick tighter. "You're lying."
But his son simply laughed. "You're lying. I know you are. But that's okay, because soon you'll remember me."
The sudden swing of a hockey stick sweeping Arthur's legs out from underneath him sent the nation falling. "B-bloody..." He stuttered in shock.
Matthew stood over his father. "Do you remember me now?"
If Arthur wasn't scared before, he was terrified now. "Y-yes! For the love of..."
There was a flash of color. Matthew was laughing as he brought the hockey stick down, connecting it with the side of Arthur's head. For a second, Arthur was too stunned to move. There was a ringing in his ears, and he felt something warm run down his hairline as it dripped onto the carpet.
A pair of cold, almost empty eyes peered into his own. Matthew towered over Arthur; ha had always been tall, but with Arthur on the ground, Matthew was huge.
"I hope you remember me now," Matthew said, sounding for a moment almost as if he were in hysterics. "Do you?"
Arthur was cut off by Matthew's sudden quiet, cold laughter. "Too late," he said, almost scolding. "You don't want to play with me, do you, Arthur? Why didn't you just say so in the first place?"
On the ground, Arthur felt dizzy. Perhaps it was because of all the blood he was losing. Or fear. But he thought that most of it was knowing the fact that, no matter what he might try to do, Arthur was going to die. And at the hand of his own son, no less.
"Why won't you say anything?" Matthew asked, leaning over his father. "Do you like the game? I thought you would, but I guess not. I thought it was fun." He smiled. "Al liked it, too. But he lost."
Dazed and defeated, Arthur did nothing but look back at Matthew. What did I do wrong? he thought. What did I do to cause this? When Matthew had been a child, Arthur had been sure to treat both him and his brother with all the love and gentle nature he had, even when Francis wasn't around.
But what had he done that was so wrong to cause his quiet, sweet-natured boy to grow into... this?
And then he realized his mistake. All those meetings, those times when Matthew had sat in the background, invisible to everyone, Arthur included. He dully wondered what it was like to never be noticed, even by other family members. No wonder Matthew had snapped.
"It looks like you're losing, too, Arthur." Matthew's voice was oddly cheerful. "Oh, well. That was fun while it lasted. Maybe you'll remember me now, eh?"
Mouth agape, Arthur could do nothing but look back at his broken son.
"No? That's too bad. You lose." there was a chuckle as Matthew stood up again, raising the hockey stick for the last time.
At the sound of his nickname, Matthew froze, the weapon in mid-air. He looked down at his father in surprise.
Blood continued to pour from the gash on the side of Arthur's head, adding to the already growing red pool soaking into the carpet.
"I'm... sorry," Arthur gasped. "For... everything."
Time seemed to stop as the two looked at each other. Emerald eyes gazed back at a pair of amethyst ones. For a second, neither of them moved.
But then Matthew blinked, and his eyes filled with a cold hate and resentment. "You think that's gonna save you? It's too late, Father. You lose," he repeated.
Arthur barely had time to close his eyes and take his last breath before the hockey stick broke through his skull, and breathing wasn't an option for him any longer.
Time passed by; those few seconds of standing there, gripping the wooden hockey stick in his hand as Arthur's blood ran along the side while Matthew stared at his dead father, inched past. As if those seconds were being dragged down by weights.
The cold, satisfied pride Matthew had thought he'd feel wasn't there. Instead, there was... nothing. Nothing at all. The country felt empty.
Looking down at the still, bloodied body of Arthur, Matthew let the stained hockey stick lower. He remembered his father's last words.
"I'm sorry... for everything..."
Arthur had realized what Matthew was so broken up about. He had realized... and apologized. He noticed Matthew.
He had called him Mattie, a nickname Matthew hadn't heard in years.
A half-strangled cry came from Matthew as the hockey stick fell softly onto the carpet, and the nation collapsed to his hands and knees beside the lifeless body.
"M-maple!" he cried, sounding like the Matthew he was before the dark, cold shadow engulfed him. Running bloodstained hands through his hair, Matthew began to cry; ragged, broken sobs racked his body as he wrapped his arms around his middle, bending over the carpet floor. "G-God, what have I done?"
His brother and father were dead. Who else did he have now, besides maybe France?
As heartbroken sobs cut him off from speaking any more, he could hear the voices of the other countries as they paused the meeting to find the source of such a cry. But he didn't care; not anymore. Let them see what he had done. It didn't matter to him anymore; they weren't the ones at fault, were they?
Salty tears rolled down Matthew's face, and they blurred the sight of a still, bloody body in front of him. A sight that he didn't want to see anymore.
The frightened, shocked, and startled cries of the other nations filled Matthew's ears as be buried his face in his arms. It seemed as though he'd never stop crying.
What have I done?