The first time it happens, it’s one-hundred percent Mila’s fault.
Sundays are Victor’s day off to relax and reflect on the week that is barely starting. He spends them stretched out over the surface of his couch with his laptop open and balancing on his stomach.
His hair is messy from not brushing it since he woke up, and the curtains are still pulled close since he’s not that ready to deal with sunlight. The strain of trying to focus on his laptop screen in his darkened living room hurts his eyes, but Sunday is a lazy day and Victor Nikiforov is too lazy to open the curtains for adequate lighting.
In between watching video recaps of figure skating last season, and his goldfish-sized attention span making him rapidly click through the slideshow of ‘Top 10 Hairstyles that Scream Mid-Life Crisis’ open in another window, an e-mail notification pops up in the top right window.
It’s from Mila and the subject is Oh My God, You Got To See This TOO CUTE!!!!
It sounds like Mila. Victor knows that the younger woman regularly sends him videos of adorable animals that he fawns over and then retweets for everyone else to see. That, or shitposts and weird but hilarious websites she finds and forces upon all her rinkmates and Yakov.
Victor opens the email, and just finds there’s a smiley face attached to a link. He doesn’t get the joke. It’s probably a shitpost.
He clicks the link anyways.
Another window – a really big window – pops up and loads with the image of an uncircumcised penis hanging low and threatening in the face of a nubile, young woman staring up at it in delight.
Well, this certainly isn’t on the ‘adorably cute animals’ spectrum.
Not even on the ‘weird but hilarious’ spectrum either.
He guesses that it wouldn’t be too out of character for Mila to send porn as a joke. He’s just a little bit confused since the usual target of this kind of humor would better be suited for Georgi, since discussing or showing the more vulgar and naughty side of sex always gets a good reaction out of him.
Besides, if Mila is going to recommend porn, she could have at least recommended something Victor likes.
He clicks the little ‘x’ at the top right corner of the window. It closes automatically and Victor thinks he can go back to his Sunday ritual of browsing trashy tabloids and Internet fads of the week. Instead, two windows pop up with GIFs of women getting fucked doggy style with the words ‘HOT WOMEN LOOKING FOR A QUICKIE IN YOUR AREA????!!’ flashing so quickly and so brightly that Victor feels like he’s going to get a seizure if he stares at it any longer.
Victor tries to close the windows again and four more windows pop up in their place. Before he can even move his finger across the trackpad to hurriedly click out, even more windows pop up, ranging from ads for Viagra, to more porn, to letting Victor know that he won a free iPod that approximately one decade ago was the hottest thing on the market.
This has now crossed the border from a stupid cringe-filled joke to wondering if Mila has some personal vendetta against Victor and her malicious attack is annoying pop-up ads that Victor can’t click out fast enough.
There’s an ad somewhere buried underneath the many GIFs of porn and dancing cartoons that is loudly congratulating Victor for something – he doesn’t even know, he can’t hear anything over the sound of him panicking at what the fuck is happening to his one and only laptop. The loud congratulating stops momentarily, only for the sound to be replaced with a woman moaning out cheesy stupid phrases from yet another porn ad.
Makkachin looks up from his bed at Victor as the moaning seems to get louder and Victor starts quietly whispering to his laptop as if that will make whatever that is happening stop happening. As he begins to wonder if he should call Yakov – Mila’s other favored target for prank emails – for some advice, the cursor on the screen freezes as he tries to frantically close the ‘FREE SEX TOY CLICK HERE!!!!!’ window.
Victor spends a total of five minutes wiggling his finger against the trackpad of his laptop waiting for his cursor to just move. When his screen remains frozen, he quietly mouths ‘shit’.
“Mila, have I done something to you? Or to Yura and he came to you to exact his revenge on me?” Victor asks Mila once she answers her phone after Victor has left dozens of text messages and five voicemails of him (calmly) urging her to call him back.
“Uh, not that I know of? Why?” Mila asks, sounding more confused than Victor is. Victor rubs his mouth, pacing in front of his window with the curtains still pulled closed.
“The porn, Mila. You sent me a link that I thought was a cute animal video and it was a porn site and I think it killed my laptop.” He looks over at the device resting on the couch, closed now because he has absolutely no fucking clue what to even do right now. It wouldn’t even boot back up after he forced the laptop to shut down.
“What? I didn’t. . .oh, wait, you mean you. . .”
“What did I do?” Victor asks. He’s sure this is Mila’s fault, but in case Victor is the one that somehow fucked everything up – since he knows he does tend to do that sort of thing – he wants to know how he can un-fuck it up.
“I thought I sent you a text message. My email got hacked and it sent some virus thing to all my contacts. Ugh, I’m sorry if I didn’t,” Mila apologizes. When Victor goes back to the text messages, he realizes that right before his panicked texts to Mila, there is a text message marked sent from Friday specifically telling Victor not to open any e-mails from Mila.
Friday night was drinks with Christophe. Victor doesn’t even remember Friday night. Aw, shit.
He groans against the speaker of his phone and puts his face into the palm of his hand.
“I’m sorry, Victor. Um, I know a place you can get it fixed at least? I take my phone there all the time and they’re really quick and I think they can fix your laptop too?” Mila suggests, voice unsure if what she’s saying is of any help. Victor drags his fingers against the front of his face, then reaches outwards to finally pull open his curtains and let the sunshine hit him squarely in the face.
“What’s the address?” he asks, and mentally kisses his lazy Sunday goodbye.
The tech repair place is in a small shopping center located between a nail salon and a mattress store. It’s a thirty-minute walk from Victor’s apartment, not that Makkachin minds as he gleefully chases after a butterfly and tries to catch it in his mouth. Victor drags his feet along the sidewalk as he shuffles towards his hopeful salvation, laptop in the messenger bag hanging off his shoulder and espresso roast from Starbucks up to his lips.
“Wait here, Makkachin,” he instructs his dog as he glances inside the shop, thankful that they’re one of the few places open on a Sunday. His poodle happily obliges, scooting himself against the pillar to get comfortable. Victor smiles at his dog, then with a hopeful sigh, steps inside the tech store.
The walls are covered with phone accessories, laptop accessories, video game controllers and a fuckton of cords. It also smells a bit in the store; Victor can’t place an adjective to the type of scent it is, only that it reminds him of the times he visited his grandma and had to patiently sit on her plastic-covered furniture and listen to her talk about the good-ole days.
In the far back corner is a glass counter with a display case filled with old cameras and phones that wouldn’t look out of place in an eighties music video. This shop definitely has character, but Victor has no idea how Mila even found out about a place like this in the first place. Maybe from an ad Sara sent her, Mila will gut a fish with her teeth if Sara even gave the slightest inclination she’d like it.
Victor looks up at the old television monitor in the top corner of the room, waving his hand to the camera and watching the feedback play in fabulous analog definition. He sets his laptop bag on the counter and gives a low whistle.
“Hello?” he calls out. He tries to look past the door with an ‘employees only’ sign nailed against its surface. They can’t be out to lunch since the store is open. He sighs and takes another sip of his coffee, tapping his hand against the glass counter. “Hello?”
“A-Ah! Be there in a minute!” a voice responds back, followed by the sound of something heavy falling over. Victor sips from his coffee again, glancing at the clock on the wall made of motherboards reading (at least Victor thinks it reads) eleven. He taps his foot, then glances over his shoulder at Makkachin. The dog is now lounging in the sun’s glow, waiting more patiently than his master is now.
Ten minutes more past the minute promised to him by the voice pass by as Victor shifts from left to right. Victor starts to consider just heading out to some other tech store, or maybe even consider Geek Squad, before the door finally opens and someone steps out and-
Victor doesn’t want to admit that he had a picture in his head as to what kind of person could be working in a place like this. It came down to two perceptions: a fat, balding middle-aged man or some scrawny nerd with their pants pulled up too high and very obviously lacking a sex life.
The guy that comes out the door and approaches the desk is neither of those two images.
He’s actually pretty cute.
There’s some weight on his hips that gives his figure a sexy curve. His face is round and soft, big brown eyes framed with glasses that slip down his nose. He’s Asian, maybe Japanese? Victor squints his eyes to read the ugly name badge pinned to his chest and sees the name ‘Yuuri’ written in green Sharpie against the white plastic surface. Huh. What are the odds that he’d meet another Yuri?
Yuuri awkwardly fiddles with his hands, clenching them together and holding them to his chest. “Um, I’m sorry I took so long. I – uh – there were some boxes that fell and – well it was a mess back there, that sort of thing,” Yuuri tries to explain. His voice is soft, like he’s worried Victor is going to chew his head off for making him wait too long. Victor shakes his head and throws on a passive smile.
“Uh, no, it’s alright,” Victor responds. He sees Yuuri’s shoulders sag with mild relief, but it’s only a bit. He straightens his posture, meeting Victor’s eyes for a brief second before he averts them down to the glass counter and Victor’s messenger bag.
“Um, so how can I help you?” Yuuri asks and Victor nods his head, taking out his laptop from the bag and hopes high that Yuuri can somehow work a miracle.
Yuuri takes the device into his hands, opening it and attempting to boot it up before Victor has the chance to even explain what the problem is. Victor can’t see what Yuuri’s looking at, just hears the clacking of fingers against the keyboard. Yuuri hums and closes the laptop, looking up at Victor.
“When did this happen?” Yuuri asks and Victor flinches, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck.
“Uh, this morning actually. I was. . .surfing the Internet and it suddenly froze up and crashed on me. I couldn’t boot it up,” Victor explains. It’s not a total lie, but he sure as hell isn’t going to tell Yuuri that he crashed his laptop because he stupidly clicked a link to a porn site. Victor already looks like a slob with his sweats and stretched out shirt, he doesn’t want to look like a slob that also watches porn on Sundays.
Yuuri hums again. More clacking on the keyboard ensues. Victor starts to shift from left to right again and drink his growing lukewarm coffee, wondering if Yuuri is silently judging him right now for not knowing exactly what is going on with his laptop. He’s not good with electronics, he doesn’t know tech speak. Yuri told him that even Yakov has more technical prowess than Victor does and Yakov still refers to selfies as ‘personal pictures’.
The only sound between them is Yuuri typing on the keyboard, the lack of communication makes Victor feel uneasy. Victor is a talker; talking eases away the tension and gets people to loosen up more. They still haven’t even properly introduced themselves. Does Yuuri even care to know the name of the guy that needs his laptop de-porned?
Victor gives an awkward cough. “Uh, so, I’m Victor,” Victor introduces.
“Hmm. Nice to meet you,” Yuuri responds, not taking his eyes away from the laptop. Another bout of silence. Victor pulls his lower lip in between his teeth.
“So. . .can you save it? Am I going to have to buy myself another laptop?” Victor asks with a little worried chuckle. Yuuri shakes his head ‘no’ and Victor blinks. “No, you can’t save it or-”
“Oh, um – no as in you don’t need to buy another laptop. It just seems to me you got a really nasty virus, but it shouldn’t take long for me to restore your system back to normal. Just give me around thirty minutes,” Yuuri explains, glancing up at the motherboard clock. “Can you come back at twelve-fifteen? It should be ready by then.”
Victor nods his head. “Oh sure! Yeah, that’ll work!” Victor says and clasps his hands together. “You’re a lifesaver, Yuuri!” Victor fawns. A flush of red appears over the bridge of Yuuri’s nose. It’s brief, but lasts long enough for Victor to feel a tickle in his chest at the sight and his smile to stretch across his face.
He leaves Yuuri his contact information and exits the store, calling Makkachin with a tap of his thigh. Makkachin jumps up and braces his paws against Victor’s leg, barking up at him and wagging his tail.
“There’s not a park too far from here. You want to go, buddy?” Victor asks. Makkachin answers with a loud and happy bark.
Yuuri texts him to let him know the laptop is ready as Victor uploads an Instagram collage of him and Makkachin chilling on the park bench and Makkachin terrorizing some ducks lingering by the park’s large pond. It takes them fifteen minutes to make their way back over to the shopping center, five minutes of it used for Victor to stop at a smoothie bar and get himself something refreshing to drink.
When he steps inside with Makkachin waiting outside per his command, Yuuri still has his laptop open on the glass counter and typing away. In the reflection of Yuuri’s glasses, Victor faintly sees the black and white hue of binary codes.
So, Victor has absolutely no idea what the hell Yuuri is doing on his laptop. For all Victor knows, he could have hacked into his online bank accounts and wired himself a thousand dollars when Victor had his back turned.
“Um, how are things?” Victor asks as he takes a sip of his guava-mango smoothie. Yuuri jumps in his spot behind the laptop, like he didn’t even realize Victor is standing there. He looks back down at the laptop, hunching his shoulders up to his ears.
“It’s fine. A little hard finding the virus, but it’s gone. I’m just checking to make sure additional malware isn’t eating away at your system. Just give me a few more minutes?” Yuuri asks.
“Oh sure. Take your time, you’re the professional here,” Victor says with a little chuckle. The corners of Yuuri’s lips quirk upwards, but he doesn’t fully smile and keeps his eyes focused on the screen. Okay then.
Victor gets his smoothie cup down till it’s a third empty before the soft glow of binary code that illuminates Yuuri’s face changes into a stark white light.
“Oh, so that’s what it was,” Yuuri says. Victor chokes on an unblended piece of mango.
“What? What is it?” Victor sputters with a strained smile, hoping, begging, pleading that it’s not what he thinks it is.
Pink rises to Yuuri’s face and moves down his slim neck and upwards to his ears, trying to look at the old iMac G3 that is behind Victor instead of Victor’s face.
“Um, the cause of the virus,” Yuuri says, adjusting his glasses as he peers at the screen. “. . .You visited a – um – a website?” Yuuri says, not wanting to do this awkward conversation and frankly, neither does Victor. He always skipped the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of his device getting ruined in the first place. As long as it’s working again, Victor doesn’t care how it got messed up.
“A friend got her email hacked. I just clicked the link. I didn’t know,” Victor says quickly and Yuuri hums.
“So you’re not a frequent visitor of the website ‘Luscious Lonely Wives’, correct?” Now the corners of Yuuri’s lips turn upwards in a coy little smile that would have sent Victor’s mind reeling if he wasn’t currently dying on the inside right now. Victor takes a long slurp of his smoothie and smacks his lips.
“No. I thought it was cute animal videos. It was an accident,” Victor manages to say in the calmest voice he can muster up.
Yuuri does that ‘hmm’ again. His eyes search Victor’s, not mocking or looking to humiliate Victor for being an idiot clicking random links that lead him to porn sites and pop-up ads. It’s a curious gaze, soft flutters of his long eyelashes and a twinkle of his eyes. They seem. . .teasing almost. Like Victor got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Or rather, like Victor got caught with his pants around his ankles and his fist around his dick, and Yuuri still wants to inquire with that coy little smile ‘what were you doing all alone this morning, hmm?’.
Yuuri is the first to tear his gaze away from Victor, gently moving his finger along the trackpad.
“Well, good thing. Those types of sites are just crawling with malware and viruses. Do you have your firewall and virus scanners set up on your laptop, Victor?”
“Uh, no. I don’t think so,” Victor says while he thinks ‘holy fuck why does my name sound so pretty coming out of your mouth???’.
“If you want, I can recommend you some security programs that you can download for free and protect your computer. That way, you won’t be at risk of losing these cute photos of your dog, even when you browse websites like ‘Luscious Lonely Wives’.”
Victor gives one long ‘haa’. “I don’t browse those websites,” he says through his straining smile. After this, Victor’s never going to open an email from Mila ever again. Maybe he’s going to take a break from the Internet in general.
Yuuri nods his head and gives a quiet chuckle, turning the laptop to Victor so he can see the desktop background of him and Makkachin at the beach.
“Everything look okay?” Yuuri asks and Victor runs his finger over the trackpad, happy that the cursor is moving along with the movement.
“Yeah, everything looks good,” he answers, and turns the laptop off to slip into his bag. Yuuri gestures to the register off to the side and Victor slides over to be in front of it. Yuuri gives the basic breakdown of the services he provided and the prices and Victor hands him his card.
On the back of the receipt, Yuuri writes down the websites Victor can download the anti-virus software in way neater handwriting than Victor’s. He hands him the slip of paper with a little smile.
“Call back if you have any questions, okay? Otherwise, that’s it,” Yuuri says. The smile goes back to being professional, tight lips and eyes not sparkling with a flirty, teasing twinkle that Victor might have just imagined existed in Yuuri’s eyes. Victor nods his head and pockets the receipt.
“Thanks again, Yuuri,” Victor says. Yuuri nods his head and gives a friendly wave.
“Anytime,” he says, and with that, retreats into the room marked off with the ‘employees only’ sign.
Victor walks out the store, taking glances over his shoulder with each baby step he takes away from the counter. Newly repaired laptop securely in his bag and guava-mango smoothie now completely drained, he and Makkachin start their walk back home while Yuuri and his smile remain fresh in Victor’s mind.
The second time it happens, it’s Victor’s fault. Sort of. Probably.
“I don’t understand,” Victor tells Christophe. He stares at the pitcher of pink lemonade that Christophe pulled out of his refrigerator. Inside is Victor’s iPhone 7 Plus, deeply submerged beneath the ice cubes floating on the surface.
Christophe leans on the counter, staring at the device himself. “I think drunk you said that it will be ‘the best joke ever’ and sober you will ‘get it’ and you’d have a really good laugh,” Christophe says, trying to hide his smile behind his hand. “I mean, I think it’s funny. But just because you’re such a sloppy drunk.”
“Says the guy that turned the stair railing into some diagonal stripper pole,” Victor shoots back. Christophe shrugs, not even sorry. Victor rolls up the sleeve of his shirt and dips his hand inside the pitcher, shuddering at how cold it is as he fishes his phone out and tries to clean it off. When he tries to turn it on, nothing happens, no matter how many times his thumb clicks the home button.
“I thought this was supposed to be waterproof,” Victor complains and Christophe snorts.
“Yeah, for when you drop it in a puddle or something. Not when your drunk ass tries to make it part of my boyfriend’s lemonade,” Christophe says and eyes Victor’s hand. He takes the pitcher and proceeds to pour the rest of the lemonade down the drain. Victor feels offended for only a few seconds, before he is overtaken with a mild realization, like the trill of an angel’s choir shining down on his busted phone.
He pockets his phone and says his hurried goodbyes to Christophe, rushing out of the Swiss man’s flat and to his car to speed off towards his home.
He greets Makkachin with an enthusiastic rub of the head when he walks into his apartment, before he continues to the bathroom to shower up and spritz himself with the good cologne used for seducing one-night stands and convincing his landlady to give him an extra day to pay her the rent he always manages to forget. He puts on a nice button up shirt and washed out jeans, finishing the outfit with his best watch on his wrist and newly polished shoes on his feet.
Now, he is ready to get his phone fixed.
Makkachin isn’t a usual fan of getting in cars, so it takes some coaxing from Victor and pleading that a thirty-minute walk will make him sweat and in this shirt, it will be very obvious. Victor eventually manages to get him inside with the promise of biscuits for dinner. He also rolls down the window, so Makkachin can stick his head out and bark at silly humans walking and not riding shotgun like he is.
The thirty-minute walk gets cut in half by driving, and this time Victor invites Makkachin inside the store so he doesn’t have to wait out in the sun. Makkachin is mindful of the electronics and display towers as they both approach the glass counter. Once again, Yuuri is nowhere in sight.
“Hello?” Victor calls out. “Are you back there, Yuuri?!”
A few minutes pass before the door opens and Yuuri peeks his head out.
“Oh,” he says, exiting the room and closing the door behind him. He approaches Victor with the same timid and reserved aura he did on their first meeting, averting his eyes from Victor’s smile. “Um, how can I help-”
Makkachin cuts Yuuri off as he braces up against the glass counter and barks to let his presence be known. Yuuri stumbles backwards and gives a startled yell, bumping up against the back counter covered with tools and computer parts. Victor quickly pulls Makkachin down and away from the counter, embarrassment trying to worm its way up to the tension in his cheeks.
“Ah, I’m sorry. He’s just – he’s a really friendly dog. Honest,” Victor apologizes. Yuuri places his hand over his heart, trying to steady his breathing. He leans over the counter to look at Makkachin panting and blissfully unaware of what he did was considered a not-so-nice way of saying hello. Fondness comes over Yuuri’s face and he smiles.
“It’s okay. He’s even cuter in real life,” Yuuri compliments.
“Yes, he is,” Victor says back, feeling prideful of being the owner of such a cute dog as Makkachin. Yuuri admires Makkachin for a few moments, before he looks back up at Victor, neutral business face back on.
“So, how can I help you?” Yuuri asks and Victor nods his head, taking his phone out from the back pocket to hand to Yuuri.
“It won’t come on. I guess it was submerged in water for too long,” Victor says. Yuuri turns the device around in his hands.
“Did it accidentally get mixed in with the laundry?” Yuuri asks. Victor nods his head ‘yes’, figuring that sounding more like a forgetful idiot is more endearing than the truth of him being a drunk idiot. Yuuri turns the phone around between his fingers a few more times, like he’s inspecting and seeking out the source of the problem.
Suddenly, he looks up at Victor with soft eyes. “Can you give me twenty minutes?” Yuuri asks.
Victor nods his head. “Twenty minutes it is,” Victor says with a nod of his head and looks down at his poodle. “Come on, Makkachin,” he says to his dog, who gives a goodbye bark to Yuuri before he happily chases after Victor’s retreating figure out the door.
Victor lingers around the area instead of heading off to the park this time. He loiters around in front of the nail shop, until a woman politely tells him that unless he’s planning on getting a manicure – which apparently from the way she inspected his hands, he needs one – he should leave.
He walks from the tech store to the pizza shop on the corner and back, Makkachin getting some exercise and keeping in pace with Victor’s languid strides. He doesn’t know how much time passes since it’s not like Yuuri can text him to let him know he’s done. Whenever he glances into the tech store, Yuuri has disappeared from where Victor left him behind the counter and has yet to reappear.
He does about ten laps back and forth and feels a sweat working up in his armpits that he begs won’t catch Yuuri’s attention. When he passes by the tech store, he spies Yuuri hunched over the glass counter and figures that enough time has passed.
He walks back inside and Yuuri glances up at the sound of Makkachin barking. “How’s it going?” Victor asks, leaning against the counter and giving Yuuri a smile. Yuuri looks back down at Victor’s phone, which is turned on to reveal his home screen. Victor gives a low whistle.
“You worked your magic again, Yuuri,” Victor compliments and watches how the pink ghosts over Yuuri’s face.
“Not quite,” he says and sighs, steeping his fingers. “Your phone is operating fine, the touch screen works and you’re able to make your phone calls. But the problem is the speakers sound muffled when I tried to play audio,” Yuuri explains and glances up at Victor. “You don’t peg me as a person that listens to death metal.”
“You don’t peg me as a person that snoops through people’s phones,” Victor quips. The pink on Yuuri’s face darkens, and he pulls his lower lip in between his teeth.
“I – I wasn’t – I didn’t mean – it was just for – I –”
Victor quickly shakes his hands. “Just joking! Joke. It was just a joke,” Victor reassures. Yuuri swallows and fiddles with his hands that are clad in blue latex gloves, while Victor rubs the back of his neck. "Um, I usually don't. I just heard that one song from my friend and kind of liked it. Not the friend that sent me porn, this friend is too young for that kind of thing."
Yuuri breathes out a little sigh, light and amused and drips off his tongue like the sweetest of honey. “You have some interesting friends,” Yuuri says and looks down at Victor’s phone. “Well, like I said, your phone works but the speakers aren’t sounding so great. I don’t have the parts to replace them right now, but I should have some next week? Maybe Tuesday? It won’t take too long to fix it and I can get you out before noon,” Yuuri says.
Victor is already nodding his head before Yuuri even finishes his offer, eyes bright and shiny.
“Yeah! No problem! I’ll be free that day!” Really, he won’t. But he's sure he can twist Georgi's arm into covering his shift at the dog parlor for at least thirty minutes. Yuuri smiles, nodding his head as well.
Yuuri rings up Victor for repairing the phone to the stage it’s at now, letting him know he’ll charge him for the speaker replacement next week. Victor happily hands over his card and watches the receipt print from the machine and Yuuri’s hands carefully tear it free.
“Your battery is low, but don’t charge it for another three to four hours just to be sure there’s no more liquid inside,” Yuuri explains, also writing the instructions on the back of the receipt which Victor greatly appreciates. Yuuri looks up at Victor and quirks an eyebrow. “Speaking of which, you told me you accidentally left your phone in the wash, but there was pink liquid that was in your phone that smelled like lemonade.”
Victor awkwardly scratches the back of his neck. “Did I say that? Nooo, I meant that. . .I drunkenly put my phone in my friend’s boyfriend’s pitcher of lemonade, because it apparently was going to be a funny joke,” Victor says and Yuuri blinks. He then brings his free hands to his lips, and something that sounds like a cross between a snort and a giggle slips past his lips that Yuuri tries to hold in.
It’s the cutest sound Victor’s ever heard.
“Um,” Yuuri makes the giggle-snort sound again and averts his eyes. “Well. What’s the joke?” he asks.
“The joke is that I’m an absolute tool when I’m drunk,” Victor bluntly states.
Yuuri hands Victor his iPhone and places his hands behind his back. “Well, try to be more responsible next time, okay?” Yuuri chides and Victor places his phone back into his back pocket.
“Yeah, sure,” Victor says. He adjusts the cuff of his shirt as an awkward silence happens between them. Yuuri is still smiling, professional and calm and not questioning aloud at all why Victor is still standing in front of the counter when Yuuri’s work is done for the day. The older man looks down at his poodle, who tilts his head up and pants at Victor.
“Uh, you haven’t met Makkachin!” Victor says in his desperate attempt to have conversation with Yuuri that doesn’t involve electronics. Yuuri looks down at the poodle’s fluffy adorable face, then back at Victor and tilts his head to the side, confused.
“Um. . .” he starts, then looks back at Makkachin. “Hello, Makkachin. I’m Yuuri?” he introduces, unsure. Makkachin barks, ears perking up and tail wagging back and forth.
“He wants to know if you have a last name to go with that first name,” Victor ‘translates’ and Yuuri gives him a look.
“Does he now,” he murmurs and rests his chin in his hands, leaning on the counter. “Yuuri Katsuki,” he tells Victor rather than Makkachin. Victor smiles. Yuuri Katsuki. He nods his head. Yuuri Katsuki. He likes it. He likes it a lot.
“What’s your owner’s name?” Yuuri asks Makkachin and Makkachin barks, leaning up to brace his paws against the display case once more and lick Yuuri’s cheek. The tech clerk laughs and pulls his face away, wiping away Makkachin’s slobber with the back of his hand and glancing at Victor.
“Aren’t you going to translate?” Yuuri asks, and Victor chuckles.
“Victor Nikiforov,” Victor responds.
Yuuri smiles, gently sliding his latex gloves off his hands and Victor’s eyes follow the movement.
“I’ll see you next Tuesday, Victor. Have a nice day,” Yuuri chimes with a bow of his head. Victor feels the corner of his mouth twitch. Okay, he’s probably overstaying his welcome.
He gives a nod of the head and waves goodbye, leaving the shop with the tips of his ears burning uncomfortably hot.
The third time it happens, it’s Jean Jacques - or Jimmy John, James Jameson whatever the fuck his name is, Victor honestly doesn’t care – fault.
“You really need to stop flinging your phone whenever you see JJ’s tweets. Why are you even following him anyways?” Mila asks to Yuri on their ‘Saturday Group Night Out’ at the local arcade. Georgi is currently whimpering over a photo of him and his ex-girlfriend (“She broke up with you a month ago, Georgi”) and is generally being a buzzkill, so Victor convinces him to go and check how many points are remaining on the game cards to keep himself distracted.
Yuri scoffs, looking at his cracked screen. “Because if I’m not there to tell him how much of a douchebag he is, who will? Besides, it’s still working. I don’t need to get it fixed,” Yuri spits. He tries to leave an angry reply to JJ’s tweet, struggles with the keyboard not inputting the emojis he wants, then gives up and starts to aggressively eat from Otabek’s nachos.
Otabek politely slides the tray over so it sits properly in front of his friend, giving a small nod of his head.
“You can just get the screen fixed,” he suggests and Yuri grunts.
“I don’t have the money to get it fixed. It’s fine,” Yuri reassures. A lightbulb clicks in Victor’s head, and he holds out his hand.
“I can get it fixed for you,” Victor says. Yuri furrows his eyebrows, sea green eyes narrowing at Victor with suspicion.
“What do you want?” Yuri questions and Victor blinks.
“What do you mean?”
“Why do you want to fix my phone? I’m not going to pay you back-”
“I’ll pay for it. It’s no big deal,” Victor reassures with a wave of his hand. Now Mila is giving Victor a look filled with just as much suspicion.
“He’s right. You just don’t offer to do favors out of the kindness of your heart. There’s always some sort of ulterior motive,” Mila says. Victor gasps, placing a hand to his chest and pouting.
“I’m hurt that you think I can’t do anything nice without getting something in return. I do nice things all the time. Who do you think is paying for all of this food?” Victor says, gesturing to the trays of appetizers and sides all cluttered together so tight that he can’t even see the surface of the table. The three of them give a shrug of their shoulders, agreeing with Victor’s valid point.
Yuri looks at his phone in his hand and bites the inside of his cheek. He shakes his phone at Victor threateningly, a glare in his eyes.
“If you fuck it up, I’m going to kick your ass and Beka is going to run you over with his bike,” Yuri threatens.
Otabek reaches for a slider and eats it. I’m staying out of this one, his eyes say as he quietly chews.
Victor takes Yuri’s phone into his hands like it’s the most precious thing in the entire world. “Of course, Yura. I wouldn’t dare break your phone,” he says with barely concealed glee.
Yuri scoffs and goes back to Otabek’s nachos. “Fucking weirdo,” Yuri grumbles.
Yuuri tells Victor he can fix Yuri’s screen right away, after Victor explains why he is bringing in a phone that Yuuri knows isn’t his. He lays out his gear on the surface of the counter and slips on his latex gloves, making sure there is adequate lighting over his workspace before he begins.
It reminds Victor of a surgeon operating on a patient, delicate fingers taking the instruments needed to unscrew and gently pry off the broken screen from the body of the phone. Victor’s mind is running with questions, nothing about how Yuuri knows what to do or what kind of care Victor should tell Yuri to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
They’re personal questions, questions that beg to know and understand everything about Yuuri that Victor just can’t get from their short and strictly business conversations. He wants to know how Yuuri is doing sitting around in this dusty store that for some reason doesn’t smell as old as when Victor entered the store for the first time. He wants to know what Yuuri likes to do in his spare time when he’s not tinkering with electronics. He wants to know what Yuuri thinks about Victor, if he finds him funny or charming or nice or annoying cause he keeps bringing in broken shit that needs to be fixed.
He really wants to know if Yuuri is single and is even open to dating men, otherwise he might as well let his fantasies about Yuuri stop right now before they carry on any further.
Victor leans in close and Yuuri pauses. “Um, can you step back a bit? You’re kind of. . .”
“Oh,” Victor leans back, not realizing he was in the way of Yuuri’s light. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Yuuri quietly reassures and goes back to replacing the screen. Victor swings his hands back and forth, whistling a gentle tune.
“. . .Are you the only person here?” Victor asks.
“Usually,” Yuuri answers and doesn’t elaborate. Victor’s eyes glance around the room and then upwards at the motherboard clock. He points a finger at the decoration.
“Uh, who made that clock? It’s really cool,” Victor asks.
Victor patiently waits for Yuuri to continue, but he doesn’t. One things for sure, Yuuri doesn’t let idle chit-chat get in the way of him getting the job done. If Victor were his employer, he’d be quite pleased with his work ethic. As simply Victor, he’s just a wee bit annoyed.
Yuuri finishes repairing Yuri’s phone, broken screen off to the side and the phone looking good as new. He presents it to Victor with a feeble smile. “Good?” he asks and Victor nods his head.
“Perfect as usual,” Victor says. He notices that Yuuri doesn’t blush this time around, but he notes that Yuuri’s eyes look at Victor with a softer gaze and his lips part to give a breathtaking sigh that makes Victor feel like he’s sinking deep in quicksand.
Yuuri gives the screen a couple of tests to make sure that the keyboard and touch sensor is registering properly. Another one of JJ’s tweets pop up as Yuuri clicks in and out of apps and tests the gestures.
“. . . ‘You’re not living life until you live it like me hashtag blessed hashtag it’s JJ style’?” Yuuri reads aloud and blinks. He looks up at Victor, who doesn’t have anything else that he can add to that, then back at the phone screen. “. . .Okay, that’s enough tests.”
Yuuri rings Victor up for the screen repair as well as a glass screen protector Yuuri placed on in the process to better protect the screen. He tries to muster up some question, any question as Yuuri hands him his receipt and gives him his cordial ‘thank you and have a nice day’ smile.
As Yuuri begins to turn to disappear into what might as well be fucking Narnia behind that blasted ‘employees only’ door, Victor blurts out, “What type of music do you like?”
It gets Yuuri to stop and look at Victor, eyes confused and expecting some sort of explanation for why Victor is curious in the first place, but Victor honestly has no idea what the hell he’s saying. He licks his dry lips, turning Yuri’s phone between his fingers. “Uh, I personally like classic rock. The oldies? Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, that sort of thing? I mean, I listen to other stuff too. Modern stuff. You can cut me off at any time-”
Yuuri laughs, and it’s not muffled by his hand. It’s genuine and it’s bright like a burst of starlight breaking out in a once darkened sky. If Yuuri’s giggle-snorts are cute, Yuuri’s laugh is beautiful. His shoulders shake and his smile is big on his round face. Victor wants to keep listening to his laugh, then bottle it up and save it for another day.
“Um, I don’t know. I never really gave it that much thought,” Yuuri answers, scratching the back of his neck. “Who would you recommend? Those bands you mentioned, are they any good?”
Victor blinks. “You never heard of Fleetwood Mac or Pink Floyd? . . .Do you know The Who?”
“Please tell me you can name a Beatles song,” Victor says and Yuuri looks down at his feet, cheeks tinting pink in embarrassment.
“I-I don’t – uh – I’m not sure,” Yuuri quietly admits and Victor gapes. Yuuri awkwardly shuffles in his spot, hand reaching for the doorknob so he can hide away from his inadequate knowledge of classic rock bands. Victor looks up at the television monitor, then at an old CD-cassette player on a shelf beside it gathering dust.
He points at the device. “Does that thing still work?” Victor asks and Yuuri cranes his neck to look.
“. . .I think so?” Yuuri answers, not sure where this conversation is going.
“Will you be here tomorrow?” Victor asks and Yuuri turns his gaze back to the ground.
“Um, yeah?” Yuuri jumps when Victor gets a little too excited and braces his hands against the surface of the counter with a loud ‘bang’.
“I’ll bring my CD collection! Your life is going to change tomorrow, Yuuri Katsuki,” Victor proclaims. Yuuri stares at Victor for a few seconds, then he laughs.
“Okay,” he says. “Can’t wait.”
The fourth time it happens, it’s purely accidental.
Victor and Yuuri have built up a steady rapport of Victor bringing in a CD from his collection and letting Yuuri have a few listens on the old CD-cassette player while he works on other client’s electronics. If it’s something Yuuri likes, Victor burns an extra copy. If not, Victor brings in something else that he thinks Yuuri will like.
So far, Yuuri’s tastes range from one or two Bob Dylan songs to almost the entirety of Queen’s catalogue. Yuuri hasn’t recommended any of his own personal favorites to Victor yet, but he believes it will happen in time.
On one Friday afternoon as Victor decides to finally straighten up his apartment, he steps on a copy of Beggars Banquet he forgot to put securely away on his CD shelf. Victor quickly falls to his knees and checks the disc inside to see an ugly scratch. He grimaces, then checks the clock on the wall. He’s not sure if Yuuri can fix CDs, but he can fix everything else so he might as well give it a shot.
He and Makkachin pile into his car and drive over, not wanting to waste any time. He enters the store with Makkachin close behind, about ready to call for Yuuri’s name when he spots a different face behind the counter that isn’t Yuuri greet him with a screeching cry of ‘WELCOME!’.
Victor approaches the counter, glancing at the closed ‘employees only’ door before he looks at the young face smiling at him. He reads the name ‘Minami’ written in absolutely horrid handwriting. Squeezed into the corner of the badge is a little asterisk marked *they/them.
“Uh, is Yuuri here? Is he back there?” Victor asks, looking at the employee door to Narnia. Minami shakes their head, blond wild hair with a red streak shaking back and forth with the erratic movement.
“Out,” Victor repeats, confused. Yuuri is never out.
“On a house call,” Minami further explains and balls their hands into fists. “But I can help you! Yuuri taught me everything he knows! Do you need a phone fixed?! Laptop?! Game system?!”
This is definitely not what Victor is used to. He licks his lips and awkwardly holds out the CD case.
“I accidentally scratched it, and I was wondering if you do CD-”
“I CAN FIX THIS!” Minami screams in Victor’s face and takes the CD out of Victor’s hands. They throw a bottle of wax and polish on the counter, snap on their hot red latex gloves compared to the gentle blue of Yuuri’s, and starts going to town on Victor’s CD.
Minami starts talking to Victor about the weather one minute into polishing the scratch out of the CD’s surface. In fact, they talk to Victor about everything. The weather, sports, current movies that are in theatres, latest gossip that they heard from the nail salon ladies next door, and they change the topics without even giving Victor time to process just what they’re even talking about in the first place.
While Yuuri is quietly professional and docile, Minami is a swirling torrent of getting to know the customer and becoming their best friend. And lots of talking with no indoor voice.
Time seems to go by listening to Minami talk about random events and Yuuri – they love to gush about Yuuri. Before Victor even realizes it, "Sympathy for the Devil" is filling his ears as Minami plays the CD on the player Yuuri left on the desk. They cheer and punch the air, raising their hand for a high-five that Victor confusedly gives.
“Alright! My work here is done!” Minami chirps and hands Victor’s CD back in a brand new jewel case with artwork transferred out of the cracked one. Minami rings Victor up, and manages to sucker Victor into buying some CD cleaner kit that he’ll probably never use. Victor gives Minami a tip, because they did do a good job in fixing Victor’s CD even though he wished it were Yuuri.
“. . .You said he was on house call?” Victor pipes up after Minami thanks him for his patronage. Minami blinks, then scratches their head.
“Yeah, he shouldn't be back for another hour,” Minami elaborates.
“. . .So you do house calls?” Victor asks, cogs in his head turning. Minami eagerly shakes their head.
“Yeah, yeah! Well, I mean I don’t do house calls since I’m still learning the ropes, but Yuuri is our resident expert! So, he’s mainly the one that goes out to do all the house calls. But I’ll be helping him someday!” Minami reassures. Victor hums, rubbing his chin with a little smile.
“Yeah. I’m sure you will be.”
Minami beams brighter than the sun.
The fifth time isn’t really the fifth time, because Victor is still debating what he needs to break in his apartment as he makes the phone call to the tech store.
It has to be something that is a big enough reason for Yuuri to come over, but also not too important that in the off-chance it’s the one thing Yuuri can’t fix, Victor won’t be shit out of luck. He’s narrowed down his options to the blender Lilia gave him that he never opened out of the box, or his alarm clock that he already is considering throwing out the window whether Yuuri will come fix it or not.
“Hello, Celestino’s Tech Repair, how may I be of service?” Yuuri answers, voice melting in Victor’s ears and making him tingle all over.
“Has anyone ever told you you have a great telephone voice?” Victor responds. There’s a brief moment of silence, and Victor wonders if he said too much too soon.
“. . .You can’t hog the line just to talk to me, Victor,” Yuuri says. His voice is playful instead of his shy and strictly business tone, like he knows whatever Victor is calling for is absolute bullshit but he will still humor Victor anyways. Business must be slow.
“Ah, but I have a tech emergency! One that only you can fix!” Victor exclaims.
“House calls are for customers that can’t come to the shop. Like the elderly.”
There’s a joke waiting to be made about Victor’s thinning hair or his taste in music, he can hear it in the inflection on Yuuri’s voice that he wants to make a joke, but is too nervous to go through with it.
“A-Anyways, is there anything else you need?” Yuuri continues. “I can help you over the phone with whatever you need fixed. It’s free, unlike me having to come out to your place and charge you for my services.”
Victor conveniently forgot that he’s paying every time he brings in something needing to be fixed and talking to Yuuri. He’s kind of scared to check his bank account.
Victor looks at his alarm clock resting on his nightstand, taking up needed space. “How good are you with setting alarm clocks?” Victor asks.
“I think I’m okay at doing that sort of thing,” Yuuri muses, that playful tone creeping back into his voice. Victor smiles, sitting down on his bed and resting a hand on his thigh.
“Really?” he asks.
“Yeah. What make and model is it?” Yuuri asks. Victor blinks, tucking the phone in between his shoulder and his ear. He takes the alarm clock in his hands, turning it over and not knowing where the hell to even look for the make and model number.
“. . .Uh. . .it’s round? And it’s probably the size of a bread box?” Victor describes. “There’s some silver parts on the side, and also the numbers are flashing red.”
Yuuri laughs on the other end and Victor chuckles too. “Um, well, let me see if I can guess which one it is,” Yuuri says. Faintly, Victor hears the shuffling of papers and Yuuri mumbles to himself, ‘not that one’ and ‘hmm, maybe this one?’.
They spend about ten minutes just figuring out what the alarm clock model is, then another five minutes of Yuuri instructing Victor how to properly set the alarm. Victor nods his head and gives his affirmations when Yuuri asks if everything is working smoothly, while the alarm clock rests in his lap untouched.
When Yuuri finishes and Victor dutifully gives Yuuri his praise for his service, Yuuri laughs.
“You know, you’re the only customer that has a one-hundred percent approval rating of me,” Yuuri says.
“What? No way, how could anyone not like you? You’re nice and you’re smart and you fix everything so quickly,” Victor says. Yuuri’s breath hitches in his throat, and it’s almost like Victor can hear the blush on Yuuri’s face.
“Well, I’m not as. . .I still mess up from time to time. . .or I’m not fast enough. But I-I’m really happy that I can help you whenever I see you. A-And um, I never said thank you for making those CDs for me. I – It’s really – um – it makes me happy.”
“Oh sure, yeah. Of course,” Victor murmurs, toes curling inwards. “. . .Uh, you can recommend me stuff-”
“O-Oh, sorry, customer’s here. I’ll talk to you later, Victor,” Yuuri says in a hurried whisper, hanging up before Victor can say ‘you can’t do that, because we haven’t even exchanged numbers’. He drops his phone onto his pillow and falls backwards onto the bed, alarm clock radio balancing on his lap.
When he picks the device up into his hands and squints at the numbers and buttons, he doesn’t remember a fucking thing about how to set the alarm.
“This is weirdly out-of-character for you, Victor,” Christophe drawls behind the rim of his martini glass. Victor huffs, swirling around the large ice cube in his bourbon and coke.
“What are you talking about?” Victor mumbles and Christophe clicks his tongue.
“I mean, you usually meet your one-night stands at the bar or at the club. But this guy you’re describing to me sounds kind of geeky and not your type at all. And you're actually trying to court him,” Christophe explains.
Victor narrows his eyebrows. “He’s not geeky. He’s really smart and he’s nice and he’s cute. Like, really cute,” Victor gushes, cheeks reddening from the liquor and from the thought of Yuuri’s laughter.
Christophe drums his fingertips over his stubble, raising a curious eyebrow. “What do you know about him? Is he even interested in dating guys?”
Victor thumbs a water drop on the side of his glass. “I know he’s twenty-three and that he’s been working at that shop for about two years and that he likes some classic rock,” Victor says. And really, he only knows the first two facts because that was the only thing Victor managed to pick up in Minami’s lighting fast conversation.
“How cute is he? Because I’m still not understanding why you’re so desperate to shell out money to not-flirt with some guy that fixes computers for a living,” Christophe says and Victor groans, running his fingers through his hair.
“I don’t know. There’s just something about him that really interests me. I just. . .I really want to talk to him. Go out on a date and get to know him. He might be really fun when he’s not thinking about how to repair stuff and worrying about being a slow nuisance,” Victor explains with a gesture of his hand.
“. . .Are you interested in sleeping with him?” Christophe asks. Victor rubs his forehead.
“I just want to get to know him. I mean, if he wants to date, I’m certainly not going to turn him down,” Victor says.
Christophe smirks. “Well, you need to think of a better way to find out about him. One that doesn’t involve breaking your stuff,” Christophe says and takes a drink.
The only thing that is now in danger of being broken is Victor’s ego.
He stands in front of the tech store, Makkachin at his side blink up at him with shiny black eyes. In Victor’s pocket is a crumpled-up receipt from McDonalds with his number written on the back of it. It’s by far the most douchiest way to exchange numbers instead of politely inquiring Yuuri for his number. He doesn’t even know if Yuuri wants his number; liking Victor’s CDs does not equate to ‘yes, I want to go out on a date with you’.
The nail salon ladies are looking at him through the window of their business, wondering if they should snap at him to stop loitering around the vicinity of the area. He squares his jaw and takes in a deep breath, trying to not let the nerves wrack him into turning around and running off with his tail between his legs.
He’s Victor Nikiforov. He’s asked people out on dates before. He’s given his number to potential suitors and had a high probability of getting a callback. He can do this. He can do this.
Victor pushes open the door and strides in with his chin held up high and a suave, sophisticated smile on his lips. “Picture This” plays on the CD player resting on the counter, but Yuuri is nowhere in sight. Victor braces his hand on the surface of the counter, tapping in rhythm to the music.
“Yuuri? Are you back there?” Victor calls out.
“In a minute, Victor!” Yuuri responds back. Victor quickly starts to adjust his hair and check his reflection in the glass counter. He knows that Yuuri’s ‘one minute’ really means ‘maybe ten or fifteen’, so Victor tries to rehearse how he’s going to ask Yuuri out while he has the time. He’ll give him the number, ask what he’s doing this Saturday night and pick out a quaint little bistro for them to have dinner at.
Or maybe, he should just ask if Yuuri is free Saturday night, not suggesting that it’s a date or anything, just a friendly outing. They can go see a movie, although going to the movies absolutely suck when you want to get to know a person and can’t talk to them for two hours. Maybe they can go to a club? Does Yuuri seem like the person to go out clubbing? Does Yuuri even like dancing and drinking?
He nervously looks at the motherboard clock, finding he still can’t tell time with it. Victor fishes out his number from his pocket, turning it between his fingers. Suddenly, he feels like he doesn’t know if he should do this anymore. It’s not like Minami is here to witness Victor giving Yuuri his number, so Victor shouldn’t feel this pressure weighing down on his shoulders. But he does. It’s heavy and it’s making him second-guess himself and his words.
Yuuri’s different from the people he’s used to flirting with. Expensive cologne and flirty smiles have no effect on him, at least not to Victor’s eyes. What will Yuuri think Victor only wants to hook up with him? That’s pretty much what this crumbled up piece of paper implies. Friends can exchange numbers, that's totally normal. So why is he being so indecisive? He’s being an idiot, it’s just a fucking number. He’s done this before, he’s done this so many times. Why is this the one time that he actually feels nervous about being rejected?
He drops the paper on the counter and turns on his heel. “Makkachin, let’s go,” Victor says, ears burning. He’s definitely an asshole. Who just leaves their number like this? But Victor doesn’t want to see Yuuri’s reaction to it. He just wants to escape the embarrassment before it happens, wanting to still look cool and calm and collected before the nerves eat away at his smile and crinkle at his eyes.
Victor does his best to not break out into a run as he draws closer to the doors, which for some reason seem farther away than usual. When his hand wraps around the handle, ready to throw it open and escape to his car parked out front, Victor hears Yuuri call out, “I-I’m here!”
Victor turns to look over his shoulder, hand tense as he sees Yuuri emerging from the door to Narnia, glasses slipping down his nose. “I. . .I’m sorry I took so long,” Yuuri apologizes, averting his eyes. Victor lets go of the door handle, shaking his head.
“No, no. It’s alright. I was. . .it’s alright, Yuuri,” Victor says. His legs bring him back to standing in front of the counter, in front of Yuuri who looks up at him with relieved eyes and a warm smile.
“How’s the alarm clock?” Yuuri asks and Victor laughs.
“It’s fine.” It’s actually sitting in a dumpster somewhere since Mila surprised Victor with a new alarm clock that has Bluetooth stereo, but Yuuri doesn’t need to know that.
“I see,” Yuuri nods his head with a hum. “And did you bring anything for me to work on today?” Yuuri asks. Victor’s eyes flicker down to the crumbled-up piece of paper on the counter still, and Yuuri glances down at it as well. He sighs and takes the paper into his hands, balling it up further.
“People always think they can leave their trash wherever,” Yuuri complains, walking over to toss the paper into the trashcan along with Victor’s dignity. Victor forces himself to smile when Yuuri turns back to look at him, totally clueless as to the storm of emotions that threatens to rip Victor open from the inside out.
“Ah. Yeah. What an asshole,” Victor says and Yuuri nods his head in agreement.
“Did you bring me a new CD?” Yuuri asks, trying to figure out why Victor is gracing him with his presence today. Victor looks down at the glass counter and his strained smile reflecting back at him. Inside of the display case are a bunch of parts that Victor has no idea what they belong to or what they’re even called.
He just points at the first random object he sees. “Can I have one of those?” he asks and Yuuri looks down at the item Victor is pointing at.
“A fisheye lens?” Yuuri questions, looking at Victor with curious eyes. “You’re into photography?”
Yuuri’s eyes grow bright, suddenly sparkling more than Victor has ever seen before. It’s like he’s watching a kaleidoscope of browns and golds swirl and churn in Yuuri’s eyes till they become a beautiful shade of color that Victor can’t even find the proper name to describe. It’s warmth and inviting, it’s curious and timid at once, it’s innocently charming and yet smolders with a hint of sexuality. It’s Yuuri Katsuki, and Victor feels weightless.
“I really like photography,” Yuuri gushes, reaching to take the fisheye lens out from the case. “I mean, my best friend is way better at it than I am. He’s really creative, and can always get his pictures to look like art. I always take too long with Lightroom trying to edit my photos, and even then, I’m never satisfied with the final product and always revert the changes. Well, I’m learning at least? I’m taking classes. I’m not good at it yet, but I’m trying. It’s a process? Um -” he gives a nervous laugh, tips of his ears growing pink.
“I’m talking too much, aren’t I?” Yuuri asks, looking at Victor through his eyelashes, and Victor quickly shakes his head.
“No, no! In fact, this is the most you’ve talked to me period,” Victor points out with a little laugh. Yuuri nods his head, laughing to himself and turning the fisheye lens around in his grasp.
“Um. . .I can recommend you some other lenses. . .if you want?” Yuuri asks, voice tapering off at the end. He sounds so unsure and he keeps looking up and away at Victor, like he really wants to gush about cameras but is trying to conceal it deepdeep down.
Victor nods his head. “I’d like that a lot, Yuuri.”
Yuuri explains to him all the different lenses that they currently have in the display case and the ones that are his own personal favorites. He points out the ones that are good with image stabilization, ones that are lightweight and easy to carry around that fit comfortable in a camera bag, ones with good shutter speed and some that Yuuri recommends for Victor not to waste his money on.
“People always think the more expensive the camera, the better quality of the photo. But Phichit makes great photos with the base kit he has,” Yuuri explains to Victor as he lets Victor hold a really expensive camera that is heavy in his hands and freaks Victor out that he’s going to drop it.
He shows Victor some camera bodies that go well with the lenses that he picked out, and Makkachin becomes Yuuri’s personal model as he takes pictures of the poodle so Victor can see how the cameras work in action. Then he talks about the camera’s ISO performance and which cameras are better when it comes to handling video at 1080p with 60fps. Color balance, light balance, more pictures of Makkachin, what settings work best in which lighting, which cameras have the best flash, etc.
Victor tries to soak it all in, he really does. But since Yuuri believes Victor is already familiar with cameras, he doesn’t bother to explain just what the hell is ISO or a f-stop or any other of this camera terminology that comes from his soft lips. Victor also realizes that when it’s a subject Yuuri is comfortable talking about, he can talk just as much as Minami.
Victor winds up buying a refurbished Olympus PEN E-PL8 that Yuuri says is on discount, but Victor’s wallet still cries out in agony. At least the camera looks like it’s the least confusing to operate out of all the cameras Yuuri’s shown him. He probably would have been better off with a point-and-click or a snap-and-zoom or whatever the hell is the proper name for those cameras on the far end of the display case.
Yuuri happily smiles as he rips the receipt from the register. “I can’t wait to see the pictures you take with it!” he says excited and Victor gives a dry smile, the whole reason he came into the store in the first place now just a distant memory.
“Yeah, well, I’ll make sure I get in a lot of practice,” Victor says and holds out his hand for the receipt.
Suddenly, Yuuri goes back to being shy again, averting his eyes from Victor’s face. “Um,” he turns Victor’s receipt around in his hands, wrinkling it between his fingers.
“Something wrong?” Victor asks, confused. Yuuri pulls his lower lip in between his teeth, still turning the receipt around in his hands.
He sets it down on the surface of the counter and flips it over, takes a pen from the aluminum can sitting next to the register, and scribbles something down that Victor can’t see from the angle he’s looking.
Yuuri wordlessly hands him his receipt, still not looking Victor in the eye.
Victor takes it and turns the receipt over to see what’s written on the back and he pauses.
It’s a phone number.
“I – If you – I – um –” Yuuri groans and holds his face. “I. . .If you need help or anything, y-you could, um, just text me? I might not be able to help much but I can ask my friend and maybe he can help if you need anything or, you know, if you want to talk about. . .rock music and stuff? You can – we can – I –” Yuuri drops his face into his palms, blushing redder and redder with each vomit of words and syllables that don’t form a coherent thought.
Yuuri gave Victor his number.
Yuuri wants to talk to Victor.
Yuuri accidentally threw away Victor’s phone number and Victor didn’t have the guts to tell Yuuri he wants to talk more and Yuuri just. . .
Victor drops his head, smile cracking over his lips. He laughs, shaking his head and carefully folds the receipt to place into his front pocket.
“You’re full of surprises, aren’t you, Yuuri?” Victor muses. Yuuri peeks between his fingers.
“H-Huh?” he stammers and Victor chuckles again.
“Yeah. I’ll call you later, okay?”
Yuuri blinks, then he nods his head in earnest. “O-Okay!” he says, trying not to sound too excited. They spend a moment just stupidly nodding their heads and saying ‘okay’, while Makkachin looks between them and wonders when can he go home to his chew toys. Yuuri juts a thumb behind him to the door to Narnia.
“I’ll just, um, go back to work,” Yuuri says, slowly backing away with his eyes finally meeting Victor’s and face raw and pink.
Victor starts backing up as well. “Yeah. People need their computers and gadgets fixed. And like Minami said, you are the expert.”
Yuuri bumps into the back counter as he tries to round the corner and open the door without looking. “I-I’m not that great. They’re just exaggerating, they do that a lot,” Yuuri laughs.
“Well, I think you’re great,” Victor says and steps around a display case for a Virtual Boy before he bumps into it. Yuuri fumbles with the door handle.
“Thanks. I. . .you’re pretty cool too,” Yuuri says. Victor feels his stomach drop low and then shoot up into his throat like a rocket. Yuuri averts his eyes again and quickly opens the ‘employees only’ door. “H-Have a nice day!” he shouts at nobody and runs inside, slamming the door shut behind him.
Victor and Makkachin walk out of the tech store, a camera in Victor’s hands and Yuuri’s phone number in his pocket.
Victor then proceeds to treat the ladies of the nail salon and Makkachin with the most ridiculously cheesy victory dance, filled with ungraceful limbs and overflowing with pure delight.
“I really love this camera,” Christophe coos, flipping through the pictures of him posing poolside with his champagne. He hands the camera back to Victor as well as his phone. “Now get some of me so I can upload it to Instagram,” he says and raises his champagne glass.
Victor snaps a few shots as asked of him, then goes back to looking at his open message app at his conversation with Yuuri.
They’ve been texting each other for a month now, and so far everything kinda works out okay between them. Yuuri doesn’t text as much as Victor does and he talks even less in texts than he does in real life. He also texts with grammatically correct sentences, spells out all his words, and uses punctuation and proper capitalization, which kind of reminds Victor of Yakov without the accidental random emoji.
Yuuri talks to him about photography and tech stuff that Victor hasn’t a clue about, and Victor texts him song recommendations and band facts and mini playlists for Yuuri to listen to on his free time. Victor feels both proud and disappointed in their progress. He can say that they’re good friends, but he still doesn’t know as much about Yuuri as he wants to.
“Do you think I should just forget about it?” Victor asks Christophe, staring at the string of texts Victor sent to Yuuri gushing about the summer sun and relaxing poolside and the cute pictures of Makkachin trying to rip the pool noodle to shreds.
“Forget about what?”
“About this,” Victor says with a wave of his phone. “What if he’s not into me like that? What if he gets grossed out that I like him and puts a restraining order out on me?”
“That implies you’re doing something creepy like stalking him,” Christophe says and pulls his shades down to give Victor a look. “Are you stalking him?”
“No,” Victor says defensively. He sighs, trying to get comfortable on the pool chair with Makkachin sprawled out over his legs. “I just. . .I don’t know how to say ‘I want to get to know you better’ without sounding weird about it.”
“Victor, you’re a twenty-seven-year-old man and you sound like a confused teenager talking about his high school crush. Just ask him,” Christophe says and holds his hand out expectantly. “Give me the phone.”
Victor holds his phone to his chest. “No. What do you want with it?” Victor questions as Christophe makes a swipe for the device.
“I’m going to flirt with your nerdy crush for you,” Christophe says matter-of-fact. “Since we both know that your method of flirting just involves you breaking the nearest electronical object so he can fix it.”
Victor holds his phone out of reach as Christophe playfully jumps onto him and nearly knocks the two of them and Makkachin into the pool. Makkachin moves out of the way as they wrestle and fight and Christophe plays dirty by tickling at that one spot below Victor’s ribcage that almost makes him piss himself from laughing. Victor’s hold on the phone slips and Christophe snatches it away, laughing and putting in Victor’s passcode.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to put anything naughty to scare him away,” Christophe purrs, thumbs moving over the keyboard. He hands the phone back to Victor and rubs his chin, winking. “See how fast that was and the phone is still intact?”
Victor reads over the message.
>hey~ do you want to go out Saturday night? My treat~ (ʃƪ ˘ ³˘)
“This sounds like I’m flirting with him,” Victor says.
“Isn’t that what you wanted?” Christophe asks. Victor slumps against the back of the chair dramatically.
“I don’t know. A little. I don’t want to make him feel weird. You just don’t throw yourself at him. You have to move slowly and take your time,” Victor explains.
Christophe blinks. “What is he, a scared kitten?”
Victor opens his mouth to retort back, but jumps when his phone buzzes in his hand and beeps with a notification. Christophe leans in close, eyes wide.
“What did he say? Did he agree?” Christophe asks, so sure of himself as Victor opens the text notification.
>>sorry. I have to close that night and I’ll be busy
. . .Well then.
Victor flops onto his stomach and groans into the plastic of his chair.
“Oh, come on. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see you. Text him later,” Christophe says and throws a bottle of sunscreen to Victor. “Don’t turn into a lobster while I’m gone,” Christophe chides, and saunters away to the pool ladder.
Victor gets a phone call in between reheating his leftover pasta for the third time in a row and wondering how harmful are the effects of microwave radiation if he stands and watches his food cook.
“Hello?” Victor says as he tries to stir around the food in hopes that will make it cook better.
“Um, it’s Yuuri.” His voice is quiet, like he doesn’t know if him calling is being an inconvenience to Victor and he’ll hang up if it is.
“Oh! Hey! What’s up?” Victor perks up, forgetting about his weirdly cooked pasta spinning around in his crappy microwave to lean against the kitchen sink.
“Um. . .I. . .I didn’t realize I was being a total asshole,” Yuuri apologizes and Victor blinks.
“Uh, I didn’t realize either,” he says and chuckles, shaking his head. “What are you talking about, Yuuri?”
“You inviting me to hang out Saturday night. And I texted you that I was busy,” Yuuri explains and Victor feels his stomach quiver with dread.
“. . .Do you have work?” Victor asks.
“Yeah, I do.” Victor sighs in relief.
“I thought you were just using that as a way for you to not have to see me,” Victor says and runs a hand through his hair. “Yuuri, you’re not an asshole if you can’t hang out on Saturday. It’s not a big deal. We can hang out some other time that you’re free. . .if you want to hang out?”
“I-I do! I just – I didn’t know if you thought I was being a jerk because I didn’t text you back about it and I didn’t want you to think I was trying to avoid you. . .which you did. Ugh, I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, Yuuri~” Victor fawns. God, he’s so cute.
“. . .Do you like burgers? I have a short shift on Friday and we can go to burger drive-in down the street from the tech store. My friend works there and he can get us free shakes,” Yuuri explains and Victor hums. Not his first idea for a first date, but he likes it. It’s casual and not too overbearing and Yuuri is the one that suggested it.
“Yeah, I like burgers,” Victor approves, not missing how Yuuri gives a breath of relief against the speaker. “Should I come and pick you up or do you want to meet me at the burger place?”
“I’ll meet you there. I’d want to shower up after work,” Yuuri says. Victor can agree to that, seeing as though every day he comes home from the pet salon, he stinks like a dog.
“Okay then. How about we meet up at six-thirty?”
“Six-thirty is good for me.”
“Yeahhh,” Victor drawls and chuckles. He feels his stomach doing somersaults and skipping jump rope with his guts, a tingling that vibrates up his spine and comes out as his fingers trembling as he holds the phone. “I’ll see you later, Yuuri.”
“I’ll see you later, Victor.”
The burger drive-in is crowded and congested with teenagers and families that Friday night. Victor has never been to this place, so he has no idea if this is what it’s always like or if there is some sort of special event happening. Either way, all these screaming kids running around and stupid teenagers piling into the booths and throwing ketchup packets at each other is going to get annoying really quick.
Victor waits outside to keep the sudden migraine he’s feeling behind his eyes from getting any worse, shuffling from left to right. As per usual, Yuuri arrives fifteen minutes later than the established meet up time, pulling up right beside Victor’s Camero in an old Toyota Celica that could use a wash.
Yuuri steps out of the car and Victor feels himself lift in his shoes as Yuuri approaches him. Yuuri always wore plain clothes whenever Victor saw him working, dull colors that made him fade in the background and not draw any attention to himself whatsoever. This outfit makes Victor want to stare at Yuuri, force his eyes not to even think about looking away.
It’s a solid baby blue shirt with a black and gray bomber jacket that doesn’t shroud his figure and those jeans, those nice snug jeans that hug Yuuri’s hips and thighs perfectly. Yuuri’s hair is even different; instead of his bangs falling over his forehead in that boyishly cute hairstyle, it’s slicked back with gel and he looks sexy. His glasses are still the same, but for some reason Victor thinks they look even sexier.
“I’m sorry! There was traffic and – you weren’t waiting too long were you?” Yuuri asks Victor’s stunned expression, blinking worriedly.
“. . .You look amazing,” Victor says. There’s many other adjectives that bounce around in Victor’s head like a pinball: ‘cute’, ‘hot’, ‘sexy’, ‘stunning’, ‘well put together compared to me that’s in a sweatshirt and jeans with a hole in the left knee’, but he goes with ‘amazing’.
Yuuri blinks, then looks down at the cement. “Um, thank you,” he says, twiddling his fingers, looking at Victor. “So do you,” Yuuri says with blushing cheeks and Victor laughs.
“You’re just being nice now,” Victor says, looking down at his sweatshirt layered over a button-up plaid shirt. It’s one of his nicer sweatshirts at least, even though Mila always teases that if Victor stands perfectly still at her grandmother’s place, he’ll blend into the old vintage rose wallpaper.
Victor gives a tilt of his head to the inside of the burger place. “You ready to eat?”
“Starved,” Yuuri answers with a smile and both step inside.
It seems like it’s gotten even louder since Victor stepped out the first time. Some kid spilled a milkshake all of the floor and a poor employee is trying to mop it up while the child screams bloody murder and their parents try their best to ignore them. There were some stupid teenagers that were pulling all the napkins out of the holder and Victor quietly glared at them. He knows Yuri can be a brat at times, but at least he acts more civilized than these teens.
Yuuri’s friend Phichit is the one that’s running the register Yuuri and Victor order from. For someone that is literally standing in what Victor considers a special circle of Hell, Phichit is very cheerful and happy and all smiles as he rings up their orders and politely helps a customer that keeps butting in to ask for ketchup and napkins and straws.
Victor sees Yuuri shifting and worrying his lower lip in between his teeth as the noise level rises to deafening levels. When Phichit comes back with their order bagged up and drinks and free shakes in a cup holder, Victor raises an eyebrow.
“Uh, we want to eat here,” Victor says, raising his voice to talk over the roar of the annoying customers around him. Phichit still has that smile on his lips as he shakes his head.
“No, you don’t,” Phichit states.
Out of the corner of Victor’s eye, someone throws a tray of fries across the room.
He takes the food and drinks into his arms and silently bids him ‘good luck’.
Outside of the burger joint, everything is quieter and peaceful. The night air is warm, but it’s not too stuffy to make it a bad night to eat outside. Victor adjusts the food in his hands, looking over to Yuuri hanging his head shamefully.
“Do you want to eat at that bench over there? Or do you want to eat in my car? We can listen to the radio?” Victor asks and Yuuri looks up.
“Um, yeah. We can sit in your car,” Yuuri says quietly.
Victor sets the food on the hood of the Camero and opens the door for Yuuri to get in, then hands him the food before he climbs into the driver’s seat and switches on the radio. Once they get their paper-wrapped burgers in their laps and the fries all poured in the bag resting between them, they settle into a quiet silence and eat. A few bites into his own burger, Yuuri murmurs, “I’m sorry”.
Victor looks over at Yuuri, the Japanese man’s cheeks filled with food and eyes looking like a kicked puppy. Victor swallows, cracking a smile.
“I said we should go to this place and it was a nightmare in there. Phichit always tells me it gets kind of bad on Fridays, but I didn’t think it would be that bad,” Yuuri explains, looking through the window at the chaos happening inside. Victor hums, reaching for some fries.
“Well, this isn’t bad, right? You and me, sitting here in a nice car with comfy seats while the radio plays?” Victor asks. Yuuri pauses, then glances around the car.
“Well. . .yeah, I guess that’s true. . .I’ve never sat in a Camero before,” Yuuri says with a smile, admiring Victor’s dashboard. “It’s definitely nicer than my bucket of a car,” Yuuri laughs, taking a few fries himself to eat.
Small talk rises with ease between them as Yuuri slowly opens up and tells Victor about himself. Victor learns that Yuuri is the youngest in his family and he has an older sister. His parents own an inn just on the outskirts of the city; their pork cutlet bowl is great and it’s Yuuri’s favorite dish in the world. He had a poodle when he was younger, but it unfortunately passed away when he was a teenager. Victor offers for Yuuri to come over to his apartment any time to play with Makkachin, to which Yuuri happily responds he will.
Victor spends more time listening than talking, only speaking up when the silence becomes awkward and uncomfortable or to respond to one of Yuuri’s own questions about the type of person Victor is. If they’re not getting to know each other, they’re talking about the couple that is sitting in the restaurant at a table in front of them, and making bets on how long will it take for them to pack up their food and leave. Yuuri wins Victor’s cherries on his milkshake for guessing twenty minutes.
They talk for what feels like hours, joking and laughing and switching through the radio channels so Victor can badly sing along to the top 40s list and Yuuri adds his own backing instrumentals with little pats of his thighs. It’s nice, and it makes Victor happy that they’re able to have a casual conversation that doesn't involve electronics or rock music.
Unfortunately, as the conversation dies down and the radio starts to play music that Victor isn’t familiar with and therefore doesn’t care about, Victor sees Yuuri start to slump in his seat and turn his head towards the floor mat of the car. He’s thinking about something, like he’s trying to weigh his options and trying to make the correct choice in either speaking up or remaining silent.
Victor bites the bullet and leans back in his chair, relaxing his shoulders. “What are you thinking about, Yuuri?” Victor asks and Yuuri jumps, cheeks flushing red.
“Um, it’s nothing.”
“What is it? Is it something that will excite me?” Victor asks with a teasing smile. “Do you want to go drag racing in the Camaro?” he suggests and Yuuri’s eyes sparkle, like ‘yeah, that does sound fun’.
But Yuuri shakes his head ‘no’, grabbing the material of his shirt and wringing it between his hands.
“Um, is this. . .I don’t want to – I – are – ” Yuuri huffs in frustration and hunches his shoulders to his ears. “Is this a date?” Yuuri asks, whipping his head to look Victor straight in the eye instead of hiding his face like before. He looks awkward, uncomfortable, unsure and full of anxious jitters, but he’s not turning away. Victor feels his lungs squeeze tight from the intense gaze.
“Well. . .if you want it to be a date, I wouldn’t mind,” Victor replies. Yuuri’s lower lip quivers, soft and pink and looking very kissable. Victor’s eyes flicker to Yuuri’s mouth and then back up to Yuuri’s eyes. Yuuri swallows, pulling on the ends of his jacket.
“I – I would like it if were one,” Yuuri says quietly.
“. . .So you’re alright if you and me-”
Yuuri tears his eyes away from Victor, sucking in a deep breath for holding eye contact for that long. “. . .Yes? I – I mean-” Yuuri stammers. He nibbles on a fry that’s gone soggy and takes a sip of his milkshake, Victor waiting for the younger man to elaborate.
“. . .I – I like people. If it feels right, then I – um – I kinda just go along with it. A-Although I can’t say that I have much experience or anything so. . .if you don’t mind me being a little bit slow-”
“I don’t mind,” Victor says, smiling. “I don't mind that in the least.”
“Oh,” Yuuri breathes, and looks back to the radio. “That’s. . .that’s great.”
“Yeah,” Victor murmurs, reaching over to gently twine his fingers with Yuuri’s. “Great.”
They take it slow.
Yuuri is still busy at work and Victor gets swamped with work from a local dog show taking place not too far from the salon. If Victor gets out early, he heads home and showers off, before he goes to the tech store to talk with Yuuri and watch him work.
“How did your boss even get all of this stuff?” Victor asks Yuuri one day as Yuuri works on unjamming a Blu-Ray player.
“Hmm?” Yuuri hums and glances around. “He told us he collected electronic stuff over the years. I kind of like it, it gives the store character, don’t you think?” Yuuri asks with a smile and Victor nods his head.
“That’s what I was thinking when I first came here.” It feels like ages ago when it’s only been five months since he first met Yuuri, and now they’re dating. Though, neither of them gave their relationship a name just yet, or used the ‘b’ word. Victor wants Yuuri to feel comfortable and if Yuuri needs to take things slow, then Victor’s fine with that.
Victor glances behind Yuuri at the door and points at it. “What the heck is back there anyways?” he asks and Yuuri looks over his shoulder, then back at Victor.
“What do you think?” he asks with that coy smile that suggests something naughty. Victor licks his lips, seeing Yuuri’s eyes flicker at the motion.
“I want to say. . .a mad scientist lab or Narnia.”
Yuuri clicks his tongue. “So close and yet so very wrong,” Yuuri chides, going back to tending the Blu-Ray player. “It’s just the breakroom, the bathroom, and my boss’s office. There’s also some extra room back there for me or Minami to work on customer’s electronics,” Yuuri explains and Victor raises an eyebrow.
“Is your boss ever here?”
“Yeah. He’s usually in the back,” says Yuuri. Victor frowns.
“Well how come he’s never out here helping you?”
Yuuri bites his lower lip. “Well. . .he wanted me to actually interact with the customers instead of just hiding in the backroom all the time. I’m not good with interacting with other people. I usually prefer to be alone, and if customers get angry with me, I feel bad. If my boss has to fix the problem I made, I feel worse,” Yuuri quietly says.
“. . .I see you up here all the time now, though. Does this mean you’re getting better at handling the asshole customer that happens to drop by?” Victor asks and Yuuri laughs.
“No, not really. I. . .I started working the counter more because. . .well, I can’t talk to you from back there, can I?”
Victor blinks. Yuuri gives a little smile, and turns his eyes back to the Blu-Ray player once more. On the CD player, “Changes” plays quietly and nestles in Victor’s ears as a dull hum.
“. . .Can I kiss you?” Victor asks and Yuuri looks up, eyes wide. “Not making out or anything. I just. . .I really just want to give you a kiss right now,” Victor says, voice already in a daze as his eyes wander down to Yuuri’s lips.
Yuuri’s eyes move over Victor’s face, not saying a word and taking in slow breaths. He’s thinking again, trying to search Victor’s eyes for some sort of resolution to a question that Victor hasn’t posed. The tool in Yuuri’s hand turns slowly, the silence between them not uncomfortable or awkward, but still just as thick and tense.
“. . .Okay,” Yuuri finally murmurs, shoulders easing back as he works up the nerve.
Victor licks his lips. “Okay,” he says back, and braces his elbows against the counter.
They both lean in at the same time, then pause, then awkwardly try to figure out who’s tilting their head in which direction, ‘you go this way, I’ll go that way’. It’s like Victor’s first kiss as a teenager, where he feels a nervous butterfly in his gut as his eyes fall close and he feels Yuuri’s warm minty breath against his mouth.
He kisses Yuuri slow and gentle, barely applying any pressure. Yuuri’s lips are warm and a little bit chapped, and he feels Yuuri’s right hand clumsily twine their fingers together. Nothing risqué, nothing erotic. It’s really nothing but a peck, but Victor still feel the flutter of the butterfly in his gut and the hot burn in his cheeks as if Yuuri is panting hot and heavy on his tongue.
Yuuri pulls away just an inch, eyes still closed.
“That was good,” Yuuri whispers against Victor’s mouth, and kisses Victor one more time for good measure. Yuuri’s other hand lightly traces Victor’s jawline, fingertips ghosting down his neck against his pulse point as he suckles on Victor’s lower lip.
Victor kisses him back just as slow as the first time, then smiles against Yuuri’s mouth and squeezes Yuuri’s hand nice and tight.
They take it slow, but the time flies fast.
Yuuri and Victor make the mall their summer hangout spot. They share pretzels, Victor drags Yuuri into the Guess and Sax Fifth Avenue to try on a bunch of clothes that Yuuri begs him not to buy, and Yuuri drags Victor into the robotics store to gush at the machinery and test fly the miniature drones.
If they’re not at the mall, they’re at Victor’s apartment and listening through his CDs. There’s a space on the shelf that are recommendations from Yuuri that grows with each of Yuuri’s visits. It’s a mixture of glam rock and early R&B, but also synth pop and eighties music from Japan.
“You’ve been holding out on me, Yuuri,” Victor scolds as Yuuri lies cuddled up next to him, reaching out for the ball that Makkachin has fetched for him. The synths and drum beats echo off the walls of Victor’s apartment as he lightly taps his foot against the arm of the couch they’re lounging on.
Yuuri takes it and gives the ball a lazy toss over his shoulder. How Makkachin scampers in his manic attempt to catch the ball before it hits the ground never fails to make Yuuri laugh.
“I didn’t know if you’d like it. You might not have been ready for Keiko Kimura,” Yuuri says with a soft peck to Victor’s chin. Victor brushes Yuuri’s bangs back, threading his fingers through his soft hair. He hums along to the woman’s voice, closing his eyes and continuing to stroke Yuuri’s hair.
They untangle themselves from each other only when they can’t ignore the loud growling of their stomachs. Since Yuuri and Victor both admitted to the other that they’re terrible cooks – and Yuuri joked that they can always take a couple’s cooking class, while Victor just felt a tingle in his spine at the ‘couple’ part – they order some take-out and sit in front of the television with boxes of Chinese.
Makkachin cuddles up at their feet in the hopes of catching some scraps, while Yuuri and Victor eat and criticize the contestants of the singing competition that’s on since there is nothing else to watch.
Eventually, they go back to cuddling with their legs entwined and Yuuri’s fingertips gently tracing over Victor’s stomach. It’s late and Victor struggles to keep his eyes open and focused on the infomercial selling some dicer or maybe it’s a blender. He doesn’t even remember how did they get to this channel, and he’s far too lazy to get out from under Yuuri and find the remote to turn on something interesting.
Yuuri’s hand is light and rubs Victor’s stomach in soft circles, comforting and making Victor melt further into the cushions of the couch. Victor doesn’t tell him to stop, nuzzling his nose into Yuuri’s hair where the younger man’s head is tucked just underneath Victor’s chin. He likes Yuuri touching him, whether it be a hug goodbye or an innocent peck to his lips right before Celestino chases Victor out for loitering in his store.
“Hmm, what time is it?” Yuuri mumbles, tilting his head back so his lips move against Victor’s throat. Victor forces his eyes open to squint at his clock.
“. . .I think it’s almost one,” Victor mumbles and Yuuri sighs.
“I have two house calls in the morning,” Yuuri mumbles and starts to pull himself out of Victor’s grasp. Victor‘s arms fall around Yuuri’s waist as he sits up and stretches his arms over his head, while Victor’s hand starts to gently rub up and down Yuuri’s thigh.
“You can spend the night here if you want,” Victor offers, voice groggy. He feels Yuuri’s weight shift against his legs, and pliant lips press against his own. Yuuri licks into Victor’s mouth, his fingers sliding into Victor’s hair to hold nice and tight. The kiss is soft and sweet at first, then it starts to grow harder and wetter. Victor’s arms around Yuuri’s waist tug him back down on top of him and Yuuri’s body presses snug against Victor’s front.
He may have been sleepy before, but now Victor is fully awake and heat is starting to pool between his legs right where Yuuri’s hips shift forward and back as he deepens the kiss.
Victor’s hands slide down the curve of Yuuri’s back and over the roundness of Yuuri’s behind, giving them a firm squeeze and feeling Yuuri exhale a breathy moan against his tongue in response. It’s hotter in the living room than it was thirty minutes ago. Victor feels flushed from his growing sore lips and down his neck as his breathing starts to grow ragged.
The make-out begins to fizzle into softer pecks against the corners of Victor’s mouth, the hand in Victor’s hair now easing through in loving strokes instead of gripping so tight Victor thinks Yuuri will pull what little hair remaining out of his scalp. When Yuuri pulls back, his eyes are blown wide and his lips are swollen and red. Swollen and red from Victor. A moan passes from Victor’s lips just from looking at Yuuri post-make out expression.
“I got to go,” Yuuri whispers. Victor gives a needy squeeze of Yuuri’s ass and buck of his hips, and Yuuri’s kiss swollen lips quirk up into that coy smile that he gave Victor the first time they met. With the glow of the television screen, Yuuri looks ready to devour Victor whole.
“You sure you can’t stay?” Victor asks, hoping he doesn’t sound too desperate. Yuuri adjusts his glasses that went askew, and he gives a nod of his head.
“I won’t feel like getting out of bed to help some poor old lady fix her stereo system if I stay here,” Yuuri says, moving Victor’s hands off him so he can stand up to his feet and get his shoes. Victor rolls onto his side and sits up, an obvious bulge in his sweatpants. Yuuri slips on his shoes and Victor walks him out of his apartment to his car parked along the curb.
Their goodbye peck turns quickly into another heavy make out with Yuuri gently rubbing up against Victor’s thigh that somehow managed to worm its way between his legs as Victor braces himself against the passenger door.
“Okay,” Yuuri says after his third and fourth and fifth kiss, “I really need to go.” The words are of a responsible employee, but with Yuuri’s smoldering eyes looking up through his eyelashes and his lips quirking up at Victor, it feels like a tease.
“Okay,” Victor breathes and gives a kiss to the inner part of Yuuri’s wrist. “Goodnight.”
Victor watches Yuuri climb in and drive off into the night, before he trudges back inside the apartment building and up the flight of stairs to his apartment. Once inside and the door locked, he finds an old pillow in the closet and shucks off his sweatpants and underwear.
Victor grinds against it slowly on his bed in the dark, imaging it’s Yuuri that his hips rut up and beat against, fucking him slowly until Victor comes with Yuuri’s name breathed against the sheets.
“You didn’t learn your lesson the first time, I see,” Yuuri chides as he types away on Victor’s laptop and endless pop ups for porn and penis enlargement pills fill up the screen.
“I honestly don’t know what happened,” Victor says. Really, he doesn’t. He thought that he was clicking on a trusted link for funny cat videos. Internet animals somehow keep betraying Victor.
Yuuri sighs, giving a little shake of his head and a smile.
“Well, I backed up your information and files to an external drive last time I was over your place, so we don’t have to worry about losing anything. It should just be twenty minutes. This virus doesn’t seem as malicious as the one you came in with the first time around. Plus, I’ll install a better firewall and security system as well,” Yuuri murmurs to himself. Victor braces his elbows against the glass counter and rest his chin in his hands.
“You look so beautiful right now,” Victor gushes. Yuuri smiles, not taking his eyes off of the computer screen.
“You always say that.”
“Because it’s the truth. You’re beautiful when you’re de-porning my laptop, you’re beautiful when you’re fixing monitors, you’re just so beautiful, Yuuri Katsuki. I’m so lucky you’re my boyfriend,” Victor says with a lovesick smile. Yuuri looks at him, blush now moving over the bridge of his nose, and it takes Victor a moment before he realizes what he said.
He used the ‘b’ word.
Yuuri averts his eyes back to Victor’s laptop. “Um. . .I’m. . .I’m the lucky one to have a. . . a boyfriend like you,” Yuuri admits, voice a little shaky but not at all masking his happiness. Victor feels his shoulders relax and leans in, letting his lips press against Yuuri’s mouth for a kiss. Yuuri giggles into it, gently pushing Victor away.
“Celestino is going to be mad if he catches you distracting me,” Yuuri says, rubbing his thumb over Victor’s cheekbone.
“Minami can be Employee of the Month this time around, right?” Victor suggests and takes Yuuri’s hand into his own, kissing along Yuuri’s knuckles.
Yuuri hums. “I don’t know, being Employee of the Month has its perks and I might not want to give that up so easily,” Yuuri says. Victor kisses down his palm to the inside of his wrist.
“Really,” Victor says into Yuuri’s skin before he sucks a wet spot against the pulse point, “like what?”
Yuuri gives a breathy sigh as Victor starts to kiss up his arm, rolling back the sleeve of his shirt as he moves upwards. ”Well. . .there’s the special discount, free smoothie coupons, bragging rights for a month. . .but since it’s pretty much me, Minami and Celestino, it’s not as fun as it should be.” Yuuri squeals when Victor blows a raspberry right at his clavicle and he swats at Victor’s shoulder, giving Victor a little push back.
Victor smiles and raises his hands in surrender. “Okay, okay Mr. Employee of my Heart. I’ll let you go back to being a responsible worker,” Victor says with a pout and looks at the motherboard clock. It feels like a natural reflex to just stare at it, he still can’t read it and doesn’t think he’ll bother to learn how to either. “Twenty minutes?” Victor asks.
“Better make it thirty,” Yuuri says and Victor raises an eyebrow.
“Why the extra ten minutes?”
Yuuri keeps his eyes focused on the screen when he says, “So I have time to make out with my boyfriend”.
Victor redeems his ten minutes right then and there.
Yuuri invites Victor and Makkachin over to his place during the first week of September, which makes Victor ecstatic because he’s never seen Yuuri’s home before and he’d be lying if he says he hadn’t thought about it ever since they started dating.
It’s a cozy one bedroom apartment, not as spacious as Victor’s but is just right for Yuuri. The walls are covered with family pictures, while the space above Yuuri’s television is covered with polaroids of the city and nature and Phichit and Yuuri hanging out. There’s some of them that hang on Yuuri’s fridge as well. In Yuuri’s living room is Yuuri’s entire movie collection, with one shelf cleared off to house CDs and cameras. The CDs Victor burned for Yuuri are stacked up in a nice and neat row right beside a Canon.
“This is my favorite camera,” Yuuri says as he gives Victor and Makkachin a tour of his apartment. He reaches for a vintage Polaroid OneStep 600, turning it towards Makkachin. “Smile~” Yuuri coos at the poodle and Makkachin braces himself on his hind legs ready for his close up. The shutter button goes off and the photo prints out, Yuuri carefully taking it between his fingers.
“Now we wait for this to develop and I have another addition to my polaroid wall,” Yuuri says with a smile that Victor reciprocates. He looks at the wall of polaroids and hums.
“There’s none of you in there,” Victor points out.
“Well, yeah. Phichit always likes to use his phone or his camera to take pictures. Plus, I don’t know. I didn’t think about taking a picture of myself,” Yuuri explains and Victor glances at the camera.
“Can we take a picture?” Victor asks and Yuuri turns the device around in his hands.
“Um, sure.” Yuuri smiles and nods his head. “Yeah, that will be nice.”
It’s a little bit awkward to try and cram all three of them together and Yuuri tries to instruct Victor how to hold it properly and where the shutter button is. After a few more minutes of prep, they manage to take their polaroid selfie of Victor kissing Yuuri on the cheek with Makkachin nuzzling underneath Yuuri’s chin, then another picture of Yuuri hugging Makkachin, then another of Yuuri kissing Victor’s lips.
They all come out perfect.
On one Tuesday night with Makkachin asleep in Victor’s bedroom, the empty boxes of take-out still sprawled over the coffee table, and Yuuri on top of Victor kissing him deep and wet, does Yuuri breathe out against Victor’s lips, “Can I suck you off?”
Victor has normally been the one to initiate the sexual acts, and only after asking if Yuuri is okay with him rubbing against Yuuri or jerking them both off. They haven’t had penetrative sex, but sex they’re having with their hands and mouths and Yuuri’s soft thighs doesn’t make Victor feel the need to rush.
Still, hearing Yuuri - his shy, still quiet, still turns beet red whenever Victor kisses him in public and fawns over how ‘smart and cute his boyfriend is’ Yuuri - whimper into Victor’s mouth about wanting to give him a blowjob makes Victor tense on the spot from surprise.
Yuuri pauses, looking down at Victor worried. “I-I mean – ” there goes the unsure flitter of his eyes, “If you. . if you want? I-I don’t – we don’t have –”
“No,” Victor breathes out, shaking his head and squeezing Yuuri’s waist. “It’s fine. Yeah. It’s good,” Victor stumbles with his permission, because it’s pretty hard to turn down a blowjob when his boyfriend is cute and warm and trying to secretly rut up against Victor’s hip like he wouldn’t notice.
Yuuri nods his head, slipping off his glasses as Victor gets comfortable on the couch and pulls his track pants and underwear off and tossing them off to the side of the television playing the evening news. Yuuri settles in between Victor’s thighs, his breath warm against Victor’s half-hard dick. Brown eyes flicker up to Victor’s face, sensual and blown wide.
“Don’t look away,” he says, voice faint to Victor’s ears. Victor swallows.
“Wouldn’t think about it, love.”
Yuuri smiles, then begins to kiss along the firmness of Victor’s thighs and ease his legs open wider. Victor throws one arm behind the back of the couch while his other hand grips the front of his shirt. Yuuri leaves butterfly kisses up to the crest of Victor’s pelvis bone, while his thumb rubs little circles in the flesh of Victor’s hips.
Yuuri always takes his time with foreplay, kissing every bit of Victor’s exposed flesh like he’s indulging in the muscle and firmness against his soft mouth. He noses downwards, wrapping firm hands around Victor’s shaft and strokes him till he’s hard and leaking at the tip. Victor pulls his lower lip in between his teeth, stifling a moan.
“Is it good?” Yuuri asks, holding Victor’s cock at its base and easing on the pressure.
“Y-Yeah,” Victor stutters out.
Yuuri breathes in Victor’s musk and flattens his tongue against the head, then drags it down to the base of his cock and back up again. His hand on Victor’s hip trembles while the other cups at Victor’s balls and he tongues at the slit.
Victor shudders out ‘fuck’ when Yuuri finally gets his lips around the head and he drops down low and pulls back up agonizingly slow. Yuuri’s eyelashes flutter and his eyebrows furrow as he tries to fit more down his throat, then stops when the tip hits the back of his throat and he gags. He pulls off to catch his breath, cheeks burning and lips shiny and wet.
“Sorry,” he breathes. Victor is too dazed to even comprehend or mumble out ‘it’s fine, it’s okay, take your time’ before Yuuri’s head dives back down and he resumes sucking and licking and squeezing Victor’s cock in his too warm and too soft hand.
Victor knows that Yuuri told him not to look away, but somehow he finds that his head is tilted back and his eyes are on the dark ceiling above him, lips fallen open as he pants and moans and whispers ‘so good, so good’. When he tries to tilt his head back and look at Yuuri sucking his cock, Yuuri always does some thing with his tongue that makes Victor’s eyes roll to the back of his head and groan.
His nails are digging into the couch cushion, and his other hand fisting the front of his shirt wants to wander into Yuuri’s hair. He wants to tug on it, card through it in loving strokes, hold Yuuri’s head still while he thrust his hips upwards into the warm wet heaven that is Yuuri’s mouth.
Victor pants, brushing Yuuri’s bangs out of his face and keeping his hand tight in Yuuri’s hair. “You look so pretty, Yuuri. You’re so beautiful baby,” Victor babbles and his eyes scrunch tight when Yuuri begins to moan around him and his tongue swirls around the head.
Victor’s words and praises fall flat and come out as heavy pants on his tongue and pitiful whining noises that sound like Yuuri’s name. Yuuri’s way too good at this. Victor doesn’t know if Yuuri has been practicing with the ice pops in the freezer or looked it up on the Internet but Yuuri is too fucking good at giving head and Victor is going to die. But he figures, it will be the best way to go.
Victor hisses between his teeth, forcing himself to keep his eyes on Yuuri and make this last, but he feels the tight coil in his stomach just waiting to unravel and his toes are beginning to curl. Yuuri must sense he’s about to come too, since now he’s sucking harder and his head is bobbing up and down faster.
He begs for Yuuri to slow down and wait, then speed up and ‘yesyesyes’, then really, Victor doesn’t know what the hell he’s even saying anymore. Victor feels his lips moving and his tongue, but the sounds from his mouth doesn’t make any sense to his ears.
They’re short of breath and strains his voice that grows higher in pitch. But the sounds urge Yuuri to bring Victor closer to the edge with those flushed round cheeks of his. Those brown sensual eyes that Victor feels he can drown in. Those pretty lips that are now red and swollen around his cock that coaxes Victor to come undone with each lick, each suck, each kiss.
Victor only manages to hear his voice choke out Yuuri’s name before all he sees is white behind his eyes and his body jerks from the wave of pleasure and release that washes over him. He feels his orgasm work its way through his stuttering hips and curl outwards from his toes. Victor takes in a few deep breaths, trying to remember where he is and what’s happening because fuck.
When he looks down at Yuuri, there’s a long trail of spit that connects his lips to the tip of Victor’s now softening cock. He blinks up at him and gives an audible swallow that could make Victor hard all over again, running his tongue over his lower lip.
“Was it good?” There’s no timidity in his voice. It’s more like a ‘wow, I sucked your brains out through your dick, didn’t I?’ kind of tone, complete with a cheeky little smile.
Victor cracks a smile of his own, and for some stupid reason – Victor knows his brain usually has yet to catch up with the rest of him post-orgasms - gives Yuuri finger guns.
“Yes,” he bluntly states.
Yuuri snorts, shakes his head and leans over to grab a napkin off the coffee table to wipe his mouth.
Victor relaxes into the cushions, a lazy buzz nesting in his bones. “Can I return the favor?” he asks and Yuuri looks over at him, then pulls his lower lip in between his teeth.
“Yeah,” he murmurs, and starts unbuckling his pants. He shimmies out of them with a cute wiggle of his hips and kicks them off along with his underwear around his ankles. They switch positions so now Yuuri is braced up against the arm of the couch with his arm thrown over the back and Victor is making himself comfortable between Yuuri’s legs.
“This is probably my favorite place to be,” Victor says into the fat of Yuuri’s right thigh. Yuuri’s hands go over his face to hide his embarrassment at Victor’s words, but soon fall back down to tangle in Victor’s hair as he starts to kiss and bite at the soft flesh of Yuuri’s skin. He sucks at Yuuri’s hipbone hard enough to leave a small bruise, then moves downwards to kiss the leaking tip of his dick and taste Yuuri on his tongue.
Yuuri tries his best to keep his cries quiet, but he’s always been louder than Victor when vocalizing how good it feels with Victor’s mouth swallowing him down. Victor relaxes his throat and rubs his hands up and down Yuuri’s thighs, over his stretch marks and around the curve of his hips where there’s just a little bit of pudge.
Victor loves how soft Yuuri is in his hands. He murmurs how beautiful Yuuri is, how sexy Yuuri is, how much he loves Yuuri’s body and his thighs and cock. It’s funny; when Yuuri gives him a blowjob, Victor is a stammering mess that can’t talk for shit. But when he’s the one giving head, suddenly Victor can wax poetic all on the many different ways he loves Yuuri Katsuki. Weird.
Yuuri whimpers as Victor moans and slides his tongue up the shaft. The hands in Victor’s hair are clenching tight, like Yuuri will float off into the atmosphere if he doesn’t hold onto something to keep him grounded. When Victor licks down over his balls to the taint of Yuuri’s ass, Victor feels Yuuri’s nails scrape at his scalp and his back arches.
“You’re doing good, Yuuri. You’re so good, Yuuri. So beautiful,” Victor mouths against him and breathes with such ease. Yuuri hiccups a whine, and Victor feels Yuuri’s heel begin to dig in between his shoulder blades. Victor takes him back into his mouth and listens to Yuuri’s voice grow breathless and chant ‘Victor’ over and over like a sex-crazed mantra.
Victor knows when Yuuri is about to come since Yuuri starts to get squirmier, for lack of a better term. He starts to twist his hips and buck upwards, and his legs start to spread wider and close inwards like his body doesn’t know what to do. Victor tries to hold Yuuri’s hips down with his hands, head jerking with Yuuri’s erratic movements as he starts panting and whimpering and yesyespleaseohgodmoremore.
Yuuri comes with a high-pitched cry that dies at the back of his throat, and Victor quickly swallows it down before it can sit on his tongue for longer than a second. He rubs Yuuri’s legs and brings his boyfriend back down from his high with gentle touches, pulling off his cock with a wet and obscene pop.
“Vkusno~” Victor purrs with a grin, and Yuuri is too fucked out to even be embarrassed.
“Mmm,” Yuuri hums and opens his arms up. Victor chuckles and crawls over Yuuri to let his boyfriend pull him into his arms and cuddle, sweaty legs tangling together.
“Stay the night?” Victor asks into Yuuri’s hair, even though Yuuri has stayed over for the past three. Yuuri nuzzles his face into Victor’s collarbone.
“Yeah, sounds good.”
Victor sits on his couch amongst the boxes of things from Yuuri’s old apartment that still needs to be unpacked, while the morning news announces there is the possibility of light snowfall later on. Makkachin is pushing around an empty box with his nose since it makes a funny noise against the wood flooring, and Yuuri is still fast asleep in bed.
He doesn’t get that far in browsing the Internet as per his usual lazy Sunday mornings, since Makkachin bumps up against a box in his fun and knocks over some black device of Yuuri’s Victor thinks is a clock.
It starts beeping loud and obnoxious, numbers flashing on its shiny surface and Victor sighs. He closes his laptop and gets up to take the alarm clock into his hands, turning it around and squinting his eyes to find the snooze button.
. . .Where are the buttons on this thing?
He shakes it, slaps his hands along the smooth sides, leaves all of his fingerprints over it, but has no idea how to turn the damn thing off. He huffs and wonders if Yuuri will be mad at him if he breaks it to shut it up. Yuuri can fix it up again. Probably.
“What’s going on?” Yuuri’s tired grunt sounds from the hallway and Victor turns. Yuuri’s in an old, washed out Journey shirt belonging to Victor that fits loose on Yuuri’s frame. His hair is a mess and his glasses are crooked on his face.
Victor holds out the clock to Yuuri. “Makkachin knocked it over and now it won’t stop screaming,” Victor sheepishly explains.
Yuuri wordlessly holds out his hand and Victor passes off the clock. Without even looking at it, Yuuri pops open a panel, rips the batteries out of the clock, and tosses it onto the couch where it bounces off the cushion and lands on the ground with a hollow thud.
Well that works too.
“Come back to bed,” Yuuri mumbles, pulling Victor by his wrist.
“It’s almost eleven, love,” Victor points out, but allows Yuuri to pull Victor down the hallway to the bedroom where they both fall back down on the mattress and get beneath the covers.
Yuuri nuzzles into Victor’s chest. “It’s Sunday. We can sleep for a little bit longer,” Yuuri slurs. Victor hums, gently sliding Yuuri’s glasses off his face to set on their nightstand, then gently runs his fingers through Yuuri’s hair and smiles.
Victor settles against the pillows and closes his eyes. A little bit more sleep won’t hurt in the slightest.