When Matthew went though the house as he made his way to the kitchen for breakfast the next morning, he did not see hide nor hair of Jack. He passed Francis slipping out of Arthur's room, a sly grin on his face as he held a finger to his lips in a motion to keep quiet. Matthew snickered softly and continued on his way, making a mental note to go and see his papa after breakfast. It was still rather dark outside, barely later than six in the morning. The maids were bustling about cleaning and beginning the days meals. The bowed to him as he passed them and when he sat down at the butchers block like table in the kitchen and came out and placed a plate of food before him after a moment.
"Sarah, can you please make up a plate for...our prisoner?" He asked the maid in a soft voice.
"Oh, of course M'Lord," She said with a courtesy before turning away from him and doing as she was told. Matthew continued to eat his breakfast in peace, listing to the sounds of the staff bustling around. He smiled gently at her.
"I will return shortly, I need to see papa," He told her in a soft voice before slipping out of the kitchen and down the hall to the living room. His father was standing in front of the fireplace gazing upwards towards the rather large painting resting above the mantel. Matthew's eyes wondered upwards to the painting as well, of Arthur, Alfred and himself, together in a family portrait before Alfred has moved out. "Papa?"
"Ah, Matthew," He smiled and turned towards the younger blonde. "How are you this glorious morning? Let me greet you properly," He flashed a grin to the mauve eyed boy, and took the few steps so that he could embrace him tightly, His hands moving around Matthew in an awkward manor as to slip a small iron-wrought key into the front pocket of his waist-coat. "You really have grown in your time away from me, haven't you?" Matthew blushed sheepishly.
"Papa, I send you painting. You can see how I've grown, there is no need to squeeze me so tight!" He laughed.
"Oh hon hon, but it is not the same my petite Cheri, I will always find a way to visit, and to give you a good squeeze," His lips pulled into a smirk as he looked over Matthew's shoulder to see Arthur walking into the room. "Your Father as well, we cannot forget L'Angleterre. He loves a good squeeze," Arthur barely opened his mouth, his expression furious. "Just kidding!" Frances laughed, hands raised defensively.
"Mathias, what are you doing? Sarah is waiting for you," Matthew frowned and opened his mouth to correct Arthur, but Frances beat him to it.
"Arthur! Matthew was just saying good morning, there is no need to be rude. Besides, you're one to talk yes? I thought you'd be resting after last night. You cannot hide that limp from me," He chided, a grin pulling across his lips. Both Matthew and Arthur turned red at the comment.
"Fucking frog!" Arthur cursed at the elder blonde as he took a few steps forwards and Matthew took a few steps back before ducking out of the room and going back to the kitchen. He could hear his two parental figures arguing back and forth all the way down the hall to the kitchen.
Sarah had left a plate for himself plus a larger plate of eggs, bacon and a few biscuits. He quickly ate his merger meal- he never ate much to begin with, let alone breakfast. He placed the empty plate into the wash basin before picking up the other plate in both hands and descending to the prisoners hold. He flashed a smile to John and George as he got closer and the automaticly unlocked and opened up the door to Ivan's cell for him without being prompted. He waited until he heard the slam of the heavy metal door before he walked over to the table that was beside the bed. He set the plate down and took a step closer to Ivan's prone body as he lay sleeping. The blonde brushed ash locks out of the elders eyes before brushing his fingertips against his cheeks, his lips and chin, down his neck. His body stiffened when a hand shot out and grabbed Matthew's slim wrist, dark eyes opening up to stare at him.
"Matvey," Ivan rumbled out, voice deeper from just waking up. He pulled on Matthew's wrist, causing him to fall forward onto Ivan. His cheeks heated up and he tried to move away but Ivan kept tugging until Matthew was mostly on top of him. He released the pale wrist in his grip before slipping his fingers into blonde locks and tugging forward, causing the younger to fall forward slightly. Ivan tilted his head forward towards Matthew's and pressed their lips together, his hand moving from Matthew's hair to the his neck, keeping him in place. Matthew whimpered softly, but opened his mouth to Ivan's tongue regardless, moaning softly as large hands travelled the length of his spine to rest on his hips.
After a few minutes, they separated; Matthew panting to regain his lost breath. "Matvey. Vhen I get out of here, I will come back," He pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth. "You are mine," He growled. Matthew shifted his body, moving so that he was sitting almost in the elders lap. He dove his hand into his front pocket, fingers enclosing around the key tightly. He pulled it out of his pocket and held it out before Ivan.
"P-papa worked some of his magic," He murmured softly, as Ivan brought his hands back over Matthew's head, holding them out for him. His hands shook as he fumbled for the lock and stuck the key into the key hole. Finally after a moment the lock clicked and dropped from one wrist before Matthew moved to the other one. After another minute, the other cuff fell as well. Ivan brought his hands up to Matthew's face once more and pressed a hard kiss to his lips. Matthew opened his mouth to Ivan and kissed him back less then innocently, tongue pressing against Ivan's as he held out the small key and moved to press it into his hand. "You must take this with you," he murmured softly. Ivan nodded, a sly look pulling at his features.
"My little Matvey, мой маленький подсолнух (My little sunflower)," He rumbled, and now that he was free, he moved so he could pin the smaller male beneath him. Matthew's breath hitched as Ivan first knocked the key from his shaking fingers before taking both wrists in his large hand and pinning them above his head. "All mine, da?"
"...Da..." Matthew replied breathlessly, wide eyes looking up at Ivan.
"And my little Matvey will going to remain pure until I return, da?"
"Da," he replied again, in the same dazed, airy voice.
"Matvey... Ve should need to make dis look convincing da? Since I vill be escaping from your care. I do not wish to harm you too much. You are so pretty...but even prettier vith those lovely bruises covering your pale skin..." Ivan trailed off. Matthew's brows furrowed as Ivan ran a finger down the side of his face. "So pretty..." His grip tightened on the others wrists, and the blonde began to wiggle under him.
"I-Ivan... Ivan that hurts!" He whimpered, tears gathering in the corners of his eyes as Ivan's other hand came to his neck and squeezed; lightly at first before applying more pressure. "I-I-Ivan-" He gasped out, fingers clawing at what he could reach of Ivan's, starting to struggle in earnest now. "I—I..Ivan..." He rasped, his struggles lessening as he fought to breath. He could see that darkness starting in eat away at his vision as he began to black out from the lack of oxygen that he was able to intake—tears leaked from the corners of his eyes which he kept locked on Ivan's.
"Do not Vorry Matvey," Ivan stated in a matter of fact voice. "You vill forgive me for this, and it is better this vay. I do not want you to see vhat I vill be doing to get outside of this room," Matthew continued to stare up at him with eyes that were glazed over. He watched as Ivan spoke to him—watched his mouth moving to form words, but did not understand; could not comprehend what was being said to him. Ivan's face blurred when he leaned in closer to press a chaste kiss to his lips before Matthew blacked out completely.
Matthew awoke to the sound of his father yelling. Loudly. Almost in a screeching tone. He whimpered quietly, and brought a hand up to his pounding head. He fought to swallow, his throat aching and sore.
"L'Angleterre, please, you cannot blame Mattheau for this, it is not his fault. We both know that he is... weaker than us. 'Ell, I don't know if even I could take on Ivan for that matter. He is a large man, and an even larger country. I'm surprised he didn't escape before he did,"
"Yes, well that may be true, but we still needed to get information out of him!" Matthew could hear the anger in his voice, the disappointment that, even though he agreed that Matthew had been no match for Ivan that he still basicly let him go for a lack of better words. "Whatever! There is no use in arguing about the matter now. The bastard is long gone," Frances hummed softly in agreement.
"Oui, that is true," Frances agreed softly. The silence stretched on for a few minutes before Matthew had mustered up his courage and rasped out for his two parental figures.
"P-papa," His throat burned with the effort and it took him a moment to swallow; saliva easing the burn slightly. "Papa, can I have some water?" He rasped and within seconds Frances was at his bedside a pitcher of water and a glass tumbler in his hand. Frances shot a glare to Arthur as he helped his son sit up and handed him the glass, placing both his hands around the circumference of the object. Matthew closed his eyes and took a drink of the cool, refreshing liquid. He instantly felt ten times better than he had. However when he opened his eyes and saw the dark purple rings around his wrists, his hands started to tremble. Frances took the glass from him when he noticed the water starting to slosh around the rim and down over Matthew's fingers. "P-papa, I...I-"
"Shh," The elder told him. "Rest darling. I need to speak with Arthur some more. We will speak after you are feeling better," Matthew could do nothing but nod as Frances helped him to lay back down in the bed. The elder tucked him into bed and brushed his hair from his eyes before turning to leave. He exited the bedroom with a click of the door latch.
Matthew sniffled. He felt like such an idiot. Had he been so enamoured with Ivan he had failed to notice that the man was toying with him? He had wanted nothing more than to have Ivan's affection and doting all for himself? Was he so desperate for attention? After a while of being lost in his thoughts, Matthew finally managed to fall back asleep, only to be plagued by nightmares.
Frances was dozing in a chair next to the bed when he awoke the next time, his own slim hand in the elders. He awoke as soon as Matthew started to push himself up into a sitting position.
"Mattheau, you're awake!" He greeted with a smile.
"Oui, Papa," He replied softly, eyes downcast. "I'm sorry," He muttered. Frances raised a brow. "I can see why Father sees me as a failure. You must be disappointed,"
"Why would I be disappointed, Mon Cher?" He paused for a moment, looking towards the door. "Did we not accomplish what we set out to do?" He murmured in a low voice.
"No buts. Our plan was a success. We shall leave it at that,"
"But Papa...I feel so... used," Frances pondered for a moment.
"I know Mon Cher, I know. And I doubt you expected him to hurt you as he did, but I think he thought that it would be the only way to get you out of trouble. I think in his own way he was..I do not know... trying to be a gentleman, not wanting you to come to harm by your father. Ivan knows loneliness Mattheau. More than you know. I think he may have thought that this would be something to remember him by since he could not really give you anything else," Matthew brought his hand up to his neck and gingerly prodded at the tender flesh with his finger tips. "It will be a daily reminder that will be there for weeks to come," Frances added softly.
"Papa...He'll... come back won't he?" Matthew asked, giving Frances a hopeful look.
"If he said he would then I would think so Mattheau. Ivan was always one to stick with his word. Did he tell you anything else?" The heat rose to Matthew's cheeks and he looked away from Frances as he rubbed at his wrists.
"He... he told me I was his little sunflower and that I needed to..to.. remain...p-pure," The smirk that appeared on Frances' face was scary. "P-papa?"
"Oh Mattheau, we will have your little Russian soldier back before you know it,"
In July of the following year, after the Ottoman's engaged the Russians in the city of Giurgiu and conquered it Matthew's engagement to Sadiq was announced. The wedding was to take place over a year after the announcement. Frances was furious when he received Matthew's letter and Arthur could not be more pleased. And while his father could have picked someone much, much worse, Matthew still held hope that Ivan would somehow return back to England. He had not heard much of the man although Frances kept him updated on the war where Arthur would not even talk about it in front of him. He was still angry because of Ivan escaping. By the end of the month he was all but exploding in rage at Frances and how he lost against the Russians that were still hiding out in Dobruja. Muttering under his breath all the times about the French costing him; and being weak.
It wasn't too much longer after Frances' failed expedition that he returned to England to lick his wounds as it were. Matthew was delighted to have him back in the house again, to have some attention. With Arthur ignoring him and Alfred so far away, it was nice to get noticed for a change. His father became more and more recluse as the days went on. His fiance came by the house for weeks at a home every few months so that they could get to know each other but Matthew still felt ignored by the older man. He felt so small compared to the large Turkish man. He seemed so large in his uniform, tall, dark and imposing. Decked out in that oversized greed coat and pale scarf. He did have some rather unique outfits though, especially his formal ware. Such intricate designs.
He glanced between Sadiq and Frances, who was sitting opposite of himself. His cheeks were flushed with embarrassment. Did they really need to be supervised? He felt like a small child. As much as he didn't want to, he was really starting to like the stoic man. He bit at his lip. Maybe it was the hands. He did find himself liking large hands of late. He let out a soft sign and turned his attention to his father.
"Papa, could you get me something- sorry, could you get us some wine please? I don't know about Sadiq, but I am rather parched," Frances stood up from his seat on the couch next to Sadiq.
"I suppose I could do that for you, Mon Cher," he responded before turning to look at Sadiq with a sly grin. "Now don't you do anything that I wouldn't do," he chuckled before ducking out of the sitting room. Matthew stood up and moved to sit beside Sadiq.
"Matthew," the older man murmured as the blonde picked up his hand and wound their fingers together. He leaned against the dark haired man who looked down at him, gazing down with hazel eyes. Matthew met his eyes as he looked up at the brunette, leaning up as he did so. Sadiq leaned down to press his lips to Matthew. The blonde closed his eyes and let himself enjoy; the slight roughness of the Turks chapped lips against his, the scape of his stubble against his skin. Matthew let out a soft moan as Sadiq cupped the younger mans neck.
"Uh-Huh," Matthew froze, his eyes snapping open at the sound of Frances' clearing his throat. He pulled away from Sadiq, but not before he shivered at the feel of the older mans calloused fingertips trailing down the column of his throat and across the top of his collarbone. Frances shook his head as he passed the pair their wine glasses. "And I wonder why Arthur insists on a chaperone," he chuckled. Matthew's cheeks reddened and he looked between Frances' before turning to his fiance- he couldn't help the little smile at the slight pinkness that showed on the tanned mans cheeks. Frances sat down on his other side so that he was between the two men. A few minutes of silence he let out a soft sigh and picked up Sadiq's hand within his own again. Frances allowed it, flashing a smile towards the pair, and before long quiet conversation filled the room once more.
September came and with it, more fighting. Arthur's, Frances' and the Ottoman's worked to take over the Russian fortresses at Sevastopol located to the south of Calamita Bay. And as September turned into October and November-December. The weather grew colder and Matthew began to see less and less of Frances and nothing of Sadiq. Yes, he still received their letters- Frances telling him of how the battles were going, about the Russians they came across, and Sadiq wrote about the wedding and his love for the blonde. Matthew couldn't help but think of those few months with Ivan only a year prior. Those large, calloused hands holding him, the harshness of his kisses. The way his voice sounded and how he said his name. There of course, were more prisoner's that came and went but there was no hide nor hair of his...Hmm, what would Matthew call Ivan exactly? Not a lover... but he couldn't really call him anything else now could he? He felt almost like he was cheating on either man. He did like Sadiq. He liked him a lot, but he didn't feel that same pull as he did with Ivan. There was something about the Russian that kept him in his thoughts. He was roused from his thoughts as his father called for him. He turned towards the bushy browed man, dressed in a fine black suit.
"Matthew, stop gawking and come. The carriage will be here any time now," Matthew pushed himself to his feet and brushed off the overcoat he was wearing. Matthew furrowed his brows as he walked over. Arthur was pissed. Not that that was a big change from the normal- he still felt resentment towards Matthew, but mostly he was mad at France at the moment. The Englishman did not want to leave the country, let alone go all the way to the Constantinople to spend time in Sadiq's home. He followed his father outside to where servants were packaging luggage into the rear of the carriage. With a sigh he stepped up into the wooden contraption and sitting down on the plush bench-like seat. After a few moments of bickering with the head housekeeper, Arthur joined him and the carriage started to move.
The carriage led to the boat which took them across the channel. The landed in Calais and went back to carriages. They continued along the boarder towns of France, passed though Germany and Austria. Hungry and Romania and Bulgaria. Days turned into weeks and the cool air warmed up some the closer they got to Ottoman territory. Matthew was excited that they would soon arrive. He hated long drives in the carriage and this two and a half week voyage had been the worst one yet. The country-sides were beautiful of course, and all the places they had stopped to rest wonderful as well, but it would be nice to rest in something other than an inn or sleeping against padded bench of their transport. Arthur was prudish the entire length of their journey as well. Dull in conversation and even duller in appearance.
As they drew closer to Constantinople Matthew began to see more and more troops, armed guards, soldiers and the like. When they reached the city they were greeted by the head of their personal guard who let them into the city and to Sadiq's home. Massive to say the least, made up of stone, large open areas, gardens, all beautiful really. As the pulled up to what appeared to be the main entrance of the home, Sadiq walked out into the sunlight, dressed in a simple white tunic with a red vest and dark pants. A yellow-orange sash was tied around his waist and a fez perched upon his head. He stepped down and walked the distance to the carriage. He opened the door for Matthew, offering his hand as he stepped down and out of their transport. Matthew greeted him with a kiss to both cheeks, much to Arthur's displeasure. The younger man smirked inwardly at the others displeasure. Arthur it seems did not want him to show any sort of affection towards his soon to be husband. But then again, he did take more after Frances in most aspects, romance included. Arthur was such a bore sometimes.
"Thank you for coming to visit me at my home," Sadiq greeted. He extended a hand to Arthur who took his hand.
"Thank you for inviting us,: Matthew responded meekly.
"Jolly good then. Glad to finally be here," Arthur clapped Sadiq on the back as the turned to go into the large home. Sadiq motioned with his servants who went around behind them and retrieved their luggage in the carriage.
Sadiq led them on a tour of his home, showing them the library, kitchen, dining and living rooms, before ending the tour in their guest rooms. He left to let the pair settle in for the night before the evening meal. The two blondes had conjoined rooms, in which they could enter the others though a shared bathroom between them. Matthew set out his belongings before moving into the bathroom to smooth out his hair. He knocked on Arthur's door, opening the door after hearing the others bark of an answer. The younger blonde plunked himself down on one of accent chairs that were facing the window. Arthur, after a few moments of silence while he finished putting away his own belongings moved to set opposite of him, and the silence spread on until they were summoned for supper.