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The boy is beautiful.

And drunk off his face, of course, but Viktor is not one to judge. He has had too many encounters with cheap champagne – for some reason it always needs to be champagne for these parties, although the quantity needed means that it must be cheap – but never in public. There’s a reason Yakov gives all his students a bottle of vodka on their fifteenth birthday, and that’s not because he likes to give birthday presents. That’s is the only one they ever get.

But still, Yuuri is drunk, is pretty, and Viktor is, well, not bored.

Viktor is used to pasting on a perfect imitation of a smile, making polite but meaningless small talk, but the sight of this boy manages to surprise him. He stares helplessly, nodding along to whatever vitriol Yuri is spewing next to him without hearing a single word.

This beautiful drunken trainwreck of a boy is staggering towards Viktor, his shirt hanging open like an invitation and his cheeks champagne-flushed, and that's...interesting. All of a sudden he's up in Viktor's space, a champagne bottle dangling dangerously from his fingertips. The boy isn't swaying anymore, but rather moving with a terrible kind of sinuous grace. His eyes are huge and dark and so, so close. Viktor swallows.

But the boy turns away, to face Yuri. That should not be as devastatingly disappointing as it is.

"You! Dance off!"

There's a hissing noise happening to Viktor's left, but he is looking at the way the boy is pointing his finger, an elegant command that Viktor could not hope to resist were it directed at him.

"What? Moron!" says Yuri, eloquent as ever.

"Dance off!" The boy is insistent, and drunk, and has at some point loosened his tie so Viktor can see where the sweat is gathering on his collarbone. Viktor blinks, and decides that he needs more champagne, never mind its quality. His mouth is suddenly dry.

Then the boy’s pointing finger turns around and becomes a becoming curve. Viktor takes a step back; to keep from stepping forward.

"Dance off!", This time it's a challenge with a wealth of arrogance behind it: the boy is confident that he can win.

"Fine!" shouts Yuri, and stomps off to the middle of the floor. The boy, swaying slightly, turns to Viktor with a brief beautiful smile, then follows Yuri.

A waiter comes by his side, and Viktor takes two glasses of champagne. He can do this. He can make it through the dance off. He's not going to stare at that boy - he's got more self-control than that, and he hates the idea of looking so...obvious. He concentrates on Yuri's scowl, and tries not think about shoving him aside and taking his place. He tries not to think about challenging the boy into a dance-off to see how well their bodies could fit together. Viktor attempts to school his face into a blank mask.

He fails.

The boy's got moves, that's for sure. Viktor's got his phone clutched in a grip so hard he can't believe it's not shattered. He doesn't remember taking it out of his pocket. The hard edges digging into his palm are a useful reminder, though; that his jaw is clenched and his whole body has cramped around his phone, tensed into stillness.

Viktor forces his shoulders to relax. He could take one photo, everyone else is doing it and surely no one would find it odd. Viktor takes a step backwards, trying to look less inconspicuous by melting into the crowd, but it’s hard. He keeps bumping into people because he can't take his eyes off the boy.

His dancing is getting wilder. He's destroying Yuri on the dance-floor and he knows it, showing off with flicks of his arms and the occasional exaggerated hip roll. His arms are everywhere, his sleeves rolled up like he means business, and suddenly he's folding himself over into a handstand, shirt riding up to expose the flat planes of his belly, and all of Viktor's self-control expires with the first glimpse of skin stretched taut over muscle. Viktor dashes foward with his thumb on the camera shutter before he even knows what he's doing.

He takes more than one photo.

At some point – time seems to be slipping, could be the champagne but is probably the way the boy executes perfect sharp twists with his hips – Chris comes to stand beside him. Viktor knows this because Chris elbows him in the side; Viktor has not looked away from the dance-floor and has no intention of doing so.

“Who’d have thought it of little Katsuki? I’m almost tempted to join in.”

Correction; for this affront Viktor is willing to drag his gaze away from the boy – Yuuri Katsuki, of course, he should have recognized him – and glare at Chris. The shit-eating grin that greets him implies the taunt was intentional. It also implies that he is being obvious, but that’s something for him to worry about later. Viktor flicks his hair to the side, and makes a thoughtful pose; considers Chris, and how he works.

He grabs another flute of champagne, takes a lazy sip and points his phone casually at Yuuri for another picture.

“You think you could take him on? I’m not sure.”

It takes less than five minutes for Viktor to regret ever baiting Chris, acknowledging Chris's presence in the first place, and in fact the whole of Chris's entire existence. Giacometti is pure, unfiltered evil.

Somehow there's a pole. Viktor doesn't even want to know why there's a pole at the banquet. He wouldn't put it past Chris to carry one with him for emergencies, but still. This is not what was meant to happen.

Yuri ungraciously accepts his defeat, storming off with wild eyes and "oh hell no" when Chris encourages Yuuri to undress to 'reduce friction', batting his long eyelashes in the worst attempt at innocence Viktor has ever seen. Viktor does not miss the way Chris's eyes cut to him, the sly smirk that curls on his lips.

Viktor's fingers tighten around the stem of his champagne flute. The urge to grab Yuuri by the tie and drag him away from Chris is almost overwhelming, and one day soon Viktor will look at this dispassionately and consider how he went from a casual appreciation of a near-stranger’s dance moves to jealous rage in the space of about forty minutes, but that will have to wait until his brain can concentrate on something other than the perfect expanse of Yuuri's chest, the way the muscles in his arms shift and pull to support his weight.

Someone holds out a fresh bottle of champagne and Yuuri reaches out to accept it, his upper body a graceful, devastating curve. Viktor takes a moment to appreciate the strength in his core, his thighs, before Yuuri straightens up and pops the cork, sending foam gushing down over his belly.

Viktor chokes on his champagne. His poor heart can only take so much, and this is it, the untimely end of Viktor Nikiforov. His fans will be devastated, naturally. Maybe he can sic them on to Chris.

But Yuuri is sliding down the pole now, his hands confident in their ability to hold him up (god, what could such strength and such confidence do to Viktor). There is a looseness in his limbs that had been missing in his earlier skate, a stiffness that had made Viktor grind his teeth just watching him. But this Yuuri is relaxed and poised, twisting himself around the pole with effortless grace.

Twisting himself around Chris, too. Viktor finds he has spilled his champagne, again.

It should be pornographic, really, considering the way they are entangling together (and considering Chris’s ridiculous thong), but it’s mostly just beautiful. In this room they all know how hard it is to push your body into doing things human bodies are not meant to do: the work and skill at display deserve respect. Yet there is a story here too, a narrative told by Chris’s grasping hands and showy movements, by Yuuri turning each sexualised motion to a challenge of athleticism and beauty.

Viktor is sweating in his expensive suit. He moves to loosen his tie, unthinkingly mirroring Yuuri who's tugging his tie away from his bare chest, who chooses that exact, terrible moment to look up and catch Viktor's eye.

Viktor freezes with his hand fluttering at his throat, his pulse drumming a wild tattoo against the tight knot of his tie.

Yuuri's gaze is heavy and utterly irresistible. If he could just channel whatever he's feeling right now on the ice, Viktor's sure Yuuri could charm the entire world. Viktor feels the heat rise in his cheeks as the moment stretches, until Yuuri looks away with an odd little smile at the corner of his mouth. Viktor lets out a long, messy breath. He needs to get a hold of himself.

"That's disgusting as hell."

He'd forgotten about Yuri. Out of the corner of his eye, he can see Yuri's slender chest rising and falling just a little too quickly.

Viktor doesn't turn away from Yuuri - at this point, he's not sure that would be physically possible - but he tilts his head to one side, considering.

"Mmm. Do you really think so, Yura? Perhaps you'd better run off to bed if the grown-ups are making you uncomfortable?"

"Tch! I'm not the one who's getting all hot and bothered by those gross morons!"

Viktor doesn't even dignify that with a response - he can see the glint of Yuri's phone in his hand. He does, however, forget that ignoring Yuri has a 100% success rate of asking for trouble.

"Well, old man. Are you just going to stand there and let that Swiss perv slime all over your new boyfriend?"

Well.

"Katsuki! Let me know when you're ready for the main event!"

Viktor almost claps a hand to his mouth in horror. He forces it back down, pins on his most charming smile, and flips his fringe back with a well-practiced jerk of his head.

Yuuri stops mid-twirl, the sound of his slick palm on the metal almost deafening in the sudden silence.

He should feel bad for Chris, whose slide down the pole is no longer supported by Yuuri’s thighs, but well, he doesn’t. Because Yuuri is looking at him now, and maybe Viktor is the main event, maybe he is what Yuuri has been waiting for.

There is really no space for anyone else in this room.

Viktor steps forward, and strikes a pose. Someone (possibly Mila, she is no less evil than Yuri but considerably more resourceful) changes to music and suddenly the room is filled with Spanish guitars. Yuuri, still graceful but perhaps ungracious, steps away from Chris and comes to face Viktor. He lifts his chin, tilts one hip at Viktor, and raises his arm smoothly, palm open in invitation.

 

Viktor feels his heart clench at the first notes of the music, passion and longing strung out in a single chord. For a brief, wild moment, he imagines laying Yuuri down in an orange grove, the sun warming his back as he makes his way through every inch of Yuuri's skin. Later, he thinks. Later.

Viktor focuses, makes a show of looking Yuuri up and down, slowly, letting his eyes drag over Yuuri's thighs and chest. Yuuri's cheeks colour but he holds the pose, chin raised, the beautiful invitation of his outstretched arm never wavering.

Viktor doesn't think he's ever wanted anything as much as he wants to reach out and grasp Yuuri's hand, to pull him close so Yuuri can feel his heartbeat. But. Viktor doesn't honestly think he can keep up his semblance of calm much longer with Yuuri this close in just briefs and a tie, the ends of his hair spiky and damp from exertion.

He tilts his head towards Yuri and holds up one finger.

"Tsk tsk. First - some clothes? We don't want the children to get too excited, do we?"

A cheap shot, but Yuri's enraged howl is worth it.

Yuuri's eyes widen, his blush deepening. He starts to stammer out a reply and Viktor doesn't know what he wants more - the shameless, confident Yuuri on the pole or this adorable blushing one.

Someone throws Yuuri his shirt and trousers and Viktor unashamedly watches Yuuri fumble them on. Yuuri goes to button his shirt but his fingers still when he catches Viktor's eye.

He leaves it open.

Viktor's eyes widen, and he can see that confidence creeping back into Yuuri's expression. Yuuri doesn't hold his hand out again. Viktor's face starts to fall, but then Yuuri sweeps one arm up above his head in a graceful arc, the angle of his wrist and fingers a demand this time instead of an invitation.

Viktor opens his arms wide in answer, throwing everything he's feeling into the space between his raised palms: I'm here, I'm ready, I'm yours.

Turning his back (something in Viktor’s throat wants to whine at that, but he swallows it down), Yuuri brings his hands to a sharp clap and begins to move. What Viktor knows about Yuuri – what everyone knows about Yuuri, other than that he cries a lot and tends to flub his jumps under pressure – is that he is good with his feet; more comfortable keeping to the ground, but capable of breathless heights of grace while there. Footwork in skates is not easy – it’s not just because of the greater glory that Viktor tends to centre his programmes around soaring jumps – but for Yuuri it seems effortless. And he is not currently encumbered by skates.

Which leaves Viktor in the embarrassing position of both trying to impress someone, and failing to do so because not only has Yuuri cruelly turned his back on him, but also because Viktor is failing to keep up. With his feet, which have just won him gold in the Grand Prix Final.

Time to step up his game.

There is something exhilarating about teaching his body something new. Viktor is cursing his feet and the way they’ve clearly had too much champagne, but he is also noting every one of Yuuri’s steps, the way his ankles move to create a sharp turn with the music, the subtle work of his thighs and the way his hips make a beautiful curve with his spine. Viktor is aware that he is not moving as smoothly as he should – perhaps it is for the best that Yuuri isn’t really looking – but he is starting to be able to repeat the steps, and soon. Soon he’ll be able to impress Yuuri.

Then Yuuri claps his hands again, and Viktor, following every move as he has been, claps his. And Yuuri turns around.

Viktor pulls off his suit jacket with a flourish, a complicated figure of eight that he's frankly a little suprised his champagne-numbed fingers can manage. Still, holding back has never been his strong point, and why should he, when Yuuri is looking at him like he's a revelation, eyes wide and dark. Viktor shapes his body into an inviting curve, an offering in the arc of his back, the tilt of his hips.

Viktor feels a thrill of satisfaction when Yuuri pivots forward into his space, rising up onto the balls of his feet. Yuuri's not tall enough to tower over him, but it still makes Viktor's breath catch. Viktor brings his jacket down with a graceful slash, not quite knowing if it's a challenge or a surrender.

It doesn't really matter now, because Yuuri starts to circle him, determination written in the sharp angle of his eyebrows. They stare at each other, eyes locked, as Yuuri crowds him into a smaller and smaller space, circling each other tightly as the music swells. Viktor surrenders to it, confident that he has Yuuri now, so close that he can feel every sharp movement of his arms, the way his breath is coming shallow and fast.

They have not yet touched, but they will, soon. Viktor has felt Yuuri’s shirt-tails fluttering against his fingers, and resisted the urge to grab hold. As ice skaters they have a necessary awareness of where others might be occupying space: usually, nearness is to be avoided in fear of collision, but Viktor finds himself wishing for it now. He wants to abandon this elegant dance and throw himself at Yuuri, grab him with arms and legs and everything he has just so that they can be pressed against each other. He wants to press Yuuri against a wall and just rub himself all over.

As Yuuri flashes past him, his tie smacking against Viktor’s arm, it occurs to him that his reaction is precisely what the paso doble is intended to inspire.

He also resists the urge to grab Yuuri’s tie. His own feels too tight, but he keeps pulling at it; somehow this is what he needs to do. A new thing, and one which Chris will have many comments about tomorrow, but frankly this has been an evening of many self-discoveries and Viktor only has space in his brain for so many. Mostly his brain is going Yuuri Yuuri Yuuri, which is embarrassing and also something he is helpless to resist.

Yuuri raps his knuckles against Viktor’s wrist as they pass.

Viktor feels it like lightning in his belly. It's ridiculous. He's ridiculous. Twenty-seven years old and every single nerve ending is singing like it's the first time he’s been touched. He feels like he's soaring, his heart thundering from the warm slide of Yuuri's skin against his own. He's never felt this raw, this alive, and this, this is what he's been searching for all season.

Viktor can barely breathe with the intensity of it. He's never wanted to kiss someone so much in his life, feels like his heart might burst right out of his chest in one final, desperate pulse. He can still feel the exact spot where Yuuri's knuckles brushed the skin of his wrist, thinks he'll feel it burning forever like a brand.

He pushes forward into Yuuri's space, expecting Yuuri to push back, pull away, anything to keep up the relentless, breathless back and forth of the dance. He doesn't expect Yuuri's arm to slip around him, tight, and skillfully guide him into a promenade. Viktor can feel every inch of where they are pressed together, four points of fire where Yuuri's fingers curve around his hip to keep him close, his thumb a live wire on his hip bone. Their thighs brush when they execute a perfectly synced kick and Viktor feels the stretch of Yuuri's smile next to his own.

And suddenly they are entangled together, every move a brush of hips and arms and thighs. Yuuri keeps guiding him into position, his fingers light but sure on Viktor’s body, and Viktor finds himself performing arabesques and tango twists and flamenco steps, all mixed together to fit perfectly with the music. Receiving instruction has never set him alight before, but under Yuuri’s deft hands Viktor is almost preening. He wants to impress Yuuri with what he can do. He wants to see what Yuuri can make him do.

What Yuuri wants to make him do, apparently, is almost come from being manhandled, which is also new and something Viktor will have to think about later. Now he is focusing on the fact that Yuuri is grabbing his thigh and lifting it (not around his waist, although Viktor notes that this is where his leg tries to go), pulling their bodies almost too close, and stroking Viktor’s face with his other hand. Viktor is blinking along with each stroke, and he is flushed and helpless and losing his balance; it’s only Yuuri’s confidence and Viktor’s desperate hand cradling his elbow that keeps him mostly upright. He’s smiling like a ridiculous person, and he doesn’t care, because Yuuri is also smiling, smiling at him, and they are so close, almost close enough for Viktor to press his smile against Yuuri’s.

But the dance demands otherwise, and Yuuri pulls them apart again. Viktor may have let out a woeful sigh at that, but his body keeps to the rhythm, keeps dancing.

Somehow he manages to keep moving, but his mind is stuck on the soft brush of Yuuri's fingers against his cheekbone, the tender, aching gentleness of it. He tries desperately to catalogue the moment, to commit every breathless second to memory. Viktor sees the bones of a step sequence taking form: a wistful brush of his fingertips, an arm outstretched as he chases the memory of it across the ice.

Much too soon, the song ends with a final, giddy flourish and Viktor feels his head spin as Yuuri bends him backwards into a dip. No one has ever tried to dip him before, and Viktor lets out a helpless giggle before he realises and snaps his mouth shut. Still, he can't stop the wide curve of his smile as Yuuri bends low over him, his hair brushing Viktor's damp forehead.

Viktor abandons himself to the dramatics of their final pose, throwing his arms over his head so his fingers almost brush the floor, letting Yuuri support the impossible curve of his spine. His shirt rides up with the stretch of it, Yuuri's fingertips hot on the small of his back as if they belong there.

Yuuri bends deeper to meet him, keeps their bodies tight and close. Viktor is acutely aware of Yuuri's chest pressed against his own, of every ragged breath that they share. Yuuri's so close that Viktor can count his eyelashes, can see his dark pupils blown wide. Viktor trembles with the effort of holding back, of not reaching up to taste Yuuri's smile. He's so close. It would be so easy.

Viktor helplessly pushes his stretch to tilt his head back that one last inch, offering his mouth to Yuuri. He feels Yuuri’s fingers tighten, feels the shift of his chest, and then the final note of the music quivers and dies; suddenly the banquet rushes back in to his consciousness: Yuri making retching noises, the slow, mocking clap of Chris.

Still, they take the slow way back up.

This is usually where people fall, but Yuuri keeps him safe, keeps him close, and later Viktor will be impressed with the effortless strength of his hands after at least four bottles of champagne and several exhausting dances. Impressed, and other things. But now he lets himself feel it all, the way their bodies continue to fit together, the lingering caress of Yuuri’s chest and hips as he pulls Viktor up, pulls him straight into his arms and into a hug. Like he doesn’t want to let go, and Viktor doesn’t want to let go yet either, so they just cuddle for a bit, swaying a little from exhaustion and the alcohol, but oh so comfortable.

Yuuri turns his head and presses a sweaty kiss to Viktor’s ear, intimate and sweet, and Viktor feels every shift in his muscles across his whole body, and thinks oh, this is everything.

Then Yuuri pulls back, and looks at him, smiles. “Thank you for the dance, Viktor.”

He pulls back even further, and Viktor thinks; no; thinks, this is the first time he’s spoken to me; thinks, I want another dance, I want more.

He’s about to say this, try to pull out what charm he has left at this stage (he might not be coordinated enough to manage the hair-swirl properly but he will do his best), but Yuuri is pulled from his arms before he can try.

Literally pulled away, by Sara Crispino (whom Viktor has never liked, there’s something weird going on with her brother who is also an idiot and has terrible themes in his skating) and Mila (who from the look on her face is doing this on purpose).

“Yuuri, you need to show us how to pole-dance!”

“Yuuri, how do you do thing with your arms?”

“I want to try the thing with the champagne bottle, but how much of it do we need to drink first?”

The girls are giggling, and the bottle in Sara’s hand is already spouting foam, but Yuuri bends to drink from it anyway (what has he been learning in America?) and Viktor is abandoned in the middle of the dance floor.

Which would be embarrassing, but Viktor is still reeling from everything, and considering the possibility of dragging Yuuri away from Sara and Mila, taking him somewhere private where they can everything, but now Chris is here and pulling him to a chair. This would be a kindness, except Viktor knows Chris and knows that there’s going to be mockery in his immediate future.

Viktor collapses onto the chair, the metal cold and hard. The contrast with Yuuri's arms makes his chest hurt in places he'd forgotten existed. He covers his face with a sweaty palm, to stop his eyes from hungrily following Yuuri.

Chris sits down next to him and Viktor can feel the weight of his knowing smirk. Chris is far too perceptive when he wants to be, and Viktor knows that he hasn't exactly been subtle, not when he's just been pressed breathless against Yuuri.

Viktor pushes his fringe away from his forehead, exhales roughly, and pulls himself together. Puts on his best photoshoot smile to distract Chris from his trembling fingers.

It doesn't work, of course.

"On a scale of 1 to me, how close are you to coming in your pants right now?"

Viktor lets his head drop back down with a helpless groan of frustration, utterly unable to hold it back.

Chris pats him on the shoulder, oddly, unexpectedly reassuring.

"It's nothing to be ashamed of - I'm halfway there myself. Who knew that Katsuki had it in him?"

Viktor minutely inclines his head towards Chris. He doesn’t look up, resolutely keeps himself from looking at Yuuri. Sitting still feels so strange, so empty, after the shuddering intensity of the dance.

Chris takes his silence as encouragement to lean in close with a slow, pleased noise, breath ghosting over Viktor's ear where it's still damp from Yuuri's mouth.

"I can think of something else I'd like to put in him."

Viktor growls, his head snapping up so fast he gets whiplash.

Chris just laughs in his face and pats Viktor's flushed cheek. His hand lingers, a mocking reminder of the sweetness of Yuuri's touch. Viktor takes a breath. And another. Uncurls his fingers from the angry fist he doesn't remember making in Chris's shirt.

But Chris, being Chris, doesn’t mind – he takes hold of Viktor’s hand, pulls it away from his shirt with only minimal tearing, and strokes a finger down Viktor’s open palm.

“Shall I tell you about the first time I met Yuuri? He was 19, and it was his first Worlds, and he was even smaller and shyer than he is now.”

Viktor frowns. Yuuri didn’t seem terribly shy to him, but he has only been paying attention for a few hours. This is something he plans to rectify as soon as he gets home – possibly before he has slept through his hangover. Viktor is sure that Yuuri’s skating will soothe away the headache he’s going to have.

But Chris is still talking. And stroking Viktor’s hand, which Viktor now remembers to pull away. They are both too old for this.

“I spent about thirty minutes trying to flirt with him, and he just stared at me with those huge eyes, blinking and not saying a word until Phichit Chulanont came to drag him away. I’m still not sure he understood what I was saying, although he was living in Detroit by then and should have known enough English.”

“Perhaps he was pretending not to understand, in the hope that you would go away and stop harassing him – did you offer to help him with his stretching?”

“I might have done.” Chris smirks, with no shame and no regret. “But no, Yuuri is too polite to pretend like that. I honestly would have thought he’s had no experience of flirting, let alone anything else, but looking at him now…”

They both turn to look at Yuuri, who is demonstrating the finer points of pole dancing to Mila and Sara. He has lost his trousers again, and his shirt is hanging by one wrist. Mila keeps pulling him closer by the shirt, and Viktor has a sudden vision of himself striding in, pushing everyone else away and wrapping Yuuri’s shirt around his fist. And then…

He's on his feet before he has time to think about it. Viktor's not used to having to wait for what he wants, and the sudden realisation that Yuuri is not going to fall into his lap like everything else leaves him off-balance and petulant.

Why shouldn't he claim Yuuri for another dance, another anything? Viktor's sure that the hot thrill of desire wasn't a champagne-induced hallucination on his part. He'd felt Yuuri's heart racing alongside his own, felt his eager fingertips and the heartbreakingly chaste press of his mouth. Yuuri would say yes.

"Viktor?" Chris sounds halfway between amused and concerned, like he knows Viktor well enough to figure out what he's thinking and trying to decide if it's hilarious enough to let him get on with it.

"Viktor. I'm thinking about being offended that you'd rather stare at Yuuri's chest than talk to me."

They are definitely too old for this, but he still treats Chris to a wink that they both know he doesn't mean.

"Well Chris, unless you're going to give me something better to look at...?"

Chris sighs dramatically.

"Oh Viktor, if I honestly thought you could tear your eyes away...You could at least tell me all the dirty little things you're thinking of doing to Yuuri, but judging by the look on your face you'll only disappoint me..."

Chris's voice turns low and coaxing.

"No, it's something...pure, isn't it? Like you're imagining making slow, sweet love to him while you gaze into each others eyes. Viktor, that's such a waste - you've seen the way he can move."

Viktor feels a hot blush crawl up his neck. He opens his mouth to make a cutting retort, but it's lost to the thought of Yuuri's dark hair stark against his snow-white 1000-thread count sheets.

Chris takes the opportunity to haul him back by his suit jacket. He's not quite strong enough to pull Viktor back down into the chair, so Viktor ends up with his jacket hanging off his elbows, Chris half on his feet and laughing like this is the most fun he's ever had.

Mila notices, because of course she does, because Viktor was clearly born to suffer.

She smiles sweetly at Viktor. Presses a deliberately mocking finger against her lips as she glances between him and Yuuri.

And Yuuri, still drunk and easily led (Viktor reins himself from pausing at that thought), follows her gaze and smiles at Viktor, apparently delighted by the sight of him, and Viktor feels his heart stopping.

OK, this may have already got out of hand.

But Viktor is still struggling to his feet, pulled closer by Yuuri’s gaze, and it’s not just him, thank god, it’s not just him because Yuuri is turning away from the pole and Mila and Sara, moving towards Viktor, moving closer like he too cannot help himself.

“You know what, I don’t think these two every finished their dance off.”

Yuuri pauses mid-step, and Viktor turns to glare at Mila because what.

Mila's tone is no-nonsense.

"Come on, Viktor. It turned into extended foreplay long before there was time to decide a winner."

Christ, Mila. Viktor wonders why he even knows these people. Still, Yuuri is now close enough for Viktor to see the blush spread across his cheekbones.

"I want to see you finish what you started." There's an awful air of finality to Mila's statement.

"Me too," sighs Chris.

Sara claps her hands enthusiastically, "And me!"

"Argghh!! I don't!" Yuri somehow manages a high-pitched bellow, which Viktor will have to remember to tease him about later, once he's finished plotting the downfall of the international figure skating community.

Someone starts clapping encouragingly. It doesn't take long for the others to join in, cheering "dance off, dance off".

Viktor hates each and every one of them.

He's about to protest - as much as he wants to put his hands on Yuuri again, he doesn't think his poor heart can take much more - but then Yuuri wobbles into his vision, flushed and beaming.

"Viktor..."

Yuuri slurs his name, draws outs each syllable into something low and wanting.

Viktor swallows. Clears his throat and smiles with teeth.

"What do I get if I win?"

Yuuri sways closer, and Viktor holds his breath, because Yuuri's eyes are shining and his smile is so, so wide.

"I think we all know what you want, Viktor," drawls Chris. "Why don't we see what Yuuri wants? I'm sure he's got a much better imagination."

Viktor feels all the breath leave his lungs in a rush, his chest hollow and aching. He feels like a wire stretched too tight, the fizz of anticipation clawing up his spine.

The tilt of Yuuri's smile is the only warning he gets before he lurches forward into him, pressing every champagne-sodden inch of himself up against Viktor. Viktor throws his arms around Yuuri instinctively to stop them from falling, but he's not quick enough to stop Yuuri from face-planting into his chest where he snuggles in close, breathing Viktor in like he's oxygen.

Viktor thinks his heart might have actually stopped. He can't feel it beating, can't feel anything apart from the urgent press of Yuuri's body against his own. He's never been so terrified.

Then Yuuri starts moving, sliding up against him in a move Viktor knows is excellent for keeping your spine flexible, but it also brings Yuuri’s hips canting upwards to meet Viktor’s, and Viktor cannot pretend that his hips aren’t moving to match Yuuri’s. His blood is humming in his ears, and for a moment he thinks he’s lost the ability to process words from Yuuri’s sheer presence, but then he realizes that Yuuri has, instead, lost the ability to speak English and is now saying something in Japanese.

Viktor does not judge. He’s sure his own thing is only a question of time. Probably about two minutes, since Yuuri has now started to twist his hips sideways, and there is no mistaking what that is, and that it is slowly and inexorably stroking his own. That.

See, only took thirty seconds in the end.

But Viktor is still holding Yuuri’s shoulder-blades under his palms, keeping him close, and he knows his face is probably showing a lot more than an impromptu lap dance from a near stranger would expect to inspire, but he can’t help himself. It is ridiculous, he knows, but something about Yuuri lights up his brain like nothing in years, and Viktor will hold on to that, the squirming, slightly damp and definitely sloshed mess who is smiling up at him. And blushing. Viktor really needs to learn Japanese, he wants to know what Yuuri could be saying that is making him look like that.

(And of course, continue to do that.)

At this point, Yuuri regains his English.

“Be my coach, Viktor!”

Viktor freezes. He stands there, eyes stupidly wide as he tries to process what Yuuri's just said. It's so far from what he was expecting that it makes his head spin. Yuuri's just gazing up at him with his huge, huge eyes and a hopeful smile, completely at odds with the slow grinding of his hips.

He can feel the heat in his cheeks, knows he's blushing like a ridiculous thing because of this boy, this beautiful boy with his innocent eyes and filthy, filthy hips. He feels brand new, like his whole world has been remade and... he could, couldn't he? Something in his brain stutters at the thought. He could coach Yuuri. He could be Yuuri's--

He could be Yuuri's.

Viktor feels his hand slide down Yuuri's spine, mapping the slow curve of his back. He splays his fingers wide, finding the dip in his spine like it was made just for him, and tries not to think about inching his fingers down over the tight curve of his buttocks.

Yuuri's still gazing up at him, adoration and anticipation shining in his eyes, and Viktor realises that he hasn't answered. He jerks his head in a nod, his heart hammering painfully against his ribcage. He's never given himself away so completely, and it's nothing short of thrilling.

Yuuri's smile grows impossibly brighter and he tightens his arms around Viktor in a brief, wobbly hug, rubs his flushed cheek against Viktor's chest and murmurs "my coach" with something so heartbreakingly fragile in his voice that Viktor trembles like a leaf.

The whole room is silent, an indrawn breath of anticipation, and Viktor feels the weight of it crawling across the back of his neck. They're waiting, Viktor realises with a jolt, for the dance-off. And Viktor wants to surrender right there, because there's no way he can win anything like this, half-hard and trembling. For the first time in his life, he doesn't want to win.

"The-" His voice is wrecked. Viktor clears his throat and starts again. "The dance-off?"

Yuuri just rubs his cheek against his shirt again, mumbles Viktor's name right against his heart like a promise. Viktor's too caught up in the feeling of Yuuri's damp breath through the fine cotton to do anything but stand there helplessly when Yuuri’s eyes fall closed and he starts to slide down.

It’s a slow, tortuous fall. Viktor tries to help, his palms clutching at Yuuri’s shoulders in a fruitless attempt to keep him upright, but he only ends up pulling at Yuuri’s shirt which was already losing its battle against Yuuri’s dance moves. Yuuri’s face rubs its way down Viktor’s chest, still nuzzling in his sleep, and Viktor would be hopelessly charmed if he wasn’t also painfully aware of where Yuuri’s face is about to land next. But it is Yuuri’s hands which become critical first, proceeding down his back in what should have been an expected trajectory, and coming to a pause at the first protrusion. Yuuri seems to feel that this is a happy pause, since he makes a contented smacking sound against Viktor’s belly and digs in.

Viktor sincerely hopes that no one will have pictures of this.

Then Chris, of all people, comes to his aid.

“Right, someone get hold of Celestino, someone needs to take Katsuki to his room.”

It is right, of course, that Yuuri’s coach should be the one to help him. Just because Yuuri is now clinging to Viktor’s legs with the same contented stubbornness with which Makkachin clings to his old shoes, doesn’t mean he is Viktor’s to take care of. Still, Viktor can’t bear to let go just yet, so he helps Chris pull Yuuri to his feet, and lets him press his face to Viktor’s shoulder while they drag him to a chair by the door. They will – Yuuri will have privacy there.

Somehow they manage to wrestle Yuuri into the chair, Viktor a fumbling wreck as he tries to manoeuvre Yuuri without letting his hands linger like he wants to. Still, he ends up with his hands cupped around Yuuri's shoulders, gently pressing him back against the chair to keep him upright. Yuuri is half awake and still smiling that dazed smile as he struggles to focus on Viktor's face. Something about it breaks Viktor's heart, just a little.

Viktor catches Chris watching; he looks away abruptly, like he's been caught intruding on something secret, private. It's so unlike Chris, and it's jarring enough to make Viktor's face burn. Chris must realise that Viktor is not going to leave Yuuri, that he can't leave Yuuri, and goes off to find Celestino without a word.

There's a soft little snore and Yuuri starts to tip forward as he dozes off again. Viktor drops to his knees before he can think about his expensive trousers. He holds Yuuri's face gently in his trembling hands, thumbs brushing Yuuri's delicate cheekbones. He's still beautiful, even like this, face flushed with alcohol and starting to drool a little.

Viktor kneels there uselessly, trying not to count down the seconds until Celestino comes for Yuuri. The thought of letting Yuuri go hurts somewhere deep in his chest.

Yuuri opens his eyes then, stares blearily at Viktor like he thinks he's dreaming. Viktor knows he should let go of Yuuri's face, but the thought of not touching him is impossible. He strokes Yuuri's cheekbones, feels Yuuri's cheeks bunch up into a smile in response.

"I've got you, Yuuri."

His voice only shakes a little.

Yuuri just beams at him and pitches forward, his head hitting Viktor's shoulder hard. Viktor knows he should set him right again, but he cups the back of Yuuri's head, tangles his fingers in his hair and holds him as close as he dares. Yuuri's drooling on his designer shirt, but Viktor couldn't give a damn. He closes his eyes and breathes Yuuri in, every drunken drooling inch of him.

He doesn't open his eyes again until he hears quick footsteps approaching. Chris is alone, a small blessing.

"Viktor. Celestino - 30 second warning."

Right. Viktor makes himself stand up. He thinks – there’s a place by Yuuri’s ear, where his drunken flush hasn’t yet reached, and Viktor wants to press his mouth there so badly, but he knows that if he starts he will not stop, and that is not fair – on Yuuri, who has now passed out completely, or on Celestino, who would have to deal with the living legend Viktor Nikiforov molesting his unconscious student. Or even on Chris, who is clearly perturbed by all the feelings he has had to see this evening.

Viktor stands up fully, steps back, and removes his hands from Yuuri.

“Giacometti, what have you done to my skater?”

Chris, who is also very useful as a man who can and will (voluntarily, for some reason) take both the credit and the blame for all debauchery that happens in his presence.

“Calmati, Celestino, non è un problema. Ha bevuto un po’ troppo, però domani starà bene. O dopodomani. O la settimana prossima.”

“Giacometti! Vaffan…”

Viktor turns around, and walks away.

Viktor knows he should go back, paste on a smile and mingle, but he feels a little lightheaded in a way that's got nothing to do with champagne. He wonders if this is what love feels like. He's faked it so many times on the ice - he realises now that he's never even come close to showing how it feels, this breathless anticipation of something huge tingling through his veins. Everything in Viktor's life has been carefully planned, smoothly executed, but now, for the first time, he feels giddy with possibilities.

Viktor doesn't go back to the banquet.

He manages to make it to his hotel room on autopilot, his head buzzing. Flopping down on his bed, he lets those excited thoughts crowd back in, the ones that sparked into life with Yuuri's arms around him.

Is he really going to coach Yuuri? What will they work on first? Where will they train? What kind of coach will he be?

His world, previously narrowed to training, competition, win, repeat, suddenly seems a lot bigger.

It takes a long time for him to sleep. Viktor knows that it’s because of the champagne as well as Yuuri, that the erratic burst of his heart is adrenaline being released into his bloodstream as well as passion, but it seems right that he should stay awake. The world has changed and he needs to think it through.

Or does he? He could have danced all night and still have begged for more. This is not a thing Viktor does, not something he has ever wanted to do, but now it feels like the only thing he should be doing.

He could, tomorrow morning, find out Yuuri’s room number and bring him coffee. He could say, I am intrigued by your proposal to come to Japan and be your coach, let’s talk some more. He could say, this could be the next challenge I have been looking for, and also you need to include some flamenco moves in your short programme. He could take Yuuri’s hands in his and say yes, let’s do this, let’s run away together, it will be wonderful.

He falls asleep smiling; his face moving without any conscious intent on his part. This, it occurs to Viktor, might be happiness.