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fingertip proclamation

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Curled up in the airplane seat before landing, Yuuri realizes that he had probably hugged more people yesterday than he has in the entire past five years combined. Despite all of that, when he looks down at his hands pressed against his thighs, he feels cold.

The cold lingers as he unbuckles himself and gathers his baggage, and lingers as he walks down the tunnel.

The cold lingers right up until the moment Viktor's arms envelop him, slow and encompassing.


"What's wrong, Yuuri?" his mother asks, startling him out of the odd fugue he'd fallen into, upon returning to Yuutopia and parting from Viktor to unpack his bags.

"Ah, nothing," he says. It feels like he's talking through a bubble, something between him and the real world. "Just a little cold."

"You should take a bath after dinner," his mother says knowingly. "You've been traveling, so a hot soak will fix all your problems."

It's a good idea. He takes himself, with his cold hands and sore, chapped lips, to the onsen.

Yuuri has had time in his life to get used to the feeling of their baths; they had helped him through the constant ache of life as an international-level athlete, and through the growing pains marking his transition from boy to man. Still, there are few things that he appreciates as much as this: a thorough wash in a steamy room, followed by a quiet immersion in their hot, cloudy mountain pool.

He has soaked for only a few minutes, but it's enough for sweat to collect at his temples. All of his skin stings with heat, but weirdly, his hands still feel cold. He peels one out of the water, staring at it and listening to the drip of water.

"Ah, so relaxing," Viktor says, getting into the pool too-noisily. "I wish every 20-hour trip could end with a bath like this."

"Mm," Yuuri says.

A deep rippling heralds Viktor's approach. He settles in the water next to Yuuri, and slowly takes Yuuri's cold hand in his own.

The chill in Yuuri's body finally yields.

"I hope you believe me when I say I missed you," Viktor says, low.

The eye contact between them makes Yuuri feel too hot. "I believe you," he says, and pulls his hand free to set it against Viktor's cheek, thumb brushing the corner of Viktor's mouth. There is no one else in the bath with them right now—there's no one to see as his hand slides down the side of Viktor's face, down his jaw, to his shoulder, under the water. There, he pauses. "I missed you too," he says.

Viktor's mouth has fallen open; a small noise comes out of him. His face has gone pink. He has the kind of skin that tends to flush drastically from the onsen's temperature. Yuuri does too.

That was all it took, maybe. Right now, Yuuri feels strangely at peace; he knows it'll wane soon, but he'll take what he can get. What he can get is Viktor's shoulder as a resting place for his forehead as they soak. What he can get is Viktor's arm curling around his bare waist under the water, Viktor's skin trembling wherever Yuuri's hands land.

They could balance together just like this, he thinks. Or—he could pull.

"We shouldn't stay too long," Yuuri finds himself saying. He lifts his head, looking up, and finds Viktor's red, dazed face. "We could get dehydrated like this."

"Ah... right," Viktor says.

"If you're done, we should go," Yuuri says. He grips hard at Viktor's arm as he stands, and Viktor stands with him. It's as easy as that.


The smile that Viktor has on his face right now usually incites a great wave of embarrassment on Yuuri's part, but right now he can't seem to dredge up an ounce of that prickly feeling. He feels smooth inside, tender from the heat of the bath, ripe.

They reach the point in the hallway where Viktor is supposed to peel off to his own room. It doesn't seem like a good idea tonight, for whatever reason. Yuuri still hasn't let go of Viktor's arm, and he doesn't want to.

"Let's sleep together," Yuuri suggests. The words feel—easy. Natural.

"Okay," Viktor agrees, breathless.

They walk the rest of the way to Yuuri's bedroom. Once inside, the door shut behind them, Viktor looks at Yuuri in a way Yuuri can't remember ever seeing before, hopeful and soft.

"Now that you have me here," Viktor says, sliding Yuuri's hand down from his arm and linking their fingers, "what are you going to do?"

Yuuri looks at their hands where they are clasped, pale skin of two different shades intertwined, not quite symmetrical. It reminds him of something else he'd wanted to tell Viktor, but had forgotten at the arrival gate under the swell of something more important.

"I want you to know," Yuuri says, "you don't have to be my coach all the time."

Viktor's eyes widen; he grabs Yuuri's other hand. "I want to, though," he says. "Don't doubt that. I already said it, I'm your coach."

"No," Yuuri says, "I mean... of course I want you as my coach. But that's not all you are, right? Not all the time. I want..."

"Ah," Viktor says, and then tips his forehead against Yuuri's, his hair tickling Yuuri's nose. "Shhh. Of course. What else?"

The only thing left is the tension blooming in the center of Yuuri's chest. He squeezes at Viktor's fingers and pushes him back three steps, until Viktor trips over the edge of Yuuri's bed and has to sit, hard. He laughs with it, smiling up as Yuuri looks down at him. Yuuri smooths the fabric of the green robe over Viktor's broad shoulders, intent for a brief moment, and then pushes Viktor back farther, turns them, until he has room to sit between Viktor's legs. Viktor touches at Yuuri's waist, and his face does something subtle—wondering, inviting, and questioning at once.

"Like this," Yuuri says, though there is no reason to say anything. He touches at Viktor's bared elbows, then puts one hand to his chest where the robe falls open.

Viktor just watches him, mouth open like he has forgotten to close it. There is a gravity in the warmth of his body, the expression on his face. Yuuri can't help but be drawn in, rapt.

He hugs Viktor again, urgently, like they had hugged at the airport, but this time—really feeling him, the heat of him beneath cloth, the shape of his skin and his muscle and his bones. He sighs into the incidental crush of their thighs, the outside of his to the inside of Viktor's. He hugs tighter, tighter, wanting to feel everything, Viktor's entire body, even to the flow of breath inside him.

Viktor's hands settle against his back like butterflies, tentative.

The tenderness of that touch makes Yuuri bite his lip. Dazed, he wonders where his own hands are at that moment. Following the curve of his arms, he finds them—one over the nub of bone at the top of Viktor's spine, vulnerable and exposed with how messily he's tied his robe—the other just settled around Viktor's waist. He softens his hold with both, pressing in deeply with just his palms and letting the fingers drag, light and quiet. Viktor trembles against his front, a noise escaping him.

"You are so full of surprises," Viktor breathes.

Yuuri presses his lips together for one second, two, but then the words have to come out. "Stay with me?" he asks, voice small.


Viktor's back arches, opening up against the support of Yuuri's embrace. It drags Yuuri forward as he tries to keep hold, and they tip slowly backward, until the back of Viktor's head meets the sheets. His eyes, which had been closed, open then, blue and clear. He's smiling, still pleasingly pink in the face, and when Yuuri dips his head close Viktor doesn't waver, or move, or do anything at all. He just waits, letting Yuuri look his fill, and trembles every time Yuuri's fingertips stroke at the nape of his neck—which he can't stop himself from doing, over and over.

"Stay with me?" Yuuri asks again, steadier this time.

"I've already as good as promised you that I will," Viktor tells him, still smiling like this is some kind of—game, like they are two near-strangers, flirting without fear of commitment or consequence. Yuuri groans, pressing his face against Viktor's collarbones and asks, one last time—

"Viktor. Stay with me?"

There's a shifting, and Yuuri feels long fingers drag through his hair. That is the sum of movement between them for a long while, until eventually Viktor asks, "What will you do with me if I stay?"

Yuuri freezes, tension trickling down his spine, until he forces himself to breathe some of it out. "Does it matter?" he asks. His jaw feels tight. "Do you need to know that badly?"

Viktor's hands draw out of Yuuri's hair and come to cup his cheeks. He tilts Yuuri's face out of the smash it had been in against his chest, and looks at him unwaveringly. "No," Viktor says. "It's not that. I don't need to know. I want to know."

He curls a little, one of his thighs raising to hook properly over Yuuri's hip, and pulls Yuuri forward until their foreheads touch again. It's impossible for Yuuri to hide like this; Viktor stares down at him, serious, until Yuuri knows Viktor can see it, the uncertainty hiding in the lines of his face. And yet, he can't look away.

"I'll stay as long as you let me," Viktor says, quiet but clear. "Everything you want to take, I'll let you have freely. And I want everything you'll give me."

Yuuri breathes, shakily, against Viktor's mouth; he doesn't mean it to be a kiss but it is, maybe, or maybe it's more. Whatever it is, it's heady, and it forces Yuuri to close his eyes, almost lightheaded with emotion. He feels drunk on it, on the hot breath that he and Viktor are sharing, the tight press of Viktor's forehead, Viktor's chest, Viktor's belly against his own.

Does that mean I can give you my heart? Yuuri almost wants to say. The lush caress of Viktor's hands against his cheeks almost assures him that the answer would be yes, of course.

Almost, almost.

"We should sleep," he finds himself whispering, full of an exhausted desire.

Viktor laughs, eyes crinkling shut, and he tilts his head to kiss Yuuri's cheek.