Misconception - Vampires Need to Drink Human Blood
Yuuri pokes at his dinner, toppling the neatly piled tower of raw beef on the third try.
Phichit reaches across the table and swats his fork hand. “Stop playing with your food.”
Yuuri sets his mouth in a straight line. “I’m not playing,” he grouses. There’s only so much steak tartare one can eat three times a day.
Phichit rolls his eyes and returns to his phone, finger flicking at the screen rapidly. He's probably busy with ordering "delivery" on one of his apps. Yuuri wisely keeps his mouth shut except for opening it in between shoving in forkfuls of food.
They've bickered plenty of times before on the topic of food and it always ends in a stalemate with Yuuri unwilling to compromise and for the past few years, with the added nuance of Phichit grumbling under his breath about how Tinder and Grindr make it laughably easy and Yuuri is being too stubborn with his morals.
Yuuri thinks that Phichit must’ve been a frazzled mama cat in a previous lifetime, what with his fond exasperation with Yuuri's incompetency in the hunt. He definitely doesn’t want Phichit to panic and drag some dazed frat boy back to their apartment again with the insinuation that they could share the meal. His best friend means well and Yuuri knows Phichit worries about his health.
When Yuuri was younger - well, as a manner of speech - he experimented with raw blood sausage, rodents, and pigeons to name just three of the questionable meals he’s forced down.
He found steak tartare to be the most palatable and it is also the most likely to appear on a restaurant menu which comes in handy when he wants to dine out without his stomach threatening mutiny. While he can eat any food for pleasure or to keep up appearances, he still needs to stick to an eating schedule and a restricted diet to gain nourishment.
Maybe he should pick up lemons tomorrow to mix up the flavor profile. It's been a few weeks since he's prepared his meals with lemons and the addition of citrus is the height of excitement for mealtimes nowadays.
He uses the side of his pointer finger as a knife edge to scoop the last remaining shreds of beef up onto his fork. He can't afford to dawdle over dinner. He has an early morning shift at the rink tomorrow and needs to go to bed now if he wants private ice time. He forces himself to swallow the last unappetizing bite with a sigh.
Phichit reaches across the table and squeezes his hand in solidarity of spirit.
Misconception - Vampires are Cold-Blooded
The chimes to the main door of Ice Castle Detroit tinkle merrily as Yuuri pulls it open with a heave-ho jerking motion against the sudden gusts of wind. Yuuko-chan glances up and he can't help but return her smile as he walks up to the counter.
As a rule, he tries not to form attachments. Every loss cuts sharply. When he first moved to Detroit with Phichit about five years ago, it was Vicchan who showed up at the doorstep of their apartment building and adopted them rather than the other way around. If it was up to Yuuri, he wouldn’t have dared to get a pet but the sweet puppy set up permanent camp in his heart and was Yuuri’s constant companion for his short-lived life. His pillow is a poor substitute now for the warm ball of fluff that cuddled up to him every night.
Much in the same way, everything about Ice Castle Detroit is comforting. It reminds him of the rink he used to practice at after school as a kid.
Yuuko-chan, the manager, is kind with a sparkling smile and an impressive repertoire of homestyle Japanese cooking that she unabashedly foists upon him in an endless stream of bento boxes served with side helpings of motherly tsks of Yuuri being too skinny for the cold Detroit winters.
He's already feeling twinges of regret and sorrow at the idea of leaving Yuuko, her gregarious husband Takeshi, and their rowdy triplets behind when he inevitably needs to move on.
He and Phichit should have about ten, maybe fifteen years with their Detroit routines if they're careful. A few well timed jokes about being lucky with Asian genes and some artfully placed grey dye on the hair at their temples can do wonders toward making for a convincing story.
Still, these tricks can only carry them so far. Yuuri has gotten better at recognizing the signs of things taking a dangerous turn - the hushed whispers that stop when he enters a room, the speculative looks sent in his direction, the glimmer of fear behind eyes that only used to hold kindness - and he’s taught everything he knows to Phichit.
Too many red flags and it’s time for them to pack up and disappear. It’s a system that’s worked well for them with success being measured as another day that they’re alive with their secret safe.
“Good morning, Yuuko-chan,” he says warmly in spite of all his best self preservation instincts to protect his heart. He slides a coffee cup across the counter. “I got you your favorite since it's such a cold morning.”
Yuuko beams back at him. “Thank you,” she chirps. “If you hurry, you’ll have about thirty minutes on the rink to yourself before your first student.”
Yuuri forces a polite smile. At best, he's a dime a dozen skater. It still surprises him that Yuuko encourages him to teach and trusts him with students.
It started three years ago as a favor to Yuuko when she begged him to fill in for an absent teacher but it’s evolved into a semi-formal arrangement with Yuuri taking on the occasional student looking for private lessons in lieu of paying his rink membership fees. The only thing Yuuri has going for him is endless time to devote toward skating practice which isn't exactly something that he can coach into his students. It’s a wonder that students keep requesting him as their teacher.
“Thank you,” he says. “You mentioned yesterday that he’s new to our rink. Is he a beginner?”
Yuuko’s fingers fly across the keyboard one handed with graceful ease as she watches the computer monitor over the top of her coffee cup. “Yep,” she reports, lowering the cup again to speak. “His name is Viktor. I'll send him in when he arrives.”
With a grateful nod, Yuuri heads over to the dressing room, stowing away his winter coat, hat, scarf, and backpack in his customary locker in a hurry. He dragged himself out of bed at an ungodly hour to have precious time on the rink to himself. He isn't going to waste the time dawdling now.
He jogs over to the rink, laces up, tucks his earbuds in place, and stashes his antiquated but serviceable iPod in his pants pocket before gliding onto the ice.
He takes a few laps around the rink, stretching his legs as he falls automatically into a familiar set of warm up exercises. They're not needed to serve any real purpose but they're important for him to continue practicing so that he can demonstrate to his students.
It's rare for him to fall on the ice nowadays and with his near instantaneous healing capability, even the worst fall is completely inconsequential for his body. If anything, falling is more of a hassle as it’s a drain on his acting skills to consciously remember to limp around for a reasonable amount of time and beg off all offers of help to wrap supposedly banged up knees or sprained ankles.
He scans the perimeter of the rink and to be extra cautious, takes out one earbud to listen. The only person in the building is Yuuko and she’s still stationed at the reception desk, sipping away at her coffee while typing.
Pushing off with his left leg, he closes his eyes and whips himself effortlessly into a series of jumps and spins as he gains speed, peace and calm rippling through his body as he flies across the ice, chaining jump after spin after jump together.
He’s lost track of his movements as he eases out of a sit spin, opening his eyes again reluctantly to the world and nearly squeaking as his eyes meet impossibly blue ones looking back at him from the other side of the rink boards.
“Are you Yuuri?” the other man calls out. “That was amazing.”
Yuuri nods slowly, gobsmacked and momentarily speechless. He pulls his earbuds out and shoves them in his pocket.
This is bizarre. Even though he was tuned out just now, he can always sense when others are approaching and it’s never been a problem before.
“Viktor?” he hazards a guess, earning a beaming smile in reward. As he skates over to Viktor, his heart flutters, perking up with interest even as adrenaline zips its way around his body. That smile is criminally dangerous, even more so when seen up close. “I’m sorry. Were you waiting long?” He fiddles with the hem of his shirt, tugging it down self consciously.
“I just walked in. I’m sorry for interrupting. It’s almost my lesson time so I thought I should get ready,” Viktor says, holding up a pair of skates by the laces. “Should I come back in a bit?”
Yuuri takes in a tiny breath. They’re the standard issue skates that Ice Castle Hasetsu rents out by the hour and Yuuko-chan said Viktor is a beginner. Surely Viktor isn’t savvy enough to understand anything he may have seen. Yuuri forces a smile. If he acts normal, then it won’t be suspicious, he reminds himself firmly.
“No, that’s okay,” Yuuri says, wincing inwardly as the words come out a beat too quickly. So much for the acting normal plan. “Lacing up your skates properly is a key lesson so I’m glad we can start there.”
He glides over to the exit and reaches for his skate guards, balancing himself on the rink boards as he slips the guards on. “Let’s head over to the benches,” he gestures. “I’ll show you.”
Viktor follows with an eager nod and Yuuri fights the insane urge to straighten his back and suck in his gut.
“What was that last jump?” Viktor chirps. “A triple lutz?”
Yuuri breathes out slowly. Perfect. He doesn’t remember what he was doing but there are any number of jumps in his repertoire like the quintuple lutz and quintuple flip (among others that Yuuri doesn’t even have a name for) that should be technically impossible. He makes a noncommittal humming noise, patting the bench next to him.
“I want to learn that one first,” Viktor declares as he sits down and toes his sneakers off.
Yuuri laughs. Viktor’s enthusiasm is infectious. “Maybe another day,” he says lightly. “We’ll start with the basics.”
He lifts his own foot up and demonstrates how to ensure a snug fit. Viktor’s fingers are long and slim, lacing up with quick movements.
“Are you a complete beginner?” Yuuri inquires. “Or do you play hockey?” There’s something so sure about how Viktor’s hands move - usually, he only sees it in children who are too naive to know failure. It’s rarer to see this level of confidence in adults who typically have an underlying level of trepidation of falling that translates into hesitation right before stepping into the rink, regardless of how anxious they may be to learn.
Viktor stands up with only a slight bit of swaying. “I did some figure skating when I was younger,” he says. “But it’s been a long time so I’m pretty rusty.”
Yuuri smiles. “We’ll get you back in top form in no time then,” he says reassuringly, offering his arm for balance. Instead of holding onto his forearm, Viktor slides his hand into Yuuri’s. It’s pleasant and sends warm tingles down Yuuri’s spine.
He walks them over to the entrance to the rink and loathe to let go, he tugs his skate guards off one-handedly and steps into the rink before helping Viktor with his own, more tingles shooting through his body like fireworks as Viktor uses his free hand to balance on Yuuri’s shoulder.
Yuuri backs up a bit to give his student space and Viktor steps onto the ice eagerly, knees wobbling. In this environment where Yuuri has the upper hand, Viktor looks much less like a god with perfect hair and more like an adorable newborn foal finding his footing.
“You’re doing great,” Yuuri reassures him, biting back a smile. “We’ll start off by getting a feel for the ice. Just follow me.” He pushes off with his left foot and tightens his grip on Viktor’s hand, pulling him along in a small glide across the ice.
“Whoooaa,” Viktor says breathlessly, hunching over.
Yuuri yelps as he glances back to the sight of Viktor with his knees locked up and over-correcting to the right. He turns quickly and catches him in his arms, swallowing hard and cheeks heating up as their bodies collide and they come to a jarring stop.
His face is somewhere in Viktor’s neck and he smells absolutely delicious. This close, he can also hear the slow, steady beating of his heart. Shit. He licks his lips and scrambles away hastily, squeaking as he accidentally jerks Viktor forward with him. Oh. Right. They're still holding hands.
He presses his lips together and counts to three slowly, waiting until the fogginess in his brain clears up. It’s been so long since he’s had any blood lust urges. Were the urges this strong before? He wants to do nothing more than push Viktor against any and all vertical or horizontal surfaces and taste him. He shoves these ideas aside ruthlessly. “Are you okay?” he asks hesitantly.
Viktor gives him another brilliant smile. “I’m fine,” he chirps. “Thank you for catching me. Can we try that again?”
The rest of the lesson goes without incident. Viktor is a bubbling cauldron of easy conversation and in between Yuuri demonstrating how to push off on each leg and do slow, large figure eights, he learns that Viktor moved to Detroit from St. Petersburg last year and he’s living with his poodle in the downtown area by the Opera House.
The rest of the day speeds by in a blur of more skating and grocery shopping. It's only when he’s back home, sprawled on the couch, that he has a chance to mull things over.
His unease from the morning returns, settling in his belly like a pit of tar. He must be getting lax. First, he missed Viktor coming into the rink and then he had a flare-up of blood lust. He licks his lips. Viktor’s signed up for daily lessons. If this pattern continues, it is going to be rough on his nerves.
“Phichit,” he says, stretching his hands out.
Phichit pushes the tub of cookie dough ice cream across the coffee table with his foot and makes a sympathetic noise. Yuuri leans forward and snags the carton before it tips over the edge, shoving a spoonful in his mouth, wincing and shivering in self induced masochistic pleasure as the cold hits his sinuses.
“Why don’t you ask Yuuko to reassign Viktor?” Phichit says. “You've only had one lesson so surely he won't mind switching teachers.”
Yuuri’s heart wails immediately at this suggestion and he flushes. “I liked our lesson,” Yuuri says meekly, licking the spoon and digging in the carton for another bite before setting the carton down.
Phichit grins, eyes lighting up with interest. “So he's hot?”
Yuuri pointedly ignores the question. He's pretty sure his bright red cheeks are giving everything away anyway.
“Then continue working with the eye candy and consider it training to keep your skills sharp,” Phichit advises.
Yuuri perks up, liking this idea. It’s true. It’s been ages since he’s even had any hint of blood lust. This is a rare opportunity to practice his self control in a safe setting. He’ll be on alert and can push Viktor away if there is any danger to him; he did it today and can do it again. This is a great idea.
Misconception - Vampires Can’t Stand Sunlight
This is a terrible idea.
Viktor shows up promptly for his morning session, looking even more gorgeous than Yuuri’s memory. Yuuri can’t tear his eyes away from the graceful sweep of silver grey hair and the long lines of Viktor’s arms and legs.
It gets easier halfway through their lesson as other skaters start trailing into the rink, providing extra sources of distraction as Yuuri diverts more brain power toward carving out a safe area on the ice for them to practice their footwork and less brain power toward trying to figure out how Viktor would taste. Yuuri forces through the rest of the lesson through sheer willpower and determination.
“How was your day?” Phichit inquires.
“Fine,” Yuuri says bleakly and fully unconvincingly. He would've sounded more enthusiastic in reporting a revival of werewolves in the area.
Phichit tilts his head and instead of pushing him to expound further, sets Snowflake into Yuuri’s hands.
Yuuri uses the tip of his finger to stroke the hamster down her back absentmindedly. It’s unfair. No one should shine so brightly like the sun - he is starting to feel like some unfortunate moth, drawn inexorably closer to Viktor. It’s a dangerous game he’s playing and it would be Viktor who loses if Yuuri can’t control himself properly.
Phichit loops an arm around Yuuri’s back. “You know I’m here for you,” he says. “If you’re feeling thirsty, we could try.”
Yuuri shakes his head firmly, straightening up with resolve. Phichit has a standing offer to let Yuuri drink from him if he ever felt like he couldn’t control himself; he’s never taken him up on it. “And break my winning streak and love affair with steak tartare?”
“Almost brought you over to the dark side this time,” Phichit teases.
Yuuri snorts. It's the pick up speech he needed. There is absolutely no way he is going to lose control over his principles, gorgeous ocean blue eyes and legs that go on for miles notwithstanding.
His next lesson with Viktor is toward the end of the day. As with their two morning lessons, the rink is fairly empty with the last few skaters trailing out as Viktor walks in.
Yuuri's eyes go wide.
Viktor beams at him. “I thought I should look the part of a skater if I’m getting serious about practice,” he says as if that is a reasonable explanation for why they are currently dressed in matching black cotton shirts and trackpants.
“They're just regular exercise clothes,” Yuuri snorts. “There’s nothing special about what I’m wearing.”
“Nonsense. I feel more like a skater already.” Viktor's smile is sweeter than honey. “I couldn't find gloves to match though.”
“Oh,” Yuuri says. Before his mouth can catch up to his brain, he finds himself sharing, “I have an extra pair at home. I can bring them in tomorrow.”
“Please don't go to the trouble,” Viktor says.
“No trouble at all,” Yuuri insists, doubling down on his offer.
“Are you headed home after this lesson?”
Again, Yuuri's body is a traitor and he's nodding.
“Excellent. I can just follow you to get them to save you the trouble,” Viktor declares, reaching out for Yuuri’s hand.
Yuuri blinks, mystified at the rapid turn of events. He feels vaguely bamboozled even as his heart flutters at the idea of spending more time with Viktor.
Vampires Need to be Invited Across a Threshold
He pauses in front of the door of his apartment, taking a second to gather his thoughts as he digs in his coat pocket for the keys.
Viktor insisted they drive to Yuuri's apartment instead of walking which he reluctantly agreed to if only because it wouldn't make sense to force Viktor to walk back to the rink by himself afterward.
Viktor's car is a ridiculous lipstick pink in a model that Yuuri hasn't seen on the streets for a while with an open top and wide bucket seats.
Everything about the experience of the drive over with the wind in his hair and watching Viktor's hands moving deftly from wheel to stickshift left him out of sorts and unprepared to consider how he would deal with Viktor in his apartment.
He turns the key reluctantly. It's not like he can ask Viktor to wait outside - that would be plain rude. He isn't even sure where he set aside the extra gloves and it may take him a while to dig them up.
Now that Viktor's physically here, he needs to buckle down, stash Viktor in the living room, and scramble to find the gloves. It’s the quickest way to end this new form of sweet torture he invited upon himself.
Viktor steps in behind him and despite being in this exact same position in the past with Phichit as they readied themselves to leave or came back home together, the entranceway feels too cramped to hold two people.
Yuuri inches forward and gestures at the door behind Viktor. “Can you turn the lock please?”
Yuuri hangs up his bag and toes off his sneakers as Viktor fiddles with the door. He pulls out the guest slippers, setting them down near Viktor.
Yuuri looks up in time to see Phichit poking his head around the corner. “Oh, Phichit! You're home too.” His smile falters as Phichit shoots him his patented “You have some explaining to do” face. It's gone in a flash and Yuuri blinks. Did he miss it?
“Oh and we have a guest. Welcome,” Phichit says smoothly. To an untrained non best friend ear, it sounds warm, open, and friendly. To Yuuri, it sounds like Phichit is suggesting that Viktor might be more comfortable with a kick in the butt to toss him out the door.
Yuuri walks toward the living room with Viktor trailing behind him. When they're all together, Yuuri gestures at Viktor. “Phichit, this is one of my skating students. Viktor, this is my roommate Phichit.”
“Viktor Nikiforov,” Viktor says, extending his hand. “It's nice to meet you.” Phichit raises his eyebrows but accepts the handshake.
Yuuri shifts his weight on his feet nervously. “Viktor needs skating gloves. I was going to give him my extra pair.”
Phichit’s head swivels towards him. “I see,” he says.
Yuuri thinks Phichit doesn't see at all but he has no time to dissect this new nugget of information. He flaps his hands and gestures at the couch. “I'll be right back. Please have a seat, Viktor.”
Unwilling to risk being a witness to the awkward atmosphere he is leaving behind in his wake, he darts off to his bedroom without glancing back. Phichit has enough social graces to take care of Viktor for a few minutes. He's even witnessed him talking to inanimate objects before with a running commentary.
Still, as Yuuri tosses the contents of his dresser around in frantic search of the elusive gloves, he can't help but feel the twinge of uncertainty coming back. There is a distinct, unfriendly air around Phichit’s welcome that is unsettling.
Spotting the gloves tucked into the corner of the drawer, he plucks them forth triumphantly and hurries back to the living room.
The sight that greets him is much less troubling than he expected. They are both seated, companionably sipping tea, which poses its own set of problems. Assuming that Phichit didn't manage to find some poison to add to Viktor's mug, Yuuri has to find some other way to hustle him out the door.
Phichit smiles at him, gesturing at a mug on the coffee table. “Already made you a cup too,” he chirps.
Yuuri shoots him a dismayed look. This is extremely unhelpful in the hustle Viktor out of the door plan.
There's only one seat available - the empty spot next to Viktor on the loveseat couch. He perches on the edge. The cushions are threadbare and the springs are in even worse shape, rolling him immediately toward the center. He corrects himself hastily before he falls into Viktor’s lap, tensing his muscles as he reaches for his mug before aborting that idea.
Yuuri can see it in Phichit’s eyes - the gleam of having first dibs over a juicy piece of gossip. He can see it coming but he can no more stop it than he can flag down the Nozomi shinkansen during rush hour to Tokyo. The most he can do is stop himself from touching the mug, certain that there is going to be something coming next that will cause him to drop it if he has it in hand. You can say many things about his best friend, but Phichit never fails to disappoint Yuuri.
“So, Viktor. When were you turned?” Phichit inquires, all sweet cherubic innocence.
“What?” Yuuri and Viktor say simultaneously.
Yuuri whips his head back and forth between Phichit and Viktor. Phichit smiles serenely back at him and Viktor’s eyes are wide, deep pools of blue.