It was like talking to a brick wall.
Matteo's silver gaze shifted briefly away from that bottle and milk powder he had been so dutifully attempting to explain to his son. His attention instead rested upon Aiden himself as the younger man seemed to find a momentary pleasure in playing with the goat kid in his arms. Matteo had turned just in time to see Aiden's finger lift and press to the goats nose in that near classic 'boop' game they had surely all played with an animal once. That very scene was decidedly....sweet and yet it hardly boded well for Aiden actually listening to his instructions on how to feed his new pet. Matteo's declaration that Aiden was not at all listening prompted that exasperation from the boy once more. The Alpha declared that he'd heard as Matteo's eyes rolled once more. Children, he was assured, did not grow up. No wonder Alexander had found exasperation with him all those years ago! Sacrebleu but it was like trying to draw blood from a stone sometimes to get Aiden to pay attention! Perhaps, in that moment, Matteo understood his own father's continued frustrations with himself entirely well. Matteo was not unwilling to admit he had been a difficult child in turn. The Frenchman having believed for years that he knew better then Alexander. The idea of it now was near laughable and yet, somehow, the Macedonian had put up with him and his insufferable youth. Ah, but how that very memory so prompted him to smile all the same.
That distinctly unimpressed look that found his own sons features at being compared to him was hardly missed and yet, for now, Matteo was wholly content to ignore that expression as he finished preparing that bottle and gestured toward the place he intended to keep the Milk Replacer so that Aiden could make his pets meals himself. Aiden trailed after him then as Matteo led the way towards the sofa before settling himself upon those plush cushions. The young goat, having smelled that meal she was about to receive, had become near overexcited in her eagerness as her small dark legs flailed about in all directions. Her bleating became all the more prominent. How hungry she was! The Frenchman was quick to reposition Aiden's hand beneath the little animal's chest until that hold was correct before showing him how to hold that bottle in turn to let the little goat feed properly. How little encouragement the small goat needed as she all but latched onto that teat, her small tail wagging excitedly as she nursed. Matteo's hands gently released Aiden's own, leaving the WereKing to that task alone. Hmmm, perhaps there was hope for Aiden as a farmer yet.
It was the clear contentment upon the little animal's features that, perhaps, prompted that utterance of Matteo's own memory. It had been...centuries since he had considered those early days in which Alexander had all but forced him to take interest in the animals the army had kept to meet its needs. Matteo had proven time and again that he was a near useless student when it came to polishing weapons and boots, Alexander having instead given him something living to care for instead. A move the Frenchman had come to understand, years later, had been an effort to inspire both care and motivation within him. A move that had worked far better then he suspected even Alexander had anticipated. He had lacked any passion at all for caring for equipment and yet those lambs had...needed him in a way boots did not. Those tiny creatures had trusted him to keep them safe. To feed them. To watch over them. Matteo, even in his younger years, was unable to abandon anything or anyone that needed his help. Alexander had understood him and his tender heart long before Matteo had understood himself or his own nature. That very tale, it seemed, prompting some measure of curiosity in Aiden in turn as he queried whether that care for lambs had managed to prompt within him any level of care for boots and swords. A soft, light chuckle hummed within the Frenchmans throat as Matteo lay further back upon that couch. One arm rested agianst his chest, the other reaching forward to scratch at the goats back near absentmindedly as she fed. Her tail continued to wag eagerily.
"Non, I was never very good at that. I had found a passion for animals though. I was good with them. Eventually I moved from caring for lambs, to calves and eventually foals. The war horse foals were Alexander's most prized possessions outside of his own mount. Alexander trained me as his groom then. He found someone else to care for the equipment. Someone with an interest in weapons. Your Grandfather was always very good at finding a man's talent and having him use it. Even when that man was me and I was hopeless at everything I'd tried before."
A warm simper found Matteo's lips once more, the Frenchman inclined to chuckle at himself again and those memories of the years long passed. How surely any other leader might well have given up on him long before Alexander did and yet- the Hunter had always been good at understanding a man's motivations, in much the same way as he understood his horses. That, Matteo had long since suspected, was Alexander's true talent. He understood. That understanding led to loyalty and through that loyalty Alexander's army had become near unbreakable. It was those very considerations of his own Father however that tugged at those further memories within the Frenchmans mind. For all he had seen the Macadonian do, for all they had survived together over so many, many centuries- Alexander was rarely....affectionate in any sense. Praise from the man was rarer still. Alexander was always gruff, distant, fair but firm in everything he did- and utterly ruthless upon that battlefield. True gentleness from such a man, the first time Matteo had seen it, had been near astounding to him. Yet how much more he had thought of Alexander for it. Compassion in war was...the rarest of traits. Alexander, beneath that ruthless warrior, had still made time for a foal. That very tale, however, along with the point behind it, was seemingly all but lost upon his own son as Aiden queried it. That confusion clear upon his features. Ah, for someone so perceptive Aiden was so terribly, terribly blind.....when it came to himself. Matteo's head shook softly, a warm simper finding his lips once more as his silver gaze shifted to the emerald of Aiden's own.
"Cruelty is so easy, Aidun. It is so, so easy to become heartless, to care for nothing. War consumes a man. He kills and he kills and he kills. He shuts all thought and feeling out because it makes it easier to kill- letting it back in is much harder. Kindness is harder. Compassion is harder still- especially for the weakest in the world."
Matteo's head nodded but briefly toward that tiny goat then, her frantic wiggling so having finally stopped as she continued to feed greedily from the bottle in Aiden's hand.
"Alexander did not need to care about a mere foal. He gained nothing from it. Yet he proved that day that, despite it all, he could still be gentle and he could still care. How a man chooses to treat those weaker then himself says a great deal about him and who he is."
Whether or not Aiden would truly comprehend just what he was saying remained to be seen. Matteo, in that moment, allowed his son to contemplate those very words he offered. Aiden, despite all he had suffered, despite that pain and cruelty and heartache-could still be gentle and how very, very much that said about him and that heart that remained intact somewhere beneath. That very heart Matteo had tried for so terribly long to preserve. Matteo's fingers stroked the young goat's fur once more, its lack of name, in that moment, so suddenly seeming to strike him as his attention shifted to his son once more with that very query of just what Aiden intended to name her. A pet, after all, needed a name. Matteo near anticipating the younger man to shrug or claim that naming a goat was 'stupid' and yet Aiden seemed to genuinely....contemplate that notion without retreating behind those veritable walls of protection that surrounded him so steadfastly. Aiden, for the first time in so terribly, terribly long seemed to embrace that veritable choice without retreat. Hmmm. Perhaps that pet had done more for the Alpha then even Matteo had realised. The Frenchman, wisely, so hardly chose to make a fuss over that small step forward his son had made as Aiden softly uttered he was hardly sure, that he needed to think on it, that he did not know what one named a goat. Matteo's gaze shifted from Aiden once more, the Frenchman eyeing that pouring rain outside in contemplation and too- so removing the weight of his gaze and any sense of expectation from his son with that single gesture if onl to make that moment but momentarily easier.
"I do not think the naming of goats has so many rules, Mon Fils. I think it can be anything you like. You could name her Storm, for the weather we found her in, or Rain. Perhaps even Aello. It is Latin but it means 'the whirlwind' and I very much suspect that will be what your room looks like after she has had free run of it tonight."
That amusement tugged warmly at Matteo's voice then, the Frenchman glancing back toward his son and the tiny goat who so eagerly finished those final mouthfuls of her bottle.
c'est dur d'être un dieu.