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(only me when i'm) with you

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They agree to do the interview mostly because it’s easy. They’re already out in California for an ice show the last weekend of June, so it isn’t hard to schedule, even though it delays their return to Japan by an extra day. Viktor would have been happy to dismiss it, but Yuuri hasn’t perfected the art of ignoring his publicist whenever she suggests something he doesn’t like, and so he agrees when he can’t immediately think of a good excuse.

“Sorry,” he says to Viktor, afterwards. “If you don’t want to…”

“I don’t mind,” Viktor assures him, honestly. “I like it much better when I do things with you.” Yuuri is pickier about his media appearances even though he finds it harder to decline them. Viktor has no problem dodging offers, but as long as Yuuri will be with him, he’ll agree to almost anything.

It’s strange to think of how they differ: Yuuri has a harder time saying no off the bat or refusing commitments he doesn’t want to make, but if people don’t ask he doesn’t offer. Viktor is happy to say no to engagements, refuse interviews, even once declining a fairly generous commercial contract because it was immediately after Russian Nationals, so he’d already been away from Yuuri for four days and wasn’t interested in extending the separation. Still, Viktor has the reputation for being nicer and more accommodating, because he never says no to a fan, never snaps at them no matter how tired he is or how much he would rather be alone.

They’re at their best together, Viktor decides when they arrive at the little studio. Better when Viktor can mouth “just say no” to Yuuri when he’s on the phone with the publicist, his nose wrinkled adorably, unconsciously as he tries to think of a polite way to refuse. Better when Yuuri can curl his arm around Viktor’s waist at the airport after sixteen hours of travel and say “Aren’t you tired?” when the tenth person has approached to get a photo, an autograph, just to say hi.

They seat Yuuri and Viktor on chairs next to each other. While they’re setting up the camera, Viktor reaches for Yuuri’s hand and tangles their fingers together. Yuuri automatically reciprocates for a moment before he remembers himself, lets go and folds his hands in his lap.

“Viktor,” he says, plaintive.

“What?” Viktor says, feigning innocence.

“It’s not professional,” Yuuri says.

This isn’t a professional engagement, Viktor thinks, but he lets Yuuri have it his way. It’s more of a game than an interview. All the questions are silly things, personable things. One of those Youtube channels that just does entertainment. Easy. The interviewer has a set of index cards with questions printed on them that she shuffles and pulls out at random.

“What’s your favorite food?” she starts off with.

“Katsudon,” Yuuri says, after a beat, as though he’s expecting Viktor to answer first.

“What’s that?” she asks.

“It’s a pork cutlet bowl,” Yuuri explains. “Fried pork over rice and egg and onion. My parents make it at the inn.”

“And yours?” she asks Viktor.

“Katsudon,” Viktor chirps. He hooks his foot around Yuuri’s ankle as he says it to make his meaning entirely clear, at least privately.

Yuuri flushes a little but says nothing. The interviewer doesn’t notice, shuffling her little deck again.

“What’s your favorite place you’ve visited?” she says.

“Define visit,” Viktor says. “Maybe I lived in Hasetsu too long for it to count?”

“That’s your hometown, isn’t it?” she asks Yuuri.

“Yes,” Yuuri says. “I don’t think that counts anymore,” he tells Viktor.

“Alright,” Viktor concedes. “Then Barcelona.”

“And you?” she asks Yuuri.

“Barcelona,” Yuuri says. Viktor sees his expression change a little, go a little more intense. He taps his foot against Viktor’s. He doesn’t blush at all.

There you go, Viktor thinks fondly. My Yuuri.

“Why Barcelona?” she asks.

“The architecture is very beautiful,” Viktor says. “The churches especially.” He couldn’t tell you a thing about architecture, but he’ll remember how it felt to stand on the steps of that church forever, the echo of the choir, the warm feeling in his chest.

“And we got engaged there,” Yuuri says blandly, but there’s a spark in his eyes when he says it.

“Oh, that’s wonderful,” she says. No follow-up, no questioning of it, and maybe that’s what distracts Viktor a little bit from the next question. She’s not a very good interviewer, doesn’t know how to dig deep into things, or maybe she doesn’t want to. Probably they’re just looking for guests whose fanbases will generate views on their channel. It’s fine publicity either way, and Viktor is perfectly happy for the interview to go like this, just subtly teasing Yuuri while his fiancé keeps his hands carefully folded in his lap within the frame even though their legs have become increasingly tangled together as the minutes tick by.

The interviewer flips up the next card.  "What's your favorite color?" she asks.

"Blue," Yuuri says.

"I don't really have one," Viktor says.

Yuuri frowns a little. "No, it's red."

"It's—" and it is, Viktor realizes, but how does Yuuri know that? Viktor barely knows that. Viktor wears mostly neutral colors, lots of browns and blues. The apartment is all clean and modern blues and greys and whites. "Yes? Yes. How did you..."

"Your red jacket," Yuuri says. "And the burgundy scarf. And the red coat. You just don't wear red a lot because it stands out. But the plates you picked are red too. Except you bought me a blue sweater."

"Because you like blue," Viktor says, helplessly.

"Or at least I thought that was why. Is that why? That it stands out."

"...yes," Viktor says, although he maybe wouldn't have thought of it that way himself.

"You look nice in blue," Yuuri says decisively. "But you like red better."

The interviewer is still looking at them, a little uncertain. Viktor smiles at her, at the camera, bright and blinding. “So! Yuuri’s is blue and mine is red.”

“Great,” she says. “We have just a few more. What about your favorite movie?”

The next set of questions blur past. Viktor is on autopilot, smiling, laughing at the right moments. Yuuri’s hand settles on his knee, carefully. It isn’t out of the frame, Viktor doesn’t think, but this is how Yuuri has always been. His sense of propriety only extends so far; in the face of something Viktor needs, every other concern evaporates in an instant.

They finish the interview. They shake hands. They are thanked, they say thank you, they make pointless small talk. Yuuri links their hands together the second the camera is off and doesn’t let go until they’re in the backseat of a cab, and even then only for the seconds it takes to buckle his seatbelt.

“I think that went well,” Viktor says lightly.

“Mmm,” Yuuri says. “I’m sorry if I—“

“No,” Viktor cuts him off at the pass. “You know me better than I know myself.”

“You look nice in red,” Yuuri says. It’s a long cab ride to the airport. He toes his shoes off on the floor and tucks his feet up under him, folding into Viktor’s side. “You could wear it more often. If you wanted.”

“I know,” Viktor says. He presses a kiss to Yuuri’s temple. They don’t talk about it again.

Viktor doesn't usually rewatch the things they film, but when this video goes up, he watches it. It’s only five and a half minutes, probably the optimal choice based on some internet algorithm Viktor will never understand. The color exchange doesn't make it in. A knot loosens in his chest when he realizes, although he didn’t even realize he’d been worried.

Most people, he supposes, would laugh at him—who, after all, doesn't know their own favorite color? Who needs their own habits explained to them? —but not Yuuri, who understands that Viktor has been playing at being photogenic and palatable for years and years, has started to lose track of what is the mask and what is real. Not Yuuri, who tells him to just be Viktor and even after that is somehow giving him back pieces of himself he hadn't even noticed he'd lost.

Viktor shuts his laptop and walks into the kitchen, where Yuuri is setting the table with the red plates, and when he sets the last one down Viktor spins him around to kiss him.

"What was that for?" Yuuri asks when they break apart.

"You," Viktor replies.

“What,” Yuuri says. “Not who.”

“Yes,” Viktor says, and pulls Yuuri back in so that he can feel him smile into the next kiss.