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The week Otabek had gone to visit Yuri and his grandfather had gone by so quickly that it wasn’t even funny. It was incredible really, how much had changed in that time. The first and most notable difference was that after much deliberation and pleading with each of their coaches and publicists, Yuri had changed his Facebook status to “In a relationship with Otabek Altin.” And even better? Otabek’s said “In a relationship with Yuri Plisetsky.”

Initially some people thought it was a joke. After time went on however without a punch line, they realized that it was true. Some people were angry. Otabek has some comments on the status, and many ‘filtered messages’ that haunt him. Threats to his safety were bad enough, but threats to Yuri’s shook him to the core.

Oddly enough it wasn’t all homophobes. Some people just didn’t like the age difference (the whole 3 years of it, the horror) and a surprising amount were angry that he had ‘stolen’ Yuri off the market.

Yuri’s Angels were equal parts supportive and batshit crazy. It’s funny how even a group can be split.

That being said, not everyone was angry. A lot of people didn’t care at all. A lot of people were approving, and would comment things like “my husband/boyfriend is older than me and he’s wonderful,” or “they’re young, let them have their fun.” These were the comments that made Otabek feel like the world was still a logical, decent place.

The second notable difference after that fateful week was that Yuri, although now in full throttle to train for the next competition, was regularly going to a therapist about his trauma. Otabek of course, supported this wholeheartedly. He was still filled with anger at the perverse abuse Yuri’s birth father had submitted him to, and honestly wasn’t a big fan of his mother either. He knew she hadn’t been a great support system and Yuri had told him that she and her husband had neglected Yuri in addition to the sexual abuse.

Otabek had found out on a Skype call that they had gotten a slap on the wrist for negligence but that Otabek had been the first to know about Yuri being sexually abused. The thought of Yuri being alone all that time disturbed Otabek greatly. But, Yuri had his grandfather, and he had Otabek now too.

They had parted ways. Otabek in Almaty to train and Yuri back in St. Petersburg. The two of them texted and Skyped constantly, and while Yuri seemed as passionate as always about his training, Otabek kept wishing they were in the same city. He wondered if Yuri needed him, if he felt less supported without Otabek and his grandfather, and maybe scared because the people he was with didn’t know about his troubles.

Otabek realized suddenly with a sickening pit of dread, there’s no way Yuri was still going to therapy now that he’s moved back with Lilia. It’s too far.

Yuri doesn’t have anyone to talk to.

He decides to bring it up when they Skype tonight. He was tempted to text him, but Yuri was probably at practice right now and it wasn’t a completely safe topic.

Otabek hears his name being called, loudly. He’s taken a long enough break, he supposes. He tucks his concern away from now. He still wants that gold and practice waits.

 

 

Yuri listens to Victor coaching Yuuri, and fights the urge to smile. Victor manages to deliver the most intense criticisms with unbelievable fondness, and while he wants to claim that Katsudon getting scolded is what makes him happy, he also likes the way they talk to each other.

It’s clear in all of their exchanges, that they really love each other.

Still, he muses, it’s best not to show any happiness about it. He does have a reputation to uphold. Victor and Yuri were surprised when he became official with Otabek. He feels like they didn’t tease him as much as they could have. They had been very happy for them, which had been nice

Otabek was his boyfriend. His kind, talented, fucking handsome boyfriend.

Somebody pinch him, because he’s dreaming.

Yakov starts yelling in the distance, maybe even at him, but Yuri thumbs through his phone instead of going back.

He’s not sure he had been ready for it, when Otabek had left Moscow but he wished the other boy had kissed him goodbye. Is it weird that they are in a relationship (albeit a really new one) and they haven’t kissed yet?

Yeah, he decided, as Yakov continued to yell, it was weird.

Yuri had never kissed anyone. Usually when his dad… well did what he used to do, that would be it. He’d hurt him; make him promise not to tell anyone, there was never any kissing. That in itself was what helped him sleep at night. Yuri had felt for a long time that it was the last thing he had left to offer someone. He wasn’t sure if he was technically a virgin, so much had happened. But he wanted his first kiss to go to someone that really liked him. He wanted that at least to be special.

He felt like he wanted to do things with Otabek, but the shit he’s been through just got in the way. Even the mere thought of having sex freaked him out, even if that someone was his boyfriend. If you can't feel safe with Otabek you can't feel safe at all.

He wishes that he had been able to kiss Otabek, or hell even just cuddled him more, because he was a big enough mess that they didn’t cuddle that much. What did Otabek get out of this? They couldn’t do much that boyfriends did; they were basically just friends with a new label. Close friends, but still.

What if Otabek wanted sex? He could get pretty much anyone he wanted. He was friendly, where Yuri was not, he was kind, again where Yuri wasn’t, and he was seriously hot and talented. He deserved better than someone like him, who was illogically concerned about any type of physical closeness.

“Yuri! Get back to practice!!” Yakov yells again. Yuri knows he doesn’t have anything to fear from him, but he will come over here if Yuri continues to ignore him.

Yuri swallows. His anxiety has him feeling slightly dizzy. He doesn’t feel like attempting quads is a smart decision right now, but he has to win, he has to be good for something!

Yakov startles him when he comes to his side. He looks at Yuri up and down. “I think you should break for lunch.” He says. Yuri blinks. And blinks some more.

“It’s 10:45.” He points out lamely.

“Yes! And I think you need a break. Take your lunch now. Or just take a break. You look too stressed for me to work with you. Better to take break.”

“I need to talk to Lilia.” Yuri blurts. He needs to talk to someone, but talking to a man seems too intimidating/ Yakov looks slightly surprised, but hollers at his ex-wife to come over.

Yuri takes a gulp of his water bottle and feels like it catches in his throat. Anxiety always makes it tight.

“Yes?” Lilia says. “Can we talk in your office?” He asks, and Lilia gets the crease in her forehead that she always does when she’s worried.

“Certainly, this way.”

Yuri plans on keeping it simple. He wants to say something like he needs a therapist in St. Petersburg, and not say why.

They get in the office, and Yuri knows he must look really anxious, because he feels scared.

“Well?” Lilia says and it should sound impatient but she’s a business like type of person, and he doesn’t take it personally.

“I was… well.”

“I’ve been alive awhile, Yuri, not much surprises me.”

“I… I was seeing a therapist in Moscow. I want one here. And I’ll need someone to take me to the appointments.” Lilia looks surprised but not terribly.

“Yes, you’re grandfather mentioned you’d been having some issues. He didn’t tell me why. I think Tuesdays would work for me to take you. Do you go every week?"

“Yes.”

"Very well, do you have someone in mind?”

“Not yet. I have to look still.” He admitted.

“That’s fine. Find a therapist. I will take you on Tuesdays, but I’d prefer before 11 o’clock. That’s when I help Mila. Anything else?”

“No. That’s it.” Yuri feels like the weight is lifted. “Thanks Lilia.”

“Of course” She opens the door of the office then pauses. “Does this have anything to do with Otabek Altin?”

“No! He’s been uh, really supportive.” He curses that he can feel his cheeks heating up.

“Good. If he had upset you somehow I’d have to find a way to ruin his career.”

“That’s awful!” Lilia, to his everlasting surprise smirks. “I’m quite fond of you. I always wish nothing but the best for you. If Mr. Altin is a supportive boyfriend, I’ll be supportive of you both.”

“Aw, you have a heart after all.” Yuri teases, but she just rolls her eyes. They walk back to the rink and practice resumes. Yuri lands a quad and tries not to focus on his thoughts.

It’s going to suck to break in a new therapist.

Chapter Text

Yuri goes home that evening with the usual combination of soreness in his legs and the feeling that he’s making progress with his skating. He landed almost all his jumps today. Considering how fried his nerves were, he’s actually pretty proud of himself. The growth spurts haven’t made it easy.

He’s starting to get taller as he heads ever so steadily to 18. He can’t believe that it’s been 3 years since he competed in his first Grand Prix Final. It’s been years of working himself to the bone, winning several more competitions. Victor and Yuuri had been together a good while now, and they were going to get married after this season. And most important of all, Yuri and Otabek had been really good close friends about that long too. He had read that relationships did better when the people knew each other well first. He really hoped that was true.

The connection had almost happened all at once. The only thing Yuri can compare it to is when he first adopted Potya and she trusted him immediately even though she had a history of people neglecting her.

It was probably weird to compare himself to a cat but it was something animals and people both did: this thing where they can tell who’s good and who’s bad just by reading their energy.

Otabek just put him at ease. He was solid, fairly predictable, and hard to anger, even though Yuri sometimes tended to pick fights. It’s easier to pick a fight than admit that he was scared or jealous or whatever. His therapist in Moscow had told him that. Yuri suspected that his temper came from a place of vulnerability and not from actual anger.

Thinking about it just pissed him off, but he realized that he needed to be the best version of himself if he wanted this thing with Otabek to work. Expecting his boyfriend to solve his problems for him would doom them to failure.

He had mentioned that to Grandpa over the phone and he had pointed out that Yuri should want to resolve his problems for himself first and foremost. The goal wasn’t to keep Otabek, the goal was to be happy in his own skin.

Yuri had needed to mull that over. He feels like it’s a pattern of his. Like with skating for example. Does he want to win so he can say he’s won? Yes, abso-fucking-lutely. But he still wants to impress with every jump. It’s more about proving himself to others than actually winning for himself. If it wasn’t his pride and joy he’d say it was a little unhealthy.

He really can’t believe he’s almost 18. He can’t believe he’s dating his best friend. It feels like life is changing, even though he suspects it’ll all remain the same in a lot of ways.

But, he reminded himself. That was a topic for later. He has a Skype date with Otabek tonight and he has every intention of showering beforehand. He never smelled or looked good right after practice.

Not that Otabek would be able to smell him of course.

He showers, and Lilia cooks dinner. As always it’s healthy. Lean protein, lots of veggies. He thinks fondly of katsudon and piroshki and sushi and eats the meal that an athlete such as himself should be eating.

After dinner he calls Otabek. They had set the Skype dates for after dinner so that they can unwind together, and possibly fall asleep together.

Otabek looks sleepy but it’s obvious he showered too because his hair is damp. There’s also some moisture on his collarbone, which does something to Yuri that he doesn’t want to talk about. The tight black tank doesn’t hurt either.

Such a fine specimen.

Otabek laughs and Yuri feels his cheeks and ears burning as he realizes he had said that out loud.

“So how’s Georgi’s new fling?”

“He’s totally being weird about it. She won’t respond to his multiple texts at work so he panics and sends even more. Tags her in everything, won’t let her breathe. I give it a week. Also I love how you do that.” Yuri admits, and Otabek smiles softly. From what Yuri can see he’s laying in bed with a pillow underneath. He looks so young, so handsome.

“Poor guy. He’s not a bad guy, but he lacks social skills. And what do I do?”

“You ask me specific things. You don’t just ask if practice was good or like how’s life, you actually remember things and make an effort to actually talk to me. It’s really cool of you.” Yuri says. Otabek looks pleased and a little surprised.

“Thank, you Yura. That’s very nice of you.”

“Well, yeah of course.”

“Yuri…did you find a new therapist in St. Petersburg? I know that’s not my business…”

“No, I did actually. I looked online and found some Amanda lady, she’s a social worker and a therapist and she’s taking new patients. Lilia’s going to drive me on Tuesday. And it’s your business. We do talk about it a lot.”

“Yeah we do.” Otabek laughs then he quickly says “not that that is bad. I’m glad you’re seeing someone.”

“Ha, I thought I was seeing you.” Yuri jokes and Otabek beams at him.

“Yeah that’s the best thing that has happened to me. I really do love you, Yuri.”

Yuri grins. It still takes his breath away that this beautiful person cares about him.

“I love you too, Otabek. You mean everything to me.”

“I can’t wait until I can see you in person again. I miss hanging out with you.”

“Just hanging out?” Yuri baits, and Otabek sighs.

“I’d love to hold you and make out with you too, but that ball’s in your court.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. I’m not going to push. I’m happy with how things are. When it happens it happens. Okay? Don’t worry. We have lots of time.”

Yuri feels a tremendous guilt but Otabek is looking at him so fondly that he can feel in burning into him even though they aren’t face to face, and that has to mean something.

“Yeah. We have lots of time. I do want to. Kiss you I mean.”

They don’t talk for much longer after that, saying their goodbyes and curling up into their respective beds.

Yuri lays back, Potya tucked into his side and his hair falling against his pillow and imagines that Otabek is here with him. He’d curl his body around Yuri and even though it was summer the heat would feel good. He’d tell him goodnight, and kiss him. Nothing too slobbery, but a firm warm touch, whatever that felt like.

For one of the first times, Yuri wanted.

 

The next week passes in a blur. Before he knows it the day of his appointment dawns bright and early. He is very nervous even though he’s gone through this before in Moscow.

After dragging himself out of bed he goes to practice. His appointment is at 10 so he can still squeeze in some hours.

He must think too hard that things will be fine because disaster strikes half an hour before he’s supposed to leave.

Georgi falls. He falls badly enough that Lilia and Yakov are talking about X-rays.

Lilia has one of his arms looped around her neck and Yakov yells directions. Yuri feels bad because even though his rinkmate is struggling he is panicking about his appointment. He does feel bad for Georgi but now who will take him? He really should learn to drive.

“Yuri. Mila. Please come here.” Lilia calls once they have gotten Georgi in the car.

“Yes?” Mila prompts.

“Yuri has an appointment I was supposed to take him too. Mila if you are willing, I can get you directions, it’s important.”

“Okay! Is this for his costume fitting?”

Lilia looks at Yuri for permission. He nods. Mila can know.

“No this is counseling. It’s a bit private. Can you take him?” Lilia says and without missing a beat Mila nods.

“Yes! We’ll leave now.”

Yuri follows her out to her beat up car. It’s covered in bumper stickers and it’s endearing in it’s own way.

“Here, lemme just get the garbage out really quick.”

Yuri watches Mila shuffle clothing and plastic water bottles until he has a place in her old Hyundai to sit and then it hits him.

This is someone he can tell. Mila will be just as supportive as Grandpa or Otabek.

“Alright! Let’s hit the road!”

Yuri's going to tell her.

Chapter Text

The ride to the office is surprisingly comfortable. Mila is in cheerful spirits, and they arrive perfectly on time. She promises to kill some time and return to pick him up.

 

Yuri feels surprisingly nervous. He had really struggled describing some of his feelings to his other therapist; the one Grandpa had taken him to in Moscow. It had taken some time to open up and he was reluctant to do it again.

 

He sits in the waiting room and tries to control his breathing. He reminds himself that this woman is licensed and that she went through a lot of schooling to be here for him to talk too. Halfway through his introductory paperwork, Yakov texts him and the rink in a mass text that Georgi sprained his ankle badly but should be just fine. It’s a total relief but it leaves him with the anxiety of a new therapist to concentrate on.

 

He just isn’t sure what to expect.

 

A blond woman with a loud printed shirt and a multitude of bangles comes into the room. Is this Amanda?

 

“Yuri! Hi! Come on back! I’m Amanda, nice to meet you!”

 

Well that certainly answers his question.

 

“Hi. Nice to meet you.” He follows her into her office. She has a wall of books, a modern desk and a patterned couch. She also has a small bookshelf laden with legos and playdoh. He can see this loud, friendly woman working well with children. But will she work well with him?

 

“So, Yuri, tell me how you’ve been.”

 

“I’m… really nervous. I had a therapist in Moscow. I had this built up trust… I’m not trying to be rude.” He feels very lame, but Amanda seems relaxed.

 

“So what brings you to St. Petersburg? Did you move?”

 

“No, I travel a lot. Mostly between Moscow and here, but I travel for competitions. I’m a figure skater.”

 

“I though your name sounded familiar. That’s so awesome! Do you get to see your family often? Also do you mind if I eat breakfast?” She has already pulled up a container of yogurt and granola. It’s a bit strange.

 

“ No, I don’t care. And I get to see my grandfather. He has legal custody of me.”

 

“What about your parents?” Amanda asks while mixing the granola and yogurt.

 

Yuri sighs. This is the moment of truth.

 

“They’re kinda shitty. My mom was always kind of forgetful. She’d send me to school without a lunch or forget to pick me up from practice. And my dad was inappropriate with me.”

 

Amanda nods, takes a bite and then swallows.

 

“I’m sorry, Yuri. That really sucks.”

 

“Yeah, and now I have a boyfriend and I won’t even let him touch me. Well, we are long distance anyways. I’m his first boyfriend and I feel like I’m not being fair to him.”

 

“Have you met him in person, not just online? Like he’s a real person?”

 

“Yeah of course. We’re rivals, we compete against each other.” As soon as Yuri says this he realizes it all sounds crazy.

 

“But you get to see him? And talk to him?” Amanda says while eating.

 

“Yeah we talk everyday. I just feel bad that I can’t give him what he wants.”

 

“And how do you know that sex is what he wants? Some people focus their relationships on companionship. And if you’re his first boyfriend he may just want something less sexual. Or he wants sex but he’s nervous. Don’t assume and don’t feel guilty. The responsibility of making the relationship work isn’t solely yours.” Here Amanda uses her spoon to accentuate her hand gestures. “Don’t torture yourself, okay?”

 

Yuri hadn’t thought of it that way. The session continues and subsequently concludes and he decides that he really likes Amanda.

 

Mila is waiting for him when he gets out. He feels like the session had been really good.

 

After seating themselves, Mila enters the freeway and she looks like she wants to say something but is stopping herself.

 

“You want to ask why I’m seeing a therapist.” He teases, half joking half serious and Mila nods.

 

“You can feel free to tell me to shove it, or that its none of my business, you don’t have to tell me.”

 

Maybe its because his new therapist had put his at ease, but his reply comes easily.

 

“I was molested by my dad. And my mom knew and did nothing.”

 

Mila pauses, hot pink nails steady on the wheel. He feels like she would have ducked her head down in embarrassment if she wasn’t driving.

 

“I shouldn’t have blurted it out.” Yuri offers but she shakes her head.

 

“No! It’s fine I want to be here for you. I just don’t know how to respond. Give me a minute, okay?” Mila’s tone is kind and it puts him at ease.

 

The pause doesn’t feel as uncomfortable as it could, but it’s still there.

 

“I’m not sure what to say. I don’t want to one up you, but that’s how I relate to people? After Georgi fell today I kept thinking of the time I fell badly in Juniors and I wanted to tell him about my experience so he felt better. It’s just not always appropriate because people don’t always want to be related too, they would rather vent. I guess I’m asking how you want me to do this?”

 

“I like being related to. I’m just kinda sickened by the fact that you may have had a similar experience.” Yuri admits.

 

Mila sighs and begins. “Well you know I’m bi. When I was 16 I dated this girl you remember her. Said she cared about me…”

 

“And you got tested as soon as she dumped you because you realized she was really getting around with everyone behind your back.” Yuri supplies. He figures if he remembers he’ll spare Mila the pain of repeating some details.

 

“Yeah she really did.” Mila takes the next exit, which is too soon and Yuri exclaims, but Mila just apologizes.

 

“I need to park to tell this story, I’ll just get upset.”

 

“Okay.” He says and they park at the first parking lot that they find.

 

“So, yeah she got around. And I’m not saying I loved her, but I was more into her than she was me. And she was like… always getting me to agree to things.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Like I would say a toy was too big and she’d talk me into it. She wanted to have guys on the side. She wanted to have threesomes. She wanted to tie me up. She even told me once we could be loud because nobody was home but that wasn’t true. When we had a threesome she lied about his age, he was a lot older. She’d propose all these acts I wasn’t wanting, or wasn’t sure about. And I would say maybe, and she’d take the maybe as a yes until she convinced me that I was just mistaken about what I wanted. She made me feel like I was so vanilla when really I was just not wanting what she did.” Mila sniffles and Yuri reaches in the back blindly for the box of tissue she sometimes kept in her car. He’s not used to seeing Mila cry.

 

“And you know? I did know what I wanted. I knew what my core values were about relationships. I know what I enjoy in a sexual relationship. She just wanted me to do whatever she wanted even if it wasn’t what I wanted and she’d just tell me I was boring, or whatever if I didn’t agree to whatever kinky thing she came up with. I felt like if I wanted to be with her I had no choice”

 

“I guess I’m just telling you this so you know that you aren’t alone. I know what I went through isn’t nearly the same as being molested, it’s not as big a deal, but I think I know how you feel. I know how awful it feels for no to mean nothing and for someone to make you do things.”

 

He feels angry. How is Mila’s situation not as bad?

 

“If some bitch talked you into acts you didn’t fully agree to, that’s just as bad. I spent the first week of therapy back home telling her over and over that at least I didn’t get held down in an alley way or something. I never gave it enough… I don’t know, credit for what it was. I think saying it wasn’t as bad as it could be just devalues the experience. What that girl did was wrong. It matters even if your experience was different from mine because she manipulated you and stomped all over your boundaries.”

 

“You think so?”

 

“Yeah. I do.” He reaches for Mila’s hand and twines their fingers together.

 

“Yuri, I love you. I am so glad you are talking to someone about this shit. If I ever see him at one of your competitions I’ll break his jaw!”

 

“Love you too Baba. Please don’t.”

 

Mila relinquishes his hand with a snort.

 

“We’ll see. Also… do you mind me asking what he did?”

 

“I… well...”

“Fuck. Yuri I'm sorry.”

 

“No it’s okay, but I don’t think I’m ready to talk about it in depth. The thing that bothers me is that I didn’t realize the full extent of it until I was older, like I was too young to understand. He almost made it a game. There were times as I was a little older where I wanted to tell my mom and he’d always say something bad would happen to her if I did.”

 

“What did you do?” Mila asks as they get back on the freeway,

 

“Mostly… I went along with it. I felt like it was the only option.”

 

“Yeah.” Mila said softly. “That sounds about right.”

 

“I just don’t want Otabek to get frustrated and ditch me.” He says tiredly. He expects Mila to be sad or sympathetic but she just swats him with the hand that isn’t on the wheel.

 

“Please Yuri, that boy is gone over you. Do you ever hear those stories about people who go into comas or get into horrible accidents and their partners stay with them and take care of them? I always felt like that was the pinnacle of human love. And I feel like Otabek would do that for you.”

 

“You’re so fucking weird. I don’t plan on suffering a horrible injury any time soon.” Yuri says as he swats back. He’s pretty sure it’s not a great game to play while she’s driving, but oh well.

 

“You see what I mean though?” Mila continues, “He’s crazy about you. Maybe you can’t see it because you feel too guilty, or whatever, but I’m telling you, his feelings are very real. Don’t worry so much about burdening him that you don’t let him know how much you appreciate him being there for you.”

 

That in itself was an interesting point.

 

“If you love him, tell him. If he looks hot say so. People all need validation, even if they haven’t been hurt. And don’t be afraid to lean on him if you need to. He will let you.”

 

“I feel like I can count on you too Baba.” He says quietly. Mila giggles.

 

“Yup! You’re stuck with me!”

 

Yuri feels a light bulb in his head go off.

 

“How do you think I can show him I love him if were miles apart and I don’t like being touched?’

 

“Ha! I’m so glad you asked!”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Practice resumes and while Yuri feels a sense of camaraderie with Mila now that they've talked, he feels anxious nonetheless. He shouldn’t… not with this big of a support system, but its hard.

He really misses Otabek. There’s always competitions where he can see him, but Otabek had hinted that he wanted to come down for Yuri’s birthday. He was very excited to see his boyfriend, but he felt nervous about some things between them in general.

 

He was scared, really scared, that he leans on Otabek too much. He didn’t want the relationship to be one-sided; he didn’t want to put his burdens on him. Sometimes he just really needed Otabek. He needed him to reassure him, and text him frequently. Sometimes if Otabek was at practice or asleep and didn’t respond right away, Yuri worried. He thought constantly that he wasn’t exactly a great catch. He felt like he wasn’t as emotionally available as some other people. He was pretty sure he knew why. He worried constantly that if he didn’t up his game Otabek would ditch him. Maybe Otabek wanted someone he could see everyday, someone who wasn’t riddled with insecurities or scared to be touched.

           

He wasn’t even sure if he liked how he looked anymore. His new taller body felt too lanky and his skin wasn’t always happy with him, especially with how sweaty he got at practice. It wasn’t nearly as bad as Victor claimed his skin was when he was Yuri’s age, but it still made him feel lacking.

 

He wants to talk to his boyfriend about it, but he's not sure how to broach the subject without sounding insecure and needy.

           

Maybe he should break up with Otabek and put him out of his misery

 

Immediately the thought startles him out of his funk. He goes on weird trains of thought sometimes when he’s left to his own devices, but dumping Otabek was not an option. He wishes he could have a regular teenage relationship, free of this extra bullshit, but he does think that to a certain extent that no relationships are easy.

He wishes Otabek were here in person. He misses seeing him in real life, and he misses holding hands. The few times they had cuddled had been great too. It just wasn’t the same as talking online or on the phone.

 

Mila had talked to him about it, pointed out that he didn’t need to see Otabek in person or be all over him physically when they were in the same place to show Otabek that he loved him. She hadn’t had a lot of ideas that worked with long distance, but her main overall point was to just say what he was feeling. He wasn’t the most articulate or well-spoken person, but his adorable boyfriend was and it made him want to try.

Otabek didn't say anything he didn't mean. Simple things like “I love you” or “I miss you” or even “you look beautiful,” meant more coming from Otabek because Yuri knew that words wouldn’t be spoken if they were empty. Yuri wanted Otabek to find meaning in his words too.

 

“Alright again! From the top!” Lilia calls. She always watches him like a hawk, but it’s even more pronounced today. He wonders if maybe it’s because she too is curious as to why he left today for a counseling appointment.

 

After practice, he goes back to the house with Lilia. Victor and Yuuri were actually bringing dinner over tonight. They promised katsudon and when they had told Lilia and Yakov you’d think they’d offered to feed him rat poison instead of just a fatty meal.

 

It was going to be delicious. Lilia didn’t starve him, but the diet was strict compared to what he’d feed himself if he were allowed to decide for himself.

 

The lovebirds arrive a little after 6. Yuuri comes first carrying the food, Victor close behind, the scent of pork and rice wafting from the steaming casserole dish they have brought from their car. Victor chatters at Yuri, almost too fast to understand, and even though he has a bottle of wine in each hand hugs him tightly. It’s uncomfortable, not because it’s a hug from Victor but because the bottles bump into him. And yeah, maybe a little from that first thing too.

 

“Yuri! I can’t believe you’re almost 18! We will have to get you something.” Victor says. Yuri starts to say he doesn’t need anything, but thinks of how expensive the older man’s tastes are and manages to stop himself.

 

Yuuri plops the dish down, and Victor turns to talk to Lilia. Yuuri opens both bottles of wine, which would seem wasteful if you hadn’t seen this group drink and didn’t know what they are capable of.

 

“You want anything special?” Yuuri prompts. “For your birthday?”

 

“You guys really don’t have to. I don’t need more crap.”

 

“Ah, but I didn’t ask if we had to I asked what you wanted.” Yuuri teases.

 

 “I’ll let you know.” Yuri says lamely and before they can say anything else they are seated and start tucking in. He notices immediately that Lilia takes a good amount even though she worries about her caloric intake. It just smells that good.

 

“So, how was your outing with Mila?” Victor asks and suddenly the room feels cold and the bite of warm, katsudon in his mouth feels awkward and too slippery. Of fucking course. Of course Victor would notice.

 

“Yuri had an appointment. Mila had to take him because I had to look after Georgi. He’s doing well at least.” Lilia says to Victor, and Yuri is grateful that she knows enough to protect him from embarrassment, even if Victor is clueless and doesn't mean any harm.

          

  “Oh? Is everything okay? You don’t have any injuries do you?” Victor says, plowing on, because yes, he’s clueless.

 

“Yuri’s probably fine. I don’t think he wants to talk about it,” Yuuri says quietly.

 

“Oh! Sorry Yuri” Victor says brightly.

 

Maybe it’s because telling Mila about it went so well, but he finds himself saying, “I’m going to a therapist. I’m just working through some stuff.”

 

Victor looks oddly happy at this news.

 

“I’m glad! I’m actually see one too. My parents weren’t very approving of me when I came out. It helps to have someone to talk to.”

 

Yuri must looks surprised, because Yuuri laughs. “You know, Victor thinks I should get one for my anxiety. Who do you go to? Maybe I can steal her.”

 

And Yuri, because he’s full of food and surrounded by good company, feels comfortable enough to say the first thing that comes to mind.

 

“I can give you her card, but she specializes in sexual abuse and trauma, so I’m not sure how much she’d be able to help with anxiety, specifically.”

 

The room quiets. Everyone is dead silent. You could hear a pin drop. Maybe these people can’t actually handle it. He feels terrible, revealing his secret so bluntly, they probably hated him for dropping a bomb like that.

 

The doorbell rings. Glad for the distraction, he rushes to the door, and looks through the peephole. He can’t believe who he sees.

 

“Hey! Sorry to surprise you like this, but Lilia and Yakov said I could for your birthday.”

 

Otabek.

 

Otabek was here.

 

That was fantastic; he could watch how stupid Yuri was being.

 

“I…. Hi.” He answers lamely.

 

“Are you okay?” Otabek says, and suddenly it sinks in that he's actually here. Yuri flies at him, wrapping his arms around him and latching on like some sort of frantic, clingy octopus.

 

“Oh my fucking God. I am so glad you’re here. I accidentally told everyone at the table why I’m going to therapy, it just came up, I didn’t even think” He rambles into Otabek’s neck, and his boyfriend laughs.

 

“And? What did they say?”

 

“Nothing. I kinda panicked, and then the doorbell rang…”

 

“Gotcha. Alright, come with me.” Otabek says, but Yuri just latches on harder.

 

“Please don’t make me go back in there.” He begs and Otabek starts rubbing his back, which would be lovely if he wasn't terrified.

 

“Then I’ll go in there. I’ll say hi, and I’ll thank Lilia for letting me stay here and I’ll say whatever you want me to say.” Otabek says calmly.

 

“Lilia’s letting you stay here??” Yuri exclaims.

 

“Yeah I called her a week ago and arranged this. Maybe it was a bad idea to surprise you.” Yuri is about to say no, he's glad Otabek is here when they are interrupted. 

 
”Yuri! Otabek come in, don’t be shy!” Victor calls from the dining room.

 

Yuri gulps. Otabek presses a kiss to his forehead, and pulls away.

 

“These are your friends. We’ll go talk to them. Together. I’ll help as much as I can” Otabek holds out his hand. Yuri stares at it, then looks at Otabek’s face. He looks calm and determined. 

 

“Okay. Together.” He takes his hand and they walk to what Yuri can only presume is his doom.

 

Chapter Text

Yuri’s not sure what he’ll find; going back into Lilia’s dining room after spilling his guts, but this isn’t it. Yuuri, emotional being that he is, looks calm and cool, and his fiancé Victor looks strange. Victor may have just called ever so happily for him and Otabek to join them, but he looks troubled. Maybe not troubled. He looks guilty, which is ridiculous, because Victor is no more responsible for Yuri getting hurt than he is for Lilia and Yakov splitting up.

           

Speaking of Yakov, he looks calm like Yuuri, but Lilia looks angry. He’s seen her frustrated and it mostly is reflected through her tone of voice, but she is, although silent, shaking in quiet fury.

           

Yuri surveys the room, which is full of unexpected reactions and feels Otabek guide him back to his seat, one warm, steadying hand on the small of his back. Otabek pulls the extra chair to sit next to Yuri and sits close enough that he can put his hand on Yuri’s knee. It’s this grounding effect that makes Yuri brave enough to speak.

           

“I’m sorry for blurting out something like that. I know my grandfather took the news pretty hard so I feel bad that I didn’t ease into it. You guys are the people I am closest to, besides Grandpa, Otabek and Mila, who already know.”

           

“What is it that they know? You didn’t fully say.” Victor said gently.

           

“My dad molested me. My mother, I think was aware of this, but the bitch didn’t do shit about it. I got taken from them eventually and then Grandpa adopted me. That’s about it.” Yuri finishes lamely.

 

Victor and Yakov exchange a strange and emotionally charged look.

 

“We have to tell him.” Victor says softly and Yakov nods.

 

They pause, like they are silently gathering the will to speak.

           

“Do you know why the authorities investigated your parents? Why they decided to take you away?” Yakov asks gruffly.

           

“I never found out. I figured they just figured it out.” Yuri says. Suddenly it sounds strange that he’s thought this all along. Why did they come to investigate? He thought he was hiding it well enough.

           

Victor sighs and begins to speak. “You came to train when you were pretty young. Your parents didn’t have tons of money to pay Yakov, but you were good and I’m sure they saw the potential to make money off of you. Maybe even a part of them wanted you to be happy. That’s what I prefer to think. But when you came, it never really seemed right. You certainly didn’t give any indication of being… abused, but you didn’t have a lunch most days, and when you did it always looked like you had packed it yourself.”

           

“Usually just a sleeve of crackers or a candy bar. Nothing proper for a boy to eat, like you had grabbed it yourself without anyone checking” Yakov added.

 

“You were so angry too,” Victor said,” Nobody ever saw you happy. It just felt wrong. They forgot to pick you up frequently. Your grandfather was always happy to come and get you. One time your parents phones both went straight to voicemail and Nicolai was at an appointment, so Yakov and I took you home. And you said something about how you didn’t want to go home. You said your parents made you feel unhappy. You were young, but we took you seriously. We called and made a report. Asked the people that could to come and look into it.” Victor confesses, his eyes literally brimming with tears. Yuri has no time to be shocked, because Lilia starts talking.

 

            “You were out of their house less than 2 weeks after that. Victor and Yakov always felt that maybe they didn’t do the right thing. It’s a terrible thing, to separate mother and child.” Lilia looks angry, but not at him. “At first all we all wanted to hear is that we were right about your parents. But now that it’s confirmed it’s the most terrible feeling.” Lilia actually takes Yuri’s hand, and he looks at her. Behind the anger there is pain. He’s intimately familiar with that.

 

“I’m sorry that this has all happened to you.” She said evenly.

 

Fuck, now Yuri’s going to cry.

 

“We are all sorry.” Yuuri pipes in at last. “It’s not your fault. It’s admirable that you are seeking help. We are all here for you.” Everyone around the table nods and agrees.

 

“Thanks. Thank you guys.” Yuri mumbles and he’s never meant anything more in his life.

 

Suddenly it’s all completely overwhelming.

 

“Excuse me.” He gets up and retreats to his room. He hears Otabek pause and then follow him. Once in the room his boyfriend looks a little awkward. He keeps his distance at the doorway.

 

“Do you want to be alone, Yuri?”


Yuri reaches and closes the distance. He presses himself close until he can feel Otabek’s heart beating, the warmth of his body, the heat of his breath. Otabek holds him tight and close and Yuri kisses his cheeks and his forehead, and then his mouth, because he can, and he wants to. Otabek kisses back, like he’s wanted to for a decade, which isn’t too far from the truth, and Yuri finds himself very surprised by how much he likes kissing. It feels like breathing, only better.

 

“I’m proud of you,” Otabek says and Yuri feels the words in every part of himself, knowing them to be true.

“I love you more.” He says, because that’s what he hears when Otabek says he’s proud of him.

 

“That’s not possible.” Otabek says, smiling and Yuri laughs.

 

“I just… I need to move forward. I can’t stay in one place the rest of my life. I want to move on from all this shit. Preferably with you”

 

“I’m not going anywhere that you’re not going.”

 

“Promise?”

 

“Promise.”

 

The moment was so perfect, like a piece of him had clicked back into piece. Otabek’s mouth is perfect on his. He barely notices his phone ringing until it’s rung twice.

 

“Hold on. Might be important.” He sounds breathy, like a boy in love as he picks up his phone.

 

“Hello?”

           

“You have a lot of fucking nerve. After all we did for you, this is what you’re telling people?! Do you have any idea how much shame you’ve brought to us?”

 

Hanging up, setting down his cell like it’s burning him, he knows he looks stunned because Otabek asks right away what happened.

 

“It’s nothing. That was just my mom.” Yuri says but the floor is unsteady. His heart is pounding. She knows his number. She hasn’t had his number in years.

 

“Fuck.”

 

What the hell was he supposed to do now?

Chapter Text

Yuri has long associated stress with stomachaches. In the days before he was sent to live with Grandpa, where he wasn’t sure of anything, he remembers constantly feeling sick.

 

“Am I going to be okay?”        

 

“Is mom going to be mad tonight?”

 

“Is dad going to hurt me tonight?”

 

As a child with these thoughts swirling about, he had constant bellyaches, tummy troubles; sometimes he’d even throw up.

 

It’s amazing how it all comes back, now that she’s made contact again. He’s grateful that the bathroom is so close to his room.

 

Katsudon doesn’t taste great coming up. Then again, what does?

 

Otabek is holding his hair, and Yuri knows that Otabek is squeamish, so it means something. Yuuri is at the door, frantically apologizing, seemingly convinced that his home cooked meal has made Yuri sick. Then Otabek is telling Yuuri about the phone call, and he sounds so close to being sick himself, that someone firmly elbows him aside, and takes his place.

            “Your boyfriend has a sympathetic gag reflex,” says Lilia as she stoops by him. She waits until he is finished, and then helps him sit up. Victor appears with a bottle of water, and Yakov stands behind him, surveying the scene.

 

It ought to be embarrassing to have everyone watching him, but instead it’s just nice to have people as worried as he feels.

 

“I waited so long to hear from her, but when I do she’s just angry.” He curses that he can feel himself panicking. He feels like a scared little kid, just from a handful of words from a woman he barely talks to.

 

He thinks of all he wanted from his mother. To be safe, to be nurtured, maybe just to have his basic needs met, but none of that ever happened. She was never maternal, always on standby with a sharp tongue, and never available, not emotionally, not physically. If she wasn’t saying something he didn’t deserve to hear, she wasn’t there.

 

Lilia huffs, and sits down, even going as far as putting an arm around him while he tries to compose himself. If it weren’t so sad it would be funny. Here was Lilia, someone who routinely yelled at him, someone who pushed him far, and she was warmer than the woman who carried him to term. Who gave birth to him. To be fair, Lilia only pushed him to be better and more successful, where his mother pushed him to his breaking point.

 

Lilia is not his mother, but she’s what a mother should be. Not that he would ever tell her that.

 

“Listen carefully, Yuri. She doesn’t deserve you. Be done with her. She’s not good enough to be in your life.”

 

Yuri nods into Lilia’s hold. He knows that his parents need to be out of his life. He knows, at least on a basic level. Usually he tries not to dwell on it, but she’s right. It’s probably time to pull the plug.

 

Lilia releases him, hoists him to his feet. Everyone looks sympathetic, warm in a way that he needs right now.

 

The phone rings again. Yuri grabs it but does not answer. It buzzes in his hand, each vibration filling him with not just dread, but terror.

 

“Do you recognize this number?” Yakov says urgently.

 

“Yeah, I think that’s it.” He goes to hang up, but Yakov holds his hand out. Surprised, he hands the phone to Yakov, and is stunned when he accepts the call.

 

“You are not to call this number again! You will not contact him! There will be action taken against you if you harass Yuri! Yes, I know you’re his mother. The only time you do anything with that information is when it benefits you!”

 

Yuri looks around and catches Otabek’s eyes, and he laughs because his boyfriend looks gleeful.

 

Yakov hangs up and starts looking at the phone.

 

“How do you block a number?”

 

They laugh because it’s such a typical thing: an older person who is confused with technology.

 

Victor takes the phone and teaches everyone who doesn’t know how, to block the number. He then addresses Yuri.

 

“If anyone else calls, including your father, just hang up and block them. Don’t rise to any bait.”

 

“Might be good to file a restraining order too, just in case.” Yuuri suggests.

 

“Will that really be necessary?” Yuri mumbles, “I don’t think they would come hurt me.”

 

“Yuri. They already have.” Victor says quietly, which is a pretty valid point now that Yuri’s thinking about it.

 

“Brush your teeth. Put on some pajamas. Relax. This will pass.” Lilia says. She always did perform best when she was giving out orders. Yuri does as told. Victor and Yuuri linger on awhile until Victor is sober enough to drive, or at least that’s what they tell everyone. Yuri saw them drink very little, and they can both drive. He knows they are just staying to make sure he is alright.

 

Eventually they leave, after promising to take Yuri shopping for a present soon.

Otabek starts to unlace his boots, and goes off to shower.

 

Lilia knocks on his door.

 

“I just wanted to let you know that while Otabek is staying here I expect you not to behave too inappropriately.”

“Don’t worry. I doubt we’ll do anything at all.” He reassures but Lilia frowns.

 

“Don’t be silly Yuri. You are at that age. As long as I don’t hear or see anything it’s not my business. And no hickies in visible spots! I mean it.”

 

Yuri must be looking at her like she’s crazy because all she does is snort.

 

“Please, I was young once. Good night.”

 

“Night.”

 

What a world. Where Lilia not only hugged him, but also told him he could hook up in her house as long as she wasn’t aware of it.

 

What a day.

 

Otabek emerges after his shower, smelling better than he had any right to, and Yuri opens his arms immediately. Otabek cuddles close, letting Yuri pet at his damp hair.

 

“You really were about to throw up because I was throwing up, weren’t you?” Yuri teases, and Otabek groans.

 

“Like Lilia said, my gag reflex is sympathetic.”

 

“Oh so you have a bad gag reflex. That’s unfortunate.”

 

“I mean… who knows. I have no way of knowing but I think THAT would be different.”

 

“True.” Yuri says, “Wait you’ve never…”

 

“Blown someone? Of course not.” Otabek scoffs.

 

“But you’re older!” Yuri exclaims.

 

“So? I would rather wait for someone special. We’re both virgins. We can wait until we’re ready.” Otabek says, and Yuri is dumbfounded.

 

“You consider me a virgin? You know that my dad…”

 

“Yeah I know.” Otabek says and he leans up, sensing that the conversation is getting serious again and maybe they should be able to look at each other properly.

 

Yuri feels a little wounded. He’s just not sure why.

 

“Look, I remember when we were in the hotel and they were playing ‘never have I ever’ and you got mad. You asked if it counted to have done something if you were made to do it. And I’ve been thinking about it all this time.”

“And?” Yuri said heatedly. “What did you decide?”

 

“That… it wasn’t really up for me to decide but here’s how I see it. People have very different views of sex. They say masturbation is wrong, or having sex before marriage is wrong, or gay sex is wrong. Others still have fetishes. People are sometimes polyamorous. People feel very strongly about sex. You have some very conservative people and then others are very liberal. I just don’t really consider what happened to you as sex, personally.”

 

“He… made me do things!” Where exactly is Otabek going with this?

 

“Yes, and that matters.” Otabek says. “I’m not trying to discredit you, or invalidate you. Okay babe, I promise. I just think molesting someone or raping someone, isn’t sex, it’s an act of violence. And I think sex is a lot of things to a lot of different people, but I think if you and I ever got to the point where we wanted to be physical that it would be different than anything we’ve had before.”

 

“So, I could consider myself a virgin? And I could be whole again?” Yuri asks and Otabek looks confused.

 

“You’re already whole. Whatever you consider yourself to be, you are whole. Having sex, consensual or not doesn’t make you less of a person.”

 

Yuri stops and feels the weight of the statement sink in. He’s not incomplete? He’s not less?

 

“Yuri! Why are you crying?” Otabek panics, but now Yuri’s laughing.

 

“What’s wrong? What’s funny?” Otabek says as he starts mopping up Yuri’s face with his sleeve.

 

“Nothing.” Yuri says honestly. “Nothing is wrong.”

 

Whole. He is whole.

 

“You have no idea how much what you just said helps.” Yuri says as he maneuvers so Otabek's head is on his shoulder. He scratches his nails over his scalp for a minute and if Otabek were a cat he’d be purring.

 

“So.” Otabek asks, “What do you want for your birthday?”

 

“Hmmmm… I did have a few ideas. Although knowing you, you already bought me something.”

 

“Mmm, maybe” Otabek says and then presses a kiss to his collarbone. It tickles, but in a nice way.

 

“Did you call me ‘babe’ earlier?” Yuri asks softly.

 

“Only if you liked it.” Otabek replies and Yuri kisses the top of his boyfriends head.

 

“Yeah. I liked it.”

Chapter Text

Yuri goes to bed that night expecting more calls but gets none. He’s more worried about his mom calling because he doubts his dad will call. Mom has always done the dirty work, and he really doubts his father will contact him himself. Thank god for that because that would kill Yuri inside.

 

People always talk about how wonderful it is for a woman to stand by her man, but there are some things Yuri personally sees as deal breakers. He loves Otabek, but if Otabek ever hurt him in that way it would be over. Love that forgave everything didn’t make that much sense to him. Love wasn’t supposed to be blind. People should make amends and change their behaviors. Apologies meant nothing without action behind it.

 

If his dad ever said something like, “I did something terrible to you and I want to fix things,” what would he do? Could he forgive him? Victor said once that you have to forgive people sometimes just so you could have peace, even if they don’t deserve it. Amanda said the same thing too. Holding onto feelings of anger wasn’t healthy, even if it was very justified.

 

His dad used to be pretty nice. He had always been a hard worker at his job, he taught Yuri to ride a bike, and adopted Potya for him. He would take Yuri down to the corner store every summer and get him ice cream.

 

And he abused him. He neglected him. He molested him. He was verbally abusive to him and his mother. And if that had been all there was to it, it would have been a lot simpler. Easier, than this situation where he was sometimes a good person to Yuri. It hurt, the contrast. The same man who bought him kites and cherry Popsicles had held him down on the bed and done things to him that he thinks about all the time. When he’s sad, when he’s angry and even at random moments it’s all he can think of.

 

The most confusing part is that he wants Otabek to do some of those same things. Is it really that different if it’s consensual? It’s basically all the same acts.

 

He supposes in theory it would feel better if he wasn’t resisting…. He was starting to think about touching Otabek a lot. It sounded very appealing, he feels like it would probably be safe. He trusts Otabek, but the mental block wasn’t a small thing.

 

Last night Otabek had spent the night in his bed. It’s very early morning, and while Otabek had offered to leave out of respect, Yuri couldn’t handle him leaving. They had never laid down, just Yuri sitting with his back against the wall and Otabek leaning on his shoulder.

 

Otabek must be tired because he never moved. He was dead weight and contributing more and more drool to Yuri’s t-shirt. Yuri had been somewhat unable to fall asleep and had spent the majority of the night watching Otabek sleep.

 

Creepy? A little. Wonderful? Completely.

 

Although his back was getting awfully sore in this position.

 

Deciding that he needed Otabek to get up, he runs his palms along Otabek's face and even in sleep Otabek leans into his touch.

 

“Hey, my back hurts, let’s reposition.”

 

Otabek makes a sleepy sound and adjusts so they are lying down. They are a couple inches apart but close enough for the moment to feel intimate.

 

“Sorry.” Otabek slurs. “You could have woken me up sooner.”

 

“It’s okay. Go back to sleep.” Yuri shushes, starting up on petting Otabek’s hair, raking his nails gently through his scalp. It’s cute that Otabek loves the attention as much as he does.

 

Otabek relaxes deeply. Minutes pass. Just when Yuri starts to move closer, Otabek tenses and pushes his arm out to prevent him from getting much closer.

 

“Just a quick heads up. Do you remember when we first got together and we fell asleep together and I got uh and then you were uh…”

 

Yuri laughs.

 

“When you got hard and it freaked me out?”

 

“Yeah. Just… a quick heads up. I didn’t want it to be a surprise.” Otabek mumbles. He’s very red, from his cheeks to the tips of his ears. Acting completely on impulse, Yuri bites the tip of one of those cute pink ears.

 

“Yuri!”


”Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.” The prospect of Otabek, hard, in his bed, and blushing suddenly doesn’t scare him. Quite the opposite, actually. He’s not sure he’s ready for Otabek to touch him, but he kinda likes the idea of touching Otabek.

 

He should approach this with delicacy.

 

“So… do you want a hand job or something?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“It’s a legitimate offer. I feel okay with it.”

 

“You know, you don’t have to. I know how you feel about this stuff. And you don’t owe me anything just because I’m hard. I’m hard pretty often. And just because you’re my boyfriend doesn’t mean it’s your job.”

 

Yuri snorts. Otabek is being pretty cute about this.

 

“Yes I know. Do you want me to touch you or not?” Yuri.

 

“I… yes.”

 

Yuri’s not sure why he’s feeling so brave, but he reaches into Otabek’s pajamas pants and laughs at the startled exhale he gets in response.

 

“See was that so hard?”

 

“Really, Yuri? That’s the wording you’re going with?”

 

“It was all I had on hand.” He says dryly, mid stroke.

 

Otabek rolls his eyes, laughs and kisses him. He reaches for Yuri and Yuri pulls away.

 

“I feel more comfortable touching you than you touching me.”

 

“Oh! Okay, thank you for telling me.”

 

They kiss again, teeth clacking a little. Otabek pulls away.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“What for this?” Yuri laughs, but Otabek shakes his head.

 

“No. For everything. I love you, I’m glad we’ve gotten to this point.”

 

“Dammit, Otabek you are not gonna make me cry while my hands on your dick!” He kisses him and keeps kissing him until he feels Otabek fall apart in his arms. Otabek shakes, pressing sloppy kisses into his shoulder. Yuri’s not prepared for it. The feeling of closeness, and if a stupid one-sided hand job is like this he can’t imagine what full out sex will be like.

Otabek was right when he said it would be different. It is different.

 

Otabek kisses him on the nose.

 

“Can I give you your birthday present?”

 

“My birthday isn’t for two more days.”

 

“I know, but I can’t wait anymore. There’s two parts to it.” Otabek says, excitedly as he reaches in his luggage.

 

“Two parts?” Yuri says, sitting up.

 

“Yeah I got you something practical and then something that isn't”

 

“Very intriguing. Gimme!” He says and Otabek laughs and hands him a box.

 

“Sorry it’s not wrapped.”

 

“It’s fine.”

 

The first gift is a pair of custom converse that look like they’ve been hand painted. They have very realistic roaring tigers on each side, and he knows he’ll wear these everywhere.

 

“These are ridiculous, so cool!” He is admiring the detail when Otabek hands him his ipod. His own old ipod that he mysteriously couldn’t find the day before.

 

“Okay, I’ll explain this one and hopefully you don’t find it creepy.” Otabek says.

 

“Did you buy me music?”

 

“I added some, yeah. I… don’t know how to say this. But I had feelings for you quite a while before we started dating. And I always figured nothing would happen, because you never really seemed to be into me. So, I tried to ignore my feelings and then I’d go to a DJ gig or hear a song on the radio and instantly it would remind me, and I started buying the songs and putting them in a playlist.”

 

“Why would you do that if you thought you didn’t have a chance with me? Wouldn’t listening to the songs feel awful?” Yuri asks while locating the new playlist. There were over 200 songs.

“It was hard. But eventually I decided that I wasn’t going to regret how I felt, because if I loved you it didn’t matter if I had you. I wanted to remember my feelings even if they hurt. And now I want you to have these so you can listen too. Because we share this now.”

 

Yuri blinks, noting that his eyes felt suspiciously watery.

 

“So how many years of love songs is this? Since the first Grand Prix?”

 

Otabek laughs. “Course not, I loved you way before.”

 

“Beka…” He whines, feeling a little overwhelmed.

 

“Is that a weird gift?” Otabek asks, crease between his forehead. Yuri smiles and kisses him soundly.

 

“No. It’s completely perfect.” Yuri says honestly and Otabek pulls him closer.

"I'm really glad you're my boyfriend. Happy birthday baby."

Chapter Text

 

Yuri feels like the day of his birthday comes very quickly. He half expects to feel older, more grown up, but his last day of 17 and his first day of 18 bear no major differences.

There is only one major difference between this birthday and his last: no call from his parents. He used to only really hear from his parents on his birthday or major holidays. He remembers the stiff, awkward, and very brief call he got last year from his parents.

 

“Be safe. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” His dad had said.

 

Yeah, he sure as hell wouldn’t do anything his dad would do.

 

He shouldn’t be let down to get no birthday wishes from his parents but the small traitorous part of his mind that wants to fix things feels sad and small. Every time he feels the twinge he kisses Otabek to drive it out of his mind. Otabek seems to be digging it.

 

Not like his parents could call anyways, after he blocked the number.

 

Sigh.

 

When he wakes up the day of his birthday Lilia smirks, and tells him to turn around to comb his hair and get dressed.

 

He does so, wondering why she’s being so strict, and reappears to see not just Lilia and Yakov but Mila, Georgi, Victor and Yuuri.

 

“Sorry Yurio! We know it’s early but we all had practice today. We agreed this was the best time for a little party!” Victor says beaming as Yuuri stands at the stove where he’s cooking bacon in one pan and pancakes in the other. Mila runs over to hug Yuri and Georgi gives him a nod where he’s cutting up strawberries for topping.

 

Otabek comes up behind him while Mila is squeezing him and Yuri looks around at him and sees the smirk that says yes; Otabek was in on this.

 

His friends are god damn amazing.

 


”So after breakfast, we will take you anywhere you want and get you a present.” Victor says happily.

 

Yuri pauses like he’s thinking but he already has something in mind. He remembers when he and Otabek first got together and he wanted something in particular but was too nervous to do it.

 

“Can I get my helix done?” He asks softly, “I’ve looked it up and found a reputable place.”

“Your what now?” Yuuri and Victor say at the same time. Otabek starts setting out plates, and gives Yuri an approving glance as Yuri explains.

 

When the abuse was still fresh he had had a pretty illogical fear of sexually transmitted diseases. He had felt dirty and sick, even though he had gotten tested and nothing was wrong. Touching Otabek, kissing Otabek, having these friends that showed up at 7 in the morning to make him birthday breakfast did wonders to erase the feelings of shame.

 

He had been afraid before to get the piercing he wanted, blood was involved after all, but now he felt safe to.

 

It feels like growth, when Yuri and Victor agreed to take him, and when he feels okay going.

 

Mila eats her weight in strawberries, hands him a hefty gift card to the edgy clothing store he always looks at when they go to the mall. He feels bad about the large amount until she explains that Georgi contributed.

 

Everyone eats, wishes him a happy birthday and once Mila is done pinching his cheek, they depart to the parlor where Yuri’s going to get his ear pierced. Lilia stops him at the door, and he’s afraid she’ll put a damper on his plans, but all she says is to make sure he gets all the aftercare instructions.

 

He feels free, as he leaves with the lovebirds with Otabek in tow.

 

The parlor is very clean. They do tattoos and piercing and they have an autoclave for sanitizing the tools, and from his research he knows that everyone here is fully licensed and has been piercing for a very long time.

 

Feeling nervous, he lets Otabek go back with him. The woman who comes in the room has some of the biggest breasts he’s seen in a long time. He’s not really into those, but it’s the first thing he notices.

 

She has him lie down. Briefly and unhelpfully, he supposes this might be from fear that he’ll faint. Do people faint from getting a piercing?

“Which ear would you like?” She asks and Yuri blinks because he honestly hasn’t thought this far.

 

“He keeps his bang over this eye, so maybe the opposite so you can see it?” Otabek suggests helpfully. Yes, thank you boyfriend.

 

“That’s okay with you?” She confirms with Yuri.

 

“Yeah that’s perfect.” Yuri agrees.

 

“You might want to tie up your hair. It’ll be a pain to get hair caught on it when it’s healing.” She starts prepping his ear and he’s torn because on one hand he’s nervous about getting a needle in his ear and also kinda embarrassed because her giant boobs are practically in his face. He breathes a sigh of relief when she unwraps a package from the autoclave.

 


Her tools are clean. He’s clean. He has to remind himself.

 

She pierces his ear, and honestly it’s not as terrible as he thought it would be. The actual needle at least; when she screws the little ball on the hoop it kinda hurts, but he forces himself to pay attention as she goes over aftercare and then he’s back in the waiting room. Victor and Yuuri tell him repeatedly how cool it looks. Otabek says nothing but presses a feather soft kiss over the tip over his freshly pierced ear. It’s so tender that it takes his breath away.

 

Otabek lingers and murmurs in his ear. “You know I was kinda afraid that experience would turn you straight.” He’s half joking, which means he’s half serious.

 

“Yeah, those were pretty big. But don’t worry; I only have eyes for you. Do you like how it looks?”   Yuri teases and Otabek gives him a look he hasn’t seen before. It’s full of mischief.

 

“Well,” he begins quietly, “As soon as it’s healed I’m going to nibble on it.”

 

Yuri doesn’t have a chance to respond because Victor has just paid and he’s leading them out the door.

 

He realizes that Otabek wants him. It’s not a huge revelation, but the thought of it sends a thrill throughout his body.

 

Yuri takes Otabek’s hand once they are in the car, gives in a squeeze. Was this going too fast? Sometimes he felt so comfortable that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to wait to go further. Other times he was terrified. Maybe they just had to take this moment by moment, see what happened, and if both of them were comfortable they were a couple. Having sex wouldn’t be bad right?

 

“So,” Yuuri interrupted his thoughts, “You’re old enough to drink now! I think Georgi and Mila were saying they’d be willing to take you out to a club tonight. If you wanted, just don’t go too crazy on us!”

 

Clubbing sounded a little terrifying, but he’s feeling adventurous.

 

“Yeah,” Yuri hears himself say. “Let’s give it a go.”

 

What does he have to lose?

Chapter Text

The club is packed by the time they arrive. Yuri hadn’t been able to decide what to wear, so he had ended up having Mila choose for him; black ripped jeans, the shoes Beka got for him, and a leopard print shirt. Big shock there. He was going to wear the ripped tank that he wore for ‘Welcome to the Madness” but he couldn’t find it and it’s probably too small now anyways. Otabek is wearing casual clothes like usual too, but he looks hot as always. Mila is wearing a hot pink strapless dress that’s sure to catch attention of every able-bodied woman or man in the damn place. Georgi is wearing eyeliner. Probably too much of it.

 

They chose a large, trendy club that supposedly plays more rock than hip-hop; which is perfect. He can hear an 80’s American rock classic thumping behind the doors as he waits in line and gets patted down. He’s glad he didn’t think about the pat down ahead of time. He would have worried about a stranger touching him if he had time to overthink it, but it’s very brief.

 

It’s a definite thrill when they see his ID and let him in. He has to hold his grin in so they don’t think he’s actually underage and smiling because he pulled one over.

 

Otabek holds his hand. He’s not positive that this place is gay friendly, but they see a pair of women making out as soon as they walk in, and he decides they are safe enough.

 

Georgi points towards the bar and says he’s going to get a drink. It’s nice that he doesn’t have to shout. It’s loud, but not so loud that you can’t have a conversation. Otabek follows him with Yuri in tow, and Yuri orders his first ever alcoholic beverage, well not counting the wine cooler he snuck once with Mila when he was 16. He didn’t get drunk so it didn’t count. He’s grateful that the drinking age here is 18 and not 21 like some countries.

 

Otabek orders a rum and coke and so Yuri does too. He doesn’t really know what else to get.

 

Otabek watches him take a sip.

 

“Is it weird?”

 

“It’s sweeter than I thought it would be.” He admits. He’s not completely sure he likes it, but Otabek bought it for him and he was going to drink it.

 

“It’s the sweet ones that creep up on you. Try to go slow.” Mila says, a fruity looking cocktail in her hand. Georgi has ordered not beer, not liquor, but a glass of wine. It doesn’t seem very masculine, and Yuri briefly thinks it’s cool that Georgi doesn’t seem to care what people think.

 

“You guys wanna dance?” Mila asks, and Yuri nods. He takes a bigger sip of his drink. He feels a little out of his comfort zone already and adding alcohol to it feels a little overwhelming.

 

“Here, lemme see that.” Otabek says. His drink is half empty now and he holds out his hand.

 

“Yeah sure.” Yuri hands him his drink. He watches stunned as Otabek drinks it down and transfers it to his own.

 

“There. Now you don’t have to pretend you like it.” He deadpans.

 

“Was it that obvious? Also don’t drink too much.” Yuri scolds lightly.

 

“I don’t plan on having more than this. Don’t worry. Come dance with me.”

 

How is Yuri supposed to say no to that?

 

The dance floor is packed so they have to dance close together. Otabek settles his hands low on Yuri’s hips and it feels undeniably right as they settle into a steady grind. Yuri knows the way they are moving is sexual, but it’s comfortable too, so it’s not scary. The concept of sex, particularly sex with Otabek floods his mind again. He knows that his early childhood moments were sexual, but they weren’t sexual like this. The times he had been abused had felt wrong, sick, confusing. Otabek kisses him where his neck meets his shoulder and he knows: this is right not wrong. This is not confusing. This does not fill him with dread. It just feels nice. He loses track of time. He holds onto Otabek and lets the music carry him away.

 

Someone taps his arm. Mila and Georgi have found them. Mila requests a dance with Yuri, and Georgi and Beka excuse themselves to get Georgi another drink.

 

“So,” Mila says, “How serious is it getting between you and Otabek?” She spins him in a circle. They aren’t really doing ‘club dancing’ but it would be weird to grind on Mila anyways.

 

“I think it’s pretty serious. We haven’t done much though.” He admits and Mila hums.

 

“Sex isn’t necessarily an indicator of a relationship being serious. It can be, but people are pretty casual with it sometimes. I’d say flying to meet up in other countries is a little more serious. So is Lilia letting you sleep in the same bed.”

 

This is all true, but he blushes nonetheless.

 

“Should we check on them? They’ve been gone awhile.” Yuri asks but Mila just shakes her head and teases him.

 

“Oh Yurachka I’m sure your hunky man is just fine.”

 

 

Meanwhile, Otabek was a little less that fine. He had gone to the bar with Georgi and a very nice girl had offered to buy him a shot. He let her know he was with someone, but she bought it anyways, and she had been so friendly that he had been unable to refuse it, taking the shot in addition to the two rum and cokes he had consumed already. He’s starting to feel tipsy. The two previous drinks had been poured a little heavy.

 

“You don’t drink very often do you?” Georgi asks. No, he didn’t because in excess alcohol upset his stomach, and he had a fairly low tolerance. Yuri was going to kill him for overdoing it.

 

“Tell Yuri I’m in the men’s room.” He says before excusing himself.

 

“Lightweight!” Georgi calls after him. He kicks back his drink and goes to join Mila and Yuri. Mila looks relieved to see him.

 

“Good! Stay with Yuri, I have to pee.” She says, excusing herself.

 

Yuri didn’t really want to dance with Georgi so they went back to the bar. Georgi orders them each a beer.

 

“Having fun?” Someone says over Yuri’s shoulder.

 

He turns. He feels the blood rush out of his body and his heart stops.

 

“Sorry to surprise you like this. We felt bad that things were going so poorly that you would actually block us. Did you know when you posted online you were going here tonight how easy it would be to find you?”

 

“ I don’t want to talk to you. Stay away from me!!”

 

“Don’t be like that. I think once you stop being so sensitive you’ll be able to let all of this go. Just talk to me.”

 

He’s always been a snake. These are the words of a manipulator.

 

“I’m going to have to interrupt.” Georgi says calmly. “Yuri, who is this? Why is he bothering you?”

 

“I’m Adrian Plisetsky. Yuri’s father. Nice to meet you.”