Yuuri’s not sure why he’s surprised by how heavy Viktor is as they make their way back from Minako-sensei’s bar, but he is. Still, Yuuri can’t help the fond laughter that falls from his lips when Viktor nearly knocks them both over when he leans suddenly to their left.
“Yuuri look! A cute dog!”
It doesn’t take long for Yuuri to find the couple across the street taking their dog for a late night stroll. Even after all these months, Yuuri still feels flashes of grief so strong they knock the breath out of him. It’s harder now that he’s back in Hasetsu and he sees reminders of Vicchan everwhere, like right now.
Summers are always warm and humid and with Vicchan’s thick curly fur he hated taking walks in the afternoons, afraid his sweet dog would overheat and fall ill. So, the memory of similar late night walks with Vicchan rattle around in his mind but he quickly nudges them to the back of his mind as he concentrates on getting him and Viktor home in one piece.
“Viktor,” he chides gently as he adjusts his grip on Viktor’s thighs wrapped around his waist so the other man doesn’t bruise his tailbone from falling onto the sidewalk below them.
Viktor makes a sad sound before he buries his face into the nape of Yuuri’s neck. “I’m sorry, please don’t be mad at me,” he pleads and Yuuri has to quickly repress the shiver that wants to trickle down his spine when Viktor’s breath caresses his skin and his accent thickens thanks to a combination of alcohol and exhaustion.
“I’m not mad, I just don’t want to drop you,” he says, softly, too afraid to disrupt their little bubble of intimacy.
There’s a beat of silence before Viktor slowly lifts his head up. “You promise?” he asks and Yuuri hates how small he sounds. It makes him wonder about how people treated Viktor before he crashed into Yuuri’s life like an asteroid that was impossible to escape from.
And Yuuri isn’t as oblivious as he lets people believe, he catches the way Viktor looks at him sometimes when Viktor believes he’s not paying attention. But Yuuri is because it’s impossible not to be viscerally aware of Viktor whenever they’re in the same room.
(He’s sure by now, that Viktor realizes Yuuri looks back, is completely incapable of not looking at him like he’s someone who’s cherished.)
So, even though they haven’t kissed or put what’s happening between them into words Yuuri knows he’s going to spend the rest of his life making sure Viktor never sounds like that again. “I promise. I love how much you love dogs, it’s adorable,” he murmurs, just loud enough for the wind to carry his voice to Viktor’s ears and no farther.
It takes a few moments before Viktor’s giggling lips brush against the shell of his ear and this time there’s no stopping the way his spine shivers. “You’re adorable too, Yuu~ri.”
The rest of the trip back to Yutopia is spent in a comfortable silence, wrapping around the two of them like it’s their favorite blanket, the kind you break out on rainy days that’s well-loved and a little frayed at the edges.
It’s weird for Yuuri to feel at ease like this when for so long silence has been something he’s only sought out to escape the way life suddenly became too loud, too overwhelming and he needed solitude. But this silence with Viktor? It’s something Yuuri never thought he’d have with another person. Never believed it was possible to feel this safe, this comfortable with someone who meant so much to him.
When they reach the stairs that’ll take them up to their shared hallway Yuuri hesitates, clearly forgetting about this little obstacle when he told Viktor he would carry him back home after it was clear the other man wouldn’t be able to walk a straight line.
If Yuuri was totally sober he’d be halfway up the stairs by now but the faint buzz of all the sake they drank is causing his mind to feel hazy. Still, he’s determined, so he hikes Viktor higher on his waist, ignoring the cute squeak of surprise Viktor makes when he does and turns his head slightly to say, “Don’t move suddenly, alright?”
He feels more than sees Viktor nod in understanding and takes a deep breath before lifting his foot to step onto the first step. It’s slow progress because Yuuri’s trying to avoid the parts of each step the creak so they don’t wake his parents or the other guests but eventually Yuuri reaches the second floor, out of breath with his arms shaking from the strain of carrying Viktor for so long.
Thankfully, Viktor’s room is closer than his own so he nudges the door open with his foot and gently deposits Viktor onto his bed. Makkachin wakes from where she’d been curled up asleep and quickly makes her way over to Viktor to shower him with kisses. Viktor giggles and buries his hands in her curls as he coos at her.
Sometimes, Yuuri wants to pull out his phone and take pictures of these soft moments but like every other time he knows there’s no way he’ll forget this. He’ll be ninety years old and be able to recall with perfect clarity the way Viktor’s cheeks are flushed with alcohol, the way his nose wrinkles every time Makkachin licks just under his ear where he’s ticklish and he’ll certainly never be able to forget the way his eyes dance with pure happiness.
Once Makkachin has decided she’s greeted Viktor enough, she turns to him and jumps up so her paws press against his chest and he thankfully is used to this by now so he doesn’t even stumble backward when she does. “Hey girl,” he whispers as he rubs behind her ears. “I’m sorry we kept you waiting.”
She showers him with kisses until she’s decided it’s time for all of them to go to sleep, trotting over to her previous spot to curl up into an adorable ball of fluff. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Viktor paying little mind to Makkachin, opting instead to look at Yuuri affectionately and sleep soft.
He turns to meet Viktor’s gaze and his heart stutters in his chest when the other man’s expression softens even more. “Goodnight, Viktor,” he murmurs when his heart eventually finds its usual rhythm.
When he tries to take a step back, he feels Viktor’s hand wrap around his wrist gently and his breath catches in his chest when Viktor moves into the moonlight cascading into the room through the window above his bed.
Viktor’s so beautiful…
“Tell me a secret.”
Yuuri blinks, stumbling out of his thoughts and nearly smacks himself when his response is, “What?”
Luckily, Viktor doesn’t seem offended or upset by Yuuri’s stupid question. Instead, he smiles and Yuuri can’t help but fall a little more in love when the corners of Viktor’s eyes crinkle. It’s a smile of Viktor’s that he didn’t become familiar with until he showed up in Hasetsu all those months ago now. And it’s one that Yuuri cherishes, secretly glad he seems to be one of the lucky few allowed to see it.
“Tell me a secret, then you can go.” His earlier slur is gone and if Yuuri didn’t know any better he would assume Viktor wasn’t drunk at all.
So, he blinks owlishly one more time before caving into Viktor’s gentle demand. “I really want to kiss you right now, but we’re not there yet.”
Viktor laughs softly, eyes crinkling again and it steals Yuuri’s breath away. “I said a secret, Yuuri.”
And he can’t help but laugh too because he should have known better. So, he tries to quickly think of something that Viktor wouldn’t know yet, something he hasn’t told Viktor already on nights like this, where it’s just the two of them with summer stretching out before them.
He tries again with, “At Sochi, I wanted to see you stand below me on the podium. I wanted to be the person who beat you so that I could thank you for inspiring me to skate competitively.”
For a moment, nothing happens and it’s as though they’re two statues placed delicately in this room so they would never have to be separated but then Viktor’s eyes fill with tears and they fall down his beautifully flushed cheeks. Yuuri’s eyes widen as he reaches up quickly to brush them away with gentle hands, always gentle because that’s what Viktor deserves.
“Viktor?” he asks, afraid of the other man’s answer, afraid he said the wrong thing.
But Viktor just shakes his head before leaning into Yuuri’s touch. “You’ll never cease to surprise me, Yuuri,” he whispers, pressing a featherlight kiss to Yuuri’s palm which only adds to his growing confusion.
“Anyone else would have wanted to beat me so they could gloat and brag about it as they shoved the gold medal in my face. Even Chris. But you? You wanted to do it so you could thank me for something precious and important to you.”
“Viktor…” he breathes, too surprised to say anything else.
And how is it possible for Viktor to look beautiful in a whole new way when he smiles with tears on his cheeks, as if they’ve always belonged there? It leaves Yuuri completely enchanted and completely incapable of looking away.
“I’m so happy I met you Yuuri.”
He can’t seem to find his voice as he gazes down at Viktor and when he does, the words that fall from his lips take him by surprise. “Can I stay?”
Viktor’s smile warms as he breathes out, “Yes,” as if he’s been waiting for Yuuri to ask for months now. (And he supposes Viktor has when he remembers the first night Viktor arrived in Japan.)
As Yuuri wraps his arm around Viktor, unable to stop the way his heart flutters when Viktor tucks his face into the crook of his neck, he knows he won’t ever be able to sleep alone ever again.