Winter as My Season

Chapter 1. No Rest For The Pitiless

He caught him, at first, dancing in the rain. Through the haze of mist and vodka induced blurriness, he saw a bright red sweater. When he moved closer, there was movement. A flowing, rippling body beneath layers of cotton, arms outstretched to catch each cold drop of water.

He waited for a moment, putting the bottle of vodka in his hand to his lips to take a swig. His smile, small and pleasant and disgustingly fake, widened a little. Dancing in the rain was such a childish pass time, held close to the hearts of those who knew nothing of pain.

Would they dance the same way in the snow?

But he sat and watched, all thought erased by the white static of rain and alcohol. The boy, alone on the rarely used football field, was beautiful in an odd androgynous sort of way. His hips, the way his feet worked, the way blonde hair stuck to the pale curve of his neck. He would have laughed, yet not known the reason why.

Endless hours spent in the persistent rain seemed to pass, yet he lost all pretense of time or understanding. His vodka was not nearly as finished as usual by the time he checked his watch for the time. Midnight glared back at him in florescent green lettering. He shivered. Natalia would be 'worried'. He couldn't bring himself to care, just leaned back and let the rain travel secret paths across his face.

He couldn't bring himself to care about anything anymore.

The bleachers groaned in protest as someone else climbed them towards him. "Oh." Came a quiet voice. He looked up, blinked slightly to take in blue violet eyes, the small pointed nose. "I didn't know you were here. Sorry."

He stared at him for a moment longer, trying to recall the face that went with that soft sweet voice. "Ah." Those innocent eyes flicked to him for a brief moment, before turning back to his bag to retrieve a beaten black wind breaker. "You're the boyfriend to that bitch."

"Alfred?" The other asked carefully, rather than standing up for his apparent lover. He just nodded and took another gulp of vodka, watching a small white stuffed animal fall from the bag. He bent to pick it up, fingers brushing smaller thinner ones. Their eyes met, and he smiled dangerously. The large doe eyes of the other were first to look away, snatching up the soft white bear. "I'm Matthew."

He hummed gently, staring at the sky and blinking whenever rain landed in his eyes. Matthew was still there, watching him. He glanced up, his smile becoming thin and sharp. Matthew conceded in the staring contest once more, cradling his bear to his chest. "You. You're Ivan. Alfred talks about you all the time." He didn't elaborate, and Ivan didn't push it. Matthew sat down and sighed heavily. "I don't want to talk about Alfred though."

Ivan laughed. It was a harsh noise. "Who would?" He took another swig of his vodka, studying the smaller boy not a meter away from him through narrowed eyes. His blonde head was cradled in his hands, shoulders shaking with the force of his sobs. He sat up a bit, turning to face him properly. "Why are you crying over him?"

Matthew looked up, staring at him for a long moment. He did not find calm sympathy or caring warmth in deep violet eyes. Maybe that was why he slowly pulled together his words. "I...I don't love him." His voice was barely above a whisper, as though confiding a great secret.

Ivan smirked. "Then leave him."

"I can't! H-he loves me! And I just... I've never been loved like that before." They lapsed into silence, tears washed away by the rain, leaving pathetic sniffling. Ivan watched him, and smiled because he didn't know what other reaction he should have. He didn't understand such worthless tears. Matthew gave him a long look. "But I guess you don't get it..."

He shook his head, tipping the clear bottle up to his mouth once more, the vodka burning a path down his throat and leaving him with a sense of disturbing clarity. He wondered why Matthew had been dancing in the rain of all things, but figured it wasn't his place to know. Besides. He didn't care.

"Do you..." Matthew ventured, quickly breaking eye contact when Ivan initiated it, never seeing his triumphant grin. "Do you know Francis and Arthur?" He grunted. "Aren't you.... jealous of them?"

His laughter, however harsh, was really little more than a few quiet giggles. But it froze the blood in a lesser man's body. "I am not jealous of anyone." It was a lie. But one that he told so well that people had come to believe it. He had come to believe it as well. Matthew stared at him silently and wiped his cheeks hastily. Ivan realized that Matthew looked painfully beautiful.

"I...kinda feel sorry for you." Ivan's laughter was his only response. He left Ivan on the bleachers, swallowed by swirling mist. He didn't watch him as he left. Just stared at the glass of his vodka, now nearly empty. He laughed because he didn't know what else to do.

He stumbled his way home, smashing the bottle when it was finally finished. Matthew. Such a wretched little thing. How could he feel sorry for him? What was there to feel sorry for? He was strong. Had only ever been strong. How could someone so small and weak dare say they pitied him?

"Brother, where have you been?" Katyusha touched his arm tenderly, cheeks stained with the dried tears of her worry. He didn't answer her, pushing her and her kindness away, climbing up the stairs to his room. It was dark, little more than his bed and a radio inside. A haven. From what, he didn't know. The room had never kept him safe.

Matthew. He lay on the bed and stared at the blank ceiling, still soaked through, all thoughts blurred in a fog of sadism and an emotion he didn't recognize. Such an annoying little creature. Fragile. He could break him. He could take that soft, weak compassion and watery sense of self worth and crush it. In fact, he wanted to. Matthew.

He would remember that name.