"I don't see why you should get to use our rink just because you're fucking Victor."
"What," said Yuuri.
Yuri stabbed him in the chest with a pointy finger. Yuuri barely stopped himself from falling over. "I'm saying you're a Japanese skater and this is a rink for Russian skaters. You don't…"
Yuuri gave a nervous laugh. "Why would you… Victor and I have a strictly proffessional relationship!"
Yuri rolled his eyes. "Don't patronise me. I'm not a child. Everyone knows."
"Everyone knows? But…" Yuuri looked over in a panic at Mila, who was reading in the corner, but she had headphones in and was doing her best to ignore them. Of course, she had years of experience in ignoring Yuri.
Yuuri decided to take her as inspiration. He stood up straighter. Yuri was obviously just trying to mess with him, throw him off his stride. Well, two could play at that game. "You're jealous aren't you? Because you wanted Victor to be your coach."
"I wanted him to teach me how to skate! I didn't want him to kiss me or…do all that naked stuff he does with you. Ew. "
Yuuri had never stopped to imagine what Victor would have been like coaching Yuri. If that had happened, would he have… the idea made Yuuri feel sick. It was unimaginable.
Because it wouldn't have happened! For good, logical, proffessional reasons!
"He wouldn't have coached you that way," said Yuuri. "But you're the kind of person who wouldn't want their coach to even give them a hug." And Victor doesn't care about you the way he does about me. Victor liked Yuri, and if he'd ended up as his coach he'd have done his best, but it wouldn't have been the same.
That was no reason for Yuri to make it weird.
Yuri pulled out one of Mila's headphones. She slapped his hand. "What is it?"
"You're into all that touchy feely crap. Would you be ok with it if Yakov gave you a kiss?"
She raised her eyebrows. "You mean like… on the cheek?"
She didn't seem that bothered by the idea. Because, like Victor, she was Russian, and Russians were into kissing as a form of platonic affection, right? That is, Russians who weren't surly teens with a chip on their shoulder.
"No," said Yuri, staring Yuuri in the eye. "Like Victor kissed Yuri in China."
She gave a full body shudder. "Nooooo. Gross!"
"And you wouldn't go on tv to say you loved him like Yuuri did to Victor."
"Ha! No! But I'm not fucking Yakov." She stopped, horrified at herself, and retched a little, her tongue sticking out in disgust. "Ok those are two words I am never putting in the same sentence again. I have to go wash out my brain with some trashy tv or something." She put her headphones back in and left for some peace and quiet.
"Oh my God," said Yuuri.
"I told you everyone knows," said Yuri, triumphantly.
"But we're not," said Yuuri. "Really! He's just my coach!"
"Whoa," said Yuri. "Then… wow, you guys are even weirder than I thought."
Yuuri just stared at him, paralysed by horror.
Yuri's face twitched. Was that… pity? Things were bad if Yuri Plisetsky was looking at him with pity.
"I'm gonna go," said Yuri. "But uh… I meant it about the rink." He stomped out with a little less than the usual vitriol, leaving Yuuri alone with his thoughts.
"Yuuri!" Victor grabbed him from behind by both shoulders and gave them a squeeze. Was that a normal coach thing to do? What would someone else think if they saw? What was Victor thinking when he did it? And what did Yuuri feel about it? "I spoke to the organisers and I've booked a private room for us for tomorrow. Nothing fancy but there's two chairs and no tv. Sound good?"
He liked it, didn't he? Having Victor touch him so much. Liked it a lot. Did he like it the same way he liked being touched by… well. There wasn't really anyone else, was there? But he'd liked being hugged by his parents when he was a kid, and this really didn't feel the same as that.
"Uh, yeah, that's a good idea," sad Yuuri. "Thanks Victor."
"Are you all right, Yuuri?" said Victor, putting his head on Yuuri's shoulder. "Am I going to have to kiss you again?"
"Hahahaha," said Yuuri.
Victor stepped onto the ice. He'd put on his skates, and moved with the same fluid grace that had always grabbed Yuuri's attention.
Victor moved around to face him, frowning. "Was Yuri giving you trouble about us using the rink? He doesn't actually own it, you know."
"No, it's not that," said Yuuri.
Victor's long fingers trailed down Yuuri's arm and gave his hand a squeeze. He stood by Yuuri's side, offering silent support and demanding nothing. It made Yuuri feel safe and warm but also… impossibly anxious.
"Victor… do you know… do you realise people think we're… we're dating?"
Victor's eyes widened. His hand tightened on Yuuri's for just a moment. And then he laughed. "Oh, you mean Cristophe? He's got sex on the brain, you wouldn't believe the insinuations he made to me in Beijing. I think skating is some sort of weird fetish for him. Which is fine, I guess, but- Cristophe! Remember we're not all freaks like you!"
Oh. Now that Yuuri thought about it, some of the weird things Cristophe had said in Beijing did make more sense in that light.
"I don't just mean Cristophe," said Yuuri. "I mean everyone. Yuri, Mila… maybe even my parents, I don't know."
"Oh," said Victor. He let go of Yuuri's hand. He laughed again, but it was weak and brittle. "I guess I have been a little effusive. Hmm, how can we make sure I don't give people the wrong impression. I know, when I hug you I will shout 'this is entirely platonic'. And I will go buy some shirts with naked women on them. That way everyone will know I am a manly heterosexual."
"Are you?" said Yuuri.
Victor gasped and took a small step backward. Oh God.
"Sorry!" said Yuuri. "I don't mean to imply you were being innappropriate! I like you being affectionate. I… I really like… it. I just… I hadn't thought of it that way before. And now I have, I… I want to understand you. And me."
Yuuri's heart was beating even faster than it did in competition. He had a vision of Victor looking at him the way Mila had looked at the idea of being with Yakov. He'd been happy before. Maybe he should have just forgotten what Yuri said and pretended everything was fine. Who cared what everyone else thought? All that mattered was him and Victor.
"I'm your coach," said Victor. But he didn't look offended or disgusted. He looked scared.
Well, that made two of them.
"Yes," said Yuuri, stepping towards Victor. "But that's not all you are."
Victor gestured wildly with his hands. "If you want me to offer proof of my heterosexuality there are a large number of women who can offer…"
"I don't care about them," said Yuuri, moving so close he could feel Victor's breath on his face. Victor was breathing pretty fast. "I care about you and me."
He put his hand on Victor's shoulder. Victor didn't flinch. Yuuri moved his hand up to Victor's cheek and Victor just stared down at him, his blue eyes shadowed by an unspoken question.
Yuuri leaned up and gave him a kiss, a gentle brush of their lips, cool and dry in the cold air.
"I didn't do that because you're my coach," said Yuuri. "Or to surprise you. I did it because I wanted to."
"Ah," said Victor.
That was a little more ambiguous than Yuuri had been hoping for. "Um," he said "So if you could, uh…"
Victor reached around Yuuri and pulled him close, burrowing his face into Yuuri's neck and burying his fingers in his hair. He muttered something into Yuuri's skin and Yuuri felt the vibration all the way to his toes.
"What was that?" he asked. Though part of him wanted Victor to just stay like that forever, holding him close.
"I may not be entirely heterosexual," said Victor. "When it comes to you. It was easier to joke about it than really think about how I wanted to, uhh." His face went pink.
"Have sex with me?" said Yuuri.
"Oh my God, Yuuri," said Victor. "I was going to say something romantic. Something beautiful and pure." His face went pinker and he looked up at the ceiling. "But, uh, yes, that too."
"You do also feel something along those lines, yes?" said Victor, the slightest tremble in his voice. "You're not just attracted to my beautiful body?"
Yuuri could feel himself going pink now. "It's what all of this has always been about," he said. "My love for you."
"Well, yes," said Victor, "but there's love and then there's love." He blew out a short puff of air. "This would be easier if you spoke Russian."
"You'll have to teach me," said Yuuri. Victor smiled and said something that sounded like "yellow blue tibia" but with an affection that Yuuri had no trouble understanding. He leaned up and kissed Victor again.
Victor leaned forward and opened his mouth slightly, kissing Yuri back. Yuri flailed internally: this felt amazing but should he be… moving his lips? Or something? Then Victor shifted his mouth to Yuuri's neck, kissing into the hollow of his shirt.
"Oh," said Yuuri. So much for not knowing what eros felt like. He closed his eyes and the world was just him and Victor. He reached under Victor's shirt and felt his skin shiver.
"For fuck's sake."
Yuuri looked up. Glowering at the entrance to the rink was a blushing Yuri Plisetsky. Yuuri dropped his hands quickly to his side. Victor stood up with calm self confidence and straightened his shirt.
"Hello Yuri," he said sunnily.
"You know some of us have competitions to prepare for," said Yuri.
"We should take this somewhere more private," said Victor into Yuri's ear. The promise in his voice made Yuuri shiver. He nodded.
Victor skated with Yuuri to the edge of the rink. He had his hand on Yuuri's back like he couldn't stand to entirely lose contact.
"Bye Yuri!" said Victor, as they walked towards the door as quickly as their skates would let them. Yuuri couldn't bring himself to speak so just waved. Yuri glared back.
"And to think I actually felt sorry for that loser," muttered Yuri to himself, when he finally had the rink to himself. "Professional relationship my arse."