Somebody is in the apartment.
Yuri is a light sleeper by nature, so the quiet pitter-patter of feet across his wooden apartment floors jolts him out of sleep quickly. What the ever-loving fuck, really, it’s not even like there’s anything valuable in his apartment. Yuri’s a broke college student; the most valuable thing in his possession is his damn MacBook.
(Viktor’s half of the apartment is a different story.)
Still, it’s not like he’s going to sit around and let this asshole raid his fridge or steal his money, or, even worse, steal his phone, so he grabs a baseball bat from his closet and creeps out of his room, eyes narrowed, jaw clenched. Yuri is—okay, a little small for his age, but Viktor had once told him that his tiny body contained the rage of a dozen Russian pro-wrestlers. Yuri thinks it’s the nicest thing Viktor’s ever said to him.
Yuri peers into the expanse of the apartment and finds a single, flickering light in the kitchen. He stealthily tiptoes across the floor with the baseball bat clutched tightly in his fists, only to find that, what the hell, this bastard is actually fucking raiding his fridge.
“That’s my pirozhki, asshat!” he snarls, ready to swing his bat when the intruder turns around.
Shit, Yuri thinks dazedly. It’s Beautiful International Student Yuuri Katsuki.
Yuri first meets Beautiful International Student Yuuri Katsuki on a Tuesday.
The nickname is pretty stupid, because Yuri himself is an international student, and he is goddamned beautiful, okay, but Yuuri Katsuki’s beauty is a thing of legend, well-known to undergrad and grad students alike. A doctoral student in the biochemistry department, he can often be seen slogging through the quad in a faded gray tracksuit, hair unkempt and glasses slipping down his nose, leaving broken hearts and forlorn sighs with every step he takes.
Prior to this Tuesday, Yuri’d only heard of him.
But today—today has been the actual worst, which is why Yuri has resorted to standing in line at the campus McDonald’s. Yuri fucking hates McDonald’s. It’s an embarrassment to humanity, is what it is, with their terrible goddamn food, but Yuri is broke and starving and angry and McDonald’s is the only thing his wallet can afford right now.
(Viktor would offer to buy him anything and everything, but Yuri refuses to take his charity. It’s bad enough that he’s sharing an apartment with him as it is; he doesn’t need his money or his pity on top of everything as well.)
Yuri orders the 20-piece chicken nugget set and demands two of every type of dipping sauce they own. The tired employee behind the counter, wearing truly ridiculous amounts of eyeshadow, dumps them onto Yuri’s tray with a muffled curse. Yuri snatches his tray from the counter with a not-so-muffled curse, glaring pointedly as he stomps into a corner booth.
He’s dunking his third nugget into something called “creamy ranch” when the background chatter suddenly ceases. The space is cloaked in awed, reverent silence. Yuri stuffs the nugget, dripping with sauce, into his mouth, wondering what’s happening.
“It’s him,” somebody says from the next table over. “It’s Yuuri Katsuki.”
Yuri glances up and rolls his eyes. All he sees, from his vantage point, is some student dressed in a gray tracksuit, navy backpack slung over his shoulders. Dark hair, average height. Are they actually going nuts over this loser? Yuri savagely dunks another nugget into a different sauce. Spicy buffalo, this time. God. Americans.
A few minutes later, the guy takes a seat at the only empty table in the place, which happens to be directly across from Yuri’s booth. Yuri watches him out of the corner of his eye as he unwraps his Filet-O-Fish and takes small, methodical bites. The entirety of the restaurant lets out a collective, dreamy sigh. Yuri wonders if he’s on one of those hidden camera shows.
Yuri quickly realizes that a) he is, unfortunately, not on a hidden camera show; Americans are just really fucking weird, and b) this guy, whoever he is, is completely oblivious to the attention he’s getting. Yuri learns that he doesn’t have to watch him out of the corner of his eye. Everyone else is openly staring, but Filet-O-Fish only has eyes for his cell phone.
He’s not bad-looking, Yuri grudgingly admits to himself. Despite the fact that it’s appallingly obvious that he hasn’t showered in at least two days and there are dark circles beneath his eyes, he’s got distressingly good bone structure. Yuri wonders what he’d look like if he actually cleaned up a little.
And then. And then. Filet-O-Fish lets out a sharp, startled bark of laughter, eyes still glued to his phone. He quickly falls silent, but his eyes are alight with glee, his mouth quirked up in amusement.
Yuri can’t look away.
Shit, he thinks. He’s beautiful.
But right now, Beautiful International Student Yuuri Katsuki is crouched in front of his refrigerator, biting into Yuri’s painstakingly baked pirozhki, face flushed, eyes suspiciously red.
“What the fuck,” Yuri says intelligently. “Are you—are you crying?”
“N—no,” Yuuri hiccups. “Why would I—why would I—” He bursts into tears.
Yuri—does not panic. He just—well, bounces around on his feet a little, flailing. The baseball bat slips from his grasp and rolls noisily along the floor. “Forget it!” he yelps. “You can eat all the pirozhki you want! Here! Heat it up! Why are you eating it cold?”
He grabs the plate from Yuuri’s hands and sticks it in the microwave. He shoves his hands in his pockets just to give them something to do. Behind him, Yuuri is still sniffling quietly. The sound makes his stomach clench uncomfortably, and he casts around for something to say.
“What the hell’s the matter with you?” he asks gruffly, eyes still fixed on the microwave timer.
Yuuri sighs. “Think I’m drunk,” he informs him, voice wavering.
Of course Beautiful International Student Yuuri Katsuki would be a Sad Drunk, Yuri thinks. “Do you barge into strangers’ apartments whenever you are intoxicated,” he deadpans.
“No.” Yuuri frowns, going cross-eyed. It’s not adorable at all, which is why Yuri stealthily slips his phone out of his pocket and snaps a picture. “Was looking for—Phichit?”
“He’s two doors down,” Yuri tells him, unamused.
Yuuri’s lower lip actually trembles. The sight of it makes Yuri feel things, which is utterly unacceptable. So he does the logical thing, which is to take the plate of pirozhki out of the microwave and shove one into Yuuri’s mouth.
Yuuri bites, chews, and swallows. His eyes light up. “Oishi!” he proclaims, and teeters off into unintelligible Japanese. Yuri tries, and fails not to preen. He put that look of ecstasy on Beautiful International Student Yuuri Katsuki’s face.
He joins Yuuri on the floor, drawing his knees up to his chest. His cat Sasha comes pattering in, fluffy tail high in the air. He clambers into Yuri’s lap, and Yuri scratches him behind the ears, watching Yuuri devour his plate of pirozhki.
“So,” Yuri begins. “Why are you drunk?”
Yuuri opens his mouth. Closes it. Opens it again. “There is not enough alcohol in me to tell you that story,” he says gravely.
Yuri scoffs as he gracefully gets to his feet, Sasha tucked securely in his arms. “Well, you broke into the right apartment.”
In the end, it comes to down to Viktor fucking Nikiforov.
Of course it does.
Three shots of vodka in (taken from Viktor’s most expensive bottle, Yuri thinks with relish) and Yuuri has taken off his hoodie, his shirt, and one sock. Yuri tries not to let himself get distracted by the lines of Yuuri’s chest and abs, but he’s only human.
“I just,” Yuuri says, hiccupping. “I love him so much?”
“He is so beautiful?” Yuuri is saying, and Yuri clutches Sasha closer to his chest. Sasha would never betray him. “And he is so brilliant. He is. He is. Beautifully brilliant. Brilliantly beautiful. And today, I. I just wanted to wish him luck at his conference. He’s going to Munich, you know,” he adds in an undertone, and Yuri rolls his eyes. “But he. He didn’t even know who I was.” Yuuri’s eyes grow very, very wide. “We’ve been in the same department for two years. We’ve been to the same mixers. We’ve been to some of the same conferences, even, I.” Yuuri hangs his head. “I thought he at least knew my name.”
“Viktor is an asshole,” Yuri says, “who has his head stuck so far up his own ass that he can see out of his mouth."
Yuuri blinks at him.
“We all notice you, dumbass,” Yuri says, refusing to make eye contact. Sasha mewls, stretching out on his lap. “You don’t need his—his approval, or whatever, to feel like you’re worth something.”
And then: the sniffles.
“Oh my god,” Yuri hisses. “Are you actually crying again.”
“You’re so nice,” Yuuri wails, and Sasha, the traitor, leaps off Yuri’s lap to butt his head against Yuuri’s knee.
Yuri scowls and reaches for the bottle of vodka.
Fuck my life, he thinks feelingly.
Viktor wakes up bleary-eyed to a text from Yuri on his phone.
There is a picture: it’s fuzzy, and lit very poorly, but Viktor can tell that it’s his room. His bed, to be precise, and the outline of a distinctly male figure lying on his rumpled sheets.
Followed by a video: “I think Viktor is the best.” The sound is grainy, and the person speaking trails off so that Viktor has to strain to hear. But his eyes are lovely and his lashes are long and dark, the curve of his nose delicate in the dim lighting. “His research on male-pattern baldness is unparalleled and also I think he has a great ass.”
A pause as the angle of the camera changes, and Viktor is greeted with Yuri’s unimpressed face. “If you—” Yuri pauses, stumbling a little. “If you make him cry ever again, I will evisc—evisce—rip your intestines out and feed them to Sasha and then I will dance over your corpse while waving your decapitated head on a stick in front of your weeping mother.”
He hiccups and falls over, snoring.
Oh, Yura, Viktor thinks fondly. Always so passionate about life.
YOU: who is that lovely boy sleeping in my bed?
YURA: fuck off
YOU: you are quite overprotective
YURA: if you don’t know him already you don’t deserve to know him asshole
YURA: btw your vodka’s all gone
Viktor sets his phone on the bedside table thoughtfully. This clearly requires further investigation.
Viktor officially meets Beautiful International Student Yuuri Katsuki two days later.
It is terrible for everyone (read: Yuri Plisetsky) involved.
At the end of every winter semester, the Comparative Literature Department publishes a collection of short essays, stories, and poems created lovingly by their sleep-deprived and caffeine-dependent students. The pieces are hand-selected by a committee of professors before making it into the final copy.
Professor Baranovskaya, widely known for her no-nonsense, scathing critiques, who puts the fear of God into the admittedly already terrified souls of every university student that winds up in her classes, vouches for one particular piece with quiet authority.
It makes the first page.
you, who enchants without knowing:
to be the tear that graces your cheek
to be the drop of vodka that slides down your throat
I rest my head on your knee
Viktor takes a screenshot and pins it to their shared fridge with a bright blue magnet. MY YUROCHKA IS GROWING UP!!!! he annotates with a pink marker.
Yuri fills all his shampoo and conditioner bottles with bright orange hair dye.