Author: Guede Mazaka
The snow has packed down and a crust of ice covers it, which kind of ruins Bastian’s plans for a fastball pasted to the back of Poldi’s head. He gets behind the other man all right, but then when he tries for a quick scoop, he accidentally bashes his fingers against that shiny hard crust and curses, hunched over and squeezing at his hand through his mitts. The dim light throws a deep blue shadow over the crack he’s made in the ice.
“Bastian?” Lukas turns around, then high-steps his way back through the snow. He’s not much more than a wind-nipped red nose and two eyes between his scarf and his hat. “What’s the matter? Are you okay?”
“Nothing…I…just…” Then again, the stuff around his legs is all nice and broken up into fluff; he doesn’t want to get Lukas cut or something, after all. Just maybe a little ruffled. He’s been good all day, worked hard at practice and then didn’t cause any trouble at lunch-break, either, and besides, Lukas looks like a mummy in all that stuff. “…I…kind of…feel…”
The other man wanders a little closer, starting to reach out to Bastian, and that’s when Bastian slams down his hand, smushes snow into a clump on the top of his boot and then lets fly. The snowball starts to disintegrate before it even gets halfway to Lukas’ head, but enough still makes it to take off his hat and even knock down the band of the ear-muffs he’d been using to hold the hat in place. Lukas yelps and scrambles back, snatching frantically at the ear-muffs as they sling around and then fall down his front. They bounce off his hands three or four times before he finally gets a decent hold of them, but by then he’s not been paying attention to what his feet had been doing for so long that he has the best surprised face when he falls over backwards. Like a—like a comet, with the flash of his blond hair disappearing between his upended feet and the light sprays of white that burst up into the air.
He crunched through the ice. It’s a good thing Bastian is doubled over again, because God, the laughing hurts. But it’s—just—ear-muffs—
After a while, Bastian gets hold of himself. With some effort. His tears are already going chilly on his cheeks and he does the best he can to rub at that before they freeze there. He coughs a couple times to get the last of the snickers out; his ribs kind of hurt and he feels a little bit lightheaded from using up all his breath on laughing so it takes a few tries before he can stand up without swaying. “Oh, Poldi, see, this is what they were saying about staying aler…Poldi? Lukas?”
It hadn’t been that hard a fall, and anyway, Lukas isn’t made of glass. He shouldn’t been up by now and glaring with his arms over his chest, or at the very least cursing and flailing around, but all Bastian can see is a soft white blanket over everything.
Well, no, that’s not quite right. There’s a jagged shadow a few meters in front of him, where Lukas tipped over, and when he walks over, he can glimpse one boot half-sunk into the snow. It’s not moving.
“Lukas?” Bastian has to force his feet down to get around to where Lukas’ head should be. He’s going through snow that’s been lying on the ground for days now, and not just stuff that’s waiting to be shoveled out of the way in the morning. It’d be perfect for skiing, but right now it’s a nuisance. “Lukas! Lukas, you dumb idiot, did you—”
Okay, last time he ever leans down to check on Poldi. The moment Bastian’s center of balance shifts, two white blobs shoot up and clamp onto his shoulders, then yank him down amid flying snow and a crazy yell. “Got you!”
“Poldi, you dumbass—” It’s a good thing they’re wearing such bulky coats, otherwise that knee of Lukas’ really would’ve done some damage. As it is, Bastian just feels it as a weird pressure between his legs; the elbow that smacks through his scarf to his jaw when he tries to push himself up hurts more. Cold little particles patter his face, their initial sting quickly melting so he absently tries to catch a few with his tongue. “Ow.”
“Ow? You kicked a snowball at me!” Lukas flops around beneath Bastian, his left arm clawing at the snow like he’s going to get a handhold there. All he’s doing is digging them deeper and deeper into the drifts. He throws a bunch of white into Bastian’s face, then suddenly grins.
Before Bastian knows it, he’s in a headlock and snow is getting ground into his head. He roars—okay, it’s muffled to practically nothing by the scarves and coats, but it’s the thought that counts—and pushes hard at Lukas’ chest, shaking his head in an attempt to dislodge the other man’s hand. But Poldi’s a stubborn bastard and he hangs on, smushing at Bastian’s hair till the snow’s all melted away and then still pushing. Bastian gives up and just slumps on Lukas so he can feel the surprised grunt whoosh out of the other man. Cold slush is starting to get in between his mittens and his coat-cuffs, and down into his boots too, and it doesn’t chill so much as really kind of itch.
Bundling up for winter always makes Bastian feel like he’s shutting out the world, like he can’t hear or see or feel anymore, and that’s why he likes sports like skiing. He always likes to keep moving anyway, but it’s even more important once the snow’s down and deadened everything and the cold air threatens to turn his blood sluggish in his body. The slush is good that way—it’s starting to spark parts of him awake even if it’s annoying. Kind of like—
“I lost my glove,” Lukas gasps, pushing his hand into Bastian’s scarf.
At first Bastian doesn’t know what he’s doing, but then his freezing fingers slide across Bastian’s neck and Godthatscold. He starts to jerk back, but Lukas curls his fingers over the back of Bastian’s neck and yanks him down with one of those set-jaw looks that Bastian’s been learning means Lukas isn’t going to put up with anymore. Poldi’s got a quick smile, but he’s no push-over.
“And my ear-muffs. And it’s your fault.” Lukas twists his hand around to dig his knuckles into Bastian’s neck. His breath hangs in a damp, warmish mist all around them, and Bastian can actually watch bits of it curl into Bastian’s own breath. He arches, gets his leg past their bulky clothes and wraps it around the back of Bastian’s calf. “God, I’m so cold. What took you so long to walk over here? Maybe I could’ve been concussed or something.”
“You forgot your hat,” Bastian says, a little bit relieved. For a moment, he’d been afraid Lukas was really, actually mad at him. But no, Poldi still gets it. He’s just annoyed.
Lukas makes a face at Bastian. His hand’s finally warmed up so it’s not like knives curved across the back of Bastian’s neck. “You owe me. I was lying here freezing for an extra minute because of you.”
Bastian rolls his eyes and kisses Lukas, and hey, it couldn’t have been that bad if Lukas’ mouth is still so hot. The hand on his neck tightens, and there’s the uneven, spread-out pressure of Lukas’ still-mittened hand sliding along Bastian’s side. Their coats rasp ridiculously over each other, undercutting Lukas’ moan, and a flurry of snow pitters over Bastian’s back as Lukas’ foot kicks into the drifts around them.
The sweat starts to run over Bastian’s skin, beneath all his layers, and it’s hot and sticky and uncomfortable so he almost wishes he could rip off his clothes, but the snow getting in at the top of his boots is still freezing. He digs in with his toes, like he’s climbing stairs horizontally, and hikes up his knees, trying to get more of his legs on top of Lukas’ coat instead of having them shoved into the snow. Lukas suddenly twists, his nails gouging in around the bumps of Bastian’s spine, and Bastian chuckles, sucks on Lukas’ lower lip as he bends that way again. He can’t feel a damn thing with all this down-filled fabric between them, but he can hear the catch in Lukas’ throat and can feel the urgency in the other man’s movements against him.
Mittened hands definitely aren’t made for effective groping; maybe that’s why all goalies Bastian’s ever met so far seem to have a bug up their ass half the time. He does his best, but half the time Lukas is giggling like a little girl, gasping that that tickles, and that’s not…not really what Bastian was going for. So he decides okay, he’ll just hold Poldi’s head out of the snow and work on his kissing, and then of course Lukas snakes his mitten from Bastian’s hip to over Bastian’s crotch. There’s the mitten, and then Bastian’s long coat and then the jeans beneath it and by all rights Lukas shouldn’t be able to—but Lukas does, somehow. Gets the pressure down—Bastian’s taking care of the heat; it’s so cold he doesn’t have any feeling in the tips of his ears now but he’s sweating like he’s running a marathon—and gets Bastian groaning, twisting and kissing Lukas harder, shoving himself down.
It’s like some weird sixth sense, the way he knows almost before Lukas cries out into his mouth when he’s got it right. He sure as hell can’t see it, and he can’t feel anything down there except their rustling padded coats, but he knows what he’s pressing against beneath all of that and he knows what he’s got to do, what Lukas is doing, what they have to do. It’s like on the pitch, when he’s turning to look, the pass already floated off his shoe and he panics, his breath shudders in his throat and his whole body tenses up because he’s having a moment of Ohmygodwhereisitgoingwhois and then, and then Lukas is there, and it’s aaaaall okay.
Even if they’re still in the wet, cold snow, and now besides all the clothing that makes Bastian feel like a slow fat slug he’s got come stickily itching in his jeans, and Lukas now is shoving his cold nose into Bastian’s cheek, like Bastian’s his personal hot-water bag. It’s still okay. It’s kind of scarily cool, actually, and not like temperature-wise.
“You weren’t concussed. I knew you were okay,” Bastian mutters.
“Yeah, sure.” Lukas shifts, grimaces without looking at Bastian. “Ow. My back.”
“No, I knew. I know with you.” Bastian grabs the other man’s shoulders—well, bends his stupid mittens around them—and holds Lukas down till Lukas is looking at him. “I just know with you. Really, Lukas.”
Poldi blinks once and looks disbelieving. Blinks again and looks believing and a little nervous, blinks for the third time and then makes a face. “Then why in the snow where it’s cold and not in a room?”
“Because I know,” Bastian loftily says. “You’ll get it in a couple years.”
He gets a handful of snow packed into the side of his face for that, and for the next couple of moments, they’re rolling around making new holes in the snow-drifts.
Eventually Lukas gets tired and just lies on his back, arms and legs sprawled so his foot overlaps Bastian’s and his hand is pushing snow up against Bastian’s side. Bastian isn’t quite tired yet, but he thinks he’ll be nice for a moment. All the better to get Poldi back.
“You think there’ll be a couple years?” Lukas softly asks.
“Of course.” The stars are really sharp-looking tonight, so bright it almost hurts to look at them.
And Lukas sounds so uncertain that Bastian sits up, about to be serious for once and—
Lukas is already lunging to his feet and running for the path, laughing his head off. “Poldi!” Bastian shouts, slapping the snowball off his face and leaping up himself. Though he doesn’t have a chance of catching Lukas now, not with that headstart and Lukas’ speed even through snow.
He’s not that mad. He knows, somehow, that maybe it’ll take a while and it’ll be kind of roundabout at times, but it’ll all work out in the end. And then, and then he’ll have his revenge.