Hey guys. I was sick of studying, so I uploaded this.

This is the string of one-shots connected to Karma, my multi-chapter fic. These one-shots will be from Matther's point of view, and though this one is pretty sad, there will be some funny ones, some cute ones and others. I just really want to explore and enjoy Matthew's character and deepen his and Alfred's backstory. Also, some minor characters mentioned in Karma will be in here at times, so it will go along well with the fic.

Samsara is the name for the cycle of death and reincarnation in Hindu tradition. Karma is the system of reward or punishment that can take many lifetimes to balance out. Only when one achieves liberation, can he be free from the chains of samsara and karma.

Matthew lay in his bed and gazed across the room at his twin. The city lights filtered through the window and illuminated the sleeping boy's golden hair. Even at night, New York never slept.

Alfred and Matthew were close. No one could deny this. And yet Matthew knew how very different they were and was jealous of it.

Alfred was always certain of himself. Sure, his stubbornness could get extremely annoying, but secretly, Matthew was grateful for it. He wouldn't know what to do if Alfred wasn't so sure of himself and instead relied on Matthew for direction. What would he say? What would he do? Sufficed to say, he was a little glad Alfred had taken that burden.

Alfred was never overlooked. He was too loud, too proud, too emphatic for anyone to ignore him. Matthew envied that. He knew he was the politer, better-behaved twin, and always tried his hardest to respect others. Alfred, on the other hand, cared little for social niceties and treated everyone like they were his equals, whether they were superior in class or not. In all regards, Matthew should have been the favorite. He should have been the one praised and upheld. And yet everyone looked at Alfred instead. Yet Matthew couldn't hate his brother or blame Alfred for the neglect he received. And there was a reason.

Alfred was ridiculously protective. His over protectiveness irked Matthew. Seriously, did he think Matthew couldn't handle himself? He'd seen him on the hockey rink, and they'd grown up on the same streets! Just because he preferred to solve problems with words rather than fists didn't mean he was weak! And yet- whenever Alfred stood up for Matthew, beat away his bullies, or brought him to others' attention, Matthew was filled with a new love for him. Though Alfred was proud of his status as 'older brother' and wouldn't let Matthew forget it, the younger twin often felt a sense of protectiveness of his own surge within him.

Alfred may have been slightly older and more outgoing, but Matthew knew that he was also so much more childish. Alfred believed in the good in people. He never gave up on others, encouraging them to believe in themselves. If Alfred told you that you could do it, you were instantly filled with a self-confidence you had never know. He had that ability to make you believe. In others. In yourself. In the goodness in the world. In the beauty inside all. Alfred laughed and smiled without a care. He saw the wonder in everything, and treated the simplest pleasures like they were the greatest thing that could happen.

Matthew knew there was evil. Not the fictional villain type evil that Alfred went on and on about. He knew there was evil in human hearts. He knew that sometimes, you will lose. He knew that good doesn't always triumph in the world or within humans. He knew that you sometimes have to give in and call quits. He knew life wasn't all fun and games. That time flies quickly and before he knew it, he would be an adult with real problems to solve. No amount of laughter or wonder or simple pleasures would change that.

He knew. And he hated that.

If Alfred were to disappear some day, Matthew wouldn't be able to live. No one could bring out the beauty in the world like Alfred. He needed Alfred to show him that all was not lost. That Life was beautiful. That he, Matthew, was special and loved.

If he lost Alfred…

Suddenly he was terrified. The unmoving body of his twin, lying so calmly in bed frightened him. The lights painted his skin a pale yellow. Matthew needed reassurance.

He sprang from his bed and tumbled across the room to Alfred, barely restraining himself from pouncing on him and settling for roughly shaking his shoulder.

"Alfred," his whisper was dangerously close to a sob, "Alfie, are you awake? Answer me!"

A split second of fear enveloped him before Alfred's blue eyes blinked open drowsily. Matthew almost cried in relief.

"Mphm. Mattie? What'r ya doin'?" Alfred's sleepy tone inquired.

Matthew's fears must have been written on his face, because Alfred peered up at him in sympathy. He opened his covers and scooted over. Matthew needed no more encouragement as he clambered into his brother's bed and snuggled up to Alfred's warmth.

His twin wrapped his arms around him, and Matthew was surprised to feel how strong his arms were compared to Matthew's own. Apparently, working with Uncle Fred at the mechanic's shop was doing good for him!

"So, wanna talk about it?" Alfred ventured.

"Not really. Just being stupid."

"Mattie, you're never stupid. C'mon. I can try to help."

Matthew took a deep breath. "I just had a nightmare. Hey, Alfie?" Should he really say anything? It wouldn't do to upset Alfred. He'd probably make more of a deal out of it than it was. "What would you do if I died." And he'd said it anyway.

Alfred's arms tightened around Matthew. "Never gonna happen, baby bro."

Matthew blushed at the nickname. He was usually annoyed by it, but right now it was comforting.

"I'd never let you die, Mattie. I'm the hero! I'd protect you to the end. You know that!"

"But," Matthew insisted, "What if you couldn't control it. Like, what if I died of cancer or something. You wouldn't be able to stop it. What would you do?" A silence followed his question. He could feel the hard beating of Alfred's heart and felt his brother begin to tremble.

"I…I would keep living." Matthew could hear the pain and determination in his voice. "I would want to die, Mattie, you know I'd hate to live without you. But I would do it anyway. Everything I'd do, I'd do for you. Because you didn't get the chance. I would work hard and learn. Because you would've. I would live for you- no, I would live you. And that way, I would protect you. You would never die."

A silence ensued as the brothers pondered the words. Matthew softly began to cry, and Alfred held him closer, muttering reassurances.

This, Matthew knew, was their difference. Without Alfred, Matthew would die. Without Matthew, Alfred would live. And he knew then and there, that everything would be alright.

Because Alfred was strong.

In the loving and protective embrace of his older brother, Matthew fell into a peaceful sleep.

He may have seemed a little wimpy, but he's just different. He and Alfred are different people, and Matthew is very strong in his own right. Just not confident in himself or his importance in others' lives.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed. This won't be updated as often as Karma. That's still my main focus. This is just kinda a side thing.

Love you guys! Thanks for all your support!