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once more to see you

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Viktor Nikiforov is dead.

He can’t help but smile at those words, small and dry and humorless, as he looks back at the ocean. It’s not untrue. It’s also not the whole truth.

He was dead, for a time. His name and reputation have lived past him, gilded in glory and high in triumph. A living legend, they all say. But Viktor himself was left in an underworld of darkness, on his lofty throne, undeniably alone.

So, Viktor Nikiforov was dead, until, until, until–




 

Yuuri Katsuki. Viktor knows him, of course. Having six people in a competition kind of makes it hard to miss out on each other.

He’s looking at Viktor, biting his lip. Red, red, red. So, Viktor offers up the same.

“Want to take a commemorative photo?” He asks, and makes sure to smile. No teeth, not yet. Viktor extends a hand to Yuuri. He imagines holding a pomegranate, red, red, red. Go on, bite.

Yuuri turns his eyes away and leaves.




 

It takes more concentration than he needs on the ice to keep himself from rolling his eyes. Viktor makes his rounds in the room, making polite if tedious conversation. He’s doing this more for the boy at his side than anything else. Yuri Plisetsky, Ice Tiger of Russia, powerhouse at fifteen. Viktor wants this name to go around the figure skating elite, a worthy investment.

It’s only when the man he’s currently talking to stops for a breath in his perennial telling of his latest monetary exploits, does Viktor notice him.

Yuuri Katsuki. Sixth place and dead last. Shoulders slumped and tie loosened. Champagne in hand, then another, and another, and another, oh. Face flushed and jacket discarded.

“You,” he calls out and heads turn. Viktor hasn’t stopped looking. Yuuri, impatient, points at Yuri Plisetsky. “Kid, let’s go. Dance off.”

Yuuri moves into the middle of the room, not turning to see if his challenge is accepted. Everyone else steps back. Just as well, Viktor thinks. The floor is starting to bloom under Yuuri’s feet. The flowers are bending toward him like he is the sun. Yuuri stops at the center of this little circle of gawking onlookers he has created. The air smells of petrichor and freshly cut grass. Then, he starts to dance and he is radiant.

There is power and precision to his movements even while inebriated. The room at large is holding a collective breath, watching in fascination. Yuuri Katsuki is an anomaly that waltzed into this banquet, dipped his fingers into the monotonous and mundane, and made it his. Viktor is transfixed. He’s hooked and being pulled towards shore at alarming speed. He doesn’t care. This is sweeter than ambrosia and Viktor wants his fill.

It’s all chaos from there. Yuri, never one to turn away when challenged, slipped off his tie and stomped his way to the dancefloor. Chris, along with the sudden appearance of a stripper pole and a lot less clothes on his person, joined in the madness. And Viktor, breathing heavy with a grin on his face he didn’t even know was there, manic and carefree, danced with Yuuri like they’ve been doing it for years.

Viktor feels arms around his waist and there he is, Yuuri Katsuki. Strange and familiar, like skating on a frozen lake. Terrifying and dangerous and intoxicating.

He’s looking up at Viktor, biting his lip. Red, red, red.

“Be my coach, Viktor!”

Viktor imagines holding a pomegranate. Red, red, red. He takes a bite.

This is what it’s like to taste the forbidden fruit. This is what it feels like to be reborn.