Matthew Williams. Blonde, strands like lemon tea with milk, reflecting a vague gold when hit just right. Somewhat messed, but definitely soft. Blue eyes, gentle, sky-colored, generous; smiling- glint a darker, more royal hue when the light shines through them. Not pale, merely not tanned; smooth skin, without blemish, only the occasional freckle. Trimmed nails, thin fingers, fragile structure and shy features- firm, lean muscled; unexpected.

Ivan sits at a lunch table of his peers, scrawling in a notebook. It's been a while since he first noticed the younger boy, but only today has he decided to document his findings. Surprisingly, once researched, it served to show that Matthew is actually quite intelligent and holds an impressive grade point. Even when it comes to standardized testing, he comes in the top 25 without fail. No paperwork on him, only awards and certifications and instructor commentary stating his involvement. They don't seem to notice him as much since there are other, priority students, but Ivan absolutely did. Rather, he can't seem to not notice the kid anymore. The question has become: How do I get him?

Logically, as he comes within the top 10 students (generally the top 3, but that's an unimportant detail), it makes sense that he could be in a lucrative position to take Matthew under his wing in the correct circumstances. The plan, then, is to create those circumstances and utilize them. Sure, Ivan could approach the boy, but that's not what he wants- he wants dominance and submission. It's pleasure on occasion to watch certain individuals cower, but more than any of that, he has an innate, building need to see what expressions Matthew will makes when he realizes what is happened, when he recognizes that fighting is futile, and then when the expression twists in plea-

"Oh no, have you guys heard? Apparently Matthew in 1-A is in trouble! I just overheard the principal talking to his teacher! I guess this quarter his grades haven't been so good and now they're considering dropping his enrollment!" Ivan has to put in actual effort not to smile.

"Shhh, he's right there!"

"Uh oh, do you think he heard?"

Of course, Ivan has already discussed his tutoring the Canadian with his homeroom teacher, and the instructor claimed she would inform the principal. It's only a matter of time- during the next period, Ivan should be called into a meeting with Matthew and his teachers to discuss involvement.

Collecting his things as the first bell rings, he stands calmly and begins walking casually, some students trailing behind him. His heart is racing and his body is warming- There is zero regret in him for potentially ruining a child's life.

Matthew was shocked, utterly and completely blown away. There wasn't any logical way his grades could have slipped this badly! He'd had perfect A's for the last two semesters! Now he was below failing and he was going to be kicked out. How could things have gotten this bad without him knowing? He reviewed every grade and went over it with a fine-toothed pick to see where he went wrong and how he could do better the next time.

He couldn't see how the little slip of paper he held in his hands, trembling though they may be, could be telling the truth. Blue eyes shone brighter than normal as he tried to hold back frustrated tears. He was going to be kicked out and he hadn't the slightest clue as to how it had happened!

When the thin blond overheard the boys talking about him, they probably didn't even notice him, he bit down harshly on his lip, trying to keep from crying before he got to a bathroom. His grades were everything to him. No one paid enough attention to him to notice any of his other exploits. Even when he tried going out for hockey, he'd been the best on the ice, but no one had noticed him. It had taken the coach calling his name three times while he waved his arms about from the back row before he noticed him. After that, and many other failed attempts at normal life, he had secluded himself to the knowledge that his grades were the only thing he could do himself that were of any importance and had dove into his schooling headfirst.

But now all his hard work was going down the drain and through the food processor and the only thing he could think of was a technological mistake. Maybe the teachers had forgotten him again and mistakenly put some other kid's grades under his name instead. That had to be it, some other slacker was benefiting from his misfortune and he only had to tell the principle and everything would be sorted out.

Even with this positive thought in mind, Matthew couldn't help but feel depressed that the only time everyone noticed him was when he was about to be expelled for failing. He tried to shrink in on himself as he walked to first period, the whispering and pointed fingers affecting him terribly since he wasn't used to them at all. Hopefully everything would go back to normal tomorrow.

Before Ivan even made it to class, he'd been invited to a meeting. He'd been informed that it was 'serious' and that he shouldn't speak about this to anyone. Nodding, he reminds them he's the student body president, and they feel a little more secure, smiling and laughing like they had worried for no reason. Really, they should give him more credit- he's not the person they think he is, but as long as the adults believe it, that's all that really matters, right?

In a room, there are three tables formed together to create a 'U'. In front of them, is a single seat- he assumes that Matthew will be sitting there. The principal and vice principal are seated in the center, followed by the boy's instructor's on the side. There is a seat for Ivan to the left of the vice principal and he takes it with ease. Folding both hands into his lap, he crosses his leg and sits back.

He is informed of the 'terrible' situation, and as the student body president he's required to sit in on these kinds of things as a student advocate. Nodding that he understands, he waits patiently until finally, shortly after the second bell Matthew enters. The teen is instructed to sit, and he does, and then the meeting begins.

The first thing said is a reminder of school policy, and that every parent and child has signed an agreement to keep their grades above a certain level. They show Matthew the document he personally signed and then ask him if there's anything he'd like to say for himself.

Matthew felt his stomach twisting in tight knots as they called him out of class. This was it. He had to tell them that it was all just a mistake and that he was doing fine in school. If only they'd given him the announcement sooner, then he could have gotten his past files and shown them, but they'd only told him that morning. Maybe they would let him prove it and bring the papers the next day.

He sits through the principle and teachers telling him that he violated the school policy and felt a bit of anger boil in his stomach. How dare they! He was one of the best students here! He was always on time and never skipped.

"I don't know how your records are stating that I'm failing, but I can assure you that my grades are nowhere near what you claim them to be." He spoke up in his quiet voice, slim hands clenched in the fabric on his uniform slacks. He hoped the teachers could hear him speaking. "If you'll allow me to bring in my papers, I can show you that the computers are wrong.

What if the teachers simply skipped over my name when they were putting in grades and put in someone else's grades? It's happened before, in middle school." Though not to such an extent.

"We can assure you, this is not the case, Matthew. We have copies of your homework and assignments here-" They pull out some fabricated documents, all with forged penmanship. Ivan spent quite some time making those, he didn't want to risk anyone stating that they 'didn't recognize the handwriting', so he'd studied up on it and specific attention to the curvatures.

"These were in a locked file cabinet that very, very few people have access to. Actually, only the people in this room do." Ivan wants to laugh. His face remains calm, and he is taking notes. It's normal for him to witness such activities- he's been included in panels before- so he knows the appropriate way to act.

"It's unfortunate, because you score high on standardized testing. It actually calls in to question how you score so high when your grades are so low. We're going to have to terminate your-"

"If I may?" Ivan is sitting upright, looking highly respectable. The principal falls silent and turns to him, curious as to what the intention behind the interruption could be.

"Yes, go ahead."

"Given Matthew's test scores, would you consider placing him instead on a disciplinary probation for thirty days? It's not unheard of- I recall another student being given the same opportunity as long as they were under supervision of an upperclassmen tutor."

The principal nods, then.

"Yes, but given the time of year, and that Matthew is a second year, that only leaves third years who are preparing for college exams. It's not plausible."

Ivan smiles softly then and motions to himself.

"I would volunteer. I'm free in the evenings."

The other instructor's all seem a bit shocked, as do both principal's, and after a moment of speaking among themselves, the principal turns to Matthew.

"Then you will be assigned to meet with your student body president in the evenings." As if he didn't listen or hear anything Matthew had to say, the teachers all stand and begin to exit.

"We will excuse ourselves, you two stay behind to determine when and where you will meet. Your tardy will be excused."

Matthew's jaw dropped when he saw the papers, red marks standing out brilliantly and all filled with /his/ handwriting. But that couldn't be possible! He had never scored so low! And if he even got close to that he would redo it! Someone must have been framing him, but who would go so far just to get him expelled? No one noticed him, he wasn't top of his class or outstanding in any way other than his grades. What motive would they have?

How dare they call his test scores into question, he had studied long and hard for those tests! No one was going to void his scores! When the topic of an upperclassman tutor came up, he felt the sting of frustrated tears in the corners on his eyes and he clenched his hands tighter in his slacks, feeling the crisp fabric crinkle under his grasp. How dare they try to insinuate that he needs a tutor! He knew more than half the teachers at this meeting apparently, because they couldn't even remember what grades they had given him!

Matthew fumed in his seat silently, blue eyes darting to each of the teachers as they spoke about his options as if he weren't even there. They can't decide something like that without even consulting him. The boy allowed himself a dark glare at their backs as they filed out of the room, gritting his teeth together as he held himself still to keep his shoulders from shaking in anger.

When it was just the two of them, Ivan continued writing something for a while, taking his time. He didn't want to seem too eager, except for that he was thrilling with excitement. Wow, had he really just gotten away with that? Trying to calm himself, he waits until he doesn't feel like he's about to burst out laughing and then he folds both hands patiently atop the table.

"I have student body meetings until 5pm, but after that I'm available. We could meet here at the school, or at our homes, I suppose." Flipping a couple pages, he looks over some notes he took prior and then glances back up.

"Once I heard about your predicament, I looked through some files from previous students and it seems that the tutor was required to log hours. You are supposed to be spending a minimum of five with me- one for each weekday." It's so hard to not just confess and say he was the one who did it, and then demand things. He has everyone convinced Matthew should be kicked out, and really, Ivan is the boy's connection here. He could likely easily manipulate the kid into things.

Smiling, trying to seem friendly, he closes his book and buttons it closed.

"I was surprised to discover that we live across the street from one another. I wonder why I've never seen you?"

Matthew stared at the other's white hair, bent over his notes as he wrote, boring holes into his skull. He had something to do with this, why else would he offer up his time so quickly? He could have just let him be expelled and that would be that. He didn't need to help the boy. What was he up to?

He listened to the other boy speak, anger growing inside his chest at how calm and confident the other seemed. The blond was almost thrown out and he was sitting there smiling like they were old friends? How arrogant.

"How should I know?" Matthew snapped quietly, not in the mood for idle small talk. "How long do I have to deal with this nonsense?" He wasn't one for dicing questions. "I want to get this done as quickly as possible and be done with it." It wasn't his fault someone had so obviously framed him and wanted to make his life a hell.

Mr. Williams did not appear to be in a good mood. Rather, he seemed to be pretty pissed off; understandably so. Ivan would be all sorts of furious if something similar happened. However, he doesn't feel bad, because this is Matthew's fault. If he hadn't distracted Ivan then this never would have happened. Really, this is punishment. No, this was fair.

"As was stated earlier; 30 days. We'll be spending 150 hours together until your probation ends." Regardless of what he wanted to say, he was aware that a confession on school property was pretty much asking for trouble. If it came down to it, he'd make sure to be honest in the comfort of his own home, where he knew no one could possibly overhear.

Collecting his things, he rises from his seat and pulls a piece of paper out of his journal. Folding it, he tucks it into Matthew's outer breast pocket and continues with his plastered smile.

"Nice talk. See you at 5:30. Try and be a little more civil then, da?"

Matthew glared at the other boy as he spoke, annoyed at his entire being. He didn't want to waste one hundred and fifty hours with this guy over the next month, what kind of insanity was that?

The blond smacked the other's hand away, scowling for the first time. "Don't touch me in such a familiar way." He snapped, stepping away from him, already irritated at him and his cheerful manner. "And I'll be as much of an asshole as I wish." It was the first time he had cussed on school ground, but he felt the time called for it. He twisted around and yanked his messenger bag off the ground with a soft huff, pulling it over his head and stalking out of the room. The door slammed shut behind him loudly, the only thing about him that got above the sound of quiet conversation.

He stalked down the hall, finally able to ignore the stares from the other students. He was just too pissed at what'shisname, though he didn't know exactly why he was so mad at him, maybe his subconscious knew something he didn't.

Ivan could only laugh when Matthew appeared to be having a fit. He didn't really care if the kid minded, nor did he care if he liked it. Most people would kill to spend even a fraction of time with Ivan- it made this all the more entertaining. He didn't need a willing party, never did. Even as Matthew rudely exited, Ivan called a "5:30!" reminder and chuckled softly to himself. It was almost too much to bear- God, he just wanted Matthew to know and look at him with hate-filled eyes. His arousal stirred at the idea but he calmed himself before exiting also.

There should be no surprise when Ivan is able to obtain Matthew's home phone number. Anyone with it was eager to offer it up, and those who didn't have it wish they did. It was a teacher, actually, who provided the digits. In private, of course, within the man's office. He took time during lunch to make sure and call the boy's home, informing the parent who answered that due to some unfortunate circumstances, Matthew will be required to attend tutoring for an hour each night. When he is assured that Matthew will be there, Ivan thanks them respectfully and hangs up.

It feels like class takes forever, and when school ends, he proceeds to the student body office, where the rest of the officers are. He is asked right away if he has something to do with the recent almost expulsion, and he only smiles softly and asks that they begin soon because he has other matters to attend to.

The meeting concludes at 4:37pm and he is on his way home. It is 5:04pm when he steps into the shower and 5:17pm when he is tidying up his room. There are the general snacks and drinks on the table, as well as two assignment pads and pencils. As much studying as there won't be, he needs to at least attempt to make it seem like there was an intention.

Waiting by the stairs, he is playing on his phone. He is dressed in casual wear, which includes a gray tank top with a racer back and a pair of black sweat pants. His hair is dry and brushed neatly by now, and he waits patiently for the knock.

Matthew fumed throughout the rest of the school day, ignoring taking notes in favor of doodling a faceless man that he took his rage out on. Not that the teachers noticed he wasn't paying attention.

With the knowledge of his sidetracked expulsion, the students around him were whispering about the mysterious kid that was failing in their prestigious school. Of course less than half of them realized that he was the kid, much less that he was actually in their class.

When the bell rang he was one of the first out the door, having skipped unpacking just because he hadn't paid attention throughout the whole of his classes. He hurried home, wondering how to break the news to his father of his near disaster. He unlocked the door and eased it open slowly, peeking into the living room.

"What the hell is this I hear about you flunking out?" A gruff voice called from the kitchen. Matthew stilled and bit his lip. Oh hell, someone's already called. Why could this be another time everyone never noticed him?

"Um, i-it's not really that. I just have to take tutoring as a stud-"

"Don't give me that shit. I know you're failing, you little shit. Get in here." Matthew flinched, slowly heading into the kitchen. He father stood beside the table, a beer in hand and hateful eyes turned on him. "I let you go to that pansy school because you got a scholarship and begged and pleaded. Now you turn around and flunk out?"

"I-it wasn't me, someone else flunked out and they put his grades under my name." Matthew stammered, staring up at his father with large eyes. "T-they're just making me take the tutoring just as a precaution."

"Don't try to feed me that shit." He snarled, lashing out with his hand. The blow caught Matthew in the jaw and he fell back onto the floor. The boy gently touched his aching jaw. "Get your ass over to that little shit's house and do your fucking studying before I kick your ass."

Matthew nodded mutely, scurrying out of the house and catching his breath outside the door. His heart pounded against his ribcage and tears pricked his eyes. His jaw ached, but he hoped that it wouldn't swell, he still had to go to Ivan's and "study".

It was another ten minutes before he could gather the courage to step away from the door, fear that his father would leave the house chasing him across the road. It was 5:50 before he knocked on the other boy's door.

At 5:30, Ivan decided the boy ought to have a good explanation. From what he's gathered from the women on the street, Matthew's father has quite the temper. The first installment of his plan was to make his own home safer than Matthew's, by default making the kid wish to spend more time there. Naturally, Ivan would have to avoid hitting the boy, otherwise it wouldn't really matter where the younger student hid out.

By 5:40, he was in the kitchen preparing a rice bag for each of them to place in their lap. Heating them both took six minutes, and as he rested back on the stairs, it was only a matter of patience and then he was rising to respond to the knock. Smiling, he opens and visibly falters as he spots the reddening at Matthew's jaw. Hm. It seems he should have prepared an ice pack. Gesturing for the kid to enter, he glances around and then closes and locks the door. There was an innate predatory feeling as he considers the swelling- he is upset that someone is interfering in his game; Matthew is his to torture.

"Welcome. Wait here just a moment," and he turns, entering the kitchen. Obtaining a wash cloth and creating a bag of ice, he slips the latter into the former and offers it out as he nods up the stairs. He may seem cruel, but he wonders if maybe the more polite thing is not to ask; the answer is obvious.

Guiding the boy up, he opens his door and flicks the light on. His room is plain, almost like one in those houses for sale. There is hardly anything personal- like a motel. Nice, metal furniture, followed by a groomed carpet and bed. Even his blinds are neat and dusted. Indicating to the seats, he leaves the one closest to the bed open and sits neatly on his heels. Setting the warm rice bag out to the side, he mumbles a 'help yourself' as he motions to the snacks and then flips his notebook open. He hopes, in the back of his mind, that Matthew does not notice he could probably see into the other boy's room from here.

"Please, have a seat."

Matthew felt his stomach turn when Ivan answered the door and his face darkened. So it had started swelling. His suspicion was confirmed when the older boy returned with a rag wrapped around ice and he took it quietly, following him up the stairs to his room. He sighed softly, wondering how things could get any worse for him right now.

He glanced around the room, naturally curious to his new surroundings. Such a sterile environment. Where were all his mementos and trinkets? Matthew's room was covered in his drawings and pictures he had taken. But here...there was just nothing.

He sat down uneasily, letting his book bag fall to the side. He didn't pull out anything and he didn't partake in the drinks and snacks, he wasn't sure he could stomach food right now. The ice was cold even through the rag as he pressed it to his sore jaw and he kept his eyes on the clean carpet instead of looking up at the other boy.

Was he supposed to try and bond or something? With the dismissive wave coming off Matthew, Ivan was struggling to pursue the right course of action. Should he relate? Discuss something they might both possibly have in interest? He researched Matthew, so of course he could at least pretend that he was interested in some of the same things. There was something more pressing.

Without looking up, he keeps his eyes on the textbook.

"You have to be who they want." Matthew obviously knows that, but Ivan has some special experience in this area, so he elaborates. "How you think or feel doesn't matter, you have to tell them what they want to hear. They like it when you tell them you're pathetic. Especially you, Mr. Williams, who no one listens to." His eyes flicker up then and he inspects the other boy's face. Strong kid, stronger than Ivan expected at least. That makes it more interesting.

"Let me get to the point, hm?" Passing his notepad across the table, Matthew's name is written- in the Canadian's handwriting. This is the most confession he will be offering.

"Your scores will be corrected in 150 hours, this whole thing will be forgotten." He was working on something in his lap, not bothering to acknowledge he had someone else in the room.

Matthew sat quietly, waiting for the other to say something first. He was used to being quiet, ignored for the most part. So this was all taken in stride. What was he waiting for? They only had an hour and already five minutes had passed.

For a while he didn't know what the boy was talking about, but it sort of dawned on him and then he showed him the notebook, his own name written in what appeared to be his own handwriting. Fury boiled up inside him and he clenched his hands tightly in his lap, eyes darting up to Ivan. So he had been right, it was him who had sabotaged him. How dare he. What did he do to him to deserve this? He had never messed with anyone, why target him? Maybe he was just some sadist who liked fucking around with peoples' futures.

"What do you want?" Matthew asked coldly, getting straight to the point, staring at the top of the other's head. "What is your purpose?"

"One day when I was doing roll-call, I saw a name I didn't recognize. At first I was surprised how I didn't even notice you, but then I realized that no one else did, either. I initially asked a classmate of yours about you, and they just asked 'who?', like you hadn't been sitting with them all year." Still focused on his paper, he doesn't let on that he is writing down the main points of their conversation. He wants to reflect on it later and study the implications. People are fickle, and he was determined to memorize who Matthew was from the inside out.

"After a while, I felt good that only I noticed you, because then it was like we were in our own special world." Ivan will admit it sounds crazy, but this is when he glances up with a straight face. He is absolutely serious.

"I wondered what it would take for people to look at you. It took near-expulsion. I wonder why, you're not unattractive. I want to learn about you. Besides, what better thing have you to do than study or hide in your room to avoid that father of yours?" Crossing his arms, he leans against the wall and scrawls a picture of Matthew's desk.

"It's an infatuation- You should just let me do what I want; humor me. Eventually, I'll become bored. I always do. You'll only be fun until you're just like everyone else." Cocking his head, he nods towards the boy, indicating the bruise.

"Do you ever try to think up excuses for those? I mean, nobody ever asks, but do you?"

Matthew stared at the boy as he explained why he was doing such a thing and he couldn't help but want to punch him. "So you're making me go through hell just because my invisibility made me noticeable to you? You're only fucking with my life because I'm interesting to you?"

What the fucking, bloody, maple-sucking, moose-humping, hockey-hating, motherfucking hell? "You nearly got me expelled just to see if anyone would notice? What right do you have to frame me and nearly get me kicked out of a school I've been studying to go to for years?" Throughout his entire rant his voice never seemed to rise above a loud whisper, even though his cheeks had gotten rather red with anger.

"I don't know you. I don't know why you're so infatuated with me, but this is ridiculous. And my familial status is of no concern of yours. I wouldn't even have pissed him off today if it wasn't for you!" How dare he question his daily life when he was the one that had made his father untouchable today? "You can go fuck yourself." He said with venom, knuckles white where they were clenched in his lap.

He wasn't going to be some lab rat for a demented kid next door that wanted to poke him around and see what made him tick for fun.

"Yeah, except for I don't care?" Everything was summed up into that one little sentence. Did Ivan seem like the type who would trifle in some unimportant matter, such as a random person's feelings? If he bothered or had any hint of concern for how Matthew felt, he wouldn't have done this to begin with. Logically.

"Regardless of whether it's for curiosity, or even if I had some other sort of feelings for you, it doesn't mean anything. You're here with me until your time is up, or I deem you fit to exit the tutoring program. Or, I mean, unless you want to start failing tests and show them my help isn't working, but that will hurt you far more in comparison." Shrugging, he glances around his room, taking note of how it makes him seem; cold and uncaring. Really, he kind of it- ruthless, even. But Matthew seems to misunderstand his value placed on this particular situation.

"There's no good reason to do this to you, so no matter what I say, it's unacceptable. But... I am. You should cope. I can help you, if you'd like."

Matthew watched the other boy for a while longer, his gaze sharper than a piece of broken glass. "You are a despicable human being." He said after some time, voice soft.

Honestly! He was fucking with him for no good reason other than curiosity! Though, isn't that what all science was based around? Only he wasn't an experiment and Ivan was messing with his very real future. He'd have to muddle through this shit to be able to get his grades back up to pristine order where they belonged.

Or he could simply flunk enough to make the upperclassman seem like a horrible tutor. Though it wouldn't help his reputation any it would help him get back at the asshole.

"So what are we supposed to do for an hour seeing as you know full and well that I don't need tutoring?" Matthew asked, leaning back on the chair legs.

There's a slight smile that begins before he squashes it down. What would they do?

"You can talk for an hour." Shrugging, he knew that he only really cared about getting to learn about Matthew and beyond that, he hadn't any expectations. Nothing too sinister, or too illegal, for that matter. Setting all chair legs on the ground, he slipped out of the chair as he walked over to his bed. Climbing onto it, he rests on his back, crossing both arms over his abdomen.

"It can be about anything. Even about how horrible I am. For one hour." Glancing to the side, he notes the time. "Forty-seven minutes today."

Closing his eyes now, he settles, comfortable. He doesn't need to explain anything, doesn't offer any further comments. Instead, he waits in silence- gesturing once with his hand for Matthew to begin already.

Matthew scowled at the other boy, twisting around to watch him sprawl out on his bed. Insolent ass. He wasn't going to just jabber away like he was at some therapist's office.

The blond turned back around, pulling his notebook out and tearing a sheet out paper out of his binder messily, something he would normally avoid doing. He scribbled "Asshole" on the top half and tore it off, crumpling it up and tossing it over his shoulder at the boy. "Ignorant jerk" was written on the next one before it was tossed over his shoulder.

He wasn't going to talk about anything for the next hour, why should he when the other boy had just about ruined his life single-handedly.

Silence continued, and then after some time, he felt something or other tap his body. He wanted to laugh. Matthew was precious; childish. Grinning, he rolls onto his side, resting chin on his palm. Enjoying the view- a snotty brat rebelling- and winks.

"If you wanted my attention, you got it. Do you want me to talk instead? Or... Maybe he'd prefer to do something else?" His tone was playful- never how he would act at school, definitely. There was no way he could get away with that. Rather, he would be judged and looked down upon and none of the way necessary. He only needed to be what they expected and nothing more.

"We could do things without words." Of course, it was a joke, so he drops back against the mattress and picks up a booklet. Looking to the clock, he motions to the paper in his hands.

"If you don't want to do it, I could just not sign for today. Maybe when you're ready, you can come back."

Matthew sighed, feeling that he wasn't going to get very far with the other. He leaned forward against the table, keeping his back to the other and ignoring his annoyingly playful attempts to get him to speak or respond. Why couldn't he just be normal? Then he wouldn't have "done" anything to draw the boy's attention.

Of course he had to bring up the sheet. If he didn't sign for one hundred fifty hours then he would have broken his probation and he'd be expelled. "What is it that you want?" He asked again, wondering if the answer would change any this time around. Maybe if he got the other to talk he could just ignore him and draw or something.

That sounded preferable, drawing with white noise in the background as he whittled away an hour that he wasn't spending with his father.

"Wow, maybe it's a good thing you're coming to tutoring, because you could definitely learn a little about how to listen, huh?" It was becoming clear that Matthew wasn't going to go along with it, so he decided he would just find a worse alternative that Matthew likely would enjoy less. Reaching, he picks up one of the novels at his bed side; a harlequinn.

Tossing it onto the table, he closes his eyes.

"Then you can just read aloud. If talking is so difficult for you, then I offer this instead. That's all I'm willing to adjust." Perhaps if Matthew got bored, he might actually do as asked.

"Don't forget to alter your voice when reading the woman role."

Matthew looked at the book as if it were a pile of dung. "Why on earth do you have a romance novel?" He asked, wondering how many facets this guy had. "What are you, into kinky medieval romance or something?"

The book was nothing too interesting in itself, just a cheap paperback that had been produced in Canada. He poked around a little, reading the back and trying not to laugh at the predictable storyline. "Why would you buy this thing anyways, it's so cliché."

"Why on Earth are you so quick to judge others?" His tone was level, and more than anything, sounded uninterested. The quip was simple, with no particular emphasis at all. It was fascinating to see how Matthew recoiled to the situation and even more than that, it was fun to watch him slowly open himself up- regardless of whether it was in a friendly manner. This was acceptable; Ivan prefers discord.

"Do you really care what I'm into?" There was an intentional lack of emotion in his voice when he asked. Ivan doesn't give two fucks how Matthew feels about his things or interests, it's not like he was asking permission. More importantly, he wasn't sure the kind of impression he gave, but the outcome had no impact on his life personally.

"Here, hand it back, little boys probably shouldn't be looking at those types of books anyway."

"Uh huh." Matthew said, not really paying attention to the other boy as he leafed through the book. "Hm, I wasn't sure people could bend like that." He commented, pulling a sketchpad out of his bag and a pencil. Still not giving a damn about the boy behind him, he reread the passage and tapped the eraser end of his pencil against his chin thoughtfully.

The he set the book aside and picked up his sketchpad, flipping to a fresh page. After staring at it for a few moments, tilting his head a little this way and that, he began drawing, the graphite tip barely touching the paper as his hand whisked along with careful speed and precision. The blond paused to chew on the body of the pencil for a moment, contemplating his sketch, before he tilted the pad a bit and continued drawing from another angle.

A soft hum left his lips as he drew, oblivious to the rest of the world aside from his pad.

Relaxing, calm on the bed, he decides that he should be patient- as long as Matthew becomes comfortable in the room, it's the most important. Really, he just needs the kid to recognize this place as a safe environment, as somewhere he could go and be okay, because he has every intention of taking advantage of that.

There was scritching sounds and he raises a brow, glancing to the smaller boy's back. What is he doing? Trying to draw the position he'd been referring to, or what? Sitting up, curious, he tilts his chin to see if he can get a look at the picture, but he can't. Slipping from the bed, he places a hand on the back of the chair as he leans.

"Hm, I didn't know you were an artist. You learn something new every day." Cocking his head, then glancing to Matt's hair, he smiles softly. Would it help to show some investment in the kid's personal interests?

"Do you have any with you?"

"Mm, no." Matthew said shortly, not taking his eyes off his sketch, a vaguely sexual picture of a man and a woman entwined together on a bed, the blankets flowing down from the sides. He didn't care if the other knew he was an artist or not, it wasn't like anyone else paid any attention to his drawings.

After a moment he paused to read the passage again and then begin adding smaller detail, the eyes, stray hairs, facial expressions. Of course, he did have some other drawings with him, he just wasn't going to freely show them off to the boy who nearly got him expelled. Seriously, what if they hadn't agreed to the tutoring? Then his plan would have backfired and Matthew would be back in a crummy public school because no other private school would take him again.

Blue eyes regarded what he had so far closely, and he used his slim fingers to smudge a little here or there, planning to add better shading later.

The dismissive attitude Matthew had was actually quite adorable. Although most might find themselves offended, Ivan doesn't bother holding back a smile. He does, however, with-hold a laugh, and he tucks that away internally for another time. This boy was too cute, really, it's a shame (and a blessing, perhaps) that no one else was able to appreciate it.

His eyes follow the curves of the woman's body, and then they stray off to Matthew's pencil- then his fingers, hand, and finally he's just looking to the blond mop. Reaching, he almost touches it, and then he pauses. He feels like he's the animal from Beauty and the Beast all of a sudden. It's awkward and unfulfilling. He doesn't need to be liked, and he doesn't need to like anyone, so he brushes off any possible admiration and shrugs.

"If you're not even going to do what you've been asked, then you can just go home and deal with your consequences there." Stepping back, he turns and walks to his closet. Opening the door, he pulls out a pair of shoes and nods to the exit of his bedroom.

"I'll walk you home."

"You've got to sign my slip first." Matthew said, cutting his eyes at the other boy before he turned back to his drawing. He was almost done, but that didn't mean he was going to leave without that signature. If he was going to be framed he was going to gotten out of this by the same boy.

"But I suppose if you plan on getting me expelled either way, then you don't have to." Honestly, he couldn't see the boy getting him expelled for real. He may have concocted this big scheme to get him alone, but it wouldn't benefit him in any way for the blond to be expelled. It wasn't like he challenged him for top student or student president.

"I'm not sure what you want from me, but you're not out to get me expelled." He told him, looking up from his pad. "It's not like I'm a threat to you or anything, so I'm not sure why you're trying to make me talk about myself and such."

"I think you don't realize who you're talking to? I could care less whether or not I actually got you expelled. You're only worth keeping around if you entertain me, which you aren't. So I don't really care what happens to you." Shrugging, he nods to the door again. The point was that he was giving Matthew the option to decide. 'Do you want to be expelled, or not?'

"Since you don't know what I 'want', then you should at least know that if you're not giving me the thing I 'want', you're useless to me. It doesn't matter why I'm asking you to talk, does it? Why wouldn't you just talk? I'm not asking you to do anything hard, you're just being stubborn and childish and while sure, I can understand why, I'm also the only one here who knows how little your future matters to me. You seem to think I'm a nice guy. A nice guy wouldn't have done this to you, and a nice guy wouldn't be planning to call your father once you leave and let him hit you again." His tone is dismissive, almost as though he might even be talking to himself, but he finally looks to Matthew near the end. It seems that while he spoke, he learned something about himself- Matthew is his and his alone, and he doesn't just want to hear him talk- he wants to know the most; be the closest.

"I never claimed you were a threat. I only ever gave the impression I was interested in you; do you want me to be unreasonable? I could write a letter to myself from you, threatening me. I could do anything, Matthew. What are you willing to do to stop me? Not even tell me about your day? Then deal with the consequences. I'm not a patient man- I'm doing this to you wrongfully, but everything else I've done has been fair. Talk, or get out."

Matthew listened, unimpressed by the speech. This boy loved to gab about himself. "I never said you were a nice guy, I just said it didn't seem like you to do things without a reason."

"Honestly, I don't see why you even chose me, I'm nothing too interesting in myself." He leaned back on the legs of the chair, balancing finely. "There are plenty of more interesting people at school, why not blackmail one of them? They'd probably be more fun to torture and junk." Maybe he should start practicing to change his handwriting. It would certainly help in the future if anything of this sort ever happened again. "I could also go up to the principle and ask him if I could redo my standardized tests. That would certainly get me out of this, as well as if I continue to ace my classwork and make sure my teachers record my grades properly."

Whatever was going on in that boy's skull was no concern of his if he could redeem himself alone. He knew he could ace all his tests, he'd done it before. Now all he had to do was prove it to the teachers and principle that he could do it.

And still, Matthew doesn't get up. This is becoming obnoxious. If Matthew doesn't want to play the game, then fine, that's up to him. If he wants to battle things on his own, then fine. It's up to him. It's not like this would lead back to Ivan anyway- he was careful. It would seem like a casual slip-up and then he'd be Scott-free anyway. Toys aren't always fun when you get to take them out of the box and play with them. He might just chalk it up to that.

Or he could play a little more.

"I don't do things without a reason." The tone was level, confident. He wets his lips and looks over the boy. What can he say that is both honest and also intriguing? Ivan couldn't have convinced this boy to be his friend without this endeavor, and as far as he knew, Matthew had never even looked his way; he had to do something.

"Standardized tests do not negate school work." Sighing, now finding this tedious and not even the least bit fun, he begins slipping on a jacket.

"I chose you because when you received a test back, you would have the slightest smile, and while I thought it was beautiful, not a single person noticed. I don't care if it makes sense to you." We bully the people we like. The idea passed through his head and he pondered on it for a moment.

However, as he stood there, the door opened downstairs and he shifted awkwardly. His name was called ('Vanya'), followed by a crashing sound and laughter. He was yelled at to come downstairs, then was asked whether he was sleeping, and he just stayed silent. When the sound moved on, he slowly eased the door shut and shook his head. No one was supposed to come home today.

"Perhaps we should just work on homework."

Matthew watched the other boy, one arm resting over the back rail of his chair as he listened to his explanation. He frowned slightly, waiting for his reply as he apparently thought about it. A simple nod off wasn't going to make him give up, he was going to fix this and earn his spot back at the school.

A pink blush covered his pale cheeks as the other confessed. Why had he even been watching him? No one ever like him, no one noticed him and when they did it was never good. His father noticed him and Ivan noticed him and so far neither were very good in his book. But to be complimented in such a way still make him heat up and his chair legs tapped back down quietly.

Then there was a sound downstairs and he naturally slipped back into his usual quiet form at the loud sounds, head down and hands clasped in his lap while he gnawed on his lip gently, worried about being noticed. He was shy around new people, especially grownups, but it wasn't as if they noticed him either way. They would ignore him whether he was hiding behind his father's shirt tails or shouting at them.
Homework sounded fair, a welcome distraction that needed to be done anyway as he distantly wondered about the ruckus that was coming from downstairs.

As it was, Ivan was just hopeful that they could be quiet and no one would notice he was awake. The last thing he needed Matthew to see was his pitiable home-life, because God forbid the guy give him any kind of break. He wanted to be superior, didn't want to be looked down on. Even as he sits, the door swings open and he curses mentally. Glancing up, he takes in that his mother is completely intoxicated and he sighs. Without looking to Matthew, he rises again and seems to morph into yet another person.

"Mother, let me take you to bed, please, you-"

"Oh and who's this?" His voice is loud, all over the place. She's beautiful, but her personality does not reflect it; long red hair, curls at the end, and flawless skin- she wears an evening gown; black.

"This isn't that kid from across the street is it?" Ivan feels himself becoming upset, but he doesn't show it. His tone remains gentle.

"You're inebriated, we should at least get you some water-"

"This is, isn't it? How'd you get this cute little guy to hang out with a faggot? Does he know, Vanyaaaa, that you-"

"Mother, please, you're not well-"

"-probably fantasize about him at night?" Sighing, he finally almost wants to look back at Matthew but realizes that he can't make himself. This is all sorts of embarrassing.

"Does he know that daddy left because you're a disgusting child? Does he?" She wobbles and stumbles, and Ivan moves to catch her but she shoves him back. "Don't touch me! I don't want to be tainted."

Nodding, he waits patiently until she steadies herself and walks back to the door- one high heel missing.

"Oh- that kid you- Matthew right? That's his name, isn't it- Nice to meet you Matthew, you should run away before you catch a disease." And with that, she's laughing and walking back down the stairs, and he's at the door, closing it. That likely could have been worse, actually, he should thank his lucky stars. Of course, he takes a moment to regain composure and walks back to the table- he can only hope that Matt didn't catch that his mother knew his name without being told.

Returning to the table, he silently signs Matthew's paper in red ink and then slides it across to him.

"Tomorrow, eight o'clock. Please come prepared to talk then."

Matthew opened his mouth to say something as Ivan sat down, only to be interrupted by the door. He felt mild annoyance, wondering why he got cut off even when other people actually didn't know he was there. You'd think he'd get a break occasionally.

A beautiful woman, elegant in a black dress except for her obviously drunk state, stood in the doorway and Matthew looked up at her, his jaw glued together shyly. When she turned her eyes from her son and onto him, he dunked his head and let his bangs fall in front of his eyes. He was /not/ good with new people. He almost missed Ivan shifting from one persona to another.

Her words shocked him, initially because she thought he was cute, and mostly because she said that Ivan was gay. Of course she could have been just throwing cruel words around to injure him. Then she continued to say such words and Matthew just felt more and more embarrassed with the situation. He didn't know what to say so he just sat there, trying not to let his blush burn through his bangs, he kinda liked them.

How could she be so heartless, even if Ivan's father did leave? No wonder her son was blackmailing him, he certainly had enough background to warrant it. He wouldn't exactly claim it was nice to meet her, so he just kept quiet, his hands clenching in his lap at her words.

The blond nodded, taking the paper quickly and packing away his things in no time. He could barely look at the other boy, the situation was just too embarrassing. He glanced back at Ivan, nodding before fleeing the room as quickly as he could.

Matthew accepts the paper, but Ivan doesn't look at him, just keeps his eyes on the window and his back to the door. Nope, can't do it. This was turning into something he wasn't sure he could manage anymore, especially with that unexpected visit from his mother. When he hears the front door close, he clears his throat and takes in a deep breath. Turning, he pads in his socks down the stairs until he finds his mother in the kitchen passed out on the table.

Easing his arms around her, he lifts her in a princess carry and begins walking her to her room. She opens her eyes and looks at him and spits. Flinching, he doesn't say a word and sets her down in her bed, where she proceeds to curse at him in Russian and slap his head while he tucks her in. She cries, saying something about how no man will ever love her and it's his fault and he turns her light off and leaves the room. Waiting outside for a bit until her sobs die down, he feels it's safe to leave her alone.

At school the next day, Ivan went about his business like normal. He had to head to each class and hand out voting pamphlets for the next student council. As it was, he graduates this year, so he doesn't have to worry about being re-elected, which is a relief. He still has colleges and such to apply to, not to mention all the tests. Maybe he doesn't actually have time to blackmail someone for a month, this may have been poorly planned.

He is overly aware of himself when he enters Matthew's classroom. When the teacher moves aside for him to explain the purpose of the papers and how to fill them out, he then walks to the front of each row and passes the correct number of papers back. Asking if there are any questions, he answers a few and then he and the instructor share a joke, laugh, and he leaves.

Ivan didn't want to know if Matthew looked at him differently, so he merely goes about his business. How long will it be before the whole school knows? He hasn't been given any weird looks yet?

Matthew slipped into his house silently, the only sound the TV murmuring in the living room. He edged through the main hall, peeking around the corner cautiously. His father was passed out on the couch, light flickering across him as the images changed on the TV. A beer bottle dangled from his fingers, almost touching the carpet and Matthew crept along, a silent breath of relief ghosting out of his lips as he quietly ascended the stairs.

At least he wouldn't have to deal with him again tonight, his jaw still ached from the first time. He wouldn't tell Ivan, no matter how many times the boy asked him, but he did hide the bruises his father left on him. For the ones that had stopped swelling, he used cover-up he had bought with a few weeks of spare change stolen from the washer when he was doing laundry. If it was cold enough and he had a bruise on his jaw or neck then he wore a scarf to cover it up with.

The next day he lay awake in bed for nearly thirty minutes after he silenced his alarm clock, staring up at his cracked ceiling and sighing occasionally. Finally he got up and headed to school when he remembered that his father was an early riser even when he had been drinking the day before, not that it made his attitude any better.

At school he stared down at his textbooks sullenly, doodling absently as the teachers' lectures flew over his head. He knew this all already, a day or two wouldn't harm him any more than Ivan blackmailing him would. The boy didn't look up when "Mr. Student President" entered the room, but his pencil pressed down harder into his paper.

Lunch came and went and he picked at his food outside in the greens while the chatter of the other students washed over him. He didn't have an appetite, usually didn't after a fight with his father, if you could even call it that. Of course he got into 'fights' often with him, so his frame was slim and frail because if he forced himself to eat then he got sick and wasn't able to keep anything down.

He tossed his uneaten meal and the rest of the day passed in a blur until the final bell rang and he tapped down the front stairs of the school, murmuring apologies to students that bumped into him.

Ivan's day is casual, not exciting. Even as the end of school arrives, he can't believe that no one knows his mother is a drunkard and that his father has abandoned them. He'd kept those secrets hidden for years now, always careful, always cautious. Matthew could just use that against him, blackmail him in return. Yet nothing happens.

Until now. At the footlockers, he switches his shoes, is leaving- as a senior member, they don't require him to come in every day, especially with the new recruits trying to get into the habit of working with an inexperienced team. His side-bag rests over his shoulders and he realizes he's forgotten something. Not even seconds after he's turned does he have an armful of blond. Blinking, surprised, his balance is almost lost, but then he's caught himself and oh, it's Matthew.

Their last meeting was somewhat awkward, but the kid seems to be a little more socially distant than normal. Generally, Matthew walks with a smile and says hello to people (they're usually waving at the people behind him), but why is his head down? He wonders if this is what happens when Matt fights with his dad, or if the tutoring is really this stressful. Careful observation over the next couple days would bring the answer to light.

"If you're on your way home, I'll walk you."

Matthew let out a soft sound of surprise when he suddenly found a broad chest in his way and he stumbled into him. He blushed darkly and looked up, even more surprised to see Ivan in front of him. Wasn't he supposed to be on the student council or something?

It felt odd to be so close to him, especially with how their past interactions had gone, so he took a quick step back to give himself some room. The blond wondered if he expected him to come to their 'tutoring' session tonight. With what he had seen last night, he could easily spread rumors around school and get him off his back. Having his own dirt against him was prime, now he didn't have to bend to his whim. If Ivan cared enough about his reputation, then he would back off if Matthew brought up the topic of telling the other students about his home life.

The offer caught him off guard and he blinked up at him in surprise, his mouth forming a tiny 'o'. "Um, you don't have to do that..." He said, gripping his book bag tighter in front of him. "It's fine."

Ah. There was that moment when Ivan realized things were just that odd and any chance he had at- something- was gone. Now that Matthew knows his preference, it's bound to break everything before anything starts. Clearing his throat, he doesn't let off that he's offended, or that he's bothered, and instead he just nods. Well alright. Sure. It's not like he ever expected anything different- especially from some kid he's bullying. Makes sense. Still hurts.

Smile in place suddenly, he nods and shifts. Looking into his bag for something, he pulls out excess sheets and hands them over; time cards, obviously given to him by the school. He doesn't even need these. Each day is signed already- he transferred schools to get away from the hate, there was no way he was about to deal with it here. Not when he had such good recommendations coming; his life was going to start a couple years from now, he'll just pretend this all never happened.

"I'm not sorry I did it." Making that much clear, he decides it would be even more awkward to walk in the same direction so he's going to go ahead and get that thing he forgot.

"There's enough pages there that you don't have to come back." With that, he sidesteps and begins his trek back up the stairs. This doesn't matter. This is just high school. Who he likes behind closed doors is nobody's business, and he'll make sure of that; kind of didn't think Matthew was like that? Guess everyone has something that disgusts them.

Matthew looked surprised when Ivan suddenly smiled at him, feeling odd under his gaze. It didn't make much sense aside from appearances for him to be smiling like that in front of him, especially with most of the students gone around them.

He took the sheets he was handed, leafing through them with a confused expression for a moment before realization dawned on him and he looked back up at the other boy in shock. He was really giving up his blackmail that easily? He was just going to give it up? After all he had done to work up to it? What was going on?

The blond tilted his head as he listened to Ivan. It wouldn't have been like him to be sorry for doing it, so Matthew could understand. But he still couldn't understand why he was just dropping it so suddenly. The boy turned as Ivan walked past him, papers still held awkwardly in his slim hands.

Something seemed off about how he was acting, and Matthew didn't want him to think he was mad at him or anything, even if he had nearly gotten him expelled. The blond wasn't one to hold a grudge for long if someone offered an act of peace. So he tapped up the stairs after him, shifting the papers to one arm so he could catch Ivan's shoulder...well upper arm, he couldn't quite reach his shoulder while on a lower step. "Thank you, Ivan." He smiled brightly at him, his eyes crinkling happily as he clutched the papers to his chest.

Internally berating himself, he comes up with dozens of situations where he has the upper hand anyway. Gay or not, there was no proof, was there? He really should have just forced the kid to come over, but what was the point, anyway? Why Matthew? He'll just find another poor sap who doesn't realize what's coming and then he can have his fun with them. It hadn't been fun at all, this time around. It had been ugly and pathetic and as weak as he wished he didn't seem, he just didn't care enough to fight about this, to struggle against someone else who wouldn't accept him.

This weak line of thinking pissed him off. Oh, man, it's good he walked away because if Matthew decided to show up now he might just-

A hand was on his forearm and then he was turning, and a wide grin spreads across his features. Poor little lamb, lost amongst the other sheep; he'd learn in time that wolves aren't to be trifled with. Leaning, he first rubs a hand on the boy's head, and then then secondly finds no struggle removing the papers from between Matthew's arm.

"I'll see you at eight, Matthew." And with that, he chuckles and shakes his head.

"You should have left when I was feeling generous." Leaning in, he brushes a thumb across the boy's cheek.

"Don't worry. We won't talk this time." And with that, he turns on his heels and chuckles as he continues up the steps.

Matthew puffed up his cheeks in anger, fuming at the older boy. "What the hell!" He pouted, crossing his empty arms over his chest in annoyance. Dafuq just happened? Did he really take those papers back after he thanked him? Who the hell does that?

"I'm gonna kick your ass." The boy grumbled, giving up for now and shaking his head as he grabbed his backpack. So much for hoping people change, or have a decent sense of morals, or anyone will ever give him a break, or that they'll bring Jolly Rancher drinks back to the school's vending machines.

The blond decided he didn't care what the other thought, he was going to get some sort of revenge on him. How could he be an ass like that after he thanked him so earnestly! And fucking touching him so condescendingly like that! How uncouth!

Matthew grumbled to himself all the way home again, muttering darkly as he went over various ways to extract revenge on the older boy. Why did he want him to be there at eight anyway? Why so late?

If Ivan had been drinking, now is when he would have sprayed the fluid in laughter. The shout was enough to make him feel empowered again, less fearful. As it was, Matthew becomes depressed after a fight with his father, and Ivan struggles with the crippling fear of social rejection (ie; they'll leave me like everyone else if they discover the truth). In this case, he's coming to terms with the fact that he's strong enough to take ridicule, and make others regret the attempt. He's not that same kid anymore.

In the evening, he has classical music playing in his bedroom, has dinner cooked and ready (potato stew, which he'll put into Tupperware for his mother to help herself to when she comes home). He's also certain there will be no interruptions tonight, because his mother has left a message on the machine telling him she's running away with a man again and that she's glad she never has to see his face again (this happens a lot. She'll be back in a week or so).

His has gray jeans on and a sky blue hoodie which is rolled up to his elbows. Beneath it is a white button-up shirt, and the collar can be seen at the neck, and the cuffs can be seen at his forearms. There's a black, studded belt around his waist and a pair of white ankle socks on his feet. His hair is combed, he is comfortable, he's going to cause trouble.

7:55. Matthew has no excuse for being late since they live so close- he didn't even call, so it's not like the kid should be beaten right now. Rather, he did call, actually, but only to say that he was the student body president and that there must have been some confusion because Matthew is so extremely intelligent, and of course the bastard accepts the compliments, but Ivan doesn't feel so bad about getting the kid in trouble yesterday now (not that he felt bad, but at least it's rectified). Shaven, wearing a subtle aftershave, he has the curtains closed in his room ahead of time.

Things will be better today, he's sure.

Matthew sighed over the stove, stirring the simple selection his father had told him to make that night, ground beef and macaroni and cheese. He could make it better, but his father wanted it done quickly so he could eat. Sometimes he would take his share and season it specially, making it taste so much better than what he fed his dad.

Despite the slightly appetizing dinner and the fact that he hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch, he only filled a plate for his dad, setting it on the table with a cold beer before clearing away the dirty pots and pans and putting away the rest of the food in the fridge. He called his father down and cleared out of the kitchen before the man made his way downstairs. Dinner with him was tense at best, always a rude comment or slur thrown at him, sometimes he would only insult his cooking and let him off easy.

The boy hurried up to his room and freshened up, not bothering to change out of his school uniform. It was already past eight, but he wasn't that late. Wasn't like he cared to be on time, the bastard could wait for him if he was going to treat him in such a way.

By 8:15 he was knocking on the door, shifting impatiently on his feet as he scowled at the wood. Rude fucker. Maybe he should keep true to his word and hand the Russian his ass. That might make him feel better.

The first knock has him swinging the door open.

"Welcome." There's a smile there, pleasant and kind, and after he guides the boy in and closes the entry, he turns and let's out an annoyed sigh; facade dropping.

"You're late. Do you even know how to be on time? Fuck." There's no point in putting up any pretenses with Matthew, especially since the kid already knew his secret. Crossing his arms, he looks the boy over and clears his throat, nodding in his direction.

"What the hell, why are you still in your uniform? Whatever, come with me." Catching the smaller student's wrist, he guided him into the kitchen where a bowl of soup was waiting. As little as he cared if Matthew was hungry, he had put off eating because they might as well do it together.

"It might be cold, but that's your own damn fault- and don't give me any bullshit about how you've already eaten, because we both know you didn't." Looking the blond over again, he sets a spoon aside for him and they stand at the island in the middle of the kitchen.

"You're too thin. You should eat more." Lots of people have probably told him that. Actually, no- no one has probably cared enough to tell him that.

"We're obviously not going to study, clearly, since you're smart and I'm smarter, so there's no need. You're going to come over, you'll eat dinner with me, maybe watch a TV show- don't be stupid and ask why. I'm popular but I'm sure you're not surprised to find I don't have friends. I hate people; I don't hate you. Once we do that, you can go back home and do whatever loser shit you do. Don't dwell on it, I simply have needs and you're going to meet them. If you're going to argue, do it now."

Matthew just sighed as he felt the door close behind him, literally and figuratively. There was no getting out of this now. He scowled a bit as the other questioned his dress. He wasn't going to get all fancy for him.

He nearly stumbled when he was yanked into the kitchen, his small wrist feeling swallowed in the large hand. Why had he fixed him soup? The boy frowned up at him with a perplexed expression, one hand resting on the top of the island.

The nerve of him, telling him he was too thin. Regardless of the fact that he was right, it wasn't his place to, their relationship wasn't the kind that he could critic his body so casually. And now he's telling him what he was going to do again.

"First of all." The blond piped up the second Ivan stopped talking. "I'm late because I had to cook dinner for my dad. I'm wearing my uniform because I can. I'm not hungry, because it's none of your business. And my weight is none of your business either. Telling me what to do is not going to make me do it. I'm choosing the show we're watching and you get no choice in the matter. And Doctor Who comes on in fifteen minutes, so you better not make me miss it. Eat."

The boy rattled off in quick, clipped words, cocking an eye at the older boy as if daring him to contradict his words.

Matthew was almost attractive when he was snotty like that. Ivan had to use differing levels of self-control to stop himself from smiling at it all (aww, how cute, can wittle baby maffew walk, too?). He imagines the kid with dog ears and a tail and this is all too funny now but he nods, attempting to take the tiny child's 'demands' seriously. Okay, sure, whatever you say.

"I excuse your tardy." There's laughter bubbling so heavily under his skin that he finds it almost impossible to keep it out of his voice; he seems to manage.

"Also, I think your weight is a bit of my business, considering I have to look at you for 149 more hours. It's unsightly, Matthew, gain some weight." Then he pauses and a chuckle slips out. "I mean, I care about you and your health." His laughter finally takes over and he nods to the living room. This was too much fun. He should be punished for enjoying this.

"I'm not sure what channel that's on, but," then he turns from the counter. If Matthew won't eat, he won't either.

"Feel free to play around." Then he slumps onto the couch and offers out the remote.

Matthew scowled slightly at the boy, irritated by his obvious amusement. He didn't care, if Ivan wouldn't give him respect, then he wouldn't respect him either. It didn't matter to him, he wasn't the one blackmailing someone younger than him.

"I haven't the foggiest idea why you care if I'm grotesque or not. It's not like you chose to single me out because of my weight." Matthew snipped, plucking the TV remote out of his hand and sitting down on the floor with his legs stretched out in front of him. "I'm certain your stomach would have hardened by now, looking at yourself in the mirror every morning as you do."

He proceeded with ignoring the other, scrolling through the channels until he found Doctor Who and put it on. As the program began, he pulled his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around the tops of them and resting his chin atop them. Blue eyes focused on the screen intently, reflecting the light from the TV. He loved Doctor Who intimately. There was this man that could control when and where he went at any time. He could go back and meet his grandfather or go forward and meet the fifty-first President. He was handsome and charming to some extent and ran about battling imbalances and weeping angels. Though, Matthew had to admit, the thought of the Statue of Liberty being a weeping angel was a bit terrifying.

For a moment, as Matthew seats himself (on the fucking floor), he wonders if that gesture is intentional. Is he disgusted? Does sharing the couch with a 'faggot' make him uncomfortable? He tries not to focus on it, doesn't want to really know the answer or anything like that. If Matt is intolerant then he really can't change that- unless he were to be indecent and cruel and do something illegal.

The screen turns on, and before he knows it, he's drowsy. Ivan never watches television, nor movies, so as a constant sound is in the background, his eyes flutter closed slowly. Unfortunate as it was, he falls asleep. His hands are folded in his lap, and his head is tilted back against the cushion. It's been quite some time since he felt comfortable enough to fall unconscious in front of another person. Soft colors play over the room as the show goes on and his white lashes reflect them easily. Hair falling in his face, his chest rises and falls quietly.

He dreams.

Matthew was so enthralled by the show that he didn't realize that Ivan had fallen asleep. He had honestly forgotten that he was in Ivan's house and watching TV with the boy who was blackmailing him into spending time with him...which was odd in itself.

He blinked when the show went off and realized the entire hour had passed. The boy stretched his arms over his head, arching his back to get the kinks out of it as he unfolded his legs. He hadn't moved throughout the entire show, so he groaned softly at the little aches. Small hands rubbed at his eyes, slipping beneath his glasses to scrub the tiredness away from them. "Ivan?" He murmured, twisting around to find that the other boy had fallen asleep on the couch.

Should he wake him up? Or should he just leave? He needed to get him slip signed, because the bastard took them all back from him (after getting thanked no less, ass). So up he got, shaking the older boy's shoulder gently so not to scare him awake too badly. If he were a tad more sadistic, he'd give him a good slap to settle the score a bit

Matthew is sitting on the ground, watching television. Partway through the show, the kid scoots up onto the couch and is enjoying it from there. The little blond has his knees tucked up into his chest, but one of his hands is between them on the seating. During a particularly intense part, their fingers touch, and at first he thinks nothing of it, but then Matthew is blushing, and he's surprised. Blinking, he decides to go for it, and sets his hand on top of Matt's and the blush deepens. Oh. Oh, well that makes sense, now.

Leaning across one of the seats, he watches as Matthew's eyes flutter, shy, looking downward. He doesn't move away, but his chin lifts slightly and then lips touch, and now it makes sense as to why Matthew hadn't told anyone. It was a crush, wasn't it? He smells good, tastes good, he's adorable- And then he leans back and the boy's eyes are closed, brows raised and lips parted. The lids open slowly, and then the kid swallows and-

Startled awake, he sees that same face and the dream is still forefront in his mind. A slight smile appears as Matthew is bent somewhat to nudge him, and his hand lifts, brushing a thumb over the kid's cheek. This Matthew is not blushing or demure, and he frowns, clearing his throat and pushing the boy back instead. Slipping off the seat, he notices the television is off.

"How was your stupid show? Let me get a pen."

Matthew looked slightly confused when Ivan awoke, lifting his hand and tenderly stroking his cheek. It startled him to say the least, especially when Ivan's expression changed in the next instant and he was being pushed back away from him. What was with this kid and his mood swings?

The blond sighed in annoyance and went to grab a pen from his back pack for the other boy so he could get out of there faster. It was nine o'clock and he needed to get home soon. He bent over his pack, not bothering to squat down as he searched for a pen for the boy to borrow real quick so his behind stuck up in the air as he rustled through his bag.

Could he be any more abnormal? Really, framing and blackmailing a student, mood swings and odd behavior, what was next? Running around the neighborhood in a tutu singing Russian Christmas songs?

Although his gender preference is not necessarily 'normal', there's a stigma that comes with it. When people know, they automatically assume that he might have 'disgusting' feelings about them- why was that? Do they also assume that every woman likes them, simply because they're a man? As such, he hadn't really considered Matthew as a partner, but once he had that dream- it's stuck in his mind. They don't act the same, sure, not now at least, but who knows how Matthew might act if he actually liked someone?

These are not the questions he should be thinking at 9pm at night with an angry boy waiting impatiently to leave. He's glad he restrained his need to just guide Matthew down to his mouth and-

Shaking his head, he's becoming frustrated. Retrieving a red-ink pen, he returns to see the kid doubled over and his butt straight up in the air. Something stirs in him, and an image flashes in his mind of Matthew beneath him, blushing and pulling at his shirt, legs wide and thighs trembling and Ivan has to turn his entire body away because he is suddenly struggling with a physical response to visual stimulus. Was this because of the dream? Or is this the actual reason he targeted Matthew?

He wants to touch it so bad, but he knows there's no reciprocation and that it would only lead down a slippery slope, and sure, he knew how he could get consent, but it would be coerced. There's another image of Matthew in a blind-fold, cheeks hot and mouth open wide for more air (breathlessly, Ivan hears his name) and his arms are tied to the bed above his head and Ivan is- so hard behind this kitchen island.

"I've got a pen, bring the paper here." It's suddenly too hot in this house.

Matthew couldn't find a damn pen! He had at least five in his bag at any time, but he just couldn't find one right now. He let out a frustrated sigh and searched through his front pocket again, accidentally stabbing his index finger on a pencil tip.

"Ow..." The blond frowned as he pulled his finger free, seeing a little red mark from his immaculately sharpened pencil. Maybe he shouldn't keep them so sharp all the time. Hearing Ivan call for the paper, he stuck his finger in his mouth and sucked on it to make the bit of pain go away as he pulled his signature sheet out with one hand.

He straightened up, turning to hand Ivan the paper and rested his elbow against the island, lips still wrapped around his finger. Of all the days he could have stabbed himself, why in front of Ivan? This week just sucked major monkey balls. Maybe he should make an offering to Mother Nature or something and that'll give him extra luck. 'I'll throw away all the aerosol cans in my house.' The boy thought, wondering if that would be enough or if he would need to recycle them to get in Mother Nature's favors.

Blue eyes turned on Ivan, wondering if he ever recycled like a good little A++ student should. The house seemed spotless enough for it, but he hadn't seen any bins outside. Why was he even bothering to think about this?

As he waited for Matthew to return and come get this damn signature, Ivan got the amazing opportunity to watch the kid wander towards him, sucking on a finger. It wasn't as though he had no self-restraint, obviously he did, that was pretty much the only thing he was especially good at- but it was difficult in his current state to ignore the naturally suggestive nature Matthew had a tendency of providing. Interesting as that was, he tries to relax and ignore the current problem.

When the paper was presented, he accepted it right away and began signing- his signature was a twist of curls and elegant- but this time it was a little choppy while he just watched this situation unfold. Take that damn finger out of your mouth, Christ, it was like he was almost doing it on fucking purpose. Not that it was particularly arousing, it just so happened that he was in a state that was easily excitable.

If Matthew had asked him about recycling, his response would have been confusion, but then a mumbled reply about their garage and how the Bins go out Sunday night and are brought back Monday morning. Irrelevant as Matthew's thoughts were, Ivan was sharing some similar thoughts- irrelevant, not about recycling. Knowing he was homosexual, Matthew came anyway, even though he had leverage and had no real reason to come. Not to mention willingly being in the empty house with him, in the same room, watching television together- if Ivan didn't know any better, it almost seemed like a naive invitation.

He did know better, though.

"I won't be showing you to the door, you know the way out. Have a good night, Matthew."

Matthew leaned his hip against the counter, watching the older boy sign his paper in neat handwriting. It was very unlike his own, even though his was neat, it wasn't elegant like Ivan's was. He had obviously spent some time on it, tuning it until it was an art-like finessed thing.

The boy finally took his fingertip from his mouth, frowning at it a bit before wiping it on the back of his jeans. He took the paper back from Ivan, ignoring his rather rude statement, and bent over his back pack to put away his paper again. As always, he shifted it in its little sleeve until it was immaculately straight, in line with all the rest of the papers and that none were sticking out unevenly. It annoyed him to no end to see others who folders were nothing but loose paper and mess.

The blond straightened up, slinging his bag over his shoulder. He glanced back at the older boy, thinking to say goodbye before twitching his lips and deciding against it. If he was going to be rude to him then he didn't have to be polite back. Matthew headed towards the door, waving over his shoulder because he couldn't be completely rude to anyone.

Matthew seems to enjoy taking forever, but Ivan really just wants to deal with this little problem. As soon as the kid leaves, he can run upstairs and take care of his annoying arousal, and then he can continue on with his life like any other rude person. Glancing to Matthew as he waves, Ivan finds himself imagining things again.

Walking over there, pushing the boy against the door and letting his hands roam free. Dipping under fabric, touching skin and Matthew would moan softly, blushing, but he wouldn't push him away. He'd kiss neck, and leave a mark there, and he'd rutt against the younger man- eliciting sounds, moans, even. There would be a plea, quiet and shaky, and Ivan would turn him around, remove the backpack, and then they'd be in each other's arms, lips mashing together. It would be easy from there, lifting Matthew off the ground and grinding him into the door, and there would be whimpers, but there would also be nails scratching at his back, or fingers tugging at his hair.

Jerking, he realizes he was day dreaming, and that it didn't help his position at all. He doesn't bother waving good bye in return, he just stuffs both hands into his pockets and begins walking to the stairs beside the door. As he passes, he makes sure to remind Matthew '8 o'clock, tomorrow' before starts his trek up the stairs.

Matthew sighed, shaking his head at Ivan and wondering why he was even continuing to come. He had enough leverage from the older boy's home life to get him to let him off, but he just wasn't the kind of person to do things like that.

He left, closing the door behind him gently and wondering why the other boy had seemed so odd in the last few minutes. With a shrug he headed home, slipping upstairs before his father noticed him. The boy didn't feel like having to deal with him today. He was stressed enough and tired. Falling face first on his bed, he gave a muffled moan of thanks and then huffed at the annoyance of glasses. Slim fingers removed them from his face and folded them neatly before depositing them on his nightstand.

He quickly stripped to his boxers, slipping under his blanket and curling up tightly on his left side, staring out his open window for a while. It was nice to sleep with the window open, a cool breeze and the scent of grass and flowers from the gardens around their house flowing in. He didn't have to worry about anyone breaking in because it was on the second floor and there weren't any trees or such around his window, so he got to enjoy it every night it was warm enough.

He drifted off after a while, blanket pulled up over his nose as always and his hair barely peeking out from under the covers.

After Matthew left, he closed the door to his room and leaned back against it. Leaving the light off, he lets out an aggravated sigh and absently tests his groin and frowns. Ah, that damn dream, and now he's going to be reminded of it all the time when he sees Matthew in the halls or, well, anywhere else for that matter. It's annoying, and he generally goes out of his way not to like someone, so when he's stuck in this confused position (he doesn't like Matthew, he swears it) he doesn't know what to do.

He debates whether he should take care of this matter, or whether he should just have a cold shower, but then the light across the street goes on and he's blinking. Ah, yeah. He started getting interested one day when he was bored doing his homework. He'd looked out the window and saw a kid studying really intently at their own desk. Ivan started wondering about him, where he went to school- he'd never noticed the boy until then.

Even now, with his hand rubbing a circle against his bulge, he watches with interest as the kid strips down (maybe five seconds, but still). He can't indulge this. It's very important he get that dream out of his head. Closing his eyes, he straightens and walks to the shower.

Things will be better in the morning.

And they are. He opens his eyes and doesn't think of Matthew for a second. Instead, he thinks of why the house smells like it's on fire- Glancing to the clock, he realizes it's actually the weekend, and he doesn't need to get up for school. There's a disappointment there, but he gets up anyway.

Matthew was stirred awake from his peaceful sleep by his father's rough hand and he made a sound of protest. "Get up, you useless thing. I want my breakfast before I have to leave."

The man gave him one last shake and headed back down stairs, leaving the boy to rouse himself and slide his glasses back onto his nose. He'd been having a nice dream and of course at the best part his father had woken him up. But already the dream was slipping away and he could only remember bits of it. With a sigh, the blond got up and dressed, closing his window regretfully.

Downstairs, his father was sitting at the table in the kitchen reading the paper and Matthew started on his breakfast quietly. Occasionally the man would make a sound of interest or flip the page, but other than that he didn't talk until Matthew set his plate in front of him. "Get me some milk."

The boy nodded with an internal sigh and fetched him a glass to wash the pancakes he'd made down. Then he retreated to the living room to work on his homework in semi-peace.

"Ivan, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"

Standing on the stairwell in his pajamas (a pair of athletic long distance running shorts and a racer-back tank top), Ivan raises an eyebrow at the cloud of smoke. Curious, and a little concerned, he continues down until he sees there's a bright flame in the kitchen and he sighs.

"I thought I'd make you some breakfast, I know how you like piro-"

Smiling, he pats her head and she smiles, and he walks to the hallway closer (not wanting to scare her by rushing) and pulls out the fire extinguisher. Walking around the island, he realized something was burning in the over and he uses a hot pad to open it before pulling the pin. After he finished dousing it, he turns off the machine and his mother gives him a hug and a bunch of apologies. She mumbles about how she's useless without him and that he can never leave her, and he hugs her back and agrees each time with 'I know'.

Thirty minutes later, he's scheduled for a repair/replacement, and had made omelets and if walking out to get the mail. Sorting through it at the box, he realizes some of it isn't all his. He has some of the neighbor's to their right, and as God would have it to punish him, there's some for the Williams' house. Easily walking some to the mailbox at the right, he begins towards Matthew's house, annoyed. He notices they have an old fashioned box, one where their mail goes in the door, and outgoing mail goes in a bin beside the doorbell.

Sighing, he decides it might be better just to knock.

So he does.

Matthew had to get up a few times in order to get something for his father, but otherwise he was left alone for the most part. He was steadily filling out math problems, almost two whole pages full of neat equations already, when there was a knock on the door.

His father yelled at him to get it and take care of it and he sighed, getting up and putting his homework down before trotting to get the door. When he opened the door, he was surprised to find Ivan standing there with a handful of mail. "Um, hello?" He asked uncertainly, shifting awkwardly as he wondered why the other was there.

"Who's there?" His dad called from the kitchen.

"The boy that lives across the street." Matthew called back in his soft voice.

"Tell him to come in." He replied, a chair scraping across the tile of the kitchen floor. The blond twisted his lips in a frown and turned back to Ivan. "Um...do you want to come in?" He asked hesitantly, still holding the edge of the door.

Initially, he had opened his mouth to say something like 'hey, take your fucking mail', but had been interrupted by Matthew's father. Waiting patiently for the conversation to return to him, he is surprised when he is invited in. What could the good of that be? There's no point, why the fuck- okay, well actually who cares? Ivan never claimed to be a nice kid. Besides, he disliked the way Matthew was emitting 'come in and die' glares.

"I'd love to." The smirk was not on his face, but in his voice. This was too fun. How had he almost given up torturing this brat? Motioning for the boy to get the fuck out of the doorway and let him in, he ignores that his clothing is not fit for an introduction- but now is as good a time as any.

Easing by the blond, patting him on the head, he slips into the house and removes his shoes (that's only polite). Walking in further, he stops and turns around, arms crossed, waiting for the obviously-expected introduction.

Matthew immediately regretted telling his father it was Ivan, maybe he should have told him it was just the paperboy coming to collect. That would have been a hell of a lot easier and he wouldn't want to stab the older boy with a pen for patting his head.

The boy's father came into the room, looking nothing like the drunkard asshole he was at home. He was dressed for work in a suit and tie and looked very professional. Often Matthew wondered why he couldn't have the man that went to work every day as his father instead of the one he'd gotten. "Hello, I'm Matthew's father."

A hand was held out to Ivan and a winning smile was on his face. "So you're the boy who's tutoring him?" He asked after shaking Ivan's hand. He was quick and steady when speaking or moving. "I wanted to meet you for a while, make sure you're doing a proper job of it."

As his father spoke with Ivan, Matthew stood by the now closed door, scuffing his toes against the carpet and trying to not be noticed.

There was a sound behind him and he turned. At first, he took in the sight and then he allowed a smile, too. It felt almost like two wolves greeting each other, but he wouldn't mention anything of the sort. Accepting the hand, he shakes twice and then releases. Of course, he's in athletic clothing, while the father is in a suit, and he feels inappropriately dressed- he hopes the man will assume he's part of a sport.

"Nice to meet you, I'm Ivan Braginski." Shoulders back, squared, chin high, he makes sure to give off a great impression. This is one of the things he's good at; making people like him. It hadn't worked for Matthew, but that's probably because he wasn't blackmailing everyone else.

"Mm, yes. I'm student body president also- I was quite surprised how easy it was to work with Matthew, he's quite bright, you've raised him well." It's always important to compliment the individual, because it makes them feel comfortable around you. If you keep the conversation directed on them, they begin to like you, because people love talking about themselves. He only mentions his leadership position so that the father can recognize just where the compliment is coming from (someone important and influential).

"At any rate, you look like you're on your way out? Thank you for taking the time." Glancing to the side, he sees a notebook open in the living room. "I was hoping to look over Matthew's homework, would it be alright if I stayed for a while?"

Matthew's father nodded along with his words, smile in place. "If he were so smart he wouldn't be failing." He said with a grin, though beneath it he was annoyed with his son. "But I don't mind, maybe you could help him work on his homework a little. He certainly needs it."

The boy clenched his fists, angry at his father's words, acting as if he were nothing but a delinquent in remedial classes. Just because he'd been framed he thought he could tell him off like he was an idiot. Asshole that he was, he rubbed it in at any moment he could, with a smile at that.

"I'll be on my way, then. Matthew, get him something to drink, lazy boy." The blond nodded stiffly, brushing past both of them to get Ivan a soda. "Goodbye, Ivan, it was nice meeting you. Do try to be patient with Matthew, he doesn't always understand everything."

And with that he was gone, pulling out of their driveway and down the street. Matthew clenched his hand around the can, denting the metal slightly. A bit of an evil streak made him shake the can roughly, teeth clenched together in anger. He took a moment to calm down before returning to Ivan and holding out the drink to him. "Here."

"We're pretty certain there's been a misunderstanding on the teacher's part. Nobody who tested in the top 15 could be failing these classes." The comment was clear, concise, but also friendly. He found his temper rising as he considered how rude this fucking guy was. Sure, it was one thing for the man to be upset, but another to so blatantly insult his son.

Of course, he didn't expect a response- most people with an attitude like Matthew's father would pretend they didn't hear that. He just continues to smile and waves politely as the gentleman leaves, but as soon as the door closes, he's furious. What the hell kind of parent-?

Receiving the can, he looks at it and then back to Matthew. Ivan snorts and then shakes his head, handing it back.

"I don't drink carbonated beverages." Walking into the living room, he picks up the book, glances at the answers and then drops it back on the table. All of them are correctly done, which is to be expected.

"Well? You going to give me a tour or what? Also, your dad is fucking rude. I don't know how you turned out the way you did if you were surrounded by that piece of shit."

Matthew was annoyed to lose his fun, but took the can back wordlessly. He tossed it in the trash, not caring if it was still full. His father was the only one who really drank the damn things anyway. He was a bit surprised that Ivan had stuck up for him at the end there, but it was the least he could do after singlehandedly being the cause of this situation.

"Yeah, he's an asswipe." Matthew said softly, a little tiredly, picking up his books and putting them back into his bag neatly. Might as well give him a tour, he probably wouldn't leave until he got one anyway. "What do you mean by that?" The last part had him curious.

The boy pushed his bangs behind his ear, straightening his glasses as he stood back up. "And don't mind him, he's always like that." Actually he's much much worse and you wouldn't believe the things he calls me when no one else is around, but this is the politest thing I can say without you feeling the need to either beat him or call child protective services.

"By what?" Ivan raises a brow in return. Considering his words, he realizes the point and then he shrugs. "I guess I just mean you're a really good kid, father withstanding. Any parent would have been lucky, yours just doesn't acknowledge he could have had a bastard instead of this pained kid who just wants to be okay."

Somewhere off to the side, he's opening books on one of the shelves and is flipping through it. Nothing interesting- although no dust is at the top. They're all classics, but his money is on the fact that Matthew probably actually reads the things.

"I didn't mind him so much as I just wanted to hurt him. I'm sure you can see how that's within my character." Shifting, he slips the item back on the shelf and then motions to the room they're in.

"So this is the living room." Walking back the way he'd come, he pokes his head into the other space. "Kitchen." He glances back to Matthew, giving him the opportunity to continue the tour, otherwise he has made it clear he will go ahead and tour the place himself.

Matthew turned a bit red at the other's words. "I guess that's true." He said, going after the other and making certain he put every book back exactly where he found it, nudging a few back into place.

"He's not the best person to live with." He admitted, shifting a little. Sure he wanted to hurt him every now and again, he hit him after all, but he would never tell anyone else that. Especially not after meeting him for five minutes and blackmailing his kid. "Why do you want to hurt him?" He asked quietly, looking up at him as he looked through his house.

With a sigh he relented, knowing the other was going to go through his house either way. So he stepped in front of him and led him through the house. "This is the study where my father does his work after he comes home, this is the storage room and the guest suit. There's the guest bathroom. This is the den and there's my room and my father's room upstairs with an exercise room and two more bathrooms." He pointed out each of the rooms except the last as they passed them.

As he proceeded to browse and take in his surroundings, he considered Matthew's question and calculated an answer. Whatever the kid thought he was confessing to was not the case. Ivan is not the type to say 'only I can pick on you', because really, everyone picks on Matthew every single day by ignoring his existence. It was just ironic enough that the only people who did notice him were rude and hurt him emotionally (although physical abuse seemed like something Matt was not foreign to).

"Mm, I wonder. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that he insults you to a peer the first chance he gets. He's malicious. He's also your father and that's not okay. Besides," Leaning in the different rooms, looking around, he glances back over his shoulder, "-You don't deserve it. You deserve happy parents who spoil you rotten."

Curious about the final door, he begins to motion to it but recognizes that perhaps it was intentionally left alone. Of course, Ivan is not the passive type who would let this go without mentioning it, so he does.

"What is this?" Gesturing to the door, he crosses both arms and leans against the door frame as if he was waiting, as if he was saying 'I'm not moving until you tell me what this is'.

"There's no point in keeping secrets, Matthew, I'll find out."

Matthew frowned at the older boy. "I don't deserve better parents." He said softly, scoffing lightly. Why would he need good parents after what he had done? "He might be an asshole, but he's what I get."

It was bad enough that he had to deal with being cursed not to stand out, aside from dealing with his past demons he had to deal with his father and Ivan. But his father had good reason to be hateful against him, even if he didn't like it.

He glanced at the last door with a frown. They were upstairs after he had pointed out all of the rooms. He didn't want the other boy in there, it was his space and he hadn't wanted to tell him which room was his. "It's storage." He said believably, frowning at the other slightly and heading downstairs. "I have some ice water in the fridge if you want some."

Shrugging, Ivan wasn't about to argue anything. Really, every kid deserved someone to care about them, and whatever reason Matthew has for thinking him the exception, Ivan doesn't care about in the slightest. As Matthew dismisses the door as a closet and begins back down the stairs, Ivan adopts the mentality of 'well if it's only a closet, then it won't matter if I go in it'. Pushing off the door, he opens it and pushes the door open. There are things like a bed and dresser in there, but it's dark and the windows are drawn, so he can't really identify much else.

Shaking his head, he finds himself both amused and annoyed, but trudges behind down the stairs, too. Walking into the kitchen, he looks about- opens the fridge, looks at the contents- then shrugs.

"I'm okay." Nodding towards the front door, he begins towards it.

"I'll leave. Thanks for having me, and for the hospitality." Suddenly, he's feeling very distant. He suspects it's because he'd been lied to, but he left the evidence that he'd seed the truth wide open, and just doesn't particularly want to deal with this. Besides, he has to get back home and make sure his mother is alright.

"I'll slip any other mail we get on accident into your door slot."

Matthew nodded absently, picking up the mail from the table where Ivan had left it as sorting through it as he left. "See you at eight." He said, walking back into the kitchen and letting the boy see himself out. With a soft sigh he plopped down in a chair, resting his head on his crossed arms for a moment as he let the tension drain out of him. It was difficult enough with his father making him stressed, but having to deal with Ivan as well was putting more strain on his thin body than he could handle.

Within a few moment he was asleep again, having not gotten enough sleep the night before and being woken up early today. The mail was loosely clenched in one hand and his cheek was resting against his upper arm, his glasses sitting at an odd angle. He'd have to finish up his math homework later, he just needed a little nap right now, just loosen up real quick before he ended up breaking.

Ivan says nothing about it being Saturday, or that Matthew doesn't have to come over. Instead he just walks out, closing the door behind him. It's a little chilly, and his lack of clothes remind him of that- he's used to the cold, though, so he doesn't mind it much. For a long time, the furnace didn't work, and somehow his mother had tampered with the AC unit and it had been perpetually on for years (since he was young, they were poor, and he didn't know how to do that stuff). Of course, he ended up getting a library book and working on it himself when he was a bit older.

At home, he's doing his normal chores, and at one point, he walks upstairs and lies on his bed, just because he can. It's been a long time since he's been carefree, and he's not relaxing for thirty minutes before there's a crash downstairs and he's getting back up. Looking for the sound, he sees his mother in the rain in the backyard and is cocking his head. She's doing something- setting up the barbecue? Heading out, he asks her to come inside, says it's too wet for roasting. She's adamant, keeps trying to assemble it, cries because it's not working and he's crouching beside her, and she's crying, then starts hitting him and he gets her to go back in with the agreement that he'll finish setting it up.

Twenty minutes later and he's drenched, walking back inside and he's cold, his cheeks and nose are red- but his mom offers him some hot chocolate and he softens, smiling. There's a sniffle that follows. It stays with him for the next hour or two, then he notices his body is overly hot. His mom decides to go out drinking and he passes out on the coffee table with a fever.

Matthew woke up with a sniffle, looking around sleepily. He shuffled around the kitchen, pulling down things for a little lunch as he rubbed his eyes. He fixed himself a grilled cheese, his stomach rumbling as he cooked it. When he sat down at the table to eat all he could do was pick at it for a while though. It wasn't appetizing anymore.

After a while he gave up trying to eat it and threw it away, pouring a glass of tea and going to curl up in the living room on the couch. He watched TV for a while, ignoring his homework. He could always do it at Ivan's. Of course, he knew he didn't have to go today, but he wanted to get it over with as soon as he could and it wasn't like he had anything else to do.

The boy sipped at his drink as he watched How It's Made, dozing off after a while. When he woke up again he found it was nearly eight. He had to go to Ivan's soon. The blond rubbed his eyes again, wiping sleep from them. He shuffled out of his house and over to Ivan's, wondering why his father hadn't woken him up to make him dinner. A few knocks on the door and he waited patiently for the other to answer.

The sound at the door made him flinch. Wincing, he opens his eyes and things are blurry. Man, this place is just so fucking hot, maybe the furnace suddenly kicked in? Scooting his chair out, he looks down at his body- dark gray sweatpants and a white t-shirt- to make sure he's presentable. He can feel moisture at his neck. It's uncomfortable.

Walking proves to be somewhat difficult and he's shocked at the sudden turn of events. He hasn't had a cold in years. Of course, he hasn't been that reckless in years, either, but this seemed to hit him so fast. Pale fingers wrap around the door knob and he twists, pulling it open. He just stares for a moment, waiting for his brain to catch up and then he clears his throat, stepping back. Hopefully Matthew doesn't notice- he doesn't like showing weakness. (Of course, with the rosy cheeks and nose it might be difficult not to notice)

"Come on in." He gives the boy a wide birth and then shuts the door. What were they going to do? Watch T.V., right. In an attempt to remain cool, he walks carefully into the living room and plops onto the couch, motioning at the remote.

"Is it going to be Doctor What's-his-name again?"

Matthew waited at the door, brushing wet bangs out of his eyes from the rain. It was still dripping steadily behind him and he was glad Ivan's house had a covered porch. The cold air felt nice against his skin and he enjoyed the coolness that only came with the rain.

When Ivan opened the door Matthew immediately noticed that he looked bad. He hadn't looked this bad when he came over to his house earlier. "Um, are you alright?" He asked quietly, edging into the house and looking up at the other boy. The other apparently didn't hear him because he walked into the living room and plopped down on the couch. The blond sighed softly and walked in behind him, examining him briefly before sitting down on the floor against the couch.

"Doctor Who." He corrected him, picking up the remote and changing the channel. "Are you alright?" He asked again, twisting around to look at the other boy. This time he spoke louder so that Ivan would hear him. "You don't look so good. Did something happen after you left?" He was kinda worried about the older boy, wondering if he was sick.

"I'm sorry, but if you don't mind, it's just 'The Doctor'." Chuckling then, he was proud of his lame little joke (one he promised he would never state out loud when he was perusing the internet to learn more about this, "Doctor"). Another had gone 'knock, knock', followed by 'who's there', then the obvious 'doctor', then the laughter 'doctor who?'. Ivan doesn't really want Matthew to know he was curious about the things the kid liked, but he's just not censoring himself much right now. This congestion did not feel good. It felt like it was centered in his face.

Eyes already closing, he halts them to glance down at Matthew and nod. He felt too human right now, he wanted to be the distant rude boy instead. Clearing his throat, he wets his lips and nods.

"I'm alright. Don't worry about me, Matthew, it's weird." Lids shutting, he leans back and gets comfortable. Naturally, he folds both hands into his lap like the first time. It's been especially nice having someone around while he napped, even if it was a short period of time.

"You know, if we actually became friends, you could come over here more and deal with that man less."

Matthew stared at him for a moment, wondering if he had a fever. Did he really just make a Doctor joke? Really? Ivan, the maniacal evil mastermind that's blackmailing him into staying here with him every night? The other night he had never heard of him and now he's making jokes about him that every Whovian knows? Did he look him up or something?

Try as he might, Matthew couldn't help but find that kinda adorable, that this big older student would do something like that, presumably just because Matthew liked it.

"Um, do you need anything to drink or anything?" He asked, ignoring the other's words, he wasn't the kind of person to leave someone who needed help by themselves. The boy got up, dusting off his bottom and straightening his shirt. He froze at the other's words, frowning slightly. "I suppose that's true..."

Having to deal with his father less would be a blessing, but that was if his father would even let him come over. He was controlling to say the best and it was a miracle he'd even relented and let him go to the high school he was going to. His scholarship had been the only thing that allowed him to go. "You've got some ways to go in getting to be my friend." Matthew admitted softly.

"I said I was alright." The words were quiet, because he was mostly just about to fall asleep here, which is what he did last time. What was the point of making Matthew come over? He can't seem to remember, but he wonders if maybe he was just a little bit lonely and he could tell that this boy was either too hard-headed or too nice to put up too much of a fight. Eyes closed, he waves a hand dismissively, a smile breaching.

"I'm pretty much your only friend, you know, and I have to blackmail you to come. I can't imagine what kind of requirements someone must have to get your attention. I was already popular, everyone knew me, I was nice to everyone, but you never looked at me. I even lived across the street." Shifting, he slumps to the side so that his head is on the arm rest.

"If anything, you're the one who should put in a little effort, I'm the one who brought us together- even if it wasn't the most normal of ways. I met your dad, I brought you mail, I make you snacks, and you just give me the cold shoulder. I've only asked you to talk or watch TV with me and I'm some villain, like you somehow think your record won't be spotless." By the end of it, his voice had gotten weaker, because he was literally drifting off. Sniffling, he wipes his nose and hugs himself a little tighter.

"Help yourself to anything in the fridge; I haven't shaken any of the sodas."

Matthew opened his mouth to refute the boy's claim, but closed it again when he started talking. His face hardened and closed off as he spoke and he sat down hard on the couch, staring down at his hands, folded neatly in his lap.

"...I know that no one ever notices me and I don't have any friends, but it isn't for lack of trying. I've tried to become a member of an ice hockey team, part of the art club at school, hell I even tried to get on the student council. But no one ever realized I was there." He said quietly, picking at a loose thread on his jeans. "No one even hears me when I yell, it's like I don't exist. You're the only one who's actually said anything to me without being told I was there in the past year. Even if your means are less than desirable, you noticed me."

The boy drew his knees up to his chest, tucking his chin atop them. "My father is really the only one who notices me without being surprised I was there to begin with. Well, him and you. But neither of you seem to realize that I can't help being like I am. Invisible, unnoticed...I don't mean to ignore you, I just thought you wouldn't notice me anyway, so why bother trying to get to know you? It's not like anyone else has ever noticed me."

"Hell, someone sat on me at lunch last week. That's how little people take note of me." And he was being completely truthful, someone who had gone to school with him for five years had sat on him and it took him a full five seconds to realize there was someone underneath him. "And I don't take kindly when I'm forced into something, so I'm sorry if I ever upset you because I didn't want to talk..."

When his eyes opened, he was staring at the muted television screen. His vision was blurry, and he could feel sweat starting at his neck. This was so uncomfortable. It was obnoxious and he'd never done anything to deserve being sick. Sure, he was blackmailing someone, but had he actually hurt them? Matthew's teachers and the principal forgot about this the moment Ivan said he'd take care of it, and sure, the kid got hit, but any excuse would have done for that bastard.

He's trying to listen and be attentive, but he's so tired, and he feels so sick and all around, he just feels piss-poor. Shifting up on one elbow, he turns to look across the couch and he wipes both his eyes then his nose and shakes his head.

"I didn't say you could help it. But now that I've noticed you, can't you be a little more agreeable? I mean, you want me to understand that you're invisible, so you act accordingly, but then you should also know that I'm a little messed up, but I'm trying. There's actual effort going into you. You can demonize me all you want in that blond little head of yours, but if that's what it takes, fine. I can be the bad guy."

There's pressure in his front nasal cavity and he leans forward, both hands pressing on his temples.

"At least you notice /me/ now."

Matthew sighed softly, feeling bad even though Ivan was the one terrorizing him into coming over every day. He also knew he didn't have to anymore, he had enough dirt on him after that first night not to have to deal with him ever again. But still...he noticed him...he talked to him and recognized him and so far he had yet to sit on him.

"I'm sorry..." Matthew had never been particularly good at apologies, even if he apologized all the time. "I know you noticed me, but it's just so surreal, like you're just not real and there's actually no one who can see me." He paused, looking over at the boy. "You're not okay." He said firmly, getting up and going into the kitchen.

The boy returned a few moments later with a damp rag and forced the older boy to lay down on the couch. "You stay there until I say so." The blond said in a tone that offered no room for argument. The damp rag was laid under Ivan's bangs as Matthew turned on the ceiling fan above them. "Do you have any aspirin or cold medicine that you know of?" The underclassman asked, kneeling down beside him and feeling his cheek. "You've got a fever. Did you stay out in the rain today? That was irresponsible."

It was difficult to imagine how Matthew wouldn't be noticed. It's not like he's unattractive, not like he wasn't friendly or anything else like that. As a matter of fact, he was quite cute. He had an adorable personality when he wasn't being picked on or- sat upon, for that matter. Regardless of how he thought, though, at one point, he hadn't noticed Matthew, too.

As he's thinking, he finds himself being guided down onto the couch and he was kind of feeling a little dizzy, so he doesn't mind. Something cool is on his forehead and he's sighing in relief. That's a bit better. Maybe instead of complaining he'll just let Matthew do this stuff since he seems to be good at it.

"Mirror cabinet in the bathroom." Chuckling, he shakes his head and takes in a couple slow breaths.

"Mm, I was in the yard... but mom... It doesn't matter. I'm really fine. I'm just a little hot." Turning his head, he looks Matthew over for a moment and snorts a laugh.

"You're too nice for your own good."

The boy got up to go get the medicine, blushing when he heard the other. "Shush you. It's the fever talking." He said, hurrying away so the other wouldn't see him embarrassed expression. He couldn't help it, he saw Ivan so sick and he just couldn't leave him there. What if his fever got too high? His mother wasn't going to take him to the hospital.

Matthew searched through the cabinet, pushing aside pill bottles until he found the aspirin. He shook two onto his palm and went back to the kitchen to fill a glass with water before heading back to Ivan. "Here you go." The boy said, kneeling down again and setting the glass on the side table as he handed him the pills. "Sit up a little so you can drink."

It was odd seeing the big bad senior bedridden like this. He was normally so full of himself and top-dogish. And here he was, Matthew taking care of him of his own free will. "You shouldn't have stayed out so long." He said softly, tilting his head at him. "Don't you know you'll catch cold in the rain?"

By the time Matthew returned from the bathroom, Ivan had almost fallen asleep again. He was so drowsy and he really just felt all sorts of miserable. There was an initial flinch, him caught unawares of the boy's presence, and then he relaxed and allowed the small kid to help him drink and take the pills. This was really shameful, but it couldn't be helped. The last time this happened he was able to make it to his room, spent a day or two in there sweating out the fever before his mom even came back home.

"Mm, I know, but she's neurotic and it was the only way I could get her to go inside." His accent was heavy now, unable to focus well enough to keep it at bay. They slurred together and after a moment he just reaches out with one hand and smooths it over Matthew's cheek. It's cool, and it feels good, and he's feeling oddly affectionate and strange and-

"But it's okay, heh..." Fingers dip up into blonde and he strokes casually, almost in a daze. "-Because you're here."

Matthew helped Ivan to take his pills, making sure he swallowed before letting him lay back down. How could he have gotten too bad so quickly? He was fine just this morning, even getting drenched shouldn't have gotten him so sickly so fast.

The boy's blush darkened when a hand cupped his cheek and slid into his hair. "U-Um, y-you should go to sleep. You're obviously becoming delirious." He said, pulling away from the other gently, pushing the other's arm down again. Oh goodness, he felt like he was going to burst into flames.

"I-I should leave. You'll be fine on your own, right?" Why was he asking a sick person if they were going to be fine on their own? He shook his head and stood up, turning to leave. "Um, I guess you can call me if you need anything." The blond turned back and pulled out his cell phone, with a tiny contacts list, to give the other his number.

Ivan didn't react when he was guided away, or when he was told to sleep. When Matthew suggested he rest, he raised an eyebrow and then cleared his throat. It doesn't dawn on him that his behavior has made the kid uncomfortable, and so he just nods and closes his eyes. Yeah, sure, this is no problem. He can take care of himself. Ivan was used to that, actually.

Shifting, he sits up, weight on one palm, the other catching the wash cloth.

"I'll be alright on my own. Just get home before it gets too dark." Shaking his head, he checks his watch and then wets his lips. He just has to get up to his room before mom comes home- who knows what weird mood she'll be in? He feels groggy, though.

"Thanks for your help."

With that, he slips from the couch and rises. He doesn't know why he's behaving weird right now. He's responding to something, but he's not sure. Is he angry?

"I'll see you out."

Matthew wrote down his number either way, leaving it on the kitchen counter as they passed it. "Just call me if you need anything." He said again, looking up at the older boy. It wouldn't be right to just leave him without someone to look after him.

"I'll be right over if you need me, okay?" His blue eyes were intent on Ivan's groggy amethyst ones, making sure he understood in his current state. The older boy may be acting weird, but he attributed it to the fever. He was more worried about his fever, he didn't know how high it was, or if he needed to go to the hospital. "Hopefully that aspirin will help with your fever."

Matthew glanced at his watch as well, wincing at the time. He'd been here for longer than the allotted hour. Maybe his father wasn't home yet and he could sneak in without him knowing.

Ivan wouldn't call. Matthew should know by now that he can only reach out little tiny bits at a time. Calling is a pretty big step. It's one thing for someone to force help on him, but it's another entirely to have to ask for help. Just as soon as the number is left on the counter, Ivan nods in agreement. Get out, already.

Noticing the kid checking the time, he opens the door and gestures for Matthew to leave. He doesn't want to hold the guy there if he doesn't want to stay. Ivan doesn't even mind people leaving anymore. He's just grown accustomed to the fact that everyone does it; his father, his mother, friends, now Matthew. Perhaps he's not in the correct state of mind to be thinking about this.

Nudging the kid out, he waves once and then closes the door. From here, he rests his forehead against the wood. Finding the energy draining from him, he makes his way up the steps- almost makes it to his room before he just lies on the ground and closes his eyes. This is okay, he doesn't mind sleeping here. At least there's a rug here. Matthew smells nice; he's probably going to get the shit smacked out of him. So tired.

Matthew hurried across the road, slipping in through the door silently. Ivan was weird when he was sick, that was for sure. The boy crept up the stairs to his room, breathing out a sigh of relief. His father was apparently not home.

"Matthew!" The blond winced, cursing his short luck. He stepped out of his room, walking back downstairs. "Why are you back so late? Didn't I tell you to be back at nine?" The man was scowling hard at his son, stance threatening.

"I-I was, Ivan was sick and I was helping him." Matthew stammered quietly, clenching his hands in front of him nervously.

"Speak up! Hell, I can never hear you when you speak!" His father snapped at him. "And I don't care if he was sick or not! I told you to be back at nine, not help some pansy boy get over a bug!"

"He needed help!" Matthew said, voice barely louder than before. A sharp smack silenced him.

"Don't you talk back to me! I said nine and I meant it." The man hauled the boy up by his collar. "You're getting out of hand, thinking you can go against me lately. All that I do for you, feeding, clothing you, letting you go to that damn school. The least you could do is pay me some respect!" He brought his hand down against Matthew's face, something he almost never did. The boy cried out, kicking against him which only fueled his anger more.

Finally he threw him down, kicking his side roughly. "Get out of my sight, boy." Matthew didn't need to be told twice and shot up the stairs as fast as he could, curling up against the side of his bed and quieting his sobs into a pillow.