Matthew doesn’t really look at him, not in the eyes. Which is a shame, really, because the boy has beautiful eyes.
Grasping the other’s chin deftly, the Englishman gently turns the other’s face towards him before letting go and smoothing his palm over the other’s skin and cradling his cheek.
“How was Mass?” He asked lightly, a benevolent smile creeping onto his face when his colony looks stunned. He continues, “Did you honestly think I am so unaware of what happens in my kingdom?”
Matthew’s expression twists slightly and the boy bites his lower lip, perhaps in an attempt to silence the acerbic wit Arthur knows he possesses.
Arthur presses closer, lowering his lips to the colony’s ear and he whispers, “How important is your faith?”
Matthew lets out a shuddering breath that is warm against Arthur’s neck but he doesn’t try to push away the older nation. The young colony looks away, golden curls falling to shield his gaze.
“Tell me again, poppet.” Arthur queries, coming up behind Matthew one afternoon when the boy is practicing his letters in the library. “How does that song go?”
“Which song?” The blond asks softly, his accent still so very French, as his grip on his quill tightens and black ink pools where the tip is pressed into the parchment. He is hunched over the desk and Arthur ‘tuts’ and taps his hunched back, prompting the boy’s posture to straighten.
“The one you sang the other day.” He leans down to take a better look at the other’s penmanship. “The one about the bird.”
Matthew was a quick study. His tutors were quite impressed with his intellect and willingness to learn. Arthur appreciated the colony’s dedication.
This one was loyal.
Matthew is still, scarcely breathing and then, tongue flicking out to wet his lips, he begins, voice trembling, “Alouette, gentile Alouette…Alouette, je te plumerai...” His voice catches and he turns to look at Arthur, violet eyes a little terrified and damp. “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”
Arthur pets his hair affectionately, magnanimously. “Its alright, Matthew. I’m sorry for what he’s done as well.” His hand stills and Matthew is still looking at him with uncertainty. “Just keep practicing your letters.”
He stands up, then, arms folded behind his back. Then he turns to leave.
But just before he shuts the door behind him, he says, “Though, if I were you, I would do well to remember that he abandoned you in that fort. I would never…I could never…” He looks over his shoulder, green eyes soft under thick eyebrows. “You’re very dear to me.”
“Please don’t.” Matthew pleads, his voice a mere wisp in the silence of the dark room. “Arthur, please…I don’t want…” He is sitting up in bed, hands knotted in his quilt. His nightshirt—a flimsy white shirt he had thrown on before bed—is rumpled from sleep and sliding off one shoulder because its collar is too loose. He wrings his hands fretfully, face shadowed.
Arthur sits on the edge of his bed. He touches the other’s quilt-covered thigh. “I think, Matthew, that you should think very hard about what you want…” His hand moves upwards, fingers playing with the edge of the quilt. “…and what you do not want.” He smiles, sharp and bitter and just a bit nostalgic, and in the weak moonlight the sliver of a grin is unsettling.
Arthur is not a good man. He knows this. He accepts this. But he also knows he is not necessarily a bad man.
He’s done so much for Matthew. He saved the boy when that French bastard left him to rot. He nurtured the boy, loved and raised him from nothing. Like a rose, Matthew blossomed under his care and Arthur has loved very few things in his life but he knows that his frigid little northern colony has a place in his heart. Everything he has done has been for the boy’s betterment.
(Years and years later Francis accuses him of destroying Matthew. Arthur argued that he had never hurt Matthew in any way and as hard as he tried to eradicate any French influence on the boy, he stopped when it became clear that Matthew had a streak of British stubbornness that Arthur decided to count in his favor.)
And because he has done so much for Matthew, so much to keep him happy and satisfied and not wanting to leave, he thinks that it’s only proper that Matthew understands this.
It’s rather frustrating when he doesn’t.
“What do I have to do Matthew?” Arthur asks. “When will it be enough?”
“My—“ A quick glare is enough to make Matthew pause. “My people, Arthur, acknowledge that you have done much for them. But…they want more.” He licks his lips and Arthur’s attention is drawn to that motion.
Matthew has always been very beautiful.
Violet eyes look defeated, then, and Matthew continues, softly. “They want you to notice them….to hear them…to trust them. And…aren’t they your people too?”
Arthur moves towards the blond. He begins, delicately. “I have done so much for you, Matthew.”
“And yet you remain divided?”
Matthew smiled, a bit bitterly and continued, “I just want what is best for my people.”
“You’re so lovely.” Arthur whispered, kissing the base of Matthew’s spine even as he slipped another finger into the boy. “I adore you.”
Matthew shuddered, face pink and hot and buried into the feather pillow. He shifted, legs spreading wider as Arthur scissored his fingers and twisted, dragging out a slow moan from the pliant colony.
Arthur would be more concerned about the blond’s silence and his insistence to be on his knees, but he knew the boy was virgin and probably embarrassed.
He smirked, one hand gripping the other’s waist. Withdrawing his fingers, he thrust them back in, slipping a third one alongside the other two. He pushed them as deep as they would go, stretching them and hearing a slight whimper from Matthew as he began to earnestly move them in and out.
“P-please.” Matthew chokes out, arching his back and moving his hips and trying to fuck himself on the other’s clever fingers when Arthur pauses.
Arthur doesn’t know it is because Matthew doesn’t know how long he can keep from crying.
It hurts when Arthur, after finally lining up his cock and pressing the blunt head against Matthew’s hole, and Matthew can feel hot tears slip down his cheeks at the burn.
Arthur strokes his shivering sides, feeling the quake of ribs under pale skin, and the Englishman coos quiet endearments, kissing the flushed skin between sharp shoulder blades and Matthew’s neck. “Alright there, love?”
When he begins to move, fingertips pressed into soft flesh, the beginnings of bruises blossoming under the tight grip, pain eventually melts into pleasure and Matthew makes these appealing little mewls and half-moans and Arthur groans, pace picking up, driven on by the other’s breathy appreciations and the wet slap of flesh.
Matthew can feel sweat gathering at the small of his back.
(Years and years later Matthew would reminisce, drunkenly, to Alfred, who was equally drunk, that it would have been so much easier to hate Arthur if the man had actually held him down and made him bleed.)
Eventually the tears fall.
Arthur doesn’t notice.