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Through an open letter to the man he once loved, Viktor captures the thoughts and observations that strike him from the other side when he meets Yuuri again, two years after they fell into an intimacy of which they never recovered from.

At every turn within the labyrinth, he came no closer to find an exit. Every corner produced a dead end. Every trail of his fingers against the crumbling walls spoke of how little Viktor knew of him then and how little he knew of Yuuri now. He could wade into the quiet of a stream, feel the whisper of Yuuri’s voice against his skin like before, but it was all an illusion when Viktor lifted his gaze. The towering walls of his design bordered the truth he needed to hear. There was no other person he could turn to for this truth, and Viktor crept down the halls and found the Forbidden Tree of Knowledge when his gaze lingered at the occupied jail cells.

Men, women, and children of the quirks they abused were sound asleep. Huddling under the rags of their blankets when Viktor walked past, and frost crystallized over the bars. To the very end of his story, pen poised for the mark, Viktor wasn’t sure if he could document --faithfully-- of what was and what would come before the silence of his judgment. To the very beginning of Yuuri’s story, he could hear Yuuri’s voice once more in his thoughts before he stepped over the threshold slipped past into another tale.

 

An open letter to the man I once loved,

 

“I can see you now, Viktor.”

Despite the blindfold, Yuuri turned his head and followed as Viktor crossed the great expanse of the visiting room. Where a seat was propped on his side and Yuuri was propped on his own. Bulletproof glass wedged in between them, and Yuuri’s breath fogged the fixture. His fingers stained against the surface, sprawling images for Viktor’s eyes only.

Could Yuuri hear how his heart moved?

Viktor felt each thump, coinciding with every step he took before he stood patiently in front of the man that knew him forwards and backwards. Every trick in the book, every smile that Yuuri could’ve worn for this occasion, it suited him and his orange jumpsuit well. He wore it as if he made the conscious choice to wear it, and nothing could’ve been further from the truth when Viktor took his seat.

The butt of his motorcycle helmet clanked against the metal seat, and Yuuri perked up once more. His fingers crawled over the glass and he pressed his palm at where his breath had left its mark. A faint trace stared back at Viktor, close to his eye-level, and a breath rattled from his lips.

It felt as if he was behind a blindfold while Yuuri was the one with sight. So eloquently put, Yuuri crossed his legs and slouched in his seat as if it was a throne. No, as if he was sitting in his office and a session had just begun. With Viktor as his patient and that was far from anything Viktor wanted to envision right now.

“You used to tell me, ‘It’s good to see you again, Dr. Katsuki.’ And then I get flustered,” Yuuri lowered his hand from the glass and curled his fingers against the wooden counter on his side instead, “when I say, ‘Yuuri. Just call me Yuuri.’”

Viktor cocked his head to the side. His bangs spilled towards the left of his face, a thumb perched itself beneath his chin as Viktor steadied his breathing. “Do you tell this to everyone you meet?”

“You’re my first visitor.” Viktor could make-out the flutter of Yuuri’s eyelashes when he blinked behind his blindfold. “And yes, I do reenact some of the sessions I’ve had with former patients. I can’t reach out to them, but I still remember them.” The curve of his top teeth barely graced his bottom lip. “Fondly.”

Yuuri licked the corner of his lips. He had a plastic cup of water by his side, and Yuuri tapped his fingers against the counter until he heard the minute ripples on the water’s surface. Where therein, Yuuri lifted the cup and drank. As if he was teasing Viktor, like he used to, and Viktor couldn’t get the image out from his mind. Of back then --simply two years ago-- when Yuuri had reached for a cup of water during one of their sessions and eyed Viktor as he drank, slowly. Much like then, a thin trickle of water streamed down from Yuuri’s chin and dripped in front of him before it froze upon impact against the wood.

In the mere presence of Viktor, the wooden counter had succumbed to his quirk and froze. Frost branching from where his elbows were propped on the edge, and they tangled off into branches and reached to Yuuri’s side. A gasp overtook Yuuri’s sip, where he spat a little bit of water back into his cup from the sudden chill, but his demeanor didn’t falter. His face barely crumbled, as if he anticipated the sudden faucet that dripped from Viktor’s person.

“Thank you for greeting me.” Yuuri bowed his head and bumped it against the glass.

The softness of his laughter warmed Viktor’s heart, but he told it to stay still. A million years away was how far love would have to travel to move Viktor’s heart again, especially if it was Yuuri’s love. That love tasted like soiled wine, perched over his tongue when Viktor had rummaged through a filing cabinet to slip a manila folder inside. Yuuri’s love was a nightmare, decorated as a daydream, and Viktor kept coming back. These thoughts didn’t stop his quirk from leaking and soon, an unbearable chill cloaked his side of the visiting room.

Even though the frigid air had yet to trickle to the other side, Yuuri pressed his hand softly against the glass once more. “Viktor, you will and always have been someone that I cherish.” As if he was going to apologize now, but there was a method to his madness when Yuuri lowered his voice and drew closer to the glass. As if he wasn’t close already when his forehead bumped against the glass again. “Please, I want to hear your voice.”

Yuuri exaggerated how his mouth moved, a mirror image to how Viktor opened but closed himself every time he had something to say. He was chewing on his tongue at this point, wrestling with how easy his heart moved when Yuuri said, “Please.”

“Can you see me?” Viktor broke the silence, pulling his elbows away from the counter and the frost from his quirk ceased. Still, the counter felt unforgiving and yet, a part of Yuuri lingered on the surface.

“I’m not using my quirk on you, Viktor.” Yuuri drummed his fingers against the counter. He sputtered a tune that rhythmically followed the unease in Viktor’s heart. “I don’t need to.”

“I’m an open book, then?” Viktor crossed his arms. “Something to read when you already know the story?”

“I’d say that you’re book that’s constantly being edited. I know the general plot, but I don’t know what the characters are saying or how they feel.” Yuuri scratched behind his neck before his fingers migrated upwards and tightened the knot to his blindfold. “I can read you because of your tone. You don’t speak unless you have to and your quirk is leaking.” A small smile brushed over his features. “You’re nervous, aren’t you?”

“Don’t psychoanalyze me.” The statement came more as a threat, as a growl that shook the still atmosphere. Fragments of Yuuri’s design, constructed by his friendly tone, fell and pierced the back of Viktor’s hands. “You won’t like it when I’m--”

“I know.” Yuuri’s body swayed like a metronome, keeping in time to the steady beat of his heart so that Viktor’s could follow. “We can quote obscure references and a little bit of that NBC show that you like, but it gets you nowhere with what you want from me.” Yuuri leaned forward in his seat. “So please, let’s talk.”

Yuuri clapped his hands together, rubbing his palms back and forth. In anticipation for what Viktor had to say, but it felt like he was playing a game. Unable to contain himself after two years of near-solitude behind a jail cell, and Viktor could see fissures in Yuuri’s body language that he had never noticed before. There was an antsy twitch that would take Yuuri by surprise when he heard something, outside from his and Viktor’s breathing.

Having the bulletproof glass in between them comforted Viktor a bit as he searched within himself for strength. What was he going to say? To say that he missed Yuuri would hurt Viktor, gash at his heart because Yuuri was here because of him. Because Yuuri turned himself in and admitted to the press that he was a villain behind his psychologist title, just so that Viktor would always know where Yuuri was and where he could always find him.

It was almost genius with how it played out and why Viktor was here tonight, but Viktor wasn’t going to give Yuuri that satisfaction. Not when Yuuri gained nourishment, simply by hearing his voice after so long.

 

You once told me that I would make a great hero, that I was a great hero, and that I would be the first hero you’d call.

 

“May I borrow your imagination?” Viktor grew a little braver when he leaned forward in his seat. Yuuri sensed the change in his position, from how Viktor’s seat creaked under his weight, and he eased comfortably to the back of his own. Still maintaining the professional distance that they were supposed to carry, but did it matter anymore?

Viktor could still taste how sweet Yuuri’s kiss was upon his lips when Yuuri chewed on the edge of his thumb. Lost in thought for such a simple question; but with the quirk he had, Yuuri’s imagination was far from average by the conventional following.

“You might be borrowing more than what you’ve bargained for, Viktor.” He split his thumbnail down to the centre and winced. This pain, this stimulus was what Yuuri lived for. He knew in his heart that he would never see the sun or feel the kisses from the breeze ever again. What spurred this spiraling descent into madness now? Viktor’s eyes widened when Yuuri pulled his nail apart with his teeth. Half fell onto the frozen counter and clinked against the wood.

Restlessness typically followed when one was frustrated, and a form of frustration had taken root of Yuuri’s mind as he danced quietly in his seat. He knew that every movement was watched by Viktor’s eyes and his alone in the quiet of this visiting room.

“You don’t have to repeat my name.” Viktor loosened his collar, and the warmth from the air conditioning system sprouted fog against his skin. “I’m here.”

“There came a point in our sessions together where you wanted me to say your name and nothing else.” A coy smile slipped too easily over Yuuri’s lips, and the back of Viktor’s ears flushed with red. Oh, that was the word that Viktor could feel, pressed against his skin by a feverous mouth when its voice had been spent.

“Then was different,” Viktor said. A tenseness migrated down from his stomach and situated between his legs. A layer of sweat broke over the back of his neck. “We were different people.”

“You were you.” Yuuri pointed his finger at Viktor. “I was myself.” Yuuri pointed his chipped thumb towards his own chest.

“You know what I mean.” Viktor stressed the second to last word, and Yuuri shook his head with a flop of his bangs. They were long. Yuuri needed a trim and --Viktor looked away even though Yuuri couldn’t see him-- Viktor felt an urge to run his fingers through the strands and fold them behind Yuuri’s ears.

“Every mind works differently, Viktor. As a psychologist, I look for clarity behind what we try to hide.” Yuuri adjusted his blindfold, as if he was adjusting his glasses. “Talk to me. What made us so different then that we’re not who we are now?”

Viktor folded his fingers across his lap. The slight tremble jogged him back to reality, but this wasn’t the reality he wanted to live in. The reality within his head was too pure, too wholesome for what was happening before his eyes.

Yuuri was supposed to be fast asleep, curled near Viktor’s side. His cheek felt warm against Viktor’s chest, and Viktor would tiptoe his fingers down the length of Yuuri’s arm before pressing a kiss underneath a curtain a bangs. They were supposed to be living near a cliffside, where they could look out the window and see the ocean. Where the gulls sounded like music to their ears, and Yuuri would wake up and find himself so in love with the man lying next to him. And against the morning sun, Yuuri and Viktor would make their love known as they affectionately marked and laughed under the sheets. Their legs tangled when Yuuri rested over Viktor’s chest and slowly booped his nose against Viktor’s. Just before Viktor whisked Yuuri to his side and he counted twenty-four kisses against Yuuri’s lips. Every kiss met by another kiss when Yuuri craned his neck so he could reach Viktor, and it was beautiful.

In this fantasy, they were married for two years. Viktor had retired from his heroic calling and had settled down to be a writer. Yuuri was still a psychologist and he held nightly sessions with Viktor, pouring over his notes and catching Viktor’s eyes when they sat together in front of the roar of the fireplace. Their hands, mere tiptoes apart, when they parted their gazes from the flames and watched the fire dance behind the other’s eyes. That was their love.

In this fantasy, Yuuri had always been... just Yuuri .

In this reality, Viktor and Yuuri were separated for two years. Viktor clung to his heroic calling, expressed his frustration and the deceit that had inflicted his heart through saving lives. If he couldn’t save one, it ate at him. Even after it wasn’t his fault, even after the circumstances were beyond his control, and even after his quirk failed on him and an innocent life was whisked from this lifetime. Yuuri was still a psychologist, analyzing himself and the minute disturbances that crept in and out of the jail. He typically held sessions with himself, but he made an exception for just this once.

In this reality, Yuuri was more than just a former-lover and psychologist. He was a villain, selling information about his heroic clients to add an extra figure to his yearly gross income. For how long? Viktor never got a straight answer from Yuuri. Then again, he never had the courage to ask after all this time.

Yuuri had disappeared from Viktor’s side- -the night Viktor found out when he pulled open a filing cabinet drawer- -and turned himself in. That was that and it was reality that Viktor had to accept, but he was here.

He came here to see Yuuri, and Viktor had to ease his breathing. Lest he wanted his heart to stop, unable to beat or run blood through his body because his arteries and veins were frozen over. Concealing a love that shouldn’t have surfaced, but the signs were clear in the midst of Viktor’s labored breathing.

“Viktor, I know I’m not your psychologist anymore.” Yuuri breathed slowly, developing a steady tempo that he could transfer to Viktor if he cared to listen. “But for right now, can you breathe with me?” Yuuri rolled his head back, cracking the crinks in his neck and realigning his spine. By the time he was finished, Yuuri exhaled softly. His warm breath melted some of the ice that had gathered onto the bulletproof glass.

It was hard to breathe, it was hard to think, and it was hard to keep himself from slipping when Viktor gradually matched to Yuuri’s rhythm. The clack of his motorcycle helmet, falling onto the floor, didn’t disturb Yuuri. He paused in the breathing exercise for a moment. Viktor carried on without him, breathing much too slow for his body to register anything that was around him. So suddenly, Viktor slipped when he closed his eyes. In this numbness, he heard Yuuri’s voice. Calling out to him until Viktor felt a stir along his neck when he rolled his head to one direction, and it satisfied Yuuri. He could trust that Viktor was listening.

“One knock means ‘yes’. Two knocks means ‘no’. Can you remember that for me?”

There was a subtle warp to Yuuri’s voice when he eased Viktor into a space where he could be happy, and it was much like falling into bed and crumbling beneath the sheets as fatigue washed the body with a lovely touch. Viktor’s hand slipped off from his lap and hung near the edge of his chair. His knuckles knocked once against the leg of his chair.

 

You used to tell me, “I’m not a hero.”
Between our breaths and how you looked at me then, you were one to me.

 

“Do I scare you?” As far as first questions typically go, it was a bold choice to start with fear. Yuuri waited patiently until he heard two knocks. In actuality, Viktor knocked once before he knocked again after a moment in thought. Yuuri repeated the question, and he received two definite knocks this time. “Let’s increase our amount of breaths. On the count of three.”

Viktor wasn’t sure if he could breathe any faster than this, but his trust --and by extension, his mind-- was in Yuuri’s hands. Yuuri adjusted him over his seat and lifted a fist into the air. His index crept up.

“One.”

Yuuri spoke so softly that it felt like Viktor was in his office again. Lying on the couch with a fleece blanket tucked over his body while Yuuri sipped a cup of tea to prime his voice. He always did, said that it gave his voice a velvety-quality that was soothing to a patient’s ears. Viktor heard a sip in real life when Yuuri brought his cup of water to his lips again, and the slow sip echoed like a heartbeat when Yuuri leaned his middle finger against his index.

“Two.”

In Viktor’s mind, he imagined himself turning his head a little bit to watch as Yuuri wrote on his clipboard. Sometimes, he tapped his pen against his thigh when he was lost in thought. Sometimes, he’d scribble a little caricature along the margins of his notes and smile when he noticed Viktor’s stare. Somehow, that simple smile was something Viktor treasured after all this time.

“Three.” Yuuri breathed audibly so that Viktor could match his new tempo, and Viktor matched with ease. No stirs, no hiccups, and Viktor truly looked at peace with himself. Yuuri rested his cup back onto the counter. “Viktor, do you feel better when I’m here with you?”

One knock. Another didn’t follow. Yuuri took this into consideration as he browsed through the questions he had in mind. It didn’t surprise him that Viktor knocked once, and a genuine smile blossomed at his lips. This sudden flush of warmth that crept over his skin felt much like love, and it was easy to sidetrack and ponder back on memory lane.

Where Yuuri and Viktor shared their first kiss during a session. How Yuuri reached up and pressed his finger against Viktor’s lips. He mumbled that he wasn’t a hero. Legitimately so, Yuuri had sold about a year’s worth of information at this point in his career and his quirk barely qualified as one.

Having increased empathy just by gazing into someone’s eyes didn’t feel worthy enough for such a title. It was neither exciting nor moving, despite the extra bone in Yuuri’s pinkie toe. This attribute of his --as doctors had called it-- was just a biological understanding and Yuuri was a bit more Intune to it than others and one day, his true quirk would show up. It never did and that was the biggest middle finger that Yuuri could ever give to the medical community as the years rolled by.

Despite the explanation, Viktor continued to cradle Yuuri in his arms. It was a warm, a beautiful product to when Viktor’s quirk --Subzero-- stopped leaking a few days ago. A certain harmony had married inside of Viktor, and his emotional disconnect with himself was rejoined. That was why he was here, that was why he came so suddenly to Yuuri’s office after testing for himself if his quirk was under control, and the endless embraces that he and Yuuri shared felt so meaningful now that Viktor knew that his touch wouldn’t hurt him.

When the curve of Yuuri’s back touched the office window, something inside of Yuuri ticked and he stopped Viktor before this happiness became anything more than just that. They had to remain professional, and Yuuri didn’t meet Viktor’s eyes when he said it. If he did, he would’ve known how much Viktor’s heart ached for him. Maybe as much as how Yuuri ached for Viktor already, but someone had to put their foot down.

“Nothing is quite as beautiful as someone who has lost themselves and still has a tender heart.” Yuuri moved his finger away from Viktor’s lips and caressed the side of Viktor’s jawline instead. The sudden hitch of breath that lingered in the back of Viktor’s throat felt like a jolt next to Yuuri’s body. Yuuri drew lazy circles along Viktor’s cheek, reminding him to breathe. Like they’ve always done during their weekly sessions. “If I could, I want to walk into your heart and never leave.”

Slowly but surely, Yuuri managed to peel Viktor’s arms off from him. It was hard, feeling so cold again. Yuuri took a chance and looked into Viktor’s eyes afterwards, and he could feel Viktor’s heartbeats alongside his own. Gradually, they ticked as one and the rhythm flushed the back of Yuuri’s neck until he resembled a cherry blossom against the ten ‘o clock sun.

“When our sessions are done,” Viktor reached out and his hand softly migrated down Yuuri’s arm, “and we shake hands for the last time,” Viktor’s hand stopped when Yuuri moved his fingers and Viktor slid his touch between Yuuri’s, “can I show you my heart?”

“If I can show you mine.” Yuuri traced the curve of Viktor’s lips. How could someone be so magical yet human at the same time? Enamored by Viktor’s gaze, Yuuri felt himself slip. Headfirst into affections and a love that colored everything at his touch. These colors came in the form of a kiss when Viktor asked for permission once more, and Yuuri narrowed his eyes a little bit before finally saying, “Yes.”

Pressed against the window once more, a shred of rationale gripped Yuuri’s mind before he was falling all over again. He pressed a button and the curtains drew over his office window as Viktor kissed Yuuri until he crumbled. For a hero that specialized in freezing, Viktor’s touches were anything but cold. They left hot marks to every patch of skin that felt the burn, and Yuuri exposed more and more of his neck as Viktor slipped lower into what made Yuuri tick.

The climax came in the form of a champagne bottle, popped open and frothy bubbles spilled from the mouth before Yuuri could pour a glass for Viktor when they shared dinner later that night. It was the first of many dates before Viktor and Yuuri began talking about forever, together, and many other words that spurred a moment of hope.

It was a happy memory that Yuuri couldn’t have visited on his own, and he wondered if Viktor thought of it, too. Their breaths were synchronized, much like then, when Yuuri lifted his hand and pressed a kiss against each and every knuckle. Every curve reminded Yuuri of the man he still loved.

You’re a little bit messy, a little bit ruined, nothing short of a disaster.

A game of trust crept from Yuuri’s lips like a whistle as he teetered back and forth on whether he should take his blindfold off or not. Simply to see the calm of a stream wash over Viktor’s body and to sculpt the details that his mind couldn’t quite catch in after years in solitude. But every time Yuuri reached up to his blindfold’s knot, his fingers treaded over the thread before he lowered his hand.

Just like me.

 

I think about that night when all the nightmares began.

 

“There’s something I don’t understand.” Viktor’s voice crept from the darkness. His eyes opened in small flutters, and he could see Yuuri clearly now. His tongue rested against the roof of his mouth as he formulated his thoughts into a coherent statement but even then, could he coherently phrase what kept him tossing and turning at night? Viktor almost didn’t want to say, but Yuuri coaxed him to continue. Not with words, but with the steadiness of his breathing. Viktor’s throat tightened over every word. “How...Were you always a villain?”

Viktor watched as Yuuri eased back into his seat, tipping his head back to unearth some revelation of the self before he could respond. “Yes.”

There was no story that led up to the response, no pull of the strings to garner some worth of sympathy. None of which were needed when it took only a word to answer Viktor’s question, and Viktor wished that Yuuri had delayed his answer.

Maybe, he could’ve forgotten what he had asked. Maybe, Yuuri could’ve used his verbal charm and tiptoe his words like a sultry finger up Viktor’s arm. Then again, Yuuri had never stalled when pressed with a question. Clarity was his lifeblood, as much as what his feelings towards Viktor meant to him.

“And yet, you’re a psychologist for heroes.” Viktor narrowed his eyes.

“No matter what my standings are in society, they don’t dictate if and what I’m not allowed to do.” For the first time, there was a frown on Yuuri’s face. The sudden twitch of his usual smile fractured a small piece of his character, as if a glass fragment slipped and shattered between his feet. “If heroes could only sought out heroes for guidance, you all would be telling each other the same things. It’ll be a cycle, a vicious reappraisal of rinse-and-repeat until you’re no better than who you were before the system.”

“You could be an average civilian and still be a psychologist,” Viktor suggested. A sudden chill caressed the side of his face when Yuuri tilted his head.

“I’ve thought about it. Once.” Fire danced behind Yuuri’s words. “I wonder if my techniques would’ve been effective if I didn’t have the agenda that I had then. Would my patients had grown if I didn’t understand their common enemy? Would my patients have gotten better if my priorities were rested upon them saving the innocent and committing valiant deeds?” Barely a pause followed when Yuuri snapped his face towards Viktor’s direction. “I don’t think so.”

“You sold them out.” You sold me out, Viktor wanted to say. His hands trembled against his stillness, and a noticeable frost-print laid at where Viktor’s shoe were before he crossed his legs.

“I sold what people already knew.” The first blow to Viktor’s heart as Yuuri argued to the pain. For in death, all wounds were lasting. For in pain, time prompted the body to heal. For in pain, Yuuri could perform as the villain Viktor needed before he switched to the psychologist Viktor deserved. No secrets to hide if there were none to be kept. “Health records, anxiety, paranoia, irrational twitches, occupation-induced depression, self-loathing, physical instability…” Yuuri carried with him a grocery checklist and he struck his finger through middle of every word in his recital. “Those never left the office.”

“You just--”

“This space became my office as soon as you walked in,” Yuuri whispered, his heart ticked twice with every second. “Every name associated with what I listed remains confidential. Then and now. That’s what trust is, Viktor.”

Viktor’s breath was hitched to the back of his throat with how Yuuri said his name. Unlike the vigor of his earlier statements, the utter of Viktor’s name was a sore spot for Yuuri. Every other variation of which Viktor’s name was used had much more spunk than the silence that trailed after his name now.

A flick of Viktor’s bangs curtained over his eyes. “Am I still your patient?”

“Yes.” Yuuri swept an undesirable piece of fluff off from his arm. It had fallen from the ceiling and landed softly against him like snow. “Our relationship escalated beyond a professional one before our sessions were over with. That, I will take the blame for.”

Viktor knocked twice against the leg of his chair. “The blame is on both of us.”

‘Us’... the world felt foreign over Viktor’s tongue, despite having whispered it beneath his breath when he was near Yuuri’s side, about a million years ago. ‘Us’ meant to so much more than just teamwork. The word evoked togetherness, a connection, and perhaps a lifetime when Viktor had said it for Yuuri’s ears only when they laid together on the office couch. Snuggled under a fleece blanket and drunk on each other’s warmth. Did Yuuri think about that when his head perked up?

“The sentimentalism is nice.” Yuuri sipped on his breath, as if it was a fresh glass of wine. “Even while you’re over there and I’m on the other side.”

“Has it been hard?” It was gradual, but Viktor felt himself becoming the psychologist while Yuuri sat before him as a patient. A little bit lost, a little bit frazzled, and slowly gathering his pieces after they have been disconnected for so long.

Yuuri knocked once against the leg of his chair. “The only images of my family that I have left were when I was living in the Red District.” An image of crumbling apartments, sketchy roads void of street lamps, and a usual F-class villain skulking around with their hands in their pockets flashed within Viktor’s mind. “That was about four years ago.”

Viktor whistled beneath his breath. “I’m guessing that they can’t visit you.”

“Not exactly.” Yuuri ran his fingers through his hair, soothing a twitch that he couldn’t stop on his own. “When you live in a sketchy area, your family hopes that you don’t fall into the same grain as everyone else.” Whether an elaboration was needed or not, Yuuri didn’t say anymore than that. Viktor could feel a portion of Yuuri’s pain. How Yuuri kept looking down at his shoes, weary despite the blindfold around his head. How Yuuri needed these comforting touches right now for his heart was a statement away from spilling into a mess he had tucked deep inside of himself.

“Were you a villain when you left the Red District?”

There was a pregnant pause. “Every villain knows your face when you leave, so I had to play my part if I wanted to see my family again.”

Digesting those words, Viktor thought back to the villains he had fought in the past. All of those faces, all of those handcuffs slapped against their wrists before they were towed away, how many of them were standing in Yuuri’s shoes?

 

Now, you’re in a place where I can always find you and where I know you’ll always be.

 

Viktor rested his hand against the glass, asking if Yuuri could lay his hand there too. Yuuri couldn’t find him at first until Viktor turned the faucet inside of him and a drip trickled from the spout. A thin branch of frost pricked against Yuuri’s fingertips as he followed the trail. His fingers skimmed down the glass until he felt Viktor’s touch against his palm. The bulletproof glass separated them, but this chill reminded Yuuri of Viktor’s touch. How before --what felt like a lifetime ago-- they used to rest their hands against each other’s. Sort of like this when they were alone.

It used to intrigue Yuuri. He would trace every joint on Viktor’s fingers and map his way down to Viktor’s palm before rising up for the next finger. Yuuri would curve his nail against the marks sketched across Viktor’s palm. When he laced his fingers against Viktor’s, Yuuri didn’t need to use his quirk. He knew how Viktor felt, simply by this touch alone, and Yuuri asked if he could slip his blindfold off. He met no other response than abandonment when Viktor pulled his hand from the glass, and his footsteps ricocheted into a gray silence before the close of a metal door.

Yuuri was alone again.

He didn’t mean to cry. Just a quiet stream ran down from the corner of his eyes and dripped onto the wooden counter, breaking up the ice that Viktor had left behind. Somewhere behind him, a door opened and Yuuri sniffled quietly to himself. He didn’t wipe his tears away, expecting that his guard might take a certain level of pity towards him. He listened to the footsteps as they approached him. They were familiar, but they weren’t clunky like the steps Yuuri was used to. These steps weren’t of a patrol, but of familiar steps that crept towards love.

After what felt like a million years, love moved Yuuri’s heart again when he felt nimble fingers carefully work on the knot behind his head. When the blindfold slipped onto his lap for the first time in two years, Yuuri covered his eyes with his hand. Instinctively, because of the harsh, bright light that overlooked the visiting room. A side shuffle later and a shadow shielded Yuuri from the light. Slowly, Yuuri increased the gap between his fingers until he could see fragments of Viktor’s figure.

From the leather jacket that hugged his figure, to the silvery locks that pointed in every which way because of a motorcycle helmet, and Yuuri gulped when he angled his face. There, between his fingers, Yuuri took a glimpse into Viktor’s eyes.

I pull my hand away and wade quietly into the stream.

Viktor had left, for just a moment and felt an urge grow in his heart, before opening a door so he could stand in Yuuri’s world. Much as how Yuuri opened a door and walked into Viktor’s world, in their very first session together.

I want to hold you again.

Yuuri lowered his hand, lips slightly parted when he looked up to Viktor. His thumb twitched, much as how Viktor brushed Yuuri’s wayward bangs with the edge of his thumb. Sweeping the strands and curving them behind Yuuri’s ears so that he could see Viktor clearly now.

I want to be the first thing you see when you can open your eyes.

Tears stroked down the bottom of Yuuri’s chin when his forehead bumped against Viktor’s front. His hands, frozen on his lap, balled into fists until Viktor lifted them both and gently soothed the tension and twitches that rattled Yuuri to the core.

“Please, Viktor. Give me my blindfold.” Yuuri glanced elsewhere, staring at one of Viktor's shoes instead. Yuuri weakly tugged his hands out from Viktor’s hands, and his fingers fumbled over the faded fabric of his blindfold when he lifted it off from his lap. He tried to pull it over himself, but Viktor stopped him. He reached for Yuuri’s wrist, and Yuuri tried to tug himself free once more.

“Yuuri…”

“It’s late and you should--’

Yuu-ri…” Viktor couldn’t help but stress each syllable. He didn’t pull the blindfold out from Yuuri’s grasp. It had become Yuuri’s comfort object, and Viktor could feel how hard Yuuri was breathing. He tried to hide it, but the shaky rattles that trailed from his lips spoke of a different story that Yuuri couldn’t tell.

“You’ll get in trouble if you’re…” Yuuri’s voice trailed off when Viktor pulled his chin. Slowly, enough where Yuuri could move and scoot himself away from Viktor if he wanted to. However, Yuuri sat quietly in his seat. A few tremors shook his body, here and there, but he couldn’t meet Viktor’s eyes. If he did it again, Yuuri didn’t know if he’d be able to endure a second without Viktor by his side.

Professionalism was long forgotten as Viktor wiped away Yuuri’s tears.

“Yuuri, I’m here with you.” Viktor knitted his arms around Yuuri and kept Yuuri warm. “Yuuri, I’ll be with you.” Viktor gently squeezed Yuuri’s shoulders. “Yuuri, I want to show you my heart if you will show me yours.”

It was a variation of what Yuuri had said to Viktor. Before they shared their first kiss, before they fell into an intimacy of which they never recover from, and before the nightmares began and the world was an oyster for them to chip.

This was their love, as painful as it was. If there were no more secrets between them, maybe they could fall in love. All over again, Viktor thought when Yuuri embraced him back. His arms wrapped around Viktor’s waist, and Yuuri shifted away from Viktor’s touch and rested his face against Viktor’s front once more. Breathing into the warmth while it lasted against his touch.

This was their becoming: one step at a time, as Yuuri murmured of where he hid Viktor’s file in his old office. He never sold Viktor, and Viktor could check the hiding space for himself if he didn’t believe in Yuuri.

“I believe in you.” Viktor pressed kisses through Yuuri’s hair and kept him warm. It was the closest ‘I love you’ that Viktor had said in years.

 

Yours truly,
Viktor