With golden string
our universe was brought to life,
that we may fall in love
every time we open up our eyes.
A month before the wedding, Yuuri dreams of stars.
He’d been ten or eleven, maybe, the first and last time his whole family had gone on a trip together, and Kagoshima had felt like such a distant destination—even though it wasn’t as far away as Tokyo, as Hokkaido, as any of the countries Yuuri will visit much, much later in life. The two-hour train ride through Fukuoka and Kumamoto would also be nowhere close to the hours and hours that will separate Detroit from Hasetsu, but it had felt like a novel thing at the time, being so far away from the banalities of everyday life in Kyushu.
Seventeen-year-old Mari had wanted nothing to do with the outdoors, had wanted to be alone to listen to her idol bands, and Yuuri hadn’t bugged her. Instead, he’d spent most of his evenings outside the guest house they were staying at, sitting out restlessly on the porch and watching the sky darken.
He’d waited for the stars, for the sky to open up with little bursts of distant light, holding up his tiny hand against it. It made him feel small and insignificant, being under the stars—and that hadn’t felt good, the realization that he could very well spend the rest of his life in Hasetsu, Kyushu, could go on and never know anything else, and it wouldn’t matter, not to his sister, not to his parents, not even to the stars. It might have suited others, the idea of a quiet future, but it had imbued in Yuuri a restlessness instead—a restlessness that his family, maybe, never really understood about him.
It’s a small memory, in hindsight, nothing that warranted constant rethinking, but Yuuri dreams of it—dreams of it with such vividness than when he wakes up, startling back into consciousness in the bedroom he shares with Victor, he can still see stars printed on the back of his eyelids, can see his own small hand in front of him.
It takes a while for the dream to fade, and it’s Victor, always Victor, that Yuuri registers first; Victor’s spooning him, arms around Yuuri, and Yuuri can feel Victor’s even breathing tickling the back of his neck. It’s calming somehow, like if Yuuri strains to listen, he can almost hear Victor’s heartbeat, and he waits for the rest of the dream to leave like that, staring at the light coming in through their window blinds from the streetlight outside their apartment building.
He’d thought of Victor, too, on that vacation. Victor who’d just entered the senior division and already making waves, as unreachable to Yuuri as the stars had been, a reminder of how much he did not want to stay in Kyushu and live the rest of his life in quiet when he could have that. When he could have a figure skating career and stamps on his passport and, if he wished hard enough, Victor. When there were things he could do, not when there were things he could reach, maybe, maybe, maybe.
It’s difficult to reconcile that memory with the Victor right behind him, and Yuuri doesn’t try to. The stars are a dream now, a thing of the past, and he doesn’t have to move far at all to reach Victor, so he turns around on the bed, readjusting, and revels in the way Victor’s arms move immediately around him.
"Did you have a bad dream last night?"
It really isn’t the time to be starting a conversation, and Yuuri almost trips over the mat outside their bathroom. It slides a few inches before stopping, and Yuuri braces a hand against the wall instinctively before turning to Victor, already half-dressed while he waits for the coffee maker.
"I—no? Not really?"
They’d woken up late that morning, Victor’s phone already on its third snooze before he’d sat up in bed so suddenly he’d jostled Yuuri. It’s a flurry of sheets and arms and clothes and faucets turning on from there, but it feels, nonetheless, like a sudden pocket of stillness when he perches himself on top of a kitchen island stool, taking in the kitchen—their kitchen—and just, for a moment, marvelling at the fact that something so wonderfully simple could be his.
It really isn’t the time to be doing anything but giving in to the muscle memory of routine, but then Victor comes to reach around Yuuri for an empty mug, his chest pressing against Yuuri’s, and again, Yuuri is startled by the immediacy of this, of how present and urgent and full he feels, in a life where stagnancy has felt like his default when he isn’t on either end of the spectrum.
It’s been enough months, but his eyes still catch on his ring.
It’s been enough months, but it still doesn’t feel any different, to see that there and know what it means, of the future it promises, of this feeling in Yuuri’s chest—ballooning in his lungs at seven in the morning, the way it feels when he gets to that part in Yuri on Ice where the music swells and he gets to spread his arms in a spread-eagle and just feel, just be. That’s what it’s like, being here, with Victor. The easiness of it, none of his emotions barbed, all of them warm.
The sunlight pouring into the kitchen, the breeze ruffling the curtains.
It doesn’t seem real, but it feels, more than anything, like it is.
And that’s the part that Yuuri always stumbles on—on the fact that all of this is real, that all of this is within reach, whether the ring is there or not, where the I do’s have been said or not—so far removed from all his wishes on a star, no longer as distant as everything had felt then.
It was always little things like this—like Victor's hand brushing Yuuri's bangs back, like Victor tracing his finger on top of Yuuri's thigh until it tickles—that take Yuuri's breath away when they happen. They're always shocking reminders of how real all of this is, and how deeply and intensely he feels about this—about Victor—and sometimes when it occurs to him, when he’s reminded of the things he does have, all he can do is stare.
He's probably doing it now.
He’s probably doing it now, but Victor, always, is staring back.
"Not really as in it wasn’t a bad dream or not really as in—"
Yuuri blinks. "I did," he says. "I did dream. But it wasn’t bad."
"Oh? What other kind of dream can it be—"
Yuuri rolls his eyes. "Not that, either. It was just—a memory."
"A good one?"
The coffeemaker beeps then, and Yuuri flounders—just what?
The longer he sits there, the faster the dream seems to be growing fainter, only the edges of the memory softening how it had felt to dream something from so long ago. It’s not that Yuuri doesn’t want the way he did then, not that he has nothing to wish for now—
—but all of it just seems to fade in comparison to the way Victor smiles into a kiss when he brings the mug over.
There must be a story somewhere, about why people are so certain that shooting stars grant wishes, why people are so certain that stars could somehow manage to hear hopes and make them truth. Or maybe people just want outlets for their dreams, and celestial beings as far as the stars were the best bet, were the only things in the night sky that never waned, that were constant enough to listen.
But this is Yuuri’s constant now. Mornings like this, early or late. Victor like this, smiling or sulking. This ring on his finger, engagement or wedding. None of them as distant as stars light years away. None of them wishes or dreams, even.
Truth doesn’t feel like the right word for it. Reality feels like falling just a little short of what it really means.
Then again, when it comes to Victor, love has really always been the most fitting word.
Weddings aren’t easy.
It’s not, by any means, a one-man or two-man affair; they’re both lucky to have a supportive circle of people more than happy to butt heads with everyone else about the tiniest details. But it doesn’t make it any less exhausting that weddings need to be planned, weddings need to be coordinated, weddings need to be choreographed.
And for someone that has spent a career finding the balance, the good compromise, between choreography and heart, it feels like there’s too little or too much of either. There are people to call, suits to fit, neckties to ask Victor about. There are invitations and RSVPs and confirmation e-mails to be read and responded to.
It almost makes Yuuri miss the more straightforward routines of his daily life during the season. Compared to the ice, compared to the months that lead up to the Grand Prix Series, this isn’t his element—all this planning, all this preparing, sure, but not waiting like this. Not the itch he can’t seem to scratch away, not this urgency.
Mostly, if he’s honest, it’s just frustrating that there’s all this work to do for something he’s so certain of; it’s rare, in life, for him to feel certain in certainty, for him to not second-guess even that surety. To find that no matter which angle he examines all of this from, no matter how thoroughly he searches himself, he is sure in this.
He’s never been more certain of anything.
Yuuri blinks, thinks for a second that he's imagined Victor's voice. But when he turns to look over his shoulder, blinking the glare of the screen away from his eyes, it's to Victor standing in the doorway of their shared bedroom.
"I—" Yuuri hums, setting aside his laptop. "Just looking over some things. And thinking."
"I know," Victor says softly—he opens his arms, an invitation, one that Yuuri has yet to refuse. "Is it about the wedding?"
"Having second thoughts?"
"No! No, of course not," Yuuri says, even as Victor smiles, chuckles a little as he pulls Yuuri closer. "I just—Are you having second thoughts?"
"Me?" Victor tilts his head. He takes an excruciatingly long time to answer, staring at Yuuri, into Yuuri's eyes like he's searching for something. Then he shakes his head. He lifts Yuuri's hand up to his lips. "Never."
Sometimes, too, Yuuri feels like he’s about to cry. Like flint sparking off his heart, like something unlatching in his chest until a part of him has to give in to the sudden onslaught of emotion somehow. And no amount of wedding-planning seems to do this particular feeling justice; no table napkin colour can capture how it feels for his heart to swell into near bursting, no song choice can reflect exactly how Yuuri feels, in moments like these.
"Is it the song for the first dance?" Victor says. "Is that what’s worrying you?"
Yuuri doesn’t cry. It’s laughter this time, if a little incredulous. "Not the song choice, no."
"Victor," Yuuri says. He allows himself that hesitation, even if he doesn’t quite feel it completely as he would have another time. "Doesn’t it bother you?"
Victor hums, blinking wide and confused and pretty and affectionate.
"We’ve had our first dance, technically," Yuuri says, slowly. It isn’t the question he really wants to ask, it isn’t the sentiment he means to say. "And I didn’t even know."
It’s Victor’s thoughtful ah, his understanding ah, always just reserved for Yuuri, always just reserved for the things they seem to understand about each other without voicing, the things they seem to understand through touch and eye contact and smiles.
It’s overwhelming, to know someone like that. There’s all sorts of physical intimacy, but the way Victor seems to get what Yuuri’s thinking, even if not precisely, even if not completely, if only just to latch on to that thought process and know that they fit together smoothly in this, to be so knowable and vulnerable and yet to be loved so obviously and so deeply—it’s not a thing Yuuri thinks anything or anyone, celestial or supernatural, can grant.
"Then I suppose we’ll dance," Victor says, twirling Yuuri without warning. It startles another disbelieving laugh out of him, and one corner of Victor's mouth tugs up. "And dance and dance and dance. Until the dance you've forgotten won't matter, because you will have more dances to remember."
"But it will matter to you," Yuuri says quietly. "Because—because it was the night that you—that you—"
"That I fell for you?" Victor hums against his hair. "Maybe, but it certainly wasn't the only time."
Me, too, Yuuri wants to say. I fall in love every morning. I fall in love when I wake up in the middle of the night and you’re there. I fall in love when you come home. I fall in love over and over and over again.
"Even now, I still find things that make me fall for you all over again," Victor says, as softly as Yuuri had spoken earlier, clearly not meant to be spoken out loud. "Like this."
This could mean anything. Could mean this living room, could mean the rays of moonlight, could mean the quiet hum of the heater in a living room that’s theirs. Yuuri doesn't know how Victor can talk like this—keep his voice so even, when Yuuri feels like it’s taking everything in him not to shake with everything he’s feeling.
"Thank you," is what he murmurs instead. "For choosing me."
Victor's quiet for a while.
"Thank you," he returns eventually. "For giving me that choice."
It's a reminder that Victor has thought about this, and it was a decision he made.
Lives chosen, love fallen into.
"I love you."
They say it at the same time.
Yuuri blinks. Victor blinks back.
And then they’re both smiling, and then they’re both leaning in, and all Yuuri can think is that if he had to wish on a star now, if he had to wish for anything, anything at all, it will just be this, this, this.
They’re brushing their teeth, getting ready to head out, when Yuuri finally says it.
"I want to marry you."
Victor frowns—at their reflections, at the foam that drips down to the sink, at the mess of morning routine products spread across their counter. They’re a cohesive pair, like that, in the mirror, but Yuuri can’t say if this is, in particular, what had finally coaxed the words out.
But they’ve been there, sitting under his tongue since Barcelona.
"We are getting married. Very soon."
"No," Yuuri says, lowering his toothbrush. "I want to marry you right now."
There is a beat of silence.
Not pensive, just silence.
And then there it is again—the softening that comes with Victor’s understanding, the love that Yuuri recognizes reflected back at him because he feels it, too, because a formal ceremony with friends won’t change any of that, because Yuuri really, really wants this, and he’s never been good at denying his headstrong streak anything.
And neither has Victor.
Victor puts his own toothbrush down, and then he’s laughing, and both of them are laughing: soft laughter that are more sound put to smiles, really, because why not? Why not do it right now?
It makes sense, all of it makes sense, all of this, all of them, has always made sense, and it doesn’t feel right, to deny themselves this constant, this simple dream of a life, this reality that they’ve already reached out towards and grasped so long ago that it seems a crime to wait any longer.
"Should we go now, then?"
Yuuri looks at Victor. He thinks; I love you.
He thinks; husband.
Husband, husband, husband.
He says; "If we can."
"We absolutely can," Victor says.
And that, really, is it.
It’s a starry night in Hasetsu when the actual wedding happens.
A sky that Yuuri has grown up under, a sky that seems to stretch out above them as Yuuri repeats vows he’d already said in his head, agrees to things he already did once, will do over and over again if he needed to. A sky that has watched over his past, a sky that will watch over his future.
A part of him does feel twelve again, looking up, surrounded by friends this time, by family, watching him get married.
Watching stars far more infinite than the time he’ll ever spend looking at them, stars that could very well be dead by now. Watching stars so ancient they’re probably the same ones he’d wished on when he was a child, stars so ancient they’re also probably not at all the same. A lot of probably’s, a lot of things lost, but that’s fine, with Yuuri.
That’s fine, because—getting married in the hometown he hadn’t realized he’d loved this much, to the man that has made him feel what it’s like to love and be loved so earnestly and so constantly and so deeply—this is all the certainty he needs.
Being with Victor feels like those evenings of star-gazing, too, if Yuuri really thought about it—that stillness, hand outstretched towards the stars. That feeling of being privy to that vastness, to that infinity, to things far larger than him.
And yet he doesn't feel small, not like that, doesn't feel profoundly insignificant the way he had then. With Victor, he feels secure, feels grounded, like he could close his eyes and it wouldn't matter how close or far the stars are.
So many evenings, spent out there watching the stars. Dreaming and wishing and idealizing and waiting.
So many of evenings ahead, too, with none of that now.
Just contentment, sitting right at home in his chest where there were always much sharper things.