Yuuri is lovable, yet frustrating.
(One of his more frustrating qualities is his obliviousness.)
They’ve been at a local diner in Haesetsu for an hour, now, and the waiter is annoying Viktor. Annoying him to the point of insanity.
Actually, no—the Waiter. The Waiter was so infuriating that he deserved a capital W. (And a slap to the face. But Viktor doesn’t deliver on the latter due to social standards. He considers it, though.)
And Yuuri still doesn’t know.
The Waiter asks something in Japanese and Yuuri smiles brightly. Viktor digs his fingers into his own thighs just a little bit harder. He doesn’t speak very fluent Japanese, but he’d caught the word ‘water’ and figured he was asking about refilling Yuuri’s drink. An innocent query, so why did Yuuri have to make that face? That face that made it seem as though the Waiter was the most important person in the entire universe?
Yuuri reaches out to hand the Waiter his glass.
(The Waiter reaches out his hand at the same time, because that’s what waiters do, and didn’t Yuuri know that?)
Their hands touch. Yuuri blushes and mumbles an apology. The Waiter hurries away with the glass, embarrassed. Viktor desperately tries to dampen the temptation to chase him down.
“What did the waiter say to you?” Viktor asks a moment later, trying to keep his voice casual, calm, collected. All of those good ‘c’ words.
They’ve become accustomed to the methodology of translation. Whenever someone speaks in Japanese, Yuuri will either translate automatically or wait for Viktor to ask. “He just asked if I wanted more water. Are you okay, Viktor?”
Perhaps the worst part is that the Waiter is, to an extent, attractive. He has dark hair, about shoulder length, and a chiseled jawline. He looks strong, but not in the same way that Viktor is strong. The Waiter has built arms, broad shoulders—his legs don’t look like they should be able to support his form. He wouldn’t be a successful skater.
Viktor blinks, glancing over at the man across the table from him, who is leaning forward, now, concern evident in his eyes. “I’m fine.”
Yuuri doesn’t believe him, but doesn’t push the topic any further. “What do you think about the music for the free skate?”
The Waiter is back with the drink. He sets it down at the table and lingers for a moment too long. (Viktor stares at him a little too hard.) Clearly perturbed, the Waiter leaves the table again, eyes nervously flitting away from Viktor’s.
“What was that about?” Yuuri asks.
Viktor just smiles at him, leaning back and running a hand through his hair. “What was what about?”
Yuuri looks adorably confused, but he shakes his head and moves on. “Never mind. Can we talk about the free skate?”
“I like the music,” Viktor answers, mind distracted. Could Yuuri really not tell when someone so obviously found him attractive? Did this mean that he was oblivious to Viktor’s own advances? This entire time, had his blatant come-ons been for nothing?
“Good,” Yuuri responds, looking relieved. “Because I was thinking about it and I thought it might compliment Eros well. The pieces are very different, but I think that’s good. It could give me an edge.”
Yuuri shifts in his seat, frowning. “Viktor, are you listening to me?”
Viktor licks his lips. “Of course I am.”
Their food is finally brought to their table—by somebody other than the Waiter, Viktor notices happily—and the conversation dims as they eat, Yuuri occasionally making unfairly endearing noises as he devours the dish in front of him.
When they get their check, the Waiter purposefully gives it to Yuuri.
(Viktor knows what comes next. He isn’t sure if he’s dreading or looking forward to Yuuri’s reaction, but either way he hates the Waiter. Hates him. And wishes he could speak fluent Japanese so he could tell him such.)
Yuuri gapes at the small, extra slip of paper inside the black folder containing the check. There are numbers scribbled across it in a neat script. He doesn’t say anything for an instant, just holds it up and turns it over, as if not quite believing in its existence. “Why is there…”
Viktor resists every urge to explain to Yuuri what had just happened in the most basic terms possible or to bury his face in his hands. Instead, he just waits as realization dawns over the man sitting across from him.
“Oh.” His cheeks tint red and he fumbles with the paper for a moment, as if unsure what to do with it. Eventually, he stuffs it in his pocket, and Viktor wants to forcibly remove the offending piece of paper and tear it to shreds. It takes all of his energy to keep him on his side of the table. Yuuri clears his throat, tugging on the collar of his shirt. “Um, should we split the check?”
The Waiter comes back over to get the check and Yuuri smiles at him sweetly, innocently. The Waiter smiles back. Viktor wants to vomit. It’s like the start to a bad romantic comedy.
“You sort of led him on,” Viktor points out as they leave the restaurant.
Viktor rolls his eyes. “The waiter. The waiter who left you his phone number.”
“I… I didn’t mean to… You think I led him on?” Yuuri asks, shocked. “I was just being friendly.”
And, really, that’s the heart of the problem.
Friendly for Yuuri meant being endearing, meant being irrevocably perfect, meant making everyone in the room pay attention to him without even meaning to. It meant being flirtatious by accident, it meant making everyone around him fall in love with him. His mere existence led to inevitable collateral damage.
That’s the problem. And it’s the reason Viktor loves him, but also the reason his knuckles are white as he eyes the Waiter one last time before they’ve left the restaurant.
“Well, he’ll get over it, anyway,” Viktor sighs, feeling Yuuri’s still-shocked gaze on him and wishing they could just drop the subject, wishing he could get the image of that stupid, pretty waiter out of his mind.
“Should I go apologize?”
Viktor purses his lips, imagining that. As much as he’d like to see Yuuri break the other man’s heart and profess his undying love for his career (and hopefully his coach), he also wants to keep Yuuri as far away from that man as possible. “No.”
There’s an awkward silence between them as they walk back to Ice Castle.
“Are you upset with me?” Yuuri asks, and his voice is worried and higher than usual and Viktor cringes, realizing his incessant drive to keep Yuuri close had pushed him away by accident.
“No, not at all,” he answers, smiling at him and remembering the slip of paper in his pocket. “Why would I be upset with you?”
“You’ve been quiet since the restaurant. Actually, even in the restaurant you were acting odd.”
“It’s nothing. I’m just a bit tired.”
Later, when Yuuri has changed out of his jeans and is on the ice to practice, Viktor finds the jeans in the locker room and removes the slip of paper from a pocket. For a moment, he stares at the numbers, contemplating the most ethical way to approach the situation.
(He tears it into ten pieces before letting the tiny remnants flutter into the nearest waste basket.)
(Ethical? Maybe not. Satisfying? Very much so.)
By the time the Cup of China rolls around, Viktor feels as though he knows Yuuri pretty well.
So when there’s a knock on their hotel room door, and it turns out to be Phichit visiting them, he’s not particularly surprised. Yuuri and Phichit had been friends in Detroit, and they video chatted often, and Viktor had even looked up some of Phichit’s old skates and examined them carefully.
(For purely competitive purposes, of course. It wasn’t as though he was simply curious about Yuuri’s friendships. Definitely not.)
“Yuuri!” Phichit greets happily, and hugs him.
(That’s when Viktor’s problem starts.)
Yuuri hugs him back, tight. Turns to Viktor and smiles. “Viktor, this is Phichit. Phichit, Viktor.”
“We’ve met briefly before,” Phichit says, also smiling, and the two friends are in sync, already comfortable beside each other, standing close. “Hi, Viktor. I was so glad to hear you’re coaching Yuuri now.”
Viktor greets him and watches as they both sit down on Yuuri’s bed. There’s a discomfort rising in his stomach that he can’t quite pinpoint, because obviously Yuuri and Phichit are just friends.
Obviously. Right? Right? They had to be just friends. Had to be. Viktor would know if they were more. After all, they’d been in Detroit together for five years. (Somehow, that fact isn’t doing much to alleviate Viktor’s jealousy.)
“Are you nervous for tomorrow, Yuuri?” Phichit asks, and he shifts closer to Yuuri and suddenly all of Viktor’s breath is gone because their thighs are touching and Yuuri isn’t moving away, is just ducking his head as he answers his friend.
Their thighs are touching. Yuuri’s head is ducked. They’re talking.
Viktor worries his lip with his teeth, eyes flickering between them. He tries to keep his posture normal, tries not to show off any signs of discomfort. His palms move back behind him to support him on the bed, fingers splaying across the soft sheets.
Phichit seemed nice and all, but…
“I bet you’ll do great,” Yuuri is telling him, and he touches his shoulder.
Touches his shoulder.
Viktor breathes, because he’d forgotten to, and because passing out right now wouldn’t exactly play off well with the other two men across from him. “You’ll do great, too. Best of luck to the both of us. Oh—I almost forgot—I brought you something.”
A gift? Phichit had brought Yuuri a gift? Why would he bring him a gift? It wasn’t his birthday, after all. And it wasn’t Christmas, or any holiday that he knew of that involved gift giving. So why would he…
“I brought you some too, Viktor.”
Phichit opens a bag and pulls out two containers. “It’s some of my Dad’s pad thai. I know how much you like it.”
His last phrase is directed at Yuuri, who nods enthusiastically. “Thank you!” He moves over to the small desk in the hotel room and immediately opens the container, grinning even brighter when he sees that Phichit had included a fork and knife.
Viktor just stares at his container, not particularly hungry but not wanting to be impolite. Also relieved that the two friends are no longer sitting directly beside each other. “I’ll save it for later.”
Before he can get up to put it in the fridge, he’s distracted.
(Because Yuuri is killing him slowly.)
When Yuuri takes the first bite, he makes a moan that isn’t even human. He takes another bite immediately, fork wrapping around the noodles and then disappearing past his pink lips, expression the epitome of bliss. Phichit is laughing, pulling out his phone and snapping a picture of Yuuri, who happily poses with the food.
Then he makes that noise again.
Viktor wonders how a robot broke into his hotel room and replaced Yuuri, because that noise does not come from the Katsuki Yuuri that he knows. He’d love it to, but it simply doesn’t. Scientific fact.
His unkempt hair is drifting down in front of his eyes, and his wrinkled t-shirt is riding up his back as he leans forward towards the desk. Viktor wants nothing more than to forcibly remove Phichit from their hotel room so that he can slip his hands up the bottom of Yuuri’s shirt and push him against that wooden desk until he made that noise for a third time, then a fourth, then a fifth.
“It’s so good,” Yuuri moans. “Viktor, you have to try it.”
Viktor isn’t sure he could move, much less eat food right now. “I already ate.”
“So did I!” Yuuri protests, but changes the subject anyways. “So how’ve you been, Phichit?”
They start to tell stories about old memories from Detroit, and every once and a while Phichit will bring something up and Yuuri will turn red with horror, protesting and waving his hands violently until Phichit stops talking. Viktor pushes it, asking the Thai skater for more details, but they both, upon seeing Yuuri about to faint, eventually drop the subject.
When Phichit finally leaves the hotel room, saying he should go rest up before the big day tomorrow, he squeezes Yuuri’s hand before leaving.
Genuinely, actually, squeezes his hand.
As in their fingers touch.
As in Viktor is now a corpse sitting there on his hotel room bed, the container of pad thai still in his lap because Yuuri has rendered him incapable of the smallest movement. As in the other two men probably think he’s insane for still having not put the food away, because won’t it go bad eventually?
“It was nice of him to stop by,” Yuuri muses when he’s gone, sitting back down on his bed and pulling out his phone to scroll through social media.
Yuuri doesn’t look at him. “Mmm?”
“Did you and Phichit date?”
(Horrified. Yuuri looks horrified.)
“Did… Did Phichit and I… No! No no no! Never. I mean, not that I think he’s—no, we never dated. I mean, there was that one time…” He starts blushing violently, shaking his head. After a moment, he composes himself to provide a final, surefire answer. “No. We never dated.”
Viktor’s thoughts are a whirlwind, his mind having just been attacked by a tsunami of information. “That one time?”
“You said, there was one time, then you trailed off.”
Yuuri blinks. “Right, well. Long story.”
Viktor leans back against the stack of pillows on his bed. “I’ve got time.”
He doesn’t look as though he expected that answer as he shifts uncomfortably on top of the sheets, his arms folding across his chest and his eyebrows drawing together. “It’s… Thing is, I… I don’t… It was…”
“Yuuri, are you hiding things from your coach?”
“No!” Yuuri blurts, and Viktor feels bad—just a little bit—because Yuuri jumps a little as he says it. “It isn’t a big deal, really.”
Viktor raises an eyebrow and stands up, moving to sit on Yuuri’s bed, only a few centimeters away from him. Yuuri swallows, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down as he ducks his head again. His body language is ridiculously easy to read, Viktor has noticed, and it’s absolutely endearing.
“If it’s not a big deal…” Viktor starts, letting his expression say the rest.
Yuuri sighs, defeated. “We kissed once, okay? It was a dare. See, no big deal?”
He tries to contain himself. (Jealousy. That’s what it is. That’s what’s eating him alive now. Jealousy, pure, unadulterated jealousy.)
(Before now, Viktor hadn’t realized that he was the jealous type. What an interesting revelation. Because now he wants to kiss Yuuri until he can’t remember anyone else’s name, wants to kiss him until the only two syllables he can pronounce is Viktor’s own name. Wants to kiss him for hours, long, hard, soft, short, in every position, in every possible manner.)
(Instead, he just stares at him. Yuuri stares back.)
Yuuri nods, seemingly a bit relieved now that the secret is out in the open. “All of the skaters in Detroit got together one night for a party, we played some silly games. Phichit and I kissed, but it wasn’t a big deal. Nothing else happened after that. We’re just friends—we’ve always just been friends. And we’re both okay with that.”
Well, that was a relief, at least.
But it didn’t change the fact that Yuuri and Phichit had kissed.
(He wonders if Yuuri had tasted like alcohol. He would’ve been younger back then, perhaps not even twenty-one yet, so maybe not. Wonders what type of kiss it had been—a tiny peck or a long, passionate one? He hopes for the former and dreads the latter.)
He could drop the subject, like he knows Yuuri wants him to, but for whatever reason, he doesn’t. “Did you like it?”
“Did I…? That’s not… I don’t…” Yuuri shakes his head. “I love Phichit,” he starts, and Viktor cringes, “but just as a friend. So it wasn’t, like, horrible or anything, but it also didn’t feel like much. It was just normal.”
“And has it ever felt like anything other than normal?”
There’s a tuft of hair that isn’t flat on Yuuri’s head, that’s sticking up in a disheveled manner, and out of instinct Viktor reaches up to fix it. He doesn’t miss the way that Yuuri’s breath catches, the subtle way that his entire posture shifts, leaning into the touch. “Kissing?” Viktor elaborates, waiting for an answer.
“Oh. No, I don’t think so. Not that I’ve… I haven’t… I mean…”
“Haven’t kissed that many people?”
Yuuri looks embarrassed, now, genuinely embarrassed. “Yeah, I haven’t.”
Viktor tries to hide his relief. He doesn’t do a good job. Yuuri looks a bit confused. “That’s… Okay.”
“Have you?” Yuuri asks.
“Not many, either.”
(Yuuri looks as though he feels a bit better, now, albeit a little doubtful. Viktor smiles at him.)
But Yuuri isn’t done. He looks less shy now, with newly departed secrets out in the air, and shifts so that he’s sitting closer to Viktor, their thighs bumping. Viktor is reminded of how he and Phichit had been sitting earlier and there’s that damned jealousy again, back in the game. “And has it ever felt, um, more than normal, for you?”
Yuuri looks relieved. And anticipatory.
(His body language is easy to read, remember?)
A decision is made then and there.
Viktor stands up. Walks to the bathroom. Mutters something about getting changed. Tragic disappointment is painted onto all of Yuuri’s features, the emotions practically radiating from him. Viktor is disappointed, too, but also excited about his new idea. His new idea that he hopes he’ll end up being able to follow through on.
He kisses Yuuri after the free skate. In front of the cameras, the entire world watching.
(His reaction makes the wait completely worth it.)
The night before Rostelecom, they head to a fancier-than-usual restaurant.
Turns out, though, it’s more of a bar—the restaurant itself is packed away in a tiny little corner and most people seem to just be eating at the bar, anyway. Yuuri reminds Viktor that he’s not going to drink the night before a competition, a point which makes perfect sense but disappoints Viktor nevertheless, but they sit at the bar.
Just to eat.
Simply to eat.
Viktor steps away to use the restroom. When he comes back, his seat has been taken by a man with blonde hair and green eyes. Bright green. Viktor would think they were attractive, from an objective standpoint, if he didn’t hate the man so much already.
Yuuri is smiling at him. Polite. Endearing without meaning to be. A smile that, really, should be reserved for Viktor. Completely reserved for him.
He’s reminded of the Waiter.
He crosses the room in record time.
The man is speaking in Russian and Yuuri doesn’t seem to understand, shaking his head and trying to speak with him in English. Then, the man gestures at his empty cup and raises an eyebrow. Yuuri still doesn’t understand—bless his soul—and Viktor clears his throat.
“Do you know him?” the man asks in Russian, gesturing towards Yuuri, who blinks at them.
“He hardly speaks any Russian, just English and Japanese,” Viktor answers, layering his tone with ice and hoping the man gets the hint.
The man offers a smile. His stupid green eyes glint. Viktor changes his mind about them—they’re no longer attractive, whether looking at them from an objective or biased standpoint. Now they're just annoying. “Oh, could you translate for us? I was trying to offer to buy him a drink.”
Viktor shifts closer to Yuuri, placing a hand on his shoulder. Yuuri looks surprised, but doesn’t move, eyes flickering between the two men. “He’s taken, actually,” Viktor informs the man in Russian. “We’re dating.”
“Oh, my apologies,” the man offers quickly, smiling once more—it’s a disappointed smile, Viktor notes with far too much joy—before leaving.
Viktor sits back down but keeps his hand on Yuuri’s shoulder, enjoying the way it feels. He figures Yuuri doesn’t mind, either, judging by the fact that he still hasn’t moved. “What did he say?” Yuuri asks. “I only caught a few words.”
Viktor sucks in a breath. “What words?”
“Just pronouns. I. Him. He.”
“He wanted to sell you something,” Viktor explains lamely. “I think he had a quota to reach by the end of the week for some sort of infomercial product. Nothing important.”
“At a bar? He’s trying to sell things at a bar?” Yuuri says, frowning.
“Mmm. An odd choice of venue, but to each their own, I suppose.”
Yuuri still doesn’t look as though he believes him, but he just shrugs. “Well, alright.”
Viktor catches the man eyeing them from across the room, a brief glance. Then there’s a hand covering his own—Yuuri is squeezing his fingers. “Viktor?”
“Are you…? You’re acting a little odd.”
Viktor makes sure that the man isn’t still watching them. He’s gone, now. Gone back to wherever people like him and the infamous Waiter come from. “Am I? I guess I’m just nervous about the competition tomorrow.”
Yuuri knows it’s a lie. Knows Viktor doesn’t get nervous before competitions. At least, not visibly or admittedly nervous. But he doesn’t call him out on it. Thankfully.
It’s nice, for the rest of the night, pretending that he and Yuuri are dating.
Sometimes it’s painful to think about just how much Yuuri has come to mean to him in the past few months. He wonders what he thought about before then, what he did before then. Because he can’t name a thought he’s had recently that didn’t involve Yuuri, can’t name something he’s done in the past several months without Yuuri.
(Worse, he can’t name anything he wants to do without Yuuri. He wants to brush his teeth with Yuuri by his side. Wants to talk to Yuuri about his every thought. He just wants Yuuri more than anything. And he has him, yes—they spend an incredible amount of time together—but it’s never enough.)
He’s reminded of the conversation they’d had about kissing. About it being more than normal. Yuuri is more than normal, he’s more than perfect. He’s on a level that doesn’t have a word in any language’s dictionary yet.
“What are you thinking about?”
Him. Kissing him. Dating him. Everything about him.
“Oh, just the costumes for the competition.”
(A pathetic lie.)
The moment they get off the plane in Barcelona for the Grand Prix Final, there are people practically attacking them. Viktor is used to fans, enjoys them, really—meeting them, taking photos with them. It has never been a problem for him.
Because one approaches Yuuri a little too quickly, wraps her arm around him a little too comfortably, presses herself against him a little too closely.
Viktor absent-mindedly signs autographs, his full attention on his student a few meters away from him, absorbed in his own fans’ attention. “Could we have a picture?” somebody is asking him, and it’s a girl, a pretty girl. Tall, blonde.
Yuuri is blushing. Blushing. Full on, cheeks red, ears tinted, head ducked, everything. Viktor wants to pick him up and carry him away and never let him out of his sight again. Wants him all to himself. The need is embarrassing, really.
They take a photo. There’s arms all over Yuuri—around his back, his shoulders, his arms. They’re all over him.
Somebody is talking to Viktor but the words are blurred. He can hardly hear himself think, his heart pounding too loudly in his ears. “Could we have an autograph?” somebody asks, but it’s to Yuuri, and Yuuri nods enthusiastically.
When he uncaps the girl’s pen, he places the cap in his mouth. His teeth are sparkling and white, lips pink and tempting, eyelashes long and features focused on the task at hand.
It’s a habit Viktor has noticed before.
Except, when he’d noticed it before, they’d been alone. Now over a dozen people have seen him do it and it doesn’t feel fair because that had been Viktor’s thing to notice, to admire. He sucks in a breath and sees one of the girls eyeing the pen cap, too, probably thinking the same thing he’s thinking.
And Yuuri doesn’t even know.
Yuuri signs the paper then removes the cap from his mouth, placing it back on the pen. It’s unsanitary, Viktor thinks, but the young girl treats as though it’s a holy scripture. Viktor tries to control his breathing, tries not to let his emotions show.
“Could I have a photo, too?”
Yuuri nods again.
“We really have to get going,” Viktor says suddenly, before he’s even considered the words, and the girls look disappointed but understanding as they back away, taking their phones and newly autographed papers with them.
Yuuri looks disappointed, too, and Viktor hates himself. “Are we in a hurry?” he asks, a bit annoyed, though they’re already walking towards the baggage claim.
Viktor fumbles for an answer. “We just… I wasn’t sure you’d want to be standing there all day.”
“Oh. I don’t mind taking photos.”
Viktor does mind, though. Which is unfair. And he should probably think more about his actions before performing them. But sometimes, when Yuuri does things like put a pen cap in his mouth, his normally coherent and intelligible thoughts are reduced to “Yuuri is mine” on an endless loop, so really, is he to be blamed?
(Yes, he is. He can’t blame Yuuri for his own attractiveness and he knows it.)
“Sorry,” Viktor says, rubbing the back of his neck.
Yuuri doesn’t look too upset, just offers a sad smile and reaches out to squeeze Viktor’s shoulder, because that’s a thing they do now, apparently. “Oh, it’s fine. Just, you know, for future reference, I don’t mind.”
Another fan, separate from the earlier group, approaches them.
Viktor makes a fatal mistake.
Fatal? No, not fatal. Unintelligent? Probably, but still not the right word.
He puts a hand around Yuuri’s waist. Tugs him closer until they’re walking side by side, not a centimeter of space between them.
Yuuri looks shocked. The girl looks shocked.
She doesn’t ask for an autograph or photo, just watches them. They keep walking. Yuuri speaks, then, his voice low. “Viktor? You’re acting weird again.”
“What do you mean?” Then, he remembers where his hand is. Yuuri’s hip bone is wiry beneath his fingers. He loves the feeling of it. “Do you want me to stop?”
“No, not that—I mean, I don’t mind. But you’re acting like you did in Russia at that one bar. And like you did in China and Haesetsu before that.”
“What do you mean?” Viktor repeats, playing oblivious, because he knows that Yuuri isn’t stupid, knows that Yuuri is onto him.
And, god, his intelligence is one of the things Viktor loves about him. Along with everything else. But the moment Yuuri figures out he’s an obsessive, jealous freak he’ll probably freak out and definitely not let Viktor do things like this, wrap his arm around his waist or touch his shoulder.
“Like you’re upset with me.”
“If I was upset with you, why would I have my arm around you?”
Yuuri doesn’t appear to have an answer to that. His mouth opens, then shuts, then opens it again, fumbling to come up with words. “I don’t know.”
“Exactly. I’m not upset with you.”
“But you are acting weird.”
Yuuri’s hip bumps into Viktor as they walk around something. Viktor tries not to smile too much. Yuuri is everything he’s ever wanted, and just this simple motion of walking together is making his heart giddy. “I don’t mean to be acting weird.”
“Viktor, it’s going to be freezing.”
There’s a pool in the hotel in Barcelona, and Viktor had already taken a dip with Christophe and loved it, so he figured now it was time to convince Yuuri. After all, he plans to take advantage of this pool at least ten more times before their plane trip home.
“So? We’ll bring towels,” Viktor promises, tugging on Yuuri’s arm and feeling annoyed when he doesn’t budge.
“We can go swimming somewhere else, when it’s warm,” Yuuri complains.
Viktor breaks out the big guns. He pouts, extending his lower lip.
Yuuri’s resolve breaks before his very eyes. Like a magic trick. “Oh, fine, but I’m not swimming. I’ll just watch you, okay?”
One step at a time.
Viktor grins. “Sure. But bring a swimsuit just in case?”
Yuuri rolls his eyes. “Viktor. You think you’re going to be able to convince me to swim, but…”
“I’ll bring one for you!” Viktor suggests and begins digging through Yuuri’s suitcase, pleased to find a blue pair of swim trunks. “You packed them and everything, that must mean you were planning on swimming. So let’s go!”
“I didn’t know it’d be cold,” Yuuri mumbles, but this time, when Viktor tugs on his arm, he moves off of the bed and laughs as he’s led out of the door and down the hallway.
Viktor strips off his own clothes quickly and jumps into the pool, the sun setting behind them. It’s late, and the pool probably isn’t even supposed to still be open, yet here they are. The water is freezing cold, and Yuuri laughs at he as he shivers, rubbing his hands up and down his arms. “I’ll get used to it,” Viktor tells him. “It’s already getting better. All relative, you know.”
“Want me to take any photos?” Yuuri asks, leaning against a wall and waving his phone in the air.
“No, that’s fine.”
Viktor paddles around for a few minutes, occasionally eyeing Yuuri and seeing that he was still watching him. Yuuri would shyly turn his eyes away, and they’d repeat the action a few minutes later. “Sure I can’t convince you?” Viktor pleads, grinning. “It’d be more fun if you were in here with me.”
Yuuri shifts where he’s sitting. “Isn’t it cold?”
Viktor pretends to test the water, dipping his fingers into it even though he’s already submerged. Then, he opens his mouth to speak, but instead he splashes Yuuri, earning a surprised yelp as he scrambles away from the edge of the pool. “Viktor!”
“See? Not cold!” Viktor claims.
Yuuri is grinning despite himself, shaking his head. “What are you talking about? It’s freezing.”
“I guess you must really hate me if you don’t want to swim with me.”
He rolls his eyes. “Oh come on, Viktor…”
“I didn’t know Yuuri hated me so much. Oh, that’s too bad. A coach hated by his student. What a shame. How am I supposed to advise him from now on? I can’t possibly help someone who hates me.”
“Alright, how about this?” Yuuri moves closer to the pool and toes off his shoes and socks before dipping his feet in, careful to keep his jeans above the water. “But no splashing, okay?”
Viktor swims closer to him and leans his arms on the edge of the pool to look up at Yuuri, who looks suspicious at the proximity, prepared to defend himself from splashing. “Let’s play a game. Truth or dare strip.”
The proposition is worth it simply to see the look on Yuuri’s face. His cheeks flush just so, the tips of his ears tinting pink, and he shakes his head adamantly. “You’re already stripped. Not fair.”
“Okay, truth or dare strip for you, truth or dare something else for me. Or, how about this—I just have to answer everything. No third option. I’ll answer any truth and complete every dare.”
Yuuri seems to contemplate the idea. “Yeah, okay. But if I don’t answer something or do a dare, I have to, er, strip? Can we use a different word?”
“Call it what you will. Take off an article of clothing. And then get in the pool,” Viktor adds, grinning. “That is, if you don’t answer enough things or complete enough dares.”
He considers it for another moment. “Alright: on one condition. I go first. Truth or dare?”
Yuuri raises an eyebrow, surprised. “Okay, touch the bottom of the pool.”
Viktor smiles at him, unimpressed. He swims down for a moment and touches the bottom, then swims back up, brushing his hair back out of his eyes. “Is that all you’ve got, Yuuri? My turn. Truth or dare?”
“When is the last time you kissed someone?”
Yuuri blinks. Viktor remembers his story about kissing Phichit, but he doesn’t know if that was his last kiss or not. “If I don’t want to answer, I have to take off something?”
“Mmm,” Viktor answers, smiling. If he’s being honest, he’d rather watch Yuuri take his shirt off then have him answer the question. “It’s an easy question.”
Yuuri looks conflicted as he weighs his options. Eventually, he sighs and casually pulls his shirt up off of his head. Viktor stares blankly.
He’s seen Yuuri shirtless on several occasions, but for some reason, now, it’s the best he’s ever looked. He’s more muscular than he’d been when they’d first met. His stomach is flat and there’s a small trail of hair that disappears beneath the line of his jeans. Every inch of skin is completely tantalizing, unbelievably distracting.
Yuuri’s hands fly to cover his stomach. “How come you’re staring at me?”
“You’re very fit,” Viktor informs him honestly, and Yuuri just ducks his head, not saying anything. “It’s your turn, by the way.”
“Truth or dare?”
“Say truth,” Yuuri says.
Viktor shrugs. “Okay, truth.” Honestly, there’s nothing he wouldn’t tell Yuuri.
“How come you want me to get in the pool so badly?”
(That was unexpected.)
Viktor smiles, shifting a bit closer to Yuuri on the pool wall. “What would you say if I told you I wanted to see you shirtless?”
“I’d say that you’ve seen me shirtless plenty of times before.”
“What if I answered with not nearly enough times?”
Yuuri purses his lips, hands still covering his stomach as he meets Viktor’s eyes. “I’d say that I don’t know what you mean by that.”
Viktor drums his fingers against the edge of the pool. “Truth or dare?”
Yuuri thinks for a minute. “Dare.”
“I dare you to take your jeans off.”
His cheeks flush. “Viktor! That’s not fair!”
“Oh, well if you don’t want to do the dare, I guess you’ll just have to take your jeans off. Hmm.”
Yuuri stands up, tongue darting out to lick his lips. “Well, I’m already cold anyway. Just promise you won’t stare at me, okay?”
Viktor makes no such promise. Yuuri groans in complaint.
“I put your swimsuit over on the chair,” Viktor tells him. “You can just change here, if you want.”
Yuuri apparently can’t tell that he’s joking. He stares at him blankly.
“Oh, thank god,” Yuuri breathes, picking up the swim trunks and walking inside. “I’ll be right back.”
(Viktor whistles at him as he walks away. Yuuri yells at him and he stops, but when he turns to enter the building Viktor can see that he’s smiling.)
His eyes don’t leave the hotel door until Yuuri is back. He looks gorgeous in the swimsuit, his pale skin shining in the fading orange sunlight and his long legs now visible. They’re muscular from skating, and his knees have a few bruises from failed jumps.
“I said not to stare at me,” Yuuri complains, but Viktor catches him smiling a bit again. It only makes him more endearing.
“I’m not sure how not to. I suppose I’m objectifying you, though.”
He rolls his eyes as he dips his toes into the pool. “Still freezing cold.”
Viktor approaches him again and hums. “Maybe I can help?”
“What do you…”
He pulls Yuuri into the pool and Yuuri yelps as he falls under the water, scrambling to get up. When he does, he’s shivering and rubbing at his arms. “We’re going to freeze to death. Death by hypothermia, right before the Grand Prix Final.”
“No, you’ll get used to it,” Viktor promises, smiling at him. “I’m warm and toasty now.”
He tries not to get distracted by the drips of water that fall from Yuuri’s hair and down his cheek, onto his toned chest. It’s inevitable, though. His gaze is drawn to Yuuri like tides are drawn to the shore. Continuously, inescapably.
Viktor meets his eyes, but it’s no better. They’re the most captivating shade of brown, beautiful and sparkling as always. “Is our game over, then?”
“Hmm. I think we can keep going. Or at least, I can keep asking, because I’m already in the pool.”
“A bit unfair, don’t you think?” Viktor protests, but he hardly pretends to care, because currently all he cares about is the fact that he’s standing in a swimming pool with a skimpily clothed Katsuki Yuuri. He’s fairly certain he’s had a triple-digit number of dreams like this before.
Yuuri just smiles at him. “Truth or dare?”
“Which do you want me to pick?”
“Okay, dare, then.”
He thinks for a minute. “I dare you to hold your breath for a full minute.”
Viktor knows he can—he’s done it for far, far longer before. He goes under the water and tries not to laugh when he reaches out for Yuuri’s legs and the other man jumps away, surprised by the touch. Eventually, he runs out of oxygen and comes up, brushing away wet hair from his eyes.
“That was way over a minute,” Yuuri answers, impressed.
Viktor preens. Just a little. “How long can you go?”
“Not as long, I don’t think. Now, truth or dare?”
“No preference?” Viktor asks, and he’s in love with this, Yuuri asking him questions, Yuuri paying attention to him, Yuuri.
(Oh, so he’s just in love with everything about Yuuri.)
(That explains it.)
They continue with the game for about an hour. They occasionally paddle about, but mostly they just float, speaking to one another about anything, performing careless dares and eventually trying to prank call Yurio. Sadly, he doesn’t pick up, but they leave him a lovely voice mail.
When they get out of the pool, Viktor notices Yuuri’s pruned fingers and grins, placing a kiss to the tip of one. Yuuri blushes madly before glancing around. “Um, Viktor, where are the towels? You know, before we catch hypothermia?”
“Oh, they should be… Right—I forgot the towels.”
“You forgot towels? We have to walk back to our hotel rooms like this?”
Viktor shrugs. “Here, I’ll text Chris to bring us some. We could put on our clothes, but I don’t think the hotel would appreciate us dripping water through their halls.”
Chris, unsurprisingly, brings the towels in a matter of minutes
“You didn’t invite me?” he complains as he holds out a towel.
That’s when everything goes wrong.
Yuuri sprints towards him and wraps himself in the towel, pressed far, far too tightly against Chris for Viktor’s liking. Then, Chris wraps the towel around him and smiles—smiles. “You’re cold, huh?”
(If Viktor had known Yuuri was that cold, he would’ve done something about it.)
(In fact, he could write a book entitled Things To Do For Yuuri When Yuuri is Cold. It could even have multiple volumes. All rated R, most likely. Perhaps there could even be a movie adaptation.)
But, no, instead Yuuri was wrapped in a blanket beside Chris.
“I’m surprised you got him in the water,” Chris commented, but he doesn’t even look at Viktor, eyes completely focused on Yuuri.
Viktor knows that Chris has a boyfriend. Knows that he’s not interested in Yuuri like that—he might joke around, but he’s not truly interested. And yet it does nothing to dampen the surge of anger he feels rising in his stomach.
Chris tosses Viktor a towel, he wraps himself in it. Yuuri appears more content, now, towel tight around his shoulders.
“Thanks for bringing these, Chris,” Yuuri says, smiling at him.
Viktor is sick of the smiling.
More specifically, sick of seeing Yuuri smile at people other than him.
(Is that wrong? Probably. He’s beyond caring at this point.)
“We should get back to our hotel room, get some sleep,” Viktor tells them, though his words are pointed at Yuuri, who, thankfully, nods in agreement.
They clutch their clothes as they walk, each of them still cold despite the towels wrapped around them. Viktor wraps a protective arm around Yuuri’s side. When they make it back to the hotel room, Yuuri says something about taking a hot shower and then enters the bathroom.
Viktor sighs and leans back against the desk chair, not wanting to get in the hotel bed while he’s still coated in chlorine, and tries very hard not to imagine Yuuri warming himself up in the shower. Tries very hard not to imagine the water dripping down his chest and, then, even lower.
He tries very, very hard.
(Again, like so many other things with Yuuri, it’s inevitable.)
Yuuri blinks at him, drying his hair with a towel. He’s dressed fully again, in sweatpants and a t-shirt. Disappointing, but expected. “Definitely. Aren’t you going to take one?”
When he gets out, he sees Yuuri in bed on his side, phone in his hand and the covers pulled up to his lap. There’s something about the sight of Yuuri in a hotel room bed that, no matter how many times he sees it, will never fade.
Is it possessiveness, maybe? Something like that. Something about seeing him laying there, attractive and kind and perfect and everything good in the world. Something about having that all to himself. It’s an animalistic defensiveness, maybe, but Viktor likes the feeling. Likes Yuuri. No—loves Yuuri.
“Are you going to go to bed?” Yuuri asks him, propping himself up by his elbows.
“We both should. Big day tomorrow.” And Yuuri’s face sinks at that and Viktor curses himself. He shouldn’t have reminded Yuuri about the competition. The night before competitions he always got nervous, but perhaps tonight he’d forgotten for a little while. That must’ve felt nice while it lasted, and here Viktor had gone and ruined it.
“Right. Well, good night, then,” Yuuri says, offering him a smile.
Viktor licks his lips.
He wants something.
So, so badly.
But does Yuuri want it?
“You know, Yuuri. I’m actually still a bit cold.”
He smiles, understanding his meaning instantly because he’s smart and wonderful in every sense of the word. “Now that you mention it, so am I.”
Viktor’s heart warms.
No, that’s not right—his entire body warms. Everything warms. Yuuri melts the room as he smiles, tears apart the galaxy as he pulls the covers to the side to make room for Viktor. Viktor’s knees feel weak as he crawls into bed beside him, not quite believing what his senses are telling him.
(Because it would be a cruel, cruel joke if he woke up right now and this had all been a dream. A cruel, cruel joke because Yuuri’s hair still smells like shampoo and his skin is still slightly damp.)
Viktor moves an arm around his torso. “Is this okay?”
“Warm,” Yuuri answers, and turns his head back to smile at him.
Viktor snuggles closer against him, pressing his chest against Yuuri’s back and nuzzling his nose into his hair, breathing in the smell of shampoo. It’s hotel brand, cheap, but on Yuuri…
It might as well have been made of the ambrosia of the gods, really.
There’s still something wrong, though. Yuuri’s eyes are still open, Viktor has noticed, and he’s staring straight ahead. His posture is relaxed, his thoughts less so.
“Are you nervous?”
“Can you tell?”
Viktor kisses his hair. Yuuri shuts his eyes, a gentle sigh escaping his lips. “I can tell.”
They’d never done anything like that before. Yuuri shifts back towards him, folding his arms up against his own chest to try and get comfortable. “Sorry. I’ll try and relax.”
“No need to be sorry. It’s understandable.”
“You never got nervous before competitions,” he points out.
He knows Yuuri doesn’t believe him.
“A bit,” Viktor adds, shrugging.
Yuuri just laughs breathily, and Viktor doesn’t quite know what he did to produce the sound but it makes him happy anyway, wrapping his arm tighter around the younger man. His lips brush against Yuuri’s dark hair and it’s an intoxicating sensation, makes his eyelids feel heavier.
A few minutes later, he’s no longer sure whether or not Yuuri is asleep.
His voice is sleepy, low. “Truth or dare?”
Viktor thinks for a moment. “Truth.”
Yuuri clears his throat abruptly.
The meaning is obvious. “Okay, I pick dare.”
“Would you… Do you want to…?” Yuuri’s words are stringed together, voice laced with sleep and nervousness, body shifting against Viktor’s as he turns his neck to get a better look at him, which is impossible in the darkness, anyway.
Viktor nuzzles his hair again. “I want whatever you want.”
And it’s true.
If Yuuri wanted Viktor to run a marathon, jump into a volcano, take up knitting as a hobby, embarrass himself on national television—name the time and place. Sometimes it scares Viktor, knowing just how much he’d do for Yuuri.
Right now, though, he’s not sure what Yuuri is getting at. Surely he didn’t want…?
“I don’t know how to ask you.” The answer is muffled, his face turned towards the sheets.
Viktor laughs. “You don’t have to ask if you don’t want. The answer will be yes.”
Yuuri nods—Viktor can feel the movement against his chest. “Okay.”
He turns around in his arms, the movement languid and still laced with obvious signs of nervousness—his movements are jumpy, his posture stiffer than it had been before. Viktor wonders what’s about to happen and simply watches, squinting in the dark hotel room.
They’re facing each other, now, only a few centimeters apart.
“You’re sure it’s okay?” Yuuri breathes, and it takes Viktor a while to process his words, to force his mind to work out the syllables and connect them and figure out what on Earth the beautiful man beside him is saying.
(Because he is starting to wonder if Yuuri is about to kiss him.)
(Surely, surely it’s impossible.)
“Absolutely positive. Just, don’t murder or maim me, please?”
If it took his mind a while to figure out what Yuuri had been saying, it takes ten times as long to figure out what Yuuri does.
(He kisses him.)
(He has pulled away after an instant.)
(So quick Viktor isn’t sure if it truly happened or if it’s his overactive imagination.)
(He blinks, expecting Yuuri to be gone when his eyelids open again.)
(He isn’t. He’s still there.)
Viktor reaches over and turns on the bedside lamp.
Yuuri’s cheeks are pink, eyes huge as he toys with the collar of his t-shirt, his other hand running through his hair, still wet from the shower. Still smelling like that cheap hotel brand shampoo. Viktor isn’t sure he’s ever been more attracted to him.
Viktor kisses him, this time.
Longer. Harder. More desperate.
Yuuri kisses him back. Those four words don’t seem real. Don’t seem possible, yet here they are, kissing in a hotel room in Barcelona. Viktor wonders what he’d done to deserve this. Wonders if he should start praying that this isn’t some sort of cruel trick.
He takes Yuuri’s lip in between his own and sucks lightly, causing Yuuri to let out a breathy sigh that makes all of Viktor’s previous thoughts fly out the window. He wonders if it’s medically okay to love someone this much. Because currently it feels as though his heart is about to beat out of his chest with adoration.
Yuuri is the first one to pull away, his breaths coming out heavy, their foreheads touching. Viktor tries to kiss him again, the motion unconscious, but Yuuri’s hand presses against his chest—it’s a kind motion, not a rejection, but a pause. Viktor focuses on the way his fingers splay against his torso, wishes that they were doing the same thing but with less layers between them, wishes he was pressing Yuuri against the bed right now, doing option #509 from volume one of Ways to Keep Yuuri Warm.
The nickname unravels him. Undoes him. If he wasn’t alive before, he’s certainly not alive now. “I liked that dare.”
Yuuri laughs. It’s melodic, magical. “You did?”
He wants more than anything to kiss Yuuri again, but he also knows how important it is to let Yuuri take the lead. So he pauses, trying to corral his own thoughts, just another action that is inevitably not going to happen. “I’m glad you liked it. I did, too,” Yuuri mumbles, pressing a chaste kiss to the corner of his lips.
“I’ve been waiting for you to do that forever.”
Yuuri frowns. “You have? Why didn’t you say so?”
(He loves Yuuri, yes. But right about now, he wants to slap him in the face.)
“I didn’t think you’d want to,” Viktor admits, reaching up a hand to stroke Yuuri’s cheek. He leans into the touch, humming a little.
“Oh. That’s funny, I didn’t think you’d want to, either.”
Viktor shakes his head. “You didn’t think… Yuuri, you didn’t think I’d want to kiss you? Are you joking?”
“No, I’m not joking. Why would I assume that?”
He opens his mouth, then shuts it. Tries to come up with words to represent how he has felt about Yuuri for the past year. Nothing comes. Instead, he just sighs. “I thought I made it obvious. I suppose not.”
“Plus, I’m not… I mean, you’re you.”
“Viktor Nikiforov,” he imitates a commentator’s voice, “world champion. Hero of Russia.” Then, he switches back to his normal tone. “You know. All of that.”
“What is that supposed to mean? You don’t think you’re good enough for me?”
Yuuri nods shyly, looking a bit confused.
“Yuuri, Yuuri, Yuuri,” Viktor pleads, kissing him on the lips after each repetition of his name. “That’s ridiculous. I don’t deserve you. I’ll never deserve you.”
“Deserve me? What do you mean deserve me?”
(How can he explain it?)
(How is he supposed to explain it?)
(What words can describe the feeling he gets in his stomach when he looks at him, can describe the way his heart hurts when he smiles? What words could possibly define his eyes, the way he made Viktor happy without even trying, the way he so effortlessly changed his life, changed the way he thinks, changed the way he acts? How? How is he supposed to explain it?)
Instead, he kisses him.
Tries to explain it through actions.
He rolls over on top of him, arms on either side of his head. Yuuri’s mouth opens underneath his own and Viktor moans against him, leaning even closer for as much contact as possible, his chest brushing against Yuuri’s own. Yuuri’s hands reach down to the bottom of Viktor’s shirt and tug it upwards, cold hotel room air now drifting against his abdomen.
“Take it off,” Yuuri complains when Viktor pulls away for air.
Viktor scrambles off him and removes his shirt without a second thought before resuming their position, kissing Yuuri again. He tastes like mint toothpaste and something else that is so indefinably Yuuri and the combination is sort of like a drug, Viktor thinks, because he’s not sure he’ll let Yuuri leave this room now that he knows what this feels like.
“Don’t skate tomorrow.”
Yuuri looks unbelievable beneath him. His cheeks flushed, lips bruised, hair messy. It had been getting longer, lately. Viktor loves it. “What?”
“Stay here, with me. I don’t ever want you to leave this hotel room.”
Yuuri laughs breathlessly. Viktor kisses him again, has to. Can’t bother waiting for a reply. Because if Yuuri replies, he might—no, he definitely will—say no.
This time, Yuuri pushes him away with a hand on his bare chest. Viktor’s eyes are shut, needy noises escaping his lips courtesy of his body, not his mind, which is currently in the off position.
“I’m not going to not skate tomorrow just because we kissed for the first time.”
Viktor is too busy thinking about Yuuri’s lips to process his words, but they sound pretty logical, so he doesn’t argue. Just kisses him again. It’s all he ever wants to do for the rest of his life. Why figure skate when kissing Katsuki Yuuri was a possibility? One of those activities was suddenly far, far more preferable than the other.
Then, suddenly, another idea strikes him. “Off,” he pleads lamely, grabbing the ends of Yuuri’s shirt and pulling upwards. The fabric catches under his arms and Viktor just keeps pulling, hoping eventually it will work.
Yuuri lifts up his arms and the shirt is, miraculously, gone. Viktor kisses him again, the three seconds of no contact far, far too long for his liking. A voice in the back of his mind is reminding him something about a competition tomorrow, but he chooses not to listen to it.
(Yuuri, on the other hand, listens to the voice, apparently.)
“We should probably sleep.”
Viktor groans, rolling off of Yuuri and landing on his back. “I never want to sleep again.”
“As much as I’d like to continue what we just started, I also want to win the short program tomorrow. And as my coach, you should probably want me to win, too.” There’s a hint of humor in his tone. Along with a dash of satisfaction.
“I could care less about the Grand Prix right now,” Viktor mumbles, turning on his side and pressing a kiss against Yuuri’s bare shoulder. It’s bony, and he likes it, kissing his way down his arm until he’s at the crook of his elbow. His skin is soft.
“You say that now, but in a few days you’d hate yourself.”
Viktor rolls his eyes. “I could care less about myself, or logic for that matter. I only care about you.”
Yuuri laughs again. “Well, I want to win.”
He groans again, rubbing at his forehead. “Fine, fine, we’ll sleep. But the moment the Grand Prix is over…”
“What happens then?”
“I provide the hotel owners with access to my bank account and we live in this room forever, eating room service and doing this for many, many hours. And we visit the pool several more times.”
Yuuri leans down and kisses the corner of his mouth again, and it’s such an adorable action that Viktor hopes he does it permanently from now on. “Seems like you’ve thought this through. What happens when you run out of money?”
“Let them try and take us out of here,” Viktor threatens, and Yuuri yelps as he grabs him by the hips and rolls back on top of him, kissing him harder this time.
“Viktor!” Yuuri complains through laughter. “I love you, but sleep.”
Viktor pulls back, and he seems to realize what Yuuri had just admitted at the same time Yuuri does. Yuuri gapes at him for a second before turning away, arms coming up to be tucked in front of his chest. After a moment, when the embarrassment has dampened, he sighs and wriggles against the covers to get comfortable.
They resume their earlier position, Viktor wrapping an arm around Yuuri as they cuddle on the bed. “I love you too, by the way.”
Yuuri hums in delight, falling asleep a few minutes later.
After the Grand Prix Final, Yuuri moves to St. Petersburg.
They start an idyllic life there, practicing at the same rink and trying to make sense of Viktor’s frantic schedule. It’s difficult being both a coach and a student, but somehow he manages. Yakov seems more stressed about the situation than he does.
It’s Mila’s idea to have a party a few days before the Russian Nationals Championship.
There’s many people there, some Viktor recognizes and many he does not, and he mainly sticks to Yuuri’s side the whole night. Plenty of the skaters there aren’t old enough to drink, so the alcohol is limited. Yuuri doesn’t drink, anyway—remembering the banquet all too well. Viktor drinks a bit, but not enough to be considered drunk.
He sees an old friend and leaves Yuuri alone for one minute.
(That’s all it takes, apparently.)
By the time he turns around, Yuuri is chatting with a far-too-friendly looking man. Viktor rolls his eyes. What was with Russian men and trying to date Katsuki Yuuri? He understands the attraction, obviously, but couldn’t they just back off?
“We’re actually married,” he informs the man in Russian right off of the bat. No build up, this time. He wants the man gone as quickly as possible.
The man looks at Yuuri’s ring. Then he looks at Viktor’s matching ring and rubs the back of his neck, embarrassed. “Oh, my apologies. I didn’t even notice his ring.”
He backs away.
Viktor turns to Yuuri.
There’s something wrong.
Yuuri is smiling.
(Viktor turns around. There’s nothing behind him. He turns back to Yuuri. He’s still smiling. Directly at him.)
“We’re married already, huh? When was the wedding?”
No, no—he’d spoken in Russian. He was sure of it.
“Would’ve been nice to know that,” Yuuri comments, lifting up his hand and pretending to examine his fingernails. “I didn’t know I had a husband.”
Viktor searches for words. “I didn’t—I—I thought… You didn’t… You don’t…”
“Is that what you told the man in Moscow, too? How’d you pull it off back then? We didn’t have rings.”
He swallows thickly. “I told him we were dating, back then.”
“Why?” Yuuri asks, frowning.
“I am so sorry,” Viktor pleads, grabbing Yuuri’s hands in his own. Yuuri looks surprised by the sudden action. “I am really sorry. I should’ve told you.”
“Viktor—Viktor, I’m not mad. But I have been studying up on Russian.” He grins. “Why did you lie to him?”
Viktor shrugs, sitting down on his stool and leaning back against the counter. “I don’t know. It seemed simpler than explaining our relationship? Besides, we are engaged. Close enough. And back then, I just… I don’t know.”
Something clicks in Yuuri’s mind. Viktor can practically see the cogs turning. The puzzle pieces falling into place. The final brick slipping into its place to complete the metaphorical wall.
“Wait, hang on. Viktor, were you jealous?”
His world falls apart. “No?”
“You were!” Yuuri says excitedly, as if he’d just uncovered a great secret. “Oh my god, you were jealous back then, too. And, hang on. That time at the restaurant in Haesetsu, with the waiter? Were you jealous then? Wait, and when Phichit came into our hotel room in China and you started acting weird?”
Viktor buries his face in his hands. “Yuuri, I…”
“And that time with the fans, when you pulled me away from them in Barcelona. And then, wait, with Chris after the pool? When you wrapped an arm around me? All of those times, you just had a jealous streak and I didn’t realize?”
“It’s… It’s a character flaw.”
Yuuri looks delighted. “That’s… I had no idea.”
“No need to look so happy about it.”
His expression drops. “Oh, sorry. No, I just… Wow. I had been wondering why you were acting so weird all those times. But do you seriously think I’m going to run off with some other Russian skater?”
The very thought makes his blood boil. He takes Yuuri’s hand in his own again, running his thumb across his ring, the motion oddly calming. The rings provided him with a sense of assurance that he’d never had before, the constant sight reminding him that Yuuri truly was his.
“You don’t have anything to worry about, Viktor. You’re the only Russian skater for me, okay?”
Viktor frowns. “The only Russian skater for you?”
“The only man for me?” Yuuri tries again.
(He’s still not satisfied.)
“The only person for me?”
“Better,” Viktor sighs.
Yuuri hums, thinking for a moment. “That guy was sort of attractive, though.”
“I wonder what his name was. I could go ask him.”
“You didn’t think so? He had these gorgeous blue eyes—sort of like yours, but better.”
His last words are like a freshly sharpened knife. They stab Viktor in the gut. Painful, excruciatingly slow.
“Yuuri,” Viktor growls. “That’s not funny.”
“I’m kidding!” Yuuri complains. When Viktor still doesn’t look happy, he leans forward and pecks him on the lips (in the distance, they hear Yurio groan, as per usual). “Completely kidding. One hundred percent kidding. Sorry, sorry.”
Viktor moves closer to him anyway and keeps an arm around him. Just in case anyone else in the room has any ideas. “You’ve driven me crazy, you know. All those times. Especially before we… Especially before Barcelona.”
“You should’ve told me. I would’ve been more careful.”
“Well, now you know.”
“Careful among all the stunningly attractive men out there…”
“Sorry. Sorry. I’m done.”
When Viktor doesn’t forgive him, Yuuri hugs him, pressing his lips against his neck and mumbling more apologies against his skin. Viktor hugs him back after a moment, resting his chin on top of his head. “You’re mine.”
“All yours,” Yuuri promises, pulling away and grinning at him. “And you’re mine?”
The words do something to Viktor, make his stomach turn, make him lick his lips, eyes focused completely on Yuuri. “All yours. Let’s get out of here?”
(Yuuri’s voice is teasing, the words unnecessarily drawn out. Viktor thinks he’s having just a little bit too much fun with this new revelation. But, honestly, he’s just happy that Yuuri isn’t mad at him for lying about what he’d said to the Russian man in Moscow.)
Viktor leans closer, keeping his voice low so that nobody around them will hear. “I want to make sure you’re mine.”
(He doesn’t miss the way Yuuri shivers.)
“How are you planning on doing that?”
He nips at Yuuri’s neck. Yuuri yelps, and Viktor soothes the spot with his tongue, smiling when he realizes he made a mark. “Like that.”
“Vitya, anybody could’ve seen that.”
“I don’t care,” Viktor mumbles, doing it again.
Yuuri’s hands grip his shoulders. “Let’s head back. So that you can do… that.”
He grins wildly as they stand up, the world spinning just a tiny bit from the alcohol. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Yuuri informs him, reaching up on his tippy toes to kiss him on the cheek.
“Is that a hickey, Katsuki?”
They turn to face Yurio, who is raising an eyebrow at them. “Oh, um…” Yuuri starts, trying to cover the mark with his hand.
Yurio rolls his eyes. “Get a room, you two.”
“We plan to,” Viktor informs him.
They both stare at Viktor. Equally horrified.
Viktor shrugs. “What? I mean, we’re going to. Aren’t we, Yuuri?”
Yuuri presses his palm to his forehead. “Yes, we are, but you can’t just say that.”
“Gross,” Yurio complains. “Get out of here, sickos.”
“See you tomorrow, Yurio!”
Yuuri offers a shy wave. “See you, Yurio!”
An hour later
“I do wonder what that guy’s name was.”
“Yuuri,” Viktor complains, tightening his grip on Yuuri’s hips, fingers digging into his sides. He leans closer and kisses him hard, teeth clashing and foreheads bumping against each other. He takes Yuuri’s lower lip between his teeth and nibbles on it, keeping the touches light, yet controlling.
Yuuri sighs dreamily when he pulls away. “I sort of just wanted you to do that again. I like it when you get possessive.”
“You’re mine,” Viktor reminds him, frowning.
“I am,” he assures him, reaching out a hand to stroke his hair. Viktor sighs at the touch. “But it’s still sort of sexy when you get mad like that.”
“Mmm. You know what else is sexy?”
Viktor grins at him, wondering how it’s possible for someone to be so attractive. There are scattered marks across Yuuri’s neck and his lips are bruised from kissing. The bedsheets have drifted down to his navel, giving Viktor an ideal view of his upper chest, the smooth expanse of skin inviting. “What else is sexy?”
“I hate you.”
“I’m kidding!” Yuuri pleads.
“I know. I still hate you.”
“I hate you.”
“No you don’t.”