Status: Being written as we read this. Please bear with it though.

Almost Easy

Chapter 7

Matt hastily made his way into the bunk area sliding the door closed after him, that ever-present scowl still on his face as he hooked his aviators onto the neck of his sleeveless t-shirt. Although he had calmed down considerably he kept up the 'bad-boy' exterior because he knew the guys were… to put it nicely, extremely angry with him. However, as far as Matt was concerned, they couldn't see him being weak; that would be unforgivable.

His weary hazel glare softened as soon as he noticed a body curled up snuggly in the middle bunk, the lead guitarist was dead asleep. Matt wished he could say his friend looked peaceful and comfortable but it was impossible to ignore the deep purple bruises and raw wounds that littered Brian's once-flawless features. The singer pursed his lips, he knew he was handling this all wrong, it was his fault and he was such a bad friend. He definitely didn't deserve such a perfect man, didn't deserve to even know such a perfect being.

Matt was pulled from his self-loathing thoughts when he heard a low whine rise from the other man's throat, he snapped his head up expecting to see Brian awake but instead found he had just shifted slightly in his sleep, his eyebrows had furrowed and a frown made itself present on his lips before they parted slowly. In a completely different situation the singer would have melted inside at such an adorable sight but right now Matt felt so guilty, he was the reason for all this. The bulkier man shot a cautious glance toward the sliding door finally paying closer attention and noting it had been fixed into place since he had been gone.

Stilling himself for a moment and holding his breath for a better internal silence, he listened intently to hear any movement in the main area. Upon only hearing quiet murmurs, he stepped closer to his friends’ bunk taking the time to truly admire the details of the others face. Before he realised, he had lifted a hand and begun tracing the contours of Brian's face with two fingers, as the sleeping man moved his head Matt drew his arm back willing himself to walk away. His resolve crumbled quickly as his hand raised again on its own accord, this time to brush shimmering black locks from Brian's face. Matt slowly leaned in, palm resting on a soft cheek as his cold lips hovered above the flesh of his bandmates' forehead, and he hesitated a moment, feeling heat radiate from the skin below.

Everything was quiet and still, yet inside the singers head a great war was raging. As his heartbeat raced time around him seemed far too slow. His inner-demons were getting nowhere, neither deciding to finish what he was going to do or step away, then it all stopped, all went quiet. His mind was void of all thoughts except for the ones concerning questions of how the guitarists lips would feel against his own. He didn’t know what to do and his mind was of no use, it was giving him no answers.

Not even my mind can help me. Matt thought bitterly as he came to the conclusion he had to do something before someone walked in or Brian woke up. His eyes closed as his head distanced itself from his friends’, when they re-opened his gaze was clouded with guilt and desperation. He brought his lips to Brian's forehead again, this time meeting it with kiss so soft and gentle you'd never believe it came from a man of his size and demeanor. His lips lingered for several seconds, reveling in the simple action, he pulled back, pressed his lips to Brian’s desperately but received no response. He pulled back immediately, confused as to what was he expecting, and confused as to why he did that. A hand rested on Brian's blanket-covered torso while he stared longingly at the slumbering man wishing everything was different. Wishing he could just man-up, accept what he felt and tell Brian. A sad guilt-ridden sigh escaped his lips, he shook his head as he gingerly wrapped the blanket more securely around his friend and slid the curtain over. If he couldn't see what he'd done, he didn't have to face it, right?

As soon as he stepped towards his own bunk the door slid open to reveal the shorter guitarist presenting him with an angry glare, Matt's very own glare quickly returned to cover any emotions he had subconsciously dubbed as 'too-girly'. Zack stepped in more and slid the door closed, he remained situated with the same expression.

"What?" Matt snapped after a few too many seconds of an uneasy silence,

"'M just making sure you stay away from Brian." Zack's voice remained low and calm, Matt could feel his chest tightening as his rage returned. "You've only been in here a couple of minutes but i don't wanna risk--"

"I don't need you checking up on me! Or telling me what i can and can't do!" Matt was in disbelief Zack would tell him what to do, hadn’t he seen enough evidence to know that was a bad move? How many more people would Matt have to hurt for them to understand he didn’t like be told what to do? What also shocked Matt slightly was that it had only been a couple of minutes since he walked into the bunk area, his mind began reeling over everything that had happened, it felt like he’d been arguing with himself for quite a while. He just wanted to be left alone with his self-hating thoughts right now but Zack spoke again,

"You've hurt Brian enough, he--" That was enough for Matt, he definitely didn't want to hear anymore,

"Don't you think i fucking know that!" His voice raised and his eyebrows furrowed. Zack scowled at the man he thought he knew and replied coldly,

"I don't want you going near him. You're not gonna touch him again, y'hear?" Matt's jaw clenched as he resisted the urge to swing his fist into Zack's face, a look of defiance crossed his features as he spun around and grasped the curtain hooked to Brian's bunk. Before Zack could question the others actions, Matt had already thrown the curtain open and placed his hand on the chest of the sleeping body, he raised an eyebrow in challenge.

"What ya gonna do now, bitch?" Zack sighed, even though Matt was still angry he was acting childishly, that was a small slither of the friend Zack once knew. His green eyes softened as he let his features relax, he diverted his gaze to the floor as he heard Matt huff and turned to his own bunk. When he next spoke his voice was quiet and pleading,

"If you know you've hurt him… hurt us all, then... why are you doing this? Why won't you speak to us? We're your best friends, man, we love you." Zack stared dead into the singers' eyes hoping to get through to him, Matt hastily looked away hoping to avoid the sincere look in the rhythmists eye, consequently his view returned to the man that was the cause of all these emotions. In the brief second or so that his eyes were cast in Brian's direction, the familiar feeling of guilt washed over him making him want to scoop his eyes out along with his heart, he was beginning to feel nauseous and he didn't like it.

I deserve to feel like this and so much worse, its all my fault. I don't deserve friends like these, it a damn good thing Brian's straight. He’s too good to be with a monster like me. I disgust myself, i hate to image what he thinks of me. He reminded himself solemnly.

He forced himself to look elsewhere and remembered Zack was still waiting for an answer, his lower lip found its way between his teeth as he contemplated confiding in Zack.

"Man, seriously, we're here for you. You tell us, we'll sort it out." Upon receiving no reply, Zack decided to push further, "Matt! Show some fucking heart! I know you feel something, you're not a monster!" Matt laughed in his head, Zack didn't know just how backwards he got that sentence. "We uh... we spoke to Val." Matt's heart began beating out of his chest when his mind processed Zack's mumbled words, resorting to the way he knew worked, he covered his fear in anger. Matt paced the few short steps until the guitarist had backed himself against the door and their chests were flush against each others, a large strong hand was placed on each side of the shorter mans head. Matt just stared down menacingly into the green orbs of his friend, he rolled his hips forward subtly and was slightly disappointed when he felt nothing, unlike earlier with Brian. Matt began panicking on the inside, he had to get over this, he couldn't have Brian but he wanted no other. He decided to walk away instead of facing up to any of this, he couldn't do it, Zack would hate him, think he's a freak. There were so many possible scenario's Matt had thought of but they all ended with a similar outcome; his friends all hating and rejecting him.

Matt's broad chest rumbled with a low growl that Zack could feel vibrate through his own body. The taller man stared the guitarist down for a moment before forcing a breath out and pushing himself off the door and away from the conversation. As he headed towards the lounge area of the bus to play COD he remembered his Xbox was broken, he spun back around and forced Zack against the door again, he was now more pissed off than before. His rage had sky-rocketed from 0-60 faster than any fancy, expensive car could accelerate.

"My Xbox is broken, and you, are gonna tell me exactly, who, broke it." Matt spat the words through gritted teeth, the only response was a sharp laugh from Zack's lips, "If you don't tell me, it'll be you I hurt not them so you better fucking spill!" The singer threatened as he pushed his forearm into Zack's throat, he was in no mood for games.

"You broke it, asshole!" Zack forced out only to be brought forward and slammed back into the door with the larger man's full weight pinning him down, Matt's arm restricted his breathing making him gasp out for precious air and claw and his friends' flesh. Raised bleeding welts irritated Matt's skin but if it bothered him Zack couldn't tell, Zack wasn't sure Matt had even noticed, he hadn't even winced. Hard hazel eyes stared into the guitarist with such a burning fury that made Zack beyond the piss-your-pants kinda scared, he wasn’t sure he'd even be able to manage such a response right now.

"Don't play games with me! I will hurt you, but unlike with Brian, i will NOT hold back! NOW TELL ME!"

"Y-you g-" Zack could feel his body attempting to shut down but the fear and panic racing through his mind inhibited such a thing, plump fingers that spelled '4-N-I-A' weakly clutched at the wrist pressed tightly to the side of his neck, "p-please..." his voice was hoarse as he wheezed and gasped, his eyes began to blur. Was this really his childhood friend in front of him, when did Matt Sanders turn into such a monster? Zack body trembled as he felt the next sparse clump of air scrape down his throat, "...Matt!"

They both knew Zack was begging now, that he'd pass out in mere seconds. Matt pressed his arm further into his friends' windpipe, eyebrows furrowed deep, teeth clenched too tight, eyes glazed and distant, he wasn't sure exactly what he was doing, couldn't quite comprehend his actions, couldn't… feel, couldn’t think. As the others fingers loosened considerably around his wrist and slipped off, Matthew Sanders’ body and mind caught up with its outer shell. He jolted his arms away from the neck in front of him before both hands flew to Zack's sides to hold him steady, his eyes had softened slightly but not enough for Zack to see he was no longer angry.

Matt couldn't believe he had turned into this.

Zack was primarily focused on catching his breath and remaining standing, all thoughts of what Matt was doing and had done were gone as he reminded himself to breathe, well… gasp, reminded himself to gasp steadily. One hand clutched onto the body in front of him for support, in addition to his breathing, his legs were threatening to fail him. The other gently held his stinging, throbbing neck as if a gentler touch would convince it to stop hurting. Zack felt sick and light headed as he fell to his knees, glancing up he realised the solid structure he'd been relying on had distanced itself, he wasn't sure if that was because it had moved away or he was slowly losing consciousness so he returned his focus to frantically inhaling and exhaling as he clasped at his chest.

Meanwhile, Matt stood from afar watching his friend fight to stay conscious and breathing. His previous anger had returned but now with a mix of shock and guilt, it had returned directed elsewhere; at himself. He couldn't stay around and continue hurting the ones he loved. He knew that, but he also couldn't let his guard down, couldn't let them find out. His head was swimming with thoughts again, the self-loathing voices were back telling him he needed to punish himself among other things. Matt felt his legs move, carrying him in front of Zack but stepping over him as his arms raised to wrench the door open.

For the first time he noticed the raw scratches littered over his inked skin, they looked angrier than he ever could and it scared him. This was proof of what happened, of what he had done, he could try running away from it all but here was the evidence screaming out and reminding him over and over. Taunting him and provoking him. Every time the pain pulsated from the wounds it whispered ‘monster’, ‘beast’, and other names to remind him of the creature he’d become. He slowly lifted his gaze to meet frightened brown and confused blue orbs, he couldn't face up to this, not yet.

He just ran.

Briefly noting the yells of his name, he kept running till tears and body alike threatened to fall. He ran till he didn't know where he was and his heart jack-hammered against his chest, wanting to tear out of him and run back to Brian where it belonged.

Not even my heart wants to be with something like me, I’ve got nothing.

His large frame threw him into the curb of the side walk on its own accord, body and mind forcing him to give up as his veins and nerves thrummed with adrenaline and exhaustion. Matt hurled the contents of his stomach into the gutter and by the time he was dry heaving he felt like Jimmy was using his head as a bass drum, something he decided he might suggest later; he felt like he deserved that and it could be a small part of his punishment.

Matt pulled himself up and into the nearest café heading straight to the restroom, he dared not look in the mirror as he cleaned himself up and rinsed his mouth out. He was disgusted with himself, he also didn't want to pay to replace the glass; he was pretty sure he'd smash it because it was as close as he'd get to punching himself in the face. He took a few moments to breathe and let his body return to its usual hype as he came to the conclusion he couldn't return to the bus, he would need to find something to occupy his time before the show. He had his wallet and needed a new Xbox, there had to be a place that sold game systems somewhere, maybe buy a few undeserved games he’d had his eye on.

To prepare himself for walking out like nothing was happening he reminded himself who's fault he wanted it to be, that was of course anyone but himself. Anyone like Brian. As far as Matt was concerned, Brian was the route to every problem he ever had.

If Brian wasn't so damn straight, maybe I could be with him. If Brian wasn't so damn oblivious, maybe he would have figured out I like him. If Brian wasn't so damn difficult to talk to, maybe I could tell him how I feel. If Brian wasn't so damn gorgeous, maybe I wouldn't feel this way.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.... That's all Matt could put it down to though he knew he’d somehow still feel like this. However, there was one thing he knew for sure. If he had gone about this all a completely different way, he could have had a chance with Brian, now... there wasn't even a chance at friendship, he was positive of that. But this wasn’t his fault, no, of course not. It was Zack’s for trying to blame him for breaking the Xbox. And it was Brian’s, definitely Brian’s.
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Not too sure i like this chapter but i suppose we had to see what Matt is thinking somewhen so what better time than now. :) I'm quite surprised i'm managing to update fairly regularly (compared to before). Hopefully i don't disappoint too much. Sorry for any errors, its a long chapter to re-read several times, let me know if theres anything major and i'll correct it.

Thank you to everyone who reads this story and an even greater thanks to everyone who comments and recommends! I really really appreciate it and your kind words encourage me to keep writing this story, i definitely look forward to getting a notification saying someone's commented. Anywho, you know the drill, you've read it... now comment? What you like, didn't like, what you think will happen, should happen, shouldn't happen, what you think is going on with Matt, what's in his head, why's he acting like this? Seriously, tell me!

You want to read more... let me know.