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Obligatory Symbiosis

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“38.7 million views in 24 hours. Do you know what that means? You beat Adele. You beat the Avengers. You beat that Psy video where he wears harem pants and pushes people off treadmills. You are in a very exclusive club, my friend.”

The audience laughs, and Yuuri should laugh too, but Kerry Washington’s skin is perfect and he can’t stop staring. And her teeth are so white that they don’t even look like teeth. It’s like when he was writing his thesis and spent so much time staring at the opening sentence of the discussion section that he had to check four times to make sure he spelled “the” right. There’s a name for that sort of brain malfunction, but hell if he knows what it is. 

“I was told that your friend’s children were the ones responsible for uploading the video in the first place,” Kerry Washington goes on, propping her chin up with her fist. The studio lights catch the gold clasps of her bracelets. They look like they cost more than his entire existence.

“I, uh,” Yuuri coughs a little and tugs at his collar. It’s so damn hot in here. For a second, he thinks seriously about passing out but forces himself to rally. Otherwise, Mari will probably win a bet. “That’s right. My friend Yuuko’s six-year old triplets.”

“Normally I’d be upset that kids so young are going online unsupervised, but honestly, that routine, Yuuri. Even without music, it was maybe the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. The .7 million views were all me,” she says, grinning, inviting him to laugh along with the audience. 

He does. It sounds like a hyena in its death throes. “Thanks. I’m… I can’t believe how big it got.” 

Big enough that Jimmy Kimmel Live! called him up to invite him onto the show once the view count hit the 100 million mark. Yuuri only accepted because he's spent way too much time watching YouTube clips of the Kimmel-Damon feud to justify saying no. And both Phichit and Mari swore to disown him if he didn’t do it. And also he was super duper drunk.

They failed to mention that Kimmel would be on vacation and Actual Goddess Olivia Pope would be guest hosting, though.

“According to one of your old interviews, you’re a big fan of Victor Nikiforov.” 

He wishes he weren’t conditioned to smile like a bashful second grader at the mere mention of the man, but he’s accepted this as his lot in life, so he doesn’t fight it when the smile comes. “Ah, yeah. You could say that.”

Kerry beams. “You are too adorable, Yuuri. Were you hoping he would see you skate his routine?”

Ducking his head, he picks at some lint on his suit leg and silently pleads with the studio light above him to fall and kill him. “I—no, it wasn’t—it’s just that…”

It's probably only out of pity on the part of the studio, but he’s saved from answering by a picture flashing onto the giant monitors just beyond camera three. It’s a familiar one, plucked right out of its frame in the sitting room back home in Hasetsu: him at maybe 12 or 13, wearing an oversized sweatshirt bearing a lilac fairy on it, cuddling Vicchan close to his shoulder. 

The audience awww’s. His heart cramps and he swallows down a sudden but not unexpected wave of sorrow at the sight of such simpler times. Before the disappointments. Before the anxiety. Before he left his one true friend to die without him. 

“I’m being told that Victor Nikiforov also had a poodle.”

“Has,” Yuuri blurts out, because things aren’t bad enough. “Makkachin isn’t dead.”

He grits his teeth and forces a smile when the audience laughs at him, like he doesn’t know just how pathetic he is. Kerry reaches over and puts a perfect hand on his shoulder, squeezing reassuringly.

“So, you weren’t hoping your celebrity crush would see the video,” Kerry says again, voice kind. “Why skate it at all?”

It’s a prompt, an invitation to redeem himself by sharing this deep, fundamental secret with a bunch of random strangers and the millions watching at home, and he locks his knees to prevent himself from getting up and walking off the set. The love and admiration he has for Victor isn’t for public consumption, but at the same time he needs them to know that this isn’t some stupid crush, some twisted attempt at being noticed. The routine and its originator are just as much as part of him as his bad eyesight and weakness for his mother’s katsudon. Victor Nikiforov isn’t a whim; he’s essential.

They need to know.

“I…” He reaches for his glass of water on the desk and sips before trying again. “When I was a kid, Victor was… he was a goal. No, not—he gave me a goal. He gave me purpose beyond the little world I was born into. Most people don’t leave my hometown, you see. I love it, and nowhere else will ever be quite home the way Hasetsu is, but Victor offered me a reason to look beyond it. Did I want to meet him? Sure. He was, after all, my celebrity crush. But more than that: I wanted to be worthy of meeting him. I wanted to earn my place on his ice, you know? He was the best, is the best, and for some little nobody from Nowhere, Japan to even qualify to be bright enough to share his light… he gave me a goal. He made me make myself better than what I was.” Yuuri draws a shaky breath, but the smile comes easily now. “I suppose I love him for that. Maybe that’s why I skated to Stay Close to Me. To thank him for sticking with me all those years. For helping me be the person I wanted to be for him. And, um, for myself.”

For as long as he can remember, he’s prayed that the day would come when someone would just knock him out mid-ramble and save him from himself. Today, naturally, is not that day.

Silence, stunned and terrifying, is what he gets in reply, and somewhere in Hasetsu, right now, his parents are probably discussing the real possibility of committing ritual suicide to deal with the shame of having such a dipshit for a son.

But there comes a clap of thunder so sudden that he damn near jumps out of his skin. Except— it’s not thunder at all. 

It’s applause. 

The whole audience jumps to their feet and roars, and that’s all it takes for the rubber band that had been pulling taut in his chest from the moment they mic’d him up to snap in two, sending him into a fit of relieved, mortified laughter. Yuuri chances a look at Kerry, who wipes at her eyes, giggling.

“They said this stuff was waterproof,” she says with a wet sigh. “Yuuri, I can honestly say that—”

Somebody backstage must have knocked something over, because there comes a crash loud enough that even Kerry jumps, startled, followed by panicked shouting. Next to him, Kerry touches her ear where the producer must be telling her to cut to commercial or just end the segment before he says something else that will haunt him until the day he dies, but she gasps “It’s not time yet!” just as the doors through which Yuuri had entered the stage burst open.

Standing in the doorway, red-faced, chest heaving, and cheeks ruddy with fresh tears, is five-time world ice skating champion Victor Nikiforov.

Oh.

The audience explodes into shocked, delighted gasps. 

“Why are you—Victor, this isn’t your cue!” Kerry cries, and Yuuri whips around to stare at her, because what?

“I don’t care,” Victor rasps. “I couldn’t wait a second longer. I had to see him.”

Yuuri whips back to stare at him, because what.

Somehow he musters up the courage to look Victor in the eye, and what he finds there shakes him down to his bones. There are no words for the way Victor Nikiforov is looking at him—not in any language, dead or otherwise. The only thing that might come close is the way the sunrise gazes at the sea when dawn breaks over Hasetsu, full of stoked flame and indescribable love. The smell of salt fills Yuuri’s nose, sharp, wet, and there are gulls calling in the depths of Victor’s stare.

Trembling, Yuuri finds the wherewithal to get to his feet and take a step forward.

It must look like permission, because Victor bursts into motion, stalking forward with single-minded purpose, and for a moment he’s a wave careening toward shore, coming to drag Yuuri into the pull of the tide, and Yuuri only has a moment to tilt his head up when—

Jimmy Kimmel Live! The Kiss Heard ‘Round The World racks up 149 million views in 24 hours.

“We beat that lady in the Chewbacca mask,” Jimmy Kimmel crows in his opening monologue the following Monday.

Chapter Text

The moment Takeshi learned of Yuuri's ginormous crush on Victor Nikiforov, he lifted Yuuri's sweatshirt, took a big handful of belly, and shouted loud enough to wake Yuuri's dead grandmother, "Keep dreaming, round boy! Victor would never want a tubbo like you!"

Oh, but if only Takeshi knew that Victor Nikiforov not only wants a tubbo like Yuuri but that he cried when Yuuri announced that it was time to drop the weight in preparation for the new season. Cried actual tears. The kind of tears usually reserved for deaths in the family or losing everything in a fire. The kind he shed when he thought Yuuri was breaking up with him. Bitter, heart-wrenching tears that leave him red-faced and heaving, then stumbling around hours later, wrung completely dry.

To be fair, Victor cries like that about literally everything—Yuuri landing a quad, surprise candlelight dinners, children in oversized parkas, murals that feature the color cerulean, dogs in movies (not just when they die, but when they're there at all), the fourth ringtone on his new phone, daffodils, the word 'sorbet', and aerosol deodorant—but what Takeshi doesn't know won't prove him right, so.

"Maybe you can postpone it another week," Victor mumbles into the kitchen table, where he fell into a chair and just sort of… deflated everywhere. He's lying on top of the newspaper. Yuuri really wants to read it.

"You told Yurio he should've started training two weeks ago."

Victor gives a despondent shrug. "He should've. Instead he's been spending all his time Skyping with that degenerate."

"You love Otabek. You hugged him and said you were proud to welcome him to the family, then you dumped a bag of condoms in his lap and cried because—and I quote—you were trusting him to take care of your most precious child." And then a mortified, blushing Yurio slammed the airport shuttle door on Victor's fingers.

Victor's bandaged hand lifts and cuts through the air as though it were a tiny boat sailing on a choppy sea. Yuuri isn't entirely sure what it means, but whatever it is? It's suitably dramatic. "Yurio's different."

"Except not really." Across the table, Yuuri studies the part in his hair, which looks a little… wider than usual. And sadder. It looks like a frown. He wants to lean forward to touch it, but that would do nothing except set Victor off again and there isn't enough fluid in Victor's body to sustain him as it is. Instead, he pushes his own glass of orange juice toward him. "Vitya, please, drink something and replenish, would you? I don't want to even think about what the headlines would say tomorrow if I let you pass out while we're running this evening."

At that, Victor lifts his head. Yuuri could skate an entire program based on the sheer betrayal on Victor's face. "We're running already? But we can't! Not yet! I'm—You're not ready. Another week. I'm putting my foot down, as your coach."

"You're a terrible coach," Yuuri says. "I mean that. I want that on record. I can't believe I've put my career in your hands. Can I fire you?"

"I'm a good husband, though, so it all cancels out," Victor points out, which, okay, fair point. And he proves it by sliding both of his hands across the table and making grabby motions with his fingers. Well, one hand does. The bandaged one looks like a mummified sock puppet. "Don't leave meeeeee."

"I'm not leav—" Yuuri pauses, then rolls his eyes so hard he's almost positive that he sprains something. "Oh. You were talking to my—"

"Squishyyyyyy."

It comes out on the back of a long, sinuous whine. At Yuuri's feet, Makkachin stirs, and he places his foot gently on her back and rubs until she settles. "I'm not going to bust my ass twice as hard just so you can manhandle me whenever you want."

Victor's head thunks back onto the table between his outstretched arms. "But you're so soft and squishy, and it's my favorite, and soon you're going to be all bony and hard."

"You've never once complained about me being hard," Yuuri deadpans, then hides his face in his hands, because honestly. Victor cackles dementedly. "Look, I know you like my… well. I appreciate it, but I really need to start training yesterday if we're going for the gold."

Victor throws himself off of the table and drapes himself backward over his chair with a groan that honestly deserves an award. "Fine! Fine. Nobody ever told me that so much of being married is making sacrifices."

It would be so easy for Yuuri to just turn his head and stare pointedly at the framed cross-stitch on the microwave that reads Sacrifice is one of the purest and most selfless ways to love someone. Practice it daily. Instead, he nudges the glass of juice a little closer, because, well. Sacrifice.

"Buck up," Yuuri says cheerfully. "I'll be back to being squishy before you know it."

With a grumble, Victor reaches for the glass.

And while no one could ever accuse Yuuri of being the type to hold a grudge, he can't deny the small, dark part of him that wants to call up Takeshi right this second and crow, "Round Boy got his, you jerk!"

Chapter Text

“Why did you do that?!”

“I—You just looked so soft!”

“I was making coffee!”

“I wanted to surprise you! You know. In a… sexy way.”

“Well, in retrospect it was sexy, but I think ‘surprise’ won out.”

Mila likes to joke that they’re one mind split into two separate bodies, and Yuuri can’t really blame her for thinking that when he and Victor give identical grimaces and turn, as one, to look at the window. The window which now has a coffee maker-shaped hole in it. 

“Maybe nobody was there when it hit the ground,” Yuuri tries, except he can’t even make it sound believable to his own ears. The resulting crash was pretty spectacular. 

Victor gives him a half-smile, half-rictus of disbelief and says cheerfully, “You never know!”

As if on cue, from the street below comes a sound so terrifying, so horrible that Yuuri is suddenly eight years old and peeking from behind the sofa where Mari and some friends are watching The Thing. He almost grabs Victor by the arm and shouts for him to run before realizing that a man’s decapitated head isn’t mutating into a spider. 

“MY CAR!! YOU DESTROYED MY CAR!! YOU TWO FUCKING IDIOTS GET YOUR ASSES DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!!” 

Yuuri doesn’t have to look out the window to know that Yakov Feltsman is currently scarier than a human chest that grows teeth and rips someone’s arms off. 

Yuuri throws a crazed look at Victor, who mirrors it. “Or it didn’t hit the ground at all. Victor!”

“It’s not my fault I was caught unawares when you so callously molested me!”

“’Unawares’? Who are you, my great aunt? The first thing you said this morning was ‘I shaved everywhere, Yuuri, you should make sure I didn’t miss a spot’—Wait, that’s the defense you’re going with? I didn’t do anything that you don’t do to me on a nearly constant basis!” Yuuri hisses, because seriously? Last week Victor felt him up in broad daylight. At the grocery store. In the baby aisle. While a mother and her three children watched in horror as Victor loudly proclaimed that he was going to do whatever it took for Yuuri to get pregnant. 

Yuuri flaps a hand at the window. “Go down and apologize!”

With a gasp that any regency heroine would be proud of, Victor presses a shocked hand to his heart and physically recoils. “You’d just casually send me to my own death? I thought you loved me! You took a vow!”

“He’s practically your father!”

“He likes you better!”

“Look, we don’t have a lot of time,” Yuuri says, doffing his ‘only adult in this flat’ cap and shooting an uneasy glance at the window. It’s gotten suspiciously quiet outside. “We’ll both go down, but you talk first. Butter him up and then I’ll sneak in an apology. But we have to do it before it’s too—”

It’s worse than seeing The Thing at eight years old. It’s worse than seeing Sinister at 23 and not sleeping for almost three weeks straight. The door slowly opens with a skin-crawling, drawn out moan, and a stout shadowy figure stands in the doorway, unmoving, but with waves of palpable rage wafting from it.

“—late.”

The horrors that follow are too terrible to write them here, but in the end, they get a new coffeemaker for their flat, replace the window in the kitchen, and buy a Tesla Model S AWD in ‘Red Multicoat’ for Yakov. 

Chapter Text

When Yuuri comes clean about all the posters he’s got shoved under his childhood bed that Victor totally pretends he doesn’t know about, they sit on the floor and go over every single one. Victor has a story about each ‘shoot, ranging from incredible (Annie Leibovitz said that in her long line of subjects Victor was one of her absolute favorites) to insane (the photographer wanted him to jump off a 50-foot tall cliff into a lake so she could capture him spinning in midair) to utterly ridiculous (cupcake monster outfit??).

There’s one in the mix that makes Victor both laugh out loud and groan in mortification because it’s absolutely terrible: it’s Victor lounging in the empty seating area of an ice rink, dressed like something out of a terrible Henry the Eighth biopic, complete with one of those lush faux mink cloaks, a jeweled scepter, and a humongous crown. It should have been amazing (and in a lot of respects it is? His cheekbones look like they could cut diamonds) but it just looks like he’s trying too hard. His legs are spread so wide that you could probably see his circumcision scar if you squinted. 

He smiles a little bashfully and says, “I call that the Ice King Slut ‘Shoot. Could’ve been worse—you should see Chris’s,” as he reaches over to take it away from Yuuri. Except Yuuri clutches it to his chest and rears back so hard that he falls over.

Confusion isn’t a costume that Victor particularly enjoys wearing, but it fits him perfectly when Yuuri won’t let go of the stupid thing or look him in the eye. Haltingly, Victor tries, “I could get you a much better poster, you know. What about the one from Sports’ Illustrated’s 2012 Body Issue? The one where I’m wearing nothing except my—”

“N-No, that’s okay,” Yuuri mumbles, staring down at the poster in his arms with a frighteningly lovesick expression. “This one has… uh, sentimental value.”

Yuuri’s blushing deep enough that Victor worries about a lack of blood flow to his extremities, but he can’t figure out why. Sure, the picture is a little indecent, but knowing his Yuuri that should be the exact reason to get rid of it. But his fingers are white where he clutches at the edges of the poster, and his gaze bounces wildly around the room, landing on everything except Victor. It’s almost like he’s—

Oh.

Oh.

A kinder man would spare his lover the embarrassment and shame of his idolatry by saying nothing more about it. A kinder man would understand that to a young boy, once upon a time, Victor was as unattainable as the stars, that he was barely a real person—just a pretty face and hot, tight body on a glossy page. 

Except Yurio keeps telling Victor that he’s the worst person alive, so.

“Yuuuuuri,” he carols, grinning wide enough to split his face, and the pile of posters crunches beneath him as he crawls over on his hands and knees. “Did little you fantasize about me in that get-up? What did you think about me doing? Was it nasty?”

“What? No! What?” Yuuri’s eyes are as wide as the splay of Ice King Slut Victor’s legs, his cheeks as red as the cloak. He stares, frozen like trapped prey, and puts up no fight when Victor pushes him onto his back and crawls over him. “Oh my god, Victor—”

“It’s not nice to keep secrets from your fiancé, Yuuri,” he croons, arms caging Yuuri’s head. “Come, peasant. Tell your king your deepest, darkest secrets.”

“Right now, the secret is murder,” Yuuri mutters. 

Victor laughs a little, then affects a deep purr. “Will you disobey your king? Shall I throw you in the dungeon, or shall I make you use that smart mouth to work off your treasonous insubordination?”

Yuuri’s throat ripples when he swallows, and Victor is enslaved to the little rocking motion of it. 

“You always meet me where I am.” It’s whispered between them, a secret to add to the others that Yuuri still locks away, but then the world tilts off-axis and suddenly reverses. Yuuri stares down at him, hungry, and Victor blinks back, not entirely sure how Yuuri managed to roll him onto the floor like that.

“Wow,” Victor gasps.

“Forgive my insolence, your highness,” Yuuri simpers, every bit the frightened peasant boy, although he could have made ‘your highness’ sound a little bit less like ‘you asshole’. “I would do anything to please my king.”

To punctuate that, two hands roughly grab Victor’s knees and jerk them apart.

The royal dick jumps to attention.

“May I?” Yuuri asks politely, all wide-eyed obedience. 

Victor tips his head back and asks, “Was this what little Yuuri used to think about?”

“Some. There was more,” Yuuri admits even as he sinks down to where Victor’s cock strains against his pants. “Although I’m not sure how we’d factor in the part where you order all your knights to take turns fucking me.”

“I do what—” But whatever outrage Ice King Slut Victor had been about to voice dissolves in the warm, wet sheath of Yuuri’s mouth.

Chapter Text

On that first plane ride to Hasetsu, Victor split his time between telling the lovely old woman sitting across the aisle from him about how he was on his way to find the love of his life and tripping over his own tongue while he sounded out the words in the Russian-to-Japanese dictionary he’d picked up at the airport. The pages were crammed with chaos: alphabets broken and bent into new shapes, words that had fifty different characters with one meaning, L’s rolling into unfamiliar R’s that barely found purchase in his mouth. When he finally saw Yuuri, the declaration the kind woman on his flight had helped him prepare—Iしてるの君—had turned tail and fled, leaving him to take the coward’s way out by switching to English and rattling off something about being Yuuri’s coach. That night, ensconced in his little room, he read his dictionary from cover to cover by the light of his phone, whispering every word aloud until the first rays of Japanese morning crept in to goad him into getting off his ass and trying again.

His trusty dictionary has seen some things; its pages are crinkled and ripped, dogeared into deformity, and the cover threatens to just up and disintegrate if he so much as looks at it wrong. It’s been his only line of defense the past year, a wrecking ball wielded in the face of countless cultural barriers, and he knows it so well that he could probably recite every single word by page number and line. Except one.

There is something vital missing from those 2,763 pages. It’s such a glaringly obvious omission that he’s considered, on more than one occasion (usually while half a bottle of vodka in), writing a strongly-worded letter to the publisher. Or writing something for BuzzFeed on it. 10 reasons Kenkyusha Publishing should be ashamed for leaving this word out—#4 will shock you!

It’s not just any word. It’s barely a word at all. It’s a voice whispered from another room that forces him to decide if he even heard it right, a shocked exhale rattling the cage of the gordian creature inside of him that demands to be fed. When he runs into it, it doesn’t fit inside a nice, tidy box marked ‘subject’ or ‘adverb’ to be opened or shut when the situation calls for it. Japanese is a language of context, after all. 

Whatever it is, whatever it means and however it’s written, it’s vital to his continued existence. He’s bricked his entire life around it. 

And he’s about to hear it again.

Victor bends down to catch Yuuri’s panting, parted lips, then pulls back in time to watch Yuuri’s jaw drop open on a long, drawn-out moan, face twisting as Victor’s cock slides inside him in a single stroke.

Then—

Yuuri arches hard and groans, “Kimochiiiii.”

It rolls over Victor like a wave, sluicing down his spine to pool hot and wet in his belly, and his arms threaten to give out where they hold him up. Beneath him, Yuuri blinks his half-lidded bliss at the ceiling as clever fingers drag up the nape of Victor’s neck and into his hair, pulling Victor’s head down to his shoulder. Yuuri holds him there, tightening his grip in warning, then turns to press a plea into Victor’s ear.

“Kimochii.”

Victor’s next thrust is so brutal that he’s almost surprised Yuuri doesn’t split right down the middle, but Yuuri only gasps out a laugh and drops his hand, drunk on his own power. The creature inside of Victor purrs with delight as it prowls the perimeter of its cage, ready to be unleashed with a single word.

“Please, Vitya,” Yuuri moans, ecstatic, lifting his hips to meet Victor’s punishing pace on every stroke. 

“My Yuuri thinks he’s so clever.” The words come out garbled, half-blooded. His mind is a blur of both Cyrillic and Kanji, little lines melding into each other to make strange children, and they fight to be first on his tongue. 

Yuuri licks them from Victor’s mouth. “I’m a good student who listens to his coach.”

It lassos and pulls the laugh right out of him, and he leans down to kiss the answering smile from Yuuri’s lips. “Your coach wants you to do it again. Do it and I’ll give you what you want.”

Reaching up, Yuuri cups his face with both hands. “Ki.”

Victor has no idea how it’s written.

Mo.”

Or even what it means.

Chii.”

But in a world comprised of thousands upon thousands of words, it’s his favorite. 

With a snarl, Victor rears up and puts his back into it.

Later that evening, Yuuri curled against him and sleeping the sleep of the truly sated, Victor composes what might be the most important tweet he will ever post.

@Kenkyusha I have something to add to your dictionary. DM me. #fromrussiawithlove

Chapter Text

The first time they don’t use condoms, Yuuri is reverse-riding Victor with mind-meltingly slow conviction, just sort of absently grinding down and losing himself in the feeling of fullness, head lolling back on Victor’s shoulder because keeping it up is too much work when he’s so comfortable. His arousal is perfunctory; his mind is calm and sinking into oily folds, the sweet, barely there rocking of Victor’s hips lulling him into complete and utter surrender. 

Of course, because Victor hasn’t met a zen state that he couldn’t “wow!” into absolute mania, Victor snickers into Yuuri’s ear and says cheerfully, “It’s so nice without a condom, although I keep thinking that I’m going to get you pregnant.”

The words hit his brain with the subtlety of a flame kissing a fuse, riding it down until the core of him blows apart and sets him on fire. It’s absolutely obscene, but the thought of Victor fucking a baby into him is an electric shock that zaps every nerve from the top of his spine down to his dick.

“Oh god,” Yuuri gasps, clenching down on Victor’s cock so hard that Victor buries a shout in his shoulder, teeth sinking into his skin. The pain is another sizzling, glittering branch of too much, too hard, too hot and Yuuri moans, frantically humping his hips down to get more of Victor in him, to bury that cock so far into him that he’ll have no choice but to live with the consequences of going bare. 

Panting, Victor drags his fingers hard over Yuuri’s hips, digging in and bouncing him on his cock. The disbelief in his voice is drowning in an ocean of sheer lust. “Is that what you want, Yuuri? You want me to get you pregnant?”

Yuuri can do little else except claw at his own ass to hold himself open, spread himself a little bit wider, and whimper, “Oh god, please, Victor, fuck me pregnant.”

A gentle hand slides up to cup Yuuri’s belly. It feels like a punch.

What if I could. Oh my god, Yuuri, what if I could.” Victor’s slow, syrupy rocking devolves into a rough rhythm, and he thrusts his burning, bare cock up inside Yuuri so hard that when he presses his hand down on Yuuri’s stomach Yuuri swears he can feel them meet. “What if I could do it? Yuuri, I’m going do it. I’m going to stuff you so full that you’ll have no choice but to get big and fat and swollen with our baby.”

Victor’s thrusts go wild, so fast and hard that Yuuri’s jaw drops, slackened with confused pleasure, and he’s drooling a little when Victor’s other hand joins the one on his belly and forces him to meet every single pump of his hips. 

The head of Victor’s cock rubs right up against his prostate, but for a single, blinding moment the gland becomes the mouth of a cervix, gaping and wanting, ready for all the come that Victor’s going to shoot inside it, and Yuuri tips his head back and wails when he comes.

Victor sounds as though he’s been running for miles when he thrusts hard once, twice more, burying his cock as far as it can go before he makes good on his promise and fills Yuuri to the brim. Yuuri closes his eyes and tries to parse the hot, phantom flutter of it through the heaving, swollen walls of himself. He’s too warm and floaty to feel much of anything, but he knows it’s there—not doing much of anything, except in another world, another life, where it’s becoming something forged of love and sex and ice.

Trembling, his hands lift to cover Victor’s, resting on a swell that isn’t there.

Chapter Text

“Wait, someone actually sent you their used panties?” Yuuri has no idea what kind of a face he’s making, but he hopes it does the sheer disgust he’s feeling justice, because what is wrong with people.

Victor laughs. “On more than one occasion. Yakov sent most of them to the incinerator.” 

“’Most of them’? What'd he do with the rest?”

“Don’t ask questions you don’t want answered,” Victor says, horrifyingly, then brightens. “I didn’t get to keep any of the chocolates people gave me—for safety reasons, you know—but the plushies were mine to do whatever with. I usually gave them away to sick kids.”

He remembers. It was SKATING’s December 2003 issue cover story. Victor had been in a white doctor’s jacket smiling wide while the two children he had tucked under each arm flashed peace signs. Stuffed animals were strewn across the floor around them like fallen soldiers. He’d taped it into his cubby at Ice Palace until Takeshi joked that they should beat Yuuri up so Victor would come visit him in the hospital. Yuuri seriously considered it. 

“I can’t believe you kept some of this stuff,” Yuuri marvels, holding up an actual wedding invitation. You are cordially invited to the marriage of Victor Nikiforov and Joanne Spiers…

Yuuri gently places it back into the box. Well, chucks it back in.

“Oh! Let me show you my favorite one!” Victor nudges him out of the way to rummage around, eventually coming up with a little blue envelope with a sticker that’s gone gray with time and oddly shaped. Yuuri squints at it, trying to place it, when his heart gets the message before his brain and stops.

“I think I was… maybe 16 when I got this one? It was the sweetest letter I’d ever received.” Victor sighs wistfully and cradles the envelope to his chest as though it were precious, spun glass and lace, before handing it over.

If Yuuri’s hands shake a little as he undoes the faded katsudon sticker on the backflap and slides the piece of notebook paper out, Victor doesn’t comment on it. Instead, he notches his chin onto Yuuri’s shoulder to read it along with him.

It’s a little yellow, but the paper's sakura petal print still comes through behind shaky, painstaking Cyrillic penned to fill the page.  

Dear Victor,

You are the greatest skater in the whole wide world. I am a skater too but I am only 12 years old and I am still learning. I did a triple axel for the first time yesterday! I hope you are proud. Someday I would like to hold your hand and skate with you. You look sad sometimes and I want you to always smile. We could do a triple axel together! That would make me smile. Please wait for me. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

“I wanted to write back, but they didn’t leave a name or a return address,” Victor says softly, reaching around Yuuri to brush reverent fingers over the page. “Even with the terrible translation, it was the most genuine expression of love I’d ever seen at that time. I brought that letter with me everywhere I went, hoping I might catch a glimpse of that kid in the crowd, or even on the ice. Whoever it was, I hope they continued to skate. I really would’ve liked to have done a triple axel with them.”

The boxy letters swim and blur, spreading out until they’re vague blobs, and when Yuuri blinks to clear his vision, he sees that the page is wet. “It wasn’t terrible.”

“Hmm?”

Turning in Victor’s arms, Yuuri beams up at him through his tears. “It wasn’t terrible. I gave it to Vasiliev-sensei at Ice Palace, who translated it herself. I spent hours practice-copying it to make sure it was perfect. She said no one would ever know I wasn't a child of Mother Russia.”

He can pinpoint the moment realization dawns, because Victor’s furrowed brow ripples and smooths out, his jaw dropping almost into Yuuri’s lap. “You—”

The world tilts dangerously and skews when he’s tackled onto his back, and Yuuri laughs up at the ceiling as Victor presses frantic kisses to his mouth, his neck, the swells of his cheeks and the sides of his nose. A giddy sort of joy rattles in his bones, weighing him down to drown under a wave of relief nearly fifteen years in the making, and he reaches up to palm Victor’s face—a little older, a little more mature, but still the greatest skater in the whole wide world who was everything to a little boy once. Even more now as a man. 

“Thank you for waiting,” Yuuri murmurs, then leans up and meets Victor halfway.

Chapter Text

They always try to explain it the same way gaunt-faced hipsters in Starbucks talk about going vegan, the way politicians promise hope in exchange for money: with zeal, and not a little desperation. Except their rhapsodizing is hollow, their descriptions inadequate, because the words to describe it only exist for those who have experienced it.

How do you explain color to someone who has never seen it?

Chromatia addendum was given whole chapters in his science textbooks, and there is an entire section devoted to it in his local bookstore, the covers all the same despite the fact that the shop owner says they’re designed as a gradient, gray dissipating into brilliance. There are so many Chromatia sites now that even the most cursory Google search yields almost half a billion results. The prospect of finding your complement — the one who rouses the dormant cells that lie within the cones in your eyes from their slumber and colors in the world for you — is a booming industry. Everyone is hungry for the one thing that can’t be understood unless you’re lucky enough to already know it.

Georgi says it’s like the world was on mute and then someone hit maximum volume. Which is the most intriguing attempt at describing it yet. Victor is a performer; sound is something he gets.

Imagine, Vitya, that you skate a routine without any accompaniment: you’ve perfected it, honed it into something beautiful, but how much more would it be with the addition of a violin? A piano? That is what it is. Every day, you skate in silence, but from the day you meet your complement, it is deafening.

Maybe it’s everything to someone who measures his days in love letters marked RETURNED TO SENDER, but Victor has found his orchestra in the cheers of the crowd, in the thunderstrike of his blades on the ice. In Yakov and Yuri’s hilarious screaming matches. In the shutter of his camera. In Mila’s bell-like laugh. In Makkachin’s happy whines as they get ready for a walk.

An apple is the same color as his blood and his blood is the same color as everything else, and changing that would accomplish nothing. He is an AChrome who stands above his Chromatic peers on every podium. He has friends, he has Makkachin, he has fame and fortune, and he can’t think how introducing thousands of shades and hues would be anything other than exhausting. It’s a stress he doesn’t need or want. He forces his body through enough as it is.

Victor’s own symphony is loud enough for him. 

Or it is until he tastes Philipponnat Brut Royale Réserve on the breath of the beautiful boy who’s plastered to him and mumbling something about a hot spring, and realizes that the room has gone completely silent. Chris’s mouth moves, but nothing comes out. Something hot pops in front of him, like fire, like a firework, but he blinks and it’s gone just as two hands slide up his spine with the surety of a brushstroke.

There comes a strange tightening in the back of his head when he looks at the tie kissing Yuuri Katsuki’s sweaty hairline, the edges of it blurring, and from the gray fabric something ripples and brightens and bleeds with the wail of a violin, the strike of a piano key, and it becomes something more.

“Victor!”

The world inhales —

“Be my coach!”

— and screams.

Chapter Text

It takes Yuuri a moment to reconcile the number of alert bubbles on his lock screen with a reason to panic, but when he unlocks his phone and spies the little red bubble with "529″ above the messages icon, a cold hand grips him by the diaphragm and begins squeezing a frigid reality into his chest.

With shaking hands, he opens his missed calls—658, what the hell—and skips right to the voice mails that have stuffed his inbox completely full. Beside him, Victor mumbles something about grass into his pillow.

Everybody he’s seemingly ever met has tried to reach him at some point during the night, and their messages are all variations of the same theme.

Phichit: ”Yuuri, before you do anything, just take a moment and breathe. Just breathe. It’s not as bad as it may seem. We’ll figure this out, I promise. But whatever you do, do NOT go online. Call me as soon as you get this.”

His mother: “Sweetheart, I just want you to know that I love you and nothing you do will ever change that. Call me as soon as you get this—I don’t care what time it is here. Just call me.”

Chris: “I must admit, I’m impressed. That thing you did with your leg and the nightstand? Inspired! Victor is one lucky boy. Listen, Yuuri, give me a call before you do anything else, okay? I mean it. Before anything else.”

His father: “Well done, my boy! But give your father a call when you get this, okay?”

Mari: “Yeah, you might want to call me. Like, ASAP.”

ISU President Jan Dijkema: “Mr. Katsuki, I am so sorry to be contacting you for a reason such as this, but I wanted to let you know that this horrid breach of privacy has no bearing on how the organization sees you and Mr. Nikiforov, and I want you to know that you have the full backing of the ISU behind you. Please call me back at your earliest convenience so we can discuss this situation further.”  

Minako: “Yuuri, call me right away, do you hear me? Don’t go online! Don’t check your Instagram or Facebook! Just call me!”

Yurio: “HOW DARE YOU DO THIS TO ME! I WILL NEVER UNSEE WHAT I HAVE SEEN, DO YOU UNDERSTAND? THIS IS EVERY NIGHTMARE I’VE EVER HAD COME TRUE AND I BLAME YOU FOR THE TRAUMA THAT I AM BEING FORCED TO ENDURE. IT’S SEARED INTO MY BRAAAAAIIIIIN, YOU SHITHEA!”

Mila: “Yuuri, are you okay? Please give me a call!” 

JJ: “Well, it wasn’t JJ Style, but not too shabby! Hang in there, Katsuki!”

Yurio, again: “My stupid phone dropped the call. Anyway, I'M GOING TO STAPLE ALL MY THERAPY BILLS TO YOUR FUCKING FACE!”

Yuuri watches from a very far away place as his thumb taps out of voicemail and opens News, and it’s the New York Times that wins top billing, gravely announcing that Apple’s iCloud was hacked, yet again. Except instead of reporting on any number of celebrity nude photos that were stolen, the opening paragraph is about

He has no idea how long Victor's been rubbing his back and talking aloud, but the ringing in Yuuri’s ears begins to ebb and the world slowly comes back into focus. Victor’s sitting up against the headboard in an almost indolent sprawl, casual and wearing a bemused expression like he would a McQueen original: perfectly, and with unfair ease. Yuuri's draped over Victor's lap with the grace of a dog toy with the stuffing pulled out of him. He's pretty sure he’s getting snot all over the bedspread.

“I’m hurt and wounded that you would say such a thing, Yakov. It’s not like I posted it to YouTube; it was stolen. After I deleted it in the first place! …… How was I supposed to know it would still be there? I just pay for the extra storage every month, okay, it’s not like I actually look at the Cloud. Do you? Does anybody?”

Yuuri blinks at nothing. Makkachin’s tail thumps his ass from where she’s curled up in the bend of his knees. He literally can’t comprehend how they got here.

Victor’s fingers sweep up the back of his neck and sink into the hair at his nape. “Of course we’re going to put out a statement, but I’m not going to act like I’m ashamed. If anything, we should have BuzzFeed do a listicle about it. There are some great reaction gifs out there, Yakov. We could use the one of the guy walking in with pizza to find everything's on fire! Or the Michael Jackson popcorn one! … Hello? Yakov?”

Filming it had seemed like such a good idea at the time. Something to remind you of me when we’re apart, Victor had murmured, and in all honesty it didn’t take all that much persuading to get Yuuri on board. His almost immediate oh my god, yes, let’s do it no doubt obliterated the dozens of arguments Victor had at the ready. There was probably a Power Point presentation in there, too.

They watched it together four timesand got off to it every timebefore they decided it was too risky to keep on Victor’s phone. Imagine if it fell into the wrong hands, Yuuri said, and Victor snickered back, You make it sound like a supervillain will find it. 

They deleted it, just to be safe. Except nothing is truly ever gone, is it?

Sighing, Yuuri rolls over onto his back, resting his head on Victor’s thigh. Makkachin grumbles at being dislodged and sulks into a new position, slotted up warm against Yuuri’s side.

Victor looks truly devastated and thumbs away the streaks of salty warmth from Yuuri’s cheeks. “Oh, Yuuri, I’m so sorry. When they find whoever did this, we’re going after them. I promise. It’s not as bad as you think, though.”

“No, I’m pretty sure it’s much, much worse,” Yuuri whimpers, clenching his eyes shut. A few fresh tears eke out. “The whole world is in bed with us now.”

Victor gives a petty sniff and turns his nose up at the very notion. “I certainly hope not. I refuse to share you. I don’t care what PopSugar says about your delicious thighs.”

“… What is everyone saying?” What he’s really asking is how damaged their careers are now. Victor can probably bounce back from this, no problem, because bad news rolls off him like rain on a duck. Yuuri, on the other hand, wears the whole of Japan’s reputation like a badge on his sleeve. He may never come back from the shame. They’ll rip his posters down at the airport. They probably won’t let him in at the airport.

Yuuri’s hand shakes only a very little when he reaches up to take Victor’s, threading their fingers together.

“Well, to be honest, most of the chatter has been positive.”

Yuuri blinks. “Excuse me?”

“Sure, there are some individuals who are saying things on Twitter of a homophobic nature, because it’s Twitter, but on the whole? Everyone’s really sort of… impressed.”

“Impressed,” Yuuri echoes flatly. “By the gross violation of our privacy?”

“By how limber you are,” Victor says cheerfully, bringing their joined hands up for a loud, smacking kiss.

“What.”

“You should read the Reddit thread about you! It’s Pulitzer-worthy, Yuuri, and I mean that. I can’t even be mad about all these people finding you so sexy. I still get all hot and bothered just thinking about the thing you did with your leg and the nightstand

Oh my god.”

Victor grins, wide and playful, and already Yuuri can feel the icy hand loosen its grip on him. “You’re wasted as a skater. Have you ever thought about joining Cirque du Soleil?”

Even in her old age, Makkachin is always up for a romp, and she barks joyfully when Yuuri scrambles up to grab the nearest pillow and pommel Victor to death with it. Victor barely puts up a fight; instead, he laughs so hard he farts and falls off the bed. 

“I can’t believe I made a sex tape with you!” Yuuri shouts when Victor gives chase, except none of that Five Time World Champion grace is with him when he trips into the hallway trying to put on pants and run at the same time. It’s like watching a buffalo try to escape after being hit with a tranquilizer dart.

“No take-backs!” Victor trills from wherever he’s hiding in the flat.

When Yuuri pulls a shirt on and makes to go find him, he stops. His phone sits on top of Victor’s pillow as though it were a gift to a king. There are a million things to do. He needs to call his mother back and apologize. He has to call and let Phichit know he hasn’t taken a flying leap off the Patriarshy. He should call ISU President Dijkema and discuss press releases and what this means for the upcoming Trophée de France.

Instead, he stalks out of the bedroom, pillow at the ready, and calls, “Olly olly oxen free!”

Chapter Text

Once he sees it, it coalesces into a steam train that goes ‘round and ‘round the track hugging his brain, all the while spitting smoke and reality into the spaces inside his skull. Victor listens to it chug-a-chug-a on a constant loop until his left knee starts jiggling to a nervous rhythm beneath Yuuri’s calves, which are draped over his lap.

Red-faced and looking a little disgusted, Yuuri turns away from the screen and gives him a dubious look. “Are you okay?”

“Fine.” If it comes out a little mean, Yuuri doesn’t say anything about it. Of course he doesn’t. That would imply that he cares. 

How could he have missed this? To think that he used to call himself blessed in that he had so many people in his life he could rely on. Friends that would never betray him in any way. A significant other who is the living embodiment of trust and honor. 

If they’ve been keeping this from him for so long, it can’t be the only thing. What else hasn’t his so-called family told him? They must think themselves so clever, so sneaky. There’s probably a weekly meeting where they get together to eat pastry and cackle about what an utterly blind fool Victor Nikiforov is. Beneath the lust-glazed mask that he’s wearing, Yuuri is no doubt laughing himself sick over it, patting himself on the back for successfully cultivating such a sweet and guileless guise. 

All I want is for you to be who you are. 

To think he even fell for such bullshit! Talk about pathetic. 

Victor must make a noise, or maybe the little traitor can feel the force of his fury, because Yuuri slides his legs off to kneel on the couch, facing him head-on. Victor doesn’t deign to look at him. He refuses to give Yuuri the satisfaction.

“Okay, fine. What is it?” Yuuri demands, unimpressed. 

“Excuse me?”

“You’re huffing and puffing over there so much that I almost mistook you for a train. Come on, out with it. This was your idea, you know.”

“I miss the days when you would cry if I so much as frowned,” Victor mutters, glowering at the screen.

He can hear Yuuri roll his eyes. “No you don’t. C’mon, Victor. This was supposed to be… well. You know. For both of us. Do you… do you not like it?”

Ha! That innocent routine won’t work on him anymore, not since his eyes were opened to the truth—on display in 88 inches of glorious 4K. If this were a courtroom drama, Victor would be righteous, surrounded by Exhibits A-S and a jury who knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was in the right. No further witnesses. The defense rests.

“Is… Is it me? Am I not… sexy enough?”

Mistrial. 

Victor’s head whips around so fast that his neck almost snaps right off his shoulders. He’s pretty sure that he’ll regret that tomorrow, but for now whiplash is the least of his worries. “What?!”

The confusion and irritation on Yuuri’s face melts away, leaving behind a sludge puddle of self-loathing. He drops his eyes to the couch and hunches in on himself, shoulders braced in preparation for a blow. 

“I know I’m not… I’m not b-beautiful like the other people you’ve dated,” Yuuri says to his knees, mouth trembling. “I’m not, like, a supermodel. I look like—god, I don’t even blame you for being turned off!”

Somewhere in his skull, the steam train jumps the track and goes into a ravine.

“Yuuri,” Victor says dumbly. “What are you talking about?”

“My stupid thighs!” Yuuri jabs a finger at the television screen. “They’re so—huge! They’re tree trunks!  Oh my god, it’s a horror show. Stretchmarks and cellulite as far as the eye can see!”

The train explodes and takes half his brain with it. “What are you—I love your thighs!”

“Whenever I walk, the fire threat level goes up,” Yuuri moans. He drops his face into his hands and keens piteously. 

“Yeah, the fire threat level in my pants.” Victor gestures toward the screen with a grand sweep of his arm. He’s positively restrained in comparison. When he knocks the lamp over, it doesn’t break. “How about you come clean about the fact that my head is the size of a grape! I look like one of the baddies in Super Mario Bros!”

At that, Yuuri lifts his head and blinks, red-eyed. “What?”

“I know you know! You’ve known all this time!”

“I have no—wait, you mean the movie? You actually saw that?”

“Don’t change the subject,” Victor shouts and nearly falls off the couch when he stands up. “You’ve never once told me it was so bad. A lie of omission is still a lie, Yuuri Katsuki!”

Yuuri stares at him for a long moment, then turns to the screen. He watches for a small eternity, brows beetled, before shaking his head faintly. “Did you make it through the whole thing, or did you quit when the monstrosity that they tried to pass off as Yoshi showed up? Oh my god, did you actually enjoy—”

Yuuri!

“I don’t know what you want me to say!” Yuuri throws up his hands. “Your head is perfectly proportional to the rest of you!”

Across the room, curled up in her bed, Makkachin gives a supportive boof.

“Exactly! Thank you!” Yuuri calls to her. To Victor he says, “Victor, you’re perfect in literally every way. You made the cover of People Magazine’s Sexiest. Twice. Believe me when I say that I’m an expert when it comes to your photoshoots and not once have I ever thought that your head was too small for your body.”

Considering how long Yuuri’s been keeping the truth about his nugget-sized noggin from him, it shouldn’t make him feel better. “You mean that?”

Yuuri smiles, and there’s not a single lie in it. “I really do. And even if it were true, or if you had one eye, or four arms, or a peg leg, I’d still love you anyway. Nothing in the world could ever change that.”

The laugh that punches out of Victor’s lungs is wet and shaky, but it’s real. “Thank you.”

“Your taste in movies, on the other hand—”

“Sorry, what was that? I couldn’t hear it over the deafening jiggle of your thunder thighs.”

Yuuri buries his face into his hands with a yelping snort, then reaches down for the remote. The TV goes dark.

“If it’s all the same to you, these thunder thighs would like your microscopic goomba head between them, прямо сейчас.”

“You can’t Russian your way out of this.” Victor is absolutely not weak-kneed at this blatant manipulation. “You horrible creature.”

“Teach me a lesson then, tiny.”

He really doesn’t miss the days when a single jibe would have sent Yuuri into a downward spiral. In exchange for Yuuri’s confidence, he can put up with some horrible home truths. The things he does for love.

As Victor presses Yuuri down onto his back and spreads his gorgeous, thick thighs wide, Yuuri bursts out laughing. Victor pauses. “What’s so funny?”

“The goombas were all bald, too.”