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Beautiful Things

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When Viktor's skate blades cut an arc across the ice, it sounds like a sharp note sung.

When he spins, arms stretched to the sky, it looks like a gift for the great divine presence.

When he extends a hand out for Yuuri, it feels like the world has stopped and there is nothing except them and the thin stretch of ice between, waiting to be conquered.

Yuuri glides toward him, hand outstretched, following the invisible line tethering them together. When their hands meet, the touch is shocking against the cold rink air and Viktor smiles. It is the most beautiful thing Yuuri has ever seen, and he allows himself to be pulled by the fluid momentum of his partner's backward crossovers.

Their grasp is reaching, tentative, lovely, covetous.

Twisting his skates backward, Yuuri spins them around so he takes the lead. He runs a light hand along Viktor's face and reluctantly lets their hands part. Viktor places hands on his waist and lifts him in the air, a movement that still feels foreign to Yuuri. They skate in parallel, in the lead up to the pair jump. Yuuri presses his lips together and keeps his fierce eyes on Viktor as if he could disappear without warning if Yuuri's gaze left for a second. He studies every curve of the arm, every tilt and lean, so closely that he lingers even when they turn and Yuuri's view is obstructed.

I'm never going to let you go.

This is the most difficult part of the routine, and he is determined to get it right this time. As if sensing his reservation, Viktor turns back and gives him an encouraging wink.

Yuuri counts the steps in his head as they perform in exact unison, the twin sets of scraping blades constructively blending into a single continuous sound. But when the jump comes, Yuuri's heart skips a beat as he watches Viktor, and he is a half second late behind in getting off the ice. As soon as he starts, he already knows there's not enough inertia in his rotation for him to land this jump. The clean crack of Viktor's perfect landing rings loudly just before Yuuri's skate meets the ice also.

He falls.

The hard ice is unforgiving, sending a wave of pain through his hip. He's failed again. This is a dream, to skate alongside the person he admires most. But he doesn't know if he's good enough.

"Are you alright?" Viktor is standing over him, a hand held out, waiting to help pull him up.

Disappointed in himself, Yuuri ignores him and merely looks down. He lets out a long sigh and rests his elbows on the ice, waiting for the ache to fade before he tries to move again. The coldness of the ice begins to seep through his clothes, and he wonders if he'd melt a puddle in it if he sat there long enough.

"I don't know if I can do it," he finally admits. I'm not talented like you, he almost adds. Things didn't come easily for Yuuri. And when they did, they left with the same ease with which they came. This dream was beginning to feel unattainable, undeserved.

Viktor folds his knees and sits down with a thunk besides him. Softly, he replies, "Sure you can. It's just the same as when you do it on your own. Let's try it again."

Yuuri gives him a dejected look and turns his gaze down to stare at his skates. "I don't know. Maybe we shouldn't do this part of routine for the exhibition. Everyone will just be excited to see you anyway. You can do the jump without me; they'll still love it. I don't need to mess it all up for you." It feels silly, but he can't shake the doubt.

"Yuuri, don't be so hard on yourself. Exhibition is supposed to be fun. It won't be fun if we don't impress them all together. I want us to do it together."

He feels a kind hand on his cheek, the warmth of it forces his eyes to flutter open. That smile again. No words could describe the rush of blood in his chest it causes.

"How about we call it a day?" Viktor offers, getting to his feet, "Tomorrow you can argue with me, and I'll talk you back into it. Let's change and go home."

Upon seeing Yuuri still stuck to the ground, Viktor bends down to wrap his arms around his chest and lifts him up in an ungraceful swoop. Yuuri's pullover crumples up in the motion, exposing skin to the chilly air, and he frantically tries to pull it back down over his stomach. The awkward flailing makes Viktor laugh, "I'll buy you dinner to make you feel better."

"Really?" Yuuri can't help but smile as he straightens his clothes.

"I'll even let you pick."

Yuuri hesitates a moment, glancing at the empty ice. Viktor tugs on his arm and says gently, "Come on, don't dwell on it. Tomorrow is another day."

 

*

 

Upon returning home after dinner, they stumble into the hall ungracefully. The sake was probably a bad idea, but Yuuri always finds it hard to say no when Viktor knit his brows together and begged. He holds a finger to his lips and whispers, "Viktor, stop making noise. We'll wake everyone up."

"What if I want them to hear?"

Viktor laughs at the shocked expression on Yuuri's face and drapes an arm over his shoulder. He plants a small kiss just under Yuuri's ear. Yuuri lets out a nervous sound as he flushes bright red. It wasn't that he minded. It was just that this was his parents' house and everyone was home…

They stagger around until they reach Viktor's room. In the doorway, they stop for an awkward moment in the dark. The silver of Viktor's hair is all that he can really make out so he doesn't really see it when Viktor's hand reaches under his chin and pulls him up for a kiss. It is a sweet, gentle gesture that makes Yuuri close his eyes. He feels unexpectedly disappointed when Viktor pulls away.

"Stay with me?" Viktor breathes, voice quiet and imploring.

"I—" want to but don't know how.

"Just say yes."

Yuuri feels warm fingers intertwining with his, pulling him into the room. He follows, feeling a little faint and very nervous. But he'd be lying if he were to say he wasn't also excited. Starlight from the window lit Viktor's face as they made their way across the room. Yuuri reaches up and timidly traces the light around his eye. Viktor gives an easy smile. Yuuri murmurs into the still air, "Yes."

He can't tell when it started, but it feels like his heart is about to explode.

All he knows is that what he's feeling is paradoxical, suspended somewhere in between dread and satisfaction, saturated with an intangible strangeness that they were not real and this may not actually happening.

"I feel like this isn't real, like we're in a play," Yuuri sheepishly admits. The embarrassment of saying something so stupid causes him to cast his eyes down as he tentatively reaches his arms around Viktor's neck. Not looking only serves to heighten his awareness. Feeling someone so close forces his heart to the surface, thumping as he's felt never before.

"Must be a great story," Viktor replies, placing another kiss on his lips, warm and undemanding.

Yuuri sighs, brushing his lips against Viktor's in reply, quietly asking more. In response, he feels his partner gently run his teeth against shivering lips, bringing a viciousness to their kiss. The tone of their embrace changes, and his grip on Yuuri tightens, pulling him close until he could feel him through their clothes. Without warning, he roughly drags Yuuri to the bed.

As he pushes Yuuri down on the sheets, the younger man draws in a small, surprised breath. Viktor stops, pulling his hand back in hesitation, but his eyes betray unconcealed desire. Yuuri gives a small smile and looks into the endless blue. He pushes silvery hair back from Viktor's eyes and feels himself losing his grasp on the world. It was as though he could stare for a million years and never understand what they were-the blurry lines went on forever.

"I, um, I've never done this before," he confesses, eyes turning away bashfully. I'm afraid I won't be very good.

"We can stop—"

"No!" Yuuri blurts out too quickly. "I want to. With you."

"You're sure?" Viktor asks softly, still holding himself away, suspended in restraint.

"Yeah." Yuuri gives a feeble try at sounding non-committal and cool with a small shrug. But his voice lacks the ambiguity to skillfully employ it like the seductive mistress of Eros he was trying to channel. It ends up sounding awkward and causes him to blush.

Viktor laughs a little at his attempt. "You really are cute, Yuuri."

Yuuri makes a face. He can do better. He trembles a bit at feeling the pounding of someone else's heart pumping someone else's blood, but forces his hand to tug at the buttons of Viktor's shirt. Viktor obliges, helping undo the buttons and throwing it aside. Wanting to prove his confidence and audacity, Yuuri rolls them over so he could straddle Viktor, who gives an amused smile at his attempt to gain control. When he leans down, Viktor closes his eyes in anticipation.

"No," Yuuri insists sharply, "Kiss me with your eyes open."

Blue eyes flutter wide in surprise. With a hand tangled in silver hair, Yuuri crushes their lips together in a greedy kiss, making his hurried desire apparent. Digging his hands under the hem of Yuuri's sweater, Viktor pulls it over his head easily. Their undershirts follows quickly and is thrown onto the floor on the growing pile of their clothes.

Yuuri gasps as Viktor suddenly lifts him and turns them back over in one swift motion. He kisses Yuuri's collarbone, his teeth biting pale skin as his hand moves downward, trying to undo the buttons of Yuuri's jeans. When he senses Yuuri's hands also wandering, searching downwards, Viktor brings them back and holds them down against the bed. Yuuri makes a noise.

"Is something wrong?" Viktor stops, careful not to push him too far.

"No, it's just that this isn't— very fair," Yuuri protests, struggling to get his hands free.

A grin. "What do you think would be more fair?"

He bites his lip as Viktor places a kiss on his exposed stomach.

Yuuri frees his hands and reaches down to pull Viktor back toward his face. His fingertips drift down the other's body as Viktor rises to oblige his request. As Yuuri holds his gaze, he brushes over the fabric of Viktor's pants and lingers there. He gives a small, determined smile and slips his fingers under the waistband. Viktor rewards him with a lustful kiss, deep and imploring. Finally feeling like he's lived up to his own expectations of Eros, Yuuri darts his tongue into Viktor's mouth, propelled by the force of love beginning.

It is a type of need that ignites a craving within him like fire burning inside out. Barely snatching breaths, he can sense nothing but them. Bare skin under his fingers take up the continuum of feeling. He traces a line down Viktor's side and shudders as he runs over every rise and fall of muscle and skin.

"Yuuri…"

The sound of his name through Viktor's lips sounds of music.

"Don't stop."

The meaningful reflection of his own face in eyes like ocean looks flawless, like fine art.

"You are everything."

The gravity of being together destroys all that exists and feels akin to being born, seeing the world for the very first time. They are the only thing in the entire universe.

The rest of their clothes are hastily thrown on the floor, the draw of melting into each other too strong. Being so exposed before another person, so vulnerable made Yuuri instinctively begin to close himself inward, afraid of being not enough. Viktor buries his face against his neck and whispers in his ear, "I can't believe I am so lucky."

"I think you have that backwards," Yuuri whispers back, wrapping his arms around broad shoulders tightly.

Being together is a continuous and gradual falling, and Yuuri can't mark where it began and ended. He just knows he's slipped and is in far too deep to turn back. It is one of those strange events that happens without notice but changes the fundamental nature of being. It is like discovering a previously unknown longing for apples upon the first bite. So obvious and so consuming is his desire that it made him wonder how he could have lived this long without knowing it. Quick and slow at once, like approaching an asymptotic barrier: forever to arrive, only a moment to cross.

With Viktor, he is another self, another reflection that is neither appearance nor experience. He suddenly understands why it feels like they're in a performance. Time and space warps around them, causing him to be able to see through his own eyes but also through the air around them. Audience and actor all at once watching the rhythm of their movements.

And they are captivating to see. Viktor's breath against skin, his light touches. Yuuri arches his back against him, his body taking a mind of its own.

"I'm never going to let you go."

For beauty lies within desire.

"I hope you never do."

He's blinded by the revelation but unable to look away. This is a type of beauty that does not lie within the eye, it is in the air, in time. It ebbs and evolves, cognizant of itself. It is born within passion and delight from discovery of Viktor's desire for him. And that desire itself only amplified Yuuri's desire for him. And back and forth this continued, like light reflected to infinity by facing mirrors.

Again and again, motion transforms into sweetness, untouchable delight.

It is all-consuming, self-referential and self-reliant. This beauty born of desire is a differential, not a Cartesian function. Suddenly they are so overwhelmingly beautiful, the experience beautiful, the feeling of him beautiful, the air itself beautiful.

 

*

 

"Let's switch places."

"Eh?"

"I'll skate behind you in this sequence."

"But—"

"Because I like watching you on the ice. This way I can watch you skate more," Viktor says sweetly as he smiles and does a loop around Yuuri.

Yuuri rolls his eyes but secretly revels in the comment inside. "You say the dumbest things, Viktor."

"But it's true!' Viktor calls out from across the rink, having allowed momentum to take him down the ice. It takes a moment for Yuuri to catch up to him.

"Ok, let's try it."

They start back at the lift. This time, Yuuri glides ahead and Viktor falls behind. They trace each other's movements, flowing through air together in sync, arms gracefully tracing arcs that completed each others'. Viktor catches Yuuri trying to turn his head and reassures him, "Don't look. You know I'm always here."

Yes, he doesn't need to look to know. Yuuri flips his attention back ahead and tenses in preparation for the jump. They were in this together and this beautiful routine is how they will share it with the world. He swings and lifts off the ice, holding his arms in against his heart as he spins. The air is dense and he can almost feel the motion of Viktor doing the same. The rotation is perfect, taking him exactly four turns.

They both land with a single shattering sound.

Yuuri turns back and smiles.

 

-FIN-