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roses by the shining sea

Chapter Text

Everyone knew about time slips, of course – they were always showing up in fiction to kickstart plots and complicate relationships – but it wasn't like they happened to anyone, until one had happened to Victor. Even over a month after he'd shown up in the future, little things tended to give him pause. Waking and expecting to hear Yakov and Lilia murmuring somewhere, or looking something up only to find that a familiar website had long since abandoned its old layout.

It didn't help that nobody seemed to be quite sure what to do with him. Yakov was still trying to figure out if he could get a legal identity, last Victor had heard; apparently, nobody had written laws expecting time slips to actually happen. About the only thing that had been decided on was that he might as well live with the older Victor, even if he had wanted to live with Yakov like he was used to.

At least not everything had changed. Makkachin was older, yes, and a bit quieter, but she was still sweet and cuddly and could work up quite a bit of energy given something sufficiently interesting. Today, for example, she'd chased seagulls until Victor had dragged her away, and there was still a brightness to her eyes as they came home.

"Make sure you drink plenty of water," he told her as he took off his shoes, and even if she didn't understand him, she headed toward the kitchen. Victor started to follow her, only to realize as he went to cut through the living room that the older Victor was in there, talking to someone.

The older Victor looked up and smiled as Victor paused in the doorway. (He smiled a lot. Victor hadn't realized how often he smiled until he saw it from the outside. They were always good-looking smiles, too.) "Here he is," he told his laptop. Oh, it was a video call. "Come here," he said, and curious, Victor did. "I told you that Chris was coming to visit."

Right, Chris. The older Victor had talked about him a few times, always fond. He was a skater, right? He had to be, Victor didn't know anyone who wasn't involved in skating somehow. Victor sat beside the older Victor, wrapping both his arms around one of his and pressing close into his side so he could get a good look. "Hi," he said automatically, peering at the screen, and – oh.

The image quality wasn't perfect, but even so, it was obvious that this Chris was handsome. He smiled at Victor – it went all the way up to his warm green eyes – and waved at the screen. "Other Victor! Victor was just telling me about you. I hope our time is treating you well."

"Sure," Victor said – he'd been through this kind of talk a dozen times over, it wasn't interesting anymore. He cared more about where that accent came from. France? More importantly: handsome man, coming to visit for a few weeks now that they were heading into summer. "Are you his boyfriend?" he asked.

The older Victor burst into laughter. Startled, Victor broke away from him. "Sorry," he wheezed, and pulled Victor back in and put an arm around his shoulders. Victor tried to settle back in, heart still racing a bit. "No, he's not," he said. "He's a very good friend, though." To Chris, he added, "I think he's just a bit early to have met you."

"Ah," Chris said. He hadn't joined in on the laughter; he was smiling, but it was different from before, somehow. "I was wondering. You look about the right age. We were – you had just turned eighteen, I think, when we met."

"I was about to turn eighteen in a few months," Victor said – that was one of the more confusing things, going from getting ready for the competition season to being dumped at the end of it. At least the extra summer was nice. "So a little early," but enough about him.

The older Victor let him pester Chris with questions for a couple of minutes before gently shoving him off so they could finish talking details about the visit or whatever. Victor left with a huff, and he only went as far as the entrance to the kitchen, where he knelt down to pet Makkachin and eavesdrop. Mostly it wasn't that interesting, but towards the end, he could hear Chris say, "You two seem to be getting along well."

The older Victor made a noise of agreement. "He gets a little annoying sometimes," (and so did the older Victor), "but he's cute. You saw how he looks. It brings up some good memories, doesn't it?"

He couldn't hear what Chris said in reply, only that it made the older Victor laugh softly and lower his voice for the last minute of their conversation.

Victor didn't move when he heard the laptop click shut, when the older Victor stood and stretched and came into the kitchen. "I think you'll like him," the older Victor said, stopping to pet Makkachin as well. She looked very pleased at having the attention of both of them.

"I like him already. Of course I do, you like him. And he's nice." For one thing, Chris had actually talked to him, instead of talking about him to the older Victor. A lot of people tended to do that. It was irritating beyond belief.

"Very nice," Victor said, "unlike certain nosy teenagers." He poked Victor in the forehead, who didn't even bother trying to feign guilt. If the older Victor had actually wanted a private conversation, he would have gone somewhere else.

Makkachin decided that she wanted more water, and wriggled away from their hands to go get it. Victor reached mournfully after her, then looked up at the older Victor when she was well beyond his grasp. "Say I'm cute again."

"Nosy vain teenagers."

"Says the one who couldn't keep his hands off me when I first got here and then kept lamenting that he was going bald, even though you're not." The older Victor had kept touching his face, his hair, like he couldn't believe that he was real, those first couple of days. It had been kind of weird, but everything had been kind of weird, and Victor had liked the attention.

The older Victor leaned down and brushed a strand of hair from his face. "Cute," he said, his voice teasing. Despite the tone, and no matter how many times Victor had been called pretty and beautiful and handsome and cute, it still gave him a little thrill to hear a compliment.

"I guess you haven't lost all of your charm, either," he said, and the older Victor shook his head and pushed on his shoulder.

"Go set the table or something. I don't know. What are you supposed to make annoying teenagers go do?"

"Homework?"

"Ah. Go work on your French or something."

"Does Chris speak French?" Older Victor nodded. Hah, he'd been right.

Over dinner, Victor used his shiny new smartphone, so much better than anything from his time, to look up things about Chris on Wikipedia. When he got bored of that, he skipped to watching his routines, which older Victor scooted in beside him to watch as well. He certainly had a style. Victor hadn't known this kind of stuff was legal to skate. And besides the fact that he dripped sex all over the ice, he was actually really, really good.

"He almost beat me with this one," the older Victor said fondly, as they watched one that was a little less overt than some of the others. Chris had an awful lot of glitter on his cheeks in this one, sparkling beneath his pretty eyes. Victor approved.

When the older Victor eventually returned to his place, Victor clicked back to Wikipedia and scrolled down. Silver. Silver. Silver. Gold, but he checked, and older Victor hadn't been at that one. Silver. Silver. Oh, he thought, not quite sure what to make of it.

By the time Chris actually arrived, Victor knew a lot about him. Not just the things Wikipedia could offer up – that he was from Switzerland and born on Valentine's Day and always came in second place behind older Victor. Older Victor happily told him stories about him, too, since neither Victor subscribed to the thing people had in lots of movies about not telling anything about the future. (Well, he didn't look at anything that had to do with the older Victor's routines or costumes or the like. And he didn't ask about his love life, aside from that one time, or his short hair. Some things were better left as surprises.)

He even got to talk to Chris again, if only for a few minutes; the older Victor left his laptop out when he went to take a shower, and Chris called him on Skype about some final detail. Victor was the only one in the room, so he sat on the floor by the coffee table where the laptop was set and answered for him.

It turned out that Victor couldn't help him, but Chris asked him how he was doing, again, and then thankfully skipped most of the usual boring list of questions about his time slip to simply chat with him. It was nice, almost comfortable, like Victor actually knew him. Victor kept smiling, winding a strand of hair around his finger and letting it fall back into place as they talked.

When the older Victor finally showed up, he draped himself dramatically over Victor's shoulders. "Chris," he sighed. "Are you replacing me with the younger model?"

While Victor tried and failed to shove him off – he was heavy and leaning in too much – Chris laughed and replied, "Who said anything about replacing? Really, Victor, why would I throw you aside when I could have two of you?"

Victor thought about that, later, when he walked Makkachin, the way he'd said it, the wink he'd thrown in at the end. The way the older Victor had smiled back and responded in kind. Thought about it and thought about the way the older Victor had laughed so hard when Victor had asked if they were dating and couldn't help but wonder why not, because they seemed like a good fit and Chris was certainly handsome enough for him. But he didn't ask. There were lots of possible reasons.

The day that Chris was supposed to fly in, Victor came home from practice expecting an empty apartment. But there was the older Victor, lounging on the sofa, staring at his phone, when he should have been at the airport like he'd left practice early to go to. "Chris called and said his flight was delayed," he explained before Victor could ask. "We might be deprived of his company for a few hours longer."

Victor was tired from practice and waking up too early when the summer sun had slipped through the curtains that morning. As the older Victor grumbled about the delay and the airline, he sat beside him, then rolled over to lay his head on the older Victor's chest as he stretched his legs down the couch.

"What are you doing?"

"I want to take a nap," he said, snuggling into the older Victor's shirt, which was very soft.

"You should go to bed, then. I'll have to get up when Chris's flight gets here." But he let Victor stay after shifting him down a bit, and even threaded fingers into Victor's hair as he returned his attention to his phone. Victor could hear his heartbeat, out of sync with his own, felt each gentle breath beneath his cheek. It was much better than the empty bed with its cold sheets would have been, and he fell asleep quickly.

He didn't dream, and he didn't wake until there was a light tug on his hair. Victor yawned and let the older Victor move him out of the way and resettle him flat on the couch. He rubbed his cheek against the cushion as he listened to the older Victor murmuring something soft to Makkachin, putting his shoes on, the click of the door locking. The bare couch was comfortable, but not as good to sleep on as a warm body had been, and maybe his body had had enough, because Victor ended up waking up gradually instead of falling asleep again.

Eventually he sat up and combed his hair with his fingers as his brain finished getting its bearings. He was kind of hungry, but they would be having dinner soon enough, and he wanted tea. He might as well make it for all three of them, while he was at it.

Makkachin followed him around the kitchen as he put the water on, then pulled down mugs. The two at the front – the two he and the older Victor always pulled down – were fine, but the third in the matching set was covered in dust. Victor made a face and washed it.

When the tea was steeping, he checked his phone; nothing from the older Victor, though it was later in the day than he had thought. So either he was still waiting on Chris's plane or he'd forgotten to text him after picking him up.

He dropped a spoonful of jam into the older Victor's mug for him, and then, since nobody was around to see him do so, stirred a much larger spoonful into his so it was nice and sweet. He wondered how Chris took his, looking at the last mug, but he could put what he wanted into it when he arrived, so Victor just carried it out to the living room with the others.

Victor drank his tea, fiddling with his phone all the while. No update.

He spent a few minutes on the floor with Makkachin, rubbing her ears and back and belly as she rolled about, until she'd had enough for the moment. No update.

He wandered around a bit, seeing if there was anything to put away, but the older Victor had already cleaned, and it wasn't like either of them got the place too messy in the first place. The only thing out of place was an artsy stack of books in three languages on an end table, which he didn't bother sticking back on the shelf. No update.

...this apartment was really depressing when nobody else was in it. It was so quiet he could hear the noise from his ears, and the sunlight only highlighted how stark the grey walls (really, grey walls?) looked with their boring black-and-white photographs of generic city sights. It wasn't the kind of place he would have imagined living in at all. There should at least be ballet pictures or something else interesting on the walls, maybe Japanese woodblocks or watercolors by a local artist or postcards from the different countries he'd been to. Something.

Victor made himself another cup of tea. Just as he had finished stirring in another large spoonful of jam, Makkachin perked up and raced from the room. The front door opened a moment later, bringing with it two voices. Victor peeked out to see both the older Victor and Chris crouched by Makkachin. Ah, good, he was nice to Makkachin. That was a requirement for visitors, as far as Victor was concerned.

Chris glanced up and saw him, smiled, stood and greeted him. At that moment, Victor realized three things about him:

One, that he was tall, taller than older Victor.

Two, that he wore glasses. Victor hadn't seen him wearing glasses before; he must wear contacts otherwise. But they suited him well, framing those pretty eyes of his.

Three, that even looking tired from his flight, he had a warm smile.

Victor could feel his cheeks heat a little as he smiled back. It would be nice to have someone else around for a few weeks, and someone who so far seemed kind and who was so good to look at, that was an excellent bonus.

"I made tea for everyone," he said. "I didn't know if you wanted anything in yours."

"Thank you," Chris said. "Plain is fine."

Victor returned to the living room while the older Victor helped Chris take his things to the guest room, and curled up there at one end of the couch. At least the view out the windows was nice, lots of natural light. If he was going to be here for long, and it seemed like he probably was, maybe he could get the older Victor to redecorate a little. At least get a few flowers to bring some color into the room.

"I did have one question," Chris was saying when he came back with the older Victor, and then he looked at Victor and amended it to, "Two questions. Are you both going by Victor?"

"It is our name," the older Victor said. He sat down next to Victor and reached for his cup, sipped at it. Chris took the armchair set at an angle to the couch. "It does get confusing, though, and we haven't figured out anything else that works."

"Especially at the rink. Like when Yakov's trying to go, Vitya this and Vitya that and both of us keep looking up and thinking he's talking to us, and it's always, no, other Vitya. Ah, but Yuri just calls me 'hey, you', so that's one way."

The older Victor snorted into his mug. "Maybe I should just avoid names," Chris said, curling his hands around the last mug and taking a long sip. Victor was distracted enough by watching him that he didn't notice the older Victor reaching to snatch his own cup away.

"Hey!"

The older Victor drank a bit. "Yours is sweeter," he said, arching his eyebrows, and Victor huffed and grabbed it back, only just managing not to spill any on the couch.

"If you want it sweeter, do it yourself," he grumbled, and said more loudly, "What was your other question?"

Chris looked amused at their little spat. "I was just curious," he said, leaning back in his chair as the older Victor tried to steal Victor's cup once more. "If I'm sleeping in the guest bedroom, then where are you sleeping? I don't want to force you out onto the couch or anything."

"I've been sleeping—" with him, he almost said, but whoops, that wasn't what he meant. "In his room."

"Ah, right. You have the thing about sleeping alone."

It wasn't that he couldn't. He was just spoiled by having Makkachin there all the time, and he missed her too much when he was away and there was no-one to snuggle with. So it always took longer to fall asleep when he was by himself, and then Yakov would get mad at him for sleeping in so late before competitions but then let him nap on his shoulder later if there was time.

Anyway, there was only one Makkachin and now there was two of him, and the bed was big enough, so. Usually they both curled up to Makkachin, but sometimes she wanted to sleep at the foot of the bed, and Victor curled up against himself instead. And if they had woken up a few times with their feet tangled together and someone's head on a shoulder or an arm around a waist, well, Victor really liked cuddling, so he hadn't complained, and the older Victor hadn't said anything about it, either.

"So you're sleeping together," Chris said slowly, raising an eyebrow at the older Victor.

"Just because you would jump into bed with yourself after five minutes," the older Victor laughed. And thankfully they moved on from that, because Milla had already used up all of the jokes about screwing himself weeks ago.

They'd been planning on going out for dinner, but thanks to the stupid plane it was now getting late, and Chris looked tired, so instead they moved into the kitchen at some point, and the older Victor started to put something together. He and Chris chatted for a while, and just as Victor was getting bored and about to wander off, Chris turned back to him. "Has Victor caught you up on the last decade of skating at all?"

Victor shook his head. "Mostly he's been teaching me jumps."

"He doesn't want spoilers, so I haven't shown him any videos," the older Victor added from by the stove.

"Well, but I watched a bunch of yours," Victor said. And oh, Chris paused at that, his eyes flicking back over to Victor. There was surprise on his face, and something in Victor felt very satisfied at seeing it. "I liked them. You're going to come to the rink with us, right? I want to see you skate in person."

"Of course," Chris said, his voice gone warm. "Though I'm sure you've had your fill of excellent skating with Victor, here."

"No, that's kind of boring," Victor said, and the older Victor made a strange choking noise. "He's a lot like me, except better. You're different." Both Chris and older Victor gave him looks, and hah, he'd surprised them both.

"I shouldn't have let you watch," the older Victor lamented as he brought over their food. "Or at least warned you before you started to fall for his seductive skating." Let him, right, he had yet to try and stop Victor from doing anything, and it wasn't like he was Yakov.

"Why not?" An idea suddenly hit. Before the older Victor could answer, he turned and asked Chris, "Do you have a boyfriend who isn't him?"

"Not currently, no," Chris said. Victor expected the older Victor to answer his question, but instead he changed the subject to their plans for tomorrow.

The next day, they took Chris around the city, though it turned out that this wasn't his first time in St. Petersburg and the older Victor had already shown him most of the more famous touristy places. There was still plenty for them to do, of course. They set off early, and for a while Victor enjoyed himself, the pleasant sound of older Victor and Chris chatting, the feeling of the morning air.

But there wasn't much to say when Chris and the older Victor were talking about things he'd never experienced and people he didn't know, and of course the city itself was nothing new to him. Was this was people meant by 'feeling like a third wheel'? Huh. Because it really wasn't fun, following behind the older Victor and the older Victor's friend, reminded that he was wearing clothes the older Victor had paid for, wishing that he could at least play around on the phone that the older Victor had paid for, or that he could be skating right now (all the fees for which the older Victor had also paid for).

And then Chris turned around and asked him if much had changed since his time, and Victor found a way to turn that into a more interesting conversation, and suddenly it was the two of them trailing behind the older Victor as he tried to guide them toward something-or-other.

They wandered around during the morning, taking pictures here and there – the older Victor was very happy for Victor to take good photos for their social media. (He was still supposed to be laying relatively low for the moment, and thus none of the pictures with him went up. Maybe someday.) Victor chose where they went for lunch, a cute and tiny place with the outside covered in ivy. Then the older Victor decided that they were going to an art museum for the afternoon, a place called Erarta that Victor had never heard of (no wonder, it was so new it hadn't existed in his time), before they lingered outside in the long hours of sunshine until it was late and Victor was sleepy and content.

The older Victor woke him up coming into bed that night. "Did you enjoy yourself?" he asked, reaching over Makkachin to tug the end of Victor's braid from his face.

"You were there," Victor mumbled into Makkachin's fur.

"Yes?"

Victor's mind put together a snapshot of memories from the day: Chris smiling at a clever remark he had made, a strange piece of art from the museum that he couldn't help but stare at until Chris wandered along and started staring at it with him, their tasty and hearty lunch, the older Victor sliding a warm arm around his shoulders at a crowded crosswalk, breezes constantly blowing the shorter strands of hair in and out his eyes. "Mm. Yes."

"Good." The hand brushed the edge of his face, then retreated, and Victor fell back asleep in moments.

The day after, it was back to the rink. By now, Victor had mostly gotten used to his new set of rinkmates. Georgi was mostly the same as ever, except maybe even more dramatic than before, and possibly having better luck with girls. He didn't know exactly what to make of Milla and didn't talk to her that often, though she seemed nice enough and liked to joke with the older Victor. Yuri was annoying and rude and clearly being set up to be the successor to older Victor, except he was worse at taking advice than Victor had ever been and had little sense of artistry. Victor didn't understand why the older Victor liked him.

He did make the most wonderful faces whenever Victor would show him up, though. Even if Yakov sometimes yelled at him for it. (Bonus: Yuri usually went more serious and focused and shut up for a little while afterward. If he was like that more often, maybe Victor would someday like him, too.)

Victor let himself get distracted watching Chris skate – there was something to the way he moved here, on the ice, even when he wasn't running his hands down his body, and he had such huge jumps.

Then the older Victor finished what he was doing and came over to tug on his arm, and it was time for their mini-lesson of the day. Yakov watched them for a few minutes, but it seemed that he didn't have anything to yell at the older Victor over this time, and he left them to go help Milla. Today it wasn't jumps they were working on, but rather step sequences from the free skate he was supposed to have performed in the upcoming season. And now might or might not get to perform at all. But Victor tried not to think too hard about that.

"You need to do it more beautifully," the older Victor told him.

"Don't just say, 'do it more beautifully'. You aren't Lilia." Besides, Lilia would soon start shouting at him about his hands or arms or whatever else being out of position, leaving little doubt as to what was not beautiful.

"I always wanted to say it once," Victor said, smiling, and then started to give him actually useful advice. Or useful some of the time, at least.

When they paused to get water, Victor saw that Chris was now there, watching them. "Victor," Chris said, looking at the older Victor. "Please tell me that the two of you have tried skating together at least once."

"We did," Victor said. "But then Georgi and Milla egged us on too much and he tried to pick me up and then he dropped me," and here he couldn't resist throwing the older Victor a pout. "Yakov got really mad at him for that." Actually mad, even, because he could have hurt him, though Victor had been just fine.

"Alas. So does that mean that we won't be seeing 'Victor Squared on Ice', or...."

"Not yet, at least," the older Victor said. He caught Victor around the waist. "You'd be such a crowd draw. I mean, we'd have a lot to fix in your skating, first, but you're so pretty. Maybe the audience wouldn't notice. What do you think, Chris?" he asked, half-turning the both of them so fast that Victor had to grab him for balance.

Before Victor could ask what do you mean a lot to fix, he noticed how Chris was staring at them. "I think," Chris said slowly, "that you won't have to worry about the audience enjoying it."

The two of them were pressed pretty close together. If Chris was looking at them like that, it must have made for a nice picture. Well, he could make it nicer. Victor turned up the corners of his mouth and leaned his head into the older Victor's shoulder. The hands on his waist moved a little, but it was a long moment before they fell away. "Let's get back to practice before Yakov yells at us for slacking off," he said, leaving Victor feeling suddenly cold as he skated off and returned to practicing on his own.

"Hmph."

"Oh, well," Chris said, watching the older Victor, before he turned his gaze back to Victor. "It looks like he's gotten better at teaching. Is that right? When we were younger, he once tried to give me advice, and it was... not helpful. Very good at the doing, not so much the explaining."

"He's not bad," Victor said with a little shrug. "Not as good as Yakov. But Yakov's a very good coach." Speaking of: Yakov shifted a glare their way, so Victor tugged on Chris's arm. "Chris, teach me how to do a quad Lutz like yours," he demanded.

"Older you isn't doing well enough?"

"Yours is higher, and he's busy now anyway. Please?" He ducked his head slightly, made sure his smile wasn't turned up all the way, looked up through his eyelashes. The only people who could resist his pleading looks consistently were Yakov and Lilia, and Chris was no exception.

"I probably shouldn't be teaching my favorite rival to jump better," he said, but his face had already shifted, and he ended up working with Victor for a while.

The three of them went out for dinner together that night – at the same place that older Victor had meant to take Chris the first night – before taking the long way home and settling in to watch a movie. Makkachin wandered in and sat by Chris while the older Victor was trying to finding whatever he was trying to find. She looked so cute looking up at them, clearly curious as to what was going on, that of course Victor had to slide off the couch and go pet her.

"Let me take a picture," Chris said from above them, so Victor threw his arms around Makkachin and smiled, then yelped when she wriggled out of his grip to go lay down somewhere else. Chris laughed at his dismay, but he also said, "Very cute."

Victor scrambled up beside him to see the photo (which was adorable, and Chris promised to send it to him), and then the older Victor finally managed to get the movie going and sat next to him. It turned out to be some kind of strange art film; Victor didn't quite understand most of it, but the main characters were all ballet dancers, which must have been why older Victor chose it. And they'd found actors who could actually dance, too.

...oh, right, they had ballet practice scheduled for tomorrow. With someone who was not Lilia. That had been one of the biggest shocks the future had to present: that somewhere in the last few years, Lilia and Yakov had gotten divorced and she'd gone to Moscow to teach. Victor still didn't know why; when he'd asked, the older Victor had looked sad and a little tired and said that it was complicated. And Victor wasn't stupid enough to go asking Yakov, so a mystery it remained.

It just didn't make sense to him. They had fought sometimes, but not over anything really serious, and they had never been lovey-dovey, but that didn't mean that they never showed affection for each other.

Anyway, their new ballet instructor was... she was fine. It was just a change.

As pretty as the dancers in the film were, he was half-asleep when it ended, his head on the older Victor's shoulder as he tried to blink himself awake through the long ending sequence with its soft music. He did fall asleep when it was finished; the room was dark and the older Victor didn't shove him off as he talked with Chris over Victor's head.

"Wake up, sleeping beauty," he heard some time later.

It only took him a few seconds to wake up; the light was still dim, but he could tell that Chris was gone, and so was Makkachin. "Not sleeping beauty without a kiss," he said, yawning. He started to hum The Lilac Fairy, still familiar after he'd used it for his short program in his last year of Juniors.

"Okay," the older Victor said with a little laugh, and then there was a quick touch to his shoulder, a kiss pressed to the part of his hair. "Awake?"

Victor made a big show of stretching as he sat up properly, shook his head, then bounced off the couch. "Thank you, prince Victor," he laughed, doing a half spin. Then he danced away, still humming, to get ready for bed for real.

Chapter Text

The days passed comfortably with Chris slotted in. In the mornings, sometimes Chris would make breakfast, which seemed strange – having the guest do the cooking – but he was just as good at it as the older Victor was, so Victor wasn't going to say anything about it.

Some mornings, Victor would be the last up, and he would come down the hall to find the older Victor and Chris leaning against the kitchen counter, close, drinking tea or coffee, talking in low tones. There was something about the way they looked – relaxed, happy – that made Victor reluctant to disturb them. He saw nothing wrong with watching for a few minutes, though, vaguely wishing he was there, too. They looked like a pair of lovers waking up together. Even if they weren't, or so they said, at least.

There was practice in the dance studio and practice at the rink – where Chris would come along as well – and in their free time, adventures in the city. Or sometimes movies at home, or sometimes just a quiet evening. But they were better quiet evenings with Chris to talk with, and not just himself.

Except for the day where he woke up with a headache and found he'd slept past his alarm. He often slept past his alarm; Yakov was always grumbling about having to come wake him, except now he didn't live with Yakov, and the older Victor never remembered to wake him up until he was about to leave. Painkillers and coffee helped, but not enough, and skating certainly didn't.

And neither did little Yuri being in a worse mood than usual. What Victor wanted to do was to snap at him, but Lilia had taught him better than that, and so had his experience with smiling politely at fans and sponsors and never letting a hint of boredom or tiredness show. Instead, he tried to stay far away where he wouldn't present an imagined threat to Yuri, and focused on his own practice through the pounding in his head. Someone else could deal with the shouting.

It still hurt when they got home. Victor took more painkillers and tried to keep up with the older Victor's conversation; Chris was shut up in the guest bedroom taking care of an email or something, which meant that he had the older Victor's full attention. Normally, he would have been happy to chatter back at him. Today, however, he found himself becoming more snappish each time the older Victor spoke, until a look sent his way – a raised eyebrow, the older Victor's mouth turned down – sent him to the bedroom instead, in case a nap would help the headache.

Maybe it would have if he could fall asleep.

He lay there, thinking about skating, mostly, and not falling asleep no matter how his body relaxed. He went through his programs in his head, and didn't think about getting to skate them. He wondered whether the older Victor had been joking about the two of them performing together in an ice show, assuming he stuck around long enough, thought about the warm hands on his waist.

The headache lessened, but it was still there. He turned his head and winced as it started up again, a faint pounding in time with his heartbeat. Moving back only made it spike more, like a flash behind his eyes, and he ground his teeth as he buried a hand in his hair, wishing it would just go away.

He sat up – ow – and curled his knees in, rested his head against them in case that would work somehow, and it kind of did.

There was a knock at the door, and when it opened, he expected to see the older Victor, but there stood Chris. "Victor," he started to say, and then he stopped. He closed the door and came closer. "Are you alright?" he asked, in a different tone.

"My head hurts," he replied, not caring how whiny it came out, not if it would get Chris to – yes, there, he was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking concerned.

"Do you need something for it?"

He shook his head. "It'll go away eventually," he said. He didn't protest when Chris pressed a hand to his forehead – though he knew he didn't have a fever – and when he sat back against the wall, Victor followed, then leaned his head on Chris's shoulder.

He could feel Chris looking at him, but he didn't pull away, so Victor relaxed further into him. It was a good shoulder for sleeping on, covered in solid muscle, not bony at all.

"Better?"

"A little." Chris moved his arm, raised his hand, paused. "You can touch it," Victor said, and the hand descended lightly on his hair. He shivered as Chris's fingers passed from his roots to the very tips. Then his hand settled on Victor's head, not entirely still, his fingers shifting under the strands and rubbing slightly.

"The great Victor Nikiforov, brought down by a headache. The me that met you would have hardly believed it. Even something as beautiful as you turned out to be human after all."

Victor gave a pleased hum at how Chris's hand felt, at being called beautiful yet again. "Unfortunately."

Chris chuckled at that. "There are good points to it," he said. "It wouldn't be fun to compete against older you if you were so untouchable. Even if your scores sometimes make it seem like you are."

As they sat there, Victor could feel his headache start to recede; either sitting up was better than laying down, or the painkillers were finally kicking in again. Or maybe Chris was just a good distraction, which he was. Victor liked listening to his voice as he talked, in low tones like he didn't want to make Victor's headache worse.

The hand on his head slipped down, settled on his shoulder instead. "Did something happen with you two earlier?"

Victor made a face. "No," he admitted. "I was just being...." He couldn't seem to find the right word in English. He went with, "Annoyed," though he was sure there was a better one out there.

"Ah. It sounded like you'd argued. I never would have thought you could argue with yourself, either," he said with a little laugh, "but it's interesting how you aren't exactly the same. I suppose Victor's changed a lot since he was your age."

"And he never time traveled," Victor pointed out.

"No," Chris said. Just then, there was a faint shout from the hall that made Victor sit up – the older Victor calling that dinner was almost ready. Chris's hand slid from his shoulder, and he started to move off the bed; Victor reached out and caught his sleeve before he'd quite thought about it. He looked back. "Hm? Was there something else you needed?" Victor shook his head and let go. "Did you want to stay here and get some sleep?"

What he wanted was to stay here in the nice dark bedroom with the curtains drawn instead of going out into the bright rooms outside and eating something. What he wanted was to keep listening to Chris talk, even though he knew what he should do was make nice with the older Victor and join them for dinner.

It sounded childish even in his own head. So he put on a smile and shook his head again. "No, I'll come."

When they ventured down the hall, the older Victor told Chris that the food would just be a minute, then glanced at Victor before looking away. So he followed the older Victor back into the kitchen. "Sorry about earlier," he said, nudging up against him as he took dishes out of the cupboard, and then, "Did you ever figure out how to make the headaches go away?"

"Oh, is that what it was? I did, I outgrew them."

Victor scowled at him. "Helpful."

"I'd forgotten I used to get those," Victor mused, handing him wine glasses. "You should have said. I would have told you to go to bed earlier."

"Helpful," Victor sighed, and went to help finish setting the table. Dinner was more pleasant than he'd been expecting, mostly because the damn headache finally went away, and also because tomorrow was a day off and so they could plan for what to do.

When Victor stumbled into the kitchen the next morning, though, it was not to see Chris and the older Victor standing together in that way that made him strangely jealous, or to smell breakfast cooking. There was just the older Victor, swearing under his breath at his laptop and ignoring a Makkachin who clearly wanted her morning walk.

"You don't want to know," he said when Victor asked about it. "It's... I'm going to be trying to get this sorted out for a while."

Victor took Makkachin out instead, and when he came back, Chris had put together some scrambled eggs and the older Victor had disappeared altogether. "Victor's dealing with a situation, so it looks like it's just the two of us," Chris said.

Well. Victor wasn't going to complain.

It was a beautiful day, so they spent a few hours walking along the pretty streets, taking pictures and checking small shops for a gift for one of Chris's moms, whose birthday was apparently coming up. They considered intricately-painted nesting dolls, chocolates that Victor would have loved to devour slowly if not for his diet plan, warm-hued amber jewelry, before Chris found something he thought she would like.

"Was there anything you wanted to look for?" he asked Victor as they stepped back into the sunshine.

"Clothes," he said. The older Victor had bought him some, back when he'd first arrived, but they were all plain, basic things, suitable for wearing to practice. He was getting bored of having only black and navy to choose from. There had just been so many other things to take care of, first, like where he was going to stay.

They paused in the shadow of a building so Victor could double-check that the place he wanted to go to still existed, and with a strong breeze kicking up, it was actually kind of chilly. Victor pressed himself into Chris's side as he waited for the internet to work.

"Should I have brought a jacket, so I could wrap it around your shoulders?" Chris teased, smiling at him.

"You have arms, don't you." He was a little surprised when Chris actually draped one over his shoulder. He might have spent a couple of more minutes fighting with Google than were actually necessary.

Once they were actually there, he couldn't help but complain to Chris about how the older Victor never actually told him how much was okay to spend, and Chris gave him a surprised look. "He didn't give you your own account?"

"No, he just gave me a copy of his card and said not to go buying houses." Which – it wasn't the same as spending his own money. Victor had liked watching the numbers in his bank account, the money he had earned, parceling out this much for Yakov's coaching fees and this much for costumes and savings and so on. Nobody could tell him what to do with what was left over; it was his. Technically, in some sense it still was, but it really wasn't. "Maybe I should ask him to?"

"If it worries you, it wouldn't be a bad idea. Though he can afford whatever you want to spend. Believe me," Chris added under his breath, the words not a little bitter. Victor thought of silver silver silver and decided to pretend he hadn't heard.

His eyes lit upon a display of nail polish, too shiny under lights that were far too bright and white, and remembered how the older Victor didn't have a single bottle of even plain black nail polish. He immediately changed direction and headed there instead, Chris tagging along behind him.

Chris was a good sport and waited patiently as Victor picked through the bottles, occasionally responding to his comments on the colors. Black was a given, of course, but there were so many others he liked, sparkling ones and reds so bright he wanted to eat them and blues that shone like the sea. "They're missing one," he complained as he collected his choices (he didn't mind spending money on nice things, but for now, he'd restrained himself to only a few).

"Really," Chris said, pointedly looking over the many colors.

"It's a very pretty color," he insisted, and when Chris raised an eyebrow, he leaned up and gently tapped right under his eye. "It's this one," he said, and then couldn't help but laugh at Chris's startled look before he danced away and went to go find a register.

Clothes shopping was always fun; Victor could and had lingered over his choices for hours. This time, he tried to keep track of whether Chris was starting to look bored as he searched through the racks, always a little pleased when Chris commented on his choices. He didn't want to seem like a child begging for Chris's attention by asking his opinion on everything, but he liked having it.

He pulled button-ups off one rack, deep purple and soft green, colors that he knew would suit him, and Chris said, "I remember you wearing things like that. They look good on you."

He held one up to try and judge the fit. He was half-tempted to ask when the older Victor had stopped wearing colors – okay, he had one red t-shirt, but everything else seemed to be black or navy or beige – but he suspected that the answer would be 'when he cut his hair'. It wasn't that his new look didn't fit him, it did and he looked nice in his clothes, it was just boring. Like his walls. Maybe Victor could recruit Chris to help redecorate. Amateur paintings of Swiss meadows and cows would be a drastic improvement over the greyscale photographs.

Victor knew what he liked and he knew what looked good on him and he knew how clothes should fit him. It didn't take as long as it could have to find enough to last him a while, not so many he couldn't reasonably carry the bags.

Both of them were hungry by the time he finished. Chris let him drag him to a cute place he liked nearby to eat, and then they split an ice cream afterward. They didn't talk as they shared it, but it was the kind of nice silence that didn't need to be filled up. Victor was almost disappointed to go home.

"Did you manage to enjoy yourselves without me?" the older Victor called as they came in. Victor dumped his bags in the entrance so he could lean down to greet Makkachin, who started to poke her nose into them as soon as he let her go.

"While I'm sure we both missed your charming presence, younger you was a more than adequate companion," Chris was calling back as he wrestled his shoes off.

Victor shooed Makkachin away and took the bags to the bedroom, where he promptly changed into one of the shirts he'd bought, slim and black and glittery.

"Have fun on your little date?" the older Victor asked when he came back and plopped right next to him on the couch.

"Chris is the best," Victor informed him. That had been more fun than some actual dates he'd been on. He leaned in and pulled on the older Victor's arm. In a mock whisper, he asked, "Can we keep him?"

"I don't think we can. Chris is more the keeping sort, not the kept. So you should be asking him if he can keep us."

"Well, if you wanted to uproot and move to Switzerland," Chris said drily from the armchair, and they shared a laugh.

"I guess I wouldn't fit in your suitcase."

"Yakov would be furious if I let you smuggle yourself to Switzerland," the older Victor said. "He'd be chewing my ear off and trying to call you while you were busy petting his cat and getting Chris to teach you Swiss French."

"Just say I stole your passport, then."

"They wouldn't let you on the plane. You do not look old enough to be me. And you'd have to cut your hair."

He faked an exaggerated full-body shudder. "Ugh, no way. Though I guess you're right, I'd never be able to replicate your bald spot."

He shrieked as the older Victor gently pushed him off the couch to the floor below. He gave him a wounded look, which only made him grin more widely, and then he looked to Chris, who was too busy smiling at them both to give any support. He huffed and stood, brushed himself off, and was just about to go off when the older Victor caught him and pulled him back down next to him. "Sorry," the older Victor laughed, but Victor didn't stop trying to pull away until he added, "You looked so cute like that."

Victor went to bed quite content that night, ran his fingers over his newly-painted nails until he fell asleep. He awoke sometime in the middle of the night, and it took a moment to realize that the older Victor was drawing his braid through his fingers. He could feel Makkachin somewhere below their feet; they must have drifted closer after she moved. The older Victor reached the end of his braid, then pulled his hand up to smooth Victor's hairline, tucking strands behind his ear. The movement stopped when Victor blinked his eyes open.

"Go back to sleep," the older Victor murmured.

Victor leaned his head into the older Victor's hand, which smoothed over his hair again. He had no problem with going right back to sleep, but he wasn't as warm as he could be. And the older Victor was right there, not that far away. So he pushed in closer until he could tuck his head against the older Victor's neck, snuggle close against his chest. Much better.

He could feel the older Victor pause, his hands not yet moving from where they'd been before. What was the problem? It wasn't like they hadn't woken up in positions like this before, just as unclothed as they were now. Victor was about to ask, when the older Victor tucked one arm around his back and curled the other near his neck. A hand started to slowly run down his braid. Well, whatever. He was warm and comfortable now, and he easily slipped back to sleep.

The next evening, they watched another movie, something in French without any subtitles. Victor sat on the floor in front of the couch, cuddling with Makkachin because she was too adorable not to hug.

He was able to understand most of the film, but after one conversation where he could only halfway guess at the topic – he was missing some of the vital words – he looked up to ask Chris about it. Only Chris was engrossed with the older Victor, listening to him murmur something in his ear, smiling. One of the older Victor's hands was placed on Chris's arm; one of Chris's was hooked around the older Victor's knee, and they were leaning into each other.

Victor stared, and then dropped his gaze before they could notice. Glanced up again through some of his hair. He couldn't help but look, movie forgotten, until the older Victor sat back. They were still pressed much closer together than they had been earlier in the night. Victor turned his eyes back to the screen, but his mind was distracted.

He clutched Makkachin more tightly, an odd twist in his stomach. Oh. He was jealous, wasn't he.

The movie ended, and they chatted a bit afterward – Chris helped him out with some of the words he hadn't known – but feeling uncomfortably like the other two were waiting for him to leave, Victor slipped out and retreated to the bedroom with his phone.

A long time passed, and the older Victor did not come to bed.

Victor wondered what he was doing with Chris. Maybe Chris was pinning him down by the wrists and kissing him until he couldn't breathe. Maybe the older Victor was climbing into his lap and begging nicely to be touched. Maybe they were laying next to each other and taking it slowly, being sweet to each other.

He couldn't stop thinking about it. His hand, wrapped around his hip, slid off and slipped down.

Jerking off did not help.

He lay there, afterward, staring at the ceiling, wondering if it was a good thing that the apartment was built well and thus he couldn't hear anything, until Makkachin started scratching and whining at the door. He let her in, curled around her. Distracted himself by scratching her ears and murmuring nonsense to her until he finally fell asleep.

He woke up to her nose against his cheek, and then her tongue. Victor laughed and shoved her off to get dressed before following her to the kitchen to feed her. He didn't remember what had happened last night until he saw Chris there, by himself, poking through the fridge. He hesitated in the doorway, but Makkachin needed to eat, so he walked in with a bright, "Good morning!" like it was any other day.

"Good morning," Chris said. "Was there anything in particular you wanted for breakfast?"

Victor shook his head as he measured out Makkachin's food. "What do we have?" he asked, and received a hum in reply. So when Makkachin was happily crunching away, he went over and hm, they needed to go grocery shopping. Amazing how fast three people could eat through a full fridge. Victor helped dig through what they did have until they came up with a reasonable breakfast, though they would definitely have to buy food after they left the rink later.

Chris insisted that Victor didn't have to help cook anything, but he lingered nearby with a cup of coffee, leaning against the counter and watching Chris work. The silence between them was awkward, or at least, Victor felt awkward in it. He was aware that it was probably not the best idea to ask what did you two do last night or so if you aren't boyfriends then what are you. "I'm really glad you came to visit," he blurted out, instead.

Chris flashed him a pleased smile. "I've had a good time visiting with the both of you. Even if you'd never met me yet."

"Well, you're fun to talk to, and you never even did the thing." What was the word for it? Was there one? When Chris sent him a curious look, he went with explaining instead. "When I first came to this time, almost everyone – except Yakov and other me – they'd fawn over how pretty I was or how rare of an event a time slip is, and then they'd ask older me how old I was and things like that, instead of me. Or they'd act like we were telepathic, like, where's older you? And I wouldn't know."

"Ah. Like in the movies."

"The movies lie so much," he sighed.

"It makes for a good story." Chris clicked the stove on and started to heat a pan, then turned back to the cutting board. "It must have been annoying, having people treat you like literally the same person."

"Yeah." Victor looked down at his coffee, thought for a moment. He shifted his hips to a better angle, straightened his spine, wound a strand of his loose hair around a finger. "Well, but," he said, more softly. "There are some things where I wouldn't mind being treated the same as him."

The knife paused. Chris looked up at him. Victor looked back through lowered eyelashes. Chris opened his mouth.

And then the older Victor barged in, looking well-rested and with all his usual cheer, pulling the attention of them both. Makkachin bounded over to greet him, and when he was done petting her, his gaze landed on Victor. "Your hair's a mess, did you even brush it?"

Makkachin had been looking so pitiful, he hadn't yet bothered. "Comb it for me," Victor demanded.

"Okay," the older Victor said with a smile, so Victor fetched a comb, sat down with his coffee and let him detangle it. "Your part's a mess," the older Victor told him, then fussed with it for almost ten minutes before he declared it to be straight and centered enough. Victor could see Chris glancing over at them from the corner of his eye, but couldn't see his expression.

The older Victor's chilly hand touched his neck as he ran the comb down his hair a few last times with the other. Oh. He was tipping his head forward. Head up, he heard Lilia saying in his head. He pulled it back, and the older Victor squeezed very lightly, very briefly, before the hand slid from his neck and the older Victor was offering him the comb.

They ate breakfast like nothing had happened, except that Chris didn't look his way so much, and when he did, it was during quieter moments, with a look on his face that Victor couldn't read. He didn't think it was a no, but it seemed serious, somehow.

At the rink, there was something different to the way that the older Victor moved when he practiced his choreography for next season's short program. Victor watched when he was taking a five minute break that turned into ten, unable to quite figure it out. The expression on his face was more intense, he decided. Something in how he moved his arms that was more... more. Maybe he looked more lonely? Victor had to give up on it eventually, but it bothered him.

When they were finished with practice, Victor asked him, "Are there any other plans for today?" as he pulled on his street shoes.

"Chris and I are going out for a while. We'll meet you back home after dinner, okay?"

Victor started to open his mouth, then closed it. Since Chris had come to visit, the three of them had nearly always gone around the city and eaten together. It was the first time he'd been explicitly disinvited. It hurt, and as he felt his face heat, Victor turned it away. "Fine. Have fun on your date." He managed to keep the words from being too snappish as he leaned over to get his bag.

"It's not a date."

"Sure." Whatever. Maybe Yakov would let him come over for a while.

He did, and it was good to see Yakov outside the rink again, not just as his grumpy but effective coach. Victor was in slightly better spirits by the time he arrived home, and they improved further after playing with Makkachin, but then she got tired, and he ended up sitting curled by the window with her head in his lap, playing with his phone.

It was late by the time Chris and the older Victor came back, accompanied by the rustling of bags. Oh, good, they'd gone grocery shopping. "Hi," the older Victor called out. Still upset at him, Victor didn't respond with a cheerful greeting of his own like he usually did.

Not that the older Victor left him alone. After a couple of minutes, he came over and knelt by him, buried his hand in Makkachin's fur. She picked her head up, then stood, shook herself, and sat down next to him. "Come on, stop sulking and help me put the food away. I'm not letting Chris do it."

"You can do it yourself, can't you?"

"That wasn't a request."

Victor stared up at him in disbelief. What was with that tone of voice, like he was trying to order him around? "Don't do that," he hissed. "You're not in charge of me, don't act like you are all of a sudden."

"Fine. Please help me put the food away."

His tone was still irksome, as was the overly-serious look on his face. What was with him? Victor rolled to his feet, still annoyed, but the older Victor had asked nicely, and he didn't want to seem childish, so he brushed past him and went into the kitchen. Smiled at Chris (yes, he would like a cup of tea, thank you, Chris). Put things away with the older Victor. Acted normally.

"I'm not very good at channeling Yakov, am I," the older Victor said suddenly, in Russian. Chris glanced their way, but didn't comment.

"Is that what you were trying to do? That was terrible. You have to be more—" He sat back on his heels and drew himself up. He tried to imitate Yakov's deep voice. "Stop playing around and go put the groceries away, I don't care what you're reading." He dropped back into his normal tone. "And then maybe yell my name a couple of times, and remind me that I have homework." While Victor laughed, he reached for the milk to put it away and added, "You're not good at being him when you try to coach me, either. You should just tell me things normally."

"Tell you things normally," the older Victor repeated. "...okay."

The fridge was now full, and they'd put away everything else, too; Victor gave the interior one last happy look before straightening, closing the door, and stretching. "Chris, I have a question," he said, switching abruptly to French, bouncing over and taking out his phone to show him what he hadn't understood. If Chris was still looking at him a little strangely after what he had said in the morning, at least he wasn't shifting away when Victor stood far closer than he needed to.

In bed that night, the older Victor kept looking at something on his phone. Maybe it was a very important chain of email, but the bright white light was impossible to sleep with; Victor rolled over to tell him to at least turn the screen down. Before he could say anything, though, something distracted him: red-purple marks, dark against pale skin. Oh. Chris had....

The older Victor glanced at him. "What is it?" he asked, and Victor tried to remember what he had actually meant to say. His eyes were drawn down the older Victor's neck again, to the marks that had been hidden earlier. "Jealous?"

His gaze snapped back up. The older Victor had a weird half-smile on his face. Victor huffed at him and turned back over.

A couple of minutes passed. The bright light suddenly went out, and with the sun finally set, it was nice and dark. "Come on," the older Victor said when Victor curled away from the touch of his hand. "You aren't actually mad at me, are you? Vitya," he crooned, and wow, it was strange to hear himself say his name like that. Strange, but not bad. He uncurled, let the older Victor rest a hand on his ribs and move in closer.

The older Victor nudged his loose sleeping braid off his neck and brushed his lips against the skin there. Such a light touch, and it made a shiver go down his spine. He waited, heart suddenly pounding, waited for the older Victor to move his arm, or to press all the way up against him, or to turn his head and kiss him properly. Anything. Any of those would be good, any touch, any murmured word of affection, and for a few moments his imagination didn't know which way to turn: the older Victor climbing on top of him. The older Victor telling him to turn around so he could kiss him. The older Victor rubbing against him, calling him pretty and catching his hands and not letting him touch himself until—

"Why are you always so cute even when you're angry?" the older Victor murmured. "At least when you aren't really angry. Do I look like that?"

"No. You just look mad. It's 'cause you're old."

There was an amused puff of breath on his skin, and then the hand on his side drifted up to curl around his shoulder as the older Victor settled against his back. Victor waited, and waited some more, and he didn't do anything, just lay there like he was actually going to fall asleep. Baffled, he shifted and turned over on his back. The older Victor met his stare with confused blinking.

"...what?"

"You know what." Fine. If the older Victor wasn't going to kiss him, then Victor would. He tilted his head up, started to lean closer, only to be pushed back by a hand on his chest.

"We shouldn't," and Victor stared at him blankly. He didn't even sound like he believed it himself. And why shouldn't they? It couldn't be because of the whole same person thing, could it? Or maybe it had to do with his thing with Chris, even if they weren't dating? Naked cuddling was okay, but actually kissing was a step too far?

"Why not?" he demanded, pushing the hand away.

The older Victor didn't answer him properly, just frowned at him. When Victor tried to wriggle closer, he found himself pushed away again, and all of a sudden, he didn't care what the older Victor had to say when he opened his mouth again. Something twisted in him – he didn't know what, humiliation, maybe – something hot that made his chest hurt and his cheeks burn.

"Fine," he snapped, cutting off the older Victor. He jerked the covers away and leapt off the bed, not wanting to share the same space as the older Victor if he was just going to look at him like that. He ignored the older Victor calling after him, only pausing to grab an abandoned overly-large t-shirt off the dresser as he passed by. The apartment had cooled off too much to be comfortable now that he was no longer under the sheets, and he drew the shirt over his head as he stormed down the hall, not really thinking of where he was going.

He drew up short at the sound of typing, the soft glow of a screen, coming from the living room. Oh. Chris was still up, working on something on the couch. He looked over his shoulder and started to smile at Victor like he always did, only it slipped from his face. "Is something wrong?" he asked, and Victor tugged at the hem of his shirt, different ways to answer that going through his mind. "Did the two of you fight again?"

"No," said the older Victor, behind him, and Victor jumped, turned. Took a step back at the look on the older Victor's face. They weren't that different in height, but the older Victor was bulkier than him, and Victor didn't like his expression. "He's just jealous," the older Victor said, his eyes narrowed, and then he stepped forward and shoved Victor into the couch and kissed him.

It wasn't a gentle kiss. Victor gasped as he was pushed into the couch, and he had to grab it with both hands to keep himself from overbalancing over the top. There was a hand at his waist, firm, a hand in his hair, tipping his head back, a very hot tongue in his mouth, leaving him dizzy. Good dizzy; he moaned as the older Victor pressed harder into him.

"Victor," he heard, disapproving, Chris's voice. A moment later, the older Victor pulled away. Chris's hand was in his hair; he batted it away and leaned down to kiss Victor again, forceful, and oh, this felt so good. This was exactly what he had wanted, what he had been hoping for five minutes ago. He could feel his hands slipping on the back of the couch, and he was a little afraid that he might fall if he let go, but he wanted to hold the older Victor back. He whimpered as teeth came down on his lip, and screw it. The older Victor would catch him if he—

The older Victor jerked back. Chris's hand was in his hair again, twisting. Victor looked at it for a long moment before he looked at Chris, kneeling on the couch. "What are you doing?" Chris was asking. It wasn't accusatory, exactly, or curious, exactly, it was – Victor didn't know what that tone was.

Victor scrambled up, panting. "What does it look like?" the older Victor answered, as breathless as Victor was. "I told you he wasn't going to stop trying to flirt with both of us, I—"

Victor stopped paying attention for a moment, too busy pressing his fingers to his mouth. It was good, yes, he wanted more. Wanted everything he'd thought about yesterday, wanted them – Victor, Chris, whichever, both, yes – to do things he hadn't even thought about yet. "You should have done that weeks ago," he cut in.

They both looked at him. Chris had let go of the older Victor's hair, leaving him free to slide back up to Victor. "One of us had to be responsible one," he said, touching Victor's cheek. "And I'm the one who's twenty-six, and Yakov and even Georgi kept reminding me to treat you properly. Yakov kept asking after you all the time—"

"Yeah, like, am I eating properly, like you were going to let me starve—"

"And you're so young—"

"I'm not a child." He pulled back a few centimeters; the older Victor caught him again. He wasn't, he'd almost graduated school and he had had his own income before the time traveling mess, he'd spent more time exploring foreign cities on his own than most adults he knew.

"I didn't say you were. But you're young. Pretty. So very pretty, isn't he, Chris?" He didn't wait for Chris – watching them, still kneeling on the couch, almost close enough to touch, why wasn't he touching – to answer. "And—"

"Stop being responsible and kiss me again," Victor demanded. The older Victor complied. This time, the kiss was gentler, slower. It moved to his cheek, and Victor tilted his head as it moved to his neck. This brought Chris back into view, who suddenly was standing on their side of the couch. The older Victor moved so that Victor was between him and Chris, wrapped his arms around him from behind. It felt like an invitation. Victor smiled as Chris closed the distance between them further, batted his eyes a little even though he knew he didn't need to.

"Victor," said Chris, looking at him with his beautiful eyes gone dark. "May I kiss you?"

"Please," he said, as sweet as he could make it. So Chris did, and it was different from kissing the older Victor. Softer, at least for now, and it turned out that Chris was the perfect height for kissing. Taller than him, but not too tall. Victor rocked up on the balls of his feet, draped his arms over his shoulders, arched into the hand Chris put on his lower back. He could feel the older Victor curling fingers under the hem of his shirt, against his thigh.

It felt like a lot, being between the two of them. Sandwiched and warm. He decided that he liked it, even if he was running out of breath again. Chris touching his cheek as he deepened the kiss, a mouth on his neck, a touch sliding lower on his back. He moaned, losing track of it all.

Then the older Victor had to go and ruin the spell. "Come back to bed with us?" he asked Chris over Victor's shoulder, and Chris replied by kissing him instead. Oh, but that was – that was interesting to see, too. So that was what his face looked like, his eyes when they fluttered shut. Victor was a bit too close to appreciate it properly, but. Well, he'd wanted to see, hadn't he, last night. He wanted to watch and he wanted to touch and he wanted those fingers on his thigh to move up and the hand on his back to move down.

Instead, they drew away. Not all the way; the older Victor still had an arm looped around his shoulder, and it seemed he couldn't resist kissing him again. "Weeks ago," Victor said again when they broke apart.

"Shush," the older Victor said. Chris leaned over the back of the couch and closed his laptop with a soft click. From the other side of the room there came a sleepy whuff noise; oh, there was Makkachin. Well, she could stay and sleep there for a while.

They had hardly returned to the bedroom when the older Victor pushed him to the covers and pulled the shirt off of him. Victor stretched and smiled, feeling two pairs of eyes on him before Chris and the older Victor turned back to each other. Chris kept pressing their lips together, in-between the older Victor trying to help him out of his clothes. They broke into a small fit of laughter when Chris's shirt got caught on his head, something easy and comfortable in it that reminded Victor that they had done this before, that he was the new one here, and it felt odd.

Also, he couldn't see that well; it was dark. He shimmied up the covers until he could reach out and turn the lamp on. There, that was better. Chris, in particular, with his golden skin, seemed to almost glow in the soft yellow light.

The older Victor finally got him undressed, and Chris sat next to Victor, eyes back on him. Let him kiss him again, and although it wasn't quite as good sitting down, it was still excellent, and he could touch – wow, Chris was so warm, his hands and his neck and, when Victor tentatively drew his hands down, his chest. (There was hair there, light-colored and almost too fine to see, and Victor had never – that was new.)

"Victor," Chris finally said, gently holding him back. "We don't have to rush into anything if you don't want to."

"But I want to." And Chris would be going home in just over a week, and then he would be gone. Victor wanted everything he could have before that happened.

"Then that's fine." He got the kiss he wanted. "Just making sure."

"I couldn't stop thinking about you two last night, of course I—" He broke off in a whimper when the older Victor bit his shoulder from behind. He didn't need to, but he said, "Please," anyway, and it got him another kiss. And then older Victor wanted one from Chris, too, and for a few minutes there was a confusion of limbs as they tried to figure out how to arrange themselves.

They settled on older Victor with his back against the wall at the head of the bed, Victor pulled against him – they couldn't kiss like this, but being held by the older Victor made up for it, and they could both see Chris. Chris sat back on his haunches and just looked at them for a moment, a very pleased expression on his face.

"What was that about having both of us?" the older Victor asked.

Chris blinked at him, and then his grin changed. "You're both lovely," he said, and ooh, his voice had changed, too, darker and deeper and – sexier was really the only word for it. "Especially together."

The older Victor turned Victor's head around then, hand on his jaw, for yet another kiss, this one clearly about showing off for Chris. Victor let him have it until his neck got too sore. As soon as he pulled away, the older Victor went after his hair and undid his braid – it was very loose, only meant for keeping it out of the way while he was sleeping, so it only took a few seconds – and draped his hair over his shoulders in what had to be a pretty manner.

"Lovely," Chris said again, this time just for him. Victor could have heard it a thousand more times and have his heart flutter the same way, no matter that he'd been called all kinds of nice things by many people for years. They didn't say lovely the way Chris said it, didn't say it while looking at him like that, didn't pick up his hand and murmur it into his knuckles before kissing the back of it. Victor's heart fluttered at that.

"Romantic," the older Victor sighed in his ear, and then he bent his head down and started to suck at the base of Victor's neck, while Chris put his mouth to his wrist. And – okay, maybe he'd underestimated how much of an experience this was going to be, he realized just then. But that was fine. This was good, their attention, the hands on his waist, everything. He hadn't even realized that it might feel nice to have someone pay so much attention to his wrist, of all things, but of course Chris would know about that.

Chris knew a lot of things about him, seemingly every way to make him squirm and gasp, and between that and the way the older Victor wouldn't relent with sucking on his collar with the occasional bite thrown in – it was kind of weird, but that felt good, too – it wasn't long before Victor was struggling to have a coherent thought.

Chris's hand dipped below his waist, very welcome. "May I—"

"Yes," Victor breathed, ready to repeat it in every language he knew if he had to. Chris chuckled. And then the hand paused on his hip to stroke the skin. Victor felt ready to scream.

The older Victor lifted his head up. "Stop teasing him," he chided, and reached for Chris's hand to guide it over.

"You like being teased."

"Yes, but—"

Chris's hand wrapped around him. Victor very nearly did scream; he clapped his hand over his mouth, though a long, strangled sound still escaped. The older Victor pulled it off. "Don't worry," he said. "The walls are thick here."

Yes. Yes they were, Victor knew that. He let himself moan as Chris stroked him slowly, and that made the older Victor moan into his shoulder, too. Something in Chris's eyes lit up. The older Victor's fingers brushed him and they somehow both made the same sound at once. The firm arm around his waist pulled him closer, as though he could get any more cocooned between the two of them. But then the hand drew away, dug into his hip instead, which was disappointing, but Chris was still touching him, so that was okay, and oh, the older Victor was grinding into him, that was why he had – and still digging teeth into his collar, and Victor tilted his head to give him better access but then Chris was tugging on his hair to pull him into another kiss.

"You're running out of room up here," Chris said. Victor meant to ask who he was talking to, but Chris's hand robbed him of his words. "They're going to show."

"Good," said the older Victor, and he bit harder. Oh. Was that what he was doing? He wanted to see what the marks looked like, but that could wait. Right now, there was Chris – but Chris let go of him and didn't touch him even when he whimpered and arched up and gave him his best pleading eyes.

"What do you think?" Chris asked him instead, shifting on the bed, and that was unfair. Victor didn't even want to try and think right now.

"Practice," he gasped. All his practice shirts were cut low enough to show off his collarbones. Yakov probably wouldn't approve.

"Tomorrow's a rest day for you. I'll buy you something that covers more."

Chris said, "At that rate, he's going to need turtlenecks." Victor made an unhappy noise; turtlenecks in summer were a no. "Or a lot of concealer." Whatever, whatever, why were they talking about this now? He tried reaching for Chris's hand, and made a frustrated noise when it pulled away. "Shh," Chris said, and then he smiled, and then he started to slide down the bed.

"Ah," the older Victor breathed in his ear. "Lucky you." Victor didn't feel that lucky when Chris paused, took his time biting at Victor's thigh like he wanted to get in on covering him with marks, and it felt good but he just wanted someone to touch him, he was dying up here.

"Stop teasing," he got out, "please, please, please," his voice shaky.

"Chris," the older Victor whined from behind him. Chris winked at – him, both of them, whoever – and swallowed Victor down in one smooth movement. He almost screamed again; his hands both flew to his mouth on instinct, so fast he accidentally bit his fingers. It wasn't the good kind of pain, but he didn't care, didn't care, because Chris's mouth felt amazing, hot, sucking on him, drawing back before taking his whole cock in his mouth again. It was hard to think of anything else.

The older Victor pulled his hands away from his mouth again. Victor didn't know what else to do with them. "You can touch," the older Victor said. "Don't pull, though. He doesn't like that."

"Okay," Victor panted, so he went with the suggestion, put one hand on Chris's head as he twisted the other in the sheets. He had a fleeting thought that Chris's hair was nice, dense curls under his fingers, but then Chris did something with his tongue and the thought was gone.

And it just kept going – Chris didn't pause or give him any room to breathe, except for when Victor got a bit too lost in it and he eased off with a wince. "Too hard," he said, touching Victor's hand.

"Sorry," he mumbled. He hadn't even realized his fingers had tightened that much. He pulled his hands up and reached both of them over and behind his head instead, tangling them in the older Victor's hair, because maybe Chris didn't like it, but the older Victor shuddered and ground against him when he yanked. Which he did a lot of, when Chris licked up his cock and took him in again.

It wasn't that long before he came, back arching and toes curling, and collapsed into the older Victor's hold. He didn't try to pull himself out of the muzziness, the warmth, let the voices over him drift without trying to make sense of the words until his head cleared a bit.

"Good?" Chris asked when he refocused and propped himself back up.

"Really good." And now that he could think again, he could feel how hard they both were, Chris against his hip, the older Victor against his back. He wanted to do something for them, whatever – whatever they wanted, his hands or his mouth or holding the older Victor while Chris fucked him, as long as he could make them feel as good as that had been.

"You should fuck him," the older Victor panted; now he sounded like the one that was out of breath. "I bet he wants you to, you should—"

"Victor," Chris said, a little scolding, kissed him over Victor's shoulder. When he drew away, he looked at Victor. "Do you want me to?"

"Sure." He wrapped his arms over Chris's wide shoulders. "Anything you want is fine, I'll do it."

"May I?"

"Yes," Victor laughed, not sure why he kept asking.

"Okay." Chris pressed his lips to Victor's cheek, then leaned away to dig through the bedside drawer. It was the older Victor who took the lube from him, though, covered his fingers and pressed them into Victor. Maybe a little too fast. But it was fine; it didn't really hurt. His skin still felt a little abuzz, maybe that was it.

Victor watched him reach out to slick Chris's cock, too. His hand was trembling slightly, and he was still breathing hard. Maybe he wanted to fuck Victor, too? Victor wouldn't mind, he could take both of them – hell, he wouldn't mind if the two of them didn't let him go all night, kept going with him until they were all exhausted. It didn't matter if he couldn't walk tomorrow or if he slept in late. If they wanted him that much, he wasn't going to complain.

"Here." The older Victor pulled on his leg, tugged on Chris's shoulder. Victor let him position him so that his knees were on Chris's shoulders, his arms wrapped around them, too, which kind of left him balancing between the two of them, with the older Victor still holding him up from behind. Victor wanted to see his face – he wondered if it looked quietly desperate, waiting his turn, or waiting to watch the two of them. If his face got as red as it felt, when he swore he could feel every blood vessel in his cheeks dilating as they turned flaming hot.

Chris moved into him slowly, patiently. It was still kind of uncomfortable, but it also still didn't hurt, and he liked the way Chris pressed his forehead to his collarbone when he was all the way in and breathed in, out, as his grip on Victor's hips went tight. It was nice to be held between the two of them like this, too, all of them pressed up close together. Victor poked Chris's curls. "I'm fine, you can move."

So Chris did. Still slow, at first, but deep. It got better after the first minute. And then Chris moved him just slightly, changed the angle, and – oh, there, that was good. Victor gasped and held him tighter. He half expected Chris to ask good? but he didn't.

The older Victor kissed Chris over his shoulder yet again. His hands were digging into Victor's skin right next to Chris's, though they kept moving. Victor grunted as a couple of his fingers prodded too hard into a bruise on his hip from falling on a jump the other day, but the other two were too busy to notice. Which was fine. It only hurt a little, and then the older Victor's hand slipped on his sweaty skin and curved to dig harder into his hipbones instead.

Victor felt light-headed, trying to catch his breath and not quite succeeding, but Chris only pushed into him harder, faster. There wasn't really anything to do but go along with it and try his best to focus: on the heat surrounding him from Chris and the older Victor, on the way Chris felt inside of him, thick, filling him, on the older Victor peering over his shoulder to look at them moving together.

Then the steady movements of Chris's hips stuttered, went harsher. Victor cried out as Chris bit his shoulder, hard, teeth digging into the bruises already there. It was a long few moments before he withdrew, blinking.

"Sorry," he said, his voice rough.

Victor shook his head. "I didn't mind."

He ducked his head down and ran it over with his tongue anyway, soothing, before leaning into both of them. The older Victor reached over and ran a hand back through his hair, rested a hand on his neck. Victor was hard again, ready for more... but maybe in a minute. It was good to rest a moment. To get his breath back and feel Chris's breathing slow before he pulled out and flopped on the bed next to them.

"God," Chris murmured.

"Are we?" the older Victor asked, which had Chris rolling his eyes and reaching a hand up to push at him.

Victor squirmed out of his grip and turned around. Wow, his face really did turn that red, and not just his face, all the way down his neck. And there was something sharp to his eyes when Victor met them, the same wanting Victor felt. So why keep him waiting? He'd been so patient.

He hooked his arms around the older Victor's neck and tipped himself backward until the older Victor followed him down to the covers, opened his legs and wrapped them around his hips. Victor didn't see any need to ask like Chris had, just tilted his head, and the older Victor pushed their lips together and shoved into him all at once. Victor arched his back at the sensation.

The older Victor paused and pushed himself up. "Look at you," he murmured. "Beautiful." Victor smiled at the compliment, turned his head when a hand – Chris's – moved through his hair splayed all over the sheets, tried to give the older Victor his best seductive eyes so he would start moving already. "Maybe I should take a picture."

Unbelievable. "Take one later," Victor whined. The older Victor shook his head at him, but thankfully laced a pair of their hands together, and then started to fuck him in earnest. Victor couldn't help but break into soft laughter at the thought of how strange this whole thing was; when the other two gave him odd looks, he couldn't quite get a coherent explanation out, but they seemed to get it after he managed to put the words 'go fuck yourself' together in the right order. They probably shouldn't tell Milla how true her jokes were, now.

Chris watched them, his eyes intense, flicking between their faces and the place where the older Victor was moving in and out of him. (Victor kind of wished he could see it, but the older Victor was in the way. Not that it was at all bad to have his weight on top of him. Maybe next time? There had to be a next time. If there wasn't, he was going to cry until someone kissed him to shut him up.)

Then there were lips on his cheek – oh, Chris again – and he turned his head to make it a proper kiss, though he was getting too tired to really get into it.

"Good," he said against Chris's mouth before he could ask again.

"Tell that to me, not him," the older Victor said, so he repeated it in Russian without moving. The older Victor huffed and pulled him back by the hair, kissed him until he couldn't remember what he was supposed to be saying, kissed him until breaking it off, shuddering into Victor's shoulder, pushing harder into him and then going still.

He was so close, again, he just needed a little more, but one hand was caught in the older Victor's and the other in his own hair. Chris, though, came to the rescue, slid a hand between their bodies. He stroked Victor once, twice, and that was enough to make him come again, mind going blank as his body melted underneath the older Victor.

They lay there for a while, and Victor honestly could have fallen asleep like that. But then Chris mumbled, "…I need to take my contacts out." Victor whimpered and reached after him as he slipped out of bed. The older Victor reeled him in when Chris was gone, curled against his shoulder until Chris came back. Bearing a washcloth, even, how thoughtful.

Nice and handsome and excellent skater and good taste and great in bed. If the older Victor wasn't in love with him, well, Victor thought he might be.

They let Chris back into the middle after some token effort at cleaning up that was at least 70% older Victor's work. "Why didn't we do this earlier?" Victor mumbled as he buried his cheek in Chris's hair.

"Shush," the older Victor said, tugging on a strand of hair. (It was all tangled now, but that was a problem for the morning him to deal with.)

"I'm almost surprised one of you didn't wake up to the other jerking off and offer to help," said Chris. He looped an arm around the older Victor and pulled him close enough to lay his head on Chris's shoulder.

"I mean, I touched myself a few times when I knew he was asleep," Victor admitted. It felt like it should have been kind of embarrassing to say, but he was far beyond that point right now.

"Oh, you, too?"

"And you never woke up? Mm. Could have said you were going to teach me how to do it better."

"And then touch you until you were squirming and begging, your hair falling over your face so prettily, so turned on you were shaking...."

"I guess we could act it out for Chris some time."

"What did I do to deserve two of you?" Chris asked. Him? Older Victor? Both? Whoever. "Is this what I get instead of gold medals?"

"Are you saying you need two of us to satisfy you, but one of you is enough for both of us?" the older Victor asked. "Wow, Chris."

"Are you saying," Victor said, copying the cadence of his voice, "that we're worth gold medals?"

Chris turned his head up to kiss his jaw, then down to press his lips to older Victor's hair. "Go to sleep," he said, and Victor was very tired, so he fit Chris closer under his chin and did so.

Chapter Text

The first time Victor woke up, he immediately snuggled into the closest warm body and went back to sleep.

The second time, he tried to go back to sleep again, but while he was very warm and comfortable and someone was cuddling with him, his brain had other ideas. Drifting in the little cocoon of blankets and arms wrapped around him was nice, but even that eventually got boring. Victor raised his head above the covers, decided that maybe he was hungry enough to eat something, and only then noticed that Chris was gone – the one holding him so closely was the older Victor. Huh. So he'd gotten up without waking either of them, good for him.

It took a fair few minutes for Victor himself to wriggle out of the older Victor's grip, even without trying to avoid waking him up. He did eventually succeed, and he took a moment to stretch before he got off the bed. His body was sore in several different places, but it was the good kind, the kind that would have him poking at his new bruises all day just to feel them more sharply.

Speaking of bruises... he slid off the covers and went to the mirror to see. Wow, the older Victor must have really enjoyed himself last night. Or maybe he had just needed something to do while he watched Chris touch Victor. There were red and purple marks all over his shoulders and all the way up to his neck, a few on his thighs from Chris, even one halfway up his forearm. Fascinated, Victor leaned towards the mirror and splayed his fingers over them, touched until he was tired of looking.

He found his phone and went to take a picture, only to realize that his hair was a mess, and not the artfully tousled kind of mess, the kind that stuck up at funny angles kind of mess. So he combed it first, and then took a few pictures at different angles until he was satisfied.

He didn't really want to get properly dressed for breakfast; at first, he turned towards the closet, thinking of pulling down one of the older Victor's shirts, but then he noticed Chris's shirt was still laying neatly folded on the dresser. Much better! He snatched it up and pulled it on, did up a few of the buttons, and looked in the mirror again. Perfect. He took another picture of how the open collar framed the hickeys on his neck, and then finally ventured out.

Chris was in the kitchen, as Victor had expected, checking his phone while the coffee maker gurgled. Victor slumped into the doorway, canting his hip just so, letting one arm fall across his front so that the overly-long sleeve covered most of his hand.

It wasn't long before Chris glanced up and saw him. His eyebrows went up, first, and then he smiled. "Good morning."

The way Chris looked at him sent a rush of joy through him, the bubbly kind that had him skipping across the kitchen floor to hug him. "Good morning," he said, settling his head against Chris's shoulder and looking up at him.

"Enjoy yourself last night?"

"A lot."

"Good." Fingers brushed over his neck. "Though I think older you got a bit overenthusiastic."

"As long as he helps me cover them up for practice, I don't care. They look good, don't they?" He shivered as Chris pressed on them before letting his hand slide away. "We can do it again, right?"

"Of course." Chris kissed him. Victor leaned into him and simply enjoyed the touch. He wanted to wake up like this every day, with soft kisses in the morning sunlight. It was too bad Chris was leaving – he cut the thought off. Chris pulled back and ran a hand down his hair. "I can't believe I managed to keep my hands off a pretty thing like you for so long," he said, teasing.

"I wish you hadn't. Did you two talk about me? What did you – what do you – want do to me? How many of them can we fit into one week?"

"You never do anything by halves, do you?" Victor grinned at him. "Well, if we can't fit everything in, I suppose you'll have to come visit me. With or without older you, if he'd let you go for long enough. Or tag along with other you during the season, even if you can't compete... is something wrong?"

Had the older Victor not told him? Victor buried his head back in Chris's shoulder. "Time slips are pretty rare. So... nobody seems to know how to handle mine. Like, legally – Yakov's still trying to get me a legal identity, which is kind of tricky when you don't have any documentation except the fact that I know everything about myself. So until that happens, I can't get a passport."

"Ah," Chris said. After a long, quiet moment, he said, "I suppose we'll have to make do with Skype, then."

Skype wasn't the same. Skype wasn't good enough. Chris couldn't touch him through a screen. Maybe he could watch while older Victor touched him, maybe he could tell them what to do – there was a thought – but it wouldn't be the same.

But there wasn't anything else to do about it, unless Chris came to Russia to visit again or to train. (Or unless Victor figured out how to pass as older him well enough to make it through customs.) And he didn't want to think about Chris leaving yet, it hurt a little, and Chris probably didn't want to spend his morning cheering Victor up. So he shrugged and faked some levity. "We'll figure something out. Anyway," he said, putting on his best devious smile. "Want to help me surprise older me?"

Thankfully, Chris went along with it. The older Victor seemed happily surprised indeed when he came yawning into the kitchen and saw Chris pinning him against the wall.

Victor saw them out after breakfast. He kind of wanted to go back to sleep, but Makkachin was giving him an expectant look, so he reluctantly changed into publicly-acceptable clothes instead and found some light scarf buried in the back of a drawer to wind around his neck. They went on a long walk together, and he took her to a good place to chase the seagulls and let her exercise to her heart's content.

Back at home, there was the silence. Victor put on some music to dispel it, but the stupid depressing photographs on the walls did not help. He had a better idea.

"What did you do to my apartment?" the older Victor said, instead of a greeting, when he and Chris got back. He stood in the doorway to the living room and gazed at the frames on the wall.

Victor, laying on the couch (having hardly moved since he finished his little project), rolled his eyes. "I thought it was our apartment. And anyway, your taste is terrible now." He hadn't even gotten rid of the original pictures! They were neatly stacked to the side. He had just raided the older Victor's storage spaces for better photos, and used that dusty printer and even dustier stack of photo paper to print out some more. There were several of Makkachin, of course, and one of him with Lilia and Yakov (a better family portrait than anything he'd ever taken with his actual parents), and some pretty photos of far-flung cities he'd found on the older Victor's laptop.

"I think it's an improvement," Chris said on his way past. Victor preened. "Now it looks like your apartment."

The older Victor sighed and dropped a plastic bag by Victor's feet. Victor shifted around to peer inside; oh, right. Shirts and concealer. He'd been so busy with redecorating that he hadn't remembered to take his scarf off, and the older Victor unwound it now.

"It's too bad we have to cover these up," the older Victor said. He pressed his mouth to the marks. "My younger self," he mumbled.

Victor felt a little shiver at the words. "You can call me that if it gets you off," he said. "But you have to share me with Chris."

"Sure."

He thought about asking the older Victor if he was really okay with Chris leaving in a week, or if he was also pretending and they could be sad about it together afterward, but then Chris was coming back. There was still the day to have with him, and the week. He wasn't leaving yet.

They didn't waste any of that time. They took Chris out into the city, even when it rained; both of them found every excuse to drape themselves over him or cling to his arm. (Though it turned out that Chris had an upper limit on how much cuddling he could take at once. At least the older Victor never got tired of it.)

And they did other things. Of course. Chris really did like watching when the older Victor pretended to 'help' him, held him from behind and held his wrists to his chest with the hand that wasn't touching him, murmured all kinds of things in his ear, did such lovely things to him that Victor almost started crying as he pleaded for more....

Time still slipped by too fast. Suddenly, it was the last full day before Chris's flight back to Switzerland. Victor couldn't keep his mind off the thought at breakfast, while taking a morning run with Makkachin, while lacing up his skates. Practice was a good distraction, and so was teasing little Yuri until he tried to go off and start practicing quads out of anger (Yakov put a stop to that).

When they got home, though, the older Victor dragged him away from Chris and down the hall, then refused to tell him why. Victor clued into the fact that he was planning something special when he pulled a box out from under the bed. "Chris'll love this," he murmured, lifting something out – a flower crown made with blue roses. And after that—

"My costume!"

"You'll get to wear it after all," the older Victor said, shaking it out and giving it a fond look. It was the blue feathery costume from his free skate, pretty and glittering. "Here, put it on."

The older Victor helped him into it, and then he sat quietly on the bedspread while the older Victor fussed over him. They'd spent every morning this week doing something like this – the older Victor applying concealer on his neck until he couldn't see anything in the mirror during ballet practice, sometimes combing his hair for him. Now he put his hair up like he usually had it for competitions and pinned the rose crown to it.

Victor wondered why he'd chosen this one. Maybe it was one Chris especially liked? He would have gone with his Lilac Fairy costume if the older Victor had let him dress himself up, if he still fit into it. All black and suggestive mesh and the half-skirt that could move so enticingly.

When the older Victor was finished, he decided that Victor should wait in the guest bedroom ("The light's better in there," he said) and went to fetch Chris. Victor sat on the bed again, looked around and tried not to feel depressed at how it had gone from being scattered with Chris's belongings to almost characterless after Chris had packed most of them away. No, no, they were going to have fun now, and Chris would want to see Cheerful Cute Victor, not Unhappy Clingy Victor.

A soft noise from the doorway caught his attention. There was Chris, looking at him wide-eyed. Victor smiled and gave him a moment to look before he sprang up and skipped over to him. "How do I look?"

"Very pretty," Chris breathed, putting a hand to his cheek.

Victor happily nuzzled into it. "Do you like this one?"

"It's not my favorite." Oh. Hm. "There was this one you wore a few years later that clung to everything... but the first time we spoke, you were wearing this."

Oh. Victor was pretty sure he could see where the older Victor intended for him to go with that. (Where was he, anyway? Whatever, his loss.) He put his hand on Chris's and inched closer. "And how did that meeting go?"

"You gave me a flower."

Promising. "And...?"

Chris made a little huff of a laugh. "Victor, it lasted about fifteen seconds. That was all."

"But what else did you want me to do?" He rolled up on his toes a bit, fit himself even closer to Chris.

"Mostly I wanted to touch you, like this." His other hand went to Victor's shoulder. "And I think I wanted you to kiss me."

Victor did so, let it linger but kept it chaste. "And?"

"Mm, if only my fifteen-year-old self was here to see you asking for all of his fantasies."

"Chris," Victor whined.

"Fifteen seems like so long ago. I almost feel bad telling you, now. Or maybe that was Victor's plan. I keep thinking he wants you all for himself with how he won't let those hickeys heal." (To be fair, he had left the most visible ones alone. It looked like he was going to be wearing shirts with high necklines for a while, though.)

"He promised to share if it was with you." That got him a real laugh, and Chris pulled him to the bed. Victor climbed into his lap and listened to him talk between kisses. Chris's hands crept up his waist, up under the feathers, and Victor very much liked the way he was holding him, but he had other ideas, too. He didn't want to get the costume dirty (though the older Victor had made some weird joke about Chris knowing how to clean all kinds of things out of costumes, or at least, Victor thought it had to be a joke, no matter how Chris tended to look during his routines). And he didn't want to take it off yet, either, so that left....

Chris stopped mid-sentence when he slid off his lap and to the floor in front of him. Victor gave him his sweetest smile and propped his head on Chris's knee. A hand went for his hair when he reached for Chris's belt and started to undo it.

He didn't have a ton of experience doing this, but Chris wouldn't mind if it wasn't perfect. Chris would want him to be pretty and enthusiastic, and Victor was definitely both of those things. He wondered if Chris had thought about him like this when he was younger, if he'd ever gotten to see it before the older Victor cut his hair.

He pulled Chris's cock out and stroked it a few times, glanced up. Chris's face had gone red, and his eyes were half-lidded but focused on Victor. He smiled again, then tried to copy what he remembered Chris doing to him by taking as much into his mouth as he thought he could handle.

Only it turned out he'd underestimated his gag reflex, and he had to pull off, coughing. "Take your time," Chris chided, an amused twist to his smile. Victor felt a stab of frustration – maybe Chris wouldn't mind if it wasn't perfect, but he wanted it to be – but he hid it. "Try licking it, first—" An hiss of air being drawn through his teeth. "There you go, like that."

Victor had worked some of it into his mouth again when the older Victor finally showed up. He bounced onto the bed next to Chris and looped his arms around him, claimed a kiss. "Do you like our surprise?"

"Our? He's the only one dressed up, he should get the credit."

The older Victor nudged him. "So you like it, right?" He looked down. "You look really good like that," he sighed. Victor didn't know if that meant in the costume or with a dick in his mouth. Or both.

The hand in his hair tightened when he accidentally did something with his tongue that must have felt good. He tried to do it again, sucked a little, and Chris's eyelids fluttered. The older Victor slid down to join him. Then there was a second hand in his hair, yanking backward, and Victor was momentarily jerked in two directions, before Chris let go and the older Victor tipped him backwards for a long kiss, deep and messy.

Up above them, Chris cursed. He cursed louder when the older Victor joined him in mouthing at his cock, though the older Victor leaned away when he drew it into his mouth again. He pushed his head into Chris's knee and wrapped his hand around the part Victor couldn't get in his mouth, made suggestions when Chris was too busy groaning to tell him to do something.

"Victor," Chris moaned a few minutes later. He tugged on his hair, harder than he had been doing. "I'm going to come."

Victor would have felt stupid nodding like this, but he looked up and blinked at him, stayed where he was, and then Chris was coming. It didn't taste as bad as he had been expecting, but it did make him want to cough; he drew back, mouth firmly shut, and kept the hand not covered in fabric under his chin as he swallowed. Then he let himself cough.

"You missed some," the older Victor said, and licked up the bit that had escaped his mouth before kissing him again.

"Ugh." Victor pushed him off, but the older Victor just caught his arms and pulled him back in.

He finally let Victor go and said, "Let's get you out of that."

Victor pushed himself to his feet and smoothed the costume down one last time, keenly aware of both sets of eyes on him. It was pretty, but it was starting to feel hot. He would have to find some excuse to wear it on the ice sometime; the feathers would bounce nicely when he jumped. For that hypothetical ice show, maybe.

Chris pulled him down to the bed. "Was that your first time? You did well," he whispered in his ear as the older Victor started to take out the pins keeping the rose crown on his hair. Victor's toes curled against the floor, and he leaned back further into Chris.

"Not first... did I?" He was fishing for more compliments and he knew it, and Chris probably knew it, too, but still provided. The older Victor had to brush Chris away from his ear when he went to take off the costume itself.

When Victor was stripped and the costume carefully folded and set aside, Victor decided that it was unfair that he was the only one naked, while the older Victor apparently cared more about getting his hands all over him. These two goals were not entirely conducive to each other, but with some help from Chris, soon the older Victor was also free of the clothing. Satisfied, Victor climbed into his lap, then pushed him down so he could get a better look.

It was strange to think that this was him, grown-up. Strange, but not in the bad way, to run his hands over all those muscles, and the faint scars that he could recognize from his own skin. How lucky was he to actually get to touch this, to see himself as a separate body? Especially since he was so handsome.

The older Victor did the thing with his eyes, widening them and lowering his eyelashes. Victor could feel himself falling for it even though he knew exactly how it worked. "Pretty," he said, leaning forward to draw his fingertips across the older Victor's cheek. Older Victor looked pleased and turned his head to kiss his palm.

Chris curled into the older Victor's side. "So this is what it looked like," said older Victor.

"You always had your hair down, though," and Victor knew how to take a hint. This was a move he'd done before; he arched his back, reached up, and pulled his hair tie out in one quick movement so he could shake his hair dramatically over his shoulders.

That was the plan, at least, except for once the stupid tie had to get stuck in his hair. It fucking hurt. Victor closed his eyes as he tried to wrestle it out, partially to concentrate better and partially because wow this was embarrassing.

"Here," he heard, Chris's voice, and then there was another set of hands in his hair. Victor let his fall away, since Chris could actually see what was going on, and opened his eyes.

The older Victor was trying and failing to stifle laughter. Victor scowled at him, which only made him stop trying to hide it. "One of the benefits of short hair is that it doesn't do that."

"There we go," said Chris, before he could think of a suitable remark to reply with. He held up the hair tie, long silver hairs tangled in it, and Victor snatched it to toss in the direction of the trash can. Chris smoothed his hair down in a few strokes. "That's what it looked like," but he said it absently, his hands moving down Victor's sides. His voice lowered. "You should ride him and show him properly." Victor shivered at the suggestion, at the sound of Chris's voice. He nodded, then felt disappointed when Chris left him to lay by the older Victor again. "And you," he added, "should see if you can keep your hands off him for a little while."

"Where's the fun in that?"

They bickered, but the older Victor didn't stop Chris when he passed Victor the lube, and kept one hand on the bed while the other wrapped around Chris's arm. Perhaps a little distracted by their lighthearted argument, he got way too much on his hand. Oh, well.

He expected to get their attention again when he started to slide fingers inside himself, and he did. He did not expect it when another finger, not his own, started to push its way in, too; the older Victor apparently couldn't resist helping. Victor looked down, and something in his brain short-circuited on the image of both of them touching and in him. This shouldn't have been possible, and maybe they shouldn't have been doing it, and yet here they were, connecting in the best of ways like some strange twist on the story of Narcissus.

And then Chris pulled the older Victor's hand away. "That's not off of him," he scolded, and then lay his hands over both of the older Victor's wrists to hold them to the bed above his head.

It was a very distracting sight, and Chris had to prompt him to keep going. It was just, the older Victor's face, and the way he didn't even try to pull away from Chris's grip, they were enchanting. "I should take a picture," he said, and the older Victor gave him a don't-you-dare kind of look. His hands were too busy and messy to hold a phone, anyway.

Victor wiped them off on the sheet and raised himself up on his knees, then slowly lowered himself on the older Victor's cock. When he was all the way down, he had to shut his eyes for a moment when it was too much: how good it felt, the feeling of two gazes on him, the part of his brain that was strangely pleased to be doing this with himself. He took a deep breath, and another, rocked himself a bit and heard a little strangled noise come out. The older Victor made one, too.

When he opened his eyes again, he couldn't decide what to look at: the older Victor's face, lovely and longing; where Chris was pinning his wrists down, golden hands over pale skin; or Chris, watching them both so intently. Victor hoped he was enjoying this. Wondered if there was anything else he wanted to do before he left, if he would wrap himself around one or the other of them when they were finished for a second round, or wake them up early in the morning, or... or even just make breakfast for them one last time.

Victor whimpered as he sank himself down again, and his thoughts started to flee.

When they had exhausted each other for the moment, they collapsed together on one side of the bed. None of them was up for cooking at that point; they ordered food off of the older Victor's phone, then moved to the main bedroom when they had eaten because it had the bigger bed. There, Victor dozed as Chris and the older Victor chatted and passed their phones back and forth, until their conversation died off into sleep.

Victor, though, never got past the muzzy blankness that wasn't exactly sleep. Eventually, he rolled off the bed, trying not to wake the other two, and found a hair tie. He drifted over to the window as he braided his hair; the view from here was wonderful, even at night, the city glittering below.

He stood there after he was done, staring at the distant lights, until there was a rustling behind him. He turned; Chris was peering at him, his head just poking out from the blanket. Chris slithered a hand out, too, made a come-here gesture, so Victor went, slid back in next to him. "Can't sleep?" He shook his head. "Something wrong?"

"I'm fine." He put on a smile and snuggled into Chris's chest, content when an arm wrapped around him.

They fell quiet again, and Victor thought that Chris was trying to fall back asleep. He jerked from surprise when Chris murmured his name, and then, slowly, said, "You don't want me to leave, do you."

Were they going to talk about this? Victor didn't want to talk about it. Hadn't he plastered over his unhappiness well enough? "No," he admitted. Something in his chest physically ached. He tried to solve it by burrowing his head further against Chris, which didn't work. "I wish you were staying."

There was a long pause, too quiet. Chris huffed. "Older you's never said that. It's nice to hear." At Victor's inquisitive noise, he added, "There's always been 'I had a great time' and trying to figure out when we would next see each other. Just not, 'please stay'."

"It's in the song, though."

"What?"

"I think it was? The song for his free skate this season. He showed me the lyrics, there was something in there like 'stay with me, don't go'. I don't remember all of it." After another pause, he added, "I didn't think it was written for anyone."

"Maybe it wasn't," Chris said, his voice gone quiet.

They didn't talk any more after that. Victor took a long time to fall asleep, and when he woke, he was alone in the bed. Not quite alone, period, because Makkachin was wandering around the other end of the room, and when he slid out of bed, she came over to demand some petting.

From the hall, he could hear voices, and smell coffee, but for once the older Victor and Chris weren't having their conversation in the kitchen. Makkachin sat by his feet as he peeked into the living room. They were facing each other on the couch, sitting close together. Their voices were almost too low to hear from over here, but Victor thought he heard the older Victor say Yakov.

He wasn't sure if he should interrupt, but he wanted to know what they were talking about. The other doorway was closer to where they were sitting; he slipped down the hall, Makkachin still following him, and from here he could hear better.

"I'll think about it," Chris said.

Victor started to think usually people mean and then the older Victor said, "Usually people mean 'no' when they say that."

"I mean I'll think about it. Not all of us make career decisions on a whim, Victor," Chris chided softly.

Oh, and he thought he knew what they were talking about just from that. Victor edged more into the doorway, wishing he could see Chris's face; here, he was looking at the back of his head. The older Victor glanced up, locked eyes with him, and then looked back at Chris. "If it weren't for other me, I'd follow you to Switzerland in a heartbeat."

"Of course you would. And probably not tell me that you were coming until you were knocking on my door."

"That was once."

"Maybe I should also count the time you called me right after you'd landed asking if I was free that weekend." He sighed, and leaned over to set something – a mug of coffee – on the table. "You really don't think you could do a long distance relationship?"

Victor felt his toes dig into the carpet at those words. "I don't," the older Victor said.

"I didn't realize you wanted this to be a relationship. Victor, you should have said."

"I didn't, at first," the older Victor admitted. "But recently... but I thought you wanted to keep it casual."

A moment between them stretched into a silence, and the silence stretched into awkardness. The atmosphere was suddenly stifling. Maybe that was his cue. He bounded into the room and through his arms around Chris's neck from behind, leaned over him. "Chris," he said sing-song, stretching out the i. "Are you moving to Russia?"

"Are you really going to tell him 'no'?" the older Victor asked.

"I'm thinking about it," Chris said. "And that doesn't mean 'no', that means 'I'm going to think about it'."

"What's there to think about? Yakov's a really good coach, and everyone at the rink speaks English, and we can translate for you outside of the rink, and winter's not that great but you're warm so I'm sure you'd be fine, and...." He frowned at the older Victor, who was smiling like he wanted to laugh. "And you'd have us," he added more quietly.

Chris reached a hand up to the back of his neck as the older Victor added, "And of course you would live here. I wouldn't charge you anything for rent."

"So the rent is my body?" Chris murmured, but the joke fell flat. "And I have a cat," he said. "I'd have to figure out what to do with her."

"Can't you bring her? Makkachin got along fine with Potya – Yura's cat – when I had to bring her over to cat-sit during a blizzard."

"Kitty," cooed Victor, already imagining the cat from Chris's pictures curling up with Makkachin, and letting him pick her up and stroke her soft, long fur, and....

"Why I do have the feeling that I'm about to lose to Victor Nikiforov once again?"

Victor winced a little, but Chris had the beginnings of a good-humored smile, so it was okay. "Oh!" He straightened and clapped his hands. "Change is supposed to be good for creativity and stuff, right? Maybe if you come here, you'll get even better and finally beat older me for gold! That would be really exciting."

The older Victor gaped at him. Chris turned and said, "Did he just—"

"Whose side are you on?" the older Victor demanded.

"What?" Victor crossed his arms. "You're not me, so it's not like I would be losing, and I like Chris, and come on, that's a way better story than Victor Nikiforov wins yet another gold medal and then the journalists would be so happy—" He yelped as the older Victor lunged for him, then looped around the couch behind him and flopped to safety next to Chris. He ignored the older Victor's grumbling and leaned into Chris instead. "So...?"

"I do have appointments to keep back home. I'll let you know when I've had a few days there to think about it. There's no rush." Victor nudged closer and he added, "I'll consider everything very carefully," in a tone that made that a 'yes' as far as Victor was concerned. He stole a kiss, then settled happily against his shoulder.

"That's settled," the older Victor said. He put a finger to his lips. "And we still have a few hours before we have to leave for your flight."

"Breakfast," suggested Victor.

So they had breakfast, Chris and the older Victor working together to make it as Makkachin hovered nearby, hoping for a food scrap. Victor sat at the table, listening to them in the background, looking over an email that Yakov had sent him on his phone but not actually reading it. It would be just, what, a couple of months? They could survive with Skype calls and texting for that long. He and the older Victor could keep themselves entertained for that long.

He glanced up and saw Chris feeding the older Victor a piece of something with his fingers. Chris spotted Victor looking and smiled more widely. "Do want some?"

Strawberries, it turned out. He carefully took it from Chris's hand with his teeth, slowly enough that he heard of couple of clicks from the older Victor's camera app. "Perfect," he heard. Chris was giving him a fond look. Makkachin pressed against his leg and whined. Victor couldn't recall the last time he'd been so content off the ice.