"Mattie!" Alfred yelled out, calling the other soft spoken boy into the playroom.
Matthew walked over to his brother who had his head buried deep within a chest of their fathers. "Why are you looking at Dad's old clothes?" Mattie asked Alfred.
"Never mind that, would you look at some of this?" Alfred exclaimed, pulling out an old plaid detective hat and placing it on his head. "I'm going to be Sherlock Holmes, and you can be Watson!" he said, pulling out a bowler hat and sticking it on Matthew's head.
Arthur had stopped once he heard the conversation, and was about to tell them not to mess with his things, when he heard them talking about Sherlock Holmes. He chuckled at the thought of the American boy taking an interest in something British, so he let the messing with his stuff slide. Arthur just stood right outside the doorway, listening to them for a moment.
"But, Alfred, what's the mystery?" Mattie asked, pulling the hat back up from over his violet eyes so he could see.
Alfred deflated, "I don't know. Dang it, the hero's alway supposed to have the answer! Um... What do you want solved?"
"I want to know why Mommy left. Not just that, I want to know everything about her. What does she look like? Where is she?" Matthew said quietly, and Arthur wasn't quite sure he had heard correctly.
Alfred laughed boisterously, "That's easy! We'll just ask dad!"
"No!" Mattie caught the rim of Alfred's shirt and dragged him down. "Haven't you noticed he doesn't like to talk about it? I think she left him, but I want to know why she left all of us. We're her family aren't we? Shouldn't she want to see her kids?"
Arthur was stunned. He hadn't said anything about you to the boys in years, in fear that he would tear up. But they had to know the truth. He walked in, "Boys, I'll tell you if you really want to know, alright? Think your old enough, Sherlock? Watson?" The boys smiled, and Arthur felt bad. "Come sit with me, okay?" They nodded, and Arthur led them out into the living room one of the boys hands in each of his. He sat the boys up on his knees in the armchair before the fireplace and said, "Your mother didn't leave us. She loved you two boys more than anything, and she would love to meet you.
"Her name was _____ _____ ______. She had (h/l) (h/c) hair, and (e/c) eyes, and she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen." The boys were already entranced, and started to picture you in their heads, smiling over them. Arthur pulled out a small pocket watch and showed them the picture of you opposite the watch face. "There, see? Anyway, she was very nice and sweet, just like you Matthew, but she could also be rather boisterous like you Alfred. I met her in high school and fell for her, hard. She probably could have any guy she wanted, but when I finally got the courage to ask her out, she said yes. We dated for years, and even ended up going to the same college. Then _____ ______ did me the honor of becoming my wife, and became _____ Kirkland." Arthur absentmindedly fingered his old wedding band, picturing you all done up in white, beaming as you walked down that isle. You were the most beautiful woman in the world to him, and he could never replace you. "Then she became pregnant, and we were told we were going to have twins. She already loved the two of you far before you were born, and I'm sure she'd have done anything to see you now."
Matthew looked up at him, "But if she wants to meet us, why can't she?"
"She passed away, Matthew." Arthur said, trying to prevent the hitch in his throat.
Matthew's violet eyes started to become glossy, and he clutched the watch, stroking the glass over the picture lightly. "So, I'm never going to meet Mommy?" he asked, the tears threatening to spill over.
"It's alright, Matthew." Arthur said, ruffling his hair lightly. The boy bowed his head and Arthur could see the saltwater trails dripping down his cheeks. The watch slipped from his grasp and Alfred picked it up.
Alfred looked incredulous. He didn't quite believe that such a beautiful woman could be brought down by just anything. Especially when his dad had something to say about it. "How did she die?" he asked, staring into his father's green eyes with his own penetrating blue ones.
"It was right before you were born, Alfred. She was having some trouble, and there were complications. A doctor came in and told us, 'We can either save the children, or you, Miss Kirkland. Do you need sometime to think about it?'" Arthur stared into the crackling flames in the hearth, almost forgetting that he was speaking to children, and simply retold the story. "And she said, 'No.'"
Arthur blinked, a small tear running down his cheek, "I asked what she meant, assuming she would save herself. But she told me, 'Arthur, have you already forgotten all of your lessons? The lives of the many outweigh the lives of the few. Take that into consideration, and then it's just simple arithmetic.' She pointed to herself, 'One,' then to her stomach, 'two.'
"And I just stared at her. She had made up her mind, and I knew I could never change it. She sacrificed herself for you two." Another tear trailed down his cheek, and the droplet fell lightly on Alfred's hand that held the pocket watch.
Alfred looked at the picture, and a small tear of his own dripped down onto the glass. He rubbed it away with his thumb. Whispering, Alfred said to you, wherever you might have been, "You're the real hero, Mommy."