“I thought that the two of you were waiting until you retired?”
Chris grinned and took another sip of his cocktail, his gaze travelling past Viktor and toward his fiance. “Apparently, I have no chill or patience.”
Laughing, Viktor reached around Chris and grabbed his own cocktail from the bar. “It’s true. You don’t. So just how many people are going to be here? It’s all terribly last-minute and the season starts in a couple of weeks. I don’t think that I’ve ever heard Yakov yell as loudly as when I told him that I was going to the Alps for a long weekend.”
“Not many, unfortunately. I wanted a huge party, rent the whole place out, but Hans was determined to be more realistic.” Chris sighed. “So, just some of my treasured competitors, some friends. Hans’s friends. A little sprinkling of family, but I may have told them the wrong hotel to book on accident, so they aren’t staying here with us.”
Chris nodded and took another sip. “‘Overbearing’ is too weak a word. They are beyond excited for this. All told, we’re looking at about a hundred people or so. About twice as many as Hans wanted, but I really couldn’t cut it down any further! It’d be awful, and not nearly the party that I deserve as the groom!”
Viktor rolled his eyes. “Of course not.”
But Chris’s gaze had slid past him again. “Yuuri!”
“Yuri? You didn’t tell me that you’d invited him. He’s a killjoy. And angry, and--”
“Yuuri? No, he’s a lot of fun in the right circumstances. Hang on, I’ll introduce you.”
“Chris, I know--”
But Chris had already stepped around him to greet another guest, pausing before leaning forward and pressing kisses to both of the newcomer’s cheeks. Who, as it turned out, was not Yuri Plisetsky. Whoever this “Yuri” was had a shock of black hair, which was about all Viktor could make out with Chris towering over blocking see of him since he was shorter than Chris. Not that it was hard to be shorter than Chris -- he was one of the tallest skaters Viktor knew.
“Viktor! Buona sera!”
“Buona sera, Sara. Mila told me to say hello for her, since she heard you were coming with your brother.”
The Italian girl smiled and leaned up to press a quick kiss to Viktor’s cheek. “Speaking of… have you seen Mickey? I told him I would find him when I came down, but I haven’t seen him.”
Viktor paused to think, pressing a finger to his chin. “Hm. I don’t recall. I’ve spent most of the evening so far talking to Chris, but I’m sure that he’s around somewhere. There are some people socializing on the terrace -- perhaps he’s there?”
“Because Mickey socializes so well?” Viktor laughed a little and Sara smiled, too. “Well, I’ll go look out there then. Ciao!”
“Ciao.” He raised his hand in parting.
“Needs to check in with her brother, I assume?”
Viktor turned as Chris came back. “I assume so. They should have gone into pair skating. Then at least her brother would have a reason to constantly be hovering over her.”
Chris waved his hand in dismissal. As one of the grooms, he was making it his personal dictate to determine what the conversation would be about, and apparently, the... Crispiato? -- Viktor was terrible with names, really -- twins were not on the list.
“I thought you were going to introduce me to this Yuri.”
“Ah. He hadn’t even checked in yet, just wanted to say hello first and introduce me to the friend that he brought along. Very cute. And if he wasn’t nineteen, and I wasn’t getting married this weekend, I’d definitely try to hit that.”
“Didn’t realise you were friends with the younger skaters.”
Chris rolled his eyes. “I just said he was the friend. No, Yuuri is 22. We competed for a year or so in Juniors, back when I was trying my hardest to get my Senior tech scores up so that I could beat you on the ice. He’s pretty talented.”
Viktor hummed. He didn’t recognize the name, so Chris was likely just being nice about this Yuuri’s talent. He shrugged, and the conversation soon turned to other topics.
It might have seemed like a last-minute wedding, but there was still a full slate of activities that had been organized for all the guests for the day before the ceremony. Horseback riding, hiking, and hot air ballooning were all on the program; in the evening, there would be gaming, or wine and beer tasting, or the exclusive use of the outdoor sauna and spa.
Viktor tapped his chin while he debated. There was no way he was getting up on a horse. He also knew that Chris and Hans were going hiking for a bit along one of the trails, so he’d probably do that as well.
“We are going hot air ballooning. It’ll be exciting!” The voice that broke into his thoughts was bubbly and full of energy. Viktor turned to see who had spoken. A darker skinned young man was pulling another man out of the elevator with a degree of force. “And it’ll offer the best pictures for Instagram! My followers trust that I’ll deliver.”
“So go, Phichit. I’m telling you, I’d rather just stay here. I have reading to do and--”
“We are in SWITZERLAND at the wedding of my IDOL. We are not staying in the room, and I’m not leaving you here. We’re going on that hot air balloon ride.”
The person Phichit -- at least Viktor assumed that was their name -- was talking to was simply gorgeous. Dark hair fell over his forehead messily, and his eyes were hidden behind chunky blue-rimmed glasses, but they couldn’t detract from the finer features of his face: high cheekbones and a cute nose, and, from the looks of things, a body to die for -- even if it was partially hidden underneath a chunky cardigan.
Viktor changed his mind. He was going to go hot air ballooning.
‘Gorgeous’, as Viktor had decided to call him in his head, squeaked when he caught sight of Viktor on the bus. His cinnamon eyes went huge behind his glasses and he ducked his head before pushing Phichit in front of him. It was adorable and cute, and Viktor could feel himself become just a little bit smitten with the man. He wanted to know just how his blush would make him even cuter, because there was no doubt in Viktor’s mind that it would do just that.
If a part of him was disappointed that the two didn’t take the seats right across from him or immediately behind him, he didn’t let it show. Instead, once the bus was underway, Viktor stood under the pretense of stretching and took note of where they were sitting. They’d taken over the back three seats, their bags in between them. Gorgeous had taken the window seat and had earbuds in while he tapped on a device that Viktor had never seen before in his life. It certainly wasn’t a phone. It was too big and clunky. It might be one of those portable game consoles, but Viktor had never paid them any mind. Phichit had folded himself up so his feet were under their bags, his back against the wall of the lav and his phone in his hand.
And all the seats around them were full.
So Viktor sat back down, his plan to take a seat by them and start talking foiled. Instead, he took out his phone and brought up the web browser. He didn’t think it would do much good, but he typed in version after version of how he thought Phichit’s name might be spelled and lucked out when he put it “Pichit” and the internet helpfully asked him if he meant “Phichit.” He clicked eagerly, only to be confronted by a bunch of results for some region in Thailand.
So then he tried “Phichit figure skating”.
Phichit Chulanont was a Thai skater who trained in Detroit with Coach Celestino Cialdini. He competed at the Junior level for a few years earning various medals before entering the Senior Division at the age of seventeen.
Viktor sighed. Phichit hadn’t even gotten Grand Prix assignments last year, but he had finished in the top fifteen at Worlds the previous season so he’d be on the Grand Prix roster for this season. None of this helped with who Gorgeous was.
Phichit had an Instagram, however, and while he never tagged Gorgeous, there were plenty of pictures where the two featured. So Gorgeous had to train in Detroit with the Thai skater.
Viktor was just about to run a search for skaters that trained in Detroit when the bus arrived at their destination and everyone filed out. Viktor, plan firmly in place, let everyone else on the bus pass him, earning himself another utterly charming squeak when Gorgeous and Phichit approached. Viktor just smiled at him, even if it made Gorgeous duck his head.
It took a bit of finagling -- many, many people who had chosen to go hot air ballooning wanted Viktor to ride with them -- but somehow, he managed to get onto the same balloon as Phichit and Gorgeous. However, it wasn’t the intimate climate that Viktor had thought it’d be, where he could ask as many questions as he could think of and get to know Gorgeous better. Instead they were with five other passengers, two of whom were sponsors that Viktor worked with. Which meant instead of getting to know Gorgeous and his friend, Viktor instead was spending his time talking to sponsors and getting his picture taken. At least he could enjoy the scenery of the Alps and the view that was his mystery skater.
He even managed to get a picture with him. Phichit had asked for one so he could post it on his Instagram, and Viktor of course agreed, saying that he should tag him so that Viktor could follow him. Follow him, and maybe save the picture. And after seeing the picture, Viktor decided that ‘maybe save the picture’ was now ‘definitely save the picture.’ Phichit certainly had a talent for the platform -- and for showing off the beauty of his friend.
“How was hot air ballooning?”
“Wonderful.” Viktor smiled at Chris.
“Oh? I thought for sure that you’d be joining us on the trails. I thought I’d get a chance to talk to my best man about how he’s not to embarrass me during his speech at the reception.”
“You mean I can’t tell everyone about the time that you first saw Hans skate and we got drunk in your room, and you stood up on the bed and declared that you were going to marry that man before falling and almost twisting your ankle, which almost cost you the rest of the season?” Viktor smiled.
“Exactly.” Chris kept his voice low and leaned back. They were in the sauna, which thankfully wasn’t as crowded. With such an eclectic gathering, there weren’t many who were willing to go into the nudity-enforced steam room. Viktor was disappointed to discover that Gorgeous and Phichit were among the ones that had chosen a different activity for the evening before dinner. It was a shame really. Viktor would have liked the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Gorgeous’s body -- subtly, of course.
Viktor hummed. “Well, I have plenty of stories to choose from. I suppose I can find one that will only cause you a bit of embarrassment.” He paused, pushing his damp hair off his forehead. “Perhaps the one where you dedicated your skate to him. It’s saccharine enough for a wedding toast.”
“Only if you leave out the part where I fell and did a number on my ankle, and didn’t even compete for the rest of the season.”
Viktor pouted. “Everyone gets injured, but only a few can say they get injured in the name of love.”
Chris sighed, and Viktor knew that he had won.
Somehow, Chris and Hans had managed to squeeze in a fifteen-minute rehearsal between everything that was happening. They’d mutually agreed that they’d much rather spend the time socializing than practicing for something that in all honesty Chris was probably going to go off script for anyway. Hans had the patience of many, many saints.
“This is better than running through how things are going to go tomorrow, don’t you think?” Chris tilted his martini at Viktor, and Viktor returned the gesture. It was indeed.
“Drinks and then a late dinner, and then...?”
“Sleep.” Chris smiled. “I need my beauty rest.”
Viktor started to laugh, but cut himself off when he saw Phichit come into the room. He looked behind the Thai skater and--
“What about Yuuri?”
Viktor blinked. “Wait. Katsuki’s name is Yuuri?” He paused, realization dawning. “That’s who you were trying to introduce me to?” Gorgeous had slicked his hair back and must have put in contacts; he looked completely different, though Viktor immediately recognized those brown eyes.
Chris nodded. “So you do know him already.”
Viktor shook his head. “No. I don’t know him. I know of him. Yuri -- my rinkmate Yuri -- has at least ten posters of him in his room in the dorms, and a picture he drew of him in his locker at the rink.”
Chris set his drink down and wrapped his hand around Viktor’s bicep. “He has a what in his locker?”
Viktor smiled. “He drew a picture -- surprisingly good, too -- of Katsuki, except he drew cat ears and a big bushy cat tail on him and wrote ‘Catsuki’ above it. He’s posed like he’s doing a spiral. I see it every day.”
“This is amazing. I have to tell everyone!”
“Yuri will kill you.”
Chris shook his head. “I don’t care! Wait! First I have to tell Yuuri!” He looked around. “Yuuri! Yuuri!”
Gorgeous -- though now that he knew Gorgeous’s name, Viktor supposed he couldn’t keep referring to him as such -- turned. “Chris?” Yuuri’s accent was simply adorable.
“Yuuri! You’ll never guess what I just found out!” Chris hurried over to Phichit and Yuuri and Viktor followed, rather happily, behind.
“Um… no, I really doubt that I can.” Yuuri glanced over at Viktor and then back at Phichit, shifting from one foot to another. He was obviously uncomfortable and moved closer to Phichit.
“I have discovered your biggest fan!”
Viktor watched as Yuuri sucked his bottom lip between his teeth and bit down, chewing on the tender flesh for a moment before straightening. He swallowed. (Viktor was transfixed on just about everything this man was doing in front of him). “I… I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Did you hear that, Yuuri? I keep telling you that you have fans, but you never believe me. You really should use your Instagram more. And I’m not talking about that one where you post those arty pictures of everything and nothing. A real one, attached to your name. Where you post selfies!”
Yuuri whirled toward Phichit with a grace that didn’t even surprise Viktor. If this was Katsuki, then he was grace personified. Everyone knew about his step sequences. “That is never going to happen.”
“That’s a shame. I would follow your Instagram in half a second, Yuu-ri.” Viktor tried to draw out the “u” in Yuuri’s name, and smiled.
“Oh-em-gee, Yuuri! Viktor Nikiforov just said that he’d follow your Insta! That’s it! Give me your phone, I’m going to set one up right now. What do you want your name to be? Katsuki-yuu? YuuriKatsuki? I know! SkaterYuuri!”
“No! No no no no no!” Yuuri held his phone just out of Phichit’s reach. “Uh.” He looked over, and that was when Viktor discovered that Yuuri’s blush started on his cheeks and then spread over his nose, then down his neck and up to his ears. It was adorable, and Viktor wanted to make him blush like that all the time. “Excuse us!” he squeaked. With that, he grabbed Phichit and pulled him away from Chris and Viktor, hustling over to a corner where the two seemed to get into a rather heated discussion -- probably about Instagram.
Chris sighed. “I didn’t even get to tell him about his fan!”
Viktor tapped his lips with his finger. “He’s… not very forceful, is he? He always looks so striking on the ice. No wonder I didn’t recognize him right away.”
“Well, Yuuri is a mystery. He’s uneven, and no one really knows why. When he’s focused and calm, he’s an amazing skater that can win gold.”
“Skate Canada last year.”
Chris nodded. “But when he’s not focused and goes out on the ice, he comes in sixth.”
Viktor paused to think. “Trophée de France, yes?”
“Exactly. I think he’ll make it to the Final this year, though.”
“That would be exciting.” And it would be. Whole days where Viktor could tease Yuri about his fannishness over the other skater. And most importantly, the chance to get to know Yuuri better. There’d be more people around, but also more chances to get to speak to Yuuri. And Viktor would definitely like to get to know this Yuuri.
The next evening, Chris only glared for a moment as Viktor delivered his toast before breaking up laughing, leaning against Hans. Not that Chris’s newly baked spouse was getting off any more lightly; it turned out that Hans’s skating partner and friend had just as many ridiculous stories to share, though at one point she couldn’t remember the words for something and rattled off the rest of the story in Swiss German, much to the delight of about a third of the guests. Rousing laughter was the response as she apologised, explaining that she couldn’t think of the word, but that it was indeed funny.
Hans, a slight blush covering his cheeks, refused to translate it.
“Spoilsport,” Viktor caught Chris whispering to his now-husband.
The champagne flowed as dinner turned into socializing and dancing. Eventually, the older contingent started heading toward the doors. Viktor glanced around at all the revelry. Chris was dancing with Hans, while Mickey was lecturing his sister about something as they glided across the dance floor. Viktor could just see her roll her eyes. Completing his turn, he caught sight of Phichit and Yuuri over by one of the walls. When Viktor’s eyes met Yuuri’s, he saw the other man blush again and completely down the mostly-full glass of champagne in his hand.
Phichit just laughed and waved.
Friends, Chris had told him. Just friends. Viktor trusted Chris to know these sorts of things.
Viktor also trusted that if Phichit was truly Yuuri’s friend, he wouldn’t let Yuuri drink too much. Because every time Viktor looked over at the two -- and Viktor could admit to himself that there was something that just drew him to look at Yuuri Katsuki -- Yuuri would down the champagne he was drinking. It’d already happened five times.
Before there could be a sixth, however, something amazing happened.
“Dance with me?”
Viktor blinked. Katsuki was standing in front of him, suit jacket forgotten somewhere, his horribly unfashionable tie loosened, shirt tails out,hand extended.
“Dance with me?”
He could feel the smile tugging at the edges of his lips and slowly, so very slowly, Viktor let it take over as he let Yuuri Katsuki, that gorgeous man, lead him to the dance floor.
Yuuri fell into the beat of the music, and Viktor followed. How could he not? Yuuri was maybe a little intoxicated, but his eyes sparkled and there was a confidence there that Viktor hadn’t seen at all during the last couple of days. The music turned to more of a Spanish beat, and seamlessly, Yuuri transitioned their dance into a flamenco. At least Viktor thought it was a flamenco. Before he had time to ponder it, they’d already switched to a paso doble.
The music changed again. Something that sounded like it belonged to a soundtrack from a movie, but was definitely a tango. Viktor didn’t know how to tango.
In fact, Yuuri was amazing at the tango. He didn’t hold Viktor as close as Viktor would have wanted, but it didn’t matter. He led them across the floor, adjusted and pivoted them around so they wouldn’t hit anyone. And then Yuuri dipped him -- his hand coming up to press against Viktor’s cheek -- and Viktor couldn’t help the smile. It was the most amazing dance of his life, and Viktor never wanted it to end.
Unfortunately, the groom had other ideas.
Chris had set up a pole.
Viktor sighed. The dance was over, Yuuri had retreated, and Viktor couldn’t find him anywhere. He at least wanted to exchange numbers.
And then it didn’t matter anymore. Yuuri had stripped off his pants, but he was talking to Chris and gesticulating wildly. Chris was in the process of stripping much more than just his pants off and was grinning and nodding; Viktor was pretty sure he heard a “Hell, yes!” escape Chris’s mouth. And before Viktor knew what was going on, Yuuri was pole dancing.
He grabbed onto the pole and swung around, moved and dipped and got in tune with the music, doing a pirouette around the pole without really letting go. Viktor stood transfixed. It didn’t even matter if all Yuuri did was walk around the pole and dip and turn; it was more than Viktor had ever dreamed of. And then Yuuri held on to the pole, lifting his feet off the ground and hooking one leg around the pole as he spun, and Viktor knew that whatever this was, it was going to be amazing.
“He’s been taking classes for months. It’s done wonders. I keep telling him that I think we should ask the super of our building if we can put in a pole.”
Viktor glanced over at Phichit, who had come up next to him. There wasn’t a single intelligent syllable bouncing around Viktor’s brain, so he turned back to watching Yuuri and just hummed.
Yuuri had grabbed his free ankle with his free hand and was bending back, bringing head and foot closer together in what Viktor could only think of as a Bielmann. He was sure there was probably a pole dancing word for it, but he didn’t care. Yuuri was doing a Bielmann on a pole.
“I want to marry that man,” Viktor breathed out.
Phichit laughed as Yuuri descended and then circled the pole once more. “It gets better,” the Thai skater said.
Viktor couldn’t imagine better, but then Yuuri was spinning on the pole again, arms stretched high over his head. A moment later, he was pulling himself up, drawing his legs over his head until he was upside down on the pole, then spreading his legs out in a straddle. The view of his ass was phenomenal. Viktor wanted to worship that ass. “Blessed.”
Yuuri shifted positions a few more times, holding onto the pole in different ways, and then he was on the ground again. Viktor thought that he’d dislike that part the most, but he didn’t. It was as if Yuuri was dancing with someone, almost. He swung around the pole a couple of times before he wrapped his legs around it and let go with his arms, leaning and spinning with the music. Yuuri was making music with his body.
“Does he do this often?”
Viktor didn’t dare take his eyes off of Yuuri’s pole dance, but he could hear the smile in Phichit’s voice when he spoke. “Once a week, if he can. Every other week if he has a lot of stuff going on. Pole dancing isn’t at the top of his training regimen, but I think he likes it. And he’s damn good at it.”
“Yes, yes he is.”
Eventually, Chris got on the pole as well, and Yuuri and he did some pair poses that were equally as amazing. But there was something lacking, something that Viktor didn’t like about it as much. It was a bit more salacious, but then Chris was involved, so what else could Viktor have expected?
After Chris’s solo performance (“For Hans,” he had said, but Viktor was pretty sure that Chris just needed an outlet for some of his more exhibitionist tendencies) the pole was free and a couple of the other wedding guests wanted a chance to try. One of the guests was Chris’s pole dance instructor, and it didn’t seem like she minded giving some beginning pointers to people.
“She said that Yuuri was quite good, and I agree. Who knew that he could pole dance! What a wedding present, right?”
Viktor swallowed. “He gave you a pole dance for your wedding present?”
Chris shrugged. “He said something about a traditional sake set as well, but yes! Part of our present was a pole dance. He felt bad for not buying a setting of ridiculously priced china.”
“Your china was ridiculously priced. And this is me talking.”
Chris was wearing a pair of pants now and had put his dress shirt back on, thought it was still unbuttoned. Hans kept looking over and smiling at the pair of them talking. Chris leaned back and grabbed a half-empty champagne glass, downing the contents in one. “Things are starting to wrap up, I think.”
“Otherwise known as ‘you want some alone time with your husband before the brunch tomorrow’?”
Chris winked, and Viktor felt a blush just cover the bridge of his nose.
“You don’t have to be so… so…”
“Unabashedly in lust with my husband?”
“I am though. Unabashedly in lust.” He paused and smiled at Hans across the way. “And love, but right now, I’m thinking more lust.”
Viktor chuckled and shook his head. “I’ll leave you to your new husband, then.” A beat. “Do you know… would it be wrong to ask… Uh…”
“Yuuri went outside to get a bit of fresh air. Probably sober up a little, too. Though that friend of his, I saw him sneak off with a bottle of champagne. So maybe he plans to not let Yuuri sober up too much. Which might mean that it’s your lucky day… night. Whatever. I don’t care, because I’m married. And it is definitely my lucky night.” Another wink.
Viktor groaned, but didn’t hesitate to press a kiss to Chris’s cheek and whisper another “congratulations” to his friend before Chris went off to find his husband, take him by the tie and pull him off to other places.
All told, Chris was lucky. He might not have as many gold medals as Viktor, but Viktor caught himself thinking that the gold he now had wrapped around his finger was rather more important. No, he was a very lucky man -- especially for finding someone willing to put up with his ridiculousness.
Viktor thought about going out to the terrace, he really did. But he wanted to figure out the perfect opening gambit, and he couldn’t. Nothing was coming to mind. “I want to worship your ass” just didn’t seem appropriate. Or “I know we haven’t talked before,but my rinkmate is obsessed with you” also wouldn’t work. Viktor wanted to get to know Yuuri, not make the other man uncomfortable with his weird sort of forwardness. Neither did Viktor want to bring up someone else, even a teenage fan.
He wasn’t used to thinking this way. He’d spent almost twenty years skating; he didn’t know how to get close to people. He’d missed out on socialization if it didn’t involve being better than someone else on the ice. And really, that wasn’t any sort of socialization at all. The only exception was Chris, and that was more because Chris had eventually forced himself into Viktor’s orbit and declared them friends than anything else, much as Viktor was grateful for that.
So instead of going out to the terrace, Viktor stayed at the table and watched as more and more people left. He stayed there until the hotel staff started cleaning, but no one told him to leave, and he was appreciative of that. Instead, he was just caught up in his thoughts and how very appropriate his free skate song felt right at that moment. If he could just hold on to this feeling, if he could express this longing on the ice, then his PCS would certainly be higher than he normally achieved. Yakov would be pleased about that at least.
There hadn’t been music for a while, so when a song started playing through tinny speakers, Viktor looked up. There wasn’t anyone left in the hall except for one person. He wasn’t even sure that he’d realised that Viktor was there.
Yuuri, gorgeous Yuuri, had stripped his pants off again and was circling the pole. He paused for a moment, then his fingers were flying down the buttons of his dress shirt and he slipped that off as well as he looked around, furtive. So he didn’t realize that Viktor was still in the room. Yuuri took two steps over to the table and pressed something on his phone; the music promptly changed. He nodded to himself and headed back to the pole, taking a deep breath.
Viktor held his.
Yuuri stepped around the pole, keeping his hand on it, and then with just a firming of muscles that Viktor could only guess at, Yuuri’s feet left the ground and he spun around the pole. Feet back on the ground, Yuuri took a breath with his whole body, and Viktor found himself breathing with him. Yuuri moved his body in ways that Viktor hadn’t seen him do on the ice. It was… wanton, needy, seductive.
Yuuri flipped himself so he was upside down, then hooked a leg around the pole so he could pull his hands off and stretch them out and lean back. Then his hands were back on the pole and he was walking them up, lifting himself higher. He curled his whole body around the pole, then started falling; Viktor could feel his breath catch in his throat. Oh no. But before he hit the ground, Yuuri stopped himself, still spinning around the pole. It was a move, an actual honest-to-god move, and Viktor was both relieved and almost anxious. His heart was beating faster, but he just couldn’t look away.
Yuuri was up again, using just his two hands to hold himself away from the pole. He walked on air around it before twisting and switching positions, and then twisting again.
Viktor had never thought he’d be interested in someone pole dancing. He knew that it took talent; Chris had told him that it wasn’t easy when he started doing it and Viktor had never doubted him. But he had also never thought that he’d find it riveting. That he’d be turned on watching it.
But he was. He shifted in the chair as Yuuri spun and turned, doing moves that Viktor had always associated with ballet or contemporary dance while holding onto the pole with one hand before going back up on the pole, doing that almost-a-Bielmann again.
Viktor wanted to worship at Yuuri’s altar.
When Yuuri came down from the pole for the last time he was breathing heavily, but his face was calm. Some of his hair, which had been slicked back like it was when he skated in competitions, was now sticking to his forehead. He licked his lips and smiled, walking around the pole once before stepping away and picking his shirt up from where he’d kicked it.
Viktor couldn’t help himself. He knew that he should probably just stay where he was and not draw attention to himself, but he had this feeling; it was racing through him, clutching around his heart. He had to take action. If he didn’t, who knew what would happen? He could lose this opportunity. So he stood up, his chair scraping against the floor.
He saw the second that Yuuri realized that he was there, his brown eyes going wide, pants clutched in his fists, not yet on. “Vi… Viktor.”
“That was amazing to watch, Yuuri. I consider myself lucky to have seen it.”
Yuuri just stared at him for a long minute. The silence dragged out between them, uncomfortable. Maybe Viktor had been wrong. Maybe drawing attention to his presence had been the wrong course of action. He wasn’t used to this. He didn’t know how to do this. Hit on someone. Pick someone up. It was outside his realm of experience.
But then Yuuri spoke. “I didn’t realize that anyone was still here. I just… I don’t get…” A breath. “I don’t get a chance to dance outside the studio often, and not usually on my own terms. I’m still in a class, with people. I just… I’ve been playing around with moves, creating a dance routine in my head and I wanted to try it.” He looked up at Viktor, and Viktor could see the anxiety at the edges of Yuuri’s features, wearing on them, taking the confidence of the man who had been on the pole dancing like he owned the world and shredding it. Viktor wanted to stop it. Wanted to take the other man’s hands and tell him, no, to never let go of that confidence because it was so very well-deserved. But he didn’t. “No one will mind… will they? I probably should have asked someone…”
“Trust me, no one will mind. I’ll just tell Chris at brunch that if anyone asks, he gave permission for you to use the pole because he didn’t think it’d be a problem.” Viktor smiled. “I’ve been told that staff tend to not argue with brides or grooms. Especially groomzillas.”
“Ah.” Yuuri shifted from one foot to the other, pants still clenched in his hands.
Viktor looked at him. He was cute. “Do you want to maybe put those back on?”
Yuuri nodded, and almost tripped and fell over as he struggled into his dress pants. He picked up his shoes and then just stopped, obviously unsure about what he was supposed to do. He kept looking back at Viktor and biting his lip.
“Can I maybe walk you back to your room? If that’s all right.”
“It--” Yuuri’s voice came out as a squeak and he coughed. When he spoke again, his voice was back to normal, but Viktor thought that he heard an almost imperceptible waver in it. “It is.”
Viktor couldn’t help himself and kept glancing over at the younger skater as they made their way out of the ballroom and to the elevators. Viktor waved at some of the staff that were still moving about as they waited, favoring them with one of his patented Viktor Nikiforov smiles. Yuuri didn’t glance right or left; instead he just rocked up onto the balls of his feet, then back down again as he stared at the mirrored elevator doors.
“So, you train in Detroit?” Viktor hated silence, but filling it wasn’t easy. He always managed to fall back onto skating with varying success; it was the one thing that he knew. But in this case, it seemed to work. Yuuri stopped his rocking and quickly glanced over.
“Yes. With Celestino Cialdini. He’s our primary coach.”
There was a ding and the doors opened and both men stepped in. Viktor hit the button for the ninth floor, pausing and looking at Yuuri for confirmation.
“Oh, I’m on nine as well.”
With a nod, Viktor stepped back and leaned against the wall of the elevator. “So you and Phichit share a coach?”
A small smile turned up the edges of Yuuri’s lips. “Yes. We have since I moved to Detroit. We live together as well, in a small apartment not far from the rink.”
Silence descended. The seconds seemed to stretch until eternity between each floor.
“Uh. And you’re originally from Japan?”
Yuuri looked surprised that Viktor had known that. He nodded. “The southernmost main island. A little seaside town called Hasetsu. My parents run a hot springs inn.”
“I’ve never had a chance to partake in a Japanese hot spring, though every time I compete there someone tells me that it’s a must.”
The elevator doors opened and they walked out. Panic started to creep up Viktor’s spine. He needed to do something. He needed to make sure that once Yuuri’s hotel door closed behind him it -- whatever it turned out to be -- wasn’t over, wasn’t done. Viktor wanted more.
“Give me your phone.”
Yuuri stumbled, and Viktor automatically reached out and grabbed his elbow to steady him. “My phone?”
“I want to program my number in. So you can text, call, whatever you want.”
Viktor was so very focused on Yuuri that he caught every little twitch of his facial muscles: the rapid blinking of his eyes, the way his tongue darted out and licked the corner of lips, how they parted on an intake of breath. Everything.
“Yeah, all right.”
Viktor smiled at the blue phone case that enclosed the iPhone now being pushed into his hands. Poodles. Oh, they were destined. “I love poodles.” He pressed the button and saw a lock screen with the most adorable poodle puppy in existence. “Do you have one?” Viktor turned the phone back to face Yuuri.
“Oh, right, the lock screen. Hold on a minute.” Viktor just watched Yuuri’s face. The way that he bit the tip of his tongue as he entered in his passcode was adorable. “There. You can… Uh, you can add your number now.”
Which Viktor did. And then proceeded to add two hearts after his name. And a dog emoji as well.
“So do you? Have a puppy?”
Yuuri looked surprised. He was staring down at the new contact in his phone. “Uh, yes. His name’s Vicchan. He’s a toy poodle, so not like Makkachin.”
“You know my dog’s name!” Viktor was delighted.
“Everyone in skating knows Makkachin’s name.”
No, they didn’t. But Viktor didn’t want to call him out on the fact, either. He just took the knowledge and cradled it close. “OK, now text me.”
“No, right now. Text me right now. So I have your number.”
“Oh!” Yuuri’s eyes went wide and he looked up at Viktor. Time stopped for a minute; nothing moved. Not the air, not them -- nothing. The moment drew out longer and longer, and Viktor could feel himself starting to lean in closer. Then Yuuri looked down and started fiddling with his phone, and the moment was broken.
Feeling the telltale vibration from his pocket, Viktor pulled out his phone and looked at the new message.
Hi, this is Yuuri. Katsuki.
He saved the number as Yuuri with two hearts after it. And then -- before he could second-guess himself -- he switched to Yuri Plisetsky’s contact information and changed it to ‘Grumpy Yuri’. Much better. There’d be no mixing them up this way.
Viktor stuck his phone back in his pocket and looked at Yuuri again. “Yes?”
Before he knew what was happening, Yuuri had his fist around Viktor’s tie and was pulling their faces together. He kissed him hard. Startled, Viktor gasped; Yuuri took the opportunity to sweep his tongue in and kissed Viktor deeper and a little filthier. It was everything that some part of Viktor’s soul had hoped for when he had first seen Yuuri dance on the pole. He just hadn’t realised it. Yuuri’s teeth tugged lightly on Viktor’s bottom lip, and Viktor couldn’t help the little moan that escaped with the breath between them. When Yuuri pulled away, he had a small smile on his face. “Sorry. I… didn’t want to miss the opportunity.”
“Don’t apologize. Please.”
Yuuri’s fist was still wrapped around his tie. In other circumstances, Viktor might have been upset that a very expensive silk tie was being crushed and mangled, but in this case, Yuuri could do whatever he wanted and Viktor would probably thank him. Another long moment passed between them and Yuuri -- still holding onto Viktor’s tie -- came up and pressed their lips together in another kiss, this one much more chaste than the last, but somehow at the same time more tender. Viktor felt like his breath was caught in his throat when Yuuri finally pulled away and dropped his tie; like he had been set adrift on the ocean without a life preserver. He didn’t like it. He wanted to cling and hold on to Yuuri, follow him back into his room. Be cast adrift on a different sort of sea altogether.
But Yuuri only smiled and whispered that he’d see him in the morning.
Viktor could only nod. Morning was so far away.
“I see that Sleeping Beauty has finally decided to join us.” Chris was all smiles. No doubt that he had had a wonderful night.
Viktor’s, however, had been… uneasy. He’d dreamt of laughter and teasing brown eyes and a blush that travelled across cheeks and to the tips of ears. He’d dreamt of Yuuri. He had never actually dreamt of someone else before. It was… wonderful. But it hadn’t made for a very restful night.
“I heard something about some late-night pole dancing?”
Viktor set his plate down at the table with Chris and Hans. “Ah, I thought I’d be up early enough to tell you to tell people it was approved by you.”
Hans laughed. “Christophe had a text this morning from Yuuri telling him about it. No worries, your friend is not in any trouble. We take care of our own.”
Chris linked his fingers with his husband’s and smiled. “See. No worries. I am surprised that he let you watch, though.”
“He, uh, didn’t know I was there until after.” Viktor paused. “Chris, he’s amazing!”
“Your friend is smitten.”
Viktor smiled at Hans. “Yes, I think I might be.” Viktor licked and then dragged his teeth against his bottom lip before leaning closer to Chris. “He kissed me last night, and it was…” Words failed him. “C hudnyy. ”
Chris just stared at him for a minute, his eyes narrowing slightly as he held onto Viktor’s gaze. “Yuuri,” he finally said. “Yuuri made the first move?”
“We need to get that boy drunk more often!”
Come and Get It because You Know You Want it
With everything that was going on the day after the wedding, Viktor really didn’t get to do more than just see Yuuri in passing. All of the skaters had to get back to their coaches for training; the Grand Prix series was close to starting, and a long weekend was still more time than many of them wanted to take from the ice, especially those skaters that had travelled further than others. Detroit was at least half a day away for Yuuri and Phichit -- Viktor might have Googled it to confirm -- not to mention the time it would take to just get to the airport from the Alps. Viktor was lucky in that his travel time was easily half that. He’d be back in his apartment with Makkachin by dinner. A late dinner, but still dinner.
Once back in Saint Petersburg, he stopped at the dorms and knocked on Yuri’s door. “Yuri! I’m here to get Makkachin!”
The door opened and a leash was shoved into his hands. “Take your mutt and go! I don’t know how you talked me into this. He chased Potya all over the place and made her miserable. I wouldn’t even be surprised if she got fleas from him.”
Viktor couldn’t stop the gasp. “Makka does not have fleas! I even got you something while I was in Switzerland, but I don’t think that you deserve it.” Viktor had even paid to have it rushed at the airport store he’d gotten it from.
“Viktor, I don’t need whatever stupid shit you picked up in the duty free.” Yuri glared at him, his teenage angst radiating off him in waves.
“Fine. I’ll keep it for myself.” He flashed the picture of Yuuri he’d gotten from the photobooth at Chris’s wedding reception, resplendent in its new frame. “It would look great next to my computer, don’t you think?”
Yuri swiped the frame right out of Viktor’s hands. “Katsuki was there? At that degenerate’s wedding?”
“Apparently they’ve known each other since their Junior days. He came all the way from training in Detroit just for Chris’s wedding.” Viktor paused. “You might want to look there.” Viktor pointed at the edge of the picture, where there was something scrawled in silver.
“He SIGNED it?! I’m keeping it!” Yuri slammed the door in Viktor’s face.
Viktor chuckled. “Let’s go, Makkachin. I have some delicious treats for you I picked up at that little corner store on the way over.”
Makkachin just boofed at him and started pulling him toward the stairs.
“And we won’t tell Yuri that it’s just a copy of the picture. There’s a reason that I put it behind glass. He’ll never figure out that it was signed digitally for the photo guestbook this way.”
Makkachin didn’t make a sound. His dog was good at keeping secrets like that.
Viktor had Mila take a picture of him on the rink, then immediately sent it to Yuuri as a text message before adding hope you got into Detroit all right. Yakov is already working me hard!
Then Viktor just had to wait. This was the worst part, bar none. He hated waiting, but he had to be patient. So he skated. He skated and skated and skated. He worked out all the kinks in his programs. Tightened up the choreography in his short program, worked on his presentation for his free skate. He listened to Yakov’s complaints and only ignored three-quarters of them for a change. It was the most cooperative that he’d ever been, according to his coach.
He helped Yuri. Gave him pointers on his step sequences that the younger skater just rolled his eyes at, snapping that once Viktor had the strongest step sequences in the Senior Division, then -- and only then -- could Viktor give him advice. Which was valid, but at the same time Viktor’s step sequences were good. Better than good, even. They just weren’t the best, because there was at least one other skater that consistently scored higher on step sequences than Viktor did.
And if that skater hadn’t been Yuri’s favorite, then maybe the Junior skater might have actually listened to him.
By the end of practice, Viktor had a couple of new messages. He smiled at the notification and opened it as soon as he was in the locker room.
Thanks. We landed safely. Phichit and I don’t go back to the rink until tomorrow. Ciao Ciao doesn’t like tired skaters getting on the ice.
Though I wish I could be back on the ice. Spending a weekend not skating is hard for me.
There was no picture, however. This disappointed Viktor more than he thought it would.
Yuri stomped into the locker room and slammed his locker open. The sound of metal crashing against metal made Viktor jump. “Why are you pouting at your phone? You look like an idiot.”
“I was hoping for a new picture, but instead I only got a text message.”
Viktor knew that Yuri was rolling his eyes at him, but he didn’t care. The teen turned and leaned against his locker, the drawing of “Catsuki” barely visible behind him. “Did you take a lot of pictures in Switzerland?”
“A decent amount. Do you want to see?” Viktor smiled.
“No! I was just wondering.” Yuri looked away.
Viktor tossed his phone into his skate bag. “That’s fine. I thought you’d want to see the pictures I took of Yuuri on the hot air balloon ride we went on, but--”
“It was one of the organized activities. I was in the same hot air balloon as him and his rinkmate and some sponsors. I got him in a couple of the shots I was taking of the view.” Viktor didn’t mention that he’d purposefully had framed the shots to get that gorgeous man in them. What Yuri didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.
“Show me! I watched your stupid dog for you, you owe me.”
Viktor laughed and reached for his phone.
Viktor stopped what he was doing and looked over at Yuri. “What?”
“You’re watching the NHK Trophy.” Yuri crossed his arms over his chest. “You’ve never given a shit before about Grand Prix competitions that you aren’t personally involved in. Not enough to take time out of practice or training to watch a livestream, anyway. You watch after. When you can fast forward when you get bored.”
Viktor breathed in. “And this makes me gross how?”
“You’re watching for Katsuki! Well, fuck off!”
Viktor set his laptop to the side. “I have the cables needed to hook this up to the TV in the break room. We could watch it there.”
Yuri huffed, but gave a quick nod. “I know you’re only watching because you think he’s hot or something. You’re still gross.”
“I’ll have you know that I’ve watched Yuuri’s skates for the last couple of years, but you’re right. I always waited to watch unless the competitions fit into my schedule, which few do.”
Yuuri was in the second group of skaters. Skating on his home turf, so to say, meant that he was a favourite to win gold, and if not gold, then silver. His gold chances were admittedly questionable since Chris was competing there as well. That lucky bastard. Viktor didn’t have a single qualifier with Yuuri; He’d checked as soon as he got back to Russia from the wedding.
Glancing at Yuri, Viktor caught the younger skater chewing on the skin around his thumbnail, his eyes glued to the screen where Yuuri was about to take to the ice. “I wish that he’d skate to something more exciting every now and then. It’s always some sort of Classical shit. I bet he could kick your ass if he skated to something that was actually interesting.”
Viktor chuckled. Yuuri’s free skate was to something by Dvorak. “Many would argue that classical pieces are very interesting.”
Yuri just rolled his eyes. “Yeah, well, it’s not like you’d get it. You get to pick your music. I have to skate to whatever crap Yakov thinks would suit me. Just wait until I can pick my own music.”
Viktor had no doubt that Yuri’s picks would be more appropriate for an exhibition skate, and even then would probably be just over the line of what most would consider ‘appropriate’.
By unspoken agreement, they ceased talking while Yuuri skated. It was beautiful. His skates practically flew across the ice during his step sequence, and he even managed to land his quad Salchow, which was always difficult for him; Yuuri only had a thirty percent success rate with that jump. Personally, Viktor thought he’d probably do better on a toe pick-assisted quad, like a flip. But not many people attempted the quad flip, since it was considered Viktor’s signature move.
As soon as Yuuri finished his skate, Yuri pushed back his chair.
“You aren’t waiting for Chris’s performance?”
Yuri pulled an even more disgusted face than when he’d accused Viktor of being gross. “The last thing I want to watch is that asshole fail to keep himself from coming on the ice. Seriously, do all you idiots turn into sick shitheads once you’re old?”
Viktor choked. “I’m not old!”
“You’re twenty-six. You might as well be ancient and retired. Besides, Giacometti might win gold, but if you ask me, it won’t be deserved. I just saw the performance that deserves the gold medal from the NHK, and I refuse to tarnish it with whatever disgusting thing your friend came up with.”
There was one thing that Viktor could say about his young rinkmate: Yuri definitely knew how to make an exit.
It took a few days. Viktor had just stepped off the ice from the six minute warm up when he checked his phone. The message made him practically giddy.
“Fuck you. I'm going.”
Sighing, Viktor zipped up his carry-on and crossed his arms before turning toward the very angry youth. “We really need to have a conversation about your language, Yuri.” He ignored Yuri’s glare and continued. “Last I checked, you didn't have Yakov’s permission to go to Moscow.”
“Like I need his permission. You don't have his permission.”
“I'm twenty-six -- as you are constantly reminding me -- which makes me an adult. I don't need his permission.”
Yuri snorted. “Yeah. I'm sure that Yakov’s is going to agree with that. Maybe I should call him and check?”
Viktor gave in and booked another ticket for Yuri, then messaged Yakov as the plane was boarding to inform him that they were going on an educational field trip to Moscow, at which point would be too late to stop them.
Unfortunately, it was not too late for the five-message-long tirade that awaited them on Viktor’s voicemail when they landed. Viktor was just glad that he’d ended up booking a room outside of the official hotel, though not for lack of trying. At least this way Yakov couldn’t find him and lecture him. Georgi deserved his undivided attention, after all.
Yuri tried to take off immediately, but Viktor -- in an ill-advised attempt to behave like an actual adult for once in his life -- told him that unless he actually laid eyes on Yuri’s grandfather, he wasn't just going to let a fourteen-year-old wander around Moscow. Yuri responded by kicking him in the shin and dashing away while Viktor was still cursing.
He was never going to buy that brat a plane ticket anywhere ever again.
Everything was made better when Viktor laid eyes on Yuuri entering the rink that evening. He hadn't told the Japanese skater that he'd be coming to Moscow to watch him perform, and he had no intention of doing so until after the short program at the very earliest. He didn't want to make Yuuri nervous. He was already nervous enough.
Yuuri was in third after the short program. Some ridiculous caricature of a person -- from Canada, of all places! -- was in first and last year’s World bronze medalist, Cao Bin, came in second. Yuuri looked upset in the kiss and cry. The short program was usually his strongest, since there were only three required jump passes.
Viktor had a feeling that Yuuri was probably being too hard on himself, so he made the decision to make his presence known.
They headed out for a late dinner at the same restaurant that Viktor always went to whenever he was in Moscow. He smiled at the owner, who’d greeted them at the door and assured him that he’d have all his favourites out shortly. That left Yuuri fidgeting next to him, and Viktor laid his arm across the Japanese man’s shoulders. “Just relax, miliy.”
Yuuri’s eyes narrowed and then looked away, shaking his head. “I… are you sure this is all right?”
Viktor led him to his favorite corner booth and the two slid in across from each other. “Of course, you need to eat.”
“That’s not-- I mean… Why?”
Viktor tilted his head in thought. “What do you mean, ‘why’?”
“Why am I here, with you?”
It was probably too early for a love confession, so Viktor went with something simpler. “Because we’re friends, aren’t we?”
“There you are, ASSHOLE!” Yuri shoved his way into the booth next to Yuuri and kicked Viktor under the table for good measure.
Viktor bit back a grimace and forced a smile onto his face at the younger skater. “Oh, there you are, Yura. I was just having dinner with Yuuri here! Yuuri, this is--”
“Yuri Plisetsky. You’re a shoe-in for gold at the Junior Grand Prix.”
The blush that covered Yuri’s face was exceptional, and if Viktor wasn’t scared of his shin turning a horrible shade of bruise, he would have had a good laugh over it.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”
“Yo-You didn’t embarrass me! I fucking know that I’m great! I don’t need you to tell me.” Yuri crossed his arms over his chest and glowered, and Viktor had the feeling that the glower was more because he was still blushing and less because of anything that had come out of his mouth.
“Uh. OK.” Yuuri looked at Viktor with a confused expression, wringing his hands on top of the table.
Viktor sighed. Of course Yuri would ruin his date with the most beautiful man he’d ever seen. “Yura, why don’t you tell the owner that you’re here and we’ll need more food?” It was worth a shot, at least.
“Fuck you. You do it.” Yuri glared. The message was clear to Viktor: you’re not getting any alone time with Katsuki, you fucker , and don’t be disgusting .
While dinner didn’t turn out like Viktor had hoped that it would, it did seem to cheer Yuuri up, and it showed in his demeanor before the free skate. Viktor made sure to send a good luck text with a stream of heart emojis after it.
From his seat he could see the moment Yuuri read his text. His eyes were still focused on his phone, but a blush covered his cheeks and he pulled his bottom lip between his teeth and chewed as his fingers moved across the surface of the phone.
Yuri’s facial expression darkened. “So fucking gross.” Viktor turned his head and smiled in response. “If you hurt him and fuck up the rest of his season, I will end you.”
“With your knife shoes?”
Viktor shook his head. “Movie reference. Just ignore me.”
Yuri rolled his eyes. “I usually do. But no, I was just going to borrow a hockey stick from one of the thugs that train at the rink.” Yuri turned to look down, and Viktor followed his gaze. Yuuri had taken to the ice and was doing his lap before taking center ice. “Now shut up.”
Viktor clicked his tongue but didn’t say anything. Yuri elbowed him for it anyway.
Why was this child so violent and angry?
Yuuri was all but guaranteed a spot in the final with his silver medal at the Rostelecom Cup. Viktor crowed about it to Chris over Facetime and just got some rolled eyes for his trouble. “Let me guess. This time next year, you’ll be the one married?”
Viktor stopped. He hadn’t thought about it, but… “Do you think he would? We’ve only gone on one date and Yura interrupted it. Most everything between us is texting.”
Chris groaned, and Viktor could hear more than see Chris’s forehead hitting the desk. “Hans, tell Viktor he should actually make sure he’s in a relationship before planning the wedding.”
Hans came into the frame, wiping his hands on a kitchen towel. “Wedding planning is the worst experience I have ever gone through in my life. I suggest you elope.”
Chris looked over his shoulder at his husband. “That was not what I told you to tell him.”
“Viktor does nothing by halves. Telling him to not plan a wedding is futile, so I will just tell him that it is no fun.”
“Chris, do you think that if I start taking pole dancing lessons now, Yuuri and I can get married on poles and perform for our guests?” Chris choked a little, but Viktor barely noticed. “I wonder if that club I took you to when you visited me a couple of years ago would agree to put in some poles. It would make a stunning venue.”
“I’m hanging up. You’re a lost cause, Viktor.”
“Just watch me, OK?” Yuuri ran his hand through his hair and looked around the studio before he muttered, “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. I’m going to kill Phichit.”
Yuuri looked back at the phone screen and straightened. He got this determined look on his face that sent a shiver up Viktor’s spine in anticipation. “Don’t take your eyes off me.” It was not a request. Viktor wouldn’t mind being ordered around by that voice for the rest of his life.
Viktor was all smiles because directly behind Yuuri were poles. He was in a pole dancing studio, and was asking Viktor to watch him! “I wouldn’t dream of taking my eyes off of you.”
When Yuuri backed away from the camera, Viktor got a good view of what he was wearing. Viktor wasn’t sure what the norm was for pole dancing, but he’d assumed that it would be similar to what one wore to normal dance training, Chris’s wedding notwithstanding. So when Yuuri was in full view of the camera wearing just a crop top that said “be my toyboy” and a pair of short boxer briefs, Viktor couldn’t help the squeak.
Yuuri must have heard it, because he looked down and then blushed to his ears. “I… uh, I can’t wear much since I need to be able to grip the pole, so, uh… Phichit picked out the crop top, I didn’t… I thought…” He sighed. “I didn’t realize it was this one in my bag.”
“God bless Phichit Chulanont.” Viktor smiled.
Yuuri’s blush deepened, and Viktor could see it disappearing under the neckline of the shirt. “Right, so, I…” He took a deep breath. “I wanted to thank you for your support, and I thought… Just… right.” Yuuri went over to a stereo system in the corner and fiddled with it. Viktor could hear him muttering something, but he wasn’t sure exactly what.
When the first strains of the pop song came on, Viktor could feel the excitement creeping up his spine. He knew this song. He knew the lyrics to this song. And he was very upset that he was watching through a phone instead of in person, because he would have done exactly what the song commanded him to.
Yuuri knew how to strut, and he strutted from the stereo all the way to the pole, bending over when he got there and squatting down with his legs open on either side of the pole. It was like the pole was an extension of his body. He knew just how to use it as support and as a partner in his dance, which he demonstrated as he stood up, one hand on the pole as his body just rolled. He walked his hands up, undulating his hips; half a world away, Viktor shifted in his seat, unable to jump through a phone screen and grab Yuuri around the waist and kiss him senseless. Instead, he just had to watch.
Legs spread, Yuuri lifted himself off the ground and rotated around the pole, holding his body straight before wrapping his calves and feet around the pole and releasing his hands, leaning back as the pole spun on its axis. The sheer amount of strength in those thighs -- Viktor wanted them wrapped around him.
The sex would be fantastic, and no one would be able to convince him otherwise. Someone as in tune with his body as Yuuri obviously was had to be good in bed. Yuuri flipped upside down on the pole and hooked one leg around it, then slid his other leg down to brace himself before letting go of the pole, leaning back to grab onto the foot he’d hooked around the pole. Viktor hat no idea what the move was called, but he loved it. The view was terrific. The way his abs glistened… was that glitter? Please god, let it be glitter.
Viktor couldn’t get a better look because Yuuri twisted and switched positions, wrapping his legs around the pole and stretching them out over his head, then bending back until his hands reached the floor. Then he was unwrapping from the pole into a handstand, going down into a bridge before laying on the floor and reaching with his hands. He rolled, turned, and spun on his knees; somehow, with a grace that Viktor didn’t know was possible, he stood up and then jumped onto the pole, spinning around it before flipping upside down as he lifted his legs above his head in a straddle.
Throat dry, Viktor realised that he was feeling just on the edge of light-headed. This pole dance was not good for his health, but he wouldn’t take his eyes off Yuuri. He had promised.
The music ended both too soon and not soon enough. It felt as though his brain had been melted into a mess of lava, burning him up from the inside. It was obvious that Yuuri wanted him to say something; he was standing by the pole, shifting and fidgeting, one foot hooked around his ankle and his gaze directed at the floor in front of him. Viktor wanted to lift his chin, tell him that he should never look down. Tell him that he was amazing.
He could definitely do that last one, so he did. The words came breathlessly and were no more than a whisper, but Yuuri heard them and the smile that Viktor received in return was spectacular. The next words escaped before Viktor even paused to think if saying them would be a good idea. “Go out with me. After the Final.”
Pull Me Closer because I Never Want to let you go
It took every ounce of strength in Viktor’s body -- and a poisonous glare from Yuri -- to resist asking the front desk for Yuuri’s room number as soon they checked in. Instead, Viktor tried for patience, not even daring to take his cell out in the elevator, knowing Yakov -- now eyeing his two skaters with a look of long suffering -- would waste no time tongue-lashing him.
“There is to be no funny business with the other skaters before you skate, Viktor. Do you hear me?”
Viktor lifted his hands in front of him and sighed. “Of course not, Yakov! Why would I do anything like that?”
“Because you’re gross,” Yuri muttered.
“And you, Yura! No harassing Katsuki. He doesn’t need you stalking him his first time at the Final at the Senior level.”
Yuri just glared and pushed his way past them the second the elevator opened onto their floor. Yuri stuck his card into his room and made sure to slam the door shut in their faces.
“Is it just me, or has he gotten a lot ruder in the last year?” Viktor tapped his finger against his lips.
“It’s just to you.” Yakov went into his own room and shut the door.
It took a moment to parse the sentence, but when he did, Viktor frowned. Everyone was so mean to him!
Yuuri was a mess. One look at the shadows under his eyes and his unbrushed hair spoke more to Viktor than any words could. Pausing to think, he pulled Yuuri behind him to the concierge. “I need to know if you’ve set up a studio for off-ice training for the competitors?”
The man behind the desk nodded. “But it doesn’t open until tomorrow--”
“It opens now.”
“Now,” Viktor repeated. He tapped his finger against the top of the desk.
A panicked look passed over the concierge’s face, but he rallied and wrote some information on one of the business cards kept next to his computer screen. “The health spa and gym on the thirteenth floor has a yoga studio we’ve reserved for competitors that wish to practice. There is a sound system with hookups for iPods and other MP3 players, as well a CD player and a USB port--”
“I have my phone. Good enough.” Viktor grabbed the card and started pulling Yuuri toward the elevators.
“You mentioned in a text that you dance or skate when you get worried about things. So we’ll go back to your room and--”
Yuuri had stopped dead in his tracks, and no amount of tugging from Viktor could budge him.
He shook his head; muttered something in Japanese and looked at the ground. Viktor closed the distance between them and lifted Yuuri’s head with two fingers pressed to the underside of his chin.
“Listen to me, miliy. Whatever it is, it’s all right--”
“--wrappers. Fast food wrappers…”
Viktor laughed. “Ah! You are embarrassed because you cheated on your diet, porosyonok. No one is going to judge you.” Viktor brushed the locks of hair that had settled over Yuuri’s forehead in messy chunks to the side. “Everyone has broken their diet at least once because of nerves. Christophe makes a point of getting McDonald’s before every competition. Before the Trophée de France, I ate foie gras. And as delicious as it is, I guarantee you that if Yakov had found out what I had done, he probably would have killed me.” Viktor drew Yuuri into a hug and Yuuri only resisted for a moment. Pleased, Viktor rubbed his back for a minute and then bent down to whisper by his ear. “I will wait in the hallway. You can either hide the evidence, or not even invite me in.”
Yuuri mumbled something that sounded like “thank you.”
Viktor had to stop himself from physically picking Yuuri up and spinning them around when Yuuri placed third in the short program. He’d read a couple of placement predictions that placed Yuuri on the podium, and with the short program he’d just completed, it seemed like it could be possible. All they had to do now was get through the free program, and then maybe he and Yuuri could celebrate their medals with drinks and mindblowing sex -- if Yuuri was up for it.
Viktor really hoped that Yuuri would rise to the occasion.
He only started to worry when he got back to the hotel and still didn’t see Yuuri anywhere. Yuuri’s coach was in the lobby talking on the phone, free hand waving in emphasis before anxiously running through the top of his hair, stopping only when he got to the hair tie that held his ponytail in place.
“You can’t be serious, Phichit. I’m not going to ask Viktor Nikiforov to try and talk Yuuri out of his room.” The coach sighed. “Did he tell you what was wrong before he hung up on you?”
Yuuri hung up on Phichit? This couldn’t be good. It only took Viktor a minute to decide that the best course of action would be to head straight to Yuuri’s room. He’d bribe someone to open the door if he had to. What had happened? Yuuri had looked so pleased with his short program result. He’d almost gotten a personal best on it, and had only missed doing so by half a point. It was nothing to be ashamed of at all.
Viktor knocked on Yuuri’s door. And knocked. And knocked. Then he started calling through the door. “Yuuri, let me in, miliy, please. I want to talk to you.” Finally, the door cracked open. Only part of Yuuri’s face could be seen through the gap, and Viktor hadn’t been prepared for the sight that met his eyes. Yuuri’s eyes were bloodshot, and he was pretty sure that he smelled alcohol on the younger skater’s breath. “koten'ka?”
“Go’way. Don wanna talk.” The small gap started to get smaller.
“Yuuri, just… just tell me what’s wrong first? I’m worried.”
With a deep breath, Yuuri straightened his shoulders. He was obviously preparing himself to say something that he didn’t want to. The worry grew in the pit of Viktor’s stomach, roiling and uncomfortable. His whole body tensed as he waited for whatever Yuuri was about to tell him. “My dog, Vicchan--” Yuuri’s breath caught and Viktor knew .
“Oh, sladkiy, no…”
Big fat, wet tears started leaking out of Yuuri’s eyes and down his cheeks, dripping off his chin. He took in one shuddering breath after another. “I… I…”
A familiar shout interrupted Yuuri’s stammer. “What the fuck is going on? Yakov is looking everywhere for you--”
Viktor rounded on Yuri before he could say something insensitive. “Yura, Yuuri just found out that his dog died. Please just--”
Yuri shoved his small frame against the door and past Yuuri, who looked startled and started rubbing at his eyes. Viktor, not one to deny himself a selfish opportunity when it arose, followed him in and shut the door. Yuuri just looked back and forth between the two Russians, obviously upset, but at the same time not wanting to be rude. “Please, I--”
Yuri shoved his phone into Yuuri’s face, leaving the screen a scarce half-inch from the other skater’s nose. “That’s Potya. She’s the best cat in the world. After all this, you’ll come to St Petersburg and meet her. She’ll curl up with you and purr and make you feel better.” Yuuri numbly took the phone and moved it to a slightly less aggressive distance. Yuri stuck his hands in his pocket. “I won’t even let this asshole and his dumb pet bother you unless you want them to.”
Sniffling, Yuuri focused on the picture of Yuri’s cat. Viktor suspected it was the one where she was laying on her back, her fluffy tummy exposed and her face literally radiating innocence. It was a trap. A filthy trap! The first time Yuri had introduced him to Potya, she’d been laying just like that, and the hell demon had attacked his hand when he went to give her belly rubs. Viktor opened his mouth -- and then snapped it shut when he saw the smallest of smiles turn up the corners of Yuuri’s mouth. There’d be time to warn him later.
Between the two of them, they convinced Yuuri to get presentable and agree to dinner with them, promising that they’d invite Mila along, and that her and Yuri would show them every last picture they had of their cats.
It was an unspoken agreement that Viktor would not be showing pictures of Makkachin. There’d be time for that later.
Celestino was so grateful that they’d managed to get Yuuri out of his room -- and even looking relatively unmiserable -- that he offered to pay for their dinner at the hotel restaurant. This of course led to Chris and Hans showing up and mooching off the table as well. Still, the more, the merrier, especially once Chris started showing off pictures of his own cat, Bae.
“Your cat’s name is Puma Tiger Scorpion?” Chris laughed so hard that he hit the tabletop repeatedly, stopping only once Yuri aimed a vicious under-the-table kick at his shins. Laughter rippled around the table as Chris snarled a choice selection of French cursewords.
From the corner of his eye, Viktor could see Yuuri smiling. Viktor never thought he’d feel this way, but thank god for Yuri Plisetsky.
“Shut up, asshole. I was like eleven. Your cat is named after an internet meme.”
Hans coughed. “Actually, an internet term for a significant other.”
“Which makes it even creepier.”
Hans shrugged. “I think it is because I gave Bae to him?”
Yuri visibly gagged.
“And here is when Vizu was a kitten and got stuck between the… the bar things on the stairs. She eventually wiggled her way out, but she made the most adorable little meow. I wish I had taken video, but isn’t she cute!” Mila had brought out her phone and was flipping through her own album of cat pictures.
Yuuri nodded. The waiters came and set their desserts in front of them. It wasn’t very substantial -- Viktor had made sure to request small portions -- but Yuuri definitely needed more of a pick-me-up, and Viktor had a feeling he wouldn’t touch the sweet unless everyone else did.
Halfway through dessert was when all hell broke loose. Viktor made the mistake of commenting on how many of Yuri’s fans wore cat ears. Yuri just glared at him, and Viktor realised his error as soon as Chris got that troublemaking gleam in his eye. “You know who would look adorable in cat ears?” The Swiss skater looked toward Yuuri.
Yuri’s eyes went wide. And then he glared at Viktor. “You ASSHOLE! YOU TOLD HIM?!”
“I might have mentioned it in passing?” Viktor waved his hand in a dismissive gesture to try and save face.
Yuri dove over Mila to try and get to Viktor, but Viktor leaned back at the last second. Instead, Yuri tackled Yuuri to the floor and ended sprawled on top of the Japanese skater. “Shit. Fuck. Goddamn it, Viktor! This is ALL YOUR FAULT!”
Yuuri just patted Yuri on the shoulder. “I’m sure it’s not so bad as all that.” He paused. “Can I… Can I get up now?”
Yuri turned a shocking shade of red before he scrambled up, tugging his hood as far down over his face as possible and slouching back down into his chair. Mila patted his shoulder. “Don’t tease him like that, you two. Or else I’ll use my all-knowing powers to reveal secrets that you might not appreciate.”
Chris smirked. “I don’t think you know any secrets about me.”
“But I know the Crispino twins. Sara and I are actually pretty close.”
Chris blanched and backed down. “All right, little Yuri, your secret is safe with me.”
Yuuri had finally righted his chair with Viktor’s help and had settled back down. “I feel that I’m missing something.”
Viktor could just make out the panicked widening of Yuri’s eyes, and decided he should probably help his wayward rinkmate save a little face. “Nothing, miliy moi.”
“What does miliy moi mean? You’ve been calling me that for months.”
It was Viktor’s turn to feel a little panicked, and no one seemed inclined to come to his rescue -- least of all Yuri, whose disgusted facial expression was one for the ages. Then Mila threw him under the bus. “It means ‘my darling’. It’s so cute.” She grinned at Yuuri. “I’ve been meaning to tell you that the two of you make a great couple. Viktor can’t shut up about you.”
Chris started coughing and had to excuse himself from the table. There would be no help from that corner, either. The traitor.
Yuuri looked at him, and Viktor felt his heart melt at the look of confusion and hope that crossed the younger man’s features. “Really? You’ve told everyone that we’re dating?”
Clearing his throat, Viktor shrugged his shoulders and sent his bangs covering most of his eyes. “Not in so many words…”
“Oh.” Yuuri turned a charming shade of pink and glanced down at his hands.
“Oh?” Hope unfurled in Viktor’s chest.
Mila gently placed a hand on Yuri’s shoulder. “I think this is our cue to leave, Yura.”
“No!” Yuri crossed his arms over his chest. “I want to see that idiot fall flat on his face when Katsuki rejects him.”
Mila patted his shoulder again. “I don’t think Yuuri is going to reject him.”
It was almost like a dream. Viktor was kissing Yuuri up against the wall of Yuuri’s hotel room. Yuuri’s lips were a little chapped and rough beneath his, but the heat of his breath and the press of his made all other thoughts vanish from Viktor’s head. Kissing Yuuri was just as good as it’d been in Switzerland. Better, even.
Yuuri backed Viktor up to the bed. The back of Viktor’s knees hit the mattress unexpectedly and he sat down hard. The kiss broke, and Viktor found himself reaching for Yuuri. He needed Yuuri, and luckily Yuuri wasted no time clambering onto Viktor’s lap. Nor did it take long for Viktor to wrap his arms around Yuuri’s back and fall back, leaving him mostly lying on the bed with Yuuri sprawled on top of him as they kissed; messy and sweet and desperate and oh so very good.
Between presses of lips, Yuuri would pause to look at Viktor and whisper things like “unreal” or “I can’t believe it” or “so lucky,” and Viktor felt himself starting to fall all over again. It definitely wasn’t too soon to start planning the wedding, in his opinion. It was never too soon to hope for a future with Yuuri.
Viktor stroked his hand down Yuuri’s back, settling them on his ass and pressing Yuuri tighter against him. He knew he was hard, and he could feel Yuuri’s erection as well, and Viktor wished that they could give into it, but--
“We can’t,” Yuuri gasped. “Not until after the Final.”
“But after the Final?” Viktor wanted. He wanted this so very bad.
Those were words that Viktor most certainly enjoyed hearing. He rolled them over so that he could press Yuuri back into the mattress and kiss him some more. And if his hands wandered more than they should, if his lips wandered more than they should, if Yuuri ended up with at least three hickeys on his neck that would thankfully be hidden by his Free Skate costume -- there was no one but each other to tell them ‘no’.
Yuuri had tears running down his cheeks as he clutched his bronze medal tight in his fist. Viktor pulled him up onto the top step of the podium, and then reached over and pulled Chris up as well, wrapping his arms around both of them.
“This is the best idea you’ve ever had.”
Viktor grinned at Chris. “I figure that since the ISU already dislikes me so much, I should give them one more reason. And in the end we all benefit.”
“That we will. Little Yuri looks like he’s about to have a brain aneurysm, though.”
And it was true. Yuri’s mouth had twisted into a horrified expression when he walked into the ballroom and caught sight of the stripper pole that Viktor had stealthily requested be added to the room. Fortunately, as a national hero, the hotel staff had been more than happy to comply with his request. God bless Mother Russia!
On the other side of the room, Sara was exchanging furtive whispers with Mila, who turned an absolutely giddy look toward him, followed by two thumbs up. Viktor had a feeling the redhead was going to give the pole a try herself. In fact, Viktor wouldn’t be surprised if Mila had a hidden talent for it like Yuuri did. Poor Sara didn’t know what she was in for...
Near the door, Yuuri had finally broken free of the sponsors and was on his way over. Viktor smiled and motioned to the pole, earning him an exasperated look from the other skater. Still, Viktor thought that he could even get used to that expression Yuuri looked nothing short of adorable when he did it.
It was a few hours and quite a few glasses of champagne later when Yuuri took to the pole.
Yuuri seemed startled when the music started playing, but he got into it right away, his body moving with the music as he pressed his back to the pole and slid down before turning and holding the pole above his head, spinning around it. Seamlessly, he hooked a leg around the pole and started spinning a little faster. Viktor was riveted.
Yuuri twisted and spun around, using the momentum to flip. He held himself away from the pole and slid his legs down into a split, then moved until he was straddling the pole. He let go with his hands and just reached -- right toward Viktor.
He moved forward without even thinking and got close enough to the pole that when Yuuri let go and bent backwards with his arms free, Viktor could just lean forward and press his lips against Yuuri’s in an upside-down kiss. Viktor liked this, this freedom to kiss Yuuri when he wanted. And if it made Yuuri blush and hide his face against his knees before he could get down from the pole to dance around it -- well, Viktor wasn’t going to complain. And he was also going to appreciate every view he got of Yuuri’s ass.
As soon as Yuuri was off the pole, Viktor had every intention of leaving the banquet. With company. After all, Yuuri had promised definitely and repeatedly, and Viktor kind of wanted to get a start on that.
Viktor watched as Yuuri kept his legs hooked around the pole as he spun with his back to it and arched. If he just reached out -- stopped Yuuri’s momentum -- he could undo the buttons of his shirt and lick a line down Yuuri’s chest. He licked his own lips. The champagne had gone to his head, and watching Yuuri was sending the blood down to his dick; Viktor honestly didn’t know how much longer he was going to be able to watch Yuuri gyrate and arch around a pole without taking action.
But the music stopped and Yuuri slid down the pole. Viktor could see the color high on his cheeks and didn’t hesitate; just went up to him and cupped his face in his hands and kissed him, licking into his mouth and probably moaning -- Viktor wasn’t even sure anymore, his mind was so focused on Yuuri and the need and want that was twisting and pooling in his gut.
Yuuri, for his part, pressed himself tight against Viktor and wound his arms around Viktor’s neck, kissing back just as hard.
It was the hard elbow to his side that broke the moment and Viktor looked away from Yuuri, dazed, at Chris, who was shaking his head and pointing to the door. “Go, before Yakov kills you.”
Viktor didn’t even spare his coach a glance; he just grabbed Yuuri by the hand and pulled him toward the elevator, caught up in the sound of Yuuri’s breathless laughter.