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Iris

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"Hold still," Christophe says and bends over Victor, one hand spread flat on Victor's belly.

They're in a hotel bed with the sheets crumpled around them and even with the air conditioning on high, the room still smells like sex and sweat and every city they've been in together.

Victor stretches, toes pointing and arms hooking up to grip the headboard, making a noise that's too loud to be a sigh but not quite loud enough to be a groan.

"Still, I said." Christophe pinches Victor's thigh. He's already touched every bit of Victor's skin this weekend: the hollows in his hips, his blue-veined wrists, his cheeks raspy with stubble.

"That's not helping." Victor tosses his head and flips his damp hair back. A piece sticks across his eye and he blows at it. "You're not a helpful person." He raises his head and parts his lips, showing the tip of his tongue to Christophe.

"I'm going to need an energy drink, a hard nap, and a cocktail before I'm ready for more," Christophe says, but he still leans down and puts his tongue against Victor's, a few warm teasing licks that nearly, nearly make him flare up again.

Victor cranes his neck for more but Christophe sits up again. Victor drops back against the pillow. "Okay, I was bluffing." He crumples up his lip into half a pout. The strand of hair is still clinging to his forehead. "I want to order room service."

"I called down when you were in the shower," Christophe says. "They're bringing it at five." He bends over Victor again. "So hold still for me."

"You said there were cocktails." Victor gives one more fidget, a shake of his hips that ripples out through the rest of his body. Then he lies still.

"I say a lot of things." Christophe runs his finger along Victor's eyebrow, pulling back the loose piece of hair, and looks for a moment at the smile in Victor's eyes. Then he picks up his marker and starts to draw.

He's been sketching since he was a child. He likes the way his mind shifts when he's drawing and how it helps him to see the world around him. To focus when he's scattered, wake up when he's bored. Reach into the corners he doesn't quite show on the ice.

Sometimes Christophe does sketch Victor, when he'll stay still for long enough for Christophe to put the bare lines down on paper, leaving Christophe to try to remember later how the light and shadows fell.

But right now, Christophe is putting the lines down on Victor, holding his skin taut with one hand, stroking in the long green stalk of an iris along Victor's naked thigh. Victor is relaxed under his hands and Christophe concentrates on the shape of the leaves.

The first flower was a joke, a half-curled rosebud scribbled onto Victor's back with Christophe's autograph pen while they were playing in Christophe's room. Victor snatched the marker away and signed his name across Christophe's chest, just high enough to show under his v-neck and wet enough to smear onto the sheets when Victor pushed him down.

The second was on purpose: a stiff lily opening on Victor's abdomen, not quite as nice as Christophe would have liked, but all that Victor would take the time for. Sign your work, Victor told him and rolled Christophe over for another round.

This year, it's an iris. A tall purple iris that Christophe has drawn over and over on paper and twice onto his own thigh. It reminds him of Victor's short program costume last year, regal and curving gracefully like Victor on the ice.

"I'm going to do the blossom now." Christophe switches pens. He looks over at Victor.

"It tickles," Victor says. He looks a little bored but he holds his position, like he's in the make-up chair or being styled for a photo shoot. "I want to see."

"Shut up." Christophe draws in the blossom with quick light strokes. It comes out pretty well, delicate and smoothly shaped, and he wishes he could shade the petals, add some finer lines. When he's finished, he leaves his palm against Victor's belly for a few more moments while the ink dries.

"Can I see?" Victor raises his head and half sits up, hands falling from the headboard.

"Just wait, it's still wet." Christophe catches Victor before he creases the ink and holds his hips down. "You are never patient," he says and thinks about all the times that's been a good thing. Victor pulling him into the back of a cab to go to a club. Victor pressing up against him in a hallway for a kiss. Victor pushing him down onto the bed in so many hotel rooms.

When he's counted sixty, Christophe lets Victor go. Victor gets up and goes to the mirror. Christophe can see him all now, front and back, muscle and bone, suck marks and scratches. He wishes Victor would just stop so Christophe could put down all the lines of his body, fill in the light and shadows.

"It's beautiful," Victor says and there's a hint of surprise in his voice. It should annoy Christophe but instead warmth blooms in his chest.

He gets up too and stands behind Victor, chin on Victor's shoulder and arms around his chest, looking at them both in the mirror. "It is," he says.

"I'm going to get it tattooed on." Victor touches one of the petals.

Christophe holds his breath but it doesn't smear. "Sure you are," he says.

"Really, I will!" Victor catches Christophe's eye in the mirror and smiles. "I'll send you a picture."

"Maybe I'll get one too," Christophe says. "Of your smug face."

Victor turns in Christophe's arms and puts out his tongue again, touching it to the corner of Christophe's mouth.

There's a knock on the door. Christophe steps back. "Room service."

Victor hands Christophe a robe from the back of a chair. "I hope you ordered the duck."

"Pour the wine," Christophe says and goes to open the door.