Actions

Work Header

The Most Confusing Years Of Our Lives

Chapter Text

"Why are Wednesdays always so boring?"

Matthew Williams had mumbled those words to himself with a soft huff. There he was, at the same desk in the same far right corner of the same classroom, bouncing his leg out of pure boredom per usual. It was pretty much a normal day for him: keeping to himself, being pushed around in the halls and trying his best to pay attention in class without getting lost in thought. The teacher talking his ear off about their personal life wasn't helping his case either. His spiral notebook for the subject was in front of him, flipped to a crisp blank page, titled in MLA format and all, but he wasn't writing notes. Instead, he had succumbed his short attention span half an hour ago and passed the time procastinating by out by writing down various things he observed around the rather dull prison-like room, which is something he does a lot to pass the time. For example, the thick coat of aged white paint on the wall by his desk was chipping more-so than before. He always picked at it throughout the year and it seemed to finally give in. Oh, and the person next to him was beginning to fall asleep to the sound of the teacher's lecture about God know's what by now. He was surprised, mostly because they at least looked like they were usually paying attention. He reached out to shake, or more likely, poke them awake, but his hand retracted as he remembered. He wouldn't even dare attempt to wake them up, as they probably would think a ghost or demon had awoken them.

Now, Matthew wasn't a spirit or anything of the supernatural, don't worry about that! He was as human as a human could possibly get. However, Matthew wasn't exactly popular or even really known at his high school. People would ignore him and he was often treated as if he was invisible. Not that he particularly minded most of the time. He was particuarly introverted and would most likely try to keep to himself even if people did try to talk to him. Besides, he's perfectly content with his older brother having the social spotlight, even if he was a little bit full of himself (and that's being nice.) Occasionally, of course, his human instinct, or more rather, his teenage chemical concoction of depression and anxiety, liked to beat him up for being so forgetten. He never knew why people didn't acknowledge him, and at this age he was beginning to get a tad irritated about it. Even his own brother forgets he exists at times, and they share a bedroom for God's sake!

Before his self-loathing session started to really get out of hand, it was halted as the schoolbell's harsh ringing startled him to the point of almost falling out of his chair with a wheeze. You would think people would turn around and stare, maybe even laugh at him, but it was as if Matthew was transparent, or that time stopped. Everyone stayed turned to the teacher. No one even batted an eye at him. They all had already began to gather their things as they attempted to funnel out the door. Unfortunately, the teacher had other plans and stopped them to talk about how they weren't dismissed until he dismissed them. That sure went over well. A wave of complaints filled the classroom as Matthew stayed glue to his seat, waiting for everyone to leave and had started to zone out again, slowly detaching himself from reality.

At this point, he was really starting to wish that people would stare when shit like this happened. At least they'd pay attention to him. Luckily, it was the last period of the day, which meant he could take advantage of the walk back home and distract himself some other way. The last thing he needed was a breakdown during the middle of the week. He'd never recover! As he grabbed his notebook and finally started to get up from his seat, the person in front of him, a tall, brooding guy wearing a pure white hoodie with an...interesting iron-on decal of a black eagle on the back of it tossed what looked like to be a crumpled up piece of paper behind his back. Whatever he might've been aiming at though, he missed, as it hit Matthew in the leg and landed onto the tile floor with a soft bounce. Matthew snapped back to the real world as he watched the culprit seemingly rush to get out the door afterwards, leaving nothing but the paper and the scent of his colonge.

Must be in a hurry, Matthew thought as he stood by his desk, watching the other push and shove his way out. He then, like any decent human being, bent down to pick up the paper to throw it into the trash where it belonged. He honestly hated clutter, and he would rather pick it up than having a custodian do it. He might as well do his Good Samaritan Deed for the day, anyways. As he waited for everyone else to finally file out of class, he began to fidget with the ball, tossing it back and forth into each hand. Another thing Matthew hated were crowds. Just the thought of having his personal space invaded was enough to make him start to panic. The paper ball began to slightly unfold with each pass. He tried to crumple it up again so he could keep fidgeting with it, but he had noticed something that peaked his curiosity: The paper seemed to have writing on it.

"Are these...notes?" He whispered to himself, slowly unfolding the piece of paper. He looked up to see if everyone was out of the room and, seeing that his class was indeed gone (as if it would have mattered.), flattened the paper out the best he could on his desk using his hand. It wouldn't be wrong to do it, right? Matthew began to question himself. If it was something more private the guy should've been smarter and threw it in the trash or like, burned it. It hit him anyways, he had a right to know what it was. He fixed his glasses to concentrate on the words, which were written in shiny navy blue ink. The handwriting was almost unintelligible, being pretty much chicken scratch at first glance. Thank God he was used to his brother's handwriting, this was nothing to him. Along with the horrid handwriting, the letter was littered with an assortment of doodles consisting of what seemed to be cartoonish birds and... weapondry? That certainly was an odd combination to say the least. Was this kid a maniac? He squinted to read the note.

"MEET ME BEHIND THE SCHOOL. 4PM - GB"

Matthew's eyebrow rose as he caught himself reading the words over and over, attempting to process what he had just read. He read that right, yes? Was... was this meant for him? Who the hell is GB? Was it that guy's initials, or was this given to him from someone else? He initially reached for his bag to pull out his phone and text his parents he wasn't going to be home right away, but his common sense and anxiety stopped him. He didn't particularly feel like risking waiting outside only for some guy to probably beat him up into a pulp, or interrupting something private, even worse. Even if there was a chance someone noticed that he existed, he doubted it. He was practically invisible to the world, remember? He resorted to hastily crumpling up the paper and tossing it straight into the teacher's mini trash bin. Out of sight, out of mind. He took a second to recollect himself, fixing his glasses again (a nervous tick!) and squeezing his eyes shut for a few seconds. With a deep breath, Matthew walked out of the classroom only to have the living daylights scared out of him by his one and only oh-so annoying brother Alfred yelling directly into his ear.

"HEY DUDE!" he "greeted," ('yelled' would be much more appropriate here.) his washed out red sneakers squeaking against the tile trying to stop himself from colliding into his brother. "Why'd you keep me waiting? School's been out for..." He took a glance at his tacky Spiderman watch. "Five minutes!"

The other initally stumbled back, dropping everything he had in his hands. "Al--! Don't scare me like that!" He managed to say as he tried to compose himself while crouched down, grabbing his stuff. "Does five minutes even really matter? I was just waiting for everyone to get out. I don't like crowds, you know that!" He snapped, catching the other a bit off guard.

Alfred cocked his head as if he was a confused puppy. "Hey hey, chill! I'm not mad or anything!" He waved his hands around frantically. He was always one to be unintentionally melodramatic. "It's just that everyone was already out of the room, and I saw you readin' something. You were kinda zonin' out, man." His eyes widened after seemingly putting two and two together. "Ohhh, I see." He flashed his signature cheeky grin. "It was a love letter, wasn't it?" I can't believe you're finally gettin' some, dude! Never thought I'd see the day!" He cheered as he gave Matthew a congratulating 'pat' on the back, the force of which shoved him forwards. At least he managed to not drop his notebook this time.

"Ow--No!!" Matthew replied in a rush, huffing from having the wind knocked out of him. "Someone messed up on notes and they threw it at me without knowing. I just...threw it out for them, that's all! forget about it." He walked up to his brother's side, nudging him down the hall. "Can we go home now, please?" He tried to change the subject and get the conversation over with as fast as he could. He knew his brother would never let him live it down if there was even a slim chance someone was passing notes to him out of all people, so if it meant being a bit harsh (and feeling really bad about it afterwards), so be it.

Alfred sighed, finally taking the hint. "I mean, I guess...I wanted to get Mcdonald's first though."

"Absolutely not. Papa's cooking tonight and I want navarin."

Matthew was prepared for and very used to his brother's following reaction of a loud groan and a myriad of complaints, and showed his numbness to it by drowning out his wailing the entire fifteen minute walk to their house by putting in his earbuds. How alternative rock can sooth the soul when you want to drop kick your older brother to another country. God, he wish he could start heading home by himself. Unfortunately, even if he really wanted to head home alone and let his brother go gorge himself, he couldn't. Their dads would kill them both if one kid showed up without the other. Unless they had an excuse, of course. However, Mcdonalds isn't really a good one. Once they were at the front door though, Alfred stopped dead in his tracks and his complaints were soon replaced with compliments.

"Dude!! I can smell Pop's cooking from here! Let us in!! let us in!! I'm so hungry I'm gonna die!! wanna eat!!" He exclaimed.

Matthew sighed, shoving his hand into his pocket for the house key. "Okay, okay, stop drooling." He laughed out, snickering at his brother trying to look through the door's window to see any sign of their parents. "I swear you act like we never feed you."

Even if he hated him sometimes, Alfred could be a great source of comedic relief when you needed it. After a few minutes of mild panic and shuffling around he managed to find the key in his messanger bag instead. He unlocked the door with a sigh of relief this time, hoping to finally be able to take a breather from today. All he wanted to do was curl up in bed and recharge for tomorrow. Nothing sounded better right now than decompressing via scrolling the web and listening to music. As he walked through the door and started to sneak up the stairs, his plans were, as always, ruined as the boys' dear Papa Francis had walked down the hallway and caught him (sort of?) red-handed.

"Ah! Bienvenue à la maison, mes chéris~" he said, clasping his hands together. He wasn't at all oblivious to Matthew's ruts, so he would often wait for him to come home from school so he could keep him from wasting all his nights away in his room. Same goes to Alfred, except instead of depression and social anxiety keeping him cooped up, it was videogames and underaged hangovers. Francis pushed a half-empty box that was blocking the hallway to the side with his foot. "I've been decorating for the holidays, so don't mind the m-

Alfred soon interrupted. "But it's not even Halloween yet! What's the point?" As his brother began to ramble to their poor father about how more important Halloween was, Matthew took the time to examine the foyer, which was decorated top to bottom with an array of elegant christmas decorations. Well, as elegant as hallmark can buy you, anyways. Holiday family pictures taken throughout the year were neatly fixed onto the walls. From the hallway, Matthew could see the edge of the Christms tree waiting to be decorated. Decorated garland spiraled around the staircase and over the door and poinsettias were stashed everywhere where you could see. They were fake ones of course, a regrettable but necessary precaution from Francis' point of view. The family cat had top saftey priority.

"It looks pretty nice, actually..." Matthew murmured, fully not expecting for his Papa to hear him over Alfred's intense Halloween rant.

"Merci, merci! I'm so lucky that at least one of my sons were blessed with good taste." Francis took the oppurtunity to get away from Alfrled and shuffled over to hug his now caught-off-guard son, to which he awkwardly accepted after processing what was happening. "Hey!" Alfred huffed, crossing his arms. "I have good taste!"

"dans tes rêves, Al! You have the exact same taste as Dad!" Matthew teased from his Papa's embrace before gently nudging him off. He wasn't really one for physical contact for the most part, but he'd indulge his Papa when needed. At least he meant well. The pair were giggling at Alfred's dramatic offended look when 'Dad' came around the corner, a bitter look on his face. More bitter than usual, anyways.

"What the bloody hell's going on in there?" He questioned, taking off his reading glasses and folding them, tucking them into his vest pocket. That with the newspaper rolled up in his hand told Matthew he was interrupted and was not very happy about it.

"Authur, mi amor! The kids are home and we're catching up, that's all!" Francis waved his hand dismissively as he spoke. He turned back to the teens. "Don't mind him, he's been grumpy all afternoon." He jokingly whispered more than loud enough for his husband to hear. Authur interrupted with an "Oi!" and grumbled to himself as he walked into the dining room. Francis chuckled to himself.

"Good timing, you both can help me finish making dinner!" And with the word 'dinner,' Alfred dashed into the dining room, with Matthew shyly following suit after hanging his bag up.

The rest of the night felt like one giant chore to Matthew; preparing and eating dinner felt like a blur, doing his actual chores were more tedious than usual and he could barely getting homework done without losing focus. Thank god he finally had to chance to wind down in bed with earbuds in, mainly to block out Alfred yelling into his mic while playing video games, the rest of that night Matthew just couldn't get his mind off of that damn note. Why did it stick out to him so much? It's not like it's the first time he found one off the ground. Hell, if he had a dollar for every note that was thrown at him that he had to pick off the floor and throw out, he'd probably be the richest guy in his area. This one shouldn't be any different. Besides, it probably won't happen again, it wasn't even for him, he reminded himself, putting his volume up when he heard his brother yell in defeat at his game. He just needs to stop being so desperate for something good to come out of this, that the restlessness will fade and he'll probably forget it even happened. Why would anyone even want to go out of their way to talk to him anyways?

 


 

The next day at school was, as you'd expect, the exact same as before. A day full of uneventful events, such as being pushed over and no one even noticing he fell, and sitting alone at lunch only to find himself people-watching. People truly were either oblivious or spiteful. However, Matthew's usually pessimistic outlook on the last period was even worse today, thanks to that stupid note. Why was it still in the back of his mind? He felt pathetic for thinking about it so much, but lonliness would constantly creep into his mind and give him ideas. As soon as he thought maybe it was for him, he retaliated at himself, shooting it down and practically having an argument with himself in his head about it. He didn't even know why it felt like such a big deal! It was just a note! It would never happen again!

Or so he thought.

The dreaded last period arrived, and he arrived five minutes early per usual to make sure no one would steal his seat. Of course though, no matter how hard he tried, he was never the first one there. There was always one or two people there, chatting or trying to share some gossip before class started. Even if no one noticed him, Matthew dreaded coming in places late. He absolutely couldn't stand when people eyed him down or watched him. At least there were some perks that made being useless in the high school society hiarchy not entirely awful. He strolled over to his desk and hung his messanger bag on the side of the chair, causing him to look down. There, tucked under the foot of the chair, was another piece of paper, this time it was messily folded with a 'READ ME!' scribbled on top. Perking up, he picked it up and sat in his chair, immediately opening it up to see what it said.

"DON'T IGNORE ME! MEET ME BEHIND THE SCHOOL. 4PM. - GB"

After commenting to himself how oddly demanding this person was, Matthew (naturally) started to freak out a little as he blankly stared at the note. What does this person want from him? Did he do something wrong? Maybe this really was for him...? No, no, it wasn't for him. It couldn't possibly be, he doesn't talk to anyone in this class! He doesn't even have any friends! It was probably just for the person who always sits next to him anyways. Besides, who would ever want to go out of their way to be all buddy-buddy with him? Matthew "I Bring Everyone Down" Williams? Matthew "The Invisible Sucker for Happiness" Williams? Matthew "Never Good Enough" Williams, Matthew--

Oh, how his spirals are so convienently interrupted! Before he knew it the teacher had said his greetings and class had begun. Only after opening his notebook to hopefully mindlessly write down whatever he managed to catch from the lecture did he continue, belittling himself for the rest of the class for seemingly no reason. Deep-rooted depression is a terrible thing, especially when the base of it is that you have no one to back you up. He sulked with his arms folded on the desk, already giving up on the whole writing notes part. It's not like anyone would notice him not paying attention anyways, right? The period was instead spent analysing the note, making note of each dumb bird doodle and blotch of ink where the pen stayed still for a second too long. Matthew was only interrupted ten minutes after class ended as before he knew it the note was suddenly snatched straight from his hand by none other than his brother.

Alfred studied the letter as the other tried to comprehend what was going on. "I knew you had a secret admirer!" His comment echoed through the now empty classroom, shaking Matthew out of his depression-indunced trance.

"Hey! be quiet first of all!" He reprimanded, straightening up and trying to pull himself together as fast as possible. Why did Alfred out of all people have to spot him like this? How the hell did time pass so quickly, anyway? He could've sworn it was two in the afternoon an hour ago. "Second, that wasn't even meant for me! It was for whoever sits next to me. It must've fell off their desk." He lied through his teeth as he shot up from his desk and grabbed the note away from Alfred while he was listening and jammed it into his coat pocket. Well, it wasn't a TOTAL lie, it's what he thought, and it was entirely plausible with his luck.

"Oh, whatever!" The other teased, rolling his eyes dramatically. Typical Alfred. His attention soon turned to walking through the door. "You can tell me who it is when you want, I guess!" He turned back to his brother for a second, noticing he was already winding down. "Let's just go grab some Wendy's or somethin' and get home. It's Dad's turn to cook tonight and if I'm forced to eat another rock-hard biscuit I'm gonna puke my brains out." He then proceeded to hang from the doorway. "And don't think I won't do it. It's happened twice this month and I won't hesitate to make myself do it again to prove you wrong!"

Matthew's demenor changed and he laughed softly at the remark, brightening his mood up a little. He wasn't really sure why his parents set up the turn system in the first place. I guess it was just to make his dad feel better about his god-awful cooking. Trust him from experience first-hand, it was bad. It was almost routine at this point to grab fast food whenever he was in the kitchen for the night. He made a mental note to try to convince his Papa to do all the cooking from now on as he trailed behind, pulling out his phone to text back home about their excursions. "Fine, fine, but I just want a soda. MAYBE fries if you're paying." He said, not looking away from the screen.

"You're gonna look like a twig for the rest of your life if you eat like that." Alfred joked as he poked at his brother's cheek.

"Shut up."