Not fair…it's not fair…Alfred thought to himself during the funeral. Here he was, almost physically unscathed by the accident, while the remains of Arthur lay right in front of him in a sealed coffin.
Death is a very simple concept. Even the aloof Feliciano Vargas who attended the funeral expressed his grief and cried. In a rare display of public affection, Ludwig held the trembling brunette in his arms, silently wishing that the same fate would not happen to the Italian and him.
"Arthur…y-you jerk…" Alfred heard Peter Kirkland hiccup while futilely trying to hide the tears running down his red cheeks.
Realizing that his long-time rival was no longer alive, Francis Bonnefoy never once looked straight at the coffin. Like everybody else, he kept his head down.
Unlike everybody else, Alfred kept his head up facing the coffin; staring at the black case until it was lowered into the ground and buried out of sight. During the whole procession, he remained dry-eyed.
This isn't happening…it's not! Whose funeral am I at?
Even with the death of Arthur, this was not enough to postpone the world conference from proceeding that very same day. No one showed much enthusiasm, and everything was in order. Although everyone knew why the meeting had to be held, Ludwig reminded them for the sake of breaking the unusual silence.
"I know that no one wants to be here right now…not after what recently happened…but there have been too many setbacks to keep postponing this crucial meeting," Surprised to hear his own voice for once echo in the large room, the German cleared his throat before continuing. "For example, the meeting was postponed for a week because of Toris's severe injury…and three days more because of Ivan's…suicide-"
"I always knew that Russian was crazy enough to kill himself!" Gilbert Beilschmidt muttered under his breath, earning a warning glance from his brother.
Although everyone didn't want to admit it, many were relieved that Ivan was no longer with them. This was shown when barely a single tear was shed at the Russian's funeral. Eduard Von Bock and Raivis Galante expressed the most "gratitude" from the event, their oppression from said Russian finally lifted. The Estonian and Latvian's only regret was that it came at the hefty price of their fellow Baltic brother.
"I'm afraid we must continue without them present…" Ludwig finished, addressing the four empty seats around the table.
As the meeting went on without interruption, Francis hoped to bring back some normalcy to the atmosphere by groping Alfred. The American didn't even blink from the contact, remaining still in his seat and looking distantly at the papers in front of him. Dissatisfied, the Frenchman could do nothing but try to concentrate on what Ludwig was saying. Although, that failed as well and he was eventually lost in his own thoughts. At least that aspect of the meeting was still kept intact.
"Where the hell am I?" Alfred snapped when a large manor was in his sight.
Taking a moment to survey the area around him, aside from the mysterious structure in front of him, there was only snow. The frozen wasteland stretched toward the horizon while the only sound to be heard was wind raking through the bare branches of trees sparsely scattered around the manor. The cloudless sky was an oddity of its own – no stars poked holes of light into the black blanket above. The only way Alfred was able to see the manor in the first place was because of the full moon floating in the sky, acting like a pupil-less eye watching over him.
"What kind of-" sapphire eyes stopped scanning and instead fixated on a figure approaching the entrance of the manor. "A-Arthur!"
The Englishman didn't appear to have heard him and continued to walk right through the double doors.
"Damn it Arthur, wait!" the American hollered as he physically barged into the manor, eyes frantic.
Right in front of him on the other side of the room with his back turned to Alfred, Arthur was in a hallway that opened up to the left and right. During this moment, Alfred was able to make quick observations on the person before him. He was…alive…walking without a limp. His uniform was clean and pressed; no blood, bone, or bowels in sight…as if the accident never happened. Unlike Alfred, whose footsteps echoed along the hallway, Arthur's were muted; his boots didn't even make contact with the wooden floor.
"Can't you hear me? Please turn around Arthur…" Upon reaching the intersection where the deceased was in the hallway, despite how well Alfred focused his eyes on the apparition, Arthur disappeared without a trace. "Fuck!" Alfred swore in frustration, punching the aged wall with so much force that a radial dent was left in it. Looking from left to right, there was no telling which way the Englishman went.
God…why couldn't have you taken me instead…?
"Arthur!" Alfred shouted, arm outstretched towards the ceiling of his bedroom. Upon realizing where he was, it was strange how he shuddered beneath his blanket like he'd been out in a snowstorm.
With this in mind, his arm lowered to brush off the stray tears running down his cheeks. "I…I'm sorry…" he sobs.
The soft pattering on the window indicated that it was raining outside; it never let up since the night of the accident.
As it was a habit, Alfred eventually got out from bed to get a late night snack…or was it already daybreak? Looking out at the window situated at the bottom of the staircase, Alfred noticed that the sun was peeping over the horizon, sunlight barely breaking through lines of clouds and painting the sky a gray color varying in value.
Slumping down into the wooden chair in the kitchen, Alfred stared at the steak and hamburger meal as if not knowing what to do next. Normally, the American would attack his hamburgers at once, but his appetite was dulled by a guilty feeling in his stomach, and Alfred found it hard to get his mouth around any of the items on the plate. A few moments passed before he concluded that the snack was merely too big and needed to be cut to smaller pieces. With much effort, Alfred heaved himself off his seat and went over to grab a knife. Upon looking at the utensil, he loathed the person whose face was on the reflection of the blade.
This is all my fault…if only I didn't-
His thoughts were interrupted when Alfred felt the knife break the skin on his left wrist and a scarlet rivulet encircled his forearm. As the blood gathered onto the kitchen counter near the sink and trickle down to the white-tiled floor, Alfred couldn't help but smirk.
This is nothing compared to the pain Arthur felt…
Digging the blade deeper into flesh, Alfred hissed as he twisted the knife to widen the wound. Blood bubbled and gushed from the gash as Alfred stared at it in awe. After which, he used the utensil like a spoon to try and scoop up some of the flesh that was being torn apart. When this didn't really work out, he kept pushing the knife into his wrist until it went right through and the tip of the blade landed on the marble countertop on the other side.
Still not enough…
Abandoning the tainted cutting knife, the blonde pulled it out of his wrist and tossed the utensil into the sink. He then dragged himself back upstairs to his bedroom.
I've failed him…
Trudging towards the bedside stand, Alfred pulled out a loaded hand pistol from one of the drawers.
But if I sleep…I'll see him again in my dreams…
In front of the vanity mirror, he pointed the gun at himself. The pale light pouring into the bedroom window threw an ugly shadow to the side of him.
I want to see him just one more time…
Looking at his reflection for the last time, Alfred saw himself wearing a crooked smile. "Ivan, I think we've finally agreed on something…death really is the only escape from our own madness."
I want to sleep forever…