Ice and Fire con't
Ice and Fire con't
Closing on Lejla’s hidden fortress, Piotr’s toothy grin grew with every step. The red girl was about to get her just desserts… and it was going to be cold…very cold. There were only two people who could push Piotr’s buttons, causing him to react with such crazed vengefulness – his sister and Shiro. Lejla wasn’t too far from being placed on that same list.
“GOTCHA—huh?” Piotr’s victory was short-lived. He found nothing between the boulders but a pile of well-formed snowballs. Where did she go? I know she was here, I heard her… Piotr frowned, growing more aggravated with the fact that Lejla was getting the best of him.
“What the--?” A white blur whizzed past his right ear, startling the Russian. His hands slipped from beneath the monster snowball he was holding…
“AGH!” was all he could manage as the avalanche of a snow splattered on top of his head. A numbing sensation covered his face, putting his brain in immediate shock. coldColdCOLD! It was the only thing his poor head could process at the moment. His hair, face and shoulders were damp with white clumps.
The next whirling ball of doom swept against his hip. Still a bit disoriented by the monstrous snowball mishap, Piotr shook his head violently to regain what senses still remained unfrozen by the sudden icy contact.
“Ow!” Piotr rubbed his stinging thigh. That little ball of snow actually stung! Where in the world did she learn how to make densely-packed snowballs like that?! First time playing in the snow, my foot... Piotr grumbled privately before his eyes finally spotted the red girl standing beside a wide tree.
“THAT HURT!” Piotr shouted at Lejla, bridging their distance with his booming voice.
With pouting frustration, Piotr’s hands became tight fists at his sides. Lejla was doing a superior job of bring out the adolescent sore loser in him. It wasn’t fair! He was getting brutally snowballed by a girl; a petite girl who had never played in the snow before, much less succeeded in winning a snowball fight, or so he assumed.
Lejla responded by taunting him with a childish hand gesture. As frustrated as he was, as irritated as he was, and as aggravated as he was, Piotr could not stop the chuckle snaking its way up his throat, the repressed snicker coming out as a snorted laugh.
You silly girl. Piotr couldn’t hold back the smile that overtook his previous grimace. Suddenly Lejla took off at a sprint, shooting out of the treed area and back onto the open lawn.
Piotr didn’t waste any time following in pursuit of the impish red girl. Funny, he wasn’t even armed with a single snowball yet he was still chasing the girl across the lawn. His mind raced, revenge slowly forgotten, he began to close the gap between them. It was strange how the Russian’s objective had altered. He no longer desired to avenge his snow-beaten ego. He just wanted to catch her. In Piotr’s mind, Lejla had become an unattainable treasure to be claimed as his own.
She glanced back once at Piotr and much to her disadvantage, Lejla slipped in an apparent crevice. Piotr laughed at her stumbling as she dropped all of her snowballs, continuing to stumble before she finally gained her footing and sprinted off again. Oho, he was catching up to her now! He could tell by her zigzagging steps that she was winding down.
So close to catching her, he could almost reach out and brush the fur of her coat. He tried snagging her once but miscalculated his timing and his footing, nearly tripping in the deeper parts of the snow-covered lawn.
Piotr forced himself to run faster. He was like a heat-seeking missile closing in on his crimson target. He was indeed pressing to reach a mark, but not necessarily for a higher calling, but a red mark nonetheless.
He was near enough to her now that a warm rush of victory pulsed through his veins. Waiting for the right moment, Piotr finally grabbed the arm Lejla swung backwards as she ran. Spinning her around to face him, he tackled her into the softness of the snow, pinning her on her back with both arms at either side of her shoulders.
“I…told you…I would…catch you…” Piotr said between panting breaths, his face flushing with redness from the exertion. He smiled down at her as he tried to catch his breath.
This was the perfect opportunity to splatter a wad of snow in her face, or better yet, bury her in the snow for the stunt she pulled. Nonetheless, hovering over Lejla, his limbs would not obey. Staring dreamily at her face, that goofy lopsided smile he often displayed while in Lejla’s presence reappeared.
Full and heart-shaped, her face appeared a deeper shade of red against the dreary gray and white of their surroundings. Her ruby-colored skin was so rich that Piotr could have sworn he saw the prism contour of its razor sharpness.
And those eyes! Piotr found himself unintentionally lowering his body towards Lejla as he looked into their milky blue. Like the crystal ball of a gypsy, Lejla’s eyes had a way of captivating the Russian. His chest tightening, he continued to gazed into her pupil-less cerulean eyes. It was almost as if she was beckoning his very soul, leaving a light tingling sensation of warmth flowing through his body.
Piotr was gaining fast. Lejla wanted to race all the harder, the thought of snowballs suddenly forgotten. Now it was a game of pursuit – “Catch me if you can” she would have cried had she the capacity. Frosty air burned her lungs with every breath and her feet were almost completely numb but still she ran. No longer giggling, she couldn’t afford the waste of air, Lejla discerned his thundering feet and panting breaths right behind her.
Piotr was relentless, running her down like a dog on a fox. Lejla knew she couldn’t keep it up much longer. She could feel the tightness in her chest, the muscles of her legs burned. This is silly, let him catch you. You know you want him to. To do what, bury her in snow?
Her biggest mistake was turning her head to see how close he was. To keep her balance she had to throw one arm ahead and trail the other behind her. He reached up, and grabbing her arm, spun her around. They both lost their balance, toppling into a snowdrift.
Lejla lay prone beneath him, her lungs drawing air in great heaving pants. Caught between his arms, every rise of Lejla’s chest brought her body in contact with his. Despite being captured, the warmth of his nearness was somehow both comforting and exhilarating.
“I…told you…I would…catch you…” The words were almost whispered between heaving gasps, his breath caressing her cheeks. She couldn’t take her eyes off of his, they seemed imprisoned every bit as much as the rest of her. The strange thing was... she didn’t mind at all.
Lejla expected him to bury her in snow, to cover her head to foot with chilly wet slush, she deserved it after all. At the very least a handful of snow to her face, but he did none of those things.
Piotr was suspended above her, his sapphire eyes piercing through her, his face closer than she could ever remember. Her head was spinning and somehow she knew it had nothing to do with her exertion or capture.
She no longer sensed the snow beneath her, all her attention given to the man that held her securely between his strong arms. She fought the desire to reach up and caress his cheek. As it was, she didn’t dare move an inch lest it break whatever enchantment bewitched them both.
Lejla rolled his name, his wondrous name, around in her mind.
Piotr’s mother once told him that true love would make you do crazy things. He never positively understood those words until this very moment. For at this very moment, his heart raced, his stomach fluttered, and his brain was pleasantly spiraling the red girl’s name in his head as he started to do something that would seem absurdly impossible to most.
He found his face drawing closer to the beauty lying beneath him.
As if by sudden instinct, Piotr’s body armored up with its usual metal shielding. This in itself was odd because his powers never worked when he wanted them to, much less by uncontrolled impulse.
Ironically, it felt like his metallic hide was being pulled almost magnetically toward Lejla, his silver lips drawn irresistibly to her crimson ones. His eyes closed, taking in the moment before it came. In one unplanned instant, his lips met hers ever so slightly in a simple kiss.
Just as he felt the vibrations of her touch the evening he met Lejla; he felt the same smooth yet pulsating sensation as he kissed her. Though it took less than a minute, the kiss seemed so infinite in the Russian’s mind.
Piotr lifting his head slightly, their lips parted.
Like chocolate chip cookies… he thought, trying to mentally describe the taste of his first real kiss. He blinked his silver eyes out of their haze suddenly realizing what he had just done. You idiot, what if she didn’t want you to kiss her? What if she doesn’t even like you in that way? Piotr dismissed the thought, refusing to believe his boyish insecurities. There was something there, he knew it; he saw it in her eyes, felt it on her lips.
Please tell me you felt it too.
He searched Lejla’s face for any signs of alarm, fearing that he had overstepped his bounds.
Lying beneath Piotr in the middle of Xavier’s front lawn, Lejla never thought to question the propriety of their position. It was what it was, a suspended moment in time. Now at rest, her heart and breathing should have slowed. Why did it seem that her heartbeat was racing faster than before?
Piotr’s eyes continued to bore into her, even closer now. And suddenly he was different. The transformation was swift; the steel plates of his mutated skin clinking into place in the blink of an eye.
Lejla’s mouth parted in astonishment. Had the momentary excitement caused Piotr to lose control of his mutation? She didn’t have time to ponder that thought further, because suddenly his lips where tenderly brushing hers and all conscious thought flew away. Lejla instinctively closed her eyes, relaxing into the contact she never hoped to share with anyone, let alone the handsome Russian.
His lips poured liquid heat into her, filling her body with myriad new sensations. She’d never felt more alive... It was impossible... impossible, and yet it was happening – something she dreamed about on lonely nights, something always wished for but never, never expected. The reality was so much better than she ever imagined...
And it was over all too soon. Lejla’s eyes slid open when Piotr pulled away, his brow wrinkled in silent question. He seemed to be looking for something – permission to continue perhaps? It was clear he wasn’t sure he should, through his own uncertainty or out of concern for her, Lejla couldn’t tell. Piotr needed to know he’d done nothing she didn’t invite. Having finally tasted what seemed eternally forbidden her, she desired more.
This time she dared to cautiously stroke the tips of her fingers across his silvery cheek, then both arms wrapped around his shoulders, drawing him back down to her. Gaze locked with Piotr, Lejla poured everything she could not say with her lips into her eyes before they drifted shut, anticipating his next move.
Lejla’s eyes opened slowly, Piotr wondered if he had made a mistake by kissing her. Before he could doubt his actions any further, Lejla’s hand caressed his cheek. Just the touch of her talon-fingered hand made Piotr melt within his metal casing.
She then proceeded to speak to him. Though tragically mute, Lejla still expressed her deepest emotions to Piotr, through her soul’s window—her eyes. Piotr could see her heart on full display in her misty blue orbs, encouraging him to continue what he had started.
Her eyes beckoned to him like a single flame to a blazing fire. He could sense that she wanted to feel his lips against hers just as badly as he did. Wrapping her slender arms around the bulk of his shoulders, she tugged at him. Piotr obeyed her wordless command, letting his forearms rest in the snow on either side of Lejla’s shoulders as he drew his body closer to the petite girl beneath him. Remembering his steel form, Piotr was careful not to completely relax his position, not wanting to crush the fragile girl.
In unison, the crimson beauty and the young man of steel closed their eyes, their lips met once again. Piotr tilted his head to the side ever so slightly as he kissed Lejla with passionate self-confidence. No longer did he wonder what a genuine kiss would feel like, nor did he doubt his own his sexuality, feeling Lejla’s soft pants between his lips as they shared breath.
His lips withdrew from Lejla’s only to swiftly find them once more, as previously unacknowledged emotions for the red girl transferred from his lips to hers. His hands found their way to the sides of her crystalline skin, cradling and stroking her cheeks gently in his steel-ridged hands.
Rewarding Lejla’s silent encouragement, Piotr renewed the kiss. This time it went beyond innocent discovery, blossoming into greater fervor as the teens slowly lost their prior inhibitions.
This was like nothing the red girl had ever experienced. Piotr turned his head, pressing more ardently against her mouth. Lejla responded, losing herself in the nearness of Piotr’s body. She had a vague perception that the experience might be different for them than Kurt and Ororo, or countless others she’d seen in the hallways. It would never be the same for her, but Lejla wasn’t complaining. And neither was it like kissing a robot, as she had feared, if she ever thought about it before. Piotr’s lips were warm and slightly pliable beneath the shell of steel.
Was this what love was like? Every other physical sensation paled in comparison. Her heart filled to overflowing with joy, all the painful memories of her short life momentarily dimmed by the gentle touch of a shy Russian boy.
Piotr pulled away briefly, the two of them catching their breath before he closed the distance again. Lips seeking hers he deepened the kiss, drawing Lejla down beneath the flood of emotion. His hands moved to frame her face, thumbs lightly caressing the line of her jaw. Lejla reveled in touch so rarely given, a contented sigh escaping the back of her throat. She would have whispered his name into his lips if she were able. As it was, Piotr echoed through her head again and again.
She clung to him even tighter hoping she could manage to keep her claws from damaging his clothing. Not even truly aware of what she was doing, one hand shifted to the back of his head, holding it gently in her gloved palm.
Lejla would have gladly lay here kissing Piotr all day regardless of being in plain view of anyone passing down the walkway, but an involuntary shudder suddenly wracked her body. Her mutation no proof against the weather, the chill from their snowy bed was beginning to penetrate even her thick new coat. Finally pulling away reluctantly, she looked to Piotr in silent pleading. Lejla trusted he would recognize her distress and gather her into his strong arms to keep her warm.
Lejla sighed contentedly beneath Piotr as he gently thumbed her cheeks. Everything else around them seemed to disappear in Piotr’s mind while he continued to kiss the once untouchable crimson beauty. Nothing else mattered – it was just he and Lejla. Piotr had never experienced such strong feelings for a girl before. The crush he had on Jubilee was silly and childish compared to the emotions he was experiencing right now. What was this feeling? This feeling that made him so light-headed but at the same time kept him anchored to the red-skinned girl; this same feeling that made him murmur a small whine of displeasure when Lejla pulled her lips away from his.
Disappointed, Piotr lazily opened his eyes and was met with Lejla’s pleading orbs and shivering body. How long had they been kissing? The poor girl was freezing! Piotr had forgotten how cold it was beneath his numbing steel armor.
He blinked out of the hypnotic kiss-induced trance offering Lejla an apologetic look. He shifted his weight to his knees before pushing himself to his feet. His previous position had dampened his jeans and the light coat he was wearing. He was thankful he couldn’t feel the coldness of his wet clothes he knew would hit him as soon as he changed back to his normal form.
Extending his hand to Lejla, he gently helped the slender girl to her feet and drew her shivering body close to his metallic one. He knew she could feel the warmth beneath his exterior, that he wasn’t just a cold tin can to her. He was certain this was quite a peculiar sight to anyone who may have been watching; a giant tin man with his arms wrapped snugly around a tiny little red girl. Piotr didn’t care how silly they might have looked; he was savoring this moment holding Lejla warmly in his arms – the girl who gave him his first kiss.
Reluctantly releasing her from his embrace, he smiled down at Lejla and took her hand into his own as they made their way back to the front porch where the whole ‘catch me if you can’ pursuit all began. Still holding her hand, Piotr let Lejla walk in front of him, guiding her up the steps of the porch. They weren’t quite at eye-level, but at least she wouldn’t get a neck cramp from looking so high.
Meeting Lejla’s eyes, Piotr gave her a lopsided smile of contentment. After that kiss, he would never look at the red girl the same way again. There was no way they could just be friends… there had to be something more and he wanted to find out what it was.
The small smile on the Russian’s lips was washed away by a sudden sadness. He was leaving for Russia on Monday. He would be without her for a month over the Christmas break. Piotr’s sucked in his lower lip, avoiding the small pout trying to emerge. He missed Russia; he missed home. He hadn’t seen his family since the last long school holiday. He’d been excited all week about going back home for the holidays, but now that excitement turned bittersweet by the thought of being away from Lejla.
It didn’t take long for Piotr to recognize Lejla’s discomfort. She allowed his kind ministrations, even welcomed them, snuggling into the warmth of his body in total disregard of what her razor skin might be doing to his coat. There was so much comfort in the strong arms and large gentle hands that folded around her, holding her until her shivering ceased, that she never thought to question the marked contrast in their heights. Piotr was whom he was, the same person in metal form as without. His size didn’t matter to her in the least.
The past few minutes had taken her quite by surprise. She felt like she was dwelling in a haze, a very pleasant waking dream. Energy now thoroughly but pleasurably spent, she allowed him to lead her back to the mansion’s front porch.
At that moment, nothing could have erased the deliriously happy smile on her face. Piotr had done more than run down this tease of a girl. Somewhere in the last few weeks he’d captured her heart. It seemed that their relationship only required a small spark to set it ablaze. In their curiosity and innocence, the little kids noticed what neither of the teenagers perceived until now. Their friendship, the bond of similarities they shared, had crossed into to something infinitely more satisfying.
Lejla mounted the steps until she was almost eye to eye with the towering Russian. She didn’t release his hand but stood there in awe, studying his face – her knight in living armor, the first and maybe only boy to dare the unthinkable. Her free hand drifted up to his face, not yet ready for the moment to end. Lifting to her toes she leaned forward to lightly kiss his lips one last time.
She remembered Kurt once saying that parting was such sweet sorrow. Now she understood what he meant by that. She only had one more day, and then it would be a month without him – one long lonely month.
Of course, she would be with Doug and his family, but they weren’t really the touchy-feely kind. Although they welcomed her, there was still this small sense of being held off, both physically and emotionally. Lejla was loath to lose what she’d just discovered. Even Doug rarely got physically close, and even less since their silent agreement to back off.
And what of that? Her feelings for Doug no longer seemed of such great consequence. He was her friend, but what now lay between Lejla and the Russian was so very much more, a slow dawning realization of exactly how much he meant to her. How could she do without the shy smile that greeted her at breakfast, the way his vivid blue eyes followed every movement of her hands when she taught him sign language, the quiet times they shared when they were both practicing their love for the artistic... even his obsession with Oreos.
There were so many other moments, and she would miss them all. It suddenly occurred to her that he was going home. Xavier’s was her family now, but Piotr had another. What if he decided that they were more important?
Lejla’s index finger touched her lips, then she bought her open hand down over her fist – a secret sealed – < Promise >. Suddenly overcome by emotion, she couldn’t remember if she’d taught Piotr that sign. < Promise... > repeating the word, this time finger-spelling it, she blinked back the tears threatening to roll down her cheeks. < ...You will come back. Promise me you not go home and stay. > Lejla couldn’t bear to think about losing what might be her only chance at happiness. < I endure much. Not know if I endure that.>
With one hand still clasped in Piotr’s, Lejla extended her free hand to the side of his face. Without even realizing it, Piotr tilted his head slightly into her hand, savoring her pulsating touch beneath his metal skin.
Standing on the tips of her toes, Lejla leaned forward and pressed a small kiss to his lips. Piotr exhaled softly releasing a small goofy chuckle from the back of his throat. He was thankful Lejla could not see the redness of his warm cheeks through his metal exterior, after letting out such an awkward laugh.
He couldn’t help it. Just the touch of her hand, the feel of her lips against his, made the metal giant feel so…so alive! He had always felt deficient—almost half-human—because of his robotic-like mutation. But being able to feel Lejla’s touch showed him just how human he really was—steel form or not. It was as if the crimson beauty before him lifted a deadening curse from his metal body with her enchanting touch.
The Russian’s structured features held a bit of sadness knowing that he would be leaving this captivating red girl for nearly a month to see his family overseas. Piotr searched Lejla’s face, finding the same sorrow in his own eyes mirrored in hers. He wished he could be in two places at once—to be at home with his family and to be here with the young girl, whose sad eyes were almost too much for the Russian.
She signed something that she had not taught Piotr. The sign almost looked as if she wanted him to keep a secret. He watched her hands intensely as she finger-spelled her previous sign.
“Puh-ro-moss… Promise!” Piotr sounded at her spelling and smiled at his quick comprehension. His smile slowly faded when he realized Lejla was losing her composure. “Promise what, Lejla?” He asked her softly, aware of her sudden distress.
< ... you will come back. Promise me you not go home and stay. > Lejla couldn’t bear to think about losing what might be her only chance at happiness.
Piotr gave her a puzzled look. What did she mean promise to come back? He had to come back; he still had to finish his last semester before he graduated. Of course he was coming back!
< I endure much. Not know if I endure that. >
Piotr’s mouth formed a small ‘o’ in realization. She thought he was leaving—forever—that she would never see him again. The Russian sudden recalled and took to heart that Lejla had grown up under unstable circumstances. It was only natural that she would question his return when so many other things in her past proved to be anything but secure and lasting.
Piotr looked softly into Lejla’s eyes. Their milky blue was filled to the rim with indescribable sadness. The way she kept blinking, Piotr knew that tears were soon to follow.
“I promise, Leli,” he spoke softly and sweetly as he passionately signed the word ‘promise’ back to her. “I promise I will come back.” He cradled her ruby-colored chin in one of his large hands. When he thought he saw a single tear sparkle from the corner of her eye, he gingerly took the pinky finger of his other hand and wiped it away before it could blemish her beautiful face. “No tears, okay?” He offered Lejla a small lopsided smile as he bent his knees a bit so he could see her eye to eye. “Okay?” He thumbed the side of her face gently with his cradling hand until he was certain she wouldn’t burst into tears. “Besides, I must return to finish our snowball fight… and bury you alive in this snow!” He said only half-jokingly with a smile, poking her stomach with his index finger.
Piotr stepped up on the porch. “And by the way,” his body reverted back to its fleshy form as he continued, “I want my Oreos.” He crossed his arms over his chest. His tone held a playful sternness, lips pouting slightly at the impish red girl who stole his beloved cookies.
“I promise, Leli,” he spoke softly and sweetly as he passionately signed the word ‘promise’ back to her. “I promise I will come back.”
Lejla offered him a weak smile. It meant quite a lot to her that he’d been observant enough to pick up on the new sign. She leaned into his gentle touch, just as he had to hers, wiping away a single tear that managed to escape. Closing her eyes very briefly, she savored what no one else could dare, the touch of human hands that she craved but seldom experienced. She already knew how much she would miss this while he was away, but it would be enough to know he would be back. She’d definitely be counting the days.
Lejla reopened here eyes to his level gaze, both gentle and knowing. She would miss that most of all.
“No tears, okay?” He offered Lejla a small lopsided smile as he bent his knees a bit so he could see her eye to eye. “Okay?”
Nodding, Lejla blinked back the remaining moisture. She couldn’t stay melancholy as long as Piotr was with her. They still had more than a day until his departure, no time to waste with unnecessary sorrow, at least not until tomorrow anyway.
“Besides, I must return to finish our snowball fight…and bury you alive in this snow!” He said only half-jokingly with a smile as he poked her stomach with his index finger.
< Maybe tomorrow? > The patented Lejla smirk slowly returned to her mouth.
“And by the way, I want my Oreos.” He replied with a playful quip of his own, returning to his passer form. She found she didn’t mind, because his armoring hid his most handsome feature, those eyes she was beginning to see in her dreams.
Lejla giggled playfully. Of course he could have his Oreos back, he’d earned them, in far more ways than he knew.
She approached him as closely as she dared now that he was unprotected. < I go get cookies, you get movie... and maybe hot chocolate, yes? Meet me at bottom of steps? > Lejla cocked one brow in playful suggestion.
The offer of finishing the movie in the den, with a nice warm fire blazing in the hearth, seemed much more inviting with this new turn in their relationship. If there were no further interruptions they could start another fire all their own.