December 17, 2026
“We just need to give it time,” Javi had said.
Shoma’s birthday had begun with an argument, Javi had insisted that their newly minted training rink in Madrid would be fine, but Yuzu was panicking about profits and the cost of the space, and how they weren’t making enough. Shoma, for his part, had never worried about money before, so the thought they weren’t making enough to support themselves made the words dry up on his tongue.
“I don’t want to give it time. I think we should go back to Japan,” Yuzu said.
Ah. Leveraging that again. The fact that both Shoma and Yuzu missed Japan since settling in Madrid in the spring.
“Mi amor,” Javi said. “Remember how the media hounded you? Hounded us? We couldn’t even go out to eat together.”
At that point Shoma had nodded, but then he’d felt something odd: like a hook in the gut, snagging at him. Yuzu had mentioned home, but Shoma thought of his family home. Of his parents. Aunts and uncles. And cousins. All of whom he had not seen in eight years. Shoma wanted to cry, and not about this fighting.
Ever since then the whole day had been a fight, yanking against the hook. At the rink, trying to concentrate on his students and failing. Trying to pick up a few things they needed from the market and forgetting half of the list. He only realized this as he trudged up the stairs to their apartment. By then he just felt lost, and helpless.
He wanted to call his Mom. That hook in the gut sank deepest when he thought of her. It was his birthday, and he was turning twenty-nine, which was so close to thirty. But mostly he missed her, he missed his father, he missed home . The sweet, clean smell of their house. The way his parents always had time and patience for him and Itsuki. Such as when his father taught him how to use the record player. Or how his mother showed him how to tie a tie (not that he always remembered that well).
But he hadn’t spoken to them since he came out about his relationship with Javi and Yuzu. It hurt like that hook in his belly.
As he thudded up to the apartment, he wasn’t sure what he was coming home to, not after the fight. They had resolved it mostly by saying they were staying on course, and Yuzu had agreed to try and be patient, and not panic.
He stopped and listened at the door.
“That does not look or smell like yakiniku,” he heard Yuzu say.
“I followed the recipe,” Javi protested.
Shoma could imagine Yuzu’s side-eye.
“You make it then,” Javi said.
And then Yuzu would have strutted away like an offended cat.
So they had planned something for him. It would be rude to decline, but Shoma was not encouraged. There was too much hurting inside him. He mostly felt like going to bed.
He pressed his forehead to the door, feeling the cool wood against his skin, and marshalled his strength. He finally sighed, unlocked the door, and went in.
A vaguely burnt smell slapped him in the face as he shut and locked the door behind him.
“Shoma!” Javi greeted him from the patio.
The patio door was open, spilling in the scent of meat and the crisp winter air. Though Shoma could only partially see Javi through that open door, he noticed he wore an apron and waved a pair of tongs.
Yuzu slithered up to him and kissed him lightly on the lips before Shoma had time to protest, though he did bristle.
“No kiss?” Yuzu asked in Japanese, the language they used at home, amongst the three of them.
Shoma shrugged and he knew that Yuzu trusted him to speak in his own time.
“Javi is making yakiniku for you. Well, trying ,”
“Hey!” Javi objected.
Shoma put the paper bag from the market down on the kitchen counter, then turned around. Taking up the entire kitchen island was a small sea of blossoms, each with its own meaning. Those meanings would be understood in Japan, and that knowledge made Shoma hurt.
“What is it?” Shoma asked.
He reached out and held Yuzu’s hand, and that was almost too much, but he could bear it. He was an Olympic and World Champion. He had competed with agonizing injuries more than once. He had dealt with the Japanese media ripping him and the men he loved apart when they came out publically about their relationship. He had been long distance with them for years before they came together. And he had chosen Javi and Yuzu over his own family, all but Itsuki. He could do this small thing.
Yuzu simply held his hand and looked at him.
“It’s you,” Yuzu said. “It’s what we see in you.”
Shoma felt his throat tighten, but in a good way, and the hook loosened its hold ever so slightly. He stepped away from Yuzu and looked more carefully at the flowers. Sweet little violet and gold panjī, signifying that he was thoughtful and caring. Delicate, frothy, pale pink botan for bravery. Hyakunichisou, bright orange-red, with a fat center, for loyalty. Wasurenagusa, flickering like blue stars with yellow centers for true love. And then tsutsuji, a bright pink with broad petals symbolizing patience and modesty.
Shoma was choking, thinking, I am none of these things . All he could think of was his parents when he came out. His father crumpling like wet rice paper. His mother absolutely still and stony, looking right through him. As if he did not even exist. The hook in his gut snagged. He took his hand from Yuzu’s.
Shoma was saved from saying anything by Javi.
“Dinner’s ready,” Javi said from the patio.
He clacked some tongs together.
Yuzu ushered Shoma to their table in the living room, squeezed behind the couch. They’d laid it with the wine red tablecloth and the nice glass plates. Javi took their plates out to the patio and loaded them with meat. Yuzu served Shoma some button mushrooms, which Shoma had learned not to mind, as well as sprouts and some bell pepper slices. There were sliced oranges too, because Yuzu insisted on a rounded meal.
Javi took his apron off and shut the patio door as he came in. They all sat down and began eating. The silence was comforting to Shoma. He also liked the meat, even though it definitely wasn’t yakiniku. But Javi had tried.
“Is it good?” Javi asked, and Shoma could hear the edge of anxiety in his voice.
“I like it,” he said.
He knew Javi needed to hear it.
Javi smiled, probably from relief.
“When did we get a barbeque?” Shoma asked. Though it wasn’t really yakiniku, he knew barbequed meat.
“Yuzu got it this morning. After . . . we wanted it to be a surprise.”
Yuzu gave Shoma a look which he thought Shoma didn’t notice, but did. He was looking at Shoma like he was the meat. Shoma squirmed a little in his seat. Usually Javi or Yuzu’s advances didn’t bother him, and vice versa. But all he could feel was that damned lure.
He picked at the tablecloth as Javi and Yuzu cleaned up.
“Cake next,” Javi said cheerfully, passing Shoma. He looked down at him.
“Are you alright?”
“I want to call my Mom,” Shoma half sobbed. And then ground his teeth, regretting his admission. He knew it was stupid, but he just wanted to hear her voice again. To feel her soft arms around him.
Javi and Yuzu stopped.
“You know you can’t. She’ll hang up and it will just hurt you,” Javi said.
“I know, I just miss her. I miss my Dad. I miss home. Like my home, in Japan, where I grew up.”
He wiped the tears with his sleeve.
Yuzu brought a tissue and Shoma blew his nose.
“Do you want to go to bed?” Javi asked tenderly.
“No. You have presents for me, and cake, and it would be rude --”
“That can wait, mi amorcito. Let’s go to bed.”
Shoma felt relief, like the slow ebbing of a tide.
They all got ready, both Yuzu and Shoma putting on pajamas, Javi in boxer-briefs even though it was December. They took turns washing their faces and brushing their teeth, elbows knocking the walls of their bathroom. As they passed to and fro, a low murmur of voices filled the air, soothing Shoma. They chatted and laughed.
“Shoma, do you want the middle?” Javi asked as they went to the bed. Shoma usually took the middle, simply because he could spoon Yuzu and Javi could spoon him. He was the switch, the pivot point.
“I don’t want cuddling or touching,” Shoma said, the hook inside him pulling hard so that he just felt the pain. Touching would overload him.
“That’s fine,” Javi said.
“It’s fine,” Yuzu echoed. “We just want to protect you while you sleep.”
Shoma felt the tears welling in his eyes again.
He crawled into the center, his back to Javi. Yuzu lay in front, facing him. Javi turned off the bedside lamp.
Shoma could feel the warmth wafting off their bodies. Could smell Javi’s cool, minty aftershave and Yuzu’s musky sandalwood aftershave. Heard their low breathing.
“We love you,” Javi said.
Shoma curled in a ball, because fuck it hurt, worse than competing on any injury.
“I know,” he mumbled.
He knew Javi wanted to touch him, because that was Javi’s way. But he wouldn’t.
Instead Shoma stared at Yuzu. In the dim light coming through their window, he could just make out that beautiful, ethereal face. Those perfect cupid’s bow lips. He didn’t need light to know the dark, dark eyes, or the black hair falling across his forehead. He looked at Yuzu. Yuzu nodded, as if to say: I know.
Shoma loved Javi, but sometimes Yuzu understood him better. Yuzu knew what family meant to Shoma, how it had wounded him. How he carried the scars, and probably would for the rest of his life.
The hook tugged and Shoma drew strength from Yuzu’s dark gaze. They fell asleep looking at one another.
# # #
Morning light poured soft and golden through their window. They had all crept closer to each other in the night, and now Shoma drowsily found himself with Javi’s hand on his hip, and Yuzu’s back pressed to his chest. He didn’t mind. It was a new day, and it was bright, and clear, and though the hook remained, things were -- different. He couldn’t quite place how things were different, but he enjoyed the warmth of his partners, hearing Javi’s snoring and Yuzu’s low breathing.
He stretched cautiously so as not to wake anyone.
He felt Yuzu move, turning, turning, and Shoma found himself nose to nose with a mischievous looking Yuzu.
“Hey,” Shoma whispered.
“Hey,” Yuzu said. “Can I touch you?”
Yuzu already knew the answer, and he was so insufferably smug about it.
Shoma nodded. Yuzu slid closer, and kissed him. At first lightly, and then with more insistence. He sucked and nibbled on Shoma’s lower lip and Shoma was delighted, mostly because he usually took control between him and Yuzu. But having Yuzu in charge enthralled him.
The hook twisted and Shoma almost gasped.
Yuzu grabbed Shoma around the waist and began sucking a mark on his neck.
“Javi --” Shoma managed.
Yuzu pulled off with a small pop, gave Shoma a devilish grin, and continued sucking. Shoma shuddered, trying to ignore the pain in his gut so he could enjoy being marked.
Yuzu broke off and they started kissing again, messy, insistent, probably noisy. Yuzu traced the contours of Shoma’s body with his hand, from collarbone to chest to belly to groin, his nimble fingers finding Shoma’s cock and rubbing him through his underwear and pajamas. They broke their kiss and Shoma bit his lips, hard, so he didn’t make any noise, as he bucked his hips.
“Eager, aren’t we?” Yuzu whispered.
“Shut up,” Shoma mouthed, because he was both angry at Yuzu and completely aroused at this point.
Yuzu smirked and kissed Shoma before shimmying down. He shucked Shoma’s pajama pants and boxer-briefs right off, before wrapping his lips around the head of Shoma’s cock. There was no “low” setting on Yuzu, only “high”, so he began sucking, hard, before taking the whole shaft in his mouth. Shoma squeaked as the wet heat engulfed him. Yuzu’s clever dark eyes looked up at him, and he was grinning around his cock. That bastard. He rolled his tongue and Shoma clapped his hand over his mouth. And he dug his fingers into his own thighs, deep enough to leave marks, as Yuzu sucked his balls. When Shoma was shaking, nearly panting, Yuzu resumed sucking Shoma’s cock.
The bed rippled and Shoma felt Javi moving behind him.
“Oh,” Javi said. “What a nice thing to wake up to.”
Shoma finally groaned, and arced back into Javi. He turned his head and shoulders just enough that they could share a kiss. Javi reached down and cupped Shoma’s ass and Shoma would have jumped if Yuzu’s mouth wasn’t on him. Javi unbuttoned Shoma’s pajama top with one hand, which amused Shoma for some reason. Then Javi began to rake his nails over Shoma’s chest and belly, leaving red marks and making Shoma moan. Shoma reached back and wrapped one hand around Javi’s shoulder, and reached down with his other hand and grabbed a fistful of Yuzu’s hair. Wedged between them both, he felt like gold. And, as the proverb went, he was not afraid of the fire, pain and pleasure spiking as Yuzu sucked a mark into his thigh. The hook in his belly was uncurling.
Yuzu stood up and took off his pajamas. Naked, he was pale as a white lily and fairly glowed in the morning light. Shoma’s breath caught, and he heard Javi’s do the same. It was miraculous, Shoma thought, that even after all this time, they still wanted each other so badly. Found each other so beautiful in different ways.
“Shoma,” Yuzu said, using that voice he rarely used. The commanding voice. Shoma shivered.
“Get on your hands and knees on the edge of the bed,” Yuzu said in that voice.
Shoma shrugged out of his pajama top and complied while Yuzu got lube from the nightstand.
Yuzu pressed his hand into the small of Shoma’s back and Shoma bent, hunkering down onto his elbows.
“I’m going to fuck you while Javi watches. Just like at Worlds. Remember? In 2016?”
Yuzu grabbed Shoma’s hair and yanked his head back.
“You remember?” he murmured.
“I - I remember,” Shoma panted. “Only the fucking was mutual.”
“It was,” Javi said.
Yuzu probably made a foul face, because he only gripped Shoma’s hair harder, on the very verge of pain. Shoma closed his eyes and enjoyed the sensations of being bent and curved. Like a hook. Ha, he thought, as the hook in his belly continued to uncoil.
Yuzu’s lubed fingers brushed against his entrance.
“Needy, needy,” Yuzu tsked and pressed a finger slowly in.
He fucked Shoma carefully. But it wasn’t enough. Shoma wanted it rough, wanted to be full. To be distracted from the hook in his gut.
“More,” Shoma said.
“More what?” Yuzu asked.
“More please, ” Shoma whimpered.
“Hmmm,” Yuzu hummed, and the sound of the lube cap snapping open and closed was electric.
Two fingers, quick and hard, curling in just the right places so that Shoma saw stars of white. Then three, spreading him slowly open, stretching until Shoma groaned, gripping the soft sheets. Their sheets that smelled of them: sweet, and home.
“Ready?” Yuzu asked, releasing Shoma’s hair.
Shoma nodded and pressed his forehead against the bed.
Yuzu was wonderfully curved, skin fine and silken, along with that smooth head, and Shoma felt, in some part, complete when he sank in. He sighed.
“Good boy,” Javi stroked his hair.
Shoma was soothed by that touch, and it also made him feel complete.
Yuzu clamped his hands on Shoma’s hips. The pace was languorous, but it sent a small crackle up Shoma’s spine. And then a sudden black jolt as Yuzu thrust hard. Again and again and again.
“Oh, oh, oh,” Shoma fisted the sheets breathily, letting pleasure roll through him.
“You like that?” Javi murmured.
Shoma, dazed, only heard the sweet tenor of his voice, because his eyes were shut as Yuzu fucked him relentlessly, beyond words, reason. Far beyond that hook in his belly, which, however unwound and less barbed, was still there.
“Uhm-hm,” Shoma gasped as Yuzu thrust harder.
He heard the slick slap of their bodies and he was just clutching the sheets. He didn’t want to touch himself. He wanted to savor this burning edge. Yuzu’s nails dug into his hips. And Javi caressing them with his honey-eyed gazed, like they were a masterpiece. A Botticelli, perhaps, and Shoma thought dizzily of their trip to Florence and Rome once, long ago.
Yuzu tensed, his thrusts getting tighter, and then a gasp and a hot flood inside, Yuzu slumped over him. He was breathing heavy, and Shoma relished the heat inside, their bodies stuck together. He reached up to caress Yuzu’s cheek. Yuzu nuzzled him between the shoulder blades.
Yuzu still glowed as he pulled out and tottered to the bathroom. Shoma flopped on his side.
“Come here,” Javi said.
Shoma crawled over to Javi and Javi held him, kissing his hair.
“How are you this morning, mi amorcito?”
“Good,” Shoma said.
He felt shapeless, not hedged in by boundaries. Class. Nationality. Race or ethnicity. Family. That lure was not only uncurled, but melting. He was just Shoma. Twenty-nine years old. He studied the skin on his hand, the veins, while Javi kissed the mark Yuzu had left on his throat. He ran his hand down Shoma’s side.
“Are you up for more?”
Shoma, though drowsy, thought yes. His heart hammered as he turned around and kissed Javi.
Yuzu came in and they broke off their kiss.
“Do you want to watch?” Javi said, though Shoma and he both knew the answer.
Yuzu grumbled and put on a bathrobe before sauntering out.
Shoma snorted and Javi shook his head. Shoma didn’t take it personally, and he knew Javi didn’t either. Yuzu simply did not like to watch Javi and Shoma together, without him. He got too jealous.
But then Shoma and Javi looked at one another and there they were, together. They laughed with happiness. They resumed kissing. Javi clutched Shoma like he was something precious. Shoma was still hard, and his cock’s sensitive skin rubbed the coarse hair on Javi’s stomach, making Shoma shiver.
Javi turned Shoma onto his stomach, kissing up his calves and thighs, gently kissing the mark Yuzu had left. Then he parted Shoma’s cheeks. Shoma felt puffs of warm breath first, and then lips. A kiss on his sore hole, though it was sore in a good way. Then Javi began to suck and to lick. He slid two fingers into him as he rimmed him and Shoma cried out. He would have bucked, but Javi had his other hand on the small of his back, firm, broad, holding him down. He fucked him with his fingers and mouth, Shoma clutching one of the pillows and making noises into it.
Javi slowed his pace and cautiously withdrew his fingers, before licking once around the rim, and then kissing his hole again.
“Mmmm,” Javi said.
The bed jostled as Javi took off his boxer briefs.
Shoma wasn’t liquid any longer. He was fire. And he blazed. And he was gorgeous. The lure had all gone, melted away.
Javi stuck a few spare pillows under Shoma’s hips and Shoma adjusted, enjoying the feel of the fabric against his cock. With one hand, Javi slicked his cock with lube, while with the other he stroked Shoma’s back.
“I want to fuck you and come inside you. So you have both Yuzu and me inside you.”
Shoma groaned, his whole body vibrating with the idea. He craved it so badly he could taste it like salt on his tongue.
Javi slid in, quick and hard, which surprised Shoma, because usually Javi liked coaxing. But then the rhythm was Javi: slow, deep. Shoma reached back and dug his nails into Javi’s side. Javi picked up the pace, and Shoma whined with each spire of pleasure. He rubbed himself against the pillows, the coarseness of the fabric scorching his cock in the best possible way. His vision began to blur and he saw red and yellow before his body clenched and he came with a burst. Javi swore in Spanish and drove harder into him, through the aftershocks, until he too came, whole body tensing. Shoma felt a hot pulsing inside.
Javi pulled out slowly, then rolled to the side so he wouldn’t suffocate Shoma. Shoma turned on his side to face him. Javi looked limp and boneless. Shoma laughed and cuddled up to him. They both lay there, breathing heavily. Shoma could hear Yuzu pattering around in the kitchen and he looked at the empty spot in the bed.
“Yuzu,” he called at last.
Javi’s eyes, which had been closed, seemed to flutter open in surprise.
Yuzu’s footsteps neared the bedroom. He stuck his head through the door, chewing on a churro.
“Mmmm?” he said.
“Can you come and cuddle with us? Please?” Shoma asked.
He knew Yuzu. He knew if he gave him that look , that look at how cute I can be and you can’t resist, can you? look that Yuzu would say “yes”. It wasn’t entirely fair, but it was -- had been -- Shoma’s birthday.
Yuzu eyed them both, but Shoma saw the moment he buckled, that slight twitch of annoyance in his nose. He crammed the rest of the churro in his mouth. Yuzu disrobed and joined them in bed, butting up against Shoma. Shoma turned on his other side so Javi was spooning him, and he was spooning Yuzu.
They spooned for awhile, sweat cooling, the air sharp with sex, like wild onions. Shoma enjoyed the burn of being doubly fucked, of having Yuzu and Javi inside him.
And Shoma felt love. It wasn’t just the sex. It was the attempt at yakiniku, it was the flowers. It was the cake and presents that waited. It was the myriad of ways they touched and kissed him just to show they cared, or when they abstained from touching because he needed it. It was Javi taking him on romantic dates and talking to him in Spanish. It was Yuzu wrestling with him just for fun. It was Javi and Yuzu taking turns taking care of him when he got the flu, and then Shoma taking care of Javi and Yuzu when they got his flu. It was how they protected him from his family by reminding him not to call. It was the ways they helped each other become better coaches by trading ideas. It was how, in parts of Madrid, they could all walk together, hand in hand in hand, and Shoma could feel not just their love, but their power. It was so many things. To try and add it up was impossible.
Shoma pulled them all closer.
“You’re sweaty and gross,” Yuzu complained of Shoma.
“It’s almost like I had sex,” Shoma said.
“Shut up,” Yuzu poked him.
“I love you both,” he said.
“We love you,” Javi and Yuzu said in unison.
This is my family, Shoma thought as they resumed snuggling. It was a reminder more than anything, but a sweet one. In this family he was safe, and loved.
“We should go bathe,” Javi said after awhile.
“Yeah, I’ve got presents,” Shoma said.
His whole body buzzed too much for him to be sleepy. And suddenly there was the opportunity for receiving more affection, and the opportunity to spend more time in the with these men he loved and admired.
“Oh, do you?” Yuzu said.
Shoma and Yuzu wrestled briefly, and Shoma loved the slender heat of Yuzu’s body against his.
“Vamos niños,” Javi said.
They got out of bed and pulled the sheets up in unison. It was a comforting ritual, and a real thing they did together. Shoma appreciated the quiet moment before they went and took turns in the bathroom.