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Not Cricket

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Until Yuuri, Victor had always thought he was a relatively decent person.

Relatively because Victor would be the first to admit that he wasn’t perfect. He messed up, made mistakes. Broke a few rules. But there were some lines that just couldn’t be crossed, no matter how tempting the prize on the other side of them appeared.

However, if said prize was five foot eight with a pair of thighs that just begged to be wrapped around Victor’s face, then that was where said lines tended to get… blurred.

Or at least, Victor was less inclined to pay them any due attention.

While Victor had never considered himself a saint, he had rather considered himself to be above the perception of the standard privileged dickhead most people expected of him. But since Yuuri had swung into his life around the polished edge of a pole, Victor found himself slipping ever so slowly down that particular ladder from the bar of occasional bastard and somewhere into the low realms of your not so friendly neighbourhood asshole.

When the whole thing started, Victor would be lying to say that in the (admittedly indulgent) scenario he'd imagined upon deciding to chase Yuuri down that he hadn't cast himself as the plucky hero chasing after their lost but no doubt utterly perfect love. Yuuri had clearly just been embarrassed by his drunkenness and Victor would be the one to show him that he had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. That casting, however, may have proved to have been premature.

Victor’s plan had been simple.

Get to Japan. Find Yuuri. Pick up exactly where they left off at Sochi. Coach.

(And even if Victor had known then what he knew now he still would've followed through on parts one and two, with part four being upgraded after sufficiently mourning the loss of part three).

Except a rather large spanner had been thrown into the already haphazard works. Said spanner was to join the surprise screwdriver that was Yuri Plisetsky, who had also shown up in Hasetsu for good measure, so Victor’s plan was getting awfully busy with tools that weren’t his own.

But it all came to a terrible, mortifying head the night before.

Up until the exact point where Victor’s entire world came crashing down, Victor had rather thought Yuuri was just shy. Skittish and easily bashful, and that was why all of Victor’s steadily decreasing in subtley flirtations had been rebuffed. What kept Victor going in the wake of such was the way Yuuri’s eyes would follow him around the rink at Ice Palace, warm like earth on a sunny day and setting Victor’s heart racing every time he caught Yuuri’s gaze. The small hitch in Yuuri’s breath when Victor was close, blush blooming rose pink when Yuuri would trip over whatever he was saying when Victor would touch him. Even just to steady Yuuri in his skates.

(Which was often, as Victor took coaching very seriously).

As far as Victor was concerned, Yuuri liked him. At least a little. And Victor liked Yuuri a lot, so they were bound to meet somewhere in the middle, right?

It would just take time. And Victor was more than willing to spend that time because nothing seemed more fulfilling than getting to know Yuuri Katsuki. Not just the bends and twists of his skating, but also the small corners and smiles of his life. Yuuri was the most engaging person Victor ever met.

(And yes, he was gorgeous. Which definitely helped. Victor was only a man, after all).

Unfortunately, Victor had never considered that someone else might have gotten there first.

At dinner last night, Victor’s best laid plans went the way of mice and men. They had been sitting around the small table in the private dining room at the onsen, and things had been going rather well. Yuuri had had a good day on the ice, which meant his face was doing that thing where it lit up along all the edges like Christmas lights. Victor smiled back at him, unable to contain the warm feeling that flooded through him whenever he saw Yuuri happy. Yuuri was gesturing with his chopsticks, eyes bright as he talked over his barely touched food. Victor tried very hard not to stare too much. He was failing miserably though.

Next to them, Victor’s begrudging souvenir from home and surprise student, the other Yuri sat in what quite frankly had to be an uncomfortable bend around of knobbly knees and teenage angst, glaring fiercely at the pair of them. Victor was certainly not failing in ignoring that.

Yuuri’s question about a possible rearrangement of where they had placed the twizzle for Eros was interrupted by the shrill chime of his phone. It was a personal ringtone, a chipper soundtrack Victor vaguely recognised. Perhaps a film. Yuuri blushed further, (and Victor’s stomach flipped at seeing it), sitting back onto his haunches gracefully as he fumbled to get his phone out of his jeans pocket.

‘Ah,’ Yuuri said when he pulled the phone out, dark eyes widening from behind his glasses. He sat back, unfolding his legs from under him. Yurio raised his eyebrows next to him as Yuuri flustered. ‘I’m sorry, I have to- I’ll be right back.’

Victor didn't even get the chance to say no problem before Yuuri was standing and answering the phone, in a language that didn't sound familiar but Victor couldn't confidently say wasn't Japanese. He watched Yuuri leave the room, sliding the door open and vanishing out it, hearing his own sigh too late. Yuri groaned from his edge of the low table.

‘You’re pathetic,’ Yuri said acidly, stabbing a piece of shrimp with his fork. Victor adjusted his grip on his chopsticks, perhaps (definitely) showing off. ‘He's barely been gone ten seconds. You can survive that long without someone fawning all over you.’

‘I don't know what you mean,’ Victor said brightly, popping a small piece of carrot into his mouth. Yuri tsked meanly from across the table.

‘I can't believe you dragged us all the way out here just to get a leg over,’ Yuri said, shaking his head and Victor pouted at him, offended.

‘I didn't drag you anywhere. You were not invited, remember?’

‘Don't even get me started,’ Yuri said back and Victor had to agree. Anytime they got into the whole thing about Victor’s broken promise to him, the guilt would rear its ugly head and bite with teeth. Victor didn't mean to be so forgetful, but it was too late to be sorry now.

Victor watched the door instead with his face balanced on one hand, waiting for Yuuri to get back. He'd been interested in Yuuri’s opinion on the twizzle, step work being a particular strength of his and Victor respected his opinion. But Yuuri did not come back. Victor stared at Yuuri’s bowl of half-eaten food. Other Yuri had managed to clear his whole meal, and Yuuri still hadn’t returned. Victor tapped his chopsticks impatiently against his own bowl.

‘He's not going to be back for a while, you know.’

‘Hmm,’ Victor hummed, not really listening as he stared at the door that was still ajar. ‘Wonder what's caught his attention. Not like Yuuri to get distracted.’

‘No, that's your thing.’ Victor glanced at Yuri, resisting a retort. ‘Read your twitter if your ego really can't survive until he gets back,’ Yuri groused further and Victor did frown at him for that. Yuri ignored him, now scrolling rudely through his phone. ‘I’m sure even you can wait until he’s done talking to his boyfriend though.’

That statement for the most part went right over Victor’s head, until one particular word caught his attention. He dragged the sentence back by the heels and went over it again, stomach twisting around itself.

‘His what?’ Victor asked quietly and lifting off where he'd been leaning, half-afraid that repeating any of it aloud might make Yuri’s obvious mistake come true. Yuri looked up from his phone, blond eyebrows together as he regarded Victor with the same look of general exasperation he always wore when looking at Victor.

‘On the phone,’ Yuri said carefully, like Victor was being particularly slow about the whole thing when in reality Victor’s brain was running about one hundred miles an hour in a rather unfortunate direction. ‘His boyfriend.’

‘Yuuri doesn't have a boyfriend,’ Victor said, not sounding half as convinced as he should've. Yuri tilted his head in confusion.

‘Yes, he does,’ Yuri replied pointedly. He put his phone on the table, shaking the loose sleeve of his hoodie to get his hand free. He held it up, counting off a finger one by one as he began to list. ‘Special ringtone. Stays on the phone for well over an hour. Switches to a different language for privacy.’ Victor looked at all three fingers, the knot in his gut getting considerably tighter. ‘Not to mention how red he gets every time.’

‘That doesn't prove anything,’ Victor said weakly, but already there was a little voice in his head screaming panic about how Yuuri just might not be so bashful as Victor thought him.

It was a rather unfortunate time to remember how friendly Yuuri had seemed with Chris in Sochi, but Chris showed up uninvited in Victor’s thoughts almost instantly. Practically naked and tied around Yuuri like a pretty bow. They had seemed awfully close for a guy Victor had begun to suspect was a virgin. Perhaps Yuuri wasn't nearly as chaste as previously assumed and knew his way around more than a pole.

‘There's two heart emojis next to the guy’s name. Only idiots getting monogamously fucked do that,’ Yuri said, now holding his hand palm up like he might offer some comfort. Victor dropped his chopsticks, barely registering their clatter against the tabletop. He didn't even scold Yuri for swearing.

Yuri gave Victor a baffled look.

‘Christ. You didn't know.’

No, Victor had not known.

‘All this time I just thought you were an asshole,’ Yuri continued, seemingly losing interest in the heartbreak he had just rendered and picking his phone back up. ‘A dedicated one, mind. After all, who flies to Japan just to shag some other guy’s boyfriend?’

Victor, apparently, would fly to Japan to s- get to know someone else’s boyfriend.

Victor stared across the table at the empty space Yuuri had left, disappointment thick inside him. He sagged, despondent, letting the weight of it pull him down into the tatami. He just about resisted the urge to fall completely onto his back and weep altogether.


Yuuri would've told him if he had a boyfriend. Wouldn't he? Victor was sure he'd asked, somewhat. But he reminded himself regretfully that Yuuri was also fiercely private. Despite living under the same roof, Yuuri guarded his secrets against Victor with surprisingly rigidity. Bedroom door snapped shut, just like Yuuri’s lips whenever Victor dare venture to ask something personal. Even all Yuuri’s childhood photographs seemed magically nonexistent upon Victor’s arrival and he sincerely doubted it was lack of pride on Hiroko-san’s part.

With a very heavy heart, Victor remembered that what Yuuri had actually admitted was that he didn't have a girlfriend and from what Victor had begun to learn of Yuuri, that was exactly the kind of technicality Yuuri would sidestep around to not admit anything else about his life. (Despite living in America for five years, Yuuri’s English was awfully selective). Victor made a small noise from the back of his throat, not too far off a whimper.

So- no to girlfriend. But apparently yes to boyfriend.

Victor suddenly felt quite unwell.

By the time Yuuri had come back, Victor was almost completely lost in the misery of his own thoughts. He barely registered when Yuuri let himself back into the room, apology quiet as he took his seat back on the tatami. When Victor finally forced himself to pay attention again, his already wounded heart found itself under even more wear as suddenly Yuuri looked cuter than ever. His hair was messy, (he'd clearly run his hands through it, talking to his boyfriend probably having him flustered), glasses crooked. Skin the tan of sun brassed sand and just as inviting in gorgeous contrast to the blue of Yuuri’s jumper. And he was smiling at Victor like he always did, big brown eyes the picture of Victor’s type , which was only making it all the worse really.

Now that Victor knew he definitely couldn't have it, he realised just how badly he'd wanted Yuuri’s attention (affection) in the first place. It was the exact same cold slap one got when they fell on the ice most unexpectedly.

Victor was not used to that feeling.

‘Everything okay, Victor?’ Yuuri asked seemingly noticing that he'd been talking almost a minute and Victor hadn't taken in a single word of it. Victor jumped in his skin, caught.

‘Great,’ he replied, as it was all he could think of to say, English suddenly failing him entirely.

Yuuri smiled at him, the left corner of his mouth quirked up a tad higher in the most perfect angle Victor had ever seen. His disappointment turned even colder and he turned away from his food entirely, much to Yuuri’s ever adorable concern. The considerably more acerbic Yuri at the table just threw Victor an exasperated look before abandoning the pair of them altogether.

Victor had been arrogant to think he was the only one Yuuri would be capable of seducing, even more so to entertain the thought that Yuuri would’ve been waiting the three or so months between Sochi and now for Victor to show up and repay the romantic favour. Just because Victor had been waiting didn't mean Yuuri would.


(Victor was trying very, very, very hard not to be bitter about the whole thing).

Most terribly, this meant that Yuuri’s idolisation of Victor, his recreation of Stay Close to Me and his stumbling blushes in Victor’s presence where just that- idolisation. Not interest, or at least, not the interest Victor had been hoping for. Or the interest Victor had himself.

Which really meant this whole time, Yuuri had been thinking that Victor was just the most amazing, ambitious coach and was thankful to have him. And while Victor had done his best to honour that, he'd evidently been betraying Yuuri’s faith at the same time by wondering what it would feel like to kiss Yuuri every time their eyes met.

Good coaches definitely didn't think about kissing their students.

When that rather unpleasant realisation made itself known, Victor excused himself from the table, much to Yuuri’s (platonic) disappointment.

‘Okay, see you tomorrow then,’ Yuuri offered politely, giving Victor a small wave as Victor gathered his bowl and left towards the kitchen. Victor forced a smile back, even though inside he was very much dying. The painful kind of death, too. The kind that the old writers of home used to wax poetic about.

(Not to be dramatic, of course).

In the kitchen, Victor rinsed his bowl and chopsticks, Yuuri’s sister Mari sitting at the small table in the corner pouring over some ledgers. Victor could feel her eyes on his back. Once he was finished, Victor turned to leave, his smile to Mari interrupted when she held her cigarette box aloft.

‘Smoke?’ she asked, accent much heavier than Yuuri’s. Victor blinked for a moment, brain trying to catch up to his ears.

‘Ah, no. Thank you, but I don't,’ he replied, hearing the misery in his voice and kicking himself for it. Mari raised one eyebrow at him, mouth downturned in something not unlike the look Yuri gave Victor when- well, the look Yuri always gave Victor.

‘You coach Yuuri now,’ she said simply, sitting back comfortably from her leaning. She looked at Victor from the corner of her eye as she put the cigarette box on the table. ‘You’ll need something.’

To that, Victor had no argument.

(But he was tad a more inclined towards the sake that sat on the table).

When he tilted his head towards it, Mari merely gave him a another wry look, before sliding the bottle over the surface of the table with deliberate ease. Victor took it, turning on his perfectly poised heel and made his way upstairs, bottle in tow and swinging like a pendulum from his hand.


After finding out that Yuuri was not available, Victor had spent the night talking it over with Makkachin after a considerable amount of sake. They both agreed that there was no point in denying Victor didn't fancy him, because to do so would be lying and Makkachin helpfully pointed out out that lying was wrong but lying to yourself was just bad self-care.

So that was that settled. Victor fancied Yuuri.

But he was also Yuuri’s coach. Something Victor took quite seriously. Because Victor had never believed in anything the way he believed in Yuuri and his ability not only to be good, but great. Getting distracted by messy feelings would definitely not just put their important coaching relationship in jeopardy, but also Yuuri’s career and Victor couldn't live with himself if that happened.

(In Victor’s head, this surely made him better a person than the Boyfriend. Whomever that may be, as long-distance really wasn't the healthiest plan, now was it? Which it must be, as Yuuri hadn’t been with anyone here in Japan. And Yuuri deserved someone who'd follow him anywhere and everywhere-)

Asshole! A voice had chimed in Victor’s head, sounding suspiciously liking Yuri Plisetsky’s dulcet tones.

(Victor reasoned it was alright to be asshole in his head. Imaginary Yurio to scold or no).

So now it was just a case of containing it until the feelings inevitably went away. Which they had to. The longest relationship Victor had ever had was with his coach, and there was reasoning for that. Sure, upon meeting Yuuri in Sochi and over the course of the months that followed, Victor had convinced himself that this time, things were definitely different. But things were never different, not with Victor; and this stubborn crush he had on Yuuri would prove likewise.

Victor had clearly built it all up in his head. There was no such thing as love at first sight and definitely not when one of the parties involved was taken. The best plan of action was to remind himself constantly of that. Just because it was the most wonderful, romantic and sparkling night of Victor’s life did not mean Yuuri was Victor’s soulmate.

That wasn’t anyone’s fault, Makkachin said with a tilt of her fluffy, perfect head. Victor had to agree, much as it hurt anyway.

After all, fancying someone who was in a relationship with someone else was only moderately shitty and in most cases couldn't be helped. If that person however had put their trust in you, like Yuuri had with Victor, then it definitely climbed up the tiers in shittiness.

And any entertainment of the thought of pursuing that person anyway was- well, it just wasn’t cricket was it?

Not that it mattered. Because crush or no crush, Victor was going to get his shit together. For Yuuri.

(Perfect, gorgeous, unavailable Yuuri).

What mattered most was being the coach Yuuri deserved. Which meant paramount professional objectivity and utter focus on what was best for Yuuri. (Even if that included a Boyfriend, who definitely didn't deserve him). Victor and his feelings came pretty low on the list of priorities, with Yuuri’s happiness and career reigning top. Victor would not risk that.

So once that was all decided and drunkenly announced to a supportive Makkachin, Victor allowed himself the second half of the bottle to just wallow in the disappointment that the most beautiful person in the world was already in love with someone else and that someone was regrettably not Victor. He probably wasn't even as talented, Victor had thought bitterly before he started tearing up at the thought that Yuuri would settle for anyone when he could have a five time world champion.

Yuuri deserved a twenty time world champion.

This led to a long, stumbling attempt to stalk said Boyfriend wherever he may be and suss out the competition. (Not that there was a competition, as discussed). But Victor had about as much luck looking for evidence of Yuuri’s boyfriend online as he did when he'd tried to find anything about Yuuri online the first time. That was to say, none at all.

The bottom third of the bottle was spent in frustration at this. Victor liked to imagine some short guy he could tower over. Brunet, probably. Really plain face, eyes- who cared? He couldn't dance in Victor’s head either, as Victor wanted to be as spiteful as possible after the sake and heartbreak. Even just for himself. Victor ran imaginary circles around he guy. He was also utterly convinced that he was funnier than Yuuri’s boyfriend, mocking him expertly in his head.

And somewhere between telling Yuuri’s boyfriend that he could shove it and considering knocking on real Yuuri’s bedroom door to ask exactly what made his boyfriend so damn fucking special, Victor had managed to find himself another bottle. Which really just kicked the whole cycle off again.

It was a long night. Thus leading to Victor’s current predicament, which was leaning against the rink-wall of Ice Palace and feeling like he'd been physically hollowed out, quivering in his skates. Still, at least he'd beat Yuuri there, which was what really mattered if Victor was going to keep up the pretence of being a totally serious and competent coach.

Unfortunately, Yuri Plisetsky was already on the ice in all his stubborn, barbed glory and had been berating Victor in both English and Russian. Which Victor considered to be quite excessive and honestly, what was the point in leaving Yakov if his tiny, blond replacement was going to be here?

‘Twice. You've done this twice,’ Yuri said, staring up at Victor in furious indignation. Victor couldn't even really muster a response, jaw tight with latent nausea. ‘Were you always this much of a mess and I just never noticed?’

Victor just shrugged to that and Yuri growled at him.


‘Morning!’ a voice called and Victor spun so fast on his skates, he made himself dizzy. Yuuri was just coming in from the lockers, face already red and the feathered bangs of his head sticking to his forehead. Victor realised with a very pleasant and wholly inappropriate swing in his gut that Yuuri had been out running.

This was about the point Victor realised that professional objectivity may have been further out of reach than expected.

Yuuri looked amazing, all flushed like that. Arms swinging and face bright, no glasses. Victor could see every curve of him as he teetered over in his guarded skates, the flex of his muscular arms and eyes shining. He was all timid smiles to Victor’s beaming. But Victor’s whole body suddenly felt more than a little warm as he looked at him. Almost like he was still drunk.

Victor waved back brightly, ignoring his heart headache.

‘Come on, Yuuri!’ he called over as Yuuri approached, already leaning down to take off his guards. ‘We’ve already started.’

‘Started what? Your mid-life crisis?’ Yuri said with bite, which Victor ignored.

Victor had them doing laps and basic warm up for the first while. Mostly because the thought of running through either Agape or Eros  while the whole ice shook beneath him had Victor seeing stars. Despite how much Yuuri lifted his mood, he was not (unfortunately) an instant cure for a deathly hangover. He let the two of them skate side by side, watching them chat and wondering when they had managed to become friends when he wasn’t looking.

However, as a coach, there was only so much standing around and barking orders Victor could do. He wasn’t Yakov, after all.

‘Yuuri!’ he called after a short while, interrupting the conversation he was excluded from. Yurio tossed him a dirty glance, no doubt already pouting that Eros would be going first. But Yuuri looked the same kind of nervous happy he always did when Victor called him and wasn’t that just terrible? ‘Let’s do Eros first, okay?’

‘Okay, coach!’ Yuuri called back, making Victor’s heart somersault more than his stomach.

Victor had skated hungover many times in his life. One particular Olympic year with an overly ambitious Christophe Giacometti and a bottle of absinthe coming to mind. However, he hadn’t been skating hungover at twenty-seven before and to say he was dying was an absolute understatement.

He was holding it together pretty well until the first combination, when for the first time in his memory, Victor stepped out of a rotation early. His stomach swooped unpleasantly, tightness pulling along his jaw and Victor skidded awkwardly out of the spin, suddenly terrified that he was going to throw up on the ice. In front of Yuuri, of all people.

‘Victor!’ Yuuri cried, spinning gracefully out of his rotation. The momentum carried Yuuri a little far away, but it didn’t matter anyway as Victor was now seeing spots and- yep, he was going to faint.

Victor missed how exactly it happened, but somehow he was caught up in the flurry of movement that was falling and also being caught. Himself and Yuuri landed with a crash onto the hard surface of the ice, Yuuri hitting it arse first and Victor’s head spinning. His entire body shook as he bounced down onto Yuuri’s lap, cushioned in the loop of Yuuri’s arms around his waist. Victor leaned into it, distantly aware that he was probably crushing Yuuri somewhat but completely distracted by the incessant panic he was about to gawk straight onto Yuuri’s chest.

‘Victor, are you alright?’ Yuuri asked, quietly breathless and all worry once Victor leaned back after the initial nausea left him, meeting Victor’s swimming gaze. God, he was so pretty. Victor relaxed in Yuuri’s grip, letting his weight sink into the plushness of Yuuri’s thighs. ‘You’re so pale.’

Yuuri moved a hand up to Victor’s face, pushing his fringe out of his eyes. Victor was trembling all over now, cold sweat and ice chill. Yuuri tightened his hold on him, pulling Victor even more flush against him. Victor was hyper aware of everywhere they touched. He and Yuuri hadn’t been this close since Sochi, Yuuri doing his damnedest to skirt around Victor in the onsen in a scramble of towels and closed bedroom doors. But now Victor found himself exactly where’d wanted to be since December; sinking down against the warmth of Yuuri’s body and the dip of his groin.

Asides from the obvious fact that Victor was going to die, at least he’d die extremely happy and in Yuuri’s arms.

Yuuri’s dark eyes were roaming all over Victor’s face, fingers trailing through the ends of Victor’s hair as Victor tried very hard not to give into the screaming urge to close the very, very small distance between them. But he found himself staring down at Yuuri’s lips anyway. They were just so pink and right there, practically begging to be kissed.

Except Victor wasn’t supposed to do that because Yuuri already had someone whose very job, in fact, was to kiss those lips.

‘Oh, Victor. You’re really not well,’ Yuuri said softly, palm up against Victor’s forehead. Victor leaned into it, allowing himself that much anyway. Yuuri cooed gently, still holding Victor tightly and wasn’t that just the best feeling in the world?

‘Oi, Piggy! Is he dead?’ Victor heard Yuri bellow from somewhere.

‘No!’ Yuuri called over his shoulder, eyes never leaving Victor’s face. ‘But I am taking him home.’

Yurio had a quite a lot to say about that, but none of his screeching went through Victor’s head at all over the dual choruses of how lovely Yuuri was and how imminently Victor was going to die from the hangover that was coursing through him like a toxic river. Slowly, and regretfully, Yuuri helped guide Victor off himself and managed to get them both upright. He was talking about taking Victor home, but all Victor could focus on now was how strong Yuuri was. Victor would have to repay the favour.

Victor was definitely going to repay the favour, the second he wasn’t going to fall over miserable.

(Victor wondered if Yuuri’s boyfriend was strong enough to lift him. Probably not).

(Hopefully not).

‘My hero, Yuuri,’ Victor said as Yuuri knelt before him, unlacing Victor’s skates in the locker room. Yuuko had already gone in search of her keys to drive them both home. Yurio maintained that just because Victor needed babysitting didn’t mean he couldn’t get some training in. Victor shifted awkwardly, guilt suddenly very present inside of him as he looked down at how gentle Yuuri was being with him. Victor really should be a better coach.

‘Don’t be so embarrassing,’ Yuuri replied, but he was smiling. Cheeks pinks. Victor chanced a smile back. Smiling was good. Friends smiled at each other all the time.

Victor licked his lips, nervous. ‘Yuuri.’

Yuuri looked up, face open without his glasses. He wasn’t smiling anymore, but Victor found his heart fluttering anyway. The question sat in Victor’s mouth, suddenly too heavy to say and even then, Victor wasn’t even sure it was the right question anymore. Yuuri tilted his head, eyebrows knitted together with concern.

‘What is it? Do you feel unwell again?’

Victor opened his mouth, then closed it. He forced himself to smile, though it felt weak.

‘No,’ he said at last, pushing his hair out of his face just for something to do. He met Yuuri’s eye again. And he tried desperately hard to push all the feelings doing that bubbled up inside of him. Deep, deep down. ‘I’m perfectly fine.’

Yuuri smiled up at him again, all loveliness.

(Victor was most perfectly and terribly, unfine).

This incident, (which Yurio helpfully named as Victor’s cock-up, leading to Victor permanently deeming him Yurio ad infinitum, mostly out of spite), was where things really started to go wrong and Victor realised his small crush might be something a little more devious.

As that night Victor had the most vivid and gorgeous dream where he had Yuuri pressed up against the lockers in Ice Palace, Yuuri moaning like something not very monogamous at all with his legs wrapped around Victor’s waist as Victor gave him exactly what he wanted to give him. And it wasn’t coaching. The dream rocked to the sound of Yuuri’s back thumping against the lockers as Victor held him up and-

Victor woke with a start, straining hard in his pajama bottoms and the dreamy sound of Yuuri’s gasps in his head. Played back almost like a record of similar noises Victor had coaxed out of Yuuri during training. Victor woke up, feeling a very different kind of intoxicated from the night before as the phantom squeeze of Yuuri’s legs around him rippled across his stomach. Victor tipped his head back against the pillow, hips canting beneath the sheet as the last vestiges of the dream gripped him.

He ran a hand over his stomach, fingertips just skimming beneath the hem of his pajama trousers. Victor could still hear Yuuri so clearly in his head, could picture the look of burning desire in his eyes and god, the very thought had Victor grinding his hips, desperate for friction.

It had felt unfairly real. But now, sitting in the dark of his room, alone, Victor remembered rather quickly why such a situation would never become real. The memory of Yuuri’s presence of a boyfriend sank down onto Victor’s chest like the tosser was physically sitting there, pressing him down into the mattress the way Victor in his dream had pushed Yuuri against the lockers.

It did nothing but make Victor feel guilty for the arousal that still sat simmering low in his gut, cock twitching as Victor suddenly remembered the imaginary drag of Yuuri’s hands down his back. Victor closed his eyes to the shifting light of his bedroom, snatched his hand away and holding both of them above his head. His cock throbbed as Victor remember how Dream Yuuri had whispered Victor’s name just right.

There was one very easy way to resolve the situation sitting between his legs, but Victor just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He kept his arms raised across the pillow, willing himself to think about anything but how sexy Yuuri was. How endearing. How funny. How Yuuri was only one, small walk away in the bedroom just down the hall.

No, that was definitely a bad thought.

It took a considerable amount of time for Victor to calm himself down. It required a lot of swearing, a few laps around the bedroom (much to Makkachin’s amusement, thinking it a game to nip at Victor’s heels), and finally Victor splashing cold water from the glass on his bedside table onto his face. But eventually, Victor’s erection faded. Along with the images of fucking Yuuri against the wall of lockers, Yuuri’s head thrown back and the way his voice keened with accent as Victor-

Alright. That was quite enough of that otherwise Victor was going to undo all his hard work.

(Or soft work, as the case may be).

For a little while longer, Victor did attempt to get back to sleep. When that proved fruitless, he wondered just how badly fucked he was if he was beginning to dream of Yuuri in the first place; something he'd never done before despite how often he'd stared at the photos from Sochi on his phone like a makeshift picture book before bed.

This led to the rather pathetic affair of Victor sitting on the edge of his bed, Googling how to get over fancying someone who was in a relationship. When that turned out exactly as unhelpful as anyone could’ve guessed, Victor knew he'd reached a new level in desperate when he pulled up contacts, scrolled and hit call.

The phone rang for so long, Victor was beginning to think it would never be answered, but eventually the tone clipped and the deep voice of Christophe Giacometti came across the line.


‘Chris!’ Victor chimed, perhaps too loudly as his voice suddenly sounded very booming, even to himself, in the quiet of the onsen. Makkachin made a soft whine from somewhere behind him. ‘It’s Victor.’

‘Victor?’ Chris repeated slowly, accent unusually strong. Victor wondered if he'd woken Chris up and winced when he remembered that Geneva was some seven hours behind him. ‘Victor Nikiforov?’

‘Do you know many other Victors?’

‘I’m not answering that this late,’ Chris said and Victor smiled at the tease, hoping Chris wasn't too upset with being woken far earlier than expected. ‘It's good to hear from you, cheri. Even at-’ there was some shuffling down the line before- ‘Merde. Half ten.’

‘That's remarkably early for you,’ Victor replied, making sure to lower his voice. ‘Getting tired in your old age?’

‘Well, you'd know all about that, wouldn't you? How's retirement suiting you?’ Chris said, sounding brighter and more awake. Victor listened as Chris seemingly adjusted himself in bed. ‘Some of us are still real skaters, you know. And we have training in the morning.’

‘So do I, I’ll have you know! I just can’t sleep, my head’s running away from me and-’ Victor said, catching himself too late as he admitted too much too fast. Chris was quiet on the other end of the phone as Victor rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. ‘Ah. Well…’

‘I always have time for you, cheri,’ Chris said kindly and Victor relaxed. ‘Talk to me. What’s happening?’

‘How well do you know Yuuri?’ Victor blurted out without any semblance of grace, deciding it was late enough for both of them with training in the morning and he may as well get straight into it. Chris made a small noise of surprise from the other end of the line, but Victor ignored it. ‘My Yuuri. Well, not mine! Not like, he’s not…’ Victor sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. ‘Katsuki. I mean Yuuri Katsuki.’

‘I know which Yuuri you mean,’ Chris said, before he yawned quietly. Victor felt guilty for waking him up again. ‘We’ve shared a few competitions together. He’s always great fun once I manage to convince him, as you no doubt remember from Sochi.’

Victor listened to Chris’ soft chuckle of satisfaction, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. Victor could’ve told that much himself without calling Chris.

‘I don’t just mean as competitors.’

Chris suddenly sounded very wary. ‘Then, how do you mean?’

‘I mean, what do you know about his love life?’ Victor said, finally reaching the point and ignoring the stubborn embarrassment he felt at having gotten there. ‘You’re you, after all. You know everything when it comes to this kind of gossip. No one in skating gets away with anything without you knowing about it.’

‘Ah,’ Chris groaned, line grating as he adjusted himself again. Victor imagined him lying back on his plush, silk pillows and probably shirtless. The image did nothing but replace itself with the image of Yuuri shirtless, causing Victor to remember exactly why he had called in the first place. It was about then he noticed Chris’ long pause.

‘What?’ he asked, suspicious. ‘Not like you to be so quiet.’

‘I never kiss and tell,’ Chris gave by way of reply and Victor really didn’t want to think about the meaning behind that. His heart was only able to take so much and Yuuri having sex (however infrequently) with the current boyfriend was about Victor’s threshold.

‘I’m a bit stuck about what to do,’ Victor said, pushing on as maturely as he could manage as he quite feared any prodding he did into Chris’ first statement would come across as jealous or petulant. Possibly both. ‘When I came here, I thought things would just- I’m not sure. Just work out, you know?’

‘I… don’t think I do,’ Chris said slowly and Victor groaned impatiently, leaning backwards and flopping down onto the bed. He stared up at the panelled ceiling, listening the quiet rustle of the trees just behind the window.

‘I need-’ Victor bit his lip, mortified but not being able to do much about it. ‘I need advice. About Yuuri.’

There was silence for a moment, but then Chris was laughing and Victor was filled with instant regret in calling him at all. He lay there and took it for a small while, before asking Chris to hurry up and get it all out of his system. Chris apologised, but he didn’t sound nearly as sorry as Victor needed him to be. Victor fidgeted with the hem of his pajama bottoms as he waited for Chris to get himself together.

‘This is quite the moment, you know. The great Victor Nikiforov doesn’t know how to seduce someone.’

‘I know how to seduce someone,’ Victor retorted, sounding far more childish than he intended. Chris only laughed at him again. ‘That’s not the problem.’

‘Then what is?’ Chris asked, sounding genuinely curious. Victor sat up again, staring at the wall that separated himself and Yuuri. His heart ached terribly and for a moment, he was rendered silent by the sad pull of it.

‘It’s complicated,’ Victor said miserably, leaning over his knees to hold his head in his hand. He was not going to cry. He was about seventy percent sure of it. ‘In Sochi, I was so sure he liked me, Chris. We danced for so long. He asked me to come here. I was sure.’

‘What makes you think Yuuri doesn’t like you?’ Chris asked and Victor sighed deeply in reply. When he said nothing else, Chris continued; ‘It’s common knowledge that he has a crush on you. And not just for the medals, either.’

‘I think he does,’ Victor replied, preening a little at hearing confirmation that Yuuri did in fact like Victor somewhat outside the boundaries of five time world champion and coach. It made his chest light. ‘And I like to think that if we had a chance, if he gave me a chance- we’d have a really good go of it, you know?’

Chris listened patiently, waiting for Victor finish.

‘But there’s a problem.’

‘There usually is,’ Chris said sympathetically. ‘Things don’t work like the movies, cheri.’

‘I know that,’ Victor said, chewing on his words. ‘But this is kind of a big problem.’

‘So? You’re you. Just sweep him off his feet by reciting War and Peace. It sounds like poetry when you can’t speak Russian. And if that doesn’t work, just take your shirt off. Like I said, you’re you.’

Victor rolled his eyes, the flattery not getting through as it normally did. ‘I already tried that.’

Chris laughed, disbelieving. ‘And it didn’t work? Must be losing your touch in more than skating, my friend.’

‘It’s not like that,’ Victor said though he was beginning to suspect it might very well be like that. ‘It’s just, I know he doesn’t like me back. Not like I like him. And it’s awful, because I’m supposed to be his coach but I just can’t turn it off! Every time I look at him it’s just so-’

‘Victor,’ Chris said seriously, catching Victor’s full attention and interrupting him. ‘You quit your career for this. For Yuuri. So I know it seems silly to ask, but I’m going to anyway. How much do you like him?’

Victor thought about that for a moment. He thought of the way Yuuri didn’t eat the stalks of his broccoli at dinner. How Yuuri would frown just before taking off for a jump, regardless of the difficulty. The accent of his voice when he called Victor’s name, torn between Japan and the States. The brown of his eyes, the sway of his hips. The sound of his feet walking past Victor’s door in the evenings. The desperate, pleading mewls Victor had envisioned for him in his dreams.

‘A lot, Chris,’ Victor admitted. ‘An awful lot.’

‘Then all’s fair in love and war, cheri,’ Chris said dramatically and Victor could hear the smile in his voice. It relaxed the tight band of disappointment and fear that had been strangling his heart since the start of this whole mess. From the way he missed Yuuri so terribly when he vanished in December, to the defeat Victor felt upon learning that once he’d found Yuuri again, he’d been too late. ‘Now tell me what the problem is and let’s see how we can figure it out.’

Victor stopped fidgeting, eyes still fixed on the wall that hid Yuuri from him. He took a deep breath, miserable at even saying it out loud.

‘Yuuri’s dating someone else. He has a boyfriend.’

Chris didn’t say anything for such a long time that Victor had rather thought he’d fallen asleep. Then, finally-

‘Who?’ Chris asked quietly and Victor shrugged, though Chris couldn’t see him. When he said he had no idea, Chris hummed thoughtfully before he made a small ah! ‘I think I know who it is.’

‘Tell me,’ Victor said instantly.

‘His rinkmate,’ Chris replied and Victor frowned, confused until Chris continued. ‘From Detroit. Phichit, can’t think of a surname. But the Thai representative, you know Celestino’s guy for this season?’

Victor did not know, but he was certainly going to find out. ‘What makes you think it’s him?’

‘Yuuri wouldn’t stop talking about him at Sochi,’ Chris said and though he sounded sorry about it, it did nothing to stop the wounded feeling Victor got that Yuuri had been talking about this other guy even as far back as when they met. ‘Worried about him finding out how drunk Yuuri had gotten. Seeing the pictures. At the time I thought he was just embarrassed, but if they’re dating it actually makes far more sense.’

It did. It made an awful, crushing amount of sense.

‘Oh,’ Victor said as it was all he could think of to say. Even the very idea of Yuuri dancing with him while worrying about his boyfriend had him speechless with jealousy and perhaps something else even worse. After a while, he tried: ‘So, what do I do?’

‘Nothing to do,’ Chris said and Victor flopped dramatically.

‘I can’t just forget how I feel about him!’

‘Then maybe you shouldn’t coach him,’ Chris suggested and Victor’s mouth fell open, aghast.

‘Chris!’ Victor cried, affronted his friend would give in so easy when Victor’s very heart was on the line. ‘It's not that simple. I can't just give up! Yuuri is-’ Different. Special. Worth it. ‘He’s my student. I know I can be a great coach to him. It's just how feel about him, Chris. It's burning me.’

‘I know,’ Chris said and he did sound sympathetic, not that it was any comfort to Victor at all. Victor wasn’t entirely sure what he had been expecting to hear but he’d be lying if he hadn’t entertained the thought that Chris would have some bizarre scheme to help Victor show Yuuri what he was missing. ‘But it’s not fair to torture yourself like this. If Yuuri kept his boyfriend, even after what happened in Sochi, then he made a decision.’

Victor really didn’t want to hear that. There was some alien, petty monster that lived deep his stomach now in a green haze and it practically growled at the idea that Yuuri would choose some random skater in America of all god forsaken places over him.

(The voice that was definitely beginning to sound like Yuri Plisetsky pointed out that Victor was being an asshole again).

‘But, what if Yuuri and I are missing out on our chance?’ Victor asked, perhaps a touch too desperately as he could practically hear Chris rolling his eyes at him. ‘Chris, please. Yuuri and I have a connection, something more than just skating. I know we do.’

‘Doesn't matter,’ Chris said plainly and Victor made a small choked noise, utterly shocked by his friend’s complete turnaround in support. This was not how Victor intended the conversation to go. ‘You're his coach, Victor. You can't be messing around hoping for him to realise he's with the wrong guy. That's not fair to Yuuri or Phichit. Definitely not you, either.’

‘Don’t say that. I called for advice!’ Victor cried, devastated.

‘Advice on how to get over him or how to get under him?’ Chris asked and Victor snapped his mouth shut at that as he actually wasn't as sure now as he'd been when he’d called Chris in the first place. ‘Because if you're looking for me to encourage you to break up someone’s relationship, you called the wrong person.’

Victor flushed, ashamed as he realised that not once did he imagine that Christophe Giacometti would be the kind of person to hold monogamy to sterling standard. He shifted uncomfortably on the bed, knowing his lack of retort was damning him but being unable to think of anything to say that would help him out of the pit he’d incidentally thrown himself in.

‘I just think,’ Victor started, swallowing around the words awkwardly. ‘I think that’d we’d be good together. ’

'There's plenty of dick in the world, Victor. Don't take a reserved seat,' Chris said primly.

'What happened to all's fair in love and war?' Victor squeaked, not at all happy with Chris’ tone of sanctimonious righteousness at the idea of Victor possibly stealing Yuuri off Phichit Whomever The Fuck. Not that he was going to! Victor had already decided that he was going to kill his feelings like stepping on a bug…

(Alright, maybe the idea of possibly not doing that had crossed Victor’s mind. Just briefly!)

Chris scoffed at him down the phone.

'No,' he said firmly. 'Not if that love does not include you. Which this doesn't.'


'No buts!' Chris interrupted, almost scolding. 'Or any other body parts for that matter. Accept it. Yuuri is taken and that's that. Burn all you want, but burn quietly. Got it?'

Victor pouted down the phone, utterly crushed. He couldn’t think of anything to say, so he didn’t open his mouth from it’s miserable moue.

‘Look,’ Chris said after Victor’s continued silence showed no signs of breaking. ‘As far as I know, Phichit is still in the States. Long-distance is hard. You never know, it may not work out.’

The jealous monster that had spawned deep in Victor’s stomach practically purred at that idea, even though Victor knew for a fact that Chris was only saying it to placate him.

‘You think?’ Victor asked, pathetically. Chris laughed at him again.

‘All I know is that if something is meant to be, it’ll work out,’ Chris said and Victor knew now that Chris was definitely just trying to cheer him up but it was working, at least. ‘Now, can I please go back to sleep?’


On Chris’ sagely advice, Victor decided not to stalk Phichit Luckiest Man in the World Chulanont and instead focus entirely on his own relationship with Yuuri. The open, trusting and beautiful one he had as Yuuri’s coach. The one that was worth protecting. As Chris had pointed out, not that Victor needed reminding, that was what was most important.

Victor lasted until about halfway through breakfast before he gave up, excused himself from both Yuuri and Yurio’s curious and suspicious (respectively) glances, and ran into the bathroom with his phone to start his inadvisable stalking.

No. Not stalking. Victor was simply checking out Yuuri’s competition for the season. And luckily, Phichit did not share Yuuri’s belief that social media was something to be actively avoided at all costs. In fact, he was quite the opposite.

Victor lost track of how long he spent scrolling through Phichit’s twitter, then Instagram. He went back months and months, until he eventually found what he hadn’t realised he’d been looking for. Which was Yuuri. Lots and lots of Yuuri. At a park, in class. At the rink in Detroit, in a bedroom. A bedroom. Victor made a small sigh of misery, scrolling further. They did seem awfully close. There was only a handful of photos where they weren’t touching in some way. And Yuuri looked unfortunately happy in every single of them, too.

And to make matters even worse, Phichit was cute.

Of course he was. Yuuri was Yuuri, like he’d settle for anyone who wasn’t at least that. But Phichit was really bloody cute. Attractive, smiley and had enough followers to possibly challenge Victor in charisma. He even had photogenic pets in the form of some hamsters!


It weirdly made a strange amount of sense that Yuuri would end up dating someone so outgoing. Victor could picture it now, almost too easily. Phichit convincing Yuuri to come out back in uni, maybe go on the pull but after some drinks, maybe even less, they found out they'd much rather dance with each other. Victor couldn't blame Phichit one bit for that- Yuuri was a really good dancer.

Victor closed his phone when he came across one particular selfie where Phichit had Yuuri squished up against him, cheek to cheek and glasses askew. That was quite enough.

If it were anyone else’s love story, Victor would happy for them. As it was, his heart was breaking perhaps even more terribly now he had a face to the name of Boyfriend.

A really stupid, grinning young face.

(Twenty. Phichit Chulanont was twenty-sodding-years old as well because of course he was).

This unsurprisingly put Victor in a wretched mood for the rest of the day. He stomped out into the onsen, demanding both Yuris get their gear and meet him down in Ice Palace. Victor made up for his lack of coaching the day before by putting his students through more than a fair share of work today. Laps, rotations, steps and twizzles. Round and round until even Yurio had run out of bite; face red with exertion. And Yuuri looked more determined than ever. Which really meant he had that sexy frown on his face that he always got when he concentrated.

Victor went through Eros three times, focusing entirely on Yuuri’s skating. Which was definitely improving, though one simple misstep set Yuuri right back like the nerves themselves had pushed him over. His face turned dark and silent, almost brooding and withdrawing entirely into his own head. Victor was really going to have to think of a game plan for that, as at present trying to physically guide Yuuri back into posture only had him jumping out of Victor’s hand like he’d been burnt.

Words had never been Victor’s strong suit.

‘Yuuri! Phichit ga denwa shite iru!’ Yuuko suddenly called from the far end of the rink, holding Yuuri’s phone aloft. Victor caught the meaning pretty quickly. Didn’t need to know Japanese for him to put phone and Phichit together.

‘Victor,’ Yuuri said, utterly breathless and completely beautiful as he looked at Victor. ‘May I?’

Like Victor had much of a choice. He waved a hand and Yuuri skated to the other end of the rink. Victor turned in his skates, arms crossed and trying not to give himself frown lines as Yuuri took the phone from Yuuko. He was distantly aware of Yurio skating in the other end of the rink, practicing his flip. By the time Yurio had evidently gotten sick of being ignored, Victor had lost himself entirely to his sulk.

Yurio skated up and around him, skidding to a stubborn halt right in Victor’s view of Yuuri at the rink-wall. Victor blinked, confused and looked down at Yurio’s furious eyes, livid green and blond frustration.

‘God, stop staring and help me!’ Yurio snapped, turning back to glare at Victor again.

‘I’m not staring,’ Victor replied airily, simply watching as Yuuri continued to talk on the phone at the other end of the rink.

‘Yes, you are. It's pathetic. You don't own his time,’ Yurio said, kicking his skate into the ice to shake off build up.

‘It's not- I just wish he'd tell him to bugger off during practice,’ Victor said, sounding exactly as petulant as he'd hoped to avoid as Yuuri began to laugh at whatever his boyfriend had said down the line.

Yurio shrugged. ‘I’d saying piggy’s buggering him just fine.’

Victor gave Yurio what he hoped was a very disapproving look. It had absolutely no affect whatsoever. Yurio didn’t budge at all in his lack of sympathy or even the barest hint of empathy at all to Victor’s predicament. Yuuri laughed again, looking over at Victor now. Victor’s entire body shivered when their eyes met, warmth spreading all the way down to his toes at the edges of his skates. Then it was over, Yuuri turning away to face the door.

‘What do you know about twenty-year olds?’ Victor asked. There was beat where he was aware of Yurio staring at him, but he couldn’t bring himself to look away from the way Yuuri ran his free hand nervously over the edge of the rink-wall.

‘Why are you asking me that?’ Yurio asked, dragging the English out so it sounded ugly in his mouth. Victor threw him a look which Yurio matched with equal exasperation. ‘Only one of us here has been twenty.’

‘You’re closer than I am,’ Victor said dejectedly. Normally, such an admittance would prompt Yurio to laugh. But he instead just looked at Victor, completely perplexed. Victor uncrossed his arms, awkwardly swinging them before sticking them into the pockets of his sweats. ‘Do you think a twenty year old would be more fun than me?’

‘A one year old is more fun than you,’ Yurio retorted and Victor sighed, knowing he should’ve expected that. Yurio gave him another curious look. ‘Is there a reason for this, or are you just having another Nikiforov break down?’

‘Yuuri’s boyfriend,’ Victor said glumly, nodding his head over towards where Yuuri was still on the phone. ‘He’s twenty.’

Yurio said nothing for a few moments. He looked between where Yuuri was and then back to Victor, before his face split open into a wide grin. Sharp teeth and all. Victor groaned as Yurio started to laugh, loud and barking. Quite unlike the kitten his fans claimed him to be. Victor thought of pointing that out, but it wouldn’t through as Yurio was now laughing quite heartily. Victor waved at Yuuri when he turned in his skates, dark eyes glimmering at the noise.

‘Alright, alright,’ Victor said but Yurio kept laughing. Victor whined. ‘Could you please stop?’

Chyort voz’mi! You’re jealous!’ Yurio barked, much too loud for Victor’s liking. He slapped Yurio’s shoulder, which did nothing but make Yurio laugh harder.

‘I’m not jealous,’ Victor said, sounding extremely jealous as Yuuri tinkled another laugh at whatever Phichit-sodding-Chulanont had to say. Yurio scoffed meanly, waving a hand like Victor was some particularly annoying fly. ‘I just didn’t think Yuuri was into younger guys.’

‘No, you were thinking he was into you,’ Yurio said, delighted and Victor made another whimpering noise.

‘It’s not like that,’ Victor said, which was true. Though there was a significant part that was just like that. ‘Yuuri and I have a connection.’

Yurio made a gagging noise.

‘That's why he isn’t into older guys, anyway,’ Yurio said, curling his lip. ‘You’re disgusting. A connection? Come off it. Who believes in connections?’

Victor ignored that. ‘I’m just saying. There’s something about him, something special. It’s in the way he skates, the way he moves. Sometimes, I even think it’s in the way he laughs.’

Victor snapped his mouth shut the moment he realised he’d let it run away from him. His eyes widened in panic, forcing himself to look over at Yurio who was staring at Victor like he’d just grown a second head. Or perhaps lost the one he had. Victor felt a chill go through him that had nothing to do with the rink as Yurio started to shake his head, mouth open.

‘Bliad,’ he swore and Victor didn’t even have the presence to scold him. ‘You really like him, don’t you?’

Victor whined miserably, running a hand through his hair and looking anywhere else but at Yurio. Or Yuuri, who just seemed to be finishing up his conversation. Victor sighed, hand around the back of his neck and elbow swinging.

‘Da. Eto tak.’

Yuuri handed the phone back over to Yuuko, skating over to Victor and looking in considerably brighter spirits. Which made sense, Victor supposed bitterly. But still he smiled when Yuuri finally reached him, eyes bright and face still a little pink.

‘I’m sorry about that,’ Yuuri said, tilting his head down slightly in a quick bow. ‘Would you like to go through Eros again?’

‘No, no. I think I’ll work with Yurio now,’ Victor said, noting Yuuri’s quick flash of disappointment. ‘You’ve done enough today.’

‘I can do more,’ Yuuri said, determined and Victor’s heart did that little skip it always did when Yuuri surprised him. Most skaters, no matter how dedicated, wouldn’t say no to the chance to take a break. But not his Yuuri. Victor touched his lip, not missing how Yuuri’s eyes immediately dropped to the movement, before looking up again. Victor felt his pulse quicken as Yuuri’s face flushed again. ‘Ah… How about you keep warm by practicing the choreographic sequence while I keep an eye on Yurio?’

Yuuri nodded enthusiastically. ‘Okay! Thanks, coach.’

Victor watched Yuuri skate away, wondering if Phichit-sodding-Chulanont knew how lucky he was to have someone so talented and dedicated to preserving that talent. Victor knew how lucky he was to have Yuuri at all, even just as a student. (Not that there was anything wrong with that label. It was more than enough).

(It was enough, Victor reminded himself sternly).

What was the horrendous icing on this never ceasing to disappoint cake was that halfway through Agape run-throughs, Victor was caught by Yurio for the fifth time not paying attention and instead following the bend of Yuuri’s Ina Bauer at the other end of the rink. When Victor felt his eyes on him, he turned back and felt his stomach drop. Yurio actually looked sorry for him this time.

‘You're actually so desperate, it's sad,’ Yurio said, raising a blond eyebrow as he crossed his arms over his slight chest. ‘It's not even funny anymore.’

‘Show me your quad salchow again,’ Victor said by way of a reply, trying to ignoring Yurio’s frown of impatience.

‘You've seen it five times!’ Yurio whined but Victor held firm. Yuri blew his hair out of his face with an indignant huff. ‘Fine, whatever. Just don't choke on my ice because you're gagging for it so hard your mouth won't shut.’

Victor didn’t dare answer that, half-afraid of what he might say. He watched as Yurio gained momentum, and felt some small, anxious knot tug in him as Yurio suddenly spun out of the combination, green eyes wide on something over Victor’s shoulder. Victor turned in his skates, catching too late what Yurio must’ve seen coming. Yuuri hit the ice with a sickening crunch that Victor could hear even from where he was. Victor was moving before he realised, watching as Yuuri tried to sit up, but then flinched backwards onto the ice.  

‘Yuuri!’ he cried, bending low and onto his knees, skimming across the surface until he was pressed close to Yuuri’s side. He put a hand behind Yuuri’s back, holding him steady to Victor’s chest as Yuuri stretched his arms out in front of him. ‘What happened? Are you alright?’

‘It’s nothing, I’m fine,’ Yuuri said, though his teeth were gritted. Something somewhere was hurting. Victor held one of Yuuri’s knees with his free hand, the other keeping Yuuri cradled against him. Yuuri leant into the touch, his head tucking in under Victor’s chin. ‘Just landed awkwardly.’

‘What happened?’ Victor asked, rubbing what he thought would be soothing circles on Yuuri’s back. Instead, Yuuri shivered beneath him, hissing a breath between his teeth. Victor tried to look at his face, but Yuuri just burrowed closer.

‘I think I pulled a muscle,’ Yuuri admitted into Victor’s neck, breath ghosting and Victor trembled at the warmth of it. ‘My lower back got all twisted.’

Victor tried not to panic.


But he was already had Yuuri up, half-carrying him and bringing him off the rink. Much to Yuuri’s extreme displeasure as he was practically yelling that he could skate himself and Victor didn't need to be holding onto him at all. But a back injury, even a pulled muscle, could be bad. So Victor didn't listen to any of this, instead bringing Yuuri up into his arms bridal style once they were off the ice. It was a tad (a lot) dangerous with Victor still in his skates and Yuuri squealed once he was up.

‘Victor! You do not have to-’

‘Consider my debt for yesterday repaid,’ Victor teased, heart and soul singing at holding Yuuri so close. They tipped over into a full blown chorus once Yuuri actually looped his arms around Victor’s neck. He was so close their cheeks were almost brushing together.

Back injury was definitely very, very bad. Having Yuuri huddled up to him like this? That wasn’t too shabby.



Victor knocked on Yuuri’s door that evening after Yuuri had abandoned him and Yurio for a lie down in his own room sometime after their trip to the doctor. He was armed with a cheerful Makkachin at his heels and wrapped in the inn’s yukata he’d received his first night.

(Victor liked the way Yuuri would follow the line of it down his chest when Victor wore it. Boyfriend or no, there was nothing wrong with taking in the view, right? As friends).

‘Yuuri!’ Victor chimed, trying not to worry too much that Yuuri hadn’t answered immediately, which was unlike him. Yuuri had gotten considerably less jumpy over the course of the last month and a bit, opening up just that little bit more every time when Victor least expected it.

(Secret, short and stupid young boyfriend excluded. Of course).

Victor knocked again, considering perhaps Yuuri had gone downstairs without Victor noticing. Even though Victor had left his bedroom door open for the sole purpose of catching sight of Yuuri should he walk by. Suddenly, Victor heard movement from behind the door and it opened.

‘Yuuri!’ was about as far as Victor got before he made a pretty unattractive noise when he took in the sight before him.

Yuuri was clearly out of the baths, or shower. Or somewhere, because he was dripping wet and completely naked save the fluffy towel that was riding awfully low on the wide hips Victor so admired. Victor’s eyes immediately dropped along to the hem of it, watching the way water was still running in slow droplets into the fluffed edge of it. He didn’t even realise how long he’d been staring until Yuuri called his name for about the third time.

Victor jumped, flushing once he realised he’d been caught. He looked up at Yuuri’s face. Glasses, hair pushed back and bluetooth earphones in. Yuuri’s skin was blushed red from the water, nipples hard from the cooling chill and Victor swallowed over the exceptionally large lump that had formed in his throat. Yuuri smiled nervously, reaching up to dislodge one of his earphones.

‘All good?’ Yuuri asked sweetly and Victor tried very hard not to melt at the way he spoke. Victor blushed further when he realised he was still holding his hand aloft from knocking, palm almost touching the glistening swell of Yuuri’s chest. He snatched it back down to his side.

Over the last few weeks, Yuuri had proven to be very tight lipped and closed doors on most things. This reservation did not extend to nudity, Victor had learned. At first to his delight, but now to his resgination as Yuuri was looking just so perfect right now. Perfect and still, tragically, unavailable.

‘I came to check you were alright,’ Victor said, attempting a smile but it felt shaky. Makkachin boofed in agreement and Yuuri gave him a quick smile, before looking away sheepishly, chewing on his bottom lip. Victor frowned, catching on immediately that something was wrong.

‘I just had a quick shower. Couldn’t really sit in the baths,’ Yuuri said with a very small shrug. Victor was already moving, reaching out and touching the bare skin of Yuuri’s shoulder. ‘Ah, Victor! Don’t-!’

Victor did.

He turned Yuuri on the spot, hands skimming along the hot, damp skin of Yuuri’s shoulder blades until Yuuri had his back turned to him. Victor hummed sympathetically as he saw the purple knot down at the arch of Yuuri’s back. He reached out, touching the edges of it and tried not to press too hard.

‘Oh, Yuuri,’ Victor sighed, guilt flooding him. The one thing Victor had sworn to do was take coaching Yuuri seriously. But look what Victor had done? ‘This is my fault. I pushed you too hard.’

‘No, no,’ Yuuri said, turning back to face Victor. One of his hands brushed against Victor’s. Fingers almost looping together, but instead Yuuri just held it close. Skin touching and fingerprints grazing together like cross stitch. Victor’s breath caught, meeting Yuuri’s gaze as it cracked like firewood. ‘My skates were too blunt. I knew that but I skated anyway. No one to blame but myself.’

‘I’m your coach, Yuuri!’ Victor opined highly, taking Yuuri’s hand in earnest now. He held tight, bunching Yuuri’s fingers together underneath his own. ‘I should be the one checking your skates.’

‘You’re not my coach yet. Not officially,’ Yuuri replied, clearly attempting humour but it only made Victor feel more responsible. Such a stupid, impulsive decision pitting the Yuris against each other. Not that he wasn’t one hundred percent confident Yuuri would win.

Victor’s displeasure could clearly still be seen, as Yuuri tilted his head with a warm smile on his face. He held Victor’s hand back and Victor’s entire world turned on it’s axis. Yuuri had never pushed back like that before. In that moment, Victor quite forgot that Yuuri was standing before him in nothing but a towel because Yuuri, (lovely, charming Yuuri), was holding his hand.

‘It’s alright, Vicchan,’ Yuuri said softly, almost whispering and Victor wanted Yuuri to say his name like that for ever and ever, amen.

‘Let me help,’ Victor asked, perhaps too eagerly as Yuuri blinked at him owlishly. But Victor pressed on. ‘Come to my room. I can help unknot the muscle.’

Yuuri did turn red then, hand slipping out of Victor’s grip entirely. He covered his chest, looking away and Victor panicked, wondering if he’d pushed too far. Yuuri shifted from one foot to the other, before looking up at Victor again from behind his glasses.

‘Um. Let me change?’ Yuuri asked, like there was some chance Victor might say no to such a thing. Victor nodded before calling himself a twat mentally. He then went on to say that of course Yuuri should be comfortable and he’d be waiting in his room for him.

Which was how Victor found himself in what should’ve been the perfect scenario.

Yuuri was sitting on his bed, both hands buried behind Makkachin’s ears. This time dressed, (in loose sweats that left little to Victor’s already active imagination and a faded t-shirt with some character on it that Victor didn’t recognise), Yuuri looked every inch of Victor’s dream version of him. Comfortable, happy and looking up at Victor with a gorgeous smile on his face.

‘So, what do you suggest?’ Yuuri asked, gently gesturing for Makkachin to return to her bed in the corner of the room. She did so merrily, little traitor. Victor held a hand out to his bed.

‘Take your shirt off and lie on your stomach,’ Victor said and Yuuri squeaked.

‘My shirt?’ he asked, voice high. Maybe not so free with the nudity then.

‘I’m not getting oil on your shirt,’ Victor replied in what he hoped was a casual tone as he walked over to his bedside table for the bottle of peppermint oil he’d packed for his own sore muscles. ‘Also I won’t be able to do much if I can’t reach the muscle.’

All of that was definitely true, but Victor still found his hands shaking as he found the bottle. He straightened up, tossing his fringe out of his face as he turned to look over at Yuuri. Yuuri shuffled backwards up the bed, almost up to the pillows. He took off his glasses, folding them gently and placing them on the bedside table. His arm brushed at the hem of Victor’s shorts beneath the yukata.

He looked up at Victor, squinting just the smallest bit before he looked away to take his shirt over his head with one quick movement. Like tugging off a plaster. He looked… ruined. Hair tousled, chest flushed and in nothing but his sweats. Bare feet on the sheets of Victor’s bed. Victor was rendered speechless, gaping dumbly like a particularly slow koi fish.


‘Perfect,’ Victor breathed, before shaking his head. ‘Yes. That’s great, turn over.’

Yuuri slipped his phone out of his pocket, tossing it up by the pillows before he turned around. He tugged a pillow down, resting his crossed arms and chin on it. Victor swallowed thickly, kneeling down on the bed next to Yuuri. He looked down at where the bruise sat, the bottom edges of it running just beneath the hem of Yuuri’s sweats.

Because of course.

‘I’m just going to move your pants a bit,’ Victor warned, but Yuuri still jumped when he pushed the sweats down a little further. Victor tried very hard not to touch much, which was insane as he was about to be doing a whole lot more touching.

Victor started by gently rubbing circles around the centre of the bruise, but he knew what he had to do if he really wanted to loosen the knot that had formed beneath it. Victor decided to just go for it, gently raising up and swinging his leg over Yuuri’s back. Yuuri started, question dying in his mouth as Victor settled himself on his knees, one of either side of Yuuri’s thighs as he straddled Yuuri’s ass.

In any other situation, this would be the set up for something rather wonderful. As it was, Victor was wondering what he’d ever done to deserve having the most perfect person beneath him and not ever being allowed to tell him so.

‘Sorry,’ Victor said as he settled. ‘But I need to be able to roll up. Is this okay?’

Yuuri’s answer was muffled into the pillow.


‘It’s good,’ Yuuri finally said, voice high again and Victor could see his ears had gone red. From this angle, Victor could see Yuuri’s phone. He glared at it, just for good measure.

Victor poured the oil onto his hand, the strong smell of peppermint filling the room. Victor wrinkled his nose, the smell giving him the strangest sensation that he was about to sneeze. Yuuri shuffled beneath him, the swell of his ass rubbing against the right (but very wrong) places. Victor just stifled his groan, panic surging through him as he tried to ignore the pleasant swoop in his stomach.

‘It smells nice,’ Yuuri said from his pillow. Victor took a deep breath, trying to steel himself.

‘Hmm,’ was he could manage, before rubbing the oil together on his hands. Then he reached down and started to work.

Victor wasn’t sure how much time passed, but he lost himself to the steady movements of rolling Yuuri’s skin beneath his palms. Although only bruised in one corner, Victor gave Yuuri’s entire lower back the same treatment to equally loosen it out. That was his story and he was sticking with it. He turned his hands, fingers skimming down along Yuuri’s sides. Yuuri shivered beneath him.

‘Ticklish?’ Victor asked, knowing he’d need to distract himself and quickly because there was only so much a man could take. And having a squirming, half-naked Yuuri Katsuki underneath him was about as much as Victor could manage.

‘A little,’ Yuuri admitted. They fell quiet again, Victor trying to focus on getting the stubborn knot out of Yuuri’s back. Once he felt the first give, Yuuri suddenly moaned beneath him and it was about then that Victor’s resolve really went to hell.

Victor just bit back his swear as the noise of relief and satisfaction Yuuri made speared right through him in one, hot spike down to his gut. His cock twitched in his shorts, interest more than renewed and Victor tried to lean back further on his knees to rise up, so Yuuri wouldn’t feel any stirrings. His hands stuttered across Yuuri’s skin, trailing slick oil in lines along the tan of Yuuri’s back.

‘That’s amazing,’ Yuuri sighed and he sounded so blissed out Victor couldn’t help but be reminded of the dream he’d had the night before. He shut his eyes and tried to think of what Chris had told him.

Yuuri was dating Phichit. It was serious. Victor was Yuuri’s coach. Which was even more serious.

Victor needed to not have a fucking hard on right now.

‘Glad to help,’ Victor settled with, carefully trailing his hands back to the arch of Yuuri’s back.

Victor’s knees were beginning to shake, he was trying so hard not to press his weight onto Yuuri at all. But his heart (and another concerned organ) was in a much worse state, as Yuuri was still releasing little sighs and the odd purr-like noise of contentment that was just setting Victor’s entire soul on fire. On the plus side of Victor’s intense torture, (which he absolutely had no one to blame but himself), Yuuri’s back did seem to be in a much better condition.

‘Feeling better?’ Victor asked and he felt more than saw Yuuri nod, his entire body quaking with it as he did so. Victor laughed softly, forever endeared.

‘It’s feeling so much better,’ Yuuri moaned and Victor froze, going from naught to sixty so fast he felt dizzy.

He’d never heard Yuuri sound like that before.

Truly desperate now and teetering on the very precipice of his self-control, Victor tried to hold himself steady and most importantly off Yuuri’s ass as he rubbed small circles on Yuuri’s back. He changed tact, instead forcing himself to try and have a conversation like he wasn’t living the most indulgent wet-dream of his life.

‘So tell me,’ Victor started, hoping to God and whomever else may be listening that his voice stop shaking and soon. ‘How are you feeling about Eros?’

Yuuri hunched his shoulders up, burying his face down into the pillow. ‘I still think it’s missing something, if I’m being honest.’

‘What do you think it may be?’ Victor asked, digging a thumb into the centre of Yuuri’s bruise. Yuuri mewled and Victor’s cock was beginning to stand very much in attention. Victor took a deep breath. ‘What’s your katsudon missing? Egg, maybe?’

Victor had hoped his joke would break the tension, but if anything, it just made it worse as suddenly Yuuri was very still beneath him. Victor glanced down, wondering if he’d grazed against Yuuri without noticing, but thankfully he’d managed to keep a very important few inches between them.

‘Maybe,’ Yuuri said at last and quite quietly. Victor tried not to think about it. Any of it, but he just couldn’t help it. When Eros had first been broached, Yuuri had had the perfect opportunity to tell Victor the truth, but he hadn’t taken.


‘Why didn't you tell me about Phichit?’ Victor asked quietly, ashamed of the fact that if the answer was anything other than Because I broke up with him the moment you showed up, Victor he may just have to throw himself off the Hasetsu pier.

‘What?’ Yuuri replied, confusion obvious from the squawk in his voice. He leaned up, ass thankfully dropping further from where Victor was afraid of having it. Yuuri looked at Victor over his shoulder, eyebrows together. ‘Why would I? It’s not important to you.’

At the sound of Yuuri’s entirely flat tone, Victor's heart sank instantly as he realised that not only was Yuuri not interested in him, but he also didn't even seem to think Victor was interested in his life.

He may have to find something higher than the pier.

‘Right. Of course,’ Victor replied blankly, looking back down to where his hands were shining with oil. The white of them against Yuuri’s olive skin. ‘You should lie back down.’

And then everything went to whatever dark and dangerous place lay beneath hell, as Yuuri flopped back down onto the bed with a profound arch in his back. This had his ass tipping right back up and straight where Victor really didn’t want it.

(Well, where most of Victor didn’t want it).

Yuuri froze and Victor cursed aloud this time, the feeling of Yuuri’s hard and enviable ass pressing right up against his now quite obvious erection. Yuuri made a soft noise of surprise, entire body still. Victor pulled his hands back, hyper-aware of every point they were touching. Though possibly in one particular place more than any other.

Victor rose up on his knees as Yuuri shifted between his legs, flipping over to face Victor. He sat up, Victor’s knees quivering as he held himself up so as not to end up sitting entirely in Yuuri’s lap and embarrassing himself further. His hands were frozen in front of him, hovering in the very small space between their chests. He watched Yuuri’s face, the way Yuuri pulled his lips between his teeth as he looked at Victor with the big brown eyes that had been his undoing in the first place.

‘Yuuri-’ Victor started, then stopped as he wasn't entirely sure where that sentence was intending to go. Sorry didn’t seem big enough. Yuuri’s bare chest rose and dropped like a wave in front of him, the sun of his skin radiating so Victor could almost feel it.

‘Victor?’ Yuuri asked when Victor didn't say anything else, looking up at Victor from beneath his lashes.

Victor didn't realise he'd been leaning forward, hadn't noticed how he was closing the space between them until Yuuri’s eyes fluttered closed, lips parted. Victor was very sure he knew where this was going and though his head was screaming at him for daring to try it, his heart was definitely singing from a different hymn sheet. And Victor was just following the melody.

One hand went down next to Yuuri’s thigh, palm up on the soft bed, oil sticking and holding Victor’s weight as he moved, taking in everything about Yuuri as he did. The way his lashes were so dark, the small freckle under his left eye. Victor’s whole body felt like it was swimming with the smell of Yuuri’s hair, the heat of his body. Victor felt close enough that he should be almost able to taste the kiss already, but he'd barely moved.

Suddenly, they both jumped as Yuuri’s phone started vibrating. Victor stared down at it, seeing the selfie that never ceased to break his heart all over. Yuuri and Phichit, cheek to cheek as Phichit’s name in kanji illuminated the screen. Heart emojis and all. Yuuri followed Victor’s gaze, looking down at the phone. He glanced back at Victor sideways, eyes dark like cinnamon.

‘I can ignore it,’ he said softly and Victor was struck with the surge of want that suddenly flushed through him. The image of wrapping an arm around Yuuri’s waist, about pushing him down into the pillow as the phone just rang out blossomed before him in perfect clarity. His stomach felt tight with the heat of it, but his head weighed heavy.

It would be so easy. They were so close and now Yuuri knew, knew what Victor had intended on hiding from him as long as it took for it to go away. And Yuuri wasn’t leaving, wasn’t moving to answer his phone.


But Victor was Yuuri’s idol. His coach. Victor had a power here, whether he agreed with that or not and he had to be better the person.

For Yuuri.

‘No,’ he said, hearing his own disappointment. Yuuri’s whole face crumpled and Victor’s heart broke anew. But there was someone calling whose job it was to comfort Yuuri. ‘You should get it. Might be important.’

Once Victor had managed to get himself off the bed, he headed straight for the door and slid it shut behind him with an air of finality so thick it suffocated him.

Victor wasn’t a fool. He knew that someone only got a chance like that once in a lifetime. How lucky he was for him to even have come that far.

‘I hope you make him happy,’ Victor muttered to a Phichit who couldn’t hear him as he stalked off towards the baths. Where he fully intended to drown himself.


After that evening, Victor tried his absolute best to put as much distance between himself and Yuuri as possible. 

It was, quite frankly, impossible. As Yuuri was fast-becoming the centre of Victor’s universe and his whole life was orbiting him, like Yuuri was some brilliant sun. Victor lived in Yuuri’s home, was surrounded by Yuuri’s language and Yuuri was everywhere Victor went. Victor tried to tell himself he wasn’t looking for him, yet he always found himself waiting in the baths until Yuuri showed and only leaving when Yuuri did. He wouldn’t eat until he saw Yuuri eat first. Wouldn’t sleep until he’d heard the click of Yuuri’s light next door.

To make matters even worse, Yuuri was beginning to open up even more. Victor didn’t even have to push, This time Yuuri was the one opening doors, inviting Victor in with small confessions over the steam about first kisses and school days. They were sharing things, becoming something a little more than friends but not quite much else. It was intoxicating in a way nothing ever had been and Victor was drunk with it every day.

And every day, Victor had to remind himself quite firmly why there was a line. Blurred as it may be. This had resulted in what Yurio had deemed Victor’s official break with sanity. Which in fairness, he probably wasn’t far off in saying.

It was the day before the Hot Springs competition and Victor was beginning to get nervous for the first time that maybe, just maybe, he’d have to go back to Russia after all. Something still wasn’t clicking in Yuuri’s program, whereas Yurio had come further than Victor had ever expected. Just as he and Yuuri were getting started, Victor was unfortunately realising how close to an end it may be.

Which was why Victor hadn’t bothered donning his skates at all for the day, instead choosing to just admire from afar as Yuuri spun and circled his way through Eros with the same single-minded focus he seemed to give everything. Yurio joined him not long after, watching Yuuri with almost as much attention before eventually saying whatever he’d obviously been dying to since he’d come over in the first place.

‘Coming home won’t be so bad, you know,’ Yurio said. Victor didn’t reply, instead resting his hands on the rink-wall and watching as Yuuri flipped direction in his skates. ‘Easier to pull at home anyway. Everyone here is so fucking awkward, or something.’

‘I’m not looking to pull anyone.’

‘Maybe you should,’ Yurio said, shrugging his narrow shoulders. ‘Preferably someone without a boyfriend this time.’

Victor banged his head against the rink-wall.

‘Whatever,’ Yurio said at last as their rinkmate spun in soft circles to warm up. Victor watched the movement of Yuuri’s body with a heaviness in his throat he just couldn't swallow around. ‘You're Victor Nikiforov. You can get anyone. There’ll be someone better.’

Victor just sank lower against the rink-wall as Yuuri hopped a quick single loop with bouncing ease. Better seemed pretty impossible right now.

‘He's chubby,’ Yurio continued, waving his wrist quickly in Yuuri’s direction. ‘And I don't even like him that much.’

Victor frowned once what Yuri was saying sank in. He threw Yurio a glance, suspicious. ‘Are you... trying to comfort me?’

‘No!’ Yurio snapped, crossing his arms petulantly. Victor watched him for a moment as he huffed, but then Yuri’s verdant eyes caught Victor’s. ‘Is it working?’

It was a little, not that Victor was going to admit that.

‘See you later!’ Yuuri chimed later after they’d finished, face flushed pink from his shower as he waved goodbye to Victor and his pain in the ass of a rinkmate. Victor felt his stomach clench with disappointment as Yuuri turned back to Yuuko, already lost to the Japanese conversation and then they were gone.

Victor sighed, too late to catch himself. Yurio threw him a filthy look from his bench.

‘Go out. Shift someone, anyone,’ Yurio said, going back to tying his laces with as much stubborn drama as possible. He was also failing miserably, having to redo the left one twice. Victor just about resisted the urge to make fun of him for it.  

‘I already told you, I don’t want to,’ Victor said coolly, hands in his pockets as he tucked his chin down into the fabric of his scarf. ‘It won’t help. I probably wouldn’t even know how, it’s been so long.’

‘Maybe you really are going senile,’ Yurio quipped back and Victor rolled his eyes.

‘What do you know about pulling people in bars anyway?’ Victor asked, a little curious and a lot suspicious. Yuri gave him a withered look, something like what Victor imagined vets gave people when their dog was dying.

‘A lot more than you,’ Yuri said simply, shucking his gear bag over his shoulder and walking out of the locker room.

Victor had always prided himself on being the reason Yakov had lost his hair. But he was rather beginning to suspect he may have been taking too much of the credit.


Victor could only think one thing while watching Yuuri skate, in his old costume with every move and bend of his body in simmering invitation. Burning holes right through Victor’s heart like matchsticks and paper.

And it was I’m not leaving him.

Turned out, he didn't have to.

Later, once Victor had Yuuri practically to himself, both slightly tipsy and leaning into each other in the warmth of tatami and steam of the onsen, Victor pulled his phone out for the first time in hours. There were quite a few notifications, but only one worth opening.

1 Новое сообщение - Юрий Плисецкий

22:34PM Listen here, old man. He was skating for someone in that rink today, and his boyfriend wasn’t it. Understand?

Victor closed the message quickly, just in case Yuuri caught a glimpse. But Yuuri was practically dozing on Victor’s shoulder, glasses crooked and cheeks unevenly pink from both drink and maybe something else a little closer. Victor didn’t want to hope too much.

But Yurio’s text had done a better job at warming Victor up than any amount of sake.

Victor grinned, breathing in the metallic scent of the rink that clung to Yuuri’s hair. Felt the weight of Yuuri's body, the heat of his skin.

Now that Victor really thought about it, all really was fair in love and war. Right?