The poster was almost as dazzling as the one for Onsen on Ice two months earlier, though instead of the handsome faces of Victor and Yuuri and their adorable Yurio, it was covered in fireworks of all different colors, rising about Hasetsu Castle.
Victor grabbed Yuuri’s arm, stopping him in the train station. “Yuuri, what’s that say?” He pointed at the poster.
Yuuri looked over. “It’s the fireworks festival. People come from all over Japan. It’s really, ah—“ He studied the poster. Victor studied him. “I haven’t been since I was a kid. It’s a busy time for the inn and then I was away—“
Victor slipped his hand under Yuuri’s elbow, tugging a little so his attention was back on Victor. He preferred it that way. “Let’s go!”
“What?! I don’t think—what about training?!”
Victor placed one finger over Yuuri’s lips to silence him. Yuuri’s eyes went wide. Victor savored the look; who knew how much longer Yuuri would be so delightfully surprised by everything he did?
“Yuuri. Will you go to the fireworks festival with me?”
Victor didn’t remove his finger. Yuuri blinked at him once, twice—then he nodded.
“Yay!” Victor threw his arms around Yuuri’s shoulders. Yuuri didn’t pull away until they were back at the onsen and Victor didn’t stop smiling for days.
Yuuri apologized to his mother profusely for not staying at the inn to assist with what was indeed a deluge of visitors, between the fireworks and the summer season. Victor joined in with some carefully practiced bows, but she waved them off with a bright smile and a string of Japanese Victor couldn’t catch yet, besides Vicchan and go and his vocabulary of the week: fireworks exhibition.
So he let Mari wrap him up in a blue yukata. They bullied Yuuri into a grey one that brought out his eyes and would conveniently slip, just a little, revealing his collarbone. Victor kept glimpsing over at him as they walked with the crowds towards the viewing spots, the area on the west side of the bay where they’d be able to see the castle framed by the light of the fireworks.
“I forgot it’d be this crowded,” Yuuri muttered. “I hope we’ll get a good view.”
Victor couldn’t help himself. “I’ve got the best view no matter where we sit,” he said into the shell of Yuri’s ear as he pressed a hand to the small of his back.
Victor had expected a blush and a stammer, but maybe the summer heat and the months of days spent training together had finally calmed Yuuri’s nerves, at least for the evening, because he laughed. “You won’t be looking at me when the fireworks start.”
Victor had never heard anything so absurd in his life.
The crowd never thinned, but they were able squeeze into spaces on the beach. The sand was cool by the time the exhibition started, as the sun set to be replaced by the brightly-colored flames of the fireworks.
They were a work of art. Victor could appreciate the talent and technique required to put together such a performance, choreographing ignition in the sky instead of bodies across the ice. Cascades of blue and white light echoed above the water of the bay. He swallowed. He suddenly remembered squinting at his tiny phone screen back in St. Petersburg, tracing the patterns of Yuuri’s skates on the ice through the motions of his program. Had he felt fireworks then? Or maybe fireworks had been the banquet, dancing hand in hand, while the video had been a dim rekindling of a candle in the dark.
The fireworks held his attention at first, but soon Victor felt his gaze slipping to his left, where Yuuri sat, watching the fireworks intently. A burst of green and gold pearls lit up his profile in sharp contrasts and Victor nearly gasped. He had a sudden vision of Yuuri skating in green and gold, next season maybe, Yuuri dancing against the night sky, Yuuri spinning, glimmering, sparkling, Yuuri, Yuuri—
He closed his eyes. When he opened them, the situation hadn’t improved: Yuuri’s hand was right there on the sand, awash in light and shadow as brightly as any of rockets in the sky. He reached out, almost unconsciously, and placed his hand over Yuuri’s. He stroked his thumb across Yuuri’s knuckles.
At that, Yuuri—at last!—looked away from the fireworks and at Victor. Victor struggled to control his expression, rein it back from the desperation and adoration that must have been visible, but Yuuri’s bottom lip fell open and Victor knew it was a lost cause.
“V-victor. You probably don’t know. Fireworks are—“ Yuuri looked at the ground but the sight of Victor’s hand on his seemed to make him bold. “Fireworks are pretty romantic, I mean, in Japan. In fact, this would be a good first date.” He laughed thinly. “I always used to think about taking someone—“
“Yuuri,” Victor gasped like a dying man reaching for water.
“—not that this would have to be—not if you don’t want, I was just—”
Victor shuffled closer as quick as he could and leaned into Yuuri. “Is this what you want?”
There was Yuuri’s surprised look again (Victor was sure he’d never get tired of it) but he was nodding. “Yes, Victor, if it’s what you want—“
Victor didn’t even dignify that with a response. “Can I kiss you?”
He nodded and Victor leaned in, just a brief pressure against Yuuri’s lips. Then again, quickly, carefully. Then Yuuri’s hand grasped the collar of Victor’s yukata and Yuuri himself curled into him.
Above them, there was a whistle of a girandola, pops of little comets, and the burst of a chrysanthemum to the gasps of the watching crowd. Victor could only measure Yuuri’s gasps against his lips and the fireworks inside his own heart.