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Falling Asleep on a Stranger

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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.

Chapter Text

Yuri woke up in the dull gray light that tried to shine in through his curtains. He had no idea what time it was but waking up naturally was the best feeling he could think of in that moment. His body was relaxed and his mind well rested and he had no worries at all. Stretching his arms out across the bed, Yuri touched a lump next to him and jumped, his hand zipping back to his chest. It only took him a second to see the outline of Makkachin lying in bed next to him. Hesitantly he reached out and touched the dog again and the dog moved his head to lap at Yuri’s hand.

 

Yuri was certainly confused to see the dog sleeping with him and looked up to see that his door was still shut. “How did you get in here?” He muttered and Makkachin just blinked his big beautiful eyes at him. After not getting an answer, just like he expected, Yuri threw back his covers and got up. He figured that Victor had something to do with it.

 

Makkachin followed Yuri out of his room and once out in the hallway Yuri was hit with the smell of bacon and the sound of sizzling grease. He made his way towards the smell and once at the end of the hallways he found the site of Victor, in sweats and no shirt, standing over the stove pushing around bacon. Yuri thought there would have to be an end to how many times he was hit again with the presence of Victor, but he was amazed all over again that the situation was real. Victor was in his kitchen, shirtless and hot, cooking breakfast.

 

“Not wearing a shirt is a good way to get a grease burn.” Yuri called and Victor’s head whipped around to look at Yuri standing awkwardly in the hall entrance. Yuri instantly regretted calling out the gutsy comment and knew he was blushing.

 

“Ah, Yuri! You are awake!” Victor’s heart smile made an appearance and he waved with the tongs he was holding. “Good morning!”

 

Making his way out of the hallway Yuri saw the eggs, toast, and bacon Victor had already made. He instantly felt bad that Victor had made dinner and was now making breakfast too. Yuri was the veteran in the house and he was letting the new comer do all the work. “Good morning.” He mumbled. “Do you need help with anything?”

 

“Nope!” Victor turned back and flipped the bacon. “I’m just about done. You can start your own plate if you are ready to eat.”

 

“Oh. Okay.” Grabbing a plate from the cupboard he started filling it with the food and he realized he hadn’t thanked him for either meal. “Ah…thanks for cooking both last night and this morning.”

 

“No problem! I hope this is to your liking.  I was going to see what you wanted this morning but you looked so peaceful that I just left you there.” With the bacon done Victor pulled them out of the pan one by one and set them on the plate with a paper towel on it to soak up the grease. The last one he popped right into his mouth not even caring how hot it was.

 

Hearing that the pieces clicked together. Victor had opened his door to talk to Yuri and Makkachin must have come in. “No this is perfect. But is that how Makkachin wound up in my bed?”

 

Victor’s face changed to look as if he had just remembered that that had happened. “Oh yeah! Makkachin really wanted to sleep with you since I was awake so I let him. Was that bad of me?”

 

Yuri grabbed a glass of milk from the fridge, a fork from the silverware drawer, and some salt and took it over to the table as Victor made his own plate. “Its fine, he didn’t wake me up. I was just surprised to see him in bed with me.”

 

Grabbing how own fork and drink after watching where Yuri had gotten them, Victor came and sat across from Yuri. For a while they just ate in silence. This made Yuri feel nervous since Victor hadn’t been able to stop talking to him since he showed up. Was Victor okay? Yuri ended up watching Victor eat and pass Makkachin a chunk of egg which the dog gobbled down quickly. He felt like he needed to say something, anything, to get Victor talking and end this awkward atmosphere only Yuri was probably feeling. Taking self-conscious bites of his food that once again tasted great, Yuri’s mind flew through topic he could bring up that wouldn’t be weird or pry even though Victor had no problem asking both of those kinds of questions.

 

Yuri was practically grinding down on his fork in thought when Victor finally spoke up. “What are you thinking about so intently?”

 

Yuri’s head jerked away from the fork, embarrassed that he had been caught trying to destroy the silverware. “Um…Just thinking about the homework I have this weekend?” The lie came out awkwardly but it didn’t seem like Victor noticed.

 

“You must have a lot then! Being a freshman is hard. ”He chucked and tossed a bit of bacon to Makkachin.

 

“Haha…yeah.” Yuri took a bite of toast and looked off to the side, cursing himself for letting the conversation die again. He would have given anything to have great conversation skills even if it was only in that moment.

 

Victor finished his food and moved in the kitchen to clean up. As he put his dishes in the dishwasher he called out from his bend over position. “So are your plans to just do homework today? I was hoping we could go out and do some roommate bonding!” He sprung up from behind the counter at the last word, his dishes finally all settled in the dishwasher, and a hopeful look on his face.

 

Yuri’s stomach dropped. The idea of going out somewhere with Victor sounded horrible. In the apartment it wasn’t bad of course, if not awkward at times, but outside he could just imagine all the people looking at him and wondering why he was with Victor. He was sure they would collect people from school who were out on their own weekend plans and just end up in a big group. That seemed ridiculous to say about anyone but Victor but Victor always had a group around him as if he had called them and they had come running. And if the awkwardness that morning was anything to go off of he was going to get pushed to the back of the group, no one would care about him, and he would have a horrible Saturday. Yuri didn’t really need or want that. He had to think of some kind of excuse instead. He really didn’t have enough homework for the entire day and Victor would be able to see that and call him out on it. So what could he do?

 

The answer hit him like a lightning bolt from heaven. What were best friends for if not to be convenient excuses? Plus he needed to tell Phichit everything that happened before he waited too long and he got mad. He had considered texting or calling Phichit but it had seemed like such a big thing that it would have lessened the importance if he talked about it over the phone. He would just call him up and ask him to go out with him so he wasn’t really lying and he didn’t have to get sucked into Victor’s plans. “Oh, I’m actually hanging out with one of my friends today. Sorry.”

 

Victor’s hopeful expression fell. “Of course. That makes sense. Another time then?” The corner of his lip perked up a little in a now sad but hopeful smile.

 

Why did it make Yuri feel so damn guilty? He didn’t know disappointing someone like that could make his chest feel so horrible. Was it some kind of magic Victor had? He almost blurted out that he could change the plans, it would be completely easy to do since the plans didn’t exist, but he kept his mouth shut. His anxious side held him at bay, images of all the people talking and laughing and ignoring him stronger than his guilt. “Yeah, maybe another time.”

 

“I’ll just spend the rest of the day unpacking okay? What time will you be going out? Afterwards could you help me find a place for the stuff that doesn’t go into my room?” As if Victor could see the guilt swirling in his stomach he seemed to be trying to make Yuri feel better by making himself sound busy. Yuri didn’t doubt for a second that Victor did have things to unpack. The mountain of boxes just a few feet from the table was proof enough. He just felt like by saying he had things to do and offering an activity later made it seem like him turning Victor down wasn’t so bad. Or maybe Yuri was just telling himself that Victor was doing that so he could let himself feel better.

 

“Yeah, I can do that no problem.” Actually having no idea what time it was Yuri tried to look at the clock on the microwave without seeming suspicious. It was about ten. “I’m meeting my friend at noon and we will probably be a few hours. So maybe after dinner, I can help you?”

 

“Yes! That would be perfect.”  Victor bounced over to the table and pointed at Yuri’s plate. “Are you done?”

 

It took a second to realize that Victor was offering to put his plate in the dishwasher. “Oh yeah… thank you.” He was starting to really feel like a guest in his own home. Victor was taking care of him way too well for being the person that had just moved in. Yuri was going to have to try pulling some weight again. It was easy to do with Phichit because they had both been lazy when it came to things like cooking and chores, but with Victor he really had to step up his game. “Hey, I’ll go to the store on my way home and pick some stuff up to make Katsudon for dinner.”

 

Victor, who had already made his way to the dishwasher spun around with wide eyes and a big smile. “Really? I would love that!” Victor’s hands started scrabbling to his sides before he remembered he was in sweats and didn’t have his wallet on him. “Give me a second and I’ll give you some money.”

 

Victor moved to go to his room but Yuri shook his head and put out his hand as if he was going to reach out and grab him when he passed the table. “No, it’s going to be my treat. You could say it’s a welcome dinner for you.”

 

If Victor had been happy before he was ecstatic now. Factors face melted into a gooey expression of pure bliss. “Really Yuri? You’re amazing, thank you!” Victor was across the room one second and the next second Victor was in front of him and was pulling him into a bear hug that caused his feet to leave the floor. Yuri yelped in surprise and hung onto Victor’s neck for dear life. He wasn’t really that far off the ground but it made him feel helpless and out of control.

 

“Y-your welcome Victor.” Yuri stuttered as his feet scrabbled through the air to find some kind of purchase. “But can you put me down?”

 

Victor’s smile dropped a little as he realized what he had done and lowered Yuri to the floor. “Oops, sorry. I was just so happy!”

 

Once again safe on the floor Yuri looked Victor over. He was tall and fit, but Yuri hadn’t realized he was strong enough to lift Yuri like that. He could almost see that same situation happening over and over again in their time together. Yuri wasn’t sure if it was going to be something he could get used to. “That’s fine. It just surprised me.” Yuri paused and they both looked at each other for a second, neither of them having anything to say and Yuri could feel the awkward atmosphere raising its ugly head again. “Um. I’m going to go get into the shower okay? Do you know how to work the TV and stuff?”

 

Victor followed Yuri’s eyes to the TV. “I feel like if you have lived for 22 years you should at least know how to work a TV.”

 

Yuri chuckled at that, knowing that that wasn’t exactly the truth. Yuri always felt like college students were the people with the most disconnection in the world in the ways they desperately use anything for living. He had seen pictures of people cooking noodles in coffee pots and using tennis racks as a grill. He would not be surprised at all if a college student couldn’t figure out a TV that was different. But perhaps he wasn’t giving his age group enough credit. “Well, I sure hope so.”

 

Victor laughed like he had heard a great joke and Yuri smiled shyly, not exactly sure why victor was laughing but going along with it anyways.

 

After that Yuri left Victor to the TV and went to the bathroom to turn on the shower water. Even though he was going to take a shower he had to use it as a cover for what he had to do. Going to his contacts he went down to the P’s and found his friends name. Clicking on his contact the phone started to ring.

 

“Hey Yuri what’s up?” Phichit picked up after a ring and his voice sounded happy to hear from Yuri, probably because Yuri never called instead of texted. “Wait, what is that sound?”

 

“It’s the shower” Yuri shot a look at the running water then out the door to where Victor would be. “Don’t worry about it. Are you free today at 12?”

 

“Okaaaaay.” Phichit sounded like he wanted to ask more about the shower but Yuri was glad he didn’t. He really didn’t want to explain it to him cause then he would have to explain what was happening and it would defeat the whole purpose of meeting up” But yeah I’m free. Did you want to meet up or something? It’s not often for you to be the one inviting me out.”

 

“Yeah I do. Can you meet me at the pizza place by the science building?” Yuri felt relief wash through his body. If Phichit hadn’t been free then he had no idea what he would have done. He probably would have to have gone out and sat at some café for a few hours.

 

“Sure, yeah, that place should be pretty quiet at lunch time since most people want pizza for dinner.” Yuri hadn’t even thought about that and was glad that he had picked someplace fairly quiet so no one overheard them “Can Guang Hong come?”

 

Yuri bit his lip, feeling bad that he didn’t want him to come but really not wanting anyone but Phichit to know at this point. “Um no, just you. I have something I need to tell you.”

 

“Oh…okay.” Yuri wasn’t sure if Phichit was now realizing how serious he was being but he was glad he wasn’t fighting it. “I hope it isn’t anything bad.  I’ll have to go get in the shower now if I want to be ready on time. Though apparently you are already there?” He laughed as if it had been so funny joke. “See you at 12 then.”

 

“Okay,” Yuri felt like rolling his eyes at his attempt to be funny. He was extremely grateful his friend was willing to go so he didn’t say anything about it. “Thanks Phichit.”

 

Both of them hung up and Yuri quickly stripped and jumped into the shower. He didn’t even want to think about how much water he had wasted during that call. However, between the two evils he felt that he had made the right choice. There was no way he could have let Victor hear that call. That would have just been awkward.

 

He washed up quickly and got out. Wrapping himself in a towel and then paused at the door. His room was just a little farther up the hall from the bathroom, but what if Victor saw him? Saw him and all his chub glory, how embarrassing would that be? Preferably Yuri didn’t want anyone to see him naked. It wasn’t that he was ashamed of his body, he just wasn’t comfortable being naked in front of other people. He was sure Victor wouldn’t even bat an eye at naked Yuri and probably wouldn’t even notice. It felt like not a lot bothered Victor.

 

Either way he wasn’t going to stand in this bathroom forever though. He wasn’t going to but his clothes back on either cause that would just be ridiculous. He was just going to run for it.

 

Gathering his clothes he turned off the light and then ripped open the door to run. His feet slapped against the hardwood floor and he tore his own door open, slamming it shut behind him. A few seconds later he heard feet running and a knock on Yuri’s door.

 

“Are you okay Yuri? Did something happen?” Victor’s voice was high and concerned and even muffled through the door it was loud.

 

Yuri slapped himself in the forehead. Way to be discreet. “No I’m fine. Sorry.”

 

“Okay.” Victor sighed in relief. “As long as you didn’t get hurt.”

 

“Um yeah, sorry if I scared you.” It made Yuri a little happy that Victor had been so concerned. He was sure if someone sounded like they tripped and fell into a door he would have been concerned too but the way Victor had ran and sounded so concerned made him smile still.

 

“It’s Okay.” It was quiet after that and Yuri wasn’t sure if Victor had left or not. He pressed his ear to the door as if he could hear Victor breathing or something. He admitted that if he heard Victor just breathing on the other side of the door it would be a little creepy. It was silent though so he figured Victor had left. He turned to leave when Victor spoke up again and made him jump. “If you’re sure you’re okay I’ll go now.”

 

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Yuri said again. He wondered why Victor had stood there so long, and why he hadn’t heard him there. Was Victor feeling a little awkward after having been so concerned for nothing? The idea was kind of laughable. He probably was just waiting to see if Yuri was going to tell him if someone was actually wrong if he had lied.

 

“Okay. I’m glad.” This time Yuri heard the sound of footsteps as Victor left to go back to the Livingroom.

 

Yuri let out a breath. That could have gone worse. Ideally he should have walked calmly and not alerted Victor at all to him, but that hadn’t happened so he was just glad the Victor hadn’t bust in after him. In the end Victor hadn’t seen him naked and that’s what matter the most.

 

Trying to put what had just happened behind him, Yuri looked at the clock next to his bed and saw that it was a little passed eleven. Yuri realized he had to kick into gear if he wanted to get there on time. Drying his hair off quickly, he dug through his drawer to find a shirt and some pants. Once he had those one he grabbed a coat from the closet and then slipped on some socks and shoes. He went to walk out his bedroom door before he remembered his wallet and keys and turned back to grab them off the dresser.

 

Starting to walk down the hall Yuri felt fine. But as he got closer to the open area with the kitchen and the living room Yuri got a little worried. What was he supposed to say to Victor? Did he say goodbye? Say ‘see you later’? Or did he just walk out? Would Victor say something if he said goodbye? Or would he not say anything at all? Yuri couldn’t imagine Victor ignoring him. From what he had seen of Victor so far he felt like Victor would get upset if Yuri didn’t say goodbye.

 

Yuri decided that he should just go up to Victor and say goodbye. Victor would probably appreciate it and Yuri would feel better than just running out the door. Having made up his mind he walked to the back of the couch and stood right behind Victor.

 

“Hey, I’m leaving now.” Victor looked over his shoulder up at him.

 

“Oh okay. Text me when you’re on your way back okay?” Yuri was glad that Victor hadn’t made a big deal about him saying goodbye. It hadn’t made him feel bad for doing it. “Oh wait, you don’t have my number.” Victor pulled his phone out of his sweats pocket and opened his contacts. “What’s your number?”

 

Yuri’s mouth felt dry. Victor wanted his number? He wanted to text Yuri? It made sense but it felt so odd. He couldn’t imagine having casual texting conversations with Victor. He wasn’t sure if it would be easier or harder than talking face to face with Victor. So far they had seemed to have really great conversations and then ones with awkward pauses that made Yuri’s stomach churn. Would texting be as easy? Would he get anxiety just for shooting Victor an ‘I’m coming home’ text or a ‘need anything from the store’ text? Would he always feel like he was bothering Victor or would he just not text him at all?

 

“Yuri? Do you know your number?” Victor’s voice brought him back out of his brain and he focused on Victor’s blue eyes watching him a little concerned.

 

“Oh yeah sorry, hand me your phone.” Yuri put his hand out and Victor placed the phone into the palm of his hand. He typed in his name then added his number. He checked it twice just to make sure he hadn’t messed up before he saved it and handed it back.

 

“Here hand me your phone then.” Victor put out his hand for Yuri’s phone and Yuri just looked at it for a second before he jumped into action and pulled his own phone out. It was a cheaper and older brand than Victor’s and he felt a little embarrassed as Victor started adding his own number into Yuri’s phone. One he was done he passed it back with a happy smile and Yuri looked down to see the contact. Victor had added his name and then a few emoji’s. It made Yuri smile a little bit to see what he had picked. He had put the big smiling face, the dog, and the house. Yuri easily figured out why he had picked each one.

 

“Okay I’ll text you when I’m on my way back then.” Yuri clicked his Phone closed and slipped into his pocket. For some reason the phone now felt heavier. As if Victor’s number had made the phone more important.

 

“Thank Yuri. Have fun with your friend.” Victor smiled and waved to Yuri as he turned to walk to the front door. Yuri paused and waved with his other hand on the door before he walked out and shut it behind him.

 

He had officially survived the morning with Victor. Taking a deep breath of the cold air Yuri took off to go down the flight of stairs to get to the bottom floor. Yuri was going to have to walk all the way to the other side of campus to get to the pizza place. He had given himself about 20 minutes to walk and if he had planned it right he would get there a little but after the time that Phichit should get there. Pulling out his phone he noticed that Victor’s contact was still up and he found himself smiling again before he shook his head and exited to his messaging app. He quickly shot a text to Phichit telling him he had left and Phichit messaged him back quickly that he had already left too.

 

As he walked Yuri wished that he had brought a warmer coat. His ears were cold and he knew his cheeks were red from the low temperature. He stuffed his fingers in his coat pockets hoping to save them from being so cold they were numb. It rarely even snowed where he lived but it got cold enough to be uncomfortable.

 

On his way he saw some other students walking around on campus. Some were walking to go to the cafeteria and some of them hustling back to their dorm with an armful of books. As Yuri made it past the dorm area and was in the area with all the class building he found less and less people around. Once he had made it to the other side of campus there was a bit more people going into shops and sitting in the windows of the café’s. When he walked up to the pizza place he could see just a few people sitting inside. One of them was Phichit who was sitting at a table on his phone.

 

When Yuri pushed the door open a bell rung and the worker called out an unenthusiastic hello. At the same time Phichit looked up and waved, his face excited to see Yuri but he could also tell he was eager and concerned about what Yuri wanted to talk about.

 

“Have you ordered?” Yuri asked when he reached the table.

 

“Not yet.” Phichit put his phone in his pocket and stood up from his seat. “I was waiting for you.”

 

The friends walked up to the counter and ordered personal pizzas. Yuri insisted on paying for Phichit since he had invited him but Phichit refused and forcefully paid for his own and for Yuri’s. Yuri tried to give Phichit money but he wouldn’t take it and after giving up Yuri promised that he would pay next time.

 

They sat back down and chatted as they waited for their pizza to come. After about 15 minutes the worker came and set them down and they started to eat the hot food.

 

“So Yuri, tell me what you wanted to talk about?” Phichit said and took a bite, the cheese stretching from his mouth as he pulled the slice away.

 

Yuri bit his lip. He knew he had come specifically to talk to this with Phichit but he was already nervous. He didn’t really know how to begging to talk about the whirlwind that had happened over what wasn’t even 24 hours yet. He knew Phichit would flip at first but he knew that he would also be able to calmly think about it.

 

“So my new roommate came.” Yuri decided to start out slow and build up to it.

 

“Oh yeah?” Phichit said around a bite of pizza. “Are you doing okay? What are they like?”

 

“Um…it’s been interesting so far.” Yuri picked a piece of pepperoni off his pizza and nibbled at it. “He actually goes to our school.”

 

“Really?” Phichit’s eyebrows shot up in excitement and set his slice down. “Who are they? Did you guys knew each other before he moved in?”

 

“Well yes and no.” Yuri fidgeted in his seat. “It’s Victor.”

 

“Victor?” Phichit leaned in, his eyes narrowing. “Victor like…Victor Nikiforov?”

 

Yuri scratched his head awkwardly and looked down at the table. He was embarrassed even though he really didn’t have a reason to be. “Yeah.”

 

Phichit jerked back in surprise. “Are you for real? Your new roommate is Victor? The most popular guy in school? The guy you have been ogling since you first saw him?”

 

“I have not been ogling him!” Yuri said loudly before he realized he had practically yelled it and ducked his head in further embarrassment.

 

“Okay if that’s what you tell yourself. So what happened? Tell me everything.” Phichit rested his chin in his hand and looked at Yuri expectantly.

 

With a sigh, Yuri dived into the story of thinking someone broke into his house and finding Victor in there. He talked about how they had dinner and Victor tried to sleep in the same bed as him. Then about breakfast and trying to invite him out and promising to make dinner. He told him about his fears about living with Victor and not wanting them to get too close even thought he had a nice time with him so far.

 

“And now I don’t know what to do with him. I’m not sure what to expect and honestly, I can’t imagine us ever getting along well outside of the apartment. We live in such different worlds” Yuri finished with a deep sigh and laid his cheek on the table surface, his pizza barely touched.

 

Phichit was staring at him with a single eyebrow raised. “So, you guys get along well more than half the time, you like him, but you don’t want to get close to him or be with him outside of the apartment? How does that make any sense?” Phichit asked like it was the dumbest thing in the world and Yuri was starting to wonder if he was being ridiculous.

 

“I guess it’s because I know he’s a temporary thing, you know?” Yuri pushed his glasses up and rubbed at his eyes before he moved his hand and it fell back into place on his nose. “He’s going to graduate and move and then he will forget all about me. And I know if we go out in public he would rather be with other people then me.”

 

Phichit leaned forward and placed his slightly greasy hands on each side of Yuri’s face so he was forcing him to look in Phichit’s eyes. “Do you hear how stupid you are being? This is completely one-sided. How do you know Victor is just going to disappear one day? Who knows you could keep in touch. And even if Victor is really popular that doesn’t mean he’s going to ditch you at the first chance.”

“Well, you don’t know that he will either.” Grabbing Phichit’s wrists he pushed down on them so his hands fell off his face. “I’d rather not put in the effort if there is a chance it won’t work out. That way I won’t get hurt.”

 

Falling back into his seat Phichit crossed his arms is disproval. “Yuri, if you keep holding yourself back like that then you are never going to live your life.”

 

“I will, just in my own way where I don’t feel bad or get hurt.” Yuri tried not to let Phichit make him feel bad for feeling the way he did. He knew it was a pessimistic view of live, but if he thought that way he knew he wouldn’t get his hopes up just to be let down. “I was more comfortable just knowing Victor existed from a distance. Now that I know him up close everything is on the line. I’m going to disappoint him.”

 

“Yuri you will not disappoint him. There is nothing disappointing about you. Plus, from what you said it seems like he likes you a lot.” Yuri started eating his pizza again and found it was a little cold but not bad. He was trying not to think too hard about all the things that could go right or wrong. He was firm in what he wanted.

 

“That’s because he doesn’t know me that well. He thinks I’m fine now but if I keep messing up he’s going to realize I’m not that great.” Yuri thought back to the whole bathroom incident. Victor must have thought Yuri was a klutz after realizing nothing bad had happened.

 

“Well even if I can’t convince you you’re wrong. Just wait and you and Victor will be the best of friends.” He winked dramatically at Yuri. “And who knows maybe more.”

 

Yuri felt a blush make a flaming path across his face. “Phichit stop. That’s way impossible. I don’t even like him like that.”

 

He gave Yuri a knowing look. “If you say so.”

 

Yuri groaned out in frustration. Sometimes Phichit got his own ideas and ran with it. Yuri admired Victor and his way of life. He wished he could be so open and calm with other people. Yuri wanted to be like Victor in a sense, but most people did. There was a reason he was popular. Yuri’s feelings for victor wasn’t a crush or anything.

 

However, instead of arguing, Yuri dropped the conversation. He didn’t want to get into Phichit with it anymore. He felt a little better knowing someone else knew about the crazy situation his life was thrown into, but having Yuri try to fight him about it wasn’t going to change anything. He didn’t want to get into an endless conversation of him trying to convince Yuri that he would be okay. Yuri couldn’t believe it and he didn’t really want to have to try and defend what he thought.

 

From there the conversation moved on after Phichit made sure there was nothing else Yuri wanted to say. He blabbed awhile about Victor, talking about things he knew about the man and asking Yuri if rumors about him were true. He asked thinks like if he had a million girlfriends and boyfriends or if Victor had travelled around the world. Yuri couldn’t answer most of them, reminding Phichit it had only been a day and that he didn’t want to ask Victor about all that stuff, but he answered what he could.  The more they talked the more Yuri really realized he didn’t know anything about Victor despite watching him all the time. He figured that was fine, it would just help him keep his feelings about him natural.

 

After Phichit commented a few times how crazy it was that they were roommate they moved on to Yuri’s relief. They talked about Phichit living with Guang Hong and how well they got along. Phichit tried to convince Yuri that he needed to come over one weekend so they three of them could binge watch some new Netflix original show. Yuri thought it might be nice to spend time with Phichit like that again and he wouldn’t turn his head away from getting to know Guang Hong more but he didn’t really want to do it during the term. He told Phichit maybe during spring break and it seemed to satisfy him for the moment.

 

After a few hours, Phichit said he should get back to his dorm and work on his paper due Monday. Yuri didn’t want him to go because that meant he had to go back to the dorm and be alone with Victor again, but he figured he was going to have to get used to it anyways.

 

They walked and talked for a little while longer till they had to split for Phichit to turn and go to his dorm and for Yuri to keep making his way across campus. Yuri was almost all the way home when he remembered he was supposed to go to the store. Turning around with a groan Yuri headed in the direction to the nearest Fred Meyers and bought all the ingredients off the top of his head. He had watched his mom make it so many times and even got his mom to teach him how to make it. He had made it more times than he could count once he lived on his own and he could blame the freshman 15 partly on the deliciously bad for you dish.

 

Walking out of the doors of the store with two bags in one of his hands Yuri pulled out his phone and pulled up the new message page on his messaging app. He typed in V and Victor’s name instantly popped up. He clicked on it and then went to type and his hands stilled. What should he say? Would a casual ‘on my way back!” work or something more detailed like ‘just got done at the store and will be home in about 8 minutes.’? Would it be weird if Yuri said too much or is that what Victor wanted from him? Yuri bit down on his lip as he stared at the empty box. He had just known this would happen. Yuri’s own behavior never surprised him anymore. He just had to over think everything. He hymned and hawed for a few minutes before he decided you can’t go wrong with short and simple.

 

On my way home he texted and after a few seconds the typing bubble popped up and Victor’s message slid onto the screen

 

Okay, see you soon! Be safe on your way home. And then there was a string of emoji’s. Yuri thought it was funny that he would tell Yuri to be safe. It was completely light out and it wasn’t like someone was going to mug a chubby guy with two bags of groceries. At least he didn’t think so.

 

Walking back home Yuri was a little more cautious than usual with Victor’s words hanging over his head. He was fairly certain that he wasn’t going to get mugged but there was still the ‘what if’ question that had been implanted. When he saw his apartment building up ahead he felt his body relax a little, no longer on alert.

 

Climbing up the stairs Yuri kept repeating that he was just going to walk in and it wouldn’t be weird. He had lived there for months and he shouldn’t be worried about walking into his own house. He pulled his keys out of his pocket and unlocked the door.

 

“I’m home.” He called out, kicking his shoes off by the door. Victor instantly appeared in the entryway as if he had been eagerly waiting for him.

 

“Welcome home Yuri, did you have a nice time? Oh, let me take those off of you” Victor was a little too close to Yuri as he took the bags from his hand. It reminded him of when a person came home and their dog ran excitedly to come see them. Funnily enough, Makkachin was still sitting on the couch, looking at Yuri but not interested enough to get up.

 

“I had a nice time. “ He looked at the bags Victor had taken. “Um…you can take those to the kitchen if you want. I’ll start cooking in a little. Just put the refrigerate bag in the fridge and the other one on the counter.

 

Victor looked down at his hand as if he had already forgotten that he had grabbed the bags in his excitement. “Okay I’ll go put them away.”  Victor took off and Yuri watched after him. He wondered if Victor wasn’t used to being alone for so long. He couldn’t imagine Victor being that happy just to see him. He was probably bored spending all day unpacking.

 

“Did you get most of your stuff unpacked?” Yuri called as he walked farther into the apartment. Once he rounded the corner he saw Victor putting the stuff in the fridge.

 

“Yes!” He closed the fridge and turned towards Yuri. “I unpacked most of my things last night so I didn’t have too much to do in my room. The rest I need your help with since I don’t know where it goes.”

 

“That’s good. You must be a fast unpacker. You came with lots of boxes, it would have taken me days.” Yuri motioned to the last few boxes still sitting in the living room and Victor’s eyes turned to follow his hand.

 

“I wanted to finish before school on Monday. I hate letting things like that drag out.” Yuri imagined what it would be like to always do things as soon as possible. He always procrastinated the things he didn’t want to do. How stress free would it be to do things early?

 

“Speaking of not letting things drag out I should go do a bit of that homework before I need to start cooking.” Yuri started to move towards his room and he could see Victor’s face fall just a little.

 

“Oh okay. I’ll just go back to watching TV. I hope it’s okay I unplugged your DVD player and put mine in. I wanted to watch Netflix.” Victor leaned onto the counter and inclined his head towards the living room. He did look too worried about what Yuri would think, probably because no one would complain about gaining the ability to watch Netflix on the TV.

 

“Yeah that’s fine, it was a hammy down from my older sister.” Yuri stopped at the corner where the hallways started and set his hand against it. He could tell Victor wanted to talk more but Yuri actually did need to do some homework so he wasn’t doing it for hours the next day.

 

“Okay I’m glad it wasn’t a problem. I didn’t want to overstep my bounds. Good luck with your homework.” With that Victor turned to go back to the couch where Makkachin waited for him and Yuri scampered off to his room.

 

Once inside Yuri dragged his backpack over to his desk and sat down. He pulled out the homework he had for his writing class and the textbook. He had to read a section and write an analysis on it. Yuri figured he should have grabbed his laptop but he preferred to use a paper and pencil when it came to writing homework and would just type it up after. He knew it would be more work but it would be better quality that way. Before he dug in he set a timer for 4:30 so he had an hour to do homework and then enough time to cook in time for dinner.

 

It felt like only a few minutes before the phone went off. He was about half way through his analysis of the text. It had taken Yuri a little longer than he had expected to read the article and figured he could wait just a little longer to start cooking. He didn’t want to lose the flow of his ideas and it was the weekend and he doubted Victor would come complain if it was a little later than either of them were used to.

 

It took Yuri another half an hour to finish his analysis and once done threw his pencil down with a sigh. He took a few minutes to let his full mind rest before he pulled himself out of his chair to leave his room. Once he had entered the big common area Victor turned around on the couch to look at him. “Are you starting to cook now?”

 

“Yeah.” Yuri rubbed the back of his head nervously, figuring that Victor had been waiting on him. “Sorry I meant to start earlier but my homework took a little longer than I had expected.”

 

Victor stood up from the couch causing Makkachin to jump away. “No problem, I was just hoping that you would teach me as you cooked. I’m very interested in what it takes to make your favorite meal.”

 

Being watched made Yuri a little nervous but he couldn’t really think of a reason to say no. “Sure, I can teach you, but you will mostly have to watch.”

 

Victor beamed. “That’s fine with me!”

 

Bouncing across the floor Victor caught up to Yuri in the kitchen as he began to pull the food back out of the fridge. He washed his hands and told Victor to wash his hands in case he ended up touching any food. Once they were both clean Yuri started to talk Victor through the process of cooking Katsudon and even let Victor try some of the steps. Victor’s didn’t come out as nice as Yuri’s and Yuri decided he would eat what Victor made. He wanted Victor to try the best he could offer.

 

Once they were done there was a little bit of a mess in the kitchen and both of them were laughing and talking. Yuri kept thinking about how nice it was to cook together with someone. He hadn’t done anything like that since he and his mom used to cook together at their hot springs business. Him and Phichit had usually just thrown chicken nuggets in the over or made burritos. They rarely ever made things that required actual cooking and when they did it was never together like this. Yuri hadn’t realized how much he had missed it.

 

Once done Yuri found the biggest bowls they had and put all the different parts together. “Chopsticks or fork?” He asked Victor as he pulled out his nice chopsticks his dad and mom had given him when they dropped him off for college. He looked over his shoulder to see Victor staring at them in his hand.

 

“I don’t know how to use them but I would rather eat it traditionally.”

 

Reaching back into the drawer he pulled out his plain black chopstick that were a backup pair and turned to face Victor offering the bowl and the chopsticks to him. “It’s okay, I’ll show you. It’s not that hard.”

 

Victor took the bowl and looked down to notice the perfectly cooked pork cutlet. “Wait this is the one you made.”

 

“I know.” Yuri moved past him with Victor’s kind of ugly cooking and sat down at the table. Victor followed after him seeming a little agitated.

 

“But yours is so much nicer. I don’t want you to have to eat mine.” He reached out as if to grab it from Yuri but Yuri held it away from him.

 

“You forgot that this is my gift to you. Just accept the one I cooked.” Victor looked down at the bowl and after a few seconds nodded his head. Yuri was glad that victor seemed to understand why Yuri was refusing to eat his own. Victor moved and instead of sitting in the chair across from Yuri like they had the last two times they had eaten together he sat in the chair closest to where Yuri was.

 

Now that Victor had given in he started to show Victor how to use the chopsticks. He positioned them in his hands and watched as Victor kept dropping any food he had managed to pick up. After a while, Yuri showed him with his own chopsticks and Victor was able to clumsily shovel a bite into his mouth.

 

“Vksuno!” Victor called and while he wasn’t sure what it meant Yuri figured by the look on his face that he had liked it.

 

“Does it taste okay?” Yuri asked nervously even though he was smiling as he watched Victor start to eat faster.

 

“Okay? It’s amazing! I love the flavor.” Victor spoke with his mouth full and some rice fell out as he talked.

 

“I’m glad then.” Yuri mumbled embarrassed and moved to take a bite of his own. Victor’s had been a little sloppy but it tasted the same. Of course Yuri’s own cooking wasn’t as good as his moms but it was better than anything store bought. He was glad that he gotten to share it with Victor.

 

As they ate Victor asked more about Japanese foods. He kept saying things he wanted to try and Yuri made a mental list of some of the things he could make. It would be a nice excuse to make some old recipes from home he hadn’t made in awhile. In return, Yuri said that Victor was going to have to make him some of his favorite Russian dishes. Victor quickly said it was a deal and they shook on it.

 

After they finished they once again worked together to clean up after the meal. Once the kitchen was spotless they migrated over to the boxes and finished pulling Victor’s stuff out. He showed where the bathroom stuff and the kitchen supplied he had brought could go. Between the two of them they put everything away quickly.

 

“What now?” Victor said with his hands on his hips looking around. It was 9:30 and they were both still wide awake. Yuri was in a great mood thanks to dinner and he figured it wouldn’t be bad to ride on the high for a while longer.

 

“Do you play video games?” Yuri asked and motioned over to where his Xbox, Wii, and PlayStation sat under the TV.

 

“No.” Victor looked over to see the consoles then turned back. “I’m willing to try though”

 

Yuri felt a wicked smile grow on his face: This was going to be fun.

 

Yuri started out with Mario cart, the staple of competitive games. Yuri was in disbelief when Victor said he had never played it before. He first let Victor play by himself so he could watch him and show him how to play. However, when they started a competitive game Yuri had no mercy. After while Victor got better but he never surpassed Victor to claim the number on spot. Victor would throw his hands in the air every time he lost and cried out ‘Chet Voz’mi!’

 

Once Victor had been beaten enough timed they decided to switch games. Yuri pulled out the next thing behind Mario cart: Smash Bro’s Brawl. Once again Yuri had to walk Victor through the controls and then it was all out war. Victor was really good at key smashing and actually gave Yuri a run for his money. They ended up elbowing each other to mess the other up and yelling when they got knocked off the platform.

 

By the time they were tired of brawl it was late. Yuri was tired from laughing so hard he cried a few times and messing around with Victor.

 

“I think it’s time to go to bed.” Yuri said setting the Wii remote on the floor.

 

“I agree. I didn’t know video games could take so much out of you.” Victor fell back so he was laying on the floor. He ran his hands back through his silver hair so it was off his forehead.

 

“Not all of them are.” Yuri had had his legs crossed so he stretched them out in front of him and touched his toes. “Some games can be fun and relaxing, not the Zelda games though. Those ones take so much effort to play. They are fun but they tire me out.”

 

“Is Zelda that one guy in the green elf costume?” Victor rolled his head over so he was looking at Yuri. He looked a little proud that he actually knew something. It broke Yuri’s heart a little to tell him he was wrong.

 

“That’s actually link, but your close. It’s the same game.” Yuri tried to hide his smile as Victor sighed loudly in frustration but he couldn’t.

 

“I know nothing!” I threw his hands into the air above him dramatically then dropped them to rest on his chest. “I feel so lost. I didn’t even know half the characters in that game. Like who is Marth? And that knight shaped like a circle? Where did they come from I will never know.”

 

Getting on his knees Yuri crawled over to look down at Victor. “It’s okay that you’re ignorant, you just didn’t grow up right.”

 

Victor’s mouth popped open in surprise before it turned into a wicked grin. “What did you say? I’m ignorant? I wasn’t raised right?” Yuri realized a second before it happened what was going to happen but he didn’t move quickly enough. Victor reached up and grabbed him and flipped him over so he was on top of him. He locked Yuri between his knees with each one on one side of Yuri’s hips and started tickling him. Yuri squawked and yelled as he tried to squirm out from under Victor.

 

“Stop!” he cried, a new wave of tears falling down his face. “Please! I can’t take it!”

 

“Take it back then!” Victor said with a laugh as he dug his fingers into Yuri’s armpits. “If you say you were wrong I’ll stop.”

 

“Is this something an adult would do?” Yuri asked between explosive laughs.

 

“No, but I don’t care” He moved his hands up to tickle Yuri’s neck and Yuri brought his shoulder up to try and stop him.

 

“Fine! I was wrong. You’re not ignorant and you were raised fine. So stop!” He called out of breath and Victor’s fingers stopped moving. Yuri’s giggles died and they were both left breathing hard and smiling.

 

After a moment it hit Yuri what kind of position they were in. It was so cliché in the way Victor was positioned over him and their eyes met as their chest rose and fell. Yet, despite the ridiculousness of it, Yuri could still feel his heart pick up and his face start to get warm.

 

“Um.” He paused a moment to clear his throat. “I’m going to go get ready for bed first.”

 

“Sure. Okay.” Victor rolled off of Yuri and sat back up next to him. “Are you going to bed right after?”

 

“Yeah I am. I’m pretty tired.” Yuri pulled himself off the ground and fixed his clothes that had gotten twisted in the struggle.

 

“Oh okay.” Victor pulled his knees up to his chest. “Goodnight then.”

 

“Good night Victor.” Yuri gave him an awkward smile then took off before he could hear Victor’s response. He went into the bathroom and got his toothbrush. Brushing his teeth he looked at himself in the mirror.

 

What was that? That weird moment between the two of them. Why had his heart picked up in a way it never had before? It wasn’t the nervous kind of his heart picked up or the it made him happy kind of his heart picked up. It was more of an excited kind of heart pick up, like he had wanted something to happen.

 

Moving his hand he gripped the shirt above his heart. It was still beating quickly. The toothbrush stopped moving in his mouth as he listened to it go. He of course had never been in that kind of position with a person before. It obviously wasn’t anything. It was just him being a teenage boy. I had nothing to do with Victor.

 

He didn’t like Victor. If anything, of course, he liked the idea of Victor, who didn’t? But Yuri had no real feelings for Victor, and he wasn’t going to let himself.

 

“He’s only here for a little while then he’s gone. There’s no chance for anything to happen. Don’t get caught up in his pace.” Yuri told himself in the mirror then started brushing again. Once he had spit out the toothpaste and washed out his mouth he left the bathroom and made his way to his room. He could tell that Victor was still sitting quietly on the floor. He wondered what he was doing out there but he refused to go out and find out. He had already had too much fun with Victor that night.

 

Once in his room Yuri changed and got into bed. He was already thinking over the events of the night and he thought about how great it had felt. It was so easy to get lost in the moment with Victor. Even if he had just met Victor he had been so comfortable with him, comfortable enough to yell joking insults and playfully push him around. Yuri usually took forever to warm up to a person and that’s what scared him. He was getting comfortable too fast which meant it was likely that he was going to get attached. He really didn’t want to get his heart broken.

 

Clicking off his lamp he snuggled down into his blankets. Promising himself he would create a little distance again tomorrow he closed his eyes and tried to fall asleep.

 

                        ~                                  ~                                  ~                                  ~

 

Yuri woke up earlier than he wanted. 7 hours of sleep wasn’t enough but he was wide awake and no matter how long he laid in bed he couldn’t fall back asleep. After while he sighed and slid out of bed, deciding if he was going to be up he might as well be productive. He still had a good amount of homework to do since he had spent too much time yesterday doing other things.

 

First he was going to make breakfast. He wasn’t going to let Victor make it again. In the future, they should make plans about what meals they would cook and when. He could already imagine Victor always trying to cook.

 

Opening his door he found that the house was still quiet. That meant that Victor was still asleep and he would have time to make breakfast before he got up. Since they had had eggs and bacon the day before he decided on pancakes. He figured at this point that there wasn’t anything that Victor didn’t like to eat. Digging in the cupboard to get his Bisquick he found some chocolate chips and didn’t think he couldn’t go wrong with adding them. He would make some extra plane ones just in case and probably cut up some of the fruit in the fridge.

 

Grabbing his phone Yuri turned on his music app and started playing music as he got the rest of the ingredients out and started mixing them. As the song continued he started to sing under his breath. Usually he would sing loud and Phichit would join him but he didn’t want to wake Victor up.

 

By the time he was done cooking Victor wasn’t awake yet. He looked down at the warm pancakes and then to Victor’s door. Would it be rude to eat without him? He knew Victor wanted to eat together but they couldn’t do it all the time. They led different lives. Deciding that it would be awkward to wait Yuri grabbed to pancakes, the syrup, and some cut up fruit and went to the table. He ate as he scrolled through social media and when he was done he put his dishes in the dishwasher, wrapped the pancakes in saran wrap, and wrote a note on a scrap of paper for Victor to help himself.

 

Feeling satisfied with how he had left things, he returned to his room to finish his homework. He got out his laptop first and started typing up the paper he had written yesterday. That went by quickly since Yuri was a fast typer and after that he pulled out his math book and started on the questions that had been assigned for that weekend. At about nine Yuri heard Victor’s door open even with music playing softly from his laptop. He could hear his footsteps lazily slap against the floor as he made his way down the hall. When they stopped he figured he had reached the kitchen. Yuri smiled to himself thinking about Victor finding the pancakes. He hoped he liked them.

 

However, after a few minutes, he heard the sound of running. It came right up to his room and then his door flew open. Yuri whipped around to see Victor standing in his doorway, his lower lip trembling and his eyes wet. Yuri had no idea what was happening and could hardly think of what could have the older man near tears.

 

“Did you eat without me?” He blubbered and Yuri was so lost that he couldn’t form words. What did mean? Had something bad happened?

 

Victor stumbled into the room and grabbed Yuri’s shoulder. “Yuri please tell me you didn’t eat without me.”

 

Yuri wasn’t sure what he was supposed to say so he just told him the truth in a high confused voice. “Yes?”

 

“Yuri you promised though! What happened? Was it something I did? Do you hate now?” He collapsed to his knees and dramatically sobbed into Yuri’s lap, his arms wrapping around Yuri’s middle. With the man on him Yuri didn’t know what to do and uneasily patted his head.

 

“N-no way I don’t hate you!” Yuri replied a little desperate. He had no idea what had happened or why Victor would assume he hated him but he was going to do his best to clear up the misunderstanding. “It’s just that you were still in bed. I didn’t want to wake you up.”

 

“You should have woken me up! I wanted to eat with you.” Victor looked up at Yuri with his big watery eyes. Tears threatened to spill over and it made Yuri’s heart ache. He felt horrible for being responsible for him feeling that way even if it was just because Yuri had simply eaten breakfast alone.

 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it would be that big of a deal.” Yuri pushed Victor’s hair out of his face to see his entire expression. He felt his fingers shake as he did it but he would do anything to just make the situation be over.

 

“You promise not to do it again?” Victor batted his eyes in a pleading fashion and Yuri’s breath whooshed out of him. Was it the smart thing to promise him that? It would fix the situation at hand but what if Yuri had to do it again? Then it wouldn’t be smart to agree to that.

 

“I’ll make sure to talk to you if I can’t, but besides that if it’s convenient I’ll eat with you okay? I can’t promise every meal but I’ll do my best to eat with you as often as I can. Next time I’ll wait.”

 

Victor seemed to think about this for a second before he nodded and pressed his face into Yuri’s stomach. He thought Victor would pull away after a little but he didn’t. Yuri couldn’t fathom why eating without him had upset Victor so much. There was obviously some kind of reason behind it. People didn’t just cry because of reasons like this. Was Victor lonely? That didn’t make too much sense since Victor was surrounded by friends and people who loved him. Maybe Victor was just that weird of a person.

 

While Yuri thought he had ended up running his fingers through the back of Victor’s head in a soothing way. Since he wasn’t thinking too much about it it had been natural and not robotic like it would have been if Yuri had been paying attention to what he had been doing. After a little Victor seemed to relax and pulled away.

 

“Would you still sit with me while I eat?” He asked with his hands on Yuri’s legs.

 

Yuri looked at his homework and figured it wouldn’t be too bad to take a break. “Sure, let me finish this problem then I will be right out.”

 

“Okay thank you.” Victor got up and walked back to the door. He paused in the doorway and looked over his shoulder. “Sorry. I know I’m weird.”

 

Yuri shook his head. “It’s okay. I don’t mind.”

 

A small smile sprung up on Victor’s face before he moved and left to go get his breakfast ready in the kitchen.

 

Yuri turned back to his homework but he was now distracted. The numbers seemed to swim away and he tried to understand exactly what was happening with Victor. His response had just been so… clingy. He knew he would never understand why that had happened without talking to Victor about it, and he knew that was never going to happen. If Victor wanted to tell him about it then he would listen, but if not he wasn’t going to pry. He was just going to have to take Victor’s weirdness on with each stride.

 

Yuri forced himself to finish the problem even though he was sure he had done it wrong. Promising himself he would double check it after he sat with Victor he left his room to go meet him. Once out of the hall Yuri found Victor pouring syrup over his pancakes. He had chosen the chocolate chip ones just like he had hoped. Makkachin was laying down by Victor’s foot and jumped up to greet him as he came out. Yuri crouched down to pet the dog and greeted him with a kiss on his head. The dog barked at him which made Yuri jump back but Victor just chuckled.

 

“Don’t worry, that was just him telling you he was happy he got a kiss from someone so beautiful.” Yuri looked up at Victor who had turned a complete 180 from how he had looked in his room. He was smiling and looking at the dog with what he could see was love in his eyes. Yuri thought it was so sweet that Victor loved his dog so much.

 

Once done petting the dog he moved to his seat and sat across from Victor. He wasn’t really sure what to do so he sat there and picked at his nails. He wished that Makkachin had followed him over but he had just taken his place back by Victor’s leg, content to snuggle up against his owner.

 

“Do you have a lot of homework to do today?” Victor finally said, breaking the silence, and Yuri looked up at him in time to see him take a bite of a strawberry he had washed.

 

“I have a few more math problems and then a computer program I need to clean up but that’s about it. Should only take me a few hours.” Yuri rattled off without really thinking about why Victor would be asking.

 

“Would you come to the store with me later? I want to buy some groceries so we are not only using your ingredients and it would be nice if you could come and help me find what we need.” Victor motioned behind him at the fridge that had steadily been decreasing in supplies over the last couple days thanks to them both eating out of it.

 

“Oh,” Yuri vaguely remembered that Victor wanted to share food costs but he hadn’t thought about it at all. “Yeah sure. Do you want to go before lunch so it’s not busy?”

 

“Sure. That would be great.” Victor looked down at himself as if thinking about how he looked. “Can I shower first?”

 

“Yeah that’s fine.” Yuri wasn’t sure if Victor had showered since he lived here. He was sure he had since Victor didn’t seem the type to not shower every day and had figured out the shower by himself. He admitted that it should have been easy to figure out but sometimes a new shower was like solving a puzzle to turn it on.

 

Yuri was glad that Victor had agreed but he felt kind of guilty. Yuri mostly wanted to go early because he didn’t want to be out in the afternoon with Victor when other college students were most likely to be out. He still wasn’t too keen on hanging around Victor’s crowd.

 

Yuri got dressed in black jeans and a t-shirt while Victor was in the shower. He figured he would take his own shower when they got back so they didn’t waste time. Yuri didn’t look disgusting or anything so he assumed it would be fine.

 

Once Victor himself was out of the shower and dressed he put Makkachin on a leash and the two of them headed out.

 

“I feel bad that I haven’t been able to take him on very long walks since we moved here. By the old apartment I lived in there was a track of a middle school nearby and I used to take Makkachin out there and let him run free. I can tell he misses it.” As if reminded by his change in freedom Makkachin head seemed to droop before he spotted a bird and his head perked up again.

 

“I wonder if there is anything like that around here.” Yuri started to look around as if he would magically see something. He knew the college had a football field with a track around it but he didn’t know if dogs were allowed. He still didn’t know too much about how colleges worked and he figured if Victor hadn’t thought about it himself there must have been a reason not to go. Maybe with football practice and track it just wasn’t a good place to let the dog free.

 

“I haven’t checked yet but I hope too soon. I take him on walks around the block but he’s a big dog and he needs something longer. I’ll have to scout out a nice long walking route too.” Yuri wasn’t surprised that Victor liked to go on walks every day unlike Yuri. He was fit enough to go on long walks if not even more. Yuri briefly wondered if Victor lifted weights or what it was that made him so leanly muscular, but it sounded like a topic of conversation he should steer clear of.

 

It didn’t take them to long to get to the Fred Meyers Yuri had gone to the day before. Yuri waited as Victor tied Makkachin up to a pole outside the door. He felt bad for the dog and kind of wished Victor hadn’t brought him just to make him sit outside. After he was secure Victor pulled a couple dog treats out of his pocket Yuri had never seen him get and set them on the floor for the dog. Makkachin ate them quickly then laid down looking completely happy. Yuri realized that this must have been a regular thing for the two of them and it made him feel a little better about it.

 

Telling Makkachin they would be back in a little the two went inside after grabbing a cart. Yuri had made an ongoing list on his phone when he had run out of things and was thankful in that moment that he had been smart enough to think ahead like that. He pulled it up on his phone and read it out to Victor. They walked around collecting the items and sometimes stopping to debate what brand to get. Yuri always tried to get the cheapest generic brand, sure he had a job as the library aid at school but it didn’t pay that much and he rather get the less expensive one. Victor was all about brand though. He disliked getting the generic brand claiming that it didn’t taste as good. They fought a few times, standing with the preferred choice in each of their hands. Some people looked at them weird, probably thinking their bickering was stupid, but Yuri didn’t want to back down and apparently neither did Victor. In the end they ended up with a mix of both depending on when one of them had finally given in. Milk had been generic, crackers had been name brand, flour generic, and coffee creamer name brand. Yuri kept biting his lip each time another brand name was added thinking about how those extra dollars kept adding up.

 

At one point Yuri had broken off to run back and get something from a section they had already went to. He also liked the fact that he was going to get to choose the brand he wanted. Grabbing the item he made his way back. The closer he got to where he had left Victor the louder a pair of voices got. Right as he was about to turn the corner he heard Victor’s laugh and realized that the voice had been his. Slowly Yuri looked around the corner and found Victor talking to some guy, probably from the same year as Victor, in front of the rows of beans. Yuri instantly pulled away and started to speed in the opposite direction. It felt a ridiculous to be scared away by the stranger but Yuri could already imagine the way the guy would look at him if Victor introduced him as his roommate. He would probably give him a surprised look like ‘this kid is your roommate? Why? You can do better.’ Yuri didn’t want to subject himself to feeling subpar so he would rather go hide. He figured he could go back after a little while and check again. Unless the group around Victor grew he figured he would be fine eventually.

 

He wandered till he found himself in the candy aisle where the candy was in big buckets and you could put as much as you wanted in a bag. He started to browse the candies even though there wasn’t anything he really wanted. As he looked he wondered what kind of candy Victor liked. It would have been fun to grab some and surprise him with it. He could just imagine Victor’s heart smile taking over his face as Yuri showed him the treasure he had found.

 

But Yuri would never actually do that. The chance that Victor wouldn’t actually want it was too high. Plus he was still trying to keep his distance without being a jerk. Buying your roommate gifts did seem to say ‘Hey, since our time together is brief I’m not going to get attached to you’ it was more of an ‘I like you a lot please never leave’ and that would just be horrible. He was nothing special to Victor besides a place to stay for a few months.

 

Yuri started to lose track of time as he observed the other buckets of candy. He was actually amazed that they had so many different kinds. The next time he and Phichit had a movie marathon he was going to come and get these bags instead of the stuff in the actual candy aisle. He had already found those weird pastel mint chocolates that Phichit loved. It would be fun to surprise Phichit with those too.

 

He was about to move to the last aisle of candy when a hand touched his shoulder. He spun around to see Victor looking at him with a worried look on his face. “Yuri what are you doing here? I was waiting for you.”

 

Yuri suddenly regretted running away. Sure it had made him feel better, but Yuri couldn’t imagine what Victor had felt when Yuri never came back. “S-sorry.” He looked down in shame. “I got distracted by the candy.”

 

For the first time Victor seemed to notice that there were amongst a ton of candy. His eyes seemed to jump from barrel to barrel till they landed back on Yuri’s upset face. With two long fingers he tilted Yuri’s chin up so he was looking at Victor again. “I forgive you. Next time just come back and get me first. I was scared something had happened when it took so long.”

 

Yuri nodded even with Victor’s fingers under his chin. “Okay.”

 

Feeling satisfied Victor dropped his hand and looked back to the candy. “Was there something you wanted?” he asked but before Yuri could answer Victor gasped and flew over to one of the buckets full of single wrapped caramel creams. “I love these! I didn’t know you could buy them in bulk!”

 

Yuri walked over so he was standing next to Victor to look down at the mass of caramel creams. “Do you want to get some?”

 

Victor looked over at Yuri with eyes shining like a kids. “Should I?”

 

Yuri couldn’t help the smile that cracked onto his face. “I don’t see why not.”

 

Giddily Victor grabbed one of the clear bags and started filling it. When it was about halfway he closed it with a twisty tie and took it over to the cart he had left at the beginning of the aisle. Yuri followed him and placed the item he had originally went to get in it too.

 

“Is that everything?” Victor asked, his eyes roaming over all the items stacked in the basket.

 

Pulling out his phone Yuri looked over his list before he nodded and locked his phone. “That’s everything.”

 

With that they made their way to the front to get in line. Once it was their turn Yuri got out his wallet to pay for half but Victor shook his head. “I’ve been using your food so this one is one me.”

 

“What no way.” Yuri looked to try and grab something so he could pay for a few things at least but the woman was ringing up the last item. “That’s crazy you haven’t eaten that much it’s not equal.”

 

Victor pulled out his credit card and swiped it. “Yeah, but just take this as an apology for the weird stuff I’ve done so far.”

 

Yuri was sure in that moment that Victor was crazy. Nothing had been that weird that it was worth a hundred dollars. He wanted to tell the cashier to stop but he knew that she wouldn’t listen. Victor had the right to pay and he was already punching in his pin number. Yuri imagined slapping his hand away but that would have been too rude. What was it about his friends insisting to pay?

 

Yuri mumbled something about Victor being a crazy Russian as the receipt was passed over and Victor started loading the bags back into the cart. Yuri also suddenly realized they had a lot of bags to carry home. Yuri used to take Phichit’s car to go shopping but neither him nor Victor had a car with them. They were going to have to carry all the bags home. He was extremely thankful it wasn’t that long of a walk.

 

They walked out of the store with Yuri pushing the cart and Victor went to untie Makkachin. The dog barked happily when he saw Victor and the man in return squatted down to tell the dog that he had missed him and gave him kisses on his head and nose.

 

If not for the bags that Yuri was already dreading carrying home Yuri would have found the scene adorable. He started to pull bags out of the cart and fed his arm through the handles. He had gotten about half the bags to weigh heavily on his arms when Victor trotted over. “What are you doing? Give me some of those.”

 

Pushing Makkachin’s collar up farther on his arms Victor started taking bags and he didn’t seem to be bothered by the weight of them. Between the two of them they had managed to get all the bags but Yuri swore that next time they would either buy way less or he would get Minako’s car. He had never asked to borrow it before but Minako was a family friend, one of the reasons Yuri could afford to live in the apartment, and he figured Minako would give it to him in exchange for some kind of favor. Either to do something that involved her dance studio down the street or to buy her something. Yuri felt like either option had to be better than doing this over and over again.

 

Their pace was a lot slower as they walked home under the new weight of the bags. Yuri kept trying to speed up but his arms would get tired and he would slow down to try and shift the weight somehow. Victor kept offering to hold more but he already had more than Yuri and he didn’t want Victor to end up with the majority of them. When the apartments were in sight Yuri attempted to sprint up the stairs and ended up dropping all the bags in front of their door at the last minute. Victor followed suit and putting the bags down next to Yuri’s and after the door was open they took a few trips of carrying the bags to the kitchen.

 

Once they were all in the two worked in harmony to put all the groceries away. Victor once and awhile asked Yuri where he usually put something and Yuri would go over and show him. Once they had finished Yuri went off to take a shower and Victor said he would cook lunch while Yuri worked on his homework. Yuri secretly vowed that he was somehow going to get even with Victor for paying for all the groceries but agreed that victor could cook lunch. He would find a different way later. Before he left Victor called him back and put a handful of caramel creams in his hand telling him that they would help him do better on his homework. Yuri knew that it wasn’t true but he still thought it was adorable of Victor to say.

 

Yuri took his treats back to his room and sat down at his desk. Makkachin followed him in and made a home on his bed as he got to work. He popped one of the caramels in his mouth before he started and forgot how good they were. Yuri hadn’t had one in a long time seeing it wasn’t exactly his first choice. As Yuri continued to do his homework somehow it did seem easier as Yuri sucked on the candies.

 

He took a break to eat lunch with Victor and they talked a bit more about how they planned to live together in harmony, especially when school was going. Yuri told Victor about his job and found out that Victor had gotten a ton of scholarships and money from his family that he wasn’t working but living on a budget. It made Yuri mad all over again about Victor buying all the groceries. Once lunch was done they both went to do homework. Victor admitted he had a little to do that he hadn’t done yet despite usually doing it as soon as possible. Yuri figured it was because of the move and didn’t think too much about it. When Dinner time came around the two of them decided to cook together. As they worked on a simple meal they decided they would cook together every Sunday since there was an uneven number of days.

 

Once dinner was done cooking they sat down to eat and Yuri realized that they were already creating a routine. Yuri didn’t mind the way their lives were smashing together as long as he remembered that it wasn’t always going to be this way. For now living in the routine with Victor wasn’t bad, he actually liked that their lives seemed to fit together so easily.

 

When dinner was eaten and the dishes out away they both went to the couch and watched a movie while Victor typed away on his laptop. When it got a little later Yuri got up and told Victor he was going to bed since he had a 9am class. Victor told him he would cook breakfast in the morning at 8 and bid Yuri a good night.

 

Yuri went to bed that night wondering how the next day was going to be at school now that Victor Nikiforov was a part of his life.

Chapter Text

Yuri loved to sleep. On a normal weekend he could sleep till noon easy. That’s why getting up at 7 for a 9 am class killed him every morning. Even if the alarm on his phone played one of his favorite songs it did nothing to put him in a good mood. He felt like someone had slapped him awake and he opened his eyes dazed and sleepy. Pulling the phone of the nightstand he considered snoozing it, but he knew that Victor would be waiting for him to eat breakfast together and he didn’t know how long that was going to take and how much time he would have to get ready after. With a groan, he face planted in his pillow imagining sleep for one second longer before he lifted his head again to roll over and climb out of bed.

Opening his door he could hear Victor in his room too. He was talking to Makkachin about something that was too muffled to understand. Yuri looked at the bathroom then at Victor’s door again. They hadn’t exactly decided how morning routines would go. Would it be bad for him to run to the shower first or should he let Victor go first? He bit his lip as he tried to think it over. He could go knock on Victor’s door and ask but he didn’t want to bother him either. He was stuck between two very possibly rude things.

Still thinking he heard a scratch on Victor’s door then some mumbled words from Victor. After a moment the door opened and Makkachin busted out and came running right for Yuri, lifting his feet so they were on his chest and licking his chin before he dropped back down. Yuri barely managed to stay on his feet during the dogs greeting. He was starting to get that this kind of greeting was normal for Makkachin and he might have to start bracing himself.

“Oh, good morning Yuri.” Victor said in mild surprise as he followed Makkachin out. “Are you about to get in the shower?”

“Ah.” Yuri’s eyes flickered over to the bathroom door. “Yes. If you are not going to that is.”

“No, go ahead.” He motioned with his hand for Yuri to go ahead. “I was planning to eat breakfast first. So you can take one while I cook.”

“Okay, thank you.” Yuri wanted to go into the bathroom but Victor was just watching him. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to say something to him so he waited for a few seconds. The silence felt long and when he didn’t say anything Yuri took a step back and mumbled. “I’ll go then.”

Victor smiled as if they hadn’t just had some weird stare down. “Alright, then it’s time for me to get started.”

They both parted ways and Yuri quickly walk into the bathroom and shut the door behind him before Makkachin or Victor found a reason to follow him or delay him longer. For some reason he felt like today was going to be a long day.

Yuri got in the shower and took his time going through his routine. He didn’t want to finish quickly and then have to wait around for Victor to finish making breakfast. He had no idea what Victor was going to make but he rather not have an awkward situation on his hand if he finished getting ready too quickly.

Once he had spent as much time as he could justify he left for his room and this time he didn’t run like a bat out of hell and made it inside without any incidents. On his way he had smelled something he couldn’t put his finger on, but it smelled great. It made him curious and eager to go out and see what Victor had decided to make.

The day wasn’t anything special, but for some reason it felt important. Sure it was the first day back at school after Victor moved in but it wasn’t like he was going to tell anyone. Still, he felt like dressing a little nicer than usual and Knowing the weather was cold Yuri grabbed a pair of jeans and a thick black turtleneck. Looking in the mirror he figured it was nicer than just a t-shirt but still nothing that would draw attention to him.

He checked over his hair, brushed it flat, and then fixed his glasses before he had nothing left to do and had no choice but to go join Victor. Leaving his room he decided not to dilly dally and moved right down the hall to where the smell was coming from. When he reached the kitchen Victor didn’t seem to notice him, he just kept frying something in the pan on the stove in front of him.

Yuri stepped up closer so he was standing right next to Victor. In the pan was these small puffy pancake looking things about an inch across. “What are you making?” Yuri asked and Victor startled, taking a step away from Yuri.

His pupils were blown wide before his gaze focused in one Yuri and then he relaxed. He stepped back over to the pan now with a big smile on his face as he flipped the little pastries over. “These are syrniki, a Russian breakfast or desert. When you made pancakes yesterday I thought about these and I wanted to make them. Go ahead and grab a plate and I’ll give you these.” He pointed at the ones currently cooking and the thought of eating them piping hot made Yuri’s mouth water.

Moving past Victor, Yuri reached into the cupboard to get a plate. “They look amazing. What are they made of?”

Yuri brought the plate over and Victor started placing the syrniki on it one at a time. “They are made out of flour, egg, cream cheese, and cottage cheese and then rolled in coarse, purified wheat. It may sound strange to you and they are not very sweet but I promise they are great. You can put jam on them if they are too plain”

“Don’t worry, I’m very opened minded when it comes to food from other countries. They smell great so I’m sure they taste even better.” Yuri tried to give him a reassuring smile and it must have worked because Victor smiled back before he grabbed a plate of already made syriniki and a jar of strawberry jam off the counter and followed Yuri to the table with it.

Sitting down Yuri took a bite and his face lit up. “I was right these taste delicious.” He quickly took a second bite and savored the flavor.

“Here.” Victor pushed the jam towards him. “Put some on it. They taste great together. Plus I love having cold spreads on warm pastries.”

Taking his advice he put jam on one of the syrniki and popped it in his mouth. The flavor had improved ten times and Victor was right the difference in the warm syrniki and the cold jam was heavenly and Yuri quickly put more on another one.

“Pretty good right?” Victor chuckled and Yuri nodded his head enthusiastically.

Satisfied that Yuri was enjoying his breakfast Victor started in on his own, not as warm, but just as good syrniki’s.

“What classes do you have today?” Yuri asked Victor once he had slowed down shoving them into his mouth. He realized he had never asked Victor what his classes were or even when they were. He had always seen him around but he had never actually kept track of what days he was there and at what times.

“Today I have social science methods and a human relations class.” Yuri wasn’t even sure what those classes were about but they sounded very teacher like to him.

Yuri reached for his last Syrniki and frowned a little, not realizing how fast he had eaten them. “When do you have your student teaching stuff?”

“I go there Tuesday and Thursday afternoons after my technology in the classroom classes. I did my actual student teaching classes last term so this is more of a cooperative work experience thing. “Victor said it so casually but Yuri could see the smile and the twinkle in his eyes he was trying to hide. Yuri hadn’t expected Victor to be the teacher type. Deep down he had thought he was a little more pretentious than that. However, just from asking what classes he was taking Yuri could tell how happy and excited he was. It made him a little sad because he knew talking about computer science major didn’t make him look like that at all.

“You really like teaching?” Yuri voiced his thoughts wondering if Victor’s face could get any brighter if he talked about it.

“Yes!” The heart smile was the widest Yuri had ever seen. “I’ve always loved people and I love interacting with my teachers and learning from them. When I moved to America I didn’t know what it is I wanted to do here. I thought of a lot of things like a chef, a pilot, a doctor, and even an ice skater. However, I went and talked to my English teacher about it one day and they gave me lots of ideas. Then it hit me right in the face, I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to work with kids and help them learn academically and worldly. First I thought about being a PE teacher but that wasn’t really what I was looking for. Then I decided on high school. One because I think that’s when kids need help the most. That’s when they are trying to find themselves in this world and I want to be an adult they can lean on. Also because I want to be a coach.”

“That’s actually pretty noble…well, maybe not the coaching part.” Both of them chuckled at that before Yuri continued. “But seriously I think that’s cool that you want to do things for others like that. I just sat down and was like wow I’m good at computer stuff, bet I could make money off this. You want to change lives and I just want to play with computers.” Yuri slumped in his chair just thinking about it. Standing next to Victor’s spotlight could really make a person feel small and Yuri was feeling very small in the moment. He wished that he had some Nobel life goal but he was just going to coast on by.

“That’s not true.” Victor poked Yuri in the nose causing him to go cross-eyed to follow his finger. “Everybody in the world has a purpose. Mine is to teach teenagers, yours is to work with computers. Neither is less important because we both make the world go around. Do you get what I’m saying?”

“That without me helpless teachers won’t know how to use technology?” Yuri said innocently with a smile.

“Ha!” Victor belted a laugh that surprised Yuri a little because he had never heard him laugh like that before. “Yes, without computer people making programs, software’s, and websites teachers like me would have a hard time.” He ruffled Yuri’s still wet hair before sliding his last Syrniki to Yuri’s plate. “Here, I’m going to go shower. What time will you be leaving?”

Looking over at the clock Yuri realized he had to leave in ten minutes if he wanted to make it to class on time. “Soon.”

“I see.” Victor pouted. “My first class isn’t till ten so I guess we can’t walk to school together.”

“That’s too bad.” Yuri lied. In truth he was relieved. Not having to walk with Victor meant no one staring at them and asking questions.

“Yeah. Maybe we will have a chance later on though!” Victor said hopefully and turned to leave when something hit Yuri. Just because Yuri wasn’t going to tell anyone about them living together didn’t mean Victor wouldn’t. Victor seemed more the type to tell everyone excitedly about his move and his new friend Yuri Katsuke. Then everyone would be breathing down Yuri’s throat and Yuri would end up hiding in the bathroom or something similar till the last minute so people couldn’t stare at him and laugh and wonder why Victor was talking about having such a loser of a roommate.

“Victor.” Yuri blurted and stopped and looked over his shoulder expectantly. “Do you mind if you don’t tell anyone about us living together yet? I haven’t told all my friends and I want them to hear it from me first.”

“Are you serious?” Victor’s body slowly turned so he was facing Yuri with a confused look.

“Yeah sorry it’s just that my friends would freak out if I didn’t tell them first, but I have no idea when I will see them all to tell them so….just wait till I tell you it’s okay, alright?” Yuri was tumbling over his words in an attempt to try and make what he was saying believable. He knew it was a weak excuse but he couldn’t just say ‘hey I have bad anxiety and I’m scared of what the whole school will say because being roommates with you means that people actually know who I am and I don’t want people to notice me’ that would probably make Victor laugh and then he would tell him it wasn’t that bad and tell everyone anyways. Not because Victor was mean, just that he didn’t think he would understand.

Victor just watched him for a moment, trying to read Yuri’s face. Yuri felt like sweating because he was sure Victor could sense that he was lying. If he asked him a question was he supposed to look left or right? There was that whole study about liars looking a specific way but what way was it? More important did Victor even know about this study? Maybe it wasn’t something everyone knew but he did because his sister brought it up every time he came home and asked him questions about school.

Was it possible to blabber on about stupid things in your own head? If so Yuri realized in that moment that he was the king at it.

“Okay, yeah I understand.” Victor said and Yuri wanted to noisily let go of the breath he didn’t realize he was holding.

“Thanks Victor. I’ll let you know when you can as soon as possible.” He gave Victor the best non-nervous smile he could muster and Victor nodded in understanding before he left for the shower again.

Already haven wasted time talking to Victor Yuri ran to his room to get his socks and his backpack and then to the door where he had left his shoes. Then, having made it to leave right on time, he plugged his headphones into his phone and started on his way.

Just like he assumed school when by normally even with his big secret resting on his back. His friends talked to him the same, his teachers taught him boring stuff the same, and he was ignored by everyone else the same.

By the time lunch came around Yuri was relaxing, feeling safe in his current situation. That day he had met up with Sara and Yuuko and they got food from the cafeteria and sat at one of the round tables in the back corner by the windows. It was Yuri’s favorite spots because they were mostly out of the way of the crowd and no one ever wanted to make their way all the way back there.

“I saw that girl again.” Sara said as she placed the tray on the table and they all sat down in unison. “She’s so gorgeous ahhh! I wish out teacher would just call out roll instead of passing around a sign-in sheet so I could hear her name instead of guessing.”

“Why don’t you just ask her?” Yuuko asked with her head tilted to the side. “That’s how I ended up dating Takeshi. I just went up and asked him his name and if he wanted to go out sometime.”

Sara scoffed. “That’s got like no taste Yuuko. Unlike you and Takeshi she has this air around her and I don’t want to come off as weird and have her turn me away!”

Yuuko pouted and stabbed the pear slice she had on her plate. “Takeshi and I are not weird.”

“Okay, sorry you are not weird.” Sara sighed. “I’m just tense. I want her to like me.”

“You’re a super pretty and cool girl Sara, I don’t see why she wouldn’t like you.” Yuri finally spoke up after silently chewing on a quesadilla.

Sara practically rolled her eyes out of her head. “Coming from mister pessimism himself. You can’t even talk to people who you want to be friends with.”

“Ah, you don’t have to bring that up.” Yuri muttered taking an aggressive bite of his quesadilla. “Then don’t follow my example. Don’t be a lonely spinster like me.”

“Oh my god Yuri you are not a spinster.” Yuko snorted and tossed her balled up napkin at him so it hit him in the chest. “I’m pretty sure that you can’t be a spinster at 19.”

“Spinsters are like 40 year old ladies.” Sara added with a wave of her fork.

Yuri dropped his face into his hands and groaned. “Oh god, I’m almost there.”

Sara tried not to laugh but she bust up after a second and Yuuko joined her. “Stop Yuri.” Sara said once her laughter died down. “If I can woo a beautiful red head then you can woo…whoever you want.”

“See? I don’t even have anyone in my life who I could even pretend to woo.” He sighed dramatically. “Poor spinster Yuri.”

“Please stop calling yourself a spinster I can’t eat and laugh.” Yuuko said with a bite of pasta half way to her mouth as she tried not to giggle.

“Yeah stop. You are super cute Yuri you could get only one you wanted.” Sara tried to turn the conversation serious even though Yuuko’s lips were still trembling in a suppressed laugh.

“Yeah right, I could get a trip right to the trash after I embarrass myself in front of whoever this imaginary person is.” Yuri could just see it now. Goes up to someone he liked and just completely flubbing it and being laughed at and never living down that moment ever. He’s rather not. Sara was beautiful and smart and classy and he had no doubts that she could get any girl she wanted. Yuri could probably get a scrappy cat at a shelter and live with it till he died.

“You would not!” Sara argued before she thought about it and her face slowly fell. “Or maybe you would but if you practiced first I’m sure it would go great. You just have to know what you are saying and then say it till it feels right and then it’s like muscle memory.”

“Yeah sure okay.” Yuri said sarcastically. “If I find someone I like then we will talk.”

“What about Victor?” Yuuko piped up and pointed over her shoulder where Victor and his friend Chris were walking into the cafeteria.

Yuri gulped, thinking about how close that hit to home. “Yeah right.” His voice was a little weak so he cleared his throat. “Even if I did like Victor, which I don’t, he’s way out of my league.”

All three of them were staring at Victor as he talked and laughed with Chris. “Well he did help you to class didn’t he?” Yuuko said it like that was all the reason he would ever need.

“It’s called being a nice person.” Yuri muttered. If only she knew that they were living in the same house. He wondered if Yuuko would explode. “Right Sara?”

“Yeah.” She sighed, probably hating to agree with him. “I’m sure Takeshi walked you to class at some point but that’s way different. Victor is notorious for being nice to everyone. Now if Victor specifically came up and talked to you then maybe I would say that you had a chance.”

“And that would never happen.” Yuri knew before the whole roommate situation Victor never would have. He was such a small blip on Victor’s radar. It was almost cheating that he knew Victor better than a lot of his fans now.

Oddly enough it was in that moment that Victor’s and Yuri’s eyes met. Yuri could see the exact moment that he found him because his whole face lit up like the fourth of July and he tugged on Chris’s arm, pointing in his very direction. Yuri could feel his soul fly right out of him. He begged Victor with his eyes not to come over but either the man was dense or he just didn’t care because he continued to drag Chris across the whole cafeteria.

“It is my imagination or is Victor coming this way right now?” Sara narrowed her eyes as she watched Victor weave his way through the tabled towards them.

“Imagination.” Yuri squeaked and figured maybe he could just bolt. However, if Victor yelled his name then everyone if the cafeteria would know that Victor knew him. Maybe he could play it off as something else if only the three of them heard what they were saying.

“Nope. That looks like he’s staring you down Yuri.” Yuuko’s voice sounded in awe as she watched him come with such determination as people tried to get him to stop and talk or to sit with them. He just kept waving them off politely and coming at him. Yuri felt like he was watching a train wreck.

When Victor got close enough he called out to him while waving in large motions. “Yuri! What a coincidence seeing you here!”

“Haha... yeah… what a coincidence.” Yuri muttered back as they reached the table.

Victor’s eyes took in the scene in front of them before he put his hand out to Sara then Yuuko to shake. “Hello, I’m Victor I’m-“

“He’s the guy that helped me find my class.” Yuri stared daggers into Victor when he looked up at him confused. It took less than a second for clarity to flash in Victor’s eyes. “Yes…that’s me…” his voice sounded a little robotic as his eyes asked if that was what Yuri wanted. Yuri nodded slightly so he moved on. “This is my friend Chris.”

“Hello.” Chris purred and reached out to shake Sara’s hand but instead of shaking it he went to kiss it and Sara quickly pulled her hand away with an offended look.

“You will have to forgive him I’m 90% of his impulse control.” Victor said with a laugh, clearly not fazed by Chris’s behavior.

“Which explains why I have none.” Chris winked at the entire table and Yuri blushed just from how cheesy that had been.

“Is there something you need?” Yuri asked and Victor’s smile fell a little making Yuri realize how cold that had sounded.

“I just came by to say hi and see how you are doing.” Victor seemed to be getting a little awkward and sad and Yuri realized he was going to have to apologize for his behavior later. It wasn’t like he had asked Victor to stay away from him either, how could he ever ask a person that, but he had figured that he would understand that that was what he wanted when he had asked them to keep the roommates thing a secret.

“Is that really why we came all the way over here? I figured this Yuri boy had to be someone special.” Chris sounded extremely bored now that he figured he had no interest with any of the people at the table.

“Well, thanks Victor.” Yuri tried to sound pleasant so he didn’t hurt Victor’s feelings anymore. “It was really nice of you to help me the other day and then to come make sure I was okay. You really are as nice as they say.”

Victor seemed to perk up at that like a dog who had just heard the word treat. “Or course. I will see you around then?”

“Sure. Yeah. See you around.” Yuri waved, showing that the conversation was over, and Chris started to drag Victor away. Victor gave a small wave as he half turned to look at them one last time.

The girls waited until they had gotten into the food line to explode.

“What the heck was that?” Yuuko whispered loudly. “Why did Victor come all the way to talk to you?”

“God if I didn’t know any better I would say that Victor liked you.” Sara was wide-eyed as if she had been given the most shocking news of her life. “He seriously came up to specifically talk to you for no real reason.”

Yuri right then and there wanted to tell them the truth. They were two of his closest friends and he figured they could keep it a secret. Except they couldn’t. Yuuko would tell Takeshi and Takeshi would forget it was a secret and mention it in front of everyone. Sara rarely kept anything from her twin Michele and he was a huge blabber mouth and between all of those people he was sure the whole school would know eventually. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust his friends, it’s just that he knew them too well.

“You guys are insane. He probably was checking to see if I had brain damage after I fell and hit my head on the concrete. He probably had a guilty conscience or something.” Yuri tried to say it casually but he was really bad at lying and just like with Victor that morning he felt sweaty and completely obvious.

The girls watched him then looked at each other with a shrug. “That sounds realistic.” Sara said

“He’s such a nice guy! If I wasn’t already in love with Takeshi I would go after him.” Yuuko smiled almost sinfully and both Yuri and Sara were taken by surprise.

“Holy shit Yuuko you are wild sometimes.” Sara chuckled and patted Yuuko on the shoulder. She gave them both an innocent smile.

“Enough about that though let me tell you about what happened in the daycare today.” Yuuko moved the conversation on and Yuri was grateful. He was always happy to hear about his friend’s struggle controlling the crazy toddlers but he was relieved that he hadn’t gotten caught.

From there on the rest of the day ran by smoothly. Yuri didn’t see Victor again, assuming that since he only had two classes that day he had been probably been done after lunch. He wasn’t exactly sure what Victor did after class. He probably either went home or to a friend’s place. That’s why Yuri wasn’t sure what to expect when he got home that day.

It wasn’t as bad as he thought. Victor didn’t seem upset at all about how Yuri had acted. He was starting to wonder if anything serious actually fazed Victor or if it was only the small stuff. Yuri wanted to apologize but he didn’t have the nerve to bring it up again by chance that Victor would get upset. Instead he said he would make dinner and mentally decided he would make it really good to make up for it. Yuri cooked in silence while Victor was out on his walk with Makkachin and when they got back he was done. They ate and talked and Victor raved once again about how good Yuri’s cooking was

Afterwards Yuri brought up that they should make a cooking plan so it wasn’t just someone calling it at every meal. They came up with the idea to cook either breakfast or dinner for a week and then they would switch except for Sunday where they would both cook like they had already planned. Once they were done they went their separate ways to do homework, Yuri going to his room and Victor pulling it out on the table. Once Yuri was done he came back out of his room and he snuggled on the couch with Makkachin to watch a TV show. Victor instantly complained that he wanted to watch it with them so Yuri told him he would wait ten minutes and watched as Victor wrote like the wind. After about 8 minutes Victor slammed his pencil down and bounded over to the couch where Yuri started the first episode over.

As they watched Yuri quickly found out that Victor was a commenter. He always would say something about things happening in the show, a theory he had, or something that was unrealistic. Usually Yuri found it annoying when people commented but Yuri actually found what Victor be saying to be interesting. Sometimes he would pause the show and they would talk out something or discuss a conflicting theory and then wait eagerly to see who was right or if it was even revealed in that episode.

It quickly turned into a binge watching affair and Yuri ended it around 10 so he could go get ready for bed. Victor moaned and groaned telling Yuri he just had to know what happened next and Yuri told him if he dared watch an episode without him he would never forgive him. Victor pouted at that but seemed to take Yuri very seriously.

Leaving Victor he got ready and got in bed in a timely manner. Once under the covers he thought about the day once again. Should he have told Victor not to approach him after all? He really hoped Victor got the hint and would leave him alone tomorrow. It sounded really mean to hope that Victor would ignore him in public but that’s all Yuri could think to do to protect himself.

Yuri tossed and turned trying to get comfortable as he kept thinking about it. He kept jumping from protecting himself to not making Victor sad. He thought about all the possibilities of telling people and he knew he was being ridiculous but he really didn’t want his life to change. He liked being the kid in the background. He liked having a small group of close friends. He figured Victor was happy in his life and that was fine. Some people were just friends with everyone and had the mentality to always be with people, but Yuri didn’t. In the end he selfishly chose himself over Victor, figuring that in the end Victor being a little sad was fixable compared to the alternative. He just had to make sure that the secret was kept.

Finally coming to a conclusion Yuri found himself slipping into sleep and he gladly let it take him.

The morning the next day was exactly like the day before. He woke up and showered while Victor cooked. They ate together and then Yuri left for school while Victor got into the shower. He walked to class ad he was in a very good mood. His mood got a little uneasy and lunch came again and now sitting with Phichit, Michele, and Takeshi added to his company from the day before he was worried that Victor was going to show up again. He knew that Victor worked at the high school that day but he had also told him he had classes in the morning and he hadn’t asked when those ended and when he went to the school. He figured it was possible for him to be there but was relieved when he had to head to his next class with Victor nowhere in sight.

After school that day he had work. He usually worked four days a week and that week he had been given shifts Tuesday-Friday. He worked five hours shifts which meant he wouldn’t get home till six and he realized he should have made a crock pot dinner or something for Victor. On his way to the library he shot Victor a text reminding him he would be home later that day and asked him if he wanted him to bring something home to eat from the store after his shift. There wasn’t an immediate response so Yuri slid his phone into his pocket to go clock in.

He made himself comfortable at the help desk in the library and started on his homework. Every once and awhile a student would come up and ask Yuri a question about the computers or help to find a book. It was easy and spread out and that’s why Yuri liked his job so much. It was completely stress free and Yuri was practically getting paid to do his homework.

It was about three hours into his shift when he saw two figures come in the library from the corner of his eye. One was tall with silver hair and one was shorter with blond hair to their shoulder. Yuri thought nothing of it, that is until he heard a shout and the figures started coming towards him. Yuri glanced up, expecting it to be someone greeting a friend when the sight shot horror through his chest. Victor was rushing over to him with the other Yuri tagging along behind him slowly, looking annoyed. Victor bounded right up to the counter and smiled excitedly.

“Hello Yuri! I came to see you at work!” He looked extremely happy to see Yuri but Yuri was staring at him opened mouthed it a state of shock. For some reason after lunch Yuri had assumed he was home free. He never even thought about Victor coming to see him while he was working.

“W-why?” Yuri stuttered and his eyes finally moved to flicker around the room. Just like he had expected people were watching Victor and therefore looking at him. Specifically the other Yuri was glaring daggers at him. His whole expression screaming ‘why the hell did we come to see this stupid person?’

“I just wanted to see you since you are going to be here so long.” Victor obviously didn’t register the distress on Yuri’s face

“You are the stupid pig from my class aren’t you?” Yuri said suddenly walking up to the desk and slamming his hands down on the counter. The noise echoed through the library and anyone who wasn’t already looking looked over to see what had happened.

“Um, yes, we have a class together.” Yuri thought back to how he had yelled at him the first day of classes but had ignored him ever since. Yuri had assumed that either the other Yuri didn’t like him, didn’t care to remember him, or refused to talk to him because they had the same name. Yuri figured it would be possible that it was all three.

“You two have a class together?” Victor said brightly. Yuri wondered if Victor could read the atmosphere at all. Yuri could practically taste the anger radiating off the other boy. I bet the names get confusing. You should just call him Yurio.” Victor placed a hand on the blonds head and Yuri thought the boy wanted to bite his hand. “That’s what his mom calls him.”

“Yeah when I was a little. “ He glared at Yuri. “Don’t ever call me that or you are dead.”

“Why?” Yuri wasn’t intimidated by that kid anymore. Not with Victor’s hand still patting his head. He seemed more like an angry kitten. “Yurio is a cute name.”

Yuri could see Yurio’s jaw clench as he ground his teeth together. “I hate you both.” He muttered before he stalked away and completely left the library.

“Oh, there he goes.” Victor said with a light chuckle. “He is so funny. He wasn’t always like that you know?” Victor turned back to him and leaned on the counter. “He used to be really cute and sweet and he would hang onto me all the time. Something happened to him when he moved to America. The sweet little Yurio I know is still in there though. I can see it sometimes.”

“Wait you know each other from when you lived in Russia?” Yuri knew the rumors of them being family friends but he hadn’t realized how far back it went.

“Yes! Our moms grew up together. However, Yurio’s mom met an American man and they married and ended up moving when Yurio was 7. When I came to America two years later I was surprised to find my little Yurio very different.”

Yuri was automatically amazed by the story He never realized how close the two were since he never saw them together on campus. “So then how did you two end up in the same town at the same college?”

“Well, Yurio’s Mom actually convinced my mom to America. My father had recently passed away at the time so my mom was eager to find herself in familiar comfort.”

The smile dropped off Yuri’s face. He didn’t know what to say about that. He had never had to deal with a death besides his dogs and he knew that it wasn’t the same as losing a parent. “I’m sorry to hear about your dad.”

Victor patted Yuri’s head in a similar fashion that he had patted Yurio and Yuri blushed a little at the contact. He was starting to wonder why victor kept making him blush. He never used to blush this much. “Thank you. It was 5 years ago and moving to America did make it much easier.”

“Ah well that that’s good.” They both became silent at that. Yuri didn’t know what to say and Victor seemed to be looking over at the door.

“I should go find Yurio. I actually am going over to his house today to see his mom. He still lives at home and I haven’t seen her in a while. I might be home late.” He looked back at Yuri to gage his reaction. While Yuri was a little surprised it didn’t show on his face. “Sorry I didn’t tell you earlier, he just asked me.”

“No it’s completely fine. It actually makes me feel a little better since I hadn’t prepared dinner at all.” Yuri felt like it was going to be weird not to see Victor at the apartment but he really wasn’t too shocked. He had figured with how popular Victor was that he would be out all the time and him having been home all weekend and yesterday afternoon had been strange. Going home with Yurio hadn’t been what he expected but it was close enough.”

“Okay great.’ He patted the counter and moved away. “I will see you later then.” He moved to walk away and then paused, looking over his shoulder. “And don’t you dare watch any of our show without me or I won’t forgive you.”

Yuri laughed at his own words being thrown back at him. “I would dream of it.”

They both smiled at each other, some kind of inside joke forming that wasn’t actually unique but fun all the same, and then Victor walked out the front door

Yuri sat back in his chair and sighed, completely relaxed before he remembered where he was and exactly who he had been talking to. Looking around people were talking and looking at the door Victor had just walked out of. He bit his nail and really hoped that nothing would come from that obvious display of knowing one another.

Luckily enough no one came and said anything to him and the rest of his shift zoomed by. He walked home in the dying sun listening to music as always and got home to a completely dark apartment. Victor was clearly still at Yurio’s and so Yuri went in and made himself an easy dinner and read a book he hadn’t gotten to read for a long time. As it got later and Victor didn’t come back Yuri started to wonder if he was going to come back at all. He thought his phone would light up with a text telling Yuri he was staying over at Yurio’s and Yuri realized he didn’t want it to come at all. He was feeling lonely in the small apartment even though Makkachin was still there following him around wherever he went. The dog seemed to be asking Yuri with his eyes if Victor was going to come home at all and all Yuri could tell the dog was that he didn’t know. After some time Yuri got ready for bed and climbed in to read a bit more of his book. Makkachin got in with him with a little wine, possibly coming to the same conclusion that he wasn’t coming back.

Yuri read for about another hour and when he was about to put his book down and turn off the lights to go to bed he heard the front door click shut and Makkachin jumped from his bed at the speed of light.

“Ah I missed you too Makkachin!” He heard Victor say in a low voice as the dog’s nails clicked on the floor, obviously trying to jump up and lick Victor. “Is Yuri asleep?”

There were footsteps and when Victor saw Yuri’s door open with the light still on the step’s got a little quicker till Victor’s head appeared in the doorway.

“I’m home.” He said, leaning against the doorframe, his voice still quiet even though everyone in the house was awake.

“Did you have a nice time?” Yuri asked and set his book down on the side table to give Victor his full attention.

“Yes, it was nice seeing tetya again.” Victor was seemed blissful as he spoke and Yuri figured he must really like the woman.

“Is that her name?” Yuri realized that Victor had never once said her name and he figured that must have been it.

“Oh no,” Victor shook his head and pulled away from the doorframe. “Her name is Karina. Tetya means aunt.”

Yuri was a little embarrassed even though he didn’t know Russian and had had no way of knowing. “I see. That’s a very pretty name.”

“Yes it is. Anyways, are you going to bed now?” Victor pointed to Yuri’s glasses he had set on the side table since he didn’t need them to read being nearsighted.

“Yeah. I was about to go to bed. I had kind of assumed you were not coming home at all tonight.” Yuri didn’t know why he told him that he had thought that. It made him kind of sound mad and he wasn’t even if he had been a little wishful that he had known what Victor was doing.

Victor's hand went to his lips as if to cover up the O his mouth was making. “Shoot, I totally forgot to text you! Sorry, I was going to tell you I was on my way home but I completely forgot.”

Yuri thought it was adorable how upset he looked. “It’s fine. I’m just glad you even thought about texting me.”

“I promise next time I will text you when I’m on my way home.” Victor put his hand up like it was some kind of scouts honor.

“Okay thanks Victor. Good night then?”

Putting his hand on the doorknob Victor started to pull it close. “Yeah, good night Yuri.”

Victor closed the door with a soft click and Yuri looked at the door for a few moments. Victor had looked so happy after visiting Yurio’s house. It made him miss his family a little even if he had visited for a few weeks during spring break. Maybe he should go back and see them again soon. He was sure his parents would love it.

Clicking off his lights he laid down and pulled his blanket up to his chin. He fell asleep thinking about what weekend he could go back home.

The rest of the week fell into a routine. Yuri would get up, shower, eat breakfast, leave, wonder when Victor would show up, and then eventually he would.

On Wednesday he had somehow figured out that Yuri had a class in the same computer lab as one of his classes. In fact it was right after. He had stuck around and talked to the teacher and when Yuri had entered the room he had sprung on him giving him and excited hug and gushed about the discovery that he had a class after him. People watched in amazement as they talked and Yuri tried to get the situation defused. When Victor finally left saying he had a class to go to Yuri had a bad feeling. He debated for the rest of the day again if he should tell Victor to stop talking to him but once again he was too scared to say something so mean. At work he braced for Victor to show up again but he didn’t and Yuri hoped that he would not show up the next day either. At home he acted like nothing had happened and they finished the first season of their show after dinner.

Thursday was the same but completely different. As Yuri walked to school he felt like eyes were following him. He thought he could hear whispering but when he listened for them they seemed to be gone. Was he being paranoid? Every once and awhile he caught someone looking at him, or at least in his general direction. He couldn’t tell if they were actually looking at him or not because they were usually a good distance away. Even the ones closer would casually look away and make Yuri second guess himself. This kept happening all day and when Yuri was on his way to work he was eager to get there and hide in his homework. However, his long strides eventually were matched by a longer pair of legs and Yuri held back a groan. He liked Victor as a person, he really did, but it was starting to get annoying that he seemed to have some kind of Yuri radar. Yuri instantly asked what Victor was doing and he casually mentioned that he just happened to see Yuri walking and left behind the group of people he was talking to to walk with him. Yuri someone doubted that it coincidently happened like that. Once in the library Victor stayed and chatted with Yuri even though Yuri tried to signal that he was trying to do his homework and Victor only left when a student came to ask him a question about a half an hour into his shift.

This time when Yuri got home he had put some pork in a crock pot and they had pork tacos and Victor begged Yuri afterward to watch the show when Yuri wanted to play a video game They made an agreement that Yuri could play an hour of his game and then they would watch the show. Yuri knew that once they got started they wouldn’t stop and he had a real urge to play a game he hadn’t touched in a few months. Victor watched Yuri play and kept asking questions about what was going on in the game. Yuri tried to answer them but sometimes he got so caught up in what he was doing in the game that he wouldn’t hear what Victor had said.

Victor let Yuri play a little over an hour before he asked again if they could watch the show and Yuri easily gave up the TV and switched it over the DVD player. They quickly got sucked into the plot again and too soon it was time for Yuri to go to bed.

Friday at school things were completely different. Yuri went to school peacefully but as soon as he stepped on campus a girl walked up to him causing him to pull out his headphone so he could hear her.

“You are Yuri right?” She said looking at him intently.

Yuri had never met this girl in his life and had no idea why she knew his name. “Yeah, I’m Yuri. Can I help you?”

“Are you close friends with Victor?” Her words sounded innocent but there was a clear motive behind them. Yuri could feel his entire stomach drop to his feet.

“Ah, I wouldn’t say close no. We just met this term.” Yuri didn’t know what to do or say. Had it already started? He hadn’t been careful enough and now someone was asking him about Victor. He could already feel his peaceful life melting away.

“But you are friends, right?” She took a step forward and he took a step back. His heart was going crazy in his chest and he could feel his hands start to sweat. Why was this girl coming after him like that?

“I... uh… I don’t...I can’t...I just…” Yuri was stuttering and his mind was jumping from place to place to figure out what to say to this girl. He felt on the edge of short-circuiting when an arm wrapped around his.

“What’s going on here?” the person said and Yuri looked over to see Sara with a fierce look on her face.

“Just asking him some questions.” The girl’s voice came out sickly sweet and it made Sara’s eyes narrow.

“Well he’s busy.” She tugged on his arm to pull him away. “Come on Yuri lets go.”

With that the two of them left the girl behind and moved as far away as they could. “What was that?” Sara asked as they moved.”

“I’m not sure.” Yuri muttered even though he did know. He was hoping that that was going to be it for the day, but he knew better. If he had predicted correctly it was only going to be the beginning.

And oh boy was he right.

After Sara dropped him off at his class it was even more obvious that people were staring at him. He could see the looks, the silent questions of ‘who is he and why is Victor talking to him like that?’. Victor had a close circle of friends and everyone could see who was a fan and who was a friend. To everyone it looked like Yuri was in the friend category and Yuri didn’t doubt that every single one of then was questioning how he was any better than them.

While most of them looked at him from a distance some of the bravest of them would come up to him and start asking questions. He did his best to deflect them, saying things without actually answering. It was wearing him out quick. There were people in his classes and people in the halls. By the time lunch came Yuri just wanted to go home. His stomach felt weird and he was stressed and on edge. He wanted to curl up in a ball and hide. Any person that got close to him made him cower away, just waiting for another onslaught of questions. He was afraid to go to the cafeteria and texted his friends that he had to talk to his teacher so he wouldn’t show up. Instead he found an empty unlocked classroom and hid inside of it with the lights off. His stomach growled as he sat there for the hour and he wished he had something so do

After it was a lot of the same and even at work people kept coming up to ask him about who he was and how he knew Victor. The times someone actually came with questions was a breath of fresh air. Once his shift was done he practically ran home. He felt so tired and over stimulated and he just wanted to get in bed and lay there till he felt okay again. If someone came up and talked to him then he probably would have covered his ears and ran even faster. He was so god damn tired of having people watch him and question who he is and why he deserved to know Victor.

Once home he busted in the door and responded faintly to Victor’s welcome home and ran right to his room. He knew he needed to cook dinner but he mentally couldn’t do anything. At this point frustrated tears were coming to his eyes and when he shut the door to his room he face planted in his bed.

“Yuri?” Victor said curiously through the door soon after. He knocked lightly as if to tell Yuri he wanted to come in but Yuri said nothing back. “Is everything okay?”

“I just need to be alone for a little bit okay?” He said, his voice a little clogged from the emotions trying to claw their way free.

“Um. Okay.” Victor sounded uncomfortable but he continued speaking anyway. “If you want to talk I’ll be out in the living room.”

Yuri didn’t say anything back but it was nice of him to offer. After a few minutes of Yuri not responding he heard Victor walk away and Yuri was glad. He couldn’t deal with Victor right now either.

Yuri felt like complete shit. All the looks, all the comments, and all the questions had completely worn him down. They made him feel exactly like he had known he would feel, small and unworthy. He felt like a small bug to be smashed under someone’s shoes. He knew he wasn’t anything compared to Victor. He wasn’t anything even compared to Victor’s other friends. All the people Victor usually hung out with were beautiful and full of character. They were not like plain and boring Yuri. He could understand why everyone laughed and wondered what was so special about the shy Japanese kid. He could see all the looks of the fans who had approached him and they all one by one decided that they were better that Yuri, and they should be the ones getting to talk so comfortably with Victor.

Yuri had tried so hard to stop this from happening but he hadn’t been good enough. He was never good enough.

Yuri finally felt the tears start to fall and soak into his pillow. He was just so so tired. He didn’t want to feel anymore. He just wanted to lay in bed and not think about his life and what was going to be waiting for him when he went back to school on Monday

He laid in bed for a long time just feeling like shit. He kept thinking about all the people who had come up to him that day and it just made him feel bad over and over again. His mind flew to all his flaws and kept comparing himself to Victor and just how different they were. He wanted to be brave like Victor, he wanted to be interesting like Victor, and he wanted to be social like Victor. He wished that he didn’t have thoughts like this that dug deep into his bones and left him cold and disappointed in himself and tired of who he was. Yuri wanted to pull himself out of how he was feeling but he was trapped. No matter how much he wanted to go out in the living room and eat dinner and watch TV and feel normal he couldn’t.

Victor came back awhile later and knocked again. Yuri didn’t answer and Victor asked if he wanted to eat the dinner he made. In a small voice that Yuri wasn’t sure could be heard he told him no thank you and Victor told him it would be in the fridge if he wanted it.

Eventually Yuri drifted off to sleep, tired from crying, and dreamed of people standing over him and laughing.

In the morning Yuri woke up completely nervous. He wondered what Victor thought of him after his depression episode and if he now though he was weird. He knew he should go out and apologize for ignoring him and explain what had happened but the thought of Victor rejecting him for it was terrifying. Could Victor understand how his brain could take over like that? Did he want to know if he could?

After lying in bed stressing for a while Yuri finally dragged himself out from under the covers to face the world. Leaving his room he saw Victor was already showered and sitting on the couch watching the news while Makkachin ate out of his food bowl. Yuri took soft footsteps so he didn’t alert Victor to his presence even though that was entirely impossible in the small apartment. When Victor did finally hear him he turned around to look at him.

“Good morning Yuri, how are you feeling?” Victor’s didn’t look upset or judgmental. He just looked open and a little concerned.

Yuri had frozen in place and Victor’s attention but slowly relaxed at his words. All his fears seemed to float off at how gentle Victor seemed to be. “Um, I’m a little better. Sleeping always helps.”

“That’s good. I made breakfast if you want to eat together. I was going to go out with some friends today but if you want me to stay home to keep you company I can.”

Yuri was feeling completely guilty. Had he really worried Victor that much that he would offer to stay home and comfort him? He had tried keeping the crying quiet but he was sure Victor had still heard it. It touched his heart that Victor would sacrifice his day for Yuri, but Yuri knew that there was nothing Victor could do for him so he shook his head. “No its okay. Go hang out with your friends, I’ll be okay.”

Victor kind of looked like he was about to say he would stay behind anyways before he licked his lips and nodded. “Okay, I’ll be out all day then.”

“What are you guys doing?” Yuri moved over to the kitchen to find bagels victor had toasted and put cream cheese on and took one to sit at the table. Victor got up and joined him, grabbing the other bagel.

“We are going out to eat then to Chris’s house.” He said then took a huge bite of his bagel like it was a sandwich while Yuri opened his up and ate one half at a time.

“That sounds like fun.” Yuri smiled and wiped off cream cheese that had gotten on his cheek.

Victor’s eyes widened in the way they did when he had thought of something he thought was a great idea. “Hey, would you like to join us?”

Shaking his head frantically Yuri almost choked on his bite. Swallowing it he took a deep breath. “No thanks. I would just be in the way.”

“No way! You would never be in the way. Believe me they would all love to meet you and it would be fun.” Victor reached out and touched Yuri’s wrist and gave him his pleading eyes.

Yuri thought it was cute but it didn’t work on him. “Maybe next time.”

Victor sighed and his head dropped as he dragged his hand over the table back to his side. “Okay, next time then.”

“I said maybe” Yuri reminded him, getting the feeling that Victor would use his words to force him to go the next time.

“Hmmm, what was that I didn’t hear you?” Victor innocently looked the other direction clearly trying to act like he hadn’t been paying attention.

“Victor!” Yuri laughed and leaned forward to turn Victor back towards him with his hand on the man’s shoulder. “I’m not promising to go next time okay?”

Victor was trying to avoid his eyes but they finally met. “Fine.” He mumbled but there was a small smile on his face.

Satisfied Yuri let go of his shoulder and they finished eating their bagels

Once they were done Victor said he was going to head out since it took about 45 minutes to get to Chris’s house and he had to pick the man up since he usually took the bus and then drive back into town for lunch. He kissed Makkachin goodbye and told Yuri he could call Victor if he needed something. Yuri promised he would then watched Victor leave.

“I guess it’s just you and me today.” Yuri said to Makkachin and the dog gave a little bark in response that Yuri found completely adorable.

Not sure what to do for the day Yuri decided to play video games. When in doubt video games was always a good thing to do. Even if he didn’t feel like playing he usually got into it after he started. He pulled out the game he had been playing the other day and began on the next mission in the game. It was close to noon when his phone started to vibrate. He was going to ignore the texts but eventually the texts turned into calls and Yuri grabbed his phone out of annoyance. Phichit’s face filled the screen and Yuri pushed the answer button.

“Hello?” He said slightly frustrated that his friend had been so persistent but he figured it had to be something important.

“Yuri we need to talk.” Phichit sounded serious and all frustration flew out of him.

“Why? What’s up?” Yuri knew his voice came out a little panicky but all the possibilities of what had gone wrong were running through his head. He tried to calm himself down but he knew only Phichit telling him what was going on would do that.

“Have you been on social media at all?” The response threw him off. Social media?

“No, I haven’t. Is there something I need to see?” Yuri would have jumped onto Facebook right away but he was currently using his phone to talk so he couldn’t.

“You are everywhere Yuri. Are you home? Please say yes. I’m already on my way over.”

The words didn’t make sense to his ears. What did he mean he was everywhere? What was everywhere? What exactly was it about him?

“Yeah…I’m home.” His words came out monotone as his brain took up most of his energy to try and understand what that meant.

“Good. I’m about a block away.” Phichit’s voice was getting breathy and Yuri wondered if he was running.

Yuri was glad to hear he was close because he needed to understand quickly before he really freaked out. “Okay. I guess I’ll see you soon.”

“Yeah, I’m going to hang up then.”

“Okay.” The line went dead and Yuri sat there staring at his phone. Should he go look and try to see what Phichit was talking about? Or should he wait for Phichit’s explanation and moral support for whatever had Phichit running like that? He instantly landed on the second option. He didn’t feel brave enough to find out on his own.

Instead he moved to save his place in the game and turn off the console. Then getting up, he moved to sit on the couch and called Makkachin over to sit with him. His hand slid through the dog’s fur trying to focus on it instead of panicking. Soon enough Phichit bust through the door like he still lived there, breathing hard.

“Did you look?” was the first thing he said as he closed the door behind him and quickly moved into the room.

Yuri shook his head and Makkachin jumped off the couch to greet his new friends. To the dog's dismay Phichit only patted the dog, not even surprised to see him, and moved past to sit next to Yuri.

“Good. You would have freaked out. I’m glad I got here first.” Phichit pulled his phone out of his pocket and held it out in front of both of them without actually turning it on.

“What’s happening? What did you mean I’m everywhere?” Yuri was practically vibrating with nerves. He needed to know before he exploded.

Phichit looked at him with mixed emotions. He obviously wanted to protect yuri from whatever had happened but also didn’t want the news coming from someone else or when yuri was all alone to deal with it by himself. Taking a deep breath Phichit dived into the story. “You are the talk on Facebook and Instagram. People are talking about you and Victor and then there are pictures too. Here, look at this.”

Phichit finally opened his phone and there was someone’s post in big letters that said Who is this man and is he perhaps Victor’s new boyfriend? Under it was a Picture of when Victor had hugged him in the classroom and one them walking side by side. Scrolling down there was another picture of Victor leaning on the help desk at the library and Yuri blushing probably at something embarrassing that Victor had said. He kept scrolling and saw even more pictures of the few times Yuri and Victor had been together at school all in different angles. He hadn’t realized people had taken pictures and he felt sick to his stomach.

“Oh God.” Yuri buried his face in his hands not wanting to see anymore. If he had thought that his life was under a microscope before it was like someone had clicked t up to the highest magnifying setting. His life was under the spotlight and worse off all they some reason thought he was dating Victor? He guessed people saw what they wanted to see but he had seen glimpses of some of the mean comments under the pictures and it didn’t seem like it’s what they wanted. Some of them were commenting on how Victor would never pick someone like Yuri and others were people tearing Yuri’s looks apart. They were obviously jealous fans but they brought Yuri back to his negative thoughts because he agreed. Victor would never pick someone like him so it was insane in the first place that such a rumor had showed up. There were some comments calling Yuri cute and nice and wishing the two of them luck in their relationship but they did nothing to make him feel any better.

Yuri felt Phichit’s arm wrap around him and pull him close into his side. “I know that being in the spotlight light you nervous so as soon as I saw this I was really worried about you. No matter what they say about you online you can’t listen okay? None of those things are true.”

“But they are, aren’t they?” Yuri was crying again to neither of their surprises. “I’m plain, boring, and average looking. It’s true that Victor would never pick someone like me.”

Phichit put his phone down and wrapped Yuri in a full hug. “That’s is the biggest lie I have ever heard. You are fun to be with, you always say funny and interesting things, you are smart, cool, and you are amazing at computers. Plus you are super cute dude. Like if I wasn’t aromantic I would totally be in love with you, no joke. You are one of the best people I ever met. That’s why you are my best friend.”

Snuggling into Phichit, Yuri let his words flow over him. He didn’t believe them completely, but they were nice to hear. Someone thought good things about him and it made him feel a little better. “What am I going to do then? How do I get out of this mess?”

“We have to get Victor to clear it up. If he tells people to leave you alone they will. People listen to him.” Phichit said it so quickly it was obvious he had already thought about it.

Yuri jerked away from him. “No, I don’t want to involve him in this.”

Blinking in surprise Phichit removed his hands from Yuri. “What do you mean you don’t want to involve him? He’s deep in this too. It’s not like people are not going to mention it to him at school Monday.”

“I don’t think so though.” Yuri rubbed at his face trying to get the tears that were still silently falling to stop. “I think they are too scared or they would have done it already. People have already been coming up to me at school and asking me stuff. That obviously means they don’t want to talk to Victor about it.”

“Wait, people have been coming up to you and asking about this kind of stuff? Why didn’t you tell me?”

Yuri scratched his neck and couldn’t meet Phichit’s eyes. He knew he should have called him that night and talked about it but he had been lost in his own thoughts and emotions and hadn’t felt like talking to him at all. “Sorry.” Was all he offered and Phichit seemed to realize what had happened last night.

“Oh jeez Yuri, why is that happening to you? I thought being roommates with Victor would be an adventure but it seems to be doing more harm than good now. Maybe you should ask Minako to find him somewhere else to stay if possible. ”

Yuri solemnly shook his head. “Honestly I don’t regret being Victor’s roommate and I don’t want to separate from him. Sure I’m still scared of getting attracted to him and getting hurt when he leaves, but it’s been nice. Victor’s a really amazing person if not a little strange and we get along really well. I’m not mad that I got to know him a little better.”

Phichit searched his face for a second before a warm smile broke out on his face. “I’m glad you think that way. You always used to watch him and I think it’s nice that he became a real person in your life instead of this idol.” Yuri blushed at that, thinking about how just a week ago Yuri and Victor were strangers and Yuri had found it hard to even realize Victor was a human with his own problems and feelings. “But we need to figure out how to fix this if you really don’t want to involve Victor.”

“What if I just ignore it and then it will go away?” Yuri said even though he knew it was ridiculous to think that.

“You want to suffer through it till that happens? We don’t know how long that will take and I don’t think you mentally can handle that. I refuse. Next plan.”

Yuri was stumped. He didn’t know what to do. He had no kind of social power like Victor and he wasn’t sure if he said anything that anyone would believe him. “Victor might be my only choice.” Yuri finally sighed. “But let me think about it first. He’s such a kind person and I don’t want him to get hurt by this.”

Phichit tilted his head to the side in confusion. “Victor get hurt? How”

Yuri rubbed his hands down his face trying to relive some on the tightness from crying. “His fans mean a lot to Him. I don’t want him to see what they said and did and get upset with them and end up alone.”

Phichit smiled a sliver of a smile and shook his head in disbelief. “You are too good of a person Yuri Katsuke. I’ll let you think about it. But if you don’t come up with a solution by tomorrow night at 9 then I’m telling Victor myself. Deal?” Phichit put his hand out to shake on it.

Yuri firmly grabbed it and shook it. “Deal.”

Chapter Text

Yuri considered himself a person who could easily solve problems, at least when it came to computers. It was like puzzle pieces he had to move and fix and sometimes completely throw out. He could fix those kinds of problems in his sleep. However, his life wasn’t quite as easy. It fact it wasn’t easy at all.

Phichit had made lunch for Yuri to try and help him feel better and then spent time talking to him and made sure he was going to be okay. Once he was convinced that Yuri wasn’t going to have a breakdown he regretfully said he needed to go home. Right before stepping out the door he forced Yuri to promise that if he started feeling bad and wanted him to come back he would call no matter how much he didn’t want to bother him. Once he had left with the answer he wanted, Yuri instantly started making plans on how he was going to fix the mess he was in.

Things started simple with ideas like just telling anyone who came up to him what had happened, posting on social media about it, or ignoring the situation. As time passed his ideas started to get crazy with things like spreading different rumors that overshadowed his own, leaving school till it cooled down, or faking his own death.

He found himself pacing from the kitchen counter to the TV over and over again as he thought. Makkachin sat on the couch and followed him with his head till he got bored and just laid his head down to nap. Each lap got Yuri more and more frustrated because nothing he came up sounded like something that worked or something he could actually do. The only thing he could think of was telling Victor and having him use his social status to clear things up but that was really the last thing he wanted to do.

Victor was the nicest person he had ever met. He never did anything to upset Yuri and he only had nice things to say about anything he made or did. He easily fell into Yuri’s pace to make sure he was comfortable and even if he didn’t realize Yuri didn’t want it he always went out of his way to go see Yuri at school and it did make him feel a little special. Victor had made Yuri’s life more complicated but he also made it a lot better. He liked hanging out with Victor and he liked having him in his life. The thought that he would return Victor’s kindness by handing him a problem he wanted him to fix just sounded horrible of him. Especially because it could ruin Victor’s peaceful life. But just like Phichit had said it was the most effective choice and really the only one that would probably completely work.

So Yuri was completely stuck. Either he tells Victor, or he waits till Sunday at 9 when Phichit said he would tell Victor. He wasn’t sure what one would be worse for Victor or even which one would be worse for him. Telling Victor himself would be awkward and it would be hard for him to spit it out, but just watching Phichit do it would make him feel guilty and would still awkward if he was just standing off to the side letting his friend try and fix his problems. He had to think of something else, he had no other choice.

Frustration at a max Yuri let out a strangled, low scream that made Makkachin run over to make sure Yuri was okay. He scratched at Yuri’s leg and whined and made Yuri feel completely horrible about upsetting the dog.

“Sorry.” He said crouching down and patting Makkachin’s head. “I didn’t mean to scare you, I just feel like I’m completely stuck.” Leaning his head on the dogs back he ended up in a sitting position with his arms wrapped around the dog’s middle. Surprisingly Makkachin just let Yuri hold on to him and he figured it’s because Victor was handsy with the dog and he was used to stuff like this.

He found himself holding on for a long time as his mind went blank from overwork. Eventually, the dog turned and started licking whatever part of him he could reach as if asking for Yuri to let go of him. With a long sigh he did and laid back on the floor and instead of the dog running off like Yuri had expected Makkachin laid down next to him so he was pressed up against Yuri’s side. He wondered if the dog somehow knew that Yuri was stressed out and was trying to comfort him.

He let his hand bury itself in the dog fur as he tried to force himself to think about it again. It would be nice to just give up and lay there but he had to keep going no matter what. Yet, he had honestly already exhausted any idea he could come up with and pure force wasn’t going to change anything. It wasn’t some kind of wall he could just break through and find the idea of the other side. It was more like he had run a marathon and then found that the road ended and no one had ever set up a finish line. There was nothing else he could do.

He thought about calling Phichit. Maybe he could get some ideas from him but he also knew that Phichit just wanted to get help from Victor. The likelihood that he would just tell him to stop thinking and talk to Victor was very likely. In fact, he couldn’t imagine Phichit saying anything else.

Yuri wasn’t sure how long it had been since Phichit had left but his stomach growled interrupting his thoughts. He was eager to do anything else but what he was doing. Pulling his phone out of his pocket he realized that it was six and time for dinner. There were no texts from Victor which meant that he wasn’t coming home anytime soon and Yuri would be on his own to eat. He wasn’t disappointed by this because he had no idea how to face Victor and didn’t mind having more time by himself to figure it out.

Pulling himself off the floor Makkachin jumped up and barked happily, probably relieved to see Yuri up and moving again. Yuri headed to the kitchen and noticed the dog’s empty bowl sitting up against the wall. He wasn’t sure what kind of food schedule the dog was on but he figured it wouldn’t be too bad to give the dog dinner. Even if Victor did feed him again when he came home he figured Makkachin deserved a little extra for sticking with Yuri all afternoon. Getting the dog food cup he scooped out some then poured it in the bowl. Makkachin instantly went for it and it made Yuri smile. He really did love having a dog and he forgot how much comfort one could be. It was just one for thing Victor had given him that he would be throwing back in Victor’s face if he told him.

Turning away from the dog he tried to push the problem out of his head. He just wanted a little time that day that he didn’t have it assaulting him from all sides. He found something to cook in the fridge that wouldn’t take too much time and started on it. By the time he had finished, Makkachin had already eaten his food and was watching him make it by himself. Victor had been so intent on them eating their meals together Yuri had thought that Victor would have run home for dinner. It seemed that he had been missing a lot of meals lately in favor of going out with his friends. It just proved that Yuri wasn’t as important to Victor as he had been thinking over the past few days. It was a reminder of how attached he was getting to Victor when Victor wasn’t getting attached to him. Since Victor meant more to Yuri than Yuri did to Victor and it just wasn’t fair to involve him in his problems.

Yuri wanted to slap himself. He was still thinking about it. He needed to get ahold of himself and just eat. Taking his plate of food over to the table he sat down and ate by himself. He didn’t dare go on any social media on his phone and instead played an app he had never bothered to delete after he had gotten bored of the game.

It was about eight when he had finished eating and moved on to cleaning up his mess. He was putting the last dish in the dishwasher when he heard the doorknob jiggle. Phichit must have locked the door when he left probably in case someone tried to come over and that meant it would take Victor a few minutes to get his keys out to unlock the door. In those few moments Yuri froze and then without really processing it, he booked it out of the kitchen to his room leaving all the lights on as he went. He zoomed into his room without turning the light on and shut the door behind him. Crawling quickly into his bed fully dressed he got under the covers and pulled them way up to his chin.

He quickly realized that in his panic he had hidden from Victor. Sure he didn’t know what to do about the situation and it would be hard to look at him and talk to him like everything was normal but did he had to pretend he was sleeping so Victor couldn’t talk to him? It seemed like such a childish tactic to avoid someone.

“Yuri? Are you home?” Victor called and Yuri froze again. Should he go out and talk to him or should he continue to hide? His rational part said to stop being scared and to go talk to him but his more dominate scared side said to stay in bed so he didn’t have to worry about what he would say to Victor. It would be a lot easier to do nothing than to struggle through an afternoon of pretending that he wasn’t freaking out in front of Victor.

Footsteps started coming farther into the apartment and Victor called again. Yuri quickly shut his eyes just in time for his door to swing open. He knew Victor was looking at him and he hoped that he really looked like he was sleeping. It was only after a second he realized he had never taken off his glasses. How stupid was Yuri to think he could fool anyone if he couldn’t even remember to take off his glasses.

It was quiet for a few seconds and Yuri almost opened his eyes and told Victor the truth. However, there was a low chuckle and footsteps coming into the room and Yuri realized that Victor had already figured it out. Cool fingers touched his face and it took all of Yuri’s strength not to flinch away in surprise. He wasn’t sure why he didn’t just open his eyes since he had been found out but it just seemed awkward to stop pretending until Victor called him out on his fake sleeping. Yet, instead of Victor telling him to get up, there was a weight that pressed down on the edge of the bed and he felt his glasses slide off his face.

“You must have been really tried to forget to take these off.” Victor muttered and there was the sound of his glasses being set on his nightstand. “I don’t know what happened to you to make you so tired and upset like this but I hope you’re okay.” The same cold fingers brushed Yuri’s bangs off his forehead. The touch was so soft and gentle that Yuri had to fight back a shiver.

Yuri assumed that Victor would get up and leave after that but he didn’t. He just sat on the edge of his bed doing god knows what. Yuri wanted to open his eyes and look at him but if he hadn’t already blown his cover he wasn’t about to. For all Yuri knew he was waiting to see if Yuri would give himself up. However, Yuri found it hard to think that Victor would be that suspicious of him. Victor seemed to be a very trusting person.

The few minutes he was there dragged on forever and when Victor did leave and the door shut behind him it was a breath of fresh air. His whole body relaxed and he opened his eyes. He could barely see in the dark room but he still got out of bed and changed out of his clothes. If he was going to be stuck in his bed for the rest of the night he should at least be comfortable. He moved as quietly as he could as not to alert Victor or Makkachin to himself and got back in bed when he was done. Once in he cursed himself for leaving his phone next to the sink because that meant he had entirely nothing to do. It was close to nine so it wasn’t that early but it wasn’t late enough for someone who had gotten up pretty late that morning to be sleepy. He, of course, had his laptop and his homework in the room but both would involve too much light and he did not want to chance getting caught.

So, in the end, Yuri was trapped in the dark with his own thoughts. It was pretty much how he had been the entire day but with a different lighting situation. He laid there fully awake for a long time before just lying there in the dark made him sleepy. He fell asleep after what felt like a long time.

Since he had gone to bed early he found himself awake at 7 when it was still dark outside. He pulled himself out of bed and sleepily left his room to go out in the living room and sit with something cold to drink. However, to his surprise, he found Victor in the kitchen, looking just as tired in front of the coffee pot. He walked up to the sink and grabbed his phone where he had left it. Checking it he had no notifications since he had shut them off and one text from Phichit.

“Good morning Yuri.” Victor said when he finally noticed the boy behind him on his phone. “Would you like some coffee? He turned slightly and motioned to the coffee pot and the mug he already had on the counter.

“No, I’m good. Why are you up so early?” Yuri moved away from the sink to get a glass then got in the fridge and pulled out some milk to pour his cup.

“Oh. Yeah.” Victor turned away from the coffee pot fully to give Yuri his full attention. “I wanted to talk to you about that. I was hoping to talk to you last night so it wasn’t so short notice but you were already asleep.”

“Yeah, I was.” Yuri felt the words come out awkward and robotic. “I was just so tired, sorry.” He tried to say as little as possible so he didn’t say something that would make it obvious that it was a lie.

“That’s fine.” Victor shrugged. “I would rather you be well rested. I just wanted to know if you were fine with my friends coming over today. They kept saying that they wanted to see where I lived now and I eventually gave in and said I’d find out if you were okay with it.”

“Is it just your close friends?” Yuri said a little too quickly. He did not want any of his fans to come over. Plus he was sure that something bad would happen like they would all go in his room and figure out he lived there and then there would be even more rumors.

“No, it’s just my close friends. I only invite my closest friends over to where I live.” Victor had a funny look on his face and Yuri wondered if he had had a bad experience with having fans over at his dorm before.

Feeling better about the situation Yuri took his milk to the table and sat down. “Okay yeah, that’s fine then. I’ll just head over to Phichit’s for the day”

The coffee pot beeped signaling it was done and Victor turned to pour it in his mug that already had creamer in it as he talked over his shoulder. “No way! You should stay. I would love to introduce you to them.”

Yuri gripped his milk cup tightly feeling the coldness seep into his skin. “Have you already told them about me?” He realized that it might be too late to defuse the situation at all. He had no idea if Victor’s friends knew about the rumors going around. They might already agree with those rumors and if they knew he was also his roommate he couldn’t imagine what they would do and if it got out how worse the rumors would get.

“No” Victor turned back to him and took a drink of his coffee before he continued. “I told them I had a new roommate but I didn’t tell them who you were since you asked.”

Yuri sighed in relief. He was so glad he didn’t have to deal with that situation. He could just back out quietly for the day and deal with it a different time. He was already of the edge of a breakdown and he didn’t need this to push him over the edge. “Oh well thank you. Maybe a different time though.”

Moving over to the table Victor sat down right next to him. “Please? You promised you would hang out next time.”

Yuri realized it wasn’t going to be very easy to get out of this. For some reason Victor was being very persistent about Yuri meeting his friends and Yuri didn’t know why. Yuri was sure there was some kind of reason behind it. Was it just that he wanted his friends to be able to come over whenever and not have it be that big of a deal? “No, I specifically said that I did not promise too.”

Victor pulled out his puppy eyes. “Please Yuri. I would really love for you to meet them.”

Yuri’s hands gripped the glass even tighter. He was starting to get a little panicky. What if Victor didn’t let him go and forced him to meet his friends? What if he couldn’t leave and then he couldn’t figure out how to fix the problem at school and then everything went to hell? “Sorry Victor I really think I should head out for today. This isn’t the best time for me.”

Yuri figured that would get Victor to stop but Victor scooted a little closer in so there wasn’t a ton of personal space between them. “But Yuri I promise they are not bad people. You will all get along great.”

Between the stress he had been in yesterday trying to figure out what to do, being upset about all the people who had treated him like garbage on Friday, and now Victor trying to force him to meet his friends that could lead to who knows what new horrible situation, Yuri was in overload mode. He couldn’t handle what was happening in that moment and he just wanted it to stop. He wanted to go back into his room where it was quiet and go back to bed where he didn’t have to think. He couldn’t do this. “No, I really can’t do this today. I’m just going to go over to Phichit’s.”

Victor reached out and touched the back of Yuri’s hand. Yuri was starting to breathe a little quickly as real panic started to set in. He felt like he needed to get out now. It was like Victor was suffocating him and he needed room. He wasn’t coping too well as all his worries flooded in. “It would mean so much to me if you met them.

Jerking away Yuri stood up from his chair in a motion almost too quick for Victor to follow with his eyes. “I SAID I CAN’T!” Yuri yelled at Victor and then both of them froze. Victor had never seen Yuri so worked up and Yuri couldn’t believe he had just yelled like that. Victor blinked up at Yuri and Yuri tried to get his breath under control. He started to think of a way to explain himself but instead of words when he opened his mouth tears started falling down his face.

“Yuri?” Victor yelped and jumped out of his own chair. His hands hovered in the air in front of Yuri as if he had no idea what to do. After a few seconds of Victor panicking he pulled Yuri into a hug. Yuri instantly latched on to the man and buried his face into the crook of his neck.

“I can’t I’m sorry I can’t.” Yuri blubbered, unable to get himself under control. This was the exact opposite of what he wanted, to be crying on Victor, but after everything, he couldn’t stop. It was all too much and he just wanted to go back to his quiet life. He wanted his biggest stressor to be how he was going to talk to someone and not how he was going to get people to stop spreading rumors about him and the school's king. He just wanted things to go back to normal.

“What’s wrong Yuri?” Victor’s voice was high in panic still as he held onto Yuri as tight as Yuri was holding him.

“I don’t want to tell you.” Yuri sobbed and tried pulling away from Victor to go and cry in his room or something better than where he was so Victor didn’t have to be involved but Victor didn’t let go.

“Why? Why can’t you tell me?” he said trying to look at Yuri’s face so he could read it while still holding him tightly.

To avoid him Yuri pressed his forehead into Victor’s collar bone and watched as his tears splattered onto Victor’s shirt. “I don’t want you to get upset or hurt.”

Victor grabbed his shoulders and stepped away from him so Yuri had no choice but to let Victor see his crying face. “What do you mean you don’t want me to get upset or hurt? Please tell me what happened. Did something happen on Friday?”

Yuri didn’t know what to do. At this point, he either had to lie to Victor or tell the truth. He already didn’t have a plan so lying to Victor to only to have him find out later would be pointless. Plus Yuri didn’t even have a lie ready anyways. Taking a deep shuttering breath Yuri figured it was time. He was way over his head and he needed Victor. As much as he didn’t want to admit it Yuri needed Victor’s help and he was selfish enough to ask for it.

“I…this is all my fault.” He began and his body deflated. He felt like Victor's hands on his shoulders was the only things keeping him up. “This week I tried to avoid you. I knew that we are in such different worlds that it would be strange if we showed up one day and were close. I tried to get you not to tell anyone we were roommates because I was scared of what would happen. I knew that if I was in your spotlight people would judge me and belittle me and they would wonder why someone like me was friends with someone like you. I was scared of that and I let that fear get in the way of doing anything right. I should have talked to you or mentioned to you that we shouldn’t meet at school but I didn’t want to say something so mean just because I was scared. That didn’t stop me from being mean to you when we met at school anyways.” He added with a mumble before he resumed his story. “ I convinced myself everything would be okay somehow but your fan club had been watching me ever since they figured out we know each other. I didn’t really realize it at first but Friday they started coming up to me and asking me questions and giving me these looks. I know that they don’t think that we are in the same social level and shouldn’t be hanging out at school together. Then yesterday people started posting pictures they secretly took of us online. All these rumors started flying around talking about what we are to each other and tearing me down. I didn’t want you to know because I didn’t want you to get upset at your fans and you have been so nice to me I didn’t want to change your life like that. I was trying to figure out how to fix it on my own but I can’t figure this out and I’m sorry.

Victor’s hands were gripping Yuri’s shoulders tightly to the point it was almost painful. He just stared at him and Yuri could practically see the gears turning in his head as he tried to figure out what Yuri was saying. Slowly he let him go and pulled out his phone. “What social media is it on?”

Yuri viciously wiped at his tears now that he could move his arms. “Uh…at least Facebook and Instagram. I’ve tried not to look.”

Victor didn’t respond. His eyes were glued to his phone as his fingers flew across the screen. “They did a good job hiding them from me. I’m not seeing anything.” He looked up and put his hand out. “Let me see your phone.”

With shaky hands, Yuri pulled his phone out of his pocket, opened it, and passed it to Victor. Victor practically snatched it out of his hands and gasped when he saw the hundreds of posts and comments about them. Yuri figured it was probably even more out of control than it had been when he had seen it. Victor’s hand not on the phone clenched into a fist as his eyes rapidly took in whatever post was in front of him.

“I’m sorry you had to have this happen to you because of me.” Victor said after what felt like forever. “I wish you hadn’t decided to go through this on your own. This involves me as much as it involves you. I didn’t think about what my popularity would impact you and I’m upset with myself for that. I never realized that my fans as you call it would act like this. I’m sourly disappointed in them.”

Yuri rubbed at his eyes and then dragged his hands down his face. “And that’s exactly what I didn’t want. I didn’t want your relationship with them to come to this.”

Victor looked completely horrified when Yuri finally looked at him again. As victor started talking it came out slow and slightly upset. “Yuri, you do realize that I’m more than my popularity right? I don’t want people around me because I want them to boost my self-importance or make me feel popular. I want good people around me to enjoy their company. If there are people who would attack you like this just because I chose you to be my friend over them then I don’t want to associate with them.”

“But Victor-“Yuri started but Victor reached out and gently grabbed Yuri’s chin so they were looking at each other in the eyes intensely. Yuri had to blink away his tears to see him clearly.

“Also Yuri, you shouldn’t sell yourself so short. You are way more important to me than any of them.” Each word came out of Victor’s mouth with feeling and so much meaning that Yuri didn’t think he could fully comprehend.

More importantly, Yuri didn’t know what to say to that. He honestly wasn’t sure if he could believe it. How could he, some loser nerd he had known for little over a week, be more important than all the fans Victor surrounded himself with? Why would he be that special to Victor?

“Yuri just leave this to me. You did your best and now I’m going to fix everything.” Victor brought Yuri back into a hug with his cheek resting on top of Yuri’s head. Yuri didn’t know what to do but it didn’t matter because Victor pulled away after a few seconds and pulled out his phone, turning away from Yuri.

“Mila, yes hi, you are good with social media stuff? ... Yeah? ...Yes, that should be good enough. Can you come over right now? I need your help...Yes... No… That’s okay…. Thank you so much. See you soon” Shoving his phone into his pocket he turned back to Yuri. “Strangely enough Mila wants to be a lawyer and she should know how to get all those posts shut down.”

“Oh I see. That’s really helpful.” Yuri didn’t know what to do anymore. The problem had been taken out of his hands and instead of relief Yuri felt weirdly hollow. He didn’t know what to do or how he should feel about the situation. Should he offer to do something? Not that there was something he could do now that he couldn’t do before.

Victor was just so much better than him. It was obvious. He knew exactly what to do and started on it right away. Yuri had struggled and gotten worked up and upset and had been completely unable to do anything on his own. It made him feel bad of course, but it also made Victor even more amazing.

“Yuri are you okay? You don’t look okay.” Victor walked up to him and ducked a little so he could look into Yuri’s eyes. Yuri stared back at him and watched as Victor put his hand on Yuri’s cheek.” Everything is going to be okay, I promise. You can trust me.”

Yuri felt his lip tremble. How was Victor so incredible? Reaching forward he pulled Victor into another hug and held on. Victor didn’t hesitate and wrapped his arms around Yuri. As they stood there Victor kept telling him that it would be okay and that things would go back to normal. The words were exactly what he needed to hear from Victor and eventually he started to thaw out and return to normal.

“Thank you Victor.” He said once he felt he was okay pulled back and smiled up at Victor.” You are way better than I ever imagined you would be before we met.”

Something flashed in Victor’s eyes. It looked like there was some relief in there mixed in with happiness and something Yuri couldn’t identify.

“I feel the same.” Victor said and Yuri did not understand what that meant at all. He wanted to ask but before he could there was a knock on the door and Victor went to open it. In stepped a woman with shoulder length dark red hair and blue eyes. Yuri had seen her of course and knew that she was smart, beautiful, and strong but he knew not much more.

“What’s the problem Victor?” she asked before her eyes caught on Yuri over in the corner in his pajamas with red eyes from crying. “Is that your roommate? Hello, I’m Mila.”

“Hi. I’m Yuri” He croaked from where he was and gave a little wave

“We both need your help.” Victor said interrupting them and looked over his shoulder to look at Yuri. “Yuri, would you mind bringing your computer? I’m sure we would find nothing using mine.”

“Ah...y-yes!” Yuri sprang into action and ran to his room to get his computer. Once in there he wondered if he should quickly get dressed but knew it would take too long. Plus Victor was in his pajamas too so it couldn’t be that bad. Tucking it under his arm we went back to the room where the two were already sitting at the table. Yuri passed it to Victor who thanked him and set it on the table to open it.

“The problem is there are some posts about us that I want gone.” Victor said as he made his way to the sites to show Mila the posts. “If it was just one I would just report it, but there are a ton. They somehow hid them from me so I never saw them. I don’t know if there is a way I can report all these posts and the ones I can’t find or what?”

Mila stood up to lean over and look at the posts that victor had pulled up to show her. Reacher to the mouse pad she scrolled down and Yuri could faintly see the reflection of them in her eyes. “Holy shit you two. How did you manage to take over the internet like this? I know you are widely popular Victor but this is intense. People who don’t even know you two are putting weight on your relationship. Ah, and they got very smart. They managed to block all of us from their posts in hopes that you wouldn’t find out what they are doing. Very sneaky.”

Mila kept scrolling and then fell back in the chair. “This is a huge mess. You want me to get rid of this? I know legal crap but I’m not a magician.” She rubbed at her forehead. “I’m going to have to think about how to do this. I wish I was already in law school, this would be easier then.” Both of them were watching her as she thought before she groaned. “Please stop watching me this is going to take some time go do something else.”

“Of course. Come on Yuri.” Victor stood up and motioned for Yuri to follow him. Yuri got up and instead of going to the living room like he had expected Victor took him to his bedroom. Yuri had never been in there and couldn’t help but look around. It was pretty simple. He had some posters up and some stuff cluttering a desk but besides that it was very clean. All his dirty laundry was in a hamper and his bed was made unlike what it looked like in Yuri’s room. Victor sat down on his bed and motioned for Yuri to sit with him. Yuri hesitantly moved and sat down next to him with about a foot of space between them.

“We’ll just hang out in here for a while so she can do her thing. Mila is very smart and I know she can figure this out.” Victor said it reassuringly to try and comfort Yuri but Yuri already trusted the girl. If she was Victor's close friend and he thought she could do it then he wouldn’t doubt her.

Yuri looked down at his hands so he didn’t have to look at Victor’s face. He was still feeling bad and he wanted to make that clear. “I’m just sorry that this all happened. I don’t like involving other people in my problems.”

Victor grabbed Yuri shoulder and turned him towards him so they were face to face. “You know you didn’t cause this right? This isn’t anyone’s fault besides the people who took it upon themselves to get into our business. Sure maybe I could have been more careful and you should have told me how you felt about us talking in public but we shouldn’t have to be talked about like this no matter what.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Yuri shrugged but he got what Victor was saying. It was just human decency not to spread rumors around and talk shit about people but Yuri still felt that there was so much more he could have done so it was his fault in a way.

“Seriously Yuri.” Victor said and his face was more serious than Yuri had ever seen it before. “You’re way better than any of those people who are trying to tear you down. I wouldn’t want you to be my friend and want to live with you if you weren’t. I could have lived somewhere else but after meeting you I liked you a lot and I knew it was fate that put me in your room.”

“You think its fate?” Yuri said quietly. “Do you really like me that much? I’m boring and uninteresting and someone like me isn’t worth all this trouble.”

Victor looked like he had been slapped. “Do you really think that? Yuri, you are not boring or uninteresting. I have so much fun with you. I love the conversations we have and even just sitting quietly with you is fulfilling. Living here has been the most comfortable and fun I’ve ever had since I started college. Yuri you are special to me. I wouldn’t ever trade our friendship for someone else’s.”

Yuri was in a state of disbelief. Was he asleep right now? Were these words really coming from Victor Nikiforov’s mouth? He liked him for who he was? Sure it hadn’t been that long but they had already gotten closer than he had with a lot of people in his life. Victor had already seen him at his lowest and he still could say those things? Yuri felt like crying again just from the pure shots of feelings that were shooting through his heart but he held them back. He had already cried enough that day.

“Thank you.” Was all he said and buried his face in his hands.

“Why did you say that?” Victor tried to pull one of Yuri’s hands off his face but it didn’t budge.

“Because that was extremely nice and more than I deserved.” His words were coming out muffled but he didn’t stop or remove them. “I can’t believe that you would want to be friends with me. I never dreamed that this would be reality. I am a nobody at school. Yet somehow I’m good enough for you.”

Finally one of Yuri’s hands went away and Victor saw the wetness of his eyes. “You’re good enough for a lot of people Yuri. You don’t have to be anything special for people to love you and want to be friends with you. You don’t have to impress anyone.”

The tears spilled over and Victor didn’t look surprised. He just reached forward and wiped them away as they came. “You are perfect the way you are.” His smile was gentle and his eyes shining and Yuri felt his heart swell. Victor had a way of making it feel true. He made him feel special and important just for being himself. He didn’t have to do anything for Victor to like him besides be himself, and it felt like one of the best compliments he could ever get.

After that the two of them had sat and talked till Yuri calmed down. Victor was obviously trying to distract Yuri from the situation going on out in their kitchen. Victor started to show him some stuff he had brought with him from Russia and then he showed him what CDs and movies he had with him. After a while Victor brought over high senior year yearbook and Victor sat down so their thighs were touching. He was just as popular in high school as college and the yearbook was full of photos of him. He had been in a ton of clubs and interviewed in several places. His book was filled with tons of signatures and well wishes and a good number of phone numbers from boys and girls alike. Yuri wondered if he had ever called any of them. Victor pointed out people he knew and told stories about his high school days and Yuri found that he really enjoyed it. It was a different Victor that he had never met. It also touched a lot on when he had moved but he didn’t get too personal about that time. A lot of the time Yuri was laughing or completely amazed by some of the things Victor had done. He was eager to hear more and more and he didn’t even realize his mind was completely off the current problems he had.

Eventually, there was a knock on the door that broke the moment and the two pulled away from each other in time for Mila to open the door. “Well by some miracle of god I think I did it.” Mila didn’t mention Yuri’s freshly red eyes or how close they had ended up as she walked in. “I made some calls, talked to some people, made some threats, and all pictures and mentions of your names should be deleted. Of course that means anything ever posted about you two not posted by yourself or someone on your friend’s list should be wiped out. Mostly that will effects Victor’s stardom since he doesn’t friend most of his fans online but that’s exactly what we want.”

“Honestly I don’t care. It will be nice to have most of those photos of me taken down.” Victor stood up from the bed and placed a hand on Mila’s shoulder. “Thank you so much for your help.”

“Of course. But you owe me.” She poked Victor playfully in the chest and he dropped his hand from her shoulder.

“I wouldn’t forget about that.”

Mila raised an eyebrow and laughed. “Was that a joke? You forget your promises all the time.”

Victor laughed with her. Obviously both of them thinking about something that had happened in the past. “But I know you won’t let me forget!”

“Yeah because we know if we don’t keep track of you and your forgetful ways you will never get anything done.” Mila moved back to the bedroom doorway and grabbed the frame. “Anyways since I’m done I’m going back to my dorm. Also, I’ll tell the others about the rest so don’t worry about it, okay?”

Victor moved to follow her out the door and gave her a quick hug before she got too far. “Thank you. You really helped out a lot.”

With that they all left the room and Victor walked Mila to the door while Yuri thanked mile too and then walked over to his computer where she had left it. He refreshed the page and was amazed to see posts already disappearing. He had no idea what Mila had done but it had worked amazingly. Yuri felt that maybe he needed to do something for the girl too even if he didn’t know anything about her.

When Victor came back from saying goodbye he stood behind them as they watched the posts disappear. “We are only halfway done.”

Yuri tilted his head back to look at Victor upside-down “Yeah sadly you are right. Do you already have a plan?”

“I do, but don’t worry about it. You don’t have to do anything for it.” Victor said then walked into the kitchen. It was already noon and the morning had flown by somehow. The situation had seemed to be in only minutes not hours. It made sense that Mila wouldn’t be able to fix the situation in a matter of seconds but it really hadn’t felt like that long.

He joined Victor in there and together they cooked. It was the first time since last Sunday and it was just as nice. The easy flow of cooking and conversation between them made cooking more of an art then when Yuri usually felt like he was bumbling around in the kitchen. Yuri was an amazing cook, he knew that, he had grown up in a hot spring and had learned a lot about cooking from his mom, but for some reason with Victor it felt smooth moving from task to task.

Once they were done neither of them talked about what had happened that day. They sat down and ate and talked like normal. Neither of them wanted to break the normal mood between them and focus on the negatives. They had solved part of the problem and that was good enough for them in that moment.

Yet, Yuri felt that maybe he needed to talk more about how he had felt about Victor. How he hadn’t trusted Victor with his feelings because he was scared. He was still scared of Victor. Victor may want to be his friend now but when Victor was gone how likely was it that he would stick around. Victor would move on no matter what, it wasn’t a choice. He figured telling Victor these feelings would make it a little more bearable for him, but it didn’t seem right to tell him. This was something completely different. It wasn’t something Victor could fix.

Deciding to keep his mouth shut Victor and him decided to watch their show after lunch. It was something easy for them to do to stay distracted. Plus, both of them were eager to know what happened next. It felt a little cheap for them to push their problems off with TV but Yuri didn’t care anymore. He had really had enough of thinking and he wanted to watch someone else’s life get messy and have to solve their own problems.

The rest of the night continued this pattern in that it was extremely easy and lazy. They made a healthy cordon blue meal and sat in front of the TV with it. They watched late into the night as they called out at the characters for being stupid or discussed plot holes. It wasn’t until it was time to go to bed that Yuri felt his doubts and nerves come back. He wasn’t sure how Victor was going to fix things at school but he knew he had to trust him. Victor had somehow had a friend who was smart enough to get all the posts deleted, he must have something else up his sleeve.

Right before he got into bed he checked social media one more time to make sure all the posts were gone. However, as he scrolled through normal posts he found one thing posted with an insane amount of likes. All it said was: Victor Nikiforov fans on campus meet in front of the science building at 8:30 tomorrow.

Yuri didn’t know what it meant and at that point he figured that it was part of whatever plan Victor had. It made him nervous but he was already trusting the man. He clicked his phone off and set it on his side table knowing that Victor had everything under control.

 

~ ~ ~ ~

The next morning everything was bizarrely normal. Yuri made breakfast while Victor was in the shower just like they had planned and they ate together before Yuri went to quickly get ready. About 15 minutes before Yuri usually left for school there was a knock.

Before Victor could come from his room to go get the door Yuri was right there and opened it not sure what to expect. The first face he saw was Mila. She gave him a wave and a smile and moved into the apartment past him.

“Good morning Yuri.” She said as if it wasn’t strange that she was there that early in the morning.

Yuri looked after her confused before the next person stepped up. “So we meet again Yuri. I should have known it was you.” Looking over Yuri found Chris face to face with him. He winked before he moved past him and into the house to join Mila where she was standing in the living room petting Makkachin.

When Chris moved out of the way Yuri found Georgi behind him. Yuri had never actually talked to him before so the two men stood face to face before Georgi put his hand out to shake.

“My name is Georgi, nice to meet you Yuri.” He seemed quite serious but he gave Yuri a brief smile and Yuri smiled back before he shook his hand. From a distance he knew that Georgi was serious, but almost in a comedian way. He knew that Georgi was a good friend to Victor too and that’s why he must be a good person.

However, Yuri had no idea why there three were in his house. Yuri stood awkwardly by the door as the three waiting in the living room. Victor, having heard them come in, quickly showed up and greeted the three of them in an extremely friendly manner.

They all chatted for about a minute before victor said loudly to everyone including Yuri. “Okay it’s time to go to school.” and with a wave of his hand at the door the four of them started walking out past Yuri once again. Victor paused to turn off the lights and Yuri grabbed his backpack and followed having no other choice.

As soon as they stepped outside and started walking they fell in formation with Mila walking in front of him, Victor on his right, Chris on his left, and Georgi behind him. It felt like he was being escorted by the FBI or something equally as important and Yuri was even more confused. Yuri tapped on Victor’s shoulder and he leaned over to hear Yuri talk as they walked.

“What is going on? Why are your friends here?” he whispered but Victor just smiled knowingly.

“Just wait, you will see.” He patted Yuri on the back reassuringly but Yuri still felt nervous. Especially after that post he had seen last night. What exactly was Victor up to?

After the long walk the five of them showed up at school and there was a huge crowd in front of the science building. Since they had left earlier then Yuri usually left for school they were there about ten minutes after 8:30 which meant the crowd had probably been waiting for a little while. When they saw Victor coming people started to swarm and Yuri instantly understood why Victor had gotten his friends to surround him. There was no way Yuri would have made it to wherever Victor was trying to get them to and thanks to the four of them they carved a path to the front of the science building.

Once up there where it was safe the group broke up and moved so they were standing in front of everyone in a line. Victor stood a little in front of the rest of them and when he looked like he wanted to talk the crowd went silent. Georgi then walked up to Victor and passed him a small megaphone from his backpack Yuri had not expected to see but it made sense once he had.

Victor flipped the one switch and cleared his throat before talking “I did not think so many of you would come.” His voice filled the empty courtyard. “Can you all hear me okay?”

There was a loud murmur of yes’s which once again just showed how many people had showed up. Yuri wondered how many of them were skipping classes just to find out what Victor had to say.

“Great. Then let’s dive in.” He said with a fake sweet smile that might have seen genuine if Yuri didn’t know what his real smile looked like. “It came to my attention yesterday that there are some rumors and ill intentions towards my friend going around this school and online. I already took the online posts down as most of you probably know but today I just want to make myself very clear. I do not tolerate this kind of behavior. In fact, it disgusts me to find out people that I interacted with and even considered friends have treated someone close to me like this. I read those nasty comments even though you tried to hide them. I saw names and I saw faces,” He said looking pointedly at people in the crowd, “and I know I didn’t see them all but I really saw enough to know that I’m now going to be on guard with who I talk to and who I consider my friend. And if any of you try and talk to Yuri about this, make posts about him and me, or in any way harass him I’ll find out. I hope that my general disapproval will be enough for you to listen to me, but if not I have my ways of protecting my friends and I will use them.” There was a second where Victor glared down the entire crowd and it seemed like there was a collective shiver of fear. “Thank you for your time and please pass on my warning to anyone who wasn’t here today.” His cheerful voice came back and then the whole group disbanded easily, probably eager to get away from an angry Victor.

Yuri was standing there in shock. Usually Yuri was nervous in front of large groups like that but he had been so mesmerized by how victor had talked to the crowd and they had just listened. He was amazed that Victor was able pulled all that off. He gathered a huge crowd, threatened them practically, and then they all left obediently. Victor’s power surpassed that of a college student to that of an actual king just like his nickname.

As the people left Victor turned to Yuri with a smile. “There we go all fixed.” He passed the megaphone back to Georgi and then thanked them all for their help.

Yuri was still swimming in amazement when there were loud footsteps and Yuuko, Sara, and Phichit ran up to him.

“What was that?” Sara practically yelled at him before she had even made it over to him. “You have been keeping secrets mister!” she was barreling towards him but when her eyes hit Mila she skidded to a stop. Having been in the back of the crowd when she just happening to pass by Sara had not seen who was up front besides victor till the crowd was leaving and she spotted Yuri. It wasn’t till she was up close that she had she seen who Yuri was with. She walked the rest of the way to Yuri slowly with her eyes glued on Mila in amazement.

Phichit, who had run past Sara when she had stopped, went right up to Yuri and hugged him. “So you did tell him? I’m so glad you did. I told you he had the power.”

“Wait you knew about this?” Yuuko said with her hands on her hips having arrived right after Phichit. “I have so many questions. I think my brain is going to explode.”

“I’m sorry guys. I honestly don’t even know what just happened myself. Can we talk about this after school though? I don’t want to miss class.” Yuri said unsure what to even do at this point. His life felt like a tornado had just run through it and he was still trying to pick up all the destruction to put his house back together.

Sara stepped up to him finally having gotten there and grabbed the top of his arm. “We have so much to talk about later. Soo much. You better be ready for the interrogation of your life.”

With that Victor and his friends came up to him and Sara instantly let go of Yuri’s arm and tried to look cool for reasons Yuri hadn’t figured out yet.

“Hello, you all must be Yuri’s friends!” Victor said and his big heart smile took up what looked like half his face. “I’m Yuri, this is Chris, Georgi, and Mila.” He pointed to each of his friends as he introduced them and Sara’s eyes flashed when he introduced Mila.

“Of course we know you.” Phichit said as he put out his hand to shake Victor’s. “I’m Phichit, this is Yuuko and Sara. It’s nice to finally meet you after everything.”

Victor raised an eyebrow. “Yuri has told you about me?”

“I’m his best friend.” Phichit said and Yuri could hear a hint of pride in that that made him smile even thought he was internally screaming since he hadn’t been ready for this meeting. “I know everything.”

“I see.” Victor said not upset at all that Phichit knew everything when he hadn’t even known Phichit existed. “Very nice to meet you then.”

“Likewise. “ Phichit said sincerely but moved the conversation along. “Since most of us have classes now and Yuri needs to mentally get himself together how about all of us meet up at the pizza place at 3. I think it would be a good time for all of us in the dark to get the story out of Yuri and Victor. Also, I think now that we all know that the two of you are roommates and friends we should all get to know one another. I for one would like to get to know Yuri’s new roommate a lot better.”

“Sure that sounds fun! I haven’t had pizza in a while. We will see you then.” They shook hands again and Yuri started panicking even more. Not only was he going to have to tell his friends everything that happened, he was going to have to tell the story to Victor’s friends too. He felt a heart attack coming.

While Yuri was freaking out everyone said their goodbyes and Phichit started dragging Yuri to his first class. “Don’t freak out.” He said to him as if Yuri wasn’t already doing that. “It’s better to get it all out at once don’t you think? Then we can put a nice bow on this mess and send it on its way.”

“I guess.” Yuri groaned as they stopped in front of his classroom. “I feel like I’m going to die. This is going to be so embarrassing.”

“Out of the pan and into the fire.” Phichit said with a slight chuckle then sent Yuri into his class.

~ ~ ~ ~

Yuri had thought about running away after his last class but Phichit knew him too well and was waiting for him to drag him to the pizza place. Yuri pleaded with him to let him go the entire walk over but he refused telling Yuri that it was going to be fine. When they arrived almost everyone was there besides Yurio and Michele and after ten minutes both of them had made it.

There were twelve people around a long table in the middle of the Pizza place and Phichit stood up and started like it was a meeting. “Hello everyone thank you for coming. Most of us know what happened this morning but are very clueless about everything else. Today we are here to have Yuri and Victor clear things up for us. First off, since not all of us have met, let’s go around and introduce each other.”

Yurio rolled his eyes at that but introduced himself at his turn only to have Victor chime in to call him Yurio and he almost left before Mila practically threw the kid back into his chair. It looked like Sara had fallen in love with her all over again when it happened.

“Great now that we got that over with let's pass it over to Yuri to start us off with how this all started.” Phichit pointed at Yuri and Yuri knew his whole face was red as everyone turned to look at him expectantly.

“Um…well…” Yuri swallowed audibly before he forced the words out he had been hiding for what felt like forever. “Victor and I are roommates.”

“What?” Yuuko, Sara, and Guang Hong shouted while Takeshi and Michele looked surprised.

“Yeah for about a week now” Yuri added and then after taking a deep breath explained all that had happened over the last week and how it had landed them at that day. By the end, everyone seemed either upset at the harassment and rumors or overwhelmed by the whole situation. Yurio acted like he didn’t care at all but Yuri hoped that wasn’t true, Yuuko kept whispering “holy shit”, and Sara on Yuri’s right patted Yuri on the back while lecturing Yuri that he should have come to them sooner about all that.

Yuri was embarrassed about the whole situation but relieved that it was finally all out in the open. His friends were not mad at him for keeping it a secret and they all knew about him and Victor. The whole school knew about Victor and him being friends too so he didn’t have to worry about that either. They didn’t know about them being roommates, but Yuri figured if they did find out they would be too scared of getting on Victor’s bad side to do anything about it. The man had a scary amount of power.

Once the hype of the situation was over and all of them had falling into a comfortable atmosphere they got two large pizzas and all started talking as they ate. Sara went over to Mila and talked while Michele glared daggers at the two of them. Chris avoided Yuuko and Sara knowing they were not interested and instead mingled with the rest of them jumping from person to person. Phichit and Guang Hong tried talking to Georgi and quickly found about Georgi’s sad dating history and his most recent x-girlfriends breaking his heart. Yuri was even shocked to see tears on the man’s face as he got into a really emotional story. Yuuko, on the other hand, was talking to Yurio and he surprisingly wasn’t yelling at her or telling her to go away. Every once and awhile Takeshi would add something in his loud voice that seemed to annoy Yurio but he still didn’t say anything.

After a bit, Victor moved so he was sitting next to Yuri. “That’s wasn’t that bad. Was it?” he said with a happy smile.

“No, your right it wasn’t.” Yuri said with his own shy smile and took a drink of his soda.

Yuri found himself getting into the conversation as time seemed to fly by. With Victor on his right and Phichit on his left, the horribleness of the last few days seemed to wash off his skin and he was glad that he had these people around him.

Once it got late and the group was full and talking and laughing too loudly they all got together to take a selfie with Phichit’s selfie stick. Phichit was front and center smiling as big as he could. Yuri was on his right smiling up too, not even noticing Victor on his right who was looking over at him with a gentle smile. Behind Yuri and Victor was Chris giving the camera the best model look he could give and Guang Hong was on Phichit’s left smiling but nervously looking up at Georgi at his left who was still emotional over some girl. Behind Phichit was Sara and Mila who had their arms wrapped around each other’s wastes and their other arms thrown up in the air almost blocking Takeshi and Yuuko who was behind them. Takeshi was lifting Yuuko just a little so she could be seen and there was no strain on his face at all. Next to Sara was Michele still glaring daggers at the two girls and diagonally behind Mila crammed awkwardly behind Chris and somewhat in front of Takeshi was Yurio looking like he didn’t want to be there. The photo was fun and full of life and character. Phichit immediate posted it to Instagram with a caption that said: To new friendships!

Chapter Text

Yuri wasn’t a hundred percent sure that Victor’s little speech had done the trick. For a few days after the incident he was still on guard, always looking over his shoulder and jumping when someone got too close. However, no one stared, no one came up to him, and no one talked behind his back. At least that he could see. It was like nothing had ever happened. Victor asked every day after school if anything had happened and Yuri always told him no. This seemed to please Victor and everything fell back into the new normal Yuri was still getting used to.

At school in Yuri’s Biology class, Yurio still ignored Yuri. He didn’t seem to care that Yuri even existed. Whenever Yurio was forced to acknowledge him he always gave Yuri a sneer. Yuri didn’t find it intimidating at all. He wasn’t sure why Yurio didn’t like him, but he figured it didn’t matter. The kid just didn’t want to like him. Sure Yuri didn’t like the thought of him disliking him, but honestly, Yuri knew that if there wasn’t that great of a reason, if it wasn’t anything he had done, there was nothing he could actually do to fix it. So, in the end, he tried not to let it get to him.

Besides that things were looking up for Yuri. He was living peacefully with Victor, he was getting along with Victor’s friends decently, classes were going okay, and he wasn’t being bullied by anyone. He figured that was pretty good considering how it had been just a few days before. He was starting to feel like he could finally breathe again.

Now being Friday he walked to the cafeteria to eat with his friends, Victor, and a few of Victor’s friends. It was a new thing in his life that had started up on that Monday after the whole incident, and he was still trying to get used to it. That Monday he had walked into the cafeteria and found Victor and Mila sitting at his usual table giving him little waves. Yuri hadn’t sure what to do at first but Sara was ecstatic when she saw who was waiting for them and quickly dragged Yuri over. Yuri at first hadn’t been sure if it was just because Victor was protective of him but as the days passed and everything was fine and he still showed up, even on the days he should be going to the high school, he realized it was something a little more permanent. Who was with Yuri and Victor changed each day but the two of them were always constants. Yuri figured that already living with him Victor would get sick of seeing Yuri so much, but every time he walked into the cafeteria Victor’s face lit up.

That Friday when Yuri walked in, Victor, Chris, and Georgi were already there talking. Yuri got his lunch and then went to join the three, sitting down quietly as not to disturb the energetic conversation Chris and Victor were having about something Yuri couldn’t follow. Phichit should have been joining them soon but Yuri was sure that he was caught up talking to someone since he was so social. Yuri always felt awkward with just Victor’s friends because he didn’t know them well and didn’t know what to say to them. He figured he could eat quietly till Phichit showed up. Victor had smiled at him when he sat down but that was it as the conversation continued quickly between them.

Yuri didn’t mind being ignored too much. It was better than stumbling through whatever conversation they tried to pull him into. He was content to watch and it wasn’t like he was the only silent person at the table. Georgi was busy on his phone completely unaware of anything happening around him. Yuri wondered what it could be that had caught Georgi’s attention so intently. Leaning forward just a little to try looking across the table at him Yuri instantly recognized tinder and Yuri tried no to roll his eyes. Yuri wasn’t a big fan of dating sites, or more accurately of what he had heard about tinder hook up sites, but he figured that if Georgi liked them then more power to him. He hoped Georgi found a nice girl.

Yuri continued to eat once the mystery was solved and kept glancing at the front doors Phichit would come through. It was about ten minutes after Yuri had arrived that Phichit made his way into the cafeteria and to the table.

Once seated he pulled out some snack bar he had in his backpack, not having enough meal points to buy lunch and dinner at school, and unwrapped it as he spoke. “Sorry that I’m late. One of the guys in my class was talking to me about some movie coming out this weekend.”

“Was he hitting on you?” Yuri asked, glad to see his friend and to have someone to talk to even if it wasn’t that fun of a topic for Phichit.

“Maybe.” Phichit took a big bite of his bar and shrugged. “I think he wanted to ask me to it but it wasn’t a movie that I was interested in. He seemed like a nice guy but obviously, I would have turned him down.” Phichit took another second to devour the rest of his bar before he balled up the wrapper and placed it on the table where it slowly unfolded itself. “Anyways enough about that. What’s up with you?”

“Nothing much. Biology is kicking my ass though.” Yuri sighed, already dreading the homework he had for the class that weekend. “I don’t know how to remember all the terms and processes. I wish I had taken something a lot easier for my general credit.”

Phichit leaned over and grabbed a tater tot Yuri had gotten with a hamburger. “Should have taken geology like I did. It was a breeze.”

Yuri glared at Phichit and scooted his plate a little farther away to protect his food. Phichit was famous for taking food off others plates without asking and while Yuri would gladly share if he asked he wasn’t having it when he just took. “But I wanted something relevant. My major has nothing to do with rocks.”

Phichit snorted. “And biology does?”

“No…” Yuri mumbled seeing his point. “Just seems more important.”

Phichit was about to go on some humorous rant about the important of rocks when he was silenced by the approach of Yurio. The boy was already glaring at the table, but more specifically Victor who was still chatting with Chris. Coming up to the table he kicked Victor’s chair almost causing the man to tip over.

“Oh hello Yurio, you’re here!” Victor smiled despite Yurio’s attempted assault on him.

“I thought you said you wanted to eat lunch together?” He said shooting Yuri a look.

“I did, that’s what we are doing here.” Victor motioned around to him at everyone eating as if Yurio hadn’t noticed it already.

“Then why is that pig here?” He pointed straight at Yuri and Yuri almost choked on a tater tot in surprise. It felt a little like Karma after refusing to let Phichit eat some.

“Pig?” Yuri asked in disbelief but they didn’t seem to hear him.

“He is also eating lunch with us.” Victor ignored Yurio’s mood and pulled out a chair for him. “Now sit down and join us.”

“No way. I’m not eating with that loser.” He shot Yuri another glare before he spun on his heels and left the cafeteria.

With a sigh, Victor pushed the chair he had pulled out back in. “He’s so shy sometimes.” He said and everyone at the table gave Victor a look. They were pretty sure that wasn’t what it was.

Yuri, on the other hand, was in shock. He knew Yurio wasn’t keen on him but he had no idea he would react that way to him. The kid had gone to pizza with them with no complaints just that week. Had Yuri done something to him in that time frame that he wasn’t aware of? That seemed impossible since they had interacted zero times since then unless Victor was there and even then the boy tended to ignore him.

Yuri had to chalk it up to being an angry teenager and tried not to take it personally. Sure it was hard because he kept wondering why Yurio had reacted so harshly towards him and he wondered if he hated him but he tried not to get torn up about it. He could worry sure, but he wasn’t going to let it ruin his day.

Lunch went on with none of them mentioning the little scene that had happened and the mood turned good again. Victor and Chris changed to a topic that Yuri and Phichit could join which ironically was about the really popular movie that was going to come out that weekend that Phichit had almost been asked out on a date to see. Phichit argued that the film lacked any real appeal which Chris argued that it was a beautiful masterpiece. Yuri didn’t know too much about the film but he usually tried to agree with Phichit knowing what a movie buff he was and how spot on his judgments usually were. In the end, they agreed to disagree and the rest of lunch was spent in pleasant conversation

With the end of Friday came the weekend which went by too quickly. Victor got Yuri to go out even though Yuri didn’t really feel like it and he met up with Sara, Mila, and Chris. The five of them went shopping downtown because Chris claimed he needed some fancy clothing item that Yuri had never heard of before. He had wished that Phichit hadn’t been busy and come because he was actually scared. The whole time Yuri was on high alert thinking someone was going to call him out for being with Victor but no one ever did. They never ran into anyone from school like he had used to fear and Yuri started to feel really ridiculous for having ever figured that he would be abandoned by Victor like that.

Instead, Sara and Mila talked nonstop and Yuri sometimes joined the conversation while Chris asked Victor advice on some item he had picked up. When Chris was in his own world Yuri and Victor instead found strange items of clothing and wondered who would ever come up with the idea of making it. After Chris had spent a good amount of money they all went to a restaurant and had a dinner full of laughter and easy conversation. Once full they went home that night and Yuri was actually feeling pretty good about it instead of how he usually felt after social events with people he didn’t know very well.

Yet, that didn’t mean he wasn’t glad to laze around the next day and watch TV with Victor as they did their homework. After all he was always the most comfortable in his own space.

On Monday Yuri and Phichit were hanging out at school between the time Yuri had to go to work and his last class. Usually Yuri would go home on the days he got out of school earlier but he and Phichit hadn’t spent time together one on one for a little bit and after living together it felt odd for it to be so spread out. They were walking around campus talking and casually avoiding any of the puddles that had overflowed from the grass and took up chunks of the sidewalk.

“Yuri!” A voice called and the two friends turned surprised to see Victor, Chris, and Yurio coming towards them. Victor had already told him that he was going to hang out at Chris’s that night so he was mildly surprised to see him on campus still.

“Hey, what are you guys going here?” He asked and while Victor and Chris came right up to them Yurio hung back so it didn’t look like he was part of the group.

“We had to wait for Yurio to be done with classes before we headed out. We were just on our way to my car.” Chris responded in his heavy accent and pointed ahead of them to where one of the schools parking lots were. “What about you two?”

“Just wandering till Yuri has to go to work.” Phichit said and patted Yuri on the back as if to console him about going to work.

“Sounds boring.” Yurio finally grumbled behind all of them. “You guys are all boring. Can we just go?” Yurio started to push through the group roughly to continue on his way to Chris’s car.

“Wait Yurio don’t go just yet!” Victor tried to grab him but the young boy slipped past with a disgusted look on his face. When he reached Yuri he practically bared his teeth at him and he quickly moved around him.

Out of instinct for some reason, Yuri reached out to grab Yurio’s wrist. “Wait.” He said and he wasn’t exactly sure why he had stopped the kid. Yurio particularly care if he stayed or left but he found it insanely rude that he had ignored Victor like that.

“Why are you touching me freak?” Yurio growled and tried to yank his arm out of Yuri’s grip. Now holding him he wasn’t sure if he should let him go or continue to hold him since he already had him. He was sure holding on would make Yurio angrier but it didn’t matter that much if he was. Not like their relationship could get any worse.

So Yuri held on, thinking that Chris or Victor would come to get him or decide to just leave with him but they didn’t and instead Yurio just kept tugging on his hand to get away yelling obscenities at him. People who were walking by were looking at them strangely and Yuri realized he was creating a scene for no real reason. He gave Victor a look as if to ask him if he was going to do something but Victor didn’t so Yuri let go with a mumbled apology.

Not expecting to be let go so suddenly Yuri was still tugging away and when he was free he stumbled back a few steps and fell to his butt. It probably would have been okay if they had not been right in front of a deep puddle and if Yurio had not found himself sitting right in the middle of it. His landing had been so spectacular that all of their pants legs had been splashed and most of Yurio’s clothes were wet.

They all froze. Most of them had a look of horror on their face except for Chris who was holding back a laugh. Yurio, after getting past his shock, instantly became angry. His blood began to boil and he shot up to a standing position and came right for Yuri.

“What the fuck was that? Did you do it on purpose you piece of shit?” Yuri could almost imagine steam coming out of Yurio’s ears with how furious he looked.

Putting his hands up in a defensive position he shook his head. “N-no way. I didn’t mean to do that. I’m sorry. Are you okay?”

Yurio got right up in his face as menacingly as possible. “You better not have. You’re going to regret this.” With that he pulled away and stomped off leaving the group to look after his dripping figure.

“Holy shit.” Phichit whispered and lifted his phone to take a picture of the soaked Yurio.

Chris, on the other hand, was laughing and doubled over unable to contain himself. “Amazing Yuri! I didn’t expect so see Yuri so mad today! Thank you.”

Despite the group's amazement, Yuri felt bad. He really didn’t mean to let Yurio fall in the puddle like that. He hoped he hadn’t ruined his night or anything. Yuri was positive he would not be forgiven but he hoped that Yurio would quickly get over it.

“It will be okay.” Victor said coming up and putting a reassuring hand on Yuri’s shoulder. “He’s just overreacting. When he cools down it will be fine.” He gave Yuri’s shoulder a pat before he motioned for Chris. “Let’s go, it's cold and I don’t want him freezing to death.

The group said their goodbyes before Chris and Victor moved on to catch up with Yurio who was already out of sight.

Yuri felt horrible for the rest of the night. Phichit tried to console him but Yuri couldn’t help but think about how upsetting it would be to fall in a puddle. Sure Yurio didn’t like him that much but Yuri didn’t want to give him any real reasons to hate him. He didn’t want to be hated at all.

After work Yuri went home and Victor was back not too long later. After Yuri asked about Yurio and if he was still mad Victor told him he was already over it. Yuri wasn’t sure if he was telling him that to make him feel better or if it was the truth but he felt that he was going to be able to sleep a little better because of it.

The next day when Yuri saw Yurio next it was when he trailed behind Victor into the library. He instantly turned and headed to the couch that was as far away from Yuri as possible. He shot Yuri a look, clearly still mad about the day before, before completely ignoring him.

“I thought you said he got over it.” Yuri said with a heavy heart when Victor reached him.

With his hands on the counter, Victor looked over his shoulder to where Yurio now sat flipping through some book that had been nearby. “He is…probably. He’s the type to like to pretend that he’s mad for longer than he really is. Like I said when I talked to him last night and told him it was an accident he said he knew that.”

“You can know it’s an accident but still be mad.” Yuri reminded him as he watched Yurio throw the book away uninterested. Yurio turned his head to sneak a peek at Yuri and Victor but when their eyes met his brow furrowed as if to say ‘ what are you looking at?’ and Yuri tried to give him an uneasy smile before Yurio looked away with his arms crossed.

“Just give him some time. He’s not as bad of a kid as he likes to act.”

Yuri tried to take his word for it but when the two left Yurio refused to even look at him unless he was full out glaring. He started to wonder if there was something he should give Yurio as an apology but Yuri could already see Yurio throwing it away as soon as Yuri gave it to him. In the end Victor was probably right. He needed to give Yurio some space.

If only the universe was in agreement. The next day at school in Yuri’s 9 am biology class Yurio ignored him like he did every day. Yuri had started to wonder if he even remembered that they were in the same class. He briefly thought about going up to Yurio and trying to apologize again for making him fall in a puddle but he really didn’t want to make a scene before class. He figured maybe after class he could or the next time when he was with Victor.

The teacher started class and instantly started talking about a research presentation they were going to do on the next chapter in the book. It was going to be a partner project and Yuri could already feel his nerves rising. Partner projects were the worse. He would have to awkwardly talk to someone he didn’t know and always worried if they were going to tell him that his work was garbage. If he had a friend in the class that would have been great. He was sure it would have made the boring project fun. The only person he knew was Yurio in that class since it was easy to keep to himself during the lectures. He was completely screwed.

“This project I’m going to pick your partners.” The teacher said and the glass groaned. Yuri, of course, hated the idea in the first place but not having to pick his own partner was great. In the past he always just sat at his desk hoping someone would come and ask him to be their partner but they never did and he usually got stuck with the other person that no one was friends with.

“I’m going to pass out this paper and in it it says what your topic is and who your partner is. So come up when I call your names.” The teacher started calling off names and Yuri listened intently. There was a handful of people he would like to be with since they seemed nice and as they were called Yuri felt his hope go down little by little. However, when his own name was called Yuri didn’t know how to feel. “Yuri and Yuri come get your paper.”

Yuri froze in his seat while Yurio jumped up. “Are you serious? Why the hell would you put us together?

“Calm down Yuri or I’ll ask you to leave class.” The teacher looked unamused by Yurio’s anger and instead flapped the paper at him. “Now come get your paper.”

Yurio glared as he stomped up to the front of the room and violently ripped the paper from the teacher’s hand. The whole way back Yurio glared at Yuri and Yuri gulped audibly. This was going to be an interesting project.

After the teacher further explained what they wanted from the project they said for everyone to get together with their partner for the last ten minutes of class to talk. Yuri hesitantly got up and went over to Yurio who had his arms crossed over his chest and refused to look at Yuri.

“Hey.” Yuri said quietly as he sat in the chair next to him. “Weird that the teacher put us together, huh?”

Finally Yurio looked at him with his familiar scowl. “Don’t try to get chummy with me pig. We are going to get this done as quickly as possible so I don’t have to deal with you. I’m coming over today for us to do this.”

Yuri half smiled at his demanding tone. He was trying not to make yurio even madder even thought it was kind of funny that he thought he was so scary. “Okay, I don’t have work tonight so that’s perfect.”

“I’ll be over at 3 then and don’t forget it.” With that Yurio grabbed his backpack and left the room with Yuri only being able to look at him with his half smile still on his face. At least Yurio was talking to him. Maybe this was a chance to get to know the kid a little better.

Once the teacher dismissed them yurio left for his next class. It was hard for Yuri to think in all of his other classes because he was thinking about what to do for their project. He could already imagine Yurio’s anger if he showed up having no ideas so he figured to make things smoother he could do a little prepping.

When he finally walked out of the room his last class held in Yuri was tired. He wanted to take his time on the long trek home but he knew he didn’t have the luxury of time. Fast walking he made it back home as fast as he could. Despite his efforts, Yurio had still been faster and was standing in front of his door waiting for him.

“What took you so long fatty?” Yurio said with his hands on his hips.

“It’s not nice to make fun of someone’s body weight you know.” Yurio said as he unlocked the door completely unfazed by what the teen had said. If Yurio had actually meant it maybe Yuri would have felt hurt but by this point Yuri was getting used to the insults Yurio used to cover up whatever it was he was trying to hide about himself.

“Do I look like I care?” he asked Yuri with a huff before pushing past him into the apartment.

While Yurio made himself at home Yuri went and got his computer and pulled out papers he had written some stuff down on and put them all on the table. Despite trying to look angry Yurio actually seemed impressed that Yuri had already done some work and they instantly fell in to a weird cease fire as they worked together to put together a slideshow. Yuri started to smile as Yurio pointed out information to put in the slide and was genuinely working hard with Yuri without any snide comments

About an hour after they had started Victor came home and startled seeing Yurio and Yuri working together. “What a pleasant surprise! You two look like you are getting along well.”

It was a 180 degree turn as Yuri went from calm to completely ticked off once again. “Who is getting along well with this dumb ass? Not me so shut up old man.”

“Aww you don’t have to be shy!” Victor said and came up behind Yurio to hug him. Yurio looked like a hissing cat as he tried to get away from Victor and Yuri couldn’t help the little giggle that escaped him.

“Don’t touch me!” Yurio finally got away from Victor and stood a few feet away from the table breathing hard. “I don’t like him so don’t get the wrong idea. We just have a group project.”

Straightening, Victor tilted his head to the side as he looked at the computer screen trying to figure out exactly what they were doing. “I didn’t know you guys had a class together.”

“We don’t talk in it.” Yuri said and saved the PowerPoint realizing that they might not be getting any more work done for a while.

“What? Why not?” Victor said it in surprise even though Yuri thought it was very obvious why they didn’t talk.

“Don’t ask stupid questions and get out of the way.” Yurio stomped back over to his chair and pulled it out quickly so Victor had to jump out of the way. “I want to leave a soon as I can.”

“Will you stay if I make dinner?” Victor asked with a smile bright on his face. Yuri guessed that if anyone was used to Yurio’s way of talking it would be Victor.

“Only if you make something I like.” He muttered and Victor smiled even brighter.

“Coming right up them. You two just keep working and don’t mind me” Victor patted them both on the head causing Yuri to blush and Yurio to snap at him before victor made his way to the kitchen.

Yuri though things would have been harder now that Victor was in the mix but somehow by not bringing any attention to them working together Yurio fell back into the easy atmosphere and the two continued to work on the project while Victor cooked happily behind them. Yuri had thought that the project was going to be harder and take more than one day but Yurio actually was very smart and before Yuri knew it they had all the information and pictures they needed to present the project that was due in two weeks.

They had only taken a break once and that had been when Victor had finished dinner. Even after it was over Yuri couldn’t help but think about the way Yurio acted around Victor. For some reason Yuri felt like Yurio was on high alert around Victor. He had seemed more self-conscious and he got even louder around Victor. Yuri once again sensed that Yuri was hiding something and it had something to do with Victor. Yurio didn’t hate Victor, it was obvious, but he was quicker to yell at Victor and get embarrassed in front of him.

Did Yurio look up to Victor? Or was this something else that Yuri didn’t want to think about?

Yuri had pushed it out of his head and had tried jumping back into the project, but even now laying in his bed Yuri was still thinking about it. He had always known that the two of them were close, but Yuri was starting to wonder exactly how close they really were and if maybe Yurio wanted to get closer to Victor but he didn’t know how. Yuri wasn’t implying that there was anything romantic between the two of them, but Yuri felt like something more was happening.

Yuri decided that he was just going have to wait and see what was going on between the two of them before he made any jumps to a conclusion. He hadn’t known either of them terribly long so it wasn’t like he knew them that well. Perhaps it was really nothing at all.

The next day at school Yuri had for some reason figured that things would be better between him and Yurio. That’s why he made the mistake of waving at him when he happened to see Yurio and Mila walking somewhere across campus. The boy practically snarled at him and Mila thumped him on the head. Even from the distance he could hear Mila telling him to learn some manners.

Mila waved at him apologetically and Yuri waved once again with a smile that he hoped said ‘don’t worry about it’ and then the two took off again to wherever they were going before Yuri had seen them.

The same nagging feeling pulled at Yuri as he watched them go. Sure Yuri had dropped Yurio in a puddle but it felt like there was something else going on to make Yurio hate him. It had to more than the name they shared. What had Yuri ever done to him?

Once again he could only try to put the whole situation out of his head and move on. He wasn’t going to get anywhere with the information he got and while his brain wanted to obsess over it he tried to distract himself.

After work Yuri was about to make his way home when he got a text. Yuri pulled it out of his pocket and saw he had gotten a text from Victor asking him if he could get him something from the store on his way home. Yuri agreed and instantly was texted a list that Yuri realized must be for dinner. Victor must have changed his mind on what he wanted to cook last minute or had realized he had forgotten some ingredients. Either way the extra time spent to go to the store wasn’t a big deal.

It helped that the trip to the store was quick and easy and when Yuri came home with the groceries he set them down on the counter and called to Victor that he was home. Victor came and greeted him and tried to hand him money. Yuri tried to refuse at first but Victor shoved it in his pocket with a smile that seemed to announce that he won. It was cute enough that Yuri gave up.

As Victor moved off with the groceries Yuri pulled the cash out of his pocket and put it in his wallet. He was unused to seeing cash in it since he rarely had any and it made it feel big when he put it back in his pocket.

“How was your day?” Victor asked rummaging around for whatever he needed in the bag to start cooking.

“It was fine.” Yuri moved over to sit on the couch where Makkachin was taking up two of the spots. He pushed the dog’s tail over so he didn’t sit on it and collapsed backward into the soft cushion. “Nothing that special happened. How was yours?”

“Nothing for me either. There was a kid at the high school who challenged me thinking he knew more than me but I showed him up. I’m not a college student for nothing.” Victor smiled almost smugly and Yuri wondered what exactly he had been arguing about with a student.

“I still can’t believe you want to teach high school. You’re going to get that kind of stuff all the time.” Yuri put his hand into Makkachin’s fur which was now a comforting action for him.

“I don’t mind it at all.” Victor said and moved so his back was to Yuri. “It’s actually kind of fun.”

Yuri barked a laughed which caused Makkachin to look up at him in concern. “I didn’t think you were the time to like arguing with people.”

Victor shrugged as he came back to the counter and Yuri could see his face again. “I’m not usually. I like discussing things and teaching people new things and those go hand in hand. The student is the only one arguing.”

Yuri laughed again. That still sounded like an argument to him but he wouldn’t say anything. He would let Victor live in that fantasy world.

The conversation died after that as Victor cooked and Yuri gave Makkachin attention since he was acting like no one had touched him all day which was probably false knowing Victor. However, as Yuri’s mind wandered, it landed on Yurio once again. He felt like he had been thinking about the kid a lot lately. He had just never straight out had someone act like that towards him. He was still trying to figure out if that was just the way he acted towards everyone of if he hated Yuri specially.

“Hey Victor, do you know if Yurio hates me?” he said the words before Yuri could think twice about it. Victor who was stirring something in a pot looked over at him surprised. Yuri refused to look at him and still stared down at Makkachin.

“Hate you? Why would you ask that? Is this because of the puddle thing?” Victor looked briefly down at what he was making then back up at Yuri. He probably wanted to leave it to go talk to Yuri but he didn’t dare leave it alone to burn.

Yuri fidgeted on the couch before sighing and looking over at Victor to finally see his concerned face. “Yeah, I mean that’s part of it. I just feel like he hates me and I don’t really know why. He glares at me and refuses to acknowledge that I exist. I was just trying to ignore it at first but it really feels like he specifically hates me.”

Victor watched Yuri deflate on the couch and gave a sigh himself. “Yurio can be a little standoffish but I promise it has nothing to do with you. If Yurio really hated you he would tell you. Just picture him like a cat. He wants love but he is standoffish and hisses if you make one wrong move.”

Yuri imagined Yurio as a cat and it made him smile despite his negative feelings. Yurio would be really cute as a cat. “The only cats I’ve been around are usually pretty nice and loving...”

“Then you are lucky. All the cats I’ve met have hissed at me.” Victor clicked off the stove deciding that it was done and got down bowls to pour some into.

“Or maybe animals don’t like you.” Yuri joked as he leaned over to hug Makkachin.

Victor’s mouth popped open in mock offense. “Why would you say that?? Makkachin loves me! Don’t you Makkachin?” the dog lifted his head to blink at Victor before snuggling back into Yuri. Yuri laughed as Victor wailed. “Makkachin no! Why would you do this to your papa?”

Zooming across the room Victor fell to his knees in front of Makkachin. “You love me right?” he asked again desperately and this time Makkachin moved so he could give Victor a big lick on his face. This seemed to convince Victor because he kissed the dog on the face before going into a conversation with Makkachin about how much he loved Victor.

After their conversation was over Victor turned to look up at Yuri, “Are you ready for dinner?”

“Of course. I’m excited to see what you made.” Yuri moved himself away from Makkachin and got off the couch. He waited for a second for Victor to get up off the ground and lead Yuri to where he had already put the soup in the bowls. Victor went into to explaining what the dish was and Yuri nodded silently as he grabbed the bowl and a spoon and sat at the table.

As they talked Yuri still found it hard to completely push Yurio out of his mind. He was still trying to figure out if he had actually done something to offend Yurio way before the puddle incident. It was getting hard to believe that just him existing was enough to make someone act like that for so long. Usually Yuri wasn’t the type to be brave enough to say something risky in the first place but maybe he had? Maybe Yuri and Yurio had met before college even and Yuri had done something dumb and now Yurio had hated him for years and he had just never known it? The thoughts were starting to make him sweat. He wished he could remember every detail in his life so he could just figure it out before it drove him crazy.

“Yuri?” Yuri snapped to attention as Victor waved his hand in front of his face. He hadn’t realized he had totally checked out and was eating soup robotically as he stared at the table. Now Victor was looking at him completely concerned. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, it's fine.” Yuri pushed a smile on his face. He didn’t want to bring it up again. Victor had already told him it was nothing and he didn’t want Victor to know he hadn’t exactly believed him.

Yet that didn’t seem to fool Victor at all. His blue eyes seemed to focus intently on Yuri’s face and he clucked his tongue. “You are still thinking about Yurio, aren’t you?”

Yuri but his lip as he tried to quickly think if he should lie again or just tell him. He stirred his soup as if that was a good reason to not respond but it obviously looked like he was trying to avoid the question.

“Yuri.” Victor said a little sternly and it made Yuri slightly jump half in surprise and half in guilt for avoiding it.

“Yes.” He admitted is a breathy voice as he let his spoon rest against the side of the bowl. “I can’t stop trying to figure out what I did to him. I don’t think my mind will be at rest until I know.”

“I seriously don’t think it was anything you did.” Victor frowned and put his own spoon down to give Yuri his full attention. “I can talk to him about it though if that will help. He really does need to fix his attitude even if he is only 15.”

“No!” Yuri waved his hands in front of him in a panic. “You don’t need to do anything like that! It’s nothing that bad that you need to talk to him.”

Victor grabbed one of his waving hands to still it. “I wouldn’t mind. He’s like a little brother to me. I don’t mind telling him when he’s being a jerk even if he would just yell at me. I just don’t want it to bother you when it’s all him.”

Yuri had stilled when Victor had grabbed his hand and was looking from his hand up to his face then back down in shock since he was just holding his hand casually before he decided to settle on his face before Victor thought he was weird. “Thanks for offering Victor. It’s really not a big deal. If I need to I'll ask him myself. I can at least do that.”

Victor squeezed his hand before letting go and returning to his soup. “Okay. But go ahead and talk to me if it becomes a real problem.”

“Okay. Thanks.” Yuri smiled actually feeling thankful that Victor wanted to look out for him so much. Amazing Victor cared enough about him to offer to do that. It made him feel giddy and actually pushed the negative feelings into the background. Victor had helped in a way he would never realize.

Once again Friday, Yuri was looking forward to the weekend. Besides having more homework than he liked to think about, he had plans to hang out with Phichit and Guang Hong at their dorm that he was looking forward to. He was hoping it was going to be an incident free few days but as the day moved on he kept noticing something. When seeing Victor or even at the mention of Victor Yurio always seemed to pay more attention. He was quick to glare at anyone who talked about Victor in earshot and when Yuri saw the two of them walking together to Yurio seemed uncharacteristically calm if not nervous under his angry mask. Yuri had at first contributed all these things to them being childhood friends, but Yuri’s mind was starting to get ahead of him.

On Saturday Victor told him that Yurio was coming over since Yuri was going out, Yuri didn’t think he meant it that way but Victor had made it seem like he was only coming over since Yuri was going to be gone. It was probably the truth. There was a knock on the door when Yuri was putting his shoes on so he opened it to see Yurio waiting on the other side. The boy’s features fell into a scowl as soon as their eyes met.

“I thought you were not supposed to be here.” He grumbled with his hands in his pockets.

“I was just about to leave. Don’t worry I won’t get in your guy’s way.” Yuri tried to smile pleasantly at Yurio but the boy couldn’t seem to care less.

“Good, Victor and I don’t need you.” His eyes slid from Yuri’s face to the space behind him as he talked and his sneer fell into something that wasn’t a smile but something that seemed soft which was completely rare for Yurio.

Yuri was about to turn around and look to see what Yurio had seen that had made his angry expression drop when he heard Victor’s voice. “Yurio you are here! You’re a little eagerly I wasn’t ready.”

Now that he understood what had happened, Yuri was starting to wonder if those looks had always been there and it had taken him time to get to know him well enough to tell the difference or if something new had happen between them. Both options made Yuri feel weird.

“Come on old man.” Yurio pushed past Yuri, now completely ignoring him, as he walked to Victor. “If you take too much time you’re going to die before we even get there.

Yurio shut the door quietly and turned to see the two of them together. They looked so at ease standing near each other and chatting. Even as Yurio threw insults and Victor laughed and replied cheerfully you could tell they had a great relationship. For a second a shot of jealousy shot through Yuri before he caught himself. Why would he be jealous of the two of them? It wasn’t like he wasn’t friends with Victor too or didn’t have close friends of his own. Yuri had to snap himself out of it.

“Where are you guys going?” Yuri asked interrupting the two of them.

Yurio started to tell him it was none of his business before Victor cut him off, “We are going to run some errand for his mom. Nothing that fun.”

“It’s not like I need you to hold my hand for this kind of stuff I not a kid anymore.” Yurio grumbled with his arms crossed. He seemed angry as if it was implying that he was still a child. In some senses he was.

“I know, but it makes your mom feel better. Plus it’s not often we spend time just the two of us anymore.” Victor ruffled Yurio’s hair until Yurio shot away from him and pawed at his hair to fix it.

“I told you to stop doing that before I kick your ass old man.” Yurio hissed and Victor smiled endearingly.

“You’re so cute Yurio! It’s irresistible!” Victor started to walk towards Yurio with his arms open for a hug and a wide smile.

“Don’t you dare touch me you perv.” Yurio warned and when Victor got close enough he kicked at him. Luckily Victor jumped out of the way in time and Yuri figured it was a situation they were in often.

“Okay, okay.” Victor said completely backing off. “Let’s go then. What your mom needs is a good distance away from each other so it’s going to take us a little longer this time.”

Yurio groaned. “I don’t get why that hag can’t do this stuff herself. I’m tired of running around doing stupid stuff for her.”

Victor bonked Yurio on the head with his phone which caused the boy to yelp. “Don’t say that. Your mom does a lot for you so you should respect her.”

Rubbing the spot he was hit Yurio glared at him. “You sound like such an old person.”

Ignoring him Victor moved back over to Yuri. “Do you know what time you will be back?”

Yuri, having been completely ignored for most of that conversation, was a little surprised to suddenly be pulled back in. “Oh…uh... probably not until later. I won’t be home for dinner.”

“Okay.” Victor patted him on the head and Yuri noticed the surprised and mildly displeased look that shot across Yurio’s face. “Have a nice time.”

“Thanks, you too.” Yuri was too focused on the look Yurio had to really be embarrassed about the head pat. The more he watched Yurio the worse of a feeling he was getting about the situation. Yuri followed them with his eyes until the two walked out the door.

What exactly did he think was going on between the two of them and why did he feel kind of sick? His heart was beating painfully and he was wondering if he was getting a cold or something. He knew that wasn’t actually it, but he didn’t want to think of the alternative reason as it became more and more likely.

Grabbing the rest of his stuff he left the house trying to leave those thoughts and feelings locked behind the door.

Once Monday had come again Yuri was in complete denial. As he continued to watch Yurio and Victor his mind was running wild trying to come up with any excuse he could think of. As soon as he was about to come to the same conclusion again it was like his mind threw up a wall and his train of thought just died. He was starting to get frustrated with himself for acting this way but subconsciously he knew why he was doing it. He didn’t like it if he was right.

It was only on Tuesday when Yuri could deny it anymore. It was the simplest moment when it all came together. For anyone else what he saw wouldn’t have meant anything at all. But to Yuri is was a sign equivalent to someone writing it on a poster board and holding it up outside his window.

It was when Yuri was sitting at his job doing homework when Yurio and Victor came in. Yurio had ignored him like always but Victor had asked him where a book he needed was. Yurio pointed at a shelf in plain view from the help desk and after chatting for a few seconds the two of them headed over to the bookshelf leaving Yuri with his homework again. Yet, instead of focusing on his work he watched the two of them. It was a habit he had formed. He wasn’t sure exactly when it had turned into Yuri trying to figure out why Yurio hated him to figuring about what was going on between the two of them, but he was now hyper aware of everything they did. It was starting to feel a little creepy.

He was about to make himself look away when it happened. Victor was talking and then Yurio reached up and gently touched his arm. Victor looked down in surprise at Yurio and their eyes met. Yuri didn’t know how to explain what the look between them was, but there was just something there that finally made Yuri see the light.

Yurio liked Victor. It was hard to tell because of Yurio’s hard shell at first but it was clear to Yuri now. Yurio liked Victor and who knew for how long he had liked him. Was that why Yurio hated him? Did he feel threatened by Yuri’s presence in Victor’s life and that somehow he would push him out? Yuri could completely understand if that was the case. Yuri had liked his fair share of guys before and being shy he was only able to look at them from a distance or talk to them in short bursts. It was hard to see them with other people and know that they could be the person they fall for. Of course there was no way Victor would fall for him, but Yuri knew that a mind in love wasn’t rational.

So what did he do about it? And why did the new clarity not make him feel any better? The same twisting sick feeling was in his stomach and each beat of his heart felt like it had the intent to break his ribs. As the two of them talked and Yurio genuinely smiled Yuri wanted to run over and push them apart. He didn’t want to see it at all.

He felt relief when Victor found his book, checked out, said goodbye, and they both left. And while their lack of presence was nice it was still bouncing around in his brain. He couldn’t even focus on his homework because the moment when Yurio touched his arm was playing over and over again. It wasn’t that special of a moment, people casually touched each other all the time, but it was just the way he did it and the way he looked at him that made Yuri so sure.

When Yuri got off work he was dreading going home. He didn’t want to see Victor and have to think about what else he didn’t want to think about. He was afraid he was going to go down a path he wasn’t ready to take yet. It was too bad he didn’t really have a choice or anywhere else to go where he wouldn’t be imposing.

So once home he ate dinner quickly and told Victor he was going to his room to do homework. Victor noticed the change in mood but he didn’t say anything to Yuri clearly seeing he wanted to be alone.

Yuri couldn’t even explain why he was feeling so dark inside. He wanted his thoughts to calm down so he could just make some sense with what was going on with his emotions, but he couldn’t. He didn’t know what was going on with himself or Yuri and Victor and it was stressing him out. He didn’t know what to do with himself and even thought it was early he thought about going to bed.

He knew he wouldn’t naturally be able to sleep so he fell back on his usual crutch. Heading to the kitchen he opened the medicine cabinet and got out the sleeping pills. He threw one back and quickly retreated to his room. And while Victor watched him from the couch the whole time he didn’t say a word. Victor had to have been curious about what he took or what was going on with him, but Yuri couldn’t tell him what was going on even if he wanted to. He was pretty relieved that Victor had left him alone.

Yuri changed and brushed his teeth while he waited for the pill to kick in. As he moved through the motions he knew what he had to do the next day to clear his mind. He needed to know for sure. If he could talk to Yurio maybe he could figure out why he was so worked up about it all. Maybe with some answers things would start to make sense.

Yuri left the safety of the hallway one last time to tell Victor he was going to be early and Victor wished him goodnight with a strange expression on his face that Yuri hadn’t seen before. If the pills hadn’t started to drag at the ends of his consciousness already he might have given it more thought before he turned around and headed back to his room but he didn’t. Turning the light off he snuggled deep into his blankets as his mind was dragged further and further down and with it the image of a hand touching Victor’s arm.

In the morning Yuri wasn’t at all ready to wake up and face the day. He was completely dreading the confrontation he was going to have to have. He wasn’t sure how he was even going to get Yurio to take a minute to talk to him let alone actually ask him if he liked Victor. The whole situation was awful and he wished he didn’t care about it. If he hadn’t been so interested he never would have realized it and he could have been blissfully unaware for the rest of his life. Now he had to know to hopefully stop the sour twisting feeling in his stomach that hadn’t gone away ever since he realized it.

He silently made breakfast that morning while Victor showered and his usually humming was absent making the apartment a lot quieter than Yuri usually liked. When they had breakfast the small talk between the two was forced and painful before Victor left him alone. Yuri hoped that he seemed tired instead of worked up.

Yuri left for school earlier then he need to and arrived at biology before anyone else was in the classroom. From past experience he knew that Yurio only came in the minute before class was about to start but that didn’t stop Yuri from being nervous of the thought of him walking in at any moment.

As he sat there his phone buzzed a few times. Yuri already knew it was Phichit. The two were constantly texting but Yuri had been on radio silence ever since he was at work. Yuri was sure that Phichit would be concerned about him but he didn’t have the heart to tell his best friend yet. At least not until it was over.

When Yurio finally did walk into the classroom Yuri’s whole body locked up. He watched Yurio completely ignore him and walk to his seat. Everything was the same but on the inside of Yuri everything felt different. Yurio’s words and actions were held up in a new light and while they made a little more sense that way Yuri still couldn’t put some pieces together.

Why would Yurio see him as a threat? Just because they were roommates? Did Yurio think that Yuri liked Victor? He had to know that it was purely a friendship between the two of them if even that. Yuri was still in shock that he and Victor talked casually, ate together, and watched TV on the same couch every day. Yurio should see Yuri wasn’t even qualified to be a rival even if he did like Victor.

Suddenly Yuri’s mind exploded with a realization. If Yuri convinced Yurio that he didn’t like Victor would things be okay between the two of them? Would he stop glaring at him and maybe they could actually be friends? The image of the Yurio and Victor having a thing and then Yuri being their friend should have been a happy image, but instead his stomach swirled. He really wished his body would get itself together.

Throughout the entire class Yuri switched from planning on trying to get Yurio to talk right after class or asking him to talk to him at lunch. Yurio realized that Yurio would be less likely to come back to meet at lunch but he also didn’t want to be rushed by a time limit. He had no idea which option would be better and there was no way he was going to leave it up to the feeling of the moment. He was already anxious enough.

As the minutes ticked on quicker then he liked Yuri finally came to a decision. He was going to rip it off like a band aid.

When the teacher dismissed them Yuri, who had packed his stuff up ahead of time despite the glare of the teacher, made his way through the desks over to Yurio and stopped in front of him. Yurio didn’t notice him at first but when Yuri cleared his throat he looked up. His confused face instantly turned into a scowl.

“What do you want piggy?” he said in a voice that definitely showed that he felt like he was being imposed on by just saying words to Yuri.

“I need to talk to you, is that okay?” Yuri tried to stay calm even with the rage of nerves running around inside him.

“Not really.” He sighed “But just hurry up and say it before I leave.” He started to stuff his stuff in his bag faster as if to show that Yuri had next to no time.

“I was hoping to talk to you in private.” Yuri willed his voice not to stutter to show how nervous he was and was thankful when his voice only wobbled once.

Zipping up his backpack he threw it over his shoulder and stood up. “Give me one good reason to do that.”

He started to walk off and Yuri scampered after him. “Okay, then how about we talk while we walk?”

Yurio’s eyes flashed up to Yuri realizing that he wasn’t going to be able to get away from the older man easily. With a deep, annoyed sigh, he rolled his eyes. “Fine whatever. But if it’s stupid I’ll punch you.”

Yuri licked his lips nervously. This was the moment he had been agonizing over all morning. His stomach was getting tighter and tighter and a dread settled on his chest. Despite his brain trying to tell him it wasn’t too late to walk away and be in ignorant bliss again Yuri knew it was too late.

“I just wanted to know…Do you like Victor.” Yuri’s voice was stronger than he expected it to be. He hadn’t even been sure his words were going to come out. However, he wasn’t able to celebrate the small Victory because Yurio screeched to a completely stop.

“What did you just say?” even half covered by his shoulder length blond hair Yuri could see his eyes were blown wide in shock. Yuri started to panic wondering if maybe Yurio had been trying really hard to hide it because he didn’t want anyone to know and Yuri had just selfishly gone up and asked him about it. Or perhaps he was afraid that Yuri was going to say something to Victor or already had if he had known.

“I...I just…are you... Victor... You and Victor… do you like him?” The words came out jumbled in his panic. He hoped that Yurio wasn’t going to get mad and run away before he heard what he needed to hear.

Hen Yuri finally opened his mouth again laughter was the last thing he had expected. “That old fart? No way! Why would I ever like some airhead like him?” Yuri’s whole body seemed to have all its energy fly away as he watched Yurio laugh in a way he had never seen him laugh before. It gave him the feeling that what he had said was completely ridiculous when a moment before he had been so sure. Wiping literal tears from his eyes Yurio continued. “For one dating him would be illegal. Like I’m 15 and he’s 22. That’s a 7 year age difference. I’m really not into old men. Secondly, I have a boyfriend already so there is no way that Victor would be on my radar.”

Yurio wasn’t as mad as Yuri thought he would have been in the case he had been wrong. He seemed to be way too surprised to even be mad. “You have a boyfriend?” Yuri said slowly.

“Sure do.” Yurio put his hands on his hips with his chin tilted up. Yurio got the sense that he was extremely happy about this fact. “His names Otabek. He’s 17. We met when we were younger when I used to go to school. We kept it touch and one day we started going out. Got a problem with that?”

“N-no.” Yuri was still trying to wrap his mind around this new information. “I just… I was so sure you liked Victor by the way you were acting.”

The scowl Yuri was so used to made its appearance. “What do you mean by the way I acted?”

“You just looked…” Yurio paused. Unsure what other words to use than ‘in love’ that would fit his actions. “You looked so encaptured by Victor.”

Yurio groaned and rolled his eyes. “God, you are so stupid. Sure I have always looked up to Victor since we were kids… but it wasn’t that kind of love.” He seemed to say that without thinking and when he realized it his eyes widened before he glared and Yuri again. “If you ever tell him that I will personally murder you.”

“No I won’t, don’t worry” Yuri said honestly. He had no reason to tell Victor that. He was sure that Victor already knew that even without his help. “I just… thanks for telling me. Maybe someday I can meet Otabek.”

“Why? Do you think he isn’t real?” Yurio said accusingly and leaned forward so he was sort of in Yuri’s face.

“No. that’s not what I mean.” Yuri raised his hands in front of him in defense. “I would just like to meet him one day. If he’s anything like you he must be cool.”

Sure Yuri had said that to sweeten the boy up but it seemed to work. He leaned back and rubbed at his lip before he spoke. “Yeah he’s pretty cool. Way cooler then you or Victor. Maybe I should introduce you to him so you can see what a non dumbass looks like.”

“Yeah, sure.” Yuri smiled and Yurio seemed displeased by that reaction.

“Whatever, I’m leaving now. I hope you stop being a dumbass soon.” Turning on his heals Yurio started to make his way to his class, now on the verge of being late.

Yuri watched him leave with a huge sense of relief rolling through his body. It had all been his imagination. None of it was real. Yurio had a boyfriend and wasn’t in the realm of romantically interested in Victor. His heart was soaring and the feeling in his belly was finally gone. Sure he didn’t know if Yurio had an exact reason for hating him, but at this point he was starting to understand Yurio a little more. He loved Victor platonically and still treated him rudely. Perhaps that was just how Yurio was like Victor had been trying to tell him all along.

Yuri was definitely running late so now with a lighter heart he took off in a run to try and make it there in a decent amount of time.

At work that day Phichit had cornered him mad that Yuri had been avoiding him that whole day. With sigh Yuri launched into his story about thinking that Yurio was in love with Victor and how he had been wrong. Phichit had kept a straight face almost the entire time but broke out into a grin when Yuri had finished.

“So you really don’t know why you felt that way?” He said it knowingly and paired with the grin on his face Yuri felt like he was in store for some unwanted news.

“No. I don’t. Why is it something obvious?” Yuri tapped a pen nervously on the counter as he waited for his best friend to spill the beans.

“Maybe I have never experienced it in a romantic setting, but that completely sounded like jealousy?.”

Yurio narrowed his eyes as he tried to process what he was saying. “Are you….Are you saying I like Victor?” His voice was low and unbelieving and Phichit’s face fell a little.

“I mean, that’s really what it sounds like. Do you like Victor?”

“No way of course now!” Yuri said it loudly and Phichit couldn’t help but laugh when multiple people turned to look at Yuri and Yuri sunk further into his seat in embarrassment. He really needed to learn when to be quiet. “That’s completely ridiculous.” Yuri said quieter.

Phichit, now completely lacking a smile, looked Yuri’s face over. “Okay… I guess it’s not the time to have this conversation yet.”

“What do you mean it’s not time ‘yet’? You act like it’s going to happen when it really isn’t.” Yuri was getting worked up when Phichit grabbed both sides of Yuri’s face.

“Shhh shhh it's okay. SHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh just forget about it.” He pressed and pulled on Yuri’s cheeks as if performing some kind of ritual.

How am I supposed to forget about it?” He asked, his voice slightly off as the words came out distorted from Phichit’s hands.

“Shhhhhh. I was never here.” Phichit gave Yuri’s cheeks on final pat before he slipped in a crouch and took a few steps away before he stood up again and turned to walk out of the library.

“Seriously Phichit?” Yuri called after him only slightly annoyed that he wouldn’t let him defend himself.

“Yes! Seriously!” the boy called over his shoulder. “We can’t go on until you do some soul searching!”

“It’s not going to happen!” Yuri called after him a little desperately.

“We will see.” Phichit paused half way through the doorway and winked before he left completely.

Yuri sighed and put his face in his hands. He loved his friend but sometimes he was a little too much.

Chapter Text

Walking into the apartment Victor instantly saw Yuri on the phone. He was pacing around the room as he listened to the person on the other side. He either walked from the kitchen to the TV or made loops around the table and the couch. It wasn’t that Yuri was nervous or panicked, it was just a habit he had when he was having long phone conversation. It was like he needed to do something with his body while his mouth was preoccupied. And when he talked to his mom it was guaranteed to be a long conversation. Not that that bothered him, he loved his mom and enjoyed when they had the tie to talk to each other.

 

“We all really want to see you Yuri, we miss you!” She said over the speaker, her voice loud and strong and making Yuri’s ear just a little numb after having it boom in his ear over the span of 30 minutes.

 

 “Yeah Mom, I miss all of you too. I’m sorry that I didn’t see you much last time. I’ll just have to see what’s going on during that time.” Yuri gave a small wave to Victor finally noticing him now sitting on the couch watching him. ‘My mom’ he mouthed and Victor nodded understandingly before Yuri brought his attention back to the conversation.

 

“Spring break is two weeks, isn’t it? That’s plenty of time for you to make a trip over!” his mother sounded so excited just thinking about it and it hurt him just a little to correct her.

 

“No mom it’s only a week off. So I can stay for a few days but not an entire week or anything.”

 

“Oh really?” she didn’t seem as hurt as he had expected. “A little time is better than no time!”

 

“Of course, I feel the same way mom. And I promise I will do my best to clear up work and stuff so I can come. I have time to request it off and the spring break hours are shorter anyways and they might not even be needing me.” Yuri was pretty positive he would get the time off but if the other workers were leaving too and he was the last to ask for the time off he could be in trouble. Though he wondered if they even really needed the help desk during spring break.

 

“I hope not.” She said and then there was the sound of a deeper voice in the back that Yuri could faintly hear. After a few seconds his mom’s voice reappeared. “Your father is calling to me so I will let you go back to what you were doing. I’ll talk to you later. I love you!”

 

“I love you too mom. I’ll call you as soon as I know what’s going on. bye.” His mom chirped a quick goodbye before she hung up and Yuri slid his phone back into his pocket. With a sigh, Yuri moved over to the couch and flopped down next to Victor on the couch.

 

“So if I understood correctly you going home for spring break? Or at least you are trying to?” Victor asked his voice tinted with interest.

 

“Yeah. I’m going to try. Between my job and money I didn’t get to go for the whole of winter break so I want to see them. Hopeful it will work out better next time.” Feeling tired Yuri rubbed at his eyes. Even though he loved talking to his mom long conversations always wore him out on the phone no matter who it was.

 

“What do you mean by money if you don’t mind me asking? Like you don’t have money for the trip home?”

 

Yuri looked over to Victor and he had his head tilted to the side with an interested look. He guessed Victor didn’t know his situation so maybe the vague reason didn’t make much sense. “Well, you know Minako who owns the building?” Yuri paused for Victor to nod and when he did he continued. “Well she’s a family friend so I actually get a discount for living here. However, she told me that if I’m going to leave for long periods of time I either have to pay still or she will have to find another tenant. Which is understandable since this is the business she lives off of but I didn’t have the money to spend on a place I wouldn’t be at for a few weeks. I went home for about a week from Christmas to New Year’s but that was it. Since this break is only a week it should be better.”

 

Victor took a moment to take all the information in and get his head wrapped around it. “I see. Sounds like a complicated situation. And a little sad.”

 

“Yeah I was pretty sad but it was my decision so I had to live with it. Plus I had Phichit here with me so it wasn’t that bad.” Yuri pulled out his phone and flipped through the pictures till he showed one to Victor of Phichit and himself taking a selfie at the nearest zoo. “And we had our own fun.”

 

Victor took the phone from Yuri’s hand and looked at the two boys smiling which put a smile of his own on his face. He passed it back and Yuri smiled down at the photo, obviously reliving the time in his head.

 

“Why didn’t Phichit go home?” Victor asked once Yuri’s property was back on his person.

 

“Kind of for the same reasons as me. He actually lives in Thailand. He only goes home during the summer since he doesn’t want to pay for the plane tickets.” Yuri tucked his legs up in front of him on the couch and turned a little more to face Victor. “He was going to go home at first but since we hit it off so well he said he would rather save money and stay with me. At first I thought it was because he was sad that I would be alone but he reassured me that it was for himself too.”

 

“He seems like a really nice friend.” Yuri nodded in agreement at Victor’s words but he didn’t stop talking for Yuri to verbally agree. “How did he end up here though?”

 

Yuri suddenly chuckled under his breath. “Phichit always complains that it’s a super lame story. He did an exchange program in high school and ended up visiting this town on one of their trips. He says he fell in love with it here. I’m not a hundred percent sure why and I don’t think he is either. He always complains that he wish he had some kind of moment where the city called to him or something but he just showed up and was like hmm nice. I guess it’s a pretty diverse place to live and it’s in the middle of a lot of nature so people are drawn to it so that’s why I assume he came.”

 

“You’re probably right. That’s how Yurio’s mom ended up here. It was because of the nature. My mom loved it too and I think that’s a reason she was so easily swayed to come here.”

 

“Well, I can’t blame her. But I guess now I have to see if I can go. I don’t even have a car or anything to drive there.” There was a silence between them as neither knew what exactly to say. They just stared at each other’s faces. Yuri felt like maybe there was something Victor wanted to say by the constipated look on his face but he never did. Instead Yuri cleared his throat and said the first thing he could think of. “Um. Do you have any plans this spring break?”

 

Victor’s unusual face fell away and instead Yuri almost saw something excited and expectant glitter in his eyes. “No, I’ll just be here, maybe go out with some friends. I’m just waiting for someone to offer me something to do. ”

 

Victor looked at him expectantly but Yuri just looked down at the couch and pulled a piece of lint off the seat. “Oh, I see. You’re not going home?”

 

“Nope.” Victor shook his head. “My mom’s going to be on a business trip for most of it so there isn’t really any point.”

 

 “Oh I’m sorry that sucks.” Yuri felt his heart drop. Yuri knew how much Victor loved his mom from the many times he had brought her up and had probably been excited to see her before she broke the news. It made Yuri feel bad for him especially since he could sympathize with his own situation last break.

 

“Yeah. It will be fine though. I’ll go see her a different weekend or something.” The silence came back again along with more looks from Victor. Yuri could tell that Victor wanted something from him, Yuri just had no idea what. He was always bad at social cues like this and he knew that if Victor wanted something from him it was going have to be said straight out.

 

“Is…is there something you want Victor?” He asked after he couldn’t handle the situation anymore.

 

Victor in turn sighed and chuckled under his break. “Kind of yuri... I just… I was hoping you would ask me if I wanted to come with you.”

 

Shock rocked through Yuri and he could feel his eyebrows shoot up. “Come with me? Like to my house?”

 

“Yeah! That’s the idea!” Victor leaned into Yuri’s space his face lit up with excitement. “Your parents own a hot spring, right? I think it would be great to visit. I’ve never actually been to one before! I’d pay for it no worries. And I’ll help find a car or something to get us over there.”

 

Images of Victor in his home flashed in his mind. The thought of it would have felt like a joke if Victor wasn’t currently asking him to do just that. “Oh… oh.” Yuri had no idea what to say at first but that didn’t seem to deter Victor. “Of course. It’s a business anyways it’s not like I could actually stop you from going. But yeah sure that would be fun. As long as you’re not tired of me yet.”

 

Victor’s arms came up and clamped down on Yuri’s shoulders, trapping him in his spot.” Of course not! I wouldn’t ask to come if I didn’t enjoy being with you! This is going to be so much fun!”

 

Yuri could feel the nerves already rumbling around in his stomach at the thought of introducing Victor to his family, but he realized there was excitement in there too. Going on a trip with Victor actually sounded really fun, even if it was just home.

 

Wiggling out of Victor’s grip Yuri stood up from the couch and pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Alright. I’ll have to call my mom and tell her about you. We still have to find a car or something to get us there”

 

“I’m sure we will think of something!” Victor said positively from the couch still and gave Yuri a final blinding light smile before Yuri turned and left for his room to talk to his mom again.

 

The phone rung twice before she picked up. “Hey mom, sorry to call so soon. Did you finish whatever you were doing with dad?”

 

“Yes! I was actually just about to call you.” His mom started without even asking him why he had called. “ I was just thinking. Minako has a car, doesn’t she? I bet if you asked her she would let you borrow it!”

 

As soon as his mom said it Yuri didn’t know why he hadn’t thought about that himself. He had already considered asking her to borrow it for shopping trips but had stopped short because he knew she would ask some kind of favor. Maybe if he could kill two birds with one stone it would be worth it. “Yeah okay mom. I’ll talk to her tomorrow about it.”

 

“Great great! Now, what did you want to talk about?”

 

Yuri swallowed, some reason feeling that it was difficult to bring up Victor now. It wasn’t that he thought his mom would say no or think it was weird, but it was just that Yuri had never brought someone home before and for some reason it felt kind of special. It obviously wasn’t, Victor was just a friend, but he knew his mom would see it as something special.

 

“I actually was calling to ask if my roommate could come and spend the week with us. He has nowhere to go and I feel bad leaving him in the apartment alone.”

 

“Victor?” His mom said in pleasant surprise. “The handsome boy you were telling me about?”

 

“Mom.” Yuri moaned, his face instantly becoming red. “I never said he was handsome!”

 

“Oh I know honey, just call it a mother's intuition!” this was exactly what Yuri had been scared of but he just let it go with a sigh. “Sure he can come. The more the merrier!”

 

“He said he would pay like a normal customer.” Yuri said almost as an afterthought.

 

“Oh nonsense! Hess a guest and I will refuse any kind of payment from him. Any of your friends are welcome for free.”

 

Biting back a smile Yuri mumbled. “Thanks mom. I need to go make dinner so I will talk to you later.”

 

“Okay honey! We are all excited to see you.”

 

“Me too. Love you lots. Bye”

 

“Bye baby.”

 

Ending the call again Yuri moved out of the room after making sure his blush had faded. Once in the living room Yuri relayed the good news to Victor and he jumped for joy. He insisted on paying once Yuri had told him what his mom had said but Yuri insisted that his mom would in no way even take the money. At the end Victor mumbled something about buying his family some kind of thank you gift instead. Yuri figured that would make his mom happy so he left him to his brainstorming.

 

Pulling out Yuri’s phone calendar he saw that it was the end of March so he had about three weeks to figure out the car thing and make sure he was good to go at work. He figured that would be enough time.

 

However, despite Yuri’s rare optimism, it takes him till Friday, three days later, to get the courage to go and knock on Minako’s door.

 

Victor had asked if he could come too to help. Yuri had politely declined knowing that the conversation was going to be difficult in the way that he would be bartering with Minako to get the best deal he could get. He didn’t really want Victor to see the way he and Minako interacted. He didn’t know why he felt that it would be embarrassing but it just did. It took a little convincing for Victor to believe he would be fine on his own and now standing alone he was extra grateful he had given in.

 

The first knock brought no one. Yuri figured that it was either because he was being timid with his knocking or because she was pretending she wasn’t home. Instead of turning and leaving like most residents would Yuri banged harder. “Minako! I know you are in there, open up.”

 

It was quiet for a second longer before Yuri heard the footsteps and the door swung open to reveal Minako in sweats and a tank top, her hair thrown back in a messy ponytail. “Yuri. What do I owe the pleasure? Things going well with Victor?”

 

The past few times Yuri had stopped by to see Minako she kept bringing him up as if she had done some kind of favor for Yuri by matching them up. He wished she would stop. “He’s great, that’s not what I came for. I need a favor.”

 

Her eyebrow raised almost to ask ‘are you sure you can handle that?’ before she stepped out of the way so he could walk into the room. “Please come in brave soul, take a seat at the table.”

 

Yuri walked into the familiar apartment and made his way to her table. The place looked identical to Yuri’s room in set up but the furniture and decorations were much different. It looked like someone who had lived there for years instead of months which was obviously fitting for the situation.

 

Minako followed behind and sat in the seat across from him. “What can I do for you kid?”

 

Adjusting his glasses Yuri figured there was no reason to beat around the bush. “I want to borrow your car.”

 

“My car?” She pursed her lips together in thought before she nodded her head slowly. “Okay, but that’s going to cost you, you know that right? What do you need it for?”

 

“I need it for two reasons, the first is I need every few weeks for a trip to store for groceries. I also want to borrow it to go home for spring break.”

 

“Hmmmmmmm.” Minako bit her nail and leaned back in her chair casually so the front two legs were up in the air. “A long term deal is going to cost you a little more. Let me think. Leettt, meeee, think.”

 

Yuri sat there and watched her think and he couldn’t help but think about all the horrible things she was going to ask him to do. It was almost torture to watch her rock in her chair, the feet landing on the floor before she pushed off again to have them dangle in the air.

 

Finally she slammed down and leaned forward, “I got it, you will have to clean the entire apartment complex every month.”

 

“I’ll clean your room once a month.” Yuri shot back instantly, not even giving it a thought.

 

Minako pursed her lips and stared at his straight face. “Clean my entire apartment twice a month.”

 

“I’ll clean your car five times in total.” She looked off to the side, giving it a thought before she looked back to him with a shake of her head.

 

“Clean the dance studio 5 times.”

 

“How about I clean it once, but a really good deep cleaning. I’ll bring help too.”

 

Minako eyes squinted and she grabbed at her lip between her thumb and her pointer finger. She tapped on it a few ties with her perfectly shaped nail before she nodded and stuck her hand out. “You got a deal.”

 

Reaching out Yuri grabbed it quickly before she could change her mind. It wouldn’t have been the first time Minako had changed conditions last second and Yuri had been too slow and shook on the wrong terms. It was childish in a sense but it was just the relationship the two of them had.

 

Landing on something Yuri knew he couldn’t handle, the two of them planned an agreement. Yuri had to pay a small gas fee and he could use the car as many times as he wanted as long as he cleared it up with her first. For break he could take it but he had to wash it if it was dirty when he got back. As for cleaning the dance studio Minako handed him the keys and told him he could clean it anytime in the morning before classes arrived either day that weekend

 

Once the details had been hammered out and he felt confident in his deal Yuri stood up to leave. As Yuri hugged Minako and left he felt like he had gotten off pretty easily. He knew that Minako loved his family and treated him like a nephew and that’s why she was pretty good with letting him borrow things. She liked having fun with him sure but they were actually pretty close.

 

“How did it go?” Victor asked as soon as Yuri had walked into the apartment. He was at the table working on an assignment but it was instantly forgotten at the sight of Yuri.

 

“Pretty well. I hope you are free this weekend.” Yuri replied as he took his shoes off by the door, a task made slightly difficult by a happy Makkachin excitedly greeting him.

 

“I am, why what’s up?” Yuri looked up to see Victor had stood up and was walking over to him. He crouched down by Makkachin trying to calm him down as Yuri finally got his left shoe off.

 

“We are going to be cleaning Minako’s dance studio spotlessly. Which day do you want to go, Saturday or Sunday? We have until 3 PM to get it done.” Standing up straight Yuri leaned against the wall as he looked down at Victor who was now covered in Makkachin slobber.

 

“Saturday? So tomorrow? Is that fine with you?” Victor stood up now that Makkachin was calm and looked down at Yuri. Despite the fact that Yuri just told him he was going to be spending a day of his weekend cleaning he looked happy. That made a small smile lift up Yuri’s lips.

 

“Yeah that’s fine.” He replied and for some reason he was actually kind of excited. The thought of sharing a tiresome chore with Victor didn’t seem so bad. Maybe this would be worth it.

 

Waking up at 6 AM yuri felt a little different about the situation. He shuffled out into the kitchen where Victor had just started cooking breakfast.

 

“I told Minako that we would be going today. She texted me where all the cleaning supplies is and specifically what she wants done.” Yuri leaned against the counter and watched with blurred eyes as Victor moved deftly around the kitchen making a simple breakfast for the two of them. “Also make sure you wear something you don’t love too much. We will be working with bleach.”

 

“Got it. Are you going to take a shower?” Victor called over his shoulder as an English muffin popped out of the toaster.

 

“No, seems pointless.” Yuri yawned and rubbed at his eyes, trying to get rid of the sleep and crust that was in the corner of his eyes.

 

“Okay, then I won’t either. I'll shower after.” Before Yuri could fully take in what was around him Victor was handing him a plate with an English muffin on it and a glass of milk. Yuri took it over to the table in slow shuffling steps and plopped into the chair after delicately setting his meal on the table. Seconds later Victor joined him making a comment that Yuri really wasn’t a morning person.

 

About an hour later both boys were dressed in old ratty clothes and ready to make the trek to Minako’s dance studio. Thankfully it was only a few blocks down and would only take them 15 minutes to walk there. The cold morning air and chirping birds that flew across the gray sky helped a little to wake Yuri up but not enough to regain any kind of positivity in the day’s activity.

 

Once at the door Yuri pulled the key out and used it to let them into the dark building. Downstairs in the area they had just walked into there was a bathroom, lockers, and a closet. Flipping on the light the two walked in a Victor closed the door behind them.

 

“It’s cold in here.” Victor commented as he rubbed at his arms, his coat too thin to block out any of the spring cold that was too early to be warm but too late to be freezing cold.

 

Yuri pointed to where the thermometer was mounted on the wall, “Go ahead and turn it on, Minako usually keeps it cold in the morning since all her classes are in the afternoon.

 

Not needing to be told twice, Victor moved across the room to turn it up a few notches. While he did that Yuri made his way to the closet and opened it to a mass of cleaning supplies. He pulled out Windex, a mop bucket, bleach, some other cleaning solutions, a broom, and a whole armful of other things they would be using that day. Most of it he tried to put in the mop bucket for easy transportation and what didn’t fit got lined up against the wall.

 

The first part of their day involved them carrying the supplies up the stairs to the second floor where there was the dance room, Minako’s office, and a changing room. Once it was all up there they made a game plan and after turning on music over the loud speaker the two of them got to work.

 

The day started out quiet and as it went there was idle chatter. They didn’t really talk about anything specific that Yuri would remember later but it was nice and easily flowing. It was one of those moments that Yuri felt like he got to know more about who Victor was as a person in general. Not specific facts or anything about his past, just who he was here in the now. It was a feeling that Yuri would get from him that made him feel at ease and that Victor was someone he could trust and be happy hanging around.

 

At about 10 Minako came in with food that she claimed was for lunch and went to her office. She left the door open and sometimes would call out something, either an addition to their conversation she swore she wasn’t listening to or something she remembered she wanted them to do. At 11 they had cleaned most of the place from bottom to top and only had the dance studio left.

 

Minako, deciding she didn’t need to be stingy with the food anymore brought out what she had bought and the three of them sat on the floor surrounded by all the mirrors and ate.

 

Minako finished before them and went back to her office to finish the paperwork she was working on, leaving the two of them alone.

 

“How does your family know Minako?” Victor asked after a bout of comfortable silence.

 

“My parents knew her when she was a kid.” Yuri started saying around a mouthful of food before he audibly swallowed. “She had been their neighbors after they had moved to America.  She had taught at a dance studio back in my hometown too. It was when her grandpa died that she moved here to take over his apartment building. It had worked out well for her because she got to buy her own place from the profits and started her own studio.”

 

“How do you know her so well then? When did she move?”

 

“Oh, well it actually wasn’t that long ago. I actually was one of her students before she moved.” Yuri said a little sheepishly. He didn’t tell a lot of people that he danced but with Victor it just kind of seemed to slip out.

 

The bite he was about to take out of his food fell away from his mouth as he looked over at Yuri in surprise. “You can dance?”

 

Yuri shrugged self-consciously, feeling his embarrassment turn his ears red. “Kind of.”

 

“Can you show me?” Victor’s eyes lit up in the now familiar way and Yuri really didn’t want to do it but the way he was looking at him just wasn’t fair. If he said no it would feel like he was disappointing him. The last thing Yuri wanted to do was disappoint Victor.

 

With a heavy sigh and slightly shaking hands Yuri stood up and took a few paces away from where their meal was set up. Realizing that Yuri was complying with his wishes Victor gave a few small claps and practically bounced up and down like a little boy.

 

“What do you want me to do?” Yuri asked, looking at Victor through the mirror instead of straight at him.

 

“Well.” Victor looked at him back through the mirror. “What can you do?”

 

“Just about anything. You name it.” The amazed look Victor got from hearing that made Yuri blush again. He felt like Victor was getting his hopes up just to have him be disappointed when he actually saw what he could do.

 

“Anything you feel comfortable doing.” Victor said without missing a beat. “I want to see anything you can do.”

 

Moving his eyes away from Victor he looked at himself in the mirror. What did he want to do? Minako mainly taught ballet and she had always told Yuri he was beautiful at it. It was probably what he had spent most of his time doing and probably was the easiest thing for him to fall back on.

 

Without a word Yuri got into position and started to do a few spins and then before he got dizzy he took off on a few leaps across the room, dashing past Victor and the bag of food next to him.

 

He didn’t feel like he had done a lot or anything that impressive but Victor was clapping aggressively as if Yuri had just done the whole nutcracker Christmas performance by himself.

 

“That was beautiful!” Victor breathed when Yuri was close enough to hear him again. “Extraordinary really!

Sitting crises cross next to Victor again Yuri picked up his food. “It wasn’t anything really.”

 

“I disagree! I could never do anything like that.” 

 

“I doubt it Victor. I think you could do anything you set your mind to.” Yuri meant every word he said. There was a reason that Victor was the king of the school. People don’t adore someone for no reason and Victor’s reason was that he was just amazing in everything he did.

 

Victor looked down at his food. He had a straight face as he seemed to take this in. After a moment he looked up and touched Yuri’s knee. “Will you teach me?”

 

“Teach you what?” Yuri asked unsure of exactly what was happening.

 

“A dance move! Any kind. A leap or even a spin.”

 

Yuri looked Victor up and down. He didn’t know if he had the confidence to teach Victor anything, but once again how could he refuse the beautiful man? One of Yuri’s hands rubbed over his face as he tried to collect himself.

 

“I can try.” He muttered and Victor sprang up to his feet with a celibately ‘whoop!’

 

Yuri stood up once more and walked over to the middle of the room and motioned for Victor to stand next to him. “Do you know the feet positons in ballet?”

 

“I’ve heard of them but I don’t know what they are.” Victor responded as they both looked into the mirror.

 

“Okay, I’ll teach you those. They are pretty easy.” Yuri moved his feet so his heals were together and his toes pointing out the opposite directions. “This is called first position.”

 

Yuri watched in their reflections as Victor moved his feet to copy Yuri’s. “Now what?” he asked once they were both standing in first position.

 

“Just, like, put your arms out in front like you’re holding a big ball and bend your knees slightly.” Yuri demonstrated and watched Victor instantly copy him.

 

“That’s wasn’t too bad.” He said almost to himself before he looked to Yuri to see what was next.

 

“Okay we will do second position then. It’s pretty much the same thing but your feet are spread apart and your arms are out.” Yuri changed positions and paused a moment for Victor to copy before he bent again.

 

“So is that all you do? Bend?” Victor said as he bent and straightened a few times.

 

“No.” Yuri laughed, dropping his own position to watch Victor go up and down a few times. “It’s just how you practice. They lead into spins later. Have you ever just seen ballerinas on stage doing this?”

 

“Hmm, your right.” Victor dropped his arms and turned to look at Yuri. “What other kinds of dancing do you do? Any two person dancing?”

 

“I mean yes, but not anything I am confident in showing you.” Yuri said and watched as Victor suddenly turned and walked over to where they had left Yuri’s phone that was connected to the room’s stereo.

 

Yuri watched nervously as victor scrolled through Yuri’s phone until a smile crept up on victors face. Before Yuri could ask what he was doing a guitar riff began and Yuri was instantly mortified as Victor started to sway to the sound. “AC/DC huh?” he asked not even looking over his shoulder. “I didn’t know you were the type.” After that the beat kicked in and more of Victor’s body got involved. His head started rocking back and forth and his feet stepping from side to side. As the first words started across the speakers Victor spun on his feet and sang along as he walked rhythmically towards Yuri, his body never stopping from bouncing to the beat.

 

“She was a fast machine, She kept her motor clean, She was the best damn woman I had ever seen” Now reaching Yuri, Victor stopped right in front of him, leaving barely any room between the two of them. He brought up his hands and snapped to the beat as his body continued to sway and bounce. Yuri brought his hands up to cover his eyes, not sure if he could handle what was going on in front of him, but still unable to look away. “She had the sightless eyes, telling me no lies, Knockin' me out with those American thighs” with each word of the previous line Victor jerked his hips in a way that almost looked like hip thrusting and Yuri felt faint.

 

“Taking more than her share, had me fighting for air, she told me to come but I was already there” the song continued and Victor grabbed Yuri’s hands and in a flash of panic Yuri realized that he was about to get dragged into whatever mess this was.” Cause the walls start shaking, the earth was quaking, my mind was aching, and we were making it and you” he started dragging Yuri back towards the center of the room, each step and twist of his body in time with the song. Yuri couldn’t help but be dragged along as his face got redder and redder.

 

The most famous line of the song dropped and suddenly Yuri was spinning only grounded by Victor’s hand keeping his steady. “Shook me all night long, yeah you shook me all night long” Yuri could barely keep it up as Victor was pulling him around and moving them both to the beat. The dancing was erratic and wild but the longer it went on the better he was feeling and he realized he was actually having fun. Before long Yuri was singing and moving his body to the beat on his own accord.

 

When the song ended both were sweaty and breathing hard but had wide smiles on their faces. A soft slow song came on after and they both stood there as their heart rates calmed down.

 

“So really. AC/DC?” Victor finally asked and Yuri remembered that he was supposed to be embarrassed.

 

“Yeah. I mean you can’t go wrong with the oldies, right?” Yuri managed to say without stuttering.

 

Victor watched him for a moment before he patted him on the head with a smile. “Your right. I’m not judging you. Just a little surprised is all.”

 

“What kind of music did you think I listened to?” Yuri asked, curiosity flaring up instead of the previous embarrassment.

 

“Not sure exactly. Something softer, maybe like OneRepublic or Kris Allen?” Victor left Yuri’s side to go back to where he had a drink on the floor.

 

“Kris Allen? Like the dude who won American idol all those years ago?” Yuri asked following him, realizing he was thirsty too.

 

“Yeah, I mean he did win for a reason I guess.” Victor paused to take a few gulps of his drink before he continued.” I listen to him.”

 

Yuri stored that away in the back of his brain, telling himself to check him out later, and changed the subject. “We should probably get moving if we want to finish in time for Minako’s first class.”

 

Victor turned to look behind them at a clock mounted on the wall to see about two hours had passed since they had first begun their break. “Oh shoot. Yeah, let’s get going.”

 

With the subject successfully changed they both scrambled off to return to their cleaning. It only took them an hour more to finish giving an hour before Minako’s students would be there.

 

After putting all their supplies away Victor said he was going to use the restroom. Yuri was leaned against the wall waiting for him when Minako appeared at the top of the stairs and motioned for him to come and see her. Yuri pushed off the wall and made his way back up the stairs.

 

“What’s up?” he asked once he reached her.

 

“You didn’t tell me you two were dating you little brat.” Minako lightly punched him in the arm, a wide smile on her face.

 

“Dating?” Yuri looked at her completely confused before the dots connected. “Me and Victor?” he practically screeched before he reminded himself that Victor wasn’t that far away. In a much quieter but still frantic voice he continued. “Victor and I are not dating. Why would you say that?”

 

Minako’s own face morphed into confusion. “I just… the way you two talk and then I saw you guys dancing… I just thought...”

 

“We are just friends.” Yuri practically cut her off to clear the air. “It isn’t anything like that I promise. I don’t like him that way.”

 

Minako’s teeth worried at her lip while she studied Yuri’s face. “You sure?” she finally asked.

 

“Positive. Just friends.” Yuri confirmed and in that moment Victor walked out of the bathroom.

 

“Ready to go?” he called up to them and Yuri peaked around the corner to look down at the room bellow where he stood.

 

“Yeah be right there.” Turning back to Minako, Yuri saw her face and wasn’t satisfied with the unsure look she was giving him. “I’m being serious. Just because we have fun and dance together doesn’t mean we like each other.”

 

Shrugging innocently she turned to leave. “If you say so yuri.”

 

Minako’s disbelief stirred a bit of annoyance in Yuri but he decided not to argue it further. Turning he made his way back down the stairs and left the building with Victor.

 

There was no way that Yuri liked him. Despite living together, their worlds were too far apart. Yuri lived in reality, not a fantasy.

Chapter Text

“Can you believe it’s already week 10? Time really flies by. Finals are next week!” Victor said randomly from the couch as he clicked through channels on the TV. He would stop and watch one for a few seconds before deciding it wasn’t interesting enough and move on.

 

“Please don’t remind me.” Yuri moaned from his own position at the table, paperwork and past assignments taking up the entire surface of the table.

 

Victor turned his head to look at him. He had known that Yuri was in the middle of something important, that’s why he had tried to mostly stay out of his way, but the stress in Yuri’s voice made him a little worried. “What’s wrong?”

                                 

It was silent for a few seconds before Yuri threw down his pencil. “It’s my dumb final. I already have a B in the class and if I completely bomb this final them I’m going to have a C. And I know C’s get degrees but I don’t want a C on my transcript and I’m just stressing.” Yuri’s words flew at him at an intense speed as he rubbed his hands all over his face, trying to relieve the tiredness in his eyes and facial muscles from focusing for too long.

 

There was the creak of the couch and Victor stood up and walked over. Yuri didn’t even look up to see his face, he was too tired to care that he was being weird and embarrassing himself in front of Victor.

 

“What class?” Victor asked when he reached the table. He picked up one of the papers in Yuri’s mess and started to look over it.

 

“Biology. First in the sequence too. There is just so much to remember and so many terms and processes and I feel like I’m drowning. I’m not cut out for this I’m going to fail and waste a whole term and I’ll have to take it over and I can’t afford to do that and-“

 

A warm hand clamped down on Yuri’s shoulder and he realized he had been completely freaking out. Finally looking up at Victor's face he saw that it was full of concern. “It’s going to be okay Yuri. You are going to be fine.”

 

“How can you know though?” Yuri sounded desperate and he didn’t like it. He didn’t like looking weak in front of anyone, especially Victor.

 

Victor, unsure how to respond, looked down at the paper he was still holding. His eyes seemed to narrow as he read it over. Yuri realized it was one of the past exam study sheets he had printed out. Victor’s eye read over the questions quickly before he nodded to himself and set the paper down again. “I know because I’m going to help you.”

 

He declared it like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Instead of jumping for joy like Yuri felt Victor thought he would he stared up at him blankly as he let that sink in. “You’re what?”

 

“I’m going to help you!” he repeated and pulled out the chair nearest to Yuri. “It might have been almost four years ago since I took the class but I think I remember enough to try and help. And sometimes it’s just helpful to have someone to bounce the information of off. Let me see what you have done so far.”

 

Victor reached out for the notebook that Yuri was writing notes in but Yuri slammed his hand down before Victor could drag it over to himself. Victor’s eyebrows shot up in surprise at Yuri’s sudden movement and Yuri felt an intense heat wash over his face. That was completely embarrassing. Worse than him freaking out.

 

“N-no.” he stuttered looking down at both of their hands on the notebook. He could feel Victor's confused eyes burning holes in his face. “You have your own finals to worry about. You don’t need to bother with me.”

 

“Don’t be silly.” He could feel the notebook slide again as Victor put more force into grabbing it. “Most of my classes are practicums or easy classes I took since it’s my second to last term and I’ve done most of my requirements already. I’m not even worried about any of them. I don’t even plan to study. So let me help.”

 

Yuri wet his lip as he thought about what Victor was saying. Sure Yuri could use the help and if Victor had nothing else to do then he was the perfect candidate…but what if Victor just goofed off? Yuri had seen him do his homework and study before, but he was already either multitasking or goofing off with friends. Yuri didn’t know if he trusted Victor to be more helpful than a distraction.

 

Yet, when he looked up at Victor’s open and honest face, Yuri didn’t know if he could tell him that. He didn’t want Victor to think badly of him. So did he really have a choice? And who knows, maybe he would be helpful.

 

With a sigh Yuri let go of the notebook and it quickly slid over to Victor. “Okay. Thank you for helping.”

 

Victor smiled triumphantly and then looked down at the notebook. While he read, Yuri dug around and found the study guide for the final and set that in front of Victor too.

 

“When is the final?” He asked after a second of looking over the papers all around the table.

 

“It’s on Tuesday at noon.” Yuri said not completely sure where Victor was going to go with it.

 

“Great. Today is Tuesday so we have a week to get this all in that head of yours. What days do you work?” The seriousness in Victor’s voice felt like an 180 from when Victor had been convincing him to let him help.

 

“I work Thursday and Friday.” Yuri responded. Since he had already worked Sunday and Monday he was glad that he had already gotten through half of his work week.

 

“Okay so we can study tonight and tomorrow for a few hours. And then we can do a little bit after you work, and then if we need to we can work all of Saturday and Sunday. I’m going to break this information up so it’s not too much at once and we can work through the book. Do you have any other finals you need to study for?”

 

“No…nothing that won’t take an hour or so.” Yuri felt a rush of something under his skin and it took a moment to realize it was amazement. “You don’t have to do so much for me Victor. This seems like it’s going to be a lot of effort for you.”

 

Looking up from the paper again Victor beamed at him. “Yuri, I want to be a teacher. This is nothing.”

 

Then it hit him like a truck. Victor was going to be an amazing teacher. He literally oozed the atmosphere of a high school teacher. His mix of seriousness and dedication along with a little bit of fun were skills that a teacher needed and it made Yuri feel like he was back in the classroom. Along with the realization of how prepared Victor was for this was the guilt that he had doubted him. It was like he had forgotten what Victor’s dreams were and that made Yuri feel like he hadn’t been paying enough attention to Victor.

 

“Hand me your book.” Victor’s voice pushed Yuri out of his negative train of thought and he automatically passed him the book before he could even register what Victor had said.

 

Victor opened to the first chapter and lined the study guide up next to it. He passed Yuri back his notebook and Yuri picked up his pencil because before he could take a break Victor was already diving in.

 

They worked for about three hours before they decided it was time to call it a day. Yuri was tired as he closed his book and started to organize his papers, but not in a bad way. Victor had been amazing. He had spoken and explained terms in a way that Yuri could easily understand. Any question Yuri would ask Victor either answered it right away or skimmed over the part in the book until he could explain it to Yuri like an expert. What amazed Yuri was that Victor wasn’t even going to be a science teacher. He wanted to be an English teacher. He had once explained it to Yuri that he thought words were beautiful. They could show an inner persons soul. And looking at the writing of the past was like history but even more. So why was Victor so good at science too? He had no business being so great at everything.

 

“Don’t study anymore tonight.” Victor called from his room when Yuri had exited the bathroom after brushing his teeth later that night.

 

Yuri, confused by Victor’s sudden instruction, moved over to his door and pushed it open till he saw Victor sitting on his bed in his pajamas reading a book with Makkachin sleeping at his side. “I wasn’t planning on it, but why?”

 

“REM sleep helps you retain knowledge.” Victor set his book in his lap to give Yuri his full attention. “That’s why you should never cram right before a test because if you don’t sleep on the information you are more likely to forget it.

 

“It that real?” Yuri asked mildly surprised by this new information. Why had no one told him this before?

 

“Yeah. Something close to that. I read it awhile back.” Victor picked his book back up and started running his hand down Makkachin’s back which made his tail thump happily against the comforter. “I can send you an article later if you don’t believe me.”

 

“No! I do!” Yuri said quickly, not wanting Victor to think he thought he was a liar. “I’ve just never heard that before. It’s interesting.” Victor hummed in agreement. Already back in the world of his book. Yuri figured that meant he wanted to be alone and should probably go to his own room. “Goodnight Victor.” Yuri practically whispered it, not wanting to bother Victor more than he already felt he had.

 

“Goodnight Yuri.” Victor said it almost absentmindedly and Yuri was surprised that he had actually heard him.

 

Yuri moved out of Victor’s doorway and returned it to being open just a sliver in case Makkachin needed to go out. He moved down the hallway and got into his own bed. He turned off all the lights and went to snuggle down into his pillow when his phone vibrated.

 

How’s studying? The text from Phichit read.

 

Great actually Yuri typed back quickly hoping that the conversation would end quickly so Yuri could sleep

 

Where is Yuri? This can’t be Yuri texting because he has never once in his life said that studying for finals were going great. Did you kill him??? Where is my best friend?? Speak you monster!

 

Yuri couldn’t help but laugh. Despite the ridiculousness in the way he asked Phichit was right. Finals were usually a time of stress and panic for him. By the end of the last final Yuri was a strung out mess. He would go back to his room and sleep forever. His friends in high school used to bring his snacks and drinks while he was studying knowing that without them Yuri would probably die from stress and lack of self-care. In college he got himself together a little better but his habits were still the same.

 

Oh shut up. I was stressing out, then I got help.

 

Help? Like Victor help?

 

Yeah he’s going to help me study biology. It was actually really helpful and I’m not worried?

 

Wow. He really is perfect for you.

 

The text set Yuri’s face on fire and his fingers scrambling across the screen. Why would you say that? We are just friends Phichit. I’ve told you this a million times.

 

Whoah calm down? I can feel you freaking out all the way from my dorm. I was just saying that he was a perfect study partner for you. Not that you guys are soulmates or anything. I mean I do believe that but that’s not what I was saying.

 

Yuri couldn’t help the groan that escaped his throat. Can you please stop teasing me? Victor and I will never be like that.

 

Okay. Sorry Yuri. I’m not teasing you though. I think you two would be really nice together. Honestly.

 

Yuri stared at his screen. He really didn’t want to have this conversation again. Phichit for some reason thought Yuri was secretly in love with Victor and was refusing to tell him. Sure there were a lot of people that liked Victor but he refused to be one of them. He refused to have senseless feeling. Why like someone when you knew it was impossible? Besides, Yuri didn’t feel that way even in the slightest. Sure it was fun being with Victor. He was calm and relaxed around him in a way that Yuri never thought he would be able to be. Taking Victor down from his pedestal hadn’t been as hard as he had once thought. Victor was a human just like him. Sure Victor was beautiful and amazing at everything, but that didn’t mean he was going to fall in love with him just because he was amazing. Yuri had more self-control than that.

 

Deciding he wasn’t going to text Phichit back he set his phone down on the side table. He was going to get an earful from him tomorrow but at that point he didn’t care. He was tired of defending himself and not being believed.

 

Curling up in his blanket and surrounding himself with the warmth and softness he drifted off to sleep not thinking about anything at all. He was content with his life in that moment and didn’t need any strange ideas in his head.

 

The next day instead of getting yelled at Phichit came up to him at lunch hand apologized for pushing the whole Victor thing. Yuri could tell he was genuinely sorry but didn’t one hundred percent believe that he wouldn’t bring it up again. Phichit could be stubborn in his ideas and if he thought that Victor and Yuri should be together he wasn’t going to drop it till it either happened or Yuri found someone else. And at this point neither of those things were in the near future.

 

That afternoon when Victor got home from working at the high school they took a break and they talked about their day while they ate a snack. Once finished the two jumped into the next two chapters. Once again the information flew effortlessly from Victor into Yuri and Yuri was more confident in himself than he had been the day before. And the more the two of them worked the more and more Yuri saw Victor standing in front of a class of kids talking with them and gushing about the information. He could even see the kids hanging around after class to talk to him since he was going to be such a cool teacher. It made Yuri happy for him even if it was a future he had made up himself.

 

They took a break for Yuri to make dinner. Victor offered to help but Yuri insisted that he was going to make something good to thank Victor for helping. He knew it isn’t anywhere near enough to repay him for all his effort and the way he was able to calm his nerves, but he figured it was a start.

 

So instead of helping Victor leaned against the counter and watched him work. It was quiet at first as Victor let Yuri focus but after about 15 minutes he spoke up. “We are good for next week, right?”

 

It took Yuri a second too long to realize he was talking about their trip to his home. With all thought focused on finals he had forgotten to update Victor after he had talked to his mom and put all the plans into stone.

 

“Yeah. I got work off pretty easy and I talked to my mom. We are going to head down Monday and come back Saturday if that’s fine with you.” Yuri responded as he cooked meat in a pan on the stove.

 

“Fine with me. Anything I need to pack?” despite his casual words his voice was full of excitement. Yuri wasn’t sure why Victor was so interested in going to his home but he figured it was just because Victor was an excitable guy. It was actually pretty cute how he could get worked up over the smallest things. Just last week Yurio had shown Victor the score that he and Yuri had gotten on their project after Victor had bugged him forever. He jumped for joy when he had brought out the paper with the grade and Victor had ended up hugging the both of them tightly. He had heard Yurio’s breath whoosh out of his lungs before he started squirming and demanding to be let go.

 

“Just normal clothes.” Yuri moved the pan so it was tilted against the grate covering the fire and the grease could separate from the meat. “There are robes and stuff to wear for the bath there so you don’t have to worry about that.”

 

“Ah! I’m so excited. I’ve never been in a hot spring before.” Victor sighed dreamily and leaned back against to counter so he was looking up at the ceiling. Yuri figured he was imagining what it was going to be like.

 

“That’s so strange to me.” Yuri said as he moved to a rectangular glass pan he had long flat noodles in. “I grew up with the hot springs. I used to go in as often as I could. To me when I came here and had to use a bathtub was the strangest thing.”

 

Victor moved his head back down from his daydreaming to come and stand next to Yuri as he layered ingredients in the pan. “Isn’t it amazing to think about how different people’s experiences are? We are all human and we all live, laugh, and love but the ways can be so different. You grew up living with a hot spring at your disposal. Not many people get that experience. You are truly one of a kind in personality and experience. What even more amazing is that people who have had completely different lives can come together and understand one another. There are no limits to what humans can do.”

 

Yuri wanted to laugh, but he realized what Victor was saying was actually pretty deep. He also realized that he didn’t exactly agree with Victor. “Do you thinks that’s really true? Can people with completely different experiences every really understand each other? They come from different worlds and live different lives. Wouldn’t it just be pointless for them to try and change themselves to fit with that person?”

 

Victor's face switched from soft edges and curved lips to a harsh frown. “Of course I do. I don’t think you have to change yourself either. I think that coming from different backgrounds and different feelings means that you can support the other person, be it a friend, a lover, or something else. We learn and grow from each other. I think to block yourself into a group of people who are only similar to you is cutting yourself off from the rest of the world and the ability to grow. “Victor paused, noticing that Yuri’s hands had stopped moving. “ Are you talking about yourself when you say these things?”

 

Yuri clenched his hands. Yuri hadn’t wanted victor make that connection. He had tried not to make it sound personal but he caught on all the same. “I… maybe.” Yuri said softly. He didn’t know what else to say without baring his soul to Victor and that wasn’t something he really wanted to do. Ironically, for the exact reasons they were talking about.

 

“Yuri.” Victor reached out and touched Yuri’s arm. It was warm and comforting and made Yuri’s throat close up. “You know that you are a really amazing person right? You could meet anyone across the entire world and they would love you. Sure you are different than them. Sure you may have lived a different life and have felt things the other person has never felt, but that doesn’t mean you should block yourself off from getting to know them. You can’t let yourself be scared because you think that you are less than them or whatever.”

 

Yuri was starting to feel like this conversation had really left the rails into the danger zone. Their train was about to crash into the wall instead of making its way safely through a tunnel. This conversation was no longer about meeting new people, it was about if Yuri though he was good enough to inject himself into someone else’s life.

 

“Okay. But say that there is this person and they are perfect in every way. Smart, beautiful, funny. They meet someone who is a loser, is negative, has a hard time controlling their emotions, and is scared. How can they understand each other? Wouldn’t the perfect one have to bring themselves down? Make themselves less? Would their happiness and life not be tainted because they tried to pull someone not like them into their world?”

 

“What? Of course not.” Victor's hand tightened on Yuri’s arm as if he was afraid Yuri was going to bolt or disappear. “That’s not how human relationship work. You can’t just taint another person by being alive. Especially when love is involved. It just doesn’t work that way Yuri.”

 

Yuri just wanted this conversation to stop. It wasn’t making much sense and he just wanted it to end. His throat was tight and his eyes were hot. He just didn’t want to have to face the fact that he still thought Victor was better than him. That he knew that Victor and him would never truly understand each other. That he was never going to be that important to Victor because he was who he was. Victor would leave one day and Yuri was okay with that. He didn’t want Victor to be stuck with him and his problems. They were from two different worlds. Victors was full of sunshine and cliché things like puppies and flowers and children playing. Yuri’s world was lot bleaker than that. Victor was meant for great things and Yuri was meant for a mediocre life. And if Victor didn’t leave then he was going to be sucked down.

 

He didn’t want to think about that at all.

 

“Can we…can we please stop talking about this?” Yuri’s voice was thick and Victor wasn’t a fool. He knew what was happening and his lips pressed together tightly as if to make sure nothing leaked out that would make Yuri cry. He moved his hand off where it had been sitting on Yuri’s arm and let it swing to his side.

 

“Yeah. Sure.” Victor’s eyes flickered around as if he was unsure what to do. Finally, they landed on Makkachin’s leash. “I’m going to…go take Makkachin on his walk early. I’ll be home by the time you are done.”

 

“Thankyou. “ Yuri said quietly and Victor patted his shoulder once before he moved away.

 

Victor left in silence and Yuri felt his body relax again the longer he was gone. He made the rest of his lasagna and pushed out all other thoughts. He didn’t need a personal crisis right now. He had enough on his plate. Maybe another day. Maybe never preferably. Yuri could be a negative pessimistic person, he knew that. He tried not to let it ruin his life but it was times like these that Yuri knew his place. And it was not next to people like Victor.

 

Victor came back just when the lasagna came out of the oven. Dinner together wasn’t awkward per say, it was just quiet. No one knew what to say to the other. They didn’t understand what the other was thinking. It proved Yuri’s point all the more. When they were done they cleaned up together then Yuri mumbled he was going to go to his room to study for other finals. Victor didn’t try to stop him and by the end of the night they both got into bed feeling uneasy.

 

 

The next morning didn’t change much from the night before. Yuri could tell Victor wanted to say something to him but he never did. He just watched as Yuri moved around the house silently. It bothered Yuri a little to know he was being watched but he was too tired to confront him about it.

 

Later in the day Yuri texted Phichit that he wasn’t going to the cafeteria for lunch. Phichit sent him several texts asking him why and where he would be instead. He ignored all of them. However, when Phichit arrived in the classroom he was hiding in he wasn’t surprised.

 

“What’s up? Finals stress?” Phichit asked as he slid into the chair next to him. Both Phichit and he knew that wasn’t what it was. If it was Yuri wouldn’t even have a lunch in front of him but a bunch of papers that he would be intently reading over. Instead Yuri had an apple he had brought front home sitting in front of him as he stared at it.

 

“Sure” He mumbled not looking up at his friend.

 

“Don’t lie to me. What’s wrong?” Phichit placed a hand on Yuri’s back and rubbed it in soothing circles. Phichit had seen him down before and was used to dealing with a depressed Yuri. Yuri was really grateful for that. He had been in a million situations before where a friend didn’t know what to do with them so they ignored him. He didn’t think they knew how much that hurt to have them not want to deal with him when he was sad, but it still hurt all the same.

 

“I’m… I’m not really sure. I just don’t feel good.” Yuri finally said and laid his cheek on the table, letting his mind focus on the feeling of Phichit.

 

“Okay, it’s one of those times then. What happened to start it thought? What’s the last thing you did before you didn’t feel good?”

 

“Victor and I were talking about going away for spring break. He went into this whole thing about how amazing it is that people can be so different and still come together and I disagreed and it just got me thinking about my own life and how different we are. Then I just kind of spiraled down by thinking about all the things in my life and I didn’t like and it’s like I can’t point at a specific thing and me like ‘this is why I’m sad’ I’m just overall sad.”

 

“Oh Yuri.” Phichit’s hand left Yuri’s back and instead wrapped his friend in a hug. “I’m sorry. I know you have these thoughts that tell you are not good enough and that you will ruin everyone around you but it’s not true. You are a really great person and I know everyone loves you. I wish I could somehow show you that.”

 

“I know. I know these thoughts are ridiculous. I know that they are not true but I can’t help it. And it just makes me feel shitty. I wish I wasn’t like this.” Yuri let Phichit hug him but he didn’t hug him back. He just let his friend’s warmth surround him.

 

He felt bad. There wasn’t much that could change that right now. He knew he had to ride out the feelings. That’s how he always did it. It didn’t change what he thought and it didn’t stop it from coming back. There was medication and therapy for that that, Yuri just didn’t have the energy for. For now he just wanted this moment to pass.

 

Yuri and Phichit chatted quietly for the whole lunch break they had and Yuri admitted that he was feeling better by the end. Phichit was always a good distraction and he was good at changing the subject to make him feel a little better. He even got him to laugh a little bit.

 

However, despite his improved mood, he didn’t feel super great. That was a given. He was nervous to see Victor again too after avoiding him. He didn’t know what they would say or if the same awkward silence would be there. Victor didn’t get what Yuri thought and he didn’t have the energy to tell him. He didn’t want to burden Victor with them either. He had only known Victor for a little under two months. He knew Victor was a great guy but he didn’t want him to know just how messed up Yuri could be. He already knew there was a huge rift between their personalities and he knew it would only grow if he knew the things Yuri got caught in his head.

 

Yuri was glad that he had work that night so he could prolong it. The bright side of work also was that he had to fake a smile. It was proven that if you smiled your mood would improve. By the end of his four hour shift he was another step towards feeling a little better.

 

He walked home in the dark contemplating what he was going to do now that facing Victor was inevitable. He ran over a million different things he could say to Victor ranging from pretending the day before had never happened to trying to explain himself. Both sounded horrible. The last thing he was expecting was for Victor to apologize when he came in.

 

Yuri had tried to quietly step through the door so he didn’t alert Victor to his presence. Yet when he turned victor was standing there only a few feet away from him. “Hey Yuri.” He had said as he ran his hand through his hair. “I just wanted to say sorry. I don’t fully understand what happened yesterday but I know you got upset and I didn’t help. I’m not sure how to deal with those kinds of things, but I’m here if you want to talk.”

 

Yuri stood there shocked. His lips trembled as he stared at Victor. It wasn’t because he was about to cry, but it was because he was emotional. He was hit once again with how great of a guy Victor was. He could have pretended nothing had happened. He could have ignored Yuri’s obvious issues but he didn’t. He reached his hand out to Yuri and said that he could be someone to help Yuri. Yuri didn’t know still if that was really an option, but it meant so much that Victor had tried.

 

“Victor…” Yuri started. “I… I don’t exactly know what to say. Thank you though. I…I know it might not make a lot of sense of why I got upset. I have some problems and I don’t really know how to talk about them. Thank you for not ignoring that it happened thought. It means a lot that you said something.”

 

“Of course.” Victor's smile slowly pulled up at his lips. “Do you want to talk more about it?” Victor asked hesitantly but Yuri shook his head. He really didn’t want to focus on it anymore and now that he and Victor had cleared the air he felt like he could really move on. “Okay. Then do you want to relax for today or do you want to study some more? I don’t want to push you.”

 

“I want to study if you are up for it. I want to get my mind off of it. Plus working with you relaxes me.” Yuri let his backpack fall from his backpack to the floor and he instantly started pulling his stuff out of it. Then it was like the whole world shifted and everything was fine between them again. They started chatting easily as they moved to the table. Yuri still wasn’t one hundred percent, but there was a definite weight off his shoulder.

 

The next day Yuri was feeling much better. That was the scary thing about depression sometimes. Some days he could be fine and then the next day he would just want to be alone to stew in his self-hate. The good days were great but he never knew when he was going to fall again.

 

The next day he went to class, went to lunch will all of his friends and actually laughed and talked, went to work, then came home to eat and study with Victor some more. He was feeling pretty confident with all his finals and his episode seemed far in the past.

 

The next day being Sunday Victor and Yuri made a bunch of snacks and got to work. Yuri felt like he was in the home stretch and even thought he had gone over so much information in the last week he didn’t feel overwhelmed. He thought back to the thing Victor had said about REM sleep and wondered if it had to do with that.

 

It was about 1 pm when he got a text from Phichit.

 

We are all thinking about going out for lunch tomorrow to relax a little before finals really hit, do you and Victor want to come? Tell Victor to invite his friends.

 

Yuri read over the words and usually he would have said no, way too nervous about finals, but thank’s to Victors amazing help he actually wanted to go.

 

“Do you want to go out with everyone for lunch tomorrow? Phichit is inviting us and all your friends.”

 

Victor, who had been skimming part of Yuri’s textbook jerked his head up and nodded excitedly. “Of course! We need a break to have a little fun before it all goes down. Ill text everyone!”

 

 Victor whipped his phone out of his pocket and his fingers flew over the screen. His phone instantly started to vibrate as his friends messaged him back.  The wide smile on his face made Yuri happy and guilty at the same time. He hadn’t realized it before but Victor had sacrificed the time he had spent with his friends to help Yuri instead. He really would have to do something for Victor after all this was over. Maybe he could do something for him when they were over at his place.

 

Once Victor confirmed that all his friends wanted to go Yuri texted Phichit back and told him that they were all in. Phichit messaged him back with a lot of emoji’s and exclamation marks.

 

Then Yuri and Victor dived back into the work with the incentive that they needed to get done that day.

 

That night Yuri got in bed physically and mentally tired. He felt like he was as prepared as he could possibly be. He would of course do a brief review the night before each final but he didn’t even feel like he really needed it at this point.

 

The next day he got up later in the day, finally having nothing to do early in that morning. He showered and said good morning to Victor who had gotten up much earlier than him. When it was about half an hour before noon they took off to the bus stop to take it downtown where they had all planned to meet.

 

When they reached the restaurant they were the last two to arrive since the bus had been late. When they walked up to the table Yuri noticed someone he had never met before. He had black hair with shaved sides. He had a stern face and looked like he would be standoffish but he was pressed up close to Yurio who had been drinking a soda and laughed before his eyes had zeroed in on Yuri and Victor.

 

In a flash Yurio stood up and grabbed the guy’s hand. The guy seemed mildly shocked at being dragged and despite being bigger then Yurio and had the ability to stop him if he wanted he let himself be dragged. Yurio brought the man over and planted himself in front of Yuri and Yuri had an idea of who the guy was before Yurio announced him.

 

“This is Otabek, my boyfriend, you pervert.” Yurio practically yelled and everyone at the table paused to see what was going on.

 

“I’m a pervert now too?” Yuri asked with a slight chuckle.

 

“Wow, you have graduated to pervert, congratulations.” Victor said joining in with Yuri’s chuckle.” How are you Otabek? It’s been awhile.”

 

“Good.” Otabek said with a nod and that was it. Yuri was guessing that he was a man of few words.

 

“I’m Yuri nice to meet you.” Yuri said and put his hand out. Otabek lifted a hand that was wearing fingerless gloves and encased Yuri’s hand in a shake. Yuri didn’t think he had small hands but Otabek’s were much bigger than his and his hands were instantly warm from the brief contact.

 

“Nice to meet you.” He said in his gruff voice then stood there looking at the two of them. Yuri didn’t know how he felt about Otabek but he figured that if he was dating Yurio he couldn’t be bad.

 

Looking back to Yurio, Yuri could tell that he looked proud. He wasn’t sure if he had just been eager to show Yuri that he was not in love with Victor or it was a side effect from liking Otabek so much. However, when it came to Yurio, Yuri figured it was safe to think it was both.

 

After the introduction the four moved back to the table. Yuri moved over to the empty seat Phichit had saved him and Victor moved to where Chris was. The food had already been ordered and Phichit promised that he didn’t let Chris order anything strange for Victor.

 

When the food came the roar of their groups laughing and chatter seemed deafening. Phichit, Michele, and Georgi were talking about dating apps since Georgi seemed to be obsessed with them. Michele said he hated them ever since Sara had tried one which got him a flick in the ear from his sister. Phichit said they were boring. They were just used for hook ups and didn’t seem genuine at all. Georgi complained that neither of them understood and Phichit said that was fair enough.

 

Mila and Sara were talking off on their own, or more like flirting. Yuri felt bad that he hadn’t really talked to Sara for a while and had no idea how things were on the Mila front. He reminded himself to ask her later. The way they kept touching each other’s arms and shoulders and laughing was a sign that there was definitely something going on, even if the girls themselves didn’t know it. They looked like they were completely in their own world.

 

Victor was talking to Otabek, or at least trying. The man seemed hard to keep a conversation with but that didn’t stop Victor from trying. He would say something and then Otabek would respond but then would let Yurio pick up the slack. Chris seemed to be amused just watching the train wreck that was the conversation. Yuri wondered it if was something that happened often.

 

Yuri himself was talking to Guang Hong, Yuuko, and Takashi. Yuuko was telling him all about the trip she and Takeshi had planned for spring break which boiled down to a road trip of romantic stops. Yuri deep in his heart hoped it was everything they hoped for. He knew personally that long trips in a car sometimes made you feel gross and tired instead of excited and happy. Guang Hong, apparently a romantic at heart, was bursting with excitement for them. He said someday he would go on a trip like that with someone special.

 

The evening wasn’t anything special. It was just a nice time to just hang out. Yuri still wasn’t super comfortable around Victor’s friends, it didn’t help that he knew he wouldn’t know them for super long, but the more he spent time like this with them the more he was comfortable around them. It was a lot easier to talk to them then when he had first met them.

 

They ended up going out around downtown once they had finished their meal. They went and got ice cream at a popular shop then wandered from place to place talking and laughing. It was late by the time they all went their separate ways which was probably a bad idea since they all had a final the next day.

 

Yuri went home and did a little bit of studying while Victor went right to bed. He really had no worries at all about his finals, he was just that confident that he was going to pass

 

It was around midnight when Yuri finally shut off his desk lamp and pulled himself into his own bed. His body sighed in relief as it sunk into the mattress. He practically fell asleep as soon as he closed his eyes. However, when his alarm went off that morning it had only felt like a second. He was tired and had to fight the urge to not instantly go back to bed. The threat of being late to his final was too much thought so he dragged himself out of bed and into the shower. Victor wasn’t up yet since he had a later final and Yuri half wished he was awake to wish him good luck. Instead, he gave Makkachin a kiss before he left and told himself that that was Makkachin wishing him good luck.

 

His final went by in a flash, it didn’t even take him the full two hours. It was one of his computer science classes and he had already done most of the program work at home for it. When he got home Victor was out at his final and Yuri made a light snack since he wasn’t actually that hungry.

 

Once he had finished eating he didn’t know what to do with himself. He didn’t really need to study but doing anything else felt like a waste of his time. He tried to watch TV but he turned it off after five minutes. He tried to play with Makkachin but the dog just wanted to sleep. He tried to read but he couldn’t get into the book. In the end he pulled out his biology stuff and got to work. He went over and over the information he had written when he had studied with Victor. He kept reading it over and over again now paranoid that while he felt fine now he would forget it as soon as he walked into the classroom the next day.

 

When Victor came home from his final Yuri was at the table clutching his head staring blankly at his notes. It looked like he had overloaded his brain.

 

“Yuri? What’s wrong?” Victor rushed over to Yuri and crouched down so he could look up at his face. “Did something happen? Are you feeling bad?”

 

Yuri let out a shaky breath. “I’m going to fail.” He muttered and it felt like a repeat of a week ago.

 

“Yuri, why do you think that? We studied so much and you have it all down. I swear you’re going to do fine.”

 

“I don’t know.” Yuri breathed again. “I’m just scared. I really don’t want to fail.”

 

“Yuri.” Victor said softly and reached out to pull Yuri’s hands off his face. Yuri struggled at first before he let Victor uncover his face. His eyes flickered over to Victor to see a small smile on his face. “Calm down. You are okay. You won’t fail.”

 

“You can’t promise me that.” Yuri muttered and wanted to look away but Victors vibrate blue eyes had him trapped.

 

“No, but do you trust me?” Victor started rubbing his thumbs across the back of Yuri’s hands which distracted him slightly from what Victor was saying.

 

“Of course I trust you Victor.” It wasn’t a lie at all. He wanted to trust Victor, he knew Victor was worthy of all the trust he could give him, but his inner voice wanted to refuse.

 

“Then take a deep breath and listen to me when I say that you are more prepared then I was for my own biology final and I passed fine. You are going to be completely fine.” Yuri looked down into Victors eyes and took a deep breath like he said. He tried to absorb Victor words but it was so so hard.

 

They starred at each other and Yuri could tell that Victor’s wheels were turning. He was trying to think of what he could do to help Yuri. Sudden his eyes lit up he squeezed down on Yuri’s hands in a reassuring way. “And hey, if you pass, which I know you will, I’ll take you out. How about that? I’ll give you a reward for all your hard work. How does that sound?”

 

Yuri shook his head instantly. “No Victor I can’t let you do that. You have already done so much for me.”

 

“But I want to Yuri. It would make me happy to be able to celebrate with you. Please?” Yuri wouldn’t say that Victor pulled out puppy dog eyes but he smiled at him in a way that Yuri couldn’t refuse. He didn’t want to take the smile off of Victor’s face.

 

“Okay. But only if I pass.” Yuri reminded him and Victor nodded.

 

“Yes! Which you will. I have complete faith in you. Now let’s leave all this and let's go do something else. Want to play a video game? You can kick my ass at Mario cart again.”

 

A genuine smile lifted at the corner of Yuri’s mouth. It was hard to be stressed or sad when Victor was groaning in frustration in last place. “Okay. I’ll hook up my Wii U.”

 

After that Yuri found himself soothed by Victor’s presence once again. He was so thankful that Victor could distract him and make him feel like the world wasn’t falling apart. It made him scared about the day that Victor wasn’t going to be around anymore. He couldn’t get used to having Victor around to make everything better. He was going to have to learn how to make it through these things on his own.

 

Yuri wondered why he had to ruin everything with negative thoughts.

 

The next day when Yuri got up he could physically feel the nerves in his stomach forming a huge knot. He rubbed at his stomach as if he could find it and somehow ease it but he knew it wasn’t actually there. He left his room to shower and was surprised to see Victor up that morning even though he didn’t need to be.

 

“Yuri?” he called from the kitchen and Yuri passed the bathroom to go out and see what he needed.

 

“Yeah?” he asked as he rounded the corner to see Victor sliding something onto a plate.

 

“I made you breakfast.” He said simply and held the food out to him with a broad smile.

 

Yuri felt his heart jump in joy and his stomach gurgle at the smell, but he didn’t know if he could actually eat it. Victor, noticing Yuri’s hesitance, took a step closer and actually placed the place into Yuri’s hands. “I know you are nervous but you will feel better with something in you. I promise. I’ve been where you have been before.”

 

Yuri’s hands curled around the cold plate as he looked up at Victor in shock. “You have?”

 

“Of course. I’m only human aren’t I?” Victor said and moved off to get some food for himself. Yuri looked at his back as he walked and tried to imagine Victor in the same situation as him. For some reason it made him feel a little better knowing that Victor was at least a little like him.

 

During breakfast Yuri asked Victor to quiz him on some of the terms and they both ended up talking with mouths full of food, not even caring about table manners in front of the other anymore. Yuri got each term right and Victor gave him a look when they were done as if to say ‘see, I told you that you were going to be okay’.

 

When Yuri left this time he got a good luck kiss from Makkachin along with a good luck and a wave from Victor. He pretended as he walked down the steps that he was taking some of their energy with him to keep him positive throughout the day.

 

The walk to class felt extremely long even though it took the normal amount of time. Sliding in his seat in class he fidgeted and felt the cold sweat that broke out over his palms. He wanted to bite at his nails even though he didn’t usually do it as a habit. When the teacher finally placed the test in front of him he felt like he was about to pass out from the sheer nerves that were shooting through his body.

 

Yuri went in thinking that writing his name would be the easiest part of his test, but to his surprise question after question he knew the answer too. He could remember Victor explaining them to him or even writing the answer down in his notebook. Yuri couldn’t help but second guess himself every time, wondering if it really could be that easy for him, but it was still better than being completely lost.

 

Yuri was the first one done with his test. He looked around nervously to see if anyone was almost done. He didn’t like to be the first one done, especially because that usually meant that he had done it wrong. He sat there for a few more minutes, hoping that someone else would stand up and turn theirs in, but no one did. After what was probably too long and too obvious he stood up and walked to the front of the class. He handed the teacher the paper and she told him to have a good break. He thanked her and left the classroom. Once outside it finally hit him that it was really over.

 

He could feel all his tense muscle relax and his body had a slight tingle from the sudden change. It was really done with.

 

He walked home slowly. He tried to assess if he felt good about the test or not. He wasn’t sure if he had had some false sense of safety or if he just really did know every single question. He really hoped that it was the second one, but the little voice in the back of his head popped up reminding him that he wasn’t that smart. It wasn’t possible. He tried to push it down instead of listening to it. He wanted to be happy about it if only just for a moment.

 

Getting back to the apartment Victor was waiting. “How did it go? Do you feel good about it?” he was practically in Yuri’s face as soon as he walked in through the door. Yuri took a stuttering step back in surprise.

 

“I think I did well.” Yuri responded. “But I won’t know until Friday after she grades them.

 

“If you think you did well then I’m sure you did!” Victor said and patted him on the back. “Trust your instincts.”

 

“Okay. I’ll try.” Yuri said mostly to satisfy Victor. He wouldn’t truly feel relieved until he saw the grade.

 

“Great. And since we already know that you passed with flying colors lets plan your reward. Are you free Saturday? We could go Sunday but I figured we would be packing on Sunday.”

 

“Yeah. I should be good.” Yuri dropped his backpack and moved out of the doorway now that Victor had stepped back and given him some room. “What are we going to do if I pass?”

 

“When you pass. “ Victor corrected like it was obvious. “I’ll take you out on an adventure! It’s a secret though.”

“A secret?” Yuri said with a bit of complaint tinting his voice. “Why can’t you just tell me?”

 

“I want it to be a surprise of course!” Victor bounced oh his toes excitedly before he noticed Yuri’s not as excited face. “It that a bad thing?”

 

The deflating look of happiness on Victor’s face made him jump into action. “No way. It's fine! I just didn’t know it was a surprise. It’s so fine.”

The smile came back in the fashion of a small child who had just heard he was getting his way. “Great great! Don’t worry it’s going to be so fun you will see.”

 

“Okay. I leave it in your hands then.” Yuri, whose body was still tired finally moved past Victor. “Now if it’s okay I’m going to go take a bath.”

 

“A bath?” Victor echoed, his body turning to follow Yuri’s path to the bathroom.

 

“Yeah, I want to relax. Are you going to the high school today?” Yuri paused in front of the bathroom, eyeing the shower bathtub combo.

 

“Yeah, I’m heading out in about a half an hour. You will have the apartment to yourself.” Victor for some reason could tell that Yuri wanted a little bit of time alone and he was happy that Victor was going to give it to him. He didn’t like to be rude but he still needed his alone time.

 

“Thanks Victor. I’ll see you when you get home.”

 

Leaving Victor out in the living room Yuri moved into the bath and grabbed his speaker. He hooked his phone up and started playing music as he cleaned the bath and started filling it with hot water. When it was half full he climbed in and let the liquid surge around his body.  Closing his eyes he leaned back and let his muscles relax. He breathed in the warm steam and breathed out slowly. He still had more finals but he felt like there was nothing left to stress about. He felt like he had done all the work he had to and he was now in the home stretch. He could see the finish line just a few feet ahead. He was so ready to go home and be in a real hot spring.

 

He already knew that he was going to go out after midnight. That’s when all the customers were already sleeping. He would take his speaker out and play soft music and look up at the stars. It was something he used to do all the time, especially when he was feeling bad. It was so relaxing for him and it made him feel better. Just him, the warm water, the stars, and his music. It was one of the happiest times of his life.

 

Once the water had cooled down Yuri forced himself to get out. The nice thing about hot springs too was that they never got cold. Yuri could stay in there till he was dehydrated and all his skin was wrinkly. Maybe it wasn’t a good or healthy thing, but it was his choice to do it.

 

Out of the bath Yuri hopped in the shower real quick to wash off and warm up his skin again. Once out he found his biggest pair of sweats and a baggy t-shirt and moved out to the living room with a blanket in his hand. Turning on Netflix he scrolled till he found a movie and moved to make a snack while the opening credits rolled. With a bowl in hand Yuri sat down on the couch and wrapped himself up. Makkachin took no time to curl up next to Yuri and Yuri buried his hand in his fur just like Victor always did.

 

Warm and happy Yuri lost himself in the movie. When Victor came home Yuri was just starting his third movie and Victor sat down after a brief greeting. He sat down with their sides touching and after a few minutes he pulled up Yuri’s blanket and snuggled under it with him. Despite how cold Victor was Yuri didn’t complain. It was actually kind of nice.

 

After that the days went by quickly. Yuri and Victor finished all their finals and on Friday they were just waiting for their grades to come rolling in. Yuri found himself online refreshing the grade page for his biology class. The teacher told him it would be posted after three and it was already after three. He felt like Victor wanted to get him to stop constantly refreshing but he didn’t tell him to stop so he kept going.

 

It was ten minutes after three that it showed up. As soon as the numbers popped up Yuri literally screamed. Victor, who had decided to busy himself cleaning the kitchen accidently threw the sponge across the room in surprise.

 

“What?” Victor spun around his face a little pale. “What is it?”

 

Yuri slowly turned his head to look at Yuri with a wide eye and a slack mouth. “100” he said barely above a whisper.

 

“What was that?” Victor looked frozen in his spot. Yuri could tell that he was imagining the worse from Yuri’s reaction.

 

“I got 100%. I got everything right. I can’t believe it.” Yuri said it again louder and Victors face went from ashen to bright and shining.

 

“I told you Yuri! I told you that you had this in the bag! Congratulations.” Victor opened his arms for a hug and Yuri instantly launched himself from his seat. He ran right into Victor's arms and pressed his face into the crook of Victor’s neck. Victor’s arms came down as soon as Yuri was there and pressed him hard into his chest.

 

Yuri could feel the happiness and joy pulsing through him. He could hardly contain himself and he wrapped his arms harder around Victor in return and practically nuzzled his face into Victor’s neck. He felt so good. He felt amazing there in Victor’s arms. He couldn’t remember being this happy in someone else’s arms since he had started college. It was something about the release of all that stress and being there with Victor. There was something about Victor’s warmth and Victors smell and knowing that Victor was so happy for him. It made everything seem past wonderful.

 

Yuri wasn’t sure how long he stayed in Victor's arms before he realized it was a little weird. He didn’t think you were supposed to be this happy hugging a friend for so long. Clearing his throat he stepped back. “Thanks Victor. Thank you so much for your help.”

 

“Of course Yuri. I barely did anything. You did all the work.” Victor didn’t seem effect all by the hug even though Yuri was blushing. “And now we can go out tomorrow for you reward! I’m so excited! I have lots of stuff planned”

 

“Me too. But… It’s not extravagant right? I don’t want you to be doing too much for me.” Yuri could imagine Victor being the type of person to take everything over the top. He wouldn’t be surprised if Victor took them to some fancy restaurant that they couldn’t afford or someplace like Disneyland. Victor loved life and loved celebrations.

 

“I promise it’s the perfect amount Yuri. “ He grabbed Yuri’s shoulder as if to be resurging. “It’s just enough to celebrate your hard work.”

 

Yuri wasn’t convinced but he just nodded his head. “I’ll look forward to it then.”

 

Pleased by Yuri’s response Victor went back to cleaning the kitchen. Yuri pulled out his phone and texted Phichit the good news. He instantly got a reply involving a congratulations and then asking what he and Victor would be doing. Yuri explained that he didn’t know either and Phichit said he was going to text Victor himself. Yuri told him good luck, he didn’t think Victor would spill the beans.

 

Not too long later Victor’s phone buzzed and he watched Victor dry his hands off before he got his phone out of his pocket. Reading the text obviously from Phichit he shook his head as if thinking that Phichit should have known better and texted a quick response. Not two seconds later Yuri’s phone buzzed to a bunch of sad face emoji’s.

 

Told ya. Yuri replied before he put his phone in his pocket for good.

 

The rest of the day flew by in a flash and before he knew it Victor told him it was time to go to bed since they would be getting up earlyish. Yuri didn’t like the sound of earlyish but complied anyway.

 

Waking up at 8 felt horrible. He only got so many days to sleep in and that was too early. He moaned and tried to push Victor away from him but he had planted his butt on Yuri’s bed next to him and refused to leave until Yuri was up and heading towards the shower. Yuri stayed stubborn for ten minutes before he finally dragged himself out from under his covers and into the cold room.

 

Yuri showered half asleep and came out to the small of pancakes. Getting dressed quickly Yuri went out to the kitchen to see golden fluffy pancakes waiting for him. Yuri thanked Victor quickly as he grabbed a few and the bottle of syrup. Victor seemed pleased to see Yuri so eager to eat them.

 

They ate breakfast and then Victor said it was time to go. Looking at the clock it was now only 9:30 and Yuri didn’t know where they would need to be so early.

 

“Are you sure this isn’t going to be too much?” Yuri asked as he slid his arms into his coat as Victor was kissing Makkachin goodbye.

 

“I swear it’s not going to be anything weird.” Victor said with a laugh as he straightened up.

 

“I never said I thought it was going to be weird!” Yuri protested with a slight blush from being caught.

 

“I can tell thought.” Victor ruffled Yuri’s hair before he moved past him to the door. “Ready?”

 

“Yeah. Let’s go. I’m dying to know what you are up to.” Yuri tried to sound braver than he felt but he was really worried about where Victor was taking him. There was a thousand ways to embarrass Yuri and he hoped Victor didn’t take him to something he didn’t want to do. If he did then he would force himself to do it so he didn’t let Victor down and ended up having a breakdown or something equally as bad.

 

Instead of going down the stairs to go to the bus stop Victor went the other direction to knock on Minako’s door. Yuri was so surprised he didn’t even know what to say or if he should stop him. However, Minako opened the door as if she had expected Victor and passed him a pair of keys.

 

“Have fun you two” she said with a wink before she shut the door probably to go back to bed.

 

“We are taking the car?” Yuri spluttered, more concerned than ever. Where could they go that the bus wouldn’t take them?

“It would take too long if we took the bus. This way we can get there quickly.” Victor spun the keys on one of his fingers with a smile. Yuri wondered if he enjoyed having Yuri worked up over not knowing what was happening.

 

Walking down the stairs they moved to where the parking lot was in the back and Victor unlocked the car for Yuri to get in. Victor got in, turned on the radio, and took off into town.

 

Yuri had been in Minako’s car a thousand times. She used to babysit him when he was younger and then would take him to the dance studio with him other times just so he could play around and dance. What was weird for him was seeing Victor at the driver’s seat like it was no big deal. He also found it strange that Minako just passed over the keys. Of course the two knew each other, he lived in her building for goodness sake, but he figured most of the car discussion would be between him and Minako. However, with Victor’s personality and Minako’s weakness to hot men Yuri shouldn’t have been surprised that they were on friendlier terms than he thought.

 

“How long till we get there?” Yuri asked breaking their silence.

 

“It will be about a half an hour so you can get comfortable.” Victor said looking out at the road. Luckily there wasn’t much traffic since it was early on the weekend but there were still a good amount of cars around. Nothing that would slow down their journey thankfully.

 

Turning up the radio then Victor hummed along to some top 40 song and Yuri looked out the window. He tried to think off all the things in the direction they were going but there were just too many options and things he didn’t even know about for Yuri to think he could even begin to guess accurately.

 

So when they finally did pull into a parking lot Yuri couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled out from between his lips. Sitting in front of them was a huge building that read ‘Ice Land’. Yuri recognized it as a chain of ice skating rinks that dotted the area. He couldn’t be happier to see the place.

 

“Why did you laugh?” Victor looked over at him a little panicked, perhaps regretting his secrecy. “Is something wrong?”

 

“Nope. Everything is completely fine.” Yuri felt a smile grow till it felt like it took up the whole lower half of his face.

 

Victor in returned narrowed his eyes, trying to figure out what had Yuri in such a great mood. Yuri himself didn’t know exactly why he was so happy. Perhaps it had to do with relief, or maybe the fact that he was going to get to show off in front of Victor for once. Or at least he hoped.

 

“Why do you look like then?” Victor asked, his voice a little wary and a little confused.

 

“Don’t worry about it. Let’s go in.” Yuri opened his door and climbed out. Victor quickly followed him out and together they started walking towards the front doors.

 

“You’re hiding something.” Victor declared. It wasn’t even a question. “What’s going on?”

 

“You know how when you’re a kid your mom puts you in some kind of sport? Like little league baseball, dance, soccer, and the likes?” Victor nodded his head, his eyes stuck on Yuri’s smiling face. The two of them reached the doors in that moment and Yuri paused with his hand on the door. “My mom put me in dance, little league, and ice skating.” With the bomb dropped Yuri pushed the door open and rushed into the building with a laugh.

 

Victor was left behind trying to take in what Yuri had said and then get over the surprise of Yuri taking off without him. After a minute of his computing face Victor took off after Yuri with a laugh until they both got to the counter, Victor a few seconds behind Yuri.

 

“So you know how to skate?” Victor asked as he passed over two tickets to the man on the other side of the counter and they both got their hands stamped.

 

“Of course. I’m pretty good at it too.” Yuri said proudly. Yuri had liked skating for a long time. He had enjoyed the way he glided and moved and how it went pretty nicely with dance. He had only stopped because he had no time between school and helping out at home. He was excited to get back out there. “What about you?”

 

There was a pause as they moved over to the counter to rent skates and they both gave the woman their shoe sizes.

 

“Yeah, but I’ve only been a few times with my mom and then with some friends. I’m not a pro or anything like you supposedly are.” Victor nudged Yuri with his elbow playfully and Yuri nudged him back.

 

“I’m not a pro or anything, I just have…experience.” Yuri said as the woman came back and gave him his skates. Once she had handed Victor his too they thanked her and moved off to put their skates on.

 

Since they had arrived ten minutes after the place had opened there was no one else in the building. They both got their skates on tightly then moved out onto the ice. Victor was wobbly at first but after a few laps he was skating normally.

 

Yuri, on the other hand, could have been a nice friend and waited for Victor to get the hang of it, but Yuri instantly skated around the rink as fast as he could. He even went to the middle and did a few easy jumps he had learned when he was kid.

 

“Show off!” Victor had yelled and the two of them had laughed. When Yuri was satisfied in showing Victor his skilled and Victor was thoroughly impressed Yuri slowed down and skated next to Yuri. They skated in silence a little while to the sound of the music playing over the speakers before they started to chat.

 

“Why ice skating?” Yuri asked, his hands tucked behind his back as he glided forwards.

 

“It’s fun, something you don’t get to do every day.” Yuri rose an eyebrow, wondering if that was really it and Victor bit back a smile before he let out a small chuckle. “Okay, you got me. I also had some coupons so it may have swayed me a little.”

 

Yuri snickered, thinking back to the tickets he had handed the man and realizing it made a lot of sense. Victor was a college student after all. “Well, it doesn’t really matter. I’m happy that you brought us here.”

 

“Really?” Victor perked up. “I’m glad. I didn’t know that you were a pro but I guess this was pretty perfect for you.”

 

“It sure was.” Yuri agreed and then he took off again. For the rest of their stay Yuri switched between skating fast and doing jumps and cool moves and going back and skating and talking with Victor. Victor always had some compliment to say about what Yuri had done when he came back. It made Yuri happier than he liked to admit. It was almost like praise from Victor was addictive.

 

Sometimes Yuri would be taking a lap and look back at Victor. He would watch as he glided effortlessly after Yuri with a big smile on his face. His hair would sweep back from the wind he was generating and if he noticed that Yuri was watching him too he would give him a small wave and his eyes would get squinty from how hard he was smiling. It was completely adorable and every time it happened Yuri’s heart lurched with no fail.

 

He always went back to Victor then. The need to be near him too strong. He would slow down and let Victor catch up to him and then he would get to witness that smile up close all over again. Not only was Victors praise addictive, but his looks of pure joy could fill Yuri up forever.

 

If only he had forever.

 

As time slid by more and more people showed up. There were couples skating holding hands, families with small children that slipped and fell on the ice, and adults who had clearly been skating all their lives skating around doing more impressive things than Yuri could dream of doing. After a while it was too crowded and Victor said it was time to go.

 

Yuri figured at that point that they were done. However, once back in the car Victor drove the opposite way. “What, there is more?” Yuri said as his eyes chased after the buildings that zoomed past them.

 

“Do you really think I would wake you up that early just to ice skate?” Victor said it like it was obvious but Yuri hadn’t actually given it much thought.

 

“Well, maybe you just wanted to beat the rush I don’t know.” Yuri shrugged then turned back to the window once again left to his guessing game.

 

Considering it was a little before noon Yuri wasn’t surprised to find them in front of a restaurant. They climbed out once again and started to walk towards the door together with Yuri looking around trying to take it all in.

 

“You are not going to tell me that you have secretly worked here before are you?” Victor said as a joke and Yuri for a second imagined saying that he had and really freaking Victor out.

 

“No of course not.” Yuri decided on telling the truth. “I’ve never even heard of this place before.”

 

“Good. You’re going to love It.” they reached the door and Victor held it open for him. Once Yuri came inside he noticed the dim lighting and the candles at every table. He got a very romantic sense from the place but Yuri figured he was imagining that.

 

Walking up to the waitress Victor gave his name and they were instantly seated in a little booth near the back. It was extremely private and Yuri wondered if Victor had asked for that or if it had just turned out this way. For some reason as they sat down in the dim lighting with the soft music and with the way Victor's silver hair shined from the candle light, Yuri felt this heart pick up in the similar way it had back at the ice rink.

 

Was he tired from the exercise or what was going on? Yuri placed his hand over his heart. He knew what it was. Of course he did he wasn’t dumb. But Yuri chose to ignore it. He didn’t want to think about what that meant for him. He didn’t want to think about what everyone had been telling him he was feeling. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to prove him right, but for the same reasons he had told himself over and over again when it came to his admiration for Victor. They were nothing alike and Yuri didn’t belong in Victor’s world. If he fell in love with Victor his heart would only break later on when Victor left and he came face to face with the fact that Victor was more important to him then he was to Victor.  So if he could see it from miles away why was his heart squeezing? Why did his mind jump to wishing that this was a date and not a celebration for passing his final? Why did he want to reach over and grab the hand Victor wasn’t holding up his menu with?

 

Why had Victor taken him somewhere so romantic? Why had he tried to awaken what he was trying to bury?

 

“Are you going to look at the menu?” Victor asked once he had noticed that Yuri was just staring at him. “Or are you not hungry?”

 

Yuri jolted into action and picked up his menu. “Sorry no, I was just looking around. It’s a very beautiful place.”

 

“Yeah I thought so too. That’s why I picked it. Only the best for my Yuri.”

 

My Yuri? Oh god why would he say that? And why did it sound so nice?

 

The feelings beating in Yuri’s chest felt suddenly stronger than he had ever let them become before. The feelings felt like they had almost come out of nowhere but Yuri knew that it wasn’t true. Victor was beautiful. Anyone would react this way in this situation. What person didn’t look at Victor in dim lighting and not image themselves in love with Victor. Yuri just had to realize that this wasn’t real. He was just going along with the mood.

 

Trying to turn his mind around Yuri dived into the menu and picked out something that sounded good but was cheap. When the waiter came back with their water she took their order then was off to the kitchen to relay it to the chefs.

 

The two of them chatted about what classes they were taking next term while Yuri tried to calm his heart down and stop his palms from sweating nervously. Victor talked about the classes he had signed up for next term and gushed about how fun it was going to be in the class Victor had convinced them to take together. It was just an easy intro to mythology class that Yuri didn’t really need to take but he figured with Victor it would be pretty fun.

 

Their food came quicker then Yuri thought it would. Once it was set in front of him Yuri dug in and found that instantly the flavor exploded on his tongue and he moaned in pleasure. “Holy cow Victor this is great.”

 

“I told you. This place is the best. I actually really wanted to share it with you so I’m glad.” Victor didn’t seem shy at all about what he said but it went straight to Yuri’s heart. The thought that Victor had specifically wanted to share someplace he loved with Yuri sounded like a dream. It made Yuri feel important and wanted.

 

With the rest of their meal came more casual talking and the feeling that this felt like more than something two friends would do. Yuri had to keep pushing it down, telling himself this didn’t mean anything for either of them. But there was something inside of him that was going crazy with hope for something he didn’t even want.

 

Once Victor and Yuri had argued about paying and Victor had won the two left the restaurant.

 

“Is there anywhere else on today’s schedule?” Yuri asked as they made their way to the car.

 

“Yup. Just one last place to go before we head home.”

 

Yuri didn’t respond and instead got in the car. Most of his nerves about Victor’s surprises were gone. The first two had been great, so why would this last stop be any different?

 

When they pulled up a mall was the last thing Yuri had expected to be taken to. “Why here?” he asked looking at the big building from the car. “Are you going shopping for something?”

 

“Kind of, just come on. The faster we go in the faster you will find out!” Victor didn’t hang around and got out of the car. He didn’t even wait for Yuri and just started off on his own. Yuri had no choice but to follow him in. This was the first time they had arrived and he was still stumped. Would Victor really bring here just to hang out and shop like a couple of high schoolers?

 

Once inside and out of the cold Victor took Yuri’s hand and started to weave through the crowd of people moseying around. Yuri stared down at their intertwined hands for a couple seconds. He had touched Victor’s hands before of course but never held it for this long. He could feel the warmth of his hand and the way his fingers fit perfectly in between his own and Yuri was scared he was going to start sweating. To distract himself from the tingling feeling coming from his hand Yuri tried to look ahead and see where they were going just like he had been doing that entire day. When the place they were coming up to caught his eye he laughed.

 

“An arcade?” he asked as they walked into the store and the sound of games of all kinds filled his ears.

 

“You like video games right? I thought this would be fun. Do you not want to?” Victor was still holding his hand and looking at him with the look of a child who was going into a candy store for the first time.

 

“No, I want to go in. This will be fun.” And Yuri didn’t say that to make Victor feel better. There was always something about arcades and the feel they gave off that Yuri loved. He didn’t get to go them very often because they cost money but every time he did it felt like the time of his life in that moment.

 

“Great. Here then.” Victor pulled a bag of quarters out of his pocket that Yuri hadn’t noticed him put in there. “Let’s start!”

 

With the heaviness of the coins in Yuri’s palm the two of them took off into the games. They first sought out all the two player games. Yuri won most of the games but Victor won a few himself. Victor was better at the driving ones then he was. When they came across the dance dance revolution platform Victor practically squealed and dragged Yuri up on it. Once they started they both found they were really bad at it. They kept stomping down on the part that wasn’t the pad and bumping into each other. Yuri even accidently smacked Victor in the shoulder once trying to do a combo jump. Instead of getting frustrated they ended up laughing until they were breathless and missing even more of the steps. When they finished and they saw their scores they were so low that both of them started laughing again. Victor had to grab onto Yuri before he fell over from the sheer effort of laughing so much. They both were not sure why exactly it was so funny that they were so bad at it. It just felt good to laugh.

 

After three shooting games, a rock band game, a whack a mole game, and 2 fighting games they moved on to other games. They would each take a turn and cheer the other one on.  They found that Victor was a master at the jump rope one and Yuri tried to beat his score three times before he gave up. Yuri, on the other hand, was the best at the old fashion pac-man and when Victor failed not even close to Yuri’s score Yuri explained that he had a version on his Gameboy when he was little and had played it a lot in his free time.

 

Once they had played all the games at least once and their stock of quarters were dangerously low Yuri knew their time was coming to an end. They were walking around side by side looking at what games they should finish off with when Yuri spotted one of the claw machines. Sitting on top was the cutest poodle plush Yuri had seen. He didn’t know why such a quality toy was in there but he walked right over and pressed his hand to the glass.

 

“Look its Makkachin.” He called which made Victor bound over in a mere second.

 

“Aww, it is Makkachin. It’s so cute!” Victor mirrored Yuri by placing his hand on the class too. The two gazed at the stuffed animal for longer than seemed necessary before Yuri pulled his hand off and moved to leave.

 

“Wait, don’t you want it?” Victor asked from his spot. Yuri turned back to see the cute dog looking at him like he was being abandoned.

 

“Yeah, I do, but we only have a few coins left and I these things are rigged.” Yuri motioned at the machine and all its blaring lights. A younger Yuri had been fooled thinking he could do it, but he had learned his lesson.

 

“But isn’t that the fun of it? Trying and thinking that maybe you will be the one able to beat the odds?” Victor put his hand out as if reaching for Yuri to pull him back without actually moving. “Come on. Try it at least once.”

 

Yuri looked at Victor's face, at the machine, then the cute little dogs face. With a sigh, he moved back over and pulled one of the quarters out of his pocket. “Okay. Just once though.” Victor cheered as Yuri slid the quarter into the slot. Yuri took his time trying to position it over the dogs head and they both held their breath as the claw moved down and grabbed the dogs head just like he had planned. They both held their breath as it started to lift and groaned when it slid right out between the little metal arms.

 

“See, totally rigged.” Yuri said in a breathy voice, disappointed that he had come so close.

 

“Let me try.” Victor put his hand out for a coin, his face determined.

 

“No Victor, we don’t have a lot of coins. It’s not a big deal.” Yuri put his hand in his pocket as if Victor was going to try and grab it out of there.

 

“Just once. Please? I want to try.” Victor wiggled his fingers and put his lower lip out.

 

“Finnneeeee.” Yuri sighed and pulled one quarter out. “But I’m not letting you do it again. That’s how they get all your money.”

 

Yuri placed the quartering his palm and Victors fingers curled around it. He moved away and slid it into the slot. Yuri watched as Victor moved the claw with precision. His tongue even peeked out between his teeth in concentration. Yuri didn’t bother to hold his breath when the claw moved down that time. It clamped down on the dog's body and started to lift into the air. Yuri expected it to fall at any moment. When it reached the top and started to slide over Yuri felt his heart beat pick up. Was this really happening? Yuri didn’t blink as he waited for it to finish moving across to the drop box area. When the dog fell exactly into the area Yuri let out an excited shout. He had never once in his life actually seen someone win the claw machine.

 

Victor jumped up and whooped “I did it!” he called and grabbed Yuri by the shoulders. “I got it!”

 

“You did! You’re amazing!” Yuri grabbed Victor's elbows and they both held on to each other in excitement a few moments before Victor moved away to retrieve the dog. He instantly passed it over to Yuri and Yuri’s fingers dug into the soft fur. It wasn’t as soft as Makkachin but it was still pretty soft.

 

Yuri couldn’t help but hug the stuffed animal to his chest. “Do I get it?” Yuri asked, not wanting to assume since Victor was the one to actually get it.

 

“Yeah, I got it for you.” Victor seemed happy to see the way Yuri was clutching the toy.

 

“Thanks.” Without letting himself over think it Yuri hugged Victor and let himself be surrounded by his warmth. Just like the time before it felt amazing to be in Victor’s arms but he pulled away before he could let it get weird again.

 

Moving on Victor and Yuri spent the last of the coins on some more two players games then headed back to the car with their prize tucked under Yuri’s arm.

 

“I had a lot of fun today Victor. Thanks for planning this for me.” Yuri told him once in the car and Victor reached over to ruffle Yuri’s hair.

 

“Of course. Anything for you Yuri.” He replied then they took off.

 

Yuri was left to think about what that exactly meant on the entire ride home.

 

Once back they parked the car and returned the keys to Minako. In the apartment the first thing Yuri did was show Makkachin junior to Makkachin. Makkachin didn’t seem to care much about the little dog and gave it an uninterested sniff. Once Yuri figured nothing else would happen he took the dog and placed it on his bed where it would wait for him until bedtime.

 

Before returning to the living room to where Victor was waiting for him Yuri sat down on his bed and sighed. His heart didn’t feel right and he didn’t like it. He had to push this feeling down again. For as many times as he told himself that he felt like he needed to get it tattooed on his arm. He couldn’t let himself take this path. He was stronger than this.

 

He would not fall in love with Victor Nikiforov.

 

Chapter Text

Yuri dragged himself out of bed way earlier then he wanted to that Monday. Trying to rub sleep out of his eyes, he slipped on the clothes he had placed out the day before so getting ready would take the least amount of time and he could sleep for as long as possible. His bags were already packed and sitting by his door so as he left he picked them up to carry them out to the living room.

 

Yuri tried to be quiet as he walked out and shut the door behind him. Victor was driving first since Yuri could navigate to his own house better than if Victor tried to follow instructions. He wanted to let Victor sleep in as long as possible so he wasn’t tired himself. He had gone to bed pretty early the day before but sometimes when waking up at 5am that didn’t change anything.

 

It was Yuri’s week to make breakfast even thought they would not be at the apartment for most of it so he made toast which would be quick and easy to eat. He set asides Victor's in a place he would be able to see when he came out. He munched on his own quietly staring off into nothing, too tired to do anything else. When his breakfast was gone, Yuri grabbed the few extra things he needed to pack that he couldn’t grab until last minute which was things like his phone charger and his pillow.

 

It wasn’t too much later that Victor shuffled out of his bedroom fully dressed. He waved at Yuri as he got close and Yuri passed him the food and a mug of coffee he had made for him even though Yuri himself didn’t drink it. Victor mumbled his thanks as he ate looking half asleep.

 

“I’m going to go start putting my stuff in the car,” Yuri said in a quiet voice. He felt like if he talked too loud some kind of early morning atmosphere would be shattered.

 

Victor swallowed his bite of food and nodded. “Okay, I’ll eat this and start taking my own stuff down.”

 

“Sounds good.” Yuri muttered and then moved off to leave Victor with his food. Grabbing his bag and pillow Yuri left the apartment and pulled the car keys out of his pocket. He had already gotten them from Minako last night when she had come home from the dance studio so she didn’t have to be up that early to give them to him. He would do anything to avoid a sleepy Minako. It was when she was her most vicious.

 

Yuri practically drug the heavy duffle bag down the stairs and around the building to the back. Once he hit the button to pop the trunk he hefted the bag inside and closed it with just a hair left open so when Victor came down it was open for him. On his way back up Victor was on his way down and they gave each other a tired nod.

 

Once back in the house Yuri opened the cupboard and grabbed a bag out that Victor had bought at the store just a few days before full of snacks for the drive up and back. He had grabbed a few of Yuri’s favorites and a few of Victor’s and then some things that they both liked. After making sure that he had it all he moved to the fridge and grabbed a bag of drinks that had a similar assortment. Victor had conveniently had one of those ice cooler bags that his mother had given him just in case. It barely needed any ice and was guaranteed to keep drinks cool for days. Yuri guessed they would find out.

 

Victor was coming in the door when Yuri went out that time and they both had to screech to a stop before they smacked into each other.

 

“Is that everything?” Victor asked motioning down to what was in Yuri’s hands.

 

“Yes unless there was anything else you thought of?” Victor shook his head. “Then I guess we are ready to go.” Yuri looked over at the clock and saw that it was a little after six. They were practically on schedule.

 

“Great. I will turn off the lights. Do you have the apartment keys?” Victor moved into the house and turned off the few lights they had turned on.

 

“Yeah. I already hooked them on to the car keys.” Yuri said in the light of the doorway as Victor’s figure made its way back over to him. His hands were starting to get tired from the heaviness of the bags and he was eager to go.

 

“Good thinking. Where are they?” Victor stopped next to him and took the drink bag out of his hand lightening Yuri’s load. His other hand was put out for the car keys.

 

With his now free hand Yuri pulled the keys out of his pocket once more and handed them over to Victor. Victor instantly closed them in a fist like he was afraid he would drop them.

 

With that Yuri moved out the door pausing a moment to wait for Victor to lock the door behind them. Yuri felt it was a little sad that there was no Makkachin to see them off. He was probably still sleeping at Chris’s house who had offered to babysit him for the week. Victor had seemed grateful saying that Makkachin had a hard time traveling long distance and he didn’t want to impose on Yuri’s parents anyways. Yuri assured him it would have been fine but Victor had insisted it was for the best. Despite his firm attitude he had looked pretty sad when Chris had showed up to pick him up the day before.

 

The two made it down to the car without any incidents and after placing there snacks in the backseat at a reachable distance for Yuri they slid into their seats and Victor started the car. He took a minute to hook up his phone to Minako’s stereo. They had agreed that the driver had control of the music for his duration of the trip. Yuri didn’t think this would really be a problem as long as Victor didn’t start playing rap or intense screamo.

 

The music that started playing was soft and for some reason reflected the night sky and the street lights. Victor backed out of the parking spot and they were on their way. They continued not to speak the entire time they made their way out of town. Yuri didn’t think either of their minds were awake enough to think of a conversation. Instead they sat there and looked at all the dark buildings that passed by. Yuri realized he had never really been out and about early enough to see the buildings and all the signs off still. He began to wonder when they did turn on. When did the world officially wake up? Whenever it was it was too early for him to be awake to find out.

 

Yuri rested his head back and closed his eyes. He was still so tired even if he had gotten the correct amount of sleep. He really wanted to go back to bed but he figured that would be rude to Victor who had to stay up. He was sure that he wanted to sleep too.

 

So Yuri cracked his eyes open almost painfully and watched the road ahead of him. His eyes were blurry and he didn’t know how long he was going to last with the soft music and vibrations of the car. That’s why when the music changed Yuri took notice. It wasn’t that the song wasn’t soft and slow still. It was more like the genre changed from deep soothing voices to something Yuri could only describe and high and punkish.

 

As the words started Yuri took interest in their lyrics:

 

“Well you know that I'm cold. Black on constellations gold. And you know that your soul's black top under lacing won't let it go. It was all for you. All for you and more. She won't chase him anymore. To the end. Never leave. Fall asleep on the first I face. And they say play the game. You and me found love lost under the shade. Well you know I'm a ghost. Pull the note out of my throat and leave me alone. But it's all for you. All for you and more. He won't take her anymore. To the end. Never leave. Fall asleep on the first I face. And they say play the game. You and me found love lost under the shade. Come back to my heart tonight. I don't care. Come back tonight.”

 

“What band is this?” Yuri asked when the ending instrumentals began after what felt like a long time. He had tried to make sense of the lyrics but he wouldn’t figure out at all what the story was or if there was one at all.

 

“Um.” Victor’s voice cracked from disuse before he cleared it and started again. “I honestly am not sure if this is right but I think its Peirce the Veil?”

 

Yuri picked up Victor’s phone and clicked it on to see ‘Falling asleep on a stranger by Pierce the Veil’. Yuri recognized it as a popular pop punk bad that was usually associated with teenage emo phases. Yuri hadn’t pegged Victor as a person who was interested in this type of music, not that anything was wrong with that. “Your right that’s them. How come you were not sure?”

 

“Oh, well it’s not a band I listen to. I only know that one song.” Victor seemed to say it like it wasn’t a big deal but it had piped Yuri’s interest.

 

“How come?” Yuri figured that it was one of those situations where you had heard it once and liked the song but didn’t bother to listen to the rest of the band, but Yuri was curious to hear if there was a different reason.

 

“It’s a band Yurio listens to.” Victor started his explanation and things were already starting to make sense. Yuri could just image Yurio sitting in his room listening to music like that while doing something like homework. “I was over recently and he was playing it and I liked it. He told me the name and I ended up downloading it from one of his CD’s onto my phone.”

 

“Oh, I see.” Yuri looked down at the phone and at the strange album cover art. It looked like a sad women in a wedding dress sitting on a stage surrounded by props and Yuri had no idea what was going on there either. “Not to be rude but…this song just seems so abstract. What is it even about?”

 

Victor chucked which was the last thing Yuri had expected. “I wasn’t sure at first either. I had interpreted it wrong myself the first time. I had to ask Yurio and he was actually pretty offended that I just didn’t get it. I guess it is something you have to be deep to get.” Yuri for a second thought he was joking by saying that. The song hadn’t seemed to be that deep at first listen but maybe it was a song you have to think about deeper to get the hidden meaning and that’s what Victor had meant.

 

“Can you explain it to me? I don’t think I’m awake enough to try and pull apart this song. I’m not sure if I ever will be.” Yuri locked Victor’s phone and slid it back into the cup holder.

 

“Yeah, no problem. I just have to remember what Yuri said it was about. I think it was something about being in a relationship with someone but things went too quickly and they realize they barely know them? Don’t quote me on that. I can ask Yurio later.” Victor reached over and turned down whatever song had come after the one they were talking about.

 

“Why don’t you tell me what you think it’s about? I think that would actually be more interesting.” Yuri said it absentmindedly thinking it wouldn’t mean anything but when he looked over he noticed the nervous look on Victor’s face and realized maybe it was a little more personal then he thought.

 

“Well.” Victor started out slowly, the e dragging out as he took a moment to think.  “I took the title literally and thought it was about falling in love with a stranger.”

 

Yuri instantly wanted to start the song over so he could hear the lyrics again with the meaning in his mind but he wanted to hear why Victor had his own meaning first. “Why do you think that?”

 

“I don’t know if I can really explain it. I might just be projecting too much. To me it’s a song about being lonely and then seeing a stranger and falling for them but you don’t even know them. Then they realize that the person isn’t who they thought they were and fall out of love with them.”

 

Yuri sat quietly and absorbed that. Especially the projecting part. “Have you… have you done that before?” As soon as Yuri said it he realized he crossed the line into personal territory. He held his breath and waited to see if Victor would tell him or shut the conversation down.

 

Yuri almost ran out of air before Victor spoke. “Yeah. I have. It was at school actually. I saw this person and it was love at first site. Yet, I knew that if I ever tried to talk to them the illusion of them would shatter. You don’t fall in love with a stranger because of who they are but because of who you want them to be. And to actually have them be that person is impossible. If you meet them you will just be broken hearted.”

 

Yuri’s fingers tapped nervously against his leg. Why did his chest feel heavy? “So you never actually met the person you fell in love with?”

 

A smile cracked across Victor's face that practically lit up the dark morning around them. “I did. They were better than I had ever imagined.”

 

His words seemed to draw the conversation to a close but Yuri was more confused than he had ever been before. The details he had didn’t seem to add up. If Victor had met this person he had fallen in love with and they had been better than he had expected then where were they now? Had they not liked Victor back? That was hard to imagine. Maybe they had already dated and things had turned bad and they had broken up. Or maybe this was back when Victor lived in Russia and he had to leave them behind and they had decided that long distance wouldn’t work.

 

There was a thousand sad possibilities to end the story that Victor was telling, but none of them made sense placed against Victor’s smile. He didn’t look sad at all. He looked happy.

 

Yuri wanted to ask but he didn’t want to turn the conversation in a worse direction. He already felt like he had dodged a bullet and he didn’t want to make Victor think of the rest if there really was a bad ending.

 

“I see.” Was all Yuri said which transitioned them into a new bout of silence. After a few short minutes, Yuri decided he would just sleep after all. Cranking the seat back into a laying position he mumbled. “I’m going to sleep for a little bit.”

 

“Okay. Have a nice nap.” Victor responded and Yuri was glad that he didn’t seem mad about it. When he was younger he had gone to the next town with his sister to get some emergency supplies they had run out of in town and he had fallen asleep. His sister had gotten mad at him telling him that it was rude to sleep when the driver cant. He hadn’t thought it would be a problem since it was the middle of the day and he had been up all night playing video games, but after that he tried to never do it again unless he had to.

 

Yet as Yuri laid there with his eyes closed he couldn’t sleep. All the tiredness in his brain had been replaced by curiosity and a different feeling he couldn’t identify but knew it went with the pang that was in his heart.

 

Victor had been in love before.

 

Thinking about it it made sense. Victor was the king of the school and probably anyplace he went would to he be popular enough to get a date. Unlike Yuri, he had probably kissed a thousand people and gone out with more. But why did it make him feel weird? He didn’t have a problem when any of his other friends had gone out with people. He had always been happy for them. Why wasn’t he happy now?

 

Yuri kept his eyes clothes, knowing it would be awkward if he suddenly changed his mind and sat back up. He just listened to the songs and every once and awhile he would hear Victor sing along. Yuri noticed that he didn’t have an amazing singing voice but it was soothing and without realizing it he fell asleep to the sound of Victor singing to With or Without You by U2.

 

It was bright out when the jiggle of the car woke Yuri up. He sat up groggily and his neck was sore from sleeping in a half sitting position. Looking out he saw that they were pulling into a gas station.

 

“Hello sleepyhead.” Victor said as he pulled up to one of the pumps. “I didn’t know you would sleep so long.”

 

“Where are we?” Yuri rubbed at his eyes as he tried to get used to the new light.

 

“Gas station at about the halfway mark.” Victor turned off the car and pulled the keys out of the ignition.

 

“Seriously? Yuri dramatically looked around him to see that Victor was right. He recognized the town since it was one his family liked to stop in and eat on their way to Yuri’s school when they did all the tours and the orientation and moving him in. Since they left about 6 that meant it was only ten now. They were making great time.

 

Victor got out of the car and started up the pump. Yuri sat his seat up all the way then unbuckled himself. Throwing the door open he slipped out and his legs were wobbly from sitting still for so long.

 

“Why didn’t you wake me up? It was probably boring driving for 4 hours by yourself.” Yuri said as he wobbled over to where Victor was swiping his card.

 

“I didn’t mind.” Victor shrugged and put the pump into the car and clicked it on. “It was kind of nice just me the music and the nature going by. I don’t get to drive long distance very often.”

 

Yuri’s guilt lowered a little hearing that but he still wished that what he thought would be a one hour nap hadn’t gone so long.

 

“Well if you’re tired then you can sleep for the rest of the way. It’s only fair.” Yuri started stretching his legs so he was ready for his turn to drive. He was waking up little by little and stretching his muscles felt good.

 

Victor leaned his hip against the car and crossed his arms over his chest. “ Well I am tired but I don’t think I’ll sleep.”

 

“Why?” Yuri tilted his head to the side causing his bangs to fall over his glasses a little. “I wouldn’t mind at all. I’ll play my music and that will be good enough for me too.”

 

Victor was about to argue with him, Yuri could see it in his eyes, but a yawn interrupted him and seemed to agree with Yuri. When Victor mouth closed his lips pressed into a line and his eyes turned to watch the dollar amount climb on the pump. Finally he sighed, “Yeah maybe I will sleep. I don’t want to be tired when I meet your family.”

 

Yuri smiled triumphantly. For some reason he was glad that Victor was going to sleep more than just because it would make them even. Yuri felt like if they talked again all he would be able to think about would be this mysterious person that Victor had been in love with, or still was, and Yuri wasn’t sure if in the next four hours that he was strong enough not to ask.

 

Victor wandered off to the back to pull out his blanket and pillow and set it in the passenger seat as Yuri finished putting the pump away when it turned off.

 

“All good?” Victor called from over the car and when Yuri called back that it was all good he climbed into the passenger seat and got situated. Yuri followed and got into the driver’s seat. Victor was taller than him so Yuri had to move the seat around till he could comfortably reach the peddles and see out of all the mirrors. He unplugged Victor's phone and put his own on. He shuffled his music and sound instantly came out of the car stereo.

 

“You got it from here?” Victor asked from his reclined spot, his eyelids already starting to droop.

 

“I do. I know the way home by heart. You just sleep.” Yuri started the engine and Victor made a grunt in agreement then his breathing slowed down as he fell asleep before Yuri had even pulled out of the parking lot.

 

Yuri got on the freeway quickly and they were off again. He was a little worried that his music would wake Victor up but it never did and after a while he found himself singing along just like Victor had.

 

As Yuri drove he started to think more and more about what was to come. He was bringing Victor home to meet his family. Maybe that was something friends did but for some reason the thought of Victor with his family seemed foreign. Victor was so much more. He was a spectacular human being and for some reason Yuri felt like Victor should do something grander with his break then spend it with Yuri’s average family. He knew Victor would be polite and probably get along super well with all of them, but it just felt off. It reminded him of how he first felt when Victor came into his own life. It just felt like Yuri and Victor lives were so different that they shouldn’t cross like that.

 

Yuri figured that he was going to have to get over the train of thought because in about 4 hours it was going to be a reality.

 

So for the rest of the drive Yuri’s mind wandered. He thought about seeing his mom and dad and sister and the things he planned to do back home. He was also very excited for his mom’s pork cutlet bowl. He hadn’t had hers in a while and he could already feel himself drooling over the thought of it.

 

About one hour before they arrived Victor woke up. After hearing how close they were he started asking questions about his family. There were just little tidbits of information about them and while Yuri figured they couldn’t be that interesting Victor was fascinated. When Yuri asked why he wanted to know Victor just said that he wanted to know all about Yuri and they were a part of him. For some reason that made Yuri blush.

 

When they finally crossed over into the town Yuri grew up in Victor instantly stopped talking. His eyes went wild trying to take in every little thing. Yuri couldn’t help but laugh. He looked like a dog on the way to the park to play.

 

“We’ll come out and look around one day alright? You don’t have to worry about missing anything.” Yuri said, trying to get Victor to calm down. Victor in turn just looked at him with a look that seemed to ask how he knew that that was what he was worried about.

 

“There is just so much to look at.” Victor replied as he finally turned back to keep looking at the passing buildings.

 

“It’s not actually that interesting. It’s just a normal little town.” Yuri wasn’t being modest. It was a pretty small town with the most exciting thing being the half bare mall and the movie theater.  His families hot springs technically wasn’t even in the town but up in the mountains. His family only came down for school and when they needed more supplies for the inn because it was just that uninteresting.

 

“Don’t make me repeat myself.” Was all Victor said back and it made Yuri wonder if he had misheard him?

 

“What did you say?” His voice was a little high in surprise.

 

“I mean I already told you that anything that has to do with you is important to me. And when I said everything I meant everything.”

 

Yuri was speechless again. He was beyond blushing. Why was Victor acting like he was the most important person in the world? This had to be baseless flattery. There was no way Yuri was that interesting, nor the life he was leading.

 

When they left town and started up the mountain Yuri was starting to get more nervous. He wasn’t sure what was going to happen when Victor met his family. He was sure it would be fine but the uncertainty was killing him.  There were so many possibilities and things that could go wrong. Yuri knew it didn’t make sense to freak out seconds before it happened but he could feel his palms starting to sweat. Pulling up to the Inn he parked out of the way of the customer parking but not too far away that they would have to carry their stuff too far.

 

 

“Well, here it is.” Yuri’s voice wobbled as he motioned to his home. Victor’s eyes were taking it all in with a smile on his face. Without saying anything he threw open the car door and started moving in towards the house. Yuri practically threw himself out of the car to run to catch up with Victor before he made it to the front door.

 

“Let me go in first.” Yuri had to practically plead as Victor's long strides kept putting him in front of Yuri.

 

Victor looked over at him in surprise almost as if he hadn’t himself realized how fast he was moving. “Of course. I’m sure you are eager to see your family!” and with that he slowed down to Yuri’s relief.

 

Once at the door Yuri swung it open. “Mom, Dad, Mari, we are here.” he called out to let everyone know they were there.

 

In a second Yuri’s mom was running into the room. “Yuri baby you are here!” in the next seconds she was hugging the breath out of Yuri.

 

“Hey mom, I’ve missed you.” He said into her hair and hugged her back. Now that he was back home he realized to just what extent he had missed his family and his hometown. It felt nice to be back.

 

“It’s so good to see you honey.” His mom pulled back and patted Yuri’s cheeks before she noticed Victor standing behind Yuri with a big smile on his face. “And you must be Victor!” she went over to him and pulled him into another hug. “Welcome to our home!” She pulled him back to an arm’s length and looked him up and down. “And Yuri was right, you are very handsome!”

 

“Mom!” Yuri said in shock. She wasn’t supposed to tell him that!

 

“Oh don’t worry Yuri, I’m sure he is very well aware of it.” His mom said over her shoulder before turning back to Victor.

 

“Thank you, Ma’am. And thank you for letting me spend time in your home this break.” Victor was very polite with his speech and Yuri almost thought he saw a slight blush dusting Victor cheeks but he was sure he was imagining it.

 

“Oh, you don’t have to speak so formally with me! Call me Hiroko!” Victor was about to respond when Yuri’s mom let go of him and called into the rest of the house. “Mari, Toshiya dear! Come in here and meet Victor!”

 

In the next second Yuri’s father arrived. “Welcome to our inn Victor. I hope you have a lovely stay.” He said as soon as he reached them. To Yuri it sounded more like he was talking to a customer instead of a guest but it kind of was what Victor was.

 

“Thank you very much. I already love your home and am sure I will have a lovely time. Thank you for letting me come over.”

 

“Of course. It’s our pleasure. Yuri has never asked if anyone could come home before. We were very happy.” Yuri blushed. He didn’t want his dad to make it seem like Victor was someone special to Yuri. Of course he was but Yuri didn’t want to make it seem like he was attached to Victor, especially since their time together was limited. He didn’t want to seem like an idiot

 

“Where is Mari?” Yuri asked in an attempt to interrupt them.

 

“I’m here. Welcome home Yuri.” Mari appeared in the room as if she had been waiting there for Yuri to bring her up. She came up beside him and patted his shoulder.

 

“Thank Mari.” Yuri said even though she didn’t seem very pumped to see him.

 

“I bet you guys are tired” Yuri’s mom said. “We got a full house this weekend so we put you two in the same room. I’m sure that will be fine with you two. Why don’t you guys bring your stuff in and relax? Dinner will be in about three hours.”

 

Yuri was a little shocked. They were sharing a room? He guessed he should have seen it coming. It was spring break, of course a lot of families and couples were coming to the hot springs. He just hadn’t mentally prepared himself for it

 

“I’ll help.” Mari said and with that the three of them moved back outside to the car. It didn’t take long between the three of them to take their stuff to Yuri’s room. The first time they had walked in Victor had paused to look around. He wanted to examine all of Yuri’s posters and Knick knacks but Yuri quickly dragged him out saying he could look after they had brought the stuff in. Yuri said this mostly because he wanted a moment to try and think if there was anything embarrassing in his room he wouldn’t want Victor to see.

 

Luckily he hadn’t thought of anything and after thanking Mari the two sat down on Yuri’s bed.

 

“So this is your childhood room?” Victor's eyes couldn’t stop devouring everything he could see.

 

“Yup, it’s not anything really that exciting.” Yuri tried to sound casual even though he was extremely nervous.

 

“I think it’s a very nice room. My room was very plain. My mother liked to keep things clean and didn’t like having much clutter.”

 

“That sounds kind of sad.” Yuri said and after it had left his mouth he realized that might have sounded rude.

 

However, instead of taking offense Victor just shrugged. “It wasn’t bad. It’s one of the things I like about living away from home though. I can decorate however I want to.”

 

With that Victor pushed himself off the bed and walked over to the poster of a sci-fi movie Yuri had gone and seen with his friends from high school. He looked it over for a few second before he moved over to his desk with a few figures and papers that he had left there the last time he had visited. Yuri wasn’t exactly sure what to do and half felt like he needed to stop him. He had already decided there was nothing out to be embarrassed of if Victor had found it but what if he was wrong?

 

Finally, Victor turned and had a picture in his hands. He was examining it closely and turned the picture towards Yuri after a second. Yuri recognized it instantly. It was a picture of him from elementary school with a brown poodle that looked very similar to Makkachin.

 

“You never told me your poodle looked so much like Makkachin. What was their name?”

 

Yuri cringed, this was the embarrassing part. “Um...his name was Vicc-chan.”

 

“Vicc-chan?” Victor repeated slowly. “How funny. Sounds a lot like my name.”

 

“Yeah. Crazy how things like that happen.” Yuri laughed awkwardly and wondered if Victor could hear the fakeness of it as clearly as he could himself.

 

The truth was the dog had actually been named Victor. Not that the dog was named after Victor, it was impossible since they had just met that year, but for some reason he didn’t want Victor to know that. He felt like maybe it would make things weird or that it would creep Victor out. Yuri was just glad that Victor hadn’t figured out that there was more to the name.

 

Victor turned the photo back to him and looked over it for a few more seconds before he lifted his eyes to meet Yuri’s again. “If it’s not too much to ask, how did he die?”

 

Yuri swallowed a lump that was forming in his throat. “Um...he got hit by a car.” Despite trying to sound normal there was a wobble in Yuri’s voice that for sure didn’t pass Victor's attention.

 

“Are you okay?” Victor set the photo down and moved back over to where Yuri was sitting.

 

“Yeah….I just...I got Vicc-chan when I was in the first grade. He was pretty much my best friend. We did almost everything together and I loved him so much. When I was in 6th grade he escaped from the house one day and we spent all day looking for him. We shut down our hot spring and everything. It wasn’t till later that night that we found him in the road dead. I was torn up about it for a very long time. I still get pretty upset about it to this day.”

 

Victor's face had increasingly got more and more upset as Yuri spoke. At the end he instantly pulled Yuri into a hug. “I’m so sorry. That sounds horrible. I don’t know what I would do if I lost Makkachin. I’m sorry I made you think about it again.”

 

“It’s okay.” Yuri lightly touched Victor’s back but didn’t really hug him back. “It’s not like I want to forget about him or anything.”

 

Victor didn’t say anything back. Yuri wasn’t sure if it was because he didn’t know what to say or if he thought silence was what Yuri needed. He just held onto him for a few seconds before he let go. “Hey.” He said once he pulled back. “Would you mind giving me a tour of the place? I’ve never been to a hot spring before.”

 

“Yeah sure.” Yuri pushed up his glasses and rubbed at his face before he stood up and waved Victor after him. He was pretty sure Victor had asked to change the subject. “Come on I’ll show you.”

 

Yuri took him around the house showing him the guest room, the actual hot spring, the common area, and then the kitchen. In the kitchen Yuri and Victor found Yuri’s father already cooking even though it was only 4.

 

“Yuri, I’m glad to see you. I was about to send you sister to go get you. We got a dinner rush and your mom and sister are tied up with customers. Can you switch out your mom so she can help me cook?” He said not even looking at the two of him. He looked swamped. Not only did the guests order dinner but sometimes families in the town came in and ordered food meaning that they probably had a lot of people in the dining area.

 

“Of course dad.” Turning to Victor Yuri said. “You can go to my room and relax for a while.”

 

“Oh. I thought I would help.” Victor said without missing a beat, his cheerful smile lighting up his face.

 

Yuri’s eyebrows scrunched together. “You want to help? Are you sure? You are in no way obligated to help.”

 

“Yeah! You guys are already being so kind to me so I think it’s only fair that I help out. Plus I’m pretty good with people.”

 

Yuri looked Victor up and down. He was good with people, he would give him that, but Yuri didn’t think he had ever worked as a waiter before. Yuri chewed on his lip as he decided if he should let him help or not. Yet, looking at Victor and his determined face, Yuri figured Victor wouldn’t give him the option to refuse.

 

“Okay. If you need any help or want to stop feel free too. These customers are usually chatty so it takes more time at each table and you have to make sure you make it to every table before anyone gets angry. We’ll get the notepads and pens and write as they speak and instantly take it to the kitchen. Got it?”

 

“Yes! Seems easy enough.” Victor sounded confident but Yuri wasn’t sure how long that would last.

 

“Okay let’s go then.” the two of them moved out of the kitchen and headed the opposite way they had come earlier to where they could hear the roar of voices.

 

Once they entered they saw Mari and Yuri’s mom taking orders. Yuri instantly went up to his mom and told her they were switching. She thanked him a few times before she gave him her writing pad and ran off to the kitchen. Yuri, in turn, passed it to Victor then went to grab an extra from a drawer behind the front counter in the next room. When he came back he told Victor what to do once more and then they set out to socialize and get orders. Half of the people in the room were regulars who came to eat his mom's cooking and was excited to see Yuri. These tables took longer since he had to talk about how school was going and what his major was but Yuri had grown up in this kind of atmosphere and knew how to keep the conversation moving. Every once and while he would check in on Victor but he always seemed to do well. He was always eagerly chatting away with the customer and never had a problem with getting away from the extra chatty ones to get orders.

 

People kept going and coming and some people ordered seconds or more drinks as they got progressively drunk. The TV was playing a sport and most of the guests were relaxing and watching it as the bustle of the dinner rush went on around them.

 

It was probably a little after 7 when the rush calmed down. Yuri had forgotten just how crazy things got during holidays and school breaks.  Back in Jjapan, they had run a much smaller hot spring but here in America they were more of an authentic Japanese experience that drew in a lot of tourists and recurring customers who had developed a taste for his mother’s Japanese cooking.

 

Either way by the end Yuri was dead tired and extremely hungry. He shuffled over to an empty table he had wiped down not too long ago and sat down on the floor. He stretched his legs out under it as he let his upper body slump onto the surface. Yuri closed his eyes and after a few minutes he heard someone sit down across from him.

 

“Tired?” A voice said and Yuri cracked his eyes open to see it was Victor who had sat down. Surprisingly enough Victor looked a little worn out but nothing close to the damage that Yuri had taken. Yuri usually had a lot of stamina so he told himself it was because Victor had been the last one to sleep in the car.

 

“A little bit” Yuri lied as he forcefully picked his body off the table.

 

“Well good. Your mom is making us all dinner and if you fall asleep you won’t be able to have any.”

 

This instantly made Yuri perk up, mostly because he knew what was coming. It was a tradition that when Yuri went anywhere for an extended period of time that when he came home he got his favorite meal: pork cutlet bowl. With all of the excitement of Victor coming with him he hadn’t thought much about the fact he was getting his favorite home cooked meal.

 

“You will finally get to taste the best pork cutlet bowl in the world!”

 

Victor perked up. “Is that what we are having?”

 

“Yes.” Yuri could feel the smile on his face growing wider and wider by the second. “My mom always makes it the first night when I come home.”

 

“I can’t wait then.” Victor clapped his hands together in excitement. “You say so many good things about it I have been wanting to taste it for myself for a long time.

 

Not too long later the rest of Yuri’s family came into the room with bowls. Victor moved over so he was sitting next to Yuri and the rest of the family could have their own side of the table. They set the bowls down in front of Yuri and Victor before sitting around the same table with their own.

 

“Thank you so much for helping out boys.” Yuri’s father said. “We were much busier than we expected tonight. You saved us.”

 

“It was no problem at all dad.” Yuri said even though his tired body disagreed.

 

“Yes. We were glad to help!” Victor chimed in even though he looked like he was eagerly waiting for the moment he was able to eat.

 

“Well let’s dig in then!” Yuri’s mom said with a smile and they all dug in.

 

Yuri held off, however, to watch Victor take a bite. It felt like an echo of when he had watched Victor try his own pork cutlet bowl. And just like the first time Victor face lit up as the flavor filled his mouth. He chewed in delight and then noticed Yuri looking at him. Leaning in he whispered in his ear. “It’s very good! However I think I liked the one you made me better.”

 

Yuri felt his face get hot. It was a complete lie. Yuri knew his mom's cooking was way better than his considering she had been professionally cooking since way before he was born, but the fact that he said it made his entire body lite up with joy and he wasn’t exactly sure why. It wasn’t like he said anything super nice or even really praised Yuri enough to cause this reaction. Maybe it was just because he was tired.

 

The meal moved on and there and there was idle chatter between the entire family. His parents asked Victor a lot of questions about himself and asked them both how school was going and about finals.

 

In one lull of conversation, Victor piped up with a question. “So why did you guys move to America?”

 

“Well.” His mother started slowly. “We lived in Hasetsu in Japan where we also ran an inn with a hot spring. We were the last one in the area for a long time before even then our business was growing smaller and smaller. The area was just getting less popular as time went on. We had to start looking for a more populated area but in Japan hot springs are a very popular occupation and we couldn’t find work anywhere else as the owners. At last resort we had to look outside of Japan and happened to discover this little place for sale by the previous owners.  So we moved and fixed the place up and we get a steady amount of customers.”

 

“That sounds difficult.” Victor said sympathetically. “I moved here from Russia myself so I know the pain of leaving a life and your culture behind to try and adopt to the ways of America. However, it seems like a lovely place you have found yourself here.”

 

Yuri’s mom blushed and waved him off. “Oh stop, your being way to kind. We are just a normal inn.”

 

“No! I’m very serious.” Victor said leaning forward excitedly. “I have stayed in my fair share of family run inns and yours tops them all. It is very warm and welcoming here.”

 

Yuri’s mom was blushing harder at the praise. Yuri could tell his excessive blushing came from his mom. However, Yuri couldn’t help but smile at how happy Victor was making her. His parents worked hard to make their dreams come true, which meant leaving the only home they had ever known. He had remembered his mom crying when they had left, more than the rest of them. She was leaving her friends and her parents behind while the rest of them mostly only had each other. Settling in America had been a struggle at first too. None of them had been great at English. Plus the place they had bought had been pretty run down. Getting customers to come even once they had fixed the place up had been a challenge of its own. Yuri was pretty amazed just thinking about how people drove hours just to experience their hot springs now. She deserved every bit of praise she was getting from Victor.

 

The conversation moved on eventually to more idle chatter. They all caught him up on what was going on in the town including children born, marriages of people Yuri had gone to school with, and other big events sprinkled with some idle gossip that Yuri’s father couldn’t help but slip in. Once their meals were done it was pretty late and Yuri found himself tired from the travel.

 

“I think it’s time for us to go get ready for bed.” Yuri announced after Victor had yawned for the third time in what Yuri swore was just a minute.

 

“Of course dear!” Yuri’s mom scrambled to her feet and Yuri and Victor followed suite. “Let’s go get the futon.”

 

Following her to a closet near the back of the building Yuri helped his mom get out the futon and together Yuri and Victor dragged it to Yuri’s room.

 

“This is a futon?” Victor asked, his voice muffled from being hidden behind the thick bedding.

 

“Yeah. It’s not like the American futon you are thinking about. It’s very comfortable I swear.”

 

Victor seemed to trust him because he didn’t say anything more about it. They moved it through the doorway and they laid it out on the floor. Victor threw his pillow down and then grabbed his bag. Without a word he started digging around till he found his pajamas and instantly started changing.

 

Yuri felt his entire face go red as Victor’s shirt fell to the floor. He spun on his heels before he could think too much about it and grabbed his own clothes and his bathroom bag from his bag.

 

“I-I’m going to g-go to the bathroom.” Yuri stuttered in his embarrassment and rushed out of the room, slamming the door behind him without much thought to the guests that were probably already sleeping.

 

Zipping down the hall Yuri tried to get himself to calm down. Sure he was unused to people suddenly stripping in front of him but he realized he was overreacting. It’s just some skin after all. Even if it was the skin of a beautiful man. It was really nothing that exciting.

 

Yuri slipped into the bathroom and turned on the light. He tried to busy himself with changing them and brushing his teeth so he didn’t have to truly think about why seeing Victor shirtless had affected him so much and how he kind of wish he had looked a little longer before turning away. He tried to ignore how he wouldn’t have minded reaching a hand out to see how smooth that skin was and how nice and warm it would have felt against his own skin.

 

Once he was done and found himself calm enough to make his way back into his room. Once there he found Victor with a bathroom bag in his hand sitting on Yuri’s bed. He stood up as soon as he saw Yuri. “Where is the bathroom?”

 

“Just two doors down on the left.” Yuri said and with a quick Thank you Victor slipped out past him and made his way to the bathroom himself.

 

Yuri took this time to fix his own bed and crawled in. The blankets were a little musty from disuse but he didn’t mind. He plugged his phone into its charger and set a timer for the morning. He made sure the time wasn’t too early or too late. It was his break after all.

 

After about ten minutes Victor came in and slipped into the futon. He laid down and scooted around before he spoke in a pleased tone. “Hey, you’re right it feels pretty nice.”

 

“I’m glad you like it.” Yuri said and then reached over to turn off the lights plunging them both into darkness.

 

“Sweet dreams.” Yuri said and Victor echoed him before the room was completely silent except for their breathing.

 

Yuri could hear the exact moment Victor fell asleep. His breathing got heavier and there was less shifting. Yuri on the other hand, despite being tired, found that he couldn’t fall asleep. All he could do was listen to the sound of Victor breathing and wish he could see him. Yuri figured that Victor was beautiful even when sleeping. Yuri was quite positive then there wasn’t a moment in Victor’s life that he didn’t look beautiful. The man was a beautiful Russian God and Yuri felt himself flush just thinking that. Victor was gorgeous, flaws and all, and it was more them just his looks, it was his personality too. Victor was so kind and smart and social. He was better than Yuri could ever imagine him to be and Yuri had imagined him pretty great. Yuri wished he could be closer to Victor. Wished that there was some way to permanently place himself in his life. But Yuri could practically see the clock ticking down. The months, days, minutes, and even the seconds he had left with Victor slowly disappearing. The fact that there was a time limit made Yuri’s stomach feel heavy as if there were rocks collecting in there to weight him down.

 

Yuri rubbed his hands down his face. There he was again, trying to get sentimental. Trying to make his relationship with Victor more than it was. Trying to wish that he was more important than he truly was. He was letting his emotions get in the way of what was a temporary friendship.

 

It didn’t matter how beautiful Victor was, or how much he wanted to have Victor in the rest of his life. It didn’t matter how perfect Victor was or how well they got along. It didn’t even matter that in the back of his mind Yuri was still thinking about how much he wanted to touch Victor, how much he just wanted to be near him. He and Victor didn’t have a future.

 

Yuri was now agitated. There was no way he was going to bed. He could lay there for hours and his brain just wasn’t going to give him any rest. On nights like that Yuri would usually turn on his light to play video games or read but he obviously couldn’t do that tonight. Yuri was just going to have to suffer.

 

He rolled from side to side a few times just trying to get comfortable enough to lay there and think when an idea hit his head. He was in an inn, with a hot spring, one he had very much been looking forward to relaxing in. Why was he subjecting himself to suffering in his bed?

 

With that he peeled back his covers and got out of bed, making sure he was as quiet as possible as he snuck out past Victor and out his door. Once quickly closing the door behind him he made his way to the back of the inn that led to the bathing room that led out to the hot spring.

 

The Inn was very much like a bathhouse you would find in Japan. There was a locker room to change and put your clothes in while you bathed. Out of the locker room there was a place to bathe and large baths to relax in. Yuri after changing into a town moved past this area and made his way right to the hot spring too impatient to do anything else.

 

Considering it was midnight the hot springs were empty and Yuri drank in the sight of the large warmth bath. He took his towel out and wasted no time submerging his body into the water. He sat down and leaned his back against a rock. This was exactly what he needed. The warm water relaxed his tired and tense muscles and the familiarity of the area calmed him down. His mind started to wander to more pleasant trains of thoughts and he started to find himself getting sleepy.

 

He was relaxed enough that he didn’t hear the sound of footsteps that made their way outside around a 45 minutes after he had gotten in.

 

“Yuri? What are your doing out here.” Yuri jumped a mile into the air when the question interrupted his peace. He turned dramatically until his eyes landed at a pajama clad Victor looking down at him curiously.

 

“V-Victor? What are you doing out here? I thought you were asleep?”

 

“I asked you that first.” Victor said with a chuckle. When Yuri didn’t laugh too Victor continued. “I woke up and you were gone. I decided to go look for you and after going to the kitchen and the common area I figured that you would have to be out here.  Guess I was right.”

 

Yuri listened to Victor talk but his brain was more focused on the fact that he was naked in front of Victor and he was trying to think of a way he could hide. Victor was way too close to the water and he just really wanted Victor to look away or back up. He practically had to fight to not move his hands down to cover himself, he was very positive that doing so would just drag Victor's attention to that spot.

 

“I see. Well you found me!” Yuri’s voice wobbled but didn’t break again. “You can go back to bed I’ll be back eventually, don’t worry.”

 

Victor eyed him for a second before he inched even closer to the edge of the hot spring. “What are you doing out here though?”

 

Yuri’s eyes flickered away before they came back to rest on Victor’s face. There was no way he could tell him that he was too worked up thinking about Victor to sleep. “Um. I just could not relax so I came out here.”

 

Victor didn’t seem very convinced by his answer but didn’t press any further. Instead, he said something even worse. “Okay, well then I’m going to join you.” Victor’s hands went down to his pants as if to take them off when Yuri screeched.

 

“No!” both of them froze at the outburst and their eyes locked.

 

“What?” Victor hands had stopped but they remained at his pants waist.

 

“Um.” Yuri could feel his tongue get heavy as he panicked to find words to excuse what he had just done. “I… uh… kind of want to be alone.”

 

“You do?” Victor head tilted to the side as he considered this. “Why? Do you not like my company?”

 

Yuri scrambled to respond, he could feel his heart pick up in speed which he feared was reaching an unhealthy level. “No! That’s not it at all….I Just.” Yuri looked for any other words besides ‘I don’t want to be naked with you’. He could never explain the feelings in his chest when he looked at Victor. He didn’t even know what they were himself. He just knew that if Victor was naked in the water with him he would never calm down. He would probably expose himself. “I was just about to get out actually. I think I overheated.” Yuri finally decided on what to say and understanding shone in Victor’s eyes.

 

“I see. Makes sense. Would you like some help out.” Victor offer a hand to pull Yuri out of the water but Yuri shook his head. He was so glad the heat of the hot spring could cover how red his face was from embarrassment.

 

“You can go ahead. I had to rinse off so I’ll be a little bit anyways.” Yuri prayed that Victor would just go without a fight and felt his whole body sag in relief when Victor nodded.

 

“Alright. I will see you when you get back to the room then.” Yuri waved as Victor turned and made his way back to the room.

 

Yuri sunk his head under water when Victor was finally gone. He only came back up when he needed to breathe, gasping into the cool night air. Victor was just a little too much sometimes.

 

Climbing out Yuri took his time washing off and getting dressed again. He was in no way relaxed anymore and realized he was going to be subjecting himself to the sleepless suffering once again.

 

He entered his room quietly and Victor sleepily waved at him in the darkness. Yuri wasn’t too surprised to see he had waited up for his return. Yuri waved back with a tiny wag of his fingers before he climbed into his bed.

 

Victor once again quickly fell asleep and Yuri was left to listening to him breathe. Yuri thought about how in the end it was actually nice that Victor had gotten up to check on him when he was gone. It was nice that even a little bit Victor cared about him. Yuri didn’t realize it but as he thought his thoughts got slower and slower till the soft sound of breathing lulled him to sleep.

 

The next day they woke up and had a late breakfast with Yuri’s family. Once they were done they got ready and per his mom's suggestion and his promise to show Victor around the two of them made their way into town. Yuri tried to show him all the tourist attractions but Victor was more interested in all the little details that had to do with Yuri’s life. He ended up showing him the high school he went to and the park he had played at as a kid. He took him to his favorite stores and they needed up eating at a place him and his friends had frequented. The ended up walking around downtown as Yuri told him little random stories of things that had happened to him. Yuri was sure that he was boring Victor but Victor never stopped asking him questions and engaging in the story with little nods of his heads and laughter.

 

At one point he ran into an old classmate and he stumbled through a conversation with her with Victor watching curiously.

 

Once she waved goodbye Victor turned to him. “So, did you have a crush on that girl?”

 

He said it completely nonchalantly but Yuri panicked and shook his head. “No way! She was just someone I talked to a few times.”

 

Victor chuckled and told him he was mostly teasing and moved to continue down the road. Yuri followed but noticed there was a pain in his chest. What was that all about? Why did he dislike the fact that Victor was asking him about liking other people? Why did it sit wrong with him?

 

Once they moved on Yuri put the incident behind him and continued to give him a tour of the town. They went home for dinner and ended up helping with the dinner rush again which Victor seemed to enjoy rather than be annoyed for working on his vacation. Once dinner was done Yuri finally took Victor to the hot spring. He made sure to take his towel into the water to cover himself but Victor went in completely naked. Yuri tried not to look at him but he couldn’t help but think that he was even more beautiful when he was wet. Despite sneaking glances he made sure never to let his eyes wander anywhere indecent.

 

The next day was even less eventful. They spent most of the day lazing around. When Yuri tried to see if Victor wanted to do something else Victor claimed that it was okay because being lazy was what you were supposed to do on vacation. You leave your worries and the stress of school behind and veg out. Yuri realized he liked this idea very much.

 

Later that night Yuri’s dad called them out to come play games. When the two emerged there were board games pulled out in a pile next to a table and his family members waiting for them. They sat down and spent the next few hours playing and laughing and having more fun than Yuri ever had playing games with his family.

 

Eventually, his mom and dad went to bed and then with a smile Mari brought out some beer. “You want some?” She offered without any hesitation.

 

Victor grabbed one with a thanks before she turned and offered a bottle to Yuri.

 

“Mari, “Yuri said in shock. “ You know I’m underage.”

 

Mari snorted. “Don’t act all innocent Yuri. I know you have drank before, I’m sure you have done some drinking at school. Plus you are in your own home so it’s not like you will get arrested.”

 

Yuri eyed the bottle. She was right, Yuri had drank before. Pretty close to the beginning of the school year Phichit had dragged him to a party claiming they were not true college students till they attended at least one. Yuri had been reluctant to drink at first but between Phichit offering him drink after drink and his social anxiety making him uncomfortable he eventually broke loose. Yuri quickly found that he liked the confidence the drink gave him and quickly got out of hand.

 

The next day Yuri didn’t even know what had happened at the party and from there on he was reluctant to drink.

 

However, with both Victor's and Mari’s eyes on him Yuri gave in and reached out to grab the drink. Victor cheered and Mari took a swig of her own drink and gave him a wink.

 

The night continued as the three of them chatted and drank. Yuri, being a weak drinker, quickly found himself tipsy and then quickly drunk. Yuri was strong enough to stop himself before he got black out drunk but he was drunk enough to make a few bad decisions if the moment arouse.

 

Mari and Victor seeing the state of Yuri ended the night pretty quickly. Victor dragged Yuri to the bedroom after Mari got a good laugh out of Yuri clinging to Victor and sat him down on the bed.

 

“I didn’t know you were such a bad drinker.” Victor chuckled and he helped Yuri pull off his shirt. Normally Yuri would have been humiliated and he was sane enough to realize this but at the moment he couldn’t get himself to care. He even let Victor help him wiggle out of his pants and into his pajamas.

 

“Victor.” Yuri slurred and gripped at Victor’s shirt. “Why are you so nice?”

 

“I’m just as nice as the next person, it's nothing special Yuri. “ Victor pulled Yuri’s hand off him and moved away to start changing into his own pajamas.

 

“No wayyyyyy Victor.” Yuri dragged the words out. “You are like super nice. Extra super-duper nice. Everyone loves you Victor.”

 

Victor chuckled and shook his head. He moved back over to Yuri and sat down next to him. Yuri’s hands instantly found their way to griping Victor’s shirt as if it was the only thing keeping him down on the earth. “Well, thank you for thinking that.”

 

“You say that like it’s not true!” Yuri pouted and yanked on Victor’s shirt to pull him closer.

 

“Well then if I’m super-duper nice then so are you, Yuri.” He reached out and patted Yuri on the shoulder and Yuri instantly took it a step farther and leaned into Victor’s side. It was nice and warm in there and Yuri never wanted to leave.

 

“You are just saying that because you are so nice.” His voice was soft as he spoke into Victor’s shirt.

 

Victor responded but Yuri didn’t catch the words. His fuzzy mind was too focused on Victor’s warmth. He wanted to be as close to Victor as possible and never let go of him. Yuri wrapped his arms around Victor’s middle and squeezed him tightly causing whatever he was saying to wheeze out of him.

 

“You are so warm Victor. You feel sooooo nice~” Yuri practically purred and rubbed his face into Victor’s shirt.

 

“Wow Yuri, I didn’t know you were so snuggly!” Victor giggled and hugged Yuri back, nuzzling his face into Yuri’s hair.

 

“Do you like hugs Victor?” Yuri asked and he felt Victor nod against his head.

 

Yuri figured that Victor did. Victor was such a touchy feely person. He would give anyone a hug and that’s why even through his drunk haze Yuri knew that this moment meant nothing. Victor was letting Yuri cling to him just because that’s the kind of person he was. He would let anyone do it. Yuri wasn’t special in this case and he never would be.

 

The only person Victor would probably treat different was that person he had talked about earlier. The person that he liked but didn’t like him. The person that made his eyes go soft and his lips turn up in a smile that made Victor more beautiful than ever. Yuri didn’t know at that point if he wanted to find that person and yell at them for being important to Victor in a way he never could or to thank him for being able to make Victor look like that.

 

“Hey, Victor.” Yuri slurred into his shirt. He was too nervous to pull back and look at Victor. Even being drunk couldn’t take away the anxiety.

 

“Yes, Yuri?” Victor instantly responded.

 

“Remember what we talked about in the car?”

 

Victor lifted a hand to drag his fingers through Yuri’s hair. “You have to be more specific. We talked about a lot in the car.”

 

“That’s person you liked and they were perfect but you never told me what happened with them?”

 

It was quiet for a moment before Victor finally responded. “Yeah? What about it?”

 

“Who was it? Who was the person you fell in love with?” Yuri’s heart was beating fast. He was eager to hear the answer but at the same time he wanted to take it back and stop Victor from ever telling him. Yuri knew that hearing about this would be just too much for him.

 

“It’s a secret.” Victor finally whispered into his ear. The feeling of Victor's breath on his ear was sensual and so intimate that Yuri had to pull back and look at Victor’s face. His eyes were swimming and he could hardly focus but he could still tell that there was a small and gentle smile on Victor’s lips.

 

“A secret? Why? You don’t trust me?” Yuri whined but a sense of relief flooded through him. He was safe from whatever disaster would have followed hearing this person’s name.

 

“No, I trust you very much. It’s just not time yet.” Victor’s hand was still in Yuri’s hair and he continued to gently run his fingers along Yuri’s scalp.

 

“Why?” Yuri couldn’t help but ask even though he just wanted to end the conversation there.

 

“Because everything has its moment and that moment isn’t now.” Yuri didn’t understand exactly what Victor meant but he realized that the time to stop pushing it was now.  Instead, he let Victor pat his head and then push him down into his bed so he could cover him with his blanket. “I hope that someday I can tell you though.”

 

“You hope?” Now laying down Yuri could feel how heavy his eyes were. He was extremely tired from the alcohol coursing through his body.

 

“Yeah. I’m hoping that someday that moment will present himself.”

 

“I see. Then I guess since that’s what you want I hope so too.” The words were a lie on his tongue but he cared too much about Victor to not wish him happiness. He hoped that what this was, a happiness for Victor. He hoped that even if it hurt Yuri for reasons he didn’t understand that this story of Victor’s ended happily.

 

Victor caressed Yuri’s cheek before whispering to him goodnight. Yuri was already half asleep to the point he could barely register it. Victor moved away and turned off the lights and before Victor had even climbed into bed Yuri was asleep.

 

Yuri woke up the next day with a vague memory of what happened but enough to realize that he need to be embarrassed. As soon as Yuri woke up he apologized and Victor waved it off telling him it was no big deal. Yuri still made him breakfast to make up for it and he used ingredients from the kitchen that they never had at home to make it a little special.

 

After breakfast they decided to go out again that day. Victor actually let him take him to the tourist’s sites and even went on a little hike near the house. With just Victor and him and the nature he somehow felt closer to Victor. Like it was a moment just the two of them were sharing and even after Yuri was gone Victor would have to look back and he would have to remember that he was with Yuri.

 

Once they got back they slipped into their lazy routine. They watched TV and chatted and then ate dinner and helped with the dinner rush even though it wasn’t very busy and most of the time they just visited with the customers. This was one day that Victor got stories about elementary school and junior high Yuri. Yuri quickly turned red when he heard one of the embarrassing stories an older lady was telling.

 

While Victor was busy chatting Mari came up to Yuri and stood next to him.

 

“How long have you liked him?” She asked as if it was the most normal thing to say out of the blue.

 

Yuri jumped a foot in the air. “W-what do you mean? I don’t like Victor.”

 

She raised an eyebrow. “You don’t have to lie to me little brother. I know you’re gay.”

 

“You d-do?” Yuri squeaked. Sure he had never tried to hide it but he had never flat out said it either.

 

“Sure, I’m bi, it’s easy to tell these things. So you don’t have to lie to me.”

 

A whole new appreciation for his sister flooded Yuri’s system. He and Mari had been pretty close growing up despite their large age gap. Knowing that there was another thing he had in common with her only made him feel closer to her. However, despite that, he still didn’t know what she was talking about.

 

“I don’t like Victor, honest.” Yuri said with a nervous response and his sister just looked at him closely.

 

“Seriously? I’ve seen the way you look at him. It’s like you think he’s hung the moon and the stars. Plus, when you were drunk you were very touchy with him. You kept touching his hands and leaning onto him. I don’t believe that was just because you were drunk. Not to mention you have never brought anyone home before. He’s obviously special.”

 

Yuri’s mind tried to keep up with what she was saying. He turned it over and over in his head but no matter what it still sounded ridiculous. There was no way he would like Victor. Victor was so far above him. He was in a whole different realm. If anything Yuri respected him and saw that Victor was a very amazing guy. But romantic feelings? No way.

 

“I think you are just seeing things. I swear that I don’t like Victor.”

 

Mari gave him a weird look before she sighed and shook her head. “Okay if you say so.” She walked away and Yuri was pretty sure she still didn’t believe him.

 

Looking back over at Victor, Yuri could tell why his sister might think he was in love with Victor. He was handsome and everything anyone could ever want in a boyfriend personality wise. Yuri was just smarter than the rest of the people who were in love with Victor. He knew who he was and he knew his place. He was not in love with Victor.

 

The next day was their last full day before they planned to head back home. Yuri spent it mostly helping out his parents around the inn. Victor spent an inhumanly amount of time in the hot spring before he joined Yuri to help out. When they were done his entire family went out for a late dinner which was pretty late considering the Friday dinner rush. It wasn’t anything as great as what his mom could cook but it was pretty tasty all the same. When they got home his parents went to bed but Yuri stopped in the kitchen.

 

“Hey Victor, want some cocoa or something?” he called and Victor’s head appeared in the doorway.

 

“No beer tonight?” Victor said it innocently but Yuri had to wonder if that was a jab at his drunk behavior.

 

“No.” he could feel that his face was red and he avoided eye contact. “I have to drive pretty early so that wouldn’t be smart.”

 

“Of course.” Victor made his way in to stand next to Yuri and watched as he put a pot of water on the stove. “I was just kidding.” He bumped Yuri with his shoulder causing him to stumble a little to the side. Victor reached out to steady him and chuckled a little. “I’ll have some cocoa if that’s what you are having.”

 

With that Yuri busied himself with getting down mugs and the cocoa powder and when the water boiled he poured them into cups and then mixed the powder in. He even pulled out whip cream which Victor took and completely buried his drink.

 

“Want to sit outside?” Yuri asked clutching his mug.

 

“Sure. I’ll go wherever you want to.” Victor replied and for some reason it made Yuri’s stomach clench. He knew that didn’t mean anything but Yuri’s brain for some reason wanted to make it feel special.

 

Silently, Yuri led them outside to a little garden that his sister took care off. It had flowers and vegetables and a little bench to sit on. The night was cool but nothing that made it unbearable and all the stars were out. It made a lovely atmosphere in Yuri’s opinion.

 

They sipped their drinks for a few seconds, Victor causing a foam mustache every time so that he had to constantly be wiping it away. After a few beats of silence Victor finally spoke up.

 

“Thanks for letting me come with you this week even though I forced myself upon you.” His voice was soft and genuine and lacked the hyperness that usually sat under Victor’s tone.

 

“Of course Victor. I didn’t mind at all. It was nice having you around.” Yuri spoke without a second thought. He really meant it too. He liked having Victor around. It made everything a little brighter and more enjoyable.

 

“Even though you see me every day back at the apartment? You don’t get sick of me?” Victor said it calmly but Yuri couldn’t help but wonder if there was a deeper meaning to what he was asking. Was Victor the type to wonder if people got tired of him? It seemed unlikely. He had so much confidence and so many people crawling to get close to him. Yuri had just got lucky to even get as much time as he was being given.

 

“Of course. I’m always glad to have you around.” Yuri said the words and they seemed to hang in the air. They felt heavier than he had intended them to be.

 

“Thanks.” Victor finally said and gave him one of his brightest smiles. “I enjoy having you around too.”

Yuri quickly looked away so Victor couldn’t see the reaction that gave him and mumbled a thanks. Victor was way to kind, but even if he was lying that made Yuri happy.

 

They talked for a little while longer before Victor started yawning and claimed they should go to bed if they were leaving early the next day. At this point even if they fell asleep instantly they wouldn’t be getting a full 8 hours.

 

Clutching their half full cups they made their way back to Yuri’s room which Yuri realized later was a huge mistake.

 

Yuri wouldn’t call himself clumsy, but maybe prone to bad luck. He was walking in his room, cup in hand, when his foot caught on who knows what. Maybe it was the air or a misplaced pebble. Either way whatever it was it sent Yuri sprawling through the air. He landed face down on the futon which thankfully softened his landing. However, he instantly felt the liquid soaking into his clothes and shot up to a sitting position. To his horror the futon was soaked with the rest of Yuri’s drink.

 

“Oh no.” Yuri mutter to himself looking at the damage in front of him

 

“Are you okay?” Victor asked rushing forwards to squat next to Yuri and inspect his face.

 

“I’m fine.” Yuri muttered. Now that he knew he was fine he felt embarrassment coursing through him. Why did he have to fall in front of Victor, ruin his bed, and make himself look like a fool? Couldn’t he just live in peace? “I’m going to have to go get you a new futon.”

 

Before Victor could even reply Yuri picked up his cup and roomed off. He set the evil cup on a table in the hall promising to come back for it and ran down to the closet in the back where they kept all the futons in. Ripping open the door possibly more dramatically then he needed to his eyes searched the empty closet. Empty, meaning that there wasn’t a single futon left. They must have given them out to all the guests meaning that there was no spare to give Victor.

 

Yuri’s whole body deflated. What was he going to do? Yuri could give Victor his bed and go sleep on the couch. Or he could sleep on the floor with a blanket. Both sounded uncomfortable. Plus it would be super awkward if a guest came into the common area in the morning and found Yuri sleeping there.

 

Biting his lip he realized he was just going to have to sleep on the floor. Turning around dejectedly Yuri slowly made his way back to his room, shooting a glare at the cup as he passed. When he entered the room he saw Victor checking the futon and yup the drink had soaked through the whole thing so he couldn’t even sleep on top of it.

 

“Bad news.” Yuri said in a small voice. “We don’t have any other ones left.”

 

“That’s fine.” Victor said dropping the sullied blanket. “I’ll sleep on the floor.”

 

“No way!” Yuri shook his head violently. “I can’t let you do that. You sleep in my bed and I’ll sleep on the floor.”

 

“But you are driving first! I don’t want you to be in pain.” Victor argued as he placed his hands on his hips. When Victor gave him that look he usually gave up but this time Yuri was going to be adamant. He didn’t want Victor to be uncomfortable because of his mistakes.

 

“It was my fault though so it’s only fair that I sleep on the floor.” Yuri stepped forwards with his hands out almost as if he planned to force Victor into the bed.

 

“How about we both just sleep in your bed?” Victor said before Yuri could reach him and Yuri halted.

 

“What?” his mind was whirling trying to catch up with what Victor had just suggested.

 

“It might not be super comfortable but it would be better than the floor. And since neither of us will let the other sleep on the floor it seems that this is the best option we have.” Victor was already moving. He grabbed his pillow and threw it on Yuri’s bed. He rolled the futon up and set it in the corner and the whole time Yuri just stared. “Sound good?” Victor finally asked and Yuri startled into action.

 

He wasn’t really sure if it was good. Yuri got the feeling he wouldn’t be able to sleep with Victor in the same bed as him. He remembered back at the apartment when Victor had tried to sleep in his bed and Yuri had adamantly refused. He knew then and he knew now that Victor being the amazing human he would have no problems but Yuri would be hyper aware of him.

 

Yet, like Victor said there was no choice. And maybe after Victor fell asleep Yuri could just slip onto the floor without Victor knowing.

 

“Yeah. That’s fine.” Yuri breathed and it seemed to make Victor happy that he had agreed.

 

“Alright let’s get ready for bed then!” they moved around each other silently as they got ready and when Yuri got back from the bathroom he found Victor already sitting on the bed waiting for him. “Do you want the wall or the outside?”

 

Already thinking of his plan to get on the floor he chose the outside and Victor scooted across the bed till he was pressed against the wall. Yuri stared at him for just a second before he climbed in next to him.

 

The bed was only a twin which meant there was no way him and Victor wouldn’t be touching. That didn’t mean Yuri didn’t try his best to keep his distance. He was ramrod straight on his side and kept the tiniest space between them. Victor turned off the light and with a yawn bid Yuri a good night seemingly not even noticing how uncomfortable Yuri was.

 

Yuri stayed there and waited for Victor’s breathing to slow down. The minutes ticked by and every time Yuri was sure that Victor was asleep he would shift to get up and Victor would move to making Yuri freeze and start the waiting game all over again.

 

Yuri was waiting there about a half an hour after they had gone to bed when he felt something touch his side. He tensed even further when he realized it was Victor's hands wrapping around him. Yuri panicked and tried to pull away but Victor’s arms instantly clamped around him.

 

“No Makkachin. Stay.” Victor breathed onto the back of Yuri’s head and instantly what was happening clicked in his mind. Victor thought he was Makkachin. He did sleep with the dog after all. A little disappointment shot through him before he pushed that ridiculous feeling away. Why would he be disappointed? If anything he should try to be getting away.

 

Yuri wiggled and tried to get out of Victor’s arms but no matter what he did the grip around him kept getting tighter and tighter. It didn’t take Yuri long to realize it was a lost cause. He was about to spend the night in Victor’s arms and not even in a good way. He was just a fill in for a dog.

 

Yuri was sure that he would never fall asleep but as time ticked on he realized that he was completely exhausted and behind surrounded by Victor made him even more tired than he thought he would be capable of.

 

Yuri found himself drifting off to sleep with the feel and smell of Victor surrounding him.

 

When he woke up the situation was worse than it had been when he fell asleep. His face was pressed into Victor’s chest, their legs where tangles and their arms wrapped around each other. Yuri could have handled this if Victor wasn’t already away.

 

“Good morning.” Victor yawned and nuzzled into Yuri’s hair.

 

Yuri opened his mouth but no words came out. Did Victor not realize what kind of position they were in? How entirely….intimate it was?

 

“Yuri?” Victor said after a second and pulled back to see a completely paralyzed Yuri. “Oh sorry, I forgot you are not very touchy feely normally.” Victor let go and all his body warmth disappeared as cool air filled the space between them. Yuri was relieved but also sad that the warmth of Victor was gone. Despite his embarrassment he couldn’t lie that it had felt nice.

 

Now free Yuri rolled out of bed and stretched mostly to hide his humiliation. “I’m going to go shower and then move my stuff into the car. My mom said she left us some bagels in the kitchen and there is cream cheese in the fridge.”

 

“Okay, cool. I’m not going to shower since we will just be in a car.” Victor said, still lounging in bed.

 

Yuri nodded then took off with a towel and his clothes in hand. Yuri moved through the motions of getting ready knowing the faster he got ready the faster he could leave and all the stuff that had happened here would be put behind them.

 

They moved silently around each other once Yuri got out of the shower mostly trying to be aware of the early morning hour and all the guests sleeping. They moved their stuff out of the car and each at a bagel. When they were getting ready to leave Yuri’s family appeared and gave them both hugs.

 

“You come back again okay Victor?” His mom said as she reached up and grabbed Victor by the cheeks. Victor laughed and agreed that he would visit again.

 

Then, after all the hugs and goodbyes were said the two got in the car and drove off.

 

The ride was about as exciting as it could get. There was sleeping, singing along to music, gas station stops, and unhealthy snacks from the convenience store. When they finally got back they were both tired.

 

Makkachin had already been dropped off at home by Chris and the reunion between Victor and him was one of the cutest thing he had ever seen. Victor had dropped all his things and fell to his knees with his arms out. Makkachin had scrambled across the room and flown into his arms, licking his face as his whole body wiggled in excitement.

 

Yuri smiled and walked up to pat Makkachin head even though Yuri knew Makkachin could probably care less about him. He was pleasantly surprised when Makkachin took a moment to give his hand a lick before going back to coating Victor’s face in slobber.

 

“I’m going to take the keys back to Minako.” Yuri claimed after they had moved all their stuff back into the apartment with Makkachin bouncing around their legs.

 

“Alright. Tell her thank you for me.” Victor said from the doorway and Yuri nodded in response before heading off.

 

Knocking on her door it only took Minako a few seconds to open it up. “So I see you made it back alive.” She said flatly and put her hand out for the keys.

 

“Yup. Very alive. Very tired.” Yuri said with a little polite smile.

 

“You didn’t scratch the car at all, right?” Minako said with her arms crossed, the keys gripped tightly in her hand.

 

“Nope, it’s exactly how you saw it last.” Yuri confirmed eager to get back to the apartment and fall into the couch.

 

“Was everything okay with Victor?” she said and it seemed out of the blue after they had been talking about the car.

 

“Y-yeah. Everything’s fine.” Yuri stuttered to his dismay and Minako’s eyebrows rose.

 

“Something happen?” She said with almost a wicked grin.

 

“Nope everything’s good I’m leaving now.” The words rushed out of Yuri’s mouth. He was not in the mood to talk to Minako about anything let alone anything involving Victor.

 

“You can’t lie to me boy! I'll find out what happened eventually!” she called out but Yuri rushed off back to where Victor was waiting for him.

 

When he got back the two of them made dinner and then caught up on a new episode of a show they both watched.

 

Yuri was glad that they had made the trip to his parents together but he couldn’t deny that moments with Victor like this was where he felt the happiest.