Mathieu sat in front of the warm fire Kumaru sitting on his lap while he opened the collection of poems Ivan had recommended him. They were by an ancient Greek poet known simply as Ovid. Ivan had said they were love poems and that he thought Mathieu might enjoy them, opening the book he began to read.
The book fell from Mathieu's numb fingers, his cheeks painted a very dark shade of red. He needed some air lurching to his feet and sending Kumachichi sprawling Mathieu ran to a pair of doors that led out to a balcony where one could read when the weather would permit and took great gulping breaths of the chilly fall air to cool off his flaming cheeks.
Ivan tried not to laugh as he watched Mathieu's reaction to the book he had recommended. The boy's cheeks grew redder and redder until he finally dropped the book and blotted out to take great gulps of air. Finally Ivan couldn't help it he burst out laughing. When the shy innocent boy had asked him if he could recommend any books to him he had not been able to resist recommending his copy of the uncensored Ovid. He had been tempted to ask Mathieu to read it to him out loud but he felt that that may have been pushing it. So instead he had chosen to simply watch from the small looking glass in his room.
Ivan sat at the head of the table slurping his soup (sipping quietly was something he had simply been unable to do since his transformation) he was beginning to regret his idea to recommended The Ovid, Mathieu hadn't talked to him let alone looked at him since the incident and he hated it!
"Is Matvey enjoying his food?" he asked smiling at the boy trying to start a conversation.
Mathieu jumped at the sound of Ivan's voice but didn't look at him his face slowly increasing in color, he merely nodded.
This however was not the reaction that Ivan wanted. He wanted his Matvey to look up at him with that sweet smile of his and to talk to him happily, not sit there blushing like a fool over some foolish story! Ivan raised his arm and bawling his large paw up into a fist slammed it down on the table making all the dishes jump and clink together.
Mathieu jumped as Ivan's fist slammed down onto the table.
"I said I was sorry so Matvey will look at me now!"
Mathieu stared up in shock at the angry beast but barley a minute passed before his face turned a bright cherry red and he looked back down at his soup.
"Why is Matvey so mad?" Ivan practically whined. "I just wanted to see my Matvey's cute blushing face but now you won't even look at me!"
Mathieu didn't know whether to be angry or embarrassed about Ivan's unashamed enjoyment for tormenting him. He decided on embarrassed, it was safer.
"I-It, it's n-not that I'm m-mad at you" Matthew whispered, his voice becoming quite and quitter as he spoke. "J-just embarrassed." Ivan all most missed the last part the small blond was so quite.
For a moment Ivan was silent, thinking about what his Matvey had said and how he could get the blond to talk to him again or at least look at him.
"Matvey will read to me after super." Ivan said calmly, that way he would at least be able to listen to his Matvey's voice.
"Out of the Ovid?" Mathieu gasped shocked that Ivan would suggest such a thing. "I couldn't-"
"Nyet, something different." Ivan replied. "I prefer it when my Matvey looks at me."
Mathieu gave Ivan one more embarrassed look before returning to his now cold soup.
Mathieu wandered between the rows and rows of books looking for something that Ivan would like when one title caught his eye, The Polar Bear King. Medre! He cursed, his Grandmother!
"Mathieu," Francis quite and concerned voice interrupted Mathieu from his inner turmoil. "Mathieu, when are you planning to try and escape?"
For a second he could only stare at his father, escape. He didn't want to escape. He liked being here spending time with Ivan. But he needed to leave.
"Now," Mathieu whispered unshed tears making his eyes glassy. "I, I need to go talk to Ivan."
Mathieu walked past his father heading to the large fire place where he had left Ivan when a tug on his dress stopped him. He turned around to see his father holding onto the hem of his dress.
"But, but he will not let you go!" Francis replied stunned. What could Mathieu be thinking asking Ivan if he could leave the beast would never let his last chance at breaking the curse leave! "Mathieu I have worked in this palace since before Ivan was born, I have seen him grow up and twist into the monster he is now! His insides match his outsides no matter what you may think!"
"Ivan is a cruel and selfish being Mathieu! HE WILL NOT LET YOU GO!"
For a second Mathieu simply stared down at his father before quietly answering.
"Non, I trust him and I cannot simply leave him papa."
Then Mathieu turned and quickly walked away.
Ivan sat in front of the large fire place and watched the flames flicker absentmindedly, wondering what book his sweet Matvey would choose.
"Ivan." Mathieu's voice startled the large beast from his absent minded wondering.
"What is it Matvey?" Ivan questioned turning to look at Mathieu. Instantly the beast noticed the many unshed tears fogging up the boys eyes and before Mathieu could utter a single word in response Ivan was by his side questioning him. "Matvey what is wrong?"
"I-I need to leave." Mathieu whispered, a single tear slipping out one eye and leaving a wet trail down his cheek.
"Matvey wants to leave me?"
"NO!" Mathieu exclaimed. For some reason the thought of Ivan thinking that he wanted to leave him hurt though Mathieu didn't understand why. "No, that's not it. There are things I need to do back in my home town. My, my grandmother, she needs me."
"Why?" Ivan growled at the blond. "Why do you need to leave me to go take care of some old woman?"
"We, I, our taxes are due in about a week. I, I came he-here because I didn't have the money to pay them. I was going to ask Papa if he would help us." Matthew stopped talking, a few more tears spilling from his eyes. "Bu-but I, I forgot."
"Matvey cannot go! You must stay here with me!" Ivan snarled, straightening his form to tower over the smaller boy. "I will send money to pay your taxes but Matvey must not leave me!"
"But, my, my Grandmother needs me." Matthew whispered looking up at Ivan, his eyes pleading for Ivan to understand.
"Het." Ivan replied ignoring the boys pleading eyes. "Matvey will not go he will stay here!" Ivan emphasised his point by stabbing one of his clawed fingers down in front of him.
"Ivan, I can't!" Mathieu cried, he could not believe that Ivan would keep him here against his will. "My Grandm-"
"If I show you you're бабушка and she is fine you will stay?" Ivan asked.
"My..." Matthew struggled with the foreign word before he finally understood what Ivan had suggested. "What do you mean show her to me?" He questioned. "How, how can you show her to me?"
"Come." Ivan commanded taking a firm hold of Mathieu's slight wrist and heading out of the library and towards his room. "торопиться. Hurry," Ivan growled, obviously agitated. "Hurry."
Matthew stood beside Ivan in front of the round table that held only a small plain hand mirror and the enchanted rose. Ivan very carefully picked up the small mirror and offered it to Mathieu.
"This mirror will show you anything you want." Ivan said quietly. "You merely have to ask."
Mathieu carefully took the mirror and looked it over. The mirror was old, very old. It was tarnished and the glass wavy with age, the wood was gray and soft with age and there was no designs carved into it.
For a moment Mathieu just stared at the small mirror, weren't things of power supposed to be, well magnificent covered in jewels and beautiful designs and not something so, so simple as this.
"The most powerful things are often the simplest things." Ivan said quietly voice full of awe. Slowly he reached out a large claw to trace the edge of the small hand mirror.
For a second Mathieu stared at the mirror thinking about what Ivan had said. After a moment he took a deep breath and holding the mirror in front of him began his request. "Show me," He paused and looked suspiciously up at Ivan. "Have you been watching me with this?"
For a moment Ivan considered lying, but decided that truth was probably a better way to go in this situation, if he lied and was found out than it would probably blow up into something larger than it was.
"Da." Ivan said calmly ignoring the rising look of horror and anger on his Matvey's face. "But only twice, the night that you had first arrived after I left you in the dining hall and this morning while you were reading the Ovid."
For a second Matthew wonder if Ivan was lying about when he had used the mirror but decided that he trusted him and that for his sanity's sake would believe him.
"All, all right." Holding the mirror in front of him once more he began. "Please, show me my grandmother." For a moment nothing happened then the glass cleared and he saw his grandmother sick and dying on the side of a road.
NO! No, this was not what Ivan wanted! This was not what his Matvey was supposed to see! The mirror had not shown Mathieu's grandmother at home warm healthy and content it had showed her out on the edge of a forest road sick and dying.
"Grand-mere!" Mathieu cried. "I have to go to her!"
Mathieu dropped the mirror on the table and spun around, gathering his skirts up in his arms to free his legs Mathieu ran for the door. He had not taken more than three steps when Ivan's large paw wrapped around his bicep and pulled him back into his chest.
"Matvey will not leave." Ivan hissed into Mathieu's ear his voice soft and dangerous. "Matvey will stay here with me, even if I have to lock you up." Ivan began to pull Mathieu out of the room and into a part of the castle that Mathieu had not explored before and didn't remember from his time living there.
"Non Ivan!" Mathieu screamed as Ivan dragged him down a hall. "Please Ivan don't! LET ME GO!" Mathieu began to struggle furiously refusing to give in without a fight he kicked and hit Ivan trying to make the large beast let go but Ivan ignored his struggles and pleas. Finally in desperation Mathieu bit the paw that Ivan was holding him with.
Ivan growled as his Matvey bit him the boy was struggling too much making it difficult for Ivan to drag him. He gave a sharp tug on his Matvey's arm so that the boy stumbled forward. Ivan quickly grabbed Mathieu before he could regain his balance and threw him over his shoulder and continued on his way. But as soon Mathieu had adjusted to his new position on Ivan's shoulder he began his struggles a new kicking and hitting. He no longer pleaded for Ivan to let him go instead the boy saved all his energy for his struggles, trying desperately to struggle free.
Ivan strode through the castle halls and down several flights of stairs till he reached the castle dungeons. Ivan was determined that his Matvey would not leave him even if he had to lock him up. Opening one of the cell doors he tossed Mathieu into the small dank musty cell.
"Matvey will not leave me, even if I have to lock him up." Ivan calmly told the stunned boy as he sat in a pile of old dirty straw looking up at Ivan.
"Ivan please." Mathieu whispered.
Ivan merely slammed the cell door and walked away the sound of Mathieu crying his name and pleading with him to let him go fallowing him all the way out of the dungeon and back to his room.