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The more Viktor watches people leave Yuuri's studio with works of art etched into skin, the more he thinks about finally getting his own tattoo. His idea isn't anything extraordinary, but he keeps wondering what it would look like in Yuuri's style — sharp lines, not always confident, but very clean and deliberate. Showing off obvious skill.

When he comes in to talk to Yuuri about it, Yuuri offers to just sketch it out, to satisfy Viktor's curiosity and see if he wants to get it.

"Don't you get money for the planning and sketching, too, though?" Viktor asks.

Yuuri smiles sheepishly. "Usually I insist on it."

This time Viktor insists for him, and they schedule an appointment.

Viktor's tattoo is a single blue rose encased in ice. The final design isn't exactly what Viktor had envisioned, since Yuuri has to make some practical changes to keep the tattoo looking good after it heals. The ice can't have white outlines, and the shades of blue Viktor asks for are replaced by ones that would look more distinct from each other once the skin heals over.

The only change that isn't by necessity is a chip in the ice that Yuuri casually adds, revealing fresh petals underneath. The sight of it makes something in Viktor ache, and his hand clenches in the fabric of his shirt.

He leaves that day with Yuuri's art on his skin.

 

Every time Viktor washes his tattoo clean from suds of soap, it's revealed to him again, new and exciting. The skin's healing process is bothersome — especially during the itchy stage — but he forgets all about the annoyance whenever he takes the time to properly examine and appreciate his rose. It's worth it.

Wanting to show Yuuri how grateful he is, Viktor looks for details he especially enjoys. For each such detail, he visits Yuuri with a flower from his shop.

He offers Yuuri a pink carnation when he compliments the lines, how they overlap in some points or leave a gap in others, making it look organic and almost sketchy while still precise and stylized. Yuuri's cheeks instantly match the flower he's holding, and he avoids Viktor's eyes by staring at it.

On another day, Viktor points out a particularly pleasing area in the reflections of the ice around the flower, and hands Yuuri a peony to go along with the praise. Yuuri bites his lip and hesitantly accepts the gift.

A tulip, an aster, a daisy. Different types of lilies and irises and orchids.

Every time Yuuri is gifted with a flower, he blushes and covers his face, or insists that whatever Viktor points out is nothing special. But his responses are becoming warmer with time, smiling wider whenever he sees Viktor approaching with a new flower, extending his hand to accept it more readily every time.

By the time Viktor finds the right words to thank Yuuri for his favorite detail, they both know Viktor isn't just showing his gratitude. The flirting is obvious. But with the chipped ice, Viktor isn't just flirting. This change makes Viktor's initially melancholic tattoo into something hopeful, something almost painful to look at for too long.

He gives Yuuri a beautiful dark iris to go along with that, and Yuuri takes it from him with the usual blush, this time looking into Viktor's eyes instead of staring at the flower to hide his embarrassment.

Perhaps he can see that, this time, it's different?

"You know," Yuuri says, "flowers seem less special and thoughtful when you just pick one up from your shop each time."

The words shoot painfully through Viktor and he can feel his smile freezing on his face.

Eyes growing wide with the realization of what he just said, Yuuri slaps a hand over his mouth, mortified. He glances at the entrance to his studio, already closed for the day. "I mean. I didn't—" Yuuri stammers, shrinking, looking both paralyzed and ready to run. "I didn't mean it like that. I'm sorry."

There aren't many interpretations Viktor can reach for to make Yuuri's comment sting less, but Yuuri's reaction to his own words soothes the hurt enough that Viktor says, "No need to apologize, I can see why you'd think that."

Yuuri flinches, looking horrified that Viktor won't let him back out of the hurtful statement, whatever it was meant to be.

"It's actually the opposite," Viktor says and leans in closer. Making sure his smile is inviting, he speaks slowly to let Yuuri relax with each word. "I take care of each flower myself, you know. I spend whole days at work thinking which would be the nicest I could give you and hiding it from customers."

Yuuri stares for a moment, stunned, and then pulls Viktor into a kiss by the front of his shirt. Viktor meets his hunger with enthusiasm.

"That was not fair," Yuuri complains, his breathing ragged.

"What," Viktor snickers, delighted by Yuuri's taste on his lips. "Using— mmf!"

The second kiss is both quicker and more forceful than the first, muffling Viktor's giggles but not quite cutting them off.

"Yes!" Yuuri says and then kisses him three more times, each short and sweet. "And it was so cheesy, too."

"That?" Viktor laughs. He'd been practically courting Yuuri for months now, and that was too much? "Oh, Yuuri. Darling. This is nothing. Let me take you on a date, I'll show you cheesy."

Yuuri agrees immediately, his eyes alight.

 

Despite being the one to ask Yuuri out, Viktor lets him pick the first place for their date.

His intention is to become familiar with what Yuuri likes. But Yuuri hesitates and then says, "So… you're asking me to ask you out."

"I'm— Yes?" Viktor blinks. "No. I asked you out."

"Did you?"

"Yes!"

With a playful smile, Yuuri says, "Out where, then?"

"Yuuri!" Viktor tries to sound offended, but he's too delighted by the teasing to make it believable.

Yuuri laughs, not at all apologetic.

Since he's allowed now, Viktor whines and leans on him.

Yuuri takes them somewhere relatively safe. It's a coffee shop, apparently run by a childhood friend. When Yuuri starts apologizing, Viktor assures him it's perfect, but he is hiding disappointment. Yuuri is reserved, and Viktor wants to see his interests. A coffee shop isn't likely to be one of them.

Once they sit and talk, though, he decides it's fine. Yuuri's responses to pictures of Makkachin are almost as adorable as Makka herself, and Viktor realizes this is a good way to get to know him, too.

"Oh no, she's so cute!" Yuuri gushes, and then almost squeals when he sees a rare video of Makkachin interacting with another dog.

This response deserves the full story, and Viktor hurries to provide context. He pauses when Yuuri looks at him, fighting laughter before Viktor even reaches the funny part.

"What is it?"

"Nothing," Yuuri says, trying without success to subdue his smile.

"Yuuuuuuri!" Viktor complains, and pouts when Yuuri just snorts.

"Fine," Yuuri shakes his head. "I just… can't believe I was scared to flirt with you."

"When were you scared to flirt with me?"

This does get Yuuri's smile to dim as he rubs the back of his neck. Hesitant, he says, "For weeks. Especially… right before you asked me out?"

"When you insulted me?" Viktor asks, and he really just wants clarification, it's already forgiven, but Yuuri still shrinks in his chair.

"I was worried I'd say something pathetic and corny—"

"So you insulted me."

"I was trying to be teasing!" Yuuri protests, blushing a bright red. "People… tease to flirt, right?"

"Yuuri!" Viktor says through laughter. "Where did you get the idea that I'd be bothered by something corny?"

"I'm sorry!"

Viktor only laughs harder. "The flowers, Yuuri!"

"I'll leave," Yuuri threatens.

"No, no, don't, I'm sorry," Viktor says, trying unsuccessfully to force himself to relax.

Yuuri narrows his eyes at him and then takes Viktor's phone, angling the screen pointedly away from Viktor and browsing Makkachin's folder alone.

They both calm down before he reaches the last picture. Yuuri is the first to look at them all, most people get tired of looking at so many photos before they even get halfway.

Intent on constructing the best experience for Yuuri in their next date, Viktor looks for hints in the conversations that will help him pick a place. Until one of the paintings hanging on the wall distracts him.

The painting depicts a pair of red skates in a rink. The coloring is messy and leaves a lot of the white visible around the edges, framing the image in rough patches. The whole thing seems to be lit by a sunset, judging by the colors and shading.

"Yuuri, is that one of yours?"

"What?" Yuuri turns around and jumps out of his seat when he sees the framed painting. "That's— No, no, it's not mine," he insists unconvincingly. "It's not. Wait here, I have to talk to someone."

Viktor sighs and sits back. Sadly he finds no other works that show his touch on the walls, but he smiles when he examines the painting of the skates and finds Yuuri's signature.

When Yuuri returns to his place at their table, he acts awkward and fidgety. He grows calmer as they talk, but he stays distracted for the rest of their date.

The moment they're out of the shop, he says, "That was a terrible first impression."

"It wasn't a first impression," Viktor points out with a frown, but apparently that's not the part that bothers Yuuri, because he ignores the rebuttal completely.

"I promise I didn't mean to show off," he says, "I just gave my friend something for her birthday, and she— apparently she framed it, and—"

"I'd show off," Viktor cuts him off. "I do show off your art. On my skin. I'm not surprised she wanted to show you off too."

Yuuri makes a small noise and mutters, "It doesn't even suit a coffee place. She could get in trouble."

Beyond looking incredulous, Viktor doesn't argue. "Do you like skating?" he asks instead.

"I— Yes?" Yuuri eyes him. "Why?"

"You picked where we go on this date. I'll pick the next one."

 

"That's not an ice rink," Yuuri says warily, standing in front of a lake full of people in clear inflated plastic spheres, rolling around in the water.

"Nope!" Viktor agrees cheerfully. "Zorb balls. There's an event."

"How does it work? Do we get in the same one?"

With a hand flying to his chest, Viktor gasps dramatically. "Yuuri!"

"Oh, don't act scandalized," Yuuri says dismissively. "I'm just trying to figure out your ulterior motive."

"Why do you assume I have one? Here I am just trying to have fun with my boyfriend, and he accuses me of having ulterior motives!"

 When he's done, Yuuri only stammers out, "B-boyfriend?" and Viktor shakes his head.

He could point out they agreed to date each other even if they didn't use the exact term yet, but instead he grabs Yuuri's arm before he recovers and pulls him along to rent their own zorbs. They learn that the air will last them thirty minutes once they're shut inside, and that's the time they'll spend in them.

While the ball is being inflated with Yuuri in it, Yuuri says, "Most of my past dates where we could swim were about getting wet and seeing each other in swimsuits. You lock us up in plastic balls."

Viktor beams at him. "Didn't you just complain about ulterior motives? You've skated on ice, now you'll walk on water."

As it turns out, they can't possibly stand in the balls, let alone walk. Moving in them is difficult, with the water carrying them in every direction. Any attempt to adjust the way Viktor sits changes his center of gravity and gets the ball to roll accordingly. He keeps trying to move towards Yuuri, but the water pulls them apart.

Yuuri seems to draw a lot of satisfaction from Viktor's struggles, but he starts trying to do the same and roll their zorbs closer to each other.

They do get relatively close, and Viktor holds his hand against the plastic towards Yuuri, making the ball shift and roll his hand down. He pouts and tries again, and again, like some long-limbed hamster running in its wheel.

Laughing, Yuuri shakes his head and extends a palm towards Viktor too.

Viktor scrambles again, trying to get their hands to touch through the layers of plastic separating them. The unpredictable movements of the water and the rolling of the balls keep their hands from meeting, and Yuuri tries to stay still and let Viktor reach him but it's impossible with the waves forcing him to readjust constantly.

Sometimes he seems to forget himself and lean closer to Viktor, making the uncontrollable motions worse and toppling over in his zorb, unused to how weight shifts influence the balls.

Their laughter doesn't help precision, either.

Finally giving up, Yuuri points at the edge of the lake and raises an eyebrow at Viktor.

Viktor glances between Yuuri and where he's indicating, and as soon as he understands what Yuuri wants, Yuuri's smile widens.

"Race?" Viktor asks just to make sure, but the place is too noisy and the word isn't obvious enough that Yuuri should be able to read his lips.

Yuuri nods anyway, and Viktor decides to trust him and assume they understood each other.

Racing is only slightly better than trying to get their hands lined up with each other, and their thirty minutes are up before they finish and have a winner.

Once they're free, Viktor watches affectionately as Yuuri sighs and sprawls on the ground, breathing the fresh air in deeply. He's nearly as theatrical as Viktor likes to be.

"What did you think of my surprise?"

"You are ridiculous," Yuuri tells him, smiling wide.

"You had fun, then." Viktor tries to avoid making it another question, but he's not sure his tone doesn't give him away.

Yuuri's smile warms and he looks up at Viktor with deep, dark eyes that look so easy to get lost in. "I think this was the most fun I had on a date."

Relaxing, Viktor lies down next to him. "I'm glad."

"Do you have any other crazy plans?"

"Oh, no, that was the highlight, I'm afraid." Then he smirks at Yuuri. "I did bring swimsuits, though."

Yuuri scowls playfully, muttering, "Ulterior motive."

Viktor doesn't bother correcting him.

It's not an intentional part of the plan, but the swimsuit means Yuuri's tattoos are fully visible for the first time. They're all somehow simpler than the one Yuuri had drawn on Viktor. Or, not simpler, but cleaner. Not sketchy, not shaded, with clean lines and more blocks of full color, very few shifts of shade and hue.

The first he notices is an uncolored sleeve, black lines twirling from Yuuri's shoulder to his elbow. It's made up of a strong, simple base pattern. Lines that flow around Yuuri's arm. All along it, there are different objects and images scattered. Viktor almost starts asking about them, but as his eyes drink in the sight of Yuuri's body, he notices one even more curious.

"Is that a tattoo?" he crouches near Yuuri's foot and finds a drawn band aid.

Yuuri looks down, and of course he blushes. "That's… Yes."

Licking his lips, Viktor watches Yuuri's face, trying to gauge how embarrassed he really is. "This one… has a story behind it, doesn't it?"

"I guess it does," Yuuri sighs and sits down, glancing at Viktor's face. "That spot had a pretty permanent callus when I used to dance as a kid—"

"You dance?" Viktor exclaims, because the thought of Yuuri dancing in any style is enough to take his breath away.

"I did," Yuuri corrects him firmly. "I did, and I stopped. After I stopped, the callus faded. And…" Yuuri takes a deep breath, his shoulders hunching a little, and he continues, "I missed it. So. It's not even the most visible thing, other spots got blisters and cuts, this one was just. More… constant. It stayed in the same spot. Until it didn't."

"So you got a tattoo on that spot," Viktor tilts his head.

"It's the only one I tattooed on myself," Yuuri says. "I went to other artists for the others."

"Like this one?" Viktor points at Yuuri's upper arm.

"Yes," Yuuri says, looking relieved to drop the bandaid tattoo. "That artist was nice, she's fun to work with. I'll go back to her when I have enough to continue this one to my forearm."

"Enough what? Money?"

Yuuri bites his lip and says, "Enough… things I like enough to want on me. That's what this one is. Hobbies and interests that don't fade, or those that leave a mark."

"Wow!" Lighting up with curiosity, Viktor leans forward to take a closer look at Yuuri's arm. The first familiar shapes he finds on it are of several instruments. A drum, a flute, and a few others. "You like music, then! Do you play all these?"

Yuuri laughs a little. "It's also… a little dance related. Some of those are just my favorites. Others are traditional, like the drum here."

"You don't play drums, then? That's a shame, that'd be hot."

They sit like that for a while, with Viktor questioning Yuuri about different details of his tattoo. There's a window through the pattern that shows a mountain view, from one of Yuuri's favorite book series. A few runes from Yuuri's favorite game. Little odd characters from Yuuri's favorite animated movie that he promises to watch with Viktor, and another symbol from a different game.

"What does the pattern mean?" he asks, running a finger along one of the lines that hold the whole thing together, connecting Yuuri's different interests into one cohesive design.

"That's." Yuuri shivers. "It's just supposed to be pretty, it doesn't mean anything."

"Hmm." Viktor brushes across it one more time, just to make Yuuri shiver again, and then pokes at a drawing of a creature he doesn't recognize on the back of Yuuri's arm. "And that one?"

"I don't know, I can't see that spot on my arm without a mirror."

"This, here!" Viktor pokes at it, making Yuuri jump and squirm.

"I still don't know which drawing you're touching!"

Viktor could try to describe the creature, but suddenly he's not as interested in the explanation. He licks his lips, says, "This!" and starts tickling Yuuri, making him shriek and startle the people around them.

"Stop that!" Yuuri pushes him away. "We're in public!"

Viktor pouts but sits back, keeping one hand on Yuuri's forearm and waiting for Yuuri's breath to settle.

"I'm starting to think you really don't want to swim with me," Yuuri tells him.

Viktor huffs. "You look for reasons to suspect me. All I'm doing is taking the time to get to know my boyfriend and his interests, and—"

Yuuri chokes on a laugh and smacks him. "Stop doing that!"

"Doing what?" Viktor asks innocently.

Unimpressed, Yuuri snorts and sits up. "Come on. Let's go swim before it's too cold."

 

"I would have won the race, you know," Yuuri tells him when they sit together for a lunch break, not far from their shops.

"I don't," Viktor responds. "I think I had much better control over my zorb."

Smiling, Yuuri shakes his head.

They share meals often after that, and even start planning their portions to share with each other. Viktor is happy to show off his skills, only to find out that Yuuri's cooking is heavenly. Viktor proves to be better at baking, though.

 

For their next date, Yuuri takes them to an arcade.

"We need to have a winner," he reasons when Viktor raises an eyebrow at him.

"You're not being fair, Yuuri," Viktor argues back. "This is giving you the advantage. I don't play video games."

"So you're giving up?" Yuuri challenges.

Viktor narrows his eyes at him and steps inside.

Yuuri chooses the game after choosing the place, and this adds to Viktor's satisfaction when he wins by pressing the same button repeatedly.

Yuuri glares at him and demands another round, but Viktor wins two times out of three. Despite the fact that the activity isn't related to Viktor's interests at all, he's having as much fun as he did in their previous date, and he doesn't think it's the winning.

Everything with Yuuri is fun.

By some miracle, Yuuri seems to enjoy Viktor's company just as much.

 

For their next date, Viktor invites Yuuri to take Makkachin out to the park.

When Makkachin first meets Yuuri, she's overjoyed. She jumps around him, and he laughs and crouches on the ground to pet her and let her kiss him.

When Viktor returns Makkachin home, Yuuri joins them. He spends the day hugging her, and Viktor's chest is warm and full at the sight of them. He's tempted to ask Yuuri to spend the night there, in Viktor's bed, but worries that it would be premature.

After dinner, with Yuuri in his lap, kissing him, Viktor forgets that worry.

"What time is it?" Yuuri asks.

Viktor's unthinking response is "Stay."

And he immediately regrets it.

Yuuri stares at him, frowning a little, and Viktor's face heats slowly. He's trying to think of a way to salvage the situation when Yuuri says, "Sure. But… what time is it?"

Viktor's nerves escape with a laugh and he reaches for his phone.

He wakes up the next morning to the feeling of gentle fingers moving the fringe from his face, careful of any tangles created in his sleep. Then realizes he's wrapped around Yuuri, arms and legs.

"Good morning, Snugglebug."

Viktor nuzzles into the crook of Yuuri's neck. "Mmm. Sng… hmm?"

Yuuri lets out a tired laugh. "The last iris you gave me. Looked it up, found its name. It fits."

Viktor wonders if he should be giving Yuuri space, but Yuuri hugs him closer and murmurs a sleepy, "This is nice."

Viktor decides he likes the nickname.

 

Yuuri takes them to the arcade a second time, and he loses around half their matches. To Viktor's endless amusement, he seems genuinely annoyed by this.

"On the bright side, you're getting better," Viktor teases when they get ready to leave.

"I'd like to see you try and beat me in Dark Souls 3 PVP," Yuuri mutters. "Actually I'd like to see you just try and play it."

"Is it here?" Viktor asks, ready to humor him. "Can we try?"

"No, it's a PC game."

Viktor frowns. "Where is that?"

Yuuri snorts, his irritation finally dissipating when he looks at Viktor with a warm smile. "At my apartment. A PC is just a computer, Vitya."

"Oh," Viktor says, growing excited. "Are you inviting me back to your place, Yuuri?"

Startled, Yuuri laughs. "I guess I am," he says.

Viktor is thrilled, and he can hardly contain it.

 

When they reach Yuuri's apartment and his hand pauses as he reaches for the handle as if it might burn him, Viktor's heart sinks.

"Would you rather I go home?" Viktor asks to give Yuuri an out.

Yuuri looks up at him with a confused frown. He sounds upset when he asks, "Do you want to go home?"

"Of course not," Viktor glances at the handle. "I'm asking for you."

"Oh." Yuuri's cheeks flush. "I just remembered something. It's okay, though. I think."

Viktor smiles, a fragile thing. "Yuuri, darling, with you in a room I wouldn't notice if it's messy."

Yuuri returns a smile that's almost a grimace as he finally reaches and opens the door.

At first, Viktor doesn't know what it is that made Yuuri hesitate. There are sketchbooks and calligraphy pens and alcohol markers scattered in different corners, as well as art books about different eras.  A hamster plushie is curiously laid on the couch as if it's a decorative pillow. On the coffee table there's an empty bowl with a spoon, as well as music sheets in a messy pile, not far from an electric keyboard set that Yuuri hadn't put away.

It looks warm, lived in. But it certainly isn't messy.

It becomes clear when Viktor notices the most mismatched bouquet he had ever seen, in a vase on the dining table. Right in the center of the living room. The flowers in the vase are dried, and not by someone who knows how. Viktor recognizes them immediately.

Ignoring the strange noise from Yuuri, Viktor hurries closer to look at it. He notices the pink carnation — his very first gift. Every flower he'd ever given Yuuri is here. Warmth spreads in his chest.

"You kept them," he murmurs.

"I… didn't know how many of these I was going to get," Yuuri says.

"So you dried them?"

"I looked up how to do it online," Yuuri says and he's so embarrassed he sounds ashamed. "I don't know if the same method was supposed to be good for all of them, but… I used the same one."

"You left the leaves on some," Viktor says, noticing the dried, brittle, crumbling green leaves peeking from between the mess of stems.

"Umm. Yeah. They said to cut them, but. I didn't. I didn't want to… change them."

Viktor feels faint.

These flowers weren't picked with a bouquet in mind. They were picked to be distinct from each other, each special. No design, no thought, no planning.

The result is an ugly mishmash that Yuuri had tried to arrange by grouping the flowers by color, attempting a sort of circular gradient with uneven bunches. Some flowers lost their colors by the process, or turned a dark brown. It's made worse by the varying heights, and the way flowers with bigger petals eclipse the smaller blooms. Several even lost petals or had their shapes distorted. It's awful.

This ugly thing, the centerpiece of Yuuri's living room.

Viktor closes his eyes and breathes as something in him burns.

"I love you," Viktor says and turns to Yuuri.

Yuuri's eyes widen and Viktor steps closer, cupping Yuuri's face and squishing the warm reddened cheeks in his excitement.

"Yuuri, I love you," he says again, the feeling so intense in that moment that he only barely stops himself from yelling it into Yuuri's face.

It isn't clear if Yuuri needs to catch his breath or just process Viktor's behavior. He frowns, dazed and unsteady, hands gripping the fabric of Viktor's shirt. "I… Thank you? Me too? Just… What…"

"Darling," Viktor pulls Yuuri in with an arm around his waist, gesturing towards the awful bouquet with a tilt of his head. "That is the most alluring thing I've ever seen."

"Oh," Yuuri says, and sounds just as baffled, like he's still trying to catch up. He leans into Viktor's chest. "The things you find attractive are really weird."

"Are you complaining?" Viktor says, ignoring a stab of insecurity. His arm tightens around Yuuri.

"No, I— Actually, I don't know why I'm surprised."

Viktor laughs and kisses Yuuri's forehead, the bridge of his nose, his cheek, his temple. He nuzzles into the side of Yuuri's face and drops another kiss right under his ear, delighting in Yuuri's quiet gasp.

"Can you imagine what I want right now, Yuuri?"

Yuuri's fingers twist into his shirt and he pushes his own body up into Viktor's.

"Mmm, I think you can," Viktor murmurs. "What do you think I want?"

Yuuri swallows. "To take your shoes off?"

Viktor pulls away and raises an eyebrow at Yuuri. "Was that an attempt to tactfully reject me?"

"It… No," Yuuri says with a blush, but some of the tension is gone. "It's just distracting, because it's kinda gross."

With a chuckle, Viktor returns to the entrance to change his shoes for a pair of slippers. "You're absolutely right. And now?"

"Now… Bed?" Yuuri asks, and from his tone it's as if Viktor hadn't made his desire known.

"That sounds perfect, Yuuri."

As soon as they enter Yuuri's room, Viktor sits on the bed and pulls Yuuri on top of him.

In the hours that follow Viktor drinks in new, unfamiliar sounds from Yuuri's lips. He draws them out when Yuuri enters him, rocking into Viktor's body. He ruins Yuuri's attempts at speech, overwhelming him in every way he can, sensation after sensation.

Viktor's legs wrap around Yuuri's body, and whenever Yuuri pauses to breathe, Viktor tightens his hold and pulls him closer. Whenever Yuuri is distracted by a kiss, Viktor moves his hips to push himself further onto Yuuri's cock.

Eventually Yuuri seems to have had enough and he doesn't let Viktor pull him into another kiss. With an unfamiliar fire in his eyes, he pushes Viktor's legs up and starts thrusting into him. The change of angle makes Viktor cry out, and Yuuri smirks, stealing Viktor's breath away with that one look. He holds that angle, setting a new rhythm that has Viktor trembling.

With the flip of a switch, Viktor is the one drowning out Yuuri's noises. It's impossible to hear anything past his own voice, chanting Yuuri's name when he manages to form words at all.

"I love you," Yuuri whispers when they're clean, cuddling and exchanging soft kisses.

"I love you too," Viktor returns easily.

"No, I mean… I love you. I don't think I said it earlier. Not properly, I mean."

"Oh, love," Viktor smiles, feeling more present and real than he had in years, "You did."

Being in Yuuri's bed, surrounded by Yuuri's things, Yuuri's smell, Yuuri's warmth — it could only have felt more like home if he'd brought Makkachin with him.

They sleep well and try Dark Souls the next day. Viktor doesn't enjoy it, but he likes watching Yuuri play, so he spends the morning with head in Yuuri's lap. They stay together for the rest of the weekend, and Makkachin eventually becomes familiar with Yuuri's home too.

 

Viktor quickly discovers that Yuuri doesn't generally wake up before him. It's more likely to start the day with Yuuri sleeping calmly in his arms rather than playing with his hair and calling him cute nicknames, like he did the first night he stayed in Viktor's place.

"I just wasn't used to the sounds outside your house," Yuuri explains. "They woke me up."

As the months pass, that changes. Yuuri spends days and weeks at a time in Viktor's apartment. His toothbrush stands next to Viktor's, and there's a space in Viktor's closet for Yuuri's clothes. Dishes get mixed as they take cooked meals from place to place, and there's a corner with sketchbooks and some not-too-messy art supplies. Yuuri jokes about his own place gathering dust.

Viktor revels in it. His house had never looked so much like a home.

In the end, Yuuri is the one to suggest they move in together. Viktor doesn't need time to consider the idea, and he doesn't pretend to think it over in an attempt to avoid looking clingy.

With Yuuri, he doesn't need to.

 

The sight of Yuuri sitting and sketching in their living room is nothing special. At least it shouldn't be—Yuuri sits there to sketch nearly every other day, either to practice or to create ready-made tattoo designs for customers to pick from.

It is special, though. Viktor enjoys the way Yuuri bends his head over the paper, concentrating and periodically remembering to straighten his back only to return to his slouching a moment later.

Viktor needs to hold him, so he goes to rest his chin on Yuuri's shoulder and wrap his arms around his waist.

"Vitya!" Yuuri shrieks in his ear, but Viktor ignores him. From his place over Yuuri's shoulder, he sees a page is full of sketches portraying Viktor himself. The lines show Yuuri's characteristic care, but his affection for Viktor stands out for anyone familiar with Yuuri's work. Viktor, the way Yuuri sees him. It's charming.

He opens his mouth to tell Yuuri that, but one drawing catches his eye, and he points at it. "Why am I hugging me?"

Yuuri slams the sketchbook closed, stammering something about wanting to practice drawing two forms interacting with each other. "Practicing this is important, it's much more difficult than drawing a single figure," he dashes through the words, "And you're the inspiration, so, you know. Practice is always— I mean, it's practice, and you, uh—"

As amusing as this is, Viktor decides to spare him. He kisses Yuuri's cheek.

Yuuri stops talking, biting back a jumble of sentences, most likely including the word "practice" twice in every one.

"I'd rather hug you than another me," Viktor says fondly.

Leaning into Viktor, Yuuri exhales, slow and measured. Viktor pushes the sketchbook away and starts kissing Yuuri's neck, running his fingers soothingly over his thigh. He lets Yuuri relax and melt, until his fingers reach in to trace the inside seam of Yuuri's pants, making Yuuri shiver.

Between the gasps and moans he coaxes out of Yuuri, Viktor forgets all about the drawing.

 

"Truth or dare?" Yuuri asks, unsure. "Just the two of us?"

"It will be fun! Promise!" Viktor says. "If not, we'll play a video game. One of your choice."

Yuuri considers this, eyeing Viktor suspiciously.

"Yes," Viktor says, "I definitely have an ulterior motive."

Laughing, Yuuri agrees.

Soon they find themselves with very few pieces of clothing, and much fewer unspoken kinks and preferences. It's sensual and sweet, and at some point Yuuri decides he wants to stay in Viktor's lap.

Viktor goes to spin the bottle, but stops. "How do we tell which one of us it is?"

"Easy. If the bottle points away from us, it's you."

The bottle points to the side, closer to them than the opposite direction.

"It's still away from us," Yuuri tries.

Unconvinced and unimpressed, Viktor tickles him. Yuuri squirms in his lap, at first refusing to admit defeat, until Viktor finds that one spot above his waist and—

"Fine, fine, it's me!"

Probably to avoid letting Viktor undress him using this now-controversial spin of the bottle, Yuuri chooses truth.

Viktor hums quietly. His hand strokes Yuuri's stomach while he tried to choose a question fitting for the theme.

"Your biggest fantasy? Other than those I know about."

Shoulders tensing, Yuuri looks away.

"Yuuri?" Viktor peeks at his face from the side.

"It's… silly."

"No," Viktor says slowly. He was not expecting emotions. This game wasn't supposed to be about emotions. "It's just something you want to do."

"We can't," Yuuri says.

"Is it dangerous?"

"No, it's… ugh. It's ridiculous."

Viktor kisses Yuuri's neck. "I'm sure it isn't. It's just something you'd want to do. It's okay to want. Even if you think I won't want to do it."

"That's the thing though, I can't, we can't," Yuuri says. "It's impossible. It's about… it's…"

"Yes?"

"To have two of you," the answer bursts out.

Viktor's hand stops moving. "You mean like… a threesome."

"Sort of?"

"You want us to invite someone?" Viktor asks carefully.

"Where would you— no. No, not someone," he says, exasperated, and adds in a softer voice, "You. Two of you."

"Oh."

"See? It's impossible." Yuuri's whole body is uncomfortably tense, his shoulders hunched.

"That doesn't make it ridiculous."

"But it is," Yuuri snaps. "Why am I even telling you this? It's creepy and it's not like we can do it."

Viktor doesn't know what to say to that, so he tries, "I love you."

Yuuri pauses. Viktor might be awful at comforting him at times, he sometimes struggles without being told how, but he's always genuine and Yuuri knows this. He turns around in Viktor's lap and hugs him.

"I love you, Yuuri," Viktor repeats.

"I love you too, Vitya."

"I'm sorry."

Yuuri shakes his head and kisses Viktor, leaning in close and slowly losing some of the tension.

"Video game?" Viktor asks.

Yuuri nods gratefully.

 

"I wanted to ask," Viktor says to Yuuri, who's opening the doors to his studio, "Can you have flowers here or is there a sanitary issue around it?"

Yuuri frowns up at him. "Why?"

"Can you?" Viktor presses, trying to maintain some of the surprise even though he knows the question itself most likely gave it away already.

"It… shouldn't be an issue. I think."

"Great!" Viktor turns to go. "Wait here."

"But I need to open up!"

"Wait inside, then!"

Viktor ignores whatever he says next and enters his own shop. He should start organizing it for opening, but he'd already decided that today he'll open a bit late.

He heads for a little room in the back that serves as a storage space. There, in a clean spot, hides a gift he'd been working on for too long.

A dried flower arrangement, inspired by Japanese ikebana. Most of his attempts were rather poor, and this one isn't quite as perfect as he'd like either. But it's the one he wants to give Yuuri, especially after the failed game of truth or dare.

Viktor picks it up carefully and takes it to Yuuri's studio.

When Viktor walks in and places his gift on a table near the entrance, Yuuri is busy organizing an inner room where his equipment is.

It's in that room that Viktor felt Yuuri's hands on his skin for the first time, through the thin gloves he wore while working on Viktor's blue rose. It's odd to remember how impersonal and perfunctory Yuuri's touch was at the time. Odd to remember there was a time before Yuuri meant the world to him, a time the way he liked Yuuri didn't make his heart feel this full.

"Yuuri?" Viktor peeks inside with a smile.

"Hmm?"

"Your gift is here."

"Yes, you are."

Viktor blinks for a moment, processing, and then gasps. "Yuuri!"

Yuuri laughs and places a new package of single-use gloves in its place with the rest of the equipment. "Okay, everything is ready. Show me."

Viktor doesn't need to lead him far before Yuuri notices the new decoration for his studio and exclaims, "Vitya!" as he hurries to crouch in front of it.

"I used the iris," Viktor says, "Because it's the kind of flower I gave you when I asked you out. And I tried to draw inspiration from Japanese flower arrangements, but I'm not sure how traditional the result is."

The smile Yuuri gives him is so bright and warm, it's an embrace. "I love it."

Viktor smiles too. "You threw out the flowers you dried yourself when you moved in with me. I thought you'd enjoy a replacement."

"I do," Yuuri stands up to offer a hug Viktor accepts eagerly. "Thank you."

"You know I wouldn't have minded your bouquet moving in, too." Viktor gently pushes a lock of Yuuri's hair behind his ear. It's too short to stay there, but it's really an excuse to touch Yuuri's hair.

Yuuri's smile falters. "Yes, but… I didn't need it anymore."

This makes Viktor pause. "What do you mean?"

Looking away, Yuuri takes his time before saying, "That's… not important."

Viktor frowns. "Yuuri, I think it might be important to me."

Yuuri worries his lip, and seeing him damaging the delicate skin is distracting, but not enough to get Viktor's mind off this.

"I kept drying them, because… I had a crush on you back then."

Viktor nods.

Yuuri takes a deep breath, and quickly pushes the rest out with an exhale. "I wanted to have something to keep when you lost interest."

"Lost interest?" Viktor repeats, bewildered. "Yuuri, were you waiting for me to lose interest?"

"Yes?"

"So throwing them away, that…" Was that when Yuuri stopped waiting for him to walk away? "Yuuri! It took you so long!?"

"I'm sorry!" Yuuri says, shrinking, as if he did anything wrong, and that response is probably Viktor's fault.

Viktor shakes his head, looking at the dried iris. "I can't believe I didn't make it obvious enough that I love you before that."

"You did," Yuuri says, straightening and lifting his chin, his stubborn determination showing itself as he gets ready to defend Viktor. "It wasn't because of something you didn't do. It's hard for me to believe things that are too good, and that's not your fault. I threw the flowers out when I moved in with you, because… not even the worst nightmares I could dream up managed to make our… relationship… feel like less than it is."

"Okay," Viktor says, and then, even though he's not really comforted, he laughs a little. "That's good. I don't think we want to see what I might do if I try to make it any clearer."

Yuuri smiles back, relaxing.

 

In the three weeks since he'd given Yuuri his dried flower arrangement, Viktor had seen Yuuri looking at it like he does at Viktor's tattoo right before he leans in to kiss it. It helps, but he's still unsure about his choice of gift. He worried about the connection to Yuuri's old bouquet.

That worry stays on the back of his mind until the day Yuuri bursts into his shop, slamming the door shut behind him so the flower shop looks closed to any potential customers.

"Yuuri!" Viktor calls out. "Early lunch?"

"I just yelled at a customer," Yuuri mumbles and comes to sit on the floor near Viktor's counter.

"What?"

"I yelled at a customer."

Viktor tilts his head. "That... doesn't sound like you."

"She wanted my flowers!"

Yuuri's distress is the only thing becoming any clearer.

"Why didn't you send her here for flowers?"

"No," Yuuri snaps, impatient, "She didn't want them like that!"

"Darling, I'm… very confused."

"I'm a tattoo artist," Yuuri explains, "She wanted a tattoo of it. Instead of telling her I'd rather not like a rational person would, I just yelled 'no' at her!"

Hearing this loosens something of a knot Viktor never noticed in his chest.

"I can't tattoo our flowers on someone else, Vitya!" Yuuri says, looking at Viktor imploringly.

Viktor wants to support Yuuri with all the sympathy and understanding in the world, but instead he asks, "Why not?"

He hopes it would pull out of Yuuri an emotional declaration, but it doesn't work quite the way he wants. He realizes his mistake the moment Yuuri's face twists in an injured look.

"That's… that's ours, isn't it?" Yuuri stammers. "The iris, and… you made it, with inspiration from my culture, and… I… should I have done it?" he ends in a small voice.

"No no no!" Viktor rushes to sit on the floor next to Yuuri and pull him into a hug. "Of course not, Yuuri. That's not what I meant."

"What did you mean?" Yuuri bites, but he leans into Viktor's chest like he can't help it.

Viktor hums, trying to think of the best way to explain.

"The first time I saw your dried flowers, they made me very happy. You went out of your way to keep something I gave you. I saw it, and I felt so loved. I had no idea… that they weren't that positive for you."

"They were, though," Yuuri says.

"You were waiting to lose me," Viktor counters.

"They weren't just that," Yuuri objects, indignant. "You don't get to decide that's all they mean. You said it, didn't you? You picked every one. And for me, it was… a process. Believing that you meant it how I wanted it. I didn't just think about losing you when I saw them. I had to get a bigger vase at some point and… that was amazing."

Viktor laughs weakly. "Now explaining what I meant with 'why not?' would sound very silly."

"You owe me the silly explanation," Yuuri says, unfazed.

Viktor runs a hand through his hair. "Honestly, Yuuri, I just wanted to hear how you feel about it. Why you couldn't tattoo it on someone else's skin, what it means to you. I like hearing how you feel about us."

Yuuri huffs, though his expression softens. "You can just ask."

"I did."

"Not like that!"

Viktor laughs and hugs Yuuri tighter, kissing his forehead.

"I shouldn't be getting hugs and kisses," Yuuri says, "I just yelled at a customer."

"My love," Viktor says, "I truly couldn't care less."

Viktor only lets him go when it's time for Yuuri's next scheduled session.

 

"Phichit wants to plan a trip."

"Oh?" Viktor slows his work on Makkachin's fur to listen. Grooming her takes time, since she keeps stopping him to lick his hands, or running to the balcony when she hears an interesting noise from the construction site not far from them.

"For Phichit and I. We hardly see each other now, since he's back in Thailand."

"That sounds great," Viktor says and gets back to his work, pausing to scratch behind Makkachin's ears. Maybe she isn't the only one prolonging things. "How long a trip? When?"

"For two weeks, in a little over two months," Yuuri answers. He opens a journal and adds, mostly to himself, "I should mark it to leave the time open in my schedule."

"Hmm. So Phichit gets to have you for two whole weeks," Viktor says, brushing through Makkachin's fur.

"And you get to have me for the rest of my life," Yuuri says absentmindedly, still looking through his scheduled tattooing sessions.

Viktor looks up in time to see Yuuri's face turn red as he realizes what he just said.

"For the rest—"

"Don't say anything!" Yuuri shrieks.

"But—"

"Stop, no, it's embarrassing!" Yuuri drops to the floor and covers his face with both hands. Makkachin runs to him, excited, and licks Yuuri's hands stubbornly until he laughs and removes them from to pet her. Yuuri is still blushing when he buries his face in her soft brown curls.

Viktor is left sitting on the floor with a brush in one hand and tufts of fur in the other, his heart hammering in his chest.

 

"Vitya," Yuuri starts slowly and his tone makes Viktor lower his book. "I wanted to ask you something. It might be strange."

"What is it?"

Yuuri settles into the sofa near Viktor. "How much would it weird you out if I asked permission to get a tattoo of Makkachin's paw print?"

"You…" Viktor blinks and then break into a smile. "What, really?"

"If it's not creepy? If you don't mind? Or maybe you think it's too boring to get? If not, then…" Yuuri fidgets with a spot on the arm of his glasses where the blue paint started peeling. "Yes?"

Viktor beams at him. "Yes, of course you can!"

"You seriously don't mind?"

"Why would I mind?" Viktor laughs, "She adores you, and you've been nothing but good to her! Yuuri, there's no one else I trust with her more than I trust you."

Yuuri's eyes shine when he kisses Viktor and says, "Thank you."

Viktor kisses him back, warm with excitement. This is as good as getting a ring.

"How do we get a paw print?"

 

Apparently there are several methods. They pick paint at first, because Viktor likes the idea of framing her paw prints after.

Makkachin doesn't like it, though. She refuses to step on the paper and instead wipes the paint on Yuuri's clothes.

"Hey!" he complains, and she does it again.

They quickly clean her.

 

A few days later they try again, this time with salt dough. She tries to eat it instead of letting it be pressed to her paw, and feeding her treats only helps as a temporary distraction. As soon as she's done with one, she tries to taste the dough again, and trying to do it quickly while she's distracted draws her away from the treat and to the interesting feeling of the dough against her paw.

"I did it!" Viktor exclaims and shows off two rather messy impressions on two pieces of dough.

Makkachin bites one impression, and she regrets it immediately. They spoil her for the rest of the week as an apology.

The other impression cracks in the oven.

 

The third idea is to use clay. They place it in a plastic zip lock bag to place between books and create a nice flat surface to work with. Before they can take it out of the bag Makkachin sniffs at it and walks away, indignant. It makes Yuuri laugh so hard he starts heaving when he tries to explain why.

"Yuuri, breathe!" Viktor urges, amused and only mildly concerned as he rubs along Yuuri's back. "It wasn't that funny, darling."

"She looked— She looked like you when she did that," Yuuri says, still laughing.

Whatever expression Viktor makes when he hears that, Yuuri sees it and breaks down again, his laughter so violent he has to sit on the floor.

Viktor ends up using the clay to get an imprint of Yuuri's squished nose.

 

"We should drop it," Yuuri says, watching Makkachin as she trots ahead of them. They like letting her pick the path in lazy weekend mornings, when neither hurries anywhere.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I can't think of other ways to get her print, and I wanted it to heal before my trip with Phichit. There's not much time left for that."

Viktor doesn't say anything to that. He knows Yuuri still wants the tattoo, so he feels foolish for the way the words ache. Wanting it is already meaningful.

It just doesn't feel like enough, though. Now that the idea has been presented to him, Viktor wants to see it becoming reality. He wants to watch the skin heal over the ink, he wants to kiss it like he does Yuuri's other tattoos.

"You're disappointed."

Of course Yuuri can read him. Viktor laughs. "I think I might be."

Yuuri looks at him for a moment before turning his eyes back to Makkachin. "It's kind of embarrassing that we didn't manage it. It's such a common kind of tattoo. People get it all the time."

"Does it bother you that many people get it?"

"No," Yuuri says simply. "Ours is special."

In response to something interesting, or maybe in a playful attempt to get their attention, Makkachin breaks into a run.

"Makka, no!" Yuuri hurries towards her, but he's too late. Makkachin dashes straight into a section of fresh concrete. The discomfort has her yelping and running immediately out of it, but the damage is done.

"Oh, no, Makka," Yuuri says, dropping to his knees beside her. "We need to get you a leash."

Viktor is about to join them, but he pauses at the sights of the impressions of Makkachin's paws in the concrete. Several of the prints are clear and sharp.

"Yuuri," he says as he pulls his phone out and takes picture after picture.

"What?"

"Yuuri, look!" Viktor points at the concrete.

"Oh, no," Yuuri says. "It's ruined."

Scoffing and pushing his phone into Yuuri's hands, Viktor says, "Yuuri, focus. Paw prints! You can draw from these!"

Yuuri's eyes widen. "Oh! They're beautiful!"

The walk is cut short when Makkachin catches on the excitement and starts running and around them. They have to carefully walk her back and Viktor says, "We really do need a leash for her, don't we?"

"A purple one," Yuuri agrees.

At home, Viktor cleans Makkachin's paws and turns it into a full bath while Yuuri sketches out the shape he needs from the pictures. When Viktor gets out with a freshly bathed Makkachin who's very happy to leave the bathroom, he finds Yuuri laughing with his face in his hands.

Curious, he asks, "How's the sketch coming along?"

"It looks great," Yuuri says, his voice strained, "But. Vitya."

"Hmm?" 

"Pictures."

"Is there an issue with them?"

"Pictures!" Yuuri raises his head to look at Viktor with a tired smile. "We could have taken pictures of her paws! I feel so silly, people come to me with pictures all the time, why did I fixate on physical prints?"

Shaking his head, Viktor comes to kiss Yuuri's forehead. "That's okay, Yuuri. We had fun experimenting with our daughter."

Yuuri freezes. "What did you call her?"

"You're not allowed to be embarrassed," Viktor teases. "You're getting her paw print tattooed on you. You've adopted her. We're both her parents now."

Yuuri makes a high pitched sound and his head hits the sketchbook. "Oh, God. Yes. We are."

The final tattoo is cute and simple, just a clean black shape, and it heals in time for Yuuri's trip.

 

Spending two weeks without Yuuri mostly means that Makkachin tries to steal his phone whenever it's within her reach. She keeps hearing Yuuri's voice and pawing at Viktor's hand.

It's painful and slow, the time refusing to pass. Makkachin is no longer used to being a teddy bear for whole nights now that Viktor is used to wrapping himself around Yuuri, but luckily she doesn't seem to mind it.

 

As excruciating as it is, eventually Viktor has Yuuri next to him in bed, smelling sweet and fresh from the shower, his hair damp.

Viktor looks at his cruel, cold boyfriend and whines. "Yuuri, stop texting Phichit, you just had two weeks with him! I'll get jealous."

"No, you won't," Yuuri says, holding back a smile.

"Sure I will. The same way I get jealous when you and Makkachin give each other more attention than you give me."

Yuuri laughs. He loves when Viktor jokes about being clingy without self-deprecating. After sending one last message, puts his phone away and opens his arms in a gesture Viktor absolutely adores. "Come here, Snugglebug."

Viktor stops sulking and lets himself be held, stroking Yuuri's back and occasionally giving Yuuri's collarbones small kisses.

"Yuuri, did you look up all the flowers I gave you?"

"Sort of, yeah."

Viktor looks up. "Why?"

Yuuri blushes. "At first I was trying to figure out if you're actually thanking me for your tattoo or flirting. Flower language and all that."

"Oh."

"When you kept bringing them it got a little more obvious…"

"A little?" Viktor says, amused.

"Okay, it was obvious," Yuuri agrees.

Viktor smirks. "Any other flowers you liked?"

"There was one I found entertaining. A certain light purple orchid," Yuuri teases.

It's Viktor's turn to blush, though his self satisfied expression doesn't fade. It won him Yuuri in the end, didn't it?

"I liked all of them, really," Yuuri says. "And the confidence boosts for my art."

Viktor lifts himself up to look at Yuuri and exclaim, "Your art is amazing!"

Yuuri smiles. "Thank you. Hearing specifics of things you like in your tattoo, though. That was… special."

Viktor considers that. He sinks back into Yuuri's arms and runs his fingers through Yuuri's dark hair, deciding to make his compliments more specific from now on. His Yuuri deserves the confidence boosts.

A notification sounds from Yuuri's phone and Viktor raises an eyebrow when Yuuri reaches for it.

"Yuuri," he says flatly.

Yuuri looks at the screen and then grins at Viktor and hands the phone over, showing Viktor a folder full of pictures.

Pictures of Yuuri — and dogs.

"Phichit has a proper camera," Yuuri explains as Viktor browses, delighted. "He learned photography as a hobby. He wanted to take pictures of me for some reason, and asked me for a theme."

"Dogs!" Viktor beams.

"Of course, dogs!" Yuuri agrees with equal enthusiasm. "What else could I possibly choose? He laughed at me, said that wasn't a proper theme, but we still did it. I messaged now to ask him to send the ones he finished editing."

Viktor looks from the phone to Yuuri, eyes wide. "There's more?"

Yuuri laughs and pulls him close, Viktor's back to Yuuri's chest, leaving his hands free to go through the different images. Every time Viktor coos or laughs, Yuuri kisses his temple.

When Viktor finishes with the pictures, he turns around and hands Yuuri his phone back. Yuuri puts it away.

Viktor strokes Yuuri's cheek and looks into his warm eyes. Dark and comfortable. It's so easy to be genuine with this man. "Thank you."

"For standing near dogs and letting Phichit take pictures? I didn't do anything."

Viktor doesn't even bother responding to that. He just kisses Yuuri.

Yuuri hums into the kiss. His lips are dry and chapped, and Viktor drowns in the familiar feeling.

Viktor's hand on Yuuri's lower back finds bare skin, and he spreads his fingers, hugging Yuuri to his chest. Yuuri strokes his cheek, his jaw, gentle and affectionate.

When Viktor runs his tongue over Yuuri's lips, Yuuri takes the opportunity to deepen the kiss until Viktor melts against him. He pushes Viktor onto his back and sits up to unbutton his own shirt.

Viktor smiles breathlessly, hand on Yuuri's thigh, his eyes drawn to every bit of newly exposed skin. The newest tattoo, of Makkachin's paw, is newly healed and sharp, stark against the color of Yuuri's skin. A confirmation of the three of them as a family. Viktor's heart swells with emotion, and the sight of Yuuri undressing adds a different layer of heat.

"The pictures aren't the only reunion gifts I'm getting, are they?"

Yuuri shrugs off his shirt and lets it drop to the floor. "Of course not," he says and tugs on Viktor's pants. "Off."

Yuuri's knee slips out from under Viktor's hand as Yuuri stands to remove his own pants. Viktor's eyes follow him, entranced.

"Vitya. Off."

Snapping into action, Viktor sits up on the bed, his back to the headboard, and starts undressing by taking off his pants and briefs, kicking them away.

Viktor's shirt is over his head when he feels Yuuri's hands sliding up and inward on his thighs. He gets lost in the fabric, almost stuck, fumbling with the long sleeves as he scrambles to remove it until he finally throws the shirt aside and tries to reorient himself.

In front of Viktor, Yuuri looks like he settled on the bed to read. Laying on his stomach, his legs crossed in the air and swinging lightly.

Viktor meets his eyes long enough to see the playful spark in them, before Yuuri bends his head to take Viktor's cock into his mouth.

"A-ah!" Viktor buries a hand in Yuuri's hair and tries to keep himself steady with the other.

Yuuri pulls back, sucking, and then licks around the edge of Viktor's foreskin, the corners of his lips pulled up in a little smile. An intoxicating sight. Licking precum from the slit, Yuuri hums, pretending to consider the taste.

"Even better than I remembered," he decides.

Viktor's laugh turns into a startled cry as wet heat engulfs him again.

Yuuri reaches a hand to pull the foreskin back gently and his tongue teases the underside. He hums around Viktor's cock, moves with enthusiasm and inches forward, taking in more, bit by bit.

Viktor's legs quiver. His hand balls into a fist in Yuuri's short hair, pulling, and Yuuri moans and hums in response, his approval sending waves of heat through Viktor's body.

He releases Yuuri's hair to lean back on his elbows. His arm isn't steady enough to stay sitting, but he refuses to miss this sight. Shifting to match Viktor's new position, Yuuri uses the new angle to alternate between massaging Viktor's balls and rubbing the perineum, his head moving up and down Viktor's length.

Yuuri pulls up to let his jaw rest, kissing and licking Viktor's cock. The sight of those lips, red and wet, moves something in Viktor. He needs to be held.

"Yuuri?"

Brown eyes look up at him, Yuuri's fingers are still wrapped around Viktor's cock and his thumb still playing along the sensitive underside.

Viktor lies fully on the bed and shakes his head. Letting go of his cock, Yuuri crawls up to look into Viktor's face.

"What is it?" Yuuri asks. The sound of his voice when he wonders if he should worry is one that Viktor especially enjoys.

"It's too far."

Yuuri frowns, so Viktor hugs him.

"You're too far," he tries to clarify. He doesn't know if Yuuri understands, but Yuuri cups his cheeks and kisses him, lips moving over Viktor's in soothing motions. The warmth of the kiss and the flavor of precum on Yuuri's tongue are comforting in their familiarity.

Viktor can't open his eyes when Yuuri rests his forehead on his and asks, "What do you want?"

"Anything that lets me be near you."

"Oh." Yuuri breathes and shivers in his arms. "Well… um. In that case."

With a kiss between Viktor's eyebrows, Yuuri moves away. Viktor looks over and sees him getting a bottle of lube.

Yuuri looks at Viktor with appreciation and then considers the bottle in his hands. He hesitates and licks his lips.

"Having you in me… would be nice," he says, but his voice quivers. "I mean, I cleaned up, because I thought— leaving the options open when I'm surprising you, you know, and. I didn't want to assume, but…"

Viktor sits up and tries to think of a reason Yuuri might be nervous. This isn't rare for them to do, it isn't some odd new request. It's just another form of sex, isn't it? One they engaged in dozens of times. "Did something happen?"

Yuuri looks up. "What? No!"

Viktor waits, frowning.

"Nothing bad, I promise!" Yuuri says, but he's fidgeting.

"Okay," Viktor says slowly, "What's the not-bad thing that happened?"

"Nothing! I just… got a toy," Yuuri says.

This shouldn't be something difficult to admit. They both like toys. They both buy them. "Yes?"

"While I was away," Yuuri explains, "I wanted… I wanted to feel you. So… it should have been the same size, but, of course, it wasn't you, so— uh…"

Viktor reaches to touch Yuuri's pink face. "Why are you embarrassed?"

"It's ridiculous," Yuuri says. "Of course a toy isn't going to feel like you. It's a toy. I just wasted money and threw away a perfectly functional toy."

"You threw it away?"

Yuuri's blush deepens. "It felt wrong. Not what I wanted."

Viktor has to close his eyes at that. Then he moves closer to Yuuri, taking the lube from his hand and cupping his cheek.

"We'll get you nicer toys," he promises and kisses Yuuri. "For now, my love, I'm right here."

Yuuri shivers again and nods. His hand rests over Viktor's on his cheek and he leans into the touch.

Viktor takes in the vulnerable expression on his face and thinks about his Yuuri, in another country, impatient enough to feel Viktor with him, that…

"Yuuri, what… what kind of toy did you buy?"

"What?" Yuuri startles out of the calm moment.

"Was it a dildo?" Viktor continues, "A vibrator? What was it made of?"

Yuuri shakes his head in disbelief. "You want to hear about that? A waste of a toy, is that… sexy, somehow?"

Viktor looks down at their bare legs. "I think it's cute that you tried to recreate the experience of… us."

When he hears no reply, he looks up to find Yuuri staring intently for a long moment, before his expression changes. He frowns, looking determined as he licks his lips and takes Viktor's face in his hands.

Yuuri kisses him, leaning back and pulling Viktor on top of him with an arm around his shoulders. He pours so much desire and affection into the kiss that it makes Viktor dizzy.

"Missed you," Yuuri murmurs against his lips and Viktor's tension vanishes.

"Missed you too," he replies.

Yuuri rewards him with a deeper, heady kiss, before he stops to look into Viktor's eyes. "I missed you," he repeats with more emphasis and Viktor shivers, melts, the warm insistence in Yuuri's tone washing over him.

Viktor kisses his forehead, his cheeks, his nose, whispering words of praise and thanks between kisses.

"My thoughtful Yuuri," he says with gratitude and reverence, "You know me so well."

He takes his time, enjoying Yuuri's lips, the taste of him, the feeling of Yuuri's body under his, the warm skin pressing against his. Yuuri's thighs are firm and muscular under his hands, and the calm of Yuuri's kisses seeps away, being slowly replaced by anticipation.

Viktor sits up and Yuuri watches him, expecting Viktor to take the lube. But Viktor has his beautiful boyfriend all laid out, and he has to trace a small colored tattoo on Yuuri's calf with his fingers, has to bend over and kiss it, trail kisses from the black lines to Yuuri's knee. Yuuri is almost annoyed by the time Viktor does take the bottle and wets his hand.

He spreads the lube on his cock generously, enjoying the impatient hunger that grows in Yuuri's eyes at his lazy motions.

Placing his hands on Yuuri's knees, he parts Yuuri's legs a little further before reaching with his wet finger to rub along Yuuri's rim as he looks at Yuuri's restless body, considering him.

"Vitya." A flat, quiet warning.

Viktor laughs and lines himself up, bending down to kiss a moan from Yuuri's lips as he starts pushing in slowly.

Now that he's getting what he wants, Yuuri lets himself relax and sink into the mattress, enjoying Viktor's lazy, careful pace as his body adjusted to the intrusion. Viktor knows that in many ways, this is Yuuri's favorite part. He loves the feeling of Viktor in him, moving steadily, his pace measured.

The devotion in his gaze is captivating, but there's a different kind of satisfaction Viktor feels when Yuuri holds him and closes his eyes, so calm his entire body seems to soften under Viktor.

It might not be the best time to take risks, with Yuuri's bliss so visible in every line of his body, but if this goes right…

"You were right," Viktor says, his voice strained and his breath tickling Yuuri's ear, "It would have been… nice. To have two of me."

Startled, Yuuri's breath hitches and his arms tighten around Viktor's shoulders. "What!?"

"With another one," Viktor whispers, praying he didn't make the wrong choice, "I'd be able to… properly… give you all the attention you deserve."

Yuuri gulps and turns his head into Viktor's neck, making a small noise. He sounds overwhelmed.

Viktor takes in Yuuri's reactions, ready to try again. He can't fulfill this fantasy, but he wants to find a way for Yuuri to still enjoy it with him.

"Think, ah— think how easy it could have been. With one of us… one of us in you, and the other's… mouth—"

Yuuri shakes his head jerkily against Viktor. "Both."

Viktor stops. "What—"

"Both," Yuuri tries again, still holding Viktor too close to let him see Yuuri's expression. He starts rolling his hips, trying to encourage Viktor to move like before. "Both… in me. Holding me, and. I…" Yuuri trails off with a frustrated groan, embarrassed.

Viktor has to take a deep breath and release it slowly. He adjusts Yuuri's legs around his waist and starts rocking his hips again, Yuuri's fantasy clearer in his mind. "You're incredible, my Yuuri."

When he tries to pull himself up to look at Yuuri, Yuuri whines into his neck and keeps him there. Viktor kisses his shoulders and bites softly.

He keeps going, thrusting and kissing, pausing to describe impossibilities. These are ideas that they could never act out, not really, but Yuuri still responds to them.

Yuuri's breath catches as the pictures painted by Viktor's words fill his mind. The idea of Viktor mouthing at both sensitive spots on Yuuri's neck instead of being forced to alternate between them, or being able to whisper filthy things into his ear while another version of him has his tongue in Yuuri's ass.

"M-more," Yuuri says, struggling to fit the word between panting breaths. Viktor doesn't know if Yuuri means his thrusts or his descriptions but he's profoundly thankful to be here, where he can hear it.

"Yuuri," he rasps, "Please. I— ah— I have to kiss you."

Yuuri holds tighter before loosening his embrace and letting his head fall back onto the pillow. Yuuri's face is flushed, eyes closed, and Viktor kisses him. Deep, wet, sloppy.

"Lovely."

Yuuri tries for a deep breath, but it cuts off with a gasp when Viktor changes his angle slightly, and Viktor stares, charmed, and repeats the motion, trying to get the same sound.

"Vitya," Yuuri says with difficulty, "So good. More."

Viktor pushes in faster, in short thrusts that stay deep, his muscles tense and burning.

There's a lovely glisten of sweat on Yuuri's skin. Yuuri opens his eyes and looks at him, and his breathing is quicker but his gaze is clearer. Viktor wants it unfocused, glazed over.

He opens his mouth to speak, to offer Yuuri another piece of the fantasy world he wants to gift him with, but all he gets out is a choked moan as the pleasure overwhelms his senses and the world dissolves around him. His rhythm fails and he comes, burying his face in the crook of Yuuri's neck and crying out.

Yuuri's hold on Viktor changes, cradling instead of clinging. He strokes Viktor's hair. "Wow."

Viktor's breathing settles slowly. He raises his head and opens his eyes.

Yuuri smiles at him and Viktor has to smile back.

"I can never keep up."

Yuuri laughs softly, the vibrations of it soothing.

Viktor kisses Yuuri's forehead and shifts to lie next to him. Intent on making this the best experience he can for his beloved, Viktor pushes away the lethargy and Yuuri's cock in hand and starts stroking.

Yuuri gasps and laughs again and Viktor kisses his jaw, under his ear, soft, teasing, loving.

"You are beautiful, my love," he says.

Yuuri hums and kisses his nose in response. "And you're gorgeous."

His voice is too steady. It makes sense, of course. He was given a long time to calm down.

Viktor touches his forehead to Yuuri's temple. "None of that now. I want to talk about you."

His hand glides over Yuuri's cock, making sure to brush his fingers over the sensitive underside as he nips lightly at Yuuri's earlobe. Yuuri's breathy gasp is a promising start, even if there's amusement still laced in it.

"You, my beautiful Yuuri. My sunshine," he purrs. "The things I could do to you with the help of another pair of hands."

"Oh." Yuuri tenses and turns towards him, his eyes shut. Arms wrap around Viktor again in preparation for whatever Viktor has in store for him. Yuuri's breath is warm on his neck.

"So many possibilities to explore," Viktor says, his hand on Yuuri's cock steady and sure. "Do you want to get us started again? Tell me more about having us… both?"

Yuuri whines and Viktor kisses his temple, about to reassure him it's okay, he doesn't have to, when Yuuri says, "Always…"

"Always?"

Yuuri looks up at Viktor. "Always… holding me."

"Yes?"

"And… satisfying you. I want…" he groans and bites his lip, embarrassed and overwhelmed by Viktor's touch.

Viktor's heart melts. "Oh, darling, you do."

Yuuri whines in protest and shakes his head again.

Viktor kisses him, slowly, with as much care as he knows how.

"You do," he promises. "Every single time with you is incredible."

But Yuuri is still shaking his head. "I know," he says frantically, "I know, I know, I love you, thank you, I just— I—" he makes another frustrated sound and returns his face to Viktor's shoulder.

Viktor kisses his hair. He knows there's something important Yuuri is trying to get across, but he doesn't understand it.

"It's okay," Viktor says, "We can talk about other things. We can return to your fantasy."

Yuuri sighs and it sounds like relief.

"It's a compelling idea," Viktor continues, reassured. "Being able to take care of you the way you deserve, my love."

"Sweet talker… I'm not— I don't— ah!" he breaks off when Viktor bites his earlobe and he seems to lose the rest of the sentence.

It's better this way. No one, not even Yuuri himself, gets to dispute that he deserves everything Viktor has to offer and more.

"Not in the mood for sweet talk, then?" Viktor teases in a low smooth voice.

Yuuri shudders and makes an odd sound. It's a weak objection Viktor is familiar with, and he chooses to ignore it. He'd never actually withhold words of affection from Yuuri. Trying to keep them in might actually hurt.

The angle is odd for Viktor's wrist, but he refuses to slow the hand gliding on Yuuri's cock. Not when he's obviously doing something right.

He turns them so that he's back on top of Yuuri. The change in angle is a relief that allows him to keep up his speed, and it also frees his other hand, but best of all — it reveals Yuuri's face as his head falls back onto the pillow. Yuuri's hands drift down to Viktor's arms and hold on.

"What if, instead," Viktor says, watching Yuuri for his reaction, "I told you about one of us holding you down while the other fucks you?"

Yuuri jerks. "Vitya— ah—"

Viktor cups Yuuri's cheek, kisses him softly, and his hand trails down to Yuuri's nipple. He pinches it lightly and Yuuri joltes with a gasp.

"Or maybe one of us in your mouth and the other inside you," he muses. "I'd love to see you trying to concentrate on a blowjob while I fuck you."

"Yes," Yuuri hisses and his back arches as Viktor bends down to take a nipple into his mouth. He nips at it and Yuuri's voice rises in response.

Viktor's free hand continues its path down Yuuri's ribs and stomach, nails raking over the hot skin of Yuuri's thigh. He pulls Yuuri's leg up and caresses down and over Yuuri's ass until he's squeezing the firm muscle.

Refusing to let the images fade from Yuuri's mind, he licks his nipple one more time and lets it go in order to speak again. "Maybe having one of us fuck you while you're in the other. Between us."

Yuuri's eyes widen. He stutters, incoherent, but it's an attempt to say something.

Viktor slows his strokes. "Yes?"

"Vitya—" Yuuri manages, his voice rough.

He sounds like he's holding in a scream.

Viktor wants him to scream.

"I'm listening, my Yuuri," he purrs.

"Vitya," Yuuri tries again, his voice higher, and it's lovely, how speech fails him, how other words refuse to appear.

Yuuri gives up on talking. His arm grips the leg Viktor just pushed up and he holds it to allow Viktor easier access to his ass.

Viktor meets his eyes and the desperation in them thrills him. He touches Yuuri's perineum, teasing along it instead of immediately pushing his fingers inside Yuuri's hole like Yuuri is obviously asking.

"You're beautiful," Viktor says. With one hand he spreads Yuuri's precum, his fingers moving to play with every sensitive spot he can find. With the other he touches Yuuri's hole, his fingers dancing around it, drawing maddening circles around Yuuri's rim. He's wet with lube and come. "Absolutely stunning."

Yuuri closes his eyes, heaving breaths, his fingers digging into his own thigh as the sensations flood him. Viktor smiles and kisses his forehead, his nose, his upper lip, allowing a sweet and brief moment of calm.

Then, letting his breath caress Yuuri's cheek, right near Yuuri's mouth, he says, "Imagine how easy it would have been to fuck you again right now."

Yuuri gasps and Viktor hurries to drink it in with a long kiss.

"With two of us," Viktor says, kissing the leg Yuuri is still holding up and finally pushing a finger inside, "We could go over and over and over again."

Yuuri finally cries out, and Viktor smirks. He finds Yuuri's prostate easily and brushes his finger across it, making Yuuri jump and punching a louder sound out of him. Yuuri's nails leave red marks on the skin of his thigh.

Adding another finger inside, focusing his attention on Yuuri's prostate, he leans in to whisper, "We'd take turns."

Yuuri whimpers, shivering, and lets go of his thigh. He turns his head away from Viktor's voice and Viktor pulls back, worried, only to find Yuuri biting on his hand. If he's trying to muffle any more loud sounds, it doesn't work.

Adorable.

Instead of telling Yuuri to pull his hand away, Viktor smiles and drops an affectionate kiss onto it. "Imagine. We could keep going, and we'd always have a free hand to keep yours pinned away."

Yuuri groans, long and loud, his chest heaving. Viktor kisses his temple and bends down to mouth at one of his nipples again. His fingers keep sliding, in Yuuri, on him, and Yuuri's voice grows louder around his own fingers. Viktor wonders if he'll manage a proper scream.

He looks up at Yuuri's face, a vision of bliss he'll never get used to seeing, and says, "You'd be begging for a break."

Shaken, Yuuri turns to stare at Viktor, releasing his hand from his mouth. The rise and fall of his chest are rapid and he's dripping with sweat. Viktor can hardly believe how effective his words are.

"We'd go on for hours."

The hand on Yuuri's cock speeds up and to match his relentless strokes against Yuuri's prostate, and he presses up harder inside, pulling out of Yuuri a series of rapid pants and a keen. He's close.

"You want us both inside, fucking you together?"

Yuuri wants to respond, he's uselessly trying to nod, and it's as cute as it is unnecessary. Yuuri's arms scramble to wrap around him, holding onto him, looking for something to ground him when Viktor bends over, leaning in again to speak softly and clearly in Yuuri's ear.

"You'd have to earn it."

Yuuri screams when he comes, just like Viktor wanted. His cock pulses in Viktor's hand, spilling all over his stomach as his entire body twists and convulses. He holds onto Viktor with both arms, nails scratching and biting into Viktor's skin.

Held as he is, Viktor vaguely regrets that he's kept again from seeing Yuuri's face. But the sounds are more than enough to show him his effect. Yuuri is crying out under him with every exhale, pausing only to breathe and yell again, each time a little softer as the high dissipates.

Viktor starts sucking bruises into Yuuri's salty, slippery skin, overcome with affection and gratitude at being the one who gets to hold this man when he's shaking, incoherent, vulnerable. Perfect.

Yuuri whimpers, too sensitive to enjoy the hands on him, so Viktor pulls them away and wraps his arms around Yuuri's trembling form. He rolls them to the side, and arranges them to let Yuuri rest with his head on Viktor's shoulder.

It takes time for his breathing to even out, and there's something serene about being with Yuuri while he struggles to pull himself together and remember how to think again. Viktor doesn't notice his own exhaustion, but he's dozing by the time Yuuri finally breathes out, "Wow."

"Mmm?"

Yuuri nuzzles into Viktor's neck. "Wow."

"You said 'wow' already, earlier," Viktor teases with a tired smile. "I didn't make it any better than 'wow' since then?"

Other than a huff, Yuuri ignores him. Viktor thinks he would have swatted at him if he wasn't so boneless and sated, and he can't help but feel smug.

He strokes Yuuri's hair, keeping himself from drifting off to sleep while waiting for Yuuri to properly speak.

When Yuuri does, he says, "Thank you, Vitya."

Viktor makes a questioning sound. They don't usually thank each other for sex.

"Thank you. For… indulging me."

Viktor pulls back and looks at Yuuri's tired blush. His hair is messy, some of it clumping and sticking to his skin with sweat that's only starting to dry. "It's nothing," Viktor says because he can't find the words to describe how happy he is to have tried this.

"It isn't nothing," Yuuri protests. "It's…"

Yuuri frowns, restless, searching for a way to explain how significant it is and struggling even more than Viktor did.

"I almost didn't tell you," he says eventually.

"I'm glad you did."

When Yuuri returns his smile, he still seems conflicted.

"What is it?"

Yuuri licks his lips nervously. "How come you… I mean, isn't it creepy?"

Viktor has to stop himself from laughing. "Did I not make it clear enough that I don't see anything wrong here?"

When Yuuri shrinks at the amusement in his voice, Viktor's smile softens.

"Yuuri. My love. Why would it bother me?"

"I don't… I thought…" Yuuri looks away. "Isn't it a bit like a sex toy? Oh, I like this model, I think I'll get another!" He winces as soon as he says it and waves a hand frantically. "I mean… I don't—"

"Yuuri." Viktor catches the hand and kisses it gently.

Yuuri bites his lip and looked at him.

"I've been your boyfriend for how long? I know you don't see me this way."

Yuuri exhales and his tension drains out. "Oh. Good."

Viktor pulls him back in. Soon they'll have to get up and shower, but in this moment Yuuri settles into Viktor's embrace, seen and accepted.

"Besides," Viktor says, "Who says I mind being a toy?"

Yuuri perks up. "What? Vitya."

"We can explore that another time."

"Vitya!"