Matthew is grotesque. Ludwig feels it in the fear that rushes down his spine quickly and then vanishes somewhere in his gut as he watches Canadian soldiers charge over no mans land, Matthew at the forefront, eyes blazing in fury.
And a second later, a wave of them are in the trenches. He watches in sick frozen fascination. Watches Matthew bash a few skulls with the butt of his rifle, swinging not wildly, but not quite with precision, lips raised in a vicious snarl.
He is like an atrocious creature.
Matthew is a sniper. Ludwig has no way to warn them. Not really. Not when Matthew starts picking his soldiers off one by one, and he can do no more than tell them to get down. Even though he sees Matthew in the tree, sees him shoot and keep shooting, listens to his men die. A sniper is dead when he is seen. Why hasn't Matthew -
"He's over ther-!" Bang.
He's flaunting. He knows he can be seen. And he knows he can get to them before they got him. Ludwig stares at him hard and - he shivers violently and ducks low in the grass.
Matthew is grinning.
Matthew is a spy. He knows it when Matthew passes him in the hall, curly blonde hair tucked under a peaked Nazi cap, a few stars decorating his shoulders and announcing his rank as private. Matthew smiles, and Ludwig stares, astonished.
"Guten tag." Matthew whispers. And it sounds amiable. Only it's not, Ludwig can hear the 'Go Die, Nazi Shit' behind it. And Ludwig keeps staring, until Matthew walks past, no one noticing the beautiful Aryan boy with a stack of papers in his hand.
"Fuck!" Ludwig curses, and starts after him. He's gone. But he's certain he can hear Matthew laughing.
Matthew is a fighter pilot. Ludwig grins in his first victory when he watches a faceless Canadian soldier abandon his plane after its shot down, parachute billowing. And he runs to capture the soldier, watching the brightly painted "alouette" on the side of the plane peel and burn.
The soldier, the pilot is waiting for him.
"Fuck off, Nazi shit!"
And he knows the voice. Grins wider. "Matthew?" He hears Matthew freeze. Hears his gasps and pants of pain after that, wonders what part of him is broken and what part he shall break. But isn't stupid. Matthew is a sniper. If his fingers aren't broken, he can still shoot.
So Ludwig approaches slowly, boots crunching the bushes and twigs. He likes to think that this time. This time he can tame the monster, the beast, the animal that is Matthew at his most vicious.
And then a bullet is lodged in his collar bone and he is frozen with the pain and the fear. The fear is worst of all. The fear is cold.
"I said fuck off! Fuck off!"
He can do nothing but run. Stumbling away with his hand to his shoulder. He was afraid even when the animal was the one cornered.
Matthew is a god, with blue eyes and blonde hair and slim figure and pretty face, so beautiful that he's horrendous. Matthew is disgusting. A creature writhing on the inside for something. For recognition or power or love or something secondary that Ludwig didn't understand. But Matthew is a beast for it.
And Ludwig has quickly become a beast for him. So powerfully afraid Matthew has made him that he admires him, comes to crave the flicker in his stomach whenever he saw him.
Ludwig laughs. Keeps laughing when Matthew faces him down and scowls sourly. He's too much like Arthur. Too much like Francis. Too much like Alfred. And so much more like himself that Ludwig thinks he'll go on fearing Matthew for eternity.
It's inexplicable at best.