OldLogs:Know Your Place

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Know Your Place

Characters: Rafael, Alex as ST
Date: 2017-08-30
Summary: Rafael reminds a young dancer who is really in charge and discharges a favor to a friend.
Disclaimers: {{{disclaimers}}}

The hour is late, no show this day meaning only a small staff for only part of the day. The backstage and hallway lights have been extinguished, the hall lit only by a few lights directed toward a stage that should be empty, but is occupied by a young man. His cellphone is on the floor, tinny music echoing off the wooden floors as he goes through a the dance currently performed by Rafael. His body trembles slightly with exertion, a sheen of sweat on his skin as he pushes himself. Skilled, dedicated and beautiful, this might well have been his dance in another time or place, the young man instead outshone and forced to find the center stage only in moments like this. The music comes to an end and Mark leans over, hands on his knees as he takes slow, deep breaths.

It's not entirely unusual for Rafael to stop by the theater even on a dark day. He's in jeans and a button-down rather than anything resembling dance attire, his entire outfit crisp and stylish and tailored. He moves with an almost unearthly grace down the house left aisle, a leather messenger bag slung across his chest. He watches the last few minutes of the dance, standing a bit in the shadow and out of immediate view so as to not catch Mark's attention. Until the teenager is finished, that is, at which point Rafael continues his journey towards the stage. "What," he says, his tone one of idle curiosity that hides the danger underneath, "are you doing on my stage?"

Mark startles, standing abruptly at being unexpectedly addressed, his dark brown eyes scan quickly for the source of the question. He spots Rafael through the glare of the stage lights and, after a moment more, recognition fills his gaze. "Ra--Ra--Rafael?" He looks around, seeking others who may have been watching him, his shoulders tightening up as he draws his hands inward toward his chest. Seeing no one else, he returns his attention to the other dancer, "Yo--Your stage?" Surprise has brought a small stutter to his words, but a flash of defiance briefly flits through his return look, "It's our stage. I was just practicing. A little." Some of the defiance drains away as he offers up his reason for being there.

"On a bare stage on a dark day," Rafael says with a hint of a smirk tugging on his lips. "I suppose the rehearsal hall wouldn't offer quite the same amount of drama." He draws up to the front of the stage, tipping his head back to look at Mark above him. "You were practicing my part," he points out. Mildly.

"It's more... everything here. The rehearsal hall is different." Mark's shoulders relax slightly as Rafael approaches, looking down upon the other dancer from the stage. Something passes behind his eyes, but it is quickly gone and he is answering the more damning comment. "I try to practice all of the parts. It helps me to understand." He falls silent after that, still holding his place above Rafael, a small note of defiance returned to his posture.

"Understand what?" Rafael wonders. He cants his head, considering Mark, and then he turns to take a few steps back into the audience. He sets his messenger bag on one of the chairs and then sinks down into a seat of his own. "Show me," he tells him.

Mark looks to Rafael as he seats himself in the audience, seemingly flustered, his body language reflecting discomfort. "I'm-- I'm not going to dance for you, Rafael!" His voice rises as he declares his denial, eyes wide as he faces the other young man. There is an underlying hostility in the brown of his eyes that is revealed as she shifts under the harsh stage lights, though he soon turns his head away.

"Calm down," Rafael chides him, lounging loose-limbed in his seat, elbows settling on the backs of the chairs next to him. "You just /were/ dancing for me. I just want to see it from the beginning." His smile curves almost warmly. "You said you were practicing. How are you going to get better if you don't show someone?"

Mark leans over to sweep up his phone in hand, quickly depositing it in his back pocket as he glares at Rafael for a long moment. He turns, as if to leave, but pauses, his face hidden, though the tightness in his shoulders is clear to see. He turns back, facing the audience hall, eyes looking beyond Rafael before he lets out a frustrated sigh, his lips tightening into a firm line. "It was /just/ for you, wasn't it?" Not quite the meaning as it was given to him, the younger man moving to the end of the stage and making the small jump off, approaching Rafael where he sits.

"What -- the dance?" Rafael's knuckles curl against his jaw as he watches Mark slide off the stage and into the house, his gaze studying the tightness of his frame, the subtleties of his movements. "It was choreographed for me, yes," he says. "That's generally what happens when you become a principal dancer."

When Mark nears, he shakes his head, "You seeing me dance it. It was just us." His pupils widen slightly and he leans toward Rafael, extending a hand to brush his fingers against the other man's forearm. His cheeks flush with excitement even as a feeling of momentary fatigue rolls over Rafael, one quickly replaced by a euphoric sort of pleasure that floods his body. Dark brown eyes are perhaps more compelling now, something about the younger dancer calling to Rafael in a way that it hadn't before. "Now we're getting somewhere." Something in the way he speaks has changed, a bit more power, a bit more control and something not all together pleasant beneath that.

Rafael's nostrils flare, his gaze alighting with clear and overt interest when Mark brushes fingers over his arm, and there's no denying the subtlest of shifts of his body towards him. He draws in a quick, deep breath. "Oh, kid," he murmurs, managing to focus through the rush of pleasure to keep that point of contact with him. His lips curve in a slow smile. "You're not getting anywhere." Not -- strictly accurate. But his next words hold a certain weight of power: "Everything you do is worthless."

The power and drive that had filled Mark's eyes a moment before fade into something almost listless, the resolve and confidence he'd had moments before becoming nothing more than a dream as he enters something much more like a nightmare. "Wait-- what..." His words come out at a near mumble and he almost sags in place, "Why am I even trying? Of course it wouldn't work." This thought manages to rouse him somewhat, some inner anger acting as just enough fuel to say, "You should just disappear. Everything was perfect before you came. I'd just gotten free of my grandmother and now this!" Every word appears a struggle just to speak, though the deep bitterness allows him to manage at least this much.

Slowly, Rafael stands. His gaze is sharp and brittle as black glass, the movements of his body impossibly graceful and inhumanly alluring as he steps in towards Mark. He reaches to try and take his chin between his fingers. "You will never," he tells him in a low voice, "be me. You will never be anything. You think you're free of your grandmother? You can't even let go of the inheritance she left you. You cling to that book like it /means/ something."

Mark stills at the sinuous grace with which Rafael moves, a sharp intake of breath watching as the other man closes the already short distance between them and captures his chin. He tries to return Rafael's gaze with a firm one of his own, brown eyes forcing their way up from the other dancer's lips, to nose and finally his eyes. "I-- will too. I wi--" his voice cracks as he loses any semblance of defiance, his expression falling in on itself as he comes face to face with true power. A shiver courses his body and he almost misses the reference to the book, shock turning to confusion, "That's... that's mine by right! How do you-- how-- I took it. I took it from her. It's mi-- how do you--" His words and thoughts are nearly incoherent, prey caught before a predator.

"No, Mark," Rafael says simply, almost pityingly. His fingers stroke along the lines of his cheekbone, down his jaw. "It's not. You don't deserve it." His thumb drags slowly under Mark's lip. "Get rid of it," he says, the words a smoother, lower almost-suggestion now. "I know you have a buyer. Nothing is yours by right, darling. You only get what you deserve. And you, alas, deserve none of it."

Mark trembles slightly at the brush of Rafael's finger, his words slipping into the younger man's mind and pulling apart any remaining confidence or will he may have had. He slowly sinks downward to his knees, tears forming at the corner of his eyes as he looks up at Rafael, nodding slowly. "I will. Please. I will, just please..." A shudder of emotion takes Mark's body briefly before he whispers, "I'm sorry... sorry." His head droops and he brings his hands up to hide his face, the tears coming more freely now.

"Please what, Mark?" Rafael says in a low voice, watching him sink to his knees, his expression aloof. Almost impassive. For that moment, he's a god unimpressed with his offering. "I'm not here to serve you," he says. And then he leans over, one hand braced on the back of a seat, and brings his lips close to Mark's ear. "Don't fuck with me, kid," he whispers. And then he brushes a kiss to his cheek before straightening back up and reaching for his messenger bag. He settles it over his shoulder and begins to walk back up the aisle without another word.

There is nothing more from Mark, unable to answer, and reduced to a great, gasping sob at the whisper that brushes his ear, a silent nod is the only response the young man can manage. He felt it. He knows. Something greater and more powerful walked across his existence this day. His place has been affirmed, and it will never be the top.