Chapter 1: Dakimakura
After Katsuki's first gold at Worlds, someone takes a poster image of him from a couple of years before and puts it on a body pillow. Katsudon colors and cringes whenever it's brought up, but Victor proudly shows it to everyone and announces that he's ordered three.
“I… three?” Katsudon asks, bewildered. “You don’t even need one, I’m right here.”
“For when you travel!” says Victor. “To console us while you’re away. One for me, one for Makkachin, and one for Yurio!”
Yuri turns bright red and throws his soda at Victor. Who (ugh) catches it and (UGH) skates away backward, sucking noisily through the straw and (UUUUUGH) winking.
“I don't know how you live with him,” says Yuri.
“I don't know either,” Katsudon sighs, all smiley and gooey-eyed. Unfortunately, Yuri is out of sodas to throw.
“Invite me over,” says Yurio.
This is an improvement over his previous habit of declaring, “I’m coming over,” and scowling like he was daring them to deny him, or before that, just showing up in Hasetsu and expecting Yuuri’s family to drop everything and cater to him.
So, Yuuri rewards the progress with an obliging, “Come over,” and Yurio follows them home and has dinner with them and commandeers the remote control afterward, thumbing restlessly through the streaming options.
“Pick a horror movie.”
“Night Watch,” Victor answers instantly. Yuuri has learned this movie is Victor’s suggestion for almost any film-watching occasion, even though Victor can easily spend an hour detailing all the ways that the movies fall short of the books.
“That’s not horror."
"It has vampires! It's horror!"
"It's not, and we've seen it. Katsudon, pick one.”
Yuuri considers copping out by choosing a horror comedy or something old or cheesy, but Yurio will complain, and actually--
“I always wanted to watch Ringu,” Yuuri admits, “but it’s supposed to be so spooky. I thought if I saw it, I’d be too scared to sleep alone. But now...” He thought he could say it-- he knows Victor would love to hear it-- but he can feel his face heating up already.
It doesn’t seem to matter. “Yuuri! That’s so cute!” Victor hugs him. “We’re watching that one.”
“Everybody knows how it ends,” Yurio grumbles, but he searches for it. “Three versions? Four... six? Are some of these sequels? It’s not fair to watch the Japanese one, Katsudon will understand it better and we'll be stuck with subtitles. We should watch the English one.”
Yuuri has heard the English one isn’t as scary, so he’s all for it, and Victor doesn’t care, vanishing to make popcorn with a breezy, “Start without me, you can catch me up!”
“If you’re watching with us you’re watching all of it!” Yurio shouts back, and he puts on YouTube compilations of Top 10 Scariest Movie Scenes, scoffing at the choices, until Victor returns with popcorn, soda, and blankets.
The first part of The Ring starts out pretty unnerving and after that it’s almost more like a mystery for a while, as the heroine tries to find the source of the cursed videotape. Yurio complains of boredom and eats all the popcorn and doesn’t pause it when Victor goes to make more. Then a scary image flashes and Yurio and Yuuri both jump and clutch each others’ arms.
Yurio makes an irritated noise, Yuuri doesn’t say anything, and by silent agreement, they run it back and pause it, and wait until Victor is back to play it again. He jumps too, popcorn bouncing out of the bowl.
“Ha!” Yurio crows, but Yuuri elbows him and he doesn’t say anything more. Yuuri eats the spilled popcorn so it doesn’t get all over the couch.
Victor spends the next half hour winding himself more and more closely around Yuuri. At first Yuuri assumes it’s for his sake-- he jumps every time there’s a loud noise-- but then there’s a scene with a horse and Victor’s arms tighten around Yuuri as he says, “Oh, no, don’t kill the horse!” He presses his face against Yuuri’s shoulder when the horse dies. “Yuuuuri,” he whines. “That’s terrible.”
“That’s worse than all the people dying?” Not that many people have died, when Yuuri thinks about it, but it feels that way.
“Of course it's worse!” Victor says. At some point, Yuuri’s not sure when, Victor wrapped himself completely in the throw blanket. It’s even hooding his head. Yurio has a pillow clutched against his chest.
As the movie builds to its climax, Yuuri feels a little confused, because Yurio is right, everyone knows the ending of Ringu, right? Did they change the part where the ghost comes out of the TV in the English version?
It seems like they did, because the heroine is thrown into the well where the ghost girl died, and everything is horrible and scary, and then the heroine finds the ghost’s remains, and it seems like that makes everything okay.
Except there’s still more movie after that, and now there’s the part everyone knows, with the television set turning on by itself and the ghost girl approaching the camera, closer and closer until she crawls right out of the screen. Victor is nearly squeezing the life out of Yuuri when that happens. Then the heroine discovers the ghost’s victim, the poor man’s face twisted and rotten and awful, and all three of them jump.
The film ends with the heroine passing on the cursed videotape to save her son-- when Victor realizes what’s happening, he says, “Oh, no!” and pays no attention to Yurio’s snickering.
After it ends, Victor shakes off his blanket-hood and says, “I thought that was really good! So this is the movie where that TV thing happens.”
“You didn’t know?”
“I knew that happened in some horror movie, but I didn’t know it was this movie. What about you two, did you know? Was it still scary even though you knew?”
“It was okay,” says Yurio, who has left dents in the pillow where he gripped the sides hard. He was halfway into Yuuri’s lap by the end of it.
“We didn’t plan ahead very well, though,” says Victor. “Now it’s late, but the only place for Yurio to sleep is here on the couch, right in front of the TV.”
Victor is wearing the big sunny smile that means he's absolutely doing this on purpose. Yuuri pokes him.
“Well, I don’t want to see the TV anymore tonight,” he says, turning it off, and then he yanks off Victor’s throw blanket and throws it over the television screen.
“You don’t have to,” says Yurio, but he doesn’t take the blanket off as they make up the couch for him and get ready for bed.
Two hours later, Yuuri is still wide awake and staring at the ceiling. Victor dozes peacefully beside him, and with him there, Yuuri isn’t scared, not really. He’s just really worried that if he falls asleep, he’s going to dream about the movie and it’s going to be terrifying because in the dream he’ll forget that Victor is next to him and ghosts aren’t real.
He’s not really scared, but he still jumps a foot when the door opens.
The head that pokes in doesn’t have long trailing black hair, though: it’s Yurio’s blond mop. “Makkachin keeps laying on my legs,” he says. “She won’t get off me.”
Yuuri has seen Yurio snore deep into the morning with Makkachin draped on his legs, his arms, his chest. But he just scoots in closer to Victor and makes room for Yurio on the other side of him.
“Are the sheets clean?” Yurio asks snidely, fidgeting with his pillow, and Yuuri blushes.
But he also snaps back, “The couch is clean, if you want to go back out there. We can always bring Makkachin into the bedroom and shut the door to keep her from bothering you.”
Yurio crawls into bed without another word. It doesn’t take him long to drop off, but now Yuuri is fretting about having bad dreams and he’s worried that Victor might start groping him in the morning before he wakes up enough to spot Yurio in their bed.
With her claws click click clicking across the floor, Makkachin joins them. Yuuri has to help her onto the bed, and he decides not to be too careful, bumping into Victor until he sits up yawning, hair in his face. “Ohh, Makkachin, spokushki,” he ruffles her ears.
“Yurio’s here,” Yuuri whispers.
“Why?” Victor murmurs back, drawing Yuuri into his arms as he settles back down.
“Silly,” says Victor. “If a ghost comes, what are we supposed to do about it?”
“Oh. No, of course we can make ghosts disappear. Ghosts hate gold.” He waves his right hand extravagantly until his ring catches the red light of the digital clock. “See, a flash of gold and they vanish. Why do you think I won so much, it keeps the ghosts out. And naturally the rings keep away Ring ghosts especially. You can rest.”
After Victor falls asleep again, Yuuri holds up his right hand. He feels silly, but he wiggles his fingers until his ring flashes, and it does make him feel better.
Yuuri wakes up with both his pillows stolen, Yurio’s hair in his mouth, Victor’s hand up his shirt, and Makkachin pinning down his legs-- but he did sleep, and his dreams were fine.
Maybe next time he’ll make them watch Ju-on.
Chapter 3: exhibition
Victuuri, nothing more explicit than the show but maybe Teen for exhibitionism and an insincere reference to underage attraction.
One of Victor’s many unbearable methods of fawning over Katsuki is choosing a different thing to snivel about every single day and refusing to shut up about it.
“Today your eyes are my favorite,” Victor will simper, and Katsuki will go pink and everyone else will suffocate in an avalanche of sugar.
“Leave it at home!” Yuri complains, but Victor just gets stickier and more impudent. It’s almost enough to make Yuri feel bad for Yakov.
It’s bad enough on an ordinary day, but one Thursday, “Today it’s your name,” Victor says.
“Hey,” says Yuri. Mila and Georgi giggle, because they’re horrible traitors.
“Yuuri,” Victor draws it out in that sing-song way he only uses with Katsuki. It doesn’t really sound like Yuri’s name at all, when he says it like that, but it’s the principle. Especially when Victor adds, “It’s the very best name to say in bed.”
“Hey,” Yuri repeats, louder. He knows he’s just taking the bait, but come on. “Do you mind.”
“Don’t worry, Yurochka,” says Victor. “When we’re in bed, you’re the very last thing that comes to mind.”
“Speak for yourself,” Katsuki says.
Whenever Katsuki shows his teeth, it always takes everyone else a couple of seconds to believe what they heard. In that brief moment, Katsuki throws a glance Yuri’s way, embarrassed and apologetic, and Yuri gets it. He knows Katsuki doesn’t see him that way, that Yuri’s just a lever to use to move Victor where Katsuki wants him.
Then it sinks in and Mila shrieks a laugh while Victor’s eyes go big and wounded. It’s purely theatrical; he knows, too, that Katsuki doesn’t mean it.
Still, “Yuuuuri, how could you,” he whines, slithering down off the bench and onto the floor, splaying himself across the painted concrete like he’s auditioning for Swan Lake. He even holds a hand dramatically to his heart. “I will never recover.”
“We’ll see,” says Katsuki. He rests his shoe on Victor’s shoulder, and at that, Victor just… stays. He spends the last two minutes of the break on the ground, looking not at all displeased to be there.
Yuri feels like he just learned more about the two of them in those two minutes than he ever did from all Victor’s sentimental babbling.
The next day it’s Katsuki’s hands that Victor won’t shut up about, and Yuri breaks and snaps, “Can’t you just put him on the floor again? Why don’t you do that every day?”
“Who says I don’t?” Katsuki says.
“Yuuri!” Victor says, scandalized and delighted. When the break ends, he fits Katsuki’s skates onto his feet and ties them for him. Katsuki pats him on top of the head afterward, and Victor seems perfectly happy with that.
Yuri decides to just put up with Victor’s drivel from now on. Seems safer for everyone.
Chapter 4: First-ish
They sleep together for months before it ever comes up. They’re busy and usually worn out by the time they get to bed, it doesn’t really occur to either of them to go for anything more involved than hands and mouths.
Okay, that’s a lie, Yuuri thinks about it. Sometimes obsesses about it. Of course he worries that Victor’s going to get bored with this teenage makeout stuff they’re doing, but Victor is so affectionate afterward that even Yuuri’s anxiety has trouble finding a foothold. (Somehow, Victor gets both drowsy and even more touchy: hands everywhere, kisses dropped on whatever bit of Yuuri is closest, murmured endearments, confiscating Yuuri’s hands to nibble his fingertips, it’s… a lot.)
Still, Yuuri’s anxiety is nothing if not formidable and eventually it gets to him enough that he fights down his embarrassment and does some internet research and finds at least a couple of actual real-talk guides to anal sex. It… doesn’t sound that appealing, honestly? But in Victor’s place in St. Petersburg, Yuuri checked the bedside table drawer at the first chance and saw condoms and a pump bottle halfway emptied of clear lubricant. Both disappeared by the time he checked again the next day: the pump bottle was replaced, and Yuuri was ready to get extremely indignant about the new box of narrower condom-like things which absolutely would not fit on him what the hell Victor, only then he realized they were for fingers and shut the drawer as quickly and quietly as humanly possible.
So… so they’re going to do this, but that new box and the lack of new condoms means maybe they’re going to go slow? Yuuri spends some time agonizing over whether Victor mopily bought that stuff thinking that his days of rampant fucking are over now that he’s with timid boring Yuuri, and he knows he’s being ridiculous! He knows. Some nights when they don’t have much time, Victor breathes, “Just hold onto me, okay? Hold on really tight,” and he slicks his palm and winds his long fingers around them both while they both thrust into his hand and kiss like they’re trying to win gold at it, and on those nights Victor gets off fast, gasping Yuuri’s name. Yuuri would be utterly humiliated if he came that fast, but when Victor does it, it’s unbearably hot and it makes Yuuri feel like the sexiest man alive, helped along by the fact that Victor often calls him that, and afterward Victor licks down his body muttering about how gorgeous he is and sucks him off like it’s all he ever wanted to do with his life.
Yuuri knows things are good in bed, he knows Victor is happy, because ever since their big blowup at the Grand Prix Final, Victor makes a point of telling Yuuri when it’s good and when he’s happy. But Yuuri can’t help the part of himself that thinks, what are you doing, this isn’t even really sex, you have Victor Nikiforov naked in your arms and you’re just going to give him a handjob, again? Doesn’t Victor deserve someone who gives him everything?
It’s in that frame of mind that Yuuri has one of his surges of confidence and buys new condoms himself on impulse while he’s picking up toothpaste and mouthwash. It helps that he’s in a foreign country where no one knows him and no one knows or cares what he’s doing.
The Saturday night before a planned lazy Sunday, after some unhurried kissing, Yuuri tries to grab that confidence again, fails, and just hops out of bed, grabs the box and hands it to Victor, his face going painfully hot.
“Oh! Sure, of course. Tonight?” Victor kisses him until his blushing eases up. “Give me a few minutes, all right? I’ll be right back,” and he vanishes into the bathroom, and returns to bed with that indomitable cheerful look he wears to new restaurants, the one that says I am going to have a good time, don’t test me.
“We don’t have to,” Yuuri says right away.
Victor’s expression eases into tenderness, and he slides close and wraps his arms around Yuuri like usual. “Let’s just see what happens,” he says, and they kiss for a while, for long enough that Yuuri sort of forgets the plan and reaches for Victor’s ass just to drag them closer together, only this time Victor makes a little encouraging sound and bends his leg up, tilting his hips until Yuuri can feel slick skin and–
And then Yuuri feels like a complete idiot, because he genuinely did not catch that Victor disappeared into the bathroom to get ready like that even though literally nothing in the world could be more obvious. He’d just assumed it would be the other way around.
Victor hums and finds Yuuri’s mouth again, and now they’re kissing while Yuuri touches– there, just stroking and circling lightly and completely losing his nerve about pushing inside. Victor is at the peak of fitness and his body is a marvel; Yuuri has never really worried about hurting him before, but he could hurt Victor like this if he’s not careful.
After a little while, Victor breaks to reach into the bedside drawer and says, “Here,” rolling the little finger-condoms onto Yuuri’s first two fingers and dribbling lube on them. Yuuri does not, does not take offense at the implication that he’s just squeamish, and then he slips his hand back into place and realizes that these will keep his fingernails from scratching Victor, and then he really does stop taking offense because it makes sense now.
Victor is hot inside, even through the latex, and his noises get lower and breathier as Yuuri twists his fingers carefully into him. Yuuri’s trying to remember what the prostate is even supposed to feel like from inside when suddenly Victor’s clinging to him hard and biting his shoulder, so that must be it, though Yuuri barely feels anything there. He keeps touching that spot anyway, little circles while Victor makes amazing noises and pants against his neck.
It’s still too daunting to think about doing more, so when Victor’s sounds get really ragged and restless, Yuuri dives down with his fingers still inside and fits his mouth around him– hard, hot, wetter than Yuuri’s ever felt him– and it’s trickier than usual to take him in, because Victor’s squirming so much and saying something urgent and pulling Yuuri’s hair, which Victor never does– and then Victor comes and Yuuri belatedly realizes what that was all about. The taste isn’t so bad, he thinks, but then there’s just too much and he has to swallow and the thickness of it, the body fluid feel of it, makes his stomach lurch.
Yuuri rides it out, pulls his fingers out, gets the little finger-sleeves off and into the trash can. There’s always a bottle of water by the bed, so he can wash away the taste, mostly. He does it all without ever letting go of Victor with the other hand, and Victor rewards him by lavishing attention on his neck for several minutes before he straddles Yuuri, sitting up and tossing his hair like he’s posing for one of the posters that used to line Yuuri’s walls, if one of those posters had depicted Victor Nikiforov giving him a slick, knowing handjob, stroking over him just right, again and again, til it feels like every muscle and nerve in his body is tense and waiting and waiting and there, perfect, the most perfect feeling in the world.
Victor lifts his wet hand to his mouth and licks his palm, and Yuuri’s body wrings a little more pleasure out of him at the sight before finally letting him relax.
“I knew that would be good,” Victor sighs as he sinks back into bed alongside him. “You always seem to know where to touch me.”
“I don’t, though,” Yuuri says. Right afterward, when he’s still dopey with endorphins, sometimes it’s easier to admit things like that. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“You pay attention,” Victor says, and gives Yuuri’s ear a playful little tug with his teeth, ducking Yuuri’s halfhearted swat. “Even if you don’t know what, you know me. I love that.”
Yuuri turns inward to huddle against him, and his cheek finds the box of condoms between the pillows where it fell. He fishes it out and casts it off toward the table and it lands… somewhere, who knows. He pushes his face against Victor’s chest, muffling himself. “I don’t know why I got those. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to use them.”
Victor gives one of his easy shrugs, a slow roll of his shoulder. “They’re good for five years,” he says. “There’s time.”
Chapter 5: self-care
Yuuri knows that people don’t look like Victor by accident. He was never under any illusion that perfect teeth, skin and hair are effortless. Yuuri himself uses moisturizer (when he remembers) and has gone through a number of different conditioners and products trying to find something to make his hair lay right or at least look like it’s messy on purpose.
Still, when Victor moves in as his coach and starts establishing routines for himself, his beauty regimen is a lot more involved than Yuuri expected. For one thing, Victor does ongoing chemistry experiments with different combinations of hair product, searching for a concoction that will let his hair swoop around to dramatically emphasize his every motion on the ice, while also holding the wave he puts in it for competitions.
“Er. Why don’t you just use the stuff you use at competitions?” Yuuri asks.
“It only looks good for twenty minutes and it takes an hour to set and two hours to wash out,” says Victor, “and it mostly works through the power of prayer. Or cursing. Maybe both.”
Yuuri is fascinated to learn that up close, Victor has faint freckles across the bridge of his nose, and he avoids the sun as assiduously as a vampire in order to keep them from darkening. He applies sunblock + foundation to conceal them and then just regular (high-end, moisturizing, scentless so as not to clash with his also carefully chosen cologne & aftershave) sunblock to go on every other inch of exposed or potentially-to-be-exposed skin.
Two nights a week, Victor sets up in the bathroom by his room, applies a hot oil treatment to his hair and a mask to his face and whitening strips to his teeth, and does his nails while listening to a Russian newscast.
He’s as shameless about this as he seems to be about everything, and persuades Yuuri that he also needs regular manicures, so Yuuri gradually gets used to Victor with oiled hair pushed back with a headband, mask plastered on his face, words a little garbled by the stuff on his teeth. Occasionally while working on Yuuri’s nails he’ll lean over and casually spit into the sink to get the runoff from the whitening stuff out of his mouth.
Yuuri feels like if literally anyone else did this in front of him he would be deeply grossed out. Yuuri thinks, I feel embarrassed if someone sees me comb my hair as if that’s going to make a difference. I would probably swallow that whitening stuff rather than spit it out in front of anyone. It's bizarre that this whole ritual actually makes him feel more comfortable with Victor somehow, like poking the part in his hair did.
And yet after just a few sessions like that, Yuuri is willing to try out the oil treatment at Victor’s urging, and he doesn’t even mind when Victor combs out his hair after the oil’s rinsed out, exclaiming over how silky it is and how nice it looks. Yuuri runs his thumb over his neat, freshly buffed fingernails and for a change, he just feels... good.
The one at the Sochi Grand Prix Final comes in at #5. Yuuri only used it that once, but he really, really needed a place to cry right then, so it makes the list. Clean, smelled nice, empty, private, but suffered from being findable by surly Russian teenagers.
#4, the bathroom at the Dairy Queen a block down from the skating rink in Detroit. A single with a lock, private, conveniently located near the rink but not in it, where other skaters might hear or find him. Unfortunately not that clean and the acoustics were brutal, every gasp and sob was amplified x3.
#3, tucked behind the lecture hall in the main building where most of Yuuri’s classes were held. It was a three-stall affair with no lock, but hardly anyone else ever seemed to go in there. Perfect place to go and cry about his miserable 84% score on the last exam, he should just drop out of school and focus on his skating except oh yeah, he’s never gotten higher than 84.3 on his short program either, that’s barely adequate to compete internationally and certainly not enough to win, he’s not good enough at skating or at school or anything, what is he going to do? This bathroom lost points because the one time someone walked in on him it was his professor, who had him make an appointment with a counselor who asked so many intrusive questions that he felt worse and worse until he waited out the session and left and crossed that bathroom off his list.
#2, Ice Castle Hasetsu’s men’s room after hours. Other than having to wait for the place to clear out, close to perfect.
#1, the little washroom at Minako’s ballet studio. She told him if he ever needed it while she had students, just go ahead in and hang the Out Of Order sign, and she’d send the others to her snack bar to use the employee bathroom there. Clean, small but comfortable, and there was a noisy heater in the closet that covered any sounds and also kept it warm. Ideal.
Chapter 7: four and a half things about victor's kinks
1. Victor has a whole chocolate box full of kinks. Exhibitionism, foot worship, body worship, caretaking. A lot of them fall under the general heading of service, though he hasn’t gotten deep enough into anything to know the terminology. He just likes taking care of partners and doing what they want, and if there’s a performative aspect, so much the better. He’s not picky about how any of it plays out, and he’s probably been a low-key service top for partners as often as he’s submitted to them.
2. He does also like submission a lot, though. Mostly being told what to do. In everyday life he’s opinionated and stubborn and regularly defies his coaches and advisers. But in bed it’s a luxury to relax and just do what his partner tells him to do.
2b. Another part of the appeal: Victor knows that his dedication and single-mindedness can make him selfish. Submission offers relief from that too. If he’s following his partner’s orders, he doesn’t have to worry about whether he’s being selfish.
3. The more intense version of (2): he loves the idea of his partner just taking. Just putting him where they want him, doing what they want with him, not bothering to ask or maybe even talk to him at all. Occasionally Victor hooked up with someone who tried stuff like that, but even though Victor fantasizes about it, when it happened, he shut it down immediately. So he thought it wasn’t something he really wanted, that it only worked as a fantasy.
4. This fantasy gets more specific after the Sochi GPF banquet, and much more specific after Cup of China, and VERY specific after Rostelecom. Now it’s entirely a fantasy about Yuuri in his confident, possessive Eros mode, accepting Victor’s service as his due, putting Victor where Yuuri wants him and doing whatever he likes with him.
That worked out at Rostelecom because they planned it ahead of time, from Victor tying Yuuri’s skates before the performance to kneeling to put the guards on for him afterward. (The skate kiss was improvisation on Victor’s part.) So now it’s part of the fantasy to offer up what he can do for Yuuri, and then they start, and if Victor doesn’t give Yuuri just what he wants exactly when he wants it, Yuuri just takes it.
(The offering-up stage is important for Yuuri's sake, so he doesn't ever have to worry that he's doing something Victor's not up for, or pushing things too far.)
It’s a while before any of this actually happens in their bedroom. But not as long as Victor might’ve imagined. It starts slow–- the first time Yuuri puts a hand over Victor’s mouth during sex (to quiet him down because Yurio is in the guest room), Yuuri goes so red he looks like his face might fry off, and he starts to snatch his hand away, but Victor puts it right back and nods emphatically. He doesn’t necessarily expect that to work, but Yuuri leaves his hand there, and eventually uses that grip to tilt Victor’s head so Yuuri can kiss his neck. Later, Yuuri even gives him a low, quiet order to “Put your hands on me,” which is hotter than any of Victor’s fantasies about exactly this.
Victor simultaneously can’t wait for more, and couldn’t be happier than he already is right now. He’s finding he feels that way about a lot of things with Yuuri.
Chapter 8: ;_;
Victor figures it out before Yuuri does.
There's the time Victor cries over a sad movie and the hug and cuddle Yuuri gives him somehow turns into a makeout in under a minute.
Sentimental tears after they do a run-through of their pair skate? It’s so sweet that Yuuri leads him into the locker room to wash his face; less sweet (but very welcome) that Yuuri presses him against the wall there and kisses the life out of him, and just barely holds back from going further– and for Yuuri to go that far in a semi-public place means something is going on.
And of course: Yuuri likes to tease him and make him wait in bed, and it doesn’t take long for Victor to catch on that frustrated tears in his eyes are the quickest shortcut to Yuuri giving him what he wants.
“You know, if you want to see me cry…”
Guilty start. “What?! Of course I don’t want to see you cry!”
… “Let’s just say hypothetically if you ever did–”
“Victor! I don’t want you to cry! I’d never–”
“IF YOU DID, I’m very ticklish and a little bit of that brings tears to my eyes every time.”
… “I guess that’s… good to know in case it ever happens accidentally…”
Good enough, thinks Victor, dead certain that within a couple of weeks Yuuri is going to “accidentally” tickle him til he tears up, and then ravish him thoroughly.
He is not wrong.
Chapter 9: somebody somewhere
No matter how good he looks now...
His first year in Detroit, Yuuri agreed to bus out to a mechanic’s with one of his rinkmates to pick up her car. The mechanic kept them waiting a while, as they do, and Yuuri peered around the oily waiting room, past the cash register to a bulletin board the mechanics used, with a girls-on-cars calendar and ads for things with torque and horsepower.
Also on the board was a pin-up poster of a beautiful hot woman in a bikini, and printed under her: “Remember: no matter how good she looks now, somebody somewhere is sick of her shit.” Which struck Yuuri as an incredibly crude, mean thing to tack up in a semi-public place.
But when he got back to his dorm room that night, Yuuri looked at his biggest Victor Nikiforov poster and burst into laughter because he could just see it: “No matter how good he looks now, somebody somewhere is sick of his shit.”
Years later when he and Phichit were discussing their mutual hero worship of Victor Nikiforov (every male figure skater had some hero worship of him at that point, even if just of the ‘I want to be the one to take him down’ variety) and Yuuri confided that when he felt down and convinced he’d never get to skate on the same ice as Victor, let alone give him any real competition… sometimes he’d just look at that poster of Victor and remember that dumb “No matter how good he looks now” joke and it would make him feel a little better.
And a few short years after that, Yuuri phoned up Phichit to complain about Victor’s utter inability to see cups once they were half empty or socks once he took them off–- Phichit I’m a reasonable person, I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life hauling around heaps of half-empty cups while navigating over mountains of filthy socks, is that too much to ask–- and Phichit started cackling, and said, “Yuuri! Do you realize what this means? You’re somebody somewhere now!”
Yuuri screeched with the horror of epiphany and begged off from the call to go have a cognitive-dissonance meltdown.
Within a couple of minutes, Phichit got a call from Victor. “What did you say to Yuuri? He shut himself in the bedroom and every time I try to talk to him he loses it laughing.”
“Nothing!” said Phichit. “Go pick up your socks!”
Victor manages, after so much soothing and bargaining and blowjobbing, to get Yuuri to show him some of the porn Yuuri’s watched before. Victor easily, gladly shares his own many and varied fantasies with Yuuri, but Yuuri has only recently confessed that he used to imagine a meet-cute with Victor that began with a near-miss rink collision and ended with the two of them holding hands between their skates. Adorable!
But Victor has come to realize that if he's going to learn about anything racier that Yuuri's thought about, it probably won't come in words said out loud.
He tries to make it feel as safe and secret as possible, both of them in bed in the dark hooded with blankets, with just the dim light of the laptop to see by. Yuuri navigates to a video and can’t even click on it, hiding against Victor’s chest so emphatically that he’s almost burrowing under him, especially once Victor clicks play on the 10-dude pile-on gangbang, all of them focused on one guy in the middle who gets sucked, fucked, and double-pumped by two or three men at a time while the others beat off watching.
Through the magic of editing, the refractory periods are ultra short, and Middle Guy gets most of the others off at least twice before his own spectacular money shot.
“Which parts do you like best?” Victor tries, which just gets him an outraged squeak from Yuuri and a reproving jab in the stomach. “Okay, but I need help! I’m good, but I can’t be ten people!”
Yuuri is still huddled in with his face wedged between Victor’s side and the mattress; Victor’s pretty certain the sounds he’s making are something like Oh Vitya, you’re such a generous lover it’s like having ten men and not, as it might superficially sound, a muffled shout of You’re the worst!
Chapter 11: obligatory
Not long after Yuuri moves into Victor's St. Petersburg apartment, Victor gets an invite to a film premiere in Moscow. Yuuri doesn’t know whether to worry more that he’s going to get ditched or get dragged along, but Victor just taps out a text and checks his phone shortly after and smiles: “My publicist says I don’t have to go.”
Yuuri asks, "Don't you want to...?" He's not sure how to finish that sentence. Go hang out with other famous people?
"Oh, we can go if you want to."
"No! But I thought you'd want to go."
“Why? I don’t know anyone there."
It's not like Victor doesn't know that Yuuri used to be a complete otaku for him. "I used to see photos of you from events like that. It looked like you were having fun."
"Mostly if I went to those things, it's because my publicist set it up. If I’m at those events, I’m working. Everyone's working. It’s just networking and having pictures taken. It’s an obligation, it’s not fun.”
Yuuri thinks of all the photos he’s seen of Victor smiling at some event or another, alongside rock stars and actors and other sports heroes, how it made him feel like Victor was part of some vibrant world for special people, like Yuuri would only be able to reach him if Yuuri managed to make himself special enough too. “Well… if you don't know anyone at those events, when do you see your friends?”
“Every day at the rink,” says Victor.
But Yuuri’s been practicing there for a few weeks now and he knows the skaters there treat each other like family, but not necessarily like friends. And Victor in particular is like the older brother everyone admires and resents at the same time for attaining the success they’re all vying for, and getting all the breaks and all the attention.
“You don’t hang out with anybody outside the rink?”
“When would I find time?" Victor shrugs. "You know better than anyone the hours I keep.”
Actually Yuuri kind of assumed they were spending practically every minute of every day on stretching and strength training and ballet and yoga and planning and skating to exhaustion because Yuuri needed to put in so much work. But no, Victor tells him he's always spent that much time at it.
Yuuri thought those five years in Detroit were lonely for him, living far from his family, hardly meeting anyone who spoke his first language; he had a few casual friends, Phichit the only one he really felt close to and kept in touch with. But in the whole time Yuuri’s known him, Victor’s never mentioned family at all, or anyone really besides other skaters, and he doesn’t seem close to anyone except his weird rival-buddy-maybe-ex thing with Chris.
For so long, Yuuri assumed that Victor’s success must have made his life better and fuller and more glamorous and more satisfying. Training with Victor in Hasetsu, some nights he'd feel so guilty that Victor left behind his exciting famous friends and his exciting famous life just to end up in this small coastal town, to walk his dog along the quiet beaches and Instagram his ramen and give silly names to the fish in the neighbors' koi pond.
It’s a bit of a rude awakening to find that succeeding has cost Victor a lot of the other things that make for a full and satisfying life; that even Victor had to pay a price to win and win and win. Maybe that's why somehow, impossibly, when they fold themselves into bed together at night, Victor seems every bit as happy to have Yuuri with him as Yuuri is to be there.
Chapter 12: family dynamics
At first, Yuuri doesn’t realize why a cold shiver pours down his spine at the sound of a tiny wavering voice: Fuwafuwan tadayota wan, itsumademo wasuresou na oshigoto… That was one of Mari’s favorite songs as a teenager. Maybe she got nostalgic and looked up covers on YouTube, or taught it to one of the triplets, or–-
Then he remembers being small and proudly telling Mari he knew all the words to her favorite song. “Show me! Sing it for me!” she told him; Yuuri refused and refused, and when she said he must have been lying about knowing the song, he cried, of course.
Their mother had to break them up–- “Mari is being mean!” “Yuuri is being a baby!” -–and arranged a compromise. Yuuri was allowed to take their father’s little tape recorder into his room and sing the song by himself to prove he knew it, and when Mari listened to it and admitted he told the truth, she had to take him out for candy.
At the time, he thought he was getting a great deal. Back then, he couldn’t have known that Mari would keep the tape, or that Victor would give her untold riches in exchange for it.
Literally, untold: when Yuuri crashes the embarrassing listening party and snatches away the tape, neither of them will tell him. Victor just complains that it’s his tape now–- “I have a receipt!” he cries, waving a paper, why is there a paper, why is anything–- and Mari laughs herself silly at Yuuri’s furious blush and Victor’s series of increasingly ludicrous pouting faces.
Somehow it leads to complaining to their mother again. “Mari is being mean!” “Yuuri is being a baby!” “Victor is being ridiculous!”
“We should print all that on a sign,” their father says to their mother. “Put up a general warning.”
“Otousan!” Yuuri and Mari gasp–- their father is usually so easygoing, it just makes it that much more shocking when he’s even a little bit savage.
Victor takes the opportunity to steal back the tape, and laughs, “I love your parents.”
Chapter 13: kidnapped!
niniblack: "WAIT Are you telling me that there have been no Tonya Harding-esque plots the remove Victor and Yuuri from the competition by having them kidnapped the evening before the GPF, and that said kidnappers have not handcuffed them together and informed them that they will only be allowed to escape if they first put on a show? And Yurio has not thrown a fit and rescued them (after they’ve already had sex of course) because DAMMIT VICTOR Yurio has to win this thing fair and square!"
pearlo: "that is, TRAGICALLY, exactly what i am telling you. i don’t understand it either!"
“You two completely ruined the bookmaking on the figure skating season,” the black-masked kidnapper says, testing the chains on the handcuffs connecting the two captives. “Gotta say, our bosses aren’t too happy with you.”
Victor tries to wrap himself protectively around Yuuri, which would be a touching gesture except that, since they’re cuffed to each other, his attempt to shelter Yuuri almost dislocates his shoulders. Yuuri yelps; Victor apologizes and glares around at these JERK kidnappers who made him hurt Yuuri.
“Relax,” says the other kidnapper in the red mask. “You’re just going to have to make it up to our employers with a little pay-per-view show.”
“Ohhhh,” says Victor, and then seals his mouth shut.
Yuuri heaves a sigh. “Just say it.” When Victor hums a negative, Yuuri headbutts him lightly. “Get it over with.”
Victor bursts out, “I told you we should make a sex tape! If we’d already put out a sex tape they wouldn’t have anything to sell!”
“Actually,” says black mask, “in that case we probably just would’ve made you do some more out-there stuff for our show. This way all you have to do is screw.”
“Ha,” says Yuuri, “I was right. Go on,” he nudges Victor.
“You were right,” Victor says grudgingly.
“I’m not pouting!”
“I’m not going to kiss you if you’re pouting.”
“Are we filming?” Red mask asks black mask. “Let’s face it, this is probably someone’s kink.”
Chapter 14: dancers & dragons
Then there was the time Yuuri was invited to play Dungeons & Dragons by the guys who lived next door to him, his sophomore year. They lured him over with snacks. All five of the other players tried to loan him their dice.
“I don’t really know anything about the game,” Yuuri admitted, toying with the shiny blue dice set (the barbarian was still preening that Yuuri chose his). “Can I play a dancer?”
“We could really use a cleric,” said their ranger.
“Let him be a dancer!” everyone else yelled.
“He could be a Bard,” said the DM, and everyone else groaned and tried to argue: “Why not a Rogue dancer, they’re graceful!” “Why can’t he be an invoker? He could channel divinity by dancing.”
“That sounds completely legit,” said the paladin, a little too heartfelt.
“I was just–- if dancer isn’t a thing in this, cleric is fine. They’re healers? I’ll do that,” said Yuuri. While the others argued, the ranger had given him an entire bowl of Doritos and a beer.
Thanks to the DM’s shameless favoritism, Yuuri’s cleric was level four by the end of the session, he had all the best loot, and he’d gotten through the Doritos, half a box of Little Debbie swiss cake rolls, and enough beers that he was standing up to do little twirly déboulés every time his cleric cast a spell. He absent-mindedly stuck a couple of the lesser-used dice in his pocket at one point, and walked off with them at the end of the night. No one cared.
Chapter 15: trio-elegiaque
Yuuri promptly made anon accounts named after his then-favorite Nikiforov program, which he only used for the sole purpose of stanning for Victor Nikiforov and ruthlessly dissecting anything said against him.
The primary reason Yuuri largely steers clear of social media is because his anxiety sends him looking for negative things about himself on any given platform. The more he can resist that, the better his state of mind, and making a habit of avoiding social media helps stave off that urge. Somewhat.
Secondary reason: he dreads being active on social media because he just assumes he’d say the wrong things, alienate people, attract nasty responses... so many things he can imagine going wrong.
Third reason: when Yuuri first started training in America and going to college, he suddenly had more unstructured time than ever before. He visited a couple of figure skating forums, Facebook pages, Twitter hashtags, etc. and promptly made anon accounts named after his then-favorite Nikiforov program, which he only used from the university library computers for the sole purpose of stanning for Victor Nikiforov and ruthlessly dissecting anything said against him.
People started joking that trio-elegiaque must be Yakov Feltsman for his detailed knowledge of competitive figure skating in general and Victor Nikiforov’s career in particular.
After about three weeks of activity, trio-elegiaque disappeared as quickly as he appeared, partly because Yuuri’s training was revving up and his grades were starting to slip, but mostly because on Twitter, v-nikiforov replied to trio-elegiaque mid-argument with a hater on the #victornikiforov tag, saying “Thanks for the support! But don’t let the negativity bother you ok? I don’t :)”
Trio-elegiaque answered with “Ok! Sorry! Good luck this season” and the next day deleted all his accounts.
After Yuuri wins Onsen on Ice, he agonizes a bit and admits to his mother that he worked so hard to make sure Victor would stay, but now that he’s staying, Yuuri isn’t really sure what to do with him, now that Victor’s coaching is one-on-one with no Yurio around.
Not to mention, what about the rest of the time?! Victor’s just always around and Yuuri doesn’t want him to be bored but what’s he supposed to do, conjure a Eurotrash nightclub out of thin air for him? Fly in a bunch of Russian models and celebrities so Victor has his usual crowd to hang out with?
“I don’t think Vicchan needs much,” Hiroko says. “When you and Yurio were running around and working so hard, Vicchan seemed perfectly content to spend his free time playing with his dog and reading a book.”
Yuuri pulls at his own hair. “I can’t tell Victor NIkiforov to go read a book!”
“Well, no, you shouldn’t say it like that,” says Hiroko. “You should be gentle with that boy’s feelings, Yuuri. He has a lot of them.”
“What am I supposed to do about that?” Yuuri moans into his hands.
“Whatever you decide to do, be kind to him,” she says. “Be careful not to break his heart.”
“Mom. It’s not–- there’s no way-– it’s Victor.”
“It’s Vicchan,” Hiroko answers. “And if you let him, he’ll follow you around just like our little Vicchan did.”
That sounds so crazy to Yuuri that he can only turn red and sputter, but months later, when Victor’s wrapping around him at every possible (and impossible) opportunity, he’ll have to admit that his mother was onto something.
“Hi, Victor,” their next-door neighbor says cheerfully. “Oh, hello, Makkachin!”
Yuuri, holding back Makkachin from rushing the open door, gives her a little wave.
Victor shows his fakest, coldest smile. “How can we help you, Natalia.”
“Oh, call me Tasha, please!” She lays a friendly hand on Victor’s arm.
Victor’s smile doesn’t thaw; if anything it gets icier. “Sorry, what was it you wanted?”
“I’m expecting a package today and it hasn’t arrived yet… I just wanted to check and see if it came here by mistake.”
“Yushenka?” Victor beckons to him. “It’s okay, you can let Makkachin go. She only rushes people she likes.”
Yuuri releases Makka, who does stay right where she is, panting happily, while Yuuri joins Victor and promptly ends up pulled close and practically sealed against Victor’s side, Victor’s right hand draped on his shoulder, ring flaring in the light. “Um. Hi, Natalia. I haven’t seen a package today.”
“If it does accidentally come here, would you mind bringing it by, Victor?” she asks sweetly.
“What makes you think it would come here, and not to Mrs. Kanatova?”
“Well, they have delivered things here by mistake before.”
“Yes! Twice now! With our apartment number right on the box. It’s funny how Wild Orchid Lingerie just can’t seem to get your address right,” Victor smiles and smiles.
Yuuri has no idea why Victor seems so chilly toward their neighbor, and with a hint of apology, he tells her, “It’s probably a good idea to call them and see if you can fix your address with them. If a package comes here while we're occupied, Makka might tear it up.”
Victor, nose buried in Yuuri’s hair, stifles a laugh against his temple. “Mmm, that’s a good point. My Yurasha is so sensible. Must be why I’m marrying him.”
It’s not the time or place, but since when is that enough to stop Yuuri from embarrassing himself? He mutters: “Is that why I have to win a gold medal first? To show how sensible I am?”
“That’s because I know you can do it, Yurochka! It’s a vote of confidence! And waiting til after you win is a good way to make sure I don’t distract you with wedding plans before you reach your goal.”
“Oh,” Yuuri breathes. Suddenly he really, really needs to be alone with Victor, and he’s not done embarrassing himself yet–- he can’t remember enough Russian to be polite and just blurts to their neighbor, “I’m sorry, we have to kiss now. Goodbye,” and he shuts the door.
Victor looks gleeful. “My Yura, that was perfect,” he says, and after that, Yuuri keeps him much too busy to talk.