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“Oh my god!” Yuuko shrieks, “Oh my god, you’re dating Victor! Holy shit!”

 

Yuuri flushes, ducking his head and mumbling, “Keep it down, please.”

 

His friend is still wide-eyed, hands over her mouth, letting out soft giggles, “You kissed him on live TV, shut up! Oh my! This is so amazing! You’re dating your idol! That’s so romantic !”

 

“Yeah, well,” Yuuri looks down, trying to hide his red cheeks, shuffling his feet under the table at the café, “He’s...he’s really great.”

 

“Aww,” Yuuko cooes, grinning, “I bet he’s great. How long has this been going on, huh?”

 

“Um,” Yuuri winces, “A few weeks?”

 

Silence. Yuuko’s hand, holding her teaspoon, freezes in mid-air, and she lifts her gaze from her cup very, very slowly. Her eyes focus on his, cold, “What do you mean, a few weeks?”

 

“Like, um,” Yuuri desperately tries to search his brain for anything useful in this situation, while alarms inside his head go ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT , “Like maybe three weeks?”

 

“You’ve been going out, with Victor Nikiforov ,” Yuuko says, smiling sweetly, “for three weeks . And you haven’t told me.”

 

“I was, um, busy?”

 

“Yuuri,” Yuuko’s smile is absolutely terrifying, “Start talking.”

 

So Yuuri does. He tells her about Victor inviting him out everywhere, smiling and leaning in close whenever he could, and about him hesitantly starting to accept dinner invitations,  not really knowing Victor thought it was a “date”. He tells her about being nervous on the ice, and Victor touching his shoulder softly, giving him an encouraging glance when he’s faltering. He tells her about them sitting on the couch, Makkacchin between them, and Victor slowly, tentatively reaching out for his hand.

 

He doesn’t tell her about their first kiss. That’s just for them.

 

Yuuko squeals, clapping her hands whenever he blushes in embarrassment. Her eyes are shining, and her lips don’t turn downwards for the entirety of the conversation. She looks really happy for him, ecstatic, and Yuuri can feel a weight leave him. He’s always felt so bad because Yuuko was constantly worrying about him, asking him if he was okay, pursing her lips and frowning, telling him, “You can always call me, you know?”.

 

For the first time, Yuuko truly seems like she’s just happy for him, like she’s proud of him, almost.

 

It, embarrassingly, feels good.

 

“Yeah it’s...it’s really good right now, Yuuko,” he admits, in a small voice,  lowering his gaze, “I’m happy with him. Victor’s amazing .”

 

And then it happens, inevitably. Yuuko’s smile fades a little, her brightness dimming, and she lets her hands fall onto her lap, “Yuuri...have you talked to him? About everything ?”

 

Yuuri swallows hard, because he’s so tired of people having to ask him this. Yuuko, his sister, his parents, even Takeshi, hesitantly but with the best of intentions. He’s tired of this being a thing they talk about. Of having to prepare himself every time he even mentions a guy in his class, to steady himself in order to look into their worried gazes.

 

“I have,” he tells her, firmly, “It was one of the first things I told him. I’m really doing well, Yuuko.”

 

His friend’s smile comes back, full-force, and Yuuri, alarmingly, thinks he can see tears gathering in her eyes. She bites her lower lip, moving to hold his hand over the table, like they did when they were kids, “I’m so glad, Yuuri.”

 

 

ugh, can u like, IMAGINE viktor nikiforov IN BED? id die. like, seriously. DEATH.

 

omg ikr. like. look at dAT ASS. like. i cant. help me

 

  he has been graced by the booty gods. i am in awe

 

if hes got a big ass then imagine what else hes got thats big ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

 

oh I could keep him WELL SATISFIED BELIEVE ME

 

“Yuuri,” Victor says softly, from behind his shoulder, and he startles, immediately closing his laptop, feeling his cheeks heat up, “You shouldn’t be going through these forums. You know I don’t -”

 

“It’s fine!” Yuuri cuts him off, embarrassed, standing up from his desk chair and turning away from Victor, clutching his laptop to his chest, swallowing, “It’s perfectly fine, I was just - curious, you know.”

 

Victor sighs, running a hand through his hair, leaning on the beige walls of their apartment (it’s still kind of unbelievable that they’re living together, a five minute drive away from Hasetsu. ). He’s wearing the cute pajamas that Yuuri likes, blue with brown poodles on it, slightly too big for him, and he can’t help but think that Victor is absolutely adorable.

 

But his collarbones are showing, and his hair is messy and rumpled, in a post-sex haze way, like in the movies. He can see some skin above his hip that’s not covered by his pajamas. Yuuri knows he shouldn’t, knows he’s tried this many times before, but he stares at it, desperate, willing something to well up inside of him, for an urge he’s never really known to manifest itself and show up to the party, twenty four years too late.

 

It doesn’t.

 

“Yuuri,” Victor says, sounding tired, “It’s three in the morning, and I bet you haven’t slept. Come to bed, please.”

 

He holds out his hand for Yuuri.

 

Yuuri should take it. Yuuri does , every night, entwining their fingers, blushing a bit because he still isn’t used to it, still gets excited. He brushes their forearms together and looks up at Victor, nuzzling him a little. They get into bed together, Victor snorting when Yuuri sneakily tries to steal the blankets, wrapping them all around himself. After a few minutes, in which Victor allows him  to savour the empty victory of his warm nest, he attacks, tickling Yuuri until he can’t breathe, squirming on the expensive mattress, wheezing and swatting at Victor’s chest to get him to stop.

 

Tonight, “come to bed” sounds terrifying. Tonight, lying next to Victor, in the darkness, with only a thin layer of cloth on his body, and no other barriers, sounds dangerous .

 

He doesn’t take it, looks down at his feet and tightens his grip on his laptop. It’s fine. He’s fine. He doesn’t need to sleep. He’s got a free day tomorrow.

 

Yuuri can’t look up. If he meets Victor’s eyes, then his self-control will be wrecked apart, and he’ll join him, too weak to stand against the sad blue. But if he gets into bed tonight, he’ll fall apart.

 

“...Okay,” Victor sighs, still sounding exhausted, but not annoyed, thank god. Victor’s never been angry with him for refusing. “You come in whenever you want, okay, Yuuri? I’ll be there, and it’s fine if you wake me up. Don’t...please get some sleep, love.”

 

He nods, not sure if he’s going to try at all. But he owes Victor that.

 

 

His mother gave him the Talk when he was fourteen years old, while Yuuri hid his face in his hands, groaned and squirmed in his chair whining, “Noooo , that’s gross.”

 

Mom laughed, amused, and ruffled his hair fondly, “That’ll change, in a few years, honey. Soon, you’ll be talking about girls like they’re a miracle on Earth.”

 

It hasn’t. He didn’t.

 

People still tell him that, though.

 

 

“Yuuri,” Victor’s soft voice stirs him from his sleep, and he blinks his eyes dazedly, looking up at clear blue. “Yuuri, you need to wake up, you’ll hurt your back.”

 

“V-Victor?” he mumbles, sitting up on the couch, his pink blanket falling down from his legs. He rubs at his eyes, yawning slightly, “What time s’it?”

 

“It’s nine o’clock,” Victor tells him. He pauses, for a second, and then asks, hesitantly, “Yuuri, can I touch you?”

 

No .

 

He shakes his head.

 

“That’s alright,” his boyfriend assures him, “Do you want breakfast? I know I’m not the best at cooking, but I’ve been told burnt toast is a delicacy in some places.”

 

Despite himself,  Yuuri laughs, leaning against the couch, cheek pressed against the expensive leather, “You’re such a dork.”

 

“Why, Yuuri, that’s offensive. I’ll have you know I’m a very elegant and refined gentleman.”

 

“Who told you that?” Yuuri teases, “Your mom?”

 

Victor scrunches up his nose, like he’s smelling something foul. He’s still wearing his pajamas, but he’s buttoned it the whole way up this time, so almost no skin shows at all. He doesn’t look tired, eyes soft and gaze wandering back to Yuuri’s figure on the couch every few seconds, as if he’s afraid Yuuri will fade into the couch, evaporate like he was never there.

 

When Victor turns around to look at the food for the umpteenth time, shoulders tense, Yuuri carefully gets up from the couch, quiet, and walks until he’s behind him. He whispers, “Can I touch you ?”

 

Victor answers, “Of course.”

 

So Yuuri takes his hand, gently, and Victor cooks, by his side, and it’s exactly what he needs. After a few minutes, he kisses Victor’s hand tenderly, eternally grateful that Victor doesn’t push, doesn’t get frustrated, doesn’t snap and lash out. Victor observes, endless blue eyes that pick up on every instance that Yuuri flinches. He notices when he pulls away and draws a limit around him, Do Not Touch , respecting it without question. Victor observes, and he asks pointed questions that somehow seem to remain in Yuuri’s mind for days, and he wakes him up with Makkacchin on his worst days, so he doesn’t feel threatened.

 

“I love you,” Yuuri murmurs, and Victor smiles.

 

“I love you too, sweetheart,” he tells him, voice dripping with affection, waterfalls of fondness seeping through his tone and reaching Yuuri’s heart, wrapping it in a warm haze that protects him, impossibly tender.

 

 

“I mean, you guys better put a sock on the door,” Yuri threatens him angrily, pointing at him with his index finger and scrunching up his nose. “I demand not to be traumatized by what weird shit you and Nikiforov do.”

 

“We don’t,” Yuuri answers without thinking, almost as if the words have been on the tip of his tongue for years. He remembers being sixteen years old again, afraid to ever step out of line. His heartbeat is going crazy. “We don’t do weird shit. We don’t have sex.”

 

The teenager cocks his head, silent for a few seconds, before saying, “And you still stay with him? Does he pay you? I could get it if you were in it for the good lay, but seriously? Nikiforov? I thought you had taste.”

 

“Oh, shut up, Yuri,” Yuuri chokes out, trying not to cry, ruffling the younger skater’s hair and chuckling when he curses at him, holding up his bag and threatening to throw it at him. “He’s a great guy!”

 

“He’s literally the worst, Katsuki. Literally the worst.”

 

 

Victor buys an asexual pride flag, gets it framed, and hangs it on their living room. Yuuri tells him he doesn’t have to do it. His boyfriend insists, stubbornly, that he bought it for the aesthetic. He does admit, though, that the ace pride cap, ring and jeans were another matter.

 

Yuuri tries not to smile too obviously. He suspects he doesn’t manage it.

 

 

Yuuri skates Eros while thinking of Victor; thinking of Victor as someone who enjoys sex, who seeks it out and thinks about it, who realizes when people are attractive to him and not. He skates with his boyfriend in his mind, imitating the unconscious behaviour he’s seen in him over the past few months, and trusts that the ice will meet him when he lands.

 

Yuuri may not feel sexual love, may shy away from it in fear, tired of being mocked and repudiated once more for not understanding it, but he’s come to love Victor, as a whole. He’s come to love the side of him that he can’t quite comprehend, because it’s Victor.

 

How could he not love him?

 

 

Phichit sends him a message for Ace Pride Week, a bunch of emojis and the text, OMG IT’S LIKE YOUR WEEK BUT ISN’T IT YOU YEAR YOU QUEER LITTLE SKATER I LOVE YOU! SAY HI TO YOUR SUPER CUTE BOYFRIEND FOR ME!

 

Yuuri checks. He’s already uploaded ten pictures of himself themed with Ace Pride Week. Guang-Hong appears in all of them in the background, holding a sign that reads, “EmbrACE it.”

 

Your puns are awful and I love you , Yuuri sends back, just in time to hear Victor yawning awake beside him on the bed.

 

 

Victor’s kisses are light as a feather, a breath of fresh air, making his cheeks warm and his stomach do somersaults. His hands never stray south of his waist, but he enjoys holding Yuuri’s face in his hands, rubbing his thumb across his cheeks gently, and pressing his lips on his eyelids softly, chest rumbling when he hears Yuuri’s giggles.

 

He likes to rub the inside of his wrist, sometimes, tracing reassuring patterns on his skin until Yuuri melts into his arms, letting out a tired sigh and burying his head in his neck, burrowing closer together until he can feel every inch of Victor’s body, aching to be cradled and wanted. Yuuri does it the other way around for Victor, too, after a long day or whenever his parents call, and he can only hear the muffled sounds of him yelling in Russian, his name being mentioned once or twice.

 

That’s when Yuuri waits outside the door, ready to meet Victor when he’s calmed down enough to be around him again, knowing he needs some space first, and holds him when he comes out, his frame shaking slightly, his voice choking on freshly-shed tears.

 

“I want to stay with you forever,” Victor whispers, too sincere and too beautiful, making the space between Yuuri’s heart and soul shudder. “I want to cherish you until there’s no more time left.”

 

“I’ll let you,” Yuuri answers, hushed and trembling. “I’ll let you. But let me be there for you as well, okay?”

 

“Always,” his lover swears.

 

The lights don’t fade slowly. They don’t move nervously to their bedroom, smiling wickedly as their hearts beat faster in anticipation. They don’t get undressed.

 

They cuddle, for a while. Yuuri makes hot chocolate. Victor brings Makkacchin and allows (who’s Victor kidding? As if he can refuse the poodle anything) him to sit on the couch, between the two of them. They watch dumb television and laugh too loudly at shitty jokes.

 

Yuuri thinks it’s perfect.