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"Katsudon, katsudon," Yuuri mutters to himself, exhausted.

It is the night before Onsen on Ice and Yuuri's muscles ache from a week of brutal ice time after a month of nearly nothing. His feet ache from the grip of his skates, and his hip aches, purple and bruised. More than anything, his mind aches.

The gluttonous, luxurious feeling that katsudon inspired in him had seemed like the obvious kernel for Eros at the time, and Viktor had seemed satisfied with the direction of Yuuri's skating after that revelation, but now, with less than twenty hours until the exhibition, it doesn't seem like it can possibly be enough.

"God," Yuuri says, and trips to his desk, pulling out a sheet of paper to write—a list.

He doesn't have time to be doing this. The performance is tomorrow; he should be going to bed early, to wake up early, to get in a good final morning practice before they close off the rink to prepare for the show. Still, despite how each line of the list feels like pulling teeth, miserable and painful, he can't put down his pencil. He breaks the tip three times with the jerkiness of his strokes, has to replace the lead, but can't stop.

club music, he's written,
rap music
dancing
pole dancing?

None of it is right. That is: a third of it is wrong, and another third feels forced. The last third is just try masturbating?, scrawled at various points throughout the list, increasingly illegible the further down it appears. He stares at everything on the list that sounds worse than unhelpful, and then he stares at that one.

Yuuri crumples up the list. He'd written it in Japanese, so there is no immediate fear of anyone (Viktor) finding it, but—if this awful, tortured collection is seen by another soul, he knows he'll die. It can't be helped. He uncrumples it and tears it into tiny, tiny pieces, meticulous, until it is just a pile of confetti for him to run his fingers through.

He does that for a few moments, paper sticking to his fingertips, and then looks at the ceiling. Maybe he's been thinking about this wrong.

"What is sexy to the playboy?" Yuuri asks his room.

He spins in his chair, thinking helplessly about katsudon. He closes his eyes and thinks about it until his mouth feels wet—too wet, saliva pooling on his tongue. Then he thinks about the way his tongue feels in his mouth, heavy. He licks the wet onto his lips.

What would the sexiest character in the story think is sexy?

Without opening his eyes, Yuuri takes off his glasses and puts them onto the desk. He runs his fingers through his hair, pushing it out of his face. He lifts his chin, touches his throat. He thinks about the half-skirt on Viktor's costume—on his costume—and drags his fingers down his chest, to his waist, to where it'll flare out when he spirals, flashing a peek of red.

He bites at his still-wet lip, and opens his eyes. It's late and he aches everywhere. He should be sleeping, but suddenly he knows: he has to see Minako.

~~~

It's well after three in the morning by the time he walks back home, moving like a different person. He takes corners with a particular lilt, stops every so often in front of a dark window to move his arms. He makes it back to the inn and takes off his shoes with delicate care, pads to his bedroom as soundlessly as he can. He closes the door with two gentle hands.

He's buzzing inside; he can't stop.

By all rights he should be exhausted. He is exhausted, if he considers it, but he's also loose and—ready, in a way he doesn't quite want to think about. He puts on his pajamas and lays in bed on his back. He has to sleep. The sun will be rising in less than an hour.

His body stubbornly wants to move, and that stupid fucking list is haunting him, lying in pieces on his desk. Try masturbating, it said.

He had tried that once—who wouldn't have at least tried, if they had been told to find inspiration for a program dedicated to sexual love. It hadn't really helped.

But right now he feels—

Yuuri blinks at the ceiling, breath catching noisily in his throat, and moves his hand under the blankets. He cups himself gently and feels—hot. His dick twitches in his pants, under his hand.

Right. So he's going to do this.

He bites his lip and jerks down his pants, pulls up his shirt. He takes himself in hand and—strokes. It's no different than any other time he's done this. It's not weird at all to do something like this. People do this all the time.

The ceiling is dark. The blanket is heavy over him. He turns his wrist on the next stroke, like he usually does.

"Is this really eros?" he whispers to himself, after a few minutes, when he's starting to breathe a little harder. Then he remembers: feminine movements.

The blanket has to come—off. He takes in a cool mouthful of air, free of it, and arches his back a little. He closes his eyes, loosens his wrist, and strokes up the underside of his cock with the open palm of his hand.

That feels different, and good. He does it again, pressing his dick against the flat of his stomach with his hand. He rubs the tip of it with his thumb, feeling the stickiness that comes out. He runs his fingers all the way up, and all the way down, cupping his balls and curling in behind. He tips his head back against the sheets and uses two hands. Eros, eros.

"Ah," he says once, after a minute spent just squeezing his cock at the base, hard, without moving. He opens his eyes when the noise comes out, heart halfway up his throat. He's never noisy when he jerks off. He'd forgotten to hold it in, somehow.

His room is the furthest away from the rest of the house, in a corner on the other side of the family bathroom. It's not a problem if he makes a little noise. He still shouldn't though. Someone could hear.

Viktor lives in this house now—he could hear. And that's the worst thing that could possibly happen, Yuuri thinks, as his dick jumps in his fist. He bites his lip hard around a groan, pleasure spiking down to the core of him. He thinks, daringly, of Viktor's face, just once, and then closes his eyes and strokes himself again, almost too light to feel.

Yuuri has never done this before, not really, not like this. The pleasure builds slowly; he buries his impatience in the smooth drag of his hand, paying more attention to how his movements feel than to how close he is. Until, suddenly, he is very close.

With the edge right there, Yuuri takes a breath through his open mouth, wanting it. He steps over.

It's—a rush. It washes through him head to groin to toe, pulsing, nearly choking him. He clenches everywhere, like he can hold the brightness of it in his body if he just tries hard enough.

It drains away as quickly as it had rushed in, leaving him just a body again, dazed and sweaty, thoroughly transformed, with come all up his chest. He pants, his temples dripping with sweat, and slides his fingers through the—mess. Looking at it, thick and white in the pale light of an approaching morning, the whole experience feels very... real.

Try masturbating. Was that what that had been?

Yuuri blinks in the light.

He is supposed to be performing in twelve hours. He hasn't slept. What has he been doing instead? God.

He cleans up with a sock, hands trembling, and curls up back in bed for a quick nap.

Three hours later, he gets up and goes to skate, squeezing in some ice time just before the triplets close off the rink. It's not enough. Yuuri has barely slept and barely refreshed his routine; he is going to fail at this and fall on all his jumps, and Viktor is going to frown at him and go back to Russia with Yurio.

Before his performance, he hugs Viktor, selfishly, unable to stop himself.

"I love katsudon," Viktor tells him, reassuring.

Yuuri clutches at him tighter, for just a moment. Because—he can be more than katsudon, in this performance. He can be that person, not a playboy but a gorgeous woman with the world eating out of the palm of her hand.

He had already been her, for just a slice of time before dawn, coaxing something out of himself that he'd never felt before.

~~~

Yuuri wins.

"You know what this means, don't you?" Viktor asks, eyes sparkling. "Now you can train twice as hard! Are you excited?"

"I'm excited!" Yuuri agrees, and means it, at least until the end of the third day, when even just peeling off his socks leaves him hissing in pain. Skating has always been difficult, but what Viktor demands is something else.

"You had it at Onsen on Ice," Viktor says, frowning into his hand. "You're missing something! Go back, do it one more time."

"No, no, that was worse!" Viktor says. "Again, with more of the gooey egg! Or how about some green onion?"

"Maybe it was the audience?" Viktor says. "Are you an exhibitionist? Your eros doesn't really come out unless everyone is watching, is that it?"

"I'm not!" Yuuri insists, red in the face—from exhaustion—, "please don't say things like that!"

"I'll stop saying it when you can prove to me it's not true, my sweet flickering light bulb," Viktor says, smiling dangerously. "We're done for today, but be prepared to give me more eros tomorrow!"

Yuuri skates and dances and skates and dances. He feels like he has a hold of his eros; it might just be that Viktor's standards have risen, after the initial trial. He practices the woman's mindset until he can switch it on in an instant, pull it on like a glittering garment.

And it's not as if Yuuri hasn't considered just—doing it again. The masturbating. It had been very... eros.

Mostly he just can't though. Viktor works him hard, and he works himself harder every chance he gets. He's exhausted, bone-tired every moment of every day, and passes out every night as soon as he touches his bedsheets. Occasionally he has the presence of mind to jerk one out, efficient and quick, before dropping into the next thing to a coma, but that really isn't the same.

It would be nice to do again, properly, he thinks, tentative. Even just thinking about it is embarrassing—but it had helped, he tells himself. It's a normal thing to consider.

This train of thought, reasonable and logically motivated, is the primary subject of Yuuri's post-Eros-practice internal monologues, as he unlaces his skates and packs his bag. It doesn't intrude into his normal life, his non-Eros life—the small scrap of it that remains, at least—until, finally, it does.

He had almost managed to try it again last night, starting with long minutes of light caresses in bed, working himself up to hardness. It had felt nice. He can't remember how far he'd gotten before falling asleep.

He sits in a daze at the breakfast table, staring at his morning apple. By the time he comes to, mostly-hard in his track pants, having just daydreamed his way through the rest of what last night could have been, Viktor is sitting across from him at the table, smiling at him oddly.

"Viktor!" Yuuri yelps, shaking. He nearly gets up, but remembers at the last second what a disaster that would be. He takes an overly large bite of apple to compensate.

"You've been working hard, and you look tired," Viktor says cheerfully. "We need to start thinking about your free skate soon, so before that I've decided we'll have our first no-skate, no-studio, no-run, no-nothing, vacation day!"

"No skate—" Yuuri says around his mouthful, effectively distracted, "not even a run? Nothing?"

"Not to worry, I won't let you get bored," Viktor says. He winks. "We're going to the beach! Together!"

It's a stupid idea. It's barely May, but this doesn't deter Viktor—it's sunny, he says, and it is. It's warm outside, he says, and it is fairly warm, a pleasant day in mid-spring. It's practically tropical, the weather being like this in May, he says, which is not true at all, but Viktor is Russian, so Yuuri just looks at him, pained.

"Bring your swimsuit, Yuuri!" Viktor insists.

After what had happened at the breakfast table, knowing the kind of thoughts that are now afflicting him, Yuuri wants anything but to be half-naked in public around Viktor.

"Don't worry, I'll wear mine too, we'll match!" Viktor says brightly.

The reassurance does not help.

Regardless, it is a nice day. Viktor engages in some kind of charades with Yuuri's mother and together they arrange a lunch basket. It's a leisurely walk to the beach with Makkachin, transitioning to a picnic on the rocky shore in swim trunks and shirts. When Viktor demands that Yuuri take off his shirt and get in the water, Yuuri somehow manages to dare Viktor into going first.

It is too cold to be in the water, really, so Yuuri only wades in up to his shins; Viktor goes farther. The stones of the beach are chilly under their feet, cold on Yuuri's tender bruises; Viktor doesn't seem to notice, splashing to and fro to hold Makkachin's attention. Makkachin is cute. Viktor has—abs. Yuuri keeps his eyes on the horizon.

All this really shows, Yuuri thinks, when their long afternoon of wandering up and down the beach has wound down, is that he needs to repolish his performance. He needs to be able to pull off an Eros that will impress Viktor, even just in practice.

He has to jerk off again, before Viktor gets so annoyed with his inconsistency that he just goes back to Russia anyway.

"Wasn't this a great idea of mine?" Viktor says, toweling the salty water out of Makkachin's fur in the entryway. "You seem more relaxed now, at least. We should do it again." He graces Yuuri with a smile that makes him squirm.

"Right, um," Yuuri says. "Still no skating today, no studio time?"

"Nothing," Viktor agrees. "You are resting your body!"

"Uh-huh," Yuuri says. "Then I guess I'll... go... rest it. In my room. I'll play... some games."

He inches backward, unsure, but Viktor just waves at him cheerily with the towel and continues drying off an increasingly impatient Makkachin. His escape goes unremarked.

And that is how Yuuri finds himself, again in his bedroom, body humming with the knowledge of what he is about to do. He draws the blinds, shutting out as much of the evening light as possible, and wedges an old slipper under his door to prevent it from opening. Cautiously, so cautiously, he lies down on his bed.

There is no transition between thinking and doing, not this time. Yuuri just touches himself, one finger tracing the outline of his dick through his swim trunks, other hand slipping under the waistband. He scrapes his nails over the crinkles in his skin left by the elastic, scrapes his way down to the edge of coarse hair, through it, to the base of his cock. The promise of this has been hovering under his skin all day. His abdomen trembles beneath his hand.

More than anything, he wants to be naked. It's only early evening and he's in his childhood bedroom, which has no lock on its door—it doesn't quench the desire one bit. He kicks his shorts off and hides his nakedness under the sheets, squirming with the way they feel on him. He hasn't even started and he feels out of breath, sensitive, a beat behind some tempo he can't quite hear. His fingers move almost on their own, entrancing and powerful, as they come to fit again around his dick.

This is Eros, somewhere strange and disembodied inside him, emerging with unplanned confidence. It surprises him; it's like he has the power to seduce even himself, unlock himself, split himself open and lie vulnerable where no one else can see. He feels raw, ready—he bites at his lip hard enough for it to hurt, and runs the tip of his thumb delicately around the soft edge of his foreskin. Runs one hand along the tender inside of his thigh, strokes over the cut of one hip, flirts with the bump of a nipple.

The sensation is oddly sweet, and he feels a whine collecting at the back of his throat. He huffs loudly on the next breath, trying to rid himself of it, but another sound is waiting behind the first. When he finally fists his dick, giving in to the hot desire for pressure, he groans despite himself, the back of his skull digging into the mattress. It's too loud but he just can't keep it in, can't press his lips together because he's too busy sucking in air, thirsty for it.

Gentle, gentle, he reminds himself, and slows down even though it hurts. He rubs his fingers into the tender spot just below the head of his cock, and puts his hand to his mouth so he can moan freely. Why is it so hard to keep quiet this time? And why doesn't he want this to end? He wants to push himself, keep winding his way deeper into the way this feels, wants to imagine—

"Yuuri!" comes Viktor's voice, from right outside the door.

Yuuri, mortified, nearly comes. He chokes his yelp down to something more like a gasp, and yanks his hand off his cock like it's burned him, his heart shrieking at him like a fire alarm.

"—time for dinner," Viktor is babbling, cheerful. "Hurry up and come eat, I helped your mom cook! Well, I mean I was trying, but I'm not really that good at—anyway, I did my best! What are you doing in there, are you napping? Can I come in—"

"No!" Yuuri says, stumbling off the bed, to the nearest pair of pants on the floor and yanking them on. "I'll be there in a second!" He zips up carefully around his still rock-hard dick, hissing.

He is very aware of the probable state of his hair—bed-rumpled—and his face—flushed and framed with sweat. He's been jerking off for—fifteen minutes? Twenty? Why doesn't he have a mirror in his room so he can put himself together, why won't his dick hurry up and go down, why won't Viktor go away

"Yuuuuriiii," Viktor is whining. "Just because you didn't burn so many calories today doesn't mean you don't have to eat... As your coach, it's my job to worry..."

Yuuri scrubs his hands through his hair, trying to sort himself out, and dabs sweat from his face with the bedsheet. He checks his reflection with his phone, steels himself, and walks out with confidence. If he can ignore the state of his dick, everyone else will too.

It seems to work, and eventually his body calms. Dinner is normal, as delicious as his bland, pre-season diet can be. Viktor seems touchier than usual, reaching across him, their knees bumping—it's probably just Yuuri, worked up and echoing with oversensitivity, shuddering from the smallest brush of Viktor's shoulder against his. He keeps his eyes on his plate for the most part, smiling wanly when his mother pokes her head in to ask how his day has gone.

"I heard from Vicchan that you two took the day off," she says, beaming at him. "I'm so glad! Proper rest is important for you, especially since you work so hard. You should have a soak in the onsen after dinner!"

"Onsen?" Viktor asks, perking up. "Yuuri! That's perfect! We should take a bath together!"

Oh god.

It is simultaneously the best idea and the worst idea. Every second of the bath, from scrub to soak, pulls at Yuuri's overstretched nerves; he hums in pleasure at the chance to clean the sweat from his hairline and the ocean salt from his legs, but nearly cries when Viktor grabs at his feet, claiming Yuuri "just needs a coach's touch to get this sand out of your poor abused toes!"

"I don't think..." Yuuri tries.

"Nonsense," Viktor says with great authority, holding Yuuri's foot in his naked lap. "I'll even give you a nice foot rub afterward, see?"

"I can do it myself," Yuuri says, panicking, and pulls his foot back, even though it nearly winds up toppling both of them.

They sit in the hot bath together, quiet. Yuuri keeps his head tipped back and eyes closed; this way, there is no risk of ogling. He half-resents Viktor for leaving him in peace; it leaves his mind free to replay his moment of shame over and over. If he looks at me, can he see the kinds of things I've thought about him? Yuuri wonders helplessly. It's not possible. The kinds of things that Yuuri has started to think would scandalize even Viktor.

There is a splash; it splashes closer, and closer. "Your face is so red, Yuuri," Viktor says, from very near, and then there is a hand on Yuuri's cheek.

He opens his eyes, dazed and disbelieving. Viktor is—right there. If his muscles didn't feel so honey-soft, so loose and relaxed, he would be jumping away, but as it is he just—stares. For just a moment.

"We should probably get out," says Yuuri's sensible side, which thankfully has taken control of Yuuri's mouth.

"Probably," Viktor says, smiling.

Yuuri stares at him for a heartbeat longer, before willing his legs to move. After a moment, they do; it is an act of great courage to turn, and stand, and lever himself out of the water right in front of Viktor, but he does it. "I'm going to bed," Yuuri says, not looking back.

In his room, Yuuri re-wedges the old slipper under the door, and then wedges its mate under too for good measure. He stands in the middle of the room and does the first run of steps for his short program barefoot, testing the feel of his body in the small space, fluid after the bath. Then he turns out the lights, takes off his glasses, and collapses on his bed like his strings have been cut.

He can't unzip his pants fast enough—rubs himself through them, at first, while he fumbles with the zipper, and then gets distracted from his fumbling. He arches against his own hand, grinding against the palm and breathing fast, shallow. He wants to come so badly, has been waiting forever. Not just all day, but weeks; since he had first spent that night doing nothing but enjoying himself, touching without goal or shame.

Yuuri is so close already, having done nothing but gasp against the friction through his underwear. It's too fast. Eros, eros. He deserves—more. The whole point of this, all along, has been to take his time.

Pulling his hand away is torture. Concentrating hard enough to peel open his pants, shift down his underwear, is torture. Dragging the tips of his fingers over the bare skin of his cock, slow, like it doesn't matter how close he is, is torture.

It's a beautiful torture, like skating. He likes it, gasps through it.

The soles of his feet scrub against the blanket; his pants are twisted around his thighs. He lifts his hands away and breathes into the empty sensation as his hips twitch, easing into calm. He drags his palms all the way down his body. The sensation through his shirt is soft, muffled. It frustrates him for a moment, until it doesn't—just makes him arch and sigh.

Yuuri feels hot, like he hasn't left the onsen, delirious with what he's chasing. The head of his cock is wet when he touches it again, and he has to palm it, has to moan when he does. His dick jumps against his fingers whenever he presses too hard; he has to pull away, biting his lip, worried he'll shoot just from the thought of how close he is.

You've got to slow down, Yuuri, he hears in Viktor's voice, an echo that resonates somewhere deep and low. Take your time so you can get this right. I know you can do it. He's not even touching himself—throws his hands over his face to muffle the high noise that comes out of him, shaped vaguely like a name—but that voice nearly does it for him. In an instant it chokes him, stops him up with pleasure, leaves him gasping around the fullness of something that could be very loud if he let it leave his throat.

He takes a few breaths through his teeth.

What do I do, Yuuri wonders, pulling his hands from his face. God, he doesn't want to come down from this. He touches his own lips, feeling the wet indent from his teeth. He licks at the tips of his fingers, and then down the length of them, into the sensitive crevice where they meet the palm.

The wet on his fingers feels cool and soothing against his belly, a line of chill that he can feel in the air as he drags it down into the open vee of his zipper.

Anything, Yuuri realizes. He could do anything to himself right now, and it would probably feel good.

His balls are hot and heavy in his spit-wet hand, the skin behind them tender and happy to be touched. His stomach twitches as he draws light circles against it under his bellybutton, lower and lower, a curlicue of finger and thumb back into place at the base of his cock. The glide of them up the shaft is sweet, almost unbearable.

Two fingers is all he needs for a long while, burying his gasps into his other wrist, until it builds so intensely that all he wants is the gentle pressure of his thumb. He's on some kind of effortless edge, pulling taut even as it lifts higher and higher. The less he touches himself, the more he feels. It's a balancing act that requires no thought—not here, with his eyes closed and hands soft against himself, hovering in a place he's never been before. The space between each breath is deep and still, a heartbeat of anticipation.

Good, comes the eventual thought. Just like that.

It doesn't come from Yuuri; it's from somewhere above him, outside of him, but it rules him just the same, wrings a bolt of sharp pleasure down his spine. This is it, he realizes, and on the next wave of heat doesn't pull his hand away—he digs in instead, whispering his thumb up the length of his dick from base to head, to that spot that guts him every time he glances across it, the opposite of a bruise. It's just enough.

Yuuri is not blindsided by the orgasm that rolls over him; he is merely crumpled by it, a force so intense that it almost hurts. It screws into him hard enough that his entire spine arches, minute shivers wracking him from toes to fingertips. It pours out of him and doesn't stop, goes on and on until he feels dizzy, his throat catching around too-loud noises that demand escape. It's what he'd needed, full and white-bright, searing afterimages inside his skin.

One final groan works its way out of his throat; he shoots a last hot stripe of come into the excessive mess on his abdomen—and hand—and shirt—and chin.

So—he thinks, senselessly, as the shivers start to dry up—this is the other side.

After the last of the shivers comes stillness, a raw emptiness. And after that, so small and distant that it almost isn't there at all, a sense of banked heat. The faintest something, like hunger.

"Fuck," he finally whispers, loud in the new silence. He feels damp and hollow, hoarse.

He should clean himself up before going to sleep, but his limbs barely respond when he pushes at them to move. His head tilts into the divot of his pillow, and he opens his eyes.

It's just a blank wall now, but something had been there once. In this trembling, blurred moment before sleep, Yuuri wets his bottom lip and thinks, tentatively, of Viktor.