“Yuuuuri, you have to make a wish!”
But all I want is you here. Yuuri doesn’t say the words, but he aches with them deep into the marrow of his bones while Victor floats around his head, bangles tinkling as he twists and turns.
Victor’s explained he doesn’t need to wear the ridiculous belly dancer outfits to be a genie, but he does anyway. It’d driven Yuuri mad as each outfit became skimpier and skimpier until he finally demanded an explanation. Of course there wasn’t really one, Victor just batted his eyelashes, clung to Yuuri, and said he liked them. He’s just so ridiculous, and extra, and so… so…
So very, unfairly perfect.
Yuuri scowls, glancing away and at the floor as he hefts up a basket of laundry and starts through the onsen. “I told you, I don’t know what I want,” he mutters at the ground, hoping none of the guests notice him talking to thin air this time. He doesn’t want to have that conversation with his family.
“Yuuuuri, you have to have at least an idea about what you want!” Victor throws himself over Yuuri’s shoulders, jarring him and drawing the eyes of the guest passing by.
On the one hand, it’s nice that no one can see Victor and his constant displays of affection. On the other hand, Victor especially loves to tease and flirt with Yuuri where others can see and Yuuri can do nothing.
Yuuri pulls forward and out of Victor’s grip, his frown deepening. Why’s Victor been so pushy about this lately? He’s been here for months, and he’s barely bothered Yuuri about making his wishes. Maybe… Maybe because he wants to go just about as much as Yuuri wants him to leave?
Once they’re out of sights from the guests, and Yuuri drops the laundry to the floor to fold later, and shakes his head.“No, not yet. I’m still thinking about it.”
“Well, you’re running out of time.” Victor’s gentle this time as he runs his fingers through Yuuri’s hair. “Your three wishes are going to expire and I’ll have to go.”
“What?” Yuuri’s voice is barely a whisper as the floor slowly drops out from beneath him.
Soft, precious beautiful Victor’s going to leave. The genie who’s grown so soft over his time here with Yuuri, the man who dedicated himself to a life of helping others only to lose himself along the way. He found Yuuri after he crashed and burned at the Grand Prix Final and didn’t have the motivation to go back. He missed Phichit, but nothing and no one was really waiting for him on the competitive side of skating, so he collapsed at home.
Until Victor came and blew him out of the water.
Nothing like screaming about a naked genie no one else can see in the middle of a crowded onsen to get you out of your depressed funk.
It’s different now than it was then. Victor’s touches are more tender, and Yuuri doesn’t flinch away—like now, as Victor takes his hand and gives it a quick squeeze. Sometimes, when Victor’s collapsed and fallen asleep on top of him while Yuuri plays on his phone, he’ll daydream about how—if they were both ordinary humans—maybe they would’ve kissed by now. They’d have been able to talk in public, for sure. Victor would be present at the rink with Yuuri, shouting encouragements his abysmal Japanese at the little kids that he set Yuuri up to coach without even using a wish. He would be able to sit with Yuuri and eat his mom’s food and shout about how much he loves it, as opposed to sneaking scraps from Yuuri to hum over.
But Yuuri can’t have Victor.
Not that he wouldn’t have Victor if he could, claim him for all the world to know and see. But one of the first rules Victor established was that you couldn’t wish for people or their affections, and if he tried, Victor would immediately have to leave. Something about how it would prove Yuuri’s morals were wicked and unworthy or something? Victor was never very talented at explaining things.
“I told you in the beginning, you only have six months.” Victor floats to the ground, beginning to fold the laundry that Yuuri’s abandoned—he can never sit still when he’s worried or worked up about something.
“No. No, you didn’t.” Yuuri frowns. He would’ve remembered that. He remembered all of Victor’s weird rules, because he couldn’t risk screwing this up.
“Oh no, did I forget?” Victor taps his lip, his lips turning down.
Yuuri bites back a sharp remark. He knows it’s not Victor’s fault entirely, he knows that Victor was so worn down when he came to Hasetsu that it was a wonder he could even talk. But it’s been months… Five and a half months, to be exact.
“Oh my god,” Yuuri whispers, putting his face in his hands. “You… you have to go in two weeks. Victor, we only have two weeks?”
Victor’s arms are suddenly around him, and his chin rests on Yuuri’s shoulder. “Tell me what I can do for you, what you need from me. Make a wish, and I’ll make sure you have it. It’ll be okay.”
No, no it won’t, but if he can’t have Victor then he should wish for something, but what? Is there anything that can make him feel better? His mind flits back to his time in Detroit, and the ridiculous things that Phichit would do when he was being too hard on himself—which was unfortunately often. Before Yuuri came home Phichit had dragged him off to this gross restaurant, and there’s was a kid’s play area with a ball pit. Phichit coerced him into it despite hundreds of protests, and honestly, it was one of the best times that he had while he was stranded so far from home.
And, you know, if he doesn’t have that much time left with Victor, like Phichit with Yuuri, it might be fun to do that with Victor, too.
“I wish for a ball pit.” The words are out of Yuuri’s mouth before he can think twice about it, and he’s so happy that he can’t see Victor’s face. He has to think he’s a total moron, he could wish for anything—well, almost anything—and he wished for a goddamn ball pit.
To Victor’s credit, he doesn’t even move. His chest doesn’t vibrate with a chuckle, he doesn’t refuse, and he doesn’t question what Yuuri requested. All he says is, “Done.”
Yuuri pulls back. “What?”
Victor shrugs, a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. “You have a ball pit.”
Yuuri gapes. “You… how? Where?”
“Maybe you should check out back before a customer sees.” And then Victor winks.
Oh no. Yuuri scrambles away from Victor, and runs from the room, barreling through hallways and through the baths until he’s at the door, slamming it open, and—
And the onsen is filled with hundreds of plastic balls.
The colors are so bright that they clash wildly with the natural tones surrounding the balls as they float in the water and it’s almost absurd—no, it is absurd. It’s good that none of the guests are out here right now. Maybe he could explain away his “mental breaks,” but this?
Yuuri begins to laugh, the ridiculousness of this whole situation getting more and more absurd the more he thinks about it. God, his family is going to kill him, but he doesn’t care. He can’t care.
Victor tugs on Yuuri’s shirt. “Aren’t you going to go in?”
Yuuri wipes the tears from his eyes, struggling to catch his breath for a moment, then nods and begins to strip down. He should wash off before getting into the onsen, but with all the balls already in there… he can’t even care. Victor helps him as he keeps getting caught in giggles and chuckles, and once he’s taken off his glasses and is fully nude, Victor lifts Yuuri up, floats him over the onsen, and drops him in.
“Hey!” Yuuri starts laughing again, grabbing one of the balls and launching it at Victor.
It bounces off of Victor’s shoulder, but he naturally clasps a dramatic hand over his heart and plummets from the air, falling with a splash next to Yuuri.
For a moment, it’s quiet. Yuuri backs up against a stone wall, gripping the edge and watching the surface for any sort of movement besides the spring itself, and him moving around. Which is a lot of movement in general and makes his looking for Victor pointless, but it keeps him from wondering how the balls manage to float and yet sink enough that they stay inside and fill the onsen.
He wants to ask Victor how again, but Yuuri knows, doesn’t he? He’s seen Victor floating around for months, so much so that the sight’s almost normal. It’s so ordinary now that it’s hard to remember that Victor’s some sort of all-powerful, magic being.
The balls in front of Yuuri begin to move around, and he sucks in a breath just as fingers begin to dance along his belly. Laughter bursts from his mouth and he flails, one of his knees connecting with his tickler and making Victor pop his head up from the water with a pout.
His hair is sticking up in all sorts of directions, his fringe spiked to the side, and Yuuri can’t help but smile at him.
Which naturally makes Victor pout more. “My Yuuri is so mean!”
Yuuri’s smile falters. Yeah, he’s Victor’s Yuuri for now, but how much longer will that last?
“So, Yuuuuri…” Victor slinks a little closer, eyes wide and watchful. “Why a ball pit?”
“I, um.” Yuuri’s brain fumbles through his scattered thoughts, trying to formulate a decent reason when he doesn’t even have one. “I like balls?”
Victor levels him a look, one eyebrow raised. “Yes, we’ve lived together for months, I do know you’re gay.”
“Um!” Yuuri squeaks, pressing against the wall of the onsen, scrambling for purchase.
Victor ugly snorts, a heart-shaped grin spreading across his face as he revels in making Yuuri even more flustered. “What I meant was that I know this isn’t what you really want.”
Yuuri stiffens. “How?”
“It’s my job to make your life better, Yuuri. You’ve earned it after all you’ve been through.” Victor closes the rest of the distance between them, clinging to Yuuri like a touch-starved octopus. “I can sense when a wish fulfills you, or is on the right path to fulfilling you, and this did nothing for you.”
Well, it didn’t do nothing, it lead Victor to tease him and to cling to him, and Yuuri would happily spend the rest of his life in the warmth of Victor’s arms. He’s as heavy as an average human despite how he can float, but he’s not totally human. His ears ate a little pointed, and he doesn’t smell quite right—no human musk, but instead more like… spicy, vanilla lilacs. Yuuri’s never smelled anything more heavenly. And…
And he never will again once Victor leaves.
Yuuri whimpers, and Victor pulls back a little.
“Yuuri, what is it?”
“I-I can’t say what I want.” Yuuri presses his face into Victor’s chest, the wet fabric itchy and scratchy and awful, but not nearly enough to make Yuuri pull away. Nothing’s enough to make Yuuri pull away. He’s going to cling to Victor for the rest of his life.
Even though he knows magic doesn’t work like that and would never let him. Once Victor’s not his, he’ll never see a genie again.
“What? Why?” Victor’s voice squeaks, and he holds Yuuri tighter just like he knows Yuuri needs.
Yuuri wants to tell him, he wants to say it but he knows once he voices his wish, there’s no going back and Victor will be gone. They may only have two weeks left, but Yuuri’s not letting him go a second before he has to. And he can spend his two last wishes on ridiculous things like ball pits in the onsen, sure. But he’d rather use them with a better purpose in mind. If he can’t have what he wants, well…
“Victor?” Yuuri’s voice breaks, and he tightens his own grip on Victor, all the while wanting a way to get even closer to him. “What do you want? If you had a wish, what would you use it for?”
Victor’s quiet a moment, everything silent save for the trickling of water and the occasional tap of the plastic balls as they hit each other. “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could wish for my freedom, like that Disney movie you showed me?” Victor runs his fingers through Yuuri’s hair, brushing it away from his face. “I just want for you to be happy, Yuuri.”
Yuuri shakes his head, wincing at the scrape of the fabric on his cheeks. How does Victor deal with wearing this stuff? “I don’t want you to do your job, I want to know what you want, Victor.”
Victor sighs. “Yuuri, will you look at me?”
Can he stand it? Can he bear seeing that face again, knowing that he’ll have to say goodbye before he’s ready? Because he’ll never be ready. But… but he wants Victor to talk to him.
So, with a shaky breath, he looks up.
“Yuuri.” Victor smiles his most beautiful smile, one Yuuri’s only seen on his face in the last month or so. “What I want more than anything else, more than my wish to be a genie in the first place, is for you to be so happy that you never have to feel pain or doubt again. I know that’s impossible, but please, let me help in whatever way I can before I go.”
The tears finally spill over from Yuuri’s eyes, trailing down his face as a sob escapes his mouth. “I just want you to stay.”
It’s silent for another moment before Yuuri realizes what he said and clasps his hands over his mouth, looking up at Victor through wide eyes.
Almost anything can be a wish. It was one of the first things that Victor told Yuuri, and Yuuri’s been so careful with his words so he didn’t accidentally use up his wishes.
“Oh, Yuuri.” Victor leans in a little closer, and Yuuri can see the fence at the back of the Onsen through him. He’s fading.
“V-Victor, no, no I take it back! It’s okay, I’ll let you... I’ll let you g—“ He chokes, not able to get the words out. He’s going to lose the ability to see Victor, to touch Victor, to talk with him, and eat with him, and hold him, and—
“Yuuri, will you kiss me?” Victor’s so close now that Yuuri can feel the warmth of his breath on his cheek.
“I… Kiss you?” Yuuri blinks, tears still falling even as he goes numb. Of course Yuuri wants to, a part of him has wanted to be even closer to Victor for weeks now, but it was never fair. Not when Victor had no choice but to be here, and definitely not when Victor can only see and interact with him. It’s not like he has a lot of options, and Yuuri can’t just corner him. Yuuri’s always let Victor lead the way with their touches and their cuddling, but…
“Please, Yuuri, quickly.” Victor’s eyes are wide, his hands shaking where they grip Yuuri. “Please.”
Well. Yuuri’s never been one to ever resist Victor.
Yuuri pushes forward, angling his face and pressing his lips to Victor. A shiver runs down his spine as Victor’s warmth and breath mingles with his own, even as chaste as the kiss is. Goosebumps rise along Yuuri’s skin as he takes Victor’s bottom lip between his own, and—
And Victor’s gone.
A noise escapes Yuuri’s mouth like the keen of a dying animal, but Yuuri only wishes that he was dying. Victor’s gone, he’s left, and it’s all Yuuri’s fault. He’s stuck in the onsen with all of these plastic balls that he’s going to have to clean up alone.
“Why?” Yuuri manages to choke out, pressing his fists to his eyes. Why can’t he have good things? Why did he have to fail at skating, and then go and fail Victor, too? “Why?”
“Why what, Yuuuuri?”
Yuuri snaps upright, blinking away the tears, and… “Victor?”
Victor stands there in the middle of the onsen, still in that ridiculous outfit, but… his ears are rounded. And he doesn’t float in the water like he was before, he sinks like he has weight, like…
“I would have asked you to kiss me much sooner if I knew you wanted me so much.” Victor’s grin is so large and so heart-shaped that Yuuri can’t help to return it.
“Victor, I’ve always wanted you.” Yuuri wants Victor now, and forever, and even longer than that. He wants to talk to Victor, and he wants to hold Victor, and he wants to show him off to his family and friends.
And if he’s right, he can do that now.
They can have this.
Victor’s grin gains an edge. “Even when I cannonballed into the onsen when we first met?”
Yuuri laughs, tears falling down his face for a whole new reason. “Yes, even then. Especially then.”
“Especially?” The corners of Victor’s eyes crinkle and Yuuri can tell he’s fighting back a laugh.
Yuuri shrugs. “If I didn’t love you for being an over the top ridiculous excuse of a genie—of a human being—I wouldn’t love you like I do.”
“Yuuuuri!” Victor manages to launch himself forward even though there’s maybe two feet of space between them, and kisses him again, and then again, and then again until Yuuri’s drowning Victor, and the warmth of the onsen, and the uncomfortable caress of the dumb plastic balls.
Finally, Yuuri pulls back just enough to breathe.
“Wait,” he manages to huff out. “Wait, wait, wait. So… you’re staying?”
Victor nods, then frowns. “Though you didn’t use up your last two wishes.”
“I don’t care!” Yuuri laughs, a weight lifting off his shoulders. “I don’t care even the smallest bit. I’ve got what I want right here, and I get to keep it.”
“That almost sounds like a marriage proposal.” Victor leans forward, brushing a kiss to Yuuri’s forehead. “I never said it back before, so let me say it now: I love you Katsuki Yuuri, and I’m ready to spend the rest of forever with you.”
Yuuri tucks his head beneath Victor’s chin, holding him tight and never wanting to let go “Forever sounds good.” Though, considering Victor was never human… “What are we going to do about you? You weren’t born here, I don’t know if you even exist in the world anymore.”
Victor scoffs. “I see how little you think of me! You really think that I wouldn’t have everything in place for us?”
Yuuri has to squash down the pulse of cold dread that fills his stomach at the statement. God, what does Victor have in store for them? Maybe they should be done with talking about the future for now, since it’s something they have together for the rest of your lives.
His cheeks hurt from smiling, but Yuuri just can’t stop. Forever. “ You know, I thought kisses were supposed to break curses, not contracts.”
“Well, it’s more technical than that.” Victor’s voice sinks into its lecture tone, and Yuuri rolls his eyes and settles against him. “You see, true love’s kiss is actually a universal—”
Yuuri jolts, turning around in Victor’s embrace to find Mari standing at the edge of the onsen, eyes wide and jaw dropped as her eyes wander across the colorful plastic balls… and then fall onto Victor.
All heat leaves Yuuri’s body despite Victor and the onsen.
“What the hell happened here? And who’s that? Why is he wearing clothes in the onsen?” Mari’s voice keeps rising, going almost as high as her eyebrows.
Yuuri clutches Victor’s arms tighter to him, a small part of him happy and a little smug that he doesn’t have to pretend Victor’s not there anymore. He gives a tentative smile. “Um, well… It’s kind of a long story?”