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On Love: Puppies

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Blank pages.

Victor really hated blank pages.

With a burning passion, in fact; a passion that could possibly rival the emotions he felt when he saw Yuuri do that thing on the ice. With his perfectly arched brows and the tilt of his head, even just thinking about it stirred feelings down below and- oh no.

“I don’t have time for this!” Victor growled, shoving the chair back and waddling to the toilet like some hormonal teenager. “I’m a 28-year old adult, an internationally acclaimed writer and I definitely don’t get distracted by boners at 2am in the morning!” He returned 7 minutes later, not that he’s keeping count and definitely not because he had 7 hours left to write this piece before the deadline arrives.

The office chair shifted silently under his weight as he flopped back onto it, and for a minute Victor’s glad that he paid the extra $100 dollars for this executive, ergonomic office chair, because who wants a chair that squeaks? Certainly not him, it would disrupt his flow of thought too much. In that respect, he could say that the $132, leather and mesh backed chair was a necessity. “Stop it, you’re getting distracted.” He groaned and forced himself back onto the laptop.

 

Victor didn’t really know why he was having such a hard time with this. Normally, when it came to Yuuri, he could write for hours! He could go on, and on, and on about his raven haired muse until his editor had to cut out paragraphs of excess. But no, this was different.

He was writing for Yuuri, not about him.

Maybe that was why?

It was easy to write about him, because Victor wanted the world to truly know just how alluring his muse could be. It was easy to write him into a land of dark elves and sorcery, to cloak those curves and muscles under silken robes spun from shadows and moonlight, and to light those dark eyes with the spark of magic. Even after the challenge of laying Yuuri’s beauty out into words, he still had to choreograph his graceful gestures with letters. How could he capture the small flick of his fingers or the captivating curve of his arm?

But he could do it, he was Victor Nikiforov after all.

 

“I give up.” Victor sighed, slamming his laptop shut with definite finality. “I can’t do this- I quit being a writer, I’m going to take up art instead and paint ten thousand paintings of Yuuri.”

Makkachin sleepily looked up from her bed in the corner and yawned.

“No, you’re right. I shouldn’t give up.” Victor said, opening his laptop again, this time with definite determination, “Yuuri deserves this.” He put his fingers on the keyboard, and faced the blank page.

Again.

Blank pages.

Had he mentioned that he really hated them?

“Suck it up, suck it up and just put something down there already!” Cue groans and frustrated hair pulling, “I can’t do this without a muse, where’s- ”

No, he couldn’t use Yuuri as a muse for this, because this was for Yuuri, and he couldn’t know anything about it if not the surprise would be ruined. And months of planning would go down the drain.

Hah! Months of planning, and apparently only 7 hours of writing. Victor knew deep down that he had constantly put this project off, not because he felt like it could be done in a couple of hours, and definitely not because it only deserved so much of his time, but rather because he was scared of not doing Yuuri justice.

Movements and looks were easy, people were harder.

What could he write that would convey how Yuuri made him feel? And not just in the blood-rushing-down-south way, but how could he really show just how much of a great person Yuuri was?

Maybe he could write about the first time he met Yuuri. Yes, that would be good. After all, you were supposed to start at the beginnings, right?

 

What is a muse?

Back then they were goddesses, heralded as patrons of the arts and sciences. Over the years, as the great empires fell and the legends changed, so did the meanings in order to suit the whims of Men. Now, they are people. Wonderfully talented, incredibly hardworking, but people nonetheless.

 

Once there was a writer who felt like he had no need for a muse.

What use was there when he could build kingdoms from the foundations of his mind? Pull stories from depths of his sleep? No, Victor Nikiforov did not need a muse. All he had was himself, and that was okay.  His stories enthralled readers, both young and old alike, and wove legends that persisted in hearts long after the book was set down.

He was enough.

 

One day, the gods must have grown tired of his arrogance and sought to strike the man from the pedestal that he’d built himself.

They say that the beat of a butterfly’s wings can cause a storm, and it was in this way that a simple pause in his walk- nothing more than a mere thread in time’s tapestry really, pulled the ground from underneath his foundation.

The writer had been on vacation, touring a small town in Japan to relax after the release of the last book in his series. If you ask him now, he’ll be able to tell you the exact time that it happened.

It was barely dawn, with shades of pinks and purples clinging to the peaks on the horizon, teetering at the edge, just waiting for their cue to spill over and flood the sky. The ocean waves gently rocked against the shoreline, a steady, yet pleasant, rhythm that ran counterpart to the sharp cries of the seagulls over. A brown sidewalk ran alongside the beach, like a thin rope coiled around the coastline. It was on this line that a lone figure walked.

He was quiet.

It lay heavy like the morning mist, and followed him like a shroud.

What was on his mind?

Money? No, he had enough of that. Deadlines, perhaps? But he had just successfully released his latest book. It had been extremely well received, with lines forming for hours before at bookshops. He had everything he wanted. But what was this feeling that he harboured, deep in the corners of his mind? He tried ignoring it, or perhaps glossing over it with new ideas and stories, but it wouldn’t go away. Eventually, that feeling followed him all the way here to Hasetsu, a sleepy town far from the icy winters of his homeland.

Up till today, he still couldn’t figure out what compelled him to go inside the ice rink. It was old, not in disrepair, but nothing like the shiny new rinks that kept popping up everywhere. It was… as well-worn as a building could be. He had planned not to go inside, but just to pass by and take a glance. Who would be up this early anyway?

And he was right. When he peeked inside, the rink lay in darkness.

Cold, quiet, and empty.

 

Suddenly-

“May I help you?”

 

Victor smiled, recalling how he’d jumped and promptly slid on the ice, smacking his nose into the door. He couldn’t remember who was more flustered- him, or Yuuri. But that first meeting had been a mess.

He had been trying to explain in heavily accented English that he was only looking, and not there to skate, and Yuuri was trying to remember the English word for ‘nosebleed’. It took them, what? Six minutes of fumbling around before the other owners of the rink showed up and sorted out the situation. Yuuri had still asked him if he wanted to skate after that, and Victor couldn’t find a way to say no.

Just thinking about it made him laugh.

And then he frowned.

No, there was no way he could write this. It was okay to reminisce about their past, but somehow it felt too intimate to print, and definitely not in an anthology that millions would read. It hadn’t even been his idea in the first place. His childhood friend, Chris, head of a well-known publishing company had been the one to hunt him down and propose this idea.

An anthology of short stories from famous authors, the theme being: On Love.

What better story to tell, than his own? He had such a good plan in mind; Victor would finish the first draft by their anniversary and show it to him, before submitting the manuscript for the first rounds of editing. After all, Yuuri was the only one he trusted his first works with. It was only fair since they were centred around him most of the time. The more he thought about it then, the more it seemed like a good idea.

But now, with 6 hours left to the deadline, it seemed like a terrible idea.

“Maybe from the middle,” Victor mumbled, deleting everything that he’d written in the document so far. “Better to grab the reader’s attention with.”

 

It is easy to fall in love.

One falls in love like a slip on ice. One moment you’re standing fine on your own two feet, and the next thing you know, you’re sitting on your butt, looking up at the most gorgeous person you’ve ever met, nose dripping with blo-

 

“No no no no, god no!” Victor mashed at the backspace button, narrowing his eyes as they winked out from the screen. It didn’t work at all. What was he going to do? All his thoughts kept leading back to Yuuri, until he couldn’t concentrate on the story that was-

-about Yuuri.

Well that didn’t sound right.

“Nothing sounds right!” Victor groaned, pushing away from the table and rounding on Makkachin. “Makkachin help me,” He whined, picking her up and carrying her over to the bed. The poodle obliged, cuddling up against her owner as he threaded his fingers through her fur. “Give me inspiration for one night, will you? Be my muse!”

Makkachin eyed him and did nothing.

Victor got nothing, too.

 

“Ugh, this is the worst. I’m the worst. What kind of boyfriend can’t even write his lover a story?”

Understandably enough, Victor didn’t get a reply. Not that he was expecting one anyway, and if he did get one he would possibly have to look into exorcisms and ghost hunters. He didn’t have time for that.

It was just too hard, because he couldn’t write about how Yuuri’s laugh made him feel so happy, or how the sight of him in the morning made his breath stop. He couldn’t explain why eating breakfast in silence with Yuuri felt like the most perfect thing in the world. He just couldn’t.

Their courtship hadn’t been the smoothest, filled with potholes and disagreements that had to be worked through. Even if they’d come out better because of it, it wasn’t like he could publish those arguments for the world to see. And that was the problem right there. What he wanted to show the world was just so different from what he wanted to tell Yuuri. (And possibly, Yuuri wouldn’t be too keen to have the fact that he still slept with a bolster from his childhood days published in a would-be bestseller.)

And… that was his problem right there! How could he have missed it?

The Victor NIkiforov that the world knew, was so fundamentally different from the Vitya that belonged to Yuuri- the man who made him coffees at 7am in the morning, and the one who killed the spiders in their shared flat.

“I got it! Makkachin, I’m a genius.

 

Yuuri couldn’t wait to get home. He’d been away for too long, well a week, visiting his sister and helping her move into her new apartment in the town over. Mari-neechan had always wanted to start a shop of her own, and she’d gotten the chance once Yuuri decided that he would stay and help manage the ice rink after he graduated from high school. He was good at figure skating, and he loved helping children, so why not? It was a good deal, and everyone was happy.

After all, working at the rink was how he met Victor.

Imagine his surprise when one day, he’d arrived to open up for the morning shift and found a tall Russian man peeking into through the doors. Usually they didn’t have customers so early in the morning.

What followed next was nothing short of a comedy, but somewhere along the way, something right must have happened. Because they started meeting more and more often, until Victor had to return to Russia. By then they had both known that there was something more to their friendship, but with Victor’s impending return to Russia, neither one of them wanted to say anything.

But Victor surprised him.

4 weeks later, he stood in front of Hasetsu ice rink again, a key and a luggage bag in hand.

Yuuri could still remember the exact words he’d said to him.

 

Move in with me?

 

That was it, but it was enough. Much of their relationship fell into place after that, despite hitting some snags here and there. Sure, the road hadn’t been easy, but at least he could say, at the end of the day, that he was happy and content.

And it seemed that Victor was going to surprise him yet again.

Yuuri smiled when he saw the flickering of the lights through the curtains. “I really hope that nothing caught fire.” And was that muffled jazz music that he heard? Carefully adjusting his grip on the cardboard box in his hands, he pushed open the door and tentatively stuck his head in.

“Vitya? I’m home!”

“I’m in the bedroom!”

Yuuri couldn’t help the furrow that appeared between his brows. Was this going where he thought it was going? He followed the (clichéd) trail of rose petals towards their room, wondering if Victor had bought of packet of petals, or plucked them from florist-bought flowers. It was a short walk, really, so hopefully too many flowers hadn’t died for this.

Having abandoned his luggage, save for the box, he nudged the door open and sighed with relief.

“Oh, good, you’re not naked.”

Victor spluttered, managing to look at least a little affronted. “Why do you make it sound like a bad thing?”

Yuuri laughed, throwing his head back in the way that Victor loved. “No, I didn’t mean it that way.” He excitedly walked forward and pecked Victor on the lips before setting the box down on the bed. “It would just have been really awkward with this around.”

“What’s in there?”

“Go on and open it!”

Victor barely had to open the flap before something small, and brown and fluffy yipped at him from inside. “Yuuri you didn’t.”

The culprit could only grin. “I did.”

“I was thinking of a movie, but a puppy is way better!”

Yuuri beamed, watching Victor try to cuddle the energetic puppy as it squirmed and wriggled around, trying to lick his face. “Her name’s Vicchan!”

“Hi Vicchan,” Victor whispered, “Oh! Makkachin, come over here and meet your new sister!” The bigger poodle plodded over and sniffed the puppy, looking a little surprised by the puppy’s energetic greeting. Nonetheless, it only took a few minutes before both dogs grew comfortable enough to settle on the bed in a pile. Meanwhile, Victor could only watch them in happiness. A touch on his hand drew his attention away, and he turned towards Yuuri with suspiciously glossy eyes. “Yuuri, why?”

“I just wanted to surprise you.” He answered softly, leaning against Victor with a contented smile. “Happy anniversary, Vitya.”

“Happy anniversary, Yuuri.”