“So Yuuri, how’d you do it?”
“Huh!?” Yuuri flinched at the sudden break of silence, his arms flailing just enough to shake some of the sake from his glass. “W-What do you mean?” he asked, sparing a quick glance across the kotatsu at Viktor.
Viktor was resting the weight of his head in his palm, elbow propped against the table and eyes trained on Yuuri with a calm focus. “Find your eros,” Viktor elaborated. His unoccupied fingers toyed with the rim of his sake cup, unthinkingly tipping it back and forth under his touch.
“Oh,” Yuuri looked back down to his hands, where a few wild drops of sake had managed to splash onto his fingers. For a while they had simply sat in warm contented silence, the lighting tinting the room gold as the sake tinted their cheeks pink. He shifted against the tatami, “That’s…”
“You figured it out at Minako-san’s, yes?” Viktor lifted his glass from the table, eyes glinting as he brought it to his lips. “She told me you were there all night.”
“Uhm, yes,” Yuuri admitted. “We--”
“Ah! Wonderful!” he exclaimed suddenly. “Searching for inspiration in the middle of the night! Dancing until you find yourself!” Viktor clasped his hands together and squeezed his eyes shut, “Overcoming long fought hardships! So beautiful!”
Yuuri laughed nervously. I’m not sure how ‘long fought’ three days is, but I appreciate his appreciation. Yuuri lifted his finger to his mouth and licked the stray drops into his mouth.
“So,” Viktor leaned forward, his eyes shining the way they did when they were backlit by unstoppable excitement, “what did the trick? Did you talk to her about relationships? Dance your heart out until you felt something? Feel the music until it brought forth your eros?”
“Aah,” Yuuri began, ruffling the hair at the back of his head, “I’m not so sure about all that…”
Viktor blinked back at him, “Really?”
“Well,” Yuuri shifted on his legs again. The purr of the heater under the kotatsu had left him warm, and the food and familiarity had made him feel truly at home. He felt bad-- guilty, almost-- to have sunken into such a state when he was next to Viktor. It seemed wrong to slouch into comfort when someone as sharp and genius was stationed across from him.
“I had to get my part of the story right,” Yuuri finished after what seemed like an overly long pause. For all Viktor’s excitement, he was always serenely patient.
“Story?” Viktor repeated.
“Yeah, you know,” Yuuri went on, fidgeting in his spot and keeping his eyes from touching on Viktor’s face. “The story I saw when I first listened to the piece.” He let go of a large sigh, his posture wilting a bit, “My portrayal was off because I was approaching it all wrong.”
“I’m interested to know,” Viktor said, leaning his elbows on the table once again. Yuuri blinked up at him, eyelashes sifting through the slight haze offered by warmth and alcohol. “What story did you see?”
Yuuri’s head snapped to the side, breaking eye contact immediately. “Hahaah, well that’s not very important…” his voice trailed off as he felt embarrassment crawl across his skin.
“You frustrate me Yuuri.” The way Viktor dragged out the first syllable of his name made Yuuri’s insides swoop low. He fought off the urge to clutch his stomach and forced his gaze back to his coach. Viktor was staring petulantly at him across the table, “I want to get to know you but you never open up to me.” His bottom lip was poking out, eyelids drooping in pouting dissatisfaction at Yuuri’s antics.
It’s not because I don’t want you to know me! Well, it is, but only because I’m an inherently embarrassing individual!
“It’s not like that!” Yuuri waved his hands in defense. “It’s just…” His mouth twisted around on unspoken words as he thought. His eyes cast a blank stare at the reflection of the paper lanterns on the kotatsu. “I lack my own self confidence, but if I can relate to a character and use that thread to pull out the rest, then…” he lifted his gaze. “My expression becomes more true.”
Viktor tipped his head to the side as he set his chin in his palm, bangs falling over his left eye, “Hmm…”
Yuuri swallowed, “What about you?”
Viktor raised his eyebrows, “What about me?”
“Those methods you mentioned before… is that how you find what you’re looking for?” Yuuri nervously twiddled his thumbs above his lap.
“Oh,” Viktor acknowledged. “I had a similar conversation with Yurio.” He smiled, straightening his back and gently clasping his fingers around his sake glass, “Most of the time I’m just channeling a feeling.”
“I let it flow out as I skate,” Viktor explained, flicking one arm out to the side.
“Flow out…” He doesn’t think about it at all! “As you skate…”
“Of course!” Viktor lifted his cup from the table and beamed at him, “Skating is a form of expression! You haven’t forgotten that, have you?”
“No no, of course not!” Yuuri almost stuttered. He felt his cheeks flushing as he nervously fit his fingers around his own sake. “You just make it sounds so effortless.”
“Sometimes it is!” Viktor tipped his glass back against his lips, then pulled it away, smile still perfectly stationed on his face. “But if I’m having trouble, sometimes I dance.”
Yuuri’s attention riveted upwards, “Oh?”
“Yes!” Viktor sat there, smile broad and blinding, entirely unaware that he was divulging information Yuuri found more precious than the air he was breathing. “I thought you might have done the same thing with Minako-san; it would have been a cute coincidence.”
“So when you dance,” Yuuri attempted to keep the eagerness out of his voice as he leaned forward, “Do you usually practice steps from your skating programme?”
Viktor chased a rogue drop of sake off his bottom lip with his tongue, “Not especially!”
Yuuri’s fingers bowed against the table as he squeezed the edge, “Then… what do you dance?”
“Hmm,” the sound vibrated off Viktor’s lips as he set his glass down. “It depends what mood I’m trying to convey; what emotions I need to bring forth.”
Yuuri allowed his eyes to fall downcast for a moment, “I see…” Did he dance to choreography he knew? Did he just… create steps on the fly?
“How about I show you?”
Yuuri jolted in place, bouncing slightly on the tatami mat, “Huh!?”
Viktor was already pushing off his knees, gracefully rising into a standing position. “Say Yuuri,” he began, gently brushing off the legs of his slacks, “do you know much ballroom?”
“Uhm, well,” Yuuri was wringing his hands now, suddenly overflowing with anxious energy, “Just the very basics that helped with skating. It was mostly ballet for m--”
Viktor extended his hand where he stood, arm and fingers outstretched and beckoning to Yuuri, “Then you know how to waltz.”
“Y-Yes!” Yuuri’s voice came out too loud past the squeezing restriction of his throat.
Viktor’s lips slid into a warm smile, “So show me.”
Yuuri was sure his face was bright pink as he shot up from his spot on the floor, his fingers shaking by his sides. He rounded the table, hands fluttering in the air a bit as he stopped in front of Viktor, “Who will lea--”
Viktor took hold of Yuuri’s right hand, then began stepping forward with his left foot.
Yuuri made a small noise, but immediately stepped back to follow Viktor’s lead, landing on the raised toe of his right foot before swaying his weight into a side-step.
“You adapted without a moment’s hesitation,” Viktor noted with a coy smile, now stepping backward and guiding Yuuri’s movements forward. They completed the first full count, but Viktor was still leading him into more steps. “And the rise and fall of your feet is perfect. I’m impressed.”
Yuuri’s eyelashes fluttered, “Thank you… it’s just a simple thing.”
Viktor’s palm was warm against Yuuri’s own. His fingers were gently curled around Yuuri’s hand, but they were still bracing. It was a lead that was as delicate as it was forceful. Viktor shifted the line of his body, propelling them into a different angle for their steps.
“I’ve never had to seek inspiration for eros, or sexual love--” Viktor spoke, his words smooth and pleasant even so close to Yuuri’s ear.
Yuuri smiled weakly, Of course you haven’t…
“-- but if I did, I think I’d choose something more… hmm…” Viktor’s back suddenly stiffened, the motions of his arms and legs halting and forcing Yuuri to stop alongside him. He tipped his head to the side, bangs sliding over his forehead as his lips split into a blithe smile, “Tango?”
Before Yuuri could blink Viktor was moving, bringing their hips just a bit closer as he took one long gliding step forward. Viktor’s lead was smooth and strong, allowing Yuuri just enough time to recalibrate his mind so he could fall into the finishing slide step easily.
“Impressed,” Viktor repeated.
“It’s nothing,” Yuuri batted the compliment away even as his cheeks reddened. “You’re just a good lead.”
“You never give yourself enough credit,” Viktor responded, lightly jerking Yuuri’s right arm to lead them into a promenade. They were simple forward steps punctuated with a slight turn, but even so Yuuri felt swept up by the motions. Their inner legs moved together, close enough to brush fabric. The wistfulness of the turn and the way Viktor leaned in, pulling their chests close, made all of the air leave Yuuri’s lungs.
“The tango feels so much more sensual, doesn’t it?” Viktor asked, guiding them into a promenade in the opposite direction. At the end of the small turn Viktor tipped forward, leading leg sliding between Yuuri’s and lowering him into a careful dip.
Yuuri’s bangs fell away from his face as his spine curved backward, the room slowly turning upside down at Viktor’s urging.
His weight was resting partially on the thigh Viktor had between his legs, and everything was dizzying for a moment, settling still only long enough for Yuuri to manage one shaky inhale. Then Viktor was lurching him back to standing, and the moment Yuuri was upright he was being flung into a spin at the end of Viktor’s reach. Yuuri halted just as his fingertips curled around Viktor’s, toes pointed and arm extended as naturally as breathing. At least Yuuri had the excuse of temporary vertigo for the color at his cheeks.
Viktor took two smooth rounded steps to close their distance again, feet swinging and working as easily as they did on ice. Yuuri could almost hear the stuttering beat of violins as they moved, the low chords of a piano marching them toward heavy breaths and tight spins.
“I quite like the tango,” Viktor told him, tilting his chin down just a bit to look past his bangs and into Yuuri’s eyes.
“It’s nice,” Yuuri managed, trying not to think about the breaths he could feel whispering against his neck.
“I think the Argentine Tango is my favorite,” he continued.
Yuuri blinked, “Argentine…” The word was a bit strange on his tongue.
Viktor brought them to a stop. “They call it ‘the war of the feet’,” Viktor informed him. He kicked his leg out, hitting the slim space between Yuuri’s legs and weaving his foot in flashing motions.
“Amazing,” Yuuri breathed, watching the complicated footwork. He’d seen Viktor do similar things in the rink, but he’d never had to navigate such precise movements around another body.
“You can do it too,” Viktor told him, clear blue eyes peering down at him without a single trace of doubt.
“Oh, I don’t know about that--”
“Watch,” Viktor instructed. He kicked his leg between Yuuri’s, snapping his hips from side to side and causing his foot to lash out in both directions. When he withdrew it was in less than an instant, socked foot landing right where it started on the tatami. “Simple.”
Yuuri’s legs weren’t as long as Viktor’s. He leaned forward, almost pressing their chests flush as he slid his leg between Viktor’s and copied the movements he’d just seen. Their hips grated gently against one another, and while Yuuri’s movements weren’t as sharp, he managed an at least meager impersonation.
“See,” Viktor purred down at him. “Easy.” He didn’t force any more distance between their bodies as he pulled them back into motion. “There’s something I like about the tango…” his voice was low, almost rumbling against the skin behind Yuuri’s ear.
“Expressing sensuality can feel like a chase, or a battle,” Viktor went on, moving into careening footsteps that carried them in a small circle. Every spin made Yuuri’s heart tumble within his ribcage, hitting hard and out of time with their steps. At any moment he felt like gravity would loose its hold on him, carouseling him quick and weightless around Viktor’s form.
“But the tango does something else,” Viktor said. He lifted their joined hands, flicking Yuuri into a sudden half turn. Then he was stopped, the firmness of Viktor’s chest pressing into his shoulder blades. With hands still intertwined their arms dropped down, holding Yuuri in a strong embrace between arms and chest.
Viktor nudged at his right foot with his own, guiding Yuuri to extend it to a point. “The tango...” Viktor whispered against the shell of Yuuri’s ear. Yuuri shuddered against him, breath quaking from his lungs. That’s when Viktor dropped down, right hand gliding along the extended line of Yuuri’s leg and dragging hot sensation with it. He sank down until he was practically sitting on his heel, then lifted again, rising with impeccable strength and grace. He slid his hand back up Yuuri’s leg, but didn’t stop there. He fit his palm over his hipbone, then snaked up his abdomen, reaching until his fingertips were sliding up the long line of Yuuri’s throat and gently grasping at his jaw.
Viktor’s lips just barely fluttered over the skin of Yuuri’s neck, “The tango teaches you to worship.”
Surely if Yuuri’s heart beat any harder, Viktor would feel the pulse jump against his lips.
Viktor spun him again, setting them back to facing each other, and immediately stepped into a promenade. “True sensuality should be about worshipping the one you desire,” Viktor told him in a low voice. He stopped, “Every--”
His fingers splayed out against Yuuri’s back, sliding up the line of his spine, “-- little--”
Viktor moved as if to take a step backward, “-- detail.”
Yuuri compulsively kicked out his right leg, wrapping it around Viktor’s waist and leaning into his chest.
“Oh,” Viktor said, his voice colored as much with surprise as intrigue. He could no longer move backward. His eyes swept over Yuuri’s face like he was trying to see past his skin.
Viktor leaned into him, their hips grinding sensation into one another.
This is bad.
Yuuri made a slight movement to withdraw his leg and Viktor helped the motion, forcing Yuuri’s weight away from him. When Yuuri regained his balance he snapped his attention away from Viktor’s face. His cheeks were burning, his flesh crawling with heat and fingers shaking with nerves.
“You intrigue me, Yuuri.”
Viktor was leading them into more steps, but Yuuri was allowing his body to follow mindlessly. He wanted to flee just as much as he wanted to dig his nails into Viktor’s shoulders, wanted to bury his face from Viktor’s gaze just as much as he wanted to bare his neck for it.
“Your self confidence is so low that it ruins your competitions, but you performed my piece every bit as charismatically as I.”
He spun Yuuri, sent him into a quick backwards dip, and then brought him up again.
Their feet marched forward, “You’re this pure and innocent soul who pretends not to know eros, but you performed today like a siren.”
Viktor pulled them into a spin together, his leg flaring out in a perfect circle.
Then he stopped, urging his right leg forward. He didn’t stop until his thigh was fit snugly between Yuuri’s legs, grinding gentle friction against him. “And when I get close to you,” Viktor said, holding his position with his hip flush to Yuuri’s groin and their lips only centimeters apart. “You don’t back away.”
Yuuri felt his spine tightening, his throat closing, his senses nothing but blaring flashes of heat and sparks of sensation.
Viktor whispered just above his mouth, “But you tremble.”
He was trembling. Yuuri could feel his hand shivering in Viktor’s hold, his bottom lip shaking with every unsteady exhale. And still, he couldn’t stop staring at Viktor. The pale sweep of his lashes, the glass-clear pierce of his eyes. His breathing was soft. When Yuuri inhaled, he could taste the slightest tinge of sake on Viktor’s breath.
“I want to know,” Viktor said, making no move to change their position. “How did you find your eros, Yuuri?”
Yuuri was drawing oxygen from Viktor’s mouth. He was close enough… to draw oxygen…
The edges of Yuuri’s vision began to waver out of focus.
Bad. This is…
“The trembling,” Viktor said.
“Huh?” Yuuri’s eyes blinked wide for a moment, his surroundings warbling unusually behind him.
Viktor’s lips slipped into a shallow grin, “I’m not sure whether I should take it as a compliment or as a sign to back away.”
Yuuri’s hand clenched into a fist at Viktor’s back, soft cotton squeezing between his fingers. Nothing on Viktor’s face changed.
Viktor lifted his left hand and ran his thumb over Yuuri’s cheekbone. Their noses brushed against each other.
“Can you tell me?” his voice was low enough to barely leave his chest. Yuuri felt the words vibrate against his skin.
You can’t know.
Viktor was tipping his head to the side, but he wasn’t moving forward. Yuuri could feel the air shift between them, revolving around the tilt of their eyes and mouths, shifting almost as if to wind them closer together without touching.
“Bad at worshipping.”
What are you saying!?
Viktor seemed to go impossibly still. Yuuri’s words danced around his throat before leaving, uncertain and finicky, “I’m too…”
Cowardly. Naive. Immature.
“Meek,” he breathed.
“Hmm,” Viktor hummed in such a way that Yuuri felt it crawl over his flesh and across his scalp. “Are you? Or are you just convinced you are?”
Yuuri swallowed a hiccup of startled air. He couldn’t tell him that he wouldn’t really know. He couldn’t tell Viktor that he didn’t really have any experience. That the only thing that made him feel like he couldn’t make rational decisions--
“Yuuri,” Viktor tipped Yuuri’s chin up, and in the golden light his blue eyes were an ethereal cut through the haze.
-- the only thing that consumed him like an insatiable hunger--
“You should have more confidence,” his words were soft and airy, barely more than breaths, “Always.”
-- was him.
“I could never imagine someone falling for me if I chased them,” Yuuri spat. Viktor blinked, face falling in surprise. “I could never imagine being able to woo anyone, ever,” he rambled. Viktor’s forehead creased. “But if I pretended that I was wanted, chased, being worshipped by someone so…” he stared into Viktor’s face, features gone soft as he listened. “I could pretend,” he whispered. His eyes fell away, “But it was just pretend. I know that. I’m a bit…” He pulled his hand away from the one Viktor still had tucked into his palm, “deluded.”
“I’m sorry,” Yuuri said, taking a stumbling step back and turning his gaze fully to the floor. “I should… get to bed.”
With his words he turned on his heel, his retreating back looking just as much like a flee as it truly was one. His heart was still forcing his blood to drum aggressively in his veins, his breath was still shaking from his lungs, and his skin was still alight at every point of contact it had with Viktor.
For some reason his eyes were stinging, and for some reason there was itching sensation and noise crawling up his throat. When he swung into his room he closed the door quickly behind him, but barely quick enough to hide the view of him falling to his knees. He curled his fingers into the tatami as ragged breaths huffed from his chest and prickling wet threatened the blink of his eyes.
He pushed his fingers under his glasses and ground them into his eyes.
He couldn’t allow his infatuation to ruin the opportunity the universe had granted him; he couldn’t allow his fantasies to ruin his reality.