"Yuuri! Welcome back!"
Yuuri Katsuki turned around to find his best friend and co-worker, Phichit Chulanont running up to him. They high-fived and began walking to the staff room.
"Did you have a good time in Hasetsu over the Christmas break?"
Yuuri nodded. "I haven't been back home since after graduation, so I'm glad I managed to save enough money to visit them, even if it did take five years."
Phichit shrugged. "It takes us forever to save anything. We're teachers; not doctors."
Yuuri had moved to Ann Arbor when he was in high school and attended University of Michigan, where he had met Phichit. They were both secondary education majors and had been inseparable ever since. They applied to the same schools and when they had the opportunity to teach at the prestigious Sycamore Ridge High School, a charter school located just outside of Detroit.
He taught History, specifically AP European History, AP World History and freshmen U.S. History. Yuuri preferred teaching the seniors, but the freshmen were always a welcome relief when his seniors got to be too self-absorbed for him to handle.
Phichit was the music teacher. He taught classes ranging from orchestra to chorus and musical theater. The students loved his upbeat demeanor and his unique combinations of music in performances. He typically combined classical songs with modern music, creating entirely new sounds. There were students at Sycamore Ridge who came there just for Phichit's classes.
"Hey Yuuri! Hi Phichit!"
"Hi Yuuko! How was your break?"
Yuuko Takeshi smiled. "We took the triplets ice skating! It was so much fun."
Yuuko was the art teacher and had been Yuuri's mentor when he started working at Sycamore Ridge. They were still quite close.
The three of them made their way to their favorite table off to the side of the staff room and their Vice Principal walked up to them.
"How are my favorite teachers?"
Yuuri gave Christophe Giacometti a hug. "You call all of the other teachers your favorites, don't you?"
Chris winked. "Of course."
At first glance, no one would ever expect Chris to be a high school vice principal. He looked more like a model - in fact, he had done some modeling to put himself through college. He flirted with everyone; the teachers, the parents, the school board. The female population chose either to be on perfect behavior so he would appreciate them, or act up so they'd get sent to his office.
Yet, Chris was passionate about his job. He was easy to talk to, so delinquent students were able to express themselves better. He used every last connection he had to help get students into college or attain scholarships.
"I heard the school board hired a new principal." Yuuko's tone was curious.
Chris nodded. "They confirmed him two days ago."
Yuuri elbowed Chris. "It wasn't you?"
Chris shook his head. "No, I didn't want it."
"Why not?" Phichit crossed his arms and frowned. "You've worked here for nearly ten years. You helped shape this school."
"That's right, but it wasn't my time. The person they hired will do amazing things for this school. Trust me; I helped with the interview process."
Their former principal had been fired because he had been skimming money from state funds and lining his own pockets. With state funding already at an all-time low, he had been fired without a second thought. This had meant that Sycamore Ridge had been without a principal for the entire month of December, causing complete and utter hell in the front office. Chris and Lilia, the school psychologist, had been a wreck trying to do their own full-time jobs as well as the added principal duties.
Yuuri had been fairly indifferent to him, but was disappointed to hear that he had been stealing from their school. He had been a decent boss and allowed teachers the freedom to select their own curriculum and teach how they felt worked best. He and Phichit had former colleagues with bosses like drill sergeants.
"So where is he, this mysterious boss?" Phichit sat down, claiming his favorite rolling chair.
Yuuri and Yuuko dove for the other rolling chair. She edged Yuuri out, sending him to the floor while she plopped down and rested her arms on the armrests.
Yuuri stood up and pulled Yuuko's chair, spinning her as fast as he could. The staff all laughed as Yuuko shrieked as she spun around.
He loved his job.
Yuuri let go of Yuuko's chair and stood up, looking at where the voice had come from.
The most gorgeous man Yuuri had ever seen stood in front of the doorway. He was tall; his arms and legs lanky. He wore a pair of expensive-looking black trousers and a button up pale blue shirt, the cuffs rolled up. It fit his lithe form perfectly, his shoulders practically bursting out of the shirt with his thick muscles. Yuuri stared at the man's jawline, which looked defined enough to cut glass. He had thin platinum hair, swept to the side elegantly. Finally, Yuuri looked into his eyes. They were such a pale shade of blue that Yuuri was reminded of the cold winter outside. He was smiling, but the smile did not travel to his eyes.
Yuuri realized that he was staring and turned red, sitting down in the non-rolling chair beside Yuuko and Phichit.
Chris stepped forward and shook the mystery man's hand. They smiled at each other and they looked out at the rest of the staff. There was no question about who this was.
"Staff, I'd like to introduce you to Viktor Nikiforov, our new principal."
Yuuri let out a slow breath. This was his boss?
He was mortified. Viktor's first impression was him acting like a complete and utter idiot. There was no way he'd get a raise this year.
Viktor smiled around at the teachers, several of whom were looking at him the way Yuuri had been. He spoke in a clipped Russian accent. "Good morning, staff of Sycamore Ridge High School. I'm honored to be here today and I look forward to working with you."
Yuuri sat at the edge of his seat listening to Viktor. His voice sounded like honey, like a dip in the pool on a hot summer's day. He straightened his back and hoped Viktor took notice that he was a good teacher.
"It seems appropriate for me to introduce myself. Like Chris said, my name is Viktor Nikiforov. You are welcome to call me Viktor. I'm originally from St. Petersburg in Russia, but I moved to New York when I was in secondary school. I attended NYU and graduated with a master's degree in administrative leadership."
Viktor looked around the room and continued. "I worked as an assistant principal for two years at a public school in New York City and then as their principal for three. I grew tired of New York and decided I wanted a change of pace. For the past few years, I've been consulting with the state of Michigan as they overhauled their public school system, but then I heard about the job opening here and put in my resume. I'm very excited to get back into a school. I missed working with teachers and students."
Yuuri was impressed. Viktor was incredibly qualified. His phone buzzed and he glanced at it.
Phichit had sent him a photo of Yuuri watching Viktor with a goofy stare and had drawn hearts over Yuuri's eyes. He glared at Phichit, who was snickering.
The noise caught Viktor's attention and he looked at Yuuri with a cold stare. "Upon researching this school, I see a lot of great things happening here. However, there is clearly room for improvement. Student achievement is down. College enrollment is down. These are two key components of maintaining state funding in this day and age. Chris, can you load the presentation I made?"
Chris nodded and pulled up a powerpoint on the projector, redirecting Yuuri's attention to the screen.
Viktor shared some statistics, analyzing the effectiveness of their AP program and their state test scores. He mentioned that the social sciences had done a great job, causing Yuuri to gain a bit more confidence. He motioned to Yakov and recommended his math department look at improving their calculus scores.
Yuuri's eyes began to drift. Test scores bored him. He was far more interested in working with the student rather than the data point they represented. His students did well on their APs because he was a good teacher and his students were motivated. He stared at Viktor's butt as he wrote something on the whiteboard. It was so round, and with his shirt tucked in, he could see every curve of Viktor's buttocks. Yuuri had to snap his attention away as he felt his cock give an interested twitch.
Then he looked at the board, reading the bullet points in surprise.
"Extra professional developments?" He accidentally spoke out loud.
Viktor turned and looked at Yuuri again. "That's right. What's your name?"
Yuuri coughed. "Yuuri. Yuuri Katsuki. I teach history."
"Well, Mr. Katsuki, we have some great teachers here, but many of you are teaching using outdated methods. I somehow see an over-reliance on both technology and workbooks. Because of this, there will be mandatory professional development trainings every Wednesday until I feel satisfied I have the most skilled staff in Michigan."
A ripple of conversation struck up in annoyed tones.
Viktor held up his hand. "There are several more changes I'd like to make. First, there needs to be a strict adherence to the dress code. I see teachers wearing shorts and jeans. We are professionals and need to appear as such. Men should wear dress pants or khakis and a button up shirt. Women may wear pants, dresses, or skirts, but must be no shorter than knee length. We need to send a message to our students that we are role models. Also, anyone on a contract needs to arrive promptly and leave no earlier than their contracted time. From what I can tell, that is 7:45 and 4, correct?"
The staff grumbled a yes.
"Additionally, teachers will be on a rotating schedule for supervising lunch in the cafeteria and in the common area. This will reduce the amount of fighting that takes place at lunch and give teachers more of a chance to get to know their students."
"You can't be serious. We barely have enough time to eat our own lunch, much less supervise students."
Everyone stared at Georgi Popovich, the head of the science department.
Viktor smiled at Georgi. "I am. I know these changes seem like a lot right now, but I promise I'm doing this out of the best interests of the school. I would be happy to discuss any concerns you have in a one-on-one in my office."
Yuuri sighed. This all sounded incredibly obnoxious, but it wasn't the end of the world.
"Finally, I will be conducting observations in your classrooms as a way to get a feel of your teaching style. Any teachers who do not meet my expectations will be expected to improve within a reasonable amount of time or they will be shown the door."
Yuuri felt his blood run cold. He had already made a terrible first impression; what if it continued? What if Viktor hated his teaching style?
"Yuuri, you're spiraling." Phichit placed his hand on Yuuri's shoulder and squeezed it gently.
Viktor spoke for a little longer, discussing his plans for the professional developments and emphasized the importance of detailed lesson plans shared with him weekly, but Yuuri was paying little attention.
"I will be available between 7AM and 5PM to support you in whatever you need during this transitional period. I know I'm expecting a lot from you, but I know you all are fully capable of meeting those expectations."
Viktor smiled at the teachers and motioned to Chris and Lilia. "I would like to meet with the two of you in my office. The rest of the staff is dismissed for their planning. Remember that you may not leave until after 4."
Yuuri watched as Viktor, Chris, and Lilia walked out of the room.
Chaos erupted as the door shut behind them.
"What the fuck?"
"I'm quitting tomorrow."
"I have a doctor's appointment at 3:30. I'm leaving."
Yuuri glanced between his two best friends. "What do you think of him?"
Yuuko grinned. "You think he's cute, don't you?"
Phichit showed Yuuko another photo. "Yuuri thinks he's more than cute."
Yuuri grabbed Phichit's phone and deleted the photos of Yuuri staring at Viktor. "Stop taking photos of me! How did you even take these without him seeing you?"
Phichit laughed. "Unlike you, Yuuri, I'm subtle."
"He also didn't talk about the PE program. Just wait until he starts asking questions about why half the budget is going towards costumes."
"The King and the Skater ice show will bring thousands of dollars to this school!"
Yuuko checked the time. "Well, we've got an hour before we are allowed to leave. I suppose I'll go polish up my lesson plans."
Yuuri sighed. "I should too."
They rose from the table and walked out of the room as the rest of the teachers continued talking about the whirlwind changes happening now that Viktor was the principal.
Yuuri wanted to complain, he really did; but he couldn't. He had worked incredibly hard to create his classes and establish strong relationships with his students. He was very happy at Sycamore Ridge High School. Surely, this would blow over. Viktor would realize he had unrealistic expectations for his staff and things would be more manageable.
It was Yuuri's planning period and he finally had a chance to take a moment for himself. His passing periods had been spent dealing with students in tears over the stress that came with the third quarter of the school year and he hadn't even had a chance to pee.
Viktor's rule about lunch duty had been okay. Yuuri had been assigned to the senior's lunch time and he had a group of AP students that were irrevocably his favorites. He would never admit it to them, but it was obvious in his treatment of them anyways. He opted to sit with them and listen to the latest gossip.
His favorite of the group was a student named Yuri Plisetsky. He called Yuri "Yurio" because it was too strange calling him by his own first name. Yurio had been an extremely difficult student when he came to Sycamore Ridge as a freshman, but Yuuri was patient with him and eventually he opened up.
Yurio's parents had died overseas and his grandfather was his only living relative. Yurio was still dealing with the grief of their death and often acted out in rude and inappropriate ways. Yuuri had reached out to Lilia and they had weekly therapy sessions to help him get past it. Ever since then, Yurio had been a constant in Yuuri's life.
In fact, they had a longstanding tradition of Yurio doing his work in Yuuri's classroom during his planning period.
"Hey Mr. K."
"Hey Yurio. Come on in."
Yurio stepped in and pushed his long blond hair out of his face. He had grown over a foot since Yuuri had met him, now towering over him. Yurio had a small nose and mouth, but large green eyes that were always in resting bitch face mode. He had an obsession with cats and was rarely seen without a shirt that had some sort of predatory feline on it.
He was also set up to win valedictorian in May. He was incredibly bright, taking all AP courses his senior year. Yuuri was shocked he managed to fit in a study period with all of the classes he was taking. By the time he started college, he would likely be a second semester sophomore.
Yurio preferred to study in Yuuri's classroom because he had recently gone through a rather nasty breakup. He had dated his main rival for valedictorian, Jean Jacques Leroy, for nearly the entire fall semester. Just before the winter formal, JJ had cheated on him. The breakup had split the senior class in two; some siding with Yurio for obvious reasons; the other siding with JJ because Yurio was a bit of a dick.
Yuuri agreed with the latter to some extent, but JJ was also incredibly arrogant; constantly correcting his teachers for every little mistake they wrote on the whiteboard, offering unsolicited study help to students in the library, and worst of all, calling himself the King of Campus.
"What are you working on today, Yurio?"
Yurio pulled a chair up to Yuuri's desk, opened his backpack, and gave a dramatic sigh. "Calculus. It's kicking my ass. I got a fucking B."
Yuuri had learned not to argue with Yurio about his colorful use of the English language, so he ignored the cursing. "Calculus is hard; especially since you're taking the BC course."
"I miswrote one fucking equation when I was proving the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. That bastard Yakov took five points for that."
"Hey, if you made a mistake, Mr. Feltsman was doing his job grading the test."
Yurio's eyes flashed and Yuuri expected him to start yelling, but instead, he sighed and rubbed his face. "It's getting harder to manage everything now."
It was a rare sight to see Yurio display any sort of vulnerability, so Yuuri knew he had to tread lightly. "It's okay to be stressed out. Your undergraduate years will seem easy compared to this."
"Don't you think I know that? But if I lose my valedictorian spot to -- JJ -- I'll lose my scholarship to Johns Hopkins. I need them to pay for everything. Grandpa can't help at all; he can barely make ends meet as it is. And I'm teaching skating lessons to brats on the weekends to make something, but it isn't nearly enough money."
Yuuri hated seeing his favorite student looking that miserable. Maybe there was something he could do help. "What if you had a tutor?"
Yurio looked at him as though Yuuri were insane. "I've got an IQ of 122. Why the fuck would I need a tutor?"
Yuuri shrugged. "I know you're extremely bright, Yurio, but it might help if you had someone more experienced working with you. They could help you to stay organized. Plus, it might be good for you to meet people outside of this school." Yuuri paused and patted Yurio's hand. "Someone who doesn't know JJ."
The door to Yuuri's classroom opened and Viktor stood in the doorway. He wore a pair of gray trousers and a lavender dress shirt, this time with a matching gray vest. Not a single hair was out of place. Yuuri's mouth fell open a little. How was someone this gorgeous? He glanced around the classroom and his eyes landed on Yuuri's desk.
Yuuri snatched his hand away and Yurio cleared his throat and turned pink. He took out his Calculus homework and turned away from Viktor.
"Mr. Katsuki? May I have a word outside?"
Yuuri stood up and followed Viktor out of his room.
Viktor frowned and crossed his arms. "It's highly inappropriate to get involved with a student."
Yuuri's blood ran cold. Why had Viktor walked in at the worst possible moment? He couldn't possibly think Yuuri was a child predator. "I - I -"
"Are you and that boy involved?"
"No!" Yuuri spoke emphatically. "I've known Yurio since he was fourteen. He's been in my class every year and he just went through a really bad breakup. I was consoling him; that's all."
"It had better be. I won't allow a scandal to take place at my school. In the future, you must keep the door open if you are in a room alone with a student. If it's your word against his, you won't win."
"Mr. Nikiforov - Viktor - whatever you thought you saw is absolutely not going on. Please believe me."
Viktor nodded. "I believe you, but you're being very careless, Mr. Katsuki."
Yuuri was humiliated. Still, he had to try and keep a shred of dignity. "Did you need something from me, Mr. Nikiforov?"
Viktor nodded. "I would like to get our teachers more involved on campus. I know you teach Japanese after school, but I want you to sign up for another extra curricular. I'll send a signup around at the professional development training on Wednesday."
"Will this go past our contracted time?"
"I expect it will some days. However, schools with teachers who stay late have highly performing students. It shows the kids that you are committed to not just their learning but their whole selves." Viktor looked at Yuuri with a curious expression. "Will that be a problem?"
"No, sir. I don't have much of a life outside of teaching anyways."
Viktor pressed his index finger to his lips in silent thought. Yuuri couldn't decide if he wanted to lick it or bite it off.
"Is that all?"
"Yes. And remember, keep the door open."
Yuuri managed to turn his back to Viktor before he rolled his eyes and returned to his classroom. Viktor definitely had a valid point; he'd never close his door with certain students in his room, but Yurio was an exception to the rule. He always had been.
"Is that our super hot principal?"
Yuuri bit his tongue and returned to his desk.
"Were you in trouble?"
He shook his head, not wanting Yurio to feel guilty. "Mr. Nikiforov just added something else to my already busy schedule, that's all."
"He could add something else to mine. I want him to bend me over a desk and spank me."
"Don't be vulgar, Yurio."
"I'm just saying...wow. He makes Mr. Giacometti look like he has leprosy. Just when I thought there couldn't be another hot teacher here."
Yuuri rarely used Yurio's full name, and he picked up on the hint quickly. "Sorry, Mr. K. I'm joking."
"I know." Yuuri sighed and looked over his lesson plans on his laptop. "Would you rather do a simulation or research project for the Constitutionalism unit?"
"Ugh neither. They both sound like torture."
Yuuri grinned at Yurio. "A simulation it is."
Yurio scowled but didn't respond. Instead, he did a couple math problems. Yuuri went back to typing up his lesson plans. After a few minutes, Yurio sighed dramatically.
"Contact your college. I'll take a tutor."
"You won't regret it."
Yuuri reached for Yurio's arm, but Yurio pulled away with a wicked grin. "Didn't you hear Mr. Nikiforov? Touching a student is inappropriate."
Yuuri rolled his eyes and flicked a paper clip at Yurio. "As if I could corrupt you any more than you already are."
The bell rang, and Yurio put away his textbook and stood up. "Thanks, Mr. K. And I know you aren't a pervert. I can go tell our super hot principal if you want."
He waved his hand in dismissal. "That isn't necessary. Get to class, Yurio."
Yuuri watched as Yurio left his classroom and sighed. Viktor was going to be a tough person to get along with, but he hoped things would get better as he got to know the staff better. Maybe he just needed to feel more welcome.
Yuri plopped into his chair in his AP Biology class. He had considered adding AP Physics to his list, but he already had six APs along with his multiple extra-curriculars and a part-time job and deemed it too much.
Mickey Crispino kicked his chair. "Have you seen Sara?"
"Did you lose your sister again?" Yuri had always thought those two were way too close. He was thrilled when she and Mila started dating.
"She was supposed to meet me by my locker but she wasn't there."
Yuri turned to Mickey and winked. "I think she's off with Mila again. Should you even be talking to me? I thought you chose his side."
Mickey frowned. "Just because I'm friends with JJ doesn't mean I can't be friends with you, too. Plus, Sara chose your side and I can't ignore my sister."
They watched as Mila Babicheva and Sara Crispino walked in together, faces flushed. Yuri chuckled. They had probably been in the janitor's closet again. They took a seat next to Yuri and Mila passed him a note.
"Don't read this until after class, Yurio."
Yuri groaned. That stupid nickname had spread like a wildfire after Mr. K had used it in front of the class his freshman year. He wasn't even sure if the teachers knew his actual name anymore.
Leo de la Iglesia stepped through the doorway, narrowed his eyes at Yuri and walked up to Mickey. "We're sitting over there."
Mickey nodded. "I'm sitting with my sister today. I'll see you guys in chorus."
Yuri watched the exchange, but wasn't paying attention. He was too busy trying to nonchalantly look at the door, waiting for him.
There he was. Jean-Jacques Leroy, fucking sex on legs, entered the biology lab. He was tall, even taller than Yuri, but he was ripped. His biceps and pecs stretched the red t-shirt he was wearing to its limit. He wore a pair of jeans that hung at his hips and hugged his ass perfectly. His hair was perfectly slicked back, revealing his undercut. He gave a cocky smile to everyone in the classroom, looking around at the other students as though they were his royal subjects.
It was like this every day, almost every class period. Yuri had to share a room with the man that shattered his heart into a million pieces. He was the first person Yuri had ever felt romantic love for. Fuck, he was Yuri's first everything. If he closed his eyes, he could still feel their hands intertwined, JJ's lips on his, JJ's dick inside of him.
Third quarter had been difficult for nearly the entire senior class, not just because of academics, but cliques had shifted and grown more antagonistic of each other. Private Facebook groups were created for the sheer purpose of talking shit about the other group.
It was the first time JJ had spoken to Yuri since their breakup. Yuri turned white and balled his hands into a fist. How dare he use the nickname he used to use for Yuri like that?
Mila put her hand on Yuri's shoulder. "Fuck off, JJ."
JJ clutched his heart in mock pain. "Why Mila, that's no way to talk to King JJ."
Sara glared at JJ. "The only thing you're king of is being a cheating bastard."
"We never said we were exclusive."
Was that what he was telling everyone? Yuri felt fury flow through every part of his body. He started shaking.
"Isn't that implied in a loving relationship, JJ?" Mila squeezed Yuri's shoulder. "You're such a fucking asshole."
JJ's eyes flashed. "Well, I just assumed Yurio was off with other men. With the amount of time he spends with Mr. K, it made sense to be in an open relationship."
Yuri wasn't sure how it happened. One moment Yuri was in his chair, the next he was shoving JJ against the wall, his fingers wrapped around his throat. "You shut your fucking mouth about Mr. Katsuki."
It had been almost a month since they had been this close. Even though he wanted nothing more than to punch JJ in the face, Yuri felt a part of him want to throw his arms around JJ and be held by him one last time.
Still, Yuri couldn't let JJ spread that rumor. Sure, Yuri had had a crush on Mr. K when he was younger, but after it became abundantly clear that Mr. K had zero interest in him in that way, Yuri gotten past it. Besides Mrs. Baranovskaya, Mr. K was the only person who truly believed in him. Yuri needed as many people on his side as possible. JJ's rumor, combined with the fact that his new principal had already seen them alone together could wreck Mr. K's career.
Leo and Mickey ran over and pulled Yuri off of JJ. He struggled against them as JJ watched him with a smirk of satisfaction.
Yuri kicked at JJ, missing by several feet. "I swear, if you make up lies about that, I will kill you."
Suddenly, a voice boomed through the lab. "What is going on here?"
Leo and Mickey dropped Yuri's arms once they saw Mr. Popovich and all three of them returned to their seats.
"Just blowing off some steam, Mr. Popovich." JJ gave their biology teacher a million dollar smile and sat down with his group of lapdogs. Kenjirou Minami gave him a thumbs up and Emil Nikola high fived him as he passed.
"Don't let it happen again, boys. Otherwise, you'll be spending the rest of the day in Mr. Giacometti's office."
"Yes, sir." Yuri pouted and turned his lab notebook to the current page.
JJ was a manipulative fucking bastard, changing the story so it benefited him. He had cheated on Yuri, plain and simple, with some college girl he met at a party. Yuri didn't know what kind of college girl attended parties with high school kids, but he had little interest in knowing what that skank was like. He had gone to visit JJ at his house, an early Christmas present in his hands, and found them together. Making out.
Yuri had run straight to Mr. K's house and had cried nonstop for a solid hour before he could tell Mr. K what had happened.
Before JJ, Yuri had been bulletproof. Fuck, he had taken anything thrown at him and sent it back tenfold. No one messed with him. Ever. Yuri was abrasive as fuck, and extremely protective of his friends.
Now, it was like JJ had taken the fight out of him. He let JJ's lapdogs bump into him in the hallways, listened to the whispers about what Yuri was like in bed without reacting, saw the facebook posts about "Team JJ Bella" and didn't comment with a nasty response.
The truth was, he still loved JJ. Being with him was addictive, and not just because of the sex.
Despite the facade he wore at school, JJ was kind, funny, and generally fun to be around. Yuri had felt safe, accepted with JJ. Before his senior year, Yuri's only friend had been Mila. He had been little more than an unpopular nerd.
Befriending and dating JJ had shot him straight to the top of the high school popularity ranks. People knew random facts about him; that his parents had died in a car accident in Russia, that he lived with his grandfather, that he loved ice skating in his little free time. Even after the breakup, Yuri hadn't lost his status. High school kids loved quality drama, and Yuri gave them a lot of material to work with.
He somehow made it through his lab, feeling JJ's stare burning the back of his neck. Why was he still paying attention to Yuri? Couldn't JJ just leave him alone?
The bell rang and Yuri put his things in his bag. JJ walked by him as he left, bumping Yuri and causing his bag to spill. "Sorry kitten. Here, let me help you."
"Are you alright, Yurio?"
Yuri nodded and waved Mila off. "You guys go ahead. I'll see you in dance."
He and JJ bent down, picking up Yuri's papers. Yuri hardly paid attention to what he was gathering. He was far too busy studying JJ.
"I won't say anything about Mr. Katsuki. I know how much you like him."
Yuri narrowed his eyes at JJ. "Thanks, I guess."
"I only say that shit in front of everyone else because I don't want them to know the truth. I'm miserable without you, Yurio."
Yuri dropped the notebook he was holding. "What?"
"My parents want me dating a girl. I had to make sure I sold it. My parents know a lot of parents of students here at school and if they thought I was still seeing you, I would be in a lot of trouble. I have to be mean to you, don't you see? Isabella is great, but she isn't anything like you." JJ looked around and lowered his voice even more. "I still want to be with you. Just in secret."
He blinked in shock. "You're a fucking closet case?"
"Just until after I graduate. Once I have my trust fund, I can do whatever I want."
Yuri glared at JJ. "And I suppose hooking up with that college skank was an act too?"
Everyone else had cleared out of the room, as well as Mr. Popovich. JJ was silent. Yuri yanked his things out of JJ's hands and shoved them into his bag, not caring if anything got ruined.
"That's what I fucking thought. Leave me alone, JJ. Let me move on."
JJ reached out for Yuri, but he moved away. "I can't move on."
Yuri could feel his pulse pounding in his ears. He could practically taste his heart in the back of his throat. He had to stay strong. "That's not my fucking problem, King JJ. You fucked up and I will never forgive you."
With that, Yuri stood up and stomped out of the room. He barely made it to the bathroom before the tears spilled over.
He was fucked.
"Welcome to the first of many professional developments!"
Several staff members in the room seemed excited, but Yuuri was among those grumbling. It had been a rough day for Yuuri. His students had not enjoyed the writing assignment he gave them and they rebelled, trying to get him distracted and talking about his vacation to Japan over the break. They had been successful in second period, but he had avoided the trap in the rest of his classes. After lunch, Yurio had been in one of his moods, texting throughout the class period and messing with his fidget spinner as loudly as he could.
He was grateful for the shorter Wednesday class periods, but his time was now consumed by these professional developments. This one was about the Flipped Classroom, a strategy using lecture videos watched at home so class time could be more student driven. Yuuri was not a fan of that style of education. Students needed time at home to decompress. Watching educational videos without a teacher's support didn't seem like a great idea, especially with the advanced content Yuuri was teaching.
Someone from the Michigan Association of Public School Academies was coming out to give the training. Yuuri didn't like most of the people sent from MAPSA - many of the charter schools in Michigan were for profit and pocketed money directly from the state. Yuuri was grateful he worked at a nonprofit more dedicated to student success rather than money for the school board. Still, Yuuri preferred to learn from other educators, not some douche in a suit who spent a year in a classroom and couldn't handle it.
Viktor had clearly taken note of what motivated his staff, because an enormous pizza and salad spread had been placed at the large table off to the side. It wasn't even Little Caesar's. Most of his staff meetings with food had included the worst quality food he could imagine.
Yuuri took a slice of Hawaiian pizza and found a seat with Phichit and Yuuko. All of the comfortable chairs had been taken, so Yuuri had to sit in a stiff blue chair.
"I'd like to introduce Josef Karpisek, an old friend of mine who will be presenting the Flipped Classroom to you. But first, I'd like to go over a few housekeeping points. Chris, could you come up and help me?"
Chris jumped up and joined Viktor, giving him a bright smile. Yuuri narrowed his eyes, following their exchange. Chris was one of the coolest people he had ever met. He had never seen Chris try so hard. Was he into Viktor?
"Hey --" Yuuri turned to Phichit and started to say something, but Viktor cleared his throat and Yuuri spun back around, placing his hands on the table and trying his best to look innocent.
"Lunch duty is proving to be effective. Student referrals at lunch are down by 53% and student attendance has increased by 1.2%. I'd like to maintain a 92% attendance rate by the end of the year, but that will take time."
Chris led the teachers in a short round of applause. Viktor smiled and continued. "I will be implementing the extra curriculars program next week. Initially I was unable to promise you money, but I was able to move the budget around a bit so teachers will get paid $15 an hour to help with the club of their choice."
The staff breathed a sigh of relief. Staying after contract hours and not getting paid was not a situation Yuuri was looking forward to.
Yuuri planned on sponsoring either ballet or chess club. He knew there were many students who took a dance class during their elective period offered by the local college, but there was no ballet class. As for chess, it was something he enjoyed.
"As the sign up sheet is going around, I'd like to remind the staff that starting Monday, I will begin my initial round of observations. I expect you to have a complete lesson plan with objectives, standards, materials, anticipatory set, the lesson itself, a formative assessment, and any modifications or extensions for special education, English learners, or gifted students. Ideally, I would appreciate if you provided me with any of the materials you are using ahead of time."
"Jesus, who writes complete lesson plans anymore?" Yuuko looked nervous.
"I would like to provide staff with a gentle reminder that if your lesson plans or your lessons are not up to par, you may be dismissed from your contract."
Chris gave a nervous glance around the room and looked back at Viktor. "But that will only be for teachers who not only are low performing but also are unwilling to work with administration to improve their teaching."
Viktor gave Chris a grateful smile and returned to speaking. Yuuri made a mental note to ask Chris what the nature of their relationship was. Even though Viktor was an ass, Yuuri felt a pang of jealousy over the thought of Chris being intimate with Viktor.
The professional development was about what Yuuri expected: long and boring. While the MAPSA representative was nice and surprisingly knowledgeable, Yuuri wasn't interested in completely modifying the way he delivered his lessons. Instead, he jotted down notes about what lesson he'd show Viktor. He would be teaching a lesson on the events leading up to World War I, he knew that much. The year previous, students had done research on the different factors and created a powerpointpower point to present to the class. It was moderately successful, but Yuuri thought something more meaningful would be a better option. Perhaps he could put different scenarios from the war in folders and split the students into groups. He could even demonstrate how well he had trained the students in Socratic Seminars.
He would need to refine it a bit and do some research once he got home, but Yuuri was sure he could be successful.
After two hours, the presentation was finally over. Yuuri looked around. The sign-up form hadn't been passed to him. "Hey Phichit, did you get the sign-up for the extracurriculars?"
Phichit nodded. "I passed it over to Georgi. You didn't get it?"
Yuuri shook his head. Everyone was gathering their things. Then he saw Celestino pass a sheet of paper to Viktor. Yuuri raced across the room, underestimating the distance and nearly crashed into Viktor. He tripped and fell over a chair.
A sarcastic round of applause echoed through the room as Yuuri wished the floor would swallow him up. He saw a hand reach down, and he took it, coming face to face with Viktor. His hand was warm and he blushed even more.
"Did you need something, Mr. Katsuki?"
Yuuri nodded. "I - er - didn't get the sign-up."
Viktor plucked it out of his pocket and set it on the desk beside them. "I'm afraid there isn't much left."
He eyed the form up and down. Viktor was right. Ballet and chess club had both been taken already. Yuuri's heart rose as he saw an open slot and then crashed quickly.
Not a single other teacher had signed up for prom.
Yuuri sighed and wrote his name beside the hell that was sure to be prom planning.
"Does this mean I'll be working on this by myself?"
Viktor shrugged. "At my old schools, students usually did most of the planning."
He tried not to sulk. School dances were never his favorite events to attend, both as a student and as a chaperone.
"I can sign up too. I'd like to be a part of a club."
Yuuri stared at Viktor and couldn't decide if he was grateful for the help or terrified to screw up in front of his boss. It was definitely both.
"We can meet next week to discuss our responsibilities. In the meantime, why don't you find a student prom committee?"
He nodded and walked stiffly out of the room.
Just as he was starting to unravel, his phone buzzed, indicating he had a new email. His expression brightened as he saw who it was.
It was his old college dean. She had found Yurio a tutor, a sports medicine sophomore named Otabek Altin. Yuuri smiled. He couldn't wait to tell Yurio the good news.
Yuri dragged his feet all the way from the bus stop on campus to the library. He was not looking forward to having some college student lecture him on his bad studying habits. Still, it was nice not being at school or the ice rink, even if it was some lame state school.
The library was larger than he imagined; three levels and filled with desks for studying. His new tutor had told him to meet him in one of the study rooms on the third floor. He found the room, his tutor already there.
The other man turned around and gave Yuri a nod hello. Yuri's eyes widened. This man was hot. He was shorter than Yuri, but gave a commanding presence anyway. He was stockier than himself or even JJ, but extremely fit. He wore a pair of jeans and a black sweater, extremely basic but it suited him. Yuri drew his gaze to the other man's face, dark hair with an undercut similar to JJ's and dark eyes to match. He had a stoic expression on his face, but Yuri immediately felt safe around him.
His tutor's cheeks turned pink as he noticed Yuri staring. "I'm Otabek."
Yuri stepped forward and cleared his throat. "Yuri Plisetsky. You can call me Yurio if you want. Everyone does."
"That's a strange nickname."
Yuri felt his shields go up. "Whatever. Call me Yuri, then. So you're supposed to tutor me or some shit like that?"
Otabek nodded and motioned for Yuri to sit down. "Your teacher told me that you're a brilliant student, at the top of your class."
"Second at the moment."
"Would you like to change that?"
Yuri took out his class schedule and showed it to Otabek. He took out the rest of his textbooks, along with his laptop just in case Otabek wanted to see anything else. "I know I'm going to get all 5's on my APs. It's going to come down to the percentage in the class between me and - the other guy. My work has to be fucking flawless for the rest of the year."
Yuri liked that Otabek was quiet. He was the opposite of JJ, who constantly filled the room with his incessant chattering, usually about something stupid. He smiled, and then felt the pain associated with JJ. He realized Otabek was looking at him with an eyebrow raised in question. "Sorry."
Otabek shrugged. "You're clearly distracted, which is why you're here, isn't it?"
Yuri nodded. "I had a really shitty breakup last month. And he - he won't leave me alone now. It makes thinking about school difficult. And he's the one I'm competing with for valedictorian, so it's a bit cyclical. I try to think about school instead of him and then I start thinking about him because I want to beat him."
He wasn't sure why he had brought up JJ. Yuri had literally just met Otabek, who was a college student and probably didn't give two shits about high school drama.
Otabek glanced through Yuri's Calculus textbook but clearly wasn't actually reading anything. "You're not going to be able to do your best work until you get past this. You're kidding yourself if you think it'll just go away. I speak from personal experience."
Yuri snatched back his Calculus textbook, suddenly worried Otabek would see the doodles of JJ's name covered with hearts. "What do you suggest, then?"
Otabek's eyes met Yuri's and he gave him an appraising look. "A palette cleanse has always worked for me."
"What, start dating other people? JJ was my -" Yuri stopped himself. He didn't want Otabek to think he was some inexperienced kid.
Otabek shrugged. "You don't have to date anyone seriously, and you don't have to sleep with anyone either, if you aren't ready for a physical relationship. But it's refreshing to be with someone else after you've spent so much time with one person."
"I don't know the first thing about dating."
Otabek pulled Yuri's chair closer to him. Yuri inhaled sharply at their sudden proximity. "I'm your tutor, aren't I?"
Perhaps this whole tutor thing wouldn't be so bad, after all.
It was lunchtime, and Yuri had gotten into a heated discussion over the best way to give oral sex with Mila and Sara.
Yuri took a spoonful of pudding and licked it off in the most filthy way possible. Mila and Sara laughed.
"Okay, that was pretty hot."
Yuri rolled his eyes. "I don't know why you need to think about this. A cock is different from a pussy."
A pair of hands shoved him onto the table. "You would know, slut."
He turned and saw Leo and Emil laughing as they walked back to their table in the center of the cafeteria. Yuri went to stand up to beat the shit out of Leo, but saw JJ watching the exchange with a curious expression. Instead, he took in a deep breath and turned back around to his friends.
"I thought you were going to beat the shit out of him." Sara looked amazed.
"He's watching. I don't want him to get involved."
Mila gave Yuri a forced smile. "Let's spray shaving cream into his locker after school."
Yuri held up his pudding cup and they toasted to that.
"Is everything okay here?"
Yuri looked up and saw Mr. K standing in front of their table. "We're just peachy."
Mr. K sat down beside Yuri and snatched the pudding cup away from him. Yuri snorted and let him take a bite before taking it back. "Don't you get a fancy teacher lunch?"
"Yurio, I've got a Cup of Noodles and half a brownie in my classroom. I'd take a pudding cup over that any day."
"How's it going, Mr. K?"
"Pretty well, Mila. However, I'm here with a proposal for you three and anyone else you can convince."
Yuri raised an eyebrow. Mr. K didn't ever bother them with suggestions, so whatever he wanted was important.
"I have been asked to supervise the prom committee. As you know, it's different from SGA due to budgetary reasons. There are already a handful of juniors and seniors interested in joining, but they aren't quite leadership material. It would be great if three fantastic seniors could help me out by joining prom committee."
"You want us to help with prom?"
Mr. K gave a bright smile to Yuri, Mila, and Sara. "Yes."
Yuri already knew he'd say yes, because it was Mr. K asking, but he wanted to give him a hard time first. "That sounds lame."
"Make it not lame then, Yurio."
"Why should we help?"
Mr. K took in a deep breath. "Your school needs you, Mr. Plisetsky."
Sara giggled. "We'll help, but you can't let Mickey do it."
Mila nodded. "He likes to get between us. Both figuratively and literally."
"I won't stop him from joining, but I'll give him other tasks. Does that sound fair?" Mr. K stuck out his hand and he and Sara shook on it.
Yuri smiled. Mr. K was the cheesiest teacher ever.
"I still don't know. Prom is dumb."
"Yurio, two months ago, you dragged me around town to look at tux and limo rentals. I know things have changed since then, but you should still want to go to your senior prom." Mila rolled her eyes at Yuri.
Mr. K shrugged. "Technically, you don't even have to go if you don't want to."
Yuri gave an exaggerated sigh. "I suppose I can help. Maybe being on prom committee will help me look more like a team player, which is a skill I apparently lack."
"Thanks, you guys. I'm sure Mr. Nikiforov will be happy to see you three helping."
Mila's eyes widened. "Mr. Nikiforov is working on prom too?"
"Shouldn't principals be too busy to help with prom?" Yuri liked looking at their new principal's ass, but he found it strange that he was getting involved with prom.
Mr. K paused. Yuri knew that there was some animosity between those two, but Mr. K refused to talk about school gossip with him.
"Mr. Nikiforov volunteered to help, because I'm the only supervisor for prom."
"Whatever. He's hot."
"Hey Mr. K, you know who else Yuri thinks is hot? That new tutor."
Mr. K raised an eyebrow at Yuri, who kicked Mila under the table. "Shut up."
"I take it he's also helping you with your studies, not just distracting you from them?"
Yuri knew he was blushing a deep red, but tried to hide his embarrassment. "Nothing is happening. He's hot and he wants to help me find a date. It isn't like he's interested in me."
"Otabek would be crazy not to be into you, Yurio." Mila kicked Yuri back.
"Whatever. I'd let him fuck me, but that's not likely to happen."
Yuri snorted at Mr. K's attempt to correct his behavior. "I'm far more interested in hearing about where Mila and Sara were during fifth period yesterday. Aren't you, Mr. K?"
Mr. K definitely did not seem interested. "That's my cue to leave."
"Bye, Mr. K. See you tomorrow."
Yuuri and Phichit drained another shot glass and slammed it onto the table. He winced as the alcohol burned his throat.
The employees at Sycamore Ridge always got together for a Happy Hour night the last Friday of every month. They almost always went to the same bar, a place called Yu-topia. They had been going for so long, the bartenders often gave them free drinks. "Teachers are such a blessing," they would say as all of the teachers drank themselves stupid.
Georgi walked over to them, a glass of gin and tonic in hand. "I heard your flashmob didn't go as well as planned, Phichit."
Phichit rolled his eyes. "There was a misunderstanding between our flashmob and our new principal, that was all."
"The flashmob went great. The students danced perfectly to Shall We Skate? and it generated a lot of interest for the upcoming show. Unfortunately, Nikiforov wasn't pleased when the students showed up ten minutes late to class. They all got in trouble and I have a meeting with him on Monday to discuss my responsibilities as a teacher."
Yuuri felt outraged for his best friend. It was rare to see Phichit in anything less than a good mood. Why didn't Viktor understand that they were helping students?
"That's awful. If it makes you feel better, I had to meet with Viktor because he caught me on facebook during class time."
Phichit snorted. "What were you doing on facebook during class?"
Georgi sighed and took a long drink. "Anya is dating again. She posted a bunch of photos of them together. I had to check to see if it was true."
Yuuri patted Georgi on the back. "I'm sorry."
He shrugged. "It's okay. Now that Natalia and I are together, I can hardly remember what Anya looks like."
Yuuko walked over to the table, picked up a shot sitting on the table, and downed it. "Takeshi is watching the triplets, so guess who's getting wasted tonight?"
Everyone cheered as she drank another shot.
Yuuri was on his fourth or fifth drink, and he was starting to feel dizzy. "Viktor thinks I'm sleeping with a student, so I've got you all beat."
"What? Yuuri, you're the most professional teacher out of all of us!"
Yuuri looked at Phichit in exasperation. "I know. But he saw me talking with Yurio in my classroom and I was comforting him and he got the wrong idea. So now I think he's got it out for me."
"Well, you are probably too close to Yurio to strictly call it a teacher and student relationship." Yuuko spoke gently, but Yuuri was still annoyed.
"Can't I be close to my favorite student without someone worrying that I'm taking advantage of him?"
Chris slid into the seat beside Yuuri and patted him on the shoulder. "I talked to Viktor about that already and it's been straightened out. He doesn't think you're doing anything inappropriate."
Yuuri smiled gratefully at Chris. He always seemed to know when Yuuri needed help. "Thanks. So, do you two know each other?"
He hadn't meant to say it that loudly. Everyone stopped their conversation and stared at Chris and Yuuri. Chris's cheeks turned pink. He glanced around and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
"We're friends from school. And that's all you're getting out of me."
Phichit slid a drink over to Chris and gave Yuuri a conspiratorial look. "For now."
Traditionally, administrators didn't join the teachers for happy hour. Yuuri had always wondered why that was the case, especially when he had a great co-worker like Chris to work with. It now made sense.
Yuuri shot a sympathetic glance to Chris, who waved him off. "Fine. What do you all want to know about your mysterious new principal?"
"Why does he want us to hate our jobs?"
"Does he hate me?"
"Is he single?"
Chris laughed and took the shot Phichit gave him. "Viktor has always been a really hard worker and expects other to do the same. And yes, he's single, but extremely gay."
Yuuri filed that fact away for future contemplation. "What's the most embarrassing thing you two ever did?"
Chris's eyes sparkled. "Once we got caught skinny dipping in the school fountain with our frat brothers."
Everyone at the table laughed.
Georgi spoke up. "Does he need to get laid?"
"Probably. He isn't uptight because of that, though. He's nervous. Sycamore Ridge is a great charter school. He's only ever worked for failing schools, where any progress was considered excellent. Here, he's taking a great school and making it even better. That's harder to do."
Yuuri paused. He hadn't thought about it that way before. Viktor was probably nervous being in a new space.
"Have you two ever - you know?"
Chris turned his gaze to Yuuko. "I'll never say."
Well that was a yes. Chris didn't seem too broken up about it, which was a good sign.
Yuuri frowned. Why would that be a good sign? It wasn't like he actually had a chance with Viktor. Despite what Chris had been saying, Viktor was a jerk with unreasonable expectations. He was just hot, that was all.
Still, Viktor wasn't the worst boss Yuuri had ever had. Perhaps they could smooth things out during prom committee.
Happy hour was coming to a close, but several teachers wanted to continue their drinking. Yuuri, Phichit, and Yuuko tagged along with Minako to The Cockpit, a local gay club.
Eventually, Yuuko had to go home to sleep, so she and Phichit took an Uber back. Minako was off making out with several girls in the back, so Yuuri was left all alone to drink by himself.
Yuuri was almost to the point of blackout drunk, but he was able to stay sitting upright. He ignored several men who came onto him - he wasn't really one for hooking up.
His favorite song came on over the speakers, and Yuuri jumped out of his chair and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. He joined the rest of the club to dance to the music, loving the thumping of the bass that vibrated his bones.
A pair of hands rested upon his waist. Normally, he would push them off, but he was feeling generous. He backed up into a solid chest and grinded against the other man, rocking his hips side to side. Yuuri could feel his dance partner's cock through their pants, and he threw his head back onto the other man's shoulder, threading their fingers together as they danced.
The room was spinning, and the strobe and laser lights were doing nothing for his vision, but he could feel every solid inch of this man against him. He felt like he would be beautiful.
Yuuri laughed at that thought.
"What's so funny?"
He could barely hear the voice, but his dance partner had his lips close to Yuuri's ear.
It was so loud, Yuuri had to shout. "Everything."
He reached back and ran his fingers through the other man's hair. It was incredibly soft and made Yuuri want to re-evaluate his no hookups rule.
After the song ended, Yuuri grabbed the man by his wrist and pulled him off the dance floor, leading him to the nearly pitch black back room.
"You dance wonderfully."
Yuuri chuckled. "I used to do ballet."
"I've never seen a ballet dancer move like that."
He was too drunk for conversation, so he pulled the man with no face into a kiss.
It had been so long since he had kissed someone else. Yuuri had been so focused on teaching, on managing to afford his apartment, that he had forgotten how amazing it felt to make a connection.
It didn't hurt that this man was an amazing kisser. He kissed Yuuri as though he were the only person in the world, as though he were special. Yuuri was drowning in the kiss, drowning in the tall man with nice hair.
He went to lean in further, but stumbled, breaking their kiss. The mystery man caught Yuuri and held him up by his armpits.
"Do you want to come to my apartment?" Yuuri was nervous, but the alcohol had loosened his tongue.
"Somehow, I don't think that would be appropriate."
"Can I help you get an Uber home?"
Yuuri nodded and took his phone out. He handed it to the other man and slumped against the wall, sliding down to the floor. He was too drunk to stand.
He vaguely registered someone calling his name, then being helped out of the club, the chilly winter air causing him to gasp. Yuuri eventually realized he was in a car. He closed his eyes and leaned against the warm form of the man beside him. Maybe he changed his mind after all.
Yuuri went to reach out for him, to finally see his face, but he quickly realized that he was alone and in his bed.
He looked around. Light was streaming from his bedroom window. He winced and rolled over, pulling the covers over his head.
The events from the night before came to him in little pieces. It had been teacher happy hour, and Yuuri had gone to Cockpits, where he danced with a gorgeous stranger and then kissed him? That was all he could remember. He had somehow made it home.
He looked at his clothes. They were the same clothes from the night before, so he hadn't even changed out before passing out.
It was a Saturday, and he had nothing planned, except to sleep off his hangover.
He rolled over again and was determined to do just that. And if he was visited by a gorgeous mystery man in his dreams, he wouldn't complain.
"Have you ever planned prom before?"
Yuuri shook his head. "I was a chaperone the past few years, but I didn't participate in planning it."
Viktor placed his elbows on his desk and rested his chin in his hands. Yuuri couldn't help but find it cute, especially the way his hair framed his face.
"We want to give your prom committee a few solid options to choose from. That way, they won't pick anything too silly."
Yuuri grinned at that. He could easily see Yurio doing something along those lines. "What ideas have you seen?"
Viktor pressed his finger to his lips in thought, then spoke. "Retro seems to be very popular right now. 80s or 90s themed."
"What about Yule Ball?"
Viktor crinkled his nose. "Like in Harry Potter?"
"Yes. What, you don't like the books?"
"I've only seen the movies."
Yuuri rolled his eyes. "Of course you don't like the movies. You need to read the books."
Viktor smiled a legitimate smile at Yuuri, the first he had seen. It sent goosebumps down his arms.
"Fine, no Yule Ball. What about Great Gatsby? That seems to be popular right now."
Viktor sighed. "It's so overdone. Sycamore Ridge should be known for its academics, but it would be nice to get recognition for a unique prom too."
Yuuri pursed his lips together. "Okay, what are your thoughts?"
"How about Paris? Or Happily Ever After?"
Viktor had to be the cheesiest employee at this school. Yuuri chuckled as he imagined the teachers' reactions at Happily Ever After. "That seems a little-"
"A little what?"
"A little contrived, I guess?"
Viktor frowned, then turned to his computer. He pulled up Google and searched, "Prom themes."
As he scrolled, he glanced at Yuuri. "Did you have a nice weekend?"
Yuuri was surprised at the sudden change in subject, but he didn't mind the small talk. "It was alright. I slept in on Saturday and then I did my laundry on Sunday. I know; I'm the least exciting person in the world."
Viktor ignored the joke. "What about Friday? Did you go to the Happy Hour?"
"Yeah. I always go."
This seemed like a very strange conversation between an employee and his boss who didn't know each other all that well, so Yuuri tried to change the subject again. "What about that one?"
"Black and Gold Masquerade? Don't you think that's a little gaudy?"
Yuuri narrowed his eyes. So far, Viktor had made fun of every theme he suggested. "No."
"I like Glittering Diamonds."
"You do seem to like things flashy."
Viktor tore his gaze away from the computer and stared at Yuuri. "What is that supposed to mean?"
Yuuri crossed his arms. "The Flipped Classroom? Google Apps for Education? Class Dojo? Did you just open Pinterest and pick the most overshared blog posts to find professional developments for us?"
"You're so focused on making our school appear perfect that you're forgetting that there are already great teachers here who do amazing things for their students. By confining us to these rules, you're making us worse teachers."
"How so?" Viktor had completely abandoned his computer and was giving Yuuri his undivided attention.
Yuuri knew that he was toeing the line of being unprofessional; hell, he had already crossed it. He was digging himself into a hole, but for some reason, he couldn't stop himself. Viktor had been rude, condescending, and made far too many assumptions about the other teachers.
"Last week with Phichit. He's getting the kids excited about a performance. It was a great opportunity to promote unity and collaborative learning. And he got in trouble because some students were late."
Viktor raised an eyebrow. "If you were the principal, would you allow twenty students to show up ten minutes late to class, missing their bellwork and instructions from the teacher? Is punctuality not important?"
Yuuri glared at him. "That isn't what I meant. Of course it's important to be on time, but can't you make allowances for situations like that?"
"Were you aware that two of the students involved in the flashmob snuck into the boiler room to smoke afterward?" Viktor clasped his hands and put them on the desk.
Yuuri paused. He wasn't aware, but he didn't want to let Viktor know that. "That doesn't matter. Those students should be punished, not Phichit."
"I'm not at liberty to discuss what consequences Mr. Chulanont had for his choices."
Yuuri had had enough. The words came out without thought. "Principals aren't supposed to be assholes; they're supposed to support the teachers. All you've done since you've been here is make us feel incompetent."
Viktor recoiled as though he had been slapped. The words hung in the air for a few moments. Yuuri shrank into his chair, but couldn't bring himself to apologize. Somehow, he thought that would make it worse.
"Are you done?" Viktor's voice was low and controlled.
He nodded, biting his tongue to avoid saying anything else.
"I'm sorry you feel that way, Mr. Katsuki. I was asked to come here because of my track record with other schools. I know that it can be difficult to transition to having a new boss, but by all accounts, it wasn't your former principal who made Sycamore Ridge great. It was the staff. However, you all need guidance. There is little consistency between grade levels and subjects. Every decision I have made so far has been to improve that issue. I'm not stifling your creativity; I'm adjusting where that creativity goes to help increase the desired outcome."
"Am I fired?" Yuuri held Viktor's gaze. He wanted to look away. Hell, he wanted to run away, but he knew he deserved this.
Viktor blinked several times. "No, but I suggest you go home and decide for yourself if Sycamore Ridge is the school you feel you belong at. I have no intention of leaving anytime soon."
Yuuri gulped, gathered his things, and stood. He opened his mouth, wanting badly to apologize, but turned around and left Viktor's office.
He managed to make it to his classroom before he took gasping breaths, trying to bring his heart rate back to normal. The room spun, and he sat on the floor, sobbing for breath.
How had this happened? What had possessed him to mouth off to his boss?
"Mr. K? Are you alright?"
Yuuri kept his head between his knees, but recognized Yurio's voice. "I'm fine."
Yurio kneeled beside Yuuri and appraised him. "I don't think you are, what with the crying and gasping for air."
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Fine." Yurio shrugged and sat down in front of Yuuri. "Do you need anything?"
Yurio handed him his water bottle and Yuuri sat up. He wiped his eyes and took a long drink. "Thanks, Yurio."
"No problem, Mr. K. I just wanted to stop by to let you know that I invited Otabek to JJ's party tonight."
Yuuri smiled. "That's good news."
Yurio sighed. "Yeah, but I think he's only coming because he feels sorry for me."
He rested his head against one of the student desks and took in a deep breath through his nose.
"Um, Mr. K? Do you need me to drive you home?"
"Do you have a license?"
Yurio pulled out his learner's permit. "I just need to take the test. I'm saving up for it."
A student driving him home probably wasn't the most professional of choices Yuuri could make, but his vision was still blurry and he really didn't want to stay at school any more. "Fine. If you crash my car, I will make sure to personally escort you to hell."
"I'm already going, Mr. K."
They stood up. Yurio handed Yuuri a tissue and he wiped his face. They left the classroom and walked down the hallway.
After a moment of silence, Yurio spoke. "Do I need to go beat someone up?"
"Whoever made you feel like this. I'll punch their fucking face in."
Yuuri smiled. "Why Yurio, I didn't know you cared."
Yurio's cheeks heated. "Whatever."
They continued walked and Yuuri handed him his keys. Yurio started the car and they drove out of the parking lot.
"I don't handle people crying very well." Yurio brushed his hair out of his face.
Yuuri grinned. "Neither do I."
"My mom used to cry a lot. We never had any money and - she was always worried." Yurio stumbled on his words, but Yuuri caught them all. "I never knew what to do."
"I think the best thing you can do is just be there for someone. Meet them where they are at."
"I like that, Mr. K."
"I'm sorry you had to see me like that."
Yurio waved his hand at Yuuri. "Nah, it's fine. Maybe since I'm doing you a favor, you'll let me off the hook for that essay that's due Monday?"
"I don't think so." Yuuri paused. "So you're going to JJ's party?"
Yurio nodded. "Yeah. It's been a while since I got invited to one of their parties, so I figured I should go. Plus, maybe I'll look cooler if I bring a college student."
"Maybe. I wasn't aware that you and JJ were back on speaking terms."
Yurio swerved the car, causing Yuuri to grab the steering wheel.
"Shit! Sorry, Mr. K. No, um, we aren't. Not really."
"Not really, or no?"
Yurio sighed. "JJ is a fucking closet case. He said he's only with that college girl to keep up appearances."
Yuuri tried to process this new information. JJ had seemed pretty out of the closet several months previous, when his tongue was shoved down Yurio's throat during every passing period. "So are you two trying to be friends again?"
Yurio shook his head. "He wants - God, why is this so fucking hard? He wants us to keep dating in secret."
Yuuri knew not to get too involved with his students' love lives. He had tried giving advice to other students before, and it always ended with somebody mad at him. Instead, he knew just to listen and support them - and advise against doing anything illegal or unsafe.
"Is that something you want?"
Yurio shook his head, keeping his eyes on the road. "I won't be anybody's secret. But I can't get over him, not when he's making sad faces at me in class all day."
Yuuri leaned back in his seat and watched as Yurio kept his face as passive as possible, focusing on driving. "It will take time."
"The person who made you cry - was it Mr. Nikiforov?"
"I told you I didn't want to talk about it."
Yurio ignored him. "Well, if it was him, then I will make sure to draw dicks on the lockers next week."
Yurio raised his fingers from the steering wheel. "Alright, alright. I'll sneak in and draw one in the teacher's lounge instead."
Yuuri didn't have the patience to argue. Yurio seemed determined to be obnoxious.
They pulled into the parking lot in Yuuri's apartment complex. Yurio had stayed with Yuuri several times throughout his high school career when his grandfather was in and out of the hospital with pneumonia.
"Do you need me to order an Uber?"
"Ugh, who uses Uber anymore? We use Lyft now."
Yuuri raised his eyebrow. "Aren't they the same thing?"
"You're so old. I can walk home."
"I'm not letting you walk five miles in this cold." Yuuri opened the door and motioned for Yurio to come with him.
Yurio's face brightened. "Hey, how about I have Otabek pick me up from your apartment and take me to JJ's party? Your apartment is way nicer than mine."
Yuuri crossed his arms. "Will Otabek be drinking?"
Yurio shook his head. "No, Mr. K. Now will you stop acting like an ass and let me hang out for a few hours?"
He sighed. Yurio typically just binged Netflix when he was over, so he relented. "Fine. However, I had an awful day and I will be ordering the greasiest Chinese takeout I can find. Would you like some?"
Yurio returned Yuuri's keys and they made their way up to Yuuri's apartment.
Otabek picked Yuri up promptly at eight. He refused to let Mr. K meet him, so Otabek had texted from the parking lot. Mr. K had a small freak out when he realized that Otabek rode a motorcycle, but Yuri told him very kindly where he could stick his concern.
Yuri was glad he had stopped by Mr. K's classroom. He wasn't going to confront him about it, but Yuri was pretty sure Mr. K had a crush on Mr. Nikiforov. Or maybe he hated him. Or both.
"I hope it's okay that I'm coming to the party."
Yuri held onto Otabek tightly. He loved riding in Otabek's motorcycle; it was a great excuse to touch him. Otabek was solid everywhere, shorter than JJ, but just as muscular.
"It's fine. I just hope you don't think high school parties are lame."
Otabek pulled up to a stoplight. "If you think it's cool, I'm sure I'll enjoy myself."
Yuri blushed and adjusted his helmet. He spent the rest of the ride resting his head on Otabek's back.
They were going to the party to try and find Yuri a new date. JJ's parties were legendary and attracted students from other schools. Surely, there would be at least one other hot gay man for Yuri to flirt with?
Otabek made his way from the poor side of town to the rich kids' neighborhood. Yuri never felt as though he belonged. Anyone who looked at him knew he came from that side of town. He wasn't welcome.
Or rather, he wasn't welcome anymore. Driving around in JJ's Mercedes, he was invited to all of the parties. Hell, he had even gone to a golf event with JJ at the country club. Of course, he and JJ had fucked for an hour in a single stall bathroom, but he had still gone.
They drove up to JJ's house. It was an enormous mansion filled with ostentatious art and furniture. Yuri watched Otabek as he admired the front yard. He supposed it was nice. It had a long driveway and a five car garage. The landscaping was impeccable, and the house was built in a Victorian style.
Otabek parked his motorcycle to the side of the driveway and they climbed off. Yuri removed his helmet and tried to fix his hair.
"Here, let me."
Otabek combed Yuri's hair with his fingers. He felt his face flush. The sensation of having his hair groomed made Yuri want to pur. Yuri watched Otabek as he stayed focused on Yuri's hair, biting his lip in concentration.
"There. No more helmet hair." Otabek seemed to realize how close together they were standing and stepped back, clearing his throat. "Right."
Yuri smiled at him. "Thanks."
As they walked to the front door, Yuri wasn't sure how to react to Otabek. Maybe he was just being a good friend? Or maybe he was looking for an excuse to touch Yuri? He clamped down on that bit of hope; it did no good to pine after some college student.
Especially not when he was still pining after someone else.
That someone - King Jean Jacques Leroy - came barrelling down the stairs as Yuri and Otabek entered his house. He looked fucking fantastic - like a GQ model - with his perfectly tailored dark wash jeans, his lavender collared shirt unbuttoned to reveal a royal purple tank top. His hair was left down, the fringe almost reaching his eyes as he bounded over to them.
JJ handed Yuri a drink, winked, then sauntered off to go torment someone else with how hot he was.
"That was your ex?"
Yuri nodded and took a drink to avoid saying anything. He sputtered. It was jungle juice, where they poured every alcoholic beverage and fruit juice they could find. He tasted licorice vodka and bourbon, along with a dozen other flavors that failed to go together.
Otabek raised an eyebrow. "He's hot; I'll give you that."
Yuri coughed, still reeling from his drink. "Let's find something better to drink."
They walked further into the house and entered the living room, which was where the majority of the party-goers were dancing. Yuri craned his neck and saw a handful of people in the pool and lounging around in the chairs outside.
JJ had hired a fucking DJ to play at the party. At least the DJ was playing decent music. Yuri loved Major Lazer.
Yuri found a counter filled with half empty bottles, so he dumped the jungle juice and poured himself a cup of vodka tonic with a splash of cherry syrup. At Otabek's amused expression, Yuri shrugged.
"I like Shirley Temples. Only this version has vodka."
He took a long drink from his cup and savored the burn in his throat. "Do you want to dance?"
Otabek nodded. "Sure."
A song by The Weeknd came on, and Yuri began to move to the beat, careful not to get too close to Otabek. He didn't want Otabek to think he was hitting on him.
They danced to several songs. As it turned out, Otabek was a terrible dancer.
"I prefer the DJ booth, if I'm being honest."
Yuri's jaw dropped. "You're a DJ?"
He nodded. "I DJ for the campus radio and also to make some extra money on the weekend."
"That's so cool." Yuri couldn't stop the words from coming out and he tried not to look too embarrassed about the comment.
Otabek shrugged. "I guess. It's something I enjoy doing. I know I'm a sports medicine major, but I would love to DJ full time."
Yuri tipped his cup back and polished off his drink. He refilled, offering some to Otabek, who shook his head.
"You should tell the current DJ to get fucked and you can take over."
Otabek gave Yuri a half smile. "I don't know about that, especially if he's hired."
Yuri turned and saw Mila and Sara running up to them. They both looked drunk out of their minds. Sara's shirt was on backward and Mila's hair had seen better days.
"You both reek of sex."
Mila leaned in and whispered into Yuri's ear. "That's because we just had sex."
Sara looked Otabek up and down. "Is this your tutor, Yurio?"
"This is Otabek."
Otabek held out his hand, but Mila pushed it away and gave him a hug. He stiffened at her touch, but patted her on the back. Yuri bit his lip to keep from laughing. It seemed Otabek didn't like getting close with everyone. Maybe Yuri was special.
Mila pulled away and pointed at herself. "I'm Mila and that's Sara. My girlfriend."
"I figured as much."
Mila turned to Yuri. "He isn't much for words, is he, Yurio?"
"Or maybe you just talk too much." Yuri took a shot of whiskey and leaned into Otabek for support. "Hey Otabek, you should go DJ now. I wanna hear you play music."
Otabek put his arm around Yuri. "I don't have any of my music with me."
"Find your music then."
Otabek laughed. It was the most beautiful sound Yuri had ever heard.
"Hey, um, I have to piss. Stay there, okay? Mila and Sara will make sure no one else takes you away."
Yuri stumbled out of the bathroom. He had gone to the upstairs toilet because the one downstairs was already filled with drunk crying girls holding each other's hair back as they threw up.
It had been almost two months since he had been here. Not since he had caught JJ with that other girl. His beard.
If he really was gay, why were they together when his parents weren't even home?
He leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. The hallway was spinning and closing his eyes helped him refocus.
Yuri liked Otabek a lot. He was kind and quiet, and didn't berate him for wearing torn jeans.
He was almost the complete opposite of -
JJ's hands rested on Yuri's hips. He opened his eyes, and saw that JJ's face was inches away from Yuri's. He sucked in a breath as he stared at his perfect features. His eyes were so blue, so soft. JJ was giving him a curious smile, as though he wasn't sure if Yuri would let him keep touching him.
Yuri wasn't sure why he wasn't pushing JJ away. He deserved it. Yet this felt so right. He had missed JJ's touch, missed the smell of his expensive cologne, missed seeing that smile directed at him.
The music shifted to a slower, sensual beat. JJ leaned forward pressed their foreheads together. Something in the back of Yuri's mind was telling him to kick JJ in the balls, that if he wanted them to be together so badly he shouldn't have cheated.
Instead, Yuri's hands ran along the back of JJ's head, feeling the fuzz of his undercut. They swayed back and forth, completely out of tune to the music. Yuri drew in sharp breaths as he felt the outline of JJ's hard cock rubbing against his hip.
JJ ducked his head down and pressed a kiss to Yuri's lips. Yuri moaned and opened his mouth, loving the way JJ took charge and deepened the kiss.
Yuri was used to always being in control, so focused on being the best, obsessed with managing every single thing he did and planning for every possible future outcome. With JJ, Yuri had been able to relax. JJ treated him like a prince.
JJ pulled away from Yuri, both of them gasping for breath. "I miss you, kitten."
"Don't call me that." Yuri gripped JJ's hair and kissed him again, this time more roughly.
Yuri felt JJ's fingers at the button of his jeans, sliding his zipper down. JJ nuzzled Yuri's neck, pressing kisses to his sensitive skin.
"I need you."
Yuri moaned at JJ's words and thrust into his hand. The room was spinning faster now, and he didn't think it was due to the alcohol.
JJ suddenly froze, pushing away from Yuri as though he were on fire. Yuri opened his eyes and saw two people ascending the stairs, likely off to find a bedroom to hook up. He looked at JJ, who was looking anywhere but at Yuri, going so far as to begin to walk away from him. Shame covered his features.
Devastation washed over Yuri. JJ wouldn't even be with him if there was the possibility someone saw them together. This couldn't be love, no matter how much Yuri wanted it to be.
He clenched his fists, trying to get angry, but he let his knees give out, sliding down the wall as the breath was knocked out of his chest for a very different reason than just a minute earlier.
Yuri realized his face was wet with tears. JJ was down the hallway, but the fucker looked concerned.
"Get the fuck away from me."
Yuri rested his head between his knees. He couldn't go back downstairs. He didn't want his classmates to see him looking fucked out and brokenhearted. "Just go back to your stupid fucking party."
He heard JJ's footsteps grow distant and Yuri let out the sobs he'd been holding in. Why couldn't JJ just leave him alone?
The music continued on, its happy beat seeming to mock Yuri's mood. He sniffled and wiped the tears from his eyes.
It wasn't JJ's voice this time. He looked up and saw Otabek running down the hall to him.
Yuri didn't speak. He didn't trust himself not to cry, and there was no way he was going to embarrass himself in front of Otabek any more than he already had.
Otabek sat down against the wall and put his hand on Yuri's shoulder. "You still love him, don't you?"
He bit his lip and nodded, leaning into Otabek's touch. They sat like that in silence, listening to the electronic thumpa thumpa and yells from the party downstairs.
Yuuri paced back and forth in his classroom. His observation was about to start, and Viktor had chosen to observe during his class with Yurio. Normally, it would be fine, but Yurio had been extremely difficult since the weekend. He had asked Yurio what happened at JJ's party, but he wouldn't share.
Furthermore, tension between him and Viktor was still high. Yuuri hadn't apologized for his outburst, nor had Viktor tried to discuss the events that transpired with him.
He had thrown himself into his work, creating an extensive lesson plan with all of the components he learned about in school - objective, materials, aligned standards, anticipatory set, extensions, accommodations, and formative assessment, to name a few.
Viktor stepped into class before the bell rang, taking a seat at Yuuri's desk.
"I assume you won't need your desk while you're teaching?"
Yuuri clenched his jaw. "No, I don't sit at my desk during class time."
Viktor gave Yuuri a curt nod, then began to look around the room, the keys of his laptop clicking away as he took notes on what he saw.
He could feel his pulse quicken. Viktor was taking a lot of notes. What if Viktor didn't like what he saw? Would he be fired? It seemed as though Viktor was looking for excuses to bring Yuuri down.
Yurio burst through the door. "Hey, Mr. K." His eyes traveled over to Yuuri's desk. "Oh, hello Mr. Nikiforov."
Viktor gave Yurio a thin smile. "Hello, Mr. Plisetsky. It's nice seeing you in class and not in ISS."
Yurio shrugged. "It's only third period."
"Sorry, Mr. K." Yurio took his seat at the front of the room, then took out his notebook and a pencil.
The bell rang shortly after, and Yuuri opened his classroom door to allow the rest of the class to file inside. They took their seats quieter than usual, likely due to the fact that their principal was watching them.
Yuuri drew in a deep breath through his nose and began his lesson.
He stood at the front at the beginning of class, explaining the expectations clearly. They were working on the causes of World War I and Yuuri had them working on posters in small groups.
"I don't want to work in a group."
Yuuri gave Yurio an unamused expression. They stared at each other for several beats until Yurio finally sighed and turned to Mila and Sara, who had already begun their poster.
He walked around the classroom, bringing each group into a brief discussion about what they were putting down on their posters. Things seemed to be going smoothly. Yuuri's eyes darted over to Viktor, who was watching him closely. He felt his face heat and he turned away.
After twenty minutes, Yuuri called the class back together. He asked Yurio to hang the posters around the room, who rolled his eyes but complied.
"For the next fifteen minutes, I'd like for you to walk around the classroom and take notes on what you see on each poster. Write down at least five details and draw a star beside what you find to be the most important piece of information."
That was when Yuuri heard a sigh. Viktor's typing had been distracting enough, but a sigh? Had Yuuri said something wrong? He racked his brain, trying to come up with what had bothered Viktor so much.
"Make sure you manage your time well. There are five posters and fifteen minutes to see all of them."
"Yes, but one of them is ours." Yurio spoke without raising his hand.
Yuuri let out a long breath. "That is correct, Yurio. You all may begin now."
The students began walking around the room. Yuuri watched briefly, then walked over to Viktor.
"Did I do something wrong?"
Viktor pressed his finger to his chin. "You should get back to your class."
Yuuri bit his lip and fiddled with his thumbs. He turned back and walked over to Yurio, who was drawing a giant penis in his notebook.
"What are you doing?"
Yurio had the sense to look ashamed, but Yuuri wasn't going to fall for his innocent act.
"Should we go show Mr. Nikiforov what you're drawing instead of working?"
"Oh my god, Mr. K. I was just joking."
Yuuri crossed his arms. "This activity is a joke, then?"
Yurio looked from Yuuri to Viktor and seemed to come to some sort of a conclusion. He turned the page of his notebook and cleared his throat. "Of course not, Mr. K. This is a high quality Advanced Placement class. Any of your lessons are valuable towards my education and future life."
He could hear Mila and Sara snickering behind him, but Yuuri ignored them. At least Yurio had figured out he shouldn't be a dick for the remainder of class.
The students completed their rounds to each poster, then finally sat back down in their seats. Yuuri smiled at the class. "I will be giving you guys a quiz tomorrow on what we covered today. Make sure to study pages 225 through 232 in your books. I will be pulling several items from that section as well."
With that, the bell rang. Yuuri couldn't have timed his lesson more perfectly. The students exited, and Yuuri was left with Viktor again.
Viktor ignored him, and instead continued typing notes in his laptop. His head was tilted downward, causing his hair to fall into his face. Yuuri couldn't help but watch him work. He stared at the screen with intensity, deep in thought. If it wasn't him Viktor was writing about, Yuuri would have been far more attentive to the way Viktor's eyes narrowed, how his tongue stuck out slightly as he typed.
Yuuri cleared his throat. "Um - Viktor?"
He jumped, then looked up at Yuuri. "I suppose you want your desk back, Mr. Katsuki?"
"That's fine. I'll run to the bathroom. You can stay if you want."
Viktor waved his hand in dismissal. "That's not necessary. I have my own office."
Yuuri looked at him in frustration. “Did it go okay?”
“Mhm.” Viktor gathered his things and started to head out.
He sighed and watched as Viktor left the classroom. That was one view he did enjoy seeing.
The next day, Yuuri had his follow up with Viktor. He had arrived early, and Viktor wasn’t inside yet. He sat in a leather chair, trying not to let his nerves get the best of him.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Mr. Katsuki.” Viktor stepped through the doorway and closed the door behind him.
“No problem.” Yuuri stared as Viktor moved across the desk to sit down. He was so tall, so perfectly shaped, and his clothes highlighted every asset of his body.
Viktor rummaged through his desk and pulled out a Manila envelope with Yuuri’s name written on the front. Yuuri took it from him and pulled out his review.
The score stared up at him. He eyed the checkmarks in each column, his face filled with surprise.
"You gave me mostly 'Excellent' scores."
There was the exception of "Showing Professionalism," which Yuuri felt he probably deserved the poor grade in that after his blow up earlier.
Viktor raised an eyebrow. "I did."
Yuuri tugged on his fingers, looking down. "I thought it would be worse."
"Why would I do that?" Viktor clasped his hands and rested his elbows on his desk, propping up his chin on his hands..
"Well - um - I didn't think -"
Yuuri took in a steady breath. "I didn't think you liked me much."
Viktor frowned. "I'm sorry you feel that way. Believe it or not, I'm on your side."
There were several awkward moments of silence. Yuuri opened his mouth to speak several times, but failed to produce actual words.
"May I ask why?"
"Most of what you say to me is filled with condescension and then there was the day you thought I was sleeping with one of my students. And then - um - I was rude to you last week. I thought you would hold it against me."
Yuuri couldn't believe that he had managed to get all of that out. He winced, ready to apologize.
"I could see how from that perspective you would think I didn't like you. I wish you had brought this to my attention sooner."
"I - I've never really spoken with my bosses before. They usually left me alone. I did my job and they didn't ask questions. I don't like being a burden on people."
Viktor leaned forward, and Yuuri realized this was the closest they'd been since he had fallen into his arms during his first day. God, he was gorgeous.
"You should never feel like a burden, Mr. Katsuki. You are a fantastic teacher, one of the best in the school. You should be able to ask for what you need. It seems I've failed as your supervisor to make you feel like you can come to me with your problems." His tone was sincere, and Yuuri felt himself flush at the compliment.
Yuuri nodded slowly. "Thank you."
Viktor gave him a smile. "Your lesson plans are very thorough, and your classroom is a learning environment free from distractions. Your students love you, and their parents enjoy working with you. I was very pleased with my observation with how you work with the students. Did you know that your class is the only class Yuri Plisetsky takes seriously?"
"Well, it helps that I've known him for almost four years."
"Still, he's disrespectful to most of the other teachers. It's a shock he's currently ranked second in his grade."
Yuuri gave a chuckle. "He's trying to get back to first."
"Was there a scandal?"
He nodded. "He was dating the current valedictorian all last semester and had an extremely messy breakup."
A look of confusion flickered over Viktor's face. "Ah, Leroy? Isn't he-"
Yuuri held up a hand and began to explain.
They talked for nearly thirty minutes, discussing student drama and traded favorite stories from previous years. Yuuri couldn't believe how quickly the time had gone by.
Perhaps Viktor wasn't so bad after all.
Yuuri sat down beside Phichit during the assembly. Spring Break had approached quickly, and the students were excited for a break after midterms. It had been Chris's idea to have a lip-sync battle between teachers and students. Different teams had formed and they had planned for two weeks before finally revealing them that day during a school-wide break from classes.
He watched as Yurio, Mila, Sara, and a reluctant Mickey took the stage and performed a riveting dance to One Thing, by One Direction. They bopped up and down to the beat, seeming to be happy to be there. Yuuri was happy to see Yurio finally smiling. He thought perhaps he was starting to date Otabek, but Yurio was insistent that he wasn't seeing anyone.
"I didn't realize Yurio liked 1D so much." Phichit poured himself a cup of coffee from the back of the room and turned to Yuuri.
Yuuri chuckled. " I had no idea."
"A closet pop lover."
The song ended, and Yuuri clapped the loudest. Yurio, having to prove that he was the most inappropriate person, threw his overshirt off and tossed it into the crowd. A sophomore caught it and gave a mock cry of excitement.
Yuuko joined Yuuri and Phichit, watching as Chris and Viktor stepped onto the stage. They stood back to back, and then No Scrubs came on the speakers.
Everyone laughed as they performed a dance very close to the original TLC video. Their dancing was in sync, the perfect balance of sexy and humorous. The students whooped and cheered as Chris spun Viktor around, then jumped into the crowd, pulling students up to join them.
"Viktor seems to be loosening up a bit, isn't he?"
Yuuri nodded, watching as Viktor's eye caught his. He felt himself blush and he turned away. "Yeah."
"How did your evaluation go?" Phichit cheered as they finished their song, then turned back to Yuuri.
"Much better than I thought it would, actually." Yuuri smiled. "Viktor liked my classroom a lot."
"Your meeting was a bit longer than the others."
Phichit poked Yuuri. "By that, we mean it was twenty minutes longer. It went into Yakov's time."
Yuuri bit his lip. "I was just telling him about some of the students at the school."
"Still got the crush on him, then?" Yuuko elbowed Yuuri in amusement.
"Can't I just admire the way he looks? He's such a jerk. Plus, he's my boss. A crush would be inappropriate." Yuuri kicked the floor, but watched as Viktor and Chris led a handful of students in twerking their way to the floor.
"Still. He's gorgeous, isn't he?"
Yuuri nodded. "And maybe he isn't so bad."
Viktor and Chris froze as the song ended. The entire cafeteria erupted in applause. Yuuri joined them, cheering Viktor and Chris.
"Thank you, Sycamore Ridge!" Viktor spoke into the microphone, out of breath. "We have a few more songs for you this afternoon. Next up is JJ, Emil, and Seung Gil performing Bohemian Rhapsody."
JJ strode up to the stage and stood in the center, Emil and Seung Gil posing around him. They began with a great rendition of the Queen classic, but Yuuri watched Yurio. He was watching JJ intently, clearly interested, but kept rolling his eyes, a little grin on his face as JJ grew more and more outrageous on stage.
Yurio caught him watching him and made his way over to Yuuri.
"What's up, Mr. K?"
Phichit patted Yurio on the back. "Your dance moves are awesome. Why aren't you in The King and the Skater?"
Yurio scoffed. "I'd rather die than be in that show."
"Sorry, Mr. K. So, you liked my performance?"
Yuuri nodded. "I thought you made a great Harry Styles."
"Don't be an idiot. I was Louis."
"Trick question, Yurio. Now I know you know the band well enough to know their names."
Yurio sighed, crossed his arms, and leaned against the wall. "Can I have some of the coffee?"
Yuuri shook his head. "Only for teachers. Plus, it'll stunt your growth."
"I'm eighteen years old. I don't think I'm going to get much taller than this."
"Do you have any plans for Spring Break?"
Yurio nodded. "I'm going to that seminar on the Russian Revolution you recommended."
Phichit stared at Yuuri. "You're making them do work over Spring Break? Evil, Mr. Katsuki."
"It was optional. Plus, they have an AP exam to take in May."
Viktor walked over to them and gave Yurio a high five. "Nice job, Louis."
Yurio turned his chin up and smirked. "Which one were you?"
"Wasn't that obvious? I was definitely T-Boz."
"I didn't know you could twerk."
Yuuri began coughing and turned around, trying to erase the image of Viktor twerking from his mind.
"Mr. K? You alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Oh, Mr. Nikiforov, we were discussing having a prom committee meeting after the break, right?"
Viktor nodded. "Yurio, could you tell the other students that we'll meet the Tuesday after break?"
"That's your cue to leave." Phichit nudged Yurio, who groaned and walked away.
Yuuri laughed and turned to Viktor. "I hope you have a good break."
"You too, Yuuri."
Yuri walked Otabek up to his room and shut the door behind him. "It sucks."
"Well, what do you want to do about it?" Otabek plopped on Yuri's bed and looked up at him.
Yuri took a seat at his desk chair instead of joining Otabek. "I don't know."
Otabek pulled open his bag and pulled out his iPad. "I think you do know, Yuri."
"I'm trying to help you. Do you want my help or not?"
Yuri sighed. "I do."
"Okay, so what do you want?"
"I don't want to forget about him." Yuri was shocked at how easily the words came out of him.
Otabek nodded slowly, deep in thought. "But you don't want to be in the closet with him."
"So either you need to change his mind or you need to change yours." Otabek looked at Yuri.
He crossed his arms and rested his head on the chair back. "How do I do that?"
"Well," Otabek gave him a rare half smile, "I recommend making him jealous. That will push him to make a decision. Right now, he still thinks he has a chance."
Yuri nodded. "Okay. How will I make him jealous?"
Otabek tilted his head and grinned. "I've got an idea. Didn't you tell me you had a trip coming up with your teacher?"
"Is JJ joining you?"
"Probably. He likes any excuse to be seen on a college campus."
"I'll be joining you too." Otabek raised his eyebrows at Yuri.
Yuri looked around for Mr. K as he and Otabek entered the auditorium. He quickly caught sight of Mila and Sara, who were sitting in the back row, holding hands. He saw the top of JJ's head in front of them.
"Are you ready?"
Otabek threaded his fingers through Yuri's, and they walked down the aisle to sit in front of JJ. As he passed JJ's row, a flash of black hair caught Yuri's eye. He whipped around and saw that bitch he was dating.
Yuri bit his lip. "This was stupid." He tried to seem nonchalant, but failed.
What good was pretending to date Otabek when the person he was trying to make jealous was dating someone else?
They took a seat in front of JJ and Isabella. Yuri shot Otabek a nervous look as Otabek turned and looked at JJ and Isabella. "Aren't you the guy who threw that party?"
JJ looked from Yuri to Otabek, then put his arm around Isabella. "Yeah. I hope you had a good time."
"The DJ was a nice touch." Otabek leaned forward and held out his hand. "I'm Otabek, by the way."
"JJ." JJ took his hand and they shook.
Yuri watched the exchange briefly, but then turned his gaze to Isabella. She gave him a wide smile. He glared at her in return.
"So - how do you know Yuri? I didn't think Yuri was looking at this school."
Otabek cleared his throat. "He isn't. We met through a mutual friend."
Otabek rested his hand on Yuri's thigh. Yuri jumped almost a foot at the touch. JJ's eyes traveled down to Otabek's hand and bit his lip. Yuri couldn't believe it. JJ was jealous!
"Hi all! Sorry I'm late!"
Mr. K sat down beside Yuri and looked around. "It looks like there are some non AP European History students here."
"Hi, I'm Isabella Yang. I'm a pre-med student here at University of Michigan."
Mr. K smiled at her, then turned to Yuri. "And you must be Otabek."
"Mr. Katsuki?" Otabek shook Mr. K's hand. "Thank you for pairing me up with Yuri. I think it's been beneficial for both of us."
"I'm sure." Mr. K looked from Otabek to Yuri.
"He's a college student?"
Yuri, Otabek, and Mr. K turned to JJ.
"Yeah, I'm a sophomore here studying sports medicine. What do you plan to major in once you get to college?"
Otabek gave JJ a look that wasn't friendly. JJ shifted in his chair.
"At this point, I'm looking at Chemical Engineering, but Bella is trying to convince me to do pre-med or physiology."
"Do you really want to be a doctor?"
JJ shrugged. "Maybe. I'm smart enough."
"I'm sure you are."
Yuri felt slightly better as he watched JJ and Otabek try to outdo each other. Otabek was an excellent actor.
Mr. K leaned in and lowered his voice. "'Not dating,' hmm? It sure looks like it."
"Whatever." Yuri would tell Mr. K what he and Otabek were doing later.
The lights dimmed, and a man stepped on stage. They quieted and began listening to his dissertation topic - something horribly boring and almost entirely conjecture. Yuri zoned in and out, especially since Otabek was running his fingers through Yuri's hair. He hummed in appreciation. Even if it was an act for JJ, it still felt nice.
Mr. K stiffened beside him after fifteen minutes into the lecture. Yuri followed his line of sight and discovered that Mr. Nikiforov was sitting across the room. He had no idea how Mr. K could even see him from all that distance away.
Well, Yuri knew that he would be able to see JJ that far away. He turned slightly to see JJ, who was looking straight ahead, tight-lipped, clearly trying to look anywhere besides at Yuri.
Yuri smiled in satisfaction. He leaned into Otabek more.
Even though it wasn't real, Yuri missed the feeling of closeness that came with having a boyfriend. Yuri didn't like being touched by most people, but he still missed it sometimes.
Otabek turned his head and whispered in Yuri's ear. "He won't stop staring at you, Yuri."
Yuri rested his head on Otabek's shoulder. Mr. K cleared his throat, and Yuri sat up, trying his best to look abashed. He watched as Mr. K completely ignored the lecture and continued to stare at their principal.
After twenty minutes, the lecture was finally over. Yuri shifted in his seat and turned to Mr. K. "Are we getting food after this?"
Mr. K looked distracted. "Oh? Um - I don't know. Do you want to?"
Yuri turned to JJ and Isabella. "Do you want to get food with us?"
JJ looked hesitant, but Isabella clapped her hands together. "That sounds like so much fun! I'd love to get to know more of JJ's friends."
Mila shook her head wildly behind them, pulling Sara up from her seat and walking out without another word to anyone. Yuri snorted and looked at Mr. K. "So. You want to eat, Beka?"
Otabek raised his eyebrow at the nickname, but nodded. "I could go for something light."
"What about the coffee shop near the student union?" Isabella pointed to her left. "It's just down the road."
She was a premed student, so Yuri wasn't sure why she was so oblivious to the fact that JJ was hardly paying attention to her.
"I'll meet you there. I want to go say hi to someone." Mr. K stood up and dashed off without another word.
"What was that all about?"
Yuri smirked. "He saw someone he wants to bone."
That was how Yuri found himself sitting with Otabek across the table from JJ and his stupid girlfriend.
"Sports medicine, right? I wonder if we have any classes together."
Otabek shrugged. "Maybe. Hey, Isabella, do you want to order with me? Yuri, what would you like?"
"Get me something with lots of chocolate and caffeine."
Isabella and Otabek stood, leaving JJ and Yuri sitting in silence.
JJ was chewing on the inside of his cheek, looking anywhere but at Yuri. Finally, he spoke. "I can't believe you brought your new boyfriend to the lecture."
"What the fuck? Isn't that what you did too?" Yuri kicked at JJ under the table.
"Ow! Okay, fine. But Yuri-chan, do you really have feelings for him?"
"Stop fucking calling me that! You're the one who doesn't want to be with me." Yuri crossed his arms and leaned back in the booth.
JJ looked down at his hands. "You know that's not true."
Yuri shook his head. "Then what? You just want to drop me every time someone might see us? At least Otabek wants to be with me in public."
"I love my parents, Yuri. I can't just turn my back on them. They would disown me." JJ looked so miserable, Yuri felt a wave of pity wash over him.
"What did they think we were doing before this?"
JJ ran his fingers through his hair and looked over at Otabek and Isabella ordering. "I kept us a secret from them. And then some jerk on the hockey team told them about us, so I had to come up with a way to deny everything. And hurting you - that seemed like the best way to prove to them that I was straight."
"Fuck, JJ, that sounds way more complicated than it needs to be."
"Well, you know I'm not one for taking the easy road. And now that everyone at school knows I'm hiding things, I can't be out there. Just because I'm the king doesn't mean I'm not vulnerable."
Yuri rolled his eyes. "You're not the king of anything."
"And what's so great about this Otabek guy anyway? He isn't hotter, that's for sure."
It had been a rare moment for Yuri to be in a position of power over JJ, so he decided to make it worth his while. "Well, he's smart and talented. He knows when to shut his mouth."
"And he's an excellent kisser."
Otabek sat down next to Yuri and pressed a kiss to his lips. Yuri let out a grunt of surprise, but responded to the kiss.
While it wasn't a terrible kiss by any means, Yuri's toes didn't curl the way they did when he kissed JJ. He didn't feel sparks between their lips like he used to feel with JJ. It wasn't right.
Yuri wanted to be with JJ. It had been three months, and he was still the only person he could think about before he went to sleep. Kissing Otabek only confirmed it.
He pulled away, doing his best to look like the kiss was amazing and everything was perfect. Otabek handed Yuri an insulated cup filled with something so sweet he could smell it even with a lid on.
"Aw, you two are so sweet! How long have you been together?" Isabella clasped hands with JJ, who was looking as though he wanted to be erased from the spot.
"Two weeks." Otabek tore off a piece of blueberry muffin and ate it, offering the plate to Yuri.
Isabella smiled brightly at them and drank from her coffee cup. "I think it's great you two found each other."
"Well, Bella, why don't you and I head out? We could go to your dorm room for a bit."
She looked from JJ to Yuri, then nodded. "Okay, JJ. Yuri, Otabek, it was nice to meet you."
They stood up and walked out of the coffee shop. JJ didn't look back at them once.
Yuri let out a slow breath. "Well, that went even better than expected."
"I'm sorry for kissing you like that. JJ just looked so tortured. I wanted to rub it in his face."
"Yeah. It's fine. He was so jealous." Yuri took a sip of his mocha and smiled. "Extra chocolate syrup?"
Otabek nodded. "Okay, so let's talk about what your next step is to get JJ back."
Yuuri hadn't been able to stop staring at Viktor from the moment he saw him across the auditorium. He didn't even care what ridiculous plot Yuri had formed with the person who was supposed to keep him distracted from relationship drama.
As the lights came up, Yuuri briefly heard an exchange about going to get food at a coffee shop nearby. Yuuri waved them away, and beelined across the auditorium to Viktor.
He wasn't sure why he was going to speak with Viktor or what he expected. Still, it seemed that he and Viktor were forging a cautious friendship. He wanted to continue.
Yuuri mentally berated himself. He sounded like an obsessed freak.
Viktor looked up and a smile broke out over his face. Yuuri slowed his run and tried to approach Viktor with more nonchalance.
"Hi, Mr. Katsuki."
"You can call me Yuuri, you know."
"Yuuri, then. How are you?"
Yuuri felt himself flush as he heard Viktor pronounce his name with extra emphasis on the U in his name. "I'm doing well. I met up with a few of my AP European History students here. What are you doing here?"
Viktor gave a half shrug. "You're probably going to think this is silly, but I miss Russia sometimes. Hearing about it, even some of the uglier parts of its past makes me feel closer to home."
"No, not at all." Yuuri smiled at Viktor. "I look for anything related to my home back in Japan here."
"That's right, you're from Japan. You came here in high school, right?"
Yuuri nodded, surprised that Viktor remembered that detail. He looked around and realized that most of the auditorium had cleared out. "Um - do you want to go get coffee with me and a few of the kids?"
"Coffee this late?" Viktor raised an eyebrow.
"You can get decaf if you don't want to stay up until dawn." Yuuri smiled at Viktor.
Viktor and Yuuri began to head out of the auditorium, falling into step with each other. Yuuri didn't mind the silence, but he wanted to try and get to know Viktor better.
"What are you-"
Yuuri coughed. "Sorry. You go."
Viktor chuckled. "I was going to say, what are you doing for the rest of your break?"
"Er - not a lot, actually. I'll probably do some lesson planning and then I don't know."
"That's too bad. You should go do something fun on your time off." Viktor gave Yuuri a friendly smile.
Yuuri stopped and looked at Viktor curiously. "What are you doing on your break?"
"I'm reorganizing my office."
He laughed. "That seems a bit hypocritical then. Shouldn't you be doing something fun?"
As they approached the coffee shop, they found JJ and his girlfriend outside arguing. As they drew closer, she turned around and walked off in the opposite direction, leaving JJ standing alone, his face crumpled up.
He rubbed his eyes when he saw Viktor and Yuuri approaching. Even though Yuuri didn't care much for JJ, he still didn't like seeing his students this upset.
"Hi Mr. Nikiforov - hey Mr. Katsuki." JJ sounded miserable.
"Are you alright, JJ?" Yuuri looked at his girlfriend's retreating back. "What happened?"
"I've fucked everything up." JJ looked away from Yuuri and Viktor. "Sorry."
Viktor put his hand on JJ's shoulder. "Do you want to go inside?"
JJ looked in through the window. Yuuri followed his gaze, seeing Yurio and Otabek laughing together.
"Perhaps not. Why don't we find somewhere quiet to talk?" Viktor walked JJ down the sidewalk.
Yuuri felt incredibly uncomfortable walking with his boss and his favorite student's ex boyfriend down his old college campus on a Tuesday night, but that was where the night had taken him.
They found a bench, where Viktor sat JJ down and motioned for Yuuri to join them. Yuuri took a seat beside Viktor and peered over at JJ, who looked almost worse than he had in front of the coffee shop.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
JJ looked at Viktor. "No, not really. I'm fine, Mr. Nikiforov. Really."
"You don't seem fine, JJ." Yuuri wanted to try and be supportive of JJ, but it was difficult if he was denying everything.
"Did something happen with your girlfriend?"
JJ barked out a laugh. "She's not my girlfriend."
Yuuri frowned. "What do you mean?"
"What I mean, Mr. Katsuki, is that we aren't actually dating. I met her on Craigslist to be my girlfriend for my family."
The only sound was the laughter from a group of students as they passed them. Yuuri was shocked that JJ would go so far to fake a girlfriend to convince his parents he was straight. Then again, JJ Leroy also made a crown for himself his sophomore year after winning the Spring Fling King vote because the crown given to him wasn't flashy enough. He was king of hyperbole.
Yuuri didn't want to say anything, because he knew how Yurio felt about JJ. What if he gave something away?
Finally, Viktor spoke up. "Are you going to keep pretending to date her until graduation?"
JJ rested his chin in his hands. "I don't know."
"That sounds like the first thing you should figure out."
"I want -" JJ looked over at Yuuri and looked embarrassed.
Viktor looked at Yuuri with a confused expression.
Yuuri took pity on JJ and finished his sentence. "Yurio."
"Oh!" Viktor looked less confused. "Why don't go you get him?"
"With all due respect, it isn't that simple." JJ sighed and stared at the ground. "I've tried everything I can think of."
Viktor sighed. "You really haven't, if he still thinks you're dating that girl. If you really want to be with him, you need to prove it to him. Right now, he probably thinks you're manipulating him."
Yuuri watched as Viktor talked JJ through his breakup, impressed that he was able to control JJ's emotions as well as he did. JJ never responded like this to anyone else. He typically blew off everyone who tried to give advice, being King JJ and all.
Viktor was so kind, so gentle with JJ. This was a stark contrast from the Viktor Yuuri had been introduced to months before. Not that Viktor had been a tyrant - but this soft and patient Viktor was new.
He didn't realize that he had been completely absorbed in his thoughts until he saw Viktor and JJ giving him a curious look. "Hm?"
"I asked if there was anything else you wanted to add, Mr. Katsuki." Viktor looked amused.
Yuuri blushed. "I'm sorry - I got caught up thinking about something."
"It's okay, Mr. Katsuki. I know you don't approve of me and Yuri."
He frowned. Was that what JJ thought about him? "JJ, that's not true. I've never seen Yurio as happy as he was with you. With that said, I just worry the same thing will happen and he'll get his heart broken again."
Viktor smiled at Yuuri, but he tried to stay focused on JJ and not on the gorgeous man in front of him.
JJ sniffled, but nodded. "I understand. Um - Mr. Nikiforov? Mr. Katsuki? Could you not tell anyone about this? I get enough shit as it is at school. If word got out that I was crying to my teachers on a bench, there's no way I could be Prom King."
"Of course not, JJ." Yuuri thought it was incredibly amusing that JJ thought either of them would spread the news of sad JJ to their campus.
Viktor pressed his finger to his lips. "Although that gives me an idea. JJ, how would you feel about joining our prom committee?"
JJ looked up. "Is Yuri in it?"
They gave him an encouraging smile.
After ordering JJ an Uber, Viktor and Yuuri looked at each other and burst into laughter.
"Well that's not how I pictured this night going." Viktor sighed and crossed his arms. "I could use a drink."
Yuuri laughed. "I could use two drinks."
"Would you like to go get one? I don't know this campus very well, but I do know that every college campus has a bar near it."
"Oh. Um, sure." Yuuri suddenly felt very self-conscious.
Viktor's face fell. "You don't have to come. It's fine. Forget I asked."
"No!" Yuuri reached out and grabbed Viktor's shoulder. The idea that Yuuri was responsible for the sad expression on Viktor's face was too much to bear. "I want to go."
"Great! Let's go!" Viktor began walking down the street towards the stretch of road with all of the restaurants.
They walked in silence, which made Yuuri all the more nervous. He was bordering on dangerous territory. A drink with his boss? It was just a drink. Nothing more. Viktor didn't think about him that way. No way. Yuuri was just his employee.
Viktor led them to a bar that looked promising. It was called The Happy Chicken, and had statues of roosters in front of the doors. Yuuri gave it an amused expression, then walked inside.
"I'll buy the first round. Do you like Long Island Iced Teas?"
Yuuri stared at him. Viktor didn't just want one drink? Even more so, he wanted to drink a lot with him? "Oh - erm - sure."
"So what got you into teaching?" They found a table near the bar to sit at.
"Um - I think I always wanted to be a teacher. It was easy for me to help people. I used to tutor in high school, and I found that I was good at it. The thing was I wasn't sure which subject. Even though I teach history, I'm pretty good at math and English too."
Viktor looked at Yuuri as though he was the most interesting person in the bar. "How did you choose?"
He thought for a few moments. "I liked the idea that history was about people. English is a little bit too, but it's so technical. With history, you can immerse yourself in different cultures and time periods. I used to pretend I was in a different time when things got lonely."
"I can see that. Your parents didn't come here with you?" The bartender brought them their drinks, and Viktor took a sip.
Yuuri shook his head. "They've only been able to come visit twice since I moved to Detroit, and I hadn't gone back to Hasetsu until this winter. How long have you been here?"
Viktor smiled. "I came here with my uncle when I was eight. He wanted me to have a better life than the living conditions in St. Petersburg."
"It's hard adjusting to America, isn't it?" Yuuri took a long drink and shuddered.
"I know. Americans are just different enough for me to always feel like an outsider."
Yuuri held up his glass and clinked it against Viktor's. "I'll drink to that."
Things couldn't have been going better. Yuuri felt like he was finally getting somewhere with Viktor. He wasn't sure what exactly he wanted from him, but he knew that he enjoyed Viktor's company.
They drank their first Long Island Iced Tea down and ordered a second. The room was beginning to spin. Yuuri's tongue felt loose.
Viktor swayed in his seat. "Yes?"
"Did you and Chris ever date?"
He leaned forward and put his hand over Yuuri's drink. "Mr. Katsuki, that's a very inappropriate question to ask your boss."
Yuuri clapped his hand over his mouth, mortified.
Viktor burst into laughter. "I'm kidding. Yes, Chris and I dated on and off in college. We were the only two out brothers in our fraternity. It was never anything serious, though."
He smiled. "That's good."
"Why would that be good?"
Yuuri coughed, feeling himself flush. "I just mean since you two work together. It would be bad if you were trying to sort out your feelings for each other while you were co-workers."
After several moments, Viktor spoke up. "Right. That wouldn't be any good."
They stared at each other in awkward silence. Then, a song came on - Yuuri's favorite.
"You like this song, don't you?" Viktor smiled. "Would you like to dance?"
He stood up and swayed a bit. They moved to an open space at the bar and began to dance. It felt so nice to dance again. He hadn't gone out since -
A memory from the night he got completely drunk hit him like a truck. He had danced with someone tall and lean, someone with hair that fell perfectly over his face. He had kissed that stranger and invited him back to his apartment.
He stared at Viktor in horror. "Did we do this before?"
Viktor froze. "How much of that night do you remember?"
"Oh fuck." Yuuri spun around and went back to their table. "I can't believe this."
A hand rested on Yuuri's shoulder. "Are you alright?"
"Tell me about that night."
Viktor sighed and took a seat across from Yuuri. "I went to go to the happy hour, but I heard everyone complaining about me. I left and went to The Cockpit hoping to find someone to hook up with. Then I saw you, Yuuri. You were completely trashed, dancing on the floor, your eyes closed and head back. I went to check to make sure you were alright, but then - you started dancing with me. I don't know what came over me, but I wanted to dance with you, too."
"You knew it was me from the beginning." Yuuri felt his stomach churning.
A look of frustration spread across Viktor's face. "Yes. I didn't know what was going to happen next."
"I kissed you." Yuuri glared at Viktor. "And you kissed me back."
"Yes." Viktor shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "I'm so sorry, Yuuri. I tried to bring it up to you that next Monday, but based on your response, you didn't want to talk about it or you didn't remember it. I figured it would be better not to remind you."
The room was spinning. Yuuri had danced with Viktor. He had kissed Viktor. Viktor had taken him home, seen his apartment, then never brought it up again. Yuuri felt equal parts betrayed and violated. He was mortified. Was this why Viktor treated him so poorly?
"You figured it would be better I didn't remember." Yuuri drew in a deep breath. "But you treated me differently. I thought it was in my head. You've kept a wall between us all this time. Why?"
Viktor broke their eye contact and began to shred his napkin. "I would think you could figure that out yourself."
Yuuri nodded slowly. Viktor was interested in him, but didn't want to be with him. It was too much. He felt bile rising up in his throat, and he ran to the bathroom, managing to hold it inside until he reached the toilet.
He vomited into the bowl, feeling as though his stomach was flipping. Yuuri slumped against the stall wall, not caring how unsanitary it was.
What more could he say to Viktor? They had made so much progress, only to have this happen.
Yuuri stood and made his way to the sink, splashing water on his face. He would have to go back to Viktor. They would just have to keep things professional.
He managed to walk out the bathroom door with his chin held high. As he approached the bar again, Yuuri looked around.
Viktor was nowhere to be found.
Yuuri was dreading going to school that morning, but he didn't want to call in sick. He was humiliated; left alone at a bar after finding out that he drunkenly kissed his boss months before.
He somehow made it through the day without having to see Viktor, but the afternoon was not so gracious.
He turned and saw Viktor waving to him. As much as he wanted to turn and walk away, Yuuri decided that would not be productive for his career.
“Hello, Mr. Nikiforov. Do you need something?” He decided to be as professional as he could be in hopes that Viktor took the hint.
“Yes, could you see me in your office for a few minutes?”
Yuuri gulped, and followed Viktor inside, closing the door behind them.
“I wanted to apologize for leaving so abruptly the other night. It wasn’t fair to you to just leave you like that.”
“No, erm, it was fine. I acted like an idiot.” Yuuri felt his face flush.
Viktor lowered his eyes. “I don’t want to bring this into school, because things need to stay professional. I just didn’t want you to think poorly of me for my behavior.”
The behavior where he left a nearly crying Yuuri alone? Yuuri definitely had his own insecurities about what happened, but wasn’t holding it against Viktor.
“No, I understand. I freaked out. I do that sometimes.”
“That isn’t it at all.” Viktor reached out and took Yuuri's hand in his. “I just - i can’t.”
Electricity shot through Yuuri’s arm at Viktor’s touch. He stared at the connection. Viktor was so warm, and Yuuri’s hand fit in Viktor’s perfectly. Viktor cleared his throat and pulled away.
“Okay. So you forgive me for my stupidity at the Cockpit?”
Viktor nodded. “There’s nothing to forgive. And you forgive me for acting like an ass?”
Yuuri frowned. How could he say everything he wanted to say to Viktor without sounding like a total tool? “Yes.”
“Anything else you wanted to add?”
“No, I was just thinking maybe you owe me.” Yuuri’s eyes flashed with a smile. “Like no lunch duty tomorrow.”
“I suppose I can make that happen.”
Yuuri definitely solicited a bribe from his hot principal.
Prom committee was starting, and they had decided to go with a galaxy-themed prom. It was a unique idea and would be easy to decorate for.
All hell broke loose when JJ, Leo, and Emil walked through the doors into the cafeteria. Yurio had buried himself into his work, full-on ignoring JJ’s attempts to talk to him. Yuuri and Viktor exchanged a glance, unsure whether or not they should intervene.
Viktor began cutting out butcher paper for banners and Yuuri joined him.
"Things seem to be going well."
Yuuri nodded and tore off a long strip of paper. "I suppose you could say that. Yurio looks ready to murder half the people in this room, including us."
Viktor shrugged. "He has to learn that we aren't here to make him happy."
"But we kind of are, aren't we? Just in a manipulative way."
He laughed. Yuuri loved listening to Viktor laugh. Yuuri began to trace patterns on the butcher paper, getting lost in the monotonous activity.
What did Viktor mean by he couldn't? Was he interested in Yuuri? That was what it sounded like, but Yuuri didn't dare go down that train of thought. Still, there were rules against a staff member and their boss having a romantic relationship. Yuuri was never one to break the rules, even for something he wanted.
"Yuuri, your patterns are uneven."
Yuuri's head shot up and saw Viktor watching him draw. God, Viktor had to criticize even basic things like pattern making. "I wasn't aware we were supposed to make them perfectly."
Viktor raised an eyebrow, then stepped behind Yuuri, taking the back of his hand. His hair tickled the side of Yuuri's face and he smelled like coconut shampoo. Yuuri loved the feel of Viktor's warm body against his back, so much so that he hardly realized that Viktor was guiding his hand, drawing more steady patterns with the pencil they were both holding. He drew in a soft breath, subconsciously pressing his back against Viktor's chest.
"There. Much steadier."
Yuuri turned his head to look at Viktor and realized their faces were inches away. "Are you sure about that?"
His thumb rubbed circles on the back of Yuuri's hand. "No."
Yuuri licked his lips. He only had vague flashes of memory from the night he kissed Viktor. He wanted more. He wanted to remember.
"Oi! Mr. K! Come help me with this!"
He jumped at Yurio's words. Viktor released Yuuri's hand and he turned around sharply.
Yuuri stood and walked across the cafeteria to meet Yurio and Mila, who were coloring in another banner for ticket sales. "What did you need?"
Yurio cackled. "It looked like you were about to rip your clothes off. I thought I'd save you the embarrassment."
Mila stifled a laugh with her hand. Yuuri slowly counted to ten. Unfortunately, Yurio had a valid point.
Yurio narrowed his eyes. "More importantly, did you tell him to come to this?"
Yuuri shrugged. "He was looking for another extracurricular. Was I supposed to tell him no?"
"Yes. I thought you were on my side."
"Yurio, I'm a teacher. I don't take sides." Yuuri sat down beside Yurio and began to doodle on the banner.
That wasn't exactly true. Yuuri invited JJ for the sole purpose of helping Yurio. Even though JJ drove him up the wall, it was clear that they still loved each other.
"I think you just like watching me reject him."
Yuuri traced another pattern on the butcher paper. "You used your tutor to make him jealous."
"It was his idea." Yurio shook some glitter on the paper.
Yuuri stopped and turned to Yurio. "Are you two getting any work done?"
Yurio shrugged, then blew the loose glitter at Yuuri's face. "I'm back to a 95 in Calculus, so you tell me."
"That's good news, I guess."
"How are things with Principal Hot Butt?" Yurio took out a ruler and began to trace lines.
Yuuri felt his face flush. "Is that what you guys are calling him?"
Yurio flicked Yuuri's ear. "We're calling him far worse things than that, but I'd hate to sully the perfect image you have of him."
"Mr. Plisetsky, would you come help me and JJ and tell us if we have it centered?"
Yurio groaned as he saw Viktor and JJ on ladders trying to hang one of their banners along the wall. Yuuri watched Viktor lean forward, his lithe body extending past the ladder. He was so tall, so perfectly shaped. Principal Hot Butt was a vast understatement.
The students let out a cheer as they finished hanging the banner. Yuuri clapped along with them. At least this was turning out more smoothly than he expected it to be.
Yuri determinedly ignored JJ as he and Mila walked out of the cafeteria.
"Okay, Yurio, you've been avoiding everyone except that college kid lately. What's going on?"
He grabbed Mila's arm and pulled her to a less-traveled hallway. "Promise you won't say anything. Not even to Sara."
Mila looked at Yuri suspiciously, but nodded. "I won't."
"Otabek is pretending to be my boyfriend to make JJ jealous so he wants me back."
She frowned. "But doesn't he want you back anyway?"
"Yes, but he wants to keep me a secret until after graduation." Yuri bit his lip. "I don't want to go back into the closet."
"Yurio, we graduate in less than a month. Wouldn't it be easier if you just dated in secret until graduation? Is it really worth your pride if you have the option to be with him? You two could be happy if you just went along with it. His dad won't have to know."
Mila had a point, but Yuri still wasn't convinced. "Will it really stop after graduation, though? Will he bring me to family functions? Will he - will he cheat on me again?"
"That sounds like a conversation you will need to have with him."
Yuri nodded. "You're probably right."
Mila raised an eyebrow. "I don't know if you've ever admitted that I was right before."
"Whatever." Yuri nudged her with his shoulder and they walked down the hallway back to Mila's car.
As they approached the parking lot, they saw JJ standing beside his Mercedes watching them.
"Yuri, can we talk?"
"What do you want?" At this point, being rude to JJ was like second nature.
JJ gulped. "You know what I want. Can I drive you home?"
Mila stepped on Yuri's foot. "He'd love for you to take him home."
Yuri glared at her. Traitor. "Fine."
He walked over to JJ's car, opened the passenger door, and slid inside, dropping his backpack in the back seat. JJ shot him an enormous smile as he climbed into his car, making Yuri's heart ache and swell simultaneously.
It was silent at first until JJ turned on some stupid indie playlist from his phone. Yuri refused to be the first one to speak. Still, JJ seemed content to drive in silence. He always felt safe when JJ drove him around, even when he drove like an idiot.
"Instead of taking me home, can you take me to the hill?"
JJ let out a gasp of surprise. "The hill?"
Yuri nodded. "Don't make such a big deal about it."
"I won't say another word if you don't want me to."
JJ, true to his word, didn't speak again. He took them out of the suburbs and into the ski area just outside of town, driving through the hills with precision. The snow was almost completely melted, but the ravaged roads were bumpy in JJ's small car.
He turned left at a fork in the road and hit a dirt road. They drove much slower, but Yuri looked out the window, Detroit and Lake Michigan coming into view as they approached the top of the hill.
Yuri and JJ had discovered this place by accident, having made a wrong turn to go on a hike. They had kept it a secret, as it would surely become a popular spot for their classmates to hook up. He and JJ had certainly taken advantage of the solace.
Once JJ reached the clearing, he stopped and put the car in park, then turned to Yuri.
Yuri's heart was beating so hard, he was sure JJ could hear it.
"How's your friend - Otabek?" JJ's voice cracked.
"He's fine. And he's just that. A friend, I mean." Yuri spoke quickly, unable to look at JJ.
JJ leaned closer. Yuri hadn't been this close to JJ since the party. Not since they kissed and JJ rejected him. "Yuri, I miss you so much."
Yuri could feel the heat from JJ's body. He rested his head on the headrest of his seat and squeezed his eyes shut. "I miss you too." Tears threatened to escape from his eyes. "But I don't know what to do about it."
"Yes, you do." JJ reached forward and tucked Yuri's hair behind his ear.
"Are you still with her?"
JJ let out a long breath. "Yuri, I was never with her. I put out an advertisement on Craigslist and she offered to pretend to date me to get my dad off my back. And then I planned to have you catch us kissing. I couldn't break up with you myself."
That made Yuri open his eyes and turn to JJ. "You're an idiot, you know that?"
"I want to be your idiot as long as you'll have me."
"You never felt anything for her."
"So you were pretending to date her and I was pretending to date Otabek."
"You never actually cheated on me."
"I would never do that, Yuri-chan."
Yuri stared into JJ's blue eyes. "After graduation, you will be able to be with me publicly?"
JJ nodded. "Dad is going on a business trip this summer, and Mom already knows I'm gay."
"And what happens when your dad gets back and finds out we're together?"
"I'll have access to my trust fund and be the sole owner of my bank account and hopefully he'll come to accept me."
Every drawback, every concern Yuri had, had an answer. Yuri crashed their lips together. JJ responded eagerly, wasting no time and gripped Yuri's form closer to his chest. Their tongues slid together as the kiss deepened, and Yuri let out a whimper. Everything about this felt so right, like he was exactly where he was supposed to be.
Except perhaps they should be several feet behind him.
Yuri broke from the kiss to climb into the backseat, tugging the collar of JJ's shirt. They readjusted so JJ was sitting in the backseat and Yuri was straddling him, and resumed their kiss. He rocked his hips forward, pressing his erection against JJ's equally hard cock. Yuri wasn't sure if it was that it was JJ, that he hadn't been with anyone else in months, that he was just a horny teenager, or some combination of all three, but he was already painfully close to climax.
"Want you so bad, Yuri-chan." JJ spoke between their lips. "But I don't think I can last."
Yuri nodded. "Me neither."
He reached down and unzipped JJ's fly and gripped the outline of his cock. JJ threw his head back and let out a low cry. "Oh my god."
JJ fumbled with Yuri's pants, eventually reaching inside Yuri's underwear and wrapping his fingers around his erection. Yuri thrust into his hand, timing JJ's motions with his own.
"Oh - fuck - JJ - just like that!" Yuri leaned down and kissed JJ again, needing to be closer, needing to feel every inch of his body.
Being with JJ was addictive. It had been so long since they were together, and even though they had both changed, it still felt just as right. Yuri fit perfectly in JJ's arms, and it was everything he could have ever wanted.
JJ's fingers were too much; Yuri came with a cry, pleasure nearly overwhelming him to tears. He kept pumping JJ's cock, and he soon followed, come coating their hands and pants.
Yuri collapsed against JJ, unable to move after his climax. JJ used his free hand to stroke Yuri's hair.
"We steamed up the whole car."
JJ chuckled. "I guess we did." He pressed a kiss to Yuri's neck.
"What now?" Yuri reached for his backpack and found a pack of tissues, wiping his hands and did his best to wipe off his pants. He handed a tissue to JJ.
"Now, you are my boyfriend again." JJ flashed him a nervous smile. "If you'll have me."
Yuri nodded slowly. "I'd like that."
"And I promise, Yuri-chan. We keep this a secret until graduation and then I'll tell everyone." JJ clasped Yuri's hands with his.
"You'd better." Yuri pressed a kiss to JJ's forehead and climbed off him. "Now, take me home."
Yuuri sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. It was Friday afternoon, and time seemed to have moved into a different dimension where everything ran in slow motion. He had checked his phone five times and only two minutes passed.
Yurio appeared to be extremely pleased with his situation - Yuuri had already caught him and JJ making out in the copy room twice. He was worried about Yurio, but they seemed to be very happy together even if it meant dating in secret for now.
Viktor, meanwhile, seemed to take every opportunity for them to spend time together. They'd been working on vendors for prom, which had taken far longer than they anticipated, staying at school in his office until almost 8. As they left together, Yuuri wanted to steal some kisses himself, but Viktor had made it clear he wasn't interested.
The worst part of it was how very interested Yuuri was. He couldn't get Viktor off his mind. Viktor was equal parts infuriating and adorable, and Yuuri had never wanted someone so much.
His phone buzzed and he nearly fell out of his chair. Yuuri checked his phone and stared at the sender. It was from Viktor.
We've been working too hard on prom. Meet me at Pockets tonight at 7 instead?
Viktor wanted Yuuri to go to a pool hall with him? Yuuri wasn't great at pool, but he wanted to spend more time with Viktor.
Okay. This time I buy the drinks.
Seven couldn't come soon enough.
He entered the pool hall and looked around. Viktor was at the bar with a plate of nachos and beer. Yuuri stepped beside him and tapped him on the shoulder.
"I thought I was very clear in my text."
Viktor turned and his face broke out into a smile. "Yuuri!"
Yuuri fought the flush forming on his cheeks. "Why pool?"
"I thought it would be fun. I haven't played billiards in ages." Viktor shrugged and handed Yuuri a pint. "I have the corner table reserved for us."
"Should we have invited the other teachers?"
Viktor stopped and looked at him with an earnest expression. "Did you want to invite someone else?"
"No." Yuuri bit his lip and walked to the table, then set down his drink and pulled a pool cue from the wall. "Do you want to break?"
Viktor nodded. They racked the balls and Viktor put some chalk on the tip of his cue. He bit his lip as he stared across the table, completely focused on the break. Yuuri felt no shame in watching Viktor, enraptured by his beauty. Viktor's pale hair fell loosely over his forehead as he leaned forward. Yuuri wanted to reach out and tuck it behind his ear.
He heard the cracking of the solid and striped balls zipping around the table. Yuuri glanced down and watched one of each fall into a pocket. Of course Viktor was good at pool. He was good at everything.
Viktor looked up. "I'll take solids, if that's okay."
He missed the ball, and Yuuri took his turn, sending his first striped ball into a middle pocket. Viktor narrowed his eyes at Yuuri as he put another ball in, then another before finally missing a tricky shot.
"You're pretty good yourself, aren't you?" Viktor knocked the 2-ball into a corner pocket. "But I'm better."
Viktor was very competitive. As the game stayed on the same ground, Viktor began to look uneasy. Yuuri was extremely competitive himself, and began to lose himself in the game, no longer paying attention to Viktor or to anyone else around them.
Yuuri's streak at the beginning of the game turned out to be in his favor. He had just the eight ball left, while Viktor still had another ball to knock in.
The ball rolled swiftly into the corner pocket. Yuuri pumped his fists in the air and cheered. Viktor looked dejected for a moment, but then held out his hand. Yuuri clasped his hand and they shook.
"You're pretty good."
Yuuri chuckled. "Phichit and I played a lot in college. It was something we'd do to blow off steam between papers."
"I can tell you blew off a lot of steam in college."
He looked down and realized they were still shaking hands. Yuuri cleared his throat and pulled his hand away.
"You're really competitive."
Viktor stretched his arms over his head and twisted back and forth. Yuuri tried not to stare. "I used to play a lot of sports in school. I used to love coming up with creative plays in soccer. And I can do some trick shots in pool."
Yuuri set up a couple balls and motioned to it. "Show me?"
He gave Yuuri a nervous grin and showed him a few jump shots, only one of which actually made the ball go in. Yuuri laughed and tried a few of his own, met with equal amounts of success. By the end of the hour, they had set up several pool cues and balls in succession and were trying some ridiculous trick shots they found on YouTube.
"Did you want to pay for another hour?"
Viktor shook his head. "Let's go for a walk."
They put away the cues and balls and walked out of the pool hall, heading towards a nearby park.
"We're almost done with the school year."
Viktor nodded. "Yeah. Chris, Lilia, and I just met about gradation today."
"That's exciting. Are you giving a big speech?" Yuuri shifted and covered his arms. It was cold for late April.
"Hopefully not too big a speech."
"You're a good speaker, so it'll go well. Very charming and motivating."
Viktor stopped and turned to Yuuri. He mentally berated himself as he realized he said those words out loud.
"I just meant -"
"You think I'm charming?" Viktor tilted his head to the side, a small smile playing at his lips.
He couldn't fight it anymore. Yuuri turned and gripped Viktor's hips. He pulled Viktor closer to him, and they both gasped as Yuuri pressed his lips to Viktor's.
Viktor deepened the kiss, wrapping his arms around Yuuri. He had been cold just moments before, but he felt a wave of heat wash over him. Yuuri tried not to moan as he felt Viktor's tongue sliding against his.
The drunken kiss they shared months before paled in comparison. Yuuri held Viktor tightly as they continued to kiss. It felt inevitable, as though every bit of stress and fear, every moment he spent wanting Viktor had led up to this moment. Viktor tasted of beer and nachos, but Yuuri didn't mind.
He felt Viktor's thumb caress his cheek. Yuuri opened his eyes and pulled back slightly.
"I've wanted to do that since I first saw you."
"Oh." Yuuri wasn't sure what else to say.
"We can't do this, though."
Yuuri dropped his hands from Viktor's side. "Why not?"
Viktor pulled away and looked to the side. "I just started working here. I'm your boss. I'd be taking advantage."
He stared at Viktor. "There aren't any rules about it in the employee handbook. I checked."
"Um - yeah." Yuuri tried not to be too embarrassed.
"Be that as it may, there's a certain stigma a boss receives when word gets out that he's sleeping with one of his employees."
"Excuse me?" Tears formed at his eyes. Was that what this was? Just a hookup?
Viktor ran his fingers through his hair. "This is going terribly. I just mean - I don't want people judging me or you, for that matter."
Yuuri drew in a slow breath. He clenched his fists. "Then why the hell would you ask me on a date tonight? Because, that's what this is, right? A date?"
He nodded, then looked down. "I'm sorry, Yuuri. I can't risk my career."
"You sound like JJ."
"This isn't some high school romance." Viktor opened his mouth to speak again, but Yuuri held up his hand.
"JJ is risking literal millions of dollars to be with the person he loves, and you're worried about what people might think." Yuuri shook his head. "I'm going home. Do whatever you want. Just make sure your reputation is intact in the morning."
Yuuri turned around and stormed out of the park, found his car, and collapsed inside of the driver's seat, sobs finally escaping from his throat.
Yuuri straightened his tie and looked in the mirror. He put some gel in his hair and slicked it back, hating the cold feeling. His eyes widened. He looked like someone else, especially with his contacts rather than glasses.
Prom was that night, and as one of the coordinators, he would have to get there early and finish setting up. Yurio had spent most of his time stealing moments with JJ rather than actually helping, but it seemed as though the rest of the prom committee were picking of their slack.
He wasn't feeling in much of a prom mood. Viktor appeared to be avoiding him for the past several weeks, but Yuuri caught his eye multiple times during staff meetings and the hallway. Yuuri had grown accustomed to Viktor's presence in his classroom throughout the week, but he had stopped visiting.
In January, Yuuri would have been thrilled. Now, it was May and he would kill to see Viktor's judgmental eyes watching his teaching. He wanted something, anything that might show Viktor cared about him.
Yuuri couldn't decide what exactly he wanted from Viktor. Would he be happy with a professional relationship? Or would it be too hard for Yuuri to avoid the inevitable, the longing to be with him? He shook his head. He couldn't think like that.
He gathered the rest of his things and drove to school. Once he got to the gym, his eyes widened at the sight of Yuri yelling like a drill sergeant and everyone falling in love. Yuuri smiled.
"Oi, Mila! Get the fucking cups from the car!"
Mila, wearing a short red dress, turned and raised an eyebrow at Yurio. "You get the fucking cups. I'm helping Otabek."
One of the concessions Yuuri made in the prom planning was that Otabek was to be the DJ for prom. Yurio had insisted that Otabek was qualified and also needed the money. Yuuri had eventually agreed.
"Hey Mr. K, it's about time you got here. I've got almost everything set up."
Yuuri walked close to Yurio and looked around the gym. "Yeah, it looks like you have everything under control."
"Of course I do."
JJ ran over to Yurio and held up a bag of balloons. "Do we have any helium left?"
Yurio pointed to the helium tank next to the other bag of balloons. "Pay attention, dumbass."
"I love you." JJ turned and jogged over to the tank.
"That seems to be going well."
Yurio's cheeks pinkened and he seemed to fight a smile. "Yeah. What about you, Mr. K? Figured things out with Principal Tight Ass?"
"Don't call him that. And no, there's nothing to figure out. He made that abundantly clear already."
He patted Yuuri's shoulder. "That sucks."
Yuuri shook his head. "It's fine. I don't have time to get caught up in a scandal anyways."
"Well, maybe this summer, you can go to a resort and find a hot cabana boy to serve your every need."
"Don't be lewd, Yurio."
"Okay, I have to go get ready. Can I trust you to finish setting up?" Yurio put his hands on his hips and glared at Yuuri.
Yuuri pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm pretty sure I can handle it, Yurio."
"You look hot, Mr. K. He'll notice you." Yurio turned, gathered a bag sitting beside the table of food, and walked to the locker room. Yuuri pretended he didn't notice JJ follow him in there a few minutes later. Trying to keep them apart was harder than getting freshmen to understand the nuances of the Cold War.
It had taken a blown-out speaker, a ripped dress, missing streamers, and a screaming Yurio, but 7PM had finally come and students were dancing. Prom had officially begun.
Yurio and JJ were wearing matching black suits with pinstripes and hats. They looked ridiculous, but never happier. It seemed as though JJ had relaxed a bit about keeping their relationship a secret.
Yuuri wanted that with someone, badly. He had spent most of his adult years alone. He was twenty five and he was ready to find someone to love.
Chris came up to him and offered him a cup of punch. "Do we have to worry about spiking the punch?"
He snorted and took the cup. "I'm sure Lilia is watching the punch bowl like a hawk."
They looked over and sure enough, Lilia was glaring at students as they got a drink. Chris put an arm around Yuuri and smiled. "I feel like we haven't talked in a while. What's going on?"
The song changed to something slower and Yuuri felt a wave of sadness wash over him. "Nothing. I'm fine."
"That doesn't sound fine." Chris frowned and squeezed his shoulder. "I know I'm not the school counselor, but you can always talk to me."
Yuuri drew in a slow breath. "Really, I'm okay. I just - I'll be fine. It's a stupid crush."
"You know I'm taken now, right?" Chris gave Yuuri a sultry look and motioned to a dark-haired man, who waved at them.
"Whatever." Yuuri laughed and turned to Chris. "Do you know when Viktor is coming?"
Comprehension filled Chris's face. "Oh, Yuuri."
Oops. Yuuri stepped back from Chris and shook his head. "No, no, it isn't like that."
Chris looked straight into Yuuri's eyes, his face somber. "He told me there was someone. I didn't realize it was you."
"It isn't." Yuuri crossed his arms and looked away. "It's nothing."
He fought the lump in his throat. He wanted Viktor more than anything. Chris was safe to talk to, but Yuuri didn't want to appear vulnerable. It would inevitably get back to Viktor.
"Viktor has spent a long time cultivating his public image. He probably doesn't want to ruin his reputation. Plus, you're on the short list for lead teacher. Imagine the rumors if word got out you two were dating."
Yuuri blinked. "I'm being considered for lead teacher?"
Chris smacked his face with his hand. "Damn, you weren't supposed to know about that until next week. Yes, Mr. Katsuki, we'd like you to come in for a discussion next Thursday about what the expected duties are of a lead teacher and if it's something you'd be interested in doing."
"I don't know what to say."
"Hopefully, it cheers you up." Chris stepped forward again. "I hope the issues with Viktor don't deter you from taking that position."
"I was thinking about transferring, actually." The words came out before Yuuri could even register what he was saying.
He supposed it was true, that he couldn't work with someone he was in love with and have them not love him back.
Chris froze. "Don't do that, Yuuri."
Phichit came over to them and munched on some of the carrots on his appetizer plate. "You guys look so serious."
Yuuri shrugged. "Sorry, Phichit. Let's go have some fun. We can show these kids how to dance!"
"Yuuri." Chris tried to continue their discussion, but Yuuri held up his hand and walked away.
He and Phichit began to dance. They both had a bit of dance experience, and began to tango. It was entirely the wrong music choice for the dance, but the students began cheering and clearing space as Yuuri spun Phichit around and around.
Once the song was over, Yuuri and Phichit took a bow and headed over to the punch table. "I feel like we haven't talked in ages."
"I know, it's been a busy semester."
Phichit eyed Yuuri. "Are you alright?"
"Not you too!" Yuuri gave Phichit a playful shove. "I'm fine."
Yuuri watched as Yurio, clearly determined to outdance him and Phichit, dragged JJ to the dance floor and began to dance with renewed vigor. He snorted as JJ lifted him easily and spun him in the air.
"Put me the fuck down!"
JJ slowly released Yurio so he slid down his front and were eventually face to face. Yuuri watched as Yurio gave JJ a smile. He wished Yurio would smile like that more often.
"Do you think he's going to keep valedictorian?"
Yuuri turned back to Phichit. "I doubt JJ will give it to him easily, but JJ doesn't need the ranking as much as Yurio. Look how JJ looks at him. It's like he's the only one in the world."
Phichit crossed his arms. "There is one person who looks at you like that."
He motioned to the entrance of the gym, where Viktor was standing. Yuuri subconsciously slicked his hair back and tried not to stare at Viktor, who was wearing a tuxedo completely tailored to fit his body.
His eyes traveled to the person standing next to him. Yuuri had never seen him before; he was almost as tall as Viktor, with dark hair and green eyes. He was more muscular than Yuuri and was very attractive.
Yuuri swallowed and watched as Viktor touched the stranger's arm and pointed to the dance floor. They were standing very close. Too close.
Was this why Viktor refused to get closer to Yuuri? He preferred someone else? Or worse, he was already with someone else?
His stomach sank to the floor and his knees felt weak. Yuuri heard roaring in his ears and he watched as Viktor walked over to Lilia and introduced his mystery date.
He had worked on prom for months, but in that moment, he couldn't stay. Yuuri had to leave. It was too much to see someone else beside Viktor.
Phichit's voice rang in his ears but Yuuri ignored him and tried to slink around the perimeter of the gym to leave without causing a scene.
Yuuri clenched his fists, balling up all of his dejection and misery, made it to his car, and finally let his tears overtake him.
It was Wednesday and Yuuri still hadn't left his apartment. He moved between his bed and couch with the occasional break for food, but he couldn't find the motivation to make it into school. Yuuri texted Chris, refusing to communicate with Viktor.
He couldn't bear if it Viktor knew how much he affected Yuuri.
Yuuri knew it wasn't just the fact that he saw Viktor with someone else. It had been all of the months leading up to that perfect kiss and then nothing. If Viktor really were worried about his image, why would he parade around some gorgeous man at prom?
Why wasn't Yuuri enough?
His doorbell rang and Yuuri sat up. Yurio had visited once, but it was the middle of the school day and he wasn't likely to leave right before AP exams.
He rolled over on the couch and turned up the volume on some show about rich people buying tiny houses.
The doorbell rang again, followed by several quick knocks.
Yuuri would recognize that voice anywhere. Viktor's voice sounded like home.
Viktor knocked twice more. "I know you're in there. Can we talk?"
He sat in silence for a few moments, then Viktor knocked again.
"I can say everything I need to out here, but I'd rather see you in person. And I doubt your neighbors want to hear me."
Yuuri stood up. It seemed Viktor could be infuriating even when Yuuri wanted nothing to do with him. He unlocked the door and turned the knob.
Viktor walked past Yuuri, not even waiting for an invitation inside. "Good morning. Can you please tell me why you haven't been to work this week?"
He refused to look at Viktor. "I'm sick."
"You don't look sick."
Yuuri walked into the kitchen and filled his electric kettle with water. "Would you like any tea?"
"Sure." Viktor followed Yuuri and rested his hands on Yuuri's shoulders, giving him a squeeze. "Talk to me. Chris told me a little, but I want to hear it from you."
Yuuri said the first thing that he could think of. Viktor was so close and so distracting. "I'd like to put in my resignation."
Viktor's mouth dropped open. "Why?"
"I can't do this anymore." He turned away and opened his cabinet, taking out two mugs. Yuuri's heart was racing. He felt a lump in his throat. "Viktor, I can't stop thinking about you. And you - you're moving on."
Viktor grabbed Yuuri's shaking hands and frowned. "What?"
Yuuri looked away, but Viktor pinched his chin and turned him forward. He felt unbelievably vulnerable. "I saw you with that guy at prom."
He blinked. "Stephane? You think he's my boyfriend?"
"You were flirting with him." Yuuri hated that his voice sounded so accusatory. It wasn't as though Yuuri had claim to Viktor in any way.
"Yuuri, I was trying to be charming because he's a candidate to lead our special education department next year."
He felt a little stupid, but that didn't change how he felt. "It doesn't matter. One day you will get a boyfriend and I don't think I can handle it. Viktor, I'm in love with you."
Viktor rushed forward and kissed Yuuri. Before he could deepen the kiss, Yuuri pushed him away. "What the hell?"
"I-" Viktor looked confused.
"This is why I need to leave. I can't be around you. You can be with me in public or not at all."
The kettle began to boil and clicked off. Yuuri unplugged it and waited for a response from Viktor.
Finally, Viktor began to speak. "Yuuri, I'm so sorry. I've managed to fuck everything up, haven't I? Um, I acted like an asshole. A horrible, cruel asshole. Not getting to spend time with you has made me miserable. I was a total idiot. Please, forgive me."
With that, Viktor dropped to his knees and took Yuuri's hands in his. "I know I don't deserve it, but I want to make it up to you as long as you're willing to have me."
Yuuri's stomach was doing cartwheels. Viktor Nikiforov, the man who had haunted his dreams for the past five months, was on his knees begging for forgiveness. "What about all that crap you said about your public image?"
"I would be thrilled to introduce you as my boyfriend to anyone who I meet, even our board members."
"Get off your knees." Yuuri tugged Viktor up. "Are you sure this is what you want?"
Viktor nodded. "I'm exactly where I want to be."
"Good. Then kiss me."
Their kiss was gentle at first. Viktor was tentative, but Yuuri deepened it, wrapping his arms around Viktor. It was only their third kiss, but it finally felt right this time. Once Viktor seemed to realize that Yuuri was pushing for more, he slid his hand under Yuuri's shirt, running his fingers along Yuuri's skin. It sent goosebumps down Yuuri's arms and he deepened the kiss further, their tongues pressing against each other.
Viktor let out a low moan in the back of his throat and pressed his body closer to Yuuri. He could feel every inch of Viktor's body, and it was so warm, so right. They fit together perfectly.
Yuuri broke the kiss and pressed their foreheads together. "Bedroom?"
He nodded and they walked to the bedroom, hand in hand.
"You know, the last time I was here you asked me to stay."
Yuuri winced. "I don't remember much about the drive home."
Viktor gave Yuuri a smile. "I know. You told me you just wanted someone to hold you. I was really tempted, but I didn't want to take advantage of you. If you had continued to push me, I don't think I could have resisted."
He sat down on the bed and pulled Viktor down, kissing him again. Viktor responded to the kiss and they laid down together, allowing their hands to run up and down each other's bodies.
Yuuri pulled away to remove his shirt. Viktor took the hint and tugged his off as well. His body was unbelievably toned. Yuuri reached over and pinched his nipple. Viktor gave him a nervous smile and began to kiss Yuuri's neck, pressing wet kisses against his skin.
With just these kisses, Yuuri was almost fully hard. He thrust up, desperate for friction, but Viktor ignored him and continued to kiss down, spending some time to lick at each nipple.
"Viktor - please -"
Viktor ran his fingers down Yuuri's torso and rested them against Yuuri's hardness. "May I?"
He tugged Yuuri's sweatpants off and stared down at him. "You're so beautiful."
Yuuri felt so exposed to Viktor, laying on his back completely naked. But the expression on Viktor's face made all of his nerves dissipate. He shivered and stroked Viktor's cheek. He threw his head back as Viktor dipped his head down and pressed a kiss to Yuuri's cock.
Viktor needed lube and a condom. Yuuri's brain was racing, but he managed to reach across the bed and opened his nightstand drawer, pulling out a condom and bottle of lube. Viktor took it from him and squeezed some oil into his hand.
He threw his head back as Viktor's forefinger breached him. It had been so long since anyone had touched him, been inside him, but this felt different. This was better than anything Yuuri had ever experienced, and they had only just begun.
Viktor prepared Yuuri slowly and gently, putting those long talented fingers to good use. He spoke words of praise as he stretched Yuuri, using his other hand to trail fingers up and down his body.
By the time Viktor had three fingers inside of him, Yuuri was dripping in sweat and need, thrusting his hips upward. Still, he needed more. He needed Viktor.
Yuuri sat up and grabbed Viktor by the shoulders, pulling him down into a kiss. Viktor let out a surprised moan and kissed him back, his fingers curling inside Yuuri to press against his prostate. He tightened his muscles around Viktor's fingers, rocking his hips back and forth.
He pulled away from Viktor and gave him a desperate look. "I'm ready."
"Are you sure?"
Yuuri nodded. "Fuck me."
Viktor removed his fingers and wiped them on a tissue, then opened the condom with his teeth. He slid it down his cock. Yuuri watched in anticipation, laying down and spreading his legs.
He lined himself up with Yuuri's entranced and pushed his way inside. Yuuri's toes curled at the pressure, but he took in slow breaths to adjust.
"Are you alright?"
Yuuri looked up into Viktor's concerned face with a smile. "I'm fine. This time, I mean it."
Viktor began to move with shallow thrusts at first, but as Yuuri responded, he moved quicker. Yuuri moaned and gripped the bed so hard his knuckles turned white. It felt amazing, exactly what Yuuri had fantasized about many times over.
He reached down and wrapped his fingers around Yuuri's cock, beginning to stroke it up and down. He felt electricity shoot through his body. Yuuri let out a sob.
"Yuuri - I can't last much longer. You're so tight - so beautiful."
Yuuri clenched his eyes shut and came with a shout. Viktor snapped his hips several more times before falling forward with a whimper as he came.
They lay together for a moment, messy, sticky, and sweaty.
Viktor stroked Yuuri's cheek and pressed a kiss to his neck. "That was amazing. You are amazing."
Yuuri chuckled. "That was shorter than I expected."
He pulled out of Yuuri and rolled over, disposing of the condom in the trash bin next to the bed. "Why, Yuuri, I guess that means I'll have to prove to you that I have stamina."
He pulled Viktor close. "I guess you're right."
"I stand before you today as the valedictorian of Sycamore Ridge High School. It's been an interesting four years, where I studied all night, experienced extreme disappointment, and didn't always get what I wanted."
Yuri looked around the auditorium from the podium. Otabek and his grandfather smiled back at him from the audience. Otabek gave him a thumbs up.
He cleared his throat. "Despite the unpleasant moments, Sycamore Ridge taught me more than just academics. I came into this school an unhappy, sarcastic freshman. While I'm sure those who know me would still call me sarcastic, they probably also would describe me as comfortable with myself. My teachers taught me that, particularly Mr. Katsuki."
Yuri glanced over to the front row where the staff was sitting. Mr. K was wiping his eyes with a tissue. His eyes widened as he saw Mr. Nikiforov rest his hand on the small of Mr. K's back. So that was resolved. Perhaps that was why Yuri couldn't get a hold of him the past few days.
The students weren't ignorant to the fact that school had gotten even better since Mr. Nikiforov had started as principal. Some of the teachers who weren't as engaging as Mr. K gave more interesting and helpful lessons.
"I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the importance of friendships and support. If there's one thing I learned at Sycamore Ridge, it's that you can't go through life alone. Value those who are willing to put up with your sh- crap."
He looked to Mila and Sara, who were sitting next to each other. Mila flipped him off and Sara gave her a light push.
"I'm thankful to everyone who contributed to my success - and my failures. Without losing, winning wouldn't feel nearly as sweet. With that, I'd like to pass the microphone on to this year's elected speaker and salutatorian, Jean Jacques Leroy."
The crowd gave Yuri a round of applause. Yuri could feel JJ's presence as he moved closer to the microphone. He knew JJ's parents were in the audience, so he didn't do anything stupid. But he felt JJ's hand squeeze his as they switched spots behind the podium as Yuri took a seat. He tried not to blush.
He tried to listen to JJ's speech, far motivational than his, but all Yuri could do is watch the way his body moved and twisted, how his lips curled into a smile as he spoke. Somehow, JJ made the oversized maroon graduation robes look sexy. By the end of his speech, the entire audience, including Yuri, was eating out of his hand. JJ had a particular charisma that was unrivaled. All Yuri could think about was the hotel room JJ had reserved for them after the Crispino's graduation party.
Mr. Nikiforov stood up and called each graduate up to receive their diploma. When Yuri's name was called, he stood from the stage and as he shook Mr. Nikiforov's hand, he fixed him with a stare.
"Don't let him go, sir."
As he walked away, he heard Mr. Nikiforov's response.
Yuri smiled a bright smile and punched the air as he hopped off the stage to join his friends in the audience. Mila and Sara clapped him on the shoulder and they watched as the rest of their classmates took their diplomas.
He watched JJ as he stepped down the platform and approached them, handing out high fives to everyone he passed. Yuri was dating a great goofy asshole.
Yuri wasn't sure where his life would lead in the coming years. The relationships he forged the past few years helped shape who he was now. Graduation was supposed to be an end to something, but instead, it felt like a beginning.
It felt fucking fantastic.
My alpha readers have had some requests to write a sequel, some of the pre-fic Pliroy, as well as maybe some of the Frat Boys Vichris, so I may play with this verse a little bit!
Title comes from Stay by Echos.