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Waltz of the Damned

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October 12, 2019

“Fetch! Good girl, who’s a good girl!” Yuuri crooned. 

Makkachin was a gangly legged puppy, already substantially larger than when they’d gotten her and still with room to grow. Victor stole the toy away from her, and he gave it a firm toss. Makkachin rocketed after it. Yuuri smiled fondly as he watched. 

The autumn air was growing crisp and cool. It was another death to everything around them, making room for the rebirth of new life in the spring. Death was normal, natural. Pain gave way to freedom. 

Yuuri stretched on his toes, leaving a kiss on Victor’s temple. His wind blown cheeks were ruddy and red, cold to the touch but bright. Victor looked beautiful like this, his eyes sparkling as he played with them both. “I’m going to head inside and warm up. Do you want me to fix you a hot chocolate?” Yuuri asked. 

Victor beamed. “That would be lovely, my Yuuri. I’ll get Makkachin rounded up and join you.”

Life had changed so much since that fateful day months ago, when Yuuri had first opened his eyes in this house. He had never thought he’d find joy like this. He had never thought he could be free. 

Yuuri turned to the coffeemaker on the counter. Among the array of buttons, there was one that brewed frothy, steamed milk that was perfect for hot cocoa. He puttered around the kitchen, pulling out all the ingredients he’d need while milk filled the mugs. 

Makkachin skittered inside, her puppy toenails clicking excitably on the floor as she raced to her water bowl, lapping at it with her tail wagging. Victor closed the door behind him. 

“So what are we doing today?” Victor asked. “Dancing? Shopping? Movies?”

“Let’s practice a bit,” Yuuri said. “I want to get that last bit down before we work on something new. Then a movie later?” Yuuri passed the mug of cocoa to Victor, sipping his own.

Victor beamed. “Sounds lovely, my dearest Yuuri.” The endearment warmed Yuuri’s heart more than the steaming cocoa. 

Domesticity suited them, in a way Yuuri had never expected. He was happier than he had ever dreamed. 

“Have you put any thought into trying out for any positions?” Victor asked. “I can take you anywhere you want, you need only ask.”

Yuuri hummed into his mug, taking a slow sip. He turned away from Victor while he foudn the words. “I might have found something,” he murmured. He’d been waiting for this, nervous beyond belief, but excited as well. “Maybe it’s crazy. Maybe not. You can say no, if you want.”

“As if I would ever say no to you,” Victor laughed indulgently. He batted his eyes in innuendo. “What is it?”

“There’s an audition in New York that I was interested in going for…” Yuuri murmured. “I just heard about it today… I know I probably won’t get it, but I thought- I mean, I know I don’t have to worry about Bradley making things hard for me, but I really don’t want to go back to the troupe here, and I really liked seeing the city when we visited in September, and-”

“Say no more!” Victor said. “I have an office in New York, and an apartment there that’s already set up. We can leave whenever you want!” 

Yuuri blinked, shocked. That had been… much easier than he’d expected. “You’re sure it isn’t a problem?”

“Yuuri, if it was a problem, I would let you know, and we would try to figure out how to make it less of a problem. But this? This is easy. And I get the chance to spoil you. Remember our trip to New York a month ago? There was so much I wanted to do that we didn’t have time for, we still need to-”

Yuuri laughed as Victor continued to talk, discussing all the Broadway shows he wanted to see, the restaurants he wanted to try, and asking Yuuri if there was anything at all he wanted to do, just say the word. 

“Why do you like to spoil me so much?” Yuuri laughed, pushing away Victor’s greedy kisses with a swift kiss of his own. 

Victor shrugged. “I never got the chance to fawn over anyone or anything. If you loved someone, wouldn’t you move heaven and earth to make them happy, if you could? Wouldn’t you want to give them the stars and the moon?”

Yuuri smiled, and he took Victor’s hands in his own. “You already gave me that, just by giving me the strength to stand tall. But I’m glad that auditions in New York aren’t a hassle. If something is a problem, you have to tell me, okay?”

“I will,” Victor promised. He smooched the tip of Yuuri’s nose. “Come on, let’s get dancing! We have some work to do if we want to have you ready for your audition!”

They raced upstairs to the studio, linking their fingers as they stepped inside the familiar room. “Get the music?” Yuuri asked. 

Already dressed in comfortable clothes, Yuuri started to stretch, warming his muscles up as Victor set some music to play. 

What would happen if Yuuri did get the part? He had grown so used to this home. It had become his whole world, a microcosm full of everything Yuuri needed to live, to thrive. 

He and Victor had spent so much time in close proximity in this house, especially as Yuuri had grown from the prison of his past. They’d grown stronger together. Yuuri smiled to himself, looking fondly at Victor. They’d be fine, as long as they were together. They could make it through anything.


October 17, 2019

The audition was set to start on the 20th, which gave them a couple of days to get settled when they arrived in New York City.

Yuuri narrowed his eyes as the chauffeured service took them to Victor’s apartment. “Alright, I’ll bite. Why didn’t we stay in the apartment when we came here in September?”

Victor’s cheeks pinked. “Well I- I mean- we could have stayed at the apartment. But why go there when we could stay at the Four Seasons? Don’t tell me you didn’t love it, I saw that adorable little grin on your face when you saw the bed!”

Yuuri blushed hard. “I mean, well, it was nice. But you’ve got a whole apartment right here!” Yuuri said, gesturing at the buildings around them. They were stuck in traffic, and Yuuri wasn’t certain where exactly they were headed, but it was safe to assume that if it was one of Victor’s properties, it would be just as luxurious as the house was. 

“Sometimes I want a change,” Victor said with a shrug. “Or I just wanted to spoil you on our first vacation together.”

“You spoil me rotten enough as it is,” Yuuri said warmly. On his lap, Makkachin woofed and put her paws up on the window, trying to see the people passing by. He gave her a few ear scritches. “Does the apartment have a studio in it like the house?” 

“Not inside the apartment itself,” Victor said. “Unfortunately, I don’t have the whole place set up properly for our current needs. There are a few guest rooms inside that we can convert into something that suits us. Right now they’re set up to entertain, but when you get the placement in the troupe, we could always redesign the spaces.” 

Yuuri’s eyes sparkled. Not if. With Victor, it was always when. When Yuuri succeeded, not if, because it was never a question to him if Yuuri could do it or not. 

It felt good to be supported without doubts, to be lifted up instead of crushed down. Yuuri pressed a swift kiss to Victor’s nose as the car pulled to a stop. At last, they seemed to have arrived. 

They grabbed their suitcases from the trunk and made their way together to the elevator that would carry them up. 

The apartment was at the top of the building, larger than Yuuri had expected when he had heard the word ‘apartment’. It was more like a small, self-contained house perched on the top of the building. Space was more limited, with a design more suited to functionality than extravagance, but there was a quality and craftsmanship in every piece of furniture. 

A bowl of fruit was perched on the counter in the kitchen, fresh and real. “Food?” Yuuri asked, picking up an apple. It was solid and definitely not a fake piece of fruit. 

“I had groceries delivered and put away yesterday, so we should have everything stocked up and ready for us. I know how much you love my cooking,” Victor said with a grin. 

Yuuri’s heart fluttered. “You’re so lazy,” Yuuri teased. “Leaving someone to shop for your groceries for you and put them away.”

“I thought we could spend some time doing something more fun instead,” Victor said, all mock innocence. He circled Yuuri, his eyes darkening with a predatory hunger that Yuuri knew and loved. Yuuri reached for him, circling his arms around Victor’s waist and pulling him in close for a soft, lingering kiss. 

“What kind of fun?” Yuuri asked, batting his eyes. Victor reached behind Yuuri, pulling something off the counter. A knife. Yuuri laughed. “Not that much fun!” 

Victor laughed along with him, setting the knife down and pulling Yuuri further inside the apartment. “I’m joking, I’m joking,” he said, showing Yuuri the way to the master bedroom. “Come on, let’s break the bed in.”

“Yes, let’s,” Yuuri agreed easily, leaving whispersoft kisses to Victor’s cheeks and lips. They stumbled their way toward the room. Victor pulled it up, cupping Yuuri’s ass and laughing as he tugged Yuuri back. 

“My Yuuri, my sweet, beloved Yuuri,” Victor crooned, the picture of a lovestruck man lost in his infatuations, and Yuuri was helpless to resist the sound of Victor’s voice drawing him in. They fell backward onto the bed with a soft bounce. 

The sheets were softer than the ones at home, silky and pulled taut. They could barely break their embrace long enough to pull their clothes off, to shed them to the floor and run their fingers over one anothers’ skin. 

Yuuri moaned into Victor’s mouth as Victor’s fingers trailed up his chest, giving his nipples a soft tweak. “Kiss me…” Yuuri begged.

“I am, I am,” Victor laughed, ever obliging. 

Yuuri opened his eyes. He could taste the danger of his next words, staining his tongue even as he said them. “Kiss my neck?” he asked softly. 

Victor’s eyes went round and big and almost childlike, the way he gazed at Yuuri in awe. He leaned in, deliberate slowness in every slow twitch of his muscles. Yuuri’s whole body went tense. Fear ripped through him like ice in his veins. In his mind, he could feel his breath fall away from his lips, his lungs screaming, pain exploding--

The cry burst from his lips too soon. 

He pushed Victor away, tears running down his face. The moment was shattered, and Victor was sitting back, his hands under his thighs and frowning. 

“I’m weak,” Yuuri hissed. “I hate this. I can’t- I can’t do it-”

Victor kissed away the tears. “Shhhhh,” he crooned. “Shh, my Yuuri isn’t weak. You don’t run a marathon the first day you start training. You know better than anyone the time you must put into practice, growing stronger. It doesn’t mean you’re weak.”

Yuuri balled up a fist and struck a nearby pillow, rolling away with a huff. He tried to wipe the wretched tears from his face, even as they continued to spill. “I’m still too weak to let you touch my neck. I trust you, Victor, I trust you so, so much. Why can I not give you this?”

Victor picked up Yuuri’s fist. He cradled it in his hand, stroking the fingers gently until they unwound and the tension bled out. Yuuri sniffled, feeling weak and useless and pathetic. “Yuuri, my Yuuri, the things you felt, the things you saw, they don’t go away overnight. You know this better than anyone.”

“It doesn’t make it easier,” Yuuri ground out. He was trying to hold himself together. 

“It doesn’t,” Victor said. He pushed Yuuri’s hair back from his face, plucking the glasses from his nose to set aside. “How long did it take you, Yuuri, to break the shackles of what that horrible man did to you, to find the strength you have now to kiss me, to touch me?”

“But it’s not working,” Yuuri said, voice breaking. “I- I’m trying. Those methods aren’t working. I just want to know what’s different. What is it about my neck that’s so different from everything else?”

“I don’t know,” Victor said. “Maybe this isn’t something you can just rush into. Maybe we need a different tactic. Let’s just focus on your audition for now, okay? I promise, we have all the time in the world to help you through this.”

Yuuri nodded slowly. “Yeah, I guess,” he said, though he still felt unsatisfied.

In the time since he ended his ex’s life, Yuuri had grown stronger than he had ever imagined he would be. He could touch Victor, he could put himself out in public and feel attractive. There was a whole world out there for Yuuri to explore, a world that had been closed off to him for as long as he had been a slave to Bradley’s manipulations.

Victor had set him free. Victor had given him a new life. But this, this was the final hurdle he had to face. His last great test.

“Every time anything gets close to my neck, I remember his hands on my throat,” Yuuri whispered. “It’s like… something comes over me that I can’t get rid of. A dark feeling that overwhelms me. It’s like I’m made of glass, and one touch will make me shatter.”

“It’ll take more than that to break you,” Victor said with a wry grin. He reached for Yuuri’s trousers, abandoned on the floor, and pulled out Yuuri’s switchblade from the pocket. It opened with a little click. “My Yuuri has claws.”

Yuuri pulled it from Victor’s hands, closing it and tossing it onto the bedside table. “I’d rather use a different kind of claw,” he mumbled petulantly. He leaned into Victor, wrapping his arms around Victor’s chest and laying his hands on Victor’s back. Under his fingertips, he could feel faint ridges in the skin. 

Scarlet furrows, carved into Victor’s back during sex. The distraction worked. Victor grinned. “Planning on giving me new ones, my love?”

Yuuri pounced.


October 20th, 2019

The studio where the dancers trained was on the fifth floor of the theater, above the stage and seating. The massive room was fit to hold more than fifty dancers training in unison. There were a great many hopefuls who were desperate for the chance to take their place on stage, some of them nervously talking to those nearby, some of them focused on stretching and practicing moves. 

Everyone was so young, much younger than Yuuri had expected. Many of them looked like they’d come fresh from one of the countless ballet schools in New York. A young blond boy with golden hair in a half-ponytail caught Yuuri’s eye from across the room, where he was running through a few moves. His green eyes went fierce and narrow, and Yuuri could see the snarl from here. 

Yuuri took a steadying breath. He wasn’t here to make friends. He had to make this. This was his dream, for as long as he’d been able to dance. He would get this role, and he’d be back doing what he loved for the short time he had left. 

Victor touched Yuuri’s shoulder, correcting his position a tiny measure. “You’re beautiful, Yuuri,” Victor said. “Show them the same beauty you show me every day.”

A few people around the room were whispering when they looked at Yuuri. Perhaps they weren’t looking at him at all, but rather, at the very distinct appearance of Victor Nikiforov, who had once set the ballet world on fire. 

Yuuri grabbed Victor by the tie, pulling him in for a sudden kiss. “Watch me when I go down there,” he whispered urgently. 

Victor smiled. “I wouldn’t miss it.”

Yuuri ran through a few of the more difficult steps in his routine, retracing them at a slower pace to make sure that they were perfect in form and figure. The blond youth from before walked up, his eyes narrowed as he got within striking distance. 

“You think you’re better than us just because you have Victor Nikiforov, don’t you?” the boy said. He looked a little like a puffed up cat, young and fresh and likely at his first genuine audition, especially if he was as young as he looked. “Well, I’ve got news for you. This position is mine, and you’re not going to get it.”

“There are three openings,” Yuuri said with a half smile. “But good luck to you!”

He swallowed back his fears as the blond boy scowled more intensely than before. “If you’re just here to mock us, you might as well leave. Some of us actually care about being here. Some of us have more riding on this than just a whim,” the blond boy said, before he turned on his heel and walked off. 

Yuuri blinked. Victor promised he’d sit out of sight, he’d promised he wouldn’t influence the judging in any way, or use his status or position to weigh things in Yuuri’s favor. Yuuri would rather lose the position than earn it unfairly.

But even if he did get it, would others see it like that? They’d already seen Victor, and the whispers and pointed stares at Yuuri were beginning to become downright uncomfortable. 

He looked back at the mirror on the wall, looking deep into his own eyes. “Whatever I get here, I earned,” Yuuri said, whispering to himself. “I fought for this. I bled for this. I won’t let anything stop me.”

Nothing would stop him. Not the whispers, not a delicate-looking blond haired boy with green eyes and a cutting stare. 

Yuuri’s name was called, and he headed downstairs, moving to the stage where the audition would take place. There were more people than he expected to see sitting in the audience, watching with clipboards in their hands. Victor sat near the back, shadowed and half-hidden. 

Yuuri closed his eyes. He rolled his shoulders, the old fears coming flooding back to him. 

You’ll mess up, the little voice whispered in his head. You could never measure up. Victor’s trust in you is misplaced. 

No. The voices could put down Yuuri, they could belittle his talents and try to whisper their insidious curses. But Victor wouldn’t lie to him. Victor called him beautiful. As long as he danced for Victor the way he needed to dance, things would work out, wouldn’t it?

He had conquered his past. He had reclaimed himself in ways he had never dreamed. He had spilt the blood of those who had hurt him. He had tasted death, and there was no sweeter feeling than the limitless, soaring freedom that came from that final second. 

He steeled his breath, and behind him, the music began to play.

For Victor, he would be everything. For Victor, he could do anything. 


When it ended, he couldn’t breathe. Sweat dripped from his body. He nearly collapsed right there on the stage, but he held himself together enough to bow, offering a dazzling smile. There was no applause, only a curt nod, and a “Thank you, Mr. Katsuki, we’ll be in touch. Next!”

Yuuri nodded and exited the stage. Victor was waiting for him at the back of the theater once he had changed back into his street clothes and shoes. 

“Yuuri! That was stunning!” Victor whispered. 

Yuuri couldn’t stop smiling. “Really? I did good?”

“Beautiful! Well, except for your left leg being sloppier than usual, Yuuri, I’m not sure what was up with that but next time you really need to put a stronger focus on maintaining your natural fluidity of movement and your range of motion seems less than normal, did you stretch as well as you’re supposed to? And by the way-”

Yuuri sighed as Victor lectured, a little smile teasing at the edges of his lips. Even when beautiful, there were higher goals to reach for. Victor didn’t go easy on Yuuri, but his criticisms were never harsh, only pure facts and things Yuuri could reach for. Nothing was ever disparaging. 

All their time training together, and Victor had begun to see the things that worked and the things that didn’t, and the result of all that time had left them with a better understanding than Yuuri could have ever imagined having with a coach, a director, anyone in the business of ballet. 

“What about the others?” Yuuri asked in a hushed whisper, turning his gaze toward the stage, where a young woman was performing a series of shaky fouettes. 

“I thought yours was better,” Victor said conspiratorially. 

Yuuri scoffed. “You’re just biased. Oh, I hope I get it… The other dancers were so friendly and welcoming when they gave us the tour. It was night and day from my experience back home.”

“I’m glad you liked it.”

The dancer onstage was dismissed, and the next dancer to come onstage was the slender, blond youth. “Oh, him,” Yuuri said, “That boy, he spoke to me before the show…” Yuuri frowned, remembering his words.

“He didn’t say anything bad, did he?” Victor said, eyes flashing dangerously. 

Yuuri felt the pit of his stomach grow heated with bloodlust, but he banished the sudden thought as quickly as it had come. “No, no, nothing you need to worry about. I think he was just nervous. He can’t be more than 18, I think. I’d imagine this is his first time trying out for a professional corps.”

“Hmm, I’m not so sure,” Victor murmured as the youth struck a starting pose. The music was frenetic, skittering up and down a grand piano with a dizzying speed. “He’s poised and calm. He’s at ease on the stage, everything from his body language to his motions give off an aura of confidence. At the very least, he’s been on stage a fair amount.”

They watched the young man continue through his routine. He was good. A little sloppy at times, and he wore himself ragged at the end, looking more exhausted than even Yuuri had felt. He offered the audience a swift bow. His legs trembled beneath him. 

“He’s… really good for his age,” Yuuri said, not entirely willing to admit it. If one person was this good, could there be others edging him out as well? His anxiety was ratcheting up, faster and faster. His leg began to twitch beneath him with the nervous energy. 

Victor’s hand on his startled him from the descent into panic. “There’s more to choosing the right fit than simply raw skill. Let’s head home and get dressed for dinner, shall we? There’s no point in watching anything more right now.”

Yuuri nodded, quickly standing up. They walked out the door together, into the early evening streets. The car was pulled around. It seemed that in New York, Victor’s fancy cars meant nothing in the face of overwhelming volumes of traffic. 

Yuuri wasn’t sure if it was simply because he had no cars in this state, or if it was because he didn’t want to mess with parking, but either way, Victor’s personal driver kept the luxury sedan warm for them in the cool, late October air. 

“Are you nervous?” Victor asked. Yuuri’s leg was still twitching. He rested his palm on his knee, trying to disguise the movement. 

“No. Well, a little,” he confessed. “We won’t hear back for a while, I’m sure. I don’t know how I’m going to wait that long.”

“You’ll just be patient until then, and I’ll distract you,” Victor said. “I have plenty of ways to keep  you occupied until then. And only some of them involve sex.”

“And what are we going to do if we aren’t fucking like rabbits?” Yuuri teased. “It’s your fault, Victor, you made me want you.”

“Well, touch therapy is an option,” Victor said lightly, keeping his voice pointedly under control. Yuuri couldn’t help the simultaneous frisson of excitement and dread. 

“Well, if anything could take my mind off things…” Yuuri murmured.

Victor grinned. “Or we could go shopping, sightseeing, watch movies in our pajamas-” 

“It all sounds wonderful, when can we start?” Yuuri leaned in to Victor’s side, enjoying the warmth of Victor’s arm pressed against his own. His nerves were bubbling wildly inside him, and he was failing to swallow them back all the way. 

Victor kissed Yuuri’s temple, lacing their fingers together. “The moment we get home we can do everything and more. I was also wondering if you would be interested in attending a Halloween party being hosted by an acquaintance of mine. He’s an interior designer with a flair for the dramatic, and his parties are always the event of the year.”

“Mmn,” Yuuri hummed. “It could be fun. I’ve always liked scary movies and costumes. Did you know Bradley told me Halloween was childish?”

“No, but I can believe it. That man had no sense of fun. What could be more fun than dressing up like anything you want to be, and having a bit of mischief to boot?” Victor said. 

“Exactly!” Yuuri said. “How do you know this person?”

“He actually was the one to design the interior of this apartment, and I’ve flown him out to my Barcelona home as well. Perhaps we can have him take another look at this place, hmm? Give it a fresh look that suits both our tastes. He’ll just adore you, my Yuuri.”

Yuuri blushed. “You’re sure? I’m not exactly… in your circle, really…” he said, gesturing to the extravagance around them as they walked into the apartment building. There was a well-heeled doorman who held the door open for them, and marble floors that led to the elevator. It was nicer than Bradley’s old apartment by leagues. 

“Nonsense, you’ll do perfect. Some of those people are a bit eccentric, but don’t pay them any mind. They’re harmless.”

“If you’re sure…” Yuuri said. 

“I’ll give him a call tomorrow? Don’t feel obligated, my sweet. But if you’re interested…?”

“Yeah, let’s do it. It sounds like fun. Give him a call. At the very least, it might be fun to go out together…” Yuuri trailed his fingertips up Victor’s arm. “And you promise to still give me that touch therapy you promised, right?”

“I’ll tie you up right now, you greedy little minx, if you want,” Victor purred. 

“Take my mind off this?” Yuuri asked. He offered his wrists, and Victor shackled them with his fingers. Yuuri smiled up at him. “Hey, Victor…?” Victor cocked his head in a question. “I think I’m ready for more, if you… have any ideas. Maybe not my neck, but… something else, maybe?”

“I think I know what we can do tonight when we go out for dinner,” Victor said. “Do you mind stopping for a little bit of shopping?”

Yuuri smiled. “I’d like that.”

Yuuri stepped into the shower to clean off all the sweat from his audition. The fears crept back in the solitude. He bit his tongue and tried to hold them back, but all that came from it were faint whimpers under his breath. His chest ached so bad it hurt. 

What if, despite everything, it hadn’t been good enough? What if Yuuri didn’t get it? Or worse, if someone had seen Victor, had seen Victor giving his favor to Yuuri, and that gave weight Yuuri didn’t have to his performance?

His mind began to reel. He clutched the shampoo bottle in his hand, sucking down hoarse gasps of air. The steam swirled in his lungs. Victor. He wanted Victor to calm him down. He shut the water off, dripping as he stumbled out of the bathroom. 

Victor half turned, suddenly his arms were full of a dripping, shaking Yuuri.

“Yuuri?” he whispered. Victor’s hand carded through Yuuri’s wet hair. “Is there something I can do?”

Yuuri shook his head slowly. “No- I just… I need…” he trailed off. Victor was here. Yuuri could lean on that much, at least. He wasn’t fighting alone. “Actually… could you… possibly wash my hair?”

Victor nodded. “I would love to. Do you want me to fill the tub, too?”

“It’s okay, I can just finish in the shower. I just… can’t breathe,” Yuuri whispered. “I just want you close.”

Yuuri turned the shower back on, his arms trembling as the water quickly turned from tepid back to warm. Victor shed his clothes and followed Yuuri into the luxuriously tiled shower stall. The moment he felt fingers sink into his hair, thick with soapy lather, Yuuri could feel the tension fall from his shoulders. 

Victor worked slowly and methodically, carefully rinsing the soap out and adding a fragrant conditioner to Yuuri’s hair. Victor’s hands trailed up Yuuri’s spine slowly, touching the naked skin. “You’re so tense… I’ll give you a massage when you’re tied down.”

“Mmmmm,” Yuuri breathed. Just having Victor at his side was enough. 

“Do you want to talk about it?” He waited a moment. Yuuri shook his head. “Okay, let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you,” Victor said. Yuuri nodded. 

They finished and dressed, then took Makkachin for a walk to the nearby dog park. She took a shine to the new dogs, bouncing around and making sounds of raw delight. 

They took the scenic route home, and Victor showed Yuuri all the shops and nearby amenities their location had on offer. At last, they brought Makkachin home, and the driver was summoned. Victor gave directions to them. 

“So where are we going?” Yuuri asked. 

Victor grinned. “Well, it’s something you mentioned a while back, something you expressed an interest in. I honestly thought you would treat yourself, but I’m more than happy to spoil you in this as well.”

Yuuri eyed him suspiciously. “Something I mentioned, hmm? Something you can use when I’m tied up?” Yuuri snorted and smiled. He sat back in the leather seat with a soft laugh. “I know where we’re going now.”

Just as Yuuri suspected, they pulled up outside a discrete and classy looking sex shop. Yuuri was grinning as Victor laced his fingers through Yuuri’s, and together they walked into the store. 

At the front was a display of lingerie, a vision of silk and lace adorning numerous mannequins. The decorations were sparse and bright, showing off clean lines and a sleek, fashionable look. Everything about the shop looked too expensive to breathe on, let alone touch. 

“Do you see anything you want?” Victor asked. 

Yuuri shook his head. “Not yet,” he murmured, but he looked around with greater interest than before. The lingerie took up the front of the shop, all the pretty, skimpy things that caught Yuuri’s eye and held it for long moments. 

He shivered at the thought. Would that be something Victor liked? He shook his head. Even so, it wasn’t something he thought he could handle just yet. He could barely stand the cute underwear Victor liked to purchase for him, and the thought of dressing up further set him ill at ease.

He needed to be comfortable in his own skin first, before he was ready for something like this. But… it did hold his attention for long enough that Victor noticed. “Not yet. Soon,” Yuuri said, without elaborating further. He didn’t need to.

Victor nodded. “Whenever you’re ready for it. I want to push you until you break, but I don’t want you to shatter completely. There are toys in the back. I know you wanted a few of them?”

Yuuri nodded, stepping past the lingerie. There were shelves of toys and things on display, accessories and equipment that was so far beyond Yuuri’s expectations. He didn’t know what half of it was designed to do. He stopped before familiar territory, at simple dildos made of exquisite, high quality materials. 

Some of them were high quality polymer silicone, designed for comfort and durability. Some were of glass, glittering beautifully in the lights of the shop. “But… is glass okay? Is it… safe?”

“Yes, it’s safe,” Victor said, pointing at the label near a display. He read the description carefully before beaming at Yuuri. “Perfectly safe, and in fact, it’s a very elegant and safe toy to use. It also gives a lot of flexibility during playtime, since you can warm it up or cool it off before using it. Don’t they look lovely?”

Yuuri stared at the glass toys. They were works of art, twisted into the most magnificent phallic shapes imaginable. Though translucent, they came in every color and shade Yuuri could imagine, many of them with vapor-like whisps of color inside of them. 

He picked up a slightly curved piece, weighing it in his palm. It was heavier than it looked, solid glass, but smooth and a little bit cool to the touch. It was clear with a striking streak of red twisted within it. Beside it, another glass toy looked like a beautifully sculpted octopus tentacle. Yuuri blushed bright red. He put the red glass toy back. 

The end of the row had a perfectly clear toy, delicately ridged at the base with a series of spheres like a handle, and on the business end, it curved into a well proportioned cock shape. He imagined Victor using it on him while he was tied down.

“Does the thought of using this excite you?” Victor whispered in his ear. Yuuri hummed softly, almost breathless at the thought. 

“Yeah…” he murmured. “It looks like it would feel really good…” 

“I think so too,” Victor said. He reached for a velvet box on a shelf, opening it up to ensure that it was the same as the one Yuuri was holding. He nodded and passed it to a clerk, who set it aside for him. “Let’s see what else we can get for you.”

They picked their way to the very back. The vibrators here ran the gamut of everything from dildos to eggs to rings and wands and more. One of them looked like it was made of gold, and had a price tag that made Yuuri very nervous to even go near it. He gravitated toward a ring, studying it. 

“This part goes around your cock and this part goes around both your cock and testicals,” Victor said, picking up the packaging. “This one is wireless, and the egg here is the same brand.” He turned and grabbed a vibrator seemingly at random, but upon closer inspection, the packaging was identical. “They work in tandem.”

“You could use these while you give me that massage you promised,” Yuuri said, turning the package over. The specs were detailed in a series of crisp bullet points. 

Victor grinned. “I absolutely could.” His hands settled on Yuuri’s waist. They promised more with a light touch than any words ever could. “Do you want to look at anything else?”

Yuuri glanced around the shop. Beside the lingerie, near the middle of the store, there were several displays of accessories: nipple clamps, leather bondage gear, full bodied latex suits, and more. Yuuri picked his way over. 

At the center of the display was an array of leather collars, made from soft materials and glittering with crystals. Yuuri could feel his shiver race up his spine. Raw fear, purest terror, but also… traces of excitement. 

He turned away quickly, spotting a pair of wrist cuffs with soft padding inside. He placed one of the displayed cuffs on his wrists, noting the give of the cushion and the soft leather that made up the outside. Durable, but comfortable. The ring on the cuff could be tied off or clipped to the other cuff. 

They were pitch black, but tiny crystals glittered in fleur de lis patterns on the outside. They were beautiful. 

“These,” Yuuri said eagerly, pushing a box into Victor’s hands. “I want these.”

Victor took one look and bit his lip, nodding with a dark, hungry grin. “Oh yes, we are definitely getting you these.”

Yuuri placed the display cuffs back where he’d found them. He wanted one more thing, but he didn’t know what that thing would be. He wanted something to make Victor’s jaw drop, something that could be a treat as much for Victor as it was for him. 

He clicked his tongue in dissatisfaction. There were things he wanted, yes, but knew he wasn’t ready for, and the thought of having to wait to use them nearly killed him on the inside. He wanted it all now, with no wait, no internal struggle. He wanted Victor to have it all. 

“We… we can come back, right?” Yuuri asked. 

Victor nodded. “Of course! If there’s anything you want, to use on yourself, on me, whatever! I want sex to be something fun for us both.”

Something fun for them both… 

Yuuri wasn’t ready for the elaborate lingerie playsuits and lacy fabrics, but waiting there on a shelf, just between the edge of the two sections… Yuuri tossed one more box onto the counter, where a well-groomed clerk was ringing them up. 

Victor raised an eyebrow. His lip twitched into a grin. “Yuuri, feeling bold?” 

“I’m wearing them to dinner,” he said. And there, there was the hungry glitter in Victor’s eyes, that predatory gleam they got, like he was going to eat Yuuri alive. 

Thirty minutes later, after a brief stop back at the apartment, they were headed to dinner, a new app freshly installed on Victor’s phone. Yuuri was wearing a new pair of panties, as promised. 

They looked a lot like the other ones Victor liked to buy, except the panties were held on by ribbons on the side. Inside the panty, there was a vibrator that slid up inside him, penetrating him, and another that pressed against his cock. Yuuri’s thighs trembled at the feeling of being fucked by the toy with every step, every bump in the road the car passed over. 

“How does it feel?” Victor whispered. 

It wasn’t even vibrating yet. Yuuri shouldn’t be so turned on right now, but Victor’s hand on his was doing all the right things, drawing slow circles in his palm. Intention was sublimating every single bit of Victor’s body language. 

Yuuri sucked in a breath. “Not gonna make it through dinner at this rate.” 

Victor grinned. “Is that good or bad?”

“The best,” Yuuri laughed. He squeezed Victor’s hand. “I want to try to make it, okay? Don’t go easy on me.”

“It wouldn’t be a proper distraction if I did, would it?” Victor said with a grin. He leaned in to kiss Yuuri. Just as his lips touched Yuuri’s cheek, the vibration kicked on.

Yuuri yelped, his voice melting into a low groan of pleasure. The vibration melted him inside and out. His brain went immediately to the consistency of pudding in Victor’s hands. “Ooooh,” he breathed. 

“That’s only the first setting,” Victor warned. His grin was infectious. Yuuri squeezed Victor’s hand as they pulled up to the restaurant. 

It seemed to go smoothly at first. Yuuri let the vibrations settle in the back of his mind, a low grade pleasure that trickled up his spine. He drank it in. 

The penetrating vibrator itself was smaller than a finger, slender and short enough that Yuuri didn’t have too much trouble following the hostess to their table. The other settled between his balls, the very end of it pressing into his cock. There was a small tremble in his thighs as he sat across from Victor. 

The vibrations kept switching throughout the night, keeping Yuuri constantly on edge. When they ordered, Yuuri didn’t notice Victor slip his hand into his pocket. But when he started to state his choice, the intensity suddenly ratcheted up, forcing Yuuri to blush and choke on his own words. 

“Are you alright?” the waiter asked. Yuuri waved him off. 

“I’m fine, fine,” he stammered. He could barely bite back a moan. As soon as the waiter disappeared with their orders, so too did the vibrations, coming to a complete stop. 

Yuuri narrowed his eyes, but Victor just kept grinning like the cat who ate the canary. “I almost moaned out loud. You liked that, didn’t you?”

Victor burst into laughter. “Oh Yuuri, I adore you.”

“You’re lucky you’re cute,” Yuuri said, but there was no real bite in his words. 

“I know you can hold it in,” Victor said earnestly. “But you said not to make it easy. And what could be harder than biting your tongue? Unless you want everyone to hear how turned on you are right now…”

The vibrations went to the lowest setting, just enough to put Yuuri back on the edge. Yuuri bit his lip, trying to hold himself back. “You’re teasing me.”

“Just a little. Just because I know you like it, my sweet Yuuri. Because I know you like the challenge, and if I went easy on you, you’d be upset with me.”

Yuuri barked out a laugh that ended in a shaky moan as the pace of the vibrations shifted into a pulsing pattern. “Oooh, I didn’t know it could do that—” Yuuri gasped. His fingers clutched at the table, his orgasm tiptoeing right along the edge of his senses. He willed it back, but it was teetering right there. A single touch would push him over— 

He ground his teeth. Not today. He would win this round. 

Victor took Yuuri’s hand in his own, and Yuuri laced their fingers together atop the table. Yuuri grinned wildly. “It feels good. But it feels better to conquer the feelings. Take control of myself.”

Victor’s expression warmed. “I’m glad. If I overstep, you know you can always tell me.” Crane, their special word, born of something entirely different. But it worked for sex the same as anything else. Yuuri squeezed his hand. 

“I know. But you’re getting much better at pushing me to the edge without going too far. I really appreciate it,” Yuuri said. He let his love fill every word. Victor’s smile was like honey, sweet and irresistible. 

“Anything for you. Everything for you.” 

The sweet, teasing torture lasted through dinner, Victor innocently smiling every time he reached into his pocket for the control. Yuuri had learned to anticipate the switch, but even that didn't prepare him for the way the vibrations would shift. 

It was impossible to predict, if it would go up or down. There always seemed to be a new intensity or frequency Victor was looking to test. Sometimes only the penetrating vibrator would kick on. Sometimes only the one nestled against his cock would start to buzz, pulsing up and down until Yuuri threatened to spill in his new panties. 

Twice, the word crane danced at the tip of his tongue. Each time, though, Victor shut the vibrations off. It wasn’t about going easy on Yuuri. If that was what it was, Yuuri would have been angry, annoyed beyond belief. But that wasn’t it. 

It was respect. It was trust. Victor trusted Yuuri to say the words to bring it all to an end, but he wouldn’t make Yuuri say them if it wasn’t necessary. Yuuri trusted Victor to learn where the line was, as tenuous and constantly shifting as it was. 

They put their trust in each other’s hands, and that in and of itself was so sexy it made Yuuri ache in his core. 

“Dessert, gentlemen?” The waiter was smiling, like he didn’t sense anything amiss. 

“No dessert,” Yuuri said. He gave Victor a look. Home. Now. 

Victor beamed. “You heard the man. That will be all for us today, we’ve got a special something waiting for us at home.” The vibrations exploded. Yuuri could barely hold himself back as the bill was paid, clutching to the tablecloth with white knuckles. 

Yuuri fidgeted through the entire trip home as Victor grew even more aggressive with the vibrations. A low moan ripped out of Yuuri’s chest in the back of the car. 

“Oooh, Victor, you’re going to pay for that,” Yuuri breathed. His cock was so hard it hurt, and the teasing buzzing rubbed him in all the right ways. His eyes fluttered as the car went over a small bump, just enough to shift the toy inside him. 

“But you love it,” Victor breathed. His eyes sparkled dangerously. Yuuri did, he loved it so much it hurt. 

In the back of his mind, the old panic roared. Not good enough, not going to make it, not worth Victor’s time—

Victor caged Yuuri’s wrists in his fingers, holding them together. “Shhh,” he murmured soothingly. “Shh, my darling, my beloved… My Yuuri…”

Yuuri was trembling lightly. He felt too exposed and not exposed enough. He wanted the comfort of their bed, and the security of ropes tying him down.

“Yuuri, we made it. We’re here.” Victor, not releasing the manacles he’d made with his fingers, pulled Yuuri out the door, somehow wrangling them onto the elevator and up to their room. Yuuri’s breath was shaky. “Will you lay on the bed for me?” Victor asked. 

Yuuri sucked down a breath and nodded. Victor was already opening the new cuffs as Yuuri shed his suit jacket, the button up shirt, and his slacks. 

Left in just his socks and the buzzing panties, he laid down, legs together and squirming in pleasure. “Mmm…” he hummed. 

Victor came into the room. He clamped the cuffs onto Yuuri’s wrists, the padding soft as it pressed against his skin. Victor grabbed the rope and looped it through the ring on each leather cuff, pulling them up above Yuuri’s head and tying it off to the headboard. Then came Yuuri’s ankles, binding him on his back, his chest exposed to the air and the panties still buzzing away. 

Yuuri rocked his hips, desperate for friction. Victor reached between his legs, palming Yuuri’s groin. “Oooh, fuck,” Yuuri gasped. The warmth of Victor’s hand spread over him, a steady pressure pushing the vibrators more firmly against the most intimate places in Yuuri’s body. His hand lingered there, letting Yuuri rut against him. 

“So pretty, so beautiful, my lovely Yuuri,” Victor crooned. “Do you know how loved you are, how much I cherish your every cry and moan? You have my heart and soul in your beautiful hands.”

Emotion coiled up inside him, threatening to brim over. “Victor…” he gasped. Victor gave his cock a squeeze through the panties, then twisted his hand to press right above where he knew Yuuri’s entrance was. The force of his fingertips pressing in drove the toy in deeper than before. Yuuri let out a soft sob. 

“Let it out. How anxious were you onstage today?” Victor asked. Yuuri blinked away tears, sucking down a harsh breath. 

“Terrified. What if I messed up? What if I made a fool of myself or worse, of you?”

“You’d never make a fool of me,” Victor promised. “And you pulled yourself together. You danced the way you do for me, even though you were nervous. You made me so proud.”

“I knew… you were watching…” Yuuri mumbled. His head fell back. Victor plucked his glasses from his nose and left a kiss on the bridge of Yuuri’s nose to replace them. 

“Find strength in me, the way I find it in you. Yuuri. My beautiful, stunning, Yuuri. Can I make you cry?”

Yuuri hummed. He smiled. “Yes…”

Victor made a pleased sound in the back of his throat, then leaned forward, capturing Yuuri’s lips on his own. At the same time, he drove his hand in a slow rocking motion, fucking Yuuri with the toy inside the panties. 

“Mmff,” Yuuri groaned. His muffled moans spilled into the air as Victor drew back. Victor turned his attention to Yuuri’s chest, dragging his tongue over Yuuri’s nipple and sucking hard enough to draw a waterfall of whimpers from Yuuri’s lips. 

“Please… please…” Yuuri gasped. 

He was so close. Right on the edge of consciousness and insanity, on the edge of orgasm, on the brink of everything in his head collapsing on itself into a mess of writhing ecstasy. 

And Victor pulled his hand away, biting the nipple hard enough for Yuuri to yelp. He soothed it with a soft kiss, then turned his attention to the other, resuming the teasing touches when Yuuri’s breath had steadied. 

The torture lasted for minutes or hours, it was impossible to tell. Victor would draw him close his orgasm, and he would stop each time, until Yuuri was close to screaming. 

“Victor, Victor, please,” he begged. His voice cracked. 

“Tell me how much you love me,” Victor said. His voice was breathless and soft. “I would burn the world for you, Yuuri, just tell me you feel the same.”

He sounded scared. 

Yuuri blinked open his eyes. They burned with unshed tears. “I love you, Victor. More than anything else in the world. You gave me life, you gave me a meaning I never saw. I would do anything for you. My Victor. My love. You’re mine. You’re mine. You’re mine—”

Victor’s hand slipped inside the panties. Yuuri broke off with a sob, emotion overwhelming him at the same time as his own pleasure flooded through him. Victor’s hand was like fire on Yuuri’s skin, ripping him right over the edge into a cascade of fire and sparks. Yuuri let out a cry. 

The cuffs held his wrists firm without a single bit of pain, only ironclad resistance keeping his hands in place above his head. 

“Kiss me,” Yuuri begged. “Kiss me, please-”

Victor was on him, over him, on his knees and bending over Yuuri. His hand was shoved down his pants, jerking himself off to the pace of his overeager, almost sloppy kisses. His moans flooded Yuuri’s mouth. Soon his own cock was twitching between them, spilling onto Yuuri’s stomach. 

Yuuri’s eyes fluttered heavily. Victor dropped into the bed beside him, toying with the cuffs holding Yuuri down. “Yuuri…” Victor murmured. 

Yuuri pressed his forehead to Victor’s, putting as much feeling into his words as he could. Their eyes met, and Yuuri smiled. “I love you, Victor.”

“I love you, Yuuri.”

Even if Yuuri didn’t get a placement, even if they didn’t stay in New York City, they would be together. They would find other places, other opportunities. They were stronger together than they were apart. 

And if Yuuri did get accepted? There would be renovations, new routines, new places to see, so much would change. A new life would begin. 

Either way, Yuuri couldn’t wait.