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a story in three parts

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It'd started like this: Victor had paused in front of a salon with a thoughtful look on his face, and Christophe's husband had started inspecting his nails. As far as Yuri could see they were flawless and well manicured. He clearly did not need a new manicure, but it was just as clear that he really, really wanted one.

Yuri and Christophe had shared a Look.

"Ohh, they serve you cocktails while you wait," Victor had then said. The glee in his voice had been unmistakable. He'd also been 0.01 seconds away from plying Yuri with compliments interlaced with subtle begging.

Not that he'd needed to beg. Yuri would let Victor have as many manicures as he wanted without needing to be asked.

Christophe and his husband had had a non-verbal conversation through subtle shifts of facial muscles and eyebrow dances. Yuri had thought at the time that he and Victor could only aspire to that level of drift compatibility.

Ten minutes later, Yuri and Christophe had let their husbands loose in the salon and Christophe had, after some input from Yuri ("Good food, but not like, tiny food."), taken him for dinner.

It continued like this: "I didn't know you were married," Yuri said, over a bowl of creamy sunchoke soup garnished with glasswort. Christophe was having an… a thin slab of stone imitating a plate with tiny things on it, most of which looked like sliced meat, sausage, dried and fresh fruits and cheeses. It looked very high brow and very European.

"Didn't Victor tell you?" Christophe carefully spread a moussy meaty thing over a cracker, then put it in his mouth. And made a low noise of pleasure.

Yuri inhaled more soup, trying not to moan as obviously as Christophe had. This soup was the best thing he'd ever tasted. (With a few exceptions.) "I thought he was joking. I thought he was talking about your cat."

Christophe speared a dried apricot and then a piece of dark salami. "Five years and counting," he said, winking. "Best kept secret in the business."

"Isn't he...a skating official?"

"Yup." The pleased smile on Christophe's face tugged at Yuri's heartstrings. It was eerily similar to how Victor sometimes looked when he'd done something ridiculous, like buy Yuri a new suit (even if there'd been nothing wrong with the old one). Like he'd pulled off a difficult jump.

The main course was, if at all possible, even better than the starter. Yuri got beef tenderloin so tender it melted in his mouth, mashed potatoes in a separate bowl drizzled with a green liquid ("Woodruff infused butter," Christophe reminded him) and topped with roasted hazelnut flakes. He had a small pitcher with Armagnac sauce to go with this feast, and though he'd not initially asked for it, he'd also been served a glass of Shiraz-Cabernet-Merlot. There were more words and also some numbers after that unholy double hyphen, but Yuri hadn't cared to memorise them.

"It was love at first sight," Christophe told him, licking sauce off his fork. "First lutz, actually. Or fall - I fell flat on my face when I saw him. I got these nasty bruises all up my hip."

Yuri asked for more mashed potatoes. "How did he react?"

"He didn't even notice." Christophe chuckled. "He wasn't there for me, you see. I got coach to introduce us anyway."

These mashed potatoes might be the best thing Yuri had ever tasted. With a few exceptions. (Yuri's list of exceptions was growing somewhat in size.) He forced himself to save half of the second serving for last and poured more sauce over the beef. He gestured for Christophe to go go on.

"I took him out for a romantic dinner, and a romantic walk - of course I limped through the whole thing - and then I took him to bed. That," Christophe said, inclining his glass of wine towards Yuri, "was also very romantic. We got engaged the following week."

Yuri sputtered. "You're joking."

"I never joke about love, sweet cheeks." Christophe gave him a delighted grin. "Now of course, the entire world is perfectly aware of how you landed your husband, but please. Indulge me."

"I honestly don't know how I did that," Yuri admitted. He let the last bite of beef melt away in his mouth. Maybe he could come live in this restaurant and eat this food forever. "It's a mystery even to me."

Christophe was not deterred by this. "Can I have some of the credit? It was I who suggested the pole dancing, you know."

"I don't even remember the banquet," Yuri told him, wondering whether he could drown himself in Armagnac sauce. The pitcher was empty, however. He picked up the little bowl of mashed potatoes and started shovelling the remainder into his mouth.

These potatoes were honestly to die for.

Yuri's cell phone started ringing, saving him from having to answer Christophe's questions. The screen lit up with Victor's face and a FaceTime request.

"Oh!" He accepted the call and placed the phone against his glass of wine so that he could continue eating. "Hello -"

"YUUUUURI!" Victor's face filled almost the entire screen and he looked...a bit rosy in the cheeks. And extremely happy. "These are the best cosmos I have ever had, did you know that?"

Across the table, Christophe had also received a call, and was now speaking French into his phone with a besotted look on his face.

"I didn't know that," Yuri said and ate another forkful of mashed potatoes. The bowl was almost empty, and he was wondering if he should ask for yet another serving.

Victor was peering at him through the screen. "Is that mashed potatoes?"

"Yes," Yuri answered, scraping out the bowl. The fork was extremely useless at this, but he persisted anyway.

"How many carbs is that?"

"The perfect amount of carbs." Yuri put the empty bowl down and surreptitiously nudged the other empty potato bowl further out of view.

Victor nodded seriously, seemingly satisfied with that answer. "We are going to this bar that makes these amazing drinks with umbrellas in them," he said. "Don't wait up for me! No wait, you can wait up for me if you want." Victor blew him a kiss.

Yuri was maybe blushing a little. "Have fun," he said. "Eat something."

"Yes!" Victor's face was all smiles. Then followed a string of slightly-too-fast Russian of which Yuri understood approximately two words.

His blush deepened. Before he could respond, Victor had ended the call.

His and Christophe's empty plates had been cleared away, and their waiter was bringing them their dessert; a Valrhona chocolate covered Valrhona chocolate mousse with (not Valrhona) cherry sauce shaped into a perfect half-sphere. There was also coffee.

"It's decaf," Christophe informed him. "I don't know about you, but I'm an Old Man and I intend to sleep tonight."

"Thank you," Yuri said, crowding his cup closer. "I also treasure sleep." The coffee had come with a small tray with three different creamers and five different sugars. He dumped two lumps of the dark brown organic sugar into his coffee. "Uh, so our husbands will likely be out until the early hours if mine's going to have a say."

"Naturally." Christophe seemed unfazed by the current course of events. "Does it bother you?"

"Not really." He put his spoon to the chocolate bomb, a little sorry to be ruining the perfect shiny sphere on his plate. When he tasted the first spoonful, he stopped being sorry. "I have eaten a lot of good food in my life," he said, "but this is definitely a highlight."

Christophe looked inordinately pleased with himself. "My husband and I have a little villa in the countryside. It's lovely and peaceful, and the food in the area is sublime." he paused dramatically, looking Yuri in the eye. "We're heading out there tomorrow."

Yuri made a small noise in the back of his throat. He too wanted a nice villa in the countryside with sublime food and to refer to Victor as my husband everytime he came up in conversation.

He could absolutely refer to Victor as my husband anytime he wanted to since they were in fact married, but it still felt big. To do it as casually as Christophe, and without blushing, was probably going to take years. He'd barely gotten used to saying my fiancé before suddenly there was a wedding in progress. (Maybe by the time Yuri could say my husband casually, naturally, normally, they'd also have achieved drift compatible eyebrow conversations.)

"I know this is your honeymoon and all, and that you have plans," Christophe continued, "but would you like to join us? We can throw our hungover husbands in the back of the car to sleep it off. I'll drive, you take embarrassing photos."

Yuri considered this. He shouldn't really make decisions that put little snags in their itinerary without Victor's input, but Victor was currently happily getting sloshed and so had technically forfeited his right to make any decisions at all -

"I'll cook for you," Christophe said, delivering the words like they were the aces in a card game. "The tomatoes this time of year are perfect. We grow them ourselves."

"We'll come," Yuri said. "My husband -" Yuri's heart skittered - "will just have to deal with this minuscule change of plans."

"Excellent," Christophe said.

He paid for their meal despite Yuri's protests, and they walked back to his flat in comfortable silence. Yuri and Victor were staying in the guest room, having decided to stay with friends instead of at hotels whenever they could. (Christophe had already proven himself an excellent breakfast cook, so Yuri's expectations for the promised rustic countryside food were already high.)

Yuri woke up when Victor came back. He didn't know what time it was, only that it was still dark outside and that Victor was carrying a box of pizza and also clambering into bed so clumsily that the whole bed shook. "Yuuuuri," he whispered, at a level too loud to be whispering.

"I'm awake." Yuri had barely sat up before he had a lapful of Victor. He reached over to turn the bed lamp on. "Did you have a good time?"

"This is the best pizza I have ever had," Victor declared. He opened the box and Yuri saw that he (and, presumably, Christophe's husband) had already made good work of two thirds of it. Victor handed Yuri a slice and then took another for himself.

Yuri took a bite. Then another. "Is this goat cheese?"

"Yes!" Victor punched the air. "And other things."

"And other things," Yuri agreed. He didn't know what kind of restaurant would still be making gourmet pizza with goat cheese on it at this time of night, but he instantly respected them.

"Let's never leave," Victor said around a mouthful of pizza.

"We are going to Christophe's villa tomorrow," Yuri informed him. "There is food there too." He'd already demolished his slice, so he took another. That left one more slice for Victor, though if he didn't hurry then Yuri had approximately zero compunctions about stealing it for himself.

"You are the best husband." Victor sighed happily. He kissed Yuri, even if Yuri was still chewing on pizza. "I love you."

They finished the pizza and Yuri dragged still-drunk Victor into the bathroom to wash his hands and face (he had pizza sauce on his cheeks), and then bundled him into bed. Victor curled around him happily, making soft noises into Yuri's neck.

It was just past four am, Yuri had found out. Victor and Christophe's husband were definitely going to be sleeping hangovers off in the back of the car in the morning. "Victor."

"Mmhhh."

"I've been meaning to ask. What's Christophe's husband's name? I didn't catch it, yesterday, and I thought it'd be rude to ask directly…"

Inexplicably, Victor started shaking.

"What?" Yuri got up on one elbow.

Victor was laughing. And not just laughing, he was laughing as hard as only drunk people do when they find something that's only a little bit funny, or perhaps like a very, very desperate person. "I don't know," he wheezed. "I don't know!"

"What?" Yuri's jaw dropped. "Victor, you were at their wedding!"

"I know," Victor gasped, then broke into giggles. "I just - it never really stuck with me, and the invitation only had their last names, and everyone is always just so polite and calls him by his last name, and Christophe -" Victor paused to wipe his eyes - "Christophe only ever says 'my husband' or addresses him by that week's term of endearment and it's been five years. It's been five years, Yuri, and I can't just ask."

Yuri did not know what do with this information. "You've known the man for five years without knowing his name?"

Victor nodded, then threw an arm over his eyes. He giggled. "I'm a horrible, horrible friend."

"The worst," Yuri agreed, and let himself drop back into bed. He pulled Victor closer, putting his nose in his hair.

Something occurred to him suddenly and he stiffened.

"What?" Victor asked sleepily. He seemed to be winding down at last.

"What if Christophe doesn't know his name either?" Yuri whispered.

"Holy shit," Victor whispered back.

It ended like this: In the morning Victor and Christophe's husband clambered into the back of Christophe's car, pale and red eyed and sleepy. Yuri wordlessly handed Victor his sunglasses and Victor gratefully smooched Yuri's cheek in response.

In the bright morning sunshine, Yuri noticed that Victor's manicure was topped with poodle stickers and sparkles. If anything, it only confirmed that he'd made the right decision in marrying the man.

They were asleep in about seven minutes.

"You know," Yuri said carefully, "Victor and I were joking last night that maybe you don't know your husband's name because you always refer to him as your husband and never by name." He glanced at Christophe sideways.

Christophe laughed. "How drunk was he?"

"He brought pizza back," Yuri answered. "Anyway, it was a silly joke."

"Of course I know my husband's name." Christophe shrugged. "But Victor doesn't, and I'm having too much fun watching him squirm."

"Oh." Yuri breathed. That made sense. Of course. "So…" He cleared his throat. "What is it?"

Christophe took his eyes off the road briefly so he could grin at Yuri. "Oh no. You don't get to tell him." He returned his attention to the road, but Yuri saw his eyes briefly flicker to the rear view mirror.

Yuri turned in his seat to look. Christophe's husband (also wearing sunglasses) looked for all the world like he was soundly asleep.

Except for the smirk.