There had forever been something powerful about Saint Petersburg, about those ancient buildings that towered still above the city streets below and that architecture that had survived so much war and civil unrest to remain standing so gloriously today. Russia was not his country, this city not his home and yet even Matteo held a reverence of sorts for it. A respect perhaps, for all it had been through and survived to greet the the modern world with that unflinching Russian determination. The city was as resilient as its people and perhaps it was this he admired. Yet too, for all his own appreciation of that city he surely did not take near so much pleasure in it as the woman who held his arm as they walked those streets. Anastasia regaining a passion, a life and an energy akin to the city itself once returned to her native home. He had always found his niece to be an outgoing, determined woman- a Duchess should be no less. Yet within her country, her cities, she seemed to take on a demeanor even more self-assured and impassioned. Perhaps he was the same within his beloved France, the country off his own birth and by far the place he loved the most in all the world. Matteo unable to prevent that soft simper that found his lips, his head nodding dutifully as she spoke with fondness of Alexander Park, the cities most central park and one so adorned with a musical fountain no less. Matteo himself taking amusement in the notion that it was one park not named after the Alexander they both knew and adored, but rather a Tsar he knew Anastasia herself surely held relation too.
The day was warm and the sky clear, neither Matteo nor Anastasia requiring more than those light coats as they wandered unhurried. He knew she enjoyed to speak of those sights and the city itself. Matteo, as always, inclined to simply listen and enjoy her good company as they made their way toward that tea house he favoured. Anastasia, as always, insisted there were better places, Matteo argued otherwise and that banter continued down the street itself. Ah, but how much she reminded him of Alexander in those moments! Anastasia just as assured off her rightness and equally determined to prove it so as her adoptive Father had always been. The ancient Fae inclined to find amusement in it that very similarity- though he said nothing off it. His silver gaze shifted but briefly away from the woman on his arm to glance toward several other passersby, two humans and a warlock- a low levelled one at that. Matteo offering them a nod of greeting before his attention returned to Anastasia once more.
For all he teased Alexander of the trouble he so promised to lead his daughter into when within his company he could hardly deny he remained protective of the girl all the same. Curious though it surely was that a Fae might seek to protect a Hunter. Yet too, he knew Alexander watched over Dorian with that same dedication, such duty unspoken between them, for it so hardly needed to be. Alexander and himself had existed at one another's sides for near two thousand years. They knew each other as well as they knew themselves. Alexander one of terribly few constants within Matteo's own terribly long life- and how he valued him. For all they taunted one another the truth could so hardly be denied. There was nothing in this world he would not do for his oldest, dearest friend. For the man whose side he had survived at for so long. For the man he had followed into war after war and battle after battle and life after life. Within the expanse off his own existence Matteo had loved truly few people with that very sort of love that was all-consuming and world-altering, with the very love that would see one give up his own life for and yet, though he so never admitted to it aloud- Alexander was surely one of those very loves. And he knew the man knew it. To keep safe his daughter, the girl Matteo had taken as his own niece was simply expected and so effortlessly seen too. Even if he continued to assure Alexander himself that the pair were in terrible trouble every other day. Anastasia seeming to have little qualm in teasing her Father all the same. Matteo quite enjoying her humor. Russians, after all, so often had an odd breed of humor altogether.
Matteo's hand lifted then to press upon the door that lead into the glorious, ornate tea house Alexander and himself always visited, the room comfortably warm and rich in aroma. The Frenchman content to hold that door open for his companion before following her the rest of the way into the room and toward those red and gold sofas and table he enjoyed occupying whenever he was within the city. Matteo insisting Anastasia choose what they would have today, after all, she surely knew best did she not? Matteo content to lounge comfortably against those pillows that surrounded him as they waited on that tea and sweet biscuits and cake. That very room rich in Russian finery and more akin, perhaps, to the Russia Anastasia remembered most fondly.
"- the wedding went very well in the end. Italy, I will say, knows well how to throw a lavish party."
That simper found his lips then, Matteo finishing off that earlier conversation they had shared about his sons wedding as that tea and gilded tray of cakes and sweets arrived. The Fae eagerly reaching for that honey coloured tea unique to Russia itself. That taste quite unlike any other. Matteo continuing in that Russian then.
"Dorian was always fated to Sebastian. I had forseen it since near the day Sebastian was born and yet I had always quite fancied Dorian for you- ah, do not look at me that way, darling. Is it so bad that I hoped my son and my best friends daughter might not find each other agreeable?"
That soft chuckle rose easily within his throat then, that warm grin so eternally present upon his features seeming to brighten all the more at the very admittance that he had once hoped Dorian and Anastasia might marry. They were well suited in both class and manner, such a marriage too would have returned Anastasia's lineage to a throne. Matteo taking another sip of that tea then. His shoulders lifted in a shrug.
"I might well have had grandchildren if he had. Instead he chose to marry another man. My other son, Aiden, chooses no one at all."
Matteo's head shook lightly and yet there was no true disdain in any sense within those very words. Dorian was happy, blissfully so and his future remained clear and unchanging. Dorian would continue be happy- for the rest of his life with Sebastian. The vampire equally so and there was surely little more he could hope for then that. As for Aiden- there was still much to be done in his life. So much Matteo was determined to give him or help him have. The tea cup was returned to its saucer, Matteo lightly plucking a delicate pastry from the plate before him as his silver gaze found his nieces once more. The Frenchman, as always, speaking freely with the young woman. They were close, after all, they always had been- since the day Alexander had introduced them. Matteo forever content to indulge her in ways Alexander did not- as any good uncle should. To keep her secrets, to hear her fears, to celebrate her joys and indulge her passions. This the very task he had set himself so many years ago.
"Alexander tells me he has recruited you into his new Hunter Cavalry. Did he tell you he has conscripted me as well? Ah, Ana, I shall surely need you as a friend amongst those ranks. I do not think they are destined to receive a Fae as their Lieutenant well. Tell me, did he find a fine horse for you? He sent me by far one of the finest stallions I have ever owned and yet the thing is half wild- do not tell him I admitted such things, but it has near thrown me twice. Werehorses are a different breed though I enjoy the challenge. I think he knew I would. How do you find them?"
m a t t e o
it's tough to be a god