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Winter Song

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The morning of Yuuri’s Free Skate performance, he woke up with a pit in his stomach—an unwelcome mixture of loneliness, dread, and frustration.

He stayed in bed for a long time, uncomfortable within the tangle of sheets, and tried his best to pull it together. However, it wasn’t until Makkachin started whining to be taken outside for a walk that Yuuri forced himself to throw back the covers and get up. He got dressed without looking at the clothes he pulled on, grabbed Makkachin’s leash, and concentrated on keeping his breathing nice and slow while he attached it to the dog’s collar.

Was this really going to happen today?

Two weeks without Victor.

Two long weeks on his own, and Yuuri had been so proud of how well he’d done. Not only had he proven to himself during yesterday’s Short Program that he could score well without his coach there, but Yuuri had also proven to Victor that he could relax and focus on his comeback without having to worry about his coaching duties.

And it made Yuuri feel so frustrated to now find himself suddenly struggling at the eleventh hour.

He battled with his rising anxiety for much of the day, and the closer he got to his performance, the worse it became. He flubbed one too many jumps during his morning practice, the memories of which replayed over and over in his mind until he was reduced to a bundle of frayed nerves.

By the time evening rolled around, Yuuri could barely stand still for more than a few seconds at a time. Swells of emotion kept rising up inside of him with such intensity that he felt compelled to move to get away from his own feelings.

He was supposed to be doing his pre-competition warmups but instead chose to hide from everyone in an isolated corridor at the arena that he probably wasn’t supposed to be in. There, he did everything in his power to try to stay calm, which mostly consisted of silently yelling at himself.

Stop it, Yuuri told himself while he paced. You’re stronger than this.

Except apparently he wasn’t, nor had he been magically cured of his anxiety after breaking a world record. His brain did not seem to care what he was capable of on a good day.

Less than an hour before Yuuri was due to perform, Minako tracked him down and came marching through the hallway in his direction. She seemed determined to get in his face, the same way she used to when he was a jittery child before a dance recital.

There was little chance of escape, so Yuuri panicked and resorted to flat-out dishonesty instead. Lifting his hands in submission, he said, “I’m fine.”

Minako halted a few steps in front of him, and her shoe proceeded to tap an impatient rhythm on the linoleum floor.

Yuuri deflated at once. “Okay. I’m not fine.”

“Really?” Minako deadpanned. “I couldn’t tell.”

There was a reason he had asked his old sensei to help out as his coach these last few weeks in Victor’s absence. There were only a handful of people in the world who were well-acquainted with Yuuri’s anxiety issues, and Minako was one of them. But while he knew he didn’t have to hide this from her, it was difficult to put his feelings into words. They never seemed adequate enough to fully describe the intricate web of his thoughts.

“You could at least try to tone down the sarcasm,” Yuuri muttered.

“Why? You won’t listen to me either way.” She poked his shoulder twice. “What’s going on, kid? You don’t look so good.”

He raked his fingers back through his hair. He’d used too much gel when slicking it back, and it tangled and pulled between his fingers, probably making it look worse than it already did. It was never the same when he had to fix it instead of Victor. “I’m just . . . I’m frustrated.”

Minako’s expression softened. “With . . . ?”

Myself. I don’t understand why my brain always does this to me. I’m in first place after the Short Program. I’ve been calm about Nationals for weeks, and suddenly today, I’m not. Why is this happening now?”

With an irritated huff, he leaned back against the wall and rubbed at his temples, hoping to banish the tension. Minako didn’t reply right away and instead, crossed her arms over her chest and rested her shoulder against the wall next to him. It was close enough to offer her support but not enough to make him feel crowded.

“Because you’re on the home stretch,” she said eventually. “It’s always the most difficult to hang on right at the end when victory is in sight. And I think these last two weeks have been harder on you than you’ve let on. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.”

Yuuri exhaled slowly and avoided her eyes.

“I think you’ve been more worried about Victor’s comeback than your own competition,” Minako said. “Now that he won Nationals, part of your reason for staying strong in the first place isn’t there anymore. Have you talked to Victor today?”

Yuuri touched the inner corners of his eyes, hoping to dispel the moisture gathering there. He shook his head once—sharp, dismissive. “I don’t want to talk to him.”

“Why not? Did you have a fight?”

Another shake. “No. That’s not it at all.”

“So then you’re hiding from him.”

Which was definitely closer to the truth.

Victor had been unreachable for a good part of the day because he’d been traveling back to St. Petersburg, and there was a part of Yuuri that was glad. It had prevented him from picking up the phone. But Victor’s plane had landed more than an hour ago, and he’d texted Yuuri several times to see if it was a good time to talk. There was really no excuse not to call Victor now.

“I wanted to prove to him that I could do this on my own,” Yuuri explained. “He doesn’t need to be worrying about me.”

Minako looked unimpressed. “Why not? That’s his job.”

“No, it’s n—”

“I promise you,” she said, cutting in. “It really is. Even if he wasn’t your coach, he’s still your fiancé, right? Wouldn’t you want Victor to call you if he was having a hard time?”

Guilt nudged at Yuuri’s heart. Since Victor’s return to St. Petersburg, he had reached out to Yuuri several times whenever he was struggling. Even living legends had bad days on the ice, and Victor had been trying to perfect two demanding routines in record time. His confidence had been rattled on multiple occasions, but whenever he’d confessed to Yuuri that he wasn’t sure if he could do it, Yuuri had been able to reassure him. Only now, he wasn’t allowing Victor to do the same for him.

“He would want you to call,” Minako pressed.

As if by fate, Yuuri’s cell phone started vibrating within the pocket of his team jacket. An incoming call. There wasn’t even a question about who was on the other end. When Yuuri closed his hand around his phone, he just knew. The tears in his eyes were suddenly threatening to spill over.

“Looks like I don’t have to,” Yuuri said, his throat tight with emotion.

Minako smirked and gave his shoulder a playful nudge. “Go talk to your Russian. I’ll come find you when it’s time to lace up.”

Yuuri kept his eyes on Minako’s retreating form as he lifted the phone to his ear. “Moshi moshi,” he mumbled into the receiver. He had little doubt he was going to start crying the second he heard Victor’s voice.

“Yuuri!” Victor sang in response. “I just made it back to my apartment. I’m so excited that you’re finally going to be here with me tomorrow!”

Yuuri swiped at a tear that had streaked down his cheek. “Me, too.” His throat was aching so badly that it was difficult to get the words out.

“Uh oh. Is everything okay? You sound upset.”

Yuuri didn’t know how to answer that, so he just drew in a shuddering breath and covered his eyes with one hand. It took all his hard-earned self-discipline not to break down right then and there.

“Sweetheart,” Victor said in his gentlest voice. “Talk to me. What’s going on?”

“Nothing. It’s stupid.”

“It’s not stupid if you’re upset about it. Are you nervous?”

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” As Yuuri wiped away more tears, he was angry with himself for letting them fall in the first place. “I’m sorry. I’ve been trying so hard to keep it together all day. I wanted to be strong and prove to you I could do it.”

“You don’t have to prove anything to me. I already know you’re strong. I wouldn’t be in Russia right now if you weren’t.”

“If I’m so strong, then why can’t I stop crying?”

There was a brief pause, and Yuuri knew he had taken Victor by surprise with his words. “Yuuri,” Victor said, impossibly gentler than before. “It’s okay. Take a deep breath. Everything’s going to be okay.”

Yuuri rested his forehead against the wall and did as Victor suggested, but the breathing didn’t help slow the tears. They streamed down his cheeks and dripped from his chin onto the floor. “Why is this happening?”

“Well, let’s see,” Victor said. “You’ve been without a coach for the last two weeks before a major competition . . . and separated from your fiancé for the first time in almost a year. Not to mention the fact that you’re leaving your family in Japan behind later tonight and moving to an unfamiliar country. Cut yourself some slack. Your whole life is about to change. It makes sense that you’re emotional.”

Yuuri opened his eyes to blink at the floor. He hadn’t thought about it that way. He’d spent much of the last year reconnecting with his family and the country of his birth, and later tonight, he was going to get on a plane and leave it all behind for a new life. “I’m going to miss Hasetsu,” he said in a near whisper, not daring to say more for fear that he would start crying even harder.

“Of course, you are,” Victor said. “That’s your home, but I promise it will get easier. Did you know I cried myself to sleep my first night in Japan?”

“I . . . no. Did you really?”

“Well, I guess it was partially because you would barely talk to me, but it was also because it’s hard to feel completely at rest in someone else’s home. But the longer I stayed in Hasetsu, the more I began to think of it as my own home. St. Petersburg will hopefully feel like that for you soon, and if it doesn’t, then we don’t have to stay there. This isn’t goodbye forever, love. We can visit Japan as often as you like.”

Yuuri wiped his face again and found his tears had slowed to almost nothing. “We can?”

“Of course! Just last night, I was thinking about planning an event in Hasetsu after the season is done. Maybe another exhibition at the Ice Castle? Only this time, we could invite all our friends to skate with us. Yurio and Chris and Phichit and whoever else can come. That would drum up some business for Yu-topia as well. How does that sound?”

Yuuri could feel his sadness evaporating. Victor’s words were like sunshine flooding into his mind. “I love you,” he blurted out.

Victor dissolved into bright laughter. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes.’”

“I mean it,” Yuuri said. “I love you so much.”

Victor hummed with affection, and the sound of it was just as calming as it was beautiful. “Mmm, you’re such a sweetheart. I love you too, Yuuri. And I’m missing you like crazy. Is it just me, or did everything get harder today? Maybe it’s because my own competition is done, and there’s nothing left to distract me. I guess I’m just not any good at being alone anymore.”

Yuuri sagged against the wall, relieved he wasn’t the only one feeling this way. “It definitely got harder.”

“Just one more push. Five minutes on the ice, and then you can come home to me. I’ve got the apartment all fixed up for you and Makkachin. Yurio keeps asking what time your flight arrives and pestering me not to be late picking you up. He and the others are coming over to my apartment right now. We’re going to watch the livefeed of your performance together.”

Yuuri’s heart lurched at the reminder that he still had to perform in a major competition in less than an hour. “It’s weird. I don’t want to leave Japan behind, but at the same time, I just want to be done with Nationals so I can get on the plane to Russia already.”

“Change is always bittersweet. Just try to relax, focus on the present moment, and enjoy yourself out there tonight. You’re going to be amazing, Yuuri. I have perfect faith in you.”

“I should probably go start my warmups. I’m behind schedule.”

“All right. But before you go, should I give you my usual motivational speech as your coach, or do you want me to make you laugh instead?”

The side of Yuuri’s mouth pulled upward. He still felt incredibly emotional, but Victor had a way of making him smile when he didn’t want to. “Make me laugh, please.”

“Well, then . . . you should know if you don’t step off that plane wearing a gold medal, we’re finished. It’s going to be a messy divorce, too. Of course, you can still live with me and train in St. Petersburg, but we’re going to split the apartment in half using masking tape. The bed. The refrigerator. The couch. Everything.”

“I think now might be a good time to remind you that I have your dog.”

Victor gasped. “That’s not fair! I demand joint custody.”

“Fine. We can co-parent. But if we’re going to split up, can we at least have a lot of angry hate sex?”

“God, yes. But only if it’s followed by sweet, make-up sex and then a wedding. I don’t like being divorced, Yuuri. I hope you’re happy with the way you’ve theoretically torn our beautiful relationship apart with your non-gold-medal-winning ways.”

“You know,” Yuuri said, “you have a really weird way of trying to cheer me up.”

“Mmm, but it worked, didn’t it?” Victor’s shit-eating grin was audible in his words.

Yuuri covered his face with one hand to hide his smile.


His performance came and went in a whirlwind of emotions.

Encouraged by his extremely vocal interim-coach, Minako, Yuuri went out to the rink early so that he could cheer for Minami Kenjirou, who was in second place after yesterday’s Short Program and therefore scheduled to skate just before Yuuri.

Though still inconsistent, Minami-kun’s Free Skate had improved considerably in the months since they’d last faced each other in competition, and he blew everyone away (including Yuuri) with his infectious charisma. But the most surprising moment came when he performed a quadruple toe loop, something he’d never successfully done before in a competition. He stumbled on the landing and had to put two hands down on the ice to steady himself, but it was a landing nonetheless. The triumphant smile he wore for the remainder of his performance revealed how thrilled he was about it.

Normally, the roar of approval from the audience was exactly the kind of thing that might have intimidated Yuuri. After all, just a year ago, Minami had beaten him soundly at this very same competition. But after the performance came to an end and he skated over to where Yuuri was preparing to enter the rink, Minami said with happy tears spilling down his cheeks, “Yuuri-kun . . . you saw me do my first quad in a competition.”

Once upon a time, Yuuri use to dream about his own idol witnessing him nail a performance. He still had no idea why Minami looked up to him, but Yuuri did know what it felt like to be the one looking up. “Congratulations,” he said with the biggest smile. “That was amazing.”

And for some unexplained reason, that brief conversation lifted his spirits more than anything.

That, combined with the sight of Japan’s flag waving all around the arena, had Yuuri feeling like today was more of a celebration than a competition. Though he was still a little nervous, his smile didn’t waver as he removed the guards from his skates, entered the rink, and skated over to where Minako and Nishigori were standing behind the barrier. There were still a few minutes left while they cleaned the ice and calculated Minami’s score.

It was a powerful moment, seeing all those people on their feet and feeling the thunder of their applause. Yuuri was humbled by the realization that they were cheering for him now. He could feel it—the way the cheering shifted from pride over Minami’s performance to excitement about Yuuri’s. These were the same people that had supported him from the beginning, even at his lowest. It was surprisingly effortless to smile and wave at them now.

“Yuuri,” Minako said, already crying openly. “I’m so proud of you.”

“I’ll skate my best,” Yuuri said to her and prayed he wasn’t lying. To Nishigori, he added, “No fake Russian accent this time?”

“In Soviet Russia,” Nishigori said in a voice that sounded nothing like Victor, “ice skates on you.”

Yuuri nodded as he considered this sage advice. “I don’t know what that means . . . but thank you. I’ll keep that in mind.”

After that, Yuuri didn’t remember much about his performance.

His mind went blank until there was nothing left except the dance, and he was able to close his eyes and express himself through the movements. He poured his own story into the twists and turns, and the entire time, he felt Victor there with him. Watching him. Smiling at him. He was inside Yuuri’s heart and winking at the audience with every golden flash of light on his engagement ring.

At the conclusion of his Free Skate, it was almost surprising to remember that Victor was not in his usual place by the barrier of the rink. All the same, Yuuri extended his arm to point to the place where his coach normally stood—to honor him in spirit, if nothing else.

But as he struggled to catch his breath after the demanding performance, Yuuri could have sworn he saw Victor’s face there on the sidelines. He blinked twice and narrowed his eyes into a squint to try to see better without his glasses on.

No, he decided at last. It wasn’t actually Victor standing there. It was Minako-sensei and Nishigori . . . only Minako had a giant cardboard cutout of Victor’s head held in front of her face and Nishigori was standing beside her, making kissing faces at Yuuri.

Yuuri couldn’t help it. As the audience tossed flowers and food-shaped pillows onto the ice all around him, he snorted once rather ungracefully before giving in to full-on laughter.

He was going to miss this place.


The flight to Russia was quiet and uneventful, albeit entirely too long.

Yuuri had two short layovers—the first after a flight from Sapporo to Tokyo, where he then boarded a late night international flight to Moscow. Absolutely exhausted, he slept almost the entire ten-hour journey and landed very early in the morning when the sky was still a dark, hazy purple. Stifling a yawn, Yuuri filed off the plane and followed the other passengers into the airport.

It took some time to get his passport stamped and the details of his temporary stay ironed out. Thankfully, his paperwork seemed to be in order, and he was soon granted entry to the airport terminal.

Unfortunately, his journey wasn’t over yet. He still had to catch another much shorter flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg, but he had a few hours to stretch his legs and grab some breakfast before boarding time.

He felt somewhat downcast and still a little weary, even though he’d slept quite well on the plane. Although he would be reunited with Victor later that morning, he wasn’t even comforted by that anymore. Time seemed to grate on. He was tired of being alone and missed his fiancé so much that he struggled to lift his gaze from the ground while he walked.

On his phone, he found a text from Victor, which he must have sent while Yuuri was still in the air: Good morning, beautiful. Call me as soon as you land in Moscow. Don’t worry about it being too early. I’m awake.

Yuuri frowned as he dialed Victor’s number. Was something wrong? It wasn’t even sunrise yet. Victor should still be asleep.

However, when he answered Yuuri’s call, not only did Victor sound perfectly awake, but it was obvious from the background noise that he was not at his apartment.

“Where are you?” Yuuri asked as he rode an escalator downstairs. “You sound like you’re in a tunnel.”

Victor laughed and said, “Not quite. Look down.”

“Look . . . where?” Yuuri’s gaze fell to his shoes.

More laughter. “No, Yuuri. Not that way. Face forward on the escalator and look down to the lower floor.”

“But what am I looking f—?”

Yuuri trailed off mid-sentence. His mouth had fallen open.

Because Victor was standing there at the bottom, phone in hand and wearing what had to be the most beautiful smile in the history of the universe. He looked tired—with circles under his eyes, lackluster hair, and casual clothing beneath his overcoat—but incredibly happy at the same time. Close to tears, even.

Yuuri was so surprised that he almost dropped his phone. “Victor. . .” he said and then started stumbling down the escalator steps to get to the bottom faster, pulling his face mask down as he went.

Victor lowered his phone and laughed as he waited. When the time came, he was ready to catch Yuuri up in his arms, and they hugged each other so fiercely that it hurt to breathe. Yuuri didn’t care. He needed Victor more than oxygen at that moment.

Neither of them could speak at first. They’d done plenty of talking for the last two weeks, saying I love you and I miss you countless times. Now was the time to reconnect physically. Yuuri pressed his face into Victor’s neck, took his beautifully familiar scent deep into his lungs, and held it there. It was wonderful.

“Finally,” Victor murmured in his ear.

“What are you doing here?” Yuuri said. “This is Moscow, right? Or did I get confused, and I’m already in St. Petersburg?”

“Moscow,” Victor said with a laugh. “I couldn’t stand waiting any longer, so I came to meet you. Are you surprised?”

“Happy.” Yuuri squeezed Victor tighter. “I’m happy.”

“Let me kiss you, then. It’s been too long since I’ve kissed your smile.”

They pulled back from the embrace only slightly, just far enough for Yuuri to put a hand on Victor’s face, and then they were kissing, their tongues flicking warm and soft into each other’s mouths. The sweetness of Victor’s kiss made Yuuri’s legs go wobbly. He was flushed all over and embarrassingly giddy by the time they parted.

“Wait.” Yuuri gave Victor one last peck on the lips before he slipped a hand into his coat pocket. “I have something for you.”

Yuuri pulled out a gleaming gold medal, which he’d won at Nationals the night before. Though he hadn’t broken his own world record, he had achieved a personal best with his combined score. Maybe this wasn’t a Grand Prix Final or World Championship medal, but it meant something huge to Yuuri. It was the first time in his life that he felt like he’d done a good job with his Short Program and Free Skate at the same competition.

He lifted the medal up between them and said, “I’ve been wanting to give you one of these for a long time.”

Victor’s eyes glittered at Yuuri as he dropped a kiss onto its golden surface. “And you did it all by yourself.”

“No, I didn’t,” Yuuri said—and he let the look in his eyes say the rest. Namely, how thankful he was for Victor’s support and guidance from the beginning. That gold medal was a team effort.

Victor held it up to the light to inspect the engraving. “You know what this means, don’t you? We can get married now.” He met Yuuri’s eyes, mischief gleaming in his own, but frowned when he saw Yuuri shaking his head. “Why not?”

“Well. . .” Yuuri said. “Because I haven’t proposed to you yet. Not officially, anyway. You know . . . with actual words . . . and, um. . .” He trailed off and looked elsewhere, suddenly blushing so hard that he felt the desire to find a nice, big snow bank to hide in and maybe die a little.

Victor was blushing as well, his blue eyes bright and far more awake than they had been a moment earlier. “Oh,” he said softly, surprise shaping the word into something hopeful.

“Oh,” Yuuri agreed—and said no more on the subject.


While they walked through the airport together, Victor told Yuuri that he hadn’t originally planned on coming to Moscow to meet him early. He’d scheduled this impromptu trip just yesterday, right after talking to Yuuri on the phone before his final performance.

“I just couldn’t stand it anymore,” Victor explained. “I would have flown all the way to Japan if I could have managed it, but none of the flights were timed right. There weren’t even any last-minute tickets available to Moscow, so I chartered a private plane.”

Yuuri tried and failed to wrap his head around this information. “You . . . huh? You what-ed a what?”

“I chartered a plane. As in, I rented one. With a pilot. What, you’ve never flown privately before?”

Yuuri just stared at him. Flying first class was an expense he couldn’t even fathom, and Victor was talking about having an entire plane all to himself.

“We’re flying back to St. Petersburg on the same plane, by the way,” Victor said. “I couldn’t get a seat on your flight, so you’re coming with me.”

“But—”

“Don’t worry. All the details have been sorted out with the airline. They’re bringing your luggage to baggage claim now so we can take it with us.”

“But what about Makkachin?”

Victor’s dog had been too large to fly in the cabin with Yuuri, so he’d made the journey to Russia in a large crate in the cargo area instead. Yuuri had been worried about him the entire time, especially since he had already switched planes once in Tokyo. He had no way of knowing if Makkachin’s crate had made it safely onto the flight to Moscow.

“Do you really think I would forget about my puppy?” Victor said. “They’re bringing him to baggage claim, too.”

“But how did you get the airline to do all of this?”

“What do you mean, how?” Victor shrugged like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “I’m Victor Nikiforov.”

Yuuri shot him a skeptical look. Victor was capable of a great many things, but possessing the patience needed to iron out travel details with airlines was not one of them.

“Okay, fine,” Victor said. “I have an incredibly persuasive travel agent whom I pay a good deal of money to indulge my last-minute whims. But I’m pretty sure there was some name-dropping in there somewhere.”

Which made much more sense.

They reunited with Makkachin at the baggage claim area, and Yuuri watched with a huge grin on his face as the oversized poodle launched himself gleefully at his master. There were lots of slobbery puppy kisses, barks of happiness, and laughter from everyone around them.

To show his thanks to the airport staff, Victor signed a few autographs and posed for pictures, and Yuuri was shocked to find his own autograph requested more than once. It was strange to realize that many of Victor’s fans now recognized who Yuuri was, too.

After the commotion was done, Victor led the way back through the airport so that they could board their private flight home. He wheeled Yuuri’s suitcase with one hand and held Makkachin’s leash with the other, while Yuuri lumbered behind with the dog crate. And even though his arms were burning from how cumbersome it was, Yuuri felt stupidly happy every time he looked ahead at his future husband.

This was not anywhere close to how he thought his first morning in Russia was going to go. How in the world had he gotten so lucky?

They boarded the private plane outdoors on the tarmac, where it was windy and bitterly cold. After a member of the crew took their luggage and Makkachin happily peed on every single wheel of the plane, they went up a series of steps into the cabin of the aircraft.

The plane was small, equipped to carry less than half a dozen people, but it was far more comfortable than the commercial nightmare that Yuuri had flown on last night. His fingers tangled with Victor’s as they went down the aisle together.

Most of the seats on the plane were positioned by themselves, but neither Victor nor Yuuri were willing to be separated even by a few feet. They took off their coats and settled down into the only pair of cushy, leather chairs that were side-by-side. There was a full table in front of them, which Makkachin settled beneath with his shoulders jammed between Victor’s legs. While the crew readied the plane for takeoff, Victor stroked his dog’s head and spoke to him in gentle, melodic Russian.

“It just occurred to me that Makkachin probably understands more Russian words than I do,” Yuuri said.

Victor grinned. “You’ll learn.”

“We’re really the only passengers on this plane? There’s no one else?”

“Aside from the crew, yes. We’re the only ones.”

He lifted a hand to get the attention of the flight attendant, who was a young man with light, curly hair and a star-struck gleam in his eyes. Clearly, he was a fan. Victor spoke to him in Russian, and a few minutes later, the young man was setting down two champagne flutes on the table in front of them. Then came a chilled bottle with a French label and a carafe of orange juice.

“Isn’t it a little early for champagne?” Yuuri said as he watched the attendant pour his drink. The man topped the bubbling liquid off with a touch of orange juice.

“It’s called a mimosa,” Victor corrected. “People drink them with breakfast all the time.” He held up his glass until Yuuri gave in and lifted his own. They clinked them and drank while the captain came over the speakers to announce the details of the flight.

After takeoff, the attendant served them breakfast. There was fresh coffee along with plates of buttery croissants, fruit, and a selection of dried meats and cheeses. Yuuri was a little embarrassed with all the fussing. He’d never felt more spoiled in his life and wasn’t sure what to think about it.

“Do I even want to know how much all of this cost?” he asked.

“Probably not,” Victor said. “But let’s just say it was cheaper than the cost to my sanity.” His hand closed over Yuuri’s and squeezed, his expression earnest as he said, “I needed this, Yuuri. I needed you here with me. I know I’m ridiculous sometimes but . . .”

“You don’t have to explain it to me. Believe me, I understand better than anyone. Thank you for coming to get me, Victor. This is really nice.”

Victor smiled and brought Yuuri’s hand to his mouth for a kiss, his lips touching the band of gold. “Today’s going to be a good day. I can feel it.”

The flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg was only about ninety-minutes long, the duration of which was spent eating breakfast, exchanging kisses between sips of mimosa, and chatting about each other’s gold-medal-winning performances. Yuuri kept getting distracted by how gorgeous Victor looked, sitting there wearing a beige Henley with the top button undone and freshly-trimmed hair grazing his cheekbone.

At some point, Makkachin began to feel left out and climbed fully into Victor’s lap. There, he was cradled like a giant baby while Yuuri laughed and fed him bites of cheese and salami.

Closer to landing, they quieted and indulged in a bit of snuggling. All three of them, dog included.

Victor was tired from waking up so early and dozed on Yuuri’s shoulder. Meanwhile, Yuuri gazed through the window and took turns running his fingers through Makkachin’s fur and over the back of Victor’s hand where it rested on Yuuri’s thigh. Victor’s skin was so warm. Yuuri had forgotten how amazing it felt just to touch him and have him close.

Outside, the morning sun was now shining bright, but beneath the belly of the plane were gray winter clouds. Yuuri wondered what they concealed. Although he’d been to Russia several times before for competitions, he had never visited St. Petersburg specifically and was curious about the city that would soon become his new home.

Soon, the plane broke through the clouds, and the city below was revealed. The landscape was flat, and even from this height, Yuuri could see that there was snow on the ground. Victor had warned him last night that a winter storm had just moved through and to make sure he had his coat with him on the plane. Yuuri smiled down at the river he saw twisting through the approaching city, which Victor had told him stories about. Far ahead in the distance was a large body of water.

When the wheels of the plane touched down on the runway at last, Victor stirred from his place on Yuuri’s shoulder and squeezed his leg. “Welcome home, baby,” he said.

Yuuri was smiling so hard that his cheeks hurt.


He received his next surprise in the parking garage of the St. Petersburg airport, and it came in the form of a sleek, dark gray sports car that looked like it belonged in a James Bond film. Yuuri gaped at it, barely comprehending what he was looking at or why Victor was loading his suitcase and backpack into the trunk.

Weren’t they going to take a taxi home? Or maybe a bus or the train or their own two feet? Surely there was a mistake.

“Now you see why I arranged for Makkachin’s crate to be delivered to my apartment separately.” Victor closed the trunk and walked over to where Yuuri was standing in front of the passenger door. “Not much fits in here, I’m afraid.”

After Victor opened the door, Makkachin jumped into the front and only got into the back after some coaxing from his master. Once the passenger seat was free, Victor straightened and smiled as he held the door open wider for Yuuri.

“This is really your car?” Yuuri said. “We’re not going to get arrested for taking it?”

Victor pushed a button on his keys, which prompted the car to start up all by itself. Though the engine emitted little more than a quiet growl, Yuuri yelped and almost leapt away from the vehicle altogether. Victor laughed and said, “Get in, baby. It’s freezing out here.”

“You didn’t drink too much champagne on the plane?”

“Nyet. I drank mostly coffee because I knew I was driving.”

Yuuri felt a little nervous when he slid into the passenger seat, though he wasn’t certain why. Probably because he’d never been in a car this nice before. There was a bouquet of exquisite pale lavender roses waiting for him inside, which had filled the small space with their fresh scent. The cold temperature outside had kept them well preserved in the car until they got there. Yuuri blushed as he set them on his lap, aware that Victor was waiting until he was fully settled before closing the passenger door. It felt strangely like they were on a first date.

“I didn’t realize you owned a car,” Yuuri explained after Victor got behind the wheel. “You always talk about taking public transportation or walking around town.”

“I don’t drive very often,” Victor admitted. He fiddled with the heat settings and held his fingers up to the vent until warm air began to pour out. “To be honest, I just brought the car out today to try to impress you. Is it working?”

Yuuri gazed down at the roses and said, “You don’t have to impress me.” But after Victor put the car in gear and placed his hand on Yuuri’s knee, he added in a soft voice, “I like the feeling of being alone with you, though.”

Smiling, Victor hummed deep in his chest and slid his hand between Yuuri’s thighs. “Exactly.”

Yuuri was not someone who had ever fantasized about having wealth or private planes or exotic cars, but there was something about sitting in that car with Victor’s thumb absently stroking his leg that made Yuuri feel like he had reached a level of adulthood he had not previously attained before. This car belonged to Victor, and that meant it was a private space for them to share.

Had they ever had that before?

Yuuri didn’t think so. Not even once.

In Japan, they were either in his parents’ home or at the Ice Castle, which they were only permitted to utilize for practices by the owners of the rink. When they traveled, they were in hotel rooms that didn’t belong to them or in a plane populated with other people. Being in Victor’s car was different because it was Victor’s. Yuuri felt welcomed by his lover’s familiar scent and relaxed into the leather seat the same way he might melt into Victor’s arms.

When they pulled out onto the snowy streets, Yuuri asked, “Are we going straight to your apartment?”

“You mean our apartment,” Victor clarified. “Actually, I thought I’d drive you around the city first to show you around a bit. Then we can go unpack your things at home and get you and Makkachin settled. But later this afternoon, everyone asked if I could bring you by the skating rink. I took the day off, but the others are practicing. Does that sound okay, or are you too tired after your flight?”

Yuuri’s eyes lit up. He’d been dreaming about visiting Victor’s home rink in St. Petersburg for years. “I’m too excited to be tired.”

“Good. Because after practice, the others are coming over to the apartment. Yurio had the idea of cooking a ‘welcome to Russia’ dinner for you.”

Yuuri didn’t mention that he already knew about the dinner. He’d been in contact with Yurio about it since it would play into the surprise he had planned for Victor’s belated birthday present.

“Sounds great.” Yuuri laced his fingers between Victor’s and drew their joined hands deeper between the warmth of his thighs. “You know, your accent has become more pronounced ever since you moved back to Russia.”

“Has it? I haven’t noticed.”

“It’s sexy.”

Victor glanced over at him, his expression surprised but pleased, and Yuuri could feel his own face heating up in response. He didn’t take back what he’d said, though. He was far too happy to feel self-conscious.

As promised, Victor took a scenic route through the city, and he pointed out various landmarks along the way so that Yuuri would understand what he was looking at. Not only was St. Petersburg much larger than he had realized, but it was incredibly beautiful. Like something out of a fairy tale, with palaces, cathedrals, and quaint little shops along the river.

“I just know you’re going to love it here,” Victor said, eyes sparkling.

“I already do. Oh.” Yuuri turned in his seat and leaned over Victor’s lap to point through the driver’s side window. “What’s that over there?”


Stepping onto the parquet-patterned floor of Victor’s apartment for the first time was like walking into a photograph. Yuuri paused at the threshold to look around while Victor shed his coat and dropped his keys onto a table next to an identical pair, both adorned with a silver snowflake charm on the keyring.

“I had a set of keys made for you,” Victor said while he hung up his coat. “They’re here by the door when you need them.”

“Thank you,” Yuuri said. He handed over the bouquet of roses Victor had given him, and they were set down as well.

Makkachin slid past their legs and went bounding into the apartment, tail wagging and collar jingling. He did two loops around the couch before going to inspect the kitchen and beyond. A moment later came the sound of joyful barking from a far room.

“He’s probably already knocking all the pillows off the bed,” Victor said with a laugh. “I don’t think he likes it when we snuggle with anything other than him.”

Yuuri had seen this apartment before, featured in at least one magazine article that he could remember, but it looked different in real life. A picture in a magazine couldn’t capture the slow, twirling dance of dust motes in the hazy sunlight by the floor-to-ceiling windows, the quiet hum of the refrigerator, or the scent of lavender and lemon on the freshly-cleaned kitchen countertops.

The walls were painted pure white, and a dozen Edison lightbulbs hung from the ceiling like falling stars. There was a faint hint of coffee in the air and a cup left by the sink that Yuuri knew Victor’s lips and fingers had touched early that morning before he left for the airport. A small stack of mail had been cast aside onto the counter to open at a later time. The high ceilings and quiet whish of cars on the snowy streets below gave the place an airy, relaxing feel.

Yuuri smiled softly to himself as he removed his shoes and lined them up neatly by the door. Though this place didn’t quite feel like “home” to him yet, it felt exactly like Victor. Sophisticated yet whimsical. Beautiful yet touchable. And for that reason, Yuuri was already madly in love with it.

When he straightened, he discovered Victor had come up behind him. He nuzzled the back of Yuuri’s head before leaving a kiss there in his hair. “So . . . what do you think?”

“You already know it’s perfect.” Yuuri placed his hands on top of the arms that had slipped around his middle. “You just want me to stroke your ego.”

Victor’s smile spread against Yuuri’s hair. “I mean, if you’d rather stroke something else, I’m sure I can come up with a few ideas. . .”

His hands guided Yuuri’s coat off his shoulders and down his arms before Victor spun him around with a grin. He cast Yuuri’s coat onto the couch and went in for a kiss. There was a brief, playful resistance before Yuuri gave in and let Victor pull his body fully against his. They kissed once—still teasing, eyes dancing with laughter.

Then Victor’s hunger seemed to get the better of him, and his smile dimmed to something more sensuous and focused. Yuuri wet his lips and felt a pang of nervousness—the good kind, like before the first thrilling drop of a rollercoaster. It was the kind of moment that made him feel like he was alive.

The next time Victor’s lips touched his, they didn’t retreat. Yuuri released a quiet moan and gave himself up fully to the kiss, caressing Victor’s face and neck to encourage him closer.

They took their time reacquainting themselves with the taste of each other, but it soon became apparent that Victor’s hunger wasn’t anywhere close to being sated. He leaned Yuuri backwards, his tongue sliding home, and went in for more and more and. . .

Yuuri eventually broke away with a breathless gasp, head spinning but still smiling at the feel of Victor kissing a wet path from the corner of his lips over to his ear. There was a hot flick of tongue inside that made Yuuri’s legs liquefy before Victor nipped hungrily at his ear lobe. Yuuri let out a helpless whimper and hung on for dear life.

“Victor.  . . my suitcase. It’s . . . oh, God, that feels good. It’s . . . still outside . . . in the hallway. And we didn’t. . .” Another gasp. Yuuri was up on his toes now, simultaneously craning away from Victor’s greedy mouth while pressing his lower body closer at the same time. “We didn’t close the front door,” he finished in a rush.

“Mmm.” Victor mouthed the wet skin of Yuuri’s neck. “I’m going to eat you up.”

He slid both hands up Yuuri’s shirt to feel the contours of his body. The muscular plains of his back that descended to a trim but still soft waistline. One of Victor’s hands then pushed down past Yuuri’s waistband to palm his bare ass.

Victor. The windows. People can see us.”

“So what? They should be so lucky.”

Yuuri laughed and said, “Okay, okay. Enough.” He pushed Victor off of him, his smile letting him know he wasn’t mad or uncomfortable.

It wasn’t easy to resist Victor at that moment. He was beyond gorgeous, with the morning light in his tousled hair and his lips wet and rosy from Yuuri’s kisses. Victor’s clothes were all askew, the dip in his unbuttoned Henley revealing the well-defined muscles of his chest. “Yuuriiiii. . .” he whined.

“Sorry, but it’s for your own good.” Yuuri straightened his own clothes and combed his fingers back through his hair. “You don’t want to spoil your birthday present, do you?”

Victor stilled, his interest piqued. “Present? I have a present? A present for me? What kind of present?”

“You’ll find out later tonight after dinner, but you’re going to have to be patient until then.”

Clearly devastated by the prospect of having to wait for something, Victor grabbed a pillow from the couch, sat down, and buried his face in it. He then proceeded to fake-cry into the pillow while Yuuri rolled his eyes and went to retrieve his suitcase.


It didn’t seem possible, but Victor’s bedroom was even nicer than the rest of the apartment. Bright, clean, and beautiful.

“It’s our bedroom,” Victor said more than once, correcting Yuuri every time he referred to it as belonging only to Victor. “Yours and mine together. Got it?”

“Got it . . . but it’s so nice in here, I’m kind of afraid to touch anything.”

The bed was enormous and washed in daylight from another set of floor-to-ceiling windows. The bedding was spotless white, and as Victor had predicted, Makkachin had knocked every single pillow onto the floor and was luxuriating in the feather duvet. Yuuri turned his attention upward, where he saw more lightbulbs dripping down from the ceiling, giving the room a lazy, romantic feel. He wondered what they would look like, all lit up at night.

“There’s a nice view of the city over here,” Victor said.

Yuuri went to stand with him in front of the huge windows. They were on the top floor of the seven-story apartment building, and the city stretched out for miles around them. There was a small market across the street and a snow-covered park a little ways beyond that. “It’s beautiful,” Yuuri said. “But won’t people be able to see us in bed together?”

“Don’t worry. The windows are treated on the outside. We can see out, but other people can’t see in.”

Yuuri relaxed. “Good.”

“I cleared out some space for you in the closet. I hope you don’t mind, but I already unpacked your things from the two boxes you mailed last week. When is the rest of your stuff coming from Japan?”

“That’s everything.”

Victor looked confused. “But you just have one suitcase with you.”

“Well, I only needed one.”

“Yuuri, my sock collection wouldn’t fit in that thing.”

“I think I’ll manage.”

There was a long table by the window, upon which were a few personal items like books and pictures. Yuuri smiled down at the bottle of Victor’s favorite fragrance that was displayed there and brought it to his nose to indulge in a sniff. The whole room smelled faintly of the same scent, with notes of driftwood and ocean salt.

One picture in particular caught his attention, and he picked it up from the table with care. It was housed in an ornate silver frame that didn’t have a single smudge or speck of dust on it. Pictured there was a willowy young woman with waist-length silver-blond hair, laughing and dipping bare toes into waves on a shoreline. She had the long legs of a dancer and lips that formed a heart when she smiled.

“Your mother?” Yuuri guessed. There was a lump in his throat.

“That’s her,” Victor confirmed.

It had taken Victor a long time to share the details of his family history with Yuuri. While he still didn’t know as much as he would like, he had the feeling he knew more than anyone else, except for perhaps Yakov. The woman looked exactly like Victor, particularly in his teenage years before he cut his hair.

“You weren’t kidding when you told me she was beautiful,” Yuuri said. “Wow. . .”

Victor took the picture from Yuuri and gazed lovingly down at it before placing it back on the table. “And this is my aunt and uncle.” He touched two smaller, simpler frames beside the clearly-prized picture of his mother. “And these are my cousins.”

Yuuri nodded but a different picture had already distracted him. He found himself holding his breath as he picked it up.

“Oh,” Victor said, a hint of amusement in his voice. “I’m just a kid in that one. Eight or nine years old. I can’t remember.”

The picture was of a young Victor with silver hair tumbling over his shoulders and a breathless smile lighting up his face. It was taken outdoors, where he was skating on what appeared to be a frozen lake. His eyes were the same color as the clear winter sky behind him.

Yuuri could have stared at that picture all day and not gotten bored. His whole heart felt like it was smiling, just from holding it.

“That was a fun day,” Victor said. “Yakov’s the one holding the camera. He had just become my coach, and he took me out to that lake to show me where he had learned to skate as a kid. He had more hair back then.” A grin. “Come to think of it, we both did.”

“This is mine,” Yuuri announced.

Victor’s eyebrows came together in the middle. “You . . . want to keep it?”

Yuuri’s head bobbed up and down. “Mine,” he said again, and hugged the picture to his chest just to make sure no one took it from him.

He placed it proudly on the nightstand next to his side of the bed, beside another framed picture that Victor had already put there for him. It was a picture of Yuuri and Victor taken just after their exhibition performance in Barcelona. They were dressed in their matching pair-skate outfits and posed with their arms around each other.

On the other side of the bed, Victor was busy placing something on his own nightstand: the gold medal that Yuuri had given him earlier that day. There beside it was a picture of Yuuri hugging Makkachin on the Hasetsu beach last summer.

“What about your gold medal from Nationals?” Yuuri asked. “Can I see?”

He followed Victor into his giant walk-in closet, which was bigger than Yuuri’s entire bedroom back in Hasetsu, and tried not to feel claustrophobic with the amount of clothing that surrounded him on every side. And really—who needed that many pairs of shoes? There were a few empty racks on one side, presumably to make room for Yuuri’s clothing, but it was far more space than he’d ever need.

“Is that . . . ?” Yuuri blanched and almost backed right out the same way he came in. “Why do you have a poster of me in your closet?”

It must have been the same poster Victor had ordered off the internet weeks ago that night when they were messing around in Yuuri’s bedroom. And there Yuuri was now. On Victor Nikiforov’s wall, posed like an idiot in a Short Program outfit from years ago.

Couldn’t Victor have chosen a poster where Yuuri’s stomach wasn’t sticking out so far?

“So I can kiss it every morning while I’m getting dressed, of course. See? Good morning, beautiful.” Victor dropped a kiss onto poster-Yuuri’s chubby cheek as he passed.

Yuuri followed him deeper into the closet but sidestepped the poster like it was surrounded by landmines. Victor went to a mirrored dresser at the back of the closet and slid open the top drawer, which was lined with velvet. Yuuri came up beside him and peered inside. It was full of medals of various sizes, each adorned with a colorful ribbon.

There was so much gold in that drawer that Yuuri’s mouth fell open.

Not only were there Grand Prix Final, World Championship, and Olympic medals in there, but this was presumably a treasure trove of every medal Victor Nikiforov had won in his entire skating career, from childhood all the way to this year’s Russian Championship. There were dozens upon dozens of them, piled up like a dragon’s treasure, many of them tarnished from years of inattention.

“Victor . . . why do you have these hidden away in the back of your closet? That’s . . . I’ve never even seen an Olympic medal in person before.”

“You know,” Victor said slowly, “I spent eight months in Hasetsu, and not once did I see a medal displayed that my Yuuri won. And I know you have a number of them. Where did you have those hidden away, I wonder?”

Yuuri could feel his face heating up. “In a box beneath my bed. I had to hide them from my mom.”

Victor smiled and said, “I should text her and tell her where they are.” From the top of the pile, he plucked out a gleaming gold medal that looked newer than the others. It was the one he’d won just a few days ago at Nationals, and he presented it to Yuuri. “I think these end up meaning more to the people who support us than they do to the person that won it.”

Yuuri placed both hands on top of Victor’s and brought it and the medal it held to his lips.

As Yuuri kissed the cool gold, Victor said, “Keep it. It’s yours.”

“Really?”

Stepping closer, Victor pressed a warm kiss to Yuuri’s forehead and smiled as he slipped his hand out from between Yuuri’s, leaving the gold medal behind. “I wouldn’t have won it if it weren’t for you. Don’t you know you’re the only reason I’m still skating?”

Too overcome with emotion to trust himself to speak, Yuuri clutched the medal to his chest and marched straight into Victor, silently demanding a hug.

After they left the closet, Yuuri went to his side of the bed and placed Victor’s medal on his nightstand, the ribbon carefully draped over the framed picture of Victor as a child. Yuuri stood up straight and beamed down at the arrangement. Perfect.

“Do you mind if I nap?” Behind him, Victor threw himself onto the bed beside Makkachin and snuggled into the fluffy duvet. “I got up hours before the sun rose to make it to Moscow on time.”

Yuuri retrieved a pillow from the floor and brought it over to tuck beneath Victor’s head. “Get some rest. I’m going to unpack.”


He spent half an hour or so hanging up his clothes in the closet, thinking all the while how ridiculous his stretched-out t-shirts looked on Victor’s fancy wooden hangers. But at least his new suit looked nice hanging there in its brand new home.

As Yuuri suspected, his belongings took up only a fraction of the space Victor had left for him, and soon the job was finished. Then there was nothing left to do but stuff his socks and underwear into an empty dresser drawer, shoot a glare at the poster on the opposite wall, and turn off the closet light.

After dropping his toiletries off in the master bathroom, he rolled his empty suitcase to the second bedroom, which was located at the front of the apartment. There was another bed there, along with a couch by a window that would make for a nice place to get lost in a book. Victor had told him he kept his own luggage in the spare closet, but what he hadn’t told Yuuri was that he also kept his summer wardrobe there on the racks. Apparently, stuffing this closet full of clothes was the only way Victor had managed to clear out some space for Yuuri in the master closet.

“My fiancé is a hoarder,” Yuuri muttered as he stared.

He very carefully added his own ratty suitcase to the closet, wary of letting it touch Victor’s monogrammed Louis Vuitton trunks or any of the other expensive luggage.

With that task complete, the next thing Yuuri did was return to the master bathroom for a much-needed shower. What he really wanted to do was join Victor for a nap, but he felt absolutely disgusting after a long night of travel. There was no way he was getting into that pristine, white bed smelling like this.

If their bedroom held a distinct note of romance in its décor, it was nothing compared to the master bathroom. Victor’s bathroom was just plain sexy.

Like the rest of the apartment, it had high ceilings with more naked lights dripping down from overhead. There was an enormous claw-foot tub, as well as a separate shower that was open to the rest of the room. Because of course Victor wouldn’t believe in having a curtain or even some fogged-up glass doors to give the person showering a bit of privacy. Nope, Victor liked to shower with eeeverything on display. And there were silver-framed mirrors on every wall, too. Just to make sure Yuuri didn’t miss the fact that he was on display.

He blushed as he stripped off his clothes and spent an embarrassing five minutes trying to figure out how to turn the hot water on in the shower. He wasn’t wearing his glasses and had never seen a shower with so many options that it required a row of buttons to operate it.

There were also multiple shower heads, which he didn’t notice at first until a rogue stream of water hit him in the back of the head. Blindsided, he let out a startled yelp, lost his footing, and barely saved himself from a slippery fall.

“What the hell?” he yelled at the rogue shower head, which was now attempting to beat him to death with pulses of hot water that were probably supposed to be therapeutic to an athlete with sore muscles. Or something.

“Yuuri?” Victor called from the bedroom, his voice thick with sleep. “Are you okay? What’s going on in there?”

“I’m fine!” Yuuri called back. “Everything’s fine. Just having a . . . a disagreement with your . . . stupid piece of . . . ow.” He fumbled with the knobs and when that didn’t do anything helpful, pushed a few buttons instead. “Hey, ow! Stop that!”

Without warning, Victor’s fancy shower decided to assault him with a refreshing blast of ice-cold water. Which, again, was probably meant to be therapeutic. Except it wasn’t.

Yuuri screamed.


Victor’s shoulders were still shaking with laughter by the time a grumpy, damp-haired Yuuri crawled into bed beside him. “It’s not funny,” he grumbled.

“Yuuri, you’re so cute,” Victor gushed as he snuggled up to him. “Mmm, and you smell nice, too.” He nuzzled Yuuri’s neck. “Though you smelled even better before you took a shower. Why’d you have to go and do that?”

“Gross. I smelled like the back of an airplane.”

“Are you cold? You’re shivering.”

“Gee, I wonder why?”

Though Victor had previously been napping on top of the covers, he pulled back the feather duvet so that they could snuggle together underneath where it was warm. Yuuri’s bad mood evaporated into blissful submission the second Victor hugged him from behind. The heat from his body leaked right into Yuuri’s, and his shivers were soon quelled into nothing but a sigh of contentment.

“That’s better,” Victor said, his hand sliding up Yuuri’s shirt to rest on his belly. “I bet you’re tired. Sleeping on a plane isn’t real rest. Do you think you could sleep a little now?”

Yuuri’s eyelashes fluttered shut. “Yes,” he said.

And that was the last thing he remembered for some time.

They ended up napping together for several hours with Makkachin draped across their legs and the heater humming quietly in the background. When Yuuri finally stirred and opened his eyes, he saw that the shadows in the room had changed. Outside, the winter clouds were clearing in the distance, allowing the afternoon sunlight to warm the city.

Yuuri closed his eyes again and snuggled closer, too comfortable to get up just yet.

Victor was on his back now, with Yuuri cuddled up on his chest. He slid one of his legs between Victor’s and squeezed his thighs together, hugging Victor’s between them. But not even that was enough contact. He pouted while his feet guided the bottom of Victor’s pants up a few inches until he could rub the pads of his toes against the soft leg hair on Victor’s calf.

“Your feet are cold,” Victor mumbled, half asleep.

“You’ll live.” Yuuri let out a happy sigh. This was by far the most comfortable bed he’d ever slept in in his life, no doubt due in part to the man he had trapped between his thighs.

“Yuuri. . .” Victor’s fingers moved from Yuuri’s back down to inch beneath the waistband of his sweatpants. “Can I put my dick inside you while we nap?” There was a brief pause before he added, “That sounded much more romantic in my head than it did spoken out loud. . .”

Yuuri smothered his laughter against Victor’s chest before leaving a kiss there over his heart. Again, he squeezed Victor’s thigh between his own before rocking his growing erection against him a few times. “No sex until later tonight.”

Which was not an easy thing to say. It would have felt so good to strip out of his clothes, lie back, and engage in some lazy afternoon sex with his future husband. But a little sexual frustration was just going to make his birthday surprise that much better.

Victor gripped Yuuri’s bare butt cheek with one hand and covered his face with the other hand. He pretended to cry into it while he said, “Why are you so mean to me?

“There, there.” Yuuri patted Victor’s perfectly dry cheek. “Can I make it up to you with some kisses? A pre-birthday-celebration makeout session with me is still allowed.”

Immediately, Victor flipped Yuuri over and pinned him, blushing and breathless, to the mattress. “Deal,” he said right before he pounced.


To be continued