At school Victor Nikiforov was king. He was beautiful, good at sports, amazing in academics, and had a good personality. He had girls and guys in love with him everywhere and the sound of his laughter brought people running, just hoping to be part of his world. It was no surprise that Yuri wasn't anywhere close to touching him. Yuri was quiet and kept to himself in class. He was a geek who stayed up late watching sci-fi films with his friends and liked to stay in his room alone on the weekends. He was good at a handful of sports, decent in academics, riddled with anxiety, and prone to bouts of depression. If someone had ever told him that one day he and Victor would make eye contact he would have laughed in their face. Yuri and Victor were complete opposites and their lives were completely different. And while Yuri respected and was awed by how easy Victor seemed to fly through life, he never tried to become a part of his world.
And Yuri was completely fine with that. He was happy with his life. He had a handful of good friends, college wasn’t stressing him out too much, and his best friend was his roommate. Or at least he used to be.
"What do you mean you are moving out?" Yuri asked his best friend Phichit in a high stressed voice after he dropped the bomb during a commercial.
"A dorm room opened up starting next term and you know I want to live on campus." Phichit looked guilty but not guilty enough. “We talked about this!"
"I know!" Yuri shoved his face into a couch pillow. “I just didn't expect it to be so soon! We have only had one term together."
Phichit scooted closer to him on the couch and patted him on the shoulder. "We will take as many classes together as we can, okay? We will still see each other."
"But a new roommate?" He squeezed the pillow tight. "That gives me so much...anxiety" he shuttered at the last word, already thinking about starting all over with a new person. Someone was new was going to get in his space and he was going to have to tip toe around them. It's wasn't even guaranteed that it was going to be someone around his age. He imagined trying to get along with some old man and it being awkward and he knew he would feel suffocated in his own place. He had been lucky to get someone like Phichit as his roommate and he figured he had spent all the luck he had already. Whatever was going to come his way was probably not going to be as good as he already had it.
However, in the end, he figured it was his own fault that things had turned out like this. Going to a popular college the dorms were not big enough to accommodate everyone. He was given the choice to dorm as a group of three people in a small room or to go to one of the apartment complexes on the edge of campus. Yuri, nervous about sharing a room with one person let alone two, went with the apartment, preferring the walk over having less privacy. He was extremely thankful because that had led him to Phichit, not that that had lasted him long.
“You’re going to be fine.” Phichit talked like he knew it for a fact but Yuri knew he didn’t and he was most likely wrong. “I’m sure it will be someone great! Isn't making new friend’s fun?"
Yuri wished he had Phichit’s enthusiasm and positivity. Nothing ever phased Phichit and he seemed to walk through life on a cloud of happy vibes. He found the positives in anything that happened. Yuri didn’t and the whole situation just felt horrible horrible horrible.
“Yeah. Totally sounds fun. “Yuri grumbled completely sarcastic and rolled his eyes.
Phichit slapped him playfully on the arm. “Be more positive! It really can’t be that bad.”
Yuri sighed and sunk into the back of the couch. “I really hope you are right.”
For Yuri the following week was painful. At first he had begged his friend over and over again not to leave him. He knew it wasn’t fair of him to make Phichit feel bad but he didn’t want the life he had just gotten comfortable in to change. Once he had finally come to terms with it he helped Phichit pack all his things in boxes and moved them to his new dorm where he met his new roommate Guang Hong Ji. The boy was quiet and shy at first but as they moved in all of Phichit’s stuff he opened up to them more. By the time they had brought in everything and went out to dinner together the three of them were talking and laughing like they had been friends for a while.
However too soon Yuri had to leave to go back to his empty apartment. He texted one of his other friends Yuuko to complain, hoping that maybe she could comfort him some but she never texted him back. He figured she was probably hanging out with her boyfriend Takeshi and was too busy to look at her phone. He threw his phone on the couch slightly frustrated.
Usually Yuri loved being alone and not having to worry about anyone else, but now complexly by himself in the apartment he felt lonely. It didn’t help that he could also feel his gut churning at the uncertainty of his situation. The mystery around his new roommate and what was to come was killing him. The landlord Minako told him she was finding a new roommate soon but she didn't know when they would arrive. Would it be days? Weeks? Months? The uncertainty made everything spin. He tried to calm down and stop thinking about it but it didn't work.
He could feel himself making himself sick and if he kept going down that road the next day was going to be hell. If he couldn’t calm down he was going to have to do the next best thing he could think of which was take a sleeping pill and climb into bed early. It wasn't a super great thing to do but it worked. He drifted off to sleep with the image of potential roommates flashing through his head.
Yuri was a computer science major. He had always been interested in computers and found out as he got older that he was really good at working with them. After graduating high school he had found a college with a good computer science program that wasn’t too far from home. Being a freshman he was taking a lot of his general education credits. So as the days went by he found that it hadn’t made any sense why he used to see Victor around campus every day. Last term he would leave one class and see Victor with his friends. He would be walking down the hall to the computer lab and Victor would be leaning on the wall talking to a few girls. He would go into his class and find Victor talking to his teacher. He didn’t know what Victors major was but why was a college senior hanging around entry level classes? Specifically the ones he was in?
After the weeks had gone by and Yuri’s first set of finals were on their way he had decided that Victor must have been an attention hog. He could only figure that he spent his time hanging around freshman classes because freshmen were the most likely to adore him. He felt bad for thinking the like that about the older man but he didn’t know what else made sense. He guessed that there could be upper classman classes at the same time in the same areas since Yuri didn’t one hundred percent get how college worked yet. Based on that he had decided not to judge the man.
He figured if he was brave he could have just asked, or even asked one of his friends or followers. He noticed that Victor was always hanging out with a Man named Chris, a woman named Mila, and a junior named Georgi, but Yuri was just as intimidated by them. If he had been really desperate he could have asked victors fans, but when it came down to it it sounded really creepy to pry into Victor’s life like that. It wasn’t like he would actually even need to know since if Yuri kept to himself he was never going to need to talk to Victor.
Or at least he thought.
The month long break has passed quicker than he had expected. With Phichit leaving half way through the apartment had been empty and he found himself laying around doing nothing most days. He barely had any contact with the outside world except when he made plans with his friends or Minako knocked on his door to make sure he was still alive. As the days sunk closer to the beginning of his winter term Yuri could feel nerves sizzling up his skin. He told himself he was going to be fine. He was going to survive through the first day no problem. He didn’t need to worry about the people or finding the classes, it was going to be okay.
However on the first Monday of his second term of college, Yuri was a nervous wreck. It hadn’t mattered how many pep talks he had given himself and how prepared he was, he was tense. He had a photo of his classes on his phone and he checked them every five seconds as he made his way to his next class. As soon as he double checked the door number ten times before going in the class he would bolt to an empty table in the back and text Phichit to make himself look busy. He was too nervous to look or even talk to anyone else in the class. Phichit rarely texted him back, either in his own class or talking to the friends he was already making, so he quickly ran out of ways to look busy.
It was Yuri’s last class when he started panicking. The location of the class had been changed and he had been stupid enough to use a picture from when he had first signed up for the class. He had five minutes to sign into his school account, find the right room, and get there. His hands were shaking in panic as he typed in his login information and found his schedule. He looked at the new building and room number and his panic only doubled. He had no idea where this place was or how to get there. He only knew the names of the buildings he had had classes in the term before. Bolting from the building he started trying to pull up the school's map but his Wi-Fi was being extremely slow. He started heading in what he hoped was the right direction when he slammed into someone in his haste. The figure was taller and stronger than him so he only bounced off them and fell onto the concrete hard. His glasses flew off and he just felt lucky that he hadn’t hit his head and cracked it open even if his back was already screaming in pain.
“Oh my!” The man said in surprise and he reached down to grab Yuri’s arm to pull him up. “Sorry there, I wasn’t paying attention.”
“No, sorry, it was my fault.” Yuri said once again on his feet. The world was blurry without his glasses and he couldn’t see a thing. He didn’t know who the man in front of him was or where his glasses on the floor were.
He squinted down, trying to see if he could see the black blob of his glasses anywhere around him. He was still panicking and he felt like his whole body was shaking. The situation wasn’t making it any better and he knew he was going to be extremely late now.
“Are you okay?” the man asked as he watched Yuri looking around. After a second he realized what was going on and spotted Yuri’s glasses. Picking them up gently he slid them on the boys face, making Yuri jumped a foot in the air.
“Oh thank you.” He said fixing them on his face once he realized what them man had done. Once they were in place he looked up at the person he had bumped into. To Yuri’s surprise and horror it was Victor Nikiforov. He was looking at Yuri with a bright smile that had a hint of concern in the corners of his lips. Yuri noticed that he was lacking his usual group of people surrounding him and that threw him off because he had never seen Victor completely alone before.
“No problem. You were running though, is there somewhere you need to be?”
“Ah...Y-yes.” Yuri cursed himself for stuttering. He wasn’t sure why Victor was making him so nervous. Of course just talking to strangers in general made him nervous, but talking to Victor made him horribly nervous. He was so nervous he wanted to just run away. He was sure he looked like an idiot, especially after he had just run right into the man and found that good enough reason to need to leave right away before he did anything else stupid. What if he had knocked him down? How horrible and embarrassing would that have been? He would have been known as the man who ruined Victors face or broke one of his bones. The whole school would hate him. “I’m not sure where my next class is and I’m late.”
“Let me see.” Victor motioned with his hands to see Yuri’s phone and looked at the schedule after Yuri had passed it over. “I know exactly where this is. Come, let me show you.”
Victor took off without waiting for Yuri to agree and Yuri had to run to catch up. As they speed walked Victor prattled on about things Yuri couldn’t keep up with. However, he realized that Victor could talk to anyone without a problem unlike Yuri. He hadn’t even cared to ask Yuri’s name or seemed to care too much about who Yuri was. He wasn’t sure if that was just how nice Victor was to help random strangers or if he just had so many people around him it didn’t matter anymore. He figured he wouldn’t be able to remember names if he was Victor either. He was actually glad Victor wasn’t going to remember the kid who had run into him, but at the same time he was a little hurt that he didn’t care at all. A little part of him thought it was stupid of him to even care, it’s not like he wanted to be someone important to Victor.
Between Victors rambling and Yuri being lost in his own thoughts it wasn’t long before Victor had led him into a building and up to a classroom. They stopped in front of the door and all the students turned to look, surprised to see Victor in front of the class window.
“Here you are…” He paused and tilted his head to the side, waiting for Yuri to supply the information
“Yuri.” He added quietly, feeling conflicted after he had had some whole inner fight about Victor not caring about his name and then turning around and having him ask it. Not noticing Yuri’s hesitation Victor beamed and put his hand out to shake it.
“I’m Victor, nice to meet you!”
Yuri wanted to laugh. Of course Yuri knew his name already. Everybody knew his name. Yuri shook it quickly and thanked him one more time before he left. As he walked away Victor waved goodbye with a big smile that almost looked like it was shaped like a heart.
He walked into the class feeling completely self-conscious that the class had already begun, and that everyone was looking at him. Probably all of them wondering who he was and why he was with Victor. They would all probably laugh if they knew what had happened.
However, he was almost too shocked himself to be too nervous about interrupting class. He slid into his seat with his mind spinning. He had just talked to Victor? He wanted to laugh in disbelief. He had had the undivided of the most popular student in the entire school. Him, boring and plain Yuri. Even if he didn’t know why it happened he figured it didn’t matter. That was his one moment with Victor and nothing was going to come from it.
“What the hell were you doing with Victor?” An angry voice said next to him and he looked over to see a blond punk slamming his hands down on his desk, completely ignoring the fact that class had already started.
Yuri blinked at him, having never seen the boy before in his life and noticing that he didn’t look at all college age. His anger had thrown him off. Sure not a lot of people got to talk to Victor one on one at school but it still didn’t make sense to Yuri why this kid looked like he wanted to rip his head off.
“Can you talk or are you mute?” The boy growled again.
“He just helped me find my class.” Yuri finally responded, his voice shaking just the slightest because of the daggers the boy was glaring into him.
The guy stared for a few more seconds before he huffed and moved back to his seat.
For the rest of the class Yuri was completely confused. He kept looking at the angry guy and wondering who he was and why he cared so much that he had been with Victor. Then whenever he thought of that he wondered why had he even been with Victor? What cruel fate of the universe had him smashing in Victor the first day of the term? If it was a joke Yuri didn’t find it that funny.
When class ended he didn’t feel like he had absorbed any of the information. He really hoped that it hadn’t been anything important and that everything he needed to know was in the syllabus. If not he guessed at some point he could ask someone else in the class if things got confusing even though the thought of it sounded horrible.
Now that his school day was over relief washed through him. He had survived the first day even if it had had a few bumps and bruises. And now that he had made it through he had plans to meet up with Phichit and his other friends to celebrate surviving the day. There was a frozen yogurt place just outside of campus that they all went to when they wanted to get together or had something to celebrate. He shot a message in the group chat telling the group he was on the way. A few responded saying the same thing and he set out on a leisurely pace.
Usually Yuri was a fast walker, but he didn’t want to get there before everyone else and have to awkwardly wait for his friends. He would have stood there and played on his phone and checked over and over again that he had the right time and the right place even though he knew he did. He would rather be there last minute so everyone else was there before him but they didn’t have to wait on him. Something was comforting about having people wait on you instead of you waiting on them.
It took him about twelve minutes to get across campus and then five more minutes to get to the yogurt shop. Once he walked in he spotted his friends already at a table and just like he expected it was a relieving feeling to see them there first. He slid into the seat next to Phichit and everyone greeted him. Phichit had already gotten him his favorite flavor and toppings and he dug in thankfully as he looked around at his friends talking about their day. Phichit talked about the new friends he had made. Guang Hong, the newest addition to their group, shyly talked about his science class he was really excited about. Yuuko talked excitedly about the school daycare she was working in. Takashi didn’t have much to say, saying his business major didn’t have any exciting classes. And lastly Sara, who usually had her twin brother following her around but not currently, talked about some cute red head girl in one of her classes she was sure was a senior. Once their chit chat had died down a little Yuri finally spoke up.
“Have any of you seen this angry guy with shoulder length hair who looks like he is 15?”
“Yuri?” Sara asked instantly.
“What?” Yuri was thrown off by Sara just calling his name out. Had he said something weird or wrong?
She laughed, “No! I mean Yuri is the guy’s name. He’s a punk kid but I guess he’s really smart. He got into trouble in middle school and ended up being homeschooled for a while. Turned out he was super smart and ended up graduating high school early and applying at for college early. He actually is 15.”
Yuri was thrown back. First because they had the same name. How ironic was that? Secondly because that kid was super smart? He didn’t seem like it with his jean jacket and no care attitude. “Does he have anything to do with Victor Nikiforov?”
“Hmm.” Sara tapped her chin. “I don’t know about that.”
“I do.” Guang Hong piped up, “They are family friends. I overheard it one day.”
So they knew each other. Is that why he cared? Either way he found it weird if that Yuri guy did care because Victor was surrounded by people constantly. Maybe he didn’t like any of them. Perhaps Yuri felt out of place and Victor was the only person he knew. He could certainly understand having your one safety person being surrounded by other people. He relied on Phichit to feel comfortable and he always felt out of place when he ran off with other people and Yuri was left all alone.
“Why are you asking?” Phichit eyes narrowed, knowing Yuri didn’t ask meaningless questions. “What happened?”
“Ah.” Yuri could feel his face warm up, getting embarrassed all over again. “I was running late to class and I accidently smacked into Victor Nikiforov who for once didn’t have his crowd around him. I didn’t know where I was going so Victor showed me to my class and that Yuri guy jumped down my throat after seeing us alone together.”
“You talked with Victor?” Yuuko shouted, causing everyone in the shop to shoot her a look. “That’s so cool! What did you talk about?”
Yuri shrugged and stirred his melting yogurt. “Honestly he was talking but it didn’t make much sense. He acted like I was just some other groupie who would listen to anything he said. I don’t think he cared at all who I was.”
“He probably did think you were another groupie. “ Takeshi laughed, “He has so many people around him I bet he can’t keep straight who he’s already met and who he hasn’t.
Yuri laughed a little awkwardly. He had had the same thoughts so he didn’t know why it hurt a little coming from someone else? “Yeah you are right. I really shouldn’t expected him to care about who I was. I’m just glad he was nice enough to show me to my class.”
After that the conversation moved on but Yuri was still stuck on it. The thought of being just another face to Victor made him feel weirdly hollow. It wasn’t like he has expected anything. Originally he had planned to never talk to Victor so it really shouldn’t have mattered. He just wondered what it would feel like to be someone special in Victor’s eyes. If you were special to Victor, would everyone think you were special?
The question made him laugh. In the end it didn’t matter to him at all because he wasn’t going to talk to him ever again.
~ ~ ~ ~
Another week flew by and Yuri fell into a comfortable routine. He was relaxed in his classes and made a few friend he could talk to in class but knew he would never see outside of that room. He got used to living alone in his apartment and his fear of his new roommate died down little by little the longer they didn’t show up.
However, the Friday of the second week of the term he came home and his door was open a little bit. Yuri’s heart dropped, was he being robbed? Should he call the police? Get the landlord? Check it out himself?
But what if he had just left it open when he had left for school? The thought of involving other people when it was probably nothing made him cringe. He was going to have to check it out himself.
Pulling out his phone he dialed 911 and hovered his thumb over the call button just in case. His other hand gripped his keys the way they taught you to hold them in drivers ED classes with the metal part jutting out from between his fingers. His heart was beating a million miles per hour and he was second thinking his entire plan. He honestly couldn’t believe that he would just leave the door open, he always jiggled the doorknob to make sure it was locked as he was leaving. His mind jumped around trying to make up new reason so he didn’t freak out. Maybe it was Phichit and he had realized he had left something behind? Yeah that had to be it. He kept trying to convince himself that that was actually a possible reason but it was also falling flat. He felt like the likelihood of the situation being something good was low and he thought about turning around ten times before he finally reached the door and pushed it open.
He took a few steps into the apartment, looking around dramatically, making sure every nook and cranny was clear. Once the first little area was safe he moved on and as he reached the kitchen boxes started showing up on the floor and the sound of rustling got loud enough for him to hear. Gripping the key harder in his hand he moved forward again just as a person popped up from the pile of boxes. Yuri stumbled back at the sudden appearance, almost having a heart attack and nearly falling down as he tripped on a box. Hearing him the person turned around and Yuri’s heart almost exploded.
“Hello there!” Victor Nikiforov said with a bright smile on his face, standing in the middle of Yuri’s kitchen. “I’m Victor and from today on I’m going to be living here!”
Yuri was speechless and he dropped his phone and keys to the floor in shock. Victor? His roommate? Why? Had the earth ended? Did the real intruder in his house kill him and he was dead? Was this whole day just a dream?
He almost wished all those things were real instead of the truth.
As Yuri panicked recognition flashed across Victor’s face and he moved across the room in long strides, grabbing his face in his hands as soon as he was close. Any personal space Yuri had was gone as the man studied his face. “Yuri? Is that you? You’re the Kid that ran into me!”
Yuri blinked, his whole cheeks engulfed by the man’s hands. “Y-yes. You remember me?”
Victor nodded enthusiastically. “Of course! I remember everyone I meet. Not to mention I always remember someone as cute as you!”
Yuri’s face erupted in a blush and his heart swelled a little. However he pushed down the irrational feelings at being remembered and moved onto the more important questions. “W-why are you living here? What happened to where you used to live?”
Victor deflated and his hands slid off of Yuri’s face. “Ahhhhhhhhhh… My roommates told me I had to pick between them and my dog. I thought everybody loved Makkachin, but I guess I was wrong.”
“Makkachin?” Yuri repeated slowly as a dog busted out of somewhere in the house at his name and knocked him over, his but hitting the floor as a slobbery tongue licked his entire face. Pulling the dog back he came face to face with an adorable chocolate brown poodle.
“Makkachin get off him!” Victor called and the dog got off his lap to reveal Victor standing above him with a hand out. It was weird that the two times they met Victor was helping Yuri off the floor.
Yuri’s hands were shaking as Victor pulled him to his feet. His mind was swirling and thoughts were crashing into each other and exploding into pure chaos. Victor was in his apartment. Victor was going to be his new roommate. Victor was still holding his hand with a concerned look on his face.
“Are you okay Yuri? Did you get hurt? Makkachin was just excited to meet you.” His voice was full of worry as the dog made figure eights around their legs, pausing every once and awhile to sniff Yuri’s leg before he started prancing around happily again.
“Yes. I’m f-fine.” Pulling his hand from Victors, Yuri started to back out of the room towards the front door. “I need to go do something. I… I’ll be back.” Before Victor could reply Yuri booked it out of the room and ran to the apartment at the end of the row of doors. Reaching the door he started banging on it.
“Minako!” He called desperately, hoping she was home and wasn’t passed out drunk. “Open up please!”
After a minute the door swung open to reveal a tall thin woman with long brown hair. “What the hell are you doing Yuri?”
“You didn’t tell me I had a roommate coming!” he cried and Minako tapped on her chin calmly, the complete opposite of Yuri.
“Did I forget to tell you?” Yuri nodded his head erratically. “Oops! Sorry then.” She smiled sheepishly but Yuri knew she didn’t actually feel bad. “I’ll take it you met him then? He’s a hunk isn’t he? Your welcome.” She winked and Yuri wanted to scream.
“Don’t your welcome me! He’s the really hot senior from my school that everyone loves! I can’t live with him!”
Minako made a ‘pfft’ noise. “And why is that?”
Yuri’s mouth fell open, then closed, then opened again. Why couldn’t he not live with him? Because Victor was as bright as the sun and he was like a little lightbulb? Because Victor was the most loved student on campus and no one even knew his name? Because while Victor was everything he was nothing? Those didn’t really make a good excuse but it made sense to Yuri. There should have been no universe where Yuri and Victor were roommates, but yet it was happening. It was real and Yuri didn’t know what he was supposed to do about it.
“That’s right, there isn’t any reason. I know how nervous you get, but don’t worry about it. Victor seemed really nice and I’m sure you will be quick friends. Just give him a chance.” She patted him on the shoulder and Yuri guessed she was right. It wasn’t like he could walk up to Victor and be like ‘hey you intimidate me and I feel uncomfortable can you move out of this apartment you are paying money to stay in?’. That would be so many levels of rude and awkward.
Yuri was just going to have to get used to it. There was no other choice.
“Your right. I just need to take a deep breath and calm down. Everything’s fine. Everything great. Just the most popular guy on campus is standing in my kitchen.”
“Yup! You’re going to be okay.” Minako smiled kindly before it fell into a look of annoyance. “Now go back to your room before things get weirder. I’m sure he’s worried about the way you bolted out on him.”
Yuri’s head jerked back in surprise. “How did you know I bolted?”
Grabbing her doorknob she sighed. “I know you Yuri. You love to bolt.” Before he could argue the door shut on him and he heard her walking away.
Yuri slumped. Thinking back sure he had been dramatic, but what else could he have done? Would anyone have been calm when finding Victor Nikiforov as a surprise roommate? He thought not. The only problem now was going back to his room was going to be awkward. What could he say to him? ‘oh yeah I’m fine I just had to go beat on our landlords door because she didn’t inform me that I was going to be living with the king of my school.’ That wouldn’t fly. He honestly didn’t know what to say to Victor in general. Yeah he thought he was hot and nice just like any other person at the school, but he was adamant he was never going to become a groupie. He wasn’t going to develop a crush on his or try to talk to him. That would have been so many levels of embarrassing and pathetic. Guys like Yuri didn’t date or even hang around guys like Victor. What would they talk about? Would they hang out together? Would they avoid each other? Would Victor realize what a loser Yuri was and move out?
“Yuri if you are still outside my door so help me god!” Minako suddenly yelled and Yuri scampered off, not wanting to be caught by her wrath.
Once he got to his apartment door Yuri stopped realizing he hadn’t figured out what he was going to do yet. He had let his mind get carried away and he knew that the longer he was gone the weirder it was going to be. What excuse could he make up? Did he even need one? Yuri then realized it wasn’t any of Victor’s business. He didn’t need a reason to leave his own home….panicking…in the middle of meeting his new roommate… Yuri shook his head to scatter the thoughts. He was just going to walk in.
Sticking his key in the door he opened it and stepped through the doorway and closing the door behind him. Victors dog Makkachin instantly bounded over to him and put his paws on Yuri’s chest, almost knocking him over again. He stumbled back until his back hit the door so the dog didn’t push him down.
“Yuri? Are you back?” Victor called and Yuri felt his skin turn cold. He wasn’t ready to face Victor yet. He wasn’t ready to figure out what kind of changes the older man was going to bring into his life. Yuri was scared and he felt ridiculous for being scared but there were so many things that could go wrong.
At the sound of Victors voice Makkachin got off Yuri and trotted back into the apartment leaving Yuri alone in the entrance way.
“Yeah. Um, I’m back.” Yuri called back out into the empty room, cringing with how dumb he sounded.
“Good! I wanted to talk!” Victor called again and Yuri decided he had to move further into the house. It wasn’t like he was going to solve anything from the doorway.
Yuri felt like he was practically dragging his feet as he moved. He knew it was ridiculous that he was so nervous but he couldn’t help it. This was different from watching Victor from afar. This was different then Victor taking Yuri to his classroom. This was Victor and Yuri living together, seeing each other every day, sharing the same space, getting to know each other. It was probably the dream of half the school but Yuri didn’t feel like it was a dream.
Finally making it to the living room that was connected opposite of the kitchen he found Victor sitting on the couch, Makkachin now curled up next to him.
“There you are!” Yuri watched as Victors face lit up brightly once again. How could the man have so much joy on his face? “Come sit down I want to talk since we didn’t get to meet before I moved in.”
Hesitantly Yuri went and sat on the other side of Makkachin. His butt rested on the edge of the seat as if he was getting ready to make his get away at any second. “Um, sure. What did you want to talk about?”
Victor pushed his silver hair out of his face so Yuri could see both of his deep blue eyes. “I just wanted to talk about our expectations of living together. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable or step on your toes since you lived here first.”
The jittery feeling in Yuri’s chest went down a little at those words. At least Victor was considerate of his feelings. “Sure. What were you thinking about?”
Victor excitedly leaned forward causing Makkachin to shift. “Here is what I was thinking! Let’s eat all our meals together! We can take turns cooking and split the cost of groceries. If there is something we don’t want to share we put our name on it. No friends over past midnight on weekdays and nothing loud past that time either. Chore responsibilities switch every week and when we are both home we have to agree with what we watch on TV. Lastly we spend lots of time hanging out so we get to know each other very well!”
As Victor talked he leaned in farther and farther towards Yuri so he was practically squishing his dog. Yuri didn’t understand why Victor was so excited and it made some of his nervousness come back. He felt expectations piling on him and he was suddenly very sure he wasn’t going to be the roommate that Victor wanted.
“You want to get to know me? Why?" The words spluttered out of Yuri’s lips before he had even processed what we was thinking.
Victors face dropped in surprise. “Why would I not want to get to know my roommate?” He asked it as a question but he didn’t give Yuri time to answer. “How about let’s start right now? I have so many things I want to know about you! Do you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend that might be coming over?”
Yuri was thrown back by the first personal question. He didn’t really want to answer it but he figured that was something you should know as a roommate too, “No, nothing like that.”
“Good. Me neither!” Victor beamed before he moved on and Yuri wondered if he was happy because Yuri was single or because that meant there wouldn’t be someone over all the time. Yuri figured it was the second one. “Have you ever been in a relationship before?”
Yuri shook his head, “Um, no.”
“What year in school are you?” Victor shot off another questions without even thinking about the last.
“I’m a freshman. I turned 19 In November.”
“Ah you are so young! I turned just turned 22 in December. Do you like dogs?” he got up close in his face. “Specifically do you love Makkachin?”
Yuri wanted to push Victor back but he wasn’t brave enough to be so pushy. “Ah yes. I actually had a poodle when I was a kid. I like poodles a lot.”
“Great!” Victor pulled back and Yuri felt like he could breathe again. “Have you always lived in America?”
Yuri shook his head. “No, we moved here from Japan when I was 14.”
Victors excited heart smile returned, “I just knew you were from japan! I’d love to hear more about your culture! I moved here from Russia when I was 16 so if you ever want to know anything about Russia don’t be afraid to ask!”
“O-okay.” Yuri had never thought too much about Russia even though he knew Victor was Russian from his accent, but he figured he wouldn’t mind hearing about it if Victor wanted to tell him.
“Do you have any food allergies?” It was only a second before Victor threw another question at him.
“No. Not that I know of.” Yuri was starting to get overwhelmed at the speed of his questions. It made him feel like he was on some kind of game show and if he didn’t answer fast enough time would run out and he would be kicked out of his apartment.
“Great! Then I don’t have to worry when I cook. What’s your favorite food?”
“Katsudon?” Yuri said it like it was a question. He was starting to get so overwhelmed he was starting to question himself. Katsudon was his favorite, right?
Victor paused as if he realized he was going too quickly, “Ah, I think we are going to get along well! How about I make dinner first tonight? I assume you have something I can cook with?”
Victor got up from couch and Yuri felt left behind in his whirlwind. Victor had jumped from thing to thing barely giving Yuri any time to breathe. Had Victor always been hyper like this? Seeing a different side then the cool Victor at school almost dropped his anxiety level to a zero. He had always seen Victor as someone amazing and held him up on a pedestal, but he hadn’t realized just how high he had held him. Seeing Victor act as a normal human was actually really comforting. It made him feel less tense about the situation and showed him that maybe he didn’t have to worry about how perfect he seemed in front of Victor. Victor was sure letting himself be free.
Yuri sat there cooling down from his sensory overload and was only brought back to the world when Yuri could hear the sound of banging around coming from the kitchen. Getting up from the couch he walk across the room and look over the counter. Victor was crouching on the ground as he dug through the cupboards. Pans were falling out on the floor and he looked frustrated with his lips smashed together and his brow furrowed.
“What are you looking for?” Yuri asked, not realizing he had snuck up on Victor.
Victors head jerked up to look at him in surprise before looking back into the cupboard, “It’s a mess in here. How do you ever find anything?”
Coming around the counter Yuri bent over so he was looking over Victors shoulder. His nice organized cupboard had been completely torn apart when Victor had dug through it. He spoke before really thinking about his words “Thanks to you. How did you mess it up so fast?”
Victor looked up at him and chuckled, some reason finding his response funny. “Where is a big pot? I want to boil the noodles.”
It then hit Yuri that that was probably the first time his words hadn’t been jumbled and nervous. He wondered if maybe it had been a rude thing to say. Tapping Victor on the shoulder as a slight blush dusted his face he motioned for Victor to scoot over. “If you move I can show you.”
Giving Yuri a thankful grin he stood up and Yuri took his place. He reached way in the back and pulled out his large pot, passing it up to Victor before he started organizing Victors mess.
“Sorry about that. You will have to show me where everything goes. I have some stuff to add to the cooking stuff too so you will have to help me find a place.” Victor moved away from Yuri as he spoke and placed the pot in the sink to start filling it with water. Once he was done he started the stove and left it to start boiling.
“Yeah…sure. We can do that.” It hit Yuri that them living together mean that Yuri’s and Victor’s stuff was going to mingle all across the apartment. Just like their lives all their things were about to be smashed together and it just felt so…permanent. Once again the feeling that this situation was so unreal washed over him. He looked over his shoulder to watch Victor start pulling ingredients out of the fridge.
“I will go to the store soon and buy some more groceries. I don’t want to be using all of yours that wouldn’t be fair.” He didn’t look at Yuri as he pushed the items in the fridge around, looking for something specific. Once he found a jar of tomato sauce he pulled it out and turned to find Yuri staring at him from the floor. Victor shot him his winning smile and Yuri ripped his head back around to finish putting back the last few cooking utensils.
“Okay, that sounds good to me.” Shutting the cupboard door he turned back to Victor, his eyes looking to the floor. “Do you need help with anything else?”
Victor looked around as if to check that he had everything before he realized something was missing. “Where is the big spoons?”
Walking past Victor, still not looking at his face, he opened a drawer and pulled out a large black stirring spoon with holes in the middle to drain water. He silently passed it to Victor and he gripped it in his hand tightly like it was going to slip and hit the floor if he wasn’t careful. “Thank you!”
“No problem. I’m…um…going to be in my room if you need me.” Yuri was already inching away from Victor towards his room.
“No problem! I will come get you when I’m finished.” Victor was obviously not bothered by Yuri’s skittish attitude and Yuri was actually thankful Victor wasn’t making it more awkward then it had to be. Nodding in agreement he turned and walked as quickly as he could without it seeming weird.
Once safely in his room Yuri let out a big sigh. What the hell was going on? Despite the time that passed he still was in disbelief that what was going wasn’t some kind of crazy dream. He needed a moment to himself to calm down and get his thoughts in order. He walked to his bed and went to sit on it when he noticed a large brown fluff sleeping on his bed.
“Makkachin?” Yuri said mostly in surprise and the dog lifted his head and panted happily. “What are you doing here?”
While he was confused to see the dog he actually didn’t mind and he guessed it made sense. The dog didn’t know that this was Yuri’s space and he had left his door open. Running his hand through the dog’s hair he actually felt the calmest he had felt since he had gotten home. Having a strong urge to find comfort in the dog Yuri kicked his shoes off and crawled farther into the bed. Laying himself alongside the dog he wrapped his arms around the dog’s body. He was nervous at first that the dog would get mad but instead Makkachin snuggled up against Yuri’s body and he realized that Victor must have snuggled with the dog like that often.
So they laid there as Yuri ran his hand up and down the dogs back. His mind ran over the past few hours over and over again, trying to convince himself that it was real and it was going to be okay. He would think about Victor in his kitchen making dinner and he would feel like his brain was about to cave in. Would he ever get his mind wrapped around this situation? He was starting to think it was impossible. Something had to make sense to understand.
He wasn’t sure how long it would take him to get comfortable around Victor. Victor made it seem like it was going to be easy but that wasn’t already true. Despite his star status around school Yuri could already tell that Victor was a happy easy going person. He reminded Yuri a little bit of Phichit in the way that he was probably positive about everything. Maybe if he was like Phichit it wouldn’t be so bad. Phichit had made him nervous at first too. He hadn’t invaded Yuri’s space like Victor kept doing but Phichit had kept popping up and talking to him and not leaving him alone. After a while they sat down and Yuri explained to him that Yuri liked his space and Phichit understood. After that things just got better and before he knew it Phichit was the closest friend he had ever had. Maybe it could be the same with Victor. They would figure each other out and then fall into a comfortable routine until it was time for victor to move on.
If anything Yuri was just glad he hadn’t ended up with some 70 year old man. In that light he was sure it would be easier to live with Victor.
As he laid there with Makkachin he really felt his body relax. The healing power of animals could really be amazing and Yuri realized he was extremely happy that Makkachin had come along. He missed having a pet and even if Makkachin wasn’t his he was sure that Victor wouldn’t mind if he had moments like this with the dog. He could just tell that Victor would actually love the idea. Or at least the thought so from the way Victor had wanted him to love his dog.
Now completely relaxed in his room he felt himself drifting off into sleep. It was early and Yuri knew he would regret it when he woke up in the middle of the night but he had just spent so much energy that afternoon and his body was dead. The edges of sleep were upon him when there was a knock on the door and Yuri shot into a sitting position causing Makkachin to wine and shift positions.
“Yuri, dinner is ready if you want to come out.” Victor’s voice was muffled through the door and Yuri figured he would have just busted in the room but he hadn’t, “Also is Makkachin in there with you?”
Yuri looked at the dog in panic, was he wrong about Victor being fine with it? Was he going to be mad? “Um, yeah he’s here. We will be out in a second.”
Yuri got out of the bed and patted his leg so Makkachin would follow. The dog bounced up and ran over to the door, realizing it was time for food, and waited for Yuri to catch up. Yuri paused a second before he opened the door and the dog bounced out of the door to great Victor.
“Sorry, hope it was okay. He was already In my room.” Yuri bit his lip and waited for Victor’s reaction but instead of getting mad he smiled and patted the dogs head.
“You’re fine, I’m happy you two are already getting along so well! It’s important to me that my friends get along with my dog.”
The word ‘friends’ hit Yuri like a hammer to his head. They were friends? He was friends with Victor? He could have said roommate or acquaintance but he had jumped right to friends. He realized that Victor was friendly with everyone but the word was important to Yuri and it warmed his heart a little but also made him nervous again.
“I’ll feed Makkachin real fast and then we can eat.” Without even noticing it at first Victor had headed down the hallway back to where the kitchen and the living room was. Yuri took off after him before Victor realized Yuri wasn’t with him.
“Okay. What did you make?” Yuri could smell meat and sauce and he had a good idea what it was from what he had seen Victor pull out but he still asked for conversation sake.
“I made spaghetti! It was one of the only things I know how to make off the top of my head with the ingredients you have so I hope it’s okay.”
Walking to the kitchen Yuri saw the pot of noodles and the chicken Victor had cooked to go with it instead of meatballs and he realized it looked pretty good, “yeah, I like spaghetti.”
“Great!” Victor had moved over to open one of his boxes with Makkachin’s name on it and after pulling out some toys that Makkachin instantly jumped at he pulled out a bag of dog food and a bowl. He started pouring food in the bowl as he spoke, “I realized half way through that I didn’t ask you if you liked spaghetti so I got a little nervous. I’m glad that you do.”
Yuri almost laughed. Victor nervous? Sounded like a joke. Victor always looked confident and collected at school. It was hard to image Victor ever being nervous or second thinking himself. His attitude screamed confident and that he knew exactly what he was doing. Of course Yuri knew deep down that Victor was human and no human could be perfect, but it was something Yuri knew he was going to have to realize as the two of them lived together. If Yuri wanted to live with Victor peacefully he would have to pull him down from the pedestal he had placed him on.
“Is it okay if I set the table while you do that?” Yuri realized he was just standing there watching Victor and he needed to move and do something.
“That would be very helpful Yuri, thanks! You’re so thoughtful.” Victor was pulling out the identical bowl and was moving to the kitchen to get water for Makkachin. He looked genuinely happy that Yuri had offered to set the table. Yuri thought it was extremely weird that Victor would say that he was thoughtful. Maybe if he was a guest that would have made sense. Perhaps Victor was just really happy to have Yuri do anything for him.
As he started putting noodles in bowls he wondered if maybe Victor was used to doing everything for himself. He had weirdly specific rules that had a lot to do with being together and eating together and watching TV together. Maybe he had left his other apartment for more than just the Makkachin situation. As soon as the thought crossed his mind Yuri realized how ridiculous that was. He was acting like a psychology major. He didn’t know Victor enough to even try and guess the reasons behind his actions. Victor was probably just a thankful person who really liked to be close to people.
After putting on the sauce and the chicken and getting forks and napkins Yuri took the food over to the small table that had come with the apartment that was a little beat up. “Do you want anything to drink?” Yuri asked as he went back and grabbed cups out of the cupboard next to the microwave.
“Just water would be great.” Victor called back from where he was placing Makkachin’s water bowl down. Acknowledging he heard Yuri got Victor ice water and he got himself a soda and poured it into his own cup after putting a little bit of ice in it. Taking it over he placed the cups down by each bowl.
After that Yuri sat down and awkwardly waited for Victor to come sit down in the other seat. Usually he and Phichit would just eat on their own time but Victor had asked to eat together so he waited. Luckily he didn’t have to wait long. Victor quickly finished setting Makkachin up and making sure he was okay in the new space before he washed his hands and came and sat down.
As soon as he started eating Victor was talking again. He asked Yuri about when he woke up and when we went to bed and when he ate and when he went to school. He asked Yuri what classes he took then figured out Yuri was a computer science major. After he found this out he went on and on about his electronic problems before Yuri quietly reminded him that he wasn’t tech support. Victor quickly apologized for getting carried away. In return he changed the subject to Victors major and he finally found out what Victor was doing all around campus. Victor was going to school to be a high school teacher. It wasn’t a main course at the school so the classes were peppered around the campus. He went to the computer lab to take classes like ‘technology in the classroom’ and met up with teachers who were doubling as things like English teachers and education teachers. He even went to teachers he had become friends with over the years and got advice about the practicum he was in. The pieces seemed to fit together as Victor talked and Yuri felt guilty for having jumped to conclusions before.
As Victor talked Yuri once again thought about how unreal the situation was for the billionth time that afternoon. He was eating dinner casually with Victor in his home. Victor was talking about his day at school and Yuri was smiling and nodding. From the outside it probably looked like they were good friends sharing a meal. The way Victor acted it didn’t seem like it was the second time they had ever met. He made such a comfortable atmosphere around him and Yuri really began to understand why Victor was so popular. His personality overflowed with warmth and kindness and he naturally drew people in. He broke down walls with his big smile and his easy chit chat. As he slurped down noodles that Victor had made for him it felt oddly normal and easy to be there.
Once they finished they cleaned up the kitchen together as Victor tried to pry more information out of Yuri. They talked more about Yuri’s childhood in japan and his own poodle. They compared what it was like growing up in Russia to japan and Victor kept asking Yuri to take Victor to japan someday because it sounded so amazing. The thought of going on a trip with Victor sounded unreal and he doubted it would ever happen, but the thought of it was kind of fun. He imaged taking Phichit too and watching him take thousands of tourist photos to upload to every social media he owned.
As the easy conversation continued Yuri’s mind went back to what he thought the first day he had met Victor. How he wondered if knowing Victor would make him special to everyone else and he realized that that wasn’t exactly what the appeal of knowing Victor was. It hadn’t even been 24 hours but Victor had made him feel special. He had made him feel like he was interesting and important and made Yuri feel like he belonged. Victor didn’t make the conversations stressful like they were with other people. Victor had a way of making things feel relaxing and fun and that maybe Yuri wasn’t as boring as he thought. Victor wasn’t popular because he was passing out some kind of status, he was passing out some kind of belonging.
Yet when Victor left to set up his room all those feelings washed away. Without Victor’s eyes on him asking him questions and laughing at the funny things he mumbled the reality of the situation hit him again. He wasn’t anything special like Victor was, he had just stolen that light for a few minutes. It was no wonder people always came back to Victor for more. They wanted to feed off his good charms and smile and feel important. How was Victor even alive after giving that away to so many people? Victor was probably a much stronger person then Yuri had ever realized.
Having nothing to do Yuri moved to the couch and turned on the TV to some random channel. He got lost in his mind only to be brought back by the sound of claws clicking on the floor and Makkachin’s head appearing at the edge of the couch. Patting the seat the dog jumped up and curled in beside him.
It really had been a strange day. It was probably the start of a bunch of strange days with Victor around.
Before long Yuri realized he had fallen asleep on the couch. Only the sound of something loud on the TV jolted him awake. He was still emotionally tired from the whirlwind of that day and realize he should just go to bed. Clicking off the TV he dragged himself off the couch, leaving Makkachin behind, and made his way to his room. Yuri changed out of his clothes and turned off the lights, crawling into the bed he felt his body relax into the soft mattress. He was glad it was a weekend so he didn’t have to turn any alarms on to wake him early in the morning. Snuggling into his pillows he planned to sleep in for a while. He didn’t even want to think what new things would come tomorrow with Victor in the house. How were they going to spend the whole day together? Or was Victor going to go out and hang out with his friends? There were so many questions Yuri had about what it was going to be like being with Victor that he had no way of answering. It brought back some of his nerves but Yuri smashed them down. He wasn’t going to be able to sleep again if he started obsessing over Victor.
He was about to fall asleep again when his door creaked open. He was too tired to check and see what it was. He figured it was Makkachin coming in to sleep with him again. However, as soon as a weight pressed down on the bed and scooted up to Yuri he realized that whatever had gotten into his bed was way bigger than Makkachin. He especially knew it was not Makkachin when arms wrapped around his waist. Springing into action Yuri leaped away from the figure and turned on his lamp by his bed. A surprised looking Victor was looking at him innocently as if he hadn’t just snuck into his bed.
“V-Victor? What are you doing here?” Yuri could keep down the stutter in his voice no matter how hard he tried. His heart was thumping a million miles per hour and his mind had flown out the door and was slowly trying to come back and piece together what was happening.
“You went to bed without saying goodnight so I came to see you.” Victor said the words like there was completely nothing wrong with what he had done.
“Then why did you get in my bed with me?”
Victors smile grew twice as wide, “You were just so cute that I couldn’t help it.” His eyes widened as an idea came to him, “Hey Yuri, we should sleep together! I want to know so much about you and sleeping next to another person is the perfect way to do that.”
“N-no! No way!” Victors face fell at Yuri’s shout that was practically a screech.
“Why don’t you want to sleep together?” Victor was practically pouting and Yuri felt like he was pressing himself flatter into the bed as if that would stop Yuri from making him leave.
“It’s crazy! We don’t know each other at all!” Yuri couldn’t believe he was even having this conversation. How insane was Victor? The image he used to have of Victor was almost wiped clean.
“Like I said this is how we get to know each other.” Yuri, realizing that he wasn’t going to win this argument started pushing on Victor’s body, trying to shove him off the bed. “Yuri? What are you trying to do?”
“You. Are. Not. Sleeping. In. Here” He grunted each word with every push on Victor’s body that didn’t move him at all.
“You slept with Makkachin though.” Victor was acting completely serious in the completely ridiculous situation and looked at him with puppy dog eyes.
“That’s different! He is a dog!” With a harder push Victor’s body actually moved a little and Victor tensed in surprise.
“Please Yuri! I won’t do anything weird!” Yuri shook his head and pushed on Victor again hard and Victor sighed, “Fine. I’ll go back to my room for tonight.” Completely dejected he climbed off the bed and shuffled slowly to the door.
He was sure that Victor was trying to make him feel bad but it really wasn’t working. There was no way he was going to sleep in the same bed as Victor. At least not if he had a choice, and he sure did in this situation.
Victor paused in the doorway with his hand on the door, as if giving Yuri a chance to change his mind. “Good night Victor.” Yuri said and Victor’s shoulders slumped even farther.
“Good night Yuri, see you in the morning.” Victor didn’t sound as sad as he looked and closed the door slowly, leaving Yuri alone in his room.
Yuri was now wide awake. He was completely mind blown. That was the last thing he had expected Victor to do. Why had he done it though? You don’t get to know someone while they are sleeping. That’s made no sense. Why was Victor so adamant with getting extremely close with a complete stranger? Yuri was sure that there was something about Victor he didn’t know. There had to be some reason for his behavior.
Yuri was pretty confident he was never going to find out. Graduation was in 6 months. Victor would move out after he graduated and would never see Yuri again most likely. 6 months seemed long, but not long enough to get to know about a person. Yuri wasn’t one to pry and he doubted Victor was just going to be like ‘Oh yeah I’m clingy because this horrible thing happened to me’, or at least the assumed Victor wouldn’t. Victor kept surprising him so in truth Yuri wasn’t going to be able to pin him down.
Either way Yuri would live with Victor for 6 months and then it would be over. He would go back to his normal life, probably move into a dorm next year, and his time with Victor would probably feel like a dream. Life order would be restored and they would be strangers again like they were meant to be. He hoped he didn’t get attached to Victor. It would be an easy thing to do. And when Victor left he would be the one who would get hurt and miss Victor because Yuri wouldn’t mean anything to Yuri. He doubted victor would care about him after he really did get to know Yuri and found that there wasn’t anything that exciting there. Yuri promised himself he wasn’t going to get attached just like he had always planned before he had ever technically met Victor.
Turning off his light Yuri laid back down in bed. He laid there with his eyes open staring into the darkness. He didn’t even have words anymore to explain the day he had and how he was feeling. It was almost like an out of body experience. Life didn’t feel real and the world didn’t feel real. He figured that things had to make more sense tomorrow after he slept on it. Closing his eyes he forced himself to relax and after a while his body remembered how tired he was and he fell into a fitful sleep.