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Attempted Theses and Viral Videos: A Love Story, continued

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Yuuri comes home from campus to the sight of Viktor in his bed and Makkachin on his floor. Viktor, long and lean in soft gray sweatpants, is sprawled on his back, reading a paperback book that looks familiar.

Maybe because it's Yuuri's.

Maybe because Yuuri spent half an hour looking for it the day before.

"Viktor?"

"Yuuri!" Viktor exclaims. He grins up at him, silver hair falling over his eyes. "Come over here!"

"Where'd you get that book?" Yuuri asks as he drops his backpack onto the ragged carpet and starts to unbutton his shirt. The Detroit winter still lingers outside, but when his landlord had finally fixed his bedroom radiator the week before, the job had been a little overenthusiastic.

Viktor's not answering Yuuri's question. Instead, Yuuri can see his eyes following him as Yuuri takes off his shirt. He doesn't see why Viktor is so fixated. Yuuri knows he's not terrible looking, but his body's nothing special, and his stomach pushes at the t-shirt he has on underneath.

"Viktor?" Yuuri prompts him as he stuffs his button-down back into his dresser.

"What?" Viktor meets his eyes.

"The book?" Yuuri prods, kicking off his shoes.

Viktor glances at the book, which he didn't seem to remember he had in his hands. "Oh, I got it from your desk." He slides a bookmark in and tosses it to the side. Then holds out his arms and says, "Now, come here."

Yuuri rolls his eyes as he walks over to the bed. And then promptly trips over Makkachin. Yuuri lets out a yelp as he lands half on top of Viktor. Makkachin, apparently, doesn't find the event worthy of waking up.

"Sorry." Yuuri tries to shift off of where he landed on Viktor, not that there's much extra room to do so in his twin-size bed, but Viktor wraps an arm tight around his back.

"Stay," Viktor says. He straightens Yuuri's glasses where they're askew from his fall and then kisses him.

It's a gentle kiss. Just a kiss hello. But, as usual with Viktor, it's enough to make Yuuri shiver.

Viktor tugs Yuuri fully on top of him. As they kiss, he runs his hands over Yuuri's sides, down his hips to his thighs. Yuuri finds himself letting out a moan and has to resist the urge to cover up his face in embarrassment. It's something Yuuri of three weeks ago would have done.

Just as Yuuri is starting to get desperate for more, Viktor releases his grip on his thighs and drops his head back onto the bed.

"Yuuri," Viktor whines between panting breaths.

Even through Yuuri's frustration at the sudden loss of Viktor's touch, there's something stunning about a world-class athlete getting out of breath after just a few kisses. A few of Yuuri's kisses.

Yuuri leans down and gives him another kiss, softer this time, barely a brush of his lips. Then he rolls over to lie on his side beside him. He politely keeps his eyes averted as Viktor adjusts the fit of his sweatpants. It's nice to know it's not just Yuuri who's feeling a bit constrained right now.

In the last three weeks, they've gone from occasional sweet kisses to more lingering kisses to making out to whatever this is where Yuuri has to restrain himself from humping Viktor's leg. They haven't even taken off their clothes yet. Well, Viktor has. But that is more related to stuck radiator valves than any actual intent.

At least Yuuri thinks it is.

Yuuri shifts so he can trail his fingers over the bit of skin showing where Viktor's shirt is rucked up. He actually wouldn't mind a little clothes-free Viktor time right now. Even if he knows that Viktor taking off his shirt isn't going to help the problem in his jeans.

Viktor reaches to take his hand and brings it to his lips.

"Yuuri, you are going to kill me, you know," he says.

"What? Did I do something wrong?" Yuuri asks, widening his eyes as innocently as he knows how.

Viktor huffs out a laugh and rolls to his side so they're facing each other.

"You feel too good, solnishko." He keeps hold of Yuuri's hand, lacing their fingers together, as he presses a kiss to the top of his head. "You are--"

But Yuuri doesn't get to hear what he is because Viktor is suddenly frowning. He releases Yuuri's hand to reach underneath himself.

And he pulls out a book.

He frowns at it seriously and straightens the bookmark. "At least I didn't lose my place."

"Your place? Viktor, that's my book." Yuuri grabs for it, but Viktor holds it out of his reach.

"I'm the one reading it."

"And which one of us here is TAing a Japanese Lit class?" Yuuri demands. He makes another failed swipe for the book.

"But you don't need it anymore. It was on your syllabus two weeks ago. You're onto Thousand Cranes now," Viktor argues.

"Where did you even find a copy of my syllabus?" Yuuri frowns at him. But then holds up a hand when Viktor opens his mouth. "No. Actually, I don't want to know."

"I told you, I need to learn everything about you," Viktor says.

"And that involves memorizing my syllabus and reading my curriculum," Yuuri says slowly.

"Naturally."

At least this is better than the time Viktor had kept him awake with demands to know his favorite color and all the places he'd ever visited and a list of his favorite actors. Yuuri had had to draw the line at teaching Viktor how to write his name in kanji at one in the morning.

"Fine," he says. "But I'm going to need it back for the midterm."

"That's all right," Viktor says. He sets the book on the bedside table and turns back to Yuuri, smirking. "I'm sure I'll be on to Thousand Cranes by then."

"Viktor!" Yuuri hits his shoulder. "I'm going to--"

Viktor grabs his hand and uses his weight to roll Yuuri over and pin him back on the bed, grinning. "Yes? You're going to what?"

"I'm going to--" Yuuri struggles, though he knows Viktor can tell it's only half-hearted.

Because Viktor's leaning down and kissing him and Yuuri's burying his fingers into his hair.

 

 

 

A few weeks later, Yuuri knocks on Viktor's door.

"Come in!"

Yuuri twists the knob and sighs when it opens. "You realize this isn't the safest neighborhood, right? You can't just leave your door unlocked like that."

Viktor raises his eyebrows at Yuuri from his kitchen table. With the extra training for the World Championships coming up, Viktor has been sleeping even more than Yuuri does lately. So, when Yuuri had had to stay up late writing conversation prompts for Japanese 102, he'd insisted that Viktor sleep in his own bed.

"What are you even eating?" Yuuri asks, wrinkling his nose as he scratches Makkachin's head. "Is that a chicken breast?"

"Yakov is a tyrant," Viktor says dramatically as he slumps back in his chair. "He's making me eat five of these a day."

"I know that. But for breakfast?" Yuuri asks. It's not the first time he's had to hear Viktor complain about it. Apparently the lack of palatability of Viktor's diet plan this week is punishment for something he did, though Viktor's been tight-lipped about exactly what that was.

"I skipped one yesterday," Viktor tells him. "If I don't eat it now, he's going to take one look at me and know."

"Right," Yuuri says skeptically. He reaches for Makkachin's leash on the hook near the door. "I'm taking your dog."

"Aha! So you are the unsafe part of the neighborhood, then? Going around stealing dogs?"

"You'll be here when I get back?" Yuuri asks, shaking his head as he clips the leash onto Makkachin's collar.

When Yuuri had stopped by Minako's studio the week before, she'd immediately asked what was up with his gut. Yuuri doesn't think that was entirely fair since she knows he always puts on weight in the winter. If he has a bit more of a belly than usual right now, it's just from the stress eating from having to teach three seminars while he's preparing his thesis proposal.

But Yuuri supposes, now that it's finally warming up, he no longer has an excuse to skip his morning runs, anyways.

"Yuuuri." Viktor gets up and throws his arms around him. "I'm still not invited? I promise I won't slow you down too much."

Yuuri rolls his eyes. It's not the first time Viktor's whined about this, either. But Yuuri doesn't think his self-esteem can handle going for a run with an actual professional athlete. So he just pats Viktor on the back and says, "Consider it extra punishment for whatever you did to Yakov."

Makkachin, getting impatient, gives a little whine and scratches at the door.

"You, too, Makkachin?" Viktor asks with a defeated sigh as he lets Yuuri go. "Fine. Go. Abandon me with only my chicken breasts for company."

"I'm sure Makkachin would be willing to take one to go," Yuuri calls out behind them.

 

 

 

There's no one in the reception to the Detroit Skating Club when Yuuri gets there that evening. But he can hear an older man's voice yelling something in what must be Russian, so he pushes open the door to the rink and shyly steps inside.

He finds Mila on the stands packing up her skates. She grins at him and calls out, "Yuuri!"

"Uh, hi," Yuuri says, clutching at the strap of his backpack. He'd met Mila when he'd come to meet Viktor here before. But this is the first time he's actually been here when practice was still going on.

There's a teenager a few rows up from Mila sulking into a black hoodie. And there's a brown-haired man sulking and maybe -- crying a little bit? -- as he taps on his phone. And an older man who must be Yakov barking instructions in Russian at -- oh, Viktor. Who's in the rink.

"Come and watch," Mila says. Her accent's a little bit thicker than Viktor's. She gestures excitedly for him to join her in the stands.

"I was supposed to meet Viktor later, but my meeting got cancelled," Yuuri says as he walks up to join her. He's having a hard time taking his eyes off the Viktor. "Is it okay for me to be here?"

"Of course," Mila says, just as the teenager behind her says, "No."

Mila grins and tells the kid, "This is Yuuri."

"I'm Yuri," the kid says with a scowl. He looks Yuuri up and down, then spits out, "So you're the pig Viktor's obsessed with."

Yuuri stares back at him, startled.

"Ignore him," Mila says. "He's just jealous."

"Jealous?" Yuuri repeats with a glance back at the kid. He looks about ten years to be interested in Viktor like that.

"Jealous of his attention," Mila clarifies.

"Shut it, hag," the kid spits out.

Mila just laughs and throws an arm around Yuuri's shoulders. "Come on, you can watch Viktor practice his free skate."

"He won't mind?" Yuuri asks.

Mila raises an eyebrow. "You're asking me if Viktor minds extra attention? Have you forgotten who you're dating?"

Yuuri can't help but laugh at that. He sets his backpack down and leans forward on the railing, hugging his arms around himself against the cold.

Viktor is skating down the long side of rink, picking up so much speed that Yuuri can't help but be concerned that he's going to crash into the wall. But then he jumps, spinning around in the air. His skates barely hit the ice before he's in the air again. He lands with a crisp sound of skate on ice and slows down.

Yuuri's seen him skate before on his laptop screen, but this is the first time he's seen it in person. It's faster and more dizzying in person.

Viktor skates leisurely to the other side of the rink. He turns around and starts picking up speed again before he does the same move, only this time he follows it with an even faster spin. His landing on that jump isn't as solid as the others.

"This is harder than it looks, isn't it?" Yuuri asks.

Yakov barks out something in Russian from the side of the rink and Viktor just gives a sharp nod.

"Just a little bit," Mila says with a laugh. "He's the only one who's landed that jump in competition this year."

Yuuri's heard the announcers say something like that on TV before. He tries to remember the name of it.

"A quad flip?"

"Don't get excited. It's not that impressive," Yuri says from behind them.

"He's just bitter because he's not allowed to do quads yet," Mila tells Yuuri.

"I've been landing the quad salchow since I was twelve, hag," Yuri snipes back.

Mila just laughs.

Yuuri watches Viktor skate through the same sequence again, only this time he falls on his arm coming out of it. He barely even slows down as he rights himself. Though he finally stops in front of Yakov and leans hands on his knees to catch his breath.

"Is he okay?" Yuuri clutches the railing.

"He's fine," Mila says. She hands him a jacket. "Here, you look cold."

Yuuri puts it on distractedly. "Are you sure he's not hurt?"

"The first lesson you learn is how to fall," a male voice answers.

"Oh," Yuuri says. He glances over at the dark-haired man who must be Georgi, but his attention is back on his phone.

Mila gives Yuuri a lascivious smirk. "At least now you know why your boyfriend comes home all scraped up and bruised."

"If you even care," Yuri snipes from behind them. "All you probably care about is having a boyfriend with an Olympic medal."

For the first time since he's arrived, Yuuri finds himself agreeing with Yuri. Not his words, exactly -- Yuuri hardly ever thinks about Viktor having an Olympic gold medal; it's too difficult for him to wrap his mind around -- but the vitriol behind them.

Yuuri's hardly seen Viktor without his clothes. The few times he's been shirtless, Yuuri's been more interested the enticing sight of his torso. He's never even considered that Viktor's been coming home with injuries. Or even in pain.

Viktor is saying something to Yakov in Russian. When Yakov yells something disapproving back, Viktor looks dissatisfied and Yakov looks ready to pull out his hair.

Yakov says something else, but Viktor begins skating to the far end of the rink again, as if he didn't hear him.

"Yakov's mad because he's trying it again," Mila supplies. "Quads are hell on your knees."

Yet another thing Yuuri didn't know.

At the other end of the rink, Viktor looks like he's about to take off again, but then for some reason looks up and catches sight of Yuuri for the first time.

He looks a little confused at first, and Yuuri worries that he is upset, after all, that he's been watching without him even knowing about it. But then a delighted grin spreads over his face and he yells out, "Yuuri!"

Yuuri waves back at him.

Viktor blows him a kiss.

Yuuri feels his cheeks flush even as he can't help but smile in return. He hears Mila whistle from beside him, Georgi heave a dejected sigh and Yuri mutter, "Disgusting."

Viktor starts skating towards them again. Yuuri watches him build up speed like before. But there's something more fluid in the way he makes the first two jumps this time, something different in the way he builds up to the quad.

When he lands it, it looks like the easiest thing in the world.

Yuuri catches Yakov looking over at him and he quickly averts his eyes. Instead, he finds himself stepping down the stands to meet Viktor at the edge of the ice.

Viktor grins at Yuuri as he grabs him around the waist. And then kisses him with enough enthusiasm to make Yuuri forget for a moment that they have witnesses.

When Viktor finally pulls back, he leans his forehead against Yuuri's and runs his hands up and down his sides. There's the sounding of stomping footsteps and Yuuri hears Yuri spit out something in Russian that makes Viktor laugh.

Viktor sits down on one of the benches and starts unlacing his skates, though he keeps glancing up at Yuuri.

"You look good in that, Yurochka," he says softly.

Yuuri glances down and--oh--apparently the jacket Mila had handed him was Viktor's Russian Olympic team jacket. He'd guessed it must have been Viktor's, by how it was a size or two too big on him. But he hadn't thought it was that jacket.

"Sorry, I didn't--" Yuuri quickly reaches up to unzip it. "I was just cold, I hope you don't mind..."

"I only mind you taking it off," he says. He grabs the front of the jacket and tugs Yuuri down to kiss him.

 

 

 

Yakov comes up to Yuuri while he's waiting awkwardly for Viktor to come out of the locker room.

"So you're the Katsuki kid," he says. His thick brows are furrowed as he looks Yuuri up and down. His expression looks no less disapproving than Yuri's did.

"Yes?" Yuuri says, as if it's a question. Then shakes his head. "I mean, yes, I'm Yuuri Katsuki."

Yakov gives a harrumph. "You better be coming to World's, kid."

And that's all he says before he walks out the door.

"He's right," Mila's voice comes up from behind him. Yuuri turns around to see her looking thoughtfully towards the men's locker room. "Viktor's been different these past few months. I've never seen him skate like this before."

"Oh," Yuuri says, gripping the strap of his backpack. "I'm sure that's not because of me, though."

"You're so cute, Yuuri." Mila laughs as she turns to go. Then she calls out over her shoulder, "Yakov wasn't kidding about World's though. I think he's going to buy you a ticket himself."

"I already got him one," Viktor says as he appears beside Yuuri and slings an arm across his shoulders. "And made sure he's got the week off."

"By going behind my back to get the other TAs to cover for me." Yuuri glances up at him. "I still don't know how you did that. They won't even let me pay them back."

"I have my ways." Viktor waggles his eyebrows. Yuuri's not really paying attention, though. Viktor's hair is wet from the shower and falling onto his face. Yuuri finds himself reaching up and combing it back out of his face.

Viktor's watching him with an unreadable expression on his face. Yuuri bites his lip and lowers his hand.

"Sorry you had to come for such a boring practice," Viktor says as he leads Yuuri out of the building, arm still slung over his shoulders. "I'd have gone through a whole program for you, but I think Yakov might have had a stroke."

"Or made you eat more chicken breasts," Yuuri suggests.

Viktor whines. "Don't even joke like that."

Yuuri laughs a little. Then says, "But, no, um. It was--You're really good."

It seems like an entirely inadequate thing to tell one of the top figure skaters in the world. But, from the way Viktor grins at him, he doesn't seem to mind.

"So I've been told," Viktor says. He presses a kiss to the top of Yuuri's head. "I'm glad you got to meet everyone.

"Yeah," Yuuri says. "Mila's really nice."

"I hope Yuri didn't give you too hard a time," Viktor says.

"He's..." Yuuri searches for the word. "He seems kind of aggressively protective of you? It's almost sweet."

Viktor laughs and squeezes his arm around him.

 

 

 

"Katsudon selfie!" Phichit announces as soon as the waitress puts the last of their bowls on the table. Viktor raises his glass of sake to Minako's in a toast. Between them, Yuuri smiles at Phichit's phone on the end of the selfie stick. There's a couple clicks and then Phichit says, "Yurio, get in the picture!"

"That's not my name!"

"But it's sooo cute," Viktor coos as he reaches over to ruffle Yuri's--Yurio's--hair. He gets his hand slapped in time with the click of another picture.

Yuuri can't help but giggle as he breaks apart his chopsticks. It earns him a dark glare from across the table and a "Shut up, pig."

His over-the-top-ness makes Yuuri laugh again. Viktor grins and throws his arm around his shoulders, almost making Yuuri drop the piece of pork he'd picked up.

Viktor takes a bite from his own bowl and exclaims, "Oishii!"

Yuuri turns to look at him.

"You're learning Japanese?" Minako asks.

"Of course," Viktor says even as Yuuri says, "No."

Minako raises an eyebrow.

"He just likes to steal my books," Yuuri explains.

"So what is this, anyways?" Yurio interrupts. He's frowning suspiciously down at his bowl.

"Katsudon. Pork cutlet bowl," Yuuri answers.

"It's Yuuri's favorite food," Phichit supplies between bites.

"My mother serves it all the time in the onsen. It's her specialty," Yuuri explains, feeling Viktor's eyes on him. "This isn't as good as hers, but it's still pretty good."

"Yuuri gains weight easily," Minako adds. "Growing up, he was only allowed to eat it when he won a dancing competition."

Yuuri catches Yurio smirking at him.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Viktor asks in a low reprimanding tone.

Yuuri frowns at him. He knows he's mentioned that he tends to gain weight easily. And, even if not, Viktor's surely noticed that he didn't have this little belly a few months ago.

"I know that your favorite color is blue, but I don't know your favorite food?"

"Oh," Yuuri says. That made more sense. "I didn't think it was important."

"Your favorite food didn't seem important?" Viktor asks incredulously.

Yuuri frowns at him. "Uh, no? I mean, I didn't think the color thing was, either, but you woke me up in the middle of the night to ask me that."

"We've been dating for four months, Yuuri. I could have taken you here," Viktor complains, dropping his head onto Yuuri's shoulder.

"Two months," Yuuri corrects him. He picks up his chopsticks and takes another bite, because he refuses to be distracted from katsudon for long.

"You can't agree how long you've been dating?" Minako asks from his other side.

"It's four months," Viktor insists. "It just took Yuuri two months to realize it."

"It was pretty obvious. I kept telling him," Phichit chimes in.

"It was not," Yuuri grumbles between bites.

"You were sleeping together, Yuuri," Phichit says, bringing out the well-worn argument.

"I do not need to be hearing this!" Yurio exclaims at the same time that Yuuri protests, "Platonically!"

"That does sound like Yuuri," Minako supplies from his other side. "He lacks self-confidence. He's always had a hard time believing that anyone could be interested in him."

Yuuri drops his forehead to the table in embarrassment and begs, "Can we please stop talking about me?"

He hadn't even really intended for this dinner to happen. He and Phichit had just been complaining about how stressful their respective semesters were--Yuuri with trying to prove himself to his professors by TAing the Japanese literature class along with two Intro to Japanese seminars and Phichit with the extra course load he was juggling for his newly declared double major.

Phichit had asked him, "You know what would make it better?"

"Katsudon?" Yuuri had suggested.

"I was actually going to say a night of clubbing," Phichit had said. "Though I am not opposed to some katsudon!"

And so Yuuri had invited Minako, because she misses Japan, even if she won't admit it. And Minako had insisted on meeting Yuuri's new boyfriend, so Yuuri had invited Viktor. And then told him to bring Yurio since he feels bad for him being almost alone in a new country.

Of course, now Yuuri's just trying to finish his katsudon and ignore the embarrassing conversation going on around him. He notices Yurio watching carefully as Phichit finally puts down his phone and separates his chopsticks. But, when he tries to imitate, he ends up with more splinters than chopstick.

"Would you like me to ask for a fork?" Yuuri offers quietly. "I know chopsticks aren't that easy when you're not used to them."

Yurio hesitates before spitting out, "Fine." Then glares across the table at Viktor. "How come you're so good at it?"

"My boyfriend's Japanese," Viktor says with a shrug.

He still has one arm around Yuuri's shoulders, chopsticks in the other hand. Now that Yuuri's paying attention, he does seem surprisingly comfortable with them. He's even picking up the rice without a problem.

Yuuri opens his mouth, about to protest that he's never made Viktor eat with chopsticks and had nothing to do with him learning. But at that moment, the waitress pass by them, so he turns around to ask her in Japanese for some cutlery for Yurio.

When he turns back around, Viktor's holding out a piece of pork for him. Yuuri frowns, then glances down and realizes he's finished his bowl before everyone else.

Yuuri looks back at the piece of pork that Viktor's holding out for him. He really doesn't need to be hand-fed in public, but he takes the bite anyways. And it's worth it not only for the katsudon but Viktor's delighted smile.

Even if he hears the click from Phichit's phone as Yurio complains about how disgusting they are.

 

 

 

That night, they're lying in Yuuri's bed. Viktor's got his head pillowed on his shoulder and he's lazily running his hand down Yuuri's side.

Yuuri's about to drift off, when Viktor suddenly asks, as if just remembering it, "What did Minako mean about dancing?"

"Ballet," Yuuri answers sleepily. "I used to dance. I mean, I still do. But not competitively since my ankle."

"Your ankle?"

"I broke my ankle freshman year of college. It was stupid," Yuuri says, words slipping out easily between Viktor's relaxing touch and being pleasantly full of katsudon. "I slipped on some ice when I was running. I tried to keep competing but I just hurt it again. I can still dance, but I know now it won't hold up to doing it competitively."

Viktor murmurs something sympathetic-sounding into Yuuri's shoulder, which is enough encouragement for him to continue.

"I'm afraid if I hurt my ankle again, I won't be able to do ballet at all. So I don't go running in the cold anymore. That's why I always gain weight in the winter."

Viktor hums and he gives Yuuri's stomach a gentle squeeze, as if to punctuate this point. Yuuri just snuggles into his touch.

"Minako used to teach ballet in my town," he continues sleepily. "She moved to Detroit and then I followed her so I could keep training. And now here I am. Kind of like you and Yakov, I guess."

"But you know more than just ballet."

"A little bit of everything." Yuuri turns over to his side to get more comfortable. He holds onto Viktor's wrist and Viktor gets the hint, spooning up against Yuuri's back so he can keep touching him. "I help Minako with her classes now. Mostly in the summer. And she lets me use her studio whenever I want. I usually go there when I'm stressed."

"I should have known you were too good at it," Viktor says softly. He presses a kiss to the back of his neck. "The way you danced. How you move."

"The way I dance?" Yuuri asks, then yawns. "How do I move?"

"Beautifully." Viktor tightens his arm around him, pressing him closer as he kisses behind his ear. "You're so beautiful."

"'m not."

"Yuuri, you should tell me these things," Viktor says, pressing another kiss to the side of his neck.

"It's not--"

"It is important," he says. "Everything about you is important. I want to know it all."

"Okay," Yuuri mumbles. He's too sleepy to argue, anyways.