Chapter 1: Every Night In My Dreams
Southampton, England, April 10, 1912.
The sun shines brightly over the pier as hundreds gathered to see the unsinkable marvel that is the Titanic. The air fills with excitement and general giddiness as people say farewells to friends and family boarding the ship. Crewmen yell out directions to the animated masses.
A white Renault honks loudly through the crowds, moving toward the Titanic. Other vehicles follow close behind, parking as close to the ship as possible. The driver jumps from the vehicle quickly, opening the back door for a young man. The man gracefully gets out of the vehicle and turns to look at the ship. As everyone around looks in wonder, he looks on with dread. Adjusting his white Panama hat, he moves toward the back of the vehicle.
“I don’t see what all the fuss is about. It’s just a ship,” he says cooly as he looks at the giant metal container, despair written all over his features.
“Just a ship,” a voice laughingly says from the other side of the vehicle, “This is the Titanic, my dear Yuuri, the most luxurious vessel to grace the seven seas. It has squash courts, a Parisian cafe... even Turkish baths.”
A young and arrogant man walks toward Yuuri, overly dressed in a deep blue morning suit. He gentle cleans his top hat off before putting it back on his head. He smiles at Yuuri and turns to the elderly women approaching them.
“It is quite a sight,” she says quietly, observing looks at the giant wonder. A wave catches her attention from the trunk. “JJ, I believe your valet has a question about luggage for you.”
JJ excuses himself from the pair and walks back to the vehicle.
“Yuuri, wipe that look off your face this instant. This is a happy time for us all.”
“Grandmother,” Yuuri whispers softly, “I don’t think I can do this.”
“Speak up, Yuuri. You know how I feel about the mumbling.”
“I said I don’t think I can do this.”
“Yuuri. Tomomi. Shall we go?” JJ stops to look at the two, before walking ahead without an answer.
“Yuuri, you will do what is right for this family. Understand?”
Yuuri slowly nods his head as his grandmother walks away from him. Looking down, he thinks what his life will be like once they reach America. Misery sets in like a chilled hand running down his spine.
“Yuuri, are you okay?”
Yuuri looks up into the face of his manservant, Phichit, worry written on his face. “What did the devil woman do now?”
Yuuri grins at the nickname and shakes his head. He looks at the ship, takes a deep breath, and begins to walk toward it.
“Excuse me, but how could I possible cheat,” the man says with humor in his voice as he picks up his winnings from the table. “If anything luck was on my side, gentlemen.”
“Viktor lets go!”
“I hear you, Yura. Well, it’s been a pleasure playing, but we have a boat to catch.” Nodding to the two men, Viktor gets up from the table.
The losing man shoots up, chair screeching across the ground, anger clearly written all over his face. Viktor moves at the sound, body tensing at the sudden movement. Yura is already at the door and looks ready to jump in as well. The man balls up his fist looking to swing toward Viktor, but twists, punching his partner squarely in the face. Viktor turns to look at Yura, who just shrugs, as the men continue to beat on each other.
“Viktor, the boat is going to leave without us. Let them cry like the babies they are.”
Viktor nods again and follows Yura out onto the street. Once outside, Yura faces Viktor.
“So, did you really cheat?”
Viktor places a hand on his chin looking up in deep thought. “Yes, yes I did,” he says chuckling to himself.
Before anything else could be said aloud horn erupts through the air, signaling the departure of the grand ship. Viktor and Yura look at each other before taking off in a sprint. Dodging bystanders and luggage, the pair approaches the ship quickly, but Viktor is caught with the sudden urge to look up, noting the massive ship towering over him. He feels a yank on his arm pulling him from his trance. Yura drags him toward the third class ramp just as the ramp is beginning to be unhooked and lowered.
“Wait! We’re passengers!” Viktor yells as they approach, waving the tickets in hand wildly.
“Have you been through the inspection queue?”
“Of course! Anyway, we don’t have lice, we’re Americans.”
“Right, come aboard.”
The gangway is again attached to the ship. Viktor and Yura run aboard, passing their tickets to the quartermaster. He looks at the names on the tickets before checking them off the passenger list.
“Gundersen and….,” looking between the two, “Gundersen.” Handing the tickets back while giving Viktor a long look.
“Come on, Sven,” Yura says as he tugged Viktor down the hallway.
Viktor walks down a narrow corridor with doors lining both sides; Yura follows close behind, glaring every so often at the noises coming from the rooms. People swarm around arguing over luggage, while others look at signs with mild confusion. Viktor’s face lights up and stops at an open door.
“Here we are,” he says excitedly, turning to look at Yura, “That wasn’t so bad, right Yura?”
“Ugh, I just want to die already.” He mumbles, pushing pass Viktor and enters the room. Viktor follows him in.
“Why hello, and who might you two be?”
Viktor head whips to the right to see a blond man lounging in the bottom bunk. Yura ignores the man, turning to the left and throwing his kit on the top bunk before climbing up himself.
“Sorry. Um, I’m Viktor Nikiforov and this charming sociality is Yuri Plisetsky.”
A fist with a middle finger shoots up from the top bunk. Viktor looks on with a smile.
“Christophe Giacometti. So, may I ask what happened to my dear cousins? You didn’t kill them, did you?”
“No, just a poor hand at poker is all,” Viktor responses, a smile spreading across his face as he places his kit on the bottom bunk.
“Pity that. I must say the company is much better now though,” he murmurs as he lays back down, looking at the bed above him, whistling a soft tune.
Yuuri looks around the room and sighs deeply, taking in the paintings littering the floor in their crates. The room service waiter hands him a glass of juice he requested.
“I think those paintings were just a waste of money. When we get to New York, I shall have a painting done of me for you,” JJ remarks walking back into the suite, “then you will have real art to enjoy.”
Yuuri says nothing as JJ walks past him to sit on the couch. A porter wheels in a safe that JJ directs to be placed in the wardrobe. Yuuri finds the painting he was looking for and walks to his bedroom, placing the image of dancers on the dresser, near the bed. Pinchit is in the process of hanging clothes and pauses to look up at him.
“It’s weird to think that no one has been in here before. I mean….the bed and sheets have never been used, when I go to bed, I’ll be the first.”
“And when I crawl between the sheets tonight, I’ll still be the first,” JJ says with a cocky smirk before walking away from the room. Yuuri ignores the comment and works on fixing the painting.
“What an ass,” Phichit utters in the quiet room, “I can’t believe you agreed to marry that pig.”
Yuuri sighs, knowing that this topic was bound to come up sooner or later. Quietly he walks to the door, closing it softly for privacy. He rests his forehead against the wood to calm himself. “I know. But my grandmother didn’t leave much room for negotiations. Do I look like I want to marry him either?”
“Well, to be honest, no. You look like you’re walking to your death,” Phichit replies as he finishes unpacking, “Yuuri….I just want you to be happy and I can tell this isn’t it.”
“What would you have me do, Phichit? Everything is set with or without my consent. I will marry JJ, move to Canada, and watch as he fucks every pretty little thing that catches his fancy.”
“Yuuri,” Phichit says calmly, running a hand across his shoulders, “Everyone has a choice in what they want their life to be like.”
“I really wish that was true, Phichit. I really do.”
Chapter 2: I See You, I Hear You
“ ...and our master shipbuilder, Mr. Andrews here, designed her from the keel plates up,” the managing director says to the group over lunch.
“Well, I may have knocked her together, but the idea was Mr. Ismay’s. He envisioned a steamer so grand in scale, and so luxurious in its appointments, that its supremacy would never be challenged. And here she is…,” Andrews says trying to pass the attention away from him, “..willed into solid reality,” he finishes as he taps the table.
“Why are ships always bein' called "she"? Is it because men think half the women around have big sterns and should be weighed in tonnage?” voices one of the two women at the table, Minako Okukawa, who was returning to American to see her new husband.
Everyone at the table laughs at the joke as a waiter arrives to take orders. Yuuri looks around at the beautifully designed lunchroom, enjoying the airy view of the ocean. He turns his head to the right to admire a piece of art from afar when his eyes land on her. Isabella Yang, sitting just a few tables away, laughing with some other socialite women. She looks up and makes eye contact with him for a brief second before Yuuri panics and looks away. He didn’t feel hungry anymore.
“ Hey, who came up with the name Titanic? You, Bruce?” Minako asked as she picks up her wine glass.
“Yes, actually. I wanted to convey sheer size. And size means stability, luxury... and safety,” he replied looking up from his meal.
“Do you know of Dr. Freud? His ideas about the male preoccupation with size might be of particular interest to you, Mr. Ismay,” Yuuri comments without thinking. Andrews choked on a piece of bread trying to suppress his laugh. Everyone else looks around shocked.
“Yuuri, what’s gotten into…,” Tomomi begins to scold.
Yuuri interrupts her with a quick ‘excuse me’ and exits the dining hall, leaving his guests to watch his departure.
“I do apologize,” Tomomi says to the group.
“ He's a pistol, JJ. You sure you can handle him?” Minako remarks as everyone resumes eating.
“I wouldn’t fret about it. I am more than ready for the challenge,” he says as he looks off to the right with a coy smile on his face.
Viktor’s eyes wander the deck looking for inspiration. The deck before him is crowded with families walking around, enjoying the beautiful air.
Viktor pulls his knees closer to him supporting his leather bound sketch pad. Christophe is next to him sprawled out like a cat in the warm sun. Yura is nearby looking over the railing as the sea splashes below.
“Viktor,” Christophe murmurs, “draw me like one of your French girls.” He strikes a pose while pouting up at Viktor.
“Chris, I only draw beautiful things,” Viktor replies, looking down at Christophe.
“Rude, mon cher.”
A group of crewmen walk pass leading a pack of small dogs across the deck.
“What are those ugly shits doing down here?” Yura says as he sits heavily down next to Viktor.
“Just a reminder of how the world works,” Christophe replies watching the crewmen walk by.
“Well, it’s bullshit,” Yura huffs.
Viktor nods along with the conversation with no input. He lets his eyes wander over the deck again, searching for something that might catch his eye. High above the third class deck stands the most beautiful being Viktor has ever seen. A man stands leaning against the railing, staring out at the ocean as if it is his last hope. Viktor would do anything to clear the look of despair from the gorgeous face. As if reading Viktor’s thoughts, the young man's eyes drift down to meet with Viktor’s. The contact is held until another man approaches the beauty from behind, leaning in close to say something in his ear and place a hand on his shoulder. The beauty jerks away at the contact, spinning on his heel to face the new man. The couple appears to be arguing. The beauty storms away as the other man follows leisurely behind. Viktor watches them leave, wondering if he will see the beauty again.
“Forget it, lover boy,” Christophe murmurs, looking at Viktor over his round sunglasses, “He is out of your league.”
“Yeah, Vitya. I don’t think he has a thing for old geezers,” Yura says looking up at the sky. Viktor promptly pushes Yura off the bunch. The smack of Yura head hitting the deck is music to his ears.
Yuuri enters his bedroom and slams the door behind him, anger boiling over. He walks over to the vanity and takes a long look at his reflection in the mirror. As he stares at himself he finally snaps, releasing a primal cry of anguish. Yuuri claws at his throat, running his hand down his front and ripping the vest apart, buttons fly across the room. When that isn’t enough he begins to grab things from the vanity, throwing them as hard as he can. He hurls a hand mirror at the vanity mirror, cracking it. He runs a hand through his disheveled hair, a thought catching his mind, twisting and tugging at his brain until he cannot think of anything else.
Yuuri calmly makes his way to the deck, but once out in the fresh air, he breaks out in a run. Tears run down his face as he tries to process his feelings. Hatred, desperation, anger consume him. A couple stops to watch him pass, shock clear on their faces at the public display of emotions. Yuuri doesn’t give them a passing thought as he shoves on. His plan already set in motion.
Viktor lays back on the bench watching the stars. Thought of the beautiful man from earlier plague his mind. A noise pulls him from his thoughts and Viktor glances up to see the man run by. ‘ Speak of the devil, ’ Viktor thinks, watching the man from his place in the shadows.
Yuuri moves with determination across the deserted fantail. He reaches the rail, breath hitching in an occasional sob. The ocean stretches out behind the ship, cold and dark, and Yuuri thinks of how welcoming it looks. He moves to the stern flagpole and slowly begins climbing up the railing. Moving methodically, he turns his body and puts his feet on the white-painted gunwale, his back to the railing, facing out toward blackness. Yuuri can hear the massive propellers below him, churning the black sea into white foam that trails off into the horizon. He leans out, straightening his arms to look down into the vortex below him. His hair and clothes whip around in the wind of the ship’s movements. A calming hush runs through Yuuri as he looks ahead, the only other sound coming from the flag above his head.
“Don’t do it,” comes softly from behind him. Yuuri whips his head around at the voice; it takes a moment for his vision to focus on the stranger.
“Stay back! Don’t come any closer!” he shouts.
Viktor can see the tear tracks on his cheek from the faint glow of the light above.
“Take my hand. I’ll pull you back over.”
“No! Stay back. I’ll let go. I mean it,” Yuuri hollers back.
“No you won’t,” Viktor replies, calling Yuuri’s bluff.
“What do you mean, no I won't? Don't presume to tell me what I will and will
not do. You don't know me,” Yuuri argues, turning completely around, hands twisted on the metal rail.
Taking this as a good sign, Viktor replies back,“You would have done it already. Now come on, take my hand.” He holds out his hand as he inches closer.
Yuuri moves to wipe his face, almost losing his balance in the process. “You're distracting me. Go away.”
“I can't. I'm involved now. If you let go I have to jump in after you.”
“Don’t be absurd. You’ll be killed,” Yuuri says, watching as Viktor begins to remove his coat.
“I’m a good swimmer,” Viktor answers raising his foot to unlace his shoe.
“The fall alone will kill you.”
“It would hurt. I'm not saying it wouldn't. To be honest I'm a lot more concerned about the water being so cold.”
“How cold?” Yuuri asks, processing the new information he failed to account for.
“Freezing at least. Maybe less than that,” Viktor replies successful pulling his left shoe off and moving on to his right. “Have you ever been to Russia?”
Yuuri pauses, perplexed at the question. “No, why does that matter?”
“Well they have some of the coldest winters around, and I grew up there, near St. Petersburg. Once, when I was a kid my father and I were ice skating out on a lake…. ice skating is where you….”
“I know what ice skating is!”
“My apologies. Just... you look like kind of an indoor guy. Anyway, I went through some thin ice and I'm telling you, water that cold... like that right down there... it hits you like a thousand knives all over your body. You can't breathe, you can't think... least not about anything but the pain,” Viktor says as he removes his other show and throws it down, “Which is why I'm not looking forward to jumping in after you. But like I said, I don't see a choice. I guess I'm kinda hoping you'll come back over the rail and get me off the hook here.”
“You’re crazy,” Yuuri replies, a smile playing on his face.
“That's what everybody says,” Viktor replies with a chuckle, “But with all due respect, I'm not the one hanging off the back of a ship.”
Viktor slides closer to the railing, waiting for any sudden movements. “Come on. You don't want to do this. Give me your hand.” Slowly reaching out.
Yuuri looks at the crazy Russian in front of him, noticing for the first time how cerulian his eyes are. “Okay,” he says slowly, loosening his hold on the rail and reaches out to the man.
Viktor firmly takes his hand, “My name is Viktor. Viktor Nikiforov.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Nikiforov,” Yuuri says with a smile, slowly moving up the rail. A quick look below makes him regret that choice as he is overcome with vertigo. Yuuri sways to the side and loses his footing, plunging down and letting out a scream as he falls. Viktor is jerked to rail at the sudden momentum, using his other arm for leverage. Yuuri grabs on to the lower rail for support.
“HELP!” Yuuri screams.
“I’ve got you. I won’t let go,” Viktor says, trying to calm Yuuri and himself.
Viktor holds steady, trying to pull the man back the ship. Yuuri tries to get his footing back, but with his dress shoes and smooth hull of the boat, it seems impossible. He slips more trying to get leverage, letting out a scream. Viktor pulls again and with some success is able to get Yuuri over the railing. They fall together back on the ship, a tangle of limbs. Viktor lands on top of Yuuri, both out of breath.
Before either can register what happened, a crewman runs up to the pair.
“What’s all this?” he says as he yanks Viktor off of Yuuri, revealing his ripped clothes and tears streaked face. The crewman looks at Viktor and his lack of shoes or coat, and then the distress first classman, drawing conclusions. Two more crewmen join the party.
“You, stay where you are,” the man directs to Viktor and then turns to the other crew, ”Fetch the Master at Arms quickly.”
A few minutes later, Viktor is being handcuffed by the Master at Arms. JJ is in front of Viktor glaring at the man, fury all over his face. Two other men, associates of JJ, take in the scene. Yuuri is quietly crying on a nearby bench, waving off support from anyone. JJ fury grows as he grabs Viktor by the lapels of his coat.
“ What made you think you could put your hands on my fiancee?! Look at me, you filth! What did you think you were doing?!”
“JJ, stop! It was an accident,” Yuuri says, shooting up from his seat.
“An accident?” JJ repeats, confusion written on his face.
“It was... stupid really. I was leaning over and I slipped,” Yuuri answers, making eye contact with Viktor. “I was leaning way over, to see the... ah..,” he stops, trying to think of the English word, making a circular motion with his hand.
“Propellers,” Someone states.
“Yes! Propellers. And I slipped and I would have gone overboard... but Mr. Nikiforov here saved me and he almost went over himself,” Yuuri supplied with a smile.
“You wanted to see the propellers?” JJ asks, not convinced.
“Was it that way?” the Master at Arms asks, turning to Viktor.
Viktor looks at the Master at Arms then to Yuuri. “Uh…. Yeah, basically,” he answers.
“Well, the boy’s a hero then. Good for you son,” states one of the men, “So it's all well and back to our brandy, eh?”
A murmur of agreement is shared as Viktor is uncuffed. JJ turns to Yuuri pulling him close and turns around to head back inside. “Let’s get you inside. You’re freezing.”
“Perhaps something for the boy?”
“Oh, right. Otabek. A twenty should do it,” JJ says, without turning around. A quiet young man walks forward.
“Is that the going rate for my life?”
“Yuuri is displeased. What to do?” JJ remarks turning to look at Viktor. Looking him up and down he answers, “I know. Perhaps you would like to join us for dinner tomorrow, to regale our group with your heroic tale?”
“Sure, count me in,” Viktor says with a smile, looking at Yuuri rather than JJ.
“Great! It’s settled then.”
The groups walks away, leaving Viktor and Otabek on the deck.
“Can I bum a cigarette?” Viktor asks, looking at the stoic man to his right.
Otabek smoothly pulls out a silver cigarette case from his jacket and snaps it open. Viktor takes a cigarette, bring it to his mouth. Otabek reaches over and lights it for him.
“You may want to tie those,” he says, motioning down to Viktor’s shoes. “Interesting that Mr. Katsuki slips all of a sudden and you still have time to untie your shoes? Hmm.”
“I have a question for you as well. How can you work for that prissy ass?” Viktor counters, avoiding the question all together. Otabek's expression is bland, but the eyes are cold. He turns away to join his group inside.
Yuuri opens the door to his room once more, exhausted from the events earlier that evening. He begins to remove his clothes, throwing them on the ground without a care. JJ stands in the doorway, reflected by the cracked vanity mirror. He walks slowly up to Yuuri as soon as he sits down.
“ I know you've been melancholy, and I don't pretend to know why,” he says with a tenderness that shocks Yuuri. JJ pulls his hands from behind his back holding a large black velvet box out to Yuuri. “I intended to save this till the engagement gales next week. But I thought tonight, perhaps a reminder of my feelings for you..”
Yuuri slowly opens the box. Inside is a beautiful necklace, a malevolent blue stone glittering with an infinity of glass-like inner reflections.
“JJ, is it..”
“Diamond? Yes, it is. 56 carats to be exact,” he says, taking the necklace from the box and places it on Yuuri’s throat. Turning Yuuri around so that they both admire the diamond together.
“It was once worn by Louis the Sixteenth. They call it Le Coeur de la Mer,
“The Heart of the Ocean. JJ, it's... it's overwhelming. I can’t wear this.”
“There's nothing I couldn't give you. There's nothing I'd deny you if you wouldn’t deny me. Open your heart to me, Yuuri,” JJ says looking at their reflections.
Yuuri looks at JJ, feeling more than just the weight of the necklace on his shoulders. Slowly, he feels as if the air is being taken from him. ‘ This necklace is a collar, ’ he thinks as JJ kisses him on the cheek and walks from the room. ‘ I’m just another prize to display to the world ’.
Yuuri walks down the stairs of the deck with purpose. He reaches a gate displaying the third class deck sign and unlatches it to go through. Crewmen stop as his passes and Yuuri takes a moment to think that maybe he is overdressed for this adventure. The thought quickly passes as he reaches his destination, noting there are many differences between first and third class. Yuuri looks around and sees mothers coddling babies, kids running in between the benches yelling in several languages and being scolded in several more. There are old women gossiping, men playing chess, girls doing needlepoint and reading dime novels. Yuuri thinks his grandmother would die if she saw this and suddenly likes it even more.
Yuuri looks around the deck for Viktor, spotting him among the crowd, drawing with a little girl. Yuuri stands there to admire the view. Viktor is laughing at something in the book as the little girl continues to draw. Yuuri walks toward the pair and silence settles over the deck. Yuuri becomes self-conscious as people openly stare, some in awe, others in envy.
Viktor turns to see Yuuri walking toward him, a small smile given in his direction. He rises to meet Yuuri, a smile spreads across his face.
“Can I speak to you in private?” Yuuri asks, looking around.
“Of course. After you,” Viktor says, motions ahead and follows. He quickly looks over his shoulder to see Yura dumbstruck and Chris giving him a thumbs up.
Viktor and Yuuri walk side by side along the deck, people stare as they pass, watching the odd couple. Viktor feels out of place in his rough work clothes.
“So, I never did catch a name last night?”
“Yuuri. Yuuri Katsuki,” he says, a blush forming on his face at the memory of the previous night.
An awkward pause sets in between the couple.
“Mr. Nikiforovo, I…”
“Viktor….. I feel like such an idiot. It took me all morning to get the courage to find you, let alone talk to you.”
“Well, here you are.”
“Here I am. I... I want to thank you for what you did. Not just for... for pulling me back. But for your discretion,” Yuuri says, look down at his hands.
“You’re welcome, Yuuri.”
“Look, I know what you must be thinking! Poor little rich boy. What does he know about misery?”
“That's not what I was thinking. What I was thinking was... what could have happened to hurt this boy so much he thought he had no way out.”
“I don't... it wasn't just one thing. It was everything. It was them, it was their whole world. And I was trapped in it, like an insect in amber,” Yuuri murmurs, feeling foolish saying these things to a complete stranger, but kept going. “I just had to get away... just run and run and run... and then I was at the back rail and there was no more ship... even the Titanic wasn't big enough. Not enough to get away from them. And before I'd really thought about it, I was over the rail. I was so furious. I'll show them. They'll be sorry!”
“Right, they’ll be sorry. Because you’ll be dead.”
“Oh God, I’m such an idiot.”
“That penguin last night, is he one of them?”
“Penguin?” Yuuri thinks for a moment, “Oh, JJ. He is.”
“Is he your boyfriend?”
“Worse, I’m afraid,” Yuuri says, lifting his right hand to show the giant diamond ring.
“Bozhe moy, look at that thing! You would have gone straight to the bottom,” Viktor says. Both laugh at the comment and continue to walk the deck.
“So you feel like your stuck on a train you can’t get off because you’re marrying this guy?”
“So don’t marry him.”
“It’s not that simple, Viktor.”
“It is, Yuuri.”
“Viktor, please don’t judge me till you see my world.”
“I have seen that world and you make it too hard for yourself.”
Yuuri looks away at the ocean for a moment, deep in thought. He turns back to Viktor, trying to think of a new topic that wasn’t so close to home.
“What’s this?” he asks, indicating to the book.
“May I?” Yuuri asks, holding his hand out for the book. Viktor gives him a look before handing it over. Yuuri takes a seat at a nearby bench and opens the book.
Each page is filled with a different aspect of humanity: an old woman's hands, a sleeping man, a father and daughter at the rail. The faces are luminous and alive. His book is a celebration of the human condition.
“Viktor, these are amazing.”
“Well, they didn’t think so in Paris,” Viktor says, looking away from the book.
Yuuri says nothing as he turns the pages. “Well, well,” he says, when he comes upon a series of nude pieces. Yuuri is transfixed by the beauty he has created. His nudes are soulful, real, with expressive hands and eyes. They feel more like portraits than studies of the human form, almost uncomfortably intimate. Yuuri blushes, raising the book as a couple goes by. “Are these drawn from life?” he asks, turning the book to Viktor.
“Yup. That's one of the wonderful things about Paris. Lots of people willing take their clothes off.”
“You have a gift, Viktor. You see people.”
“I see you,” Viktor replies, looking at Yuuri like it’s the first time.
Yuuri and Viktor continue their walk around the deck, enjoying the company of each other.
“You know, my dream has always been to just chuck it all and become an artist... living in a garret, poor but free,” Yuuri says, as they make their way around a group of gossip women.
“You wouldn't last two days. There's no hot water, and hardly ever any caviar.”
“Listen, buster... I hate caviar! And I'm tired of people dismissing my dreams with a chuckle and a pat on the head,” Yuuri angrily snaps back.
“I’m sorry,” Viktor answers, “Really, I am,” he continues when Yuuri gives him a glare.
Dusk sets in as the pair lean on the railing of the first class deck, shoulder to shoulder. Ship lights turn on around them. Viktor is telling Yuuri about some of his adventures.
“So then what, Mr. Wandering Viktor?”
“Well, then logging got to be too much like work, so I went down to London to the pier. That's a sight, I sketched portraits there for ten cents a piece.”
“A whole ten cents?!”
“Yeah; it was great money... I could make a dollar a day, sometimes. But only in summer. When it got cold, I decided to go to Paris and see what the real artists were doing.”
“Why can't I be like you, Viktor? Just head out for the horizon whenever I feel like it,” Yuuri says, “Say we'll go there, sometime... to that pier... even if we only ever just
talk about it.”
“Alright, we're going. We'll drink cheap beer and we'll ride horses on the beach... right into the surf.”
“I’d like that,” Yuuri smiles at the thought, looking at Viktor, he thinks maybe there is a chance.
“Yuuri, what are you doing out here?”
The color drains from his face as he turns to see his grandmother with her friends standing nearby. Viktor turns as well to see the new faces.
“Grandmother, may I introduce Viktor Nikiforov.”
“Charmed, I’m sure.”
Yuuri explains how he knows Viktor and introduces the remaining groups members to Viktor.
“Well, Viktor, it sounds like you're a good man to have around,” Minako remarks, when Yuuri’s done with the story. A bell rings out signaling dinner is to be served.
“Shall we go get ready, Grandmother?” Yuuri asks, “See you at dinner, Viktor.”
Viktor doesn’t reply, but soon only Minako and him are left on the deck.
“Do you have the slightest comprehension of what you're doing?”
“Actually, yes I do.”
“Well, you're about to go into the snakepit. I hope you're ready. What are you planning to wear?”
Viktor looks down at his clothes, he never thought about it.
Minako sighs, “I figured. Follow me.”
Translation: (if these are wrong I blame google translate!)
Bozhe moy: Oh my god
Chapter 4: Far Across The Distance
Suits, jackets, and formal wear are thrown all over the room. Viktor glances down at his outfit once more. Minako, who has already given up all hope, chugs another glasses of wine.
“I think the blue was a better fit, but this black one is much more comfortable,” Viktor says as he twirls around the mirror once more.
“Viktor for the last time, just pick a damn suit already,” Minako yells, pouring another glass for herself.
“Maybe the teal one. It would bring out my eyes,” Viktor ponders. Minako falls back on the bed with a loud groan.
“I’m so done with you.”
Viktor walks down the hall to the first class entrance, a steward holds the door for him with a quiet ‘Good evening, sir.’ Viktor nods smoothly to the man. He enters and gasps at the beauty before him. Overhead is the enormous glass dome, with a crystal chandelier at its center. Sweeping down six stories is the first class grand staircase, a beautifully carved clock makes the room look even more glamorous. Victor descends down the stairs and several men nod a perfunctory greeting; He nods in return.
JJ and Tomomi come down the stairs shortly after, walking right pass Viktor. JJ gives him a short nod, but neither recognize him. Viktor grins as the pair walk further away from him. Movement from the stairs catches his attention and Viktor’s face goes slack, eyes drifting to Yuuri before him. He is dressed in a fashionable suit, adorning white gloves. His hair is brushed back, confidence radiating off of him as he surveys the room. Viktor is hypnotized by the beauty and grace before him.
Yuuri begins to walk down the stairs, his eyes land on Viktor and a soft smile breaks through his face. Viktor stands tall and places a hand behind his back. The other he holds out for Yuuri to take, and once in his grasp, places a soft kiss on his knuckles.
“You look amazing, Yuuri,” Viktor says, looking into Yuuri’s eyes. Yuuri flushes at the comment.
“You look dashing, as well, Viktor,” Yuuri replies, turning to his family,“JJ, surely you remember Mr. Nikiforov.”
“Nikiforov! Is the tycoon here?” JJ says, walking over as he searches the room. Yuuri looks up at Viktor, confused.
“No, my father isn’t here. Just me,” Viktor says, meeting JJ’s confused stare.
“Oh, Viktor! Didn’t notice you there,” JJ says, taking in the appearance of the other, “You could pass as a gentleman. Amazing,” he continues, giving out a faint whistle.
JJ turns back to Tomomi and begins to walk to the reception hall, leaving Yuuri and Viktor to follow.
“I’m sorry for that.”
“No apologies are needed, Yuuri,” Viktor replies, “Shall we?”
Once in the hallway, Yuuri is called away by his grandmother and Viktor stands alone. Minako makes her way over.
“Damn, you do clean up nice. Wish my husband looked that good.”
Viktor chuckles at the comment. “Well, I have had a lot of practice growing up.”
“Well, just remember the only thing they respect is money, so just act like you've got a lot of it and you're in the club.”
Yuuri walks back over to them before Viktor can comment, ushering him through the room. He points out important people as they approach.
“There's the Countess Rothes. And that's John Jacob Astor... the richest man on the ship. His little wifey there, Madeleine, is my age and in a delicate condition. See how she's trying to hide it. Quite the scandal,” nodding to another couple he continues, “And over there, that's Sir Cosmo and Lucile, Lady Duff-Gordon. She designs naughty lingerie, among her many talents. Very popular with the royals.”
Viktor nods along with what Yuuri says, already knowing quite a few of the people in the room from his father. He lets Yuuri lead, enjoy his voice. The conversations quiet down as the dining hall is opened and people make for their seats. Yuuri gentle guides Viktor to their table with Minako following close behind. Viktor feels Yuuri tense as they approach and follows Yuuri’s sight to see JJ talking to a young woman in a revealing dress. JJ takes her hand and kisses it softly, taking the seat next to her.
Once everyone is seated, Tomomi wastes no time interrogating Viktor, much to Yuuri’s embarrassment.
“Tell us of the accommodations in steerage, Mr. Nikiforov. I hear they're quite good on this ship.”
“The best I've seen, ma'am. Hardly any rats,” Viktor replies with a smile. He moves to grab the napkin off his plate, placing it slowly on his lap.
“Mr. Nikiforov is joining us from third class. He was of some assistance to my fiance last night,” JJ supplies, seeing the confused faces of the other guests at the table.
Hush whispers are shared around the table. Yuuri looks at Viktor expecting him to be embarrassed, but he looks rather at home. A waiter comes to Viktor side.
“How do you take your caviar, sir?”
“Just a soupcon of lemon…,” JJ answers for him, “...it improves the flavor with champagne,“ he continues with a grin.
“No caviar for me, thank you,” Viktor says to the waiter. Looking at JJ, he counters with, “I never did develop a taste for it. Now if they had Zharkoye that would be a different story.”
Yuuri smiles at the comment, but his grandmother has more questions.
“Where do you live, Mr. Nikiforov?”
“Viktor, please,” he says with a polite smile, “ Well, right now my address is the RMS Titanic. After that, I'm on God's good humor.”
Salads are brought to the table; everyone waits to see if Viktor will mess up. He looks around at the table before grabbing his salad fork, pointingly looking at Tomomi as he does.
“You find that sort of rootless existence appealing, Mr. Nikiforov?” Tomomi continues.
“ Well... it's a big world, and I want to see it all before I go. You can't wait around, because you never know what hand you're going to get dealt next. See, my mother died in a fire when I was fifteen, and I've been on the road since. Something like that teaches you to take life as it comes at you. To make each day count.”
“Well said, Viktor,” Minako says, raising her glass in salute. More peoples raise their glass as well.
Viktor looks at Yuuri as he raises his glass with a quiet, ‘to making it count.’
Tomomi is not amused with how Viktor is getting along with everyone.
“How is it you have the means to travel, Mr. Nikiforov?”
“ I work my way from place to place. Tramp steamers and such. I won my ticket on Titanic here in a lucky hand at poker,” Viktor answers, looking at Yuuri, “A very lucky hand.”
“I have a question for Viktor here, as well,” JJ says, looking at Viktor for the first time, “You said your father was Abram Nikiforov, am I correct?”
“Yes, that is correct,” Viktor answered, not liking were the conversation is heading.
“My understanding was Abram had no children, just a multitude of basterds he would rather forget about.”
“What my father does is his own business, but I can assure you he did not forget about me.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, he wanted me to take over his company when he retired. But my mother died and I realized that was not the life I wanted,” Viktor replies, “I wanted to make my own choices and live my life how I saw fit. Money and shiny things might make you happy but for me, the mystery of what happens next keeps me more than happy.”
Yuuri looks at Viktor with sheer pride, and glancing around the table he could almost laugh at the dumbstruck looks he finds. An awkward silence sets over the table as a waiter brings dessert. Another waiter brings a wheeled cart with cigars, handing them out to the men.
“Well, join me for a brandy, gentlemen?” One of the men standing says, “Join us, Nikiforov?”
“No thank you. I must be leaving.”
“Probably best. It'll be all business and politics, that sort of thing. Wouldn't interest you,” JJ answers, turning to Isabel next to him. He kisses her hand and murmurs softly in her ear, making her laugh. He turns to Yuuri next, “I shall be back late tonight. Don’t wait up.”
With that said, he gets up and goes to enjoy his cigar. Viktor watches him leave before turning back as Yuuri says, “Must you leave?”
“Time for my coach to turn back into a pumpkin. I’m afraid,” he says, taking Yuuri hand in his, kissing it softly.
Yuuri and Tomomi watch as Viktor leaves the room.
“I don’t like that man,” she says to Yuuri, turning to talk to the other guest.
Yuuri pays her no mind, distracted by the paper in his hand. With her back to him, he quickly opens the note under the table to read.
‘Make it count. Meet me at the clock’
Yuuri smiles at the note.
Chapter 5: And Spaces Between Us
Yuuri crosses the foyer to get to the staircase, when he sees Viktor. His back is to Yuuri, studying the clock in front of him. Viktor must have heard his approach, because he turns to Yuuri with a smile on his face.
“Want to go to a real party?”
Yuuri says nothing but reaches his hand out.
The general hall was alive with music, laughter, and raucous. Yuuri looks around in wonder as Viktor pulls him along through the crowd. A band is gathered near the upright piano, lively stomping music on fiddle, accordion, and tambourine. People of all ages are dancing, drinking beer and wine, smoking, laughing, even brawling. Viktor stops at a table with a few people are at.
“Yuuri, meet my friends,” Viktor says, as he turns to look at Yuuri, “This is my brother, Yuri also, but he prefers Yura. Over there we have Chris and this little devil is Cora.”
“Viktor, you promise me a dance,” Cora says with a pout.
“Did I? I forget so easily,” Viktor says, “You two take care of Yuuri for me.”
“No problem, my dear.”
“Come on, Viktor,” Cora says, pulling his attention away from his group.
“Duty calls,” Viktor says, giving Yuuri a wink as he leaves.
Yuuri takes a seat and watches everything around him. A beer is placed in front of him by Chris.
“I’m not much of a drinker,” Yuuri says, pushing the drink slightly away from him.
“Not good enough for you, piggy,” Yura says with a scowl on his face, “Sorry it’s not champagne. You highbrows are all the same.”
“Excuse me,” Yuuri remarks with an angry look on his face, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You heard me.”
“Boys, Boys, let’s all be friends and have a good time. Okay?” Chris says trying to break the tension.
Yuuri grabs his beer and pulls to toward him. One more look at Yura, who raises a brow at him, and he begins to chug the drink. He tips the last bit back, putting the glass down loudly.
Yuuri looks out on the floor, watching as Viktor spins Cora around a few times. The tune comes to an end and Yuuri stands, ignoring his company as he walks over to Viktor and Cora.
“May I cut in,” he asks, looking down at Cora.
“You’re still my best girl, Cora,” Viktor adds, sending Cora back over to her father. A smile returns to her face.
Viktor turns back to face Yuuri. Yuuri’s right hand begins to tremble as he grasps Viktor’s. He can feel Viktor place his other hand on his lower back. Electricity runs through his body at the sensation.
“Nervous?” Viktor asks.
“I don’t know the steps,” Yuuri confesses, a slight blush glosses his face.
“Follow me and don’t think about it. We are just having a good time. No performance is needed.”
Yuuri nods as the music starts up again. Viktor pulls them and they are off, a little awkward at first, but Yuuri starts to get it. He smiles up at Viktor as the beat pick ups. The crowd cheers as they dance faster to the beat. Yuuri can see Chris dancing with a young man not to far from them. A laugh breaks through him, thinking that this is the happiest he has felt in a long time. The tune ends in a mad rush, both Viktor and Yuuri panting. Viktor steps away from Yuuri with flourish, allowing him to take a bow. Everyone laughs and cheers, and together they walk back to the table. Yura is sitting alone, a scowl permanently on his face.
“Yura, cheer up. It’s a party!”
“Don’t care. This is boring.”
Chris returns with beers for everyone. Yuuri chugs the beer down quickly and Viktor looks confused.
“Did I miss something?” he asks, looking between Yura and Yuuri.
A loud noise breaks the conversation as a man falls on Yuuri, spilling his beer all over him. Yuuri laughs as the man is pulled off of him.
“Are you okay, Yuuri?” Viktor asks.
“Yes, I’m perfect.”
“He’s drunk,” Yura answers, looking at Viktor, “He can’t hold his liquor for shit.”
“Hey Viktor, want to see something cool?” Yuuri says, as he stands up from the table.
“Yuuri, maybe you should sit back down.”
“Nooooooo, watch this,” he replies, as he rolls the sleeves of his shirt up.
Yuuri moves away from the table, turning to look at the group. He stands still for just a moment before lowering into a perfect split.
“Tada,” he says, with a goofy smile. Viktor and Chris applaud enthusically.
“That’s nothing,” Yura says, getting up from the table. He turns to the group, doing a perfect split as well. “See. easy.”
“Well, fine. How about this?” Yuuri says, getting back up. He leans forward and does a handstand, holding the position.
Yura rolls his eyes, as he gets up, “Wooow,” he says, clapping his hands loudly.
“Should we stop them?” Chris whispers to Viktor.
“No, they’re bonding,” Viktor says, a smile on his face. Chris isn’t so sure, but he takes a drink of his beer.
Yura and Yuuri keep going back and forth, till they both are sweating. Viktor gentle takes Yuuri’s hand, leading him away from the party.
Viktor and Yuuri walk hand in hand around the deck. Yuuri is humming a melody to himself and Viktor starts to sing offkey to it. They break out in a laugh. Yuuri stops looking out into the dark sea and bright stars above.
“Isn’t it magnificent?” he says, leaning on the railing, “So grand and endless.”
Viktor hums in agreement as he stands close to Yuuri.
“They're such small people, Viktor... my crowd. They think they're giants on the earth, but they're not even dust in God's eye. They live inside this little tiny champagne bubble... and someday the bubble's going to burst.”
Viktor softly touches Yuuri hand on the railing, “There’s been a mistake,” he says.
“Oh, how so?”
“You’re not one of them,” Viktor continues, “You were mailed to the wrong address.”
“I was, wasn’t I?” Yuuri says, with a laugh.
Yuuri turns back to look at the sky. “Look! A shooting star.”
“That was a long one. My mother use to say that whenever you saw one, it was a soul returning to heaven.”
“I like that. Aren’t we supposed to wish on it?”
Viktor turns to Yuuri, noticing for the first time how close they are. He thinks it would be very easy to kiss Yuuri at this moment, Yuuri’s eyes mirroring the same thought
“What would you wish for?” Viktor whispers softly.
Yuuri looks at him, then pulls back. “Something I can’t have,” he says, “Thank you for tonight, Viktor.” He turns briskly before he can second guess himself and enters through the first class door.
“Yuuri!” Viktor calls.
The only sound is the door closing, returning Yuuri to his world. Viktor is left out in the cold dreaming of what the future could have been.
Chapter 6: You Have Come To Show Me You Go On
JJ and Yuuri quietly sit out on their private deck. Breakfast is served quickly, Pinchit pours coffee to the silent couple, bowing he walks back inside.
“I had hoped for you to join me last night.”
“You told me not to wait for you. Anyway, I was tired.”
“ Yes. Your exertions below deck were no doubt exhausting.”
“You had your lap dog keep tabs on me.”
“You will not act like that again!” JJ scolds, throwing his napkin down, “Do I make myself clear?”
“Oh, so I have to wait for commands before I can do anything?” Yuuri remarks back, “What about Isabella? Does she have to as well?”
JJ explodes, sweeping the food and china across the room with a crash, the table flipping with the force. He moves forward toward Yuuri, glowering over him and gripping the arms of the chair, trapping Yuuri to his seat.
“ Yes! You will! And as my husband... in practice, if not yet by law. So you will honor me, as a spouse is required to honor his husband! I will not be made out a fool! Is this in any way unclear?”
Yuuri shrinks down in the chair, fear written on his face. He quickly nods his head in understanding. JJ stands up, fixes his shirt, and briskly walks out of the room. Pinchit stands to the side, shock written on his face as he holds the juice. As soon as JJ leaves the room, he makes his way to Yuuri.
“There…. was an accident. I'm sorry, Pinchit.”
Pinchit says nothing as he sits the juice down, looking at Yuuri with worry.
Yuuri sits on his grandmother’s bed as the woman finishes her beauty routine. Tomomi looks at Yuuri’s reflection through the mirror.
“You are not to see that boy again, do you understand me Yuuri? I forbid it!”
“Grandmother, am I not allowed friends?”
“Yuuri, you could ruin everything I have built for us here.”
“We don’t need anything in the Americans, Grandmother. Our family name is secure in Japan. So, why must I marry JJ?”
“Yuuri, we have been over this. Our name needs to grow and marriage will do that. Your sister would have been the first choice, but as she has run away with that doctor, you are all that is left,” she says, turning to look at Yuuri. “Besides JJ is nothing but a gentleman.”
“I don’t love him.”
“Love? Yuuri, when does anyone really love the person they marry.”
“My mother and father love each other.”
“Your father went against my wishes to marry your mother. By the time I found out, your sister was about to be born. Stop being so selfish, Yuuri. Think about the family and what good this will do for us.”
“Yes, Grandmother,” Yuuri says, looking down at his cupped hands.
“Our choices are never easy, Yuuri,” she says, getting up from her vanity and leaving the room. Yuuri sits alone, thinking about the conversation.
Yuuri walks with his grandmother and a group of first-class guests, singing a hymn as the Captain leads the parade.
Otabek follows a short distance away, keeping an eye on Yuuri per JJ orders. He hears a commotion at the entry door behind them. Viktor stands there arguing with two stewards and Otabek turns around, heading toward the men.
“Look, you, you're not supposed to be in here.”
“I was just here last night... don't you remember?” Viktor replies, glancing between Otabek and the men keeping him back, “He’ll tell you.”
“Mr. Leroy and Mr. Katsuki continue to be most appreciative of your assistance. They asked me to give you this in gratitude…,” Otabek says, holding out two twenties to Viktor.
“I don't want money, I…”
“and also to remind you that you hold a third class ticket and your presence here is no longer appropriate,” Otabek continues, giving Viktor a look.
Viktor attempt to catch a glance over Otabek’s shoulder, seeing Yuuri walk further away. “I just need to talk to Yuuri for a…”
“Please see that Mr. Nikiforov gets back to where he belongs,” Otabek says, handing the money to the stewards.
Viktor walks with determination across the third class deck, heading to second. Yura and Christophe follow close behind. He reaches the gate separating third and second class, stepping over it quickly.
“He's a deity amongst mortal, there's no denying. But he's in another world, Viktor, forget him,” Christophe says, moving closer to Viktor, “He closed the door, mon cher. Remember.”
“It was them, not him,” Viktor replies, looking ahead. He reaches the gate between second and first class, looking around, “Ready... go.”
Yura shakes his head, “This is stupid, Viktor. You’re only making it worse.”
He complies though, folding his hands together and crouching down to boost Viktor over. Viktor scrambles over the gate, landing on the other side. He looks at his comrades with a smile.
“Wish me luck,” he says, turning away to head further down the deck.
“He’s an idiot.”
“More like a fool in love,” Christophe replies, directing Yura back down to their class.
Viktor walks quickly across the first class deck, looking for Yuuri. He sees a coat and hat laying on a sun chair, near a man playing with his child. Viktor calmly walks by and makes a grab for the items, pulling the coat on quickly and placing the hat on his head to cover his silver hair. With his disguise in place, he continues his search.
Yuuri walks with a tour group along the deck were some lifeboats are stored.
“Mr. Andrews, I did the sum in my head, and with the number of lifeboats times the capacity you mentioned... forgive me, but it seems that there are not enough for everyone aboard,” he asks, looking at their guide.
“About half, actually, Yuuri. In fact, I put in these new type davits, which can take an extra row of boats here,” he says, gesture to the deck, ”But it was thought... by some... that the deck would look too cluttered. So I was overruled.”
“Waste of deck space as it is, on an unsinkable ship!” JJ shouts, slapping the railing.
The group continues on the tour, passing a man looking over the railing. As the group completely passes, Viktor turns around to see Yuuri in the back of the group. He quickly moves to follow, catching Yuuri by tapping his shoulder. Yuuri turns shocked to see Viktor. Viktor motions to a door near them. They quickly duck into the quiet room.
“Viktor, this is impossible. I can’t be seen with you.”
“Yuuri,” Viktor says, grabbing his shoulders, “You’re so strong and amazing, with such a pure heart. I never known someone like you and…”
“No wait, let me talk for a moment. I need to tell you this. You’re amazing…. and I know I have nothing to offer you, Yuuri. I know that. But I’m involved now. You jump, I jump, remember? I can’t turn away without knowing that you’re going to be okay.”
Yuuri looks at Viktor with tears forming in his eyes. “You’re making this really hard, Viktor. I’ll be fine. Really.”
“I don't think so. They've got you in a glass jar like some butterfly, and you're going to die if you don't break out. Maybe not right away, because you're strong. But sooner or later the fire in you is going to go out,” Viktor says, “I know, I’ve seen it before.”
“It’s not up to you to save me, Viktor,” Yuuri murmurs.
“You’re right. Only you can do that.”
“I have to get back, they'll miss me. Please, Viktor, for both our sakes, leave me alone,” Yuuri says, as he slowly pulls away.
Chapter 7: Near, Far, Wherever You Are
Sitting in the first class lounge, Yuuri’s eyes wander, barely listening to his grandmother talk about wedding planning. A little girl with her mother pulls Yuuri’s attention. He watches as the little girl is poised, picking up a cookie in her gloved hands. The mother quickly corrects her daughter’s posture. The little girl is trying hard to please, her expression serious. As Yuuri watches, he thinks back to his upbringing with his grandmother. He slowly brings his teacup up before pausing, pouring the tea down his front.
“Oh, look what I’ve done,” he remarks quietly.
Viktor stands on the bow of the ship enjoying the fresh air. The wind whips, eyes watching the sea before him but mind drifting to Yuuri. Viktor hears him before he sees him.
Viktor turns quickly, startled by the voice. Yuuri stands before him, a slight blush highlighting his cheekbones.
“I’ve changed my mind,” Yuuri says, with a smile.
Viktor smile back, his eyes drinking in the sight before him. Yuuri’s eyes sparkle with new hope and his hair blows wildly in the wind.
“Yura said you might be up….”
“Ssssh. Come here,” he says, reaching for him. Yuuri comes to him and Viktor puts his hands around his waist. “Close your eyes,” he commands.
Yuuri does and Viktor turns him to face forward. Yuuri can feel the sun and wind on his face. Viktor gently presses Yuuri into the railing, standing right behind him. He then raises Yuuri hands, raising them until they are outstretched on each side. Viktor lowers his own arms. Yuuri keeps his up, feeling like they are wings.
“Okay….Open them,” Viktor’s husky voice says near his ear.
Yuuri gasps. There is nothing ahead of him but water. The Atlantic unrolls toward him, a hammered copper shield under a dusk sky. There is only the wind and the hiss of the water 50 feet below.
“I’m flying!” Yuuri shouts, arching his back to see further below.
Viktor begins to sing softly in Yuuri’s ear. Yuuri closes his eyes, feeling weightless, floating far above the sea. A dreamy smile plays on Yuuri’s face as he leans back into Viktor’s chest. Slowly Viktor raises his hands, till they meet Yuuri’s. Fingertips gently touch, then their fingers intertwined. Viktor brings his face closer to Yuuri’s ear, letting the scent wash over him. Yuuri turns his head until his lips find Viktor’s. Viktor wraps his arm around Yuuri’s waist holding him close and prays to never let go.
Viktor looks around the room, overwhelmed by the opulence of the room. He sets his sketchbook and drawing materials on the marble table.
“Will this lighting do? I know artists need good light,” Yuuri says from the wardrobe.
“Everything is fine,” Viktor says, looking down at some paintings, “Hey, Monet!” He crouches down further for a better look, “I saw him once at a party in France.”
Yuuri walks over to a shelf in the wardrobe, the safe sits on it.
“JJ insists bringing this monster everywhere.”
“Should I be expecting him anytime soon?”
“Not as long as the cigars and brandy hold out. He’ll probably go see Isabel later.”
“Was that the woman he talked to before leaving at dinner?”
“That’s the one.”
“Hmmmm. Not my cup of tea, to be honest.”
The safe door opens with a clunk. Yuuri pulls the velvet box out and opens it, staring down at the giant diamond. He turns to show Viktor, holding it out for him to see.
“Is this a sapphire?”
“A diamond actually. A very rare diamond called the Heart of the Ocean,” Yuuri replies, “I want you to draw me wearing this…… only this.”
Viktor’s head shoots up, searching Yuuri’s face. “Are you sure?”
“Okay, then,” Viktor says, turning back into the sitting room.
He begins to move the divan to the center of the room and fixes the pillows for comfort. Viktor is laying his pencils out when Yuuri wakes into the room. He is wearing a silk kimono; deep navy blue with cherry blossoms blowing across it.
“That’s beautiful,” Viktor comments.
“Thank you. It was a parting gift from my mother,” Yuuri says, looking down and smoothly the silk, “Well, Mr. Nikiforov. The last thing I need is another picture of me looking like a china doll. As a paying customer, I expect to get what I want.”
“Of course, sir,” Viktor replies, smiling as Yuuri hands him a dime.
Yuuri steps back, parting his kimono. The blue diamond is bright against his chest. He can feel his heart pound through his chest as he reveals more of himself. Viktor face looks stricken as the kimono falls to the floor. Yuuri walks over to the divan sitting down before laying back into the pillows.
“Tell me what looks right.”
“Uh…,” Viktor takes a moment to collect his thoughts, ”Just bend your left leg a little and... and lower your head. Eyes to me. That's it.”
Viktor starts to sketch. He looks up for a moment and drops his pencil in the process. Yuuri laughs softly.
“I believe you are blushing, Mr. Big Artiste. I can't imagine Monsieur Monet blushing.”
“He does landscapes,” Viktor murmurs softly to himself.
Viktor regains his composure and changes before Yuuri’s eyes. His strokes are sure and blush disappears from his face. Yuuri feels so exposed but for the first time, he doesn’t care. This is the most erotic thing he had ever done. He lays there watching Viktor take him in eyes following every curve of his body. Yuuri knew those eyes would stay with him forever.
Viktor signs his name on the piece with such care, while Yuuri looks over his shoulder. For the first time, it looks as if his soul was pressed into the paper.
“Date it, Viktor. I want to remember this forever.”
“Anything for you, Yuuri.”
He writes 4/14/1912 on the corner. Yuuri busies himself by writing a note on the ship stationary. Viktor hands over the drawing to Yuuri. He accepts it and walks to the safe, placing the necklace, note, and drawing into closing it and shutting it with a click. A smile settles on Yuuri’s face as he walks into the closet to change.
Chapter 8: I Believe That The Heart Does Go On
Otabek enters the smoking hall, making his way to JJ. The noise is loud as games and drinks are shared all around. JJ sees Otabek and excuses himself from his party.
“None of the stewards have seen him,” Otabek says, once JJ is near.
“This is ridiculous, Altin. Find him now!” he replies forcefully.
Otabek nods and walks away.
Yuuri, now fully dressed, wakes back into the sitting room. They both hear a key in the lock and Yuuri grabs Viktor’s, hand leading them out through the bedrooms. Otabek enters the room.
“Mister Yuuri? Hello?” he calls.
He hears a door closes further in the suite and starts walking.
Yuuri leads Viktor quickly down the hall. They are halfway down when the suite doors open and Otabek looks out. He sees the pair walking and hustles after them.
“Come on!” Yuuri yells, breaking out into a run.
Yuuri leads them past the stairs to the elevators. They run into the first open one, scaring the operator.
“ Take us down. Quickly, quickly!” Yuuri yells.
The operator scrambles to comply. Viktor reaches for the steel gates, closing them in. The lift starts to descend, as Otabek makes it to them. He watches them disappear, Yuuri flipping him off as the go. Otabek just smirks and heads to the stairs.
Otabek arrives as the operator closes the gates again. Looking around, he sees neither Viktor or Yuuri of the foyer. He decides to go down another flight of stairs.
In the fan room of the next floor, Yuuri and Viktor lean against each other and laugh.
“Pretty tough for a valet. This guy.”
“He’s ex-military from Kazakh. His father got into trouble and JJ’s father bailed him out. Took Otabek as collateral and gave him to JJ. Keeps him out of trouble, I think.”
“Uh oh!” Viktor says, seeing Otabek heading straight for them.
They run down a hall turning a corner into a blind alley. There is one door, marked CREW ONLY, Viktor flings it open. They enter a room with no exit but a ladder down. Viktor turns the lock on the door and Otabek slams into it a second later. Viktor grins at Yuuri, pointing at the ladder.
“After you, good sir.”
Yuuri jumps down from the ladder, Viktor follows shortly after. They look around amazed. It is like a vision of hell itself, with the roaring furnaces and black figures moving in the smoky glow. They run the length of the boiler room, dodging amazed stokers and men with their wheelbarrows of coal.
“Carry on! Don’t mind us!” Viktor yells over the noises.
Yuuri laughs as they keep running. They find a door finally that leads them away from the boilers. Viktor shuts the door and the pair walks through stacked cargo. They laugh at the adventure they shared.
They come upon a Renault touring car, lashed down to pallets. Viktor walks to the back door opening it and turns to Yuuri.
Yuuri laughs at the act and climbs into the back. Viktor shuts the door and climbs into the driver seat.
Yuuri leans forward and thinks. “The stars,” he answers, wrapping his arms around Viktor.
He holds there for a moment before he pulls Viktor over the seat into the back with him. He lands next to Yuuri, and his breathing seems loud in the quiet darkness. Viktor looks at him and Yuuri smiles.
“Are you scared?”
“ Au contraire, mon cher,” Yuuri replies in French. “Put your hands on me, Viktor.”
Viktor kisses him, and Yuuri slides down in the seat pulling Viktor with him.
JJ stares down at the note in his hand. He reads, “DARLING, NOW YOU CAN KEEP US LOCKED AWAY. ♥ YUURI” Crumbling the note up, JJ pulls out the necklace and drawing. Staring at the image, fury grows on his face. Otabek looks at the drawing over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow, but remains quiet. JJ throws the necklace back in the safe and takes the drawing in both hands, contemplating ripping it in half. He tenses to rip it, then pauses deep in thought.
“I have a better idea.”
A crew door on the deck is thrown open, Yuuri and Viktor run out laughing so hard they can barely stand. Viktor grabs Yuuri, spinning him around a few times. Yuuri’s laugh sounds like music to his ears.
“When the ship docks, I’m getting off with you,” Yuuri says, causing Viktor to freeze.
“This is crazy.”
“ I know. It doesn't make any sense. That's why I trust it.”
Viktor looks down at Yuuri, “You keep surprising me at every turn,” he says, as his eyes become glassy and a smile blooms on his face. He pulls Yuuri closer to him and kisses him with all the love he feels at that moment.
A loud bell rings overhead, breaking the moment between the two. Looking around, Viktor slowly lets Yuuri go.
“What’s going on?” Yuuri asks, looking up at the crow’s nest.
“I don’t kn….” Viktor starts to say, but then he sees it. A huge iceberg coming their way. Pulling Yuuri closer, Viktor watches in horror as the iceberg comes dangerously close.
“Viktor…,” Yuuri murmurs.
“Yes, moya zvezda?”
The loud ripping of metal tears through the Northern Atlantic air. The ship vibrates as the iceberg moves across the starboard bow. Viktor pulls Yuuri away when ice chunks fall on the deck. They run over the railing when the glacier passes, watching as it drifts away into the night. Viktor can see the scratches lining the ships haul.
Yura shoots up from the bed as the walls rattle around him. “ Blyat!” he yells, “Viktor, what the hell was that?”
“He’s not here, Yura.” Chris murmurs, looking at Viktor’s empty bunk.
“Well, what was that?”
“I don’t know.”
Yura jumps down from his bunk into 2 inches of freezing water. “Suka! That’s cold!”
He moves to the cabin door to yank it open, looking down the hall. He watches as a bunch of rats flee down the corridor.
Viktor and Yuuri watch as the deck comes alive with people looking around. The iceberg is long gone.
“Could it have damaged the ship?” Yuuri says.
“It didn't seem like much of a bump. I'm sure we're okay,” Viktor replies, pulling Yuuri close to him.
“Yeah,” Yuuri says, with a slight nod.
They watch as the laughing stewards kick the ice chunks around.
A steward walks briskly down the corridor of the first class floor. Concern passengers walk out, wrapping robes around their pajamas.
“There's no cause for alarm. Please, go back to your rooms,” he slows down to say.
He stops when JJ and Otabek walk out into the hall. “Please, sir. There's no emergency….”
“Yes, there is, I have been robbed. Now get the Master at Arms!” JJ says.
Captain Smith, Andrews, and Carpenter Hutchinson walk quickly pass Viktor and Yuuri, worry written on their faces as they pass.
“Can you shore us?” Captain Smith says.
“Not unless the pumps get ahead,” Hutchinson answers, as the group keeps walking talking softly.
“It’s bad,” Viktor murmurs, watching the group.
“We have to tell JJ and my grandmother.”
“Do we though?” Viktor whines. Yuuri gives him a look, “Fine.”
“Come on, Viktor. I jump, you jump….Remember?” he says with a smile.
“Yes, I remember,” Viktor replies, with a quick kiss.
Yuuri pulls Viktor toward the door leading back into the ship.
Translations: (From Google is if wrong blame the internet)
moya zvezda: my star
Chapter 10: And You're Here In My Heart
Viktor and Yuuri walk down the corridor, passing a few passengers. As they near Yuuri’s room they see Otabek is waiting for them.
“We’ve been looking for you, sir.”
They keep walking, but Otabek follows a step behind them. With a slide of his hand, he slips the necklace into Viktor’s overcoat pocket quietly as the couple enters the room. Yuuri is surprised to find his grandmother and JJ, along with the Master at Arms with two stewards waiting for them. Tomomi pulls her robe closer when she sees Viktor enter the room.
“Something serious has happened,” Yuuri says.
“ That's right. Two things dear to me have disappeared this evening. Now that one is back…” JJ says, looking from Yuuri to Viktor, “I have a pretty good idea where to find the other.”
“What are you talking about, JJ?” Yuuri asks.
“Search him,” JJ says, looking at the Master at Arms.
“Coat off, mate.”
Otabek pulls at Viktor’s coat and Viktor looks down, shrugging out of the coat. The Master at Arms begins to pat him down, while Otabek passed to coat a steward.
“Gentlemen, is this really called for?” Viktor says.
“JJ, you can’t be serious! We are in the middle of an emergency and you….”
The steward pulls the Heart of Ocean from Viktor’s coat.
“Is this it?”
Yuuri looks shocked, raising a hand to cover the gasp that slips out of his mouth. “Viktor….?” he whispers.
“It is,” JJ answers loudly.
“Right then. Now don’t make a fuss,” the Master at Arms says and pulls out a set of handcuffs. He tugs Viktor’s arms behind his back.
“Yuuri, look at me. Don’t believe any of this. It’s a lie.”
“He couldn’t have,” Yuuri murmurs, looking down at the floor, eyes glassy.
“Of course he could. Easy enough for a professional. He memorized the combination when you open the safe,” JJ says, coming close.
“But I was with him the whole time.”
“Maybe he did it while you were putting your clothes back on,” JJ states, voice demeaning, turning to look down at Yuuri.
“They put it in my pocket!” Viktor yells, pulling against the handcuffs.
“It’s not even your coat. Property of A. L. Ryerson," Otabek reads, looking at Viktor.
Otabek turns the coat to the Master at Arms, “This was reported stolen earlier today.”
“I was going to return it later,” Viktor says, defeated.
Yuuri feels utterly foolish, betrayed, and hurt. He slowly pulls away from everyone, needing room to breathe. Viktor looks at Yuuri, shouting as the stewards begin to pull him out of the room.
“Yuuri, don't listen to them... I didn't do this! You know I didn't! You know it!”
Yuuri refuses to look up as Viktor is pulled from the room. His grandmother places a hand on his shoulder as the tears finally spill down his face.
“I better go get dressed,” Tomomi says, hearing shouts outside their rooms.
Yuuri sits in a chair feeling numb by everything that has happened. JJ stand before him, looking down at him. His face cold and unreadable as he regards Yuuri. His hand moves before Yuuri can register it, hitting him hard in the face.
“You are becoming a little slut now, Yuuri?” JJ says, anger written on his face, “That will not do. Must I teach you a lesson?”
Yuuri ignores what is being said to him and looks down. His heart slowly breaking at the betrayal he feels.
“Look at me when I’m am talking!” JJ says, grabbing his face forcing eye contact.
A loud knock erupts throughout the room and JJ lets Yuuri go in favor of answering the door.
“Sir, I've been told to ask you to please put on your lifebelt, and come up to the boat deck,” the stewards says.
“Get out. We are busy.”
The steward ignores JJ and walks into the room grabbing the lifejackets. Handling one of the to JJ.
“I'm sorry about the inconvenience, Mr. Levory, but it's Captain's orders. Please dress warmly, it's quite cold tonight.”
“This is ridiculous,” JJ says, putting his jacket on.
JJ and his entourage enter the foyer, where other first class passengers wait. He looks around the room angrily, and Yuuri walks slowly next to him in a zombie-like state. Andrew enters the room, Yuuri makes a beeline for him.
“I saw the iceberg, Mr. Andrews. And I see it in your eyes. Please tell me the truth.”
“The ship will sink,” Andrew answers.
“Yes. In an hour or so... all this... will be at the bottom of the Atlantic.”
“Oh God,” JJ whispers, overhearing the conversation.
“ Please tell only who you must, I don't want to be responsible for a panic. And get to a boat quickly. Don't wait. You remember what I told you about the boats?”
“Yes, I understand. Thank you.”
Viktor struggles as he is pushed down the hall. He can’t believe this is happening. Life was perfect a short while ago.
“There is no point in fighting. You will be charged when we dock in New York.”
Viktor is manhandled door the hallway of the third class floor when a shout is heard at the end of the corridor.
“Hey! Where are you taking him?”
Viktor turns as the voice gets louder. “Yura, get to the boats quickly.”
“The hell I am.”
Yura is stopped from getting any closer to the group. He looks at the hand on his chest following up the arm to an emotionless face.
“Who the hell are you?”
The rest of the group keeps walking, leaving Yura with the unknown man.
“That’s my brother and I demand to know where he’s going?”
“He’s going to the Master at Arms office until we get to New York.”
“How are we supposed to do that when waters filling the ship. Last I checked, ships can’t float when they’re filled with water. ASSHOLE!!!!” Yura yells, glaring up.
“Excuse me? What does that have to do with anything?”
“Yura….. It’s me, Otabek…..”
“How…..? I thought you died,” Yura whispers, looking at Otabek.
Otabek gentle grabs Yura’s arm, pulling him back the way they came. “There is no time. If water is really filling the ship we need to leave now.”
“I’ll come back for him once you’re safe.”
JJ, Tomomi, and Yuuri walk out on to the deck, a band plays nearby.
“ My brooch, I left my brooch. I must have it!” Tomomi yells.
She tries to turn to return to her room but JJ grabs her arm, refusing to let her go.
“Stay here, Tomomi,” he says, firmly.
Yuuri looks around at the calm deck, wondering if this is how it all ends.
Inside the Master at Arms office, Viktor looks apprehensively at the water rising up the glass. The boat is sinking. Chained to the water pipe near the porthole with no way to escape, all he can think is Yuuri will be safe. He hopes it will all be over soon.
Yuuri watches as lifeboats are hoisted onto the lower gears and women with children are being loaded into them. Nearby Minako is helping a woman step into one.
“Come on, you heard the man. Get in the boat, sister.”
“Will the lifeboats be seated according to class? I hope they're not too crowded…” Tomomi says, looking around.
“Oh, Grandmother. Shut up!” Yuuri yells, turning to Tomomi, “Don't you understand? The water is freezing and there aren't enough boats... not enough by half. Half the people on this ship are going to die,” he continues, rage growing on his face.
“Not the better half,” JJ answers, a grin on his face.
Yuuri hears this and sees red. “You bastard,” he snarls at JJ.
“Come on, Tomomi,” Minako says, as she comes to the group. She assists the elderly woman into a seat and then turns back to the men, “Come on, Yuuri. You’re next.”
Yuuri shakes his head slowly.
“Yuuri, get on this boat!”
He moves to walk away, but JJ grabs his arm before he can leave. Yuuri yanks his arm free and moves into the crowd. JJ runs up to him, grabbing him again, rougher this time.
“Where are you going? To him? Is that it? To be a whore to that gutter rat?”
“I’d rather be his whore than your husband.”
JJ clenches his jaw at the comment and begins to pull Yuuri back to the boat. Yuuri struggles to free himself and not seeing another way, punches JJ in the face. JJ lets go from the sudden blow and Yuuri takes off into the crowd, trying to put as much distance between JJ and himself.
“Yuuri! Yuuri!!!” Tomomi shouts.
“Stuff a sock in it, would ya, Tomomi. He'll be along,” Minako says next to her.
Yuuri runs through the crowds of people on deck trying to find a way in. He glances behind him, noticing a furious JJ following closely behind. Yuuri sees Isabel ahead of him and makes a beeline her, stopping directly in front of her.
“JJ is looking for you,” he says and takes off down the hall, hoping for a distraction.
Isabella watches him leave in confusion before a commotion catches her attention. JJ is yelling at another man. She walks over to him.
“JJ, calm down. Yuuri said you wanted to see me?”
“You saw him. Which way did he go?”
“Through that door.”
“Thank you, love. I’ll be right back. Get to a boat quickly,” he says, kissing her softly.
JJ runs to the doorway and into the foyer. He looks around wildly, but Yuuri is long gone.
Viktor pulls on the cuffs again helplessly trying to break free. He hears a gurgling sound and looks up. Water is pouring from under the door, spreading rapidly across the floor.
“ Poshel na huy!” he yells at the water. He pulls again on the cuffs, noticing the deep red rings circling his wrist from his moments.
“Help! Can anyone hear me!?”
With no sound besides the water coming in, he murmurs, “This could be bad.”
Yuuri runs to the elevators as fast as he can. The last operator is closing up his lift to leave.
“Sorry, sir. Lifts are closed….”
Without thinking he grabs the operator, “ I'm through with being polite, goddamnit!! I may never be polite the rest of my life! Now take me down!!” he shouts.
The operator startles and opens the gate, hesitantly asking ‘Where too?”.
Yuuri watches as the cart passes floors. The lift slows down and ice cold water begins to fill quickly. Yuuri and the operator yell in surprise, and the operator makes switching the cart to up. Before he can, Yuuri pulls on the gates open and splashes out. The lift begins to rise behind him, but Yuuri plays no attention, searching back and forth.
He heads left and moves slowly as water builds around him. He takes the next right and looks around for the office.
“Viktor….Viktor?” he yells, going further down the hall.
Viktor pulls on the cuffs until his face is red. He collapses back on the bench defeated. Realizing there is no hope, Viktor looks around at the filling room and realizes his fate. He is going to die down here. He hears a voice yelling his name, almost chalking it up to hallucinations, until he recognizes the sound.
“YUURI!!!! In here.”
Yuuri hears the call behind and turns around, shuffling back to the right door. He pushes on it and there is Viktor, crouched on a bench in a room filling with water.
“Viktor…...Viktor, Viktor,” he says, as he splashes his way to Viktor, “I’m so so sorry.”
“JJ had the necklace put in my pocket,” Viktor says weakly to him.
“I know,” he answers, kisses Viktor softly.
“See if you can find the key, please. It’s a little brass one,” Viktor asks and Yuuri sets off to rummage through the drawers.
“So... how did you find out I didn't do it?” Viktor questions, tracking Yuuri’s movements.
“I didn’t,” Yuuri answers, looking back at him, “I just realized I already knew.”
Yuuri continues to tear the room apart looking for a key. Viktor looks out the porthole seeing the water higher than before. Yuuri stops trashing the room, standing up, breathing hard.
“There is no key,” he says helplessly.
“You need to get help.”
Nodding, Yuuri wades out of the room, “I’ll be right back.”
“Okay, I’ll just wait here.”
Translations: (still blaming Google for any mistakes)
Poshel na huy: fuck you
Yuuri sloshes through the water as fast as he can looking for anything to help him. He sees the fire axe laying in a glass case on the wall. Moving toward it, Yuuri looks around for something to smash it. Finding nothing he pulls his elbow back, slamming forward, rewarded with a satisfied crushing sound. Yuuri reaches and grabs the axe before starting his way back to the office. Yuuri wades into the room.
“Will this work?”
“We’ll see,” Viktor says, with a shrug.
Viktor pulls the cuffs taut again the pipe, looking down to see that there is little room.
“Maybe you should practice a few swings.”
Yuuri turns away from Viktor, facing the desk and hefting the ax above his head. He hits the desk with a thunk.
“Now try to hit the same spot, Yuuri.”
He swings the ax again and hits the desk four inches above the first one.
“Okay, that’s enough,” Viktor says, bracing as Yuuri comes toward him. “You can do it, Yuuri. Hit it as hard as you can. I trust you.”
Viktor closes his eyes with a silent prayer as Yuuri rises the ax above his head. Yuuri closes his eyes, bring the ax down fast. The sound of metal on metal rings through the room. Yuuri slowly opens his eyes, Viktor is grinning at his freed hands. Yuuri drops the ax, strength leaving his body.
“Told you, I knew you could do it,” he says, climbing down into the water. “Well, this is slightly chilly.”
They wade into the hall. Yuuri heads to the stairs begin to go up, but Viktor stops him, noticing the water trickling down.
“No, it’s a dead end. We’ll have to find another way.”
Viktor and Yuuri walk into a huge group of people waiting and yelling. Viktor sees Christophe standing in the crowd.
“Viktor, you’re alive.”
“Where’s Yura?” he says, looking around the crowd.
“He went looking for you.”
“I told him to get to the deck.”
“Don’t worry Viktor. He must be there.”
“What’s going on here?” Viktor says, trying to get a glimpse of the front.
“They locked the gates, telling us to wait for first and second class get out first.”
“Govno,” Viktor says, pushing ahead of the crowd.
“ Get back! Get back you lot!” shouts the steward, on the other side of the gate.
“For the love of God, man, there are children down here! Let us up, so we can have a chance!” Chris yells once they get to the front.
“We need to do something fast,” Viktor says, looking at the scared faces around them.
Viktor moves toward the back of the crowd, pulling Yuuri with him. Chris follows, stopping once they are in the very back.
“Where are we going, Viktor?”
“To find another way.”
JJ opens the safe quickly and reaches inside. He pulls out two stacks of bills, still banded together. He then takes the Heart of the Ocean, putting it and the money into his overcoat pocket.
“I make my own luck,” he says with a smile.
Yuuri, Viktor, and Chris walk around the halls looking lost. They pass a woman crying, a man packing luggage into the hall, and several other lost people. They come to a narrow stairway, where a small group has formed. The gate is closed and the steward is yelling.
“ Go to the main stairwell, with everyone else. It'll all get sorted out there.”
“ Poshel na huy,” Viktor yells, finally snapped.
He grabs at the bolted down bench, pulling on it forcefully. Yuuri and Chris jump in and the three pull till the bolts shear and the bench comes free.
“ Move aside! Quickly, move aside!” Yuuri yells as they carry the bench forward.
Viktor, Yuuri, and Chris run up the stairs at the gate, ramming into it with all their strength. The gate rips loose and falls forward. The crowd surges forward and Yuuri motions to the steward.
“ If you have any intention of keeping your pathetic job with the White Star Line, I suggest you escort these good people to the boat deck... now!”
Viktor, Yuuri, and Chris make their way through the hallways and out onto the deck of the Titanic. They look at the empty davits.
“The boats are gone,” Yuuri says, looking around the deck. He sees Colonel Gracie walking ahead of them. “Colonel! Are there any boats left?”
“Yes,.... there are still a couple of boats all the way forward. This way, I'll lead you!”
Viktor grabs Yuuri’s hand, sprinting pass Colonel Gracie with Chris following close behind.
“ So we have an understanding then?” JJ says, looking a Murdoch once more.
“As you've said,” he says, nodding slowly.
A steward walks up to them, “ Sir, your fiance has been spotted with the described gentleman.”
“Women and children? Any more women and children?” Murdoch yells, “Anyone else, then?” he says, looking at JJ.
JJ looks at his boat thinking. “God damn it to hell! Come on,” he says, following the steward.
Yuuri, Viktor, and Chris watch as a father is separated from his family. Yuuri hears his name being called from behind him. He turns and Phichit jumps into his arms.
“Yuuri! I thought I’d never see you.”
“Pinchit, why are you not on a boat with Grandmother?”
“She told me to find you,” Phichit says sadly.
“I’m so sorry, Phichit.”
“Yuuri, who’s this?” Viktor asks, next to him.
“This is my manservant and best friend, Phichit. Phichit meet Viktor.”
“Nice,” Phichit says, giving Viktor an up and down look.
“Hate to speed this up, but we really need to find a boat,” Chris comments.
“Right. Chris and Phichit, go to the other side. Yuuri and I will look on this side.”
Phichit nods and turns to Chris, motioning for them to take the right. Yuuri and Viktor walk further up the deck when they see a boat being loaded. Viktor turns to Yuuri, looking into his eyes.
“I’m not going without you, Viktor,” Yuuri says, know what Viktor is thinking.
“Yuuri, please there is a spot for you. I’ll get the next one.”
“Yes, get in the boat, Yuuri,” JJ says, as he walks up to them.
Yuuri is shocked to see him and moves closer to Viktor. JJ looks him over, noting the wet clothes clinging to him and the slight shivering.
“Look at you,” He says, shaking his head, “Here take this.”
Taking off his coat, he hands it to Yuuri. Yuuri puts it on feeling slightly warmer.
“Step into the boat. Hurry, please!”
“Go on. I'll get the next one,” Viktor says, gently pushing him towards the boat.
“No. Not without you!” Yuuri says, looking back at Viktor.
“There is another boat that will take Viktor. The stewards have given me their word they will take him over there now.”
“See, moya zvezda, everything is fine. Just get on the boat with JJ. I’ll get the other and see you soon.”
“Viktor!” comes a voice behind Yuuri.
“Yura! You found a seat. Will you watch Yuuri till I get back?” Viktor asks, looking at his brother with a watery smile.
“Of course, Vitya.”
“Yuuri get on the boat and watch my brother for me, please?”
Yuuri softly smiles at Viktor and nods. He turns and heads to the boat, JJ reaches his hand out for him to grab. Taking his seat, Yuuri sees Yura, Otabek, JJ, and Isabel all waiting.
Yuuri watches Viktor as the boat is lowered, a sad smile on Viktor’s face. Yuuri’s stomach twists at the sight. Something doesn't feel right.
“JJ, I thought this was the last boat?” Isabel whispers.
“It is,” he answers, looking at Yuuri as he does.
Yura looks ready to kill someone. “Ni chertovski! You bastard that’s my brother,” he screams, trying to get a JJ.
“Yura, calm down. You’re going to flip the boat,” Otabek says, pulling Yura back to him and holding him close.
Yuuri looks at Yura and sees the tears. He moves before he thinks, quickly jumping from the lifeboat to the ship deck. Holding on, he pulls himself up over the railing. He turns back to the descending lifeboat.
“I’ll get him, Yura. Trust me,” he yells.
Davai,” Yura yells back.
Poshel na huy: fuck you
moya zvezda: my star
ni chertovski: No fucking way
Chapter 13: And Last For A Lifetime
Viktor hears the screams from the lifeboat below and runs to the railing. He watches in horror as Yuuri jumps from the lifeboat back onto the ship.
“YUURI! NO!” he screams.
Viktor runs from the railing to the stairs as fast as he can. He bangs into everything, making his way to the lower deck. Once on the deck, he sprints to the foyer and looks wildly for Yuuri. Yuuri comes running at him, the coat flowing behind. Neither show signs of stop and collide in an embrace. Viktor clings to Yuuri, kissing his head.
“Yuuri, why are you so foolish? I would have found another way.”
Yuuri looks up at Viktor, “I jump, you jump, remember?”
“Yes, moya zvezda. I remember,” Viktor says, kissing Yuuri on the lips.
Chris and Phichit stand with a crowd that is trying to get the last few boats. The officers hold them back and the head steward waves a gun, firing twice into the sky.
“I'll shoot any man who tries to get past me.”
“Give us a chance to live,” Chris yells back.
A man next to Chris rushes forward, and Chris is pushed from behind. The head steward sees the movement and panics. Shooting the other man first, then turning on Chris, shooting him in the chest. Chris collapse and Phichit grabs him, watching the blood spill from his body. The head steward nods to his crew, putting the gun to his temple and pulling the trigger. His body falls over the railing and into the sea.
Phichit lowers Chris body back on to the deck. He looks at the chaos around him and tries to think what he is going to do next.
Yuuri and Viktor push back on to the deck to see people running around. Viktor makes his way to the railing and looks at the state of the ship. The bridge is under water and there is chaos on deck. People stream around them, shouting and pushing. Viktor finds a lifejacket putting it on Yuuri.
“Okay... we keep moving. We have to stay on the ship as long as possible,” Viktor says, looking at the state of the deck.
They push their way through the panicked crowds. Viktor reaches the A deck gate first, looking at the distance down to the lower deck. He turns to Yuuri, “We need to climb.”
They climb over the gate, then using all his strength he lowers Yuuri down. Yuuri dangles until Viktor lets go and he falls. Viktor jumps down after him and sees another gate waiting for them. They do the same thing as before to get to the next deck. The ship groans and shudders as they make their way to the stairs. A man is walking ahead of them like a zombie.
“Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..” he murmurs
“You wanna walk a little faster through that valley, fella?” Viktor yells, tugging Yuuri around the man.
The poop deck is full of people trying to get up as the floor tilts. Viktor grabs the railing, pulling them along. The bow begins to descend, forcing the stern up in the air. Yuuri watches in horror as people begin to jump off the ship into the freezing water below. Viktor and Yuuri struggle as the floor angle increases. Yuuri looks back and sees a growing group of people before Father Byles, deep in prayer.
“Come on, Yuuri. We can't expect God to do all the work for us,” Viktor says, looking ahead.
Viktor and Yuuri make it to the stern railing, right at the base of the flagpole. Yuuri thinks of the moment when he met Viktor, feeling like it was a lifetime ago.
As the ship tilts further up, everything not bolted down begins to fall. People jump from the ship into the water. Yuuri holds tight to the railing with Viktor behind him. The ship is now vertically to the sea but doesn’t last for long as the ship breaks into two. The stern of the ship crashing back down, creating a giant wave on it impact down. The ship feels as if it has righted itself and people give a cry of joy.
Yuuri looks at Viktor and he shakes his head, grimly.
The weight of the flooded bow begins to pull the stern upward again. People cry in anguish as the stern steadily rises in the air. Cries are heard, as people start sliding, fall, and tumbling into each other. There is a growing pileup of bodies on the front railing.
“We have to move,” Viktor yells, climbing over the railing. He reaches for Yuuri, but Yuuri is too scared to move. “I’ve got you, remember.”
Viktor pulls Yuuri over and they watch as more people fall, some hitting the ship on the way down. Viktor grips Yuuri fiercely as the stern stands straight in the air again. Yuuri lies on the railing, looking down fifteen stories to the bubbling sea at the base of the stern. People near them, who didn’t climb over, hang from the railing, their legs dangling. They fall one by one, plummeting down the vertical face of the poop deck. Some of them bounce horribly of benches and ventilators.
The final relentless plunge begins at the stern floods. Viktor watches as the wall comes closer, gaining speed.
“Take a deep breath and hold it right before we go into the water. The ship will suck us down. Kick for the surface and keep kicking. Don't let go of my hand. We're gonna make it, Yuuri. Trust me.”
Yuuri stares down at the water coming up at them, he grips Viktor’s hand harder.
“I trust you, Viktor.”
Below them, the poop deck is quickly disappearing and rushing toward them. Yuuri feels Viktor hand on his, a lifeline keeping him going. The bubbling water is almost to Yuuri and he does, taking a giant b as Viktor instructed, sucking in a deep breath as the freezing water pulls them down.
Chapter 14: And Never Let Go Till We're Gone
Yuuri feels the vortex sucking them down and holds to Viktor, kicking as hard as he can to the surface. They break to the surface to a roiling chaos of screaming, thrashing people. Over a thousand people are now floating where the ship went down. Some are stunned, gasping for breath. Others are crying, praying, moaning, shouting, and screaming. They barely have time to register this as people swarm them. A man jumps on Yuuri pushing him under, trying to get out of the freezing water. Viktor swims over and repeatedly punch the man, allowing Yuuri to break free.
“Swim, Yuuri, swim.”
Yuuri swims as best he can with the lifejacket on. Viktor soon caught up to him and guides him away from the crowds. He looks around for some kind of flotation for them.
“Keep swimming. Keep moving. Come on, Yuuri,” Viktor says, seeing Yuuri slowing down. “You can do it. Just a little longer, moya zvezda.”
All around them, there is tremendous wailing, and beyond that, nothing but darkness stretching to the horizon. The sense of isolation and helplessness is overwhelming. Viktor keeps pushing himself to swim, looking for anything to help them.
“Look for something floating. Some debris... wood... anything.”
“It’s so cold, Viktor.”
“ I know. I know. Help me, moya zvezda,” Viktor says.
Viktor’s words keep him focused, taking his mind off the wailing around them. Yuuri scans the water, panting, barely able to breathe.
“What’s that?” he asks, pointing ahead of them.
Viktor turns in the direction Yuuri pointed, swimming ahead he sees a wooden door. Yuuri follows him.
“Well done, Yuuri.”
Viktor grabs at Yuuri pushing him up onto the door. Yuuri slithers on to the door and looks back at Viktor.
“Viktor, get on.”
“There’s no room Yuuri. I’ll sink us,” Viktor says, coming to face Yuuri. “Besides I’m Russian, this is the temperature I was born into.”
Yuuri looks at him, unamused. “Viktor, so help me, you will get on this door or I’ll get back in the water and force you up here.”
“Yuuri, be reasonable.”
“NO! I can’t do this without you,” Yuuri yells, looking at Viktor, “What will I tell Yura?”
“Viktor, now. Please?”
“How can I say no when you ask so nicely.”
Viktor swims to the other end of the door again. Yuuri turns to watch him, bracing himself for the shift of the door. Viktor tries to pull himself up in the door, sinking them down quickly.
“See Yuuri. I can’t.”
“Viktor there has to be a way,” Yuuri says, slipping back into the water with Viktor. He floats around looking at Viktor over the door. “My jacket!”
“Yes, what about it?”
“The lifejacket can go under the door, Viktor. It will keep us up,” Yuuri says, as he unties his lifejacket.
He pushes it under the door and pulls the ties up on the door. Viktor is doing the same on the other side. They tie the jacket to the door and pull themselves on to the door. Yuuri turns to look out at the dark ocean and feel Viktor come up behind him. His breath is on Yuuri’s ear and his arm around his waist.
“You’re so smart, moya zvezda.”
“What does that mean, Viktor? I never got to ask.”
“My star, Yuuri.”
The women of the first class sit stunned at what is happening in front of them. The screams and wails start to grow faint.
“They'll pull us right down I tell ya!” the stewards says, looking out into the black.
“Aw knock it off.” Minako says back, “Come on, grab your oars. Let's go.”
No one moves to help her, she looks back at them.
“Well, come on.” No one moves a muscle, “I don't understand anyone of you. What's the matter with you? We got plenty a' room for more.”
“If you don't shut that hole in yer face, there'll be one less in this boat!” the stewards yells, staring Minako down.
All around the lifeboats are only half full, yet no one moves to help those screaming for help.
Yuuri and Viktor lay on the door, slowly drifting under the blazing stars. Viktor moves his arm to rub Yuuri down, trying to give him some warmth. Yuuri looks out into the dark sky, thinking how things could have been different.
“It’s getting quiet,” he comments.
“I don't know about you, but I intend to write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about all this,” Viktor jokes, laughing weakly.
“I love you, Viktor.”
“I love you too, Yuuri,” Viktor answers, squeezing Yuuri’s hand. He begins to hum in Yuuri ear softly and slowly he switches to words.
“Mertsay, zvezdochka, mertsay! Kak khochu ya znat' tebya!”
“Really? Twinkle, twinkle.”
“It felt right,” Viktor murmurs.
“I’m so cold, Viktor.”
“I know, moya zvezda. Just a little longer and they’ll bring the boats back.
“I can’t feel my body.”
“Yuuri, listen to me. Listen. Winning that ticket was the best thing that has happened to me. You want to know why?”
Yuuri nods for Viktor to continue.
“It brought me to you, Yuuri. And I’m so thankful. So very thankful for that,” Viktor’s voice trembles from the cold. “You must do me this honor... promise me you will survive... that you will never give up... no matter what happens... no matter how hopeless...promise me now, and never let go of that promise.”
“I promise,” Yuuri answers, holding on to Viktor’s hand tighter. The only sound now is the lapping of the waves, rocking Yuuri to sleep.
Stewards hold the boats together, quickly transferring passengers to another boat. Clearing the last of them, the head steward turns to the wreckage of the Titanic.
“Right, men the oars,” he yells over his shoulder.
The beam of an electric torch plays across the water like a searchlight as the boat moves closer to the wreckage. The torch illuminates floating debris: a violin, a child's wooden soldier, a framed photo of a steerage family. Then, their white lifebelts bobbing in the darkness, the first bodies come into the torch's beam. The people are dead but not drowned, killed by the freezing water. Some look like they could be sleeping. Others stare with frozen eyes at the stars. The bodies gather in some areas making it difficult to cross. They hit the oars on the heads of floating men and women... a wooden thunk. One seaman throws up. One sees a mother floating with her arms frozen around her lifeless baby.
“We waited too long,” the head stewards says to no one.
Yuuri is in a semi-hallucinatory state. He knows he is dying. His lips barely move as he sings a scrap of Viktor's song.
“ How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky.”
“That was beautiful, Yuuri,” Viktor murmurs sluggishly, in his ear.
A shooting star soakers by and Yuuri watches it as it falls into the water. Yuuri watches in slow motion as a boat with men row slowly through the water. Their voices sound slow and distorted to him. The light flares across the water, silhouetting the bobbing corpses in between. It flicks past his motionless form and moves on. The boat is 50 feet away, and moving past them. The men look away. Yuuri lifts his head and looks back at Viktor.
“Viktor?” Yuuri’s voice cracks.
Viktor doesn’t respond to the movement. Yuuri begins to panic and tries to move in Viktor’s arm. He looks back at the boat, now further away and voices grow faint. All hope, will, and spirit is fleeing from him. He closes his eyes, thinking there is no point to try.
“Yuuri….,” comes so softly behind him.
Yuuri’s eye shoots open. He raises his head, feeling the ice break free from the wood. Yuuri calls out to the boat, but his voice so weak they can’t hear them. He struggles to breathe to call out again.
“Viktor, I’ll be right back,” Yuuri says, before he rolls back into the ocean.
He swims to the Chief Officer’s body floating nearby and grabs his whistle. Yuuri brings the whistle to his mouth and blows with all his strength. The boat starts to turn around and Yuuri keeps blowing until they pull him onboard. The steward takes the whistle from him and tells the men to go back. Yuuri moves quickly shaking his head and points to Viktor still on the door.
“He’s alive,” he coughs out.
“Are you sure? He’s not moving.”
“Yes, I need him.”
The boat makes its way to Viktor and pulls him on board as well. They wrap both of them in blankets and set back to the waiting boats.
“Shhhhh, Viktor. I’m here,” Yuuri says.
Yuuri falls unconscious, clinging to Viktor as the boat makes it way back.
Chapter 15: Love Was When I Loved You
Yuuri looks up, feeling drained for the previous night. A kind-faced woman holds out a cup of something stimming. A pair of hands reaches for the cup before he can.
“Thank you, madam,” Viktor says politely. She nods moving to the next group of survivors.
Viktor holds the cup out to Yuuri, who takes it slowly.
“Thank you, Viktor.”
“Vitya!” comes from behind them.
They turn and see Yura running at them full speed, his blanket falls to the ground. Otabek follows behind, picking it up, smiling. Yura jumps onto Viktor, pushing them both back.
“Yura! I’m so happy to see you.”
“How did you make it? We watched the ship go down. I tried to get them to go back but they refused.”
“It was a miracle, really. Yuuri saved us.”
Yura looks at Yuuri, shock on his face. “Thank you, Yuuri. For saving him…”
Yuuri just nods his head, looking past the group as JJ walks toward them.
“JJ,” Yuuri answers back.
“Your grandmother is looking for you in the infirmary. The cold hit her hard…. They don’t know if she’s going to make it.”
“JJ, tell her I died on the Titanic, please. I’m done being her puppet,” Yuuri answers, looking JJ in the face.
“Yes, neither of us want to marry each other. Go be with Isabel. I’ll happy here.”
JJ nods at the words, “Thank you, Yuuri,” he says, turning and walking back the way he came.
“That guy was an ass in the beginning, but he’s the one who pushed them into looking for survivors,” Yura says, watching JJ leave.
“Really?” Yuuri replies, looking at Yura.
“Yeah, but he’s still a dick.”
Viktor and Yuuri watch as the Statue of Liberty goes by. The Carpathia makes it to the pier and docks. Yuuri breathes a sigh of relief at the sight of land. There are mobs of people everywhere, police hold them back and press yell questions as people get off. Immigration officers are stopping the steerage passengers, asking for names.
“Name?” one says, at Yuuri.
“Nikiforov. Yuuri Nikiforov.”
Viktor pauses from his questions, giving Yuuri a wide-eyed look. The officer nods and directs him toward processing.
“Yuuri? What was that?” Viktor says, walking next to him.
“I haven't even proposed to you.”
“I know, but you will.”
“I will,” Viktor answers, a smile growing on his face, “You assume many things, sir.”
“True, but you’re stuck with me.”
Viktor leans down and kisses him.