One long look around made it official: moving was way more tiring and messy than Victor had thought it’d be. Right now the whole place looked more like a post-apocalyptic dystopia than an actual bedroom. If someone told him the Hunger Games had taken place here, he wouldn't be susprised.
He turned off the lights and threw himself on the bed, while Makkachin threw himself on Victor and knocked all air out of him for a couple of desperate seconds; after some maneuvering to accommodate both of them, Victor was more than ready to sleep after an entire Sunday of dragging boxes around.
Just as he was drifting off, a faint light oozed through his window and was present enough in his bedroom that he couldn’t ignore it. He turned his head on the pillow: it was coming from the house right next to theirs, from one of the bedrooms on the second floor. He’d seen their new neighbors – a nice Asian couple – but that particular bedroom had been empty all day, and he hadn’t seen its owner. The two houses were so close to each other that the empty bedroom was closer to his than his parent’s room down the hall. If there were a plank balanced on both windows, Victor could cross the distance in around ten steps.
He sat up to get a better look at the bedroom owner: it was a guy in sweatpants and… a t-shirt stuck on his head, his bare chest completely exposed as he unsuccessfully tried to tug it down. He wriggled and twisted the fabric even more, ending up with his arms pinned above his head, and Victor snorted; he’d feel sorry for his new neighbor’s predicament if it wasn’t so funny (and if that chest wasn’t so good to look at. So, so good. He could stare at that bare chest all night and straight on ‘til morning).
The guy gave up and took off the t-shirt, revealing a mess of black hair, crooked glasses and an amused smile that – oh, that smile had no business being better to look at than those abs, and yet it was. It was. That smile was worth losing sleep for.
The guy put on his shirt, this time swiftly, and it was too big for him, making him look smaller and Victor’s brain short-circuit. In only one minute that guy had gone from “Good, Good Chest” to “Dream Smile”, and then to “Cutest Thing In The Whole Damn Town”. All it had taken was one t-shirt.
(And now that he could see the guy actually wearing clothes, didn’t he know him? He’d definitely seen him around school. Didn’t they have a class together?! Victor wasn't one to pay much attention to his surroundings, but he could swear he knew him.)
He kept on staring as Cutest Thing put on earbuds and scrolled down his phone and – Victor’s breath hitched.
He was dancing.
Victor kneeled on the edge of his bed. Cutest Thing was dancing, but not doing any specific dance moves; he was just free dancing, like most people do when they think no one’s watching. A ballet-like twirl here and oh my god was he twerking?! Victor was this close to getting out of bed and pressing his nose against the window, a smile stretching so hard from ear to ear that he might never be able to use his jaw again. He might have to feed on liquids through a straw for the rest of his life, and he was more than okay with paying that price.
Because this was fantastic.
When Cutest Thing grabbed a deodorant tube and used it like a microphone, lip-syncing to whatever he was listening to, Victor’s smile slowly turned into something else and he clutched his chest.
His entire world had just shifted somehow.
Yuuri was sending Phichit a message about his change of schedule when Victor Nikiforov walked into the classroom; Yuuri instinctively looked away, his shoulders moving inwards in a futile attempt to make himself smaller.
Whatever you do, do NOT look at him. Do not look at him do not – he looked at him.
He looked at him because it was inevitable, because it was impossible to look at anything else when Victor Nikiforov was in the vicinity. Yuuri hadn’t been able to do much else for the past year and a half of high school. When Victor walked in everything around him was muted, and when he walked by, Phichit and Yuuko had to steer him so he didn’t run into a door or a locker. Again.
Unfortunately, this was the one class he didn’t take with any of his friends, and as Fate had never seemed to be particularly fond of him, it was also the one class he took with Victor.
He instantly changed the message he was about to send. Phichit could text him through his normal Monday-morning-Victor crisis until Mr. Cialdini arrived. As usual. But when he tried to steal another glance, he found Victor looking at him.
Yuuri looked away in the blink of an eye. Victor had caught him looking, he had never caught him looking before, he was always so careful! Dammit!
He sent Phichit the message and looked out the window, watching the never-ending stream of students make their way into the building at the last minute. Some arrived on bikes, some by car, some on foot, some – Victor was still looking at him.
Why was he still looking at Yuuri? He never looked at Yuuri, had never known Yuuri existed. Yuuri had made sure of that by turning away or even hiding whenever it seemed like Victor might get too close.
Okay, think of something else. His new schedule. Yes, good, he should focus on that. He’d be going to the gym earlier today, so that he and Yuuko could practice. The recital was coming, more practice time was good.
Another gla – he was still looking.
What was happening?!
Mr. Cialdini entered the classroom, finally, Yuuri was about to go into spontaneous combustion. Everyone settled in their places.
But Yuuri thought he could still feel a pair of blue eyes glued on him every now and then.
Pas de deux practice done, Yuuri went through his post-exercise stretches on auto-pilot, his mind going over his day. Miss Okukawa’s instructions, that ridiculous group selfie Phichit had insisted on uploading to Instagram, Leo’s new song, the way Seung-gil had blushed but still remained impassive when Phichit had complimented him, how Victor’s eyes had seemed to follow him when he’d left the classroom that morning. But that had to be a hallucination, right? Victor couldn’t possibly be looking at him, Victor –
– was at the door looking at him.
Yuuri shrieked and clamped a hand over his mouth, and Victor took a couple of steps into the room. “Sorry! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you! I just… thought you might need some help? To stretch?”
A shame the Guinness World Record people weren't around, because no one could've possibly stood up faster than Yuuri in the history of mankind. He could've made history, he thought distantly, his mind occupied with a slightly more pressing matter.
Victor used the Nishigori Gym. Victor used the Nishigori Gym. And now they apparently used it at similar times? How long had he been standing at the door? And he looked so. good. in workout clothes, just like he did in anything, and Yuuri was this horrible mess of baggy clothes and sweaty hair because Fate had to hate him.
“No no, I, uh… I’m good, thanks, I’m done, I’m sorry, you can use the room, I’m so sorry,” he babbled, slinging his bag over his shoulder in a hurry. He grabbed his shoes and almost bolted out the door, barely registering what Victor was saying.
He only noticed he was still barefoot halfway home.
Victor locked his phone with a sigh. Chris was being so difficult about this, but it was not his fault. Well, it was, but not only his. Both of them were being impossibly stubborn. Mila had said time always fixed a lovers’ quarrel. Did it really, though?
He looked up when the lights in the bedroom across from his were turned on. Cutest Thing was back!
Yuuri, he’d found out today. His name’s Yuuri.
Yuuri, who wore the (very appropriately) cutest oversized sweater to school and who looked A Vision in his workout clothes. Victor didn’t even want to dwell too much on how good he looked with that sweaty hair clinging to his forehead. Or on how impossibly flexible he was. Or on that delicious blush spreading from the tip of his ears all the way down his neck when Victor had offered to help him stretch.
Today the lights in Victor’s bedroom were on, and Yuuri saw him there the minute he walked into his own bedroom, freezing on the spot.
Victor waved at him and beamed. That was just being a good neighbor, right?
Yuuri seemed uncertain for a few moments, even looking around to make sure Victor was waving at him – which… was beyond adorable, there was only Yuuri there for him to wave at.
He finally waved back with a small smile, and Victor’s chest constricted that little bit more. He needed to talk to him now. Now.
He held up a hand asking for Yuuri to wait, looking around until he found the perfect tool: a large sketchbook. It was a relic from his art classes and something he would’ve never been able to find that easily, if his whole world hadn’t been turned upside down by the moving.
(And by Yuuri.)
Victor grabbed a red marker and wrote his message on the paper, turning it so Yuuri could read it.
I just moved in!
Yuuri’s eyes widened and he smiled, and it was his turn to tell Victor to wait. He left the bedroom and came back with a sketchbook and a blue marker of his own.
Welcome to the neighborhood
Thanks! :) We go to the same school!
Yeah I know :)
I’m sorry I scared you today!
Victor put down the sketchbook and grabbed his backpack, pulling a blue water bottle out of it.
You left this behind!
Give it to you tomorrow?
Thank you! ^_^
Jesus, even his hand-drawn emoticons were adorable.
My name’s Victor!
Yuuri wrote something on the paper, hesitated and changed the page, writing a new message instead.
Nice to meet you!
See you tomorrow at school?
Yeah see you :)
Victor closed the sketchbook, and with a final wave and a smile, drew the curtains shut. Both of them needed their privacy after all.
But when he peeked an hour later, Yuuri’s curtains were still open and he was dancing and singing again – only this time he was kneeling on his bed, moving his hips and using a hairbrush as a microphone as he sang to his dog: a tiny brown poodle that looked like a maquette of Makkachin.
Yuuri was a poodle person. Because Fate loved Victor that much.
School had never held so much promise before.
“Victor Nikiforov is your new neighbor?!?!”
“Shhhhh, Phichit! ”
“Yuuri, this is incredible!” Phichit had the decency to lower his voice to a whisper. The cafeteria was bustling with people, and even if Yuuri was not the type to attract attention, Victor’s name never failed to do the opposite.
“Well… kinda, yeah.” He smiled a little. He hadn’t been able to get Victor’s adorably enthusiastic sketchbook messages out of his head since last night.
“And he’s super nice?!” Yuuri continued, his voice betraying the awe he felt at this new discovery. Victor had never seemed to be a jerk, exactly, but Yuuri had always assumed that being that popular was bound to go over someone’s head, and yet Victor was… kind of a dork? He hated the word “adorkable”, but…
Phichit stared at him slack-jawed when he heard the sketchbook story.
“Yuuri. Seriously, this the cutest shit ever.”
As if summoned by Yuuri himself, Victor and his friends walked into the cafeteria, sitting only two tables away from them. Yuuri stared hard at his own food, repeating his two-step plan in his mind like a mantra.
How To Interact With Victor And Friends
Step 1: Do not.
Step 2: Please refer to step 1.
It wasn’t a fail proof plan, though: that aggressive freshman he kept running into at the Baranovskaya studio saw him and grudgingly nodded, which in turn made Emil look at him and wave enthusiastically. Emil, of course, didn’t count as “interacting with Victor and friends”: he was like a giant puppy who jumped at the chance to talk to anyone within a ten-meter radius. As Emil’s former English tutor, Yuuri always got either a giant hello or a hug from him.
But Emil’s enthusiastic wave made Sara look and smile at him. Yuuri liked Sara, she was always nice – what he did not like was to be on the receiving end of her brother’s dirty looks. Any guy who talked to Sara got one of those, and if you didn’t see Mickey barking at some poor unsuspecting soul who’d accidentally glanced at his sister, then you simply hadn’t been to school that day.
The minute Sara exclaimed “Hi Yuuri!”, Victor’s head turned, his eyes grew wide and a smile followed suit. “Yuuuuuuri!”
And just like that, Victor was sitting at their table. By Yuuri’s side. His knees touching Yuuri’s knees.
And Yuuri… Yuuri was currently ignoring step 2 of his own personal guide. And step 1. And the existence of the guide as a whole, because Victor’s eyes were too blue and easy to get lost in.
He wondered wildly if he’d still be drowning in them if he’d taken up swimming last semester. He had to be drowning, because he sure as hell wasn’t breathing, his chest was filling up and some mouth-to-mouth would be great right now, thanks.
“Yuuri, I got your water bottle, but it’s in my locker!”
“That’s… fine, um… don’t worry about it.”
Phichit was unabashedly staring, and Victor extended a hand.
“Hi, I’m Victor! I’m Yuuri’s new neighbor!”
They shook hands; between Victor and Phichit, Yuuri wouldn’t need glasses ever again: he was going blind with the thousand-watt smiles.
“You are?!” Phichit was the worst at faking surprise. “Lucky you!”
“I know, right? Yuuri’s a great neighbor! Sorry, you are…?”
“Phichit Chulanont, Yuuri’s Official Best Friend. You can talk to me about all your Yuuri needs!”
“Really?” Victor leaned over the table excitedly. “Then, can Yuuri walk me to my locker after lunch? Then I'll–”
“Jesus Christ, Victor!”
The three of them turned as one: Christophe Giacometti was frowning at his own cell phone and beckoning Victor over with an impatient hand. “Chéri , come read this now!”
Victor shot them an apologetic look as he got up from their table. “Sorry, it’s an emergency. But Yuuri, I’ll see you at the gym?”
“Um, yeah, maybe?”
“Great! Bye Phichit, see you around!”
As soon as Victor was out of earshot, Phichit turned back to Yuuri. “Okay, you were so right, he is nice,” he whispered.
“Isn’t he?!” Yuuri wanted to bang his head against the table, because that was simply not fair.
“Yeah, a shame about him and Chris, or I think you really might have a shot.”
Yuuri stared. “What about him and Chris?” He discreetly looked over at their table, where Chris and Victor had their heads close together reading something on Chris’ phone.
“Uh, they’re dating?”
Phichit put down his fork with a frustrated sigh. “Yuuri, how can you not know this? They’ve been dating for, like, a month?”
Yuuri laid his head on the table with a thud. Really, really not fair.
As he walked home from the ballet studio, Yuuri wondered how he could’ve been so blind. All the signs had been there: he rarely saw Victor without Chris, and vice-versa, and he could swear he’d already seen Chris grabbing Victor’s butt.
It made sense, really. Chris was unfairly handsome, fashionable and exuded sex-appeal, while Yuuri… was an awkward sack of potatoes. He had no idea what he’d been thinking in the first place.
Shower, dinner, bedroom and one hopeful look across the yard: Victor was already in his own bedroom, in a loose pair of sweatpants riding distractingly low on his hips, no t-shirt and an unfair claim on Yuuri’s sanity. He didn’t see Yuuri though: he was on the phone, pacing back and forth and gesturing impatiently. Whoever was at the other end of that conversation was obviously frustrating Victor, and Yuuri wished they weren’t.
Wished he was the one on the other side of the line. If it were him, he’d never upset Victor like that.
He forced himself to not stare at that tantalizingly shirtless Victor that was just so, so close. So close Yuuri could be in his bedroom in the blink of an eye if only there were a plank between their windows or something.
But there wasn’t, so he couldn’t, and that was that. Better to focus on his own life.
He texted Yuuko about their costumes for the pas de deux, but didn’t expect an answer right away: she was probably with Takeshi right now, on their date night. With more and more rehearsals taking up Yuuko’s time as the recital approached, she barely got to see her boyfriend. If only Takeshi went to their school…
When he threw himself on the bed, he looked out the window again, and saw Victor throwing his own phone on the bed with an eye roll. When he caught Yuuri’s eyes, his face brightened up and he smiled that heart-shaped smile that had been haunting Yuuri since freshman year.
Victor pointed at his own sketchbook and raised his eyebrows in a question. Yuuri laughed and got his own.
Victor showed him his answer with a lopsided smile.
Tired of drama.
Victor shrugged, seemingly resigned, and changed the subject:
Didn’t see you at the gym :(
I was at the studio
Yuuri hesitated. He’d been mocked enough for it in junior high, so it wasn’t the kind of thing he usually told people unless he knew them well. On the other hand, Victor was the star of the figure skating club, it was safe to assume he’d taken a few dance lessons himself.
Wow, amazing! *_*
Not really. But thanks!
Ofc it is!
You’re a dancer!
You skate, right?
He had to say it as a question, as if he weren't sure - as if he weren't the creep who’d been paying attention to Victor for more than a year and attended all the local figure skating competitions to cheer for him. As if Victor skating were something he’d vaguely heard about.
Victor’s face lit up:
Yes! Do you?
Yeah, it's fun!
We should go skating!
You and me!
Yuuri blinked, his mind drawing a blank. Short-circuiting might be more accurate. Whatever face he made - damn him if he knew - prompted Victor to add:
If you want to, ofc
Sure, sounds fun!
The conversation went on for a few more minutes before a huge yawn broke out of Yuuri. Victor made a sympathetic face and wrote:
See you at school?
Great! Sleep well!
You too! :)
Victor closed his curtains, and Yuuri was left with a sketchbook in his hands and a weight in his chest.
Yuuri had had fantasies like this before. Scenarios where he and Victor would be thrown into each other’s company for one reason or another (Victor needed private ballet classes, for figure skating reasons; Victor needed tutoring, never mind his 4.5 GPA; Victor put on an ad asking for cooking lessons, and Yuuri would teach him how to make katsudon; the possibilities were endless), and all of them ended with Victor being nice, warm and funny, someone who could get along with his friends and never mock him for doing ballet.
Someone who would like Yuuri back.
Well, Dream Victor had turned out to be true. Except for that last part.
He lay half-sitting on the bed, still writing on the sketchbook.
I like you ♡
“Victor. Victor? Victor, are you even listening?”
Victor snapped out of it – out of the trance he was in as he watched Yuuri walk down the hall, laughing at something Yuuko had just said. His laugh was so… beautiful. Like everything he did and everything he was.
“Sorry Georgi, I’m sorry, you were saying?”
Georgi closed his locker with a sigh. “Never mind, it’s not important. What are you staring at?” He followed the direction of Victor’s eyes and found his answer. “Ohhh. Got a crush on Yuuri too, huh?”
Victor’s heart rate sped up. Too? “What do you mean? Do you know him?”
“What are you talking about, everyone knows him. But yeah, I worked with him last year. Remember the musical we put up in June?”
Victor had to think fast. He’d long perfected the art of paying just enough attention to Georgi’s activities at the drama club so he’d know what to say, but not enough that it’d take up room in his memory.
A sudden vision of Georgi in a black leather jacket came to his rescue.
“Yeah! So, the dance club helped us with the choreography of all the numbers, and Yuuri was the main dancer. He led the rehearsals with Yuuko and all.”
Chris caught up with them as they started walking towards their classroom. “Who are we talking about?”
His eyes were glued to his phone as usual, and Victor wanted to yank it away from him and throw it in the nearest trash can. Half of their problems would be over if he did.
“Yuuri Katsuki,” Georgi said. “Victor doesn’t know him.”
“Of course I know him!” Victor replied, offended. As if there were anything or anyone else more worth knowing in that school than Yuuri. Though he did wish he’d known him sooner. “I just… wasn’t aware that ‘everyone knows him’.” Victor made the air quotes to accompany.
Chris hummed, typing a reply. “You never know anything, chéri. But yes,” he added, putting his phone away momentarily, “most everyone knows him. Well, more like, most everyone has a crush on him.”
Victor’s eyes widened. That was the very last thing he needed, but on the other hand, few things in this life made as much sense as that. Who wouldn’t have a crush on Yuuri? He was smart, funny, had a million-dollar smile and was gorgeous from head to toe.
“I mean… have you seen his legs?” Chris continued, as if reading his mind.
Victor nodded solemnly. “I saw him in tights once.”
“Wow, lucky,” said Georgi. The other two stared at him, and Chris raised an eyebrow.
“Have you been expanding your horizons beyond Anya, sweetheart?”
Georgi shrugged. “No, but I’m not blind. You should’ve seen how little got done when Yuuri showed up in tights for rehearsals.” He cleared his throat. “And it’s not just the legs, either.”
Victor ran smack-dab into a locker.
“So Yuuri, did you start the assignment?”
Yuuri looked up as Victor took the desk next to his and yawned, his long legs lazily stretched out in front of him. Victor had legs for days.
He shook his head a bit in order to focus.
They’d been talking for more than a month now, and Yuuri had been doing his best not to fall too far down into the venus flytrap that was Victor’s charm and enthusiasm – a task made all the harder when Victor insisted on being his very attractive and kind self and talking to Yuuri at every possible opportunity.
He focused on Victor’s question instead of Victor’s legs.
“No, not really, I was working on my History paper. I’ll probably start tonight.”
Victor sat up straight, his eyes sparkling all of a sudden. “Wanna do it with me?”
An intelligent and appropriate answer to that: 404 Not Found.
“We can work on the assignment together! I can go to your place, or you can go to mine! It’s not like we live far from each other, right?” he finished with a wink.
No no no no, don’t wink at me like that.
“Yeah, sounds great!”
“Really? Okay, so then we can –”
“Victor,” a voice interrupted him.
Both the voice and the interruption had become way too familiar at this point: Christophe was a couple of desk rows away, moodily looking at his phone. He glanced at Victor (Chris’s boyfriend, Yuuri reminded himself) and after a curt nod to Yuuri, he made an impatient gesture at the desk next to his. The implication was clear enough.
With a thumbs up to Chris (and an eye roll when his back was turned again), Victor stood up, suddenly deflated.
“Talk to you later?”
Watching Victor walk away from him and towards Chris was a staple of all their interactions at school. Yuuri should be used to it by now.
So why wasn’t he?
Because I’m stupid and I keep hoping for miracles, that’s why.
He slouched on his chair, and was getting his phone out to text his miseries to Phichit when he noticed someone taking the empty seat next to him; he looked up full of hope, but to his disappointment it was only Matthieu.
Not that Matthieu wasn’t nice, he was. He was quiet and smart and made funny comments about Mr. Cialdini’s hair every now and then. But he was no Victor.
Matthieu plopped down on his seat looking a little sulky. When his phone vibrated, he frowned at it and turned it off. It seemed like no one was having a good day.
They exchanged a few words before Mr. Cialdini entered the classroom, and their brief conversation ended with Matthieu taking one look at his hair and muttering “Simbaaa. Remember who you aaare.”
Yuuri snorted loudly, quickly grabbing his backpack and hiding his face in it while pretending to look for the book. He spent the rest of the class trying not to focus on Mr. Cialdini’s uncanny resemblance to Mufasa. Or the way Victor beamed at Yuuri when their eyes met. Or the way Chris looked in his direction way more than at the teacher.
At the cafeteria, he and Phichit had just sat down with their trays when Victor happened to sit at the table across from theirs, waving happily at him. Five minutes passed before Yuuri decided that he’d had enough of the torture of trying to eat tacos and steal glances at Victor at the same time, and only managing to look like someone who had no idea how to eat a taco in public.
He switched places with Phichit. With his back now turned to Victor & Friends, he could at least eat the rest of his sorry meal in peace. The table across from him now held nothing of interest, only that blond freshman (also Yuri, he’d learned) sitting with Otabek. Funny to see Otabek smiling, he never did that in class.
Yuuri’s peaceful meal plan was soon thwarted when Victor materialized by blond Yuri’s side, giving him a teasing smile and saying something that made the boy scowl. Catching Yuuri’s eye, Victor flashed him another bright smile and a wink. Yuuri had no option but to wave back and answer with a smile of his own (a smile he couldn’t help anyway), hoping he wasn’t blushing too obviously.
Phichit sighed, looking mournfully at his own taco. “If only the tomatoes in this were as red as you right now,” he said.
Another hope down the drain.
The plan had been to take Victor to the living room as soon as he arrived; the books and Yuuri’s laptop were there already waiting for them.
Said plan had to be put on hold, however, when he opened the door and Vicchan stuck his head between Yuuri’s legs, to take a look at the guest. Victor gasped before he’d even said hello. “And who is this total dear?!”
He crouched down on the floor and offered his hand to Vicchan, who enthusiastically started his attempt to lick a hole through Victor’s hand. The smile in Yuuri’s face was so large it hurt: when would he ever have thought that Victor and Vicchan would be –
The smile died way too young.
Vicchan was now licking Victor’s face, to Victor’s apparent infinite amusement.
“What’s his name?”
“Uhhhh...” Well. Yuuko was always telling him to take a leap of faith, so. Surely Victor didn’t speak Japanese? “Vicchan.”
“Vicchan! What a cute name! Just like you, isn’t it? Yes, it is! You’re the cutest thing! I mean, um…” Victor seemed flustered for a second, but quickly shook it off. “Yuuri, he’s too precious, you know that, right? And he looks just like a mini-Makka!”
“A mini… what?”
Victor froze and stared at him in horror. “You… you haven’t seen Makka?”
“What's a makka?!” said Yuuri, confused.
“Makkachin! The best dog in the whole world? I mean, besides Vicchan, obviously.”
“Obviously. You mean… you have a dog? And we haven’t met? Victor, how dare you.”
Victor’s eyes grew wide. “I thought you’d seen him in my bedroom already!”
“Clearly not, since you’re hiding him from me,” Yuuri replied drily. He scooped up Vicchan and walked away with him in his arms. “Come, Vicchan, we’re not talking to him anymore.”
“Yuuri, no! I’m sorry! Come back! Yuuriiii!”
“But they don’t really have anything in common other than they’re both poems by the same author! One is narrative, the other is lyric…”
“They’re both about the same theme,” Victor pointed out.
Yuuri sighed. “Barely.”
They stared at the books in front of them on the rug, the dining room table long abandoned in favor of sitting on the floor.
“Okay.” Victor started with a long sigh. “Let’s… gather what we have so far.”
Yuuri sat up straight, trying not to wake Makkachin, currently sleeping with his head on his lap; Victor had readily agreed that meeting Vicchan and not introducing him and Yuuri to Makka was a criminal offense, and he’d hurried to remedy that. Sure, they’d lost some time trying to get Makkachin off Yuuri, but it had been worth every second. Meanwhile, Vicchan had become a ball of fur all curled up in Victor’s lap.
“Agape is about God’s love for man.”
“Relatable,” Yuuri mumbled.
Victor’s laugh was so sudden it woke Vicchan up, and they spent a few moments soothing him back to sleep. He still threw Victor one or two hurt looks before deciding to trust him once more and bury his head on his lap.
“Oh God…” Victor chuckled. “I know, right?”
Yuuri smiled, trying not to be too proud of making Victor laugh.
“And it’s also about…selfless love. And look at the end,” Yuuri tapped lightly at the last verse in on the page. “What they want is eternal happiness.”
He flipped the page, going to the next poem. “And then Eros.”
“The good old playboy tale.”
Yuuri snorted. “Yeah, not exactly selfless. So we have the story of the playboy and the woman, and how he leaves her. But what’s the overall theme here?”
Victor shifted a little, and suddenly his leg was pressed flush against Yuuri’s.
Yuuri nodded, not saying a word. Wishing Victor was not so close and wishing he were closer was keeping him too busy to speak.
And then half of his wishes were fulfilled when Victor leaned in to show a couple of lines in the book, the smell of his shampoo delicious and tempting right under Yuuri’s nose.
“See these lines here, Pleasure followed by pleasure / One just drowns in it ?”
Where, where was the off switch for his heart? Or his thoughts? Or just… all of him?
“That’s the theme. Sexual love.” Victor said, his voice low and intimate.
“Do you agree?”
“Yes,” he answered, trying to swallow as silently as possible and not move at all.
The silence hung in the air, heavy with all of Yuuri’s desperate hopes and everything he knew Victor would never want from him.
Victor, who had yet to move away.
Yuuri cleared his throat and looked away. “So, um… the poems. They’re… like… different kinds of love. Right?”
Victor moved away.
“Yeah,” he said agreeably. “They’re… almost opposite.”
“Wait.” Yuuri frowned. “Would you say they’re opposite sides of the same coin?”
Victor cocked his head. “Hmm. Elaborate.”
“I mean…” he stopped, trying to organize his thoughts. “Because… eros is about wanting, so… it’s selfish, right? And agape is selflessness. But they’re both love. So if you put them together…”
Victor’s face lit up. “You have just… love. You want to be with someone…”
“…but you also have to put their wants and needs above yours.”
He’d barely finished when Victor gently took his head between his hands and kissed his forehead enthusiastically.
“Yuuri, you’re a genius. That’s it, that’s our essay! Just… in five pages, Times New Roman 12, double-spaced.”
Do NOT clutch your chest now. Wait until he’s gone.
“Yeah, that’s it!”
Yuuri had just turned off his computer when a familiar writing in red, in a sketchbook that was fast approaching its end, showed up through the window on the other side of the yard. Right below a heart-shaped smile that, ironically, did bad things to Yuuri’s heart.
How’s your essay going?
Wow, so fast!
I was walking Makka
Yuuri finally realized why he’d never noticed the dog in Victor’s bedroom before: he’d seen him sleeping in a far corner and vaguely thought it was a particularly fluffy comforter thrown on the floor.
Now, though, Makkachin was happily panting with his nose pressed up against the window, looking at Yuuri and Vicchan on the other side and even pawing slightly at the glass.
“Dad, why are they there?”
“Bring them here!”
Yuuri smiled, laughing hysterically inside. At this point, being in control of his facial expression was all he could hope to achieve near Victor. Forget not falling for him all over again each time they met (i.e., every day, a thousand times at school, sometimes at the Nishigori Gym and every night through the window). That ship had long sailed.
He wrote his own message, not sure if it was a good idea or just twisting the knife a bit further inside:
We could walk them together sometime
I’d LOVE that!!! :D
It’s a date!!
Fate hates me. HATES me. I must’ve been an awful person in another life, and now I’m paying for it. Why am I paying for Past Life Yuuri’s crimes???
Yuuri gave a pointed look at Vicchan, snoring away on the bed. With a crooked smile, he showed his answer:
Vicchan says he can’t wait
Victor’s shoulders shook in what was evidently a snort.
See you tomorrow?
And with those hearts, Victor waved and closed his curtains. Yuuri stared at the other window, at the light still leaking through the thin crack in the middle, where the curtains didn’t quite come together.
Maybe if he stared hard enough they would open again.
They would open to reveal Victor holding up the sketchbook with a new message in his slightly messy writing, in that red that had been vividly bright two months ago, but was now quickly fading. A message that would mirror the one he’d just written in blue on his own page.
I really like you ♡