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Yuuri knew he really shouldn’t be here, not now, definitely not alone, not separate from his men at the hotel a good ten blocks from where he was meant to be staying for the next few days, not in a place that wasn’t safe for someone like him, certainty not full of even more dangerous hopes that maybe he might find someone to spend the the night with.

The meeting he was supposed to be here for wasn’t scheduled for a few days, it certainly wasn’t scheduled to take place in a packed bar in an inconspicuous, un-talked about area of St Petersburg where foreigners never even thought to venture, let alone dared. It wasn’t meant to happen over hard liquor on the rocks at a bar crowded with Russians whose perception of volume and personal space was on the wrong side of different to his.

Yet here he was, stupidly treading on thin ice when it came down to it, as usual. It made him nauseous, sick with this feeling he couldn’t ever name, because here was this complete picture of his life with everything in full few apart from that one always absent puzzle piece he couldn’t stop thinking about - to the point where the rest of the puzzle wasn’t even fucking relevant anymore.

So he sat at the bar on his stool that had only the barest of wobbles and took it all in; it was a typical Russian crowd that Yuuri would never get used to even if he came here a hundred and one times, they were all happy and loud, raucous and overly enthusiastic with their drink, the air was shrouded with that cliché smoke that had no bias when it came to breathing room, it had this knack of fogging peoples inhibitions and judgment, it just hung there and loomed in wait until it could snake its smouldering tendrils into the next victim who’d had one too many shots.

There was a group of inexpensively suited men in the corner who looked to be sharing a quiet drink after work, their simple black jackets weren’t tailored quite right, their ties not quite silky enough, their shoes not as shined as they could be - businessmen and nothing more. No one there for him.

There was a mixed bag at the table next to them, casually dressed men in half open button down shirts and trousers, women with messy hair and nearly too tight jeans, all his age without a care in the world, all intent on drinking deep into their cups with the inebriated hopes of bagging someone to go home with for the night. So, no one there either.

Most of the noise came from a group of middle aged men determined to drink each other under the table, one with permanent grease stains on his calloused hands who would never be able to hide what he did for a living, one already on the downward slope to piss wrecked in another cheap suit and tie slumped on the table top, one with a tight t shirt and too much muscle than what Yuuri would call natural, he was eye balling the other men in the room every now and then like he had something to prove but didn’t quite know what it was. That was a usual night out between old friends, Yuuri guessed, and he wouldn’t find company from any of them.

There was the group of middle aged women all in the same office uniform keeping to themselves while sharing a bottle of red that was going down with astonishing speed, a pair of over-dressed lovers who could well use a room that were probably whispering sickly sweet nothings about getting married and growing old and everything that normal lovers could do with their lives, there were the classic people who nursed their chosen brew in a quiet corner alone, the ones whose eyes told a story that Yuuri might have been interested enough in hearing one day if it weren’t for his own puzzle that he was much more interested in finishing.

Above all, they were people that Yuuri needn’t be concerned with, all people he could handle if he was pushed to. The group sitting directly behind his spot at the bar though, the largest group, the group of men with suits on that really fit because they were indeed made for them, the men with ludicrously expensive watches that gleamed under their shirt cuffs coupled with large stones of onyx and diamonds on their fingers, the ones that lounged about as if they owned the place because they did indeed own the place, the ones with loaded Beretta’s at their belts and not a shit given about who saw because their grouped owned much more than this little bar in a discrete corner of St Petersburg. He couldn’t care less for them either, Yuuri knew their type from too much experience, they might be a bit of a problem if someone who took his eye didn’t turn up soon, he felt the weight of their overly confident eyes on his back, it would only be a matter of time before one of them came to try it on, if Yuuri had someone to place a wager with, he would. Nonetheless, Yuuri stayed to wait.

The smoke cloud thickened as the empty glasses in front of him kept him loyal company, the hubbub rose and fell, and Yuuri wondered what category people put him in when they saw him. Not that it mattered, Yuuri could be anything here, and it was better for everyone if they all believed their own naive assumptions, the misplaced admiration of his suit that was as plain as the black and white fabric could be but more expensive than every outfit in this room, the curiosity placed in his styled back hair and calm visage, the quiet observation of the way he sat with solitude as his familiar drinking partner. Much better for people to assume, Yuuri concluded.

It was sooner than what Yuuri thought it would be when one of the men from the table behind him pulled the bar stool next to him with an obnoxious scrape of its legs on the wooden floor, he pulled the seat pointedly Yuri’s direction and sat down with the obvious movement of making their thighs rub together under the counter. Here we go, Yuuri thought.

By nearly everyone’s standards he’d be considered attractive, bleach blond hair layered on a brown undercut, thick shaped eye brows with this 5 o’clock shadow on his strong jaw, he wore confidence better than he wore his suit, the glean in his hazel eyes said he was full to the brim with it.

“Looks like you’re in need of some company.” came the overly hot greeting as a glass of what he’d been having all night slid across the counter to stop in front of him, the stranger’s hand lingered on the bar only a mere second away from Yuuri’s own, bold with a touch of arrogance.

All Yuuri could do was sigh, clench his glass and take a breath before relaxing once more, he could feel the entire company behind him watching how this played out for their outgoing friend who thought he was god’s gift to one night stands, “Thanks.” Yuuri countered before continuing to drink from his own glass.

It was almost amusing to watch the man reassess his chosen pick up line, his browns pinched in puzzlement, before he laughed it off and leaned in a bit closer. “Don’t want to waste your drink? Fair enough.”

Yuuri returned the question with a shrug, “You could say that.”

He got another once over, eyes travelled up and down Yuuri’s slender body without any attempt to hide the fact, and if Yuuri wasn’t so good at playing this game then his jig would have been over then and there, “What brings you to St Petersburg then…?” an open question for Yuuri to add his name at the end, which sure as hell wasn’t going to happen.

Yuuri gave another shrug in his expensive suit, sinking into his fabric armour that had the stranger second guessing. “I guess you could say I’m here on business.” and he couldn’t help but laugh despite himself, because it was business he was here for and he hated that it was always business that brought him to this point.

It was bad timing really, or suspiciously good timing on the stranger’s part, because Yuuri was already at the end of his own drink, and of course the air prickled with tension as he ordered another drink for himself instead of drinking the one he’d been offered.

The table behind him went silent, the man next to him leant closer still, his confidence clearly breached by something he hadn’t seen coming. “It’s rude to waste something someone has given you.” came the flat drawl in his ear that made Yuuri want to slam the man’s head against the bar top.

Things were escalating much faster than Yuuri had calculated, the barkeep was glancing nervously in their direction, he could hear chairs behind him from Mr Confident’s friends’ pushing out from their table. Not tonight, then. With an apologetic smile empty of all true apology; Yuuri pushed the drink back, “All yours then.”

Of course Yuuri wasn’t going to accept a drink he hadn’t see poured with his own eyes, he might have looked vulnerable but he didn’t look fucking stupid.

That seemed to be enough of a clue that Yuuri might be an actual threat instead of this meek pray that’d walked into the lion’s den, the man was up off his stool, trying his hardest to loom at Yuuri’s back, “Now, it’s clear you’re here for a good-

“Chris, sit down and leave the man alone.”

It was then the Yuuri noticed how quiet the space around them really was, how rigid this Chris person had become at the sound of the smooth voice behind them, and so Yuuri turned to find someone who was exactly what he was looking for.

“Boss, he’s suspic-

“Sit down.” the flat tone left no room for argument at all, no room to question, only a fool would question a command as full of authority as that. Yuuri shivered.

For all Yuuri’s professional poise and calm, his breath betrayed him by seizing his throat, his skin tingled under his armour suit like it wanted to be free of the confines of that fabric facade, the new comer simply smiled at him, sat on the vacant stool and pulled himself close to the bar. “Causing trouble in my bar, are we?” the new man with silver hair that managed to glean even through the smoke cloud challenged loud and teasingly empty of any real threat. Yuuri could have laughed, he wanted too, he wanted to shirk off the stupid suit jacket and tie and let the man with open ocean eyes drown what was underneath, except all Yuuri really did was shake his head and buy another drink.

“Well that’s alright then.” and the man took a drink of something that’d been put in front of him by the barkeep the instant he’d sat down.

It seemed to please the table behind them enough for the hubbub to start up again, more quiet and full of listening ears than it had been but it would just have to do.

“You’re a sharp one.” came the quiet drawl as the new comer looked straight ahead at the numerous amounts of bottles stocked on the shelves behind the bar, from this angle Yuuri could see his sculpted jaw, his long silver eye lashes and the delicate curve of his lip, he could see his freshly trimmed undercut and the soft fuzz at the nape of his neck, he could see how the man’s collar fit perfectly around his neck, the perfect fit of his jacket on his built shoulders and across his chest, a suit just as simple and yet just as costly as his. True power never needed flaunting, Yuuri concluded.

You’re sharp.” Yuuri couldn’t help but counter, and as lame as it was, it was true. It would always be.

That earned him a quiet, self satisfied chuckle, not arrogance but this boundless charisma that Yuuri found more intoxicating than the spirits he’d been drinking. “I know I am.”

That was it, they sat there drinking and the night wore on around them as they shared their drinks in their own pocket of space that people subconsciously gave them now, with each passing minute the suit that Yuuri had found comfort in before grew heavy, those minimal layers of fabric chafed at his skin, the silence between them was intimate, this private thing between them on display for all to see, Yuuri couldn’t stand it.

“Vic-“ he started.

“No names, too many eyes watching.” Victor’s grimace cut him off, the pain of stopping his own name being spoken from Yuuri’s lips after he hadn’t heard it for so long was visible with his drawn in brows and frustration-clenched jaw.

All of Yuri’s hard won self control, his well earned strength nearly left him as Victor leant over only a mockingly small fraction to slip something into his jacket pocket, a fleeting glimpse of the complete puzzle that Yuuri wouldn’t ever have. “Room 104 at my hotel two blocks from here, see you soon.”

It was always this way, walking away was always the worst because he’d been waiting so fucking long just to see him, but it was the only time he didn’t have to watch his back, because Victor did it for him for the entire length of Yuuri’s walk to the door, Chris eyed him with this smug distaste like Yuuri had just been dismissed by their boss, the other men made no effort to hide their lingering gaze as they watched Yuri’s graceful walk to the exit foyer.

It was already passed midnight, but as Yuuri caught Victor’s sharp gaze just before he passed through the doors to leave, he knew the night was only just getting started now. Those eyes were on him and him only, just as Yuuri always wished they could be.

The two block walk to the hotel Victor specified was long despite his steady pace on the empty footpath, street lamps stood sentinel on his walk, late night drivers and taxis sped passed with a hiss of tires every few minutes, but apart from that, Yuuri was alone. Without the driving force of Victor’s eyes on his back Yuuri felt like maybe he’d just give this all up and go back to his own lodgings instead, that was always going to be the end result no matter what happened in between, spending time with Victor was always just delaying the reality of his responsibilities, the mantle on his shoulders and the stark truth of his identity. It was fucking comical, because how could someone with as much money and power as him not have this one simple thing?

It was because there were people more powerful, more influential and more stupidly wealthy than him, and secrets were the best bargaining chips for people playing this game.

So he ended up in room 104 anyway, because the value of a day with Victor to Yuuri was worth something he couldn’t name, a momentary respite in his search for the ever missing puzzle piece, an end to that constant unease in his gut that said everything was wrong when nothing actually was.

He threw his access card onto the suite’s hallway table and kicked off his Italian leather shoes, and true to Victor’s powers of ever keen observation when it came to Yuuri; he’d chosen a room that made Yuuri feel like he was stepping into a different world from the one he lived in; a place where identity had no bearing.

The white panelled walls led up to gilded cornices and ornately painted ceilings, the carpet was thick and plush underfoot with Keshan rugs in flowering patterns and bright colours, the velvet curtains fell down to the floors and were all drawn shut, the furniture was all satin lined with curled wooden legs and overly puffy pillows with gold tasseled ends.

A suite fit for a King in another era, Victor really was ridiculous sometimes.

The bedroom was the same, a four post bed with damask patterned covers, about 57 bed cushions in different shapes and sizes, gold gilded lamps on the night stands, the bathroom had this enormous copper tub with clawed feet and sat right in the middle of the marble tiled floor, the twin shower heads in the corner were open to the whole room with only a glass panel to keep in the splash. The suite’s kitchen was stocked full of anything Yuuri could want, his favourite pocky that would have had to come from Japan, sake and a set of cups to drink it with, sushi and green tea ice cream and everything they’d ever eaten together before, which to his regret: wasn’t much.

Typical Victor indeed, he thought of everything.

Yuuri had no idea how long Victor would be though, or if he had to sort his men out after that potential scuffle, maybe he should have dealt with them himself after all to save them both some time.

So he ended up waiting on his own in the dead quiet of the lavish sitting room with his feet up, laying on the straight backed chaise lounge as he fiddled with the buttons of his jacket to get the stupid thing off, the suit was actually as comfortable as a suit could get, well tailored, a perfectly weighted fabric, not too tight around the shoulders or under the armpits, with room enough to hide things underneath when he needed to, which was every day of his life. His was a forced calm now, because if he wasn’t calm then he would be this pacing wreck who lingered by the door, desperate to see the only other person who’d be coming through that door any time soon. In the end he just ended up playing with the buttons even more, torn between taking the world off his shoulders or leaving it there so Victor could do it for him.

He couldn’t say if a minute passed or an hour by the time he heard the tell tale click of the suite door opening and promptly shutting with a resounding thunk of an extra lock and deadbolt, Victor was thorough too.

It always went this way, this desperate attempt at a casual encounter, Yuuri stayed at his spot on the couch and revelled in the sight of Victor coming into view from the short hall, he’d already kicked off his own shoes and pulled his tie loose and now he was working on the cufflinks of his jacket, and it was probably his everyday routine that wasn’t really anything significant or special to Victor, but Yuuri only got to see this twice, maybe three times a year if he was lucky. He’d never get tired of it.

“Welcome back.” Yuuri sighed, it was impossible to keep his smile in check then, to stop himself from getting off the couch to walk over to Victor who was doing exactly as he was; standing there in wonderment as he took in the fact that Yuuri was really there in front of him.

“Yuuri.” came the breath, and it wasn’t fair that the first thing that Victor got to say was his name, how he said it like it was always on his lips, like he’d practiced in secret to get it rolling off his tongue perfectly, like he hadn’t been waiting to say it for all this time.

“You said no names.” Yuuri teased as he stepped in agonisingly close, chest to chest and hip to hip, and as familiar as he was with Victor, he still couldn’t help being shy.

“We’re fine now.” Victor teased back as he pulled Yuuri close, as he buried his nose in Yuuri’s hair and tickled his scalp with his warm breath and quiet chuckle. “Sorry to keep you waiting.”

“You should be.” Yuuri breathed into Victor’s suit as he felt himself relax for the first time that night, muscled arms hugged him tighter, pulled him closer, and Yuuri would have been happy just to stay like this until he had to leave.

“You know I am.” and the way Victor’s voice cracked, the way it broke because he wasn’t just talking about making Yuuri wait for a mere half hour or whatever the hell it was, it was just another thing that Yuuri hated about this whole charade.

That teetering on the edge of their pathetic woe was their cue to part, to start over and try to give each other a semblance of normal, the most electrified, testosterone charged version of normal that they could manage, anyway.

And so it always went like this too, he would help Victor out of his jacket and throw it on the nearest armrest, or table, even the floor, because taking his jacket off was menial compared to helping Victor unstrap the gun holsters across his chest. Yuuri would stand in awe for a few moments as he took it all in, that clean starched shirt with black leather straps that went under his armpits and crisscrossed on his back, the pair of discrete automatic glocks in their cradles and the way Victor stood there like they were apart of him, like the real picture of Victor Nikiforov - a young leader of one of the oldest mafia families in Russia - was only complete with a pair of weapons on his person. He was danger personified, he was aloof and ruthless, playful and also unforgiving, he was both risk and reward to Yuuri, and maybe that’s why he’d kept delaying the inevitable for so stupidly fucking long, because the reward outweighed the risk infinity fold.

“I’m surprised you haven’t taken yours off yet.” Victor commented as the gesture was returned, careful hands pulled the jacket from his arms, tentative touches that lingered like heartbreak traveled up his chest as Victor’s slender fingers came to rest on the pair of automatic Colts in Yuuri’s own holsters.

“I… couldn’t be bothered.” Yuuri lied with his tongue in cheek, letting Victor do it was strangely important to him, no one else was ever allowed to touch his weapons, ever, so he felt like maybe if Victor did it he could fool himself, trick his walls into thinking that they weren’t needed after all, when the truth was he needed them most with Victor, especially Victor.

Victor just laughed, his eyes sparkling with the fact that he always knew, “If you say so.” and so he took the guns from their cradles and placed them next to his own on the hotel suite’s kitchen bench, he undid Yuri’s buckles one by one and lifted the straps over his head.

“Better now?” Victor remarked as they were done, and it was better, that edge of hazard and chaos had dulled, they both looked like normal people like this.

“Better.” Yuuri confirmed.

Anyone would think after seeing each other so sporadically across the span of their affair that it would start with frantic kisses and urgent fucking where they both went forever, that cliche all night until the break of dawn sex that came when people spent so long apart, too long apart in their case, but with them it was always this steady paced thing of getting to know each other all over again.

It was Victor winking with his stupid pretty eyes and leading Yuuri to the bedroom where they’d both fall on top of the still fresh covers and just exist as real people in each other’s presence, no feuds, no guns, and no set of rules that said that they must hate each other unconditionally. Victor would lay against the headboard of that expansive king bed and Yuuri would lean back against his chest and stare at the ceiling as they made pointless small talk that meant more than money to Yuuri.

Victor would grab his hands and play with his fingers while he asked how his day was, how was the flight from Japan, had he been eating properly, had he been sleeping enough? They talked about a movie that they’d both seen but not with each other, how they loved and hated the same parts and then they made stupid empty promises that they’d see the next one together when they both knew full well it was impossible.

This is what Yuuri wanted, he wanted this normal. This Victor who he didn’t have to hide away with, the Victor’s who’s boyish laugh shook his conscience, it shook his resolve and his judgement and made him think for an instant that maybe throwing it all away for this wouldn’t the most stupid thing he could ever do in his life. This Victor who was human and not this notorious figure of the underworld who was destined to be someone he’d always have to meet for tense negotiations where one wrong move could just fucking end it all. Yuuri hated his role in all this, the fact that he was so fucking good at his part in his own damn puzzle with that stupid missing piece.

And so they’d fall back into this pensive silence because neither of them really knew what to actually talk about, because if they talked about everything that they should talk about, about feelings and emotions and everything that made what they had real and not just what everyone saw on the outside looking in, then it would be too hard to keep walking away. It was hard enough as it was.

Yuuri was meant to be relentless once he’d made up his mind, firm in his ideals and unshakable in his resolve, it was why he was so good at his job, at existing in the world he lived in, but none of it fucking applied when it came to Victor Nikiforov.

“Victor…” Yuuri spoke in no particular direction, letting the sound of Victor’s name from his lips fill the dimly lit room.

“Mm?” and Victor squeezed him so fucking tight, like he didn’t know how to let go, like the only thing he wanted to do was to keep holding on.

“I can’t do this anymore.” and by ‘this’, Yuuri didn’t even know what he was talking about, this meeting in secret, this pretending, or this thing that he had with Victor that would eventually get them both killed.

Behind him, that warm chest cradling his back had grown deathly still, the chaos and edge that used to swirl between them when they just strangers on opposite sides spiked to hazardous levels, and suddenly Yuuri was on his back. Victor looked down at him with an expression Yuuri never wanted to see, anguish and heartache and Yuuri hated himself because Victor looked best when he had a smile on his face.

“What do you want from me, Yuuri?” the crack in Victor’s voice was glass on his skin, embers down his throat.

“Nothing.” everything Yuuri told his half truths, because there was nothing Victor could give him apart from all of Victor himself, that was everything to Yuuri. Oh, Yuuri knew he was selfish enough to take Victor from the world, but it wasn’t something he could ever ask for.

“Just give me the word, Yuuri, and I’ll do it, I’ll run if you want to, give it all up if I need to, fight if I have to, just tell me which one and don’t ever say you can’t again.” and it wasn’t fair for Victor to plead the exact words that Yuuri wanted to hear like that, to vow them into the crook of his neck with all the conviction of a man that could steal the stars from the sky and sweet talk the sun into his pocket, it was hot against his pulse and fire into his blood like that’s what really made his heart beat.

From anyone else it would seem like fucking lunacy, any one else but Victor. Victor who he’d known and admired him from afar since he was a kid, pointed out to him across this impassible divide fraught with betrayal and murder if he ever so chose to cross. Well, it was too late now, Victor had met him in the middle and now they weren’t just names to faces anymore.

“I can’t fool you, can I?” Yuuri sighed as he watched the smile inch back onto Victor’s face, because he could do it, could keep living his life with a person who was fast becoming someone he didn’t want to live without.

Victor was stronger than him, strong enough to meet him in the middle like this, strong enough to say ’lets burn the world’, he was strong enough to bear the burden, all Yuuri needed to do was say it. Here and now, Yuuri thought that he actually could.

“You really can’t.” Victor teased, his eyes soft and full of all the things they never talked about, “Be my boyfriend, Yuuri, just for tonight. I know you want to.” and Victor hovered above him, caged him in and waited like he didn’t know what the answer would be, like this hadn’t played out so many times before. Yuuri wanted nothing more than to be Victor Nikiforov’s boyfriend, he wanted the world to fucking know that Victor was his and no one else’s, to the point where the greed nearly swallowed him whole.

“Ok.” Yuuri breathed. Watching the smile of pure boyish delight flash across Victor’s face was worth it every time, the way his eyes lit up even when Yuuri thought they couldn’t sparkle more than they already did, the glean of his white teeth and the dusting of pink on his cheeks that bloomed whenever Victor got excited. Victor couldn’t fool him either.

“Boyfriends kiss, you know.” came the hot suggestion as Victor’s eyes danced on the edge of wild.

“Do they?” Yuuri feigned ignorance, “I wouldn’t know, I’ve never had a boyfriend before.”

Victor’s offended gasp had Yuuri laughing before he could help himself, “You cheeky little… I’m always your boyfriend, remember.” and Victor fucking Nikiforov pursed his lips in an actual pout, his blush deepened, and Yuuri just laughed some more. It felt so damn good to shed his skin with Victor, to take off his mask and let the real person underneath catch his breath.

Now that they were at this point, there really was no going back, not back to his room like he’d thought about earlier, not back in time to never meet Victor in a private space away from suspicious eyes and eavesdropping ears, not back to normal and in control like he’d once felt without Victor in his life. “Show me how boyfriends kiss then.” Yuuri wasn’t asking.

“As you wish.” and once again Yuuri could only revel in the satisfaction that Victor’s eyes were for him only as his one night boyfriend closed the gap and kissed him finally.

That’s when things got frantic, rushed and way too keen for people their age, because Victor’s mouth was on his, sucking on his tongue and nipping his bottom lip, the sound of their wet kisses filled the room, dirty, loud in the heavy silence , and then Victor’s deft fingers were at the buttons of his shirt, undoing them one by one until he pushed it open and trailed kisses of fire up and down his skin in an effort to make up for so much lost time.

Those kisses trailed back up to his throat, across his racing pulse and behind his ear, “Take it off.” Victor tugged at his shirt as he whispered into Yuuri’s skin, “I want to see you.”

Yuuri was only half way done with Victor’s own buttons, which wasn’t fair at all because he hadn’t even got to see Victor’s body yet, his muscled lines of hard work and power despite his limber frame, the scar he had on his hip from when they’d gotten into a real misunderstanding with each other and Yuuri had drawn a knife on him, but he couldn’t ever say no when Victor’s tone was low like that, when it was full of unspoken promises and smouldering embers that were just waiting to set everything aflame.

So he sat up, half hard already, he let Victor peel his final layer away, off came his white shirt that was thrown somewhere off the edge of the bed, and it was only now that he started to get self conscious, where he wanted to bury himself in all those numerous pillows and run, because the way Victor looked at him now was with awe and reverence like he’d never seen anything so beautiful in his life. Yuuri could never think of himself that way, he wasn’t a good person, he was just as wretched and feared as Victor in his own way, and the traditional Japanese tattoos that went down from the rounded muscles of his shoulders and down to his wrists said exactly why.

Fujin on his right arm, the terrifying god of wind, and Raijin, the feared god of lightning and thunder on his left, both in a frame of red peonies and grey patterns of swirling water that covered every inch of skin. And as Victor turned him over, pushed him onto his stomach and kissed the skin between his shoulder blades with a touch so worshipping that it made Yuuri’s breath hitch; there was a giant twisting red dragon that went from the top of his thighs to the bottom of his neck, all highlighted with more peonies and traditional patterns of water and rocks that left no shade of flesh un-inked. It was true what Yuuri said before, true power never needed flaunting, and here was Yuuri’s, always hidden under his many layers of suits and masks.

A secret son of one of the most prevalent criminal families in Japan, the rites of his passage were engraved on his skin, the workmanship was remarkable, the art perfect in its depiction of an ever lasting fight for supremacy and family pride. Yuuri’s job was doing the dirty work, to clean up messes that others left, to negotiate and bargain, to let people think that the young man with the glasses that he wore for business, with his messy hair and plain suit was meek and easily manipulated, when he was anything but the simple underling that people thought he was.

They were just tattoos to Victor though, nothing else, no symbol of status or standing, that was how he saw the purity in them, Yuuri guessed. It wasn’t that Yuuri didn’t like them, it was just that that ink was so heavy sometimes, something he couldn’t just shrug off like his suit jacket.

“It gets more amazing every time I see it.” Victor mumbled against his skin as he placed more kisses across his ink stained back, across the top of his shoulders on the dragon’s head, down its scales to the top of his pants where the rest of the creature disappeared under his belt. Yuuri was always so fucking relieved to hear Victor say that, he needed that reassurance, because it was always so easy for people hate him because of the art on his body, he was proud of these tattoos despite it all, and the fact that Victor liked them filled him with yet more pride.

That was always when Yuuri threw it all to the wind, when he let madness have his calculating resolve and jumped head first into his own storm for the last bit of his puzzle. Soon enough he was straddling Victor’s hips with his hands on his finally bare chest, kissing him for all he was worth, which was quite a fair amount, Victor would groan at Yuuri’s weight on his still clothed dick that was pushing at the inside of Yuuri’s thigh, he’d fumble at Yuuri’s belt with metallic clinks of the buckle and heated breathes against his lips, and Yuuri knew this would be over all too soon.

“I need to shower.” Yuuri would eventually say, and it was always just a cover for him saying he needed to prep himself properly because it had been so long, and Victor wouldn’t have them apart for one second, so they’d throw the rest of their clothes off in the giant bathroom with its marble tiles and copper bath tub, and they’d kiss under the scalding hot stream of a single shower head.

Victor’s firm, flawless skin slick against his was maddening, the friction he craved as they rubbed against each other lessened from the flowing water, which was just as well, because Yuuri would have come then and there and he wanted this to last as long as he could make it, this feeling like it was their first time every time they met.

“Turn around.” and Victor was panting now, his pupils as wide and as black as the abyss was deep, so he’d end up pushed against the cold shower wall with Victor on his knees behind him, dragging his teeth on the skin of Yuri’s ass and pinching at his thighs with unrestrained want.

“Fuck, Victor, hurry up.” - ’touch me properly, drown me, leave your own marks on my skin that’s what Yuuri really wanted to say, to scream, except Victor already knew what he wanted, he always did.

The primal growl from Victor’s throat echoed his thoughts, and soon Victor had Yuuri whimpering with his face pressed helplessly against the wall, firm hands held his ass cheeks apart, and Victor’s hot tongue sucked against his quivering entrance that was begging for so much more.

Victor prepared him painstakingly slow, diligent step by step, Yuuri thought he already knew insanity, knew what it was like to lose coherency and thought because he’d seen, made, other people lose themselves to drugs and fear, grief and despair more times than he could count, but Victor had this way of showing him what it really was. He sucked and licked and dipped his tongue in until Yuuri fucking begged for more, and then it was Victor’s chest against his back, heart thumping against his skin, coarse whispers of all the things they shouldn’t talk about in his ear, and one teasing finger easing in and out of his ass, swirling around and burying itself up to the knuckle and teasing his sweet spot with light touches that incited true senselessness.

“If anyone else sees you like this, I will fucking end them.” Victor pledged as he added another finger at last, and Victor’s own impatience was coming through now, Yuuri could hear his own greed, his own selfish need to have Yuuri all to himself, if anyone else spoke to Yuuri like this, he’d slit their throat, and it was only because it was mutual, if Victor looked at anyone else like this then Yuuri probably would burn the world and everyone in it.

It didn’t matter that they were still dripping wet, half covered in bubbles and selfish intentions, they were both clean in the places that mattered, Victor certainly didn’t care as he led them back to the bedroom and pushed Yuuri down and dried him off with the sheets, he didn’t care as he made Yuuri squirm with two, then three fingers in his ass and his teeth on Yuri’s skin. All Yuuri could do was twine his fingers in Victor’s soaking hair and roll his hips back against the fingers inside him, curling just shy of the place that would have him crumbling from the inside out.

“Just fuck me, Victor.” Yuuri eventually stuttered as he pulled Victor up to mash their lips together, to bring their chests flush and groins aligned.

“I thought you’d never ask.” Victor chuckled into his mouth, Yuuri would have given him a swat across the ears for that, for making him always ask, except all he could care about was the head of Victor’s throbbing dick pushing at his entrance, as it popped in passed the ring of muscle and slid in inch by inch until Victor was quaking above him, balls deep and moaning at the heat surrounding him.

Fuck, Yuuri.” Victor whispered then, his breath coming faster and his persistent hand on Yuuri’s thigh gripping demandingly tight, he pulled Yuuri’s legs up higher, positioned the backs of Yuri’s tattooed thighs flush against Victor’s stomach with Yuuri’s calves on his shoulders and his feet in the air, and he rolled his hips in and drove himself deeper still.

It was lucky they were both so flexible, because Victor practically folded Yuuri in half as he lowered himself to kiss the last of Yuuri’s left control from his person. All Yuuri needed was Victor’s lips sucking back his moans, Victor’s tense body snapping his hips in and opening him up again and again, he wanted to feel the painfully pleasant stretch as Victor’s dick stroked his insides, as the head of Victor’s dick caressed his sweet spot and sent lightning up his spine.

He could hear himself urging Victor on, faster, deeper, more, but he couldn’t control the words coming from his mouth between hungry open mouthed kisses and wrecked breathing. Victor gave him everything nonetheless, everything that Yuuri couldn’t bring himself to ask for, he gave him more sweet nothings of things that he’d aways wanted to hear, more promises of someone who would steal the stars and give him the sun in his pocket.

It wasn’t one of those cliche hollywood scenes at all, they’d spent most of the night being human with each other, but the sun was still trying to invade their time together by glowing in through the edges of the velvet curtains as it came up with the dawn, with a few more desperate kisses, more unrelenting snaps of his hips, Victor had Yuuri falling to pieces as he slammed against the spot that had the stars in his vision shining brighter than the sun’s attempt to uncover their secrets. He held on, clenched down around Victor’s thick, full dick in his ass and didn’t fucking let go until he felt the tell tale warmth of Victor losing it inside him, those powerful hips stuttered, his body shuddered, and Victor crooned his name as he came in drawn out thrusts of pleasure.

The come down from this delirium was always full of too soft kisses and crazy beating hearts, they were still damp from their damn shower, they’d need another one now, foreheads slick with sweat and cheeks flushed with bliss bumped together, it was clumsy and sweet and like something normal partners did, Victor just hummed in satisfaction, he let the sound vibrate deep into Yuuri’s chest, and without a doubt Yuuri knew he should have come here tonight after all.

“Stay for breakfast?” Victor hummed between kisses along Yuuri’s tattooed bicep.

“Yeah.” Yuuri’s men could wait for him a little bit longer, he still had one more day until his meeting.

They played their game of normal for that morning, Yuuri with his shirt off, his coloured skin free to breathe, always, always watched by Victor’s unfathomable eyes, their weapons stayed on the kitchen counter, forgotten in this intimate time between them with the curtains still shut so their secret couldn’t escape. They made each other coffee and still had to ask if the other had milk or sugar, they ate bacon and eggs for breakfast and talked about everything except work, they pretended to make plans for the weekend even though the weekend for them would never come.

Then it came down to helping each other get dressed in muted silence that spoke volumes more than any words ever could, Victor tightened the buckles of Yuuri’s holster straps with practiced fingers and slipped his weapons back into their cradles, he helped Yuuri into his jacket arm by arm and just watched as the person he’d known for the night vanished before his eyes.

This was without question, the part that tore Yuuri to shreds inside every time, they shared one last kiss in front of the door, exchanged a fond smile with eyes that lied and said ’stay.’

“See you soon, Yuuri.” Victor said his name for the last time until they met in secret again, like it was this gift that he’d keep close to his heart always, and this really was the worst, walking away from Victor again.

“Yeah, see you, Victor.” It was the only time he didn’t have to watch his back, because the weight of Victor’s glacial blue eyes on his back was enough for him, that was until the door closed behind him and he was left bereft with his own silent walk down the hallway to the elevator, out through the quiet hotel lobby and all the way back to the hotel where he should have been with his men all night.

The next day, Yuuri was exactly where he should be, in a discrete warehouse where his meeting was going to take place at a quiet corner of the docks where even Russians never dared to venture unless they had a death wish. He had a handful of men at his side and his weapons ready under his jacket, though he knew he wouldn’t need them at all.

Outside, sounds of port activity sounded around the building, the incessant beep of reversing forklifts, people shouting in the Russian tongue that Yuuri had been trying to learn in secret. Inside the warehouse was stacked high with shipping containers, rust covered, scratched and dented from many trips overseas and back. They loomed up to where chains on their booms hung above in watchful silence.

Once again Yuuri was waiting, waiting for a group of people to show up who he’d been sent to negotiate with because they had something - weapons as usual - that his group wanted, and his superiors knew that if anyone could get it, it would be Yuuri, even if it was from a group who they’d been at odds with since before Yuuri even existed.

Yuuri was glad to be sent really, because it gave him an excuse to see him, Victor Nikiforov as he walked in through the open roller doors with the midday sun streaming down behind him and his own handful of men. Today he was wearing a flawless black trench coat atop his impeccable suit, he strode in fluid steps with his hands in his pockets and a cold mask on his face that wouldn’t let anything in or out. Victor’s eyes were still only on him though, just as they should be, and it really was fucking lucky that they were both so good at this game, because their jig really would have been up then and there if people really understood the intimate silence that passed between them.

Victor’s steps clicked to a halt in front of him, and Yuuri wished he could stop his heart from fucking beating like crazy in case someone did hear it.

“Lets cut to the chase, Katsuki.” Victor drawled, cold and impassive, full of threat and intimidation that Yuuri would take seriously if he didn’t see the split second smirk on Victor’s lips.

There was no ceremony about it, Russians were coarse and abrupt and there was no need for formalities, greetings and pointless offers, so Yuuri pulled the offer slip from inside his jacket pocket and laughed to himself as Victor stood perfectly still while his men flinched with the thought that Yuuri might be pulling a weapon.

He stepped up measured and slow, to stand in front of Victor with the men from both groups watching them, handed over the folded slip of paper in silence and tried not to let his suit chafe at his skin with Victor standing there so close.

“You can’t even say what you want from me out loud?” Victor berated for all to hear, Yuuri felt the knife twist in the place where it hurt the most, and he could see the turmoil in Victor’s eyes as they pretended to skim across the paper. “Not even close to what I want.” and suddenly Yuuri couldn’t register the sounds going on outside around the warehouse, he couldn’t comprehend the divide he was forced to look at right at that moment, all he could see was Victor’s whole hearted conviction that was flickering with an all consuming fire.

“What do you want, then?” and Yuuri knew he shouldn’t be here, knew he shouldn’t have been sent, because all he wanted to do, as he’d always wanted to, was drown in the depths of Victor’s eyes.

“You know what I want, Yuuri.” Victor let his secret slip from his lips, he said his name in that way that only a lover could for all in the building to hear, and Yuuri could hear the flames beginning to roar as Victor’s eyes pulled him in.

“Just say the word.” came the whisper as Victor stepped close, behind them Yuuri was aware of guns out and at the ready, of confused men and questioned loyalties, here Victor was offering, and Yuuri was too selfish to say no.

“Ok.” Yuuri smiled as this game of masquerade came to an end, what would happen now, he didn’t know, he would probably die, his family would come after him and try to put a knife in his back or a bullet between his eyes, none of it mattered, because together they would fight, and the rest of the world would finally burn.