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"Why can't I come in?" Yuri was this close to pushing Yuuri out of the way and just barging past but he thought he'd give Yuuri at least one chance to see reason first. As a courtesy. Because Yuuri wasn't quite as stupid as he used to be.

"I don't think it's a good idea." Yuuri glanced back into the hotel room with a nervous look and Yuri really wanted to know what was happening in there that was so great. "Actually, I don't feel like staying up and drinking either, so let's both—"

"You're definitely drinking." Christophe appeared behind Yuuri and slipped an arm around Yuuri's waist. Yuuri's body was blocking a fair amount of Christophe's but the parts Yuri could still see were, well, bare. "Victor," Christophe called. "Give Yuuri a drink!" He pulled Yuuri back into the room and gave him a shove.

Yuri noticed two things immediately: Yuuri didn't look nearly as worried about this as Yuri would have expected and Christophe was definitely completely naked. "What the hell?" Yuri said. He craned his neck to see if everyone else was stripping down too. "Let me in!"

"No under-sixteens at the after-party," Christophe said.

"But everyone else is here!" They couldn't keep him out, it wasn't fair. But he also felt less certain about pushing past Christophe than he had about Yuuri. Especially naked Christophe.

"See you at Worlds!" Christophe winked and shut the door in Yuri's face.

Yuri gave the closed door the finger, then stood there, listening to the muffled noise, and trying to figure out what was happening inside. Drinking, obviously, and loud voices. But what was so terrible he couldn't be allowed to be there? Were they having an orgy or something?

He heard voices down the hall and he whipped out his phone and pretended to be on a call, like he'd had to step out of the party for a just a minute because it was too damn loud. It was a couple of the juniors, two guys and a girl. They were clearly heading for Christophe's room.

When they passed, Yuri nonchalantly added himself to the back of their group, standing just behind the tallest guy. The door opened, noise swelled out into the hall, they headed in.

An arm blocked the doorway just before Yuri could slip in behind them. "I'm sorry," Phichit said. "But I'm not supposed to let you in." He was definitely not naked, though he had changed since the banquet and parts of his outfit seemed to be translucent. And there was glitter on his face.

"Those juniors got in! I'm the fucking senior gold medallist!"

"Congratulations," Phichit said and he seemed to mean it. "But they're over sixteen. And it's Chris's rule." He smiled. "Actually I heard he was the reason for the rule, back in the day."

Yuri considered just barrelling past Phichit but somehow he couldn't bring himself to. It was Phichit's super power or something, to just be so stupidly cheerful and friendly and glittery that you couldn't do anything remotely mean to him. "Tell Chris I'm going to kill him in his sleep." He backed off.

"See you!" Phichit waved and closed the door.

Yuri headed to the elevators, slouching like he didn't care, which he didn't, except that it was so fucked up and unfair. Probably the party was really boring though, just people drinking and talking about boring things. And Christophe making everyone uncomfortable.

He pulled out his phone. At least he should be able to see the pictures. He loaded up Instagram, ready to report the shit out of any naked Christophe photos, and ... nothing. Nobody was posting pics, not even "I am only validated as a person through social media" Phichit. Maybe the glitter had gotten up his nose and given him brain damage.

"Fuck!" Yuri said, just as the elevator doors opened and some snooty-looking old people got off. They glared at him like he was going to mug them or tag them with graffiti. He darted into the elevator. Maybe they had the room next to Christophe and they'd call in a noise complaint. Maybe he should call in a noise complaint.

Shit, this was stupid. He was stupid for getting so worked up, but it hurt that they wouldn't let him in. That he could win the fucking gold medal and still just be a kid to them.

He got off the elevator on his floor because he wasn't sure what else to do now. Watch TV? Vandalize everybody's rooms? Spread some fucked-up rumours about Christophe on the Internet? If there was anything he could say about Christophe that would remotely bother him. Maybe "Christophe Giacometti skips after-party to drink chamomile tea while fully dressed."

Or maybe he could find out what was happening at the party another way. He let himself into his room and sat on the bed, holding his phone in both hands. He had Otabek's number, he could just text him and ask about the party. Maybe Otabek could even distract whatever guard Christophe had set up at the door so Yuri could sneak in.

He'd had Otabek's number for a few days now but he'd only stared at the contact entry a few times, at the badly-lit solemn-faced photo he'd had taken to add to it, up there on the hill. But now he could just go ahead and text Otabek.

Like, right now. He could just do it. Any time now.

He dropped the phone and lay back while he tried to think of what to actually say. It took ten minutes, but he finally crafted the perfect message: Hey, what's up?

After he hit Send he flipped on the TV. Some stupid movie, mid-way through an action sequence. But he kept glancing down at his phone. What was taking so long?

He'd never really cared about texting before; it was usually someone bugging him, where are you, why aren't you here, remember this, don't forget that. Was his message stupid? Is that why Otabek wasn't answering?

The timestamp on the text said four minutes ago. Four minutes was long enough! Unless Otabek didn't have his phone because he was in some naked orgy...

Yuri felt his face get hot. "Fuck!" He threw the phone back onto the pillow. Just as it chimed. He snatched it up.

Hey. Not much.

Was that all Otabek had to say for himself? What did it mean? "Hey" like "great to hear from you, my good friend" or like "your message was stupid and I think you're stupid too"?

What's that supposed to mean? Yuri stabbed out. He was just going to send it when he wondered if he should wait. Like was it okay to text back right away? Should he wait the same amount of time? More?

He watched thirty seconds tick away. Fuck it, he didn't care. He sent the message and stared at the screen, daring Otabek to call him stupid.

The answer came right away. How's the after-party?

Wait, what? You're not there? I wanted you to get me in!

I'm up on the roof.

On the roof? Was there some extra-secret party up there that only the coolest people got invited to?

Bring a jacket, Otabek wrote. It's cold.

Yuri looked at the message for a while, tapping it with his thumb. Then he grabbed his jacket.

Otabek was by the pool, still in his suit from the banquet, lying on a deck chair. He held up one hand as the door clicked shut behind Yuri.

"Why aren't you at the party?" Yuri stood beside the chair, looking down at Otabek. He had that same look he had most of the time, not a smile but not a frown, a flicker away from either.

"By this point in the weekend, I'm done with people." Otabek shifted, just a little, so there was a sliver more space beside him. "Why aren't you there?"

"They wouldn't fucking let me in!" There were other chairs, but Yuri was already there, so he sat down on the edge of Otabek's, feet on the ground, back to Otabek. "Like I'm some kid!" As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he wanted to snatch them back so they couldn't get to Otabek's ears. Now that's what he would think too, Yuri's such a child, too young to hang out with. "No one's even posting any pictures!"

"There's an email list for photos. I'll send them to you if you really want to see."

"You're on the list?"

"I keep trying to unsubscribe."

Yuri snorted out a laugh before he could help himself. "I bet they're stupid anyway." He pushed his hands into his jacket pockets. The pool glowed blue in the darkness and steam rose up from it into the chilly night air. If the stupid party were here, would people be stripping down and jumping in? Would he?

"There's room," Otabek said. The chair creaked as he moved again.

Yuri stared at the blue water and took a deep breath. Then he lay down next to Otabek.

There wasn't as much room as all that — they were pressed together all along one side, shoulder, hip, thigh. Yuri's butt was about a quarter off the side, not enough to worry about balance but the edge of the chair was digging into his already sore muscles.

It was okay, though. Otabek's body was warm and Yuri wondered what it would be like to curl up around him, arm over his chest and head on his shoulder. Which he was going to pretend he wasn't thinking about. "Did you ever go to one of those parties?"

"After Worlds last year. I didn't enjoy it. I don't usually drink that much and I didn't know anyone."

"I probably wouldn't enjoy it either." Yuri didn't want to snuggle or anything, but his butt was getting uncomfortable. He moved in, tilting his body to the side a bit, so he'd fit into less space. Otabek moved too and when they settled his arm was under Yuri's neck and shoulders, pulling Yuri closer.

Yuri froze. What was he supposed to do now? Breathe? How did that even work? Otabek was breathing so it was definitely possible but what about his arms? What if he just casually rolled up and draped himself over Otabek's chest? But too much time had passed and it would look really obvious now. He'd just stay completely still. And try not to think about how his heart was beating too fast and his skin was feeling too sensitive and how even being berated by Lilia had never made him feel this awkward and dumb and nervous.

"I think you would enjoy it," Otabek said. "But I'm glad you're here instead."

What was Yuri even supposed to say to that? Was this how Otabek was going to be, just saying things like that out loud? Did he have to respond or was it okay to just look at the sky and try to suppress the smile that was pulling at his face? "It's..." he said and realized he should have maybe planned that whole remark before he started it. "Nice."

"Yuri." Otabek paused and his body, the parts that were touching Yuri, tensed up. "I want to kiss you."

Yuri's stomach flipped over. "What?" he said and immediately wished he hadn't. He sat up, bracing himself on one hand, and looked down at Otabek. "Is that what you meant when you said you wanted to be friends?"

Otabek was frowning, more than just a flicker, and Yuri did not like how that made him feel, like he'd caught an elbow in the gut. "No," Otabek said. "Maybe."

"Which is it, Otabek?" A cold breeze ruffled Yuri's hair but his face was hot and he knew it was red. He didn't even know what he wanted Otabek to say, just needed him to say something.

Otabek met Yuri's eyes. "We're still friends even if you don't want to kiss me. Do you?"

Yuri looked down into Otabek's intense and, it turned out, pretty eyes. He felt dizzy, like when he was first learning to spin and didn't have the trick of it yet. "Okay," he said.

Otabek smiled, more than a flicker, and pulled Yuri back down beside him so they were facing each other. He put one hand on Yuri's face and stroked the corner of Yuri's mouth with his thumb.

Yuri's heart pounded in his throat. Clearly Otabek knew what he was doing and Yuri ... didn't. It was embarrassing, as old as he was, and he hoped he wasn't going to be bad at it.

Then Otabek closed his eyes and touched his lips to Yuri's. It wasn't a bolt of lightning or a flash of ecstasy. But it felt good, warm, intimate. Yuri kept his eyes open and looked at Otabek's nose and eyelids and lashes.

Otabek kissed Yuri again, his mouth a little open, and teased at Yuri's lips until Yuri teased back, matching Otabek so that their mouths clung together, parted, clung again. So far it wasn't too difficult.

They shifted together and Otabek slid his hand from Yuri's cheek back into his hair. Yuri put his arm — finally — around Otabek's chest, fingers on his back, and he wanted that suit jacket gone so he could at least feel the muscle and bone but he didn't quite have the nerve to unbutton it and put his hand inside.

He pressed his mouth closer though and Otabek's lips opened further, nudging at Yuri's until he opened wider too, and they kissed a bit longer and bit deeper. Yuri dug his fingers into Otabek's back. He pushed his ankle between Otabek's calves. He was breathing hard now, pulse hammering, twisted up and turned on, and all he wanted was to get closer, closer, closer.

Otabek's ran his hand down Yuri's back, flicked his tongue between Yuri's lips. Then he pulled back and opened his eyes, staring at Yuri for a few seconds.

"What are you looking at?" Yuri said, trying so very hard not to smile.

Otabek didn't answer. Instead he rolled back and pulled Yuri on top of him. Yuri darted in, mouth on Otabek's mouth, cheek, neck while Otabek's hands moved down his back, up his sides, fingers grazing Yuri's skin where his shirt and jacket bunched up.

Even though he was the one on top, Yuri felt like he was being crushed, weighed down by a smothering, nerve-racking pleasure that was the best and most frightening thing he could remember. He pushed his hand up under Otabek's jacket, still over his shirt, but closer to his skin. Maybe he'd pull at the shirt, find his way inside.

The door banged open. People streamed through it. Yuri rolled off Otabek onto the ground and scraped his hand. "Shit!"

Christophe stopped in front of them, a small towel wrapped around his hips and a bottle in his hand. "Looks like you got into the after-party after all." The rest of the crowd was lurching into each other, dropping into deck chairs, clinking glasses, jumping into the pool with their clothes still on. Shrieking with laughter over things that weren't funny. Someone grabbed Christophe's towel and he chased off after them before Yuri could tell him to go fuck himself.

"You thought I'd enjoy this bunch of losers?" Yuri blew on his hand.

"Are you hurt?" Otabek took Yuri's hand and brushed it softly with his thumb. Yuri closed his eyes for a moment, wishing he were back on the deck chair, this time with Otabek on top of him, pressing him down, kissing him, touching him.

All of them could go fuck themselves.

"I'm fine." Yuri didn't pull his hand away but he stood up. "I'm going to bed." He couldn't think of what else to do at this point. He didn't want to stay at the pool. He wanted to pull Otabek away with him, but it seemed — he didn't know. It wasn't enough but it was also already too much.

Otabek stood too. He wrapped his arms around Yuri and kissed him again, just one long press of his lips. "Good night." He didn't let go and neither did Yuri. "Maybe we can meet for breakfast?"

Yuri didn't try to keep the smile off his face. "I'll text you," he said.