When Yuuri came into the room with the daily newspaper, Viktor was brushing Makkachin, long steady strokes from his head to his tail. Both Viktor and his dog seemed to be enjoying a peaceful moment, which Yuuri was loathe to interrupt.
Makkachin must have smelled Yuuri, because he yipped and twisted in Viktor's arms. "Hey," he said to the poodle; Viktor patted Makka and whispered to him, and the poodle settled down, though he hung his head over Viktor's shoulder and appeared to be smiling at Yuuri.
"Want to sit with us?" Viktor asked. He set down the brush for a moment. "Makka was a naughty boy who rolled in the dirt today."
Yuuri considered them. Makkachin and Viktor had obviously been play-fighting, because Viktor's beautiful platinum hair was in wild disarray, also clearly needing to be brushed. Yuuri wondered if he was even aware of it.
Yuuri wanted so badly to smooth it, to press down the flyaway strands until Viktor looked his polished, larger than life persona. At the same time, though, Yuuri didn't want the larger than life Viktor—he wanted this one, who could sit in the living room of the onsen and appear totally relaxed—like he belonged there, and wasn't just some super famous figure skater. When Viktor looked like this, that was when Yuuri was at his most comfortable—and least likely to jump out of his skin at being around his idol. Even being a competitive figure skater himself, Yuuri found spending time with Viktor daunting, still. He wasn't anywhere near Viktor's level; of course not. He still questioned, every day since Viktor had gotten here, just what had really drawn Viktor's attention, enough that he'd travel halfway around the world to meet Yuuri. Yuuri could understand people doing something like that for Viktor. But for himself? No. He was baffled.
Still, looking at that beautiful hair, Yuuri wondered… would Viktor mind if he…?
Viktor himself had styled Yuuri's hair numerous times for competitions and exhibitions and even sometimes for practice; Yuuri had lost count of the individual instances. He gulped and tried to wrap courage around himself before he opened his mouth. Then he said,
"Viktor, do you mind… that is to say, can I… comb your hair?"
Viktor had already gone back to brushing Makkachin after calming him down. He nodded, and the tips of his ears turned pink.
"Not a word about thinness," he said with mock sternness, and Yuuri smiled.
"Of course not," he said. "Didn't I already tell you it's very thick and shiny?" But he knew Viktor couldn't see his efficacious grin, as he picked up Viktor's hairbrush—his actual hairbrush!—and crossed his legs as he sat down behind Viktor and his dog.
Sometimes, he would find himself still in awe of the fact that an actual Living Legend was currently residing in his family's onsen; Yuuri shook his head as he tried not to think about how this was like a fantasy breathed into being. As he lifted the brush, he had a moment of, what if I pull too hard, and hurt him? Would he be angry? But Viktor never seemed to get upset with Yuuri, no matter what he did.
Stifling the uneasy thoughts, he touched the ends of Viktor's hair; it wasn't thinning, but it was impossibly fine, and so soft.
"Go on, Yuuri," Viktor encouraged. "I won't bite. Unless you want me to."
There it was again, the… flirting… that Viktor was so fond of. It made Yuuri's heart beat too fast. What if Viktor ever figured out that Yuuri'd had a crush on him for years? Yuuri might truly die if that happened: a heart attack, maybe, a flush of pain in his face and body and then all over.
Struggling with his nerves, Yuuri ran the brush through Viktor's hair. It slid easily through the bristles; despite the look of it, there were almost no tangles. It sent a rush of something calming through his veins, and with the way Viktor shivered, he didn't know which of them enjoyed it more.
So he did it again, more slowly, and the tips of his fingers just ever so slightly came into contact with Viktor's scalp; it made his insides feel all fluttery and Viktor—he made a noise—no, wait. He actually moaned, and the sound went straight through Yuuri, right into the worst possible place.
Yuuri's track pants were not going to hide much, if Viktor turned around. The thought made his pulse go into overdrive, and his palm began sweating on the smooth handle of the brush.
Makkachin whined, and all at once Yuuri noticed that his hands had gone still—and so had Viktor's.
Was he mad? Or embarrassed? Maybe no one ever touched Viktor's hair. Or, oh no, maybe that had been a noise of pain? It hadn't sounded like pain, but…
"Yuuri? Why did you stop?" Viktor asked, breaking the silence like a thunderclap on a peaceful summer evening.
Yuuri surreptitiously wiped his palms on his track pants.
"Why did you?" he countered, trying not to let Viktor hear his voice tremble.
"Do you want to go to bed?" Viktor asked, and Yuuri's heart beat triple time for a second. Then Viktor said, "Yuuri? I'm only teasing. Finish brushing my hair?"
"Is that a command or a question?" Yuuri asked, trying for lighthearted. He was pretty sure he didn't succeed.
"Either one you want," Viktor replied. Yuuri couldn't make sense of that response, so he ran the brush through Viktor's soft tresses again, and let his mind wander… what would it have been like, to do this back when Viktor's hair had been long? He yearned for it, suddenly; he wanted to ask why Viktor had cut it.
"What are you thinking?" Viktor asked, and then he leaned back, against Yuuri's chest, tilting his head to the side to look up at him. In this position, Yuuri was suddenly taller, gazing down at bluer than blue eyes through soft, silvery lashes. He dropped the brush. The expression in Viktor's eyes was one of pleasure… and he was not teasing.
It took an instant for the clatter of the brush against the floor to register, and by then Makkachin had bounded out of Viktor's embrace and scampered over to cock his head at Yuuri.
"I'm going to bed," Yuuri said, trying not to clutch his chest. Viktor sat up, and Yuuri jumped to his feet so fast he wasn't aware of standing up until he was looking straight down at Viktor's neatened hair.
"What's upsetting you, Yuuri?" Viktor asked, but Yuuri couldn't answer. He just shook his head. "Great! Then let's sleep together!" Viktor suggested cheerfully.
"I don't think my new diet agrees with me," Yuuri said, and escaped. It wasn't until he shut his bedroom door that he noticed one determined poodle at his feet, tail wagging. "Oh no, Makkachin!" Yuuri whimpered.
His doorknob rattled. "Seeing as how you stole my dog, I must insist you have a sleepover with me," Viktor called through the door. Yuuri opened it and tried to shoo Makkachin out, but the poodle wouldn't go.
"Traitor!" Yuuri griped, then let the door swing open.
Viktor wore the biggest smile. "Come soak with me in the onsen," he said, "you can even wash my hair."
Truly, Viktor was going to be the death of him.