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.
"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.
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.
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."
"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."
"Yuuri, you should tell me these things," Viktor says, pressing another kiss to the side of his neck.
"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.
Note the explicit rating.
"Welcome to the premier beer of Finland!" Viktor thrusts a mug into Yuuri's hands.
"Thanks?" Yuuri stares down at it as Viktor slings an arm around his waist. "You know, I'm not very good with alcohol, though."
"I'd have to disagree with that." Viktor has a too-knowing smirk on his face. Yuuri feels his own eyes go wide in horror.
"What did Phichit tell you?"
"He didn't need to tell me much." Viktor takes a long swig of his own beer. "You should really get an Instagram account so he can properly tag you in his pictures, though. I don't know how it's possible you don't have one with him as your roommate."
"Pictures?" Yuuri repeats. He can feel his cheeks flush and he hasn't even drank a sip of alcohol yet. "What kind of pictures, exactly?"
Viktor just gives Yuuri a kiss on the cheek and says, "Drink up, solnishko."
If Yuuri does, it's only because he doesn't want to think about what Viktor might have found out.
Viktor suddenly straightens up and calls over to the bar, "Christophe!"
A man turns to look at them, blonde hair and goatee and a very form-fitting v-neck. He saunters over to them with a grin.
"Viktor, are you looking forward to having to look up at me on the podium this year?"
Viktor raises his eyebrows and takes another sip of beer. "Would you even know what to do with a gold medal if they gave you one?"
"You wound me." He clasps a hand over his heart in drama to rival Victor's. He then turns to Yuuri. "You must be Viktor's Yuuri."
"Yes," Viktor says, squeezing his arm around Yuuri's shoulders. "Yuuri, this is Chris."
"Hi, Chris." Yuuri cautiously reaches out to shake his hand. He remembers Viktor talking about a Chris from Switzerland. A blonde curly-haired boy who had apparently idolized him back in Juniors. This Chris doesn't look like he could be the same one.
"My pleasure," Chris purrs. He turns Yuuri's hand over in his, handshake turning into something more like a caress. Yuuri glances at Viktor but he doesn't seem at all fazed.
Chris blatantly looks him up and down and Yuuri tries to hide his self-consciousness by taking another sip of his own beer. He wishes he hadn't put his coat down at the table because he'd really like to wrap it around himself right now.
With Minako's continued prodding and his runs with Makkachin, he's lost some of his extra weight. He doesn't think the softness of his stomach is visible under his clothes anymore, though his pants are still snug over his thighs and bottom. But, even if he'd been back to his usual weight by now, he'd still be far from Viktor's and -- from the way Chris's clothes leave little to the imagination -- Chris's chiseled perfection.
But Chris just turns to Viktor and says with a sly smile, "He's even more adorable than your pictures, Viktor."
"Pictures?" Yuuri repeats faintly.
"You really need to get an Instagram, Yuuri," Viktor tells him.
Before tonight, Yuuri would have thought that competitors wouldn't want to socialize with each other, especially before a competition. But there's a big enough turnout fill up a large table. And, despite the brief rundown Victor had given him on the airplane of his competition, there's no way Yuuri's going to keep track of all of them.
A few seem as quiet as Yuuri but the louder ones, namely Chris and a JJ from Canada, more than make up for it.
An Italian brother and sister sitting next to Mila are talking about growing up in a small town. Yuuri offers quietly, "I'm actually from a small town in Japan--"
"Yes, a small castle town," the brother finishes for him.
"Well, it's not a real castle," Yuuri starts to say, but then frowns. "How did you know that?"
"How do you think?" Chris interjects, leaning back in his chair with a sigh. "The same way we know that you have a pet poodle just like Viktor's, only smaller--"
"Or that you're a grad student in Japanese literature--" one of the other skaters says.
"Or that your family runs a hot springs resort--" another adds.
Yuuri looks around, dumbfounded. "What? Is that all on Instagram, too?"
"No, Yuuri," Viktor says with a laugh. He's sprawled in the chair beside Yuuri, resting his elbow on his shoulder. "Though I'm starting to be concerned that you don't actually know what Instagram is."
"You were Viktor's favorite topic of conversation during the GPF," the American skater -- Leroy? Leo? -- says with a sigh.
"And the European Championships," the Italian skater adds.
Yuuri glances at Viktor, who just shrugs and takes another sip of beer.
Chris smiles at him, "So I'm sure you can imagine, Yuuri, we've all been very much looking forward to meet the femme fatale--or, rather, homme fatal--who snared our Russian playboy."
Yuuri feels his eyes widen.
"It's okay, Yuuri," Mila cuts in loudly from across the table. "They're just giving you a hard time because Viktor's never talked about anyone like this. He spent more time talking about you than Georgi spent mooning over his ex-girlfriend."
"Or than JJ bragged about his fiancée," Chris adds.
"She'd be here now, except she's a little jet-lagged," JJ interjects, seeming to take that as an invitation. "Did I tell you all how I proposed yet?"
More than one person at the table gives a resounding 'yes' to that, but JJ's unfazed. "So it was right after I won Skate Canada..."
Luckily, the conversation strays from Yuuri with that. He's still more than a little jealous of JJ's fiancée, who'd apparently been allowed to sleep off her jet-lag. Yuuri, on the contrary, had woken up to Viktor tossing clothes at him and announcing that it was time to go out.
During a lull, Yuuri manages to take a much needed break in the restroom to breathe. He splashes water on his face and looks up at himself in the mirror.
He wonders what all the skaters are seeing tonight when they look at him. He doesn't know why Viktor would have talked so much about him, but he must be a disappointment. Anyone who sees him can tell he's just a dime-a-dozen grad student with too-thick glasses and unruly hair and a flush on his round cheeks after only half a mug of beer. He's 'adorable' at best, but as far as possible from the 'homme fatal' that Viktor had apparently described.
But he figures he can't get away with hiding out for long. At least, not compared to amount of time he would have liked to hide out. Even so, when he walks back in, most of the skaters have left. JJ's talking with the Czech skater over by the bar and Viktor and Chris are the only ones still sitting at their table.
Yuuri heads over to them, but halts at hearing Chris say,
"So, your Yuuri--"
"Hmm?" Viktor says.
Both their backs are to him. Yuuri glances around to see if he can slink back away without anyone noticing. He has no interest in hearing Chris list the ways that Yuuri does not, after all, live up to expectations.
But, before he can escape, he hears Chris continue, "That ass would slay a lesser man, you know."
Yuuri hears Viktor sigh. He sounds almost wistful as he says, "You have no idea. And his thighs, Chris. I am most certainly a lesser man."
Yuuri feels his eyes widen as he stares at the back of his head.
"I think I have some idea." Chris chuckles. "I'm just saying, if you ever feel like sharing--"
"Um, hello! Hello," Yuuri says quickly, hurrying up to interrupt the conversation. Chris shoots him an amused look.
"You're back," Viktor says, smiling at him as he reaches up for his hand. He kisses the back of it and asks, "Are you tired, moya lyubov?"
"A little?" Yuuri says, though he thinks it comes out too high pitched to sound normal.
"I did wake up this sleeping beauty to bring him here," Viktor says. He gives Yuuri's hand a squeeze as he stands up and nods a good-bye to Chris.
They walk the few blocks back to the hotel hand-in-hand. Viktor points out at the dark skyline the direction of sights they need to see and stores they need to visit and restaurants they need to go to.
Yuuri is barely half-listening, though. He keeps hearing Viktor and Chris's conversation. Maybe he should be offended that they were talking about him like that. He should definitely be embarrassed that they were talking about his body.
But there's been a voice in Yuuri's head questioning if Victor can be truly attracted to him when he still pulls back if their kisses get too heated. A voice that's only gotten louder as it approaches three full months that they've been dating. A voice that has had him soundly rejecting Phichit's advice to just tell Viktor if he wants more.
But now he's heard the want in Viktor's voice, in his words.
Yuuri stops in the middle of the sidewalk and questions for the first time if the voice has been lying to him.
"Yuuri?" Viktor turns to face him.
Yuuri doesn't say anything. He just reaches up, holds Victor in place with both hands and kisses him, hot and a little messy and with very, very clear intent.
Before long, Viktor's moaning into his mouth, hands going to Yuuri's hips as he kisses back with almost equal fervor.
But then, as if he realizes what he's doing, Viktor pulls away.
Yuuri tries to take a step backward, suddenly embarrassed at himself. Viktor stops him, though, touching his fingers under Yuuri's chin to make him look up at him.
"Yuuri, what was that?" he asks.
"I want you," Yuuri blurts out. Then bites his lip. "I just want you to know that I want you."
"What are you saying?" Viktor asks, expression hard to read.
"That I want you. And I think maybe you want me, too? And maybe you were waiting on me?" Yuuri takes a deep breath. "I know I don't have much experience, but if you want to, I want--"
"What do you want, Yuuri?" Viktor asks, leaning in so their foreheads are touching.
"Anything," Yuuri breathes.
They stumble into their hotel room. They toss away their coats without breaking their increasingly desperate kisses. Viktor kicks the door shut and then pushes Yuuri back up against it.
Yuuri feels Viktor palm him through the fabric of his pants. He bites back a cry as he arches into the touch.
"You want this," Viktor says.
It's not a question, but Yuuri answers, "So much. So much, Viktor."
Viktor's mouth goes to his neck, kissing and sucking and Yuuri is crying out again.
"Yuuri, lyubov moya," Viktor murmurs as he steps back, leaving Yuuri leaning back against the door for support. He touches the collar of Yuuri's shirt. "Can I undress you? Tell me I can undress you."
"Yes," Yuuri gasps.
Viktor's lips are on Yuuri's again in deep, consuming kisses as he unbuttons his shirt. When he gets to the last one, he gives Yuuri one last kiss as he slides his hands up under the back of Yuuri's shirt. The touch on Yuuri's bare skin makes him shiver. Then Viktor pulls him away from the door and tugs his shirt down his arms to toss it away.
Then he drops to his knees, pressing sloppy kisses to Yuuri's collarbones, chest and stomach on the way.
"Viktor," Yuuri says brokenly.
"Oh, Yuuri," Viktor breathes out. He grabs Yuuri's ass, squeezing as he nuzzles into the skin right above his pants, pressing hot open-mouthed kisses over his soft stomach.
"Viktor, please." Yuuri hears his voice quiver.
"I'm here, Yuuri, I'm here," Viktor promises softly.
Viktor's hands go to Yuuri's fly and then he's pushing down his pants. He kisses the skin above the waistband of his underwear before he shoves them down, too.
Then he pulls back and looks up at Yuuri as he takes his cock in his hand. Yuuri squeezes his eyes shut at the sensation.
"Yuuri, can I--"
"Yes," Yuuri groans. Whatever Viktor's asking, he wants it. All he reach is Viktor's hair so he tangles his hands in it. "Please."
He feels Viktor slide his mouth over his cock and Yuuri can't suppress a curse as his head knocks hard back against the door. He feels like he's going to come already and clenches his jaw. He doesn't even care about embarrassing himself right now, he just wants this to last.
Viktor runs his hand over his thigh in a comforting gesture. Yuuri takes a gulp of air and then looks down again to see Viktor looking up at him, mouth still around his cock.
And then Viktor starts a rhythm of sucking and licking as his hand pulls at the base of his cock.
Yuuri hears himself saying words, he doesn't know what, doesn't know what language they're in. He realizes that he's pulling too hard on Viktor's hair so he lets go with shaky hands.
Viktor grasps up for one of his hands and Yuuri just can't. He might be crying. He's definitely crying.
"Viktor." His voice comes out in a sob as he squeezes Viktor's hand tight. "Viktor, I--"
Viktor answers by sucking harder at his cock, speeding up his pace and--then he--
Yuuri thinks he must black out for a moment because the next thing he knows he's still shuddering and Viktor's surging up to kiss him hard and open-mouthed.
Yuuri can taste the bitterness on his tongue. He doesn't know if they're supposed to do that, if he's supposed to taste himself and like it this much. But, for once, he can't bring himself to worry. Instead, he just scrabbles for Viktor's fly.
"I need you here," Yuuri chokes out, inches from Viktor's lips. His hands are shaking as he pushes Viktor's pants down his thighs. "I need you here with me, Viktor."
"Shh," Viktor says. He kisses him and then keeps kissing him as his hand covers Yuuri's and he thrusts into their joined fists.
Viktor's movements stutter, become sloppy and Yuuri's saying "Viktor, Viktor, Viktor" as Viktor's cum splashes onto his stomach.
"Yuuri," Viktor pants as his head falls to Yuuri's shoulder. He wraps his arms tight around Yuuri's waist and Yuuri throws his around Viktor's neck.
But Yuuri's legs are too shaky to stand on and Viktor's must be, too, because they're collapsing together to their knees on the hotel carpet. Viktor's holding him in an almost too tight hug and Yuuri still has his arms wrapped desperately around his neck.
"I know," Viktor says, rubbing his hands up and down Yuuri's back. "I know."
Yuuri doesn't know how long it takes, but their breathing finally slows and Yuuri's heart calms to a less jittery pace.
"Yuuri, you're beautiful," Viktor says quietly, eyes tracing up his torso. "So beautiful like this."
Yuuri glances down. He's naked and Viktor's all but fully dressed. Viktor's cum is sticky between Yuuri's bare stomach and Viktor's shirt and Yuuri feels sweat drying on his skin.
"I need a shower," he says. Viktor meets his eyes for a moment, then nods.
He guides Yuuri into the bathroom and turns on the tap. As they wait for the water to heat, Victor removes his own clothes and hangs them up on one of the wall hooks.
Yuuri takes in the lean muscled lines of Viktor's body. He wants to touch him again, wants to trace the v of his hips, lick down the line of his collarbone.
"Yuuri," Viktor says, voice low.
Yuuri snaps his gaze up to meet Viktor's eyes. His expression is amused or fond or some combination of both.
Viktor guides Yuuri into the shower and backs him under the warm spray. He runs soapy hands down Yuuri's arms and back and legs. He massages shampoo through his hair. His touch is more tender than sexual. Yuuri's cock stirs anyways, even if he's too sleepy and sated to want anything more than this.
When Viktor takes his turn under the spray, Yuuri just presses his cheek against Viktor's soap-slick back and hugs his arms around him.
It's not the first time that Yuuri wakes up in Viktor's arms. It's not the first time Viktor wakes him with warm kisses down his neck. But it is the first time Viktor runs his hands down his body like he knows it now. The first time Yuuri feels Viktor's cock against his hip and knows the weight of it in his hand.
But self-consciousness comes with the morning light and Yuuri turns in Viktor's arms to face him. He asks, "Was it--was that okay? Last night?"
"Are you okay?" Viktor asks in return, eyes careful.
'Okay' isn't the right word for it. He's overwhelmed and warm and oversensitive and happy and he doesn't know a word in English or Japanese to capture that. So he just nods.
"That was your first time," Viktor says as he strokes a hand down his arm. It's not a question, but Yuuri nods again, biting his lip.
He expects Viktor to reassure him that he'll get better at it. But, instead, Viktor pushes Yuuri onto his back and kneels over him. He presses a soft kiss to his lips and says, "You were amazing."
"Oh," Yuuri says. He stares up at him. "You, uh. You were, too, Viktor."
Viktor's lips curve into a smile. It's not the first time Yuuri's thought it, but Viktor is beautiful in the morning light. With his eyes, Yuuri traces the planes of his bare chest, the lilt of his lips, the way his silver hair falls forward.
"You were so responsive, Yuuri," Viktor says. "There's so much I want to do with you. Show you."
"Yes, I--I want that," Yuuri says, feeling an answering smile spread on his own face. "I definitely want that."
"Good," Viktor says. But his smile twists into a smirk as he gives Yuuri's side a squeeze and hops back off the bed. "But later. But I'm already late for my practice time."
They walk the blocks to the rink hand-in-hand. Viktor's in his warm-up suit and carrying a duffel bag with his skates. Yuuri has a backpack slung over his shoulders, heavy with the literature textbook that had arrived from Japan before they'd left Detroit.
They're a block or so away when Yuuri spots a crowd outside the entrance to the rink.
He glances at Viktor in confusion. "Is someone competing today?"
"No," he says. Then pauses. "There might be some ice dancing tonight."
"But there are news crews here."
"Mmhmm." Viktor doesn't seem the least bit surprised.
"The real competition's not until tomorrow, though. You're all just practicing today, right?"
Viktor arches an eyebrow at him. "Are you saying watching me practice is boring?"
"No. No," Yuuri denies, but Viktor knocks his shoulder into his.
Yakov, who's a few steps ahead of them, grumbles something in Russian that Viktor just laughs at.
Yuuri expects them to take a side entrance to avoid the crowd, but, instead, Yakov and Viktor head straight for the middle of it.
And then Yuuri spots something that makes his eyes widen.
"Viktor," he hisses at him. "There's a bunch of teenage girls holding up signs with your name on it."
"Oh yeah?" Viktor looks around. "Where?"
"There's glitter," Yuuri stresses.
But Viktor seems unconcerned. If anything he walks a little faster as he tugs Yuuri over by their joined hands.
He can only watch, stunned, as the girls start screaming Viktor's name, waving their sparkling posters in the air.
And Viktor takes off his sunglasses, throws his head back so his hair lands artfully over his forehead and gives them a grin. And a wink.
Yuuri shoots a glance at Yakov who gives him a commiserating shake of his head. Yuuri watches wide-eyed as Viktor proceeds to sign autographs and take selfies with the entire crowd of teenagers.
When he's finally done, Viktor takes Yuuri's hand again as they walk by the news cameras. Yuuri stands awkwardly at his side as a reporter holds a microphone out to Viktor. He shoots them a photogenic grin as he says, "looking forward to the competition" and "feeling confident in my program" and "happy for the chance to return to Helsinki."
Then he proceeds to give the same smile and what appear to be the same talking points in Russian. And then again in -- is that French? -- before Yakov drags him into the rink.
"Is it always like this?" Yuuri whispers to Yakov as Viktor heads to the locker room.
"Worse," he confirms gravely.
YUUKO > YUURI WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME
YUUKO > I thought we were friends!!
YUUKO > Yuuri! Do you have your phone off again?
PHICHIT > !!!!!!!!!!!!
PHICHIT > <link>
PHICHIT > !!!!!!!!!!!!
Phichit's link is inevitably going to be a puppy playing with a hamster. While that's never unwelcome, Yuuri replies to Yuuko first.
ME > What?
YUUKO > You're dating VIKTOR NIKIFOROV!!!
ME > Yes?
ME > I told you I was dating an ice skater.
YUUKO > You didn't say you were dating VIKTOR NIKIFOROV
ME > Are you okay?
YUUKO > NO!!!!
YUUKO > I'm crying for you.
YUUKO > The triplets won't go to bed.
YUUKO > Everyone's so excited!!
YUUKO > :) :) :) :)
YUUKO > You have to bring him back to Hasetsu!
Viktor spent the afternoon leading Yuuri all around Helsinki, apparently determined to see every attraction in one day.
They rode the SkyWheel. They walked through Market Square and ate piirakka pasties. Viktor tugged Yuuri into every museum they passed. Naturally, he didn't have the patience to actually stop and look at anything. By the time they stopped for dinner, Yuuri was starting to suspect that Viktor might have just been ticking off the attractions in a guidebook.
It was actually kind of impressive how much ground they'd covered when Viktor kept having to sign autographs and take selfies with over-enthusiastic fans.
When they got back to the hotel, Yuuri was finally able to take off his now well-worn shoes. Viktor reappropriated the wooden cup he'd gotten Yuuri and poured himself some of the Finnish vodka Yuuri had had to stop him from 'taste testing' on a public street.
He's sprawled on the bed sipping it right now.
"You used to have long hair," Yuuri accuses him.
Viktor raises his eyebrows. "Yes."
"I know you."
When he was twelve, Yuuko had shown him a silver-haired skater's program. He'd been beautiful, that stuck out in his memory, and he'd danced over the ice as if riding on the air. But Yuuri had never been as interested in skating as Yuuko, so he hadn't thought much of him since.
"I should hope you know me by now," Viktor says as he takes another sip of vodka and then holds out the cup. "You should try this."
Yuuri waves a hand in refusal.
"But it's mango flavored," Viktor persists.
"Thank you but that's all right." Yuuri crawls onto the bed and collapses next to Viktor, leaning on the comfort of his muscled chest. "My friend Yuuko back in Hasetsu showed me you skate on TV once."
"And you weren't so inspired by me that you immediately dropped ballet to pursue figure skating? I am hurt, Yuuri." Viktor pouts, even as he wraps an arm around Yuuri's waist and tugs him in closer.
"You weren't that good." Yuuri pokes him in the chest.
Viktor narrows his eyes. "How old were you?"
"Twelve," Yuuri says.
"So I was sixteen," Viktor takes another sip of vodka. "No, Yuuri, I was pretty good."
Yuuri laughs. And then takes out his phone. Phichit's message is still waiting for him.
It's a sports program. Yuuri recognizes the interview Viktor gave this morning. Yakov's at his side. Yuuri's at his other side.
"I'm on TV," Yuuri tells Viktor, stunned.
Viktor leans over his shoulder. "That does tend to happen when you stand in front of a news camera."
"...And I'm sure you all recognize Viktor Nikiforov, the 27 year old Russian skater who needs no introduction. He's the favorite to win gold for the third year in a row. You can see him arriving at Hartwall Arena this morning with his coach, Yakov Feltsman, for some pre-competition practice."
A pop-up slides over the right side of the screen with Viktor's photo and some statistics. Yuuri squints at it. Even with his glasses it's too small to read on his phone.
A second announcer says, "You know, Feltsman's been Nikiforov's coach for eleven years now, ever since he started in Seniors. Nikiforov actually followed him to Detroit four years ago when he moved there from St Petersburg. That's a show of true loyalty."
Viktor, apparently bored, starts kissing down the side of Yuuri's neck. Yuuri shivers a little, but can't be distracted from the fact that he's on television.
"Or just goes to show that he knows how good a coach Feltsman is. You know, he's also coaching Mila Babicheva, who's one of the favorites in the women's seniors this year. And, let's not forget about Yuri Plisetsky, who won gold in the junior Grand Prix this year and is rumored to be planning to transition to seniors next season."
The footage turns to a back view of the Viktor, Yakov and Yuuri walking to the entrance.
"But, back to Nikiforov. What I want to know is who is that young man he's holding hands with and is he Nikiforov's latest romance," the second announcer says. "Nikiforov is known for being notoriously discreet about his romantic partners, though in the past he has been linked to the likes of..." And then goes on to list two people's names who Yuuri is probably supposed to recognize.
"Well," the first newscaster says. "It looks like the next skater to arrive for practice is Otabek Altin, the first skater from Kazakhstan to make it to World's--"
The newsfeed cuts off there and Yuuri stares at the black screen for a long moment. Then asks, "Are you okay with that?"
"Okay with what?" Viktor asks distractedly, having now pulled Yuuri's collar to the side so he could continue kissing down to his shoulder. "Them mispronouncing my name? It happens."
"No, I mean, that they're talking about me and you being together. We were holding hands on camera."
"So? We are together, in case you haven't noticed."
"I guess I never really thought about dating a celebrity before."
Viktor wraps his other arm around Yuuri and hugs him tightly around the waist.
"I just never thought I'd be on TV, too."
"I don't know what to say to that, Yuuri," Viktor says. And then a pause. "Is that a problem?"
Yuuri has never wanted to be famous. Has never wanted to be on television. The thought of people talking about him. People criticizing him. Saying Viktor should be with someone more attractive, someone less awkward, someone better than Yuuri.
So he says, honestly, "I don't know."
Once he's sure Viktor's asleep, Yuuri looks up his Instagram. He can hear the voice of reason in his head -- it sounds suspiciously like Phichit -- telling him not to do it. But Yuuri needs to know.
He taps on one of the photos of himself.
The next morning, Yuuri wakes up to the feeling of Viktor's hands on his forehead, running his fingers through his hair.
"Morning, sleeping beauty," he says.
"Morning? Are you sure?" Yuuri grimaces, blinking his eyes.
Viktor laughs softly. But when Yuuri puts his glasses on, he sees that the smile doesn't reach his eyes.
"I'm going to get some breakfast," Viktor says when it's clear Yuuri doesn't plan on finishing his sentence. "I can bring something back for you. You don't look like you got much sleep."
"No, I--" Yuuri yawns as he struggles to sit up. Viktor's hand drops from his hair and he misses it already. "I'll join you."
When Yuuri comes back from the bathroom, he's showered and dressed and finally awake. Viktor barely stands up from the chair when Yuuri throws his arms around his neck. Viktor hugs him back tightly.
"Yuuri," Viktor says. "I was thinking about what you said last night, and I should have--"
"I looked at your Instagram," Yuuri interrupts him, drawing back so he can meet his eyes. "I read the comments."
"You did." Viktor's expression shutters.
Yuuri draws himself up and looks directly into his eyes.
"I don't care what they say and if they don't like me," Yuuri announces. "I want everyone to know you're mine."
Viktor opens his mouth and starts to say, "What do you--"
Yuuri interrupts. "I want everyone to know they can't have you."
A smile starts to spread on Viktor's face.
"I am yours," he agrees.
"Yes, you are," Yuuri says. And pulls Viktor down to kiss him, hard and possessive.
Yuuri leans against the wall separating the crowd from the rink as Viktor skates onto the ice. From beside him, Yakov gives Viktor a few gruff words in Russian. Viktor's lips curve up and he nods.
Then he grabs Yuuri's hand and kisses his knuckles.
"Moya lyubov," Viktor says, leaning in close. "Don't take your eyes off me, okay?"
He doesn't wait for an answer. Just skates to the center of the rink. When he gets into his starting position, he gives Yuuri a wink.
The first strains of the music start to play.
"You must be very proud of Viktor's new record," the British interviewer says, thrusting the microphone in front of Yuuri.
Yuuri glances at Viktor with wide eyes.
Yes, he'd wanted to show the world that Viktor was his. After the applause died down, and the rink filled with flowers and toy poodles, he'd hugged Viktor tight and then squeezed his hand all the way to the kiss and cry. And, while Yakov was lecturing Viktor in Russian, Yuuri had leaned into Viktor's side and Viktor had held him tight with an arm around his shoulders. And, when Viktor's scores were announced, along with the "Viktor Nikiforov is now in first place", he'd grinned as Viktor kissed his forehead.
But he hadn't thought anyone would actually want him to talk.
"I don't think Yuuri even knows what a quad is yet," Viktor cuts in smoothly. He shoots one of his charismatic smiles at the camera.
"I know what a quad is," Yuuri, forgetting himself, interrupts. And then looks back at the camera sheepishly. "I just don't see how you can tell. It's so fast, how do you count all the rotations?"
Viktor laughs and tugs Yuuri in front of him, hugging his arms around him.
The interviewer is laughing, too, as she tells him, "Well, I don't think you can find any better teacher for quads than Viktor Nikiforov."
"Oh, don't worry," Viktor says and Yuuri can just hear the wink in his voice. "I'm teaching him lots of things."
Yakov barks out "Viktor!" and Yuuri buries his face in his hands.
But Viktor just grabs Yuuri by the arm and drags him away, calling out, "Come on, Yakov, let's go get bratwurst!"
"We're a viral video, Yuuri!" Viktor exclaims, thrusting his phone in front of him. "Remember the interview from earlier? Want to see?"
"No, definitely not," Yuuri pushes the phone away. He'd accidentally watched it when Phichit texted a link to him and he does not need to see it again. "You're so embarrassing, Viktor."
"I broke a world record and I'm embarrassing?" Viktor raises an eyebrow.
"It was your own record!" Yuuri protests.
Viktor laughs as he pushes Yuuri back onto the bed.
"That just makes it all the more impressive," Viktor says.
"I swear to god, Viktor," Yuuri starts, but he can't help but grin back at him as Viktor straddles his hips.
"If I remember correctly," Viktor says as he leans forward and captures Yuuri's wrists. "I'm supposed to be teaching you something tonight."
"Hmm," Viktor says. "Is that really what you want to learn about?"
"Viktor," Yuuri says, more quietly this time, as he stares into Viktor's light eyes.
Viktor leans down to kiss him, his soft hair brushing against Yuuri's cheek. Viktor slides his hands up Yuuri's wrists to tangle their fingers together. Yuuri groans as Viktor nudges a thigh between his legs.
Then Viktor releases his hands and sits back up. He thumbs Yuuri's nipples through his shirt, He rubs his hands down Yuuri's sides and slides them underneath him to squeeze his ass.
"Yuuri," Viktor breathes, his head falling to Yuuri's shoulder. "You have the most--god."
Yuuri reaches down and traces through Viktor's track pants where Viktor's already starting to get hard. Viktor jerks against him, which only gives Yuuri more friction.
"Moya lyubov, what do you want?" Viktor asks softly. "We can do anything you want."
Viktor sounds short of breath, like Yuuri rarely sees him even on the ice. It brings Yuuri back to the moment and he jerks back.
"Yuuri?" Viktor asks, letting Yuuri go as he scrambles out from under him.
"We can't do this," Yuuri tells him.
"What?" Viktor's brows are creased with concern.
"Your free program's tomorrow."
"You're not supposed to have sex the night before a competition."
Viktor stares for a moment and then laughs. "How do you know that?"
"Everyone knows that," Yuuri says with authority that Viktor could easily contradict, having been doing this for fifteen years. But instead Viktor just looks him up and down.
"Are you going to hold out on me, then?" He actually looks intrigued at the prospect. "Motivate me tomorrow knowing I can have you afterwards? Or are you only going to let me touch you if I win gold?"
"Uh, maybe? I guess?" Yuuri says.
"And if I don't win gold?" Viktor asks.
"I hear you're a pretty sure bet."
Viktor's eyes sparkle mischievously as he says, "Well, I have certainly have pleasured myself before competitions, and I don't think you can argue that that's hurt."
Yuuri bites his lip.
"Also, if I don't, I don't think I'll survive the night," Viktor adds. Then smirks. "You're blushing, you know."
"Shut up." Yuuri glares at him because of course he knows. He always knows. But then he hears himself blurt out, "Can--can I watch?"
Viktor's eyes widen.
Yuuri slaps his hands over his face, horrified at himself. "Please pretend I didn't ask that."
"Yuuri, Yuuri," Viktor says, not even bothering to hide the amusement in his voice. He touches Yuuri's hands. "Look at me, solnishko."
Yuuri lets Viktor lift his hands off his face press a soft kiss to Yuuri's lips. He can feel his own eyes are wet, which is just all the more embarrassing.
Viktor is looking down at him, lips curving into a gentle smile. "Here's what you need to know. In bed, I'm going to want anything you want. Anything."
"Viktor--" Yuuri starts.
Viktor's smile turns into more of a smirk as he adds, "Of course, 'in bed' also applies to against a wall, or on a sturdy enough table. Counters are a possibility, too. The floor, also, though rug burn is always a concern."
"Fine." Yuuri pushes at his shoulders to get him to stop. "Just take your clothes off, then."
Viktor laughs, but follows his command.
Yuuri looks him up and down slowly. This is the first time he's seen him, really seen him, when he's not dazed with orgasm.
He wants so much more than just to watch. He knows Viktor would say yes to whatever he asked for. And he wants to know what Viktor would taste like. What it would feel like to take him in his mouth.
It would be so easy. Just to lean forward and--
"So, what are the rules, solnishko?" Viktor asks. He reaches down and lazily strokes himself. "Am I allowed to touch you?"
"No." Yuuri pauses, thinking. "But I can touch you. I just won't touch your--um--"
"You won't touch my dick?"
"Yes. You're supposed to do it. That's what masturbation is, you should know that."
Viktor barks a laugh. "You are a cruel lover, Yurochka. Anything else?"
"Okay, well, I have one condition then," Viktor says, waggling his eyebrows.
"What is it?" Yuuri asks cautiously.
"You have to take off your clothes, too."
"That's what you want?"
"I'm just going to be picturing you naked, anyways," Viktor tells him with a wink. "It'll be less effort for me to just look at you. And you were the one who didn't want me to exhaust myself tonight, weren't you?"
"Right." Yuuri reaches for the hem of his shirt. Then hesitates. He tries to remind himself that Viktor knows what he looks like naked now. Knows and it is still his only request. But--
"You don't have to," Viktor says more softly. "We can do this, anyways. But you must know by now that I really, really like your body."
Yuuri opens his mouth to protest. He wants to tell Viktor that whatever he's built Yuuri up to be, he's not that person.
But maybe he's tired of worrying. Maybe he's tired of not trusting. And, even if the confidence only lasts for a moment, maybe he still wants to know what it feels like to be good enough.
So he lets his lips curve up and teases, "All right, but don't get too excited. I'd like you to last a little while."
Viktor's eyes widen and then he laughs. He sounds delighted when he asks, "You are never going to stop surprising me, are you?"
"I hope not," Yuuri says honestly.
"That's a double salchow," Viktor tells him. "Single lutz. That's a quad toe loop there. You can tell because there were four rotations."
Yuuri glares but Viktor just laughs, so he turns back to the ice.
"Is that a triple axel?"
"No, triple lutz." Viktor turns to him. "You do realize those look completely different?"
Yuuri shrugs. "At least I got the rotations right."
"Triple axels are actually three and a half rotations," Sara says helpfully from Yuuri's other side. "It's worth two and a half more points than the lutz."
Yuuri sighs. "But he's doing well, though, right? He hasn't fallen yet."
"He's under-rotated two of his jumps," Viktor tells him. "If he got up right away, a fall would have deducted fewer points. Now that's a triple axel, Yuuri. And that one was perfect."
"Good." Yuuri tries to remember what they'd gone over before. Viktor had apparently decided to take the task of teaching Yuuri seriously that day. "So he gets the full points plus a 1.1 multiplier since it's in the second half of the program."
"You're learning." Then he frowns. "Wait. Are you rooting for Guang-Hong to win?"
Yuuri quirks his lips. "There aren't any Japanese skaters here. Maybe I want someone representing Asia on the podium."
"I don't count?" Viktor asks.
"My boyfriend's Japanese, that makes me at least half-Asian, right?"
"I don't think--"
"Stop your flirting, god," Yurio snaps, turning around to glare at them. "It was bad enough when you were just playing sports announcer."
"Also," Sara says. "That means that JJ also counts as half-Asian. And they're actually engaged, so..."
"So I can root for JJ, then, if Guang-Hong doesn't make it."
"Yuuuri, don't even joke like that," Viktor whines.
Sounds of applause and cheers suddenly erupt. Yuuri's eyes snap guiltily back down to the rink where Guang-Hong is standing in his final pose. Bouquets land around him.
As the noise of the crowd dies down and Guang-Hong skates off the ice, Chris drops down on Viktor's other side. His hair is still damp with the exertion of his own program.
"Yakov's looking for you," he says as he unscrews the cap of his water bottle.
"Huh?" Viktor frowns. Then says, "Oh, right! I'm up after this."
"You forgot that?" Yuuri asks incredulously. Viktor's the last skater, it's not a difficult order to remember.
"You're very distracting, solnishko," Viktor says. He plants a kiss on Yuuri's cheek before he stands up.
Yuuri valiantly ignores Yurio's gagging sounds and watches as the ice is cleared of floral arrangements.
"He could at least pretend to have some respect for his competition," Chris mutters as he scoots over to take Viktor's seat.
"Maybe he would if his competition deserved some respect," the temperamental Russian in front of them spits out.
"I, uh, liked your program, Chris," Yuuri says.
Chris turns to him, but before he can say anything, the crowd starts cheering again -- or, rather, chanting his name -- as JJ skates onto the ice.
At the kiss and cry, Yakov hands Viktor his jacket. Which Viktor promptly tucks over Yuuri's shoulders.
"You're going to be cold," Yuuri protests.
"I'll just have to take it off to go back out there, anyways," Viktor tells him with a smirk. He wraps his arms around Yuuri as Yakov starts in with what Yuuri assumes are his usual post-competition criticisms.
"Your lips look dry," Viktor interrupts.
Viktor's already digging through the pocket of his jacket on Yuuri's shoulders. He pulls out a small tub of lip balm and swipes a finger in it.
"This will come in handy in a minute." Viktor winks. His touch is slower and more sensual than should ever be required to apply lip balm.
Trying to ignore him, Yuuri asks, "So, about your program--"
"Did you change something? At the end? It looked a little bit different and the crowd seemed excited--"
He cuts himself off at the sound of Yakov chuckling. Viktor drops his head onto Yuuri's shoulder. "Were all my lessons for nothing, Yuuri? You still can't count the rotations in quads?"
Yuuri knows he had quads in his program and knows the last one at the very end, so it still doesn't make sense. But, at that moment, Viktor's scores are announced.
"Viktor Nikiforov has broken the world record for men's singles free skate. Viktor Nikiforov is now in first place!"
The crowd's cheering again and Yuuri finds himself dragged into a kiss, and then feels Viktor's smile against his lips.
"Good thing I applied that lip balm, right?"
"Viktor." Yuuri stares at him. "You don't just--you can't just break world records. Just like that."
"Oh." Viktor meets his eyes, still smiling as he pulls Yuuri up into a tight hug. "Someone should have told me that."
"As you can see, the men's singles results are in. The bronze medal went to Jean-Jacques Leroy, representing Canada, the silver to Christophe Giacometti from Switzerland, and the gold medal went to Viktor Nikiforov, representing Russia."
A reporter is filming next to Yuuri alongside the edge of the rink. In the middle of the ice, Viktor and Chris and JJ on the podium are holding up their medals. As the cameras flash, Viktor shoots them his usual charismatic smile and JJ gives his trademark 'JJ style'.
"There were no upsets tonight," the reporter continues. "But that's not to say that it wasn't a thrilling competition to watch. Viktor Nikiforov beat world records in both of his programs, including his own short program record from two years ago."
"Viktor's very different today."
It takes a moment for Yuuri to realize that that was meant for him. He turns and sees JJ's fiancée -- Isabella-something? -- standing next to him.
"You must be very proud."
"Um, JJ did really well, too," he offers.
Chris is saying something from the middle platform that's making Viktor laugh. JJ is still posing.
Isabella smiles, eyes watery. "He did, didn't he? He's so amazing."
Yuuri doesn't know what to say to that.
The reporter's saying, "With that finish to his free skate, Nikiforov's proven that he is truly the strongest skater out there right now. There's no question that he's earned that gold. While there have been questions about whether he is planning to retire next season, it is clear that he's still at the very top of his game."
Viktor turns his head and catches Yuuri's eye with a grin. Yuuri can't help but smile back.
"I'm so lucky," Isabella continues wistfully. "Are you in Viktor's fan club? You know, I was a JJ girl before he even knew who I was."
The ceremony must be over now, because the three of them get off the podium and skate towards the exit where Yuuri and Isabella are standing.
"Yuuri!" Viktor exclaims as soon as he steps off the edge of the ice. He throws his arms around him as if they'd been apart longer than fifteen minutes. "Have I told you how good you look in my jacket?"
"Once or twice," Yuuri says.
Viktor takes the skate protectors that Yuuri had forgotten he was even holding. He lets Viktor lead him through the crowd of coaches and skaters so he can sit and unlace his skates. Yuuri sits down cross-legged on the bench next to him.
Yakov shoves another jacket at Viktor and grumbles, "I'm not letting my top skater get hypothermia just because he likes to see his boyfriend wear his clothes."
To distract himself from his own heated cheeks, Yuuri reaches for the gold medal around Viktor's neck. He traces the grooves of the relief with his finger as Viktor and Yakov exchange words in Russian.
"Jealous, katsudon?" Yurio's voice comes from behind them.
Yuuri gives him a soft smile. "I wasn't exactly in the running, Yurio."
"Stop calling me that," he snaps.
"What was that, Yurio?" Viktor asks as he reaches out to tussle his hair. "Did you come to congratulate me?"
"No," Yurio huffs angrily, batting Viktor away. "I'm here to remind you it's going to be your last gold now that I'll be in Seniors."
"Is that right?"
"Appreciate it while it lasts, old man."
Viktor hooks an arm back around Yuuri's waist and guides him to stand up. "Ready to go do interviews?"
"It depends what you're going to say this time--" Yuuri starts.
"I don't think any of us have ever seen two quads done in such quick succession -- and one of them a combo -- at the very end of a program before," the reporter is saying.
"It hadn't been done before. That's why I wanted to do it," Viktor says, squeezing Yuuri around his shoulders.
"Well, I'm sure no one's surprised it was you who did it. But it still must have been tiring. Your program was a challenge to begin with. You had three quads even before that ending."
"A little bit tiring," Viktor concedes with a laugh. "But it was all worth it when this one--" he pushes Yuuri in front of him "--asked me at the kiss and cry what everyone was making such a big deal about."
"Is that true?" the reporter gives a short laugh as she turns to Yuuri.
Maybe some of Viktor's energy is rubbing off, because Yuuri finds himself teasing, "I thought that last one was a little under-rotated."
The newscaster laughs out loud as Viktor pinches his side. "Take that back!"
"Nope," Yuuri says. He turns around to face him. "You're just lucky I wasn't on the judge's stand."
Viktor barks a laugh and tugs him in closer. "Am I?"
"Very lucky." Yuuri grins as he throws his arms around Viktor's neck. He's distantly aware of the news camera, but he thinks he hears them moving on to the next skater. Maybe. Probably.
Because the next thing he does is pull Viktor down to kiss him. Not a quick peck, but a slow and deep kiss, the kind where he can feel every movement of his lips against his own.
Eventually Yuuri pulls away. Viktor leans in so their foreheads are touching and says with a grin, "Katsuki Yuuri, I am so fucking in love with you."
Yuuri laughs and shakes his head. Viktor has been telling him he loves him for a long time, calling him 'moya lyubov' like it's nothing, so Yuuri knows he doesn't mean it seriously.
It makes him feel warm inside anyways.
"Viktor," Yakov snaps from behind him. "Next interview."
Yuuri steps back, ready to head over. But Viktor laughs and reaches for his medal.
"Viktor, what are you--" Yuuri starts asking. But then Viktor slings the ribbon around his neck.
Yuuri reaches up to take it back off, but Viktor says, "Don't," and takes hold of his arms to stop him.
"Viktor--" Yakov is saying warily from his other side.
"You can't just do that," Yuuri protests, reaching again for the ribbon. But Viktor uses his grip on his arm to lead him to the next camera.
"Mr. Nikiforov," the reporter says. "I believe congratulations are in order."
"Thank you," Viktor steps behind Yuuri and hugs his arms around his waist, tucking him into his muscled chest. Yuuri tries to keep his expression serious, but it's difficult with the ridiculousness of the moment, what with Viktor's medal around Yuuri's neck, the way Viktor's hugging him while trying to do an interview, all right after practically making out in public.
"Though it appears you have lost your medal already," the newscaster remarks.
Yuuri can hear the grin in Viktor's voice as he says, "It looked better on him."
Yuuri bites back a giggle and feels Viktor's arms tighten around him.
"In any case, you won gold yet again and broke world records in both of your programs," the newscaster says. "What's next for you, Mr. Nikiforov?"
"Well, I'm afraid to tell you what my plans are for tonight, since Yuuri here still blames me for making our last interview go viral--"
When the interviews are finally done, they actually find themselves in a corner of the crowd where no one appears to be paying particular attention.
"Yuuri," Viktor says, leaning in close. "I got you a gold medal."
"Hmm," Yuuri murmurs. He slides his fingers over it, where it's still resting against his own chest.
"I believe there was talk of some sort of reward?" Viktor's hands go to his hips and he rubs his thumbs over his hipbones.
"Was there?" Yuuri asks.
Viktor leans in and says in a low voice, "You drove me crazy last night, you know. Not letting me touch you."
"And so you want me to let you touch me tonight?" Yuuri asks, licking his lips.
"Yes," Viktor says.
"You got a gold medal so you could touch me?" he teases.
"I did an extra quad for you."
"For me, is that right?" Yuuri looks into Viktor's light eyes as he slowly lifts the gold medal off himself. He hangs it back around Viktor's neck, then takes a firm hold of the ribbon.
Not breaking eye contact, he uses it to pull Viktor down. With his other hand, he brushes his thumb along Viktor's lower lip.
Viktor inhales sharply and his eyes flutter closed. The gray of his eyelashes brush against his cheek. Yuuri replaces his thumb over Viktor's lip with a light touch of his own lips.
Yuuri doesn't know what makes him do it, but he leans in close to his ear and says in a low voice, "I want you to touch me, Viktor."
Viktor's eyes flutter open and he breathes out, "Yuuri, I--"
"I want your hands on me," Yuuri continues. He can feel the spasm in Viktor's grip on his hips. "I want to feel--"
Mouths, lips, tongues, bodies collide as the door to the hotel room door slams shut.
They're kissing and kissing and Yuuri clenches his thighs around Viktor's waist. They're kissing and Yuuri's back is on the bed and Viktor has their cocks in his hand. They're kissing and Viktor's hand is warm and tight and Yuuri's nails are digging into Viktor's back. They're kissing and Viktor's panting into Yuuri's mouth and he's tensing against him and choking out Yuuri's name. They're kissing and Yuuri's wrapping his legs tighter around him and Viktor's jerking him faster and he's biting Viktor's lip and he's --
He blinks back into awareness to the sensation of Viktor pressing his lips softly over his face. He's saying, "Yuuri, Yuuri, Yuuri, you're okay, I got you, it's okay."
Yuuri's legs are trembling and he doesn't have the strength to hold them around Viktor's waist any longer. Viktor slides his hands under Yuuri's shoulders and pulls him up the bed.
His head falls back onto a pillow and Viktor collapses half on top of him. He's stroking Yuuri's side, still murmuring consoling words. Yuuri feels his vision finally clear -- partway, at least, where did his glasses go? -- but he's still breathing hard.
"Yuuri," Viktor says. "God, Yuuri, you're amazing."
"We're still dressed," Yuuri says, dumbly looking down at the blurry sight of both of them. Viktor's shirt is off, and his track pants are partway down his legs but his underwear is only partway down his hips. Yuuri still has all his clothes on except for the open fly of his pants.
"We are," Viktor agrees. "Should we do something about that?"
"Yes," Yuuri murmurs. But he's sprawled helplessly back on the bed and he doesn't think he could move if he wanted to. He tells Viktor, "You fix it."
Viktor laughs lightly. Yuuri can hear the rustling that probably means he's kicking off his track pants. And then Viktor's hands come back to him and stroke up his sides as he pulls Yuuri's shirt up and off him. He backs off the bed and reaches for the waist of Yuuri's pants. Yuuri manages to lift his hips so Viktor can tug them off of him.
A moment passes and Yuuri glances up. Viktor's standing at the foot of the bed, eyes on him.
"Where did you get so many muscles?" Yuuri asks, dazed. "I don't think I have any anymore."
Viktor crawls back on top of him with a smile. "You are useless after you come, Yuuri. Has anyone ever told you that?"
Yuuri just nuzzles into his shoulder.
"Right," Viktor says, voice teasing. "No one's been in the position to before."
Yuuri ignores him and reaches up to stroke Viktor's face. When he kisses him, Viktor opens his mouth for him readily. There's less desperation in their kisses than before, but Yuuri's starting to come back to himself and it's starting to get there--
Viktor pulls back, lips curving up as he says, "Yuuri, you're hard again already?"
Yuuri glances down.
"Is that a problem?" he asks. A small anxious voice, though mostly pushed down by the simultaneous post-orgasm bliss and building arousal, wonders if he should be embarrassed at being so eager.
"A problem?" Viktor pulls back to straddle Yuuri's thighs, looking him up and down. "You're like a dream."
Yuuri smiles at that and runs his hands up and down Viktor's muscled thighs.
"Can I touch you now?" Viktor asks. "Claim my prize?"
"Didn't you just do that?"
"No." Viktor's lips quirk into a smile. "That just now was me not being able to handle whatever got into you back there."
"Hmm," Yuuri says, mischievously. "I suppose it's only fair you claim your reward, then."
"It is," Viktor kisses him again. Then slides off the bed and turns around like he's looking for something.
"What are you--" Yuuri starts. And then sees him holding up his gold medal
Viktor climbs back up and slides it over Yuuri's neck like before. He straightens the ribbon, arranging it so that Yuuri feels the cold weight of the medal on his stomach.
"Do you have a thing for gold medals?" he asks, biting back a smile.
"Maybe," Viktor says, as he looks Yuuri up and down to admire his handiwork. "Maybe I just have a thing for you looking like you're mine."
"Oh," Yuuri breathes out.
Yuuri steps out of the shower, rubbing a towel over his hair as he reaches for his clothes. Only to realize he hadn't brought them in.
He knows it's silly to still want to change in the bathroom, to be shy about his body around Viktor, at this point. After all, he was just naked on the bed with Viktor's mouth all over him. But, outside the haze of arousal, it's not as easy to forget his own lackings.
It doesn't look like he has a choice, however, so he wraps a towel around himself and just avoids eye contact with Viktor until he gets his shirt and pants on.
When he looks up, Viktor's staring at his pants. Actually, very specifically, his bottom and thighs in his pants.
Yuuri flushes. He'd thought they'd fit all right. A couple months ago, he would have had a hard time buttoning them, but now they're just a bit snug over his lower half. But maybe he'd underestimated "a bit snug".
"Are they too tight?" he asks nervously. He knows everyone's eyes are going to be on him as Viktor's date to the banquet. But he can't do anything about it if they are since they're the only pair of dress pants he brought. "I know I still need to lose a few pounds."
But Viktor just laughs and says, "You really don't."
"Uh," Yuuri says.
"And they're supposed to show off your... assets."
Yuuri stares at him for a long moment and then says, "Fine."
He bends down to get his tie out of his suitcase. He can feel Viktor's eyes on him again and he sighs.
"Really, Viktor?" He asks when he stands up. "You just had your hands all over me."
"You really think that makes you less tempting?" Viktor asks, leering at him. But then his expression suddenly drops. "What earth are you putting around your neck?"
"A tie?" Yuuri frowns. "I'm sure you've seen one before. You're wearing one right now."
"Yes, but." Viktor shakes his head and then says, decisively, "No. I brought a few extras."
He starts rummaging around in his suitcase now.
"It's fine," Yuuri tells him as he shrugs on his coat.
"No, it's not. I love you too much to let you wear that." Viktor holds up a red tie. "Here."
"'Let' me wear it?" Yuuri steps away from him. "It's my tie, Viktor. There's nothing wrong with it."
Viktor sighs. "I've been in clothing ads, Yuuri. You're the one who didn't know how suit pants were supposed to fit. I cannot trust your sense of fashion."
Yuuri just rolls his eyes. "Come on, we'll be late."
"Wait. Let me do your hair first."
Yuuri says no thank you to a waiter who offers a plate of some kind of appetizer. He's too nervous to eat, but definitely nervous enough to down the glass of champagne Viktor presses into his hand.
They're talking to one of the ISCC officials whose name Yuuri's already forgotten. It doesn't matter, at least, because Viktor Nikiforov, who was apparently born charming, is making her laugh.
Yuuri wonders if anyone would notice if he went and hid in a corner. It would certainly be preferable to socializing with a crowd of important strangers.
But then the official turns to Yuuri with a warm smile. "And you must be the Yuuri Katsuki I've heard so much about. " She pats him on the arm. "You two are so cute together."
"You know, I saw you in Viktor's interviews from earlier today."
"You... did?" he says faintly.
"Your cheeks are red, Yuuri," Viktor informs him when they're alone again.
"Seriously, Viktor?" Yuuri says, covering his face with his hands.
"No, it's adorable." Viktor throws an arm around his shoulders. "You're adorable. Plus the Asian flush is a genetic enzyme deficiency. You can't help it."
"How do you even know that?"
"My boyfriend's Japanese," Viktor says easily.
Yuuri sighs. "I don't know why you think that gives you an automatic knowledge of East Asian genetics. Or the instant ability to eat with chopsticks."
"Though that other blush you get," Viktor continues as if he didn't hear him. "You know, the one you get when I mention how attractive your assets are--"
"Yes that one right there," he says smugly. "That's all you. Oh--hello, Coach Karpisek. Chris."
"Hello," Chris says, drawing it out with a glance between them. "I hope we weren't interrupting anything."
"Of course not," Viktor says smoothly, and takes a sip of champagne.
They exchange introductions, and then there are more pleasantries and more knowing looks from Chris. Then Chris's coach asks, "So how did the two of you meet?"
Yuuri blurts out, "His dog."
"His dog?" Chris repeats.
"Yes, I, uh, saw this dog on the street that looked just like my poodle back home," Yuuri explains. He can feel Viktor's eyes on him. "So I went over to say hi. And then I realized I was being horribly rude, because the dog's owner was right there and I hadn't even asked if it was okay."
Chris's coach laughs. "So he didn't even notice you, Viktor?"
"Apparently not," Viktor says, as if that's so unbelievable. Well, to be fair, it probably is.
"And then it turned out that he was looking for a new apartment and my building was right there, and I guess there was a for rent sign. So..." Yuuri shrugs.
"Interesting coincidence," Chris says, giving Viktor a look.
"Uh, yeah? I mean, it's a pretty boring story, I guess." Yuuri bites his lip. This is why he shouldn't be allowed to talk at these kinds of things.
"Well, I think it's about time Viktor found someone to win his medals for," the coach says, clapping Viktor on the back. "Who knows what he does with all of them."
They're leaving the banquet when Viktor suddenly stops.
"It's all wet," he says.
Yuuri glances at him. The pavement is wet and the air smells like the mist after a rain. But it's not actually raining or anything.
He tells Viktor this.
"There are puddles," Viktor complains stubbornly. Yuuri rolls his eyes as Viktor tugs him far out of the way of a tiny puddle.
"Haven't you been living in Detroit for four years?" Yuuri asks. "And did it not rain in St Petersburg?"
"Not when I was dressed in formal wear," Viktor grouses. He glances down the street. "Perhaps we should get a taxi."
"Our hotel is four blocks from here," Yuuri says with a laugh.
"You're one to talk. With those shoes, it doesn't matter if you get them wet."
"What's wrong with my shoes?"
Viktor just raises an eyebrow at him. Yuuri sighs.
"Maybe I should just put my coat over the puddles so you can walk on that?"
"You're very chivalrous all of a sudden," Viktor tells him. "That would be a handy way to get rid of your coat, too. Why don't you put your tie down, also? If I had to buy you a new suit, that would be very tragic."
"Do you like any of my clothes?" Yuuri demands.
"Those pants you can keep," he concedes. "But, otherwise, you do look better in mine."
"You're very possessive," Yuuri comments. "With your jacket and the medal and how I'm covered in..."
"You're covered in what?" Viktor asks.
"You know, Viktor. You're the one who marked me all over."
Viktor laughs, and tightens his arm around his shoulders. "You say that like it's a bad thing. And, really, moya lyubov, you have no ground to stand on when it comes to possessive."
"You're the one who kissed me on live television."
"You did, too," Yuuri says defensively. "At the kiss and cry, remember?"
"Not like you did," he says, and adds with a wink, "Possessive is a good look on you, don't worry. Better than that tie."
Viktor laughs. "It's interesting. Possessive and jealous usually go hand in hand. But you don't seem like the jealous type, hmm?"
"Should I be?" Yuuri teases lightly. Because the alternative is admitting that he absolutely is the jealous type. He just knows he doesn't have the right to be. Viktor has been with men and women who are more beautiful, more glamorous and better lovers than Yuuri could ever be. And Viktor will be again. Yuuri won't even be able to blame Viktor when he leaves him.
But he will cling to him for as long as he can have him.
They walk in silence for a moment.
"Does it get boring? Always winning?" he asks. He's been wondering that since the medal ceremony.
Viktor glances at him, looking startled. "No one ever asks that question."
"It's probably stupid," Yuuri backtracks.
Yuuri frowns up at him.
"Yes, it does. This time was different, but it still--," Viktor cuts himself off with a shake of his head. "The worst part is, everyone else is bored, too. The best I could do is add an extra jump? Break another record? I could land a quad axel and no one would think twice about it."
Yuuri thinks about the reporter earlier saying there were no upsets on the men's side this year.
"You'd have to stop winning," Yuuri says.
Viktor looks at him. "I will eventually, you know. And that won't surprise anyone, either. I'm already the oldest one on the ice."
Yuuri doesn't say anything to that.
"Will you still want me when I can't land a quad anymore?" Viktor's words sound like he's joking, but his voice is off.
"Viktor," Yuuri reminds him softly. "I can't even count the rotations, remember?"
Viktor stops in the middle of the rain-soaked sidewalk.
"I forgot," Viktor says. There's a hint of a smile on his face. "You can't, can you?"
Yuuri comes home to the too-familiar strains of 'Terra Incognita' coming from their TV. This is definitely not the first time. But this is the first time he's found Viktor sitting there with Phichit on their thrift store couch.
Viktor turns at the sound of Yuuri closing the apartment door.
"Hello, Yuuri," he says, light blue eyes sparkling.
"Hi," he says shyly. They've been home two days. It still feels strange to see Viktor back here after how close they'd gotten in Helsinki. Do they go back to being the people they were here or are they now the people they were there? Has Yuuri really become the daring person who made out with Viktor on--what he's now learned--was live TV?
"Can you believe Viktor's never seen The King and the Skater?" Phichit asks, throwing a handful of popcorn into his mouth as he pauses the movie.
"Um," Yuuri says. The answer is 'yes' but he knows how seriously Phichit takes that movie. He walks over to his room and dumps his backpack down inside.
"We were texting about how there were no Thai skaters at World's," Phichit tells him. "Despite us producing the best figure skating movie ever. And then Viktor said he'd never even seen it!"
"I have been an uncultured brute," Viktor admits, hanging his head. "Phichit is correcting my flaws."
Yuuri glances at the screen. "And you're starting with the sequel?"
"No way. We finished the first one when you were at your class," Phichit says.
"Right," Yuuri says. He walks over to the couch to sit between them. But Viktor tugs him over to sit in his lap. He wraps his arms around Yuuri's waist. Yuuri stiffens, but when he glances at Phichit, he doesn't look at all phased by it.
He decides not to protest, since Viktor's lap is comfortable. His head fits right in the crook between his chest and shoulder.
Viktor presses his lips to his neck and says, "I missed you."
"You just saw me this morning," Yuuri points out.
A camera clicks and flashes.
Phichit shoots him an unapologetic grin and starts typing on this phone.
"Are you posting that?"
"Of course!" Phichit says. "Do you have any idea how many followers my Instagram has now? Everyone thinks you two are so cute together. Viktor retweeted a picture of you doing the dishes last night and it's gotten seventy-thousand views."
"Doing the dishes," Yuuri repeats. He didn't realize Phichit had taken a picture of him doing the dishes. He hopes he wasn't doing it in some kind of odd way he should be embarrassed about.
"A hundred and twenty-five thousand now," Viktor offers. "No one can get enough of my adorable boyfriend."
Yuuri sighs. And then what they were saying earlier comes back to him.
"Since when do you two text, anyways?"
"Since you keep turning your phone off," Phichit says, finally setting his own down. "So, pretty much forever."
"Have you even turned your phone on at all since we got back?" Viktor asks, rubbing a hand over his hip. "You're not usually this bad about it."
"I was getting too many calls," Yuuri says.
"Hmm," Viktor murmurs.
"Calls from Japan," Phichit adds. "Yuuko says everyone saw you on TV."
Yuuri knows this. He'd gotten a text from Mari before he turned his phone off in the Helsinki airport.
Phichit turns to Viktor. "Yuuri's worried because not everyone's that demonstrative in Japan."
"I see," Viktor says. Yuuri can tell he's trying to look at him but he avoids Viktor's eyes.
"Yuuko says you're being ridiculous, by the way," Phichit says. "I've seen the pictures of your father from the belly button festival."
"Phichit," Yuuri whines. "Why are you talking to Yuuko? You've never even met her."
"Her triplets have the seventeenth most popular Instagram in Japan," Phichit says matter-of-factly. "Now, let's keep watching!"
"You regret it," Viktor whispers to Yuuri, as Phichit unpauses the movie.
Yuuri doesn't answer, just shifts in Viktor's lap so he can see past him to the television. Viktor tightens his arms around his waist.
"Is pair skating hard?" Yuuri asks when they get to the part where the king and Arthur skate hand in hand. He'd seen the pair skating winners at the exhibition skate before they'd left Finland. Their routines had looked more complex than this one.
"You have to be completely in sync with your partner," Viktor tells him. "You have to anticipate what they're going to do next. And you can't do any jumps your partner can't do."
"I bet you have to be strong," Phichit says as the king lifts Arthur above his head and spins him around.
"Your partner needs to be small. It helps if they're shorter, too," Viktor confirms. He turns to Phichit. "I could lift Yuuri."
"I feel like I should be offended by that," Yuuri says, wrinkling his nose.
Viktor just pokes him in the ribs. Yuuri squeals as Phichit laughs.
"But it's harder to be the partner who's lifted," Viktor says as he smooths an apologetic hand down Yuuri's side. "You have to trust them not to drop you or you'll both fall."
"It's very romantic," Phichit sighs as he turns back to the TV.
Yuuri frowns at him in confusion. "But the king and Arthur aren't like that."
But Viktor laughs and Phichit shakes his head sadly. "Oh, poor, poor, oblivious Yuuri."
Yuuri sighs. He rests his head back on Viktor's chest.
In his head, he can hear Viktor say 'you regret it'. Phrased as if it's not even a question. Yuuri shifts on Viktor's lap to take his phone out of his pocket. He thinks about it for a moment. He can feel Viktor's eyes on him as he presses the on button.
Six voicemails mixed in with even more texts. He lays it face-down on his thigh. For a few moments, he stares the screen as Arthur pulls out his decks of magical cards.
Then he sighs and slides down off Viktor's lap. Thumb over the 'call' button, he whispers to Phichit as he passes not to pause for him.
"Okasan?" he says quietly when his mother picks up.
That night, Viktor's yet again wrestling unsuccessfully with the knob on the overheated radiator. It's been painted over too many times to turn it but he keeps trying.
"We need a wrench," Viktor says. "I can't believe you and Phichit don't have any tools."
"You don't either," Yuuri points out. His voice is muffled by the sweater he's taking off.
"We are..." Viktor trails off as he looks up at him. Yuuri flushes. This is only the second time -- counting the night of the banquet -- that he's changed in front of him. The first time he's voluntarily done it. He knows it shouldn't be a big deal. But it feels like it is.
"What are we?" Yuuri asks. Trying to act casual as he pulls out his nightshirt from the drawer.
It takes Viktor a second but then he turns back to the radiator. Yuuri still feels warmed by the heat of his gaze. Or maybe that's just the radiator.
"We are a disgrace to men, aren't we? None of us probably even own a pocket knife."
"Well, I don't," Yuuri confirms. He kneels on his bed to force open the storm window next to it. With the breeze of cool air comes the sound of traffic and a distant car alarm.
He slides under the covers and Viktor turns off the light and joins him, facing each other. Yuuri flattens his palm over his chest.
In the dim light of the Detroit streetlights through Yuuri's window, Viktor looks like he's debating whether to ask about his phone call.
"My mother thinks you're very handsome," Yuuri answers before he has to ask..
"Hmm." Viktor runs his hand down Yuuri's back and squeezes his bottom through his pajama pants. Yuuri yelps. Viktor just chuckles and gives it another squeeze before running his hand up his back again. "Did you tell her I'm even more handsome in person?"
"I told her your hair's thinner in person," Yuuri tells him.
"Yuuri!" he whines and buries his head in Yuuri's neck.
Yuuri pats the top of his head. Viktor lets out a sad moan.
"She, uh. She said it wasn't as bad as my father's belly button festival pictures," Yuuri tells him.
"I think I really need to see those." Viktor pulls back and gives Yuuri's forehead a kiss.
Yuuri groans. "You don't. Though it would give you an incentive not to let me get drunk. I take after my father when I drink."
"Hmm." Viktor gives him a smirk. "I doubt you take exactly after your father."
Yuuri really doesn't want to know what kind of pictures Phichit's put up on Instagram.
"I heard you say 'katsudon'," Viktor says.
Yuuri laughs. Of course that would be the Japanese word Viktor picks up. "My mother says I look like I need more katsudon."
"You do look like you need more katsudon," Viktor tells him seriously. "That's what I keep saying, too."
"You can take me back to that restaurant next month if my thesis proposal's accepted," Yuuri tells him.
"I could take you out for katsudon every night."
"You know I only get it if I win something," Yuuri reminds him.
"You won a handsome boyfriend," Viktor points out.
Yuuri swats at his shoulder but can't help the laugh that escapes his throat. "I wouldn't have a handsome boyfriend for long if I ate katsudon every night. You know how easily I gain weight."
Viktor pulls back and frowns at him. Yuuri starts feel twitchy under his gaze.
"Yuuri--" Viktor starts.
"It was just a joke," Yuuri interrupts quickly.
Viktor stares at him for another long moment, then shakes his head. He glances down, rucking up Yuuri's shirt as he slides a hand up his stomach.
"There are worse things," he says, glancing back up at him.
"I know," Yuuri says.
"You were beautiful with a little belly."
"Okay," he says, glancing away in embarrassment. He tries to ignore Viktor tracing the jagged lines of his stretch marks.
Viktor shifts down and presses a kiss to his stomach.
"You're beautiful like this, too," Viktor tells him, as he pushes his pajama pants down to kiss his hipbone.
"Okay," Yuuri says again.
Viktor glances up at him, mouth quirked as he hooks his fingers under his waistband again.
"Can I?" he asks.
Yuuri's startled into a laugh. "Yes, okay."
"You sure?" Viktor's eyes sparkle in the dim light, under the hair falling over his face.
"Please." Yuuri laughs. "You jerk."
"Don't think I'm not happy for you that you're finally getting some," Phichit says a week later.
"What?" Yuuri glances up from the Japanese 102 papers he's grading and takes a sip from his mug.
"I'm glad you're finally getting some sex."
Yuuri chokes on his tea.
"Are you okay?" Phichit jumps up from the couch. "I don't know how to do a Heimlich but I will try!"
"I'm fine!" Yuuri says. And coughs again. "Phichit, no Heimlichs. Why are we talking about this?"
Phichit gives him a sly grin and drops into the other chair at their table. "You could have told me, you know?"
Yuuri gives him a questioning look.
"You told me when you weren't getting any," Phichit points out.
Yuuri slumps onto the table, covering his face with his hands. "How do you even know?"
"Well, you're not quiet."
Yuuri wishes he could curl up and die right now.
"I mean, Viktor's quiet, but you're definitely not."
"I was trying to be," he whines into his hands. "Oh my god. I'm so, so sorry, Phichit. I will never do it again. I promise. I'm sorry."
Phichit laughs. "Yuuri, stop with your sorrys." He claps Yuuri on the back. "I'm happy for you. Doesn't Viktor live alone, though?"
"He does," Yuuri says. He takes a shaky breath and finally looks up at Phichit, his cheeks still burning. "So?"
"Aww, you're so cute when you're embarrassed," Phichit coos. "Your cheeks get all red--"
"Why does everyone have to keep pointing that out?" Yuuri whines.
"I just thought maybe you might want to go over to his place once in a while. Then you wouldn't have to worry about my delicate ears."
Yuuri fiddles with his pen. "I've only ever gone there to pick up Makkachin. He's never invited me."
It's something Yuuri tries not to think about, to be honest. Because then he has to ask himself why Viktor's never invited him over.
"I just don't want to impose," he adds.
"Impose?" Phichit asks incredulously.
Yuuri just looks at him.
"You've been dating for five months--"
"--and he spends every minute with you. He said he loved you on live TV! I mean, part of it got bleeped out, but, still."
Yuuri bites his lip. "It's just something he says. It doesn't mean anything. And I don't think he knew the cameras were still on us then."
Phichit's eyes widen. "Are you serious right now? Just something he says?" He takes a deep breath. "Okay, my dear, dear, stupid friend. We are going to address that later. I can only perform one intervention at a time, here."
"Yuuri, I want you to think very closely. Is it at all possible he has invited you over and you just didn't notice?"
"Of course I would have noticed," Yuuri says defensively.
"Given your track record so far--"
"Look, I need to finish grading these papers," Yuuri says. "I'll ask him, all right?"
"Promise?" Phichit asks.
"I promise." Yuuri sighs, picking up his red pen again as Phichit returns to the living room.
Three worksheets of poorly written kanji later, he's interrupted again.
"Viktor wants you to come over," Phichit calls from the couch.
"I know, you just said that. I promised, I'll ask."
"No." Phichit waves his phone in the air.
"Wait. You texted him to ask if I could come over?" Yuuri demands. "I told you I'd ask him!"
"And how long have I known you?" Phichit counters. "Also, he says you're being an idiot."
"He wrote that?"
"It was implied," Phichit tells him. "But the 'tell him to come over' was literal."
"What? He wants me to come right now?" Yuuri glances at the clock. It's still late afternoon but Viktor's been getting back from the rink earlier since World's. Apparently Yakov had started locking the rink early to force him to take time recovering from the season. ('He says I'm not as young as I once was,' Viktor had whined. 'Yuuri, tell me I'm as young as I once was, please??')
Phichit taps on his phone.
"No, Phichit, stop asking him things!" Yuuri jumps out of his chair and lunges for Phichit's phone. Phichit jumps up from the couch away from him, laughing.
There's another ding.
Phichit glances at his phone again and grins. "'Tell him I want him here all the time.'"
"Phichit," Yuuri complains.
There's another ding.
"What is it?" Yuuri demands.
"He says, 'Tell him I want him now.'" Phichit waggles his eyebrows. "He wants you, Yuuri. Now."
"Shut up," Yuuri grumbles, even as he heads for the front door. "That's not what he meant."
"Oh, I think it's exactly what he meant." Phichit giggles as he calls after him, "He probably has a bigger bed than you, too! You know, for all the sexing!"
Viktor's waiting at his open door with narrow eyes.
"Yuuri," he says in a low, reprimanding tone. "I gave you a key."
"Huh? I know. So I could pick up Makkachin." Yuuri bends down to pet the dog. Makkachin wags his tail and gives him a friendly lick on the cheek.
Viktor sighs and grabs Yuuri's hand, dragging him to his feet. He guides him past the living room and kitchen to the bedroom. He only has a one bedroom apartment but somehow it's more spacious than Yuuri and Phichit's. Also cleaner.
Yuuri's never seen Viktor's bedroom before. Phichit's right, his bed is twice the size of Yuuri's. Before he can think too much about that, he turns his attention to where Viktor's gesturing to an open dresser drawer.
"Why are you showing me an empty drawer?" Yuuri asks.
"Yuuri," Viktor draws out his name with a sigh. But he just guides him by the hand to the bathroom next. Yuuri doesn't know exactly what he's looking for. Except there are two toothbrushes in the holder, one still in its wrapper. And two bath towels on the rack.
"You, uh, seem very prepared for guests," Yuuri says. Even if he hasn't known Viktor to have any visitors.
Viktor sighs and leads him into the kitchen this time. He opens a cabinet. There's a teapot and a bag of Yuuri's favorite green tea.
"You want me to come over sometimes," Yuuri guesses.
Yuuri bites his lip and says, "You want me to sleep over."
"Yes," Viktor says emphatically. Yuuri can hear the implied 'you idiot' this time.
"Oh," Yuuri says dumbly. "You don't have any roommates."
"Your bed is bigger than mine."
"We could, uh, test it out?"
Yuuri should be embarrassed. It's a terrible line.
Makkachin lets out a happy bark at the turn of the key in the door. Yuuri doesn't look up, even when he feels two hands drop to his shoulders and smells the freshly showered scent of soap that means Viktor just returned from the rink.
"Yuuuri," Viktor drawls, sliding his hands around into a hug and resting his chin on his shoulder. "What are you doing?"
"You gave me a key, remember?" Yuuri reminds him. They went over this a month ago.
"I'm aware," Viktor says. "But what are you doing with that red pen?"
"Minako kicked me out," Yuuri says distractedly. He crosses out another sentence and scrawls in the margin.
"And why did she do that?"
"I don't know," Yuuri says. He crosses out a whole paragraph this time. "Something about my ankle."
"You danced until your hurt your ankle?" Viktor fills in.
"It doesn't hurt that much," Yuuri complains. He starts to cross out another paragraph, but Viktor snatches the pen from his hand and grabs his papers.
"Hey!" Yuuri finally turns around to look at him.
"So that's why you're here ruining your thesis proposal? Because Minako kicked you out."
"Not ruining. Fixing." Yuuri corrects. "And, no. I'm here because Phichit kicked me out for eating all his ice cream. But it was only because I finished my own."
"Right," Viktor says. "You eat when you're stressed."
"I would except you don't have any ice cream," Yuuri says, feeling the annoyance at that all over again. "Protein powder and raw chicken breasts aren't good for stress eating."
"I'd hope not." Viktor sighs. "What about the leftover Chinese from the other night?"
"I did eat that," Yuuri says. He glances up at Viktor guiltily. "I ate all your broccoli, too. I'm sorry."
Viktor's giving him a strange look. "I... forgive you?"
"Can I have that back now?" He reaches for the papers and pen still in Viktor's hands.
But instead Viktor sets them down on the kitchen counter and crosses his arms. "Do you really think there are mistakes in here you missed in the months you've been working on it? Mistakes that you are just happening to catch the night before your meeting?"
"Yes." Yuuri feels his eyes well up with tears.
"Okay, look, Yuuri. I don't think this is a good idea." Viktor runs a hand through his hair, letting it fall back down in silver strands over his face.
Yuuri feels a tear run down his cheek. He swipes at it under his glasses, but there are more falling now. When he glances back up, Viktor is looking horrified.
He chokes out a sob at Viktor's wide, stunned eyes.
"Why are you so upset? Your meeting's going to go fine."
Yuuri steps toward the door, wiping at his eyes. His ankle is more painful than he knew and everything is falling apart.
"Yuuri," Viktor calls. And then Yuuri feels arms hugging him tightly from behind him. He fights against them, but Viktor doesn't let him go. "Please don't leave. I'll can take care of your ankle, all right?"
"Fine," he says quietly. He tries to blink away the tears.
"All right." Viktor gives a relieved sigh. "Good. Come here."
Viktor releases his hold around him and takes his hand, leading him over to the couch. Yuuri drops down onto it. As Viktor walks away, he grabs the tissue box from the table and blows his nose.
Viktor comes back and kneels in front of him. Yuuri lets out a shuddering breath. Viktor presses a glass of water into his hand, then gives him two pills. He just stares at them.
"They're just anti-inflammatories," Viktor says. Yuuri nods dumbly. The water glass is shaking in his hand, or maybe that's just his vision still blurred from his watery eyes. But Viktor closes a hand around his on the glass and brings it to his lips.
"Drink," he tells him.
Yuuri swallows the pills. Then gulps down a few more sips of water.
Viktor gently removes Yuuri's sock and then prods at the sides of his ankle. Yuuri clenches his jaw.
"It's swollen," he says. And glances up at Yuuri. "What did you do? And how long did you keep dancing on it?"
Yuuri doesn't answer. Viktor opens a new ace bandage from the first aid kit. Which looks surprisingly well stocked. Except maybe it shouldn't be surprising--
"I never asked you," Yuuri blurts out.
"Asked me what?"
"If you were hurt," Yuuri says. He feels more tears drop from his eyes, distress mounting as Viktor wraps the bandage around his foot with disturbing efficiency. "I forgot to ask. Even after Yurio said..."
"What did Yurio say?" Viktor asks as he secures the end of the bandage above his ankle. He gently guides Yuuri to turn and lie back on the couch.
"I don't care that you have an Olympic medal," Yuuri says fervently. "I promise I don't, Viktor."
"I know that," Viktor says, lips quirking as he props Yuuri's foot up on a pillow.
"Are you sure you do? Because it's the truth--"
"Yuuri." Viktor presses a kiss to his tear-stained cheek. "It took you longer to realize I'd been in the Olympics than it did for you to realize we were dating. If anything, I'm offended you never googled my name."
"Oh," Yuuri says as Viktor folds an ice pack over his ankle. "Phichit wouldn't let me. So I wouldn't read about all the people you used to date."
Viktor laughs lightly.
"If you'd ever let me tell you, I think you'd find it's a lot less scandalous than you think," he says.
"I don't want to know," Yuuri says quickly.
"That's okay," he says. He presses down gently on the ice pack. "Let's leave this on here for a few minutes."
"All right," Yuuri says in a small voice. Viktor looks back up at him, meeting his eyes. He looks a little bit... wrecked.
"It's all going to be fine, you know," he tells him. "They're going to love your proposal."
"They're not," Yuuri says, blinking his wet eyes again. "You won't let me fix it."
"Because I wouldn't trust you to reformat the table of contents right now," he says. "Just believe in yourself."
"Viktor, you should know by now that I never believe in myself," Yuuri mutters.
Yuuri awakes to vibrations on the bed next to him. He picks up his phone and blinks at it. The time is--well, not long after he fell asleep.
"Moshi moshi," he mumbles. And then listens, blinking away the sleep as he hears his sister talk. "Mari-neechan? What is it?"
The next day, Yuuri locks the bathroom stall with shaking hands and collapses onto the toilet seat. Between shuddering breaths, he pulls his phone out. On the lock screen there are good luck texts from Phichit with Japanese emoticons. Good luck texts from Viktor with emoji hearts. And a text from Minako telling him that under no circumstances is he allowed to come back to the dance studio today.
Yuuri chokes out a sob and wipes his eyes. He opens Viktor's contact and hovers his thumb over the call button.
Viktor would make him feel better. Viktor would tell him it's okay. Viktor would probably come and give him a big hug and try to get him to eat katsudon even though he doesn't deserve katsudon. He never deserved it.
And Viktor knows that, too. Yuuri's nothing but a disappointment. He's a failure at everything he was supposed to be good at. He's a dancer who can't dance. He's a grad student who can't get a thesis approved. He's a 23 year old man who cries in bathroom stalls.
He swipes at the new tears falling from his eyes. He's pathetic. If Viktor hasn't already given up on him after last night, calling him like this would be the final straw.
Viktor's going to finally realize he can do so much better than him.
Yuuri pushes the power button as he chokes out another sob. He holds it down long after the screen turns black.
Yuuri sits morosely at the table watching Phichit eat generic brand fruit loops, watching the milk turn into a muddied swirl of colors. After binge eating for the last two days, the thought of food isn't even appealing anymore.
He tucks his feet up on the chair and tries to look down at his notes for the morning's discussion group, but they're all blurry.
He's vaguely aware of Phichit's phone dinging text alerts, but he doesn't pay attention until he realizes Phichit's staring at him.
"Yuuri," he says. "I know everything sucks right now. But are you sure you don't want to talk to Viktor?"
"Is that him?" he asks dully.
Viktor's persistent, Yuuri knows this more than anything about him, but somehow Phichit said the right things to get Viktor to leave when he came looking for Yuuri the night before. He can do it again.
"Just tell him my phone's broken."
Phichit pauses, staring at him for a moment, and then types something into his phone. "All right."
"That's not what you texted him, is it?"
"No," Phichit says. His phone dings again and he types something else back.
"There's a drawer, Phichit," Yuuri says.
"A drawer. And a toothbrush. And I bet you anything that his freezer's full of ice cream right now."
"It was bad enough he saw me the other night," Yuuri says, stretching his legs off the chair and standing up. "But with all this, I--I'm not who he thinks I am. He's going to leave me and I just, I cant--"
He feels himself start to tear up just talking about it, and how does he even have any tears left.
"Viktor's not going to leave you, Yuuri. You're in a bad place and I don't think you're thinking about this right. He's really worried about you."
"He doesn't even know me," Yuuri says quietly. He heads to his bedroom to grab his stuff for class.
"Where are you going?" Phichit calls after him.
"They haven't fired me from teaching yet," he says, emerging with his backpack over his shoulder. "So I probably shouldn't be late."
Yuuri watches Viktor drape his medal over his own head. He watches Viktor stop him from taking it back off. Watches himself say something that the recording doesn't pick up.
He rewinds the video.
"Katsuki Yuuri, I am so <bleep> in love with you."
He rewinds it again.
He can see the big stupid grin on Viktor's face right before he kisses him.
Yuuri's read his thesis proposal over so many times now that the words don't even make sense. He's flipped through the photos he's saved from his sister's texts over the years so many times that the image of the poor poodle he abandoned is burned into his eyes. And he's played this video over too many times to count.
He's about to rewind it again when he hears a knock at the front door. And then hears Phichit's, "Hey, Viktor!"
Yuuri leaps over to his bedroom door. He frantically shoves it the rest of the way shut, and then leans back against it, heart pounding.
He hears Viktor say "please, Phichit" but he can't hear what comes after that.
There's more talking and then Phichit's voice calling, "Hey, Yuuri. I'm going to go do--things. I'll be back when you've -- uh, I'll be back later!"
Yuuri wants to call out to Phichit not to leave, but he doesn't have the energy. Instead he sinks to the ground, defeated, and leans back against the door.
"Yuuri?" It's Viktor's Russian accent, coming closer. "Yuuri, open the door and we can talk."
Yuuri hunches into himself and takes a ragged breath.
"Please," Viktor says quietly. "I just want to see you."
He hears a sigh and then a thump against the door. Viktor's next words come from lower down, closer to him. Yuuri wonders if he's sat down like he is, leaning against the other side of the door like some heart-wrenching movie scene.
"I'm fine," Yuuri says, even as he knows the wavering in his voice gives him away. "You can go."
"I know about your dog and about the meeting." A pause. "I know I'm not good at it. But I could be there for you, if you wanted me to."
There's a very long silence before Yuuri says, "I don't want you to."
"No, I got that," Viktor says with a sharp laugh that doesn't sound at all like amusement.
"You should go," he says.
"I should, shouldn't I?" Viktor's voice comes out in a strangled tone that Yuuri hasn't heard before. He bites his lip. There's something ending here and he doesn't have the energy to stop it.
There's a long time when Yuuri doesn't hear anything, and then Viktor says, "I care about you, you know that, right?"
"You should go," Yuuri repeats quietly.
"No, more like this." Yuuri adjusts Yurio's right leg behind him.
"Now, get up on your toes. No, let me show you." Yuuri gets into position.
"Stop, don't be an idiot," Yurio snaps. It surprises Yuuri enough that he drops back on the ground.
"What?" Yuuri asks. "I was just going to show you--"
"And do what? Hurt your ankle even more just to show me a stupid pirouette?" Yurio's hands are in fists. Yuuri stares at them.
"My ankle's fine," Yuuri says. It's only a little bit of a lie. It's better, at least. "How did you even know I hurt it?"
"How do you think?" Yurio spits out. "Viktor told me not to come, you know. He told me not to bother you."
"I--you're not bothering me," Yuuri says softly. Since the World Championships, Yakov has been having Yurio work with his ex-wife. She was a prima ballerina at the Bolshoi Theatre. Yuuri likes the idea. Yurio's flexible and talented enough to excel at ballet and it can't hurt his skating. But, between him being an extreme perfectionist and her being an even more extreme perfectionist, things are not going well.
When Yuuri came to meet Viktor at the rink one day and caught Yurio practicing poses incorrectly, he offered to help him. Yurio, naturally, had adamantly refused. And then shown up at the dance studio the next day.
"I know. It's not like you'd have anything better to do," Yurio says, though there's maybe a hint of relief behind his words.
"You're doing well," Yuuri tells him.
Yurio sniffs disdainfully. "I have to go. Next time you need to fix my fouette."
"All right," Yuuri says. "We can do that."
"You'll be here Thursday," Yurio says as he picks up his duffel bag. It's a question phrased as an aggressive statement and Yuuri has to hide a smile.
"I can be," he says. "I need to be at an evening lecture. It gets out at seven."
Yurio nods sharply. And then throws over his shoulder: "Viktor's a dumbass. But at least he's paying for it."
Yuuri stares at him until he starts processing what Yurio's saying.
"It's not Viktor's fault," Yuuri says, because the thought of Viktor being blamed for this is disturbing. The thought of Viktor 'paying for it', whatever that means, makes Yuuri want to cry again and he's made it almost 24 hours now without tears. "It's not--it's me. I knew it was going to end eventually. It was easier to... it's better that it happened now."
Now. Before Yuuri got to the point where he stopped remembering they were going to end.
"Then you're a dumbass, too," Yurio informs him.
"You should at least do it in person," Phichit tells him that night. "You've been dating for half a year. Don't you think you owe him that much?"
Yuuri's been avoiding any confrontation with Viktor. He's been leaving the apartment and coming home only when he knows Viktor has practice times. When he does leave, it's down the back stairs. It's worked so far, but it's only been a few days.
"That's not--" Yuuri sighs as he pulls his Japanese lit textbook out of his bag. "I just. He's going to break up with me. I don't need him to say the words."
Phichit sighs. "And what if he's not? What if you're the one breaking up with him right now? You're talking like he has all the power here."
Yuuri stares at him for a long moment, then slumps back onto the couch.
"I don't--I don't know what I'm doing, Phichit."
Phichit sighs. "Well, when you figure it out, I think you might owe him the words."
Yuuri stops at the glass-paneled doors of the Detroit Skating Club the next afternoon.
Maybe it's pathetic. This would probably be easy for someone stronger, someone more experienced, someone who knew what they were doing. But for him, this feels almost impossible.
But Yuuri's tired of feeling like a coward. And maybe Phichit's right. Maybe, after all they've been to each other, he does owe Viktor something. Even if it's just to hear Viktor break up with him.
He waits on a bench outside, legs drawn up, arms hugging his knees, hoodie pulled over his head. It's a chilly night for it being almost summer.
He watches as Mila and Georgi leave. Then Yurio. Then Yakov. They don't notice him.
Yuuri is starting to wonder if Viktor isn't even inside. But then, as the sun is starting to set, he hears the front doors close again and turns around. His hoodie falls back as he does.
Viktor sees him. His eyes widen.
It's barely been a week since Yuuri last saw him, but Viktor looks different. There are circles under his eyes, his usual easy expression looks dull and even his hair looks flat.
"Hi," Yuuri says quietly, hugging his arms more tightly around his knees.
Viktor strides over and starts to spread open his arms as if he's going to hug him. Yuuri wishes he would. Wishes Viktor would sweep him into a hug and Yuuri would say he's sorry and Viktor would say it's all right and they'd kiss and everything would be like before.
Except Viktor stops a few feet away.
"You're here," Viktor says.
"I thought... maybe I could walk home with you?"
Viktor nods, his eyes cautious as Yuuri stands and falls into step beside him.
They're crossing the bridge over a small river. Yuuri turns to look at Viktor. Tall profile, silver hair, long brown coat blowing with the wind. He's going to miss him.
He doesn't realize he's stopped walking until Viktor turns around.
"I'm sorry," Yuuri says softly.
"No, it's not. I'm sorry," Yuuri says again. He's rehearsed this in his head but he's forgotten all the words he's supposed to say.
Viktor turns to look out over the river. Detroit is gray and dreary as evening falls over them. Yuuri can hear traffic and car horns in the distance.
"Can you tell me what's happening?" Viktor asks.
"What do you mean?"
"I just--" Viktor shakes his head, still not looking at him. "I know I can be too much sometimes. I know I've just been pushing you this whole time. Did I push you too far?"
"No. No, Viktor." Yuuri takes a step closer to him.
"Did you ever want this? Are you here to say goodbye?" Viktor asks, staring out at the river.
When Yuuri doesn't answer, Viktor finally turns around. Yuuri stares at the wet, red rims of his eyes.
"Viktor," Yuuri says brokenly.
"If you need to say goodbye, I wouldn't blame you," Viktor says. "But I would like to still be something to you. I know I'm not very good at this, but I'll try my best. I can be anything you need."
Viktor blinks and a tear falls down his cheek. Yuuri reaches up and wipes it away with his thumb, then lets his hand fall down.
"I don't want you to be anything," Yuuri says.
Viktor gives a sharp nod as he turns away.
"No! That's not what I--I mean. I just want you to be you." He bites his lip. "I like you. When you're you."
Yuuri takes a deep breath.
"I know everyone thinks I'm weak. Mentally weak," he says. Viktor opens his mouth, but Yuuri holds up his hand. "And I am. I just--I didn't want you to think that, too."
"I don't," Viktor says, taking a firm step closer to him. "You're not weak. No one thinks that."
Yuuri glances away. "I like being with you. I like it too much. I'm just tired of waiting for the day you're going to leave. The day you realize what I really am and how much better you can do. I'm tired of waking up and wondering if today is that day."
Yuuri stares at Viktor, stricken.
"Stop waiting, stop wondering, just ask me," Viktor tells him. "Is today the day you're going to leave? Is tomorrow when you're going to stop loving me? Is next week when you won't want me the way I am? Next month? Next year?"
"Viktor," Yuuri starts.
"The answer is no. It's always going to be no. But ask me. Ask me every day if you have to."
Yuuri bites his lip.
"What if I also just want you to be you?" Viktor challenges him.
The sun sinks under the horizon. An evening wind blows over the bridge. The river laps at its concrete channel. Yuuri takes a deep breath, and then lets it out slowly.
He steps into Viktor's space and wraps his arms around his neck, standing on his toes so he can meet his eyes straight on.
"You are the first person I've ever wanted to hold onto," he tells him.
Viktor grabs him by the waist.
"Then hold on, solnishko. You're the only one here that's letting go."
Yuuri raises his hand to knock on the door. Then lowers it. He digs a key out of his pocket, balancing his box with his other arm.
Makkachin gives a pleased bark and paws at his leg when he steps in.
"Hey there." Yuuri grins down at the dog. "Give me a second, I need to put these away."
He glances up to see Viktor sprawled on the couch, hair artfully falling over his face and silver eyebrow raised.
"I, uh, brought a few things?" Yuuri says.
"I can see that," Viktor tells him as he sets his book down and stands up. The book looks very, very similar to the one on Yuuri's syllabus for the next week, but he'll let it go for the moment.
Because he's a little bit distracted with Viktor sliding a hand across Yuuri's back and kissing the side of his neck.
"Viktor, I'm busy," Yuuri complains as Viktor moves his collar over to kiss his shoulder. "Unless you want to help?"
"I am helping," Viktor tells him as he wraps his arms around Yuuri's waist. Yuuri shivers as his mouth brushes up the back of his neck.
"Um, not that kind of help," Yuuri says, hoping Viktor doesn't notice if his voice is a little higher than normal.
Viktor steps back and smirks at him. Because, of course, he knows exactly what effect he has on Yuuri.
But Yuuri will not be deterred. He carries his box into Viktor's bedroom. He sets it down on the floor and turns to the dresser as Viktor plops down on the bed.
Yuuri reaches to open the third drawer down, but then hesitates. Despite everything, he's worried it's not empty anymore. That he lost his chance and Viktor filled it back up with his own clothes. It's been a week since their talk on the bridge, which means it's over a month since Viktor showed him the drawer he'd emptied for him.
He glances back at Viktor, who's started digging through his box.
"Are you going to ask me?" Viktor asks without looking up.
"Yes, I still want you to use the drawer. Yes, I still want you here. No, I do not want this shampoo in my bathroom." Viktor pulls a bottle out of the box and narrows his eyes at the label. "Where did you even get this?"
"If I say the dollar store, will you judge me?" Yuuri asks.
"Immensely," Viktor says. He opens the cap and wrinkles his nose.
"Hey, you said you liked the way my hair smelled," Yuuri complains.
"Apparently despite this insult to hair everywhere," Viktor says, dropping it back into the box.
Yuuri puts a few of his regular clothes in the drawer, along with sweatpants and one of the shirts he sleeps in. Even if, to be honest, he's probably going to keep wearing Viktor's shirts when he stays over. If only for the heated look Viktor gets when he sees him in them.
Maybe he'll sleep in his own if he's tired or has a headache and doesn't want Viktor pouncing on him. That could happen someday. Theoretically.
Yuuri closes the drawer and turns back around to Viktor.
"About time," Viktor says. Yuuri can see the smile in his eyes. "Do you have any idea how long that drawer's been empty?"
"Do I want to know?"
Viktor hums. "Probably not."
He grabs Yuuri's hands and tugs him over to the bed. "Are you coming to join me now?"
"One sec, I just have to put this in the bathroom." Yuuri kneels down to grab the shampoo bottle back out of the box.
But Viktor gets to it first and tosses it all the way to the kitchen trash can with... surprisingly good aim for an ice skater.
"You'll use mine from now on," Viktor tells him.
"I don't know if I want to risk it. It seems your shampoo is causing hair loss?"
"Yuuuuri!" Viktor throws himself back on the bed and whines, "Take it back."
He climbs up over Viktor, laughing.
"So... want to test out your bed?" he asks.
Viktor sighs. "That line is only going to work on me once. You already used your quota, solnishko."
"Really?" Yuuri asks. "Is that once per lifetime or once per bed? Because I haven't used it on my own yet. And one of us might get a new bed someday..."
"You're just lucky you're pretty," Viktor grumbles. He grabs Yuuri's thighs and hauls him up.