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catch me when I start to fall for you

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The first time Yuri has his heat after Victor moved to Japan, Victor tries to go to a hotel like a professional. He knows it will look odd if he doesn't, and he tries, he really does.

He can't make himself do it. He stays at Yutopia and pretends to be doing paperwork and composing routines. He works at the ballet studio and the rink, and doesn't go near Yuri's room. He spends more time in his own room, restlessly folding and refolding clothes, making his bed, fluffing his pillows. He orders a display stand for medals that is clear acrylic, and lights up to display the soft gleam of the gold.

He spends an hour trying to decide where to put it, and then he cancels the order, because he's got no right to think of building a nest to attract Yuri.

He runs a lot.

"Are you okay?" asks Minako, looking at him.

Victor's about halfway down his second bottle of sake, trying to wash out the taste of Yuri's heat that drift into the private areas of Yutopia. It's only a day or two more. Then Yuri will come out of his room and Makkachin will stop holding his puzzled but faithful guard over his door. Then he can see Yuri again, and maybe because it's his post heat Yuri will let Victor touch his shoulders and put his arms, careful, around his waist, or rub the cramps away from his back or stomach. Maybe Yuri will put his head down, just for a second, on Victor's shoulder until he gathers himself together again.

"Fine!" chirps Victor, smiling big, looking happy, not showing a thing. When he runs past the estuary in the morning, he misses Yuri like he's going to die of it. He feels like he's banned from the ice, like when he broke his ankle when he was thirteen.

"Look," says Minako, "It's none of my business, but are you on something?"

It really is none of her business, but Victor hasn't been on suppressants since before he left Russia, when his athletic-grade prescription ran out and he pretended to forget to refill it. He'll have to go through at least one rut before a doctor will give him a new one. If a doctor will give him a new one after only one rut.

He's been not thinking about it for months now.

"I'm fine," he says.

He's not fine.

Yuri smells so good after his heat that Victor can't bear it. He's right, Yuri does let him put his hands all over him and rub circles in the small of his back when Yuri has a particularly bad cramp. Yuri won't go into the onsen until he's done with his cycle, and Victor's almost glad about it.

Victor doesn't know what would happen if Yuri was in the onsen with him, smelling so delicious: probably nothing that would endear him to any of Yuri's family, to be honest.

"We can take it easy this week," says Victor. "If you're -- not feeling well."

Yuri looks up with a flash of anger. "I'm fine!" he says.

Victor looks at him and lifts his eyebrows. Yuri's hand is curved over his abdomen and as Yuri tries to straighten up he winces and his scent spikes bitter with pain.

Yuri flings his head up, with a beautiful, unconscious movement of offended pride. Victor wishes he could replicate it, just that movement, in a routine. A movement like that should be in Carmen, not in this old, tired looking rink in the backwaters of Japan.

"You don't need to baby me," says Yuri. "I'm fine. You don't need to treat me like I'm made of glass."

"I won't, then," says Victor.

It's really bad, worse than even meeting a beautiful boy at a stuffy banquet and getting a mouth and nose full of his scent and then that beautiful boy disappearing so thoroughly that Victor couldn't even chase after him. Victor was going to watch that beautiful boy win silver after silver, hundredths of a point behind Victor, and parade his gold medals around him. Look at me, look at me, look how strong and beautiful I am. Let me be strong and beautiful for you.

He was going to chase that beautiful boy through every competition they were in together until he allowed Victor to catch him, to keep him, to wrap him up in Victor's coat and kiss his throat and be tucked into Victor's arms.

Now he's still chasing him, but the beautiful boy is a real person, a person that Victor keeps finding out more and more about. He hoards every dear scrap of it: how Yuri smiles, how Yuri squints just so on the ice, how each individual precious eyelash falls on the curve of Yuri's cheek as he sleeps. How Yuri can be surprised into laughter, if Victor really tries.

He wants Yuri to break every one of his records and come back to his arms to tell him about it. He wants to put his mark on his neck and keep him forever.

Victor spends Yuri's second heat in a miserable haze, pacing up and down in his room, making circuits of the private areas, walking up to the hallway toward Yuri's room, stopping himself, going downstairs, and then finding himself in the hall again, checking to see Makkachin was still guarding.

Sometimes he can hear little, miserable cries from Yuri's room, and it's an effort to go to his room, or to the bathroom so he can stick his head under cold water, instead of pawing at the door of his room like Makkachin, begging to be let in. Sometimes he has to go to the kitchen and sneak out ice packs to put against his bonding gland, which began to swell during Yuri's preheat, and is now a throbbing, inflamed lump on his neck, advertising to anybody who had eyes or a nose that he knew Yuri hadn't chosen a mate and he was ready to be it.

He sleeps very poorly. He dreams he gets up and goes to Yuri, kisses him all over, rubs his mouth over the red peony bud of Yuri's bonding gland, that he fucks the heat out of him and into Victor. He's so cold; he wants Yuri's heat so badly. He wakes up terrified that he's done it.

One time he wakes up slumped on the floor by Yuri's door, Makkachin in his arms. The scent seeping out from under the door calms him a little. Yuri isn't in distress. He's -- Victor can just stay here. He can just stay and make sure anybody who tries to get through to Yuri has to go through him first.

He closes his eyes again.

When he wakes up, it's to Yuri's mother softly dropping a blanket over him. He blinks up at her, once, twice, and she smiles down at him. "Try to sleep, Vicchan," she says.

Victor wakes up when Makkachin lifts his head up and whines, right before Yuri stumbles out of his room and straight into Victor. He only stays upright because Victor catches him around the waist, so Yuri is bracing himself with his hands on Victor's shoulder and Victor ends up with his face in Yuri's abdomen. Victor barely keeps himself from his first impulse of wrapping his arms around Yuri's waist and clinging as hard as he can.

"What --" begins Yuri, and for the first time in his life Victor understands the real meaning of embarrassment.

"I was just - " begins Victor, stops, takes a breath (what a mistake, oh God, help him, let him not put his nose right where Yuri's sweatpants are hanging a little down on his hip and take ten big breaths of that, that right there, he wants it, he wants it so bad) and then says, "Sorry."

"I didn't think you knew how to apologize," says Yuri, and then blushes a little himself.

"That's very rude," says Victor. "You sound like Yakov."

"Sorry," says Yuri. "What are you doing here?" He puts his hand on Victor's head and tries to tilt it up so Victor looks at him.

Victor doesn't look at him. He says brightly, "Keeping Makkachin company! He was worried about you, you know."

"Oh," says Yuri. His hand flexes in Victor's hair and Victor thinks he could die of this, right here. What if Yuri really grabbed his hair and made Victor look at him. What if Victor bit a little, tiny mark into his hipbone, right there, where it looks so bare. Yuri's hand relaxes, turns almost caressing. "Did I worry him? Sorry."

"Don't do it again," says Victor, and lets him go.

YOU: I'm not knocking anybody up
YOU: unfortunately

At the Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu Championships, there's a little alpha whose name Victor is choosing not to remember. If he remembered his name, it would mean Victor cared about him as anything other than an obstacle that Yuri is going to face and win against.

The little alpha blushes and stares at Yuri with wide eyes, like Yuri's the most wonderful thing in the world. It's not that Victor blames him. Yuri really is the most wonderful thing in the world. But he doesn't appreciate the way Yuri flushes when the little alpha displays his costume he's obviously made to impress Yuri with. He doesn't appreciate the wide-eyed worshipful look in the little alpha's eyes as Yuri dances his Eros for Victor.

He doesn't question it, not until much later, when he decides to put his hands on Yuri's hair and smooth down the fabric of the Yuri on Ice costume. Yuri is beautiful, but not quite perfect, until he puts lip balm on his trusting mouth. Then he's perfect, with his lips shining softly and Victor's scent on him.

He doesn't look to make sure that the little alpha has gotten his point. The way that Yuri's eyelashes sweep down over his brandy eyes and he lets Victor put his arms around him, marking him with his scent, should be enough.

@BuzzfeedIce: Russian skater @v-nikiforov caught browsing at boutique baby shop: who's in for @yurikatsudon baby bump watch with us?

It happens like Victor, in his heart of hearts, knows it will: Yuuko comes in, and Victor reacts. One second he's staring at Yuri, trying to decide if Yuri's mouth is going to curve into a smile for him, and the next second he smells another alpha - and doesn't smell the tiny uptick of stress that he's used to smelling when Yuri sees another alpha besides him, and the next thing he knows, he's shoved Yuri behind him and is growling, low and vicious, at Yuri's friend.

"Victor!" says Yuri, shocked, and Victor wants to back down, to make sure Yuri isn't scared of him, but that other alpha is staring at him too, lips open to taste the air.

All the alphas in the world must want Yuri. Victor can't imagine not wanting him, so how could anybody else not desire him?

The next minute Yuuko drops her eyes, and backs out, and Victor regains just enough rationality to remember that she's mated, she has her own omega, her own children -- but Victor keeps growling, just in case.

"Vicchan!" says Yuri's mother. She's a beta, but there's authority in her voice.

Victor freezes. For a second everything is agonizingly clear: he just made a threat display at Yuri's best friend from his childhood, a mated alpha with children. He's got Yuri backed into a corner, where anybody or anything will have to go through Victor to get to him. Yuri's mother is disappointed in him.

Victor drops his eyes and bares his throat. He whimpers, but he can't make himself move away from Yuri.

"Vicchan," says Hiroko, very gently, "It's all right."

Victor whines, but he moves, slowly and reluctantly, from his corner, so Yuri can get away from him if he wants. Yuri half-crawls away, looking at Victor with huge, shocked eyes. Is he scared? Has Victor scared him? How could he do that to Yuri?

Victor is a piece of shit.

Victor can't sleep. Yuri's mother, in the kindest possible way, sent him to his room, with a case of water and orders to rest. He paces the room, puts his hands all over everything until the entire room smells like him instead of the ghosts of long-gone parties. He leans his head against the wall separating him from Yuri and takes deep, huffing breaths as if he can smell him through the old wooden walls.

He lies down again, and closes his eyes.

He falls asleep, a little, wakes up when someone slides the door open enough for Makkachin to come in and hop up on the bed. They slide the door closed again, but it's not quick enough to avoid a little breath of Yuri's scent coming into the room. Victor huddles up and squeezes his eyes shut.

He knows he should rest. In a day or two he'll be pacing and staring at the door and rearranging things over and over again. In a day or two he'll be at the door of the room, refusing to leave but staring at the door, vigilant. Victor hasn't had an unsuppressed rut since he was seventeen. Even with the suppressants they had him on in Russia, which were within a carefully calculated picogram of being banned in the international sports community, Victor hated people being near him during his ruts. He never knew who he wanted to be there, but he knew that person wasn't there near him.

He dozes off again, and wakes again when the door slides open. For some reason he's only alert, not angry.

Footsteps move closer, and the next thing he knows a warm body curls up next to him. Victor rolls instinctively; one arm goes around Yuri's chest, the other to cradle his silky head. His leg slides between Yuri's sweet thighs, and he buries his face without conscious thought in the curve of Yuri's neck.

He takes a deep breath in. Yuri's scent surrounds him, like the sea, like the fresh ice of a rink, waiting to be danced on. Like everything Victor has ever wanted and not known to want. The tension in his back unwinds slowly.

Yuri's hand slides up to entwine with Victor's hand around his chest. "Stupid Victor," he mumbles. "You made me worry."

"Sorry," sighs Victor, on the delicious edge of sleep. He nuzzles a kiss onto Yuri's jaw, and falls asleep, just like that, his mouth set delicately over Yuri's bonding gland.

Victor wakes up grinding his half-full knot against Yuri's ass. He's panting like a wounded thing against Yuri's bonding gland, pained noises swelling up in his throat. "Yuri," he moans.

"Shh," says Yuri. He sounds half asleep, and Victor whines, as Yuri turns in his arms. Just that tiny bit of distance hurts. It hurts so bad Victor can't stand it. "Shhh, shhh, Victor, shhh."

"Want you," says Victor, blindly nuzzling his hair, the scent gland behind his ear. Yuri smells like home. It's so sweet. Victor needs it. "Please, stay, want you."

"Victor," says Yuri, and Victor stops cold, frozen, at the tone of Yuri's voice.

"Want me," he pleads, putting his forehead against Yuri's clavicle, butting against it. He wants to be wrapped around Yuri, he wants Yuri wrapped around him. He wants to be so close that they can never part, ever again. He wants to know he's finally caught Yuri. "Please, please. Want me. I want you."

"I do want you," Yuri says, and kisses the top of his head. Victor can't help but purr at that, can't help but cuddle in closer. "Victor, you can't say yes like this. I could be - I can't, not now."

"Yes," says Victor, stubborn. "Yes, yes, yes, yes, Yuri, Yuri, yes." He's so afraid Yuri will leave him again. He's made a nest for him, and still Yuri is going to leave him. It's a sick dizziness in the pit of his stomach, like jumping and knowing you're going to fall. "Please. Please, Yuri, please --" Yuri shifts again. A cry rips out of Victor, raw and terrified. "Don't leave, don't leave. Stay close to me."

"Shhh," says Yuri again. "I won't." He strokes Victor's hair and back until the tension leaves Victor enough so that he's not crushing Yuri in his arms. "Can you let me go? I need to get you water."

Victor lets go, because Yuri wants it, even though it's like ripping his own limb off. Yuri reaches over and grabs something, and the next thing Victor knows, a water bottle is being held to his lips. He takes a sip to please Yuri, and then realizes he's terribly, terribly thirsty, and drinks it all at once. Yuri offers him another one, but he turns his head fretfully aside to bury his face in Yuri's chest. Yuri pets his hair, his back, until Victor relaxes a little. It's good like this.

"Stay with me," he says again. "Please. Please. Stay with me."

"I will," says Yuri, voice low. "I will."

"Forever?" says Victor. "Promise."

Yuri doesn't answer.