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Under The Table

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“Yuuri! Yuuri  wait. ”  

He ignores Celestino’s frantic calling, ignores the harsh slap as the chilled air hits his face. He just keeps walking. 

He doesn’t know exactly where he’s going but he just needs to  go.  

The snow beneath his feet crunches, adding to the crescendo of his heartbeat pounding in his ears. He should feel cold and to some extent does, Yuuri’s thin jacket just barely compensates, but his face and whole-body is on  fire . His guts twist and thrash like an angry beast.  

Rostelecom had been a disaster.   

His nerves got the better of him, gripping him with bony fingers and sinking their sharp nails in deep. Distracted he had over-rotated and plummeted into the barrier of the rink. He can still hear the crowd gasping, still feel the sting of ice on his palms as he shakily clambers to his feet. 

The whole world watching as Yuuri’s career ended.  

He doesn’t know how long he’s been walking for after a while, shame driving one foot in front of the other. His hands, numb, hanging inside his pockets. But he can’t go back, he can’t  face  the humiliation and sure as hell can’t stomach going back to his hotel.  

So Yuuri just keeps on going and going, until he can’t physically go anymore.  

He finally stops on top of a bridge overlooking what he thinks Moskva river. He’s not really that confident his assessment of that though, his knowledge of Moscow is basically limited to the rink and his hotel. Yuuri takes a couple of ragged breathes, focusing on the stretch of water in front of him. A few snowflakes land on his face and a chilly breeze tousles his hair. It’s actually kind of pretty. 

 He’s startled when he feels something hard press into his back.  

“Don’t. Move.”  

Yuuri can feel hot breath tingling the back of his neck. The man’s voice is gruff, his accent so thick Yuuri almost can’t understand his demand.  

He’s locked in place, terror seizing his body.  

What if it’s a gun.   

That thought alone is enough to make a scream creep up in his throat, but it’s muffled by a large calloused hand clamping over his mouth.  

Another man moves into his peripheral vision but Yuuri’s head is locked in place by the hand. 

“Are you sure it’s him?” Asks the second, slightly higher voice coming from his side.  

“How many young Japanese men do you think there are in Moscow Dima?” the voice behind him rasps.  

Yuuri’s head is jerked to the side suddenly, turning him face to face with a third man. He has a thick scar over his right eye and his breath stinks of vodka.  

“This is the one.”  

Yuuri feels a heavy thump as something connects with his face before he’s plunged into darkness.  


The first thing he registers as he comes to is the pain that radiates from his temple.  

It’s all-consuming, searing and throbbing, and as he opens his eyes his vision blurs slightly. Yuuri’s eyes finally come back into focus and then dread congeals at the pit of his stomach as he takes in his surroundings. A dimly lit warehouse stretches out in front of him, unidentified crates littered haphazardly across it. It’s small but not cramped and smells slightly musty. Yuuri counts about six men with guns scattered across the room, cleanly dressed in black. They stare at him with an intensity that makes him physically ill.  

The second thing he notices is he can’t move his hand from behind his back.  

That’s when the absolute panic begins to set in.  

He struggles against the restraints of his chair, thrashing his body, coiling around himself. But it’s no use, his wrists remain firmly bound in place and the course rope burns with each of his jerky movements.  

He’s  going to die, they’re going to kill  him , oh god oh god oh god-  

Some of the men begin to laugh loudly.  

“Aw the little piggy is trying to run,” one in the corner croons.  

Yuuri wants to scream and cry and vomit but he knows none of that is going to do him any good, so he finally sits still. The sickening symphony of laughter and jeers echoing around him.  

“Enough.”  

The voice that comes from behind cuts through the noise like a knife. The room goes deathly quiet. So quiet that Yuuri can hear his own frightened breaths.  

Finally, the voice in question comes into view.  

The man commands the room effortlessly. The other men visibly stiffen as he passes them, soldiers at attention. But then his cerulean eyes lock onto Yuuri’s.  

It does  things  to Yuuri’s insides.  

He calmly reminds himself of the situation he’s in.  

The man swipes his ash blonde hair out of his face and adjusts the tie of his suit. It’s well-tailored and fits his athletic yet slender body like a glove.   

He’s practically bouncing off the walls with excitement and Yuuri doesn’t want to even think about why.  

“I believe some introductions are in order,” his pale features twist into a grin, “my name is Viktor Nikfor-” 

Viktor’s smile drops and the energy in the room changes. Viktor charges toward him. 

He’s going to kill him.   

He stops just shy of Yuuri’s face, crouching down to his level. Yuuri’s heart rams against his ribcage. He’s close enough now that Yuuri can pick up the scent of expensive cologne. Viktor’s hand gently cups the left side of Yuuri’s face, running the pad of his thumb over a particularly tender part of skin. 

 And Yuuri forgets what breathing is.  

His expression remains calm but there’s something  off  about it, something simmering under the surface that Yuuri can’t quite place but can feel viscerally.  

“Which one of you  debily  bruised him.”  

Viktor’s voice is low and dangerous, it sends a cold chill down Yuuri’s whole body. 

Nobody says a word. 

Viktor lets out a slow and irritated sigh, his hand drops from Yuuri’s face. He straightens up before turning to face his men.  

“Don’t make me repeat myself.”  

They stare back at him like wide-eyed school children. After another moment of silence, the scarred man that Yuuri recognizes from his abduction steps forward.  

“Me pakhan, I-”  

But he doesn’t get to finish that sentence.  

As he opens his mouth to form the words Viktor drags a gun out of his suit jacket and without hesitation points the gun at the man’s head.  A deafening shot rings out and Yuuri watches, frozen, as the scarred man crumples to the ground in a bloody heap.  

It takes everything he has not to empty the contents of his stomach onto the floor.  

“Y-you just killed him.” 

Viktor turns back to him and his expression instantly softens.  

“He hurt you, Yuuri.”  

Yuuri’s next breath gets caught somewhere in his throat.  

“How do you- how do you know my name.”  

Viktor laughs. It’s unsettling  

Yuuri  no need for such humility, I’m a huge fan.”  

Wait.   

What?  

Y-you like figure skating?”  Yuuri asks.  

Viktor is grinning again. “I  adore  figure skating. When I heard you were in  Moscow,  I knew I just  had  to meet you.” 

He kidnapped him. Because he wanted to meet him.   

This guy is insane.   

“But I lost. My career is basically over,” Yuuri tries desperately not to meet the taller man’s gaze, “Why would you be interested in me?”  

Viktor raises an eyebrow quizzically, “Nonsense, your career isn’t over.”  

Then Viktor is invading his personal space again, gently stroking Yuuri’s cheek with the back of his hand. Yuuri assumes it’s supposed to be some kind of soothing gesture but it’s anything but.  

“How about we see about untying you hm? Those restraints must be awfully uncomfortable,” Viktor runs his hand down Yuuri’s shoulder and arm, causing him to shiver. Whether it’s a shiver of pleasure or terror Yuuri isn’t quite sure but Viktor’s hand finally comes to rest on his wrists, still bound behind him.  

“B-but pakhan-”  

Viktor shoots the offending speaker a cold glare and once again Yuuri feels uneasy. Viktor turns back to him, a sweet smile returning to his features.  

Yuuri is reeling from the emotional whiplash.  

“Yuuri is our guest,” Viktor purrs, reaching into his blazer and pulling out a blade.  

Yuuri’s heart lurches into his throat.  

“Besides, he has no intention of trying to run off. Do you Yuuri?”  

Yuuri furiously shakes his head.  

Viktor’s smile widens enough to reveal pearly white teeth as he reaches behind Yuuri with the blade and slashes the restraints. Yuuri feels the muscles of his arms relax yet can’t bring himself to move. He finally tries to meet Viktor’s eye and regrets it almost instantly. Viktor stares back at him and it makes him weak at the knees from the sheer intensity of the gaze. Yuuri has never had anyone look at him with some much  heat,  like he’s being mentally undressed and caressed. Like there isn’t a single person on the planet more important. Like the world could be imploding around them and it wouldn’t even  matter  to Viktor. It terrifies him, it thrills him, in a way he doesn’t really comprehend. There’s a rational, sane, part of his mind screaming at him to run but it’s being held at gunpoint by the part of him that just wants to-  that just wants to-  

He doesn’t the vocabulary to say what he wants to do but he wants to do something.   

“Now that that unpleasantness has been dealt with, I have a proposition for you  Yuuri .” 

The way that Yuuri’s name rolls of Viktor’s tongue is mesmerizing.  

Are you insane Yuuri?   

He’s officially lost it, he decides.  

“I want you to skate for me,” says Viktor, his eyes never leaving Yuuri’s, “I’ll become your sponsor, you’ll have the best coach money can buy and I own a rink you can train at.”  

Sponsor?  Him?   

Viktor suddenly seems distracted by his own fantasizes, staring off into the distance dreamily.  

“You’ll come with me to St. Petersburg of course. I have a wonderful estate there. We can keep each other company, I’ll come watch you skate, we can have dinner together. Maybe get to know each other a bit better,” Viktor winks at him and Yuuri is utterly ashamed of the way his face flushes, “I can give you anything you want, you’ll never want for anything  moya   lyubov .”  

It takes Yuuri a good few minutes to process it. After his disastrous couple of seasons, sponsors had been pulling out left, right and centre and while he was wasn’t certain he had a feeling Celestino may be dropping him soon too. From a purely pragmatic point of view, it was the offer of a lifetime, an offer that could save his career.  

He would be ecstatic if the offer wasn’t coming from a man who abducted him, tied him to a chair, and shot somebody in front of him.  

“What’s the catch?” is what Yuuri hears himself say, despite never actually telling himself to do so. 

Viktor laugh rings out through the warehouse, “Catch? There isn’t a catch. Your beautiful skating is all the payment I need.”   

This sounds a bit  too  good to be true.   

“And if I refuse?”  

Viktor’s laugh stops abruptly, his smile drops, and his eyes darken.  

The warmth to his face is gone, replaced with a chill.  

Yuuri can feel his nausea returning.  

“No harm will come of you  moy   dorogoy , I promise.” 

 Yuuri doubts that. Highly.   

“However, I will continue to shower you in gifts and affection, and you will fall for me, eventually.”  

Yuuri splutters at that.  

He thinks Yuuri is going to fall in love with him.   

How delusional can you possibly get?  

And yet his mouth betrays him, “Alright, I’ll do it.”  

Viktor stares at him starry-eyed and licks his lips.  

“You won’t regret this my Yuuri, I promise you.”  

His Yuuri.   

What has he just gotten himself into?   

 

 

Chapter Text

Seemingly pleased with himself Viktor barks some commands in Russian that Yuuri can’t quite understand. Two men step towards them whilst another one slips out the back door to do who knows what. Viktor places and hand on the small of Yuuri’s back and helps him to his feet. His balance is unsteady and his legs shake furiously but he eventually manages to steady himself.  

“My men will now return you safely to your hotel, I apologize for the brash treatment you received before getting here,” Viktor gently takes Yuuri’s hand and kisses it “Until we meet again  moy   dorogoy .    

 He should really google what that means when he gets out of here.   

Yuuri can feel his cheeks heat up and as Viktor pulls away the skin of his hand tingles.  

The two men usher him out of the back door and Yuuri’s body gets a rude shock as he renters the cold. The fresh air helps with the overwhelming sense of dread Yuuri feels about what he’s agreed to. He doesn’t even know who Viktor is. He doesn’t know if where this money is coming from and if it’s even  legal .  

Yuuri isn’t exactly where his common sense is but he’s pretty sure he’s just gone and drowned it in the Moskva river.  

The drive back to his hotel is ten minutes of anxiety fueled hell. Yuuri’s insides are in knots as he sits uncomfortably wedged between two burly Russian men. Occasionally they steal confused glances at him but the remain silent, which only makes Yuuri even more anxious. After what seems like an eternity, he recognizes the area around him, the car stops, and Yuuri barrels out of the passenger door with little regard to the consequences. He’s about halfway through the lobby before he realizes he’s been running.  

He looks back but the black SUV he came in is long gone.  

“Yuuri  jesus   we’ve been worried sick about you.” 

Celestino’s familiar voice punctures his thoughts.  

“You just ran off and nobody knew where the hell you were, I was about to report you missing.”  

He looks angrier than Yuuri has ever seen before, his face flushed red.  

“Yuuri!”  

Phichit dashes through the lobby and nearly bowls him over with a hug, “I told him you’d be back.”  

Yuuri hugs him back with just as much enthusiasm, letting the warmth of his friend calm his fraying nerves. He wonders if he should come clean about what happened.  

Phichit pulls away suddenly and his eyes widen, “Yuuri your face."

Oh yeah. He has a bruise.  

“I slipped on the ice outside.”  

Phichit shoots him an unconvinced look but says nothing more.  

“Yes, well, let’s just be thankful he didn’t get lost or something,” grumbles Celestino.  

Phichit drags him towards the lobby elevator. Yuuri remains silent for the ride upwards and he can see Phichit sending him concerned glances out of the corner of his eye.  As they reach Yuuri’s room Phichit finally speaks up.  

“Did something happen Yuuri?”  

He wants to explain everything, about being kidnapped, about Viktor, but then the image of the thug being shot replays in his brain. The sounds and the blood and- 

He can’t get Phichit involved in this, it’s far too dangerous.  

“I’m fine, just a bit shaken from that fall you know?”  

Thankfully Phichit seems to believe him, giving him a comforting smile and a soft pat on the back, “You’ll have a better time next season, you’ll see.”  

Will he?  

Yuuri nods weakly, unlocking the door to his room and giving Phichit an awkward wave. He’s known Yuuri long enough to get the message and saunters off down the hallway.  

Yuuri flops onto the bed and stares up at the ceiling.  

The sound of the gunshot, the limp body, the  blood.  It’s scorched into his brain and plays on repeat. His body shivers violently and eventually his stomach gives up entirely and Yuuri rushes to the bathroom and projects his lunch into the toilet bowl. Once he stops heaving up gunk, he pulls himself off the floor towards the shower, still trembling, but determined to just make this day go away.  

What would normally be a five-minute shower turns into almost an hour. He just stands there under the jets, willing away the images in his head, the warm water cascading down his back. After a while, the awful sensations subside, and he feels confident enough to leave his warm water sanctuary to get dressed and go back into the bedroom. He lies back on his bed, his mind racing with questions before he finally pulls his laptop towards him.  

Time to get some answers.   

He googles “pakahn”, a word he’d heard thrown around by Viktor’s men, and his heart nearly stops.  

The first result is a Wikipedia article about the  Russian Mafia .  

It suddenly becomes clear to Yuuri that’s he’s in way over his head.  

 

Pakhan  – also called Boss, controls everything. The  Pakhan  controls four criminal cells in the working unit through an intermediary called a "Brigadier."  

 

Panicking Yuuri types in “Viktor Nikfor”  and is a little concerned when google auto-corrects the name for him.  

He’s even more concerned when the search results load up.  

It’s article after article about Viktor’s various criminal dealings and, most disturbingly of all, alleged murders. Viktor is known to be creative in his killing, almost eccentric.  

This is bad.   

Really,  really, bad  

He slams his laptop shut.  

He knows he can’t refuse now. Sure, Viktor claimed nothing would happen to him if he did but there’s no way he can trust that. He shudders briefly at the memory of Viktor’s cold gaze. He doesn’t particularly want to get into bed with the mafia, the analogy sends a chill through him, but it doesn’t look like he has any options. Viktor could harm Phichit or his family. Viktor could do anything. He killed a man just because he left a bruise on Yuuri’s face.  

And Viktor is clearly obsessed with him in a way nobody ever really has been. 

He’s not exactly sure how he feels about that.  


 

It takes about a week for his move to St Petersburg to be finalized.  

Yuuri originally is concerned when Celestino gets a strange phone call from an unknown number at the airport, and just about soils himself when he learns that it’s Viktor on the other end. Viktor, of course, spins some story about being a wealthy businessman and avid ice-skating fan, explaining that he’s sponsored a few ice-skaters and would just  love  to add Yuuri to the list. Celestino seems thrilled, not even relenting when told that he will be relieved as Yuuri’s coach.  

It all goes smoothly.  

Almost  too  smoothly.  

Nobody asks too many questions about his new benefactor; they just nod and smile and congratulate him. Yuuri begins to have a theory that there’s something more to it, a conspiracy that everyone except him is in on. He doesn’t really have much evidence to support said theory but considering the way everybody seems to be rolling over in front of him, it’s almost as if  something  is going on.  

He’s almost certain Celestino got some generous “donation” anyway.  

Yuuri wonders how he could have spent his life so oblivious to the dark underbelly, how easily the people around him can be bribed (and probably threatened) into submission.  

The reasonable part of himself is in a constant state of screaming.  

Within the week he’s on a plane to Russia, a first-class seat, courtesy of his  sponsor . He fidgets in his plush leather seat. Listening to music does nothing to calm him down. Neither does reading. He puts on a film briefly, but he can barely comprehend the story. The champagne flows like water so he has a few glasses which finally seems to work and by the time he arrives, he’s ever so slightly tipsy and yet still a nervous wreck.  

As Yuuri makes his way through the crowded airport he sees a sign with his name on it. Awkwardly he approaches the suited man holding it.  

“Um hi, I’m Yuuri?”  

The man grunts and motions for him to follow, Yuuri trails behind.  

He’s led to another black SUV and the suited man opens the passenger door for him allowing Yuuri to clamber inside.  

He realizes too late that somebody else is sharing the back seat with him.  

The man in question grins wolfishly at him, green eyes raking up and down his body in a way that makes Yuuri extremely uncomfortable. He wonders if it’s not too late to make a run for it.  

“Ah, so you’re Yuuri.”  

Yuuri can’t think of anything to say so he just nods.  

“I’m Chris, Viktor sent me to make sure his precious package got to him safely,” Chris says throwing him a wink.  

PACKAGE?   

Can this get any worse?   

The car starts moving and Yuuri realizes he’s completely trapped.  

“Don’t worry, I won’t touch you,” Chris laughs as if reading Yuuri’s mind “I like my dick firmly attached to my body thank you very much.”  

Under any other circumstance, Yuuri would take that as a joke.  

Knowing what he knows about Viktor now, he has a feeling it’s not.  

Tongue-tied and overwhelmed he decides not to respond, instead focusing on staring out the window.  

“You don’t say much do you?” asks Chris about ten minutes into the drive, “I mean I guess it makes you a good fit for Viktor, the man  loves  to talk.”  

Yuuri snorts without thinking.

Chris smiles at him, “So you’re an ice-skater huh? I used to be one of those.”  

Yuuri can picture it, he has the kind of charm and grace that would be captivating on the ice. He can imagine girls would go nuts over him.  

“Why aren’t you now?” Yuuri hears himself ask.  

Chris laughs, “I got my ankles smashed in with a baseball bat.”  

Oh.   

Yuuri’s stomach does a sickly drop.  

“I- I’m sorry- I-”  

Chris put’s his hand up dismissively, “Nah don’t worry about it, I was young and stupid and owed a bunch of shitty people a lot of money.”   

“Oh.”  

The conversation ends there.  

Yuuri watches the city of St Petersburg blur by him just outside the car window, rows of old buildings in tans and browns flying past. The city is covered in a sheet of white, trees dusted with snow like icing sugar. The canals they drive over look like glass, sunlight glinting off them. As they drive further the buildings become larger, stained in crème and decorated with intricately designed stone. After what feels like a lifetime in Yuuri’s opinion, they finally approach the large iron gates of the biggest house Yuuri has ever seen. It stands two stories tall, shadowing a massive expanse of snow-covered greenery. His heart clenches when he notices the sheer amount of armed men surrounding the perimeter. He’s suddenly glad he’s there willingly.  

At least, he  hopes  he is, the idea that he could actually be trapped here is too terrifying to even process.  

As they approach the driveway a guard waves them through the gate. The car stops just at the entrance to the house and Chris opens the passenger side door before extending his hand to Yuuri.  

“Your amoureux awaits, Yuuri.”  

He takes Chris’s hand, allowing Chris to help him out of the car. Another of the armoured guards' tails behind them as they walk to the front door, a second pushing open the large wooden doors to reveal the foyer. It’s elaborate, massive paintings covering the walls, and in the centre of it all a grand staircase. A large chandelier looms on above of them.  Every inch of it oozes ‘expensive’ and if Yuuri doesn’t get the message now he’s not sure he ever will.  

Viktor has money.  

A lot  of money.  

“Honey I’m home!” Chris calls into the room.  

There’s the sound of thumping upstairs and then suddenly there  he  is, practically bouncing down the stairs with a smile that is almost infectious. Viktor is in another suit, this time midnight blue, perfectly fitted. The top two buttons of his crisp white dress shirt are undone revealing pale white flesh and a golden cross.  

It takes Yuuri a few seconds to mentally kick himself for gawking.  

M o dorogoy I’ve missed you so much.” 

Without warning Viktor is in his personal space, snaking his arms around Yuuri’s waist and pressing their bodies together. Yuuri can barely breathe, the scent of honey and caramel invading his senses. Viktor is mere centimetres from his face, their noses barely touching, he can feel the steady inhale and exhale of breath from Viktor’s lips. His eyes stare back at him, a stormy sea, it’s the closest he’s been to anyone’s eyes. His heart is running a marathon.  

Viktor gently presses his lips to Yuuri’s temple, before bringing them to Yuuri’s ear, hot breath tingling his neck. 

“You look so beautiful when you blush.”   

This, of course, just makes Yuuri blush harder.  

Chris whistles behind him and then there’s nothing but cold air where Viktor once stood.  

“Not even a “hello Chris”? Vitya I’m wounded,” Chris clutches his heart dramatically to emphasize.  

Viktor laughs, his eyes crinkling at the corners.  

“I was simply welcoming our guest to his new home.”  

Chris smirks, “Yeah, because all our “guests” get kisses on the foreheads.” 

Viktor grins wickedly, “Is that a hint of jealousy I detect Christophe?”  

“Ah damn it, you’ve sniffed me out.”  

Yuuri stands there awkwardly shifting from side to side until the two seem to remember he’s there.  

“Come Yuuri,” says Viktor finally, placing his arm around Yuuri’s waist and guiding him towards the staircase, “I’ll give you the grand tour.”  

Yuuri allows himself to be swept upstairs, hyperaware of Viktor rubbing tiny circles on his hip as they walk. He wonders if the man has any concept of personal space and is internally disgusted with himself by how much he enjoys the sensation. As they move through the house Viktor lists off the various rooms like a child showing their parent an art project. Occasionally he’ll catch Yuuri’s gaze as if searching for approval. It’s bizarre, how this man he barely knows can think so much of him. His voice of reason reminds him that this Viktor is  almost definitely  insane but he’s past the point of no return, so he simply nods overenthusiastically at the appropriate intervals. Eventually, they stop at a door at the end of the corridor and Viktor grins before swinging the door open.  

“And this will be your room.”  

The room is, of course, large. The bed alone probably takes up the equivalent of his entire room at home. His luggage already sits on top of sheets that are a soft lilac, matching the curtains and the shag rug on the floor. There’s are a television in the corner, a tall bookshelf against the walls and a door to what Yuuri presumes to be an ensuite. As he looks around the room, he begins to feel a little overwhelmed.  

Viktor seems to sense his discomfort, “Is something wrong Yuuri?”  

“N-no I just- it's a lot to take in.”  

Viktor softly smiles at him and it’s  almost  comforting.  

“If you need anything, anything at all, let the housekeeper know, she’s the babushka in the black apron you can’t miss her.”  

Of course,  there’s a housekeeper.   

Suddenly his sweetness morphs, smile turning into a devious grin, “I’m sure you’re disappointed we won’t be sharing a room but don’t worry, I’m right next door if you feel lonely.”  

Yuuri squeaks at that, earning a chuckle from Viktor.  

“I’ll give you some time to unpack, I, unfortunately, have business to attend too,” he grabs both of Yuuri’s hands and gently kisses his knuckles “I’ll see you at dinner?”  

The look of complete and utter passion is back in Viktor’s eyes and it fries Yuuri's circuits entirely.  

“Yes, of course,” is what Yuuri ends up choking out.  

 It’s not until Viktor leaves that he finally gets a chance to breathe.  

Unpacking his suitcase serves as a good opportunity to let his mind go blank. He folds and puts away his clothes after finding a set of doors leading into the closet.  Yet, persistently, thoughts creep through no matter how hard he pushes them out. A large part of him wonders if this whole thing is just an elaborate lucid dream.  Perhaps he hit his head too hard. Maybe he’s in a coma. None of it, the house, the sponsorship, even Viktor himself, seem real. 

Viktor.  

Yuuri hates the way he acts like a timid schoolgirl around him, hates the way his body flushes at the slightest touch. He can see the danger, see the obsession that lies thinly veiled behind each smile, but it only draws him in more. It’s terrifying yet it makes him feel alive like the adrenaline that hits him before he skates in front of a crowd.  

He’s officially thrown sanity out the second-story window.  

Clothes unpacked, Yuuri decides to explore the house a little to get his bearings on his new “home”.    

Or look for possible escape routes.   

He shakes off that thought.  

He’s nearly at the grand staircase when he hears an almost familiar voice ranting downstairs.  

“Are you fucking  kidding me?  He’s staying  here? ”  

As he creeps closer, he can make out Chris’s unmistakable accent.  

“Yuri I’d suggest you try and cool it before Vitya-”  

“Fuck Vitya!”  

He reaches the staircase and does a double-take when he sees who Chris is with.  

Yuri? Yuri  Plitsesky ?  

Sure enough there the hot-headed blonde stands at the bottom of the stairs, his cheeks are painted red and looks like he’s about to explode from the pressure of his rage.  

“What are you looking at piggy?”  

It suddenly hits Yuuri that he’s standing in full view of the two of them.  

Chris sighs, “You know if you call him that in front Vitya you’re asking for a death sentence.”  

Yuri rolls his eyes, “Yeah I get it. He’s keeping  pets  now.”  

Chris pinches the bridge of his nose with an elongated sigh but says nothing in response.  

“Whatever, enjoy your pampering while it lasts. It won’t stop me from beating you on the ice.”  

And with that Yuri turns on his heels and storms off, barging past the guards, and slamming the front door behind him.  

“I swear to god it runs in the family,” groans Chris as Yuuri reaches the bottom of the stairs.   

“Family?”  

“Our  pakahn’s   little cousin,” says Chris with a tight smile “Usually  Yakov  is on babysitting duty but it seems today I had the  pleasure .”   

Yuuri opens his mouth to respond when he’s cut off by another voice.  

“Was that my little Yura I heard?”  

The source of the voice is a tiny, frail, old woman, hair pulled back in a salt and pepper bun. Her voice is raspy from age and her back is hunched ever so slightly as she shuffles towards them.   

“Sorry Melinka he just, uh, left,” says Chris, rubbing his against the back of his head awkwardly.  

“What a shame, I was going to ask if he wanted some of the Pirozhki I made earlier today,” she suddenly fixes her gaze on Yuuri and grins “And here comes the reason I’ll be changing the bedsheets in Vitya’s room more regularly.”  

Yuuri splutters and Chris erupts into manic laughter.  

He doesn’t even want to  think  about the connotations of that.  

“Yes, and the reason why I’m glad my room isn’t on the top floor,” says Chris with a giant smirk.  

Can the ground just swallow him up already?   

“N-no! We’re not- I mean it isn’t-”  

They both just continue snickering like school children and until Melinka catches her breath, “Anyway I’m the housekeeper  rebenok Vitya wants you in the dining room to join him for dinner.”  

His face on fire Yuuri nods, following Melinka, thankful that they’ve stopped.  

“Try not to have too much fun Yuuri!” Chris calls out gleefully behind them.   

 

Chapter Text

The dining room has about as much grandeur as Yuuri is expecting. The lighting is low, basking the long dining table in a warm glow. Yuuri can hear soft music, a crooning jazz singer with a voice like warm syrup. The table is neatly set for two, the table cloth an intricate pattern of gold. 

And at the head of the table sits Viktor, taking slow sips of his red wine. 

Viktor has changed suits, this one a vibrant plum. He’s once again left the top two buttons undone and Yuuri can’t tell if it’s just a coincidence or if Viktor is trying to flaunt himself. The latter making Yuuri feel a mixture of emotions he can’t label. The cross of gold is also still present and Yuuri starts to wonder how a man like Viktor could even be religious. He can’t imagine any god in the world would be okay with what Viktor probably does on a regular basis. Of course, thinking about this only causes him to start thinking about what those things could be, and so Yuuri has to quickly throw away the whole topic entirely so he doesn’t have a panic attack in the dining room. 

“Good evening, Yuuri.” 

Viktor’s eyes rake up and down his form and suddenly Yuuri feels extremely underdressed. 

Viktor finally brings his eyes back to Yuuri’s and smiles, “Please, sit.” 

Yuuri awkwardly shuffles towards him, picking at the sleeve of his long-sleeved shirt. He takes the seat to Viktor’s right and nearly jumps out of his skin when Viktor’s thigh unexpectedly brushes his. He then mentally chastises himself for freaking out over something so tiny. 

“Wine?” asks Viktor. 

Yuuri eyes the bottle on the table cautiously. He has a feeling alcohol, him, and Viktor, would be a bad combination. 

“No thank you.” 

Viktor doesn’t seem too disappointed by this, pouring himself another glass. 

How much has he already had? 

“So,” says Viktor after a few moments of silence pass between them, “I have a surprise for you.” 

Yuuri’s guts turn over. 

“I had my chef do some research,” he continues, “I’m sure it’s not going to be anywhere near as good as what you would make in Japan but I did my best.” 

A man dressed in a black chef’s uniform emerges from the next room carrying two bowls and suddenly it clicks. 

Katsu don. 

Sure enough, there in front of him is the familiar dish. Yuuri inhales and it savours the familiar scent. 

Viktor stares deeply into his wine glass, “I heard in some skating magazine that it was your favourite, and well, I-” 

Yuuri doesn’t even think before blurts it out, “Thank you, Viktor.” 

He looks up from his wine glass and grins with childlike adoration. It occurs to him, very briefly, that Viktor would be adorable if it wasn’t for the whole violently murdering people thing. 

There’s a lot to unpack there, but Yuuri would rather just throw away the whole suitcase. 

They eat in silence for a while. He hadn’t even realized how hungry he was until his first mouthful. He shovels food into his mouth at an embarrassing rate, for once not caring about Viktor’s presence. It tastes just as good as it smells. 

“Tell me about yourself Yuuri,” says Viktor finally, placing his fork gently on the table, “I want to know everything there is.” 

Viktor’s eyes bore into him. 

The question itself catches Yuuri completely off guard and he desperately clambers to form some kind of response. 

“I grew up in Hasetsu in Japan,” stammers Yuuri, “But you probably already knew that.” 

Viktor chuckles, “I will admit that I wasn’t downplaying it when I said I was a fan of yours.” 

There’s a nagging question, one that has lingered since the moment they met. 

“Why?” 

Viktor stops himself mid-sip. 

There’s a pregnant pause as Viktor ponders the question before he answers, “If only- if only you could see yourself move the way you do.” 

“I’ve seen videos, I’m not that-“ 

Viktor cuts him off, “No, I mean really see it. It’s captivating, hypnotic, you have this absolute presence about you and it’s just so-” Viktor leans closer, narrowing the space between them, “It’s so beautiful.” 

Yuuri can’t even form a coherent sentence after somebody saying that about him. His face collects heat and he just kind of sits there, stunned into silence. 

“Ah, but I’m gushing about you aren’t I?” Viktor’s cheeks colour a bit as he moves back to his previous position, “Please, continue talking before I say something that will make both of us embarrassed.” 

Yuuri nods and begins to wrack his brains for something interesting to tell him. 

“I have a sister?” 

Surprisingly Viktor seems interested in this, staring at him intently, “Do you get along?” 

“As much as you can with any sibling I guess,” he says, “I was the younger one so she always used to stand up for me when I- when I-” 

He debates whether or not he should continue. He doesn’t put it past Viktor to go hunt down his childhood bullies. 

At. All. 

“I was shy and I didn’t really get along well with other kids,” he continues “My only real friends were Yuuko and Takeshi, we all used to skate together.” 

Viktor smiles warmly at him, Yuuri assumes it’s a silent encouragement to continue. 

“Yuuko and I used to watch recordings of other skaters and try and copy them.” 

Viktor stifles a laugh, “Let me guess, with varying degrees of success?” 

Yuuri can’t help but laugh a little with him, “Yeah, I guess you could say that.” 

A moment passes between them. It seems so normal, just two people sitting at a dinner table getting to know each other. Yuuri has to quickly remind himself of where he is and who he is with. He’s always so taken off balance by how charming Viktor can be, a perfect gentleman. 

Then the image of that man being shot replays in his head and he’s quickly sucked back into reality. 

It only seems fair to ask some questions of his own, “Do you have family?” 

Viktor’s whole posture stiffens, “I believe you’ve already met my cousin, Yura.” 

“Anybody else?” 

Viktor takes several gulps from his glass. 

“Nobody of particular importance,” he’s smiling again but it doesn’t quite reach his eyes, “What made you want to skate in the first place?” 

Yuuri realizes he’s never actually thought about it too hard. 

“I like dancing and I guess-” he thinks a bit more, “It made me feel good, to have an outlet, to be good at something.” 

Viktor eyes never leave him, they almost twinkle.  

“The music, it just- it can take you to world so much more amazing than your own and when I’m on the ice I feel invincible,” he then realizes he’s oversharing, embarrassment creeping in, “Sorry I’m rambling.” 

Yuuri watches for a moment as Viktor suddenly breaks out of his trance, it’s the longest the other man has gone without taking a sip of his wine.  

Yuuri tries to steer the conversation back towards Viktor, “Do you have something like that? Something that makes you feel like that?”  

He knows it’s a loaded question and he doesn’t miss the way Viktor clamps up. He hasn’t told Yuuri anything about himself so far, and whilst it’s curiosity that drives him forward it’s also spite. How dare this man sit here, drink wine, after making Yuuri uproot his whole life, and not answer a single question he asks. The very fact that he won’t makes a potent anger bubble inside him along with a drop of unease. What dark secrets is he hiding?  

What things has Viktor done?   

Unfortunately, Viktor isn’t squirming under his intense gaze as Yuuri had hoped. Instead, he sits there, leisurely drinking with an unreadable expression.  

Viktor finally breaks into a grin, “Does sex count?”  

If Yuuri had a drink right now he would have just spit it out into Viktor’s face.  

“I-I mean I guess-” 

Viktor laughs loudly and god he just wants the ground to swallow him up, “I’m only teasing moy dorogoy . ” 

“You still haven’t answered my question.”  

Viktor’s heart-shaped smile falters for a second.  

“No. No, I don’t think I do.”  

At that moment Yuuri sees through cracks in the mask that is Viktor Nikiforov. They’re thin, barely visible to the naked eye, but there. In front of him just sits a man who doesn’t have what Yuuri has.  

It tugs at his heart.  

He mentally files it away in the “Do not disturb” box of his brain.  

As if planned Viktor suddenly glances at the clock hanging above them, “Unfortunately I think I have to get back to work.”  

How convenient.   

Viktor gets up from the table and bows politely, “Goodnight my Yuuri, sleep well.”  

He then scurries off in a way that makes Yuuri think he’s fleeing.  

As he walks back to his room Yuuri replays the night’s conversation back through his head. Viktor is clearly hiding something, or a lot of things, that much is clear. But that moment, that moment of vulnerability, draws Yuuri in deeper. Whatever it is, Yuuri wants to know. Not necessarily because he thinks he has a right to know, but because it’s intriguing.  It should scare him, and to some extent it does, but that fear intermingles with a burning curiosity. The two battle for dominance in his head as he pulls himself into bed but finally subsides as his body relaxes and sleep takes him.  

 

The hole oozes thick red fluids, his eyes glazed over yet still wide open. The back half of the man’s skull has been caved in by the impact of hitting the ground, blood and brain matter splattered on the floor like an abstract painting. Yuuri is frozen in place, he wants to move but each limb is rooted in place by invisible threads 

“Isn’t it beautiful my Yuuri?”  

It’s Viktor’s voice and yet it’s not at the same time. It’s darker, it’s distorted around the edges. Yuuri feels hot breath and then the wetness of Viktor’s lips kissing down his neck.   

“You did this my Yuuri.”   

He wants to look away. The dead man suddenly turns his broken head towards him.   

He gurgles as he speaks, sickly red liquids streaming out of his mouth as he does so.   

“You did this Yuuri.”    

Viktor bites his neck, hard, and Yuuri is suddenly in agony.   

He screams but nothing comes out.   

 

Yuuri is jolted awake by somebody shrieking like a banshee.  

It takes him a good moment to realize that his mouth is open and that he is in fact the one screaming.  

Yuuri’s shirt is damply sticking to him and bathed in sweat and he can feel himself violently shivering. He checks his phone on the bedside table.  

3.30 am  

He sits up in bed, pulls his knees towards him and curls in on himself tightly, and tries to will away the horrific nightmare. He nearly passes out in terror when there’s a loud crash and Viktor is suddenly in his doorway, gun in hand.  

“Yuuri! Are you hurt-” 

Viktor freezes when he notices Yuuri curled up into a ball shaking, he slowly lowers his gun.  

“What’s wrong moya lyubov?”  

Yuuri wants to say something, anything, but when his mouth opens the only sound that comes out it a strangled sob. He can feel wetness trailing down his face. Viktor places the gun on the bedside table and joins Yuuri on the bed, gently placing his arms around him and pulling him into his chest. Yuuri doesn’t have the strength to resist or protest and so he lets himself be enveloped in Viktor’s arms and feels almost comforted by the warmth and familiar scent of sweet cologne. Then he remembers his dream and nearly punches Viktor in the guts with the force he uses to push the other man off him, dream Viktor’s voice reverberating in his head.  Viktor definitely hadn’t expected it either as he goes toppling to the side and nearly falls off the bed.  

Viktor makes a little noise in his throat like a wounded animal, “Yuuri please, what’s happened?”  

He sounds genuinely hurt and Yuuri can’t help but feel slightly guilty.  

Yuuri closes his eyes, focusing on keeping his voice steady, “I had a nightmare.”  

He can feel Viktor’s weight shift on the bed and then it stops.  

“Can I hold you?”  

Yuuri nods before he can even think about it and then feels Viktor’s arms wrap around him again. This time however he doesn’t push Viktor away. Yuuri keeps his eyes closed as he focuses on inhaling and exhaling. He’s had panic attacks before, never the sort that made him nearly push a grown man off a bed, but still panic attacks all the same. He lets the tears stream down his face and waits for the shakes to pass as Viktor silently rubs tiny circles into his shoulder.  

“What was your nightmare about?” asks Viktor softly after a few minutes of silence.  

Yuuri takes a deep breath before opening his eyes and meeting Viktor’s, “It was- it was about you shooting that man.”  

Viktor’s blue eyes widen, “Yuuri, he hurt you, I-” 

“You didn’t need to kill him!”  

The words come out a lot angrier than he was anticipating and Viktor’s face seems to drain of all colour.  

“Oh no,” he presses Yuuri even closer to him, “I’ve  scared  you, haven’t I?” 

Yuuri just nods.  

“I’m so sorry.” Viktor whispers 

Viktor begins to gently stroke Yuuri’s hair and Yuuri catches himself almost leaning into the touch, “I would never ever hurt you my Yuuri.”  

My Yuuri.   

The urge to shove Viktor away again becomes incredibly intense and Yuuri forgets where he is and who he is with when he says- 

“Not your Yuuri.”  

Viktor freezes, his whole body tensing around him, and Yuuri suddenly becomes hyperaware of how much of a bad idea that was.   

What has he just done?  

Viktor stares at him blankly, “What?”  

“I’m not yours.”  

Yuuri waits for a knife to be pulled or a punch in the face or something. But nothing comes, instead, Viktor sits there silently.  

Then Yuuri nearly squeals in surprise as Viktor’s fingers reach out and press themselves underneath his chin, jolting his face upwards and towards him. Viktor leans in close, hot breath tickling Yuuri’s nose. His eyes darken and it sends warmth through Yuuri’s whole body.  

“And what do I have to do?” he says in a low growl, “What do I have to do to make you mine?”  

Every single word in every language he knows vanishes from his head, in fact, every thought vanishes too, his mind becomes a pile of mush. When he can finally form a sentence, the words don’t feel like his own.  

“Not kill people, not unless you have to.”  

Viktor tilts his head to the side then leans in even closer, “And if I did that?”  

“Then-” 

Then what? He would be Viktor’s? Does he want to be Viktor’s?  

What does being Viktor’s even entail?   

“Then you’d be a lot closer to it than you are right now.”  

HAS HE LOST HIS MIND?  

WHAT IS HE DOING?   

Yet he can feel himself smiling.  

And now Viktor’s smirking.  

“You’re toying with me aren’t you?” He runs the pad of his finger’s over Yuuri’s lips and Yuuri’s breath hitches, “Very well, I’ll think about your request.” 

Viktor moves his mouth and stops just over Yuuri’s ear.  

“But don’t think I don’t know this little game you’re playing.”   

Before Yuuri can form a response, Viktor’s gone.  

Yuuri pulls the covers back over himself and, determined to get some kind of sleep, forces himself to eject all thoughts of Viktor from his mind.  

In the morning he’s so exhausted that when his alarm finally blares in his ears, he nearly throws his phone across the room to get the thing to shut up. He needs to skate, he knows he needs to skate, but the whole concept of getting on the ice makes him want to puke. Is it even worth it? Is his career even salvageable at this point? For years skating has been his first love, he lives it, breathes it, and yet right now he wants nothing more than to curl up into a little ball and forget it all. 

“I suggest you rise and shine rebenok.” 

Melinka’s gravelly voice pierces itself through Yuuri’s existential crisis.  

She shuffles over to the curtains and pulls them back, harsh morning sunlight flashing into Yuuri’s eyes. He has to shield himself from the glare.  

Something suddenly occurs to him in his sleep-deprived haze, “Melinka, what does that word mean?”  

“What word rebenok? ”  

“That word,” says Yuuri rubbing his eyes, “The one you just said.”  

He can’t quite tell but he swears he can see the ghost of a smile on Melinka’s face.  

“It means child, child.”  

Maybe it’s because he’s tired that he doesn’t stop himself from mumbling, “I’m not a child.”  

Melinka begins to cackle and Yuuri can’t help the childish huff that escapes him.  

“I have spent seventy-eight years on this earth, you are all  children to me.”  

She laughs herself into a coughing fit as she leaves his bedroom, closing the door behind her.  

The rest of the morning passes in a blur, Yuuri doesn’t even have enough energy to be uncomfortable when he’s escorted by armed men into yet another black vehicle. As they drive the night before comes back to him in bits and pieces, but it feels distant, dreamlike, to a point where Yuuri almost thinks it didn’t happen. Yet he can vividly remember the softness of Viktor’s skin against him, can still feel the waves of heat that pulsated through him when Viktor held him.  

Back in the box.  

He decides he isn’t going to dwell on that.  

The rink itself is much bigger than his old one but at this point Yuuri almost half expected it. Viktor doesn’t seem to do things in small doses apparently. The staff regard him fondly, plastic grins on their faces like they have been given strict instructions to put them there. Realistically they probably have been instructed, or threatened, to do so. It’s like he’s a celebrity, but only because Viktor put a gun to everybody else’s head and told them he is.  

He feels disgusted by himself if he’s honest.  

A grey-haired balding man introduces himself as Yakov, his coach, and begins to explain to him his new and improved schedule. Dance lessons, a strict diet, training every day. He wonders if all that will help, he doubts it, he’s beginning to think that maybe he just isn’t that great at skating, to begin with. Of course, he then reminds himself that he’s here at the mercy of Viktor and that it would be another really bad idea to purposely sabotage himself in self-loathing.  

The last thing Yuuri wants is for Viktor to kill somebody else because of him.  

He’s about to turn out of Yakov’s office when he smacks into a solid mass.  

“What are you doing here.”  

Yuri stands in front of him, arms crossed and face tinted red.  

“I-I was- I skate here now,” Yuuri says weakly as he attempts to step past the short blonde.  

Yuri is not having it.  

Yuri pushes past him into Yakov’s office.   

“Why is he here at my rink?”  

Yakov gives Yuri a pointed look, “It’s not your rink, and Viktor said I should take him on.”  

Yuri looks about ready to pop a blood vessel and Yuuri wonders how a boy so tiny can contain so much rage.  

“Fuck Viktor! I’m not sharing my  coach.” 

Yakov just stares Yuri down, “It’s not up for debate.”  

“But-” 

Yakov glares, signally the conversation on the topic is over. Yuri spins on his heel and all but spits in Yuri’s direction before stalking off.  

What’s his problem?  

Yakov allows him to warm up on the ice before they practice a few basic jumps. It takes him a while but Yuuri finally feels his muscle memory kick in and the intense dread leaves him. Yakov is brutal, he yells whenever Yuuri stumbles and makes him repeat steps over and over again, and by the time Yuuri is allowed a break he’s not sure if he wants to cry or pass out. Both options sound so appealing.  

“Let me see one of your old routines so I know at least what you can do.”  

Ignoring the not so subtle jab Yuuri nods, taking one last sip from his water bottle before stepping back onto the ice. He lets his mind go blank as the familiar music plays. He begins his routine, slowly easing himself in, losing himself in it. The sounds wash over him in waves, the song vibrates through him. He’s so totally consumed that he even lands his first jump, then his second. The pace of the song picks up and so does his moments, another jump. The rest all blurs together, at that moment there’s nothing else there. No Yakov watching him. Just him and the chill of the air and the music in his head. It’s intoxicating. It’s liberating. The routine ends and the magic slips through his fingertips.  

And then he hears clapping.  

Initially, he thinks its Yakov and a sense of pride swells within him, but when he turns to the source of the clapping it’s not Yakov at all.  

It’s Viktor.  

All confidence vanishes into thin air.  

He slowly makes his way off the ice and vaguely hears Yakov mumble something along the lines of, “That’s enough for the day.”  

He sits on the bench and begins to unlace his skates 

“That was wonderful Yuuri.”  

Viktor bounces up to him, grinning from ear to ear.  

“Thank you,” Yuuri mumbles, feeling his insides knot from the intensity Viktor looks at him with.  

He continues to stare down at his laces like it requires a lot of concentration.  

“You must rest though moy dorogoy, allow me to take you home.”  

Yuuri stares up into Viktor’s big blue eyes and just nods. The memory of last night begins to float back in-  

No Yuuri. We’re not doing this right now.   

He swallows, hard.  

Viktor thankfully doesn’t notice, and he drapes his arms around Yuuri’s shoulders, guiding him towards the exit. Yuuri has come to the conclusion that Viktor has either no concept of personal space or really just doesn’t care. The latter seems more applicable. As they walk the staff are even more obnoxiously cheery towards them, even getting the door form them as they leave the building. Yuuri thinks about what it must look like to everybody, this “arrangement” he and Viktor have. It probably looks like Yuuri is sleeping his way to the top.  

He wonders how long it will be before that becomes technically true.  

His own lack of repulsion towards the idea scares him.  

In the car, Viktor’s arm stays protectively around him and as the car begins to move Yuuri has to dig his fingernails into his jeans to stop himself focusing too hard on it. He watches St. Petersburg pass them by.  

Viktor’s arm tenses around him.  

He looks back in Viktor’s direction only to see him staring out the rear window, breathing heavy. He then turns back and almost punches the screen in-between them and the driver.  

“Nikov, we’re being followed. Lose them. Now.”  

They’re being what-  

That thought is cut off abruptly by Yuuri being jerked forward against his seatbelt. Yuuri can feel himself on the verge of panic as he yanks his head around to see what’s behind them. Through the window he can see another black care, number plate obscured, trailing not so far behind them. The car swerves suddenly and Yuuri is jolted face-first into Viktor’s chest. Viktor catches him and holds him there and it does absolutely nothing to calm the way his stomach feels like it will turn itself inside out. Panic grasps at him, shaking him violently with its clammy hands.  

Viktor yells something loudly in Russian at the driver. 

The car veers to the left and this time it sends Viktor nearly toppling on top of him. Thankfully Viktor shoots his hands out just in time to stop them both and only then does he realize that he’s been basically clinging to Viktor the entire time. He doesn’t have to much time to be embarrassed as the car takes another sharp turn sending them back the other way. Yuuri checks the back window again and sure enough, the car is still behind them. They bounce from side to side like they're in a pinball machine before finally the car stops and the seatbelt is the only thing that stops them from smacking into the dark divider face first.  

“Chertov idiot!” 

Viktor’s breathing is ragged and his face flushed red as he loosens his grip slightly on Yuuri’s frame. Gently, he cups Yuuri’s face, eyes scanning his features.  

“Are you ok? Are you hurt?” he asks softly  

Yuuri nods his head weakly because oh he feels like he’s going to throw up.  

The car slowly begins to move again and Yuuri realizes that the window needs to go down right now or he’s going to throw up on Viktor’s well-tailored suit.  

As if reading his mind Viktor shoves a paper bag into his hand and without an ounce shame, Yuuri vomits into it.  

He expects Viktor to be disgusted but instead, he chuckles, “Aw my little kotenok  gets motion sick.”  

It takes every ounce of strength for Yuuri to say it between wretches.  

“Not yours.”  

 

Chapter Text

Viktor’s good mood does not last the rest of the car ride.  

Yuuri watches as Victor's fingers begin to methodically tap on his thighs, he stares straight ahead eyes fixed on the divider in front of him and doesn’t look at Yuuri once. The coldness is back, that same sickening chill from the warehouse that sets into the tiny space. Yuuri drowns in dread and he knows something coming, he can  feel  it in his whole being, but he doesn’t know what. Viktor is a human game of Russian roulette. His moods twist and dive and turn over like a bird in flight. It’s the part of Viktor that brings him back to reality, that grounds him whenever he gets too carried away with the charm and glamour, it reminds him why he’s scared. Or at least why he  should  be scared, he’s noticed that his body doesn’t always respond in the way he thinks it should.  

The car jerks to a stop.  

Viktor flings open the passenger door and steps out into the snow of the front lawn, Yuuri awkwardly follows behind him. He does a gesture with his hand in the air and then guards descend on thE car. Yuuri watches on as they drag the driver from the passenger seat, a young man with dirty blonde hair. He kicks and screams and yelps as they man-handle him towards the front door and practically throw him into the house. Yuuri looks at Viktor hoping for some kind of explanation, but Viktor’s eyes are dark and unreadable.  

Viktor follows the guards inside the house and Yuuri tails behind.  

As they enter Yuuri can see the driver splayed on the floor of the foyer, bruises already forming on his pale skin. The foyer is crawling with armed men but in the corner is Chris who, as Yuuri catches his eye, sends him a pitying look. It’s almost as if he knows what’s coming, it’s almost as if it’s happened before, and it rattles Yuuri to his very core. Everyone naturally creates a deformed circle, with Viktor and the driver in the centre, and Yuuri instantly b-lines towards Chis. He doesn’t know if Chris is even the safer option, but the familiarity is enough to lure him into a shaky sense of comfort. The room falls silent enough to hear a pin drop.  

Then Viktor slams his foot into the driver’s stomach.  

The driver splutters, winded, before letting a shriek of pain. Viktor is a blank slate and he doesn’t give the man even a moment to recover before he’s driving his foot into the man’s ribcage. There’s a disgusting cracking noise, the driver letting out another scream, and it makes Yuuri’s blood curdle.  

Viktor takes a deep breath in a clear attempt to compose himself, “How long did it take you to realize we were being followed.”  

He’s speaking English on purpose, so Yuuri can understand him, like some sick demonstration of power.  

The driver coughs, his voice is raspy, and his accent is thick, “I-I do not know I-” 

Viktor silences him by stomping on his arm, earning another yelp.  

“Ah, but you see, it’s your  job  to know isn’t it?”  

Viktor’s voice doesn’t sound like Viktor’s anymore. 

The driver only nods, earning another swift kick to the ribs.  

The driver screams out in pain again and it shatters Yuuri’s chest, his vision blurs with tears.  

“Your complete incompetence almost led to me being killed, which I suppose could be forgivable,” Viktor’s persona is eerily calm yet each word drips with venom, “But you endangered Yuuri. Now, you have to understand Nikov that I can’t simply let that slide.”  

“P-please,” sobs Nikov through tears, “Please don’t.”  

Viktor clicks his tongue twice, “It’s only a fair transaction, you failed in your job to protect somebody I love so now,” Viktor reaches into his suit jacket to reveal a gun and Yuuri’s heart stops, “Now I relieve you of your life.”  

No.   

No.   

Not again.   

Not this time.   

Yuuri’s body moves before he has a chance to talk himself out of it. He charges into the circle and throttles himself in front of Nikov, staring directly down into the barrel of Viktor’s gun.  

“No.”  

Viktor’s eyes widen, “Yuuri...” 

Yuuri stares him down, he can hear his heartbeat in his head.  

Viktor lets out of a sigh of irritation before he grits out, “Darling, move.”  

“Please Viktor, you told me you wouldn’t do this.” 

Viktor looks at him, looks at Nikov, and then looks back at him, “But he-” 

“I don’t care. It’s  my  life he endangered, remember? I forgive him,” without thinking Yuuri gently places his hand on Viktor’s wrist and begins to rub tiny circles, Viktor instantly seems to relax, “You don’t need to do this. Please, just spare him,” Viktor’s blue eyes stare back at him, “for me.”  

Viktor slowly lowers the gun and hoisters it back in his suit jacket and Yuuri lets himself breath. 

Viktor gives Nikov a tight smile, “Well, it seems you have been shown mercy by the grace of my beloved,” he snaps his fingers at the guards, “Get him out of my sight, before I change my mind.”  

Instead of the scramble, Yuuri is expecting there is an unusual silence that follows. As he looks around the room he can see everyone’s gaze is fixed on him. Their eyes are wide and while Yuuri initially thinks they are just terrified there’s something else there- 

He quickly tries to shake it off. 

“Did I fucking stutter?” screams Viktor suddenly, startling him, “Get out! Get out, all of you!”  

Three of them pick-up Nikov and begin to drag him to the next room as the rest scurry and disperse. Chris lingers only a moment, nodding in their general direction before following behind the men dragging Nikov into the next room. Viktor’s facade is gone, and warmth comes flooding back into his features. It’s only after they’re all gone that Yuuri realizes he’s been shaking the whole time.  

Viktor begins to pull at his own hair, he won’t look Yuuri in the eye.  

“I need to-” he whispers, “I need to go.”  

He wriggles his wrist out of Yuuri’s grasp and stalks upstairs without another word.  

Yuuri eats dinner alone that night.  

For the next week in fact he sees no sign of Viktor. He never shows up at his training. Food is simply sent up to his room on a tray, carried in by Melinka. He doesn’t know why he even cares that much, Viktor being out of his hair should fill him with relief. Yet it does the opposite, he finds himself more anxious as the week goes on. It eats away at him slowly, nagging at the corner of his mind every time he’s not thinking about skating.  

Or about the car chase.  

He tries desperately to forget that little detail.  

He hadn’t exactly considered how dangerous entering this world would be. Sure, he’d considered it.  But with a mixture of being petrified for his immediate safety and sheer desperation in the face of losing the one thing that made him feel alive, it all kind of clouded his vision. Now, he realizes, he should probably have just taken his chances with pissing Viktor off.   

At least, he would be sleeping a lot better. 

He still has nightmares, often waking in the middle of the night covered in sweat, screaming his lungs ragged. But there’s no Viktor this time to hold him. They’re still variations of the same grizzly scene but now with more kicking and stomping. Viktor’s role in the dreams has been even more prominent. It escalates to a point where “Dream Viktor” bends Yuuri over and does unspeakable, wonderful things to Yuuri’s body.  

He wakes up from that dream rock hard and then proceeds to loathe himself for as long as it takes to deal with that problem.  

There’s absolutely something wrong with him.   

He knows deep down that he should be more scared of Viktor than he is, the very sane part of him is screaming to be so. It takes a certain kind of person, a certain sick kind of person, to brutally beat somebody as a show “love”. Yuuri shudders at the word. Viktor’s love is definitely not something wants or even asked for. Viktor’s love disgusts him, and he doesn’t care what his body thinks, Viktor is a  monster.  He’s beautiful to look at yes, but so are poisonous frogs- 

 And you don’t see Yuuri snacking on those do you?  

By the time it moves into the second week Yuuri begins to have questions. He arrives back from skating one night, sees Chris walk into the foyer, and practically backs the taller man into a corner.  

“I haven’t seen Viktor around lately.”  

Chris crosses his arms and quirks an eyebrow, “I thought you would be happy that he wasn’t around?”  

He thought so too.   

“Why do you say that?” asks Yuuri a little bit  too  defensively  

“Oh, you know, just that general aura of  ‘please stop touching me Viktor but also keep touching me Viktor’  that you give off.”  

Yuuri lets out an indignant squeak.  

Chris grins wolfishly, “Ah so the truth comes out. You like him more than you want to admit.”  

Yuuri scrambles for a relevant excuse or even a legitimate answer.  

His mind comes up blank. 

“I just- well I am guest in his house and I just wanted to make sure that-” 

Chris holds his hand up to stop him, “I get it, Viktor’s probably sulking in his office and avoiding you.”  

“You kind of made him look bad,” Chris shrugs, “I mean you’ve already got him wrapped around your little finger and I think that’s just occurred to him. He’s probably just embarrassed that his precious  Yuuri-”  Chris pulls a face as he mimics Viktor’s accent,  Saw a part of him that wasn’t flattering.”  

The idea that he could have any power over Viktor seems absolutely laughable at best.  

The other half, however-  

He knows what Viktor’s been trying to do; woo him with a big house and a giant rink and a fancy dinner of his favourite meal. It’s painfully obvious that he’s trying so hard and yet he doesn’t seem to get why Yuuri isn’t falling to his knees. It’s like an alien came down and explained to Viktor how human interactions are supposed to go but then left out the part about trying to form an actual emotional connection to them.  

It’s bizarre.  

He remembers those moments at dinner nearly two weeks ago when they had actually talked  and admittedly Yuuri had enjoyed it. Viktor had moments of humanity then, albeit he had avoided any and all lines of questioning that led to anything personal, but they had been there. They don’t necessarily overshadow what he’s done but-  

At least it’s something that could explain Yuuri’s unwanted attraction to him.  

“He’ll come out when he’s ready,” Chris winks at him, “Try not to be too loud with the make-up sex yeah? Other people have to work here.”  

Yuuri would rather throw himself off a bridge than think about that, regardless of what his dreams say otherwise.  

The silence of Viktor continues for another two days straight and Yuuri basically gives ups all hope of Viktor talking to him. He goes to skating, comes home, receives dinner, sleeps, and repeats the whole thing again the next day. The days kind of merge into a blur of exhaustion and nightmares and so when Melinka shows up at his room earlier than expected it’s like a sharp knife cutting through butter.  

“Vitya wishes to see you in his office, rebenok. ” 

Yuuri’s so exhausted that he almost considers saying say no but then remembers that it’s probably not even an option. Besides he does want to see Viktor, if for no other reason than to sate the growing unease that has built up over the past two weeks. So, he keeps his mouth shut, closes his laptop, and follows Melinka down the hallway.  

As they walk Yuuri catches himself picking at the beds of is fingernails. His stomach riles again. He starts to think that maybe agreeing to this was a bad idea after all. Eventually, they stop at a door down the end of the corridor Melinka knocks on the wood three times.  

Viktor’s unmistakable voice rings out, “Come in!”  

Melinka opens the door, pushes him into the room, and then slams the door behind him before he has a chance to say a word.  

Sure, throw him to the wolves why don’t you?  

The office is a mess. There are papers strewn carelessly all over the floor and lounge. Books stacked in tiny piles, some open with pages dogeared. Yuuri can just imagine the large, lit, fireplace easily becoming a fire hazard. Viktor sits at his desk which seems to be the only clear surface. He seems calm despite the chaos around him.  

Yet his appearance certainly doesn’t lend itself to that.  

Gone is the usual suit jacket, instead replaced with a simple button-up white shirt, top buttons undone. His silver hair hangs limply around his face. It lacks its usual gloss like he hasn’t washed it in a while. He smiles wide when he sees Yuuri, raising the crystal glass in his hand.  

“Good evening Yuuri.”  

Yuuri awkwardly shifts from side to side, “Hi.”  

He gestures with his hand for Yuuri to sit on the chair in front of his desk. Carefully stepping in attempt to not tread on the mess Yuuri complies. Viktor’s eyes follow him as he moves across the room, staying fixed on him as he takes his seat. The desk isn’t nearly enough of a barrier between them, Yuuri thinks, but at least it’s there.  

“Stolichyna?” Viktor asks, motioning to the large bottle of Vodka and the glass between them, “It’s Russia’s finest.”  

Maybe it’s the lack of sleep. Maybe he’s just finally lost his mind.  

But something deep inside Yuuri just says-  

Screw it.   

“Okay.” 

And Viktor beams.  

He reaches for another crystal glass and pours a generous amount of the clear liquid into. Yuuri takes it and gives it a tentative sniff. He nearly wretches, it smells like the stuff his sister uses to removes nail-polish.  He can feel Viktor’s eyes on him and so he swallows it all in one gulp. It burns all the way down and clogs up his senses in a way alcohol has never done before.  

Viktor chuckles, “Oh my dear, you were supposed to sip that.”  

His stomach agrees.  

“H-how do you drink this stuff?”  

Viktor pouts in a way that is almost comical, “Do you not like it?” 

No.  

No, he really doesn’t.  

And yet -  

“Can I have another glass?”  

Viktor snatches the glass out of his hands, “Yes, but only if you promise to sip it this time.”  

Yuuri nods.  

“I can’t blame you for needing a stiff drink to be around me,” he says as he pours, “I can’t imagine you think particularly highly of me right now.”  

He’s not exactly wrong .  

Viktor hands him the glass before taking a sip of his own. Then Viktor swallows loudly and looks down at his hands like they’re the most interesting thing in the world.   

 “I-I’m sorry Yuuri, for what I did.”  

Yuuri is struck once again by how childlike Viktor looks, vulnerable and ashamed. It then occurs to him that maybe the person really should be apologizing to is the he man he brutally beat.  

“Maybe you should say that to Nikov,” says Yuuri softly. 

Viktor looks up from his hands staring at him intensely, “He’s okay, I made sure of that.”  

“I don’t understand why you did it.”  

Viktor takes a sip of the foul drink. His eyes dart around the room and Yuuri can tell that this is another sore spot. But he’s determined to pick at this wound until it bleeds. Until he can sleep without nightmares. Until Viktor clues him in one what’s going on.  

After a while of Viktor staring at literally anything else, he finally breaks the silence, “Violence is just how things work in this world Yuuri.”  

Viktor pours himself another glass of Vodka.  

How much has he had?  

“This line of work-  my  line of work, morality is flimsy at best,” he continues, “If you want to get things done, if you want people to respect you,” he takes a sip from his new helping, “You have to shed a little blood.”  

As far as answers go, he doesn’t know what he was expecting. 

Maybe, for some reason, he was clinging to the foolish hope that it wouldn’t be that.  

“What is your line of work exactly?” Yuuri finds himself asking as he takes a sip of his own drink, wincing as it numbs his throat.  

Viktor still refuses to look at him, “Drugs and arms trafficking mostly. I prefer to stay out of the human market, draws way too much attention. Besides, it’s barbaric and unnecessary.” 

The human market.  

He can’t tell if it’s the vodka making him sick or not.  

He downs the rest of it to cope. His head begins to feel fuzzy.  

Another silence before Viktor quietly says, “Yuuri I’m a very bad man. You need to know that.”  

He’s becoming acutely aware of that fact.  

Their eyes meet again but this time it feels different, electricity crackles in the room. Yuuri feels too warm. Viktor silently stands up and moves to the mantle pieces, fiddling with an old record player. The room fills with the steady sound of some kind of jazz. Viktor leans against the fireplace but he wobbles slightly, kind tripping over his own feet in a way that makes Yuuri think that this is not his first bottle of vodka. Maybe not even his second. Yuuri reluctantly swivels his own chair to face him. Then Viktor undoes another button of his shirt, exposing milky white skin and Yuuri audibly gulps. He makes himself look away, his whole-body filling with warmth. Yuuri feels like air, like he could float away at any moment.  

Was it always this hot in here?    

He refuses to look yet he can almost  feel  Viktor’s smirk, “Ah, you’re such a blushing virgin.”  

Yuuri forces himself to stare deeply at the bottle on the desk in front of him, determined to not give Viktor the satisfaction of toying with him.  

“Are you a virgin Yuuri?”  

He’s so not answering that.   

Instead, his hands reach out for the vodka and he pours himself another glass, and skulls it back like it’s the last drop of water in a desert.  

Huh.  

It doesn’t burn as much the third time around.  

“Your silence is very telling.”  

Yuuri finally fixes his eyes back to Viktor’s, originally to glare, but that idea quickly evaporates once he does so. Because suddenly Viktor is just there and heat pools at the bottom of his stomach. His mind begins to swirl, and his lips just start to move on their own accord.  

“You,” he can hear the slur in his own voice, “Ask rude questions.”  

Viktor’s grin widens, “Oh do I now?”  

Yuuri nods his head so furiously his vision loses focus.  

“So you aren’t going to tell me?”  

Yuuri bites his lip and shakes his head.  

“Please?” Viktor purrs and it sends tingles all the way up Yuuri’s spine.  

Something submissive within himself just keels over, “Y-yes I am.”  

Really? ” Viktor quirks an eyebrow as if it’s a surprising revelation even though Yuuri knows fully well it’s not, “So that’s why you act so touch starved.”  

He does not-   

“I do not act touch starved.” 

Oh.  

He’s just said that out loud.   

Viktor laughs loudly with a smile so large Yuuri wonders if he could break his face. Yuuri finds himself wanting to just say something, anything, to wipe it clean off. His mind wanders to all the kinds of things he could do to make him shut up. The things he could to Viktor’s lips, places he could put Viktor’s lips, places he could put his own lips

And he’s right there-  

The tiny part of his mind still sober commands him to control himself. 

“I don’t need your touch,” says Yuuri indignantly and he thinks at least he’s on the right track, “I do a perfectly good job by myself.”  

And he just lost it again.   

That does admittedly shut Viktor up for a moment, but it does nothing to remove the smirk plastered across Viktor’s face.  

Oh really,”  says Viktor and  oh god the way he’s looking at him,  “And do you do that often?”  

He knows he’s got to stop accepting the rope to hang himself with but his mind just keeps buzzing, “Maybe.”  

“Now you’re just being coy.”  

“Maybe.”  

He finds himself staring a bit too long at Viktor’s heart-shaped lips. He imagines how soft they would feel.  

“Yuuri.” Viktor takes two steps towards him, “Don’t think I can’t see you doing that.”  

“Doing what?”  

He’s acting as best he can in his absolutely intoxicated state, but he knows he’s not fooling anybody.  

Two more steps, “You want me to kiss you don’t you moy dorgoy?”  

No.   

Yes.   

Oh god yes.   

He manages to keep his mouth shut.  

Viktor takes two more steps towards him and Yuuri can feel his heart throbbing. Viktor is towering over him in his chair now. He smells like a candy store. His eyes are so blue and warm and inviting. The tips of Viktor’s finger gently push his chin upwards and Yuuri moves upwards with it until he can smell the vodka on his breath. Viktor leans in even closer and Yuuri melts towards him, his mind a haze of want and need and-  

Viktor stops just mere inches from his lips.  

“But I don’t think I will,” Viktor’s voice is a low hum and Yuuri’s body vibrates, “I want to you to be stone-cold sober when I take you.”  

Yuuri is flooded with something, whether it’s disappointment or relief he’s not entirely sure.   

“Oh don’t pout,” Viktor chuckles “You won’t want to look at me in the morning I can guarantee it.” 

He can already feel the fog clearing in his head.  

Viktor runs his hand through Yuuri’s hair, “I think it’s time to put you to bed kotenok, you don’t hold your vodka very well.”  

Yuuri is beginning to feel the weight of what nearly happened set in and so yes, he can agree with that.   

He nearly kissed Viktor.  

Viktor nearly kissed him.  

He and Viktor nearly kissed.   

Even in his drunken state, Yuuri knows that’s a cause for concern.  

Finally, reason and sanity kick in. They’re a little late to the party but they do show up. They propel him forward, past Viktor, out of the study and down the hallway. He doesn’t look Viktor in the eyes, doesn’t dare, he’s looked at Viktor enough tonight.  

The last thing he remembers is his head hitting the softness of his bed.  

 

Viktor’s lips pepper his collarbone, he takes the sensitive skin between his teeth and sucks. Yuuri moans, rutting himself against him, seeking the delicious heat that it brings 

Viktor removes his lips with a pop and stares up into Yuuri’s eyes, he smiles seductively, “What do you want my love?”   

His voice sounds ragged to his own ears.   

 “Everything.”   

 

He is jolted awake by the faint sound of people yelling.  

Yuuri’s head throbs and he’s hit by a wave of nausea as he sits up. He hears the distinct thumping of footsteps moving down the hallway. It makes his head hurt even more. The night before comes back to him in pieces and-  

Oh.  

Oh no.  

He feels his face flush as he pushes the memory into a box, determine to never open it for as long as he lives. The yelling begins to increase and Yuuri decides that, if for nothing else than to stop his headache, he should probably go check what the commotion is about. As he stands to do just that his guts lurch again and he has to fight the bile steadily climbing in his throat. He pulls on jeans and a t-shirt and begins to make his way down the hallway, the yelling getting progressively louder, as he reaches the staircase he freezes.  

It’s absolute chaos.  

Three of what Yuuri assumes are Viktor’s men lie face down in pools of blood at the bottom of the stairs. Chris and another one of Viktor’s men restrain a well-dressed man Yuuri doesn’t recognize. The man struggles and thrashes, but they hold him back with relative ease. About ten other men hug the sides of the walls, they point their guns at the man. In the middle of it all stands Viktor, looming over the man, smiling. Yuuri, despite everything inside him screaming at him to run, descends the stairs to join Viktor’s side. He figures, being next to Viktor is probably the safest place in the room right now.  

Viktor and safe, two words he never thought would be in the same sentence.  

Viktor, however, doesn’t acknowledge him, taking a step towards the restrained man, “You’re a pretty useless assassin” 

The man spits in Viktor’s direction and growls something in Russian.  

Chris hits the man over the back of the head, “I don’t think he was actually meant to succeed Vitya.”  

“Yes, I noticed.”  

The man helping Chris hands Viktor a piece of paper, “We found this on him Pakahn.”  

Viktor snatches the paper and begins to read, Yuuri watches Viktor’s face crinkle in disgust, then watches as Viktor crumples the paper in his hand and chucks it over his shoulder.  

“So childish,” Viktor says under his breath so only Yuuri hears, “Now, what to do we do with you?” 

Yuuri feels his whole-body tense, he knows he’s about to receive more fuel for his ongoing nightmares.  

Viktor suddenly turns to him, he smiles warmly, then turns back to the man, “You can keep your life, you’re a very convenient messenger.”  

Yuuri has never been more grateful in his whole life.  

“Tell your master,” Viktor takes a step towards the man and yanks his chin upwards, “That he’s going to have to have to try harder than petty threats.”  

The restrained man nods.  

Viktor clicks his fingers, “Let him loose outside but if he attacks you shoot him. We’ve wasted enough time on this.”  

Another man replaces Chris and they roughly push the man out of the large front doors.  

Chris quirks and eyebrow, “You let him walk?”  

Viktor shrugs, “As I said, it just so happened to be convenient.”  

Chris does not look convinced, “Right Vitya.”  

Yuuri sees one of the bloody corpses out of the corner of his eye and stomach throws an absolute tantrum.  

“Get this cleaned up.” barks Chris at two of the loitering guards.  

They begin to drag the corpses out of the room, leaving trails of blood.  

Viktor’s looking at him again with big blue eyes.  

“I’m sorry you had to see that,” coos Viktor, gently cupping Yuuri’s cheek, “You won’t be leaving the house for a few days I’m afraid.”  

Yuuri swipes his hand away.  

Something inside him burns bright.  

“You won’t be leaving”   

Says who? Viktor?   

He knows it’s irrational given the circumstances, but the way Viktor says those words, like a command, like he could trap Yuuri here and Yuuri he could do nothing about it, makes him angry. Because he’s fed up with being bounced around from violent situation to violent situation with no agency. He’s sick of Viktor dictating where he goes and when. He’s tired all the time because the life that Viktor has thrown him into is so gory that he can’t sleep because of the nightmares.  

Viktor’s eyes widen, “Yuuri-”  

“I’m going skating, I’m finally starting to make progress.”  

He is, and he’ll be damned if Viktor screws up the one thing he enjoys in this mess.  

Viktor huffs, “No, you’re not.”  

“Um,” Yuuri takes a step back, “Yes I am.”  

Viktor’s demeanour freezes over, he takes a cautionary step towards Yuuri, “You aren’t”  

“No Viktor, I’m not one of your- your men, you don’t get to give me orders.”  

“Yuuri,” Viktor growls, “I’m trying to keep you safe.”  

“I’m sure the armed guards that follow me every time I go to the bathroom can handle that.”  

Yuuri nearly winces at his own words, it had come out a lot nastier than he was expecting. He becomes hyperaware of the audience they have, watching on silently.  

“Why must you be so fucking ungrateful,” mutters Viktor.  

And Yuuri just snaps 

“Ungrateful,” he’s screaming now, louder than he has in his life, “I never asked for any of this. What do I have to be grateful for? You?”  

Viktor looks physically wounded.  

“Please Yuuri,” he says softly, “I love you.”  

Yuuri sees red.  

“Love me?” he spits “You don’t even know me. ” 

Dorogoy”  

“You don’t love me. You love the idea of me.”  

He’s done with the day. He’s done with the conversation. He’s hungover and tired and he just wants a few hours of peaceful sleep without the world imploding in his wake.  

So he leaves Viktor to lick his wounds at the bottom of the stairs and storms back to his room.  

What did he-   

What did he just  do?  

It hits him about half-way up the hallway that maybe, just maybe, he shouldn’t have done that.   

Why is he acting like this?   

He throws himself onto the bed, curling himself underneath the duvet. He stacks the pillows up beside him as a barrier and sandwiches his body in-between them. He’s so  tired.   

What was he  thinking?   

Rebenok ?”  Melinka  peers through his door, “May I come in?”  

Yuuri nods.   

She shuffles in closing the door behind her and sits on the edge of Yuuri’s bed, “You’re not sleep very well are you?”   

“No.”   

She gives him a wry smile, “That explains your outburst, what a silly thing to do.”  

He nods.   

She pulls a pill bottle out of her apron and places it next to her.   

“These may help,” she says, “You need rest or you’ll  loose   your  marbles my child.”   

“Thank you  Melinka .”   

She moves towards the door but stops just shy of the door handle, “ Vitya  knows you didn’t mean to be cruel. I made sure of that.”   

She closes the door behind her and Yuuri scrambles for the pills, he gets some water from the adjacent bathroom and swallows one before snuggling back into his pillow fortress. 

For the first time since he arrived, he falls into a dreamless sleep. 

Chapter Text

When he finally wakes it’s like a physical weight has been lifted from his whole body.  

His eyes no longer feel like lead, they flutter open with little effort. Gingerly he stretches his limbs and is almost surprised when they move without their previous dull ache. It’s like somebody gave a flashlight in a dark room. His mind jumps from one sensation to the next with clarity.  

He wonders how sleep-deprived he must have been to now feel this  good .  

He checks his phone and the mood quickly dissipates.  

3:00 pm   

He’s slept  most of  the day.   

He forces himself out of bed and it's only then that the memory of the night before hits him full throttle. He freezes just as he’s about to reach for his skate bag.  

Can he even skate today?  

The fire that coursed through his veins last night has been dulled to a flicker. If he’s honest with himself he’s not sure why it had ever burnt so brightly in the first place. Viktor had been, well, he had been  controlling,  but no more than usual. At least this time there was a plausible reason as opposed to his usual,  have dinner with me, come to my office, sip the vodka -   

Oh.   

He can begin to see what sleep-deprived Yuuri was getting at.  

Yuuri isn’t sure why it bothers him. He knows himself well, he lacks a backbone. The thought of conflict makes his stomach weak and flimsy. It would be so much easier, so much less anxiety-inducing, if he just let Viktor do whatever he wanted. Yet something claws at his insides. It’s like he left a part of himself in that warehouse intermingled with that man’s broken body.  

He hasn’t felt normal since.  

He just wants to skate and forget it ever happened, but he knows now, that’s never going to be the case.  

He decides that despite it being a lost cause he’s going to try anyway and so he heaves his skating bag onto his shoulder and makes his way downstairs. His hopes are quickly dashed against the rocks when discovers that the front door has two very large men guarding it who Yuuri doubts are going to let him through.  

“I wouldn’t bother with that.”  

Chris’s voice behind him makes him jump. He turns to Chris’s weak smile.  

 He notices the dark rings under Chris’s eyes but decides not to comment.  

“Look Yuuri, I know I shouldn’t be telling you this,” Chris sighs, “But Viktor is genuinely scared that they’re going to target you.” 

“Who is going to target me?” asks Yuuri  

Chris purses his lips together, “There are other mafia organizations out there and not all of them  like  us.”  

Chris opens his mouth as if he’s about to continue-  

“Get the fuck off me!”  

There’s a crash as Yuri is corralled through the front door, struggling against a man who holds his small frame back with relative ease. The man restraining him finally steps back and suddenly Yuri is between him and Chris.  Yuri is suddenly very, very close to Chris’s face.  

Yuuri wonders if he’s in a permanent state of anger or if he just catches Yuri at the wrong times.   

“You know, if you had of just gone along willingly, they wouldn’t have had to do that.”  

Yuri sneers at Chris, “You know, if you weren’t constantly sucking Viktor’s dick, we’d get along a lot better Christophe.” 

Yuuri winces.  

Chris seems totally unphased, he laughs loudly, “He would be so lucky to have the pleasure of my expertise.”  

That’s a mental image Yuuri didn’t need.  

Yuri makes an audible retching noise, “God you’re so gross.”  

“So,” Chris clasps his hands together, “In light of recent events you’re both  kind of  in danger. You’ll be staying here until we sort things out.”  

For once Yuri doesn’t respond, instead, he glares at Chris in a way that makes Yuuri mildly worried for Chris’s safety.  

“I have to leave now to run some errands, but uh, enjoy your playdate.”  

Chris flees past the guards at the front door, leaving them both in the foyer. Yuuri feels anxiety creep in and mentally begins to prepare himself for the verbal lashing he’s going to receive.  

Yuri rolls his eyes, “Smug asshole,” he turns to Yuuri expectantly, “Well, you wanna watch a movie or some shit? Not like we’ve got anything better to do.”  

“Y-yeah sure, I’ve got a laptop upstairs.”  

“Cool.” 

Well, that was anticlimactic.   

Yuri follows him back upstairs, they set up the laptop and Yuri leaves for a moment then comes back with two packets of potato chips. He shoves them into Yuuri’s hands before taking control of the laptop. He opens up Netflix and begins to scroll through before clicking on an action film.  

“You like John Wick?” Yuri asks whilst stuffing chips into his mouth.   

“I’ve never seen it.”  

Yuri swallows his mouthful, “Well we’re watching it, deal with it.”  

Yuuri just nods.  

They place the laptop on the bed and settle back into the pillows. The opening credits roll. Yuuri lets himself eat a couple of potato chips. About ten minutes in Yuri breaks the silence.  

“So,” he shoves his hand into the chip back and takes a handful, “You fucking my cousin?”  

Yuuri splutters, heat blooms in his face.  

“N-no, why does everybody think that?”  

Yuri shrugs.  

“I dunno,” he says with a mouthful of chips, “I guess we all just assumed that was why you were hanging around.”  

The silence settles back in again for another ten minutes before Yuri breaks it again.  

“How’d you guys meet anyway?” he asks, “I haven’t seen you two together before this.”  

Yuuri worries his lip between his teeth, he looks intently at the ceiling.  

Yuri huffs, “What? Is it embarrassing or something?” 

“H-he-”  

“Come on!” Yuri snaps, “You gonna tell me?”  

“He  kindakidnapedme -”     

Yuuri’s eyes widen comically, “He did what. ”  

“He got these men to take me to a warehouse and then he introduced himself.”  

Yuri groans, “ Vitya why must you be so weird and creepy.”  

He can’t help but think that it’s a good question.  

“Please tell me he isn’t, like, holding you captive or some shit,” says Yuri, “Or I’ll really fucking lose it.”  

“N-no nothing like that, he’s sponsoring me.”  

Yuri exhales, “Thank god,  because I dunno if I could take him in a straight fight.”  

Wait-   

“Why would you do that,” Yuuri squeaks, “Y-you don’t like me.” 

Yuri rolls his eyes, “You're fine, I guess,” he shovels yet another handful of potato chips into his mouth, “It’s just we were rivals so-”  

Yuri is interrupted by two sudden bangs that ring out from downstairs. 

And Yuuri knows that noise.   

Yuri looks at him and it becomes very clear that he knows that noise too.  

“Under the bed,” Yuri says in a harsh whisper.  

They both move in unison, crawling into the cramped space. He can hear the thump of footsteps coming down the hallway. His breath stutters its way out of his lungs, and he clamps a hand over his mouth and bites down to muffle it. Yuri is pressed to his side and shakes ever so slightly. The footsteps begin to get closer, then closer still. He feels Yuri shift next to him, then reaches back into his pocket before pulling out a chunk of something.  He clicks a notch and it becomes evident that that’s a knife.   

Yuri silently presses his finger to his lips as Yuuri catches his eye.  

The door to the bedroom creaks open and Yuuri watches as two back boots begin to pace into his vision. All the figure has to do is adjust their eye level a little lower and they’re done for.  

Yuuri has to fight the urge to scream, it’s a bloody battle.  

The boots turn away from them and then before he has a chance to stop him Yuri is gone. Purple converse now joining the black boots. The black boots let out a yelp. He knows that a man with a gun is easily going to overpower a kid with a pocket-knife. He crawls out from under the bed, but his limbs cross over in all the wrong places and it takes a second longer than it should. Out from underneath the bed he can see Yuri backed up against a wall, the knife on the other side of the room, and a gun about to be pressed to Yuri’s throat. Yuuri’s whole world freezes.  

His skating bag.   

His hands fly out in front of him as he clambers to his skating bag in the corner of the room, picks it up and swings it right into the head of the man. It collides with his skull with a loud crack and the large man drops to the ground. Yuuri waits for him to get up again but he doesn’t move. The man’s fat lips puff outwards and his large cheeks push themselves into the ground. His dark eyes are wide open and glassy.  

“Yuuri?”  

Viktor’s voice cuts through the haze.  

The bag in his hands clatters to the ground.  

“Did you do this?” Viktor is a distant echo, Yuuri counts the individual hairs of the man’s stubble.  

1  

2  

3  

4  

5  

6  

His body no longer feels like his own, he feels several layers of space between him and it.  

“You did so well,” he hears Viktor coo behind him but he doesn’t look.  

 

 

 

“Are you okay?” he hears Viktor ask.  

“Y-yeah I’m fine.” he hears Yuri answer. 

Viktor sighs, “Leave us, you can stay here the night.”  

He hears footsteps trailing off into the distance.  

10   

11  

12   

“Yuuri, my darling,” he feels a hand press gently into his shoulder, “It’s okay.”  

His knees buckle underneath him and he plummets into an abyss, only to be caught and held in place. Honey and vanilla drift into his senses.  

He chokes on his own heart and an ugly strangled sob presses past his lips and into the room.  

He can’t see a thing, but he can feel everything.  

“Shh, it’s okay,” Viktor’s voice vibrates against his hair, “All okay.”  

Time warps and stretches and Yuuri isn’t exactly sure how long he stays there, crumpled in Viktor’s arms. The ugly thoughts of what he’s done beat him bloody, they smash their firsts into his lungs and throat, they repeatedly jab at his guts.   

Viktor.  

Viktor.   

Vitya.   

“I’m here Yuuri,” Viktor hushes and Yuuri realizes he must have been saying it out loud, “I’m here and I’m not leaving.”  

“I-I-” his voice sounds like somebody else’s, “I k-killed- I-” 

“You didn’t mean to, I know.” 

Yuuri’s body drifts away from him like a ship at sea.  

When it finally docks into the harbor he’s no longer on the floor. He’s curled into something soft and warm and sweet-smelling. It shifts slightly beneath him and rises and falls methodically.  

“Please try and stay with me Yuuri, anchor yourself.”  

He doesn’t question the voice, he focuses on his breathing, focuses on the sensation of fabric and heat beneath him. He can feel himself being sucked back into his body sharply and it finally clicks that the form he’s snuggled up to is  Viktor.   

Yuuri lets out the noise of a strangled cat. 

Viktor laughs softly, “Oh come on, I’m not  that  bad surely.”  

No, he’s really not.  

“Yuuri, you’re not well,” says Viktor, his voice barely a whisper, “You’re not well, and it’s my fault.”  

Viktor put him here.   

Yet it wasn’t like he hadn’t agreed to it. He realizes he could have left at any point and just gone home. Yet he hadn’t.  

Is that really Viktor’s doing, or his own?  

Yuuri shakily sits up straight and his gaze instantly fixes on the area he remembers- he remembers  

He doesn’t want to remember.  

Viktor gently pulls Yuuri’s face towards him so their eyes meet, “I moved him, there’s no need to look.”  

Yuuri focuses on the tiny flecks of green in Viktor’s eyes.  

“Is there anything you need Yuuri?” Viktor asks softly  

“Air.”  

Viktor nods and then gently helps him off the bed. His stomach swoops uncomfortably and he feels like he’s floating slightly off the ground as he stands up. Viktor wraps an arm around his waist to steady him and together they begin to move towards the bedroom door. They limp down the hallway until they reach the staircase at which point Viktor hauls Yuuri up bridle style and carries him down. Once upon a time, Yuuri would have blushed, perhaps let out a noise of protest. Now whatever feeling he would have had is replaced with a thrumming numbness. They pass through a backdoor and then Yuuri gasps and gulps as the chilled air enters his airways. Finally, he can feel himself closing the gap between him and his body and Viktor gently lowers him down onto a wicker seat overlooking the garden. It’s only then that his chest twists and the tears come. His vision blurs and he slouches in the chair as the waves wash over him.  

Viktor for once keeps his distance.  

Eventually, the last wave crashes down and he has a moment to wipe his eyes and his nose and be present. His eyes focus on a cluster of rosebushes in front of them with petals of scarlet that peak out through the snow-covered leaves. Somewhere in the distance a bird chirps. Yuuri inhales deeply, the garden smells crisp and wet. Out the corner of his eye, he can see Viktor watching him and honestly, he’s a little surprised he’s stayed there the entire time. Viktor moves into the wicker seat next to him and the two of them sit in silence.  

“It’s not always this intense,” says Viktor after a while has passed. 

“What’s not as intense?” asks Yuuri and whilst it’s shaky, it’s the first time his own voice has sounded familiar.  

“Killing somebody, it’s always harder the first time,” says Viktor and it’s the  way  he says it, detached and devoid of feeling, that makes Yuuri’s skin crawl.  

Yuuri eyes scrunch closed as he wonders for a second if he really wants to know the answer to the nagging question, “How many people have you killed?”  

Viktor laughs but there’s no humour behind it, it’s harsh and biting, “Too many.”  

Yuuri allows his eyes to open again and notices Viktor rubbing the cross around his neck in-between his fingers. The action for a moment puts Yuuri in a trance and he watches as Viktor rolls the gold between his index finger and his thumb.  

“Look what I’ve done,” spits Viktor bitterly, “I’ve made your more like  me .”  

Yuuri has never heard somebody refer to themselves with so much malice.  

Viktor closes his eyes and clutches the cross with his hand, “Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. You created me and I am Your slave. I keep Your covenant, and my pledge to You so far as I am able. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I admit to Your blessings upon me, and I admit to my misdeeds. Forgive me, for there is none who may forgive sins but You.”  

Yuuri sits there awkwardly as Viktor speaks and doesn’t say a word until he finishes. Yuuri has always felt uncomfortable when people prayed around him, not that he had been exposed to religion very much at all. His parents themselves had been spiritual but no more religious than the average Japanese family.  

It’s as if Viktor has read his mind, “I know that must have been weird for you, I’m sorry.”  

“It’s okay.”  

Viktor groans, “And I’ve made it all about me again, haven’t I? You’ve just been through hell and I just- ”  

“It’s okay Viktor.”   

That finally seems to snap Viktor out of his self-hatred fueled rant.  

“How are you feeling?” Viktor asks, gently resting a hand on Yuuri’s leg.  

“I-I- I feel-”  how does he feel?   “I feel numb.”  

“It will pass,” says Viktor with a soft smile, “You’re in shock and you’re dissociating like crazy but it will pass eventually I promise you.”  

He really hopes so.   

Viktor begins to stand up, “I’ll make sure Melinka brings you out a jacket and a hot drink.”  

He’s leaving.  

Why is he leaving?  

“Please don’t go,” the words fly out on their own.  

Viktor freezes, his blue eyes widening, “You don’t want me to leave?”  

Yuuri shakes his head. He really can’t stomach the idea of being alone with his own thoughts.  

“Of course I’ll stay, as long as you want me too.”  

They sit out on the back porch until the sun dips below the horizon. They don’t talk but Yuuri doesn’t care. Viktor’s presence brings a comforting warmth which alleviates the numbness even if only for a little while. Melinka does come out with hot chocolate and wooly jackets and Yuuri shoots her a thankful look before she leaves. Eventually, as it begins to get dark, Viktor ushers him upstairs with the insistence that Yuuri needs sleep and Yuuri lets him. Allowing himself to be tucked into bed after taking a sleeping pill with a glass of water. Viktor presses a kiss to his forehead and turns out the light and in that moment Yuuri feels  safe.   

Something foreign bubbles in his chest.  

He falls into another dreamless sleep.  

He spends the next two days at the rink, although on the first day he almost doesn’t go at all due to the sight of his skating bag making him nearly vomit. But he eventually manages to get there, in part due to Viktor going out that morning and purchasing him a new skating bag. The ice becomes his refuge and he refocuses himself on it, filling every nook and cranny of his mind with thoughts of his routine. Yakov seems to berate him less although Yuuri can’t tell if that means he’s getting better or if Viktor has simply told him to lay off.  

He really hopes it’s the former and not the latter.  

Viktor has made himself scarce again but Yuuri doesn’t mind. He needs some space to focus anyway and Viktor has a habit of throwing him off balance in a way that he really doesn’t need. He tries his best not to linger the way Viktor took care of him but occasionally it seeps into his mind causing him to misstep or trip on the ice.  

Something has changed between them.  

So, when Yuuri walks into the house to find Viktor there waiting from him he’s both excited and nervous in equal parts.  

“So, I was thinking,” Viktor wears his now trademark grin, “You haven’t seen much of our lovely city.”  

Viktor’s adorned in a dark green suit, his hair coifed and cufflinks reflecting in the light.  

Viktor extends his hand out, “Would you allow me to take you out to dinner?” 

Yuuri catches himself smiling and does nothing to stop himself, “I would love you too.”  

After allowing Yuuri to go upstairs and get changed into the nicest pair of jeans and shirt he owns, they step outside. It’s dark and the cold nips at his skin despite his jacket. Viktor mutters something about needing to buy him a new jacket. Yuuri leans into the warmth of Viktor’s form as they get into a black car with tinted windows. He doesn’t move when Viktor drapes his arm around his shoulder in the backseat as they drive, in fact, he leans in even closer.  

“You’re so cuddly today moy dorogoy.” Viktor says with a smirk.  

Yuuri feels his face heat up but can’t think of a retort.  

After what doesn’t feel that long at all the car comes to a stop and Viktor opens the door. They step out into a bustling cityscape, a far cry from the seclusion of Viktor’s home. Around them, hundreds of people wrapped up tightly in winter woollens move, completely oblivious. It supplies a weird sense of comfort in the anonymity.  

Viktor grasps his gloved hand, gently tugging, “Come on, it’s a little walk from here.”  

Viktor’s smile makes Yuuri’s inside  do something .  

Yuuri laces his fingers with Viktor’s as they walk because something about it just feels right and he’s almost certain it’s no healthy. 

He shoves it into the box that is threatening to overflow in his head.  

The walk through the busy streets for a while until Viktor finally stops them at a small restaurant. Viktor holds the door open for him and they both step into the warmth. Soft music plays in the background and the tables are full of people in elegant attire making Yuuri once again feel criminally underdressed. A waiter approaches them and ushers them towards the back of the restaurant to a secluded booth. Yuuri isn’t surprised, he’s certain that everybody knows who Viktor is. He takes a seat across from Viktor and Viktor orders some kind of French wine that Yuuri has never heard the name of before. The wine arrives within seconds.  

“Viktor?”  

Viktor pauses mid-sip, “Hmm?”  

“Why didn’t you just approach me?” 

Viktor quirks an eyebrow, “What do you mean?”  

“Y-you got a bunch of men to kidnap me,” continues Yuuri, “If you really liked me why didn’t you come talk to me after the competition?”  

Viktor’s face turns red and it occurs to Yuuri that he’s never seen Viktor actually blush.  

“Uh- well- the thing is-” Viktor stammers “I never expected them to botch that quite so spectacularly but um- I guess-” his next words are barely a whisper “I’m not good in crowds.”  

Wait.   

What?   

“You’re not good in crowds?”   

Viktor rubs the back of his neck, his eyes downcast, “I’m afraid- of crowds.”  

“You? You’re afraid of crowds?” says Yuuri because the whole concept sounds absolutely ridiculous.  

Viktor crosses his arms and huffs, “That’s what I said.”   

He hadn’t meant to make Viktor feel so ashamed but he can’t help the little giggle of delight that escapes him.  

“You’re laughing at me.”  

“I’m sorry- it's just-” he has to force himself to stop “It’s just really unexpected.”  

“Fine then,” Viktor grins and suddenly Yuuri is worried about the content of his next sentence, “What are  you  afraid of.”  

The words come easily, “Blood. I hate blood.”  

Viktor’s mouth drops open and his eyes widen, “You mean-” 

“Yep.”  

“When I-”    

“Yep.”  

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” coos Viktor, “No wonder you were so traumatized.”  

Yuuri smiles weakly in an attempt to keep the mood light, “Do you know how I figured it out?”  

“Tell me.” 

“Well,” says Yuuri “In a skating competition I fell and broke my nose.”  

“Oh no.”   

“And I passed out from the sight of my own blood.”  

Viktor chuckles, “How embarrassing.”  

“It was really embarrassing; I think my mother has it on film somewhere.”  

Viktor’s smiles wryly, “Your mother must be very proud of you.”  

The statement takes Yuuri off guard slightly, “She is.”  

Viktor hums in agreement, licks his lips, then takes a sip of wine.  

Oh, so he’s back to being cryptic.  Yuuri thinks.  

“What does your mother,” Yuuri makes a sweeping hand gesture, “Think of all this?”  

Viktor opens his mouth and closes it again several times in a row and Yuuri can’t help but feel a little satisfied with himself.  

“She’s dead, so she can’t really think much of anything.”  

Ah.   

Well.  

Guilt hits Yuuri like a ton of cement, he whispers, “I-I’m sorry.”  

Viktor clears his throat then skulls the rest of his glass, “It’s fine, you didn’t know.”  

Before Yuuri can form a response, they’re interrupted by the waiter. Viktor orders them something in French. An awkward silence hangs over them both that Yuuri longs to fill but can’t figure out how. Viktor continues to drink and Yuuri wonders how high the man’s alcohol tolerance must be in order to still be standing. Their food arrives and a plate of chicken with potato and beans is placed in front of him. He tentatively takes a mouthful. It tastes salty yet tender and Yuuri finds himself taking several more mouthfuls.   

Viktor chuckles, “You look like you’re having an orgasm there.”  

Yuuri has to fight the urge to spit his food out in Viktor’s face. His whole body heats up.  

“I’m only teasing you moy dorogoy, as pretty as that face you’re making is,” Viktor winks and Yuuri practically squirms 

 Yuuri fixes his eyes on his plate and continues to eat. Now, hyperaware of his facial expressions. 

Facial expressions.  

The image of the dead man flashes in his head abruptly and  oh   he feels sick.   

His fork clatters to the table, food long forgotten.  

“Are you okay?” he hears Viktor ask but the table is moving beneath him and the whole world is spinning and he  can’t think.   

Viktor’s hand grabs his across the table, he laces their fingers together. The sensation grounds him enough to see clearly. He stares at Viktor’s face and the other man’s face slowly fades away.  

“Look Yuuri,” Viktor suddenly retracts his hand, “I’ve been thinking about it and- well- you don’t have to stay.”  

Viktor’s expression is unreadable. 

“What?” Yuuri blurts out.  

“I shouldn’t have dragged you into this world,” says Viktor, “It’s done things to you and I would understand- I would  completely  understand if you want to end this arrangement.”  

He can leave?   

Part of him could leave this second, get on the first plane back to Japan and just forget it all ever happened. Treat it like a bad dream. Will it away.  

But there’s something else.  

It’s nags, like an itch he can’t quite reach. It lurks in the corner of the fog and roots him in place. It makes him-  

Unsure.  

“I’ll think about it,” is what he finally says.  

Viktor nods but adds nothing further.  

Another waiter arrives with a small leather folder and the check and places it down in front of them both. Viktor pulls out his wallet and slips his credit card in it before handing it back to her, not even bothering to look down at the amount. The waiter returns moments later with his card.  

Viktor stands and offers Yuuri his hand, “Join me for a walk?”  

Yuuri notes his churning stomach and decides that yes, fresh air would be a great idea right about now.  

As they leave the restaurant Yuuri notices eyes following them, he chooses to ignore them. 

They break out into the brisk air. Viktor begins to bolt off down the street at a speed that Yuuri struggles to keep up with. In trying to get Viktor to slow down he grabs Viktor arm only to have his hand ensnared by Viktor’s own.  

He doesn’t shy away.   

As they walk through the busy streets Viktor begins to point out interesting buildings like a tour guide. He lists off names and dates like a human registry and his eyes ignite each time. Yuuri wonders if he’s just drunk but he hopes not. Because Viktor looks  happy , at the very least the happiest he’s ever looked without a glass in his hand.  

“I’ve lived in St Petersburg my whole life,” Viktor says with a smile wider than the ocean.  

“You’ve never lived anywhere else?” 

“No,” Viktor squeezes Yuuri’s encapsulated hand briefly, “My family have lived here for oh- a few generations at least.” 

Yuuri finds himself squeezing back, “I was the first in my family to move away.”  

“Now you’re just showing off moy dorogoy.”  

Yuuri snorts, “Maybe.”  

They walk a few more blocks before the approach a large clearing. It’s darker now and the whole city stands before them, illuminated by tiny lights. The park stretches out before them. Streetlamps light a path that has been cleared amongst the snow. They walk hand and hand until suddenly Viktor breaks awa-  

Hey!   

Something cold and wet smacks Yuuri across the cheek.  

He finds Viktor grinning at him, snowball in his gloved hand.  

Well, two can play at that game.   

Yuuri reaches out and takes a handful of snow in his exposed palm before sending it throttling it at full force. It lands on Viktor’s expensive-looking jacket. Viktor yelps and looks down. 

“This jacket costs more than your life Yuuri!” 

Yuuri pokes his tongue out and readies another handful.  

But he doesn’t get time to throw it because Viktor suddenly disappears.   

Then he feels a freezing lump go down the back of his shirt.  

He squeals at the sudden intrusion and hears Viktor cackle behind him. Warm hands snake around his waist and then he’s pressed against Viktor’s back, Viktor’s breath hot behind his neck. His legs go weak beneath him.  

“Viktor Nikiforov.”  

A gruff voice makes them both jolt apart like they’ve been burnt.  

Yuuri turns to face the voice. The man is a towering figure, at least twice Yuuri’s size. He has a large grey beard that dominates the majority of his face.  

He stares down at them through slit eyes, “I’ll speak in English so your whore understands us.”  

Viktor is rigid next to him.  

“It is quite bold of you, parading around St Petersburg in this manner.” 

“I don’t think anybody would try and stop me,” sneers Viktor.  

“How funny it is,” The man grins, exposing rows of yellowing teeth, “That Lukya Nikiforov ended up raising a homosexual.”  

In his peripheral vision, he sees Viktor reach into his jacket and Yuuri stares at the man’s head, expecting it to explode in front of him.  

It doesn’t.  

“How funny it is,” Yuuri hears the click of a gun, “That you think I won’t just kill you.”  

The man laughs, it’s an ugly sound.  

“Do you want to start a war?” the man asks.  

“You’re waltzing around in our territory,” growls Viktor “So I think that means you want to start one.”  

“Smart boy, maybe Lukya did teach you something,” The man flicks some snow off his coat, “You have three weeks young Nikiforov. Three weeks then we take your territory by force.”  

And with a curt nod, the man saunters past them.  

Yuuri turns to Viktor’s pale expressionless face.