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The Start Of Life

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For the fifth time in one day, Yuuri found his ears muffled by his husband’s strong arms. He was very much beginning to regret their ‘little bet’. Inadvertently, he’d accidentally cursed himself to a whole week of extortionate luxury rather than just one day. Yuuri sighed, eyes fixing shut as the flight details were announced in Japanese, and then in English, around the airport. Finally satisfied, Viktor released his grip, though he didn’t take his hands off Yuuri completely. The younger man found himself sinking back into the touch peacefully.

“Why can’t you just tell me?” Yuuri almost whined. For where they were going, he was already probably horrifically underdressed, and he’d tried to not look casual.

Viktor pressed a sweet kiss to his ear. “Yuuri, the bet was that you get to plan the wedding, and I get to plan the honeymoon. You won, remember?”

“I didn’t think you’d make it a secret!” Yuuri protested. Beating Viktor and winning gold, whilst a highlight of his career, had had a more important meaning for him. The bickering had started on the sofa in their St Petersburg apartment. Being typical of himself, Viktor had been desperate to make the wedding a huge deal. As in, ‘the biggest celebrity wedding of the year’, big deal. With the Russian’s puppy dog eyes and begging, Yuuri had nearly caved in, until the film crew were mentioned. No, he’d put his foot down. The only way to settle the dispute, it turned out after a month of bickering about it, was to skate for it in their next major competition together. Viktor hadn’t even been mad, Yuuri remembered fondly. It had been an intimate wedding on the shores of Hasetsu for him, and excessive honeymoon for Viktor. At least, that’s what Yuuri assumed it was going to be.

He wasn’t surprised, then, when Viktor had finally removed his hands from Yuuri’s eyes (which was a ridiculous measure considering Viktor could have just taken off his glasses had he wanted to obscure Yuuri’s vision), that he was faced with a first class seat. Yuuri knew to keep his mouth shut. For some incomprehensible reason, he’d figured out long ago, letting Viktor buy him extravagant things made the man happy. He’d stopped questioning it, for now. Well, at least the seat was comfortable. The amount of complimentary privacy features attached to the seat clued Yuuri that they must be going a greater distance than a few hours. At least he could cross a few locations off his mental list.

Though they did usually fly economy to competitions, Yuuri soon found himself settling into the same comfortable routine with Viktor. He even had a travel bag and everything. God, they really were getting old. Usually, the older man would be asleep already, using Yuuri’s shoulder as a pillow. Not today, though, it seemed. No, Viktor was practically giddy, like a small child going to see Santa. Yuuri made the mental addition of ‘Lapland’ to the list of potential destinations. He gripped Yuuri’s hand, stroking his fingers against the golden band that adorned it. Before the moment could last, though, an air hostess walked past with a tray.

“Complimentary drink, gentlemen?”

Before Yuuri could even open his mouth, Viktor was violently nodding. “A glass of champagne for me and my new husband!”

“Viktor!” Yuuri hissed, alarmed by the volume Viktor had spoken at, as if he was trying to announce it to every other passenger.

“What?” He looked annoyed. “I married the most beautiful man in the world and I want everyone to know about it!”

If the blood had rushed to Yuuri’s cheeks any faster, he probably would have fainted. All the same, he squeezed his husband’s hand as the hostess smiled sweetly at them and moved on to the next row of seats.


 

To say Yuuri was surprised by his surroundings was an understatement. He’d figured out that they were in Russia pretty quickly once the plane had touched down, given the familiar look of Cyrillic characters surrounding them in the airport, an odd decision for a honeymoon considering that they lived there. Still though, considering Viktor had spent the entire flight very much awake, he’d been too tired to question it much.

Now though? They were in a hired car, completely in the middle of nowhere. Only the occasional other car blurred past, Yuuri noted, and there was no real sign of civilisation other than the road and the occasional electric pylon. He was only fully shaken out of his sleep with the extremely loud burst of ‘SHALL WE SKATE?’ from his headphones. Yuuri jerked and immediately pressed his fingers to the volume button to turn it down, though Viktor hadn’t seemed to notice.

Yuuri feigned sleep, content to watch Viktor, despite the current awkward positioning of his neck. He turned the volume down all the way, giving him the ability to hear Viktor hum. It was out of tune, but Yuuri recognised it as the music from one of Viktor’s past short programmes. Okay, he knew exactly what it was, it was favorited on the long playlist he’d amassed over the years. Viktor had skated it the season after his debut, when he still had the signature long hair. It had been decorated with extortionate precision, accompanied by his strikingly blood red costume. Yuuri remembered how powerful Viktor had looked, despite portraying a tortured soul in his routine. The music, ‘In The Hall Of The Mountain King’, had been frantic and mad, a world away from the grace and poise of his previous season. A score of over a hundred at the Grand Prix finals that year, Yuuri recalled (he did know the exact figure but he wasn’t going to admit that, even to himself). Current Viktor was just as powerful, if not more so, even if he was only tapping at the steering wheel currently rather than skating his heart out. Miniscule as it was, Yuuri still noticed the twitch in his muscles. Quad flip here, into the step routine, combination-

“Yuuri!” Viktor said cheerfully. “You’re awake!”

He would have missed the peaceful moment, but Viktor’s smile could light up the darkest of rooms. Who was Yuuri to deny him conversation? He sat up slowly, stretching his muscles out. “Mmm, how much longer?”

Viktor chuckled. “Not long now.”

Yuuri hummed softly to himself, reaching for the AUX chord. It was a nice ambience to have in the background, until Yuuri realised that the actual playlist was ‘2015 skate season’ rather than ‘The King and The Skater OST’, when ‘Intoxicated’ filled the small car. It had been Christophe Giacometti’s fault, entirely, that he and Viktor had yet to consummate their marriage. His intention, probably, to get Yuuri drunk again, but he’d been so tired from the last minute frantic wedding preparations that with one glass of champagne, he may as well have fallen asleep right then and there.

They sat in comfortable silence for the most part, the chosen playlist supplying the both with enough memories and thoughts to fill their heads. Even when the SatNav lady told them in Russian (Yuuri could speak and understand the language well enough now) to turn off to seemingly nowhere, Yuuri couldn’t find the energy to question it again. It really was the middle of nowhere though, a whole side of Russia Yuuri had never seen before. There wasn’t a seagull in sight, for one, they were so far inland. It was different from Sochi too, and Moscow for that matter. The unmaintained road cut straight through farm land, seemingly going on for forever.

About half an hour later, and after many random turns, the now dirt track they were on finally supplied the view of what looked like a half abandoned farm house. It must have been right, as Viktor parked the car without a word. Yuuri was honestly stunned. He’d been expecting some five star hotel on a tropical island, something so obnoxiously Viktor. And then it hit him; this was Viktor too, but not Viktor’s popular persona, no, something deeper, something he kept hidden from most of the world.

Viktor’s fingers drummed nervously on the steering wheel, before he finally undid his seatbelt and reached for the door. “I wanted you to meet my babushka.”

Why was he so nervous? That was entirely unlike Viktor. Yuuri simply smiled and nodded.

“Okay.”

The sharpness of the winter air stuck Yuuri, who was entirely overdressed for this situation. He folded his arms around himself, trying to keep the body heat in. Viktor was right behind him, carrying a bottle of wine he’d brought, unopened still from the wedding, surprisingly. It was only when Viktor firmly knocked on the door that his mind translated the Russian word.

It swung open, revealing a small, elderly woman. A small, elderly woman, Yuuri should add, that managed to lift Viktor clean off his feet into a bone crushing hug.

Vitya! It’s been so long!”

Baba-” Viktor responded weakly, trying to breath. Grandma.

She released him and crossed her arms. Raising an eyebrow, she asked, “and who is this?”

Viktor composed himself properly. “Baba, this is my-“ he hesitated, “this is my Yuuri.”

Viktor’s babushka, who Yuuri immediately identified as a terrifying woman, pushed him clean into the door frame, and scanned Yuuri from head to foot, with an intensity as if she was doing some kind of calculation in her head. Finally, she deemed her analysis complete, and then it was Yuuri who was the subject of the winding hug. He’d thought Viktor had been strong, with the way he lifted Yuuri whenever they skated together… it was clear where he’d inherited it from.

She eyed Viktor, her expression almost cross, and released Yuuri.

Honestly Vitya, you let him come here like this? You were raised better that this, letting him freeze!”

On instinct, Yuuri immediately jumped in “-it’s my fault, I should have dressed better-“

“-Nonsense!” She smiled, and then stood aside from the door in an inviting gesture. “You’re much too kind on my Vitya. He needs someone to keep him in check.”

Baba,” Viktor practically groaned, the hint of a blush rising on his cheeks. Still, he stepped in, meekly handing over the bottle of wine. “It’s from the wedding,” he said softly.

The woman’s face visibly tightened, but she nodded and took it, swinging the door shut behind them. The house’s interior was… small. Cramped, even. More importantly, though, entirely not what Yuuri had been expecting. It hadn’t seemed farfetched, he supposed, that he’d always assumed that Viktor had grown up in some cold stone mansion somewhere. Yuuri knew first-hand the costs of being a figure skater, and it was not always a job one earned a comfortable living in. Certainly not as much as Viktor did. He’d always assumed it came from elsewhere. He thought back to when they were planning the wedding, noticing but not bringing attention to the lack of ‘Nikiforov’ written anywhere on Viktor’s revised list of guests.

Sit, sit, “ she ushered them into a living room, heated by an open wood fire that returned the warmth back into Yuuri’s bones. “I’ll make you both tea.”

And then they were alone again, silent except for the crackling of the burning logs. Yuuri decided that he liked this place, liked it a lot. Though it wasn’t extravagantly decorated, it felt comfortable. Lived in. A home. It was so unlike their apartment, at least, their apartment before Yuuri moved in. Before Yuuri had come, it had looked like something out of a showroom, save for Makkachin’s dog bed and a few of Viktor’s books strewn around the place. No, this house was different. The walls were stained, for one, not perfectly painted white. Yuuri smiled to himself when he caught notice of little pencil dashes up the side of a wall, most likely a height chart, inconsistent in location, as if Viktor had been shifted across after a certain height. The imperfection was wonderful, so rare for Viktor. On the wall opposite them was a small TV, one of the few reminders Yuuri had seen of the decade they were in.

“I grew up here,” Viktor said sweetly against Yuuri’s head, switching back to English momentarily. “My parents had to work, and I was too young to go to school, so I spent most of my days here.”

Yuuri knew, of course, that he wasn’t expected to say anything. He had no desire to, not when Viktor was like this, a rare case of him actually being completely open and almost tender with Yuuri. Still, he nodded, an encouragement for Viktor to go on.

Viktor smiled against Yuuri’s cheek, pecking him there quickly, before sitting back. “It looked exactly the same as this, except my Dedushka would be sitting right there, in that chair,” he pointed.

At that moment, Viktor’s babushka wandered back in with a tea tray, setting it down in front of them. Next to the cups of tea, Yuuri noticed what appeared to be homemade pryaniki, a biscuit he’d only managed to try a few times since he’d lived in Russia. He reached for it, the spices exploding on his tongue. It was very good. His thoughts exploded with ‘vkusno’. 

T-these are incredible-“ he hesitated, unsure of how to address the older woman.

Please,” she sat down, “you must call me Baba. You’re a Nikiforov now.”

Yuuri smiled and blushed, dropping his gaze to floor. “Thank you.”

The room descended into silence again as Yuuri nibbled at his food, before Viktor cleared his throat. “I have photos!”

Yuuri was shocked. “How?” He slipped back into English. “The photographer won’t have prints for a week.”

Viktor chuckled softly. “Yes, my love, but your best man was also Phichit, of all people. They’re all over his Instagram.”

He blanched slightly, leaning in with as much curiosity as Viktor’s- no, he was going to do this right- with as much curiosity as Baba, as Viktor pulled out his phone and opened the app.

Phichit+chu posted
Phichit+chu posted
Phichut+chu posted

There were a series of photos, the first tagged with the line ‘#Katsuforovwedding spam incoming! #viktuuri #wedding #myOTP with @v-nikiforov @katsukiyuuri’. The photo was to be expected, their first kiss after they said their vows. It was pretty chaste, in Yuuri’s opinion, but after the whole ambiguous ‘hug or kiss’ fiasco after the Cup of China, he didn’t even want to think about the number of likes and shares it had.

The next photo was one from before the wedding, a candid shot he hadn’t even known was being taken. In it, he was glaring at his own reflection in the mirror, hair dishevelled from his early morning soak in the onsen as he held up the blue tie to his chest that Viktor hated so much. Phichit’s tag line read ‘will Viktor still marry him if he wears it? Cast your votes!!!’, most of which, Yuuri glanced, read ‘no’ in the comments section.

Another caught his attention, making his heart practically burst. He was going to kill Phichit, maybe, considering his best friend had sworn to never release the dreaded banquet photos. The one he’d chosen was tame enough, it depicted Yuuri dipping Viktor sweetly at the end of their dance (admittedly Yuuri also had it saved on his phone, and sometimes he’d find himself staring at it, willing himself to remember that night). The photo had been edited into a split screen however, paired with a very similar image from their first dance together as husbands. Yuuri was amazed, in both images, they looked so happy… The tag line was sweet too, reading simply ‘then vs now’, accompanied by heart emoticons.

Yuuri sipped at the expertly made tea in relative silence, interjecting a comment here and there. Viktor’s eyes were sparkling so bright, he wondered when the last time he’d seen Baba in person was. He was babbling, recounting every random story he could think of, even the slightly embarrassing moments, like when Minako had spilled champagne all over Yakov’s shoes, and then proceeded to fall into a pathetic attempt at the Japanese dogeza.

Baba chuckled sweetly, before shifting her gaze. “Oh Vitya, if only I could have been there.”

Viktor met her eyes sadly. “It was too much, Baba. We had it filmed, though! Professionally, of course, too, but,” he paused, “I wanted to show you.”

The video Viktor pulled up was shaky at best to start off with, you could barely even make out the two at the altar, but then whoever was holding the camera shifted their hand, finger and thumbs slipping to cover the camera lens and the microphone.

Mila,” Viktor muttered, face visibly folding.

Yuuri reached out for his arm. “It doesn’t matter, we had it filmed properly.”

In a heartbeat, sudden as an earthquake, Viktor’s expression completely changed and he jumped to his feet, pulling Yuuri with him before he had time to properly put down his cup, resulting in a small amount of split tea. Yuuri knew this expression well, it was Viktor’s ‘I’ve just had a great idea’ face.

We can just say our vows again, right here!”

From her seat, Baba just laughed. “You’ve changed a lot Vitya, ‘that love stuff is stupid!’ you’d tell me.”

Yuuri, personally, found that amusing. “You sound just like Yurio.”

Yuuri,” Viktor changed the subject quickly, taking Yuuri’s face into his. “I believe we started like this-“

x

Never, not even before a competition, had Yuuri felt nerves like this. His heart was thumping so hard against his ribcage that it hurt, and his stomach was contorting itself into nauseating knots. But then all he had to do was look up, into those brilliant cerulean eyes of his fiancé’s, and he was grounded again.

“Yuuri,” Viktor breathed, not audible to anybody else but them. “There are so many things I want to say to you, a life time of vows. But today, I can’t find any other words than these, the ones that linked us together right from the beginning.” Not dropping Yuuri’s gaze, not even for a moment, Viktor began. “Stammi vicino, no te ne andare, hop aura di perderti.” He took Yuuri’s hand in his and kissed the golden band on his finger. They’d seen no need to take them off to exchange them again. Viktor looked at him again, smirked, and added “Onegai?”, all the while fluttering his eyelids.

If they hadn’t been in the middle of their wedding ceremony, Yuuri would have kissed him right then and there. Instead, his eyes welled with tears, which he attempted to force down. In truth, Yuuri hadn’t been able to write any words that truly expressed how much he loved Viktor. How funny that he’d settled on the next best thing, the next lines of the very song that Viktor had just quoted to him.

Yuuri swallowed, trying to remember the pronounciation of the foreign words. “Le tue mani, le tue gambe, le mie mani, le mie gambe, e i battiti del cuore, si fondono tra loro.” He hadn’t been able to look at Viktor when he said the words, but when he met his look, he saw tears welling up in the corner of his eyes, too. Yuuri kissed the ring on Viktor’s finger, before deciding to smile and add “pozhaluysta” in return.

A clearing of a throat-

“Do you take each other as husband and husband?”

“Partiamo insieme,” Viktor whispered.

“Ora sono pronto,” Yuuri completed their duet.

x

“- It happened almost exactly like that,” Viktor got out.

Yuuri was finally brought back to himself. He’d forgotten himself, so deep in the euphoria of reliving his union to Viktor. The emotions were as powerful as they’d been the day before. In that instant, Yuuri knew that they would probably say their vows often. Though they were in Italian, they rolled off the tongue easier than any other words Yuuri knew, except for maybe ‘Viktor’. Saying them felt as natural as breathing.

“Vitya, you know I only understood one word of that.”

Baba’s sudden comment ripped them out of the moment, causing an amount of laughter from the both of them.

We said it like we did at the wedding, Baba,” Viktor explained. “And I know you know the song! Unless you’ve stopped watching me skate! Your only grandson!” He flopped dramatically to the floor, completely still.

She looked over at Yuuri. “He still does this?”

Yuuri sighed. “Most of the time I just let him lie there until he gets bored.”

Baba patted the seat next to her, which Yuuri graciously took. “And here I was, thinking he’d grown up so much!” Her eyes raked over Yuuri again. “I don’t know that much about you, Yuuri, aside from your skating. Congratulations on your win at the Worlds, by the way.”

He beat me to do it!” Viktor whined from the floor.

“You’re still the Pride of Russia!” Baba snapped, but even Yuuri could tell there was no malice in it, only deep affection. She turned her attention back to Yuuri. “May I call you Yura?”

Y-yes?” Viktor had never really given him a nickname, knowing that the shortening of names wasn’t really commonplace in Japan.

Her smile was wide, resembling the subtle heart shape he’d grown to love from Viktor’s own smile. “I’d like to know about you, Yura.”

It was almost hard to catch himself from going into his well-rehearsed ‘I’m Katsuki Yuuri, a Dime a Dozen figure skater certified by the JSF’ speech, but he held his tongue. “I used to admire Viktor very much,” he admitted, “after I saw his skating at the junior-“ Yuuri told his story as best he could, his Russian still not fluent, but Baba didn’t seem to mind. She hung off every word that Yuuri said, all the way up to his Grand Prix failure years ago now. At some point, Viktor joined them back on the seat, listening just as intently, though he knew and had heard the story a thousand times before.

I shouldn’t keep you much longer,” Baba said once the story was done, and the remaining tea was cold. She stood, shaking with effort, but also determination.

Yuuri almost wanted to protest. He had the opportunity to finally find out some actual details about Viktor’s youth, rather than the shallow, fact recounting stories he’d read in magazines. But Viktor was already standing too, ready to go back out into the cold.

Viktor said something in Russian then, purposely pronounced too quickly for Yuuri to really be able to grasp. That was frustrating, and not something Viktor would often do. Still, Baba looked pleased, and replied just as fast.

“Yura,” she slowed her speech down, “please let me fetch you a coat. Even if my Vitya thinks figure skating makes you immune to the cold, I do know better.”

“Okay,” Yuuri found himself saying, as she went upstairs whistling.

Moments after she was gone, Viktor draped himself over Yuuri’s back, hugging him tightly from behind as his arms gripped around his waist, his chin resting comfortably on the younger man’s shoulder. “There’s something I really want to show you,” he said. “Will you let me?”

“Of course,” Yuuri melted into the familiar touch, his senses over loaded with all that was Viktor.

His husband’s arms untangled themselves when Baba appeared once more, heavy winter coat in arms. “It should fit,” she said, “this belonged to Vitya’s deduskha when he was young.”

Shyly, Yuuri allowed her to put the garment on his frame. Sure, it was a little big, but it was snug and incredibly warm, filled with a rich scent. It was almost an honour to wear something so personal to the Nikiforov family, his family now, he supposed.

How do I look, Viktor?” Yuuri practically twirled, though it was hard with the weight of the coat.

His husband’s mouth was practically agape. “Wonderful, Yuuri!” Unable to stop himself, Viktor kissed him on the mouth right then and there, a mess of teeth and force with little skill.

“Viktor!”

Baba didn’t seem to mind, even as Viktor began to pepper kisses and other adjectives all over Yuuri’s flushed cheeks.

“Vitya,” she said, “You’ll be coming again before you go back to St Petersburg, yes?”

This time, it was Viktor’s turn to wrap the woman into a suffocating hug. “Of course, Baba! I’ve missed you so much over these years!”

“Be good to him, Vitya,” she commanded. “Yura, it was a pleasure to finally meet you.”


 

Yuuri was mildly surprised by the fact that they weren’t getting back into the car to drive off to some fancy hotel somewhere nearby (not that there had seemed to be many of those). Perhaps this had just been a convenient visit on the way? Regardless, Yuuri was incredibly grateful. All he’d ever wanted was for Viktor to let him in, to trust him, and now he’d shown he did.

Instead of getting back into the driver’s seat however, Viktor just dug around their plentiful bags and suitcases, finally locating a duffel. He wouldn’t say what it was, instead just slinging it around his shoulder as he took hold of Yuuri’s hand and lead him around the back of the house. It was rather unkempt, pretty aged, but that made it all the more interesting. Wild geese waddled past them, paying no real attention.

Yuuri could see it now, clearly in his mind. A little Viktor running around, not quite as graceful as the man he’d grown to be… He noticed all the little chips and scrapes in the walls, wondering if Viktor had created any of them in his youth. There was one pretty low down, just at the side of the house. He imagined his husband, no older than six, riding his first bike, but not knowing how to break, and so going straight into it.

The backyard didn’t really have a boundary, instead going straight out to the vast fields. Currently, they were covered in a very thin layer of snow and ice. Knowing Viktor, he was probably guilty of running out too far in them during the summer, getting lost in the tall grass. 

His theory was all but confirmed. “I played here a lot,” Viktor began, “when Deduskha was still around, and Baba was younger… I was the worst child.”

Yuuri smiled wide and genuine. “I couldn’t picture you any other way.”

Viktor squeezed their linked hands. “We used to walk this way a lot, when we were bored of the house and there was no work to be done.”

Before he lost his nerve, Yuuri spoke. “You seem close to Baba, why have you never mentioned her before?”

Viktor exhaled shakily. “I don’t like talking about my family, I’d rather leave it in the past.” He took Yuuri’s hand to his lips again, kissing the ring. “But you’re my family now, and you should know.”

“V-viktor?” Yuuri noticed his husband’s eyes glaze over.

“What if,” Viktor thought weakly, “you asked me questions?”

“Okay,” Yuuri agreed, unsure of where to even start. “Why did you spend so much time here, with your grandparents?”

He allowed himself to be lead on their path by Viktor, the route apparently firmly implanted to his memory. “My parents were very young,” he began, “my mother had to go back to work almost as soon as I was born. Their hours were very long, so one way or another, Baba and Deduskha practically raised me.”

Now was not the time to express any sympathy, Yuuri knew that. The painful memory of the night before his free skate at the 2015 Grand Prix Finals came to mind. When Viktor was vulnerable, even an outstretched hand could be taken as a threat.

“When was the last time you saw Baba?”

“Hm?” Viktor was already lost in his own thoughts. “Oh, years ago now. I came back for Deduskha’s funeral.” He smiled at the bittersweet memory. “You should have seen Yakov when he found out I’d gone- I had to pull out of an international competition. He shouted at me for an hour straight, wouldn’t look at me for days after… It was worth it, though.” The last sentence was quieter, like an afterthought.

This time, it was Yuuri’s turn to squeeze their joined hands. “I wonder what people would think if they knew the full story. Most of the media think-“

“-they think it because I let them,” Viktor bit out, though Yuuri could tell the anger was not directed at him. He took a deep breath. “I reinvented myself, I suppose. That’s what my parents wanted, after all. ‘Vitya, we’ve got a great opportunity!’ and ‘Viktor! We need to run away from this place now!’ St Petersburg became my home then, eventually just as much as right here.”

Yuuri clenched his free hand into a fist. “Why didn’t you stay?”

Viktor relaxed fully. “I was just as much their son. They made an adventure sound so exciting, and I was still very young… Besides, there were some bad memories here. My father was right, anyway, they did make a name for themselves, after a while.”

“And you?”

He sighed. “After Yakov ‘discovered me’, it was his suggestion that I live with him, after I started winning competitions. The apartment was much too far away from the rink, he needed to oversee my training in greater depth.” Viktor paused, stopping them from their walk. The mild air stung Yuuri’s exposed cheeks whilst his husband’s breath came out in a visible warm cloud.

“Unsurprisingly, my parents didn’t object to it. They saw it as a chance to take more hours, bring more work home. I haven’t seen them since Deduskha’s funeral either, but at least I write to Baba. Or at least, she writes to me.”

Yuuri knew what Viktor needed, knew it with absolute clarity. He wrapped his arms around his husband, tough considering the weight of the coat, and buried his face in the crook of Viktor’s neck. It only took a few seconds before Viktor returned the sentiment. Sometimes, things were better left unsaid.

“Thank you,” Yuuri whispered as they broke apart.

Viktor smiled. “It isn’t time for sadness, Yuuri, and-“ he stopped, “-it’s just like I remember!”

Directly ahead of them, in a small clearly like setting, was a sizeable lake. In the summer, Yuuri imagined, it was probably a hub for local wildlife. Oasis like, even, a stark contrast to the miles upon miles of field. But it was winter, the ground was frozen, and so, Yuuri realised, was the lake. Viktor looked absolutely giddy, taking Yuuri by the hand and breaking into a run.

“Yes! It’s exactly the same!” Without warning, he look Yuuri into his arms, lifting him off the ground in a familiar spin they’d practised more times than Yuuri could count.

Honestly, Yuuri was more shocked than anything else. “This was what you wanted to show me?”

“Yes!” He jumped on the spot. “Oh Yuuri, you don’t understand. This is where I learnt to skate!”

All at once, the ground was swept away from beneath his feet. He was floating. Drowning. Yuuri couldn’t tell the difference. This was incredibly significant. Having been Viktor’s fan (read, low key stalker) for years, he knew very well it was the one question Viktor used to avoid. He’d get asked countless times of course, ‘how did you learn to skate?’ or ‘where was the great legend Viktor Nikiforov born?’, but Viktor would always brush it off, deflect the question. Nobody had ever really understood why, generally concluding that Viktor was a man shrouded in mystery. And now Viktor was telling him, plain Yuuri, the answer so many people had been dying to hear. Viktor was sharing it with him. Yuuri felt dizzy, inadequate.

Viktor dropped the bag from his shoulder into the snow, producing his own signature pair old golden bladed skates. Yuuri hadn’t noticed Viktor packing them at all. Everything made sense now. This was Viktor sharing the purest, most intimate part of himself with Yuuri, and it was an infinite amount better than some holiday in the Bahamas laced with extravagant gifts.

Carefully, his husband laced up the skates, wiggled his toes for a moment, and then made his way to the bank. He made sure to test its thickness by pressing down on it first, muttering something about it feeling just the same as before. Yuuri sat himself by the bag, watching in silence. Viktor removed his skate guards, gently placing them in the snow, and took to the ice.

It went without saying that there was no way he could achieve the same level of fluidity as he could on a rink, the ice was much too rough for that, but he was still the most graceful thing Yuuri had ever laid his eyes upon. Viktor started slow, in pure enjoyment of his homecoming, doing lazy yet skilful laps around the small lake. Once he’d deemed it was safe enough, he started putting on a show, a masterful demonstration of various positions. Even on the rough ice, the glide of his spread eagle was nothing short of stunning, his Ina Bauer exquisite, his biellmann spin divine. It felt almost sinful to witness something of such astonishing beauty. Viktor was at peace, skating to what he wanted, in the place he’d first fallen in love with the ice.

“Your skates are in the bag, Yuuri!” He called out, not stopping his performance for even a second.

Yuuri almost didn’t want to, to ruin such a wonderful sight would be like committing a crime. He wanted to keep watching Viktor like this, so free of all his troubles. He’d married a force of nature, a living and breathing typhoon, and he had no clue how to deal with the fact.

When it became apparent, as Viktor sent a curious glance in Yuuri’s direction, that he didn’t want to disturb the display, Viktor stopped in his tracks. Yuuri would have verbally protested, had Viktor not skated into the centre of the rink. He was a still for a moment, before going into a position that Yuuri knew all too well. Aside from the gentle whistling of the wind, and the sound of skates scraping the surface, the sound that filled Yuuri’s ears was a gentle hum of Yuuri’s own short program music. Skipping out on the jumps for obvious reasons, Viktor began to skate to his program. Yuuri knew exactly what he was trying to do; seduce him onto the ice. And god, it was working. Yuuri fished around in the bag for his skates, pulling them onto his feet as fast as he could. Once they were secure, he shrugged off the heavy coat, removed his glasses, and stood exposed to the cold in the snow. In the time it had taken, Viktor had reached the end of the choreography. But no, this wasn’t the routine. The final steps, his husband altered on a whim. Instead of the jerking of arms, which signified the beautiful woman casting aside the playboy, Viktor instead went into slow, lazy spins, slowly making his way over to where Yuuri was watching.

He extended a hand. “Will you dance with me, Yuuri?”

A verbal reply was unnecessary. Yuuri accepted it, allowing himself to be pulled onto the ice. The surface took a moment to get used to, but Yuuri soon found himself relaxing, the ice’s beauty filling him to his core.

“What should we skate to?”

Viktor kissed his cheek. “Let’s skate to us, Yuuri.”

He was confused for a moment. “We have no music.”

“With you,” Viktor murmured, “we don’t need any. We’ll create the music.”

“Together.” Yuuri was going to kiss him then, but the chance was snatched from him in an instant, lead quickly into an underarm spin by Viktor.

Skating as a pair with Viktor was one of the most natural things Yuuri had ever experienced. It was almost like blinking or breathing, something he could do with ease without even putting a moment of conscious thought into it. Admittedly, they’d done it as a joke the first time, a part of Yuuri’s warm up all the way back in Hasetsu. They’d both been staggered at just how easy it had been, as if their bodies were built to meet the other. And then had been his exhibition skate at the Grand Prix Finals, where Viktor had joined him on the ice and their bodies had sung their perfect duet together.

This time, they weren’t attempting anything that resembled an actual routine. No, they were just following each other, finding the right place to fit as they glided around the ice. Yuuri lost track of who was leading and at what moment the roles switched. It didn’t matter of course, they blended together perfectly.

Somewhere along the way Yuuri found himself with his arms outstretched, somewhat like wings. Viktor’s arms were wrapped around his chest, his body pressed up carefully behind him. Yuuri bent his head back, baring his neck far enough back that he could rest it against Viktor’s shoulder and still stare up at his face. Viktor’s hand went up to cup Yuuri’s face, encouraging him to come closer. Forget about sex, or kisses, or anything else someone might claim as the peak of physical closeness. Sharing that eye contact with Viktor, right then, as they shared the most private and personal moment Viktor could have offered up, Yuuri knew that this was the most intimate moment of his life, and most of his life hadn’t even happened to him yet. Viktor had laid his soul bare, and Yuuri had followed. The weight of it was so overwhelming Yuuri didn’t know how to even cope with the euphoria coursing through his veins, so he closed the distance between them.

Viktor used the force of his skates to stop their momentum, returning the kiss with vigour. The press of his lips was gentle though, and he made no attempt to deepen it, showing Yuuri that he was feeling the exact same things. He drowned and basked in their emotion, the dance coming to its climax and then slowly fading out into no more than a sweet echo.

Silently, Yuuri span on the spot so he could face Viktor and wrap his arms around his neck, though he made no effort to initiate another kiss.

“Where have you been all my life, Katsuki Yuuri?” Viktor whispered.

Yuuri couldn’t stop his beam if he tried. “Katsuki-Nikiforov Yuuri,” he corrected.

At his words, he was tackled. Viktor purposely distributed his weight in a controlled fall, cupping the back of Yuuri’s head to prevent injury. The suddenness of the move knocked the wind out of Yuuri as he lay sprawled out on the ice, completely at Viktor’s mercy. Despite his opportunity, the kiss they shared was again chaste, full of more meaning than passion.

“Thank you for sharing this with me,” Yuuri finally said, hoping to convey just how much it meant to him.

“Thank you for letting me share it with you.”

And then they were kissing again, melting into each other despite the cold. Viktor lay half on top of Yuuri, palm braced firmly against the ice so as not to crush his husband. The press of his lips burnt against his, fusing them together. It was still fairly innocent though, much more about showing one another words unsaid than about arousal. That could come at any time, as many times as possible in the future. This was now, and the only time, Yuuri was sure, that he could ever feel quite this was all at once. He closed his eyes, wanting to savour every single moment of it.


 

Something had changed between them entirely once they’d finally left the ice, banished away by the early winter sunset. Yuuri had been so sure, undeniably sure, that there was no way he could love Viktor more than he did as they said their vows on their wedding day. Yet again, Viktor Nikiforov (-Katsuki, now) had managed to surprise him beyond his wildest imagination.

They’d clutched at each other the entire way back to the car, unwilling to be separated in the slightest. Even when Viktor had to concentrate on driving, Yuuri had kept a hand firmly on Viktor’s body at all times. It wasn’t like he was afraid he’d fade away or anything, not at all, it was more that he didn’t want this moment; their energy, their connection, to end.

Yuuri had been wrong after all about the hotel. Rather than turning back onto the actual road, they’d continued on the seemingly endless collection of dirt tracks, the way barely even made visible by the thin layer of snow. Neither of the pair could have ripped the smiles from their faces if they’d tried to. Any semblance of nerves he may have sensed coming off Viktor were completely nulled.

When they parked the car again, it was in area barely populated more than Baba’s house. If Yuuri had to describe it, it resembled more of an outpost than a village. The houses were small and rugged, none with a second story. Once Viktor had flicked the lights off, it looked eerily lifeless, like an image from a photograph rather than something that was really in front of him.

The separation stung as they went opposite directions out of the car, meeting again as they hauled their vast luggage from it. At least with the amount they were carrying, Yuuri wouldn’t have to brace himself for Viktor suddenly deciding he wanted to carry him over the threshold or something. Viktor directed them to the house furthest away from the car. It took a few trips back and forth, but eventually their possessions were all there, laid neatly beside the front door.

Viktor pressed a palm to the wood, remembering it, Yuuri assumed, before moving to unlock it. The door creaked open, revealing an interior just as icy and dark as the wind was outside. Viktor picked up some of the suitcases, making the move to inside, gesturing for Yuuri to follow. The architecture was similar to Baba’s house, he realised, though the general atmosphere was worlds away.

His husband brought the final bags in. “Nobody really comes here that much anymore,” he said.

“I like it,” Yuuri admitted. Truthfully, he did. It was a part of Viktor, and therefore a part of him, too.

Viktor kissed him sweetly on the forehead. “I’ll make the fire”

Considering the temperature in the room, Yuuri should have definitely let him, but the walk to the house had been almost unbearable, and even then they’d been practically shoulder to shoulder. Tonight, Yuuri couldn’t be apart from Viktor any longer. He needed to have his hands on him, his response to Viktor’s gesture that couldn’t be conveyed with mere words.

Yuuri’s hands fisted in Viktor’s coat, yanking him back towards his body with desperate force. “There are better ways of getting warm.”

Yuuri almost gasped at his own boldness. Had he really just said that? The heat rose to his cheeks and he wanted to hide, practically ashamed of himself. It took him a moment to meet Viktor’s eyes, registering an expression that could only be described as awe. Inadvertently, Yuuri realised, he had met Viktor in the middle. His husband had laid his rawest emotions out, and now Yuuri had responded by offering his physicality.

With this thought in mind, he found the courage to press his lips against Viktor’s, eventually winding their bodies flush against each other like a vice. He wouldn’t call it lust, exactly, that fuelled their touch. No, it was a similar feeling to when they’d been on the ice together, but at the same time somehow the complete opposite.

Viktor’s hands wound their way underneath the heavy coat, gripping at Yuuri’s shoulders. With one graceful move he pushed up and back, causing the coat to fall neatly onto the floor. Yuuri didn’t even register the loss of heat, simply wrapping himself up even closer in the older man’s arms. Their mouths clashed against each other in a way Yuuri had never really experienced before. Even their first kiss at the Cup of China, which had taken place in mid-air, had felt more practised than this. Viktor, he knew first hand, was an incredible kisser, full of skill and passion. And during their relationship, Yuuri knew he’d at least gained some skill, and also the ability to take Viktor apart if he felt like it. This, though? It was like they’d both forgotten how, only guided by their mutual instinct to take each other in, practically consuming each other. It was messy and rough, and probably wouldn’t be that pleasurable to anybody else, but in that moment it was perfection to him. The world faded away, leaving only their two entities to tangle and fill the void.

They collapsed against each other, slowly sinking to their knees as the kiss went on, Yuuri’s glasses falling off at some point. Viktor bit and tugged at his lower lip, whilst Yuuri pressed his tongue along Viktor’s. The other man’s hands were everywhere, nails digging into the skin underneath his shirt. Their clothes, truthfully, were the only reason they could tear their mouths away, desperate for skin on skin contact with no barriers. Yuuri’s shirt was slipped off first, followed by Viktor’s coat, jumper, and then shirt. Their chests pressed up against each other, lips meeting again, though in a peck this time.

Viktor pulled back, taking Yuuri’s hand in his, and took it up to his lips, pressing a kiss on the ring. He took hold of Yuuri’s arm, first kissing the back of his hand, and then working his way down it. Viktor, ever a tease, completely avoided Yuuri’s nipples, instead ending his trail directly on the skin covering Yuuri’s heart, audible due to how fast it was beating and the silence of the room.

“Stammi vicino,” his said into Yuuri’s skin.

Yuuri’s heart slowed, calmed now and at peace. He, too, reached for Viktor’s hand, mimicking the same kiss to the rings that bound them. “No te ne andare.”

They linked their hands; gold against gold, skin against skin. “I love you.”

Yuuri’s free hand went to Viktor’s cheek. “I’m not going anywhere, Vitya.”

Slowly, he allowed Viktor to lower him down until his back met to wooden floor. From the way his skin was burning up, despite how freezing it truly was, it felt like a pillow of molten. In a move that was very familiar to Yuuri, Viktor blanketed himself on top of him. He was half straddling Yuuri, bending down to kiss him sweetly. Together, they gently began to relearn each other’s bodies. After all, what was the rush when they had a lifetime together?

It was inevitable that Viktor’s hands eventually went down to Yuuri’s trousers, undoing them without breaking the contact of their lips with practised ease. Somehow, the sexual connotations of the action were more like an afterthought, though still very real. Viktor had to sit up on his heels, peeling the garment away sensually. His underwear came next, drawn from his body with the same careful precision.

Yuuri used the moment Viktor has spent admiring his naked body to raise himself back onto his knees, connecting their lips again. With no clothes to grab onto, Yuuri dug into his husband’s exposed shoulder blades lightly, pulling him closer. His cock twitched as he pressed himself into Viktor’s body, a dull reminder of his desire.

His hands raked down Viktor’s back, barely pausing at the waist line of his jeans before delving inside. Viktor moaned into his mouth when Yuuri squeezed at the bare skin there. Given how toned the man’s butt was, it took a lot of effort to make the slightest indent. Though Viktor was very sensitive to this particular touch, so Yuuri knew his hard work would be rewarded by another moan.

Viktor detached himself, burying his head into the crook of Yuuri’s neck. “Take them off, please, my Yuuri, I want to feel your skin.”

Yuuri repositioned his hand over Viktor’s chest as the other worked on the zipper and button of the jeans. He held his husband’s gaze, full of adoration. Even in the almost pitch black, Viktor’s eyes still seemed to shine bright. Yuuri was the luckiest man to have ever lived, to have this, a living blizzard under his touch. Viktor shifted on his knees slightly, allowing Yuuri to rid of the rest of his clothes.

“Mine,” he reminded his husband, pressing a kiss to his collar bone.

“Yours,” Viktor agreed.

This time Yuuri took the full lead, pushing Viktor down so he was sitting, rather than lying. Carefully, Yuuri sat himself on his lap, legs crossing behind Viktor’s waist as he tugged their bodies flush together. They kissed again, lazy and open mouthed, breathing each other in. Though they shifted against each other on pure instinct, and Yuuri had hardened naturally from being pressed against his lover, climax was not the goal here.

He lost track of the time, of course, but it had felt like they’d been tangled together like that for hours, gasping and whining into each other’s mouths, hands covering every inch of each other’s bodies as they shifted and moved together. It would have been impossible where Yuuri ended and Viktor began. For the most part they remained silent, other than the unavoidable noises every now and again. When the inevitable happened (Viktor first, but only a few fleeting moments before Yuuri), it wasn’t as explosive as he’d become accustomed to. Instead, it washed over him, like the remnants of waves lapping at his toes in the damp sand. His grip on Viktor tightened, his body locking up in his husband’s arms, before releasing slowly.

The two fell back, legs tangled together, as exhaustion took over and made them boneless. Yuuri only just managed to gather the sense to forge a makeshift cocoon of their discarded clothes, before being dragged into the haze of sleep, too.


 

Considering he’d had the privilege of sleep on the car journey, Yuuri only took a light nap for his recovery. It immediately sucked. Not only did his back hurt from the floor, but his skin also felt like freezing everywhere that wasn’t covered by either Viktor’s skin or the coat he’d attempted to cover them both with. Despite it all, though, Viktor looked beautiful like this. Yuuri had woken up the little spoon, so all it took was for him to roll over to see his husband.

He carefully reached out, his hand falling to cup Viktor’s cheek. His face was ice cold, though Yuuri managed to restrain his muscles from jerking away. In the darkness, Viktor’s hair looked especially silver, catching the soft moonlight that was beaming through the window just right. In his sleep, it was one of Yuuri’s favourite things. He played gently with Viktor’s fringe, winding the silky locks between his fingers.

I love you.

Soon, the shivering became too much for Yuuri to reasonably withstand. It was a challenge but he managed to detach himself from Viktor’s sleeping form. Immediately, the other man whimpered, folding himself into a foetal position. Yuuri tried his best to navigate the small house, a hard task considering the darkness. He was lucky enough to come across a wooden door with the letter ‘B’ shakily etched into it pretty soon. Yuuri spelled it out mentally; виктор. Viktor. He felt the scratching just to make sure, his poor eyesight even further worsened by the darkness.  

Yuuri returned to the living room, where Viktor had grabbed hold of the blanket, bunching it up in his arms as a poor Yuuri substitute. He had his arms wound around it, leaving his back (and ass, Yuuri’s lower half noticed) completely naked. Though it was Viktor who did the lifts when they skated together, Yuuri was still a professional athlete. A professional athlete, he might add, who did a lot of chin-ups when he was dieting. It strained his back, but he managed to scoop Viktor into his arms with relative ease. He barely even stirred as Yuuri carried him bridal style into the bedroom he’d found.

It felt almost like an intrusion, even though he knew Viktor wouldn’t mind. Still, a bedroom is one’s safe place, Yuuri knew that on a personal level. It felt kind of wrong to enter it when the owner was unconscious. Not sleeping on the floor was worth it, however, so Yuuri ventured inside. Honestly, the first thought that came to mind was ‘empty’, but that would make sense considering he hadn’t lived there since he was a child. It wasn’t unlike Yuuri’s own old bedroom in Yu-Topia, small with a single bed taking up most of the room. In this case, it was practically all of the room, as there was no other furniture Yuuri could make out.

His muscles cried out in relief as he placed Viktor down on it. It was a ridiculous sight, his legs far too long for the small bed so his ankles draped off the end. It was impossible to not imagine a younger Viktor sleeping here peacefully like this, curled up on his side. Yuuri decided not to waste any more time on his thoughts, and went back to their luggage, helplessly digging around for his wash bag. After much trial and error, and bumping and knocking things, he managed to produce the flannel he was after. Thankfully, his quest to find the bathroom was much more successful, and he only had to wait a few minutes for the water to eventually heat up. He soaked the flannel, and then returned to the bedroom.

Panic almost set in when Yuuri first touched his chest with it, causing Viktor to jerk slightly, but his husband relaxed again in no time. He lovingly began to run it up and down Viktor’s chest, washing away the dried cum that rested there. Yuuri hesitated for a moment, but knew that it would be uncomfortable in the morning if he didn’t venture further downwards. Natural reactions aside, the act wasn’t sexual as Yuuri slid the flannel down Viktor’s cock until he was satisfied it was clean enough. He made quick work of himself, too, before discarding it to the floor and finally allowing himself to fall into bed.

There was barely enough room for Viktor alone, but through what must have been sheer will power, he played Tetris with their bodies, managing to bend himself around Viktor, who was currently flat on his back. His legs curled around him, head resting on Viktor’s chest. This way, he could feel the steady heartbeat behind his skin. It was so gentle, so at ease. Yuuri closed his eyes, tucking them both in under the blanket, and allowed sleep to overtake them both.


 

On a technicality, it was the second morning Yuuri had woken up as the husband of (the now named) Viktor Nikiforov-Katsuki. The first, he decided, probably didn’t even count. He’d been so tired from the preparations and the wedding that he’d slept right through till mid-morning, waking up in bed alone. Viktor, of course, was busy packing pretty much half of their entire possessions and making sure the final details of the trip were set. Before going to the airport, in fact, they’d barely even gotten to say two words to each other, too busy with the obligatory goodbyes and well wishes.

This time, on their second morning, Viktor was still asleep. His breaths were steady and grounding, Yuuri’s head rising along with his chest with every single intake of air. Yuuri looked up at his husband, staring at the way the sunlight illuminated his pale skin. Of course, he couldn’t quite make out the fine details, but that didn’t matter. Blurry or not, Viktor had an unearthly beauty. Yuuri moved his hand from its position, currently wrapped around Viktor’s arm, and held it up to the light, allowing the sunrays to glint off the gold. Viktor was beautiful, and now he was tied to Yuuri forever. His husband could say all the words in the world, but none of it would convince him that he truly deserved this. Yuuri closed his eyes for a moment, allowing himself to totally relax again.

“Ohayo,” Viktor said practically into his hair. His voice was still deep and thick from sleep, and pronunciation slightly off. Regardless, the phrase made Yuuri feel incredibly light headed. 

“You’re a heavy sleeper,” Yuuri muttered.

Viktor chuckled. “You managed to get me into my bed and everything, and I wasn’t even conscious.”

Yuuri immediately pulled back at his words, body going slightly stiff. “You’re not upset, are you? I didn’t want you to hurt your back sleeping on the floor!”

His husband looked slightly confused, before lying still with his eyes closed again. “I’m glad, Yuuri, if you’d left me like that I would have complained all day.”

“O-okay.”

“-but now I’m upset, because I no longer have your gorgeous body pressed up against mine.”

Yuuri laughed nervously. “Aren’t you tired enough from last night?”

Viktor raised an eyebrow. “Obviously not tired enough.” He practically yanked Yuuri on top of him, stretching his arms out in an exaggerated yawn.

He found himself sighing, unable to resist his husband’s not so subtle offer. “Okay, I’ll go get-” Yuuri shifted slightly, making his move to get off the bed.

Viktor immediately stopped him with a grab to the wrist. “No,” he whined. “We’ve been married for nearly two days now! It’s practically a crime that I haven’t had you inside me yet!”

Perhaps if it had been a few months ago, Yuuri would have been scandalised. By this point, though, he was more than used to this behaviour. He rolled his eyes, pressing a kiss to Viktor’s nose. “It’s going to hurt Viktor.”

“Don’t care!” He threw his head back with glee. “I want to feel you afterwards.”

Yuuri’s cock betrayed his rationality, and without the confines of as little as underwear, it was kind of hard to ignore. He tentatively sucked on a finger, coating it with as much saliva as he could manage. Viktor, who was just lying there, seemed to be enjoying the show, his expression full of joy and anticipation.

Yuuri shuffled back on his knees until he was resting between Viktor’s thighs, which had been eagerly spread just a few moments prior. The older man lifted his hips up in sync with Yuuri’s actions. Cautiously, Yuuri stroked against the hole with his finger, causing Viktor to shiver at the touch. He pressed the finger inside slightly, but his small amount of saliva hadn’t gone that far, a fact made especially obvious from the way Viktor grimaced. It was far too tight and dry.

“It’s too much,” Yuuri said, “you’re going to get hurt.”

“I want you Yuuri! A tiny bit of discomfort is worth it.”

He sighed. His husband was all talk, but he knew he’d end up regretting it if Yuuri just continued like this. His saliva was simply drying too fast like this. The though train lead to something incredibly dirty, something that he’d never actually done before. But Viktor like this (and yes his husband knew perfectly well it was a weakness), acting so desperate for him, was impossible to resist. Yuuri shuffled back even further, and lifted Viktor’s legs to rest atop his shoulders. Before Viktor could even react, his hands went down and spread the cheeks, giving him enough room to press a kiss to his hole.

Viktor made a noise resembling an actual squeal. “Yuuri!” Yuuri looked up, meeting the familiar ocean blue eyes, blown wide with shock.

Instead of replying to him, Yuuri dove back down, pressing more sweet kisses across the area. Already, Viktor’s legs were shaking, and they’d barely even begun. Slowly, Yuuri flicked his tongue out in a barely-there lick. Taking the way Viktor’s powerful thighs squeezed against his head as a sign to continue, he licked across it with proper force.

He’d never seen Viktor come undone so quickly, from practically nothing, on just the first round. Every now and then Yuuri would sneak a glance. Despite the blurriness of his vision, he could tell from Viktor’s face that he was already a wreck. His chest was flushed and heaving, arching off the bed in time whenever Yuuri’s tongue teased against his entrance.

When Yuuri decided to test out actually putting a bit of the muscle in, Viktor let out a sort of animalistic noise that sounded half like a broken scream. His hands fisted in Yuuri’s hair, trying to pull him closer. Practically drowning in his lover’s reaction, Yuuri gave him more, pushing in deeper. This only caused Viktor to tug harder, canting his hips back against the feeling. Yuuri allowed himself to feel around his husband’s inner walls, exploring the spots that made him moan and the spots that made him shudder.

“Deeper!” Viktor finally begged, done with the light teasing. “Please!”

Of course, his tongue was pretty much buried as deep as it could go, but Viktor was already too far gone to really notice that. Yuuri decided to try fingering him again, sliding it in along the underside of his tongue. The action caused Viktor to freeze, before practically choking Yuuri with his thighs, letting out a litany of jumbled curse words that Yuuri didn’t quite understand.

The pathetic sound that Viktor made when Yuuri pulled his mouth away was not at all human. “Why did you stop?” It was mostly a slur.

Leaning back, Yuuri began to take in the damage. His hole was more than wet enough now, clenching desperately around nothing. His chest was even more flushed before, and his nipples were erect and pointy. And, oh, his face. Viktor looked completely fucked out, lips parted, desperately trying to draw in oxygen. It was a rare sight, a precious one.

Yuuri bent down to press a kiss to his collar bone, before going back up to rest on his heels. “Do you still want me inside you?”

“Please,” Viktor answered.

Yuuri licked his two fingers again, just to make sure, and slowly pushed them in about a knuckle deep. When he was satisfied that he’d adjusted enough, he pushed them deeper, trying to find the right spot what would make Viktor forget everything about the pain. He didn’t touch his cock as he normally would, he had the sense to judge that Viktor would probably cum immediately if he did. Yuuri had done this enough times now to know exactly where to find his prostate. He purposely teased the spot, not quite pressing down on it, just brushing his fingers like so. Viktor’s hips snapped down violently, trying to get them where he wanted them, fucking himself on Yuuri’s fingers.

Not wanting to torture him any longer, Yuuri began to stretch him out properly, scissoring and pumping with practised ease. Every now and then he’d curl them against Viktor’s prostate, giving him a shot of pleasure there. It was then that Yuuri realised their problem, the spit was quickly running out and two fingers was still a huge difference to a cock.

Of course, Viktor’s reactions and neediness towards him had filled him with unusual boldness. He pulled the fingers out, before lowering Viktor’s legs from their high position. The other man looked at him with anticipation, ready for what was about to happen to him.

“It’s not wet enough,” Yuuri rasped. He half crawled up Viktor’s body, until he was straddling his laps. Viktor wasted no time, launching his body up to meet Yuuri in a messy kiss. Had he not been drunk on pleasure, drunk on Viktor, Yuuri probably would have been grossed out by it all. His need to be inside Viktor was a lot greater, though, and he pushed it aside, detaching their lips and forcing Viktor’s body back onto the bed. He turned himself around, bending himself so he was face to face with Viktor’s crotch.

Without another word, Viktor understood the meaning behind the position, immediately wrapping his lips around Yuuri’s cock. The feeling was white hot, sending a maddening fire down Yuuri’s spine. At the same time, he pressed more kisses on Viktor’s hole, wanting his pleasure to continue too. The particular position didn’t last too long. Viktor was much too talented at sucking cock, despite his blissed out state, Yuuri couldn’t possibly have lasted.

They pulled apart, and resumed their previous position. This time, Viktor made a point of wrapping his legs around Yuuri’s hips, pulling him closer with them before he had time to properly brace himself above his husband. His hand reached down, pushing the head of his cock against Viktor’s hole.

“Viktor,” he said seriously, “are you sure you’re ready enough?”

Viktor looked like he was about to die. “You’ve made me wait long enough, Yuuri, I swear to-“ at that moment, Yuuri thrust in. “-GOD! Oh my god!” Viktor was immediately breathless, his thighs squeezing up and around Yuuri in a death vice. Despite the lack of proper lube, Yuuri had spent enough time on prep that the man was desperate, already trying to fuck back against him, to draw him deeper.

Yuuri, too, finally let out the moan he’d been holding in. Viktor’s body was so hot, so tight. It was as if he had been built just to be the perfect fit around Yuuri’s cock. So as not to permanently damage his husband’s body, he found enough self-restraint inside of him to push the rest of the way in slowly. It felt noticeably dryer this way, yet somehow still smooth and wet. The added friction was too much, Yuuri had to mentally recite figure skating terms to stop himself from coming right then and there.

“Viktor,” he panted, gently bumping his pelvis against the other man’s.

He stretched out his neck, pushing back against the pillow. “I’m okay, my Yuuri, you can move.” To prove the point, he reached out, cupping Yuuri’s face. The coolness of his ring was a contrast to the warm sweat coating his hand, brining Yuuri back down to earth.

Truth be told, he could only last a few gentle and slow thrusts before his arms practically gave out. Viktor didn’t seem to mind, pulling him closer as his arms went down across his back. Their mouths clashed desperately, swallowing each other’s moans and praises whole. Viktor rolled his hips against Yuuri’s thrusts, beginning to push back in a mutual and delicious rhythm. Yuuri’s self-control went out the window, his head buried pathetically into Viktor’s shoulder. Not entirely consciously, he peppered small hickies and bites to the sensitive skin there.

Viktor was the first to completely lose it, hands and legs slipping from their grip on Yuuri’s back to the sheets. He was like a ragdoll, eyes fixed closed and lost in sensation. And fuck- Yuuri hadn’t even touched his cock yet, other than inadvertently grinding against it with his stomach. But it somehow wasn’t enough. No, for their first time, the consummation of their unity, Yuuri wanted to be surrounded by Viktor completely and infinitely.

“Viktor,” he breathed out, slowing his pace. “Viktor!” To get his attention, he pressed a kiss to each of the man’s closed eyelids.

“Oh Yuuri,” Viktor’s voice fell like a whisper.

“I want-“ he paused to catch his breath “-I want to cum with you inside me.”

Viktor groaned beneath him, eyes opening just so Yuuri could see them roll back. “I’m not sure if I can, my love.”

Regardless, his thighs rewound themselves around Yuuri’s back, and he gathered enough momentum to roll them over, a difficult task considering the size of the bed. Viktor pushed against Yuuri’s chest, riding him for his last feel of Yuuri’s cock before shakily getting to his knees. The air felt so fresh around it, now that Viktor’s heat was gone. Yuuri whined, but he knew it would be worth it.

“I want real lube,” Yuuri managed, stretching his body out. “And my glasses.”

Viktor cursed in what Yuuri guessed was French. “You’re trying to kill me.”

Shakily he stood, legs almost giving out immediately. It was the stumble of a drunk man as he tried to get his bearings. Yuuri would have felt sorry for him, or called for him to just come back, but the selfish desire was too great. He needed Viktor.

“Viktor,” he managed from the bed. “If you’re not back soon, I might just have to finish on my own.”

His body locked up immediately, looking like a deer caught in the headlights. Yuuri wasn’t sure if he’d actually seen Viktor move so fast before, breaking out into a sprint down the hall. From the bedroom, he could hear a whole manner of crashes and curses from the other side of the house. Alone for the first time, Yuuri let out the breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding. He closed his eyes and lay back on the bed, ignoring his cock completely.

Viktor surprised him by yanking his legs back immediately upon entering the room, wasting no time to coat his fingers in the lube. Without warning he thrust the first fairly deeply into Yuuri, causing the other man to yelp helplessly and clutch at the bedsheets, which were already thoroughly. There was no time for slow seduction and teasing, so it was pretty soon that Yuuri was stuffed full of Viktor’s fingers, head thrown back and keening.

The mattress dipped as Viktor actually got back on it, pushing Yuuri’s thighs apart to from the same missionary position as before. It wasn’t as if they didn’t love all the other various options (Yuuri for one knew how weak it made Viktor when he rode him), but right now they both silently agreed that they wanted to be in each other’s arms, with the ability to make eye contact and to kiss.

Yuuri’s moan was high pitched when Viktor pushed inside him. He usually preferred to bottom, simply because he could feel a deeper connection to Viktor that way, so his husband had no problem pushing in to the hilt in one smooth glide. Just like that, the somewhat frantic pace completely evaporated. Viktor, who had been on the edge of orgasm anyway, was still shaking despite the break from any sensation at all.

“Viktor,” Yuuri breathed out softly. And the rest went unsaid. Viktor bent down before he moved his lower body, and Yuuri met him in the middle, using what little strength he had to lift his back up from the mattress. They didn’t kiss, but their foreheads did meet as they attempted to find a mutual breathing rhythm. Yuuri pulled his head back ever so slightly, giving him enough room to wind his fingers into Viktor’s sweat dampened fringe, brushing it out of his eyes. Now that Yuuri didn’t have to concentrate so hard, he could appreciate how vulnerable Viktor looked like this, how adoring.

It soon became far too much and Yuuri collapsed with a small thud against the bed. Viktor followed his momentum, practically lying completely on top of Yuuri, before finally testing out small motions with his hips. At every movement, Yuuri found his breaths getting heavier, his previous pleasure quickly returning, setting his blood on fire, even if the actual love making was beyond being ‘skilful’.

Viktor pushed himself up just a bit, enough to look his husband in the eyes. “Yuuri,” he said his name like it was a prayer. They locked gazes, and then Viktor collapsed, cumming inside him without much more of a warning that the grasp of his fingers as his slid his hand into Yuuri’s. The sensation of being filled drove Yuuri insane, and it only took the lightest of touches to his cock before he was cumming too, fingers digging in so hard to Viktor’s skin that there would probably be bruises. When his body unwound into a blissful post-orgasmic state, Viktor claimed his mouth with a kiss. They barely moved their lips to deepen it, breathing each other’s air as Viktor pulled out and rolled to the side.

“Wow,” Viktor said to the ceiling. 

Yuuri rolled to his side, slightly running his fingers in gentle shapes across his skin, trying to avoid the fresh cum that painted his stomach. “Wow.”

Viktor joined the game of drawing on each other, lazily running his hand down Yuuri’s arm. “I love you.” He pressed a kiss to Yuuri’s hair.

“I know.” Viktor made a sound of complaint as he got up, sliding his glasses back on and searching for the discarded wash cloth. It was beyond use, he soon discovered, and would need cleaning. Still, that was better than leaving it again. He grimaced and picked it up, making for the exit of the room. Before he could reach the door, he was stopped by two strong arms wrapping around his middle, drawing him back in. He ended up dropping the flannel, tilting his head back and to the side to receive a sweet kiss on the lips.

“Will you bathe with me?”

Yuuri’s face contorted into a soft smile. “Shouldn’t we unpack first?”

Viktor groaned. “But this way we’ll both get cleaned up.”

“You were spoiled by our week in Hasetsu,” Yuuri half scolded, but it wasn’t serious.

Viktor took that as a yes, and detached himself, though he kept his arms reached around so as to open the door for Yuuri. For the first time, truly, since they boarded that aeroplane, they went their separate ways. Yuuri was horrified by the state of their luggage, most of it haphazardly strewn in heaps, likely from Viktor’s earlier frantic search for the lube. It wasn’t long before the chill returned to Yuuri’s bones, reminding him of the current heating situation.

He did consider seeking out Viktor’s help, but it wasn’t the first time he’d seen a log burner in his life. Yuuri was certain he could figure it out. All he needed was firewood… now where did they keep that? He searched briefly in lower down cabinets and hidey holes, figuring that would be the most logical place. Yuuri really was desperate not to overstep his boundaries, but he couldn’t help a flash of silver catch his eyes, seducing his eyes. It was a stark contrast to the pile of papers surrounding it, and too much of a temptation.

Yuuri’s hands found themselves clasped around a pretty basic looking picture frame. The photo was faded slightly, but Yuuri could still make out three figures. It was taken much like a portrait, stiff and posed. The tallest was a man, his height towering above the other figures. He looked intimidating, but also youthful, almost. If Yuuri had to hazard a guess, the man was around Viktor’s age, possibly younger. Beside him was a woman, almost a head or even two smaller. It was hard to make out, but her hair appeared almost white in colour. Holding her hand, on the other side, was what Yuuri assumed was a young Viktor. He couldn’t have been older than six in the photograph, his hair already long and askew. Through the years, it seemed he’d kept the same bored expression, Yuuri would recognise it anywhere. Yuuri found himself smiling, realising this was the youngest vision of Viktor he’d ever been able to see. There was something else, though, something strange. The woman was carrying something, but whatever it was appeared to have been scratched out.

From the bathroom, Viktor called his name to announce the bath was deep enough. At the shock of it, Yuuri nearly dropped the frame. He put it back where he’d found it, shutting it away.

“I’m coming!” he called, and all thoughts of the photograph were pushed to the back of his mind. Viktor was already submerged in the water when Yuuri reached the room, head barely poking out from the colossal mountain of bubbles he’d created. Rather than relaxing like any normal person would have, he was sat bolt upright, pouting with boredom. The expression, of course, was hard to take seriously through the veil of soap.

“You’re taking too long.”

“I couldn’t find the w-“ Viktor reached out with his wet hand, tugging Yuuri off balance, nearly causing him to fall right into the tub.

“I got lonely.” He caressed Yuuri’s face, pulling him in for a kiss.

Giving in, Yuuri clambered into the admittedly small tub. Their bath in St Petersburg was far too small for two grown men to share without some seriously creative positioning, and this was only an inch or two longer at best. They sat at opposite ends, Yuuri’s knees awkwardly poking up above the water, allowing him to feel the contrast of freezing air and scalding hot water. He had to admit, it was pretty nice to just wash down and relax like this. His ass certainly wasn’t complaining to the treatment.

Though Yuuri had pretty much gone boneless from the soothing water, emitting a small sigh as his back rested against cooler porcelain, Viktor was still sat up, he noticed as he cracked open an eye. He wasn’t pouting anymore though, it looked more like he was lost in some kind of train of thought. This happened a lot. Sometimes, Viktor would just get a thought out of completely nowhere, get lost in it, and not return to the world of the living until he’d seen it through. The worst Yuuri had ever seen him was before the Russian Nationals, when Viktor had apparently had an idea for his free skate, leading to him dancing obliviously around their apartment to the thought for hours, completely ignoring the existence of Yuuri, Makkachin, or, he thought begrudgingly, the living room furniture.

Without really thinking about it, Yuuri splashed him, because he really wasn’t in the mood to put up with his husband’s antics.

Viktor’s eyes went wide as he caressed his own face, feeling the spot where the water had hit, melting away the bubbles. “You… splashed me.”

Yuuri looked away from him. “You were doing that thing again.”

“Yuuri~”

“Wha-“ but before he could get the word out, he had a face full of bubbles. He spluttered desperately, vision obscured whilst the soap uncomfortably filled his nose.

Viktor let out a genuine laugh, throwing his head back. “You look… stunning.”

Yuuri managed to get the bubbles away from his eyes, and tried to look angry. From the way it felt on his skin, the bubbles had created a sort of beard on his chin, descending all the way to the centre of his chest. The rest of the bubbles covered his head like a hat, which he just knew would be a pain to get out. Viktor laughed even more at his attempt to look annoyed, muttering things in Russian too fast and quiet for him to really make out beyond ‘cute’.

Two could play at that game. Without warning Yuuri launched his body at Viktor, the momentum causing a tsunami of water to spill over the sides, completely drenching the bathroom floor. The room was an absolute mess of bubbles, which flew haphazardly around in the air above them. Yuuri’s end position was a straddle, his arms pinning the older man to the side of the tub. At last he blew out, causing the remaining bubbles to leave Viktor’s face.

Viktor’s hand went to Yuuri’s chin, wiping the bubbles away. “There.”

He allowed his body to relax, slinking down comfortably in Viktor’s lap. “Now you have to wash my hair.”

His kiss tasted a lot like soap, Yuuri thought, as Viktor pressed their lips together. “Turn around, then.”

Once more, Yuuri shifted, and yet more water spilled over the edge of the rim. At this rate, there would be no water left in the bath by the time they got out. Yuuri was eventually kept in place between Viktor’s legs, leaning back against him as his hand massaged Yuuri’s hair methodically. He hummed happily to himself, changing his motions every now and then. Yuuri gasped when Viktor’s other hand began to wander, tracing small patterns on his hips.

“Viktor,” Yuuri half moaned, half warned.

“What?”

“We can’t… in the bath!”

Though he didn’t turn around, he could practically feel the pout. “Why not?”

“Because, we just stopped, and the bathroom’s already a mess as it is, and-“


 

After having sex in the bath, Yuuri had been pretty hungry, considering they hadn’t had a full meal for well over a day. So they’d taken a quick break, managing to finally get the fire burning after all their prior thwarted attempts, which made the house less unbearably cold fairly quickly. After that they’d been together again, and then again after that, wordlessly relearning each other’s bodies, wearing them down and then threading them back together.

They spent their third day as husbands recovering from the second. Both parties had been much too tired, and too sore, to engage in much more than cuddling, aside from cleaning up the extensive damage from the day before. If a day could be an object, then the third day would be like a warm blanket. It wrapped itself around Yuuri, a sweetest comfort. He walked around in an almost dreamlike haze, as if he was searching for something, though he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was.

On their fourth morning, Yuuri was awoken to an accidental elbow in his stomach. He didn’t make a noise of protest, simply releasing his sideways grip of Viktor and instead curling in on himself. When Viktor rolled over to clutch him instead, Yuuri just sighed. By Viktor’s restlessness, Yuuri guessed that it could probably be a while before the other man woke up. 

Despite supposedly having moved from here twenty years ago, Viktor’s old bedroom looked surprisingly lived in. Of course, the room was too small for much empty space, but that which was taken up had a homey vibe to it. Yuuri smiled to himself, running his fingers along unrecognisable shapes and Russian letters scratched in there. It reminded him a lot of the stickers littering the side of his old bed back in Yu-Topia. He’d begun to somewhat memorise them now, feeling familiarity beneath his fingertips. Considering they’d spent most of the time in this small space, it was probably to be expected.

“Yuuri~” the voice beside him trilled, tone still thick with sleep. “Come back!”

Obediently, Yuuri shifted again, allowing Viktor to wrap his arms properly around his frame. “You’re warm,” he muttered.

Viktor’s face lit up like a sunbeam as he nuzzled his head into Yuuri’s shoulder before fully releasing him. “Let’s go for a walk today.”

“A walk?” By the time Yuuri had sat up, Viktor had already somehow managed to pull on half of his clothes and was waltzing around the room, searching for a stray sock.

“Of course,” he bent down to kiss Yuuri sweetly on the lips before resuming his movement, “I have a lot I want to show you.”

Yuuri wasn’t about to say no to that proposition, but it was kind of hard to get any words out at all when Viktor was there kissing him like that. In fact, it was also hard to believe that Viktor truly wanted to go out at all, considering the way he was sliding into Yuuri’s lap, letting his hands wander from their position on Yuuri’s shoulders down to his chest.

“Viktor,” he half moaned, “I thought you wanted to go out.”

An exchanged hand job and half an hour later, the newly wed husbands were finally outside, fully dressed for the first time since they’d set foot inside the house a few days prior. The weather was still bitterly cold, but not as bad as it had been when Yuuri had been fresh in the memory of Hasetsu. This time he was wearing his own coat, an old thing that he loved for its somewhat sentimental value. As warm as the bulky fur one Baba had gifted to him was, Yuuri had decided its effect was probably too dramatic for a small Russian town.

“Viktor,” Yuuri mused, taking note of the rather silent gathering of houses, “does anybody else still live here?”

Viktor glanced around before shrugging. “Probably. My family weren’t popular with them, so I don’t think they’d want to come out and talk.”

Feeling bold, Yuuri grabbed hold of Viktor’s hand, feeling the reassuring bump of the wedding ring despite the material of the gloves. All in all, Yuuri had never minded silence that much. Having grown up in a small town like Hasetsu, he was used to there being areas where there was minimum ambience. Detroit and St Petersburg had been the opposite of course, but he liked them all the same, for their different reasons and merits. This though was different, an unsettling silence offset only by the crunch of snow underneath their boots.

At the feel of Yuuri gripping his hand a little tighter, Viktor opened his mouth. “I still remember it all.”

Yuuri squeezed his hand again. “It was like that when I came back to Hasetsu after America.”

Viktor looked around at the tree line and smiled to himself. “I used to hide here a lot, when I pretended I was going to school.”

Yuuri dropped his hand. “You didn’t go to school?!”

The horrified reaction elected a full laugh from his husband. “I did sometimes, but it seemed pointless after I could at least do basic math.”

“But, I know you read!” Yuuri exclaimed. It was a fact that was both endearing and annoying. He loved the way Viktor’s face would contort over whatever was written in those lines, or the way he would look so determined and flick through the pages as fast as lightening. The trails of books around their home was less fun though, or the times Viktor would be so engaged in a plot line that trying to talk to him was like shouting at a brick wall.

With that, Viktor extravagantly cleared his throat. “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?/It is the east and Yuuri is the sun!” For emphasis, he did a small twirl on the spot.

Yuuri’s eyes flushed red. “Viktor!”

“He speaks./O, speak again, bright angel, for thou art/As glorious to this night!”

Yuuri forced his eyes from Viktor’s puppy like expression to the ground. “I don’t even know what you’re quoting.”

Viktor took a deep breath. “Your next line is ‘O Vitya, Vitya! Wherefore art thou Vitya?/ Deny thy father and refuse thy name;/Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love/And I'll no longer be a Katsuki!” He swooned dramatically into Yuuri’s arms, which were already out on instinct to catch him.

Yuuri shook his head and removed his support, causing Viktor to almost fall rather ungracefully on his butt. “Baka,” he said to himself, but couldn’t be bothered to hide his smile.  

“Yakov wanted me to learn better English for press conferences,” Viktor admitted once he’d steadied himself. “And I learnt that one for a routine.”

Yuuri remembered. Of course he remembered. Viktor had surprised the world by skating as Juliet, a fact only made clear with the dramatic motion of stabbing himself at the end of the programme. That had been one of the first ones Yuuri had truly tried to imitate, imagining himself as Viktor, ethereal and perfect in his white to black gradient costume, seeming to float across the ice rather than skate on it.

“You learnt a whole play by heart?”

Viktor shrugged. “Not all of it, I wanted to connect with the story.”

Yuuri marvelled, and felt somewhat bad that he’d prepared for his routine last season by staring at his favourite food. As sudden as the thought arose, it was somewhat blanked out by the last line of Viktor’s quote, about forsaking his name.

“Hey, Viktor?”

“Hmm?” The other man slung his arm casually around his shoulders.

“We haven’t decided on our name yet.”

With his free hand, Viktor toyed with his lips. “Hmmm, we haven’t.”

“We should, before the rest of the season, I mean-“

“Yuuri, I would be honoured to take your name,” he said both casually and seriously at the same time.

Yuuri stopped in his tracks, face flushed, as he felt the memory of his thirteen year old self’s sketches of ‘Nikiforov Yuuri’ onto scrap pieces of paper that he hoped would never see the light of day again. “I like your name.”

“Hmm, Viktor Katsuki sounds quite nice though. But so does Yuuri Nikiforov. Or it would be Nikiforov Yuuri for you, wouldn’t it? Maybe we should just combine them, not like Phichit did though because Katsuforov sounded weird. Yes, Viktor Katsuki-Nikiforov, I like that, do you like it? It could be the other way but you know you always come first, my star, and VKN would look better than VNK on my sports gear. But what about when we have children? Should we decide what sounds better with their names now? And what if they want a combined last name? Because then they’d have three last names, potentially four, and that’s just a hassle- “

Practically winded by Viktor’s babbling, Yuuri barely managed to take in any information. “Children?!” He wheezed out.

Viktor snapped his gaze onto Yuuri. “Of course. There’s less potential for embarrassing initials with KN over NK.”

“O-okay.”

The smile that followed could have blinded the angels in Heaven itself with its brightness. “Great!” Viktor pulled out his phone, tapped for a few seconds, and shoved it into Yuuri’s face. His Instagram and twitter handles had now been updated to read ‘v-katsuki_nikiforov’. “Perfect! We’re nearly there now, Yuuri!” 

Tugged slightly into a faster pace by Viktor, Yuuri began to see what looked like true civilisation for the first time in a while. He hasn’t really been anywhere in Russia quite like this, so it was odd to see such a small looking town. Its mediocrity was painfully obvious from the first glance, khrushchyovka buildings towering over somewhat narrow streets. It was a pretty big contrast to the admittedly nice area of St Petersburg they lived in. Yuuri tried not to notice the way Viktor’s arm dropped from his shoulders, though he still kept it by Yuuri’s side.

Eventually the small town widened out into more of a square type layout centred around some kind of memorial statue, framed by a bland looking park area, if you could call it that. The whole area was frighteningly grey, untouched by the twenty first century and tourism. It was so obviously un-Viktor, Yuuri thought, peering around the place.

They walked wordlessly, though the silence wasn’t uncomfortable, necessarily. Though the setting was unfamiliar, there was something else, something Yuuri couldn’t put his finger on, that felt completely alien about the place. Nervously, he glanced over at Viktor, who met his gaze and flashed Yuuri a reassuring smile, re-taking hold of his hand. Once again, Yuuri found himself feeling for the hidden ring, its presence reassuring and grounding. On instinct, he glanced around, to find nobody paying them much attention.

That was it! Yuuri exhaled, peace flooding his mind now he’d figured out what was making him feel so on edge. After living in St Petersburg for nearly a year, Yuuri had become accustomed to being stared at, somewhat at least. It really wasn’t as if he was much to look at, yet there was rarely a day where Yuuri didn’t feel someone’s eyes on him. It usually only happened when he was with Viktor though, especially with the photos, so he mostly put it down to that. It was hard not to, given the amount of billboards and posters surrounding the city with Viktor the subject. The first time Yuuri had seen one, he’d been jogging alone, and had nearly crashed into a lamppost at the sight of his fiancé shirtless and covered in blue roses, perfume bottle in hand.

“Viktor?”

“Hmm?”

Yuuri felt flushed. “It feels weird that they’re not taking photos.”

Viktor looked at him oddly for a moment, before laughing fully. “I never thought you’d miss it!”

At the realisation of what he’d just implied, Yuuri found himself flailing his arms. “No! I didn’t mean-”

Viktor stopped walking, turning towards Yuuri to encroach onto his personal space. “Do you like the paparazzi, Yuuri? They take a lot of pictures of us together, don’t they?”

“Uh-“ Yuuri found himself leaning back, much too aware of the light ambience of people going about their daily lives.

His husband took pity on him, standing back a little. “This isn’t really the type of place where they care about figure skaters.”

Yuuri felt his eyes widen. “Really? But you’re Viktor Nikiforov-“ Viktor pouted “-right, Viktor Katsuki-Nikiforov. Everybody knows who you are!”

Viktor shrugged. “It doesn’t make a difference to people like this. If I were a war hero, maybe.”

He was still shocked. “Sorry, it’s just, impossible to imagine a world where you’re irrelevant.”

Viktor placed a chaste kiss on Yuuri’s forehead. “The only person I care knowing me here is you.”

Yuuri felt his heart flutter, pressing himself into the kiss. Of course, the perfume thing wasn’t the weirdest of Viktor’s multiple sponsorships (Yuuri remembered a particularly bad one with Subway). By far the worst between them, though, was the Kit Kat thing. Even the simple thought of it practically gave Yuuri nightmares and embarrassment, the words ‘Kitto Katsuki’ permanently etched into his mind. Thankfully, he could blame the entire thing on Celestino, which he did, freely. At least as his coach, Viktor had never tried to convince Yuuri to do anything else too embarrassing. Though, none of this had stopped Viktor ordering in sweet potato flavour Kit Kats in bulk when he found out, much to Yuuri’s horror.

Despite the sudden second hand embarrassment Yuuri suddenly felt for his younger self, the thought of chocolate reminded him that he was actually pretty hungry. His stomach agreed with him, making itself loudly known. Yuuri sighed, looking increasingly forward to the official end of the skating season. Going back to salad and protein shakes was going to be torturous, even after just two weeks.

Viktor noticed, poking him in the stomach. “Kobuta-chan,” he teased, before perking up suddenly. “It’s still here!”

“What is?”

Ever so slightly, barely noticeably, Viktor blushed. “They always made the best sandwiches.”

Yuuri squeezed his hand to signify his consent, allowing the taller man to pull him inside a door he probably wouldn’t have even noticed if he’d been on his own. The allotted space of the shop was tiny, and there was only just enough room for the two of them to squeeze inside, almost pressed right up against the counter, which displayed a small variety of food.

Good afternoon,” Viktor greeted cheerfully, before ordering their food rapidly. Perhaps Yuuri would have been bothered by not knowing quite what Viktor ordered for him, but regardless of where they’d eaten before, he’d never not enjoyed something that was Viktor’s choice. Once they had their sandwiches, they walked for a little while longer, before stopping by a bench, much to Yuuri’s horror. There were few things he enjoyed about Russian winters, and eating outside was not one of them.

At least the sandwich was warm, a pleasant rush of heat against his tongue. A familiar tingle caressed his lips and Yuuri groaned appreciatively, taking another bite. “I missed mayonnaise.”

Viktor took a bite his own lunch, nodding. “It’s as good as I remember.” He paused. “You used to hate mayonnaise.”

Yuuri blushed. “It’s hard to keep that up when you have it with everything.” And Viktor literally did eat it with everything, claiming that ‘eggs are protein therefore it’s in line with my diet’. 

“My Yuuri, have you been secretly Russian this entire time?” Viktor pretended to swoon into his arms, disrupting the eating of the sandwich, to Yuuri’s slight annoyance. Still, there wasn’t a lot about having Viktor lying across his lap he could take much of an issue with. He managed to manoeuvre them enough that he could still take happy bites, smiling to himself as he did.

“No, but I married one.”

Viktor hummed to himself. “Perhaps you should punish them for corrupting you.”

Yuuri felt himself become flushed, but he played along. “Maybe later.”

They spent the next few hours or so wandering around. If Yuuri had been asked about it even as soon as half an hour after they’d returned, he couldn’t have recalled what Viktor had pointed out to him during their walk. There were childhood stories, something about knives and circles, the best hiding places, etcetera, etcetera. Yuuri found himself listening silently, but not listening at all. His thoughts were much too full of Viktor as an entity. There was something different, something more natural about him, as detail upon detail of his past life slipped from his lips. It was a pleasant buzz.

But Yuuri could tell there was something else there, something beneath the cracks of Viktor’s well practiced smile. There was something there that he so desperately wanted to bring up, to question, but his lips just wouldn’t form the words that were resting so desperately on the tip of his tongue. Instead he just held Viktor’s hand, allowing his husband to lead him from endless streets, chatting nonchalantly.

In fact, they’d been walking for so long that Yuuri barely even noticed when the town thinned out again, and the sun had gotten low. The temperature dropped even further, forcing the pair to walk even closer together than previously. It was only natural, then, that the combination of practically frictionless ground, mixed with Yuuri’s ‘grace’ (or lack thereof), and the lack of vision in the darkness that Yuuri managed to trip over his own feet.

Thankfully, it had snowed pretty heavily the days before, so the fall wasn’t too painful. In the shock of the moment, Yuuri had forgotten to release Viktor’s hand, causing the older man to fall down with him. Despite Yuuri still being what one might consider ‘skinny’ for a male, the momentum of the crash had still managed to pull Viktor off his feet.

“Ouch.”

Viktor managed to brace himself above him, leaning over his body. “Why, Yuuri, if you wanted me on top of you, you should have asked!” 

Yuuri practically shrieked. “Viktor!”

Even through the darkness, Yuuri could make out his pout. “What?”

He panted. “You’re… kind of… crushing me.”

Obediently, Viktor rolled off of him, collapsing beside his form in the snow. Yuuri’s lungs cried out in thanks, once again effectively processing oxygen. Just a few millimetres away, Yuuri noticed movement, followed by bright laughter. He glanced over properly, watching as Viktor waved his arms and legs about like a child, pushing the snow out from underneath him.

“Look Yuuri! I made a snow angel!”

It was at this point where Yuuri realised he’d lost his glasses in the fall, and could not really see any snow angels. He felt around for them desperately, dreading the possibility that he’d accidentally landed on them or something. The search was cut short by Viktor placing them on his nose without warning, pressing a sweet kiss onto Yuuri’s cheek as he did so.

“Why was your family photograph scratched out?”

Viktor stiffened beside him. “What do you mean?”

Yuuri realised far too late the implications of what he’d actually said. “I wasn’t snooping I swear! I found it accidentally!”

His husband sighed, not meeting Yuuri’s eyes. “You’re my family now, and you have the right to know.” He cleared his throat, and began to speak.

X

“Vitya!” the girl, freshly six years old, cries out. “You’re back!”

Viktor, not much taller than she, is crushed by the enthusiastic hug, knocking him back into the door he’d just walked through. “Hi,” he wheezes.

“Yekaterina Nikita Nikiforova!” Their Baba emerges from the kitchen, rolling pin in hand. “Put your brother down!”

She releases him. “Sorry Baba!” After gathering some of that childish energy in, she exhales loudly. “How was school?”

Viktor’s face blanches slightly, more than aware of Baba’s presence in the door frame. “It was… good?”

Baba tuts. “Young man, you’re in danger of not being allowed any syrniki later.”

“But Baba~!” Viktor groans, flashing her his signature puppy dog eyes, an expression he knows is irresistible. “I’ll go tomorrow, I promise!”

“Hmm, I should keep you indoors.”

Katya grabs her Baba’s skirt. “Please don’t! I want Vitya to play with me!”

Baba raises an eyebrow. “Well, Vitya? Do you want to go out and play with your sister?”

Viktor nods with as much enthusiasm as he can muster. “Yes Baba!”

She smiles at him, any sense of anger disappearing quickly from her system. Viktor quirks his head, as if he’s waiting for her to say anything else. Baba sighs and goes back to the cooking, mostly trusting the two to get along nicely. She knows that their family is somewhat blessed, most siblings so close in age wouldn’t get along as well as they do, but Katya hasn’t started school yet, and Viktor doesn’t have a lot of friends.

As quick as ice can crack, Katya is once again at Viktor’s side, tugging on his coat sleeve. “Dedushka said I’m big enough to skate with you today, now he’s finished with your boots.”

“Really?!” Viktor takes her by the hands and they twirl on the spot, leaning back in their motions until Katya inevitably stumbles slightly. “I can show you how to do a spin like this!”

As if on cue, their Dedushka emerges from the back door, brushing the snow from his trousers.

“Dedka!” The Nikiforov children exclaim, faces beaming with anticipation.

X

“No, Katya, you’re pushing off all wrong!” Viktor’s hands are on his hips, looking down on his sister in a way that makes him look a lot taller than he actually is.

Katya pouts. “It’s not fair! You have proper skates!” She points down at her winter boots.

Viktor doesn’t quite give up. “So what? I had boots and I was much better than you my first time skating, and I didn’t have a dear brother to help me!” He thinks for a moment, before taking her by the hand and pulling her gently with him. “You just have to glide, you’re trying to walk too much.”

Somewhat impatiently, Katya takes her brother’s instruction, supported by his confident hands. She closes her eyes and feels the ice beneath her feet, the wind in her hair, allowing it to overtake her body. It’s incredibly wobbly considering she doesn’t have skates, but with Viktor’s help she manages a lap of the frozen lake, waving at their Dedushka, who has been supervising them the entire time.

“I did it Vitya!” She smiles from ear to ear, her lips creating an almost heart like shape. “Dedka, did you see?! Please tell me I can have proper skates too!”

X

“Vitya?”

Viktor groans, stalking over to the wheelbarrow which Katya is crouching behind. “Maybe you should be the seeker.”

Katya folds her arms. “This game is boring! I’m bored. Can we go skate instead?”

He looks disconcertedly at the thinning snow beneath their feet. “Okay. Let’s go ask Dedka!”

Pushing her dark hair out of her eyes, Katya chews her lip and looks around. “Why don’t just me and you go?”

Viktor’s eyes widen slightly. “Katya, I don’t think-“

“Please, Vitya?” Katya pulls her best imitation of Viktor’s pleading face. They look so alike, and Viktor’s young enough to ignore his better judgement, that his resolve melts away almost instantly.

They’re allowed to go out and play in the fields anyway, so nobody will suspect any misbehaviour on their part, unless the two missing pairs of skates are discovered. Viktor and Katya waste no time, racing each other through the snow until they reach the familiar clearing. Both have to pause for a moment, but quickly work on lacing up their skates. Of course, the Nikiforov family hardly has the money for two pairs of real skates, and Katya and Viktor are growing at a fast rate. Their skates are crafted from their own old boots by Dedushka, fitted with a blade that probably needs sharpening given how much they’ve been used.

Katya finishes lacing her boots first and doesn’t even wait for Viktor, making her way onto the ice. She smiles bright, feeling comfortable. It hasn’t even been two months since the first lesson, but much like Viktor she’s a natural, fluid and perfect on the makeshift rink. Viktor won’t admit it to anybody of course, but his heart stabs with jealousy. It took him much longer than she to spin as well, and he still wobbles a little when he stops.

He joins her on the ice as she’s alternating between skating forwards and backwards, raising her hands in various positions as if she’s dancing. Viktor interrupts her dance, causing Katya to giggle and go into a mock chase. Viktor’s a lot faster, more daring, but Katya has more evasive skill. They play like this for what feels like hours before Katya naturally begins an almost routine again.

Viktor skids to a stop, digging his skates into the thinning layer of ice that screamed ‘springtime’. “How are you doing that?”

Katya also pauses. “What?”

The older of the two shakes his head. “I don’t know. It’s like I’m hearing music, but I know it’s not there.” He tapped his skate against the ice. “I want to know how you’re doing it.”

“You just have to glide, you’re trying to walk too much.”

X

“Papa! Mama!” Katya buries her head in their arms. “You’re home!”

Their mother looks slightly uncomfortable. “Katya, we’ve talked about this. You and Vitya will be at your real home with us, soon. Papa’s been given fewer hours.” She looks pointedly at the boy.

Viktor cocks his head. “Fewer hours?”

“Now Vitya,” their father says deeply, bending down to his knee to meet his son’s eyes. “I know you think we work too much-“

“You do,” the boy pouts.

“If your mama and I didn’t work then you and Katya would be taken away and put in a home somewhere,” he snaps. “You’re going to stop those complaints, yes?”

“Yes papa.” Viktor hangs his head slightly, unwilling to truly meet his father’s eyes.

The man stands up and clears his throat. “The both of you need to listen to us now. I have fewer hours because I’m leaving my job- No interruptions! I’ve found work, better, more intelligent work, in St Petersburg-“

Both children gasp in unison. “St Petersburg?!”

Katya looks up in awe. “But St Petersburg is a million miles away Papa! We’ve never even left here!”

Her mother took a step away from her husband’s side, reaching out to ruffle Katya’s hair. “It’s going to be scary, but this is a good thing, I promise. Papa will earn more money, and I’ll find a better job too. We might even be able to get you those crayons you wanted.”

Viktor, however, is un-swayed by the mention of more money. “So you’re leaving us?”

Their father narrows his eyes. “Of course not. You’ll be coming too. We’ll enrol you both in a proper school there, too.”

The Nikiforov siblings feel a pang of true horror. Though they’re both still young, they’re smart enough to put two and two together. If they go to St Petersburg, their beloved grandparents won’t be there with them. They’re also witty enough to know that it’ll probably be a while before the family is reunited again, if money is so sparing. Viktor notes that they’ll even have to take an aeroplane to get there, and his heart fills with dread.

“Papa-“

“No, Vitya.” He stands as tall as he can as he says it. “No arguing. You’ll both come home this weekend, and then you can begin to pack your things.”

X

Viktor wakes up in the middle of the night to creaking. Of course, he’s strong and brave. He has no fear of whatever it is. Regardless, he hides his head underneath the thick blankets until his heart rate slows down enough for his limbs to unlock. He pulls the blanket down, revealing his eyes to the darkness. It takes a while for his sight to adjust, but eventually he can see that nobody is there. Nobody is there.

“Katya?!” He hobbles over to her bedside, discovering it to be empty. Viktor doesn’t know what to do. His mind races desperately, until he notices the single pair of skates resting next to the doorway. He thinks about waking his grandparents, but he doesn’t want Katya to get into trouble. Perhaps it’s somewhat selfish of him, but he knows that they’ll perpetually keep her inside if they ever find out, and Viktor doesn’t have anybody else to spend his days with. 

He tugs on a warm jumper, his thickest winter coat, and a pair of heavy boots as he sneaks his way downstairs, careful not to wake any of the adults. Viktor’s experience assists him and he manages to slip out unnoticed. The shoes make it hard, but he breaks out into a fast paced run, the exertion heating his body despite the cold night air.

Nonchalantly, Katya waves at her brother as he approaches the lake. “You came to watch Vitya!”

Viktor pants. “Come back Katya! Dedka told us the ice is too thin now!”

She ignores him, leaping ever so lightly across the lake. “It’s fine! Look!” As if to emphasise her point, she confidently spins, arms raised above her head.

He’s not so convinced. He’s accompanied their Dedushka a few times now to check the sturdiness of the ice, has received the lecture of how dangerous it can be. “Please Katya!”

Katya groans, but pushes off and skates towards him. Though she’s graceful, talented far beyond her years, she rushes. On instinct, she tries to stop completely, digging her toe pick in-

Rolling thunder.

It sounds like rolling thunder, consuming and deafening.

Pure white cracks form in a perfect circle beneath her feet and she begins to scream, but it’s cut off with the way she splashes into the water.

Viktor forgets that the ice has cracked, and that he’s wearing heavy shoes. He skids immediately to her side, screaming as loud as she. She splashes desperately, she doesn’t even know how to swim properly yet. 

Somehow, Viktor manages to grasp her, but she’s too wet and cold to the touch. His hand slips away. He screams too, thrusting both arms into the water until his hands scrabble for an area of her cloth. She flails in his arms as he manages to lift her enough for her head to emerge. He’s desperate and she’s tugging him in with her. Viktor reaches behind him, finger nails clawing at the ice, as he wraps his other hand around her arm. Through some force of adrenaline, with his eyes filling with tears from the effort of it, Katya’s pulled from the water. He manages to get her at least horizontal, only her legs remaining, and he drags her the rest of the way.

He can’t waste any time.

Viktor practically tosses her onto the banks, stripping her of her clothes. Other than spluttering, she’s completely limp, blinking slowly.

He shrugs of his own coat, wrapping it around her blue, naked body. “We have to get home now Katya!”

“Vi-“ Katya cuts herself off, seemingly falling fast asleep.

With his last strength, Viktor begins to drag.

X

“Dedka please!” Viktor raises his voice. “Let me be with her.”

Sadly, the older man shakes his head. “I think you’ve done enough, Vitya.”

Viktor sinks against the door. “Please.” It comes out as a pitiful whimper.

As he says it, the door opens again, and his father just stands there. His expression is somewhat stoic, but his limbs shake. “Viktor,” the name falls sharply from his lips.

Viktor shudders. He doesn’t even remember the last time he’s been called anything other than ‘Vitya’. “Papa, I’m sorry-“

Before he can finish, sharp pain flows through his cheek. The slap knocks him off his feet, the tingles continuing on his face for what feels like minutes afterwards. “Your mother is distraught.”

“Papa-“

For a moment, Viktor flinches, fully expecting to be slapped again, but it doesn’t come. “You are to never set foot on ice again. Is that clear?”

Viktor lets out a low sob. “Yes.”

“Yes sir.”

“Yes sir.”

He disappears back inside the room, pointedly banging it shut.

An hour later, Baba emerges, completely ignoring Viktor and going straight into Dedushka’s arms. Viktor’s confused, as no words are exchanged between the two. She clutches at him, hanging her head. For the first time in his short life, Viktor sees the older man cry.

He’s never felt so small.

X

The sound of the city is deafening. Somewhere in his mind, Viktor decides he likes that quite a lot. His senses are so filled up that there’s not a lot of time to let his thoughts wander. At first it was hard to fall asleep with the constant noise just outside his window, but now it’s perfect. He couldn’t imagine anything worse than silence. Regardless of the ambience, he still wakes up drenched in his own sweat, dreams full of ice and water.

Their small apartment is located out of the way of the centre, but that doesn’t stop the traffic. Viktor notices this as he walks decidedly in another direction to where ‘school’ is located. It’s not as if he means to, necessarily, but his feet manage to place themselves along the wrong street anyway. It’s not entirely innocently aimless, of course. Yet again, he finds himself standing in front of that large ice rink.

It’s not like he could ever go inside, Viktor laments. It’s a private rink after all, used only by the professionals. Unlike other ice rinks, he supposed, this one produced enough champions that it didn’t have to rely on the same funding by opening to the public during the day. Though, he had seen its doors open on the occasional Sunday, letting mostly excitable young girls clutching programmes and newspaper clippings inside. He didn’t even have to walk up to the tall, blue building to know that the fee to get inside, to skate on that ice on the rare days it wasn’t being used for practice.

“Hmph,” someone says, bumping into his form. “What are you standing like that for?”

Viktor turns sharply, met with a boy who towers over his own admittedly short frame. He’s wearing some band t-shirt Viktor doesn’t recognise, accompanied by vibrant leg warmers and matching bag of, presumably equipment.

He stuffs his hands into the pockets of his coat, muttering “sorry” as he turns on the spot.

The boy clears his throat. “Are you our new rink mate?”

Viktor knows full well he shouldn’t, but he turns around anyway, meeting the curious glance. “Am I?”

He smiles, extending a hand. “Georgi Popovitch. Come inside with me! I’ll show you around!”

“Wait-“ but it’s much too late for Viktor to really protest, especially with his curiosity in mind. He allows himself to be dragged inside the building by the other boy. The walls aren’t even that high, but they feel incredibly tall, decorated by men and women alike adorned with gold everything.

“-here early so I can qualify for juniors,” Viktor hears the boy, Georgi, say, not necessarily caring whether Viktor was actually listening or not.

At the sight of locker rooms, Viktor stops dead. “I don’t have skates.” His own are long gone, burned, he imagines.

Georgi looks at him funny. “You could borrow some.”

Viktor tries not to think about how this is the first kindness he’s really experienced since moving to St Petersburg, silently instead allowing Georgi to hunt for skates in the right shoe size. He gets a niggling feeling that they’re really not supposed to be doing this, but somehow that doesn’t really stop him.

The ice doesn’t terrify him as much as it should do. It’s the first time he’s seen ice that isn’t natural, and the difference is instantly noticeable. The bite of the cold is completely different, much more controlled here. Viktor just can’t help himself, stepping out onto the ice as soon as it’s in his line of view. His legs wobble at first, real ice skates alien on his feet. The ice is completely foreign as well; he’s never felt something so perfectly smooth. For the first time in months, he closes his eyes and breathes again. He can feel it course through his bones as he glides. To make sure, he spins, and spins, and spins until he’s too dizzy to continue. Yes, it’s joy returning to his blood, mindlessness. Since that tragic night on the brink of spring, Viktor hasn’t quite felt alive like this. He gets close to the ice, trying to imitate a move he’d seen before, practically resting a palm against it. He knows it’s ridiculous, but it’s as if his Katya is waving back at him.

The clearing of a throat knocks him out of the illusion. “If you were trying to perform a hydroblade, that’s not how you do it. Who taught you?”

Viktor swallowed, timidly meeting the eyes of the significantly older man staring down at him. “Nobody,” he pauses, and remembers, “…sir.”

The man raises an eyebrow, and Viktor notices that it’s just the two of them in the space of the rink. “I can see promise. Ballet for your flexibility, novice classes for the technical aspects. Of course you’ll need skates that actually fit you.”

“I-“

He presses his lips together. “What’s your name?”

Viktor subconsciously brushes his lengthening hair out of his eyes. “Viktor Nikiforov, sir.”

Seemingly, the man softens slightly, offering his hand. “Yakov Feltsman.”

X

Had it not been for the violent blowing of trees around them, Yuuri probably wouldn’t have even noticed the story was over, Viktor’s words ringing painfully in his ears. And had it not been for the bitter cold of Russia at winter freezing them as they hit his, he wouldn’t have noticed his own tears either. Yuuri felt useless, dead weight in his husband’s arms.

“Yuuri,” Viktor’s arms unwound from his back, brushing the hair out his eyes. “Yuuri-“

Yuuri sniffed. “I should be the one comforting you.”

Viktor rocked him slightly, looking up at the sky where snow was beginning to fall again. “It was twenty years ago now, I’m not sad anymore, about any of it.”

“But-“ Yuuri shuddered, “I must have said so many awful things to you, without even knowing!”

At his words, Viktor seemed to hug him even closer, caressing the back of his head. Yuuri calmed eventually, relaxing into his touch. The moment seemed to drag out for a small forever, ending only when the warmth of Viktor’s body was no match for the rapid chill of a Russian winter night. Wordlessly, they got up and wandered back inside the house, before falling asleep together, cocooned in each other’s arms.


 

“Viktor,” Yuuri said, heaving the last of their many bags into the back of the car. “Let’s go skating again.” 

Viktor nearly slammed the boot down in apparent shock from the statement. “You want to go skating?”

With the exception of their first day, even Yuuri could admit how ridiculous a request that must sound. Within a day or two, the both of them would be right back into the fray of their competitive season. Their entire lives were about to become about skating and nothing else. Anybody else would reasonably take the merciful two weeks they had to be a skating free haven. But Yuuri had an idea, kind of. Enough of an idea, at least, that he’d purposely left their skates to pack last.

“I love skating with you.”

“Let’s go then!”

The mood was decidedly brighter this time when they walked the way to the same clearing. Yuuri found himself leaning into Viktor’s arm, a sense of relief that there were no secrets between them anymore. In fact, if Yuuri were totally honest, this was probably the most relaxed he’d ever seen Viktor, aside from his sleep.

They stopped on the banks of the lake and Viktor emitted a sigh. “The last time I came here before you was after my Dedushka’s funeral.”

“To skate?”

Viktor nodded. “I was angry at my parents, so I listened to music and skated from my heart.” He paused for a moment. “I choreographed parts of my first own routine here.”

Yuuri remembered. The blaring sounds of ‘Palladio’ rang clear as day in his mind, a routine a younger Viktor had seemed so proud of in interviews. Even a casual fan could have named the routine, being one of Viktor’s most famous, considering he won his first gold in the Olympics with it. It gave the fiery routine an unexpectedly sad context.  

He swallowed. “Aren’t you going to introduce us?”

Viktor looked like he was about to say something, but instead he dropped Yuuri’s hand, and began to kneel down in the snow. “Katya, this is my husband, Katsuki-Nikiforov Yuuri. I think you would have liked him. He takes care of me very well.”

Yuuri was beckoned forward to join him. “Hello, Katya.”

He smiled brightly. “I think she would tell you to run far away whilst you still can.”

“Even if I did, you’d follow me.”

Viktor grinned. “I can be quite persistent. Now come, you wanted to skate.”

For a brief moment, when Viktor was already at the centre of the ice, and Yuuri was left alone on his knees, he found himself opening his mouth to address the imaginary spirit, despite how ridiculous it sounded. “I promise to look out for him, no matter what.”

Yuuri stood, reaching out to grasp the hand that was waiting for him.


 

Viktor and Yuuri flopped down on their aeroplane seats, absolutely stuffed full of Baba’s farewell cooking, and exhausted from the long drive to the airport. The only thing keeping Yuuri going was the fact that the cross-country flight to St Petersburg was significantly shorter than Japan to Russia. For once, he could not complain about the comfort that first class seats offered.

Viktor chewed on his lip. “Was all of that okay?”

“What?”

His husband sat back in his seat. “I know you were probably expecting some kind of beautiful trip to somewhere in the sun, and it’s not as if we did much-“

How, exactly, Yuuri had wound up married to this man, he had no idea. Instead of calling him ridiculous, though, Yuuri decided on the softer approach. “Viktor, remember that time we went to the beach?”

Viktor huffed beside him. “We go to the beach a lot.”

Yuuri smiled. “I told you that I just wanted you to be you. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

“You mean?”

He gripped his hand. “Thank you, it was perfect.”