As Victor checks them into their hotel in Beijing, Yuuri can’t help but think of how odd this feels. It’s most certainly not odd in a bad way, but it’s odd all the same. Never mind that he also can’t believe this is taking over his thoughts almost more than the fact that his first Grand Prix event starts tomorrow, even if just for now. He can be more anxious about that later, he’s sure.
The concierge hands them each a room key, and gives them directions to their room. Their singular room. That they’re both staying in. Together. Sure, it has two twin beds, but they’re sharing a hotel room.
Never in the eleven years that he’s been skating competitively has he shared a room with any of his coaches. Not that Victor is just his coach. Oh no. He’s his idol, turned coach, turned boyfriend (which is an incredibly recent development). And that’s why they’re sharing a hotel room.
But that’s the thing. Yuuri still almost can’t believe he’s dating Victor Nikiforov. If someone had told his 13-year-old-self that this would be his future, (and somehow really, really convinced him it was true) he would have flipped. Hell, just months ago, he really had flipped when Victor had asked (for the first time) if Yuuri wanted him to be his boyfriend. At that point, he had only just started opening up to Victor, so it was all a little too fast and a little too soon, and Yuuri had panicked. But Victor, the amazing man he was, had understood and met him where he was, and Yuuri’s embarrassing outburst was soon forgotten.
In the months since then, they’d grown rapidly closer, between days training at Ice Castle and trips to the beach and soaks in the onsen. Yuuri almost hadn’t even noticed it, how close they were becoming, because as quickly as it happened, something about it had just felt so natural. He’d finally gotten the courage to open up to Victor, and once he was over that initial fear, he found himself opening up more and more every day.
There had been no shortage of opportunity for them to talk to one another about anything and everything, seeing as they spent nearly every waking second together, and they had done just that. Yuuri spilled all kinds of information about himself, and Victor, in turn, had done the same. And as their conversations grew ever more constant and comfortable, so did light touches and casual contact. When he thinks back on these, Yuuri considers that maybe he should have noticed sooner how obviously Victor had been flirting with him, but he blames his ignorance on inexperience. And self doubt, anxiety, the pure disbelief that Victor himself was the one to be giving him this attention... He was so caught in his own head that even obvious things slipped right past him.
At first he’d told himself that opening up would help Victor to help him with his skating. And that wasn’t untrue, by any means, but in the process he had realized that didn’t have to be his only motive. He liked talking to Victor, and telling him about himself, and learning about all of the things Victor had offered to share. It was bizarre, as a longtime fan of his, learning about all these new facets which he had never really shown publicly, or that journalists had never cared to take note of. Yuuri found himself increasingly wanting to learn more not just as a fan of Victor’s, and not just as his student, but as his friend. And, well, it didn’t take long for things to escalate from there, even if it did take some time for Yuuri to notice.
Those touches, though, had really been the last thing Yuuri had expected. Even if Victor had seemed incredibly, well, touchy, when he first arrived in Hasetsu, he had drawn back at least a little when Yuuri had been so jumpy. He’d never considered himself a touchy person, often more closed off than anything. Even around his family, or friends like Phichit, Yuuko, or Nishigori, Yuuri had almost always kept up a fairly large bubble of personal space. Victor had seemed to maybe be beginning to understand that, but Yuuri slowly opened up, and then...
It started simply, with their hands brushing on their way to the rink, or Victor pushing a piece of Yuuri’s hair back into place after he’d been throwing himself into jump after jump. Shoulders pressed together ever so lightly as they sat and ate meals together, Victor’s hands on Yuuri’s arms as he showed him how to position them better at different points in his programs. This all eventually turned into Victor sometimes randomly grasping his hands in excitement, or hugging him suddenly, or bringing their faces close (so close) together, to whisper things that weren’t even secrets into his ear. The oddest part of it all was how little Yuuri even seemed to notice, when such interactions had always set off all the alarms in his head. Somehow this felt comfortable, and he even began to find himself gravitating towards Victor of his own accord. Before he even really thought about it, he was thoroughly enjoying that closeness.
He feels stupid for it now, but it wasn’t even until the Chu-Shikoku-Kyushu Championship, when they were first really on display for the public eye together, that Yuuri realized that their intimacy was maybe... excessive? That didn’t feel like the right word though, it sounded too negative. Regardless, it certainly was more than anyone else seemed to be sharing. Maybe it was just all the people and cameras making his anxiety go wild, but it was then that he first really noticed the possible implications behind the way Victor hugged him from behind before his short program began, or when he swiped expensive lip balm onto Yuuri’s lips with his own finger. That had definitely done something crazy to Yuuri’s brain, but in an instant, he had to go out and skate, and he didn’t have much to time to think on it.
Then at the press conference soon after, he’d gone on an entire tangent about love. And how that was maybe, possibly, in some sense of the word, what he felt towards Victor. Or at least, it worked in place of the complicated way he felt towards him, that he still isn’t sure could ever be fully described so simply. The words had flown from his mouth faster than he could think about them, and while he didn’t regret a word he’d said, he rewatched the speech over and over, scarcely believing that was really him talking. He was never one to share his feelings so freely, but maybe, he thought, opening up so much to Victor had helped him to start opening up more in general, to everyone, even the press. All he knew was that he was a little thankful he declared this all in Japanese, and Victor wouldn’t have understood more than a few words. Maybe when he asked Yuuri what he had said, they could have a real conversation about this.
And Yuuri is embarrassed that it took so long, but he didn’t even bring it up to Victor until over a week later. He’d been thinking about it more than he cared to admit. How he was somehow only just realizing what their level of closeness could mean, and that maybe he even wanted it. And that it really, truly, did seem like Victor did too.
Flustered as he was when he finally did say something, Victor hadn’t laughed at him, like the nagging voice in the back of his head had feared. Instead, he’d smiled, and taken both of Yuuri’s hands in his own, asking to confirm that Yuuri was okay with everything they’d been doing.
Yuuri had replied that he was, and blushed fiercely when he dared to ask what he should consider them to be. He found himself thinking back to all those months ago on the beach, when Victor had asked him such a similar question.
Victor had responded simply that he’d been doing nothing more than Yuuri asked then, just being himself. And then he added that part of that just maybe turned out to be someone who really wanted to flirt with Yuuri. When Yuuri’s jaw dropped a little in shock at the admission, and his blush did nothing to dissipate, Victor had asked (for the second time) if he wanted him to be his boyfriend. Except this time, it felt a lot more like Victor was dying for the answer to be yes.
And it was, in Yuuri’s dumbfounded nodding, as he finally fully realized that yes, he really, really would like for Victor to be his boyfriend. And he laughed and nodded more and breathed out several happy yes’s when Victor asked more bluntly if, since he’d like to, he would be his boyfriend. The question was hardly different from the first, just more formal, and it somehow felt serious and silly at the same time. Yuuri had hardly been able to think, so Victor pulled him into a tight hug, and Yuuri returned the embrace, both of them shaking a little with laughter and excitement.
And then the few weeks since then had been a blur of countless hours of practice, and holding hands when they walked to Ice Castle, and excited hugs when Yuuri landed his quads. The intimate little touches had grown ever so slightly, though Yuuri mostly just realized that they had practically been acting like a couple for months now, because a lot of them stayed the same. They’d gone to dinner a couple of times and called those nights dates, but with the growing intensity and frequency of practices as the Grand Prix kicked off and the Cup of China loomed closer, they hardly had time for anything else.
And now they‘re here, in Beijing, in front of their hotel room door, and Yuuri almost stumbles into Victor when he comes to a stop, because he’d been caught in his head for the entire walk from the front desk.
Victor laughs lightly as he watches Yuuri catch himself, asking, “Care to share what’s on your mind?”
“You,” Yuuri hears himself say before he can stop the thought, and then he feels his face light up, because wow that was bold, even if yes, he’s allowed to say things like that now, he’s talking to his boyfriend (oh my god). But it’s still so soon and he isn’t used to talking like this at all and he’s just a little mortified that something like that slipped past his mental filter-
Except then he notices that Victor is blushing, too. A proud smile finds its way onto his face, even if he can still feel his cheeks burning. He likes seeing Victor like this. He likes that he is the reason Victor looks like this.
Victor eventually regains enough composure to slide the key into the door and lead Yuuri inside, and they each set their suitcases by the ends of the two separate beds. Yuuri tries really hard not to think about how they’re going to both be sleeping in this room tonight. Together. Even if it’s not like it’s the first time it will happen, since Victor had eventually gotten Yuuri to agree to his sleepover idea several times over the summer. That was all before they were dating.
Instead of sitting there and thinking about this and letting his face turn red again, Yuuri shuffles through his suitcase for his practice clothes, and excuses himself to go change into them. It’s not like they even have much time before they’re supposed to be at public practice anyway.
On the ice, as he runs through bits of the Eros program, his thoughts start to venture into the dark, anxious places they always seem to go when a competition is so close. Especially when this one is the first in his Grand Prix series, his comeback Grand Prix series, his final Grand Prix series. He starts to worry about what would happen if he flubs all his jumps like he did in Sochi, and disappoints not only himself, not only his family, not only the figure skating world, but now also Victor Nikiforov. As his fan, his student, his boyfriend. The thought is enough to make Yuuri want to melt into the ice beneath him.
And then as he’s stopped at the rink side, taking a sip of water, Victor’s arms are suddenly around him, pulling him up against the boards, and he’s whispering reassurances into his ear, because of course, he noticed Yuuri’s panic, and even if it’s all a little new to him, too, he’s starting to learn how to help him through these moments. He gives Yuuri’s hand a comforting squeeze before he skates off again, to run through his jumps, which, at least for now, he doesn’t flub. The nerves aren’t entirely gone, but they seem to dissipate a little, even if they’re mostly just replaced with the thought of Victor holding him close like that. And honestly, Yuuri will take that without question.
After practice comes a press conference, with an onslaught of journalists, and the interviews Yuuri has never been fond of. These questions are about him, and his skating, so he should have no problem answering them, but they make him nervous all the same. Half his answers come out stuttered, or sounding stupid, or he runs his mouth and says way too much before he can catch himself. The nerves that had quieted earlier are suddenly back to life, only making it harder for Yuuri to answer the questions clearly.
So when Victor cuts him off halfway into a stuttered answer, insisting they go get hot pot right now, he’s certainly thankful. He halfheartedly argues that he’s in the middle of an interview, but really, he’d much rather leave with Victor than stay here with all these cameras pointed at him.
And so they do, with Victor making some vague excuse to the reporters Yuuri had been speaking to that he needs to rest before the competition tomorrow. He pulls him away before they can hear the retort that it‘s still fairly early in the evening. Yuuri is more than happy to be led away with Victor’s arm around his shoulders, holding him close and making him blush just a little. He’s also glad that Yakov turned down Victor’s offer to join them, because now he gets to go to dinner alone with his boyfriend (holy shit).
They make their way back to the hotel, where Yuuri showers quickly and changes into something a little nicer (and 100% less sweaty) than the clothes he’d been practicing in. When he steps out of the bathroom wrapped in his green cardigan, Victor tells him he looks adorable and he blushes again. At this point, he’s not sure he’s ever going to stop blushing around Victor.
The restaurant is not far from their hotel, so they walk there, hand in hand the entire way. Yuuri keeps glancing down at their hands, a huge smile plastered on his face. He doesn’t even think to look up at Victor to see that he’s doing the same.
This is nice, he thinks, as they sit down across from each other at a table tucked away toward the back of the restaurant. Their fingertips brush where their hands meet across the table, and it’s so incredibly domestic. Victor is scanning the menu and making his adorable heart-shaped grin as he excitedly reads off half a dozen things he wants to try. Yuuri jokes that he should just order all of them, and can’t tell if he’s really even surprised when Victor does just that.
It isn’t until the food actually arrives that Yuuri realizes that most of it is... probably not the best for him to eat the night before a competition. Anxiety and sit spins and raw shrimp do not sound like the best combination for his stomach, and two of those are entirely unavoidable. Maybe he should have been paying a little more attention to what Victor had actually been saying and a little less to how cute he looked when he was excited, but that’s hardly here nor there at this point.
As he begins to fret over what he can eat (which is honestly less of a problem than his anxiety makes it out to be), his nerves are starting to run wild again. It’s really only a matter of seconds before his worries about the actual situation at hand twist into something else entirely, back to the rink and the ice and the press conference. At the very least, he supposes this panic is coming much later than usual, since his first skate is now less than a day away. He’s barely opened his mouth to try to say something, anything, about his worries aloud to Victor, when he’s interrupted by someone he really shouldn’t be upset to see.
“Phichit-kun?” Yuuri asks in awe, staring at his former rinkmate-slash-roommate who seems to have just materialized next to their table some time while Yuuri was lost in his thoughts. He wonders briefly why he hadn’t seen him at practice earlier, but before he can even really think to ask about it, Phichit is insisting on inviting Celestino. So much for a quiet dinner alone with Victor.
It feels almost instantaneous as Yuuri’s former coach comes in, he and Phichit join him and Victor at the table, and too much alcohol for anyone’s good arrives. Yuuri refuses to touch it, knowing it’s the absolute last thing he needs the night before a competition, and also knowing that he really, really doesn’t want Victor to see just how ridiculous he gets when he’s drunk. Not yet. Not for a long time. Maybe not ever.
Victor and Celestino, on the other hand, seem to have started some kind of unspoken drinking contest. And oh, Victor is a clingy drunk. It makes sense, honestly, given that he’s so tactile when he’s fully sober, but something about having Victor drunkenly draped over him while Phichit is fretting over Celestino half passed out on the table makes this just about the last way Yuuri had imagined this night going.
Everything becomes a bit of a chaotic blur, and somehow without Yuuri even realizing, two more of his competitors have shown up, summoned by Phichit. He apologizes to them on Victor’s drunken behalf, noting that they are young, and Victor is already shirtless, right there, in the restaurant, and oh, is this a mess already. Victor doesn’t seem to notice their presence, and is simply kissing Yuuri on the side of his face, over and over, which is making him blush ridiculously yet again (because oh god, they haven’t even properly kissed yet, not on the lips, which Yuuri has told himself a million times isn’t weird, they’re waiting for the right moment, it’s fine ). Yuuri doesn’t have time to think about anything else though, because the next thing he knows, Victor is stripping, right there next to him. It’s far from the first time Yuuri has seen him naked, true, but they’re in a restaurant, and there are far too many people here to witness this. It’s only a few seconds into this that he finally decides it’s time they head back.
He’s not sure how he manages to get Victor to put his clothes back on, but he does, and then he apologizes again to Phichit and the younger skaters, then they make their way back towards the hotel. Yuuri practically has to hold Victor up as they walk, and it’s hard to believe someone normally so graceful could be stumbling the way Victor is against Yuuri right now. He has both his arms draped around Yuuri’s shoulders, much like he did in the restaurant, and Yuuri is holding him up by the waist. He keeps giggling and murmuring things against Yuuri’s neck, and Yuuri can’t stop himself from shivering because it tickles . He can’t even make out most of what Victor is saying, but he’s fairly certain he hears “pretty” and “gorgeous” and “boyfriend” amongst the amalgamation of Russian, English, and just plain gibberish he’s speaking. He’s definitely talking about Yuuri, and Yuuri is definitely blushing again.
When they finally make it back to their hotel room, after stumbling through the lobby and barely managing to stay upright in the elevator, Yuuri tries his best to gently pull Victor’s arms from around him, but accidentally ends up dropping him rather unceremoniously onto his bed. He apologizes quickly, but Victor just gives him a dopey smile. Yuuri’s heart feels like it might beat out of his chest. It’s fine.
Once he’s quickly brushed his teeth and put on pajamas, he shuffles through his bag for painkillers, and sets them on the nightstand, closest to Victor’s bed. He then sits down next to him, pressing a water bottle at him even though his face is buried in the pillow. Yuuri is fairly certain he isn’t asleep yet. The last thing he needs is his coach (and boyfriend, holy shit) to be horribly hungover for his first big skate of the season. Which is tomorrow. Which is terrifying. He’s not going to think about that right now.
Victor eventually rolls onto his side, mumbling something about being Russian, but takes the bottle after some prodding, and sits up to drink it, leaning against Yuuri once more. Without even thinking about it, Yuuri finds his hand playing gently with Victor’s hair, and Victor hums happily, and Yuuri is utterly lost in the sweet domesticity of the moment. He almost thinks about kissing him, and that’s when his mind starts racing again.
Because they haven’t kissed. Not yet, not properly, not on the lips. Sure, Victor has kissed his cheek, his forehead, his hands… He’s tried so hard not to think about that it’s odd that they haven’t really kissed yet. They’ve been busy. Really busy. Yuuri feels like he’s hardly had time to breathe with all the training they’ve been doing. Wake up way too early, quickly eat some breakfast, head to Ice Castle, practice forever, stop just long enough for lunch, practice even more, head home, try not to fall asleep eating dinner, pass out. That’s been his norm for weeks now. He and Victor have hardly had any time to just be quietly alone together since they started dating. When they have had time, it’s been so minimal, and Yuuri has been so tired… And sue him, he’s a romantic, and he knows Victor is too, and he can’t help but feel like he’s waiting for the right moment. Some big, romantic moment when the stars align and he’s pulled toward Victor like a magnet and fireworks go off and whatever other sappy romantic tropes are out there, he wants all of it, all of it with Victor. Some part of him knows that no matter what precedes it, it’ll be grand and romantic, because first kisses just are, but… Well. No matter what, he’s well aware that while Victor is thoroughly drunk is not the right moment, for sure.
And it’s fine, the moment will come. Yuuri can only hope it’s soon.
Right now, in his arms, Victor has finished off the bottle of water, and has wrapped his arms around Yuuri’s middle, and practically nuzzled into him. It’s very sweet, and Yuuri is still a little in awe that he gets to have this. Which is why he hates himself a little when he eventually suggests that he should get ready for bed. Theoretically, he’d like for this moment to stretch out into infinity. Realistically, he knows that if he doesn’t go to sleep soon, he’s going to start spiraling into the pre-competition anxiety he’s usually already riddled with by now. So he reluctantly lets go of Victor, and he makes his way over to his own bed as Victor searches for something in his suitcase.
He lays down and pulls his phone out, only half looking at it as he scrolls through Instagram. He’s quickly distracted by Victor, who has left the bathroom door open, and is going through the most elaborate skin care routine someone so drunk could possibly manage. His hair is clipped back and is sticking up, and Yuuri can’t help but smile. These little moments, where Victor looks so silly and just utterly human, these are what convince Yuuri that this is all really happening, this is really his life. This ridiculous, hopelessly drunk, wonderful man is not just a stranger he looks up to anymore, he’s gotten to know him, so closely, and now he’s his boyfriend.
Yuuri is never going to get tired of that word, even once it starts sounding real.
He’s nearly started to fall asleep by the time Victor is done, but he startles awake when he hears his name.
“Yuuuuuuriii~,” Victor calls out, drawing out the syllables of his name with a giggle.
He looks over to where Victor is laying on the other bed, and asks softly, “Yes, Victor?”
“Yuuuurii, sleep with me!”
If Yuuri thought he’d been blushing as much as humanly possible earlier, he was very much mistaken. His entire face is burning, and he’s absolutely certain that it’s redder than it’s ever been. He stares in disbelief because Victor can’t just say that, can he? Obviously he’s drunk, and probably not thinking straight, but… They haven’t kissed yet! He can’t just-
“Victor, you’re drunk,” Yuuri eventually manages, because it’s true, and that alone is reason enough to say no, and also it’s much easier than bringing up the elephant in the room, and-
“No! Not- ugh…” Victor tries exasperatedly, opening and closing his mouth a few times like he can’t find the words. He probably can’t. Instead, he reaches both his arms out towards Yuuri, looping them together almost like he’s hugging something.
It takes a second with his thoughts running wild, but suddenly it clicks. “Oh,” he manages softly, and just stares at Victor for probably far too long. His face is definitely still red. He’s maybe even more embarrassed now that he realizes his misunderstanding.
Victor makes grabbing motions with his hands and whines his name again, and Yuuri finally decides he has nothing to lose. He gets out of his own bed and crosses over to Victor’s, and carefully sits on the edge of the bed. Victor is quick to pull him down, and he barely manages to take his glasses off and turn off the light before he’s back in that soft, sweet moment from earlier, with Victor’s face pressed to his chest and his hand running through silky silver hair. He’s suddenly not sure why he was nervous about this earlier, because this is so nice. Even if they are both crammed into a tiny twin bed. It’s gentle and soft and domestic and it really is that one little moment stretched out into a little bit of infinity (or at least, an entire night, which is as close as he can hope for). He doesn’t even think as he finds himself pressing a kiss to the top of Victor’s head. And maybe he should stop thinking, in general, always, because oh, this is so nice, he needs as much of this as he can get.
And so he stops thinking, somehow, for once, and he holds his boyfriend (his boyfriend!) close, and he lets himself get so lost in this one tender moment, that his usual anxieties can’t touch him. All his thoughts from earlier are quiet; about how he can hardly believe this is his life, about how he’s a little terrified of how he’ll skate tomorrow, about how he hasn’t kissed someone he’s been dating for a few weeks already, about everything. It’s just him and Victor in the dark and the quiet, pressed together, and that’s all that matters right now.
Yuuri has never had such a peaceful night of sleep before a competition in his life.