AN: This was a kink meme prompt, you'll probably get a little rush of meme stuff from me soon enough. The prompt was the summary, warning not included. Note, I tried really hard not to glorify what France does, I really do disapprove of child molestation. Also, Arthur's part is not over dramatic, it's obvious symbolic of the problems early settlers faced.

Beta'd by myself, cleaned up from the kink meme considerable, but if there are issues do tell. Also, I don't really know if this qualifies for hurt/comfort...

Francis tries not to think too hard about what he's doing. He presses dry lips to a smooth forehead, one hand coming up to stroke the child's face. "Mattieu," he whispers and the boy looks up at him with such big eyes so full of trust Francis almost pulls away. Almost. "Je t'aime, d'accord? Je t'aime tellement." Matthew beams at him as he says this, little hands coming up to pat his cheeks clumsily.

"Je t'aime aussi," he says honestly, "je t'aime beaucoup." Francis closes his eyes at that, swallowing past the lump in his throat.

"Do you trust me, dearest?" He asks, pressing another kiss just below the child's eye, on his plump cheek.

"Oui," he says without hesitation, "of course I do." Francis almost sobs at that, the guilt is there, but it doesn't outweigh the desire. Gently, he trails his hands down the slim body, pulling the child close, cradling him in his arms.

"You are a beautiful child," he tells Matthew, and Matthew just grins, burrowing his face in his guardian's neck. Francis cradles the boy in one arm while the other creeps up his back, feeling the warm, soft, unblemished skin there. "Beautiful," he says again before laying down on the small pallet which serves as a bed for now, Matthew balance on top of him.

Matthew giggles at the soft touches, squirming a little from his position on Francis' lap. The tiny movements send jolts through him, and Francis smothers a moan by planting three quick kisses on Matthew's neck.

"Papa, what are you doing?" He asks quietly, though he doesn't sound upset. Francis' wandering hands freeze at the address, and Matthew's face twists into a pout. "Papa?" He asks again, and Francis gulps.

'I," he says surprisingly calmly, "am looking for something," and with that he restarts his journey. Matthew opens his mouth, no doubt to ask him another question but one of Francis' hands comes up to his lips. "No more talking Matthieu, okay?" Matthew nods, violet eyes confused and Francis takes his hand away, letting it drop down to the boys small stomach.

Gently he starts to stroke it, his other hand pulling his shirt off the boy. Matthew squeaks a little and Francis panics and presses his lips to Matthew's. The boys lips are soft, and pouty and Francis presses his against them harder than he should maybe, definitely, but he can't have Matthew speaking. Deftly, he sits up, moving Matthew off his hips and a little further down.

Francis groans at the contact this produces and without another thought bucks up, grinding into the boy. Matthew makes a little noise at this but Francis stops him from pulling away. The older man pulls his face away from the boys, cupping it in his hand. The other hand is still on Matthew's stomach, fingers gently rubbing and petting, making Matthew move around on Francis' erection.

The boys lips are reddened from the harsh kiss and spit slick, his eyes wide and a little wet, cheeks flushed and it makes Francis want so badly to possess the boy completely. But he can't, and he knows it, so instead he opts for pushing his thumb between those bowed lips, his other fingers splaying across the pale face.

Matthew is confused, that much is obvious, but he keeps up his little squirms, not reacting to Francis thrusts beyond the first time. He looks up at Francis questioningly, and Francis wiggles it a bit. Matthew seems to understand as he closes his lips around it and sucks a little, as if it were his own thumb. To avoid moaning Francis is breathing heavily through his nose, thrusting once, twice more before he feels heat spread through him. He hasn't taken off his pants, and while he doesn't like the feel of the come in his pants, he knows it's for the best.

He gently pries his thumb from Matthew's sweet little mouth before removing the boy from his lap. "Go to sleep Matthieu," he says hoarsely, and Matthew looks at him strangely.

"Oui papa," he agrees softly, "but...what was that?" It's an honest question, and Francis tries not to shudder at the feel of his climax still pressed against him or the guilt pressing down his spine.

"That was another way of saying I love you," he tells him, shame creeping up his spine to strangle him. Matthieu hums in response. "Did I frighten you, mon lapin?" he asks, and Matthieu shakes his blond head.

"No, but, why did we say it that way tonight?" he whispers, sleep taking him, and Francis feels tears sting his eyes.

"I, I have to go away," he says, voice strangled, "you'll be staying with a friend for a while," Francis manages, green eyes and hate flashing before his eyes. Matthieu looks at him sleepily, wrinkling his nose lightly.

"Will you come back?"

"Of course."

"Matthew," the blond man says, voice exhausted, "please, just one bite." The boy crosses his arms, turning his face away from Arthur, lips pursed shut. Arthur sighs and Alfred watches with interest as he munches on his burnt supper, nothing to indicate he isn't enjoying it on his small face. Arthur spends the whole meal trying to get his new acquisition to eat, but the boy refuses.

"Arthur," Alfred asks, bouncing in his seat, "can I go I'm done this boring can I go can I go can I go?" Arthur blinks at the boy and then nods, rolling his eyes to look at the ceiling.

"Yes, just do not go outside." Alfred nods and Arthur just knows he'll have to go out to drag him away from the semi frozen mud puddles in about fifteen minutes. He turns back to Matthew, who is still looking at him defiantly. "Will you tell me why you don't want to eat?" Arthur isn't in the habit of begging his colonies, but Alfred and now Matthew are so young he can't even use the switch on them. Yet.

Matthew's admittedly gorgeous violet eyes narrow at him, but he says nothing. Putting down the fork he'd been holding, Arthur picks the boy up, ignoring the kicking feet and squirming body. Quickly he takes the boy upstairs, depositing him in his room.

"If you do not wish to eat," he tells the boy, "fine. But, you are not leaving this room until you speak to me. In English," he adds. Matthew just flops to the ground, refusing to look at him further. With that, Arthur leaves the room, locking it behind him. "Now," he mutters as he heads downstairs, "where in bloody hell is Alfred?"

That night wind and snow whip the trees outside, scrapping them across the walls of the house. Small ice pellets drive against the shutters, as if trying to break in. The house itself sways slightly, creaking and just being generally scary. Matthew sits in the middle of his bed, small knees pulled up to his chest, shaking. A loud burst of thunder sends Matthew shrieking and throwing himself off the bed and at the door. Hysterically he shakes the knob, but it didn't budge.

"Arthur," the little boy cries, voice shaking, "Arthur I'm ready now." He stands there, clutching at the doorknob, but no steps can be heard. "Arthur!" he sobs this time, another burst of thunder rocking the house. No one come, and Matthew curls up against the door, making himself as small as possible.

Arthur blinks blurrily, thinking he heard his name over the cacophony of the storm. Just as he sits up Alfred barrels in and throws himself into Arthur's arms. Arthur catches him easily, soothing the boy. "Alfred," he says softly, "it's okay lad, it's okay." Alfred snugs into his arms, and Arthur kisses the top of his head. He gets up, Alfred still tucked under his chin and closes the door to stop the heat leaving before climbing back into bed. As he shuts his eyes he thinks he hears another shout. Listening carefully he hears nothing else, must have been the storm.

The morning comes and the world is different, snow covered and magical. Alfred eats his breakfast in a matter of seconds before he demands to go outside. Chuckling, Arthur agrees and they make it through the full day and half of supper before Arthur remembers Matthew is still locked in his room.

Swearing he stands up, "Alfred, finish up your dinner and then go play in your room." Dashing up the stairs he quickly unlocks Matthew's door. Matthew yelps as the door hits him and sends him scrambling, cowering against the bed. His fire was out, had gone out early that morning, before Arthur was even up, and he was shaking from the cold. Arthur swears again as he knelt by the boy.

"Matthew lad," he says gently, "are you alright?" Matthew just looks at him, eyes wide, and Arthur feels frustration return. "Matthew," he demands, sharper this time, "speak," he says firmly.

"J-je s-s-," Matthew stumbles and trips over his words, mind sluggish from lack of sleep, the cold as well as hunger and fear of the empire in front of him. "J-je," he tries again only to be cut off.

"In English," Arthur tells him firmly, refusing to let the boy get away with anything. Matthew's young mind scrambles to remember the right words in English, but nothing comes out. After a moment Arthur stands and leaves, and Matthew gives a wordless cry as he hears the lock click again. He crawls back into his bed, but the covers are thin, meant for summer, winter having taken them by surprise, and he continues to shake.

Arthur fumes as he makes his way to Alfred's room. Alfred is sitting there all sunshine and bright smiles, happy to see Arthur. The empire grins at the boy, kneeling down, he's so good, Arthur thinks, ruffling his hair. As he sits with Alfred, playing toy soldiers his anger at the former French colony ebbs away, and he promises he'll check on him before going to bed.

Arthur pops awake just as the sun is rising, eyes wide. He once again rushes to Matthew's room, throwing open the door. Thankfully, there is no little body to hit and send flying this time, and Arthur makes his way over to the bed. Matthew looks back at him, eyes almost closed breath coming in little bursts which are visible in the frigid morning air of the unheated room. Arthur chokes as he brings the shaking child into a hug. He holds him, feeling his cold nose pressed against his neck, until he notices the steady mantra falling from the boys lips.

"Sorrysorrysorrysorry," the boy slurs, crying into Arthur's shoulder. Arthur's heart shatters in his chest and he swallows loudly.

"It's alright lad," he tells him, "it's alright."

"Francis?" The voice is close though not quite in his ear, and Francis feels his brow furrow. He pries open one dark blue eye to survey his surroundings. The room he's in is not one he's been in before. The walls are a pale warm yellow and the bed is not very large but still comfortable. Matthew, of all people, is at the foot of his bed, blond head cocked in a questioning manner. "How do you feel?" He asks softly, and Francis tries to sit, only to wince.

"Comme la victime d'une acte éclair," he admits, swallowing the disgusting taste in his mouth. "Not," he says, "that I am unhappy it is so, but how did I get here?"

Matthew gives him a little smile, handing him a clean shirt and some boxers. "You showed up on my door step," he says dryly. "There's coffee and aspirin downstairs," he tells him and Francis groans in appreciation.

"Merci, merci, vous êtes un ange," Matthew just laughs a little and leaves to let him change. Francis pulls off his wrinkled clothing and gladly changes into the plain white t-shirt and the plaid boxers. He doesn't bother looking for pants, if Matthew cared he would have given him some, before gingerly heading to the kitchen.

Matthew is at the counter, humming softly as he chops what looks to be a bowl of fruit. "On the table," he says without turning. Francis sinks down, grateful for the low lighting.

He takes a chug of the coffee, not caring that it is hot and has nothing in it, before swallowing two aspirins. "Ah," he sighs at the caffeine, "je t'aime tellement." The minute he says it he freezes, as does Matthew. The memory of that night has haunted Francis for centuries. "Matthieu," he says, voice choked, "Mattieu je suis désolé, je suis désolé."

Francis expects fury, expects Matthew to turn around and yell at him for using him, for abusing him and lying to him and breaking his trust, but he doesn't. Matthew turns calmly, violet eyes bright, and gives a soft smile.

"It's alright Francis, je t'aime aussi."

Arthur gives an appreciative sigh as Matthew passes him a mug of Earl Grey. Matthew gives him a shy, painfully shy smile. "Brilliant lad," Arthur tells him. Matthew blushes, sitting on the edge of the seat, back straight.

"It's good to see you Arthur," Matthew tells him, and though it's awkward, Arthur knows he means it. The very thought makes his stomach warm, and he gives the shy country another tight but affectionate smile.

"How have you been?" he asks, searching for something to say. The visit is impromptu, he usually would call ahead, but to be honest, he'd forgotten Matthew lived in the area until he'd seen him in the nearby park. Matthew smiles again, and it's a warm, lovely smile which makes that warm curl in Arthur's stomach curl tighter and warmer.

"I've been very well," Matthew chirps at him, "my banks are doing great, and unemployment has stopped dropping. The east is getting a little nervous, these things tend to hit them later and harder, but I'm hoping they'll be okay.' Arthur half-listens as the boy talks, focusing more on the way his hands gesture, a quirk from Francis, and the way his smile curls up on his pale face.

Catching himself, Arthur looks into his tea cup, feeling a blush on his cheeks. Matthew doesn't say anything if he finds this strange, instead opts to talk about how he and Jamaica had had a lovely time together during the fall. Arthur nods whenever he thinks it's appropriate, until finally Matthew's smile slips and he let's his eyes go a little worried.

"Arthur," he asks, "are you alright? You look a little flushed." Before Arthur can think of a good excuse, Matthew leans forward, pressing long, cool fingers against his cheeks and forehead.

"I'm fine lad," he says, "I think your hands are just a little cold." Matthew snatches his hand away at that, blushing.

"I'm sorry Arthur, I forget most people don't keep their house this cold, do you need the heat turned up?"

Arthur shakes his head and cracks a little smile, "no no," he assures him, trying to get that bright smile back, "I'm all about using limited resources, you know that." The remark is offhanded, meant to cause a smile, but it doesn't, and Arthur feels something niggle at the back of his brain.

"Yeah," Matthew says, "never good to waste resources." That hits Arthur like a bag of bricks and he jerks in his seat, suddenly remembering a blue lipped boy sobbing into his shoulder.

"Matthew," he says, not knowing how to apologize, Matthew's wide eyes go wider.

"Oh!" he exclaims softly, leaning over to place a hand on Arthur's knee, "I wasn't talking about that Arthur," he says, "I really wasn't."

Arthur swallows his pride and a sip of tea before and leans in towards his former charge, "I am sorry though." He says, and it feels good, sort of.

Matthew gives him a tiny smile and pulls away, brushing hair behind his ear. "Don't worry Arthur," he assures him, "I know you didn't do it on purpose, you just forgot." Somehow, Arthur thinks, that makes it worse. Matthew must see the look on his face, "Arthur, I've never held anything against you," he says, and he means it, and it makes Arthur feel like a real wanker.

"Oh," is all he manages, because the only thing worse than Matthew's forgiveness is not his damnation; it's knowing he'll keep forgiving him.


Je t'aime tellement/beaucoup/aussi - I love you so much/a lot/as well.

Comme la victime d'une acte éclair - Like the victim of a hit and run (rough equivalent to 'like I've been hit by a bus').

Merci, vous etes un ange - Thank you, you're an angle.

Je suis désolé - I am sorry.