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30 things I love about you

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Viktor has a secret admirer, but what's new about that? 

 

Viktor has always been desired, surrounded by admirers and potential lovers who seek his attention. He's used to getting notes and gifts and confessions every now and then. Of course it's not the same as when he was younger, but it's still there. 

 

However, this is different.

 

His intuition is telling him it's different this time, there's something vaguely mesmerizing about this thing that had been going on for days. And he's a man of heart and sentiment, his heart is yearning for this mysterious being that has been showering him with words of intimacy and affection.  

 

He's not sure if it's his loneliness and aching heart for a true emotion, but ever since that thing started he's been feeling like a withering flower coming back to life, nourished and watered by the daily stream of notes and roses.

 

Brief notes counting the perfection of his imperfections, accompanied with unique blue roses that don't exist in nature, but have stimulated his senses in ways he never experienced before. 

 

He wonders, does this person who immerses him with notes and roses really know him? Or is this person just infatuated by the image of flawlessness Viktor easily carries out to conceal his very human flaws? 

 

In the eyes of the people Viktor is a master of his craft, an artist producing masterpieces of edible art. He owns the most popular cakery in town, or rather the only bakery specialized in cakes and their derivatives. And he admits it to himself that he's good at what he's doing.  

 

A permanent smile plastered to his handsome face, a perfect shape paired with his skillful talents, an extra sweetness in words and works, and a gentleness towards everybody. Viktor is easy to fall in love with. 

 

However, who really knows him? Who pays attention to his smallest details, observes his quirks, notices his weird habits, and looks beyond his flawless image? 

 

It's the person of the notes and the roses. 

 

It starts one day, the florist from the shop few blocks away, Phichit, arrives at Viktor's cakery with a simple delivery. A blue rose with a note attached to it promising of emotions shaking his static life. 

 

 

 

 

1.The way you're too loud and bright in the morning like a bird chirping annoyingly so early but it never fails to cheer me up

 

 

At first glance, the note is weirdly worded, offensive even. But the more he reads it, examines the meaning between the letters, it becomes more endearing. It makes Viktor puzzled at first, and then he finds it humorous, lovely even. 

 

Viktor knows how a wrecking force he can be in the morning, an unstoppable storm destroying any peaceful calmness on its way. His workers often complain of his morning energy and wonder how could he be so hyperactive in the morning even when they'd basically witnessed him working till dawn and surviving only on two hours of sleep or less.

 

But the rose, blue, unique and exotic, it what really gets Viktor's heart from the first moment that he's willing to accept the weirdest messages. 

 

Everyone at the cakery is intrigued to know who's the sender, and they don't exactly understand if the note is meant as a flattery or not, but they're curious. And so is Viktor who tries so hard to press Phichit to reveal their identity. 

 

"Uh no! That's against our romantic policy. The sender asked to remain anonymous, and we respect our customer's privacy." Phichit says as he munches at cupcake Viktor kindly offered him.

 

"Are you an idiot? This could be a psychopathic stalker chasing after him, and you're helping them! I mean that person is right about Viktor being a pain in the ass in the morning, but still..." Yuri, ill tempered as ever, pushes Viktor. 

 

"Aw Yura, you care for me?" Viktor coos at him clutching his heart. 

 

"Shut up old man, I'm just curious who this weirdo."

 

"Unfortunately I still can't say who it is. But I can assure you he's not a weirdo at all, and you have every right to refuse the gift." Phichit seems too confident, and he surely can be trusted. 

 

"Ha!" Mila exclaims in a sort of victory. "So it's a he, and you know him Phichit, you just exposed yourself." 

 

"Well, my job here is done. Thanks for the cake Viktor, it's the tastiest thing. Bye!" He doesn't wait for a further word from them before they could trap him. Phichit leaves and all eyes are on Viktor who's shifting his between admiring the rose and taking in the words. 

 

"That's quite romantic, maybe I should send mysterious notes to Anya too." Georgi sighs dreamily with a slight ache in his voice. 

 

"Georgi, get over her. You broke up." Chris takes his time to comfort a reflecting Georgi. Then he aims a knowing smirk at Viktor. "So, any ideas about who it is?" 

 

Viktor looks at him, then involuntarily, his head turns to look through the glass display window at the coffee shop across the street, subconsciously answering Chris' question.

 

He doesn't want to have high expectations, but he can't help the feeling of hope. A hope he's holding much onto it, there's a person Viktor's heart beats for. And the mysterious image of the sender can only match with the person in his imagination. The most beautiful man he's laid his eyes on. 

 

Could it be him? He hopes so. 

 

Viktor doesn't even need to say his name out loud for everyone to know. Yuuri Katsuki has been the object of Viktor's fascination for way longer than a passing crush. The timid barista at the family coffee shop across the street has captured Viktor's heart at first sight. And Viktor is too helpless about it. 

 

Chris leans closer to Viktor, saying, "You know you could always go ask him."  

 

Viktor looks at him like he's a madman. "Absolutely not! What if it was really him and he's planning to surprise me? Do you want me to ruin it for him?" What if it wasn't him and he gets his heart broken, again?  He doesn't say. 

 

The thing is no matter how Viktor tries to approach Yuuri, with extra special treatment, subtle hinting, or even blatant flirtation, Yuuri always curls defensively upon himself. And Viktor doesn't want to completely drive him away, so he doesn't push him.

 

Sometimes he thinks the feeling is mutual and Yuuri is just too shy to admit. Other times Viktor thinks that Yuuri isn't interested at all, which is physically painful to consider.

 

Anyway, maybe Viktor is reading too much into the whole thing, and he doesn't have the time for that. He's got a whole wedding to prepare for and he shouldn't waste more time obsessing over that thing, quoting Yuri. 

 

So he goes back to work, with the rose in a glass of water next to him, and the note spread open on the counter. 

 

*****

 

"Yutpoia called and they say they don't have someone available to come get their pastry, so they're asking us to deliver it to them." Yuri says nonchalantly after he hangs up. But everyone else is looking at Viktor. 

 

"Oh I'll do it." Predictably Viktor volunteers. As if he'll miss the opportunity! Usually Stammi Vicino distributes its products to other places like cafes and restaurants, and of course the Yutopia coffee shop is one of its loyal clients, receiving their daily share of breakfast pastries and confections. And since it's just few feet away, it's usually Yuuri who comes to get the delivery, and the day he doesn't come, Viktor gets easily frustrated. 

 

"You're the boss and the master baker here, you can't make deliveries!" Mila protests teasingly, it earns her a scary look from her boss.

 

No force could stop him from going there, and that's what he exactly does. 

 

He's greeted by the refreshing smell of coffee awakening hid senses. The coffee shop is still closed to the public at this early hour, empty from anyone but the figure behind the counter busy with preparations for the day. 

 

Viktor's heart races as he watches the brown eyed man fixing and operating the coffee machine, it's just too fascinating for him. 

 

Yuuri is focused on his task that he doesn't notice Viktor's presence for a while, until his eyes catches him. The look of concentration on his face is rapidly altered to the warmest smile that makes Viktor's heart race.

 

"Ah, good morning Viktor." 

 

"Good morning to the sweetest Yuuri. And is the sweetest cinnamon roll having a beautiful morning like him?" Viktor sings to him and Yuuri's cheeks is dusted pink. 

 

He hurries up to carry the boxes from Viktor, struggling not to make an eye contact with him as he smiles shyly. 

 

"My morning is good, thank you. You didn't have to bring the delivery yourself. Please have a seat, let me make you a drink."

 

Viktor happily chooses the stool opposite Yuuri, enjoying watching him work. "Oh it's nothing. Besides I can't miss a day without seeing you, you make my day better." He winks at him and whatever is in Yuuri's hand is dropped to the floor. 

 

"Um... I'm gonna make you a cappuccino if this is fine by you." 

 

"Yeah yeah I don't mind, anything from you is lovely." 

 

While Yuuri gets occupied in making the drink, Viktor strikes up an excited conversation about anything and everything. It's hard to keep up with him sometimes but Yuuri tries to follow his talkativeness.

 

After he's done making the cup he presents it to Viktor with an anticipatory look, waiting for the feedback. Viktor takes the cup gratefully and when he sees the latte foam art he almost screams. It seems like a face, a face with one eye covered with a fringe of hair and a very distinctive heart in place of the mouth.

 

"It's you... I tried to doodle your face..." Yuuri explains, voice a little shaky.

 

"Wow, amazing Yuuri!" Viktor laughs, too delighted by the cup simulating his features. He looks between Yuuri and the cup several times, and Yuuri is maintaining his warm expression. "Oh my god it's so so cute Yuuri, thank you so much."

 

"I'm so glad you like it." Yuuri says while Viktor is busy taking pictures of the cup with his phone, then several selfies with it. 

 

"I love it Yuuri I feel even bad for drinking it. I'm gonna upload it to my instagaram!" 

 

Yuuri chuckles musically and viktor's heart flutters a little too much. "It's fine to drink it, I'll always make it for you. Also thank you for the exposure, whenever you tag our coffee shop on your posts we get a gush of followers and new customers." 

 

"Oh it's nothing, you're so good Yuuri and you should be well known. But oh I still can't get over how adorable it is. Yuuri, am I this adorable in real life?" Viktor asks his question too cutely that Yuuri instantly blushes furiously and nods his head. Great, Yuuri thinks he's cute! 

 

Viktor stalls to fool the time using the hot cup as an excuse to prolong his stay with Yuuri, it's unfortunate to leave his side. But being the responsible adult he is, he ought to leave. If only he could spend more time with him!

 

When he goes back to his shop his elated mood persists that they wonder if he's high. Viktor's mind is too filled with Yuuri's pretty smile and glimmering eyes and kind voice and everything about him. His mind drifts back to yesterday's incident. The rose is still here in the glass of water, beginning to lose its freshness. He wonders if he's going to get another one. 

 

Not even an hour passes before his question is answered. Mila enters the kitchen area jumping on her feet, squealing from joyful excitement. "It's here, it's her. There's another one." 

 

Viktor doesn't ask for further explanation, his cake frosting is abandoned in a moment and he runs to the outside. This time, it's Minami the schoolkid who works for Phichit, holding out an acrylic box with the blue rose inside and the note attached to it. 

 

"Are you going to tell us who sent it?" Yuri's question seems more like a threat, and the older than him kid freaks out a little bit. 

 

"Don't scare him Yura!" Mila tells him. Meanwhile Viktor is busy opening the box, admiring the rose, then taking the note to read...

 

 

 

2.When you get too excited about the smallest things like a pure kid

 

 

"Okay this is too cute for my heart." Chris holds his hands up when Viktor reads the note out loud. A wide smile spreads across his face, Viktor is touched.

 

"That's right, you're too dramatic." Yuri confirms with his usual disgust but Georgi slams him back like he's any better.

 

But Viktor is too busy figuring out what he should do. He turns to Minami in hope of fishing for some information about the secret admirer, but Minami insists on keeping the privacy of their customer.

 

It's fine, soon enough he'll now who it is. Meanwhile Viktor hugs the rose to his heart and looks in longing at the shop across the street. He wonders....

 

******

 

The least favorite time for the Stammi Vicino cakery workers is holidays which requires altering the look and displaying decorations at the shop. Viktor is an extremist when it comes to making the place as festive and celebratory as possible. It's a cake shop, it should be the happiest place on earth! He always says. 

 

Viktor is easily the kindest most understanding boss to work with, until it comes to the aesthetics of the place and its products. Then he's a sadistic tyrant who demands nothing less than perfection. His motto is We overwhelm the senses, and with his genius recipes and unprecedented skills he creates to overwhelm the tongues and noses and stomachs, but the eyes are the primary sensors that must be satisfied. 

 

And during Christmas, Stammi Vicino always wins as the best decorated shop of the year ever since its opening, Viktor isn't going to lose the title at any cost.

 

Which requires a killing amount of energy and effort from everyone at the shop after the closing time to apply Viktor's "vision" for this year's Christmas. 

 

"Ah, I hate Christmas, and Viktor Nikiforov!" Yuri complains as he hangs up the lights.

 

"Hurry up little kitten, I'm not paying you extra for you to give me a headache with your foul mouth. Chris, what did I say about the tree bulbs, that's not the right order!" Viktor walks over to the tree and pushes Chris out of the way, muttering how useless everyone is. 

 

"Gosh it's not even December yet, and you're acting like it's the birth of Jesus tomorrow!" Chris snaps at him, but he's met with one of Viktor's passive aggressive smiles that his legs move on their own to find another task without further complaining.

 

The door wind chime rings telling the arrival of someone.  "We're closed." Mila who's next to the door struggling with an inflatable Santa tells the comer without looking.

 

"I know, it's me..." The distinctive voice catches attention, everyone quickly is turned to Yuuri at the door. 

 

Viktor forgets about the world and goes to greet him, seeing him twice a day is more than he deserves. "Hello Yuuri, you're always welcomed. Come in." 

 

"I see you're already busy with decorations. The place already looks magnificent, the true seasonal spirit." Yuuri's eyes shine as he takes in the sight with much fascination.

 

Viktor feels a surge of pride throbbing through him. "Oh I know, I can turn this place to make Santa jealous of him. It's all thanks to me." Viktor doesn't mean to sound this narcissistic and take all the credit for him. He feels guilty about it especially when he sees that judging look on Yuuri's face. "Of course the biggest credit goes to my amaig workmates who are working so hard to make it this perfect."

 

He could hear them rolling their eyes before he gets distracted by Yuuri's lovely giggle. Yuuri is much better than Christmas itself. 

 

"So I came asking for a request..." Yuuri asks hesitantly, as if Viktor would ever deny him anything.

 

"Anything for you." 

 

"It's not much. It's my birthday in few days and my friends want to celebrate it which is totally unnecessary but they're insisting. So I was wondering-"

 

"Absolutely Yuuri!" Viktor doesn't let him finish, body shaking with excitement "Oh my god happy birthday, we're almost one month apart. Of course I'm making you the most wonderful cake, it's going to be my best work I can assure you." 

 

"What? No no that's what I meant... I mean...eh..." Yuuri stammers nervously, and a wave of disappointment hits Viktor. 

 

"You don't want me to make your cake?" He pouts sadly, but Yuuri quickly shakes his head, denying the blasphemous accusation.

 

"No of course not! I would be the luckiest person to have my cake made by you. But you don't have to waste your time on me, I know you only make very special cakes booked in advance, and I can never afford your personally made cake. I'll just choose a chocolate premade one from here and it'll be more than enough." 

 

"Nonsense! I'm the one to make your cake and it's completely on me, you don't have to pay a thing. It's my present to you, I insist."

 

"Wow Viktor, that's very generous of you, I'm....thank you. But...this is not what I wanted to say." Yuuri's face lights up with joy, it'show Viktor wants to always remember him. But he shouldn't get distracted by him while talking to him like the nonfunctional human mess he is. 

 

"What is it?" 

 

"Can...can you come to my...birthday party? It's a small get together at the park on my day off, you can bring your adorable Makkachin with you. What do you say?" He's bright red when he asks, and he doesn't dare to look at Viktor in the eye. 

 

And Viktor is incredibly blessed. He's surprised at first, but then when he starts to believe that Yuuri's inviting him, the earth can't contain his happiness. It means Yuuri actually wants to get closer to him. outside of work. No no he's not get ahead of himself and think of it as a date, but at least it's some progress in their relationship. 

 

"I would love to..." It's all he manages before he floats up in the air and explode like fireworks. 

 

Yuuri seems relieved, satisfied even. Did he think for a moment that Viktor would reject? Oh if he only knows...

 

"Great, we'll meet there then. I'll send you the details..." 

 

"And I'll make you the best cake..." 

 

When he leaves, Viktor finally realizes that everyone enjoyed the show and they aren't ashamed to admit it. Before they start the teasing and playing, Viktor quickly embraces his tyrant boss persona and pushes them all back to work while he dreamily fantasizes about the not birthday date  with Yuuri. 

 

******

 

 

 

3.When you get too bossy and demanding about your work to produce perfection 

 

 

4.When you brag arrogantly about something, but actually you're the most humble 

 

 

5.The way your mouth takes the shape of a heart when you're smiling 

 

 

6.when you tease your workmates to the edge of madness

 

 

******

 

The days pass and the rosey notes accumulate as a daily routine adding pure joy to Viktor's days. And the more he thinks of it, the more his faith that Yuuri is the one who's sending them grow. Because he can't imagine if it's someone else. The notes are very heartwarming and the sender must be the sweetest, but it's nothing compared to few minutes spent happily talking to Yuuri, laughing with him, looking at him, hearing his voice. It's going to be a big trouble if it's someone other than him. 

 

Yuuri's friends are so nice and easy to get along with, and Viktor easily charms his way into their hearts, starting with the cake. Knowingly Yuuri owns the cutest toy poodle which is attending the birthday as well, and he's deeply attached to him, Vicchan. So what's a better birthday cake theme than a chocolate and caramel fusion of Yuuri's beloved pet? Viktor artfully created a Vicchan face  shaped cake and it's jaw dropping. His reputation in town is valid indeed and well deserved.

 

Yuuri is the most impressed, repeating how it's going to be hard to cut and eat it. Viktor watches him as he gets comfortable around his close friends, appearing more relaxed and carefree than when he's around him. The weather isn't too cold with no snow nor rainfall, and the whole atmosphere is friendly and warm.

 

Viktor could get used to doing this with Yuuri. Catching up with his friends, talking about his job and his own life, listening to Yuuri saying more than ten stuttering words, and playing together with their playful dogs. It's all he's asked for.

 

When Yuuri blows the candles, Viktor is curious about his wish. It sort of reminds him of his own wish. Should he wish it on his own birthday? Ironically, Viktor doesn't really celebrate his birthday, it's been too long since he last did and it was just a Christmas gathering with some friends with no significance to his birthday. 

 

Viktor reflects on his thoughts, then he looks at Yuuri who's humming in satisfaction at the melting taste of the cake in his mouth. He laughs at the endearing picture, then stares softly at him. 

 

Yuuri notices and blushes. "Is this how heaven tastes like? God you're a genius Viktor, I can't believe you made it for me." He mumbles with mouthful of cake, sounding even funnier. 

 

"Thank you Yuuri. And thank you for inviting me." Viktor says appreciatively, closing the space between him and Yuuri, and surprisingly Yuuri mirrors his movement.

 

"You're most welcome. I'm glad you came, it...it means a lot to me." 

 

It means a lot to him? Calm down Viktor, don't die now. 

 

"So how does it feel to be twenty six? I'm too old to remember the feeling." 

 

Yuuri chuckles and shrugs. "Not very different from being twenty five. Although looking back at my year, this is definitely a much better birthday." he answers meaningfully, and the way he says it implies much to Viktor's delusions. Does he mean it's better because...Viktor is with him?

 

"I know, my cakes do wonder." He jokes and the joke is answered with his favorite laugh. 

 

"Absolutely, you have no idea. I tried baking my birthday cake once and it tasted nothing like cakes, you're a blessing." Yuuri pauses for a little bit, like he's preparing for a speech. "But I really do mean it, this year has been gentler to me, unlike the last one..." 

 

The vague answer arouses Viktor's concerns, there's a wary look in Yuuri's gorgeous eyes. And Viktor can sense that he's beginning to open up to him. "You know Viktor, I didn't always want to be a barista at my parents' coffee shop. I struggled to find something right for me, a dream to follow. When I was younger I used to skate on ice, I wanted to be a professional figure skater. I started working on it and I had a decent career and just when I was starting to peak... I had that terrible injury that ended it all." 

 

Viktor's heart is squeezed in his chest, empathizing with Yuuri's pain. Involuntarily, his hand reaches to grab Yuuri's. Yuuri doesn't withdraw it. 

 

"Skating was my entire life, when I lost it I felt like I lost my purpose. I had to find something to do with my life, I tried working at coaching for kids, I tried many things to stay close to the ice, but it hurt so bad that I had to completely give it up. Then I became completely lost, i had to find another path, something that might revive my soul..." 

 

"Oh Yuuri, I'm so sorry." Viktor says as softly as he can, like it's his own heart mouthing the words. 

 

Yuuri's lips are pulled in a gentle smile, with a new hope sparkling in his eyes, replacing all the bitterness o the past. "This year, when I started working with my parents I did it halfheartedly, because I had nothing else to do. But the moment I first stepped at your shop, I saw you standing there at the open kitchen area putting on a show of your art. You were working on the most stunning cake I had ever seen, with ultimate concentration and precision, you were putting much love and effort to finesse your masterpiece and I just felt inspired again..."

 

"Me?" 

 

"I started to realize that I was missing a lot in life, that i had an opportunity to regain my passion for something and create. So what does it take to find a purpose again? All I had was coffee and a new will to succeed. I started to take my job more seriously, to get an actual education on it and to learn professionally about it, and with each small achievement I felt alive again. Whenever I feel like what I'm doing is ordinary or useless, I remember your image when you're turning the ordinary to the extraordinary. So thank you a lot Viktor."

 

"Yuuri I'm... I'm speechless. I never really did anything to help you. It's all thanks to your determination and hard work. You got over over many difficulties and you eventually managed to adapt to all the changes in your life. You deserve to feel proud of yourself, it's yourself that you're supposed to thank." 

 

"But your impact on me is much greater than you think, and not just me. Many people around you are inspired by you and look up to you. I know you also had your struggles, yet you managed to start from scratch and create all this success on your own, and meanwhile you help and support the others." 

 

Viktor doesn't know how to reply to any of this, he needed those words more than he had realized. Maybe because from someone he truly appreciates. But what did he even do to get all this? It's all the circumstances and his own luck. Coming to this country in a poor family which barely made like livable, then working hard since his teenage years, and managing to develop a skill that he grew a passion for it, Viktor after years of working hard managed to partner up for his own business and quickly gain his great success. He was so lucky.

 

And now he's even luckier that he's spending some time of intimacy having a heart to heart conversation to this wonderful man. 

 

Oh by, he's so deep. 

 

****** 

 

 

 

7.When you always inspire me to become a better version of myself

 

 

8.The way you take your work so seriously and put much effort and artistry into it

 

 

9.How supportive and encouraging you are

 

 

10.When you know when to talk and when to listen 

 

 

11.When you talk non stop and make all the voices in my head go away

 

 

*****

 

 

 

12.The way you talk to your poodle like she's a dear friend

 

 

Viktor laughs so hard at today's note, not many people has noticed this habit of his, which is a totally normal habit considering Makkachin his dearest and best friend. Who can blame him? She understands him better than most the humans around him. 

 

Apart from one human that is slowly taking over Makka's status. 

 

"Okay but that stalker is right, you're absolutely lunatic and you talk in dog all the time." Yuri comments on the note as he cleans up one of the tables. 

 

"You talk to your cat all the time." Yuri's boyfriend, Otabek argues back, not teasing Yuri, just a fact check. And as a punishment, Yuri takes the plate of cheese cake away from Otabek's reach, depriving him from his dessert for exposing him. 

 

"You know I was going to pull the same romantic stunt as the stalker doing with the old geezer, but you're not worthy." Otabek looks at him like a hurt dog, wondering what wrong he's done. 

 

"He's not stalker. At this point we all know who's the romantic lover." Chris tells Yuri then he elbows Viktor who's now busy with decorating a cake with some sugarcrafting. 

 

Viktor suppresses his smile and doesn't take his eyes off his work. "Oh do you now?"

 

Mila comes out of the kitchen covered with flour with traces of dough still in here hands, just to squeal. "It's him, isn't he?"

 

"I have know idea who you mean." He replies slyly, enjoying this little game of teasing. Viktor himself no longer has any doubt that it's really Yuuri, it's more than a mere belief coming from a wish and more like an evidence based fact. And all he has to do is anticipate the daily supply of notes and roses that are like air to him now, and wait patiently for whatever revelation Yuuri is planning. Let him enjoy thoroughly the feelings of attention, adoration, and even love. 

 

He thought many times of talking to him about it, or even mentioning it, but he immediately pushes the idea at the back of his mind, he mustn't spoil it for him. To be honest, Yuuri is a little too foolish if he thinks that Viktor hasn't figured it out till now.

 

Viktor sighs and turns back to the cake between his hands, things around him are much calmer now with no customers and other workers busy with they tasks. He beings to relax and gets too immersed in his handiwork, the Christmas music is blasting loud enough to energize him and unconsciously he starts singling along All I  want for Christmas is you. 

 

He gets too absorbed in the role, unleashing his inner pop star that he almost beats Mariah Carry. 

 

His back starts to ache from bending for too long, he stretches his joints and looks up only to be met with a pair of amused brown eyes. Coincidentally when he still singing so passionately.

 

Yuuri is holding back his laghter with a look enough to put Viktor in shame. But not Viktor, Viktor is a free spirited human being who isn't afraid to express himself. So after pausing for a moment, Viktor renews the song, starting all over again.

 

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

 

He sings the lines then pauses, gesturing to Yuuri.

 

Yuuri gets it, but he shakes his head vigorously, refusing to contribute. But Viktor doesn't take no for an answer, instead he repeats the line, singing even louder that the other workers gather to check the source of the noise.

 

Seeing an audience, Viktor sings the same opening lines for the the third time, giving a cue for participation. 

 

I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas day

 

Spontaneously Mila sings the next verse

 

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you
You baby

 

Chris continues

 

Oh, I won't ask for much this Christmas
I won't even wish for snow
And I'm just gonna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe

 

Georgi gives his all with a very emotional performance...

 

I won't make a list and send it
To the North Pole for Saint Nick
I won't even stay awake to
Hear those magic reindeer click

 

Viktor sings back at glee, still encouraging Yuuri to join....

 

'Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do?
Baby, all I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

 

With a surprisingly good singing technique and an echoing tenor voice, Yuuri gives in and starts to get more comfortable singing.

 

Oh, all the lights are shining so brightly everywhere
And the sound of children's laughter fills the air

And everyone is singing
I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa, won't you bring me the one I really need?
Won't you please bring my baby to me?

Oh, I don't want a lot for Christmas
This is all I'm asking for
I just wanna see my baby
Standing right outside my door

Oh, I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby, all I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

 

All the voices blend in a tear jerking harmony as they continue the song, butchering it in a joyful union.

 

Thank God Yuri already left with his boyfriend before he intervenes to shut them up with a mop.

 

"That was wonderful and honestly Viktor... I have no idea how can you have the invincible power to turn such an awkward situation into a dramatic choral performance. You're unbelievable!" Yuuri exclaims after the end, there it is the same sparkle in his eyes that Viktor adores so.

 

"Awkward? You mean you didn't enjoy my initial solo? I'm wounded Yuuri." Viktor feigns heartache making Yuuri giggle. Another favorite of his.

 

"What?  Of course no! Maria Carey who? I don't know her. I only know Viktor Nikiforov."

 

It's Viktor's turn to cackle this time, getting the reference of the meme especially when Yuuri imitates her, andYuuri takes a part in the hysterical fit.

 

After managing to finally cease the laughter, they exchange a lingering look,  a one where the outer world vanishes for a moment. But Yuuri quickly becomes self-conscious and breaks the contact.

 

Instead his eyes catch the cake in making in front of Viktor. "Oh it's a chicken on the cake! You crafted it?"

 

"Ah, this client has a pet chicken and he wanted her on his birthday cake." Viktor answers cheerfully as he starts to add more whipped cream ornamentation.

 

"Aw that's cute. You're amazing Viktor."

 

Happy with the praise, Viktor grins like he's being told he's good for the first time. "Hey listen to this joke. Why did the chicken cross the road?"

 

Yuuri panics about the joke already, he's sensing a disaster. "To...get to the other side?" He replies hesitantly.

 

"No, to get to the other slice! You get it? A cake slice, oh god this is so funny." Viktor says amidst hysterical laughing, like he's just told the funniest joke on earth, and Yuuri stares wide eyed at him.

 

But the laughter is infectious, and Viktor is already holding his sides, Yuuri finds himself laughing...too hard. "No I shouldn't laugh, this is too lame."

 

Viktor laughs even harder at his reaction, and from the side Mila appears, unimpressed. "It's terrible and unoriginal. "

 

"You laughed too when you first heard it." Viktor argues.

 

"You killed it by telling it too many times!"

 

"This is it, I'm leaving." Wiping the tears from the corner of his eye, Yuuri announces.

 

"No don't leave!" Viktor almost begs him. "hey why are you here in the first place?"

 

Already at the door, Yuuri waves to him, a mischievous smile on his face. "Just came to say hi. Now bye." He quickly turns on his heels to walk away, leaving Viktor struck.

 

They already met at the morning for the delivery, but Yuuri actually sought to see him again. He wanted to see him again!

 

Viktor performs the chicken dance of victory.

 

 

The next day, Viktor receives the note...

 

 

 

13. When you sing out of tune at top of your lungs but you still sound good

 

 

******

 

 

 

14. That terrible sense of humor of yours when you laugh at your own corny jokes and make me so mad because I laugh too

 

 

15. When you cheer up everyone around you even when you're not feeling so well

 

 

16. Your thoughtfulness and big heart

 

 

17. When you get angry at someone but quickly apologize if you hurt them

 

 

18. How you get all sassy and savage when someone treat you rudely, but with everyone else you're a sweetheart

 

 

19. When you forget the most important things but remember the most trivial things

 

 

20. When you get annoyed by something so you just start baking

 

 

*****

 

The dynamics of their relationship have changed he must admit. Viktor can't help but notice his close he and Yuuri are growing.

 

Their visits for each other linger longer than necessary, for reasons more than business. Their texting rate has increased, conversations ranging between the silliest things and the deepest personal issues. They've learned a lot about each other, and with every new detail learned Viktor falls in love a little more.

 

Lately, Yuuri finishes his shift to spend the rest of the day at the cakery, standing by Viktor watching him work in utter fascination, offering his insights and opinions. Viktor never asks for someone's opinion concerning his creations, unless this one is Yuuri.

 

They talk about everything but never address the elephant in the room, never label their relationship with lays somewhere between friendship and romance, never mention the notes and roses, even when they both of them are probably sure it's not a secret anymore. 

 

Which puzzles Viktor and freaks him out a little. For how long will this game last? What does it even mean? Yes it used to be a daily pleasant surprise that made Viktor's heart palpate, it still does indeed. But what's the need anymore? Everyday their bond grows stronger, the awkwardness disappears and is replaced with warm familiarity, the words are more blatant with no subtlety. So what's the need anymore?

 

One fear Viktor can't accept its probability, that the daily gifts don't have anything to do with Yuuri. It'll be heartbreaking if this is the truth, because no matter how genuine and melting they are, Viktor has strongly associated them with Yuuri and he can't be misled.

 

If it isn't Yuuri, then Viktor will utterly bad about the real sender because his attachment to him is unbreakable, and that mysterious person will only be met with a hurtful rejection, and Viktor gave his share of unrequited loves, he can't afford breaking another heart.

 

With every new note and blooming rose, this burden becomes bigger, and outgrows the usual rapture these gifts bring. It shouldn't be a concern, he's being irrational because he's afraid of losing it all. He's never been this happy in his life.

 

 

"Phichit, please you have to tell me!" Viktor pleads to the florist, he's been doing it for at least half an hour. And Phichit is persistent with no intentions to change his mind. No mean no, end of the story. 

 

"I told you many times our clients' privacy is respected and guaranteed." Phichit replies nonchalantly, pretending to be arranging a pretty bouquet of lilies. "Now you're just wasting our time." 

 

"You don't have to say his name, just confirm to me. It's not an identity reveal, just a simple yes or no." It's impressive how strong willed Phichit is. His role in community is the gossiping aunt who spills the beans and has all the deets. So it's really shocking he's capable of holding back all this information, he's probably saving it for a later entertainment after the game ends.

 

"With due respect Mr Nikiforov, but with all the evidence you've got are you that stupid to not find out on your own?" Seung-gil, the other stoic blank faced florist asks coldly. Questioning Viktor's intelligence is a common occurrence, but not this time it's reasonable. No one understands. 

 

"I'm not stupid, I'm just paranoid." Viktor confesses desperately.

 

Sighing, Phichit turns to him, he reaches a hand to his shoulder patting him. "You don't have to. You'll know at the right time, and I assure you that you won't be disappointed."" 

 

"Yes but when? Just give me a clue."

 

The florist looks right and left, checking if he's being watched. "I'm gonna have some sympathy on you and give you a hint. How old are you?" 

 

"Twenty nine, going thirty soon." 

 

"This is it." Phichit grins. 

 

But Viktor feels a little lost, what does his age has to do with it? 

 

Too frustrated, Phichit slaps his own forehead. "Jeez you're really so stupid, it's not a rumor after all."

 

Viktor beings to lose his patience, there's no point of doing this anymore. "Fine!" He exclaims, crossing his arms and pouting his lips like any respectable 6 year old. "I'll figure it out on my own." 

 

When he's leaving, Phichit shakes his head hopelessly, saying, "Dumb old man." Courtesy to Yuri Plisetsky.

 

*****

 

 

 

21. Your artful masterpieces that are your cake pieces 

 

 

22. The way you press your finger to your lips when you're deep in thought

 

 

23. When y ou keep blowing your hair fringe off your eye while you're working then it falls again

 

 

*****

 

Things are now more interesting than ever since they're spending their spare time at teaching Yuuri baking cakes. Viktor takes the mission with a mixture of serious professionalism and an easily excused intimacy. 

 

The two of them stand at the privacy of the kitchen after closing time, Viktor demonstrates and explains the steps to him, and Yuuri follows closely. These are some of the best moments in Viktor's life. The peaceful companionship, the pace occupied by both of them only, and the way he gets to be near Yuuri. How he feels the body heat radiating from him, the accidental lingering touches, the aromatic coffee scent coming from the barista arousing his senses, and the view of perfection when he watches Yuuri working. It all makes him melt...

 

"What do you think?" Yuuri asks while applying the frosting on top of a cupcake with precision.

 

But Viktor almost misses the question, too distracted by the sight of Yuuri frowning in concentration with his tongue peeking out of his mouth, the sight is hot enough to melt the ice

 

"Viktor, did you hear me? what do you think?"

 

Struggling not to get lost in the width of his pure eyes, Viktor quickly recovers and nods frantically. "It looks perfect Yuuri, congratulations. Now let's take a picture of this piece of art." 

 

Yuuri squeals of happiness and it makes Viktor swoon at the cuteness. While busy taking the photo, Yuuri uses as a chance to snatch the demonstrative cupcake Viktor has just made. Biting into it and savoring the taste, Yuuri moans in ecstasy and it's too sinful for Viktor that his misbehaved mind goes to some dirty place. 

 

"This is so good. God I wish I could eat of your cake till I die of happiness and diabetes." Yuuri says with a mouthful of the pastry. It's the ultimate compliment to Viktor. 

 

Viktor takes a bite from the piece Yuuri made, he hums in approval. "Wow amazing. Yours is equally good Yuuri. You have a bright future, you may even open a cake place nearby and compete with me. I'll be happily defeated from you."

 

"It's only because I'm learning from the best. I can't believe I'm so lucky to be privately tutored by the great Viktor Nikiforov, and for free!" Yuuris says playfully fluttering his eyelashes, it's too much for an old man's heart. "Okay, I have a cliche question but it has to be asked and I can't believe I still haven't asked it yet. What is your favorite cake?"

 

"How cruel Yuuri! That's like asking who's your favorite child, they're all my children and I equally love each of my babies." 

 

"Yes but it's gotta be a favorite cake you enjoy making the most that you have it for your birthday!" 

 

Okay but this hits him hard, because when was the last time Viktor had a cake for his birthday? Or even celebrated his birthday...

 

He smiles bitterly at the man wondering innocently, Yuuri is so beautiful. "Believe it or not, I don't have a cake for my birthday. I...I don't really celebrate it."

 

"What?!" 

 

"Ironic, I know. But I haven't celebrated my birthday since childhood, or maybe few times with some friends. It doesn't really matter to me, and as for cakes I'm knees deep in them for the entire year."

 

Yuuri's face falls in disbelief, and Vitkor hates that look of pity in his eyes. He doesn't want him to feel bad about him, because it really doesn't matter. 

 

"But how? It does matter. It's the day you were born at Viktor, of course it's meaningful. I don't understand how you neglect such occasion."

 

"I don't get the chance to. I didn't grow up celebrating it, it went trivial and unimportant to my family. And when I grew up it overlaps with Christmas, which most people celebrate with their families, and I don't celebrate Christmas, so it's rare to find someone available."

 

Yuuri takes his hands with determination, it surprises Viktor but engulfs him in soft warmness like a blanket on a cold night. "This has to be changed." He says briefly and vaguely. "Your birthday matters and should be celebrated."

 

Viktor doesn't want him to elaborate, he's grateful by just hearing these words promising of a surprise, and Viktor loves nothing more than surprises.

 

"Then my favorite cake is the cake I'll have that day." 

 

*****

 

 

 

25. Your clearer than summer skies and bluer than ocean eyes 

 

 

26. The way you walk like a supermodel on a runway even when're taking the trash

 

 

27. The way you say my name 

 

 

28. The sound of your laughter that makes everything laugh with you

 

 

29. How you make it too easy to fall for you 

 

 

 

******

 

 

 

30. The fact that you were born... and on Christmas day

Wait for me at your place on midnight...

 

 

 

On Christmas eve, the -probably- last card and last note arrives. Viktor can't actually believe it's finally happening, the official reunion with the lovely ghost who's very present in every aspect of Viktor's life. All the doubts and fears are pushed back to a dark places, and Viktor's world is shining with bright lights. His faith is unshakable. 

 

He's meeting Yuuri at midnight, entering a new year of his life hand in hand with his one and only love. It's what his heart is telling him, and he can't believe otherwise. Suspiciously Yuuri hasn't been seen for the last few days, it's cruel of him to disappear like this. He is just so unfair, doesn't he miss him back or is he trying to intensify the feeling of longing to create a dramatic return. Oh Yuuri!

 

His heart keeps pounding, the blood is rushes in his vessels, and he's restless for the whole day. The past few days were excruciating in terms of work for the holidays season, but the entire time Viktor works with half mind and half heart, his entire being belongs to someone now.  

 

So the last day before closing for Christmas is spent between finishing and delivering last minute orders, killing time with overworking himself, receiving endless teasing from the staff who're equally excited about the big reveal, and dreamily admiring the pile of note cards and blue roses at variable degrees of vitality and dryness. 

 

30 notes, 30 roses, for 30 days... Commemorating 30 things about Viktor. It makes him blush, to be observed with such closeness. 

 

He runs over all the cards again and again, spending too much time drinking in and decoding each soulful word. Things too mundane and silly are noticed and admired, Viktor feels different reading about himself through someone else's eyes, a loved one. He almost doesn't recognize it's him Yuuri is writing about, but at the same time every word touches something deep in him. 

 

He's nowhere near perfect, but this man makes him feel like he owns the world, he's the center of universe. It's a lot of love, more than he deserves, and definitely more than he ever got in his life. 

 

30... 

 

He'll be 30 in few hours...

 

Phichit said 30. 

 

The rumors are true, Viktor are stupid! 

 

Of course 30 notes for the 30 years of his life. How couldn't he figure it earlier? Yuuri is unlucky for falling for a dumb like him.

 

But it's a lovely gesture nevertheless. Can he love him even more?

 

 

 

At his home in the company of his dearest pet, Viktor waits and waits, urging the time to move on. Will midnight ever come? 

 

He spends the desperate time of waiting in fantasizing all the possible scenarios when Yuuri finally arrives... 

 

He even imagines a humorous horror scenario including a heavy plot twist, it's not Yuuri after all. Wow if this happens for real, he's saving living the reaction rather than imagining it. His poor senile heart can't live up to this.  

 

What will they say? How will they act? Will they hug or kiss first? Will language be able to convey their feelings or will they only communicate with their sincere eyes? 

 

 

He gets lost in his mind that he misses the first door ring, but instantly he regains his senses with the second ring and his head twist to look at the wall watch. 

 

It's exactly midnight.

 

Viktor flies to the door, carried off the ground, like a magic spell attracting him to the door of his eternal happiness.

 

The door is opened too wide, revealing the most beautiful man on earth holding a birthday cake with a lit candle in the middle, all the tenderness and kindness of the world personified in him.

 

"Happy birthday Viktor. Thank you for existing the same universe as me, thank you!" 

 

The vision blurs in his eyes, with hot tears accumulating into ponds in his eyes. Viktor sobs hard while he quickly takes the cake from Yuuri's hands to place it on a nearby table. All to empty Yuuri's hands so he cold fall in his embrace, holing on to him too tightly. And just like too pieces of puzzle attach, they unite like one. 

 

"Yuuri..." Viktor calls his name and clings to him like a man just saved from death. Yuuri reciprocates the hug even tighter, rubbing his back in comfort and scattering kisses on the crown of his head. Viktor has never felt safer, more loved and cherished, all the love and affection is surrounding him. 

 

Yuuri holds his chin up to get a better look at his face, handling him with delicacy like he's the most precious jewel. He gently wipes his tears away with his fingertips. "I hope you were waiting for me." 

 

"Who else would I wait you idiot?" Yuuri chuckles when Viktor punches him playfully. He plants another kiss on his forehead.

 

"So I just want say that...that..." Stuttering and hesitating as always, Viktor has no patience for Yuuri's timidity. 

 

"I love you Yuuri!" Viktor just confesses, no more wasting time. However the look on Yuuri's face is priceless, the most adorable thing a person could witnesses. 

 

"Oh...Oh... Oh! It's...it's real, right? I can't... I mean..."

 

"Just say you love me too you idiot."

 

"Of course I do. I...I love you Viktor. I've loved you even before I knew you. I love everything about you, absolutely everything. And I still can't believe you actually love me back, I mean it's more than I've ever dreamed of. And I still can't believe it. I didn't have enough courage to tell you about my feelings, it was too hard. That's why I...I decided to tell you that way. It took me much time to come up with a plan, because you are you... You can't have any less than an impressive confession..." 

 

God he loves him so much...

 

"I know my idea is silly, but it's all I could manage." 

 

"Don't say that. I love it, I love everything about it, I wouldn't change a thing about it.

 

"Well... I'm glad..." Yuuri murmurs sweetly to him, slowly closing the gap between them. Viktor's body moves on its own closer to him, and in a less than a second, they're kissing their hearts out, exchanging millions of promises and vows, confessions and words of adoration through the passionate kiss. 

 

They dive deeper in seas pleasure, devouring each other into the kiss, bodies connected and hands grabbing and touching eagerly. They stay like this for an immeasurable amount of time, making up for all the time lost away from each other shielding from uncertainty and fears of rejection, they have all the time in the world.

 

After a while they need to catch their breaths and let their racing hearts calm down. 

 

The cake! Viktor remembers and they sit in front of the fireplace to blow the candle.

 

"I don't have a wish. You're already with me." Viktor says then blows it, kissing Yuuri for the nth time. He's more than proud of Yuuri who created this piece of art all by himself, thanks to his priavte lessons of course.

 

"Yes. This is my favorite cake indeed."

 

Assessing the cake with a professional eye and he may be biased, but it looks just too appetizing and aesthetic. A simple sponge cake covered with a white layer whipped cream, decorated with perfectly crafted blue roses resembling the ones sent with the love notes. On the center of it written elegantly 30 things I love about you.

 

Wrapping his arms around Viktor, Yuuri plants a lingering kiss on the column of his neck, sending shivers all over his body. 

 

"You're 30 this year, so I wanted to choose 30 things I love about you. But god knows how it's impossible to pick only 30. If you stay with me for the next year, I'm going to count another 31 things I love about you, and in the next another 32, and then another 33 and so on until I manage to count every single thing I love about you. So please Viktor, live long enough with me so I could count them all, which will take forever..." 

 

"Yes...yes... Forever! Forever with you..." The tears regenerate again on their own, rolling down his cheeks. Viktor melts in Yuuri's arms, burying his face in his warm chest. "I love you Yuuri, forever." 

 

"I love you too Viktor. I think I'll simply start counting one thing I love about you for every day, so let's have plenty of days together..." 

 

And for the remaining days of their life, every day he counts one thing he loves about him. And Viktor picks up the same habit too. They never run out of things they love about each other.

 

 

 The End