(Zamoroztye chto prolomy wroz / Breaking Ice)
by Seiwa Kaiyura (性和界由来)
illustrated by tongari
Yarka turned away from the rehearsal stage, murmuring irritably through his lines; he had better things to do than watching Andêl, the ass, practice with Jurinka. It might be true that the girl was improving, but he never would acknowledge this in front of the guy who had made it his hobby to annoy Yarka out of his skin. His ears still burned when he thought what of what Andêl had pulled earlier. Yarka raised a hand to rub against the much-too-sensitive skin of his neck, then stopped mid-motion to scowl. He hated to be touched there, but of course Andêl had to try and feel him up, in front of the rest of the cast even. Yarka had fled quickly, cursing the older man to the deepest of all seven hells.
… Well, maybe wishing him to hell went a bit too far, but Yarka simply could not stand the man who had replaced his twin brother Miroslav. After Mirya had broken his leg, they had been desperately searching for someone to take Spring’s role, but Andêl Varisko had rubbed Yarka the wrong way from the very beginning. But even ignoring the fact that Andêl was at least five years older than anyone in their troupe, that he came to the rehearsals practically oozing smoke, that he merrily poked his nose into choreography and management and behaved so familiarly with everyone – he had even dared to try cozying up to Yarka’s brother when the latter came to visit, chatting him up and calling him ‘Mirya’; only Yarka was allowed to do that! – putting all these aside, what Yarka hated most about Andêl was how the man seemed to take a kind of perverse pleasure in finding out how far he could push Yarka before Yarka actually killed him.
Having become the sole baby of the troupe, now that his twin was at the hospital, Yarka was already coddled and teased enough. He did not need to be constantly informed that he was short, looked like a girl and could not lift the props by himself – he wasn’t, didn’t, and could lift them just fine, thankyouverymuch.
So Yarka really would have been a lot happier if someone else had gotten Mirya’s role, but no one better had shown up. And Andêl wasn’t exactly bad at acting. He was more of a dancer, but his voice carried well and he was confident on stage. Not to mention he looked good enough to make Jurinka and Marina, who had the roles of the two poor sisters, swoon, with his hair as blonde as Mirya’s brown turned in summer.
Yarka snorted and went back to practising the part where he ruled over the weak sister. It was a difficult scene: their director had done his best to turn the traditional play upside down completely, and some parts had become a little crazy.
He flounced into one of the rickety chairs and put up his feet on the back of another. His socks were mismatched again, he noted absently. At least they did not clash with the pants too much this time, because even though he didn’t really mind, the laughing fit his clothes had inspired in Marina last week had been kind of embarrassing. But that could not be helped; taking care of his wardrobe was Mirya’s job.
Well, at least he would know pretty soon if he’d messed his clothes up again, because-
“And today’s ensemble is: Green jeans and a white sweater, topped off with a blue and a purple-black striped sock which miraculously matches the fuzzy scarf!”
Damn, they had finished. And Andêl had announced his daily fashion analysis. Yarka huffed and ignored the additional suggestion of, “Try some pink next time!” as well as its contributor, who now was slouched in the chair beside his. Only when Andêl leaned over and rested his arms on the back of Yarka’s chair did he turn to glare at the older man. “What do you want?” he grated out.
Andêl grinned. “Just wanted to check up on you; you were looking a bit gloomy today.”
“And whose fault is that?” Yarka muttered. He turned back to his script, but hissed and nearly fell out of his chair when Andêl took this brief moment of inattention as an opportunity to pat him on the head, dislodging two fuzzy braids that had already been threatening to slip out of their hair clips. After a bit of flailing, Yarka managed to regain his balance and put both feet firmly on the ground, in case the ass tried anything else. “Please keep your ‘concern’ to yourself,” he hissed, pushing Andel’s hand away. At Andêl’s amused chuckle, he growled and stood. “Find someone else to harass,” he ordered, then made to get away as fast as possible. He could imagine every possible response Andêl might have to that anyway.
The director was walking over with two other dancers, Lisco and Yannek, in tow.
“I want you four to practise the first dance once again,” the director said. “You need to work on your timing.”
Yarka nodded and reluctantly turned back. The first dance of the seasons was not the hardest part, nor the longest. But since they started out in complete darkness, it was a bit tricky, and if it didn’t go smoothly, the rest of the performance would probably be affected.
While the director ushered Jurinka off the stage, Yarka and the other two dancers did some warm-up stretches. Andêl, who had already gotten a good workout, just lazed around, watching them. Or rather, staring at Yarka again. Yarka could feel it, itching at the back of his head. He stretched his back once more, then turned and stared back insolently.
Andêl’s eyebrows rose. Luckily, before the man could say anything, the director told them to get into position.
The dance had a simple rhythm, their steps following a four-way mirrored pattern around and through an empty space in their midst that moved and widened as they whirled across the stage. One long step, then two short ones, their upper halves bowing then straightening again as if pulled upwards by their rising hands, arms, as their feet repeated the dactylus.
Yarka cursed under his breath as he brushed against Andêl’s shoulder, having to shift backwards to avoid Lisco’s hand, which had come up a split second too early. They were totally off rhythm; the director would probably drill them for at least another hour to make sure they had it memorized.
Which meant another hour of Andêl at his back, grinning at him when they crossed paths, warm palms brushing against his until Yarka itched so much he lost his concentration and made more mistakes, instead of less. Great. Maybe he could accidentally step on the bastard’s foot at some point.
It was cold outside and the leftover snow on the sidewalk had soaked his shoes thoroughly, so he removed them at the entrance. Yarka yawned and rubbed the sleeve of his bluish sweater over his eyes. Marina appeared seemingly out of nowhere and started dragging him off into the direction of the changing rooms, which had, up ’til now, remained unused. He managed to vaguely make out the words ‘finally arrived’ and ‘trying on’ in her exited chatter, then the girl pushed open the door to reveal a chaos of colours, sleeves and weird items forming a confusing landscape, like mountains that had suffered several earthquakes and a volcanic eruption. Possibly, he thought, the volcano had been on a lot of crack.
“Yarka! Yours is over there.” Jurinka bustled past them, a dress over her arm. Yarka grinned and dodged her. So the costumes had arrived. About time, the first show wasn’t that far away anymore, only a bit more that a week.
Yarka manoeuvred around piles of fabric littering the floor to the one in the corner with the label ‘зима’ in grey letters. He pulled on the first sleeve he saw in the blue-white tangle. Lots of layers, and where did that sparkly stuff come from? He tried to remember the design sketches for his costume. Three robes in different lengths, and that ring-shaped thing belonged in his hair, right? So what were the box of small glass bits and the glue for?
Maybe he would know if he put on the rest. Gathering the costume in his arms, he turned and nearly tripped over a stray boot from a different pile. Looking at the mess in the room, Yarka wasn’t sure he would manage to make it to a space where he could try his costume on without creating avalanches.
And then Andêl looked up from where he was rooting through his own stuff two piles over, snickering at him.
“Hey, could it be possible they gave you part of my costume, too?” he asked Yarka jokingly. “That’s enough fabric for you to drown in.” He carelessly draped one of the artificial flower vines from his pile around his bare shoulders. No shirt? Andêl had to be kidding him. But there was nothing large enough for that purpose, only the wide, green pants Andêl already had pulled on. The older man shifted the tiara entangled by his own blond hair, then struck a pose. “What do you think?”
Yarka shook his head. “Half of the audience will probably stare at your chest instead of concentrating on the play. Think you’ll get away with fooling around now?” he sniped, then blushed when Andêl’s grin grew wider. The man sauntered over, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and bringing that bare chest dangerously close.
“Do you really think it looks that good, to be so effective?” Andêl asked, kidnapping a strand of Yarka’s hair between his fingers.
“Nah, you’re not pretty enough,” Yarka corrected, blushing in spite of himself. Damn it! But girls liked Andêl’s build, all muscular and hopefully even sweaty.
“I prefer the term ‘sexy’ anyway,” Andêl said, interrupting his thoughts. Yarka winced at the tug on his scalp. “Pretty is your forte.”
Okay, that was it. “Shut up.” Yarka turned, intently not looking at Andêls chest, and snatched back the already halfway unravelled braid.
“I hope the heating fails and you freeze to death!”
“Argh. I can’t stand that guy!” Yarka complained and sat on the edge of the bed, careful not to upset Miryas propped up leg.
“You’re bristling,” his twin observed, pointing. “Your head looks like a crow’s nest already, don’t make it worse.”
Yarka stuck out his tongue. “Not my fault, I can’t see the back of my own head.” Then he frowned. “That ass is always plucking out the braids, too. He should start knitting or something if he doesn’t know what to do with his hands!”
Mirya patted his shoulder as Yarka buried his face in the pillow.
“I wish you were still around, then I’d have my peace,” Yarka murmured.
“Can’t be helped.” Mirya sighed.
Yarka raised his head a bit to look up at his brother guiltily. “I’m sorry, Mirya,” he said, “I know you wanted to play that role. If I hadn’t dragged you away to go climbing the cliffs…”
Mirya whapped him on the head. “Stop it, I broke my leg on my own,” he chided. “You better get your ass in gear and make the play a success, even without me,” he ordered, laughing at Yarka’s groan. “My little brother is stronger than letting himself be bothered by some pushy guy,” he announced, sorting through the mess of hair to disentangle and rebraid it. “You can do it,” he encouraged.
Yarka sighed. “I’ll try. But he’d better prepared to get hit if he tries to get frisky with me again…”
Yarka hurriedly retied his belt, which had come loose, and wiped the sweat off his brow. He was really glad ‘costumed rehearsal’ did not mean they had to put on their stage make-up, too. That would have been a pain. They were sweaty and getting tangled enough as it was. Yannek and Yarka were off worst, since they both wore more each than Lisco and Andêl combined. At least Yarka did not have to wear a wig; his hair had been blue before rehearsals even started. That was possibly why he had been appointed Winter.
He was not all happy about his role right now though. Yarka hated this scene. When he had rehearsed it with Mirya, it had not been perfect, but it had worked, their mutual trust helping them to express something frightening, but beautiful. How was he supposed to trust a stranger this much, to give himself up to him and surrender completely, even though it was just an act? The intimacy of it made his skin crawl, almost scared him.
He had landed on his behind the last time they had gone through it and the black spots still hurt. And Andêl liked this scene. Liked it. The damn pervert really seemed to enjoy humiliating Yarka.
Not to mention he didn’t even seem to notice Yarka had trouble with the choreography. For an experienced dancer a complicated pattern like this was no problem, but Yarka had been specialising in acting until now. He would learn it just fine, sure, but the ass seemed to expect him to fly through the choreography or something like that.
Like now. Yarka could practically feel Andêl getting impatient. He tensed when he felt Andêl’s hands push against his back so the other could pass him. Did the idiot not know it got even harder to concentrate like that?! And now Yarka was a wee bit too far to the front. Hopefully the idiot did not-
Yarka stumbled as Andêl pulled him forwards too fast. “Will you stop that already?” he hissed as his head collided with Andêl’s chin, leaving him dizzy. Ow. He tried to get away and stepped on Andêl’s foot rather forcefully.
Andêl winced, but still seemed reluctant to let go of Yarka, so Yarka kicked him in the shin and shoved the hands away, stepping forward and almost falling over the hem of his robe.
“What the hell are the two of you doing there?”
The angry shout belatedly reminded him of the director’s presence. The man had turned dark red, looking ready to explode. “Oh be quiet, I don’t really want to know.” He interrupted Andêl, who had opened his mouth to say something stupid.
“I’ve had enough of your antics,” the man continued aggrievedly, not caring about the snickers of the others still in the room. “You’re not leaving before you got this scene down, even if you have to stay the whole night.” The director fixed both of them with a glare. “Work out whatever differences you have. I expect you to act like professionals tomorrow!” He finished with a decisive, short gesture, cutting off Yarkas protest before he could voice it.
More practice with Andêl? Great.
Yannek promptly took it as a dismissal, taking Jurinka’s arm and pulling her out of the room with a last cheery wave into their direction. The director stalked off without another word, Lisco trailing behind him saying something about the techs having problems with the light. The answering snarl he received didn’t seem to faze Lisco much.
When the door clicked shut behind the others, Yarka took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. It was not the director’s fault he had to stay longer, and grumbling would not have helped anything. He shifted to get back into the position for the scene to continue and even manages to suppress the urge to shoot Andêl a venomous glare. Another deep breath, then he began.
“You’re too tense.”
Yarka ground his teeth audibly. Three steps, then a turn. The urge got quite a bit stronger when he turned to face Andêl. Why did they have to practise this particular scene again and again? He didn’t like it when Ândêl touched him, it made him uncomfortable. But he had to endure, they needed to perfect this part of the dance or else it would regress into a graceless struggle.
So they circled each other again and again, sometimes moving all too close, then turning away, until the smell of Andêl’s sweat filled his nose, his presence became almost unbearable.
Winters downfall – Yarka knelt, falling backwards, one of Andêl’s hand on his throat – the other steadying him – making goose bumps rise on his skin and a shiver run down his spine.
A moment passed by, then another, the seconds feeling much longer to him. “You can let go now,” Yarka hissed and tried to free himself, to get away.
Andêl simply shifted his grip from Yarka’s throat to his shoulder, pushing him down against the slightly rough wood of the stage. “Why should I, since I’ve caught you for once?” the older man grinned. “I have to use that opportunity.” Even now, the grin got on Yarka’s nerves and if he had been able to, he would have kicked Andêl. But his legs were trapped, too, caught in between Andêl’s effectively.
So he could not move much when Andêl leaned down to kiss him, just turn his head a bit so the kiss landed awkwardly on his chin instead on his lips. Not really fazed by it, Andêl tried again, only missing by hairs breadth this time. Yarka tried to bite him, but Andêl managed to draw back in time. “Stop that,” the man chided. Yarka snarled at him, trying to wiggle free, but that just seemed to amuse Andêl. The tongue in Yarka’s ear was definitely no accident. Then something pushed his legs apart, against Yarka’s crotch and the blush Yarka had been fighting won out.
Yarka hissed at the much bigger man, clawing at his arms, trying to get free, but the hands didn’t let go, the leg between his was pressing even closer. “L-Let go!” Andêl just smiled and pushed his free hand under Yarka’s robes. It was warm. Yarka flinched. “Did you hear me, you damn pervert?” Andêl paused for a moment, considering. “You don’t like to be touched, hm?” He withdrew his hand, caressing Yarka’s hair instead. “You evade the others, too, though I don’t think they’ve noticed.” Yarka tried to turn away from the next kiss, but the hand in his hair kept him in place. “Mhmmpf!” Andêl even put his tongue in… Yarka forgot to bite him as Andêl pressed closer, rubbing his knee over Yarka’s crotch.
“You wouldn’t be half as fun to provoke if you weren’t this skittish, you know? Maybe you should learn to take a joke,” Andêl told him between kisses. “Don’t change on my account, though.”
Yarka stared up at him disbelievingly. Did Andêl just tell him he had invited this? No way in HELL! He simply did not like to be touched by strangers and weirdoes like Andêl who seemed to think this was a game of sorts. That was what Yarka disliked about him the most. Everything was a game to Andêl.
“…but since you don’t even stop to listen when I talk to you, something extreme was in order.” Huh? Well, there never came anything intelligent out of Andêl’s…mouth… DAMNIT!
Yarka had never heard about someone blushing to death, but if it was possible he would blame Andêl, who even had the nerve to look vaguely happy.
“You know…” What now? Yarka did not want to know, really. “I didn’t believe your brother when he told me I had my work cut out for me, but now I think he was right.” Yarka’s head spun. Mirya had… he didn’t even resist the next kiss. “What…”
“Don’t think I’d joke about something like this.”
Andêl was much too close. Not to mention one of the hands holding him had retreated under Yarka’s robes again and was doing…things…there. Shoving fabric aside, rubbing over a ticklish spot… Yarka jumped when Andêl tweaked his nipple. Something like that was not supposed to feel good!
Yarka managed to shove Andêl a few inches away so he could breathe. “If it’s no game to you, why are you doing this?”
“Because I can’t let you keep on running away. Because I want you, don’t know any other way.” Andêl smile was crooked and uneasy. It did not fit with the usual annoying behaviour. “Don’t expect any dramatic confessions, though.” The kiss that followed was different, too, even though Yarka could not determine why. Maybe because Andêl was holding visual contact the entire time it took. It left a tingly feeling on his lips. What was that supposed to mean? Yarka did not understand.
“Let me? Please?” Let him what? Let Andêl have his way with Yarka? What the hell was Andêl thinking, was he even thinking?
…oh. Yarka’s eyes widened when Andêl slipped his hand downwards, into Yarka’s pants. Oh. That was… weird and uncomfortable, but… Yarka felt like his brain hat shut down for a second.
Andêl’s hand was rough, every callus rubbing against the tender skin of Yarka’s member eliciting another shudder, leaving a tingling feeling that gathered in the back of Yarka’s head, not unlike the tingle Andêl stares sometimes had provoked, just much, much more intense. It made it hard for Yarka to think.
And Yarka needed to think, this was not right, there was something very wrong about the way Andêl bit his lip, rubbed his tongue against his. It should not have felt good. Neither should have the fingers rubbing over Yarka’s abdomen and side, sometimes almost tickling, sometimes scratching. It shouldn’t have made Yarka almost want this, the friction, especially that of the hand in his pants. Andêl was doing something very strange, shifting around the skin at the head of Yarka’s member, then gliding downwards to the base and-
Yarka nearly bit Andêl in surprise, his shout muffled against Andêl’s lips.
He had not known the spot behind his balls could make him feel so, so… He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to concentrate enough to bite Andêl for real this time, he had to get away before Andêl did it again. Why? Because it was too good to be anything but very wrong; because just an hour before he would have rather died than considering to like this.
Because Andêl just had opened his own pants and was rubbing their members against each other now. And that was an entirely different kind of blissful hell.
Hell that made him clutch to Andêl’s sleeve instead of shoving him away. Hell that made him groan and press upwards.
Andêl was rocking against him, fingernails scratching over the skin of Yarka’s hip, provoking a shiver. Yarka’s resolve broke and he told the little detached narrating voice in his head to shove it for once.
His heart was beating much too fast, his head swimming as the world narrowed down to Andêl’s face above, bodies rubbing together as if it was just another part of the dance, shifting forwards, against each other in a rhythm that thundered in his ears as if his blood was rising in waves and crashing down again, like the sea in the first storm of spring, tearing apart floes of ice breaking on still frozen-over rocks, small shards dancing on the dark water, carried upwards in the wind.
Pleasure struck like lightening as Andêl twisted his hand and Yarka heard his own voice echoing off the walls, raw and high-pitched like the cry of a weak seagull lost in the storm, unable to find land, drowning.
Mirya loved storms, he always called Yarka to come outside and watch, especially when it was a full-blown thunderstorm that lashed out and tore away parts of the beach, tore at their hair and soaked them to their skin within seconds. Yarka followed, for even though he was afraid, something about it felt right, running trough the rain, hearing Mirya laugh like he had gone crazy, watching the bright web of lightning painting the dark grey skies as they clung to each other, trying to brace themselves against the wind that threatened to sweep them off their feet. It was frightening, but also beautiful.
Yarka’s head fell back, the hand clawed into Andêl’s biceps going slack and falling to the ground and it was the dance again, only Andêl’s lips on his throat this time, seemingly keeping him from falling even though there was nowhere to fall into, Andêl’s eyes boring into his from beneath pale lashes, intense like he really was going to kill Yarka, if not for the heat in them, melting away even more of the outer layers that separated them until Yarka felt like there was nothing but this heat, shudders wracking him as he succumbed to the violent whirls of the sea flooding everything until there was no land anymore.
Yarka hadn’t expected this many people to turn up on the opening night.
It actually frightened him a little: what if something did not work, what if Jurinka slipped up again, what if he lost his concentration? He pulled back from the edge of the curtain, taking note of Mirya sitting down in the first row, leg propped up. Forcefully, one by one, he pushed the doubts from his mind. He could do it. They had practised so much, they had rehearsed over and over again. Mirya would be proud of him, he could do it. He was winter, icy wind carrying upwards the powdery snow, cutting into the skin as it changed the white landscape in waves. He just had to use all those flowery images his brain supplied when the sarcasm was switched off. He just had to concentrate and dance like that wind. Right.
The lights of the hall dimmed, and the restless audience quieted down. Yarka checked his watch on the table. One minute left. The girls brushed past him, taking up their positions. Yarka stepped through the gap in the side curtain and walked quietly onto the stage. He closed his eyes, trying to calm his nerves, as the tension rose. A big hand touched his shoulder, resting there for a second, before vanishing.
The curtain rose. Still wrapped in darkness, he took his first step at the command of the music.
Spotlights caught them in mid-movement, Yarka saw a whirl of green at the edge of his vision, but then everything was consumed by the dance. He crossed the entire length of the stage twice before they drew backwards, making room for the girls. He could hear Andêl, deliberately keeping his breath even, but he did not turn his head; he was watching Jurinka step up, raising her arms. Yes, she had become a lot more elegant, there was a new surety in her movements, in her voice. She could finally draw the eyes of the audience precisely where she wanted them. It helped Yarka to concentrate and maintain the utter stillness the act of simply existing required. Instead of the prominent presence beside him, he could focus on her. His heartbeat calmed as the balance in the foreground shifted, changed…then completely flipped.
Yarka moved before his mind had even registered first scene had ended and it was their turn again. Mirroring Summer’s steps, he turned his back to Andêl, no, Spring, almost touching both of them for the half a second, half a circle, two heartbeats long instant, before they sprang apart, turning, then freezing, kneeling at the very edge of the stage. Slowly, oh so slowly he raised his head, eyes meeting Andêl’s before resting on Marina, who now stood in their midst.
Spring rose as the girl finished her plea, steps slow, almost gliding. Winter interrupted, rose just as smoothly, but much faster, in one wide, low step, hand raised sharply to intercept.
Yarka bowed one last time before the actors left the stage for good, almost drowning in the thundering noise of clapping hands and stamping feet. He rushed to the emergency exit and collapsed against the wall just outside; there he stayed, rubbing his temples. Three times Winter and Spring had clashed, fighting over the fate of the girls. Only on the last dance Spring had won, overthrowing Winter. The close proximity, hands to hands, staring up into eyes fixed on him sharply – it had felt like being connected to a live wire, electricity running along his fingertips. He had danced as if he had been in a trance, heartbeat changing to match the rapid rhythm, and maybe that wasn’t so untrue. All his discomfort, annoyance, anger had been gone – the simple trancelike intensity had consumed it all.
But now he felt exhausted. Yarka slumped a bit more, groaning, then frowned at Andêl, whose laugh he had half expected already. It would have been a miracle if the guy had not followed to harass him again. Andêl shut the door quietly.
“Can’t you leave me alone for at least one minute?” Yarka grumbled tiredly.
“Obviously not. Good performance, Yarushka,” Andêl said, leaning over and swallowing up Yarka’s protest against the nickname in a long, involved kiss. Yarka stiffened, then inwardly sighed and let him, leaning against Andêl’s broad, slightly sweaty chest.
“… ick,” he commented when they drew apart. Face paint did not taste very good. Andêl just grinned and swiped his tongue over the shell of Yarka’s ear. In retaliation, Yarka kicked him in the shins.
Having devoured the world, the sea calmed. The clouds opened and like a first weak smile sunlight broke through and danced on the spray. Miroslav set his crutch away to pick up a small flower stubbornly growing in the wet sand and smiled. Spring had come.
 The official transcription of this name would have been ‘Andyol’, but since I didn’t like it, you have to live with ‘Andêl’~