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From Victor, With Love

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'Dear somebody,

I must've written this same letter a thousand times, and each time I feel a little bit better about it.

You don't know me, and I don't know you either. I guess that's why I feel like I can write down everything I feel and you wouldn't care, because to you I am nobody. To you, I have no significance. And that's okay.

Sometimes I find myself staring off at the ocean. I'll go and I'll listen to the calls of the seagulls in the distance, and not do anything besides stand there and wish that the cold water would swallow me whole. I'm here at the oceanfront now as I'm writing this, and it's so cold I can see my breath. It's snowing here in St. Petersburg, and I'm all bundled up, but I'm still so cold.

Sometimes I think about love, and how it ruined me. I mean, I want to fall in love again one day, I'm just scared. I haven't found someone who really cares about me, but I've been patient. I hope I'm still around to do so in the future. I don't really know yet. I don't even know what I'm going to be doing tonight.

I really just want to be able to look at someone and say, "Oh god, how did I ever get so lucky?". I really want to find the love of my life, and be able to hold their hand, look into their eyes that are full of nothing but pure happiness, and love only for me, and hopefully I'll be able to kiss the engagement ring on their finger one day. I want someone that'll make me happy, someone that I make happy – someone that I'll probably never meet.

You see, people tend to look at me and assume I have somebody, because they think I'm 'pretty', or something like that, and then they give up on me. They don't even try to talk to me. People always look at other people and make assumptions based on what they see, but it's not like it's their fault– they don't know me, so what should they think when they see me?

I actually don't have a lover, as you might have guessed. I've never really had much of one. The last one I had wasn't really… much of a good person… let alone a good lover.

He ruined the word 'love' for me, abused it, like he did me, before he threw me away like I meant nothing to him. But maybe it had been for the best that he left– he wasn't good to me in the slightest.

And now I don't really have much of anyone. Not anymore.

Things are hard now, and they keep getting worse. I have nightmares more often than I have good dreams, yet I hate waking up more than I should. It's his fault– he destroyed me, and everything that I ever was, and left me when I was finally broken. Now I have nothing in this world that I truly care for. The thought of love scares me, and it's hard to trust anyone.

I sometimes think about about dying, and what it would be like– I sometimes wonder what it would be like to drown in that ocean that's so close to me, and I sometimes wonder what it's like when the heart stops beating. I sometimes think about taking my own life; it would be so easy to do so, so easy to let go when there's nothing to hold onto, nothing holding me back. I've actually tried before, but I was stopped.

Sometimes, I imagine my whole world ending. To some, it probably would be terrifying, but oddly enough, I feel as though it would be peaceful. Maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm just depressed because of what happened. And that's okay. I have every right to be.

I hope you don't ever feel like this. Feeling so down that it's hard to get out of bed each morning, that nothing seems worth waking up for. I'm hoping that writing this will make me feel better, like someone close to me said it would. So far, nothing has been working.

I honestly don't know how much more of this I can take before I finally break into a thousand little pieces. I don't know how long I can keep this up, being the way I have been, but I don't know what to do to fix it either.

I actually stopped writing this letter a few days ago or so. When I had been writing those last words, I think I just… snapped, or something. I suddenly came to the conclusion that there was no point to anything at all anymore. Why bother trying when there's nothing worth fighting for?

I think I ended up jumping in the ocean. I mean, I know I did, but I don't really remember doing it. All I know was one second, I was looking at the ocean, and the next, my head was beneath the surface of freezing water and I was trying and take my own life. I wasn't really thinking. Maybe I blacked out.

But I guess I finally realized what I was doing, and I think I realized just how real it was once I was in there and I couldn't breathe. And then I felt regret.

Unlike the first time I'd attempted to take my own life, this time I felt like I was somewhat aware of what I was doing and the severity of it, and I knew that this wasn't the way out.

I quickly got out when I could with some difficulty – the waves had been very fierce and relentless – and then coughed up the water in my lungs, and then came home as fast as possible to get warm, having my guardian of sorts and a boy that looks up to me fret about me when I stepped through that door soaking wet and freezing. They looked at me and I looked back at them, and I think they knew what I had just done, and I think we all realized just how real it was.

Now, about a week later, I'm here in Japan and I'm writing this again (after some yelling from my guardian, who was worried about me going alone, but even though I assured him that I'll be fine, he made me promise that I'd be back in Russia by the beginning of August), but with a different kind of perspective, I think. I want to find happiness, not dwell on the past all the time and be depressed.

I was tempted to start this letter over again, but I decided against it. I felt like this would have no meaning otherwise. I want to leave a message to anyone that might actually read this that's like me.

I don't want you to feel bad, and I don't want you to worry about me. That's not my intention. I just want to get my feelings out onto paper, and let them go. I want whoever you are to know how I feel. Hopefully, you'll learn from what I've written, I suppose– don't hurt yourself because you're hurting someone else when you do. That's what I learned that day.

If you happen to actually be worried after reading this, well… you're a very kind and compassionate person, just like I thought you would be. I hope everyone around you knows so. And if you're not worried, honestly, I don't blame you. You have your own problems to worry about. That's completely understandable.

But listen. Whoever you are, I hope you're okay and taking good care of yourself, and I hope you know that even if I don't know you, I care if you exist, and I'm glad for it even, and I'm sure others feel the same. And if nobody does, just know that at least I do, and that must mean something, right? To me, the fact that your heart is still beating is a precious thing.

I hope that you know that you matter, and that you mean something to someone. Please don't ever feel alone, because you're not. Please don't ever let someone hurt you or take advantage of you, like he did to me. Don't let someone else ruin you. Stand up for yourself– don't let yourself break.

And, whoever you are, I wish you nothing but happiness.

Do svidaniya.

From Victor, with love.'

Yuri kept to himself most times. Stayed quiet, and never went out of his way to talk to anyone who wasn't family or a close friend, unless it involved work, like the customers, but usually, Yuri didn't work at the register. In any case, he usually forgot about every customer that came in a minute after they left.

Usually.

He had noticed the boy that sat by himself in the corner of the cafe he worked at. The boy came nearly every day, so it was hard not to notice him. Every time the boy came, which was around the same time every day or every other day, the boy would get the same thing and sit in the same spot and stare out of the window for a while. Yuri didn't know his name, but he was very beautiful, and Yuri always had a hard time taking his eyes off of him.

Yuri overheard the boy talking to Minako about good places to see the ocean one day, as apparently he was probably staying until about August and he wanted to do sightseeing or something like that, Yuri wasn't sure, and she hadn't a clue where he could go. He'd thanked her anyway and left.

Yuri was a bit sad that he didn't ask him instead– he knew of some great places, and since the boy had been coming around (which had been about a few days each week for about two months– he started coming around on October 29th), even though Yuri had never talked to him, he found that he had a crush on him.

Two days later, the boy had came back, and Yuri noticed the boy had been staring at him, like he was observing him. It wasn't like Yuri found it to be creepy or anything, really– Yuri was just embarrassed, and anyway, it was like this boy was lost in his own world, thinking of something else even though his eyes were on Yuri. The aforementioned blushed and averted his eyes awkwardly when he accidentally made eye contact, and the boy only smiled gently, somewhat sadly. Yuri saw him do it from the corner of his eye.

The boy came back the next day, on December 28th, but this time, when he left, he accidentally left something behind on the table, and Yuri had gotten it when he was cleaning up after– a folded up piece of paper. He stuffed it in his pocket and decided to give it back to the boy the next time he came into the cafe– that is, if Yuri could even manage to talk to him.

Yuri wasn't too big on socializing with people he didn't know very well. It was hard for him. Especially when they were like this boy and they were very pretty.

When Yuri got home that evening, curiosity got the better of him and he opened the folded piece of paper, half hoping it was the boy's name and phone number that, perhaps, he'd left behind on purpose for Yuri.

It wasn't, and Yuri wasn't really all that surprised. Who would leave their number for Yuri of all people?

It was actually some kind of letter. Now Yuri knew better than to read it – he knew it was wrong, and he knew that this was an invasion of privacy – but he couldn't help himself. He couldn't stop himself either, from reading every word that was written there in ink.

It had been more than he was expecting, and he realized that he'd actually teared up a little. He felt stupid, especially since he didn't know the boy who wrote this personally. It was just that he'd been sort of watching this boy since he first started coming in, and Yuri never would've known any of this just by looking at him.

He learned so much about him from the letter alone, and he'd never once spoken to him. He couldn't stop thinking about the letter. Who was he writing to? Yuri assumed it was no one in particular, judging by the way it'd been written.

Was it fate that Yuri had gotten ahold of it? Yuri didn't really believe in fate, though.

He wasn't really sure about how to talk to this 'Victor' about it. Should he give it back? Should he write a letter to him and leave it there?

It bugged him all night. He found that he couldn't sleep. All he saw when he closed his eyes was 'Victor' watching the ocean, a sad look on his face. All he could think of was him trying to kill himself, or him being hurt by his faceless ex lover. It hurt to think about.

He finally did fall asleep, though, and in the morning, before work, he had made up his mind. He grabbed a plain piece of paper and a pen, wanting to give 'Victor' the reply he deserved.

'Dear Victor,

I know that you probably didn't expect, or maybe even want a response, but here it is.

Honestly, when I first saw you, I didn't think that I'd end up writing this. Just by looking at you, I wouldn't have ever guessed that you would be the type to be depressed and lonely. I guess I was wrong and I guess I might be one of those people then– the ones who assume things based on what they see when looking at someone. I don't try to be that kind of person. But like you said, I don't know you and you don't know me either, and how could I have known otherwise?

I've learned so much about you, just from reading what you wrote. Honestly, I'm not too surprised that you tried to kill yourself – I'm not really happy about it, but – I would have too, had I been in your shoes. It must've been hard to deal with, and even harder to write down and get out.

I think I might understand how you feel. I'm a bit depressed, I have anxiety and have very little confidence in myself– I'm very, very self-conscious. I don't have very many friends at all, if my coworkers count as friends in the first place. I don't try to reach out to anyone, and honestly, I sometimes feel like no one would realize or care if I just disappeared.

Part of me knows better. I have my parents and my sister who would care if I died or if I was gone, but sometimes I feel so small. So insignificant. I feel like I don't matter to anyone in this world, especially the ones around me. Maybe that's my anxiety talking.

It's just so strange how it feels like I can trust you, and I don't really even know you. But just by reading your letter, it feels as if I've known you forever. And yet we've never even spoken to each other. But I've seen you before, and I know you've seen me.

It's crazy how alike we kind of are, in a way. We're both kind of broken, but not unfixable. Maybe I'll be the one to fix you, and you'll be the one to fix me. Maybe that's how it's supposed to go. Maybe not.

I just… I want to know you, Victor. I've wanted to know you since the first time I laid my eyes upon you. It's just… so hard for me. I have trouble sometimes with socializing, as you might have guessed already. If I hadn't, I would've marched right over to you and asked you to go out on a date with me, but I didn't, because that's not the type of person I am.

Once I get to know someone, then I'll open up. And on the times when I do open up, I always wish that someone would just meet me halfway, because it takes everything I have in me just to open up for someone to see me. The real me. Maybe you'll be the one to do that. Maybe you'll meet me halfway and it'll be different, or maybe we'll never even speak to each other at all and we'll go our separate ways. I hope it's not the latter.

I worry about a lot of things, but not about a lot of people. People can take care of themselves. But I worry about you, because even though I wouldn't have ever known what you went through just by looking at you, you still always seemed lonely. You always seemed absorbed in your thoughts, and now I know what those thoughts probably are, and I know it isn't good. I've been there.

It's not good to think too much about things that make us unhappy, but I do it too. I sometimes would think about what would happen if I only had a day left to live, and then I would become sad because I would realize I'd have no one special to spend my last day on earth with. But now, if I only had a day left to live, I think I could choose. And I think it would be the right decision.

Sometimes I think too much about the fact that I don't have any real friends that I can connect with, and I think that's why I feel drawn to you now, because we're so alike.

And honestly, I don't want to be this way anymore. I want to be happy. And I want you to be happy too.

This was supposed to be much longer, but I'm sorry– I'm not very good with words. I wanted to write everything that I had been thinking down here for you, but in the end, I didn't. I just hope you know that you aren't alone either, because we're the same. I understand you, even if nobody else does. We're not worlds apart.

And Victor, I really do wish you happiness as well. You deserve much more happiness than what you've had, and I hope you find it. No matter who you find it with. Just make sure they treat you well– don't stand for anything less.

I hope you find someone that can put the pieces of your heart back together, someone that truly loves you, someone that's gentle and kind but someone strong, too. I hope they can recreate the word 'love' for you. Turn it into something good.

I hope they're the love of your life, and you're the love of theirs. I hope they realize that you are the most important thing on this earth to them, and I hope one day, they propose to you in front of everybody, and I hope you say yes. I hope they give you everything you could ever dream of, everything that makes you so damn happy you feel like crying, because honestly, you deserve nothing less.

Sayonara.

From Yuri, with love.'

Yuri folded it up before he could stop himself and talk himself out of it, stuffing it into his pocket. He looked at the clock then. Realizing he was going to be late, Yuri took off out of the door, sprinting all the way to the cafe.

He showed up ten minutes late, and Phichit asked him where he'd been. Yuri only smiled sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck before putting on his apron, but not his name-tag.

Minako, being the manager and owner, but also like family, wasn't very happy. "I'm not even going to ask why you're late, just don't do it again," she told him, sighing, but then she smiled, shaking her head. "You had me worried. What's even going on in that mess you call a brain?"

"A lot of things, honestly," Yuri replied, but she didn't press it because she already knew he wasn't going to elaborate, even if she tried to make him. Honestly, she was always worried about him. "Sorry, I just lost track of time."

"It's okay. Just get to work now."

Yuri gave a nod, checking his watch before heading to the back to sort the coffee beans and put them on the shelf. His mind wasn't really on what he was doing, but he'd done it enough times to be able to do it without paying attention.

Victor was supposed to be around in about an hour, so Yuri had that long to talk himself into giving him the note. He swept up in the back room, replaced the bags in the machine that dispensed hot fudge and caramel sauces after cleaning the dispenser itself, and then finally placed the fresh muffins into the display case.

With about two minutes left before Victor would come, Yuri started making his drink, just the same as he always had it when he came. He watched as Victor made his way inside, and Minako told him that his drink was already being made. He smiled and thanked her, but he seemed troubled. Probably from losing that note.

When Yuri finished making the drink, Guang-Hong went to take it from him to take to Victor, but Yuri shook his head, blushing.

"I've got this one," he told him, and Guang-Hong seemed surprised, and so did Minako and Phichit, and Christophe, and Leo, and even Seung Gil. Yuri never took drinks to the customers. Ever.

But this time he was, drink in one hand, muffin in the other and the folded note in his pocket. His heart was pounding as he walked over to Victor, and his face was on fire.

When he made it to the table, Yuri smiled softly at Victor's surprised face. "I- I hope you like strawberry," Yuri stuttered out, setting the muffin down. "The muffin's on the house. I- I made your drink the same as always, too. I hope that's okay." As Yuri set the drink down, he slipped his muffin-free hand into his pocket and pulled out the note without Victor noticing, and he left it next to the plate. "I hope you enjoy it, l- like usual."

Yuri scurried away, and Victor, as well as Yuri's coworkers were all staring at him. "Did you really just do that?" Phichit asked him, and Yuri didn't answer, making his way into the back.

"I wonder what's up with him," Chris murmured, and Phichit sighed.

"There's no telling. Maybe it had to do with why he was late?" Leo put out there for all them to think about, and at that, Minako shrugged, but she was smiling.

"At least he's trying," came from Guang-Hong, and Minako nodded.

"That's what I was thinking too," she said.

Meanwhile, Yuri was in the break room, trying not to have a panic attack. He couldn't believe he just gave Victor that note, and now there was no taking it back. He left the cafe through the back entrance without anyone noticing, leaving his apron behind. He knew Minako would be pissed at him and would yell at him later for it, but he couldn't be there right at the moment. He felt like he was going to die from embarrassment.

Victor ate the muffin with a light blush and a small smile that he just couldn't wipe off his face. That boy had been so nice, and Victor's heart felt like it was going to explode. He knew that that boy didn't really socialize with anyone. Never brought anyone their drinks before and never gave anyone a free muffin. Victor felt special.

When he finished with the muffin, he noticed the piece of paper on the table, and knew that it hadn't been there before. Had it? He wasn't really sure. He hoped it had been the one he lost and he'd opened it to make sure.

His eyes widened as he saw that it'd been addressed to him. As he read it, his hand flew up to cover his mouth. He couldn't believe it.

When he finished, he quickly looked over to the counter, standing up and making his way over to Minako.

"What do you need?" She asked politely, smiling, and he looked around.

"Where is Yuri?" He questioned, and she looked around as well, frowning.

"Yeah, that's a good question," she said, gritting her teeth. "Hey, guys, where the hell did Yuri go?"

Phichit went and checked the break room. "I found his apron. He must've left through the back entrance when no one was paying attention."

"Dammit, Yuri," Minako muttered angrily, "I'm going to kick your ass when I find you. Hey, Seung Gil–"

"If you have any idea where he might be, I'll go look for him," Victor interjected, and Minako looked at him, surprised.

"Well… alright, I guess. If you insist."

Phichit chose that moment to chime in, "Sometimes he likes to sit by the water when he gets nervous. There's a place nearby, only a few blocks away. He goes there sometimes to clam down because he has anxiety. That's probably where he's at."

Victor nodded, paying for his drink before leaving the cafe, and Phichit went outside to show him which way to go. Victor thanked him and went off in search of Yuri.

Like Phichit had said, Yuri was there by the water, hugging his knees to his chest. Victor approached him. "Are you Yuri?" He asked, just to be safe, in case Yuri was someone else, and not the boy sitting here, although Victor thought that was unlikely.

"It depends," Yuri said with a shrug, and Victor blinked, tilting his head. "D- Did you read the letter?"

Victor nodded, sitting down beside Yuri. "I did," he replied, and Yuri bit his own lip, chewing on it thoughtfully. "But you also read mine, so I guess we're even then, huh?" Victor smiled at the blush that crept onto Yuri's cheeks.

"Then I guess I'm the one you're looking for. And you're Victor, right?" Victor gave a nod, and Yuri looked away. "And I'm sorry, I didn't mean to read your letter, it's just you left it yesterday, and…" Yuri took a breath, shaking his head, "My curiosity got the better of me. So I read it. And reading it made me feel like I should share something with you, too. Was everything you wrote true?"

Victor didn't move or speak for a moment, but then he nodded. "Da… every single word. And you? Was every single word you wrote true as well?"

Yuri nodded, laughing humorlessly a moment later. "It was, yeah. And I just left it there with you and ran away. I'm pretty pathetic for that, aren't I? I'm just weak."

Victor didn't like the way Yuri was so self-deprecating. "You're not weak, Yuri, nor are you pathetic. You're just nervous, and it's okay to be. From what you wrote, I would assume you'd be shy or nervous."

"But you don't even know me…" Yuri buried his face in his knees, sighing out.

"You're right, I don't," Victor agreed, shivering a little when the wind blew, "That's why you should tell me more about you. So I can get to know you. In return, I'll tell you more about me. Fair?" Yuri looked at him again, nodding. "Okay, then tell me everything."

Yuri sighed again. "My name is Yuri Katsuki. My birthday is November 29th, and I'm twenty three years old. Obviously, I'm Japanese and I was born here in Hasetsu. When I was eighteen, I'd moved to Detroit, Michigan in the U.S. to learn figure skating, but ended up moving back home three years later because I was afraid I couldn't make it as a figure skater, and because the family dog died. My dog was also named Victor, funnily enough.

"I've worked at the cafe my family's close friend Minako owns since then. Minako taught me ballet so I could skate when I was younger, but like I said, it hadn't really worked out. Anyway, like I said in my letter, I have anxiety and panic attacks are not fun. My favorite dish is a pork cutlet bowl, which I'd eat everyday if I didn't gain weight so easily. I've never been in a relationship, because I have a hard time talking to people. Uhm… I'm not sure what else… Your turn."

Honestly, part of him had wanted to add, "Oh, and I think you're beautiful, and I also have a big crush on you which is part of the reason why I freaked out and left earlier", but he didn't. Victor smiled, taking a deep breath before he began to speak.

"My name is Victor Nikiforov–"

"Wait, say that last part again…?"

"…Nikiforov…?"

"Huh, interesting last name…"

Victor laughed, and it was so pure, Yuri couldn't help but to smile. "It's Russian. Anyway, as I was saying, my name is Victor Nikiforov, and my birthday is on December 25th–"

"Hey, that's on Christmas. That must be cool. And it was just a few days ago, so happy belated birthday."

"We don't really celebrate Christmas, not like others do, and thank you, by the way. Same goes to you, only yours was a month ago."

"Thanks, and we?"

"Russia."

"Oh."

"Anyway, I'm twenty seven years old. I'm Russian, but I've been to other places because I like traveling. I love listening to the seagulls because they remind me of St. Petersburg, where I live, and I love being by the ocean. I, too, have a dog, and his name is Makkachin, and I love him so much. I also learned how to figure skate, but I never really competed in any big competitions because my guardian thought that there were better things I could be doing with my life.

"I don't really remember my parents much. They died when I was little. I have this boy who's like my little brother sort of, and his name is also Yuri, but I've nicknamed him Yurio for fun, and he's nothing like you. He gets very angry all the time. It's kind of funny because he acts like he hates me but then gets worried when I don't come home for a while. I know he cares, and he knows I care. We make it work.

"But anyway, figure skating was how I met my first and only lover, and as you know, being with him wasn't a very pleasurable experience for me. I still have scars from when I tried to bleed myself to death, right before he left me. I think I'm better off by myself, but sometimes I just crave love and affection. Maybe that's why I stayed with him for as long as I did, and never left before. However he never gave me the love I wanted. I want to really love someone again, and I want someone to really love me, too.

"Mostly, I just want to be happy. I'm pretty depressed, as you probably know. After my last attempt at suicide, I realized that I can't keep letting myself get this way, and now all I want is happiness, and I want others around me to find that happiness, too. Sorry I talk a lot. I always seem to have a lot on my mind and no one to really share it with. That's why I wrote that letter in the first place. But… anyway… sorry."

Yuri stared at him, and then touched his shoulder gently. "No, no, it's okay. Don't be sorry."

Victor sighed out sadly, and turned slightly to face Yuri. "Is it okay if I hug you?" He asked, and Yuri blushed, but nodded nonetheless.

"It's fine. Go ahead…"

Victor leaned close and wrapped his arms around Yuri's middle, feeling Yuri's arms wrap around him. He let his head rest against Yuri's chest, and smiled. "Your heartbeat is really fast," he commented, and Yuri's blush intensified. "What are you thinking about?"

Yuri shook his head. "N- Nothing really," he replied, but all he had really wanted to say was, "You".

Victor chuckled, breathing out. "This is nice," he whispered into Yuri's chest, still listening to his heartbeat. "Thank you, Yuri."

Yuri's arms tightened around him. "You're welcome, Victor."

A short two and a half months passed by, and now it was early March, and it was still so cold out, still snowing. Unfortunately, that also meant it was getting closer to the time when Victor would be going back to Russia for a while. Yuri was going to miss him when he left, but thankfully Victor would be coming back and it was still a long way off anyways.

Yuri couldn't help it, but he was falling in love with Victor more and more with every second that passed, with every single day that had come and gone, and with every single snowflake that began to fall out of the sky. And Yuri was so helpless to it all. It was just that Victor was unlike everyone else. Victor understood him and accepted him and Victor was easy to talk to.

When Yuri opened up, Victor met him halfway.

He wondered if Victor was falling in love with him, too.

He should be so lucky.

But he still hoped for it, and if he wasn't so… well, himself, then he would've asked him on a date by now. He was just scared of Victor saying no. He was scared of being rejected, but he knew that if he kept being scared, Victor would slip away from him, and he didn't want that.

Yuri had to ask him. He was going to ask him.

When Yuri got off of work, he grabbed his things and began to walk home, trying to prepare himself and make sure he didn't chicken out. Somehow, Victor and his dog kind of began staying with him, but only because Yuri didn't really see the point in Victor staying at a hotel when Yuri had plenty of room at his apartment for both he and Victor. And Makkachin. Also Yuri wanted to keep an eye on him, and help him with the nightmares that slowly had been going away.

When Yuri found himself at the door outside of his apartment, he took a minute to calm himself down. He nodded when he was ready, and stepped inside.

"Hey Vict–" He was suddenly tackled by Makkachin. The was dog on top of him, licking his face and Yuri couldn't stop giggling. "Makka! Stop! Off, boy!"

The dog got off, wagging his tail. Yuri stood up, giggling still, fixing his glasses and looking around for Victor, but he didn't see him anywhere. He felt the anxiety building in his chest, hoping nothing bad happened while he was gone.

"Victor?" Yuri called out as he searched the apartment frantically with his eyes, his heart pounding like crazy in his chest. "Victor?!"

Where was he?

He began to search the actual apartment, starting with the kitchen and the room Victor was staying in. He even checked his own room, but he couldn't find him in any of those places. He walked down the hallway, trying not to have a panic attack. Maybe Victor had gone out? But the door had been unlocked, which meant he was supposed to be here.

"Victor!" Yuri cried, and suddenly, a door was opening and Victor was behind him, touching his shoulder gently, and Yuri turned and looked back at him with wide eyes.

"Yuri?" Victor asked softly, looking at him with concern. "What's wrong? Is everything okay?" It took Yuri a second to realize he'd must've been in the bathroom, judging by how soaked he was with water.

Yuri pulled him into a hug anyway, getting his shirt wet, but sighing with relief. "Yeah…" He breathed, burying his face in Victor's neck. He smelled like vanilla soap. "Sorry… I just… I got scared because I couldn't find you…"

It was only because Yuri knew that Victor attempted suicide before. That's why he'd been so scared. He hoped that Victor was somewhat happy now, and wouldn't be likely to try it again. Thankfully, he hadn't, and Yuri was so relieved.

Victor carefully wrapped his arms around Yuri, and the younger's heartbeat finally began to slow down. "I'm sorry. I think I fell asleep in the bath, it had just been so relaxing. I didn't know you came home, not until you were calling me. I didn't even hear the door or Makka."

Yuri slightly pulled back and looked at him, narrowing his eyes a little and frowning. "That's dangerous, Victor. Please try not to do it again, okay?" He sounded like a worried mother, but he didn't care. It was a dangerous thing to do.

"But I was fine, my head stayed above the water–" Victor tried, but he was only met with a glare from Yuri. "Da, alright. I'm sorry. I'll be careful next time."

Yuri smiled and then blushed, but then his smile was gone and the blush was slowly intensifying when he finally realized Victor's lack of any real clothing, only covered by a towel around his waist, and he scrambled away a little.

"W- Why didn't you put any clothes on?!" Yuri questioned him, continuing to back away until they were a good distance apart. His face was so red, and he was shaking his head, a hand covering his mouth. "You're barely covered!"

"I just woke up and got out because I was worried, because you were calling me and you sounded scared and I just thought you were having a panic attack and needed my help–"

"I don't think that you coming to me with nothing on would have helped me if I had been having a panic attack though!" Yuri cried, and Victor tried not to giggle, and he didn't, but he looked at Yuri, who wouldn't look back at him.

"I'm sorry, Yuri," Victor said, pouting, and Yuri shook his head again, fixing his glasses and turing away. "I thought you realized, anyway."

"It's okay, and I thought you had pants on. Anyway, just… just go put some clothes on… I want to talk to you when you're done."

Victor nodded and left the room, and Yuri went to the living room area. When Victor was all dressed, he and Yuri sat together on the couch, Makkachin lying in Victor's lap, asleep.

"Anyway, you said you wanted to talk, so…?" Victor asked softly, and Yuri's eyes were fixed on the floor, a blush on his cheeks again. He always got so nervous when it came to Victor especially.

And well, he already started it. There was no time to back out now. "Right, well… Victor, w- would you…" He began, swallowing and balling his hands into fists as he tried to get the words out, but it was like they were stuck in his throat. He was only asking Victor on a date, not confessing his love for him to the whole of Japan. He needed to calm down. "Would you maybe want to… go on a… on a date… with me…?"

He finally looked at Victor then, his face beet-red as it always seemed to be. It seemed like it'd been several hours since he'd asked, but then suddenly Victor was jumping up and hugging him, Makkachin falling to the carpeted floor with a bit of a thud.

"I was afraid you'd never ask!" Victor exclaimed, pulling away only slightly, resting his forehead on Yuri's, a smile on his face. "Of course I do, Yuri…" Yuri met his eyes and blushed even more, pulling away slightly so their faces weren't so close. Victor giggled, shaking his head before hugging Yuri again.

"You really want to?" Yuri asked, feeling happy because Victor said yes, but still having some doubts. "Like honestly? You're… you're not just saying yes because I asked and you don't want to hurt my feelings?"

Victor pulled back again to look at him, and it was then that Yuri realized what an awkward position they were in. Well, awkward for him, anyway. He wasn't so sure about Victor and how he felt about this. After all, he did seem to like to walk around naked.

"Of course I'm not," Victor told him, slightly digging his fingers into Yuri's shoulder, "I'm saying yes because I really want to. And besides, how could I say no to someone like you? You're the sweetest, and cutest person I know!"

"You're just saying that…" Yuri murmured, looking away and feeling embarrassed, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw Victor shake his head.

"I'm not, and I'll make you see it one day." Then Yuri was looking at him again, and Victor's eyes held so much happiness, it was nearly enough to give Yuri all of the confidence he needed to want to kiss him. But Yuri didn't kiss him. Not yet. He wanted to wait.

But Makkachin decided that he wanted to kiss them both, jumping onto the couch again and licking the both of them over and over, attacking them with kisses and making them giggle, and Victor nearly squealed in delight as he was pushed somewhat between Yuri and the sofa with Makkachin standing on both of them, still continuing with his kiss attack, because Victor honestly, really loved his dog.

When Makkachin calmed down and was lying on top of both of them, Victor let his head rest against Yuri's shoulder, both of them trapped underneath the big, fluffy dog and not really able to move.

"So, when is this date?" Victor asked him, looking up at Yuri, who turned his head at an odd angle to look back at him. "Where are you taking me?"

"What about Saturday?" Yuri proposed, and Victor gave a nod. "And I was thinking maybe we could go to an ice rink, since we both know how to skate and all."

Victor kept staring at him, surprise evident in his face. "Really?"

Yuri nodded. "Mhm. My friend Yuko works at the ice rink here, and she'll let us skate privately, if I ask her to."

"Yuri… that would be lovely…"

"And but after… maybe some dinner? I'm sure we'll be hungry after skating and all. I'm not sure where we'll go yet, but I'm sure I'll figure it out."

Victor smiled. "Sounds perfect. I look forward to it."

Saturday rolled around a lot faster than Yuri was expecting. He felt a bit nervous as he got dressed in something light. He'd already went ahead and asked Yuko to reserve the rink all day for them, and she hadn't minded a bit.

When the two of them were ready, they both left to get to Ice Castle a bit early. Victor seemed pretty excited, and seeing that made Yuri feel a little less nervous. As they reached Ice Castle, Yuri smiled and they went inside.

He introduced Victor to Yuko, and then they went to the actual rink itself. Yuri had been going to this place since he was little, but hadn't been back since before he first saw Victor in October.

"This is nice," Victor commented, watching as Yuri gave a nod in response as he made sure his laces were tight. Victor did the same, and then removed the coverings on the blades and stepped out onto the ice.

Yuri leaned up against the wall and watched him skate around a little. Victor looked so beautiful on the ice, so natural, and it was such a shame that he hadn't gotten to really do anything with all he knew about skating. He could've probably ended up being a famous skater.

"Aren't you coming, Yuri?" Victor questioned, sliding to a halt, and Yuri only smiled at him.

"In a minute…" The younger of the two murmured, admiring Victor. "Would you just mind… if I watched you skate for a moment longer?" A blush crept onto his cheeks. He didn't have the guts to add the part about Victor being beautiful, though.

"You want to watch me?" Victor chuckled a little, and it didn't make Yuri feel any less embarrassed, but he nodded anyway.

"Can you do any jumps?" Yuri then asked, and Victor nodded, so Yuri proceeded to ask which ones.

"I can do several of the easier ones, but I can also do a few quads, including the quadruple lutz, and a quadruple flip, if you'd like to see them." Yuri gave an excited nod at that. "What jumps can you do?"

"A few of the easier ones, like the triple axel, and then I can do a quadruple toe-loop, and I can sometimes do a quadruple salchow, but only sometimes."

"Only sometimes?"

"When I'm alone, usually. In front of others, I tend to get nervous…"

"I see… well, that's okay. You don't have to do any for me if you don't want to."

Victor gave Yuri a reassuring smile before he went ahead and glided around on the ice, doing a few jumps for Yuri before he stopped, resting on the wall and panting, his cheeks flushed.

Yuri stepped out onto the ice then, having already removed his glasses and the blade coverings on his skates. He skated over towards Victor, extending his hand for Victor to grab onto. Victor took his hand and together they skated across the ice.

A while later, they left and went to the cafe Yuri worked at to pick up something to eat, which happened to be pork cutlet bowls. They took them down to the spot by the water where they first sort of met over two months before.

The breeze was a bit chilly, but they didn't mind too much, as they sat down and began to eat. Victor devoured his faster than Yuri, which made Yuri smile. When they both were finished, they both stared off at the ocean, feeling happy.

Yuri looked at Victor, and his heartbeat increased in it's speed. Victor looked so beautiful right then, the soft glow of the setting sun illuminating his face in the prettiest way. A dusty pink blush settled on Yuri's cheeks, and he couldn't stop staring at Victor. He couldn't look away, no matter how hard he tried.

"Victor?" He whispered, catching Victor's attention immediately. They were looking at each other now, and neither could look away. They both parted their lips to say something, but neither said anything at all.

Without a moment's hesitation, Yuri leaned in and kissed him.

It was soft, gentle and slow, yet Yuri's heart was on fire and racing, and he didn't know it, but Victor's was too. Victor tasted like the pork cutlet bowl he'd eaten, and it made Yuri want to keep on kissing him. Somehow, without either really noticing, Victor's hand found Yuri's, and everything in that moment was just perfect.

It was the day before Victor was going to go back to Russia, and Yuri honestly was scared of him leaving. He was afraid that maybe his boyfriend wouldn't come back, or that maybe his boyfriend would find someone else, or maybe even both. He really, really didn't want to lose Victor. Not now. Not ever.

He made up his mind.

When night fell, Yuri took Victor out. They had dinner, and then Victor assumed that they were going home, but Yuri didn't take him there. It was a warm night, and they went to the park, but Yuri didn't expect lots of other people to be there. He sighed out, but didn't let his anxiety get the better of him.

"Yuri?" Victor began, looking at his boyfriend with a perplexed and questioning look on his face, "What are we doing here? There's so many people here… Also, remember that we can't be out too late because I have to go early tomorrow."

Yuri clenched his sweaty hands into fists and then unclenched them. He was nervous, but not deterred. His heart was racing, and Victor was looking at him expectantly, like he was waiting for him to say something, but there was confusion– Victor didn't know what he was waiting to hear, but he was still waiting to hear it.

Yuri took a deep breath, and then– "Victor Nikiforov," he uttered boldly, catching the attention of others around, especially the attention of Victor himself, "In the ten months that we've been around each other, and the eight months that I've known you, and the five or so months that we've been together, you've made me the happiest person on earth. I've fallen so hopelessly in love with you, that I'm even scared of losing you forever when you go back to Russia tomorrow. You made me realize that I don't want to live without you. You're such an amazing person to me– you're kind and gentle, and don't mind when I act silly and get nervous or embarrassed. You're always there for me, and you love me for who I am. I couldn't ask for anything else from you… Except this."

Yuri pulled a gold ring from his pocket, holding it between his index finger and thumb on display for Victor to see. Victor's lips parted, a blush dusting his cheeks and his beautiful blue eyes widened, tears gathering at the corners as he raised a hand to cover his mouth.

"Marry me, Victor, please," Yuri continued, staring into his boyfriend's eyes as a blush dusted his own cheeks, not caring about anyone else there. "I couldn't think of a world where you're not in it with me, so please… Victor… will you marry me?"

The tears finally escaped Victor's eyes, and it was so strange and surprising to see him cry, but Yuri still thought he looked beautiful. Victor gave a weak nod, smiling so wide when he pulled his hand away.

"Yes," is all he managed to whisper, letting Yuri take his right hand and slide the gold ring onto his finger, and Victor wouldn't stop looking at it and smiling. Yuri placed a soft, light kiss on his lips, then he pulled out another ring, handing it to Victor, who slipped it on Yuri's finger.

"This is a promise," Yuri began then, looking into Victor's eyes, and in that moment, the planets must've all aligned, and the stars exploded, "That you'll come back to me soon."

Victor clasped Yuri's hand, kissing the engagement ring and then smiled. "I will always come back to you," Victor told him softly, his eyes shining, and Yuri pulled him into a hug, the people around them clapping and cheering in the background, but all Yuri could hear was the soft beat of Victor's now unbroken heart.

'Dear Yuri,

I miss you so much. Hopefully I'll be back in time to spend your birthday with you, but I don't know yet. It's already close to September now, and yet time still can't go by fast enough. Maybe, just maybe I can be back by the middle of October or the beginning of November. I'm not sure though. Yakov will probably keep me here until after my birthday, maybe after the new year. I hope not though. Have I mentioned that I miss you? Because I really do.

I hope to be back home in Hasetsu with you as soon as possible. Maybe I should just permanently move there a lot sooner– it's nice, and not as cold as Russia is most of the time. Oh, I just can't wait to come back home to you. I can't wait to kiss that beautiful smile on your face. I can't wait to marry you.

I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you.

Last year, back when I wrote that letter, I never would have thought that I would have really made it this far. I never really expected to be alive, let alone engaged, to be married. Back when I had written that letter, I wouldn't have believed anyone if they had told me that I was going to fall in love so soon. Honestly, I didn't expect to meet you and fall in love with you like I did, but I'm glad I did, because you're the best thing that ever happened to me. You set my heart on fire, and you're my light, and you bring me so much happiness. Every single time I see you, I feel like my heart might explode.

I have a hard time expressing into words how I feel about you, Yuri, but I know I feel strongly about it. I'm in love with you. Maybe that's all there is to it.

Honestly, I'm really just so glad that I have you in my life now. I'm actually really scared of losing you too. I know I probably shouldn't be, but I can't help it. My life is so much better now that I have you in it, and I don't want to lose that, so please, stay close to me and never leave.

I once thought I'd never meet the person that would make me this happy, the person that would love me this much, and I can see now that I had been so wrong. I'm glad it's someone like you, Yuri. You mean the world to me. And I'm glad that you're happy too. You deserve to be. When I read your letter, that's all I wanted to do– make you happy. I'm glad I've done it.

So, if you had a day left to live on earth and could only choose one person to spend it with, who would you choose? I would choose Makkachin.

Haha, just kidding. I would choose you every single time. Silly. I love you. You should know that by now.

I'd make this much longer, but I think you're starting to rub off on me. That's not a bad thing, of course, but I'm still blaming you. Ha.

Anyways, Makkachin and I love and miss you so, so much, and we (but mostly me) can't wait to see you again soon. Take care of yourself while I'm away, Yuri. Don't miss me too much, and if you do, you can always call me. No matter what time of day or night it is, I will always be here for you. Always. Okay?

Also, I can't believe that you proposed to me still. I can't believe you've done everything you said you wished someone would do for me, and just remembering that I have you to go back to fills my heart with happiness. I love you so, so much, Yuri.

I hope to see you very soon. I can't wait for it. Also, your Vitya really misses you and your kisses and cuddles and all of that!!! I think Makka does too, but it's mostly me, your lovely Vitya, and I miss other things you do too!!! Ah, I can't wait to be home, Yuri!!!

Do svidaniya, my love, but only for now.

From Victor, with love.'