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a heart so true (our courage will pull us through)

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“Phichit, this is an abandoned warehouse.”

“It’s not abandoned.”

“Yeah, because it’s full of ex-Team Rocket squatters!”

“Big deal! The rent is nothing. And no utilities!”

“Is there running water? Power? Air conditioning?”

“I mean...legally? No. But technically? Yes.”

“This is your worst idea ever.”

“Did I mention there’s a giant billboard of Viktor Nikiforov across the street?”

“...”

“The one from his tourism ad. Where he’s not wearing clothes. It faces your new room.”

“...fine.”

 


 

Three years later, Yuuri suspects that allowing himself to be talked into living in the old Game Corner with a bunch of criminals in hiding solely on the basis of a high definition view of Viktor’s abs twenty-four seven was a bad idea. And not just because they changed the billboard two months in and now billboard Viktor is wearing clothes.

Mostly, it’s because he is wearing a Team Rocket uniform while he breaks into a mansion to investigate rumors of abused Furfrou. He’s pretty sure any course of action that ends with “And then I helped refound Team Rocket as a vigilante organization fighting for Pokemon justice,” is a stupid course of action. Yuuri’s not cut out for prison. He’s a potato.

Crobat flies Yuuri up to the roof, and stands guard while Yuuri unscrews the frame around the skylight and lifts out the glass. He can see several fluffy lumps on the floor of the room below, maybe a ballroom; hopefully he can get it, scan the Pokemon for injuries, and get out.

He ties his rope around Crobat’s feet. “Hover, okay?”

“Cro!”

“Good boy.”

Yuuri wraps his reinforced gloved hands around the rope and lets himself slide down. By the bottom, his palms are hot, but the gloves keep them from getting scraped raw. He lands lightly on the marble floor, and tiptoes (as much as one can in combat boots) over the to the Pokemon. The scanner is clipped to his belt; he turns it on, sets it at ‘Wide’, and takes aim to collect the readings.

There, Yuuri discovers he’s made a miscalculation.

One, the six Pokemon asleep in the ballroom are so well-groomed and healthy that they could have been starring in a Pokemon Center ad. Two, all of them are lying on brand name Pokemon beds with designer upholstery. Three, Viktor fucking Nikiforov is lying in between them, eyes closed, mouth slightly open, unfairly attractive.

And he’s naked.

Very naked.

It’s not Yuuri’s fault! The sheet’s slipped! It was like that when he got there!

“Crobat, up,” Yuuri hisses, and he breaks into a dead run for the rope. Crobat is one of the fastest Pokemon alive; if he can just get a good grip on the rope, he’ll be fine.

Swish!

Yuuri’s hands have barely closed over the rope when it falls, cut two feet above his head.

“Excuse me,” Viktor says, “but what are you doing here? It’s the middle of the night.”

“I-I know,” Yuuri says, keeping his back turned. He can’t let his face be seen. It would ruin everything.

“I take challengers from twelve to five on Thursdays and Fridays,” Viktor says. “After you’ve completed Victory Road and beaten the Elite Four. Not at three am in my bedroom.”

“It’s one forty-five. And this is a ballroom. And I’m not here to fight you.”

“Then why are you here? I think I’d remember inviting someone for a midnight assignation.”

“I, uh. I’m. I’m here for your Furfrou.”

“You’re here to steal my Pokemon?”

“No! I just want to...to pet her…”

A stupid excuse, yes, but it’s not untrue. Yuuri does want to pet Makkachin. Yuuri wants to pet everything.

“...she’s asleep.”

“Yeah.”

“Makkachin is extremely cute,” Viktor says, slowly, “but I still think you’re lying. Turn around.”

Yuuri has two other Pokemon on him, and Crobat will crash through the ceiling if he yells, but in an actual Pokemon battle Viktor will eat him alive. No, he’s got to get out of here using stealth. Hand to hand is out—Viktor’s Garchomp is here, if that sliced rope is any indication—so that leaves Yuuri’s mouth.

For talking! For him to talk his way out of the situation. Not for any of the things that come to mind. Oh, God, he’s going to get arrested, if only because he’s a disaster and if that isn’t illegal, it should be.

“O-okay.” Yuuri turns around, head tipped down so that the brim of his hat shields his face. He holds up his hands, trying to portray harmlessness.

“Why do you have a knife?”

“Hah.” He’s going to kill Phichit, the Team Rocket knives were his idea. Multifunctional, his ass. “It’s for cutting rope.”

“You’re a Team Rocket grunt.”

Yuuri is a Team Rocket admin. Technically, he’s Team Rocket co-supreme leader, but Phichit pretty much has benevolent dictatorship on lockdown, so Yuuri just handles the burglary and the assaults and on one occasion, the arson.

“I’m really not here to hurt anyone.”

“Yes, that’s what I would say, if I were a criminal who broke into the Kanto Champion’s house to do nefarious things to his Furfrou.”

“Didn’t you also beat the Champions in Johto? And Hoenn and Sinnoh and Unova?”

“...yes?”

“That’s...neat.”

“Are you new to this criminal thing? You’re not very menacing.”

Yuuri looks up, just to make sure none of Viktor’s Pokemon are preparing to maul him, and oh, fuck, the sheet is a thing of the past and all of Yuuri’s filthy midnight fantasies about Viktor were accurate. Oh, no. How can a person look photoshopped in real life?

“Makkachin.” Viktor’s voice has taken on a decidedly menacing tone. “I hate doing this, but—Tackle.”

Yuuri has a brief moment to think, this is how I die, and then he’s being licked furiously by seventy pounds of overexcited poodle Pokemon. Makkachin’s fur is done in the Heart Trim style. It tickles.

“Hi,” he says.

“Furfrou,” Makkachin says. She butts him with her wet nose. “Fur.”

“Yes, you are a good girl.”

“Oh, she likes you!” Viktor flops down on the floor. “Hey, Makkachin, could this be one of those nice Team Rocket members?”

“Frou.”

“Hah! And Yakov said I was deluded.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Three Team Rocket grunts broke into a Monarch Corporation testing facility. It looked like a simple robbery, but it turns out what they stole was illegal Pokemon shock collars.”

“What?”

Yuuri only stole them because he was opposed to the Monarch Corporation and disciplinary collars on principle. And to give the two new grunts a trial run.

“I know! And it’s not the only case where Team Rocket has rescued Pokemon. So are there two Team Rockets?”

“No? Just us.”

“Then what about the other robberies?”

“Those were rescues.”

“They didn’t look like rescues.”

“You’re not looking hard enough.”

Viktor frowns. He pets Makkachin absently, and she croons and tilts her head so he can get behind her ears.

“That’s a girl,” he mutters. “How did you find this out? You have to help me.”

“What?”

“Abused Pokemon are more important than some corporation getting robbed. If Monarch Corporation is involved, I need help. They have too much pull with the Kanto authorities. No one listens to me.”

“If I agree to help you, can you—not arrest me? And let me leave?”

“Maybe,” Viktor says. He peers at Yuuri, and Yuuri ducks, trying to hide his face under his hat. “If you tell me why you are really here.”

“I heard therewasaFurfroubeingabusedhere.”

“You what!”

“I didn’t know it was you!”

“But I love her!” Viktor can barely be heard over Makkachin’s indignant barking.

“I’m sorry!” Yuuri tries to sit up, to calm Makkachin, and to protest his (relative) innocence all at once. He knocks his hat off in his frantic attempts at petting.

“Oh.”

Viktor is staring at him. Yuuri is uncomfortably aware of the moonlight coming through the open skylight, landing directly on his face. He probably looks like the Tin Man.

“What?”

“You look familiar,” Viktor says. “Almost like my…”

“I’ll call you about the Monarch thing, bye!”

Yuuri scrambles, and this time, his luck holds: his jump takes him just high enough to grab what’s left of the rope, and Crobat, who is the best boy and who is definitely getting extra snuggles, takes off. He’s lifted through the hole in the ceiling, narrowly avoids hitting the chandelier, and before he knows it the night air is whipping through his hair as Crobat takes him home.

The last thing he sees is Viktor, hair shining in the moonlight, dick out, beautiful as ever.

It almost makes up for the loss of the naked billboard outside Yuuri’s bedroom.