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Tax Benefits

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Viktor and Yuuri were more than a little bit tipsy.

“Yuuri,” Viktor whined, leaning his head on his best friend’s shoulder, pouting.  Yuuri drunkenly petted Viktor’s hair, smoothing his long bangs out of his eyes. His touch was tender, gentle, and when Viktor looked up Yuuri was smiling down at him.  

“Yuuuuuri,” Viktor said again, and nuzzled against his friend’s neck.  Yuuri was warm, and smelled like fabric softener and pencil shavings.

Yuuri giggled, falling back onto the mattress of his uncomfortable dorm bed, his beer dangling precariously from his fingers over the edge of the bed.  Viktor tumbled after him, landing half on top of him, and was distantly glad that he had set down his own beer on the floor before he was distracted by Yuuri’s eyes.  

Yuuri sighed, staring hazily up at the ceiling above them.  “Why are we drinking again?” he slurred, and Viktor smiled, wobbly.  

“Can’t remember,” he said, his voice muffled as he buried his face in the quilt next to Yuuri.  It would be nice if Yuuri didn’t remember why they were drinking, after all. He was the one who had been dumped, had come back to his shared room with Viktor barely fighting back tears.  He had also had a couple more drinks than Viktor, more eager to get started.

Viktor poked Yuuri on the side of the head, and Yuuri glared at him halfheartedly.  “Wanna watch a movie?” Viktor asked, and then poked Yuuri again for good measure, and because it was funny.  

“Suuure,” Yuuri drawled, struggling to push himself into a sitting position, and then swinging his legs over the edge of the bed.  

“Noo, lemme,” Viktor whined, poking Yuuri a third time.  “You’re drunk.”  

“So’re you,” Yuuri replied, pouting, but let Viktor stumble across the room to get his laptop.  Viktor fumbled his way back across the room and plopped down into bed next to Yuuri before flopping over onto Yuuri’s lap.  

“I’ll be your blanket,” he said, blinking slowly up at his friend.  Yuuri patted his head again, and then stole the laptop from him and pushed himself away.  

“C’mon,” he said, patting the quilt beside himself, and Viktor wiggled in next to him.  Yuuri opened the laptop, chewing on his lip as he got Viktor’s password wrong four times before remembering that the keyboard was English rather than Japanese, and then managed to open a streaming site.  “What do you wanna watch?” Yuuri said a little blearily. He shoved the computer at Viktor. “Here, you choose. ‘M hot.” He shrugged out of his sweater, leaving on only a thin white t-shirt, and then shimmied out of his pants, keeping on his boxers and socks.  

Viktor licked his lips and swallowed audibly before forcing his eyes back to the laptop screen, flicking through movies too quickly to actually read the titles.  Yuuri rested his chin on Viktor’s shoulder, his breath smelling like alcohol, and Viktor picked a movie at random. “What about this one?” he asked, but when he turned to Yuuri he was surprised to see his friend biting his lower lip hard, eyes watery.  

“I saw that one with him,” his whispered, his voice trembling, and Viktor quickly changed the screen before wrapping his arms around his best friend.  The point of drinking was to help Yuuri forget about his ex, and Viktor was the worst friend in the entire world- no, the entire universe! - to remind him of their relationship.

Yuuri sniffled a little, and wiped at his eyes.  “What about that one?” he whispered, and Viktor selected it without looking at the screen.  

Yuuri and Viktor ended up watching three trashy romcoms in a row, snuggled up next to each other in bed, Yuuri practically in Viktor’s lap.  Halfway through the third movie Viktor fell asleep, waking up only as the credits played and Yuuri poked at his shoulder to wake him up.

Viktor yawned, a little more sober, and then said, “We should go to bed.  Cuz of classes. Yeah.”

Yuuri snuggled sleepily against him, and Viktor couldn’t help but grin, hugging his friend back.  Yuuri was clingy when he was tired and touchy when he was drunk, and apparently those two things combined to make him an incurable cuddle monster.  Viktor put the laptop on the floor as carefully as he could manage with Yuuri clinging to his torso, and then resigned himself to sleeping in his jeans.  

“Viktorrr,” Yuuri whispered, his fingers bunched in the front of Viktor’s shirt.  

“Mmhm?” Viktor mumbled, forcing his eyes to stay open.  In the dim light of their dorm room Yuuri’s eyelashes looked longer than ever, his eyes dark and wide.  

“Viktor, I don’t want to die alone,” Yuuri whispered in Viktor’s ear, his breath hot and slightly sour.  Viktor bit his lip, nodding in agreement.

“I don’t want to live alone, either,” Yuuri whispered, his words still slightly slurred, his eyes filling with tears.  

Viktor nodded in serious agreement, still fighting the sleep that threatened to drag him under.  He hadn’t had a serious relationship since freshman year of college, and Yuuri’s only boyfriend (that Viktor had met, at least) of two years had broken up with him.  At that rate, neither of them were very lucky with love.

“I have an idea,” Viktor whispered, eyes locked with Yuuri’s.  “If we haven’t gotten married to someone by 35, we should just marry each other!  And then we won’t die alone.”

Yuuri’s eyes widened, cheeks turning pink.  “That’s a good idea,” he agreed, nodding solemnly.  “We should just get married. Of course! You’re my best friend anyway, ’n then we won’t be lonely.”  

“Yep,” Viktor chirped.  “And there are tax benefits to being married, too.  I think. I read an article once.”

Yuuri nodded seriously his eyes wide.  “Pinky promise?” he whispered, lifting one hand.  “If we’re still alone when we’re 35 we’ll get married?”  

Viktor smiled slightly, and locked pinkies with Yuuri.  “I promise,” he replied solemnly.

Yuuri smiled, seeming a little more at ease, and then his eyes fluttered closed.  Viktor sighed happily and snuggled a little closer.

It was a nice thought, in theory, the thought of having the promise of companionship in his old age if he never found a love besides Yuuri.  By the time he was 35, though, surely his enormous crush on his best friend would have faded.

And it wasn’t like either of them would remember their promise in the morning, anyway.

***

Viktor was late to work.  Normally that wouldn’t be an enormous issue- he was only an accountant, one of many, working for a large international company based in Detroit, and it wasn’t the end of the world if he didn’t make it to work exactly at nine.  But today- today he was meant to be at a big, possibly career-changing presentation. And Viktor was late.

Viktor speed walked across the lobby of his building and just barely caught the elevator, punching the button for the floor he needed to be on before leaning back against the wall in relief.  

“Late?” a man in a suit said with a sympathetic smile, and Viktor smiled perfunctorily back before sipping at his too-hot coffee and trying to adjust the computer bag over his shoulder.  The other man got off and left Viktor alone in the elevator.

Viktor pressed his lips together, and then straightened his tie and smoothed his hair out of his face, squaring his shoulders.  He would be just fine. His presentation would go off without a hitch, he would get the promotion he had wanted for ages, and then he would go home and he and his roommate would celebrate with takeout and ice cream and wine.

The elevator doors opened and Viktor hefted his bag again, setting his jaw and tossing his empty coffee cup in a trash can before walking as quickly as his dignity would allow.  Viktor winced, noticing through the window of the conference room as he approached that many of his colleagues were already seated. Viktor’s boss caught his eye and beckoned him in, scowling.  

Viktor took a deep breath and then pushed the door open, affixing a smile to his face.  “So sorry I’m a little late,” he said calmly.

Viktor’s boss glared pointedly down at his watch, and then said, “Please just get started.”  

Viktor inhaled, exhaled, and then nodded.  “Of course,” he replied, setting his bag off to the side before walking to the front, where a projector was already set up for him.  Viktor took one last moment while his back was turned to his audience to steady himself, and then began his presentation with as close to ease as he could manage.  

“As you can see,” he started, gesturing to the figures projected behind himself, “The company’s income statements have changed significantly since the last quarter…”

*

“So how did it go?” Viktor’s friend and colleague Christophe asked, sticking his head above the divider between their cubicles as soon as Viktor flopped down numbly into his desk chair.  

“Oh my god,” Viktor mumbled, covering his face with his hands.  “Well, I’m definitely not getting a promotion anytime soon, that’s for sure.”  

Chris frowned, and disappeared for a moment only to reappear in Viktor’s doorway.  “That bad?” he asked sympathetically, leaning against the divider and crossing his arms over his chest.  

Viktor sighed heavily, closing his eyes.  “They apparently wanted to start fifteen minutes earlier than the start time they told me, so I ended up starting about twenty minutes late.  And then because there were other presenters, I got about ten minutes into my presentation before I was cut off, so I basically showed the company executives a bunch of numbers that mean absolutely nothing to them because I didn’t get the chance to wrap up my presentation.”  

Chris’s frown deepened.  “That’s not really fair,” he said.  “It’s not your fault you were told the wrong meeting time.”  

Viktor just shrugged.  “I guess I can try again next year,” he sighed, pulling his laptop from his bag and setting it on his desk.  

“Anything I can do to cheer you up?” Chris asked, still sounding mildly concerned.  

Viktor looked up, forced a smile.  “It’s alright, I promise,” he said.  

Chris sighed quietly.  “If you say so.” He returned to his own cubicle, and then popped up over the divider again.  “If you want to do something, let me know,” he offered. “Drink your sorrows away or anything.”  

Viktor grinned halfheartedly.  “I’m basically middle aged, I probably shouldn’t drink like I did in college,” he replied.  

Chris rolled his eyes.  “You’re 34, you dramatic ass,” he retorted, but he was smiling.  “Alright, I’ll leave you alone for now.”

Viktor smiled.  “Thanks, Chris,” he said softly, and Chris grinned crookedly back before disappearing.  Viktor’s smile grew slightly as he opened and unlocked his laptop to find a text from his roommate on the screen, an enthusiastic good luck.  It was too late, but Viktor appreciated the gesture anyway.

He typed out a quick reply, thanks and a promise to talk more about it later, and was surprised when he got an immediate answer.  Yuuri was a high school teacher, and it was well past the time school went into session.

 

Me (10:23)  Shouldn’t you be in class? :p

Yuuri <3 <3 <3 (10:23)  My students are taking a test right now, so I’m not teaching. 

Me (10:23)  Texting in class, then? How irresponsible, Mr. Katsuki ;) 

Yuuri <3 <3 <3 (10:24)  It would probably be more irresponsible to let your texts keep dinging and disturb my students, Mr. Nikiforov ;D

Yuuri <3 <3 <3 (10:24)  Aren’t you supposed to be working? Or are you still in your meeting?

Me (10:24)  Done w/ the meeting….

Yuuri <3 <3 <3 (10:25)  And? How did it go?

Me (10:25)  Not great.  I’ll tell you more at home?

Yuuri <3 <3 <3 (10:25)  OK, if you’re sure.

Yuuri <3 <3 <3 (10:26)  I have to go, the class period is almost over and I need to collect tests.

Yuuri <3 <3 <3 (10:26)  See you later <3 :D

Me (10:26)  Yep, see you~

 

Viktor swallowed hard, staring down at the heart Yuuri had sent him, and then closed their conversation.  

It didn’t mean anything.  It couldn’t. Yuuri didn’t like him like that, in any romantic way.  He and Viktor had moved in with each other a few years before, after Viktor had moved to Detroit,  because neither of them had a romantic partner.  They were best friends, and roommates. And that was all.  

Despite how much Viktor wanted Yuuri to be just as in love with him as he was with Yuuri.  

The rest of Viktor’s work day passed in numb, bland monotony, and by the time it was acceptable for him to leave the exhaustion of the week had sunk deep into his bones.  Viktor left the office in a daze, giving Chris an absent goodbye, his mind far away.

It was drizzling outside, chilly in the dim evening of early December, and the walk to the bus station woke Viktor up a little bit.  The bus ride home passed in a blur, but by the time Viktor let himself into the apartment he shared with Yuuri he was cold, shivering.  

“Yuuri?” Viktor called into the dark apartment, pocketing his keys and closing the door behind him.  No answer came, but a glimmer of light shone from the crack in Yuuri’s mostly closed bedroom door.

Viktor sighed fondly and then hung his jacket, set his bag down on the coach, and toed off his shoes before padding down the short hallway to Yuuri’s room.  He gently knocked and then pushed the door open, letting himself in. As he had expected, Yuuri was at his desk, a stack of papers at his elbow and a pen in hand, lost to the real world.  

“Hey,” Viktor said quietly, coming up behind Yuuri.  Yuuri looked up, blinking hard, and then ran his fingers through his hair tiredly.  His glasses lay on the desk next to a mostly empty mug of coffee and three fresh red pens.  “Lots of papers to grade?” Viktor asked sympathetically, and the corner of Yuuri’s mouth lifted into a wry smile.  

“Yeah,” he sighed, glancing down at the paper in front of him.  “I kind of regret making the page minimum ten, but…” He shrugged.  “Sorry, I haven’t gotten together anything for dinner.”

Viktor grinned.  “I was going to suggest takeout, actually,” he replied, and Yuuri slowly grinned back.  

“That sounds amazing,” he said.  “A nice break from all this grading.”  

“I’ll order,” Viktor said happily, sitting down on Yuuri’s bed and pulling out his phone.  Yuuri smiled, nodded, and turned back to the paper on his desk, frowning.

“Do you have to grade all those this weekend?” Viktor asked, his eyes fixed on the curve of Yuuri’s spine.  

Yuuri sighed quietly.  “I want to get at least halfway,” he replied.  “It’s slow going, though. I’m not at all convinced that more than half of my students actually read Heart of Darkness, much less took the time to write this essay well.”  

Viktor winced, and then got to his feet again, resting one hand on Yuuri’s shoulder.  “You want your usual order?” he asked, and Yuuri nodded absently before circling a comma splice and scribbling a note in the margins of the paper.  

Viktor swallowed hard, looking down at the top of his best friend’s head, wishing desperately that he could plant a kiss on Yuuri’s soft hair like he wanted to, and then forced himself to leave the room.  

Viktor flicked on the kitchen light and grabbed a few takeout menus from their designated junk drawer before collapsing into a chair at the table.  It didn’t take him long to figure out what he wanted, and Yuuri usually got more or less the same thing every time, and after placing the order for delivery he rested his elbows on the table and buried his face in his arms.  Viktor heard soft footsteps come down the hall, and then felt Yuuri’s touch on his back.

“Alright, there?”

Viktor murmured something that could have been negative or positive.  Yuuri sighed slightly and gently massaged Viktor’s shoulders, his back.  “You should get a new desk chair, you’re going to damage your back,” he grumbled.  

Viktor relaxed slightly into Yuuri’s warm, familiar touch even as his heart fluttered.  Even ten years later, and more than fifteen years of knowing Yuuri, his love for his friend was as strong as ever.  Viktor was sure that he would never completely get over Katsuki Yuuri. And also completely sure that he never wanted to.  

Yuuri’s massage blended into a hug, his chest pressed against Viktor’s back as his arms slid around Viktor’s torso.  Viktor reveled in it, reveled in his touch. He never wanted the moment to end.  

Soon enough, though, Yuuri let go and straightened before coming to sit at the table next to Viktor.  “So,” he said quietly, reaching out and placing one hand on Viktor’s forearm. “Do you want to talk about your presentation at all?”

Viktor bit his lip, raising his head again.  “Um, I don’t know,” he mumbled. “I didn’t get to finish, so it looked like I didn’t know what I was talking about.”  

Yuuri sighed, gently squeezing Viktor’s arm.  “I’m really sorry, Vitya,” he said quietly. “I know you had high hopes.”  

Viktor smiled a little sadly.  “It’s fine,” he said. “Not your fault, don’t be sorry.”  

Yuuri chuckled.  “Alright.”

Viktor’s heart fluttered at Yuuri’s laugh, his smile. His everything . “How was your day?” Viktor asked quickly, changing the subject.  

Yuuri leaned back slightly in his chair and loosened his tie, exhaling slowly.  “Long,” he said finally. He closed his eyes, taking off his glasses and rubbing at his forehead.  “You know that new teacher I told you about?”

Viktor nodded.  The high school Yuuri worked for had hired a new English teacher at the beginning of the school year, a kid in his mid twenties fresh out of college.  

Yuuri sighed again.  “He’s competent, you know, he’s very smart.  And most of his students seem to like him. But there have been a couple issues, one student’s parents complained… so I had a meeting after school, since I’m supposed to be the department head.”  

“Not supposed to be ,” Viktor said gently, and then gave Yuuri a teasing poke in the arm.  “You are the department head.”  

Yuuri smiled softly at him, his eyes sparkling.  “Sure. I am the department head,” he repeated.  “Gotta love those three hour meetings.”  

Viktor winced.  “Ouch, that long?”  

Yuuri shrugged.  “It is what it is.”  

Viktor stood up decisively, startling Yuuri a little.  “I think it’s clear that tonight we should just hang out and do nothing that requires thought,” he said firmly, and then offered a hand to Yuuri.  “You in?”

Yuuri chuckled, and then took his hand and Viktor tugged him up.  Their fingers intertwined, and Viktor stared into Yuuri’s eyes, wide and sincere behind his glasses.  Yuuri’s lips parted slightly, his cheeks pink, and then Viktor pulled away abruptly.

“Anyway!” he said loudly, turning away slightly to hide how hard he was blushing.  Yuuri was his friend.  Viktor didn’t want to ruin anything just because he had a crush he couldn’t get rid of.  Even though calling it a crush was a little ridiculous, after all these years.

“I’ll find us a game to play,” Viktor said, padding into their small, dark living room.  He knew they had a couple of old board games stuffed somewhere.

“You ordered food already?” Yuuri called from the kitchen, and Viktor heard him opening the cupboard to find plates and silverware.  

“Yep, it should be here soon,” he replied.  Viktor fumbled around in the dark and grabbed a board game at random before returning to the light of the kitchen, where Yuuri was getting out plates and silverware, leaving them out on the counter.  

He turned as Viktor entered, grinning, and then focused on the box in Viktor's hands before laughing.  “Chutes and Ladders? Really?”

Viktor went red and shrugged.  “Would you prefer something else?”  

Yuuri shook his head, sitting at the table again as Viktor put the board game down.  “I just can’t believe we still have this,” he replied, eyeing the worn out box.

Viktor joined him, pulling the top of the box off, and they went about setting up the game.  About halfway through their buzzer rang, and Yuuri stood to go get and pay for their food. When he came back Viktor had set out plates for them, squeezed onto their small table next to the board.  

“Here, I can help,” Viktor said with a smile, taking the food from Yuuri’s hands.  

Yuuri smiled back and let him.  “Thanks for ordering,” he said.

Without thinking, acting entirely on impulse and swept up in the domesticity of it all, Viktor leaned in to kiss his best friend on the cheek.  He came to his senses just before he was too close to recover, and ended up giving Yuuri an awkward pat on the shoulder before shuffling back again.  “Of course.”

Yuuri gave him a searching look and then shrugged.  “Um, OK.”

They both sat at the table again and Yuuri pulled out his container of pasta with a smile, while Viktor dug out his own.  They ate in companionable silence and played about half a game of Chutes and Ladders before Yuuri cleared his throat and said quietly, “Hey, Vitya?”  

Viktor looked up, humming in acknowledgement.  Yuuri moved his piece, took a bite of pasta that left a speck of sauce in the corner of his mouth, and then blurted, “You’d tell me if you liked anyone, right?”  

Viktor’s heart skipped a beat.  Very carefully regulating his expression, he said slowly, “What do you mean by like?”  He looked up just in time to see Yuuri lick his lips, cheeks flushed.  

“Romantically,” Yuuri clarified firmly.  “Like a crush, or a partner.”

Viktor picked at his dinner. “Of course I’d tell you,” he replied.  “How come?”

“So do you?” Yuuri asked, avoiding Viktor’s eyes.  “Like anyone?”

Viktor hesitated.  “No,” he said finally.  “I don’t like anyone.” He smiled, pressed his index finger to his lips.  “Do you?”

“Nope!” Yuuri said very quickly.  His eyes darted up.

“What’s this about, Yuuri?” Viktor asked, putting down his fork and resting his chin on his palm.  Yuuri sighed softly, setting down his own fork and pushing his container of takeout pasta away. “Viktor,” he said.  “Do you, um. Do you remember that conversation we had in college?”

Viktor raised an eyebrow.  “We had a lot of conversations in college,” he replied.  “We were roommates for three years.”

Yuuri gave him a look.  “We were a little drunk,” he added, his voice still soft.  “It was right after I got dumped.” He looked away. “Never mind, it was a long time ago, you probably don’t even remember-”  

“I remember,” Viktor whispered, his heart in his throat.  “The conversation where we promised to get married to each other if we hadn’t fallen in love with someone else.”  

Yuuri looked up, and then nodded slowly.  “You turn 35 pretty soon,” he murmured.

Viktor leaned forward, reaching out, but didn’t take Yuuri’s hand.  “Yuuri, is this a proposal?” he asked breathlessly.

Yuuri shrugged a little uncomfortably.  “I completely understand if- I mean, we were really drunk, and I- I know that you’ve always wanted to find someone to settle down with, you know, romantically, and-”  

Viktor leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest, and then smiled.  “You know what?” he said, his voice sounding much steadier than he felt. “Let’s do it.”  

Yuuri’s head jerked up in surprise, his eyes widening behind his glasses.  “What?”

Viktor grinned, even as his heartbeat sped up.  What was he saying?  “Let’s do it,” Viktor repeated.  

Yuuri met his eyes, a slow smile curling his lips.  Viktor had never been more in love with his best friend in his entire life.  

“Alright,” Yuuri agreed, his eyes sparkling, blushing adorably.  “Let’s get married. For the tax benefits, of course.”

It was all Viktor could do to stop himself from kissing Yuuri then and there.

Chapter Text

“So,” Viktor said after a beat of silence.  “How are we going to do this?” 

Yuuri inhaled, exhaled, his mouth dry.  He had just proposed to his best friend, and Viktor had said yes.  Yuuri was reeling. 

“Yuuri?” Viktor said, his voice softer, and Yuuri managed to meet his eyes.  “Um, sorry,” he mumbled, embarrassed, and then steeled himself.  He was the one who had brought the issue up, after all.  It wouldn’t do to get freaked out now. 

“Um, since this wedding is going to be platonic,” Yuuri said even as something cracked within him, “We probably don’t need to make it a big deal? If that’s OK with you?” 

Viktor smiled at him.  “Yeah, that’s fine,” he agreed.  “No ceremony necessary.” 

Yuuri slipped his glasses off his face, rubbing thoughtfully at the lenses with the hem of his shirt, and then said, “I’d need to do some research, but I think we could probably get married legally with a judge and a couple of witnesses?” 

“We should definitely do some research,” Viktor laughed.  “Before we rush into anything, at least.”  He pulled out his phone and started Googling while Yuuri quietly cleaned up their board game.  He suspected they wouldn’t get the chance to finish it. 

“OK,” Viktor said quietly, pausing a moment to shovel the last of his dinner into his mouth.  “So I think all we need is ID and witnesses, and then we can just get married down at the courthouse?” 

“OK,” Yuuri said softly, his heart in his throat.  Even though he was the one who had suggested this idea, it suddenly seemed to be moving so fast. 

“And we should probably tell people,” Viktor mused.  “Your family, my parents, some of our friends.  Yuuri!  Do you want to get rings?” 

Yuuri jumped a little, and then considered that.  Some selfish, wishful part of him absolutely loved the idea of having a ring on his finger, seeing an identical ring on Viktor’s finger.  Almost like they were really married. 

“Yeah, we can look around,” Yuuri agreed.  “It can’t hurt, I guess.” 

Viktor shut off his phone, setting it next to him on the table with a quiet sigh,  “And I guess if we’re really going to get married, we should talk about what happens if one or the other of us falls in love with someone else,” he said seriously. 

Yuuri bit his lower lip.  He was fairly certain that he would never love someone like he loved Viktor, but… he also knew Viktor didn’t feel the same way about him.  “Divorce, I guess?” he suggested.  “Obviously since this is a completely platonic wedding, there would be no hard feelings if we got divorced so one of us could be with someone else.” 

Viktor smiled again, and it didn’t quite reach his eyes.  “Great!” he chirped.  “Good to get that figured out.”  He glanced at the clock over their sink, and then said, “I’m going to go call my moms, OK?  And let them know what we’re doing?” 

“Yep, sure,” Yuuri said, forcing a smile.  “I’ll call my parents as well.” 

Viktor got up and put his takeout container in the trash before leaning over, giving Yuuri a slightly awkward shoulder hug.  “Don’t worry about this,” he whispered in Yuuri’s ear.  “We’ll be OK, we’ll figure this out.” 

Yuuri nodded, numb, and after one last squeeze Viktor disappeared off down the hall.  Yuuri closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead, sighing quietly.  After a moment he retreated to his own room, making sure to close the door behind himself.  Through the thin walls of their apartment, Yuuri could hear Viktor in his own room on the phone. 

Yuuri covered his face with his hands and flopped onto his bed, suddenly feeling very in over his head.  After a moment of hesitation he grabbed his phone and sent off a text to his friend and colleague, Phichit Chulanont, before opening his contacts and staring at his mother’s name.  He really should call his parents, tell them what was going on.  Even though they would probably be upset about missing his and Viktor’s “wedding.” 

But it was probably too early in Japan for Yuuri to expect anyone to be awake.  Or maybe that was an excuse. 

Yuuri’s phone rang, and he stared at the screen for a moment before answering. 

“You’re doing WHAT?” Phichit yelled on the other end in lieu of a greeting. 

Yuuri winced.  “Hey.” 

“Yuuri,” Phichit said, loud enough that he didn’t sound quite as calm as he probably wanted to. “Spill, come on!” 

Yuuri sighed pensively.  Maybe he shouldn’t have texted Phichit.  Or maybe it had been a good idea.  Maybe Phichit would talk some sense into him.  “Pretty much exactly what I said,” he replied.  “Viktor and I are going to get married.  Platonically married.” 

Phichit was silent for a long moment.  “Just to clarify,” he finally said.  “We’re talking about Viktor Nikiforov, right?  Your roommate, Viktor?” 

“Yes?” Yuuri squeaked. 

“The Viktor you’ve been in love with for literally fifteen years?” Phichit pressed. 

Yuuri covered his red face with his free hand, even though he knew his friend couldn’t see him.   “It hasn’t been quite that long,” he protested.  Phichit’s silence said more than words could. 

“It hasn’t!” Yuuri protested.  “After we both graduated college and went off to grad school, we didn’t see it each other for a while. And then I was living in San Francisco and he was living in Colorado and traveling was hard.  It’s not until we both moved to Detroit at about the same time and moved in together that- well, you know that story.” 

“OK, fine,” Phichit said impatiently.  “Fifteen years minus a couple in the middle.”  He sighed.  “My point is, Yuuri, that you’ve had feelings for Viktor for a long time.  Are you sure that getting married to him is a good idea?” 

Yuuri closed his eyes.  “Probably not,” he said honestly.  “But if this is as close to a relationship as I’ll ever have with him... I’ll take it.”   

Phichit sighed quietly.  “Yuuri,” he started. 

“I know,” Yuuri mumbled.  “It’s kind of pathetic.  I know.” 

“I know you probably don’t want to hear it,” Phichit said slowly.  “But maybe you should try telling him how you feel?” 

“I know he doesn’t feel the same way,” Yuuri said, only a little miserable.  “He only sees me as a friend, nothing more.” 

“Yuuri, you’re going to get your heart broken,” Phichit said pityingly. “I don’t want to see you hurt like that.  And I know you think Viktor only sees you as a friend, but if he’s your friend then he wouldn’t want to see you hurt either.  Wouldn’t it be better to get your feelings out in the open?” 

When Yuuri hesitated, Phichit added, “And, for all you know, maybe he’s in love with you too, and is afraid to tell you for the same reasons that you’re afraid to tell him.” 

Before Yuuri could answer, there came a soft knock on Yuuri’s door.  “Can I talk to you later?” Yuuri asked quietly.  “I have to go now.” 

“Yeah, I’ll call you later,” Phichit replied. 

Yuuri said goodbye and hung up his phone before calling out, “You can come in, Vitya.” 

Viktor entered, grinning sheepishly, and Yuuri tried not to stare.  His friend’s tie was loose around his neck, the sleeves of his button down rolled up his forearms and the top few buttons undone.  It was simply unfair how attractive he was. 

“Hey,” Viktor said with a gentle smile. 

Yuuri managed to smile back and set his phone down on the table beside his bed.  “Hey,” he echoed. 

Viktor’s smile widened, slightly crooked, and he sat down next to Yuuri on the bed before pulling his legs up.  “I talked to my moms,” Viktor started.  “They were... weirdly unsurprised when I said that you were the one I was marrying?”  For some reason that made him blush, and he coughed into his fist.  “Anyway.  Um.”  He made eye contact with Yuuri, who felt his heart flutter.  “I just wanted to check,” he said.  “Just to make sure.  You’re OK with this?” 

Yuuri reaches out and put a hand on one of Viktor’s knees.  “I was the one who suggested it,” he said.  “I’m sure.  Unless, um... unless you’re having second thoughts?” 

Viktor immediately shook his head.  “No, I’m sure about this,” he replied.  “We made a promise after all.” 

Yuuri grinned slightly.  “So are there really tax benefits to being married?” he asked in an attempt to lighten the tension. 

Viktor frowned thoughtfully.  “It depends,” he said.  “I guess we would be able to file out taxes jointly, but it’s different.  If you really think about it, maybe it’s-”  He paused, gazing at Yuuri with bright blue eyes.  “Oh, you were joking, weren’t you?” 

Yuuri chuckled.  “Only a little.” 

Viktor leaned forward and hugged Yuuri suddenly.  “There’s no one I’d rather get platonically married to,” he whispered. 

Yuuri swallowed hard and hugged his friend back, breathing in the scent of Viktor’s aftershave.  “I feel the same,” Yuuri whispered back, hoping his voice didn’t tremble too much.  They stayed like that for a few long, wonderful moments before Viktor let go. 

He didn’t completely move back, though- Yuuri’s pulse quickened as Viktor trailed his fingers up Yuuri’s face before brushing his bangs out of his eyes.  “You look exhausted,” he said, sounding worried. 

Yuuri bit his lip.  “It’s been a long week, that’s all,” he replied. 

Viktor studied him, his brow slightly furrowed.  “It has, hasn’t it?” he finally said.  “You know, you’re getting close to your winter break.  You get, what, two weeks off?”  Yuuri nodded.  Viktor cocked his head thoughtfully.  “You’re going to visit your family in Japan, right?” he asked.  “Could I… Could I come with you?  Maybe?  It’s OK if you don’t want me to.  I could take off time from work.  It might be nice, to get away from it all for a while and spend some time with you.”  He smiled nervously.  “You could even call it a honeymoon, if you wanted.” 

Yuuri played with the hem of his sleeve.  “I don’t know,” he said.  “Are you sure?  I already have a plane ticket, but it might be kind of expensive for you to get one at this point.” 

Viktor waved a hand.  “It’s not like we’re living outside of our means, I have some money saved up,” he replied.  He rested his chin on his palm thoughtfully.  “I’ve never been to Japan before,” he said.  “Your family runs an inn, right?  Would they let me stay too?” 

Yuuri stared at him.  “Are you sure you want to go to Japan with me?” he said slowly.  “You have enough vacation time?” 

Viktor gave him wide doe eyes.  “My future husband doesn’t want me to meet his parents?” he joked. 

Yuuri choked on his spit and then turned away, blushing furiously.  “You don’t have to say it like that!” 

Viktor pouted at him, resting his head on Yuuri’s shoulder.  “Aw, don’t be mean,” he said lightly. 

Yuuri cautiously reached out, slid an arm around his friend’s shoulders.  “Why do you want to go to Japan?” Yuuri asked. 

Viktor shrugged.  “You’ve met my parents,” he said.  “But I’ve never gotten the chance to meet your family, especially if we’re going to get married.” 

Yuuri kind of hated himself, hated how his heart seemed to skip a beat every time Viktor reminded him that they were going to get married. “I don’t know,” Yuuri mumbled.  “I mean if you really want to come, I can’t stop you?  You should get plane tickets soon, though.  It’s already kind of late, honestly.  And I’d have to talk to my parents, make sure they would be OK if you came to stay at the onsen as well.  And-” 

Viktor hugged Yuuri again, and he fell silent.  “It was just a thought, it’s OK,” Viktor murmured.  “We’ve both been so busy lately, I don’t get to see you as much as I’d like, I thought it might be… nice.  To spend some time with you without worrying about anything.  That’s all.  I understand completely if you’d rather have your vacation to yourself.” 

Yuuri smiled tentatively, hugged his best friend back.  Viktor held him tightly.  “There are a lot of things we need to figure out,” he said.  “But we can talk about that tomorrow.” 

Yuuri nodded.  “Right.” 

Viktor suddenly cupped Yuuri’s face with one hand, gazing deep into his eyes.  Yuuri swallowed hard, and licked his lips unconsciously.  Viktor’s eyes darted down to follow the movement. 

“Yuuri,” he said very, very quietly, his voice achingly tender. 

“Yes?” Yuuri breathed. 

Viktor hesitated, indecision clear in his bright eyes.  “Yuuri, I-” Viktor started, and then Yuuri’s phone buzzed with a text on the table beside his bed.  Both men jerked apart. 

“Um, sorry,” Yuuri said a little too loudly, turning away to hide his blotchy, flushed face.  He picked up his phone, glancing at the screen to see a text from his sister, but he was too frazzled to read it.  “What were you saying?” Yuuri asked, turning back to Viktor once (he hoped) his blush was under control. 

Viktor smiled slightly, flicked his bangs out of his eyes, stood.  “It’s alright, I wasn’t going to say anything important,” he replied, and then reached down and patted Yuuri’s shoulder.  “We should both get some sleep, I’ll see you tomorrow.” He moved to leave, and then paused in the doorway.  Half in shadow, dimly lit by warm light from the lamp on Yuuri’s desk, his clothes slightly rumpled and his expression soft, Viktor looked beautiful. 

Yuuri’s breath caught in his throat.  “Good night, Vitya,” he said, his voice hoarse. 

Viktor smiled slowly back, something almost wistful in his eyes.  “Good night, Yuuri.  Sleep well.” 

Yuuri nodded, and then flopped back and covered his face with his pillow once the door had closed behind Viktor.  There was no way he was going to be able to sleep after that.

***

“Yuuuuuri,” Viktor said, wrapping his arms around Yuuri’s shoulders from behind as Yuuri sat at their kitchen table the next night, sullenly drinking tea and contemplating the small stack of papers he still had to finish grading. 

“Hey, Vitya,” Yuuri sighed.  “What’s up?” 

“How much work do you have?” Viktor asked sympathetically, absently playing with Yuuri’s hair. 

Yuuri closed his eyes, leaning into Viktor’s touch a little.  “I can finish it later,” he said. 

“Do you want to go out to dinner tonight?” Viktor asked. 

Yuuri opened his eyes and looked up at his friend.  “How come?” 

Viktor smiled, his eyes sparkling.  “No reason.” 

Yuuri shrugged, finishing off his tea and pushing away his pile of essays to grade.  “Sure, what the hell.” 

Viktor snuggled close again, burying his face in the back of Yuuri’s neck.  “Good, I’ve made a reservation for us.” 

Yuuri laughed in spite of himself.  “Alright,” he replied.  “Should I change my clothes, if this place is fancy enough to warrant a reservation?” 

“No, you’re perfect the way you are,” Viktor chirped. 

Yuuri’s eyes widened, but by the time he had turned around Viktor was gone, rummaging around in the entranceway.  Yuuri took a deep breath to steady himself and then stood, shuffling his papers and finishing his last gulp of tea before turning off the kitchen light.  Viktor was waiting for him by the door, busy on his phone. 

He glanced up when Yuuri approached, and grinned.  “All ready?” 

Distracted by the warmth of Viktor’s expression as he gazed at Yuuri and swept up in his friend’s excitement, Yuuri nodded and grabbed his shoes, neglecting even to put on a coat.  Viktor only noticed once they got outside, and clucked disapprovingly. 

“Yuuri,” he started. 

Yuuri wrapped his arms around himself and tried not to shiver in only his button down.  “I’m fine,” he promised.  “This place is within walking distance, right?” 

Viktor nodded, staring pensively at Yuuri, and then suddenly shrugged out of his overcoat before swinging it around Yuuri’s shoulders.  Yuuri squawked, trying to protest, but Viktor hugged him to keep the coat on. 

“I’m Russian, Yuuri, I’ll be fine,” he murmured in Yuuri’s ear.  “I don’t want you to be too cold.” 

Yuuri surrendered and snuggled a little deeper into the coat, pressing his face for a moment against the collar.  It smelled like Viktor. 

“Great!” Viktor said happily, and although he stopped hugging Yuuri he kept one arm around his waist.  Yuuri tried to control his blush, tried to control the anxious, hopeful fluttering in his chest.  Viktor had always been a tactile person.  There was absolutely no way his extra hugs and touches meant anything. 

No way at all. 

Viktor and Yuuri reached the restaurant, a small, cozy Italian place, and Viktor didn’t let go until they were led to a table.  Viktor took his coat back, hanging it on the back of one chair, and then pulled out the other chair with a teasing grin in Yuuri’s direction.  Yuuri rolled his eyes but sat, grinning in spite of himself. 

Viktor plopped down across from him, and immediately leaned forward.  “So, Yuuuuuri,” he said, drawing Yuuri’s name out in a sing song.  “Are you excited for the wedding?” 

Yuuri tried valiantly not to blush.  He was only partly successful.  “Sure, I’m excited,” he replied.  “Oh, did I tell you?  Phichit said he would be one of the witnesses.” 

“That’s good,” Viktor said with a serious nod.  “And Chris said he would be the other one, so we’re all set.”  He picked at the table cloth with one finger, and then said, “My parents probably aren’t going to be able to come up.” 

“Oh, Vitya, I’m sorry,” Yuuri said, reaching across the table and putting his hand over Viktor’s. 

Viktor shrugged slightly.  “I told them I didn’t expect them to,” he replied.  “My mom has been having some trouble with her knees lately, and Mama isn’t sure it would be good for them to go on a plane.  And they’re… um…” 

“Do they not want you to marry me?”  Yuuri asked, his heart in his throat when Viktor hesitated. 

Viktor immediately shook his head.  “No, it’s not that,” he replied.  “Yuuri, you know they really like you.  They just…” He went red.  “They want me to marry someone because I’m inlovewiththem,” he said quickly.  “Not.  Um.  Not for the tax benefits.  So to speak.” 

Yuuri pressed his lips together, absently rubbing the back of Viktor’s hand with his thumb.  Viktor's fingers twitched, and Yuuri quickly pulled his hand away, not wanting to push Viktor. 

“We could still date other people even when we’re ‘married,’” he said slowly, even though the words left a bad taste in his mouth. 

“My parents wanted me to, um… to tell you, um,” Viktor said, stammering and looking away. 

Yuuri frowned worriedly.  “Tell me what?” he coaxed. 

“I’m, um,” Viktor said, looking very uncomfortable. 

“It’s alright, Vitya.  You’re my best friend, you don’t need to tell me if you can’t,” Yuuri said comfortingly. 

Viktor looked down at the table, and when he looked back up he was smiling.  “I guess they’re just worried about how it will look,” he said just a little too brightly.  “You know, if we’re married but looking to date other people.  It might look like we’re cheating on each other.” 

Yuuri chewed on his lip.  That was something he hadn’t considered.  “Well, no one will really know we’re married,” he replied.  “I mean, it’s not like it’s… not like it’s romantic?”  Viktor didn’t seem to notice the way Yuuri’s voice cracked and broke. 

“I mean, I don’t know if it will be an issue,” Viktor said.  “I mean, we’ve both gotten to 35 without getting married.” 

“Vitya, 35 really isn’t that old,” Yuuri sighed.  He shrugged, and then said, “I don’t want you to… to not be able to find love because you’re contractually married to me.” 

Saying those words felt like chewing glass.  The horrible, selfish part of Yuuri wanted Viktor all to himself, forever.  Maybe Viktor didn’t love him romantically, but sometimes… sometimes Yuuri could dream, could pretend.  Even though it hurt. 

“I’m not really interested in dating anyone else right now,” Viktor said cheerfully, and then his eyes widened.  “Um, not else.  I’m not interested in dating anyone right now.  That’s what I meant.  Not enough hours in the day, you know?” 

Yuuri had to laugh at that.  “That’s fair.” 

The course of their conversation changed, light and easy.  It had always been so easy with Viktor, Yuuri decided with a smile as Viktor talked to their waitress, ordering them wine to share.  It had always been so simple.  Viktor was easy to talk to, easy to spend time with.  He was sweet and funny and kind, and had always known exactly how to meet Yuuri where he was. 

It was no wonder Yuuri had fallen head over heels for him, even if that love was unrequited. 

“Hey, Yuuri,” Viktor said, turning his attention back to his companion as their waitress left again. 

Yuuri smiled.  “Hey, Vitya,” he replied. 

Viktor gently nudged his ankle and then said, “So, I’ve been thinking…” 

Yuuri gave him a look of mock surprise, and Viktor stuck out his tongue. 

“OK, you’ve been thinking, I can buy that,” Yuuri said with a teasing grin.  Viktor fidgeted, suddenly looking a little apprehensive. 

“Vitya, are you OK?” Yuuri asked. 

Viktor looked up, and then said firmly, “If we’re going to get married, even though it’s… platonic, I’ve been thinking.  Maybe we should do it right?” 

“What do you mean by right?” Yuuri said suspiciously. 

Viktor leaned over, digging in the pocket of his coat, and then pulled out a small, felt covered box before setting it on the table.  Yuuri stared at him with wide eyes. 

“Vitya?” he said breathlessly.  “Is that what I think it is?” 

Viktor smiled crookedly.  “Technically, no,” he said, and then popped open the box to reveal the two golden rings inside of it. 

“Vitya, oh my god,” Yuuri whispered. 

“Don’t worry,” Viktor said.  “They were being sold as good luck charms, so I didn’t exactly break the bank to get them.  But… no one could stop us from repurposing them?  Only if you want, though.  I know we kind of talked about this, but...”  He trailed off, shrugged. 

Yuuri reached out, brushed his finger over the cool gold of one of the rings.  “Yes,” he murmured.  Even though he knew it didn’t mean anything, he desperately wanted Viktor’s ring on his finger. 

Viktor smiled, his cheeks pink, and then took one of the rings out of the box.  “Can I?” he asked softly, and Yuuri could only nod, his heart in his throat.  Tenderly, Viktor took Yuuri’s hand and slid the ring onto his right ring finger.  “In America, I know people having engagement and wedding rings on their left ring fingers,” he said quietly.  “But in Russia people put them on the right.” 

Yuuri swallowed, his mouth dry, his eyes prickling, and looked up to meet Viktor’s gaze.  His friend was watching him, lower lip caught between his teeth, eyes bright. 

Sometimes Yuuri caught Viktor watching him with something in his expression, something that Viktor tried to hide when he noticed that Yuuri had caught him watching.  But now, as he studied Yuuri as though his face held the secrets to the universe, Viktor wasn’t even bothering to hide that something. 

For a moment, Yuuri wondered… And then pushed that thought away. 

“Should I put the other ring on you?” he asked, his voice hoarse. 

“If you want,” Viktor replied. 

His hands trembling, Yuuri took the other ring out of the box and then very carefully slid it onto Viktor’s ring finger.  He exhaled slightly, staring down at Viktor’s hand in his, the gold of their rings warm against their skin.  Its weight was unfamiliar to Yuuri, but he knew without a doubt that there was nothing he would rather get used to. 

“Perfect,” Viktor breathed, and when Yuuri looked up again his friend’s eyes looked a little watery. 

“So this is doing it right?” Yuuri asked, trying to hide the fact that his heart felt like it was going to smash through his ribcage at any moment. 

Viktor nodded.  “I think so,” he replied.  “This feels right.” 

Yuuri gripped his best friend’s hand, the best he could get to a hug with the table between them.  “This feels right,” he agreed. 

As Viktor smiled at him from across the table, beautiful, radiant, nothing had ever felt more right than being in love with him.

Chapter Text

Viktor held his hand up to the light, admiring the ring on his finger. 

At his side, Chris nudged him in the ribs.  “If you admire that any more you’re going to blind yourself from the flare,” he teased. 

Viktor raised an eyebrow, giving him a playful glare.  “Don’t worry about me,” he said casually, flicking his bangs out of his eyes.  “if there’s anything I would want to be blinded by, it’s a ring that Katsuki Yuuri slid on my finger.” 

Chris gave him an appraising look.  “You’re sure you’re alright to go through with this?” he asked.  “Anyone with eyes can tell that you’re super in love with Yuuri, are you sure you’ll be alright marrying him for the wrong reasons?”

“I’ll be just fine,” Viktor promised breezily.  He tilted his hand slightly, admiring the way the dim lamp in his and Yuuri’s living room bounced off the warm gold. 

“If you say so,” Chris sighed. 

There was a shuffling sound in the hallway and then Yuuri’s friend Phichit poked his head in.  “Hey, guys,” he said with a grin.  “What are we talking about?” 

Viktor blushed a little, and he desperately hoped Phichit hadn’t heard any of his conversation with Chris.  He knew Phichit was close with Yuuri, probably told him things, and if Yuuri ever found out about Viktor’s embarrassingly large crush, then...

“Oh nothing,” Chris said with an easy smile.  “Just talking about how Viktor is an idiot.” 

Phichit’s grin changed slightly, his eyes sparkling.  “Oh?” 

Yuuri called something from his room, and Phichit glanced over his shoulder.  “Yuuri said he’s almost ready,” Phichit relayed.  He cocked his head thoughtfully.  “How are we getting to the courthouse?” 

Viktor glanced at his watch.  “I don’t know, we’re cutting it a little close,” he said.  “Maybe a cab?”  Phichit gave him two thumbs up, and then straightened and moved out of the doorway to let Yuuri through. 

“Sorry, I’m ready to go,” Yuuri said, looking more than a little flustered.  Viktor’s heart thudded almost painfully in his chest.  Yuuri looked unfairly cute on a daily basis, whether he was in formal clothes after a day of work or his old and slightly too large pajamas, but now... he was amazing.  His hair was slicked back and he had forgone his glasses for contacts.  Viktor tried not to let his eyes wander too much, even though the dark blue dress shirt Yuuri had bought specifically for their wedding clung very attractively to his shoulders and upper arms, and his dark dress pants hugged his thighs. 

Yuuri bit his lip, studying Viktor.  “You, um,” he said slowly, “You look nice.” 

Viktor blushed a little harder, and straightened his tie self-consciously.  “Thanks.”  He glanced sideways and caught Phichit and Chris making faces at each other. 

Yuuri coughed quietly into his hand and then muttered, “Ready to go?” 

Viktor nodded quickly.  “Yep.  Definitely ready.” 

Yuuri flashed him a tight, nervous smile.  “Let’s, then.” 

“I’m so glad to see the husbands-to-be communicating so effectively,” Phichit said dramatically, pressing his hands to his chest.

Chris muttered something that sounded suspiciously like “Not effectively enough, maybe.”  Viktor glared at him. 

“Anyway,” Yuuri mumbled, and started herding people towards the door.  Viktor grabbed both his and Yuuri’s coats, patting his pockets to make sure he had his wallet and phone, and then waited a little impatiently with Phichit and Chris while Yuuri locked the apartment door.  Yuuri took his coat from Viktor’s hands with a grateful smile and a murmured thanks. 

The four caught a cab once they were down in the sidewalk, Phichit, Yuuri, and Viktor cramming in the back while Chris sat in the front.  As Chris gave the driver the address of the courthouse, Viktor gently nudged Yuuri and then murmured, “Are you doing alright?” 

Yuuri nodded, and then to Viktor’s surprise reached over and took his hand, lacing their fingers together.  “I’m kind of excited, actually,” he admitted, sounding a little embarrassed. 

Viktor smiled at him.  “So am I.” 

Yuuri squeezed his hand, and Viktor’s heart skipped a beat.  Even though he knew it didn’t mean anything.  Friends held hands all the time.  He and Yuuri had held hands before, in a completely platonic way (at least in Yuuri’s side of the equation, probably).  It didn’t mean anything that they were holding hands on the way to their wedding. 

“You guys have everything all ready, right?” Phichit asked, leaning over to make eye contact with Viktor.  Viktor nodded. 

“We’ve already filed all the necessary paperwork,” Yuuri said, and then shifted anxiously, his thought pressing up against Viktor’s.  “I hope we did, anyway.” 

Viktor gave his hand a reassuring squeeze.  “I double checked,” he promised.  “This is just going to make it official.  We’re basically almost there.” 

Yuuri smiled up at him, his eyes bright.  “I’m glad.” 

“Me too,” Viktor whispered. 

“Who needs a wedding, you two are already basically a married couple,” Phichit chuckled, and both Viktor and Yuuri blushed furiously. 

“Phichit!” Yuuri squawked, elbowing his friend in the side.  “We’re just friends!” 

Viktor turned his face away, staring sightlessly out the window.  Phichit said something to Yuuri in a low voice, something that Viktor couldn’t quite catch, and

Viktor loosened his grip on Yuuri’s hand just in case Yuuri wanted to let go.  But their fingers stayed laced together for the entire cab ride.  Viktor tried not to enjoy it too much, even when Yuuri leaned against him and rested his cheek on Viktor’s shoulder, or when the warm metal of Yuuri’s ring brushed against his hand. 

Viktor’s nerves built as they reached the courthouse and got out of the taxi, and Yuuri pulled him aside while Chris and Phichit paid the driver.  “Are you sure you’re alright?” Yuuri said, holding both of Viktor’s hands in his.  “You look really pale, and a little sick.” 

Viktor took a couple of deep breaths, in through his nose and out through his mouth, and that helped a little to settle the butterflies in his stomach.  “I promise I’m alright,” he said.  “I’m just a little nervous.  That’s all.” 

Yuuri nodded.  “I just want to make sure I’m not pushing you into anything,” he mumbled. 

“You’re not,” Viktor said immediately.  He squeezed Yuuri’s fingers, making eye contact. 

Yuuri’s lips parted slightly, and a light blush swept across his cheeks.  “OK,” Yuuri whispered. 

“I’m not pushing you into anything, right?” Viktor checked with a small smile, and Yuuri quickly shook his head. 

“No, no, absolutely not, nothing like that,” he was quick to assure Viktor. 

Viktor’s smile widened slightly.  “Then remember that I feel the same way you do,” he said. 

Yuuri blinked.  Blinked again.  “You… feel the same way?” he said hesitantly.  “You mean…”  He trailed off, and seemed to want Viktor to fill in the blanks. 

Viktor frowned slightly.  “Of course,” he said.  “I feel the same way.  I don’t feel like you’re pushing me into getting married, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re pushing me into getting married.  This is a mutual agreement, even if we aren’t… aren’t in love.”  It made Viktor feel sick to say those words, but it almost seemed to help. 

Yuuri’s eyes darted away, and he nodded quickly.  “Right.  Yes.  Of course.” 

“Come on,” Chris called, and when Viktor looked up he found his friend and Phichit already halfway up the steps of the courthouse.  “You’re going to be late to your own damn wedding,” Chris said with a teasing smile.  “Hurry up!” 

Yuuri looked up at Viktor, and then quickly hugged him. Viktor gasped slightly when Yuuri pressed against him, his arms slipping around Viktor’s waist, and then carefully hugged him back.  Yuuri pressed his face against Viktor’s shoulder, and Viktor buried his face in Yuuri’s hair. 

“Alright,” Yuuri said, his voice a little muffled.  “Let’s do this.” 

They walked hand in hand up the steps of the courthouse to where Chris and Phichit were waiting.  “You have everything?” Phichit checked one last time before they entered. 

Yuuri nodded.  “Yep.” 

The four walked in together, and were almost immediately met at the door by a judge in dark robes.  “Mr. Nikiforov and Mr. Katsuki?” she asked.

Viktor smiled nervously back.  “That’s us.” 

“Congratulations,” she said with a smile. 

“Thanks,” Yuuri said softly. 

The judge led them through the halls of the building to a small courtroom.  “I expect this is alright?” the judge said, and both Yuuri and Viktor nodded.  The judge smiled, and took her place behind a short wooden lectern.  “Alright, stand and face each other,” she said.  Viktor and Yuuri did as they were told. 

The judge looked up and nodded politely to Chris and Phichit.  “You can film from wherever you want, if you like,” she said.  Phichit, who already had his phone in his hands, flashed her a grateful smile.  “Ready to begin?” the judge asked kindly, and waited for Viktor and Yuuri both to nod before she began to speak. 

Viktor tried to listen, he really did.  Even though it was platonic, he wanted to pay attention during his wedding.  But Yuuri was so… distracting.  So beautifully, painfully Yuuri.  As the judge spoke, Yuuri watched Viktor with gentle eyes, smiling a smile Viktor had never seen before.  If he ignored their surroundings, forgot the circumstances, Viktor could almost pretend (like he wanted) that they were getting married for real. 

“Viktor,” the judge said, and Viktor startled, looking up.  She smiled at him.  “Viktor,” she said again.  “Do you take Yuuri Katsuki to be your lawfully wedded spouse?” 

Viktor licked his chapped lips, his mouth dry.  “I do,” he said. 

“Yuuri, do you take Viktor Nikiforov to be your lawfully wedded spouse?” the judge asked Yuuri. 

Yuuri immediately answered, “I do.” 

The judge’s smile widened.  “Do you both promise to love and comfort each other, to support each other in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity?” 

Viktor locked eyes with Yuuri again.  “Yes,” they murmured at the same time. 

“I see you already have rings,” the judge said, sounding pleased.  “Do either of you have any other vows you’d like to say to each other?”  Viktor shook his head, but to his shock Yuuri nodded. 

“I… I do,” he said.  With trembling hands he reached out and took Viktor’s hands in his.  “Viktor, you’ve been one of my closest friends for years,” he said very quietly.  “You’ve stood by me when things were hard for both of us, and I’m so glad we reconnected when we moved back to the same city.  You always meet me where I am, Viktor, and I’m so lucky to have you in my life.  I…”  He took a deep breath and shifted a little closer, never breaking eye contact.  “I-” 

When Yuuri broke off, Viktor whispered, “Yuuri?” 

Yuuri worried his lower lip between his teeth.  “I’m really glad we’re doing this,” he finished quickly.  “I’m glad I’ll always have you to support me.”  He glanced quickly at the judge.  “Um.  That’s all I have to say.” 

“Yuuri,” Viktor said quietly.  “You’re my best friend, and I… really care about you.  I’m glad I’ll always have you to support me, too.  You don’t know how much you mean to me.” 

They gazed into each other eyes, and Viktor almost imagined he saw real love in Yuuri’s. 

“Then by virtue of the authority vested in me,” the judge said, “I pronounce you married.  You may kiss the groom.” 

Yuuri’s eyes widened slightly. 

“Um,” Viktor said a little awkwardly. 

Yuuri hesitated, and then stood on his tiptoes and pecked Viktor on the cheek, so quickly Viktor almost missed it. 

“They’re a little shy about public displays of affection,” Chris said quickly from where he was standing next to the filming, teary-eyed Phichit. 

Yuuri nodded, and Viktor managed to numbly do the same.  His cheek tingled slightly where Yuuri’s soft lips had touched, and if Viktor tried hard enough he could almost still feel the phantom kiss.  He was never washing his face again. 

Congratulations on your marriage!” Phichit yelled excitedly, putting his phone away before pouncing on Yuuri, bundling him into a hug.  Yuuri laughed, hugging Phichit back. 

“Well done, mon ami,” Chris said with a smirk, slinging an arm around Viktor’s shoulders.  “You’re a married man, now.” 

Slowly, a goofy grin stretched across Viktor’s face.  “Yeah,” he said.  “I guess I am.” 

“I have your marriage certificate here whenever you’re all ready,” the judge said patiently.  “For both grooms and the witnesses to sign.” 

Almost at the same time, Chris and Phichit shoved Yuuri and Viktor over.  Viktor laughed as he bumped into Yuuri, and Yuuri leaned against him with a smile.  They quickly signed the marriage certificate, and moved aside for Chris and Phichit to do the same. 

“I’ll file this tomorrow,” the judge said.  “You’re free to leave when you’re ready.  Again, congratulations!” 

“Thanks,” Viktor said. 

“Come on, come on, let’s all get dinner or something,” Phichit said excitedly.  “I’ll even pay.” 

“We can split it,” Chris offered.  “We’re technically the best men, after all.” 

“We are the best men,” Phichit agreed with a wide grin.  He practically jumped on Yuuri again, wrapping his arms around his friend.  “Wow, Yuuri, I can’t believe you’re married!” 

“Me neither,” Yuuri laughed a little breathlessly, and looked up at Viktor happily.  Viktor smiled back, his heart fluttering.  If Yuuri kept doing that, looking at him like that, with so much love and affection in his eyes, Viktor was sure he was going to burst. 

“I know a great place for dinner,” Phichit babbled happily as they left the courthouse. “It’s pretty close, we can walk.” 

“At least you have your coat this time,” Viktor said in a low voice to Yuuri, walking a little slower to let Chris and Phichit go a little ahead. 

Yuuri laughed.  “Yeah, thanks to you,” he replied.  His breath puffed out in a cloud in front of him, his cheeks pink and a few strands of hair escaped from his hair gel to hang over his forehead.  He was probably- absolutely, definitely- the most beautiful thing Viktor had ever seen.  “So,” Yuuri said quietly.  He stepped over a patch of ice on the sidewalk and drifted closer to Viktor.  Their hands brushed together, Yuuri’s skin cool against his, and both men jerked apart slightly. 

“Sorry,” Viktor mumbled, flushing. 

“It’s OK, you’re OK,” Yuuri blurted in reply.  They stared at each other a moment and then both started to laugh. 

“We’re married,” Viktor said gleefully. 

“We’re married,” Yuuri echoed, sounding just as stupidly happy.  He reached out and looped his arm through Viktor’s.  “So, husband,” he teased with a crooked smile.  “How does it feel to be married?” 

“I don’t know, husband,” Viktor teased back.  “How does it feel for you?” 

Yuuri giggled, and Viktor’s heart soared.  He was glad that, even though he couldn’t date Yuuri like he really wanted to, their marriage hadn’t hurt their friendship.  He had been a little nervous that after he and Yuuri became legally married their friendship would change for the worse.  He never wanted Yuuri to be awkward or uncomfortable around him just because they had gotten married for the tax benefits. 

But Yuuri seemed just fine, just as comfortable around him as ever, and some previously unrealized weight on Viktor’s shoulders lifted.  They were going to be fine.  They had been friends for years, their friendship would definitely be able to last through marriage. 

“Here it is,” Phichit called from ahead, and led the four of them into the warm, busy foyer of a Japanese restaurant. 

“Is this alright?” Yuuri asked, looking around as Viktor took off his coat, warm. 

Viktor looked around as well, and smiled.  “Yep, this is good.”  he said.  They were quickly seated at a table in the back, and Viktor made a point of pulling Yuuri’s chair out for him before quickly sitting down beside him. 

“Aw, how romantic,” Phichit teased. 

“Just like husbands,” Chris added, resting his chin on one hand and batting his eyelashes at Viktor. 

Viktor and Yuuri both blushed, and looked at each other.  “They’re never going to let us forget this, are they?” Yuuri said.

“Nope,” Viktor replied.  “Maybe we shouldn’t have told them we were getting married.” 

“I should hope you wouldn’t do that,” Chris said indignantly. 

“Yuuri, my dearest friend,” Phichit added.  “Do you know how much shit I’m going to give you about this?  It would be twice as bad if you got married without telling me.” 

Yuuri sighed, leaning over to hide his face against Viktor’s shoulder.  “Save me, Vitya,” he whined. 

Ignoring the coos from Chris and Phichit, Viktor patted Yuuri a little awkwardly on the head.  “I don’t know if I can save both of us, lapochka, but I can try.” 

“Lapochka?” Yuuri repeated, raising his face to give Viktor a questioning look. 

Viktor blushed up to his ears.  He hadn’t meant to say that, it had just slipped out- he hadn’t even really noticed until Yuuri pointed it out.  “Um, bunny,” he replied.  “It’s, um, it’s an endearment?” 

Yuuri studied him, somehow harder to read without his glasses, and then nodded.  “Oh, OK,” he replied.  “That’s kind of cute.”  Viktor didn’t know what to say.  He looked down at the table. 

“Oh my god, they’re already calling each other pet names!” he thought he heard Phichit hiss to Chris. 

Clearing his throat, Viktor busied himself with the menu.  “So have you been here before?” he asked Yuuri, who nodded. 

“A couple of times,” he replied. 

Viktor flipped a page on the menu, trying to decide what he wanted.  “And how authentic is it?  Compared to Japan, I mean.” 

Yuuri shrugged.  “Not bad for America,” he replied.  “You’ll see what I mean once we get to Japan.”  He straightened, and clamped his mouth shut, eyes darting to Phichit and Chris watching avidly from across the table. 

“Oh, what was that?” Chris said delightedly. “Are you two perhaps going on a honeymoon?” 

Yuuri covered his red cheeks with his hands.  “I’m going to Japan during the school I teach at’s winter break, to visit my family,” he explained calmly.  “Vitya decided he wanted to come with me, so we’re going to be traveling together.  It’s just a trip, not a honeymoon.” 

Viktor grinned wickedly.  “I mean, it could be a honeymoon,” he said with a grin.  “Technically.” 

That did nothing to help Yuuri’s blush.  “Vitya,” he complained. 

“We’re not calling it a honeymoon,” Viktor relented, scooting his chair over a little so he and Yuuri were definitely, unarguably in each other’s space.  “But I did think it would be fun to travel together, and Yuuri said his parents were alright with me coming to stay as well.” 

“That’s a little last minute,” Chris said thoughtfully, studying Viktor. 

Viktor gave him a suspicious look.  “Maybe a little?  I’ve already given notice at work that I won’t be in.” 

Chris pouted slightly.  “Leaving me all alone?” 

“To go on his honeymoon,” Yuuri said, looking annoyed, and then blushed as his eyes widened. 

“Yuuri, are you jealous?” Phichit asked, his eyes shining. 

“No,” Yuuri mumbled very unconvincingly. 

“Hey, Yuuri,” Chris said.  “Are you coming as Viktor’s plus one to the office party?” 

“The what?” Yuuri asked. 

“Viktor, you didn’t tell him?” Chris said in surprise.  He turned his attention back to Yuuri.  “Our office is having a holiday party this year, and every employee is allowed to bring a plus one.  I had assumed Viktor would bring his husband.” 

He gave Viktor a pointed look, and Viktor glared back.  “It just hadn’t come up,” he shot back. 

Yuuri gave him a tiny smile.  “Don’t worry about it, I completely understand if you don’t want me-” 

“No!” Viktor said, much too loud for the conversation, and the people at the next table over stared at them.  “No,” Viktor said again, slightly quieter.  “I’d like you to come. If you wanted to, that is.” 

“I’d love to,” Yuuri said a little shyly, and Viktor beamed at him.  Yuuri slowly smiled back, and the world around Viktor seemed to fade as he basked in Yuuri’s attention. 

“Excellent, all according to plan,” he thought Phichit murmured to Chris, but Viktor ignored the two in favor of admiring Yuuri’s eyes, too smitten to worry about what their friends might be plotting.

***

Viktor was lying on his back on his bed with his eyes closed, his fingers laced together and resting behind his head, when the soft tap came on the door of his bedroom.  “You can come in,” he called, and smiled when Yuuri entered. 

His best friend (and now husband- husband!) was still dressed in his clothes from the wedding, but his sleeves were rolled up and he had replaced his contacts with glasses again.  “How are you doing?” Yuuri asked, carefully sitting down on the edge of the bed. 

Viktor wordlessly patted the bed beside himself, and after a moment of hesitation he lay down beside Viktor.  Viktor shifted over a bit so they both had room to lay side by side, and then he turned his head.  “I’m… I’m pretty great honestly,” he said. 

“You are,” Yuuri breathed, looking back at Viktor, and Viktor frowned in confusion. 

“Huh?” 

“Never mind,” Yuuri sighed. 

Viktor shrugged.  “OK.” 

They lay together in silence for a beat, staring at each other, and then Viktor said quietly, “You know, I kind of… never expected to get married, at this point?” 

Yuuri raised an eyebrow.  “Oh?” 

Viktor nodded.  “Yeah,” he said quietly.  “I mean, I dated during college, and after college, and nothing really worked out, and then I was so busy all the time and then living with you, and just…”  He trailed off, shrugged again.  “What I’m trying to say is thank you, I think,” he said.  “I know this is… platonic, but I’m glad I had the chance to get married anyway.  Marriage isn't for everyone, but it’s always something I’ve wanted to do.” 

“I’m pretty happy too,” Yuuri said with a gentle, quiet smile.  He reached out and took Viktor’s hand, examining the ring on his finger.  “These are really nice, Vitya,” he commented, and then blushed lightly.  “I really like them.” 

Viktor gave him as close to an easy grin as he could manage.  “I thought you might.” 

Yuuri fiddled with the ring on Viktor’s finger, not making eye contact, and then said, “Vitya, um… I know I said it already, but I completely understand if you don’t want me to come to the party at your office.  Chris and Phichit were giving you a hard time, you were under pressure to answer, and I-” 

“Yuuri,” Viktor said quietly cutting him off.  He brushed his fingers against Yuuri’s cheek, and then continued, “Of course I want you to come.  You’re my husband, there’s no one I’d rather want as a plus one.  As long as you’re comfortable coming as my husband, I… I really want you to come.” 

“Really?” Yuuri whispered, and Viktor nodded. 

“This whole thing,” Yuuri said.  “This whole thing, being married to you… it’s going to take some getting used to.  But I… I think I really want people to know you’re my husband?”  For some reason that made him go red.  “Even though it’s just for the tax benefits.  I’m saying I don’t want to hide it.  That’s what I mean.” 

Viktor nodded in agreement.  “I don’t want to hide our marriage either,” he agreed.  “There’s nothing to hide.” 

Yuuri gave him another long, pensive look, and then suddenly enveloped him in a slightly awkward hug.  Viktor lifted his arms and pulled Yuuri close, hugging him back silently. 

He felt at home in Yuuri’s arms, at home with Yuuri in his arms.  He and Yuuri fit together, just as they always had.  And Yuuri clung to him just as tightly, his chin hooked over Viktor’s shoulder and the fingers of one hand bunched in the back of Viktor’s shirt. 

Yuuri murmured something in Japanese, too quietly for Viktor to decipher. 

“I love you,” Viktor confessed in nearly-silent Russian, softly enough that he was sure Yuuri couldn’t hear him. 

But as if he had, Yuuri hugged him tighter for a moment.  Viktor never wanted the moment to end.

Chapter Text

Yuuri was exhausted. It had been a long day at work, and he was more than ready to go home and collapse in bed, and not think for the next several hours. 

Yuuri sighed tiredly as he let himself into his and Viktor’s apartment, flipping on the light in the entrance as he took off his shoes.  “Viktor?” he called, although he honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if his husband wasn’t home from work yet.  Yuuri paused for a moment one shoe half off.  His husband.  Yuuri grinned and chuckled wryly. 

“Hey, Yuuri!” Viktor called back.  “I’m in here, welcome home!” 

Yuuri set his bag down on the couch and followed Viktor’s voice.  He found his husband in the bathroom, clearly fresh out of the shower with only a towel around his waist to preserve his decency, shaving in the mirror. 

Yuuri blushed.  “Ah, sorry!” he exclaimed, stepping back out.  “I didn’t realize-” 

Viktor glanced at him and smiled, shaving cream still covering half his face.  “It’s alright, I don’t really mind,” he replied.  “Nothing you haven’t seen before, after all.” 

Yuuri swallowed hard but nodded.  It was technically true, he and Viktor had been roommates for years, in and out of college, and Yuuri had had his crush just about as long.  But that was different.  They hadn’t been married. 

Viktor flashed Yuuri a smile in the mirror and then went back to shaving as Yuuri sat down on the closed toilet seat. 

“So what’s the occasion?” Yuuri asked curiously.  Usually Viktor showered in the morning, before going to work. 

Viktor gave him a strange look. “Tonight is my office’s holiday party,” he said, and then added hesitantly, “You still have time to come, right?” 

Yuuri silently bid adieu to his dream of going to bed early, and nodded.  “Of course,” he said, just a little weakly. 

Viktor, the lovely and considerate person that he was, seemed to notice the exhaustion in his voice and set down his razor on the counter.  “Yuuri,” he said, turning.  “I promise you don’t have to come if you don’t want to.  I honestly won’t be offended.”  He knelt down in front of Yuuri, looking up at his face. 

Yuuri gulped as Viktor reached up and very carefully traced the shadows underneath Yuuri’s right eye with one thumb.  “You look exhausted,” he said softly.  “Maybe you should stay home and go to bed early.” 

Yuuri sighed.  “I’m alright,” he said.  “I can catch up on sleep during vacation.” 

Despite his obvious worry, Viktor smiled.  “That’s true.”  His smile faded slightly.  “What time did you wake up this morning?” 

Yuuri sighed, brushed his bangs out of his eyes.  “I don’t know, five?” he said.  “Not much earlier than usual.” 

“Maybe you should stay home,” Viktor said hesitantly. 

Yuuri tried to smile.  “Do you really not want me to come with you that much?” he joked, and then winced.  “Sorry, that came out sounding meaner than I intended.” 

The worry in Viktor’s eyes lessened a little.  “It’s OK,” he said. 

They gazed at each other for a long moment, Viktor’s face open and honest, and Yuuri managed to say hoarsely, “What time do you want to leave?” 

“Forty minutes from now, if that’s alright?” Viktor suggested.  “We don’t have to arrive exactly when the party starts, to be fair.” 

“No, that’s fine,” Yuuri replied.  “I can shower and change in forty minutes.” 

“You should eat, too,” Viktor said.  “I’m not sure there’s going to be much food at the party.  I can heat you something up if you want.” 

Yuuri smiled gratefully.  “Would you?” 

Viktor nodded.  “Of course.” 

Yuuri cupped Viktor’s face with one hand, brushing his thumb over Viktor’s cheek.  “Thanks, Vitya.” 

Viktor looked up at him, his blue eyes wide.  “Yuuri?” he whispered. 

Yuuri blushed, realizing that his actions were edging on… very not platonic.  “Sorry,” he blurted, removing his hand quickly.  “You, um, had shaving cream on your cheek?” 

Viktor nodded slowly.  “Thanks for getting it off, then,” he replied. 

Yuuri nodded.  “That’s what friends are for, right?” 

Viktor snorted with laughter, and then got to his feet.  “I’ll let you shower,” he said. 

Before he could chicken out, Yuuri gave his friend a small hug around the waist from behind and then went to grab a change of clothes from his bedroom. 

By the time Yuuri got out of the shower, Viktor had heated him up some leftovers from dinner earlier that week, and was scrolling through Twitter on his phone as he sat backwards in one of their kitchen chairs.  “Thanks so much, Vitya,” Yuuri said, sitting down and picking up his fork. 

“No problem,” Viktor replied without looking up.  “I hope it hasn’t gone cold.” 

Yuuri shrugged, taking a bite.  “It’s fine.” 

They sat in silence for a couple of minutes, Viktor now texting someone while Yuuri picked at his food.  As much as he didn’t want to admit it, Yuuri was a little nervous.  The only one of Viktor’s coworkers he had actually met was Chris, and Chris liked pretty much everyone. What if Viktor’s other colleagues hated Yuuri?  What if they didn’t like the fact that he and Viktor had gotten married, for some reason?  Was Viktor even going to introduce Yuuri as his husband?  Or what if Yuuri did something horribly, awfully wrong, and Viktor somehow lost his job?  What if- 

“Yuuri,” Viktor said, and when Yuuri looked up Viktor was studying him with soft eyes.  “Are you alright?” Viktor asked. 

Yuuri took a deep breath, and looked away as he let it out.  “I’m fine,” he said finally. 

Viktor reached out and took his hand.  “Are you sure?” he said. 

Yuuri looked down at their hands, Viktor’s ring shining in the light.  “I’m a little nervous,” he said.  “What if your colleagues don’t like me?”  It sounded a little stupid, saying it out loud. 

“Yuuri,” Viktor said very gently.  “They’ll like you, I promise.”  He gave Yuuri an affectionate smile.  “Anyone who doesn’t like you has very poor taste in people, lapochka.” 

Yuuri blushed.  “You think so?” 

Viktor nodded firmly.  “Yes, of course.”  He glanced at the clock over Yuuri’s shoulder before grimacing. 

“Time to go?” Yuuri guessed. 

“You haven’t finished eating,” Viktor protested, and Yuuri shook his head. 

“I’m fine, I had lunch pretty late today,” he replied.  “Let’s go, I don’t want you to be late.” 

Viktor smiled.  “Alright.” 

Yuuri washed his dishes while Viktor dug out his shoes.  It was flurrying as they left their apartment building, and Yuuri burrowed a little deeper into the collar of his coat before asking, “You take the bus to work, right?” 

“Yep,” Viktor said cheerfully.  Without pausing as they both walked quickly down the sidewalk towards the bus station, Viktor unraveled his scarf from around his neck before looping it around Yuuri’s. 

“Vitya?” Yuuri said questioningly, a laugh in his voice. 

“You looked a little chilly,” Viktor replied, grinning. 

Yuuri poked at Viktor’s cheek with one cold finger.  You’re going to be cold if you keep giving me all your clothes,” he countered. 

Viktor raised an eyebrow.  “I don’t know about all of my clothes,” he teased, and then winked.  “Just most of them.  Anything for you, my beloved husband.” 

Yuuri elbowed Viktor in the side to hide his blush.  “Oh, hush, you.” 

Viktor laughed, slinging an arm around Yuuri and pulling him close.  “But if I hush, I won’t be able to give you a running commentary of all the office gossip while we’re at the party,” he pointed out. 

Yuuri laughed.  “Oh, is that so?” 

Viktor bent down so that his lips brushed the shell of Yuuri’s ear, and then whispered, “You don’t want to hear about John from the marketing department’s battle with the Great Lunch Thief?” 

Yuuri giggled.  “I do suppose that sounds exciting.” 

Viktor gave him a small squeeze as they stopped at the bus station.  “Doesn’t it just?” 

The bus ride to Viktor’s office passed quickly, as Viktor told Yuuri “secrets” about his coworkers and Yuuri egged him on.  As they got off in front of the building Viktor worked in, Yuuri asked, “So where exactly is the party?” 

“I’m pretty sure my floor has been commandeered,” Viktor replied.  “Don’t worry, we can take the elevator.”  He placed his hand on the small of Yuuri’s back and led him inside.  Yuuri loosened his borrowed scarf and undid the first few buttons of his coat as they waited for the elevator to come, but even when it arrived and they both got in Viktor didn’t move his hand. 

“Don’t be nervous, Yuuri,” Viktor said, anxiously tapping one foot.  “This will be fun.” 

Yuuri leaned against his husband, looking up at Viktor’s face.  “You seem more worried than I am, now,” he observed. 

Viktor cleared his throat.  “Do I?” 

Yuuri reached up and brushed Viktor’s bangs out of his face so he could see his eyes.  “Maybe just a little.” 

Viktor sighed softly.  “I’m not nervous,” he replied.  “I just hope you don’t regret coming with me.  I don’t want to have ruined your night by dragging you here.” 

“I wanted to come, and this will be fun,” Yuuri said resolutely.  He smiled.  “You don’t have to worry, Vitya.”  He stepped a little closer and let his hand linger near Viktor’s face.  “I’m looking forward to meeting your coworkers,” he said honestly. 

“I’m glad,” Viktor breathed.  He dipped his chin a little, and Yuuri’s breath caught.  His face was so close to Viktor’s that if Viktor moved down a bit more- if Yuuri stood on his tiptoes- they might- 

The elevator doors slid open behind Yuuri, letting in the sound of several conversations.  “Hey, guys!” a familiar voice called.  “Making out in the elevator?” 

Yuuri immediately jerked away from Viktor, stepping out. “Um, sorry,” he mumbled. 

Viktor sighed softly.  “It’s fine.”  He stepped out as well, and then the two turned to face the smirking Chris making his way toward them. 

“I guess the honeymoon period isn’t over yet?” he teased, tilting his plastic cup of what looked like punch in their direction. 

“Chris,” Viktor snapped, frowning. 

Chris just winked at them, and then said to Yuuri, “Welcome to the office!” 

“Thanks,” Yuuri said a little shyly, wrapping his arms around himself.  He glanced around, taking note of the fact that most of the people in the room were in small groups of three or four, talking politely, most of them looking a little bored.  Generic holiday music played softly from somewhere, too muffled and rife with jingle bell sound effects to make the words clear enough to understand. 

“It’s a very wild party so far,” Chris said with a laugh. 

Viktor huffed out a sigh.  “Please tell me there’s alcohol, at least,” he said. 

Chris chuckled. “Of course, follow me.”  He led Yuuri and Viktor a bit away from the elevator to a table piled with food and drinks.  “They have punch and eggnog,” Chris said with a grand gesture. 

Yuuri snagged a glass of eggnog and downed it in one mouthful before grabbing another.  Viktor gave him a worried look, sipping at his punch a little more slowly.  “So,” Yuuri asked Viktor and Chris after a moment of slightly awkward silence.  “What does one do at a party like this?” 

Viktor shrugged a little helplessly.  “I really don’t know,” he admitted.  “This is the first time our office is doing something like this.” 

“It will get interesting soon, I bet,” Chris speculated.  “Once someone has had just a little bit too much alcohol and livens up the party.” 

Yuuri laughed a little nervously.  “That won’t be me, I really don’t handle alcohol well,” he said. 

Chris raised an eyebrow.  “Oh?”  

Yuuri blushed as Viktor laughed.  “Yeah, I saw that in college a few times,” he said.  “He tends to lose clothes.” 

“Vitya!” Yuuri said, gently hitting his husband on the shoulder.  Viktor snickered into his punch.  Yuuri sighed quietly and leaned his forehead against Viktor’s shoulder.  “You’re awful,” he complained. 

“Ah, yes, I know,” Viktor replied, slipping his arm around Yuuri.  “That’s why you married me, yes?” 

“Mmhm,” Yuuri murmured. 

“You two are adorable,” Chris said, and Yuuri raised an eyebrow in his direction.  “You really are,” Chris insisted.  His smile changed to something that looked much more like a smirk.  “In fact, Viktor-” 

“Hey, Minami!” Viktor interrupted, reaching out to grab the arm of a man walking past them to the table of food.  “Let me introduce you to my husband,” Viktor said with a slightly forced smile. 

The man joined their little group with only a little hesitance, and smiled at Chris.  “Hello, Mr. Giacometti.” 

Chris smiled winningly back.  “You can call me Chris, Kenjirou,” he replied. 

The man nodded, looking completely unconvinced, and then turned his attention to Yuuri and Viktor.  Viktor pulled Yuuri close, smiling fondly down at him.  “Minami, this is my husband, Katsuki Yuuri,” he said.  “Yuuri, this is one of my coworkers, Minami Kenjirou.” 

Minami’s eyes widened.  “Oh my god,” he whispered.  “Mr. Katsuki?” 

Yuuri blinked.  “Um.  Yes?  That’s me?” 

Minami lit up.  “Do you remember me?” he said excitedly, bouncing up and down slightly on the balls of his feet.  “You taught my English class my junior year of high school!” 

Yuuri squinted slightly at him, and then the name rang a bell.  His first year of teaching English he had had an excitable student in one of his classes, Minami Kenjirou.  “I remember you,” Yuuri said thoughtfully, and then gave Minami a smile.  “You used to have your bangs dyed red, right?” 

Minami pulled down a strand of his bangs, going almost crosseyed to stare at it.  “Yep, that was me!” he exclaimed, and then to Yuuri’s surprise Minami vigorously shook his hand.  “Thank you so much, Mr. Katsuki,” he said earnestly.  “The recommendation letter you wrote for me helped me get into the business program at the University of Michigan, I basically owe you my career.” 

Yuuri blinked in surprise.  “Um, you’re welcome for the letter?” he said a little hesitantly.  “But you graduating college and got a job through your own talent and hard work.” 

Somehow, impossibly, Minami’s eyes got wider.  “Thank you,” he said in Japanese. 

Yuuri laughed.  “You’re welcome.” 

“And now you’re married to Mr. Nikiforov,” Minami said in English.  “That’s such a strange coincidence!” 

“What a small world,” Viktor agreed amiably. 

Yuuri looked up as his husband hugged him close again, and smiled slightly.  “Yeah,” he agreed, and then laughed a little sheepishly.  “This makes me feel a bit old, to be honest.” 

“Oh, lapochka, you’re not old,” Viktor said, combing his fingers through Yuuri’s hair.  “I’m the silver fox in this relationship.” 

Yuuri rolled his eyes, and finished off the last of the eggnog in his cup in reply. 

Viktor grinned.  He, Minami, and Chris began to make polite conversation, and while Yuuri chimed in on occasion he mostly spent his time listening and nursing a third cup of eggnog.  He was definitely a little tipsy when he finished, and leaned against Viktor.  Viktor was so warm and strong, and Yuuri rubbed his cheek against his husband’s soft sweater. 

“Hey there,” Viktor laughed, cutting himself off and looking down at Yuuri with a gentle smile. 

“Hi,” Yuuri breathed.  He closed his eyes, and sighed happily when Viktor wrapped an arm around him.  Still thirsty, Yuuri grabbed another glass of eggnog and finished it off in a couple of gulps, and then grabbed another to wash it down.

“Yuuri,” Viktor said when Yuuri set all his empty cups down in a row on the table- six, when had he had a sixth drink?  Or maybe he hadn’t, was that Viktor’s cup? 

Yuuri looked up.  “Yes?” 

“Maybe you should slow down a little,” Viktor said, looking a little worried. 

Yuuri pouted at him, and put both hands on Viktor’s shoulders before flinging his arms around Viktor’s neck.  “Viktor, we should dance!” he said excitedly. 

Viktor raised an eyebrow.  “Dance?” he repeated. 

Yuuri nodded vehemently, gently tugging his husband away from Chris and Minami, closer to where the music was coming from. 

“Yes, dance!” he said.  Dancing with Viktor was a great idea!  Viktor was a really good dancer, Yuuri was sure. 

“Alright,” Viktor said with an amused smile.  “How do you want to dance?” 

Yuuri let go of Viktor just long enough to settle Viktor’s hands on his waist, and then slid his arms back up and around Viktor’s neck.  “Like this,” Yuuri said, leaning his head against Viktor’s shoulder and swaying them side to side.  “This is fun, right?” 

“Yes,” Viktor whispered.  There was something strange in his voice, and when Yuuri looked up he thought his friend was blushing. 

“Viktorrrr,” Yuuri cooed, cupping his husband’s face with one hand.  “Your cheeks are pink!”  Yuuri giggled a little. 

“Are they?” Viktor said, looking dazed. 

Yuuri shoved his glasses up his nose and then nodded.  “Yep, pink!” he promised.  “It’s cute.” 

The pink on Viktor’s face spread to his ears, and Yuuri playfully booped him on the nose.  “You’re cute,” he said again, to see if it would make Viktor get red again.  Viktor was so cute! 

“This music is boring,” Yuuri decided, frowning at the speakers.  “It’s hard to dance to.  They should put something good on.” 

"What’s good, lapochka?” Viktor asked. 

Yuuri thought about that, absently toying with the collar of Viktor’s shirt.  “Not this,” he said finally. 

Viktor laughed a little.  His hands were still on Yuuri’s waist, hot through his shirt.  Yuuri was hot, the room around him warm.  He let go of Viktor for just a moment and undid the first few buttons of his shirt, exhaling softly. 

“Yuuri,” Viktor said, scolding him playfully.  Yuuri pouted when Viktor took his hands away from Yuuri’s waist to do up his buttons again. 

“You need to keep your shirt on here, darling,” Viktor murmured.  “You’re drunk, I don’t want you to regret anything in the morning.” 

“I’m not drunk,” Yuuri said.  “I’m just tipsy.” 

To prove to Viktor that he absolutely, positively wasn’t drunk, Yuuri carefully extricated himself and wandered over to where someone’s phone was hooked into the speakers, playing that abominable music.  While his back was to Viktor, Yuuri undid a couple of the buttons on his shirt again, and then scrolled through the playlist playing from the phone until he found a good song. 

A couple of people looked over when the music suddenly changed, but Yuuri paid them no mind.  Viktor was the only one he wanted to look at him, the only one he wanted to see. 

Yuuri walked slowly back to his husband, and didn’t stop until they were face to face.  Viktor’s eyes were wide, his lips slightly parted.  He was so, so pretty.  Yuuri had never seen someone more beautiful.  Yuuri was so in love. 

“Don’t take your eyes off me,” Yuuri said, gripping the front of Viktor’s shirt. 

Viktor nodded quickly.  “I won’t,” he promised. 

“I’m not drunk,” Yuuri insisted, and then began to dance to the beat of the music.  He knew that other people in the room were watching him, a small crowd gathering with Chris and Minami in the lead, but Yuuri only cared about Viktor.  He checked back often to make sure Viktor was watching him- it was very, very important that Viktor didn’t look away, probably the most important thing in the entire world ever.  Yuuri wanted his husband to look at him, look at him in a way he never had before.  He wanted Viktor to see him, to love him, to want him. 

Yuuri danced closer, trailing one hand down Viktor’s arm.  The world spun around him, warm and bright and fuzzy at the edges, but Viktor was steady.  Viktor was always steady. 

Somehow, Yuuri’s shirt had become completely undone, and hung loosely from his shoulders.  Yuuri hugged his husband from behind and pressed his face to the back of Viktor’s neck.  “Viktor,” he whispered.  “Viktor, are you watching me?” 

He heard Viktor swallow hard, and when he pressed his hand to Viktor’s chest he felt his husband's heartbeat quick under his fingers.  “I’m watching,” Viktor said, his voice hoarse.  “I’m watching.  I won’t take my eyes off you, Yuuri.” 

“Good,” Yuuri breathed. 

Even as the song ended he kept dancing, but now he swept Viktor into his arms.  Yuuri’s tie was around his head, somehow, and one end flopped over his eye as Yuuri dipped Viktor, holding him steady.  Viktor gazed up at him with unfiltered love in his eyes.  Yuuri laughed as Viktor dipped him in return, and held on tight as they spun together, twirling to a beat only they could hear in the middle of the crowded office party. 

Viktor held him close against his chest as they swayed together, and Yuuri closed his eyes and sighed happily.  Maybe he was a little drunk.  But that didn’t really matter.  What mattered was that Viktor hadn’t taken his eyes off Yuuri, not even once. 

The two were breathless when they stumbled off their makeshift dance floor, giggling and holding hands.  Viktor helped Yuuri sit down, and got Yuuri a glass of water.  “Please drink, alright lapochka?” Viktor said, crouching next to Yuuri. 

Yuuri sipped at the water agreeably, staring at Viktor’s face.  His husband was so pretty.  He was so lucky to have such a pretty, handsome, sexy husband.  And it didn't hurt that Viktor was nice, and smart, and sweet as well.

“Thank you, darling,” Viktor chuckled, and Yuuri wasn’t even embarrassed that he had said all that out loud.  Viktor should know how much Yuuri thought he was amazing, that was very important. 

The cup in Yuuri’s hands was empty, and Yuuri looked down in disappointment.  The cool water had tasted good after all the eggnog he had drunk.  How many drinks had it been, again? 

“Five or six, I think,” Viktor said, and smiled a little sheepishly.  “I’m sorry, darling, I wasn’t paying attention.” 

“It’s OK,” Yuuri said.  He reached out and carefully touched Viktor’s bangs. “Wow,” he said.  “Wow, I’m married to you!” 

Viktor smiled at him.  Yuuri loved his smile, so much.  Almost as much as he loved Viktor.  But he loved Viktor more than anything in the entire world, so that wasn’t even possible.  Yuuri began to tear up, and sniffled a little.  He loved Viktor so much.  Sometimes it made him want to cry, he felt so full of love. 

“Darling,” Viktor cooed as Yuuri’s lip wobbled.  “What’s the matter?” 

Yuuri knelt down beside Viktor, throwing his arms around his husband.  “I love you so much, Vitya,” he said. “I’ve been in love with you for so long.  I want to get married to you a million billion times, because I’m in love with you.  I want to kiss you and hug you and love you, because I’m in love with you.  And I want you to love me back, just as much as I love you, even though I have enough to love fill up the entire universe seventeen times.” 

Viktor pulled back a little, gazing at Yuuri.  Very gently he took Yuuri’s glasses off, tucking them into his pocket for safe keeping. “Yuuri, lapochka,” he murmured.  “I can’t understand you if you speak Japanese.” 

Yuuri just sighed and went back to hugging his husband.  He was suddenly very tired, he could hardly keep his eyes open.  Viktor was warm and strong.  Yuuri could just tell Viktor how much he loved him tomorrow, when he remembered how to speak English again. 

“Here you go,” someone said from behind Yuuri, and a coat was draped over Yuuri’s back.  Yuuri pried one eye open to see Chris standing over them, Minami at his back. 

“I’m going to get him home,” Viktor said with a smile, and Yuuri followed when Viktor stood, keeping his arms circled around his husband’s middle. 

It was a good thing his eyes were still open, or else Yuuri would have missed it when he stood.  “Vitya, look!” he gasped, pointing up.  Viktor’s eyes followed his pointing finger, and it was only because Yuuri was so close that he heard Viktor’s breath catch in his throat.

“Mistletoe,” Yuuri said wisely, looking up at the sprigs hanging from the ceiling.  “You know what that means.”  He nodded, and then gazed hopefully at Viktor.  “Vitya?” he said, his eyes wide and vulnerable.  “Kiss me?” 

Viktor pressed his lips together, a battle in his eyes.  Yuuri’s vision was blurry without his glasses, but even still he could see the want on Viktor’s face.  “Oh, Yuuri,” he sighed after a long moment.  “Yuuri, my darling, you have no idea how much I want to kiss you.  But you’re drunk, you can’t consent.  It wouldn’t be right.” 

Yuuri suddenly found himself fighting back tears.  “You don’t want to kiss me?” he whispered. “But I thought you loved me.” 

“Yuuri,” Viktor whispered, caressing Yuuri’s cheek with a cool finger.  “Yuuri, I do, I love you so much more than you could imagine.  But…”  He trailed off, and then said hesitantly, “But… if you still want to kiss, tomorrow, when you’re sober… I’d love to.” 

Yuuri nodded slowly, placated.  “Alright,” he said.  “I can kiss you tomorrow.” 

Viktor swallowed hard.  “OK.” 

Yuuri let Viktor help him into his coat, and then waved cheerfully to all of Viktor’s coworkers as Viktor gently ushered him out. 

The bus ride home was a blur as Yuuri’s exhaustion set in, and he was most of the way asleep and leaning heavily on Viktor by the time they made their way up to their apartment.  Once inside, Yuuri led Viktor lead him to his bedroom, and undressed himself while Viktor got out his pajamas.  He smiled up at his husband and the love of his life as Viktor tucked him into bed, placing his glasses safely on his bedside table. 

“Good night, lapochka,” Viktor said as Yuuri snuggled into the warm, soft blankets on his bed. 

“Night,” Yuuri mumbled. 

Viktor smoothed down his hair.  Maybe he kissed Yuuri tenderly on the forehead before he left. 

Or maybe Yuuri was already dreaming.

Chapter Text

Yuuri sat down on the edge of Viktor’s bed and reached out, resting his warm palm on Viktor’s cheek.  Viktor smiled up at his husband, his heart swelling with love.  It was bright in their bedroom, Yuuri’s face fuzzy and almost blurred in the morning sunlight, but Viktor could tell that his love was smiling. 

“Morning,” Yuuri murmured, his voice quiet and far away, and then he leaned down and kissed him on the lips.  His lips were soft, gentle, and Viktor drank in his love like water. 

Morning,” he replied when Yuuri leaned away. 

Yuuri smiled brighter, so bright that Viktor was sure he must be the sun, and then carefully climbed under the covers and snuggled up to Viktor’s side.  “Hi,” he whispered. 

“Hi,” Viktor murmured back, struck dumb.  Yuuri was so sweet, beautiful, lovely.  Viktor was in love, had always been in love, would always be in love.   

Yuuri’s arms were warm around Viktor, his touch tender.  Viktor’s heart hurt for a moment, hurt with how much he loved Yuuri and how much time he had missed knowing Yuuri loved him back, and then pushed that hurt away.  Yuuri loved him, and he loved Yuuri, and they both knew.  It didn’t matter, everything before.  It only mattered because it had brought them together, made them what they were.  And now they were happy, together. 

Yuuri brought his hand up to cup Viktor’s cheek again, and now his smile was the clearest thing in the world.  “Vitya,” he said.  “My Vitya.” 

“My Yuuri,” Viktor replied breathlessly. 

Delight flashed in Yuuri’s eyes. “I love you,” he said. “I love you.” 

“I love you.” 

“I love you.” 

I love you.

Viktor woke up slowly the morning after his office’s holiday party, warm and cozy in bed, the remnants of his dream fading away to leave only a happy glow somewhere in his chest.  He didn’t immediately open his eyes, choosing instead to let the events of the night before fully sink in to process. 

After he had brought Yuuri home and helped him get to bed, Viktor had collapsed into his own bed and had fallen asleep more or less immediately. 

Viktor winced a little guiltily.  Hopefully Yuuri was alright.  Viktor slept like a rock, if his roommate and husband had needed anything during the night he might not have known.  Yuuri was sure to be horribly hung over, though, after all the alcohol at the party. 

Viktor sighed before pushing the covers off himself and sitting up, running his fingers through his tangled hair and blinking blearily.  It was chilly enough in their apartment that Viktor threw on a sweatshirt over his boxers and pulled on a pair of socks before wandering out to the kitchen.  He started water for a pot of coffee before leaning against the counter, crossing his arms and closing his eyes.

Unbidden, but not at all unwelcome, visions of Yuuri the night before flooded in.  Yuuri dancing, a playful smirk on his lips and something more smoldering in his eyes, Yuuri hugging Viktor close with warm hands on his back, Yuuri with wide eyes asking for a kiss… and Viktor’s promise, that if Yuuri still wanted it in the morning, they could kiss for real. 

Viktor clutched at the fabric of his sweatshirt and exhaled slowly, staring up at the ceiling.  Yuuri had wanted to kiss him- kiss him!  And he knew that Drunk Yuuri wasn’t exactly the same as Sober Yuuri- more free with his affection, and with fewer inhibitions- but surely Yuuri’s wanting to kiss Viktor couldn’t solely be because he had been drunk. There must be something more, something that Yuuri was hiding, for him to want to kiss Viktor when his inhibitions were lowered.  Maybe Yuuri even felt the same way about Viktor as Viktor did- 

The coffee pot beeped, interrupting Viktor’s train of thought, and he pressed his lips together before pushing his fantasies away for the time being.  Viktor poured two mugs of coffee, one for himself and one for Yuuri, and then popped into the bathroom to get Yuuri a painkiller before knocking on his roommate’s bedroom door.  He took the low, pained groan from inside as permission to enter, and pushed open the door with a bright smile on his face. 

“Good morning,” he said quietly, letting the door shut behind him.  The Yuuri-shaped lump under the covers of the bed, only tufts of black hair visible, mumbled something grumpily. 

“I imagine you’re a bit hungover,” Viktor added, approaching to set the painkiller and one of the mugs of coffee on Yuuri’s bedside table before retreating to the desk chair and sitting down himself. 

After a moment Yuuri emerged from the pile of blankets on his bed, blinking blearily at Viktor.  “Morning,” he said, his voice rough and hoarse and low, and Viktor tried not to shiver.  Yuuri fumbled for the painkiller before swallowing it dry, and then took a long sip of coffee.  He made eye contact with Viktor over the rim of the mug, and then said a little more clearly, “Thanks, Vitya.” 

Viktor took a sip of his own, his mouth suddenly dry.  “You’re welcome.” 

Yuuri sat up a little better in bed, cupping the coffee in both hands.  “God,” he groaned, frowning and rubbing his forehead.  “I’m too old to be drinking like that.” 

Viktor chuckled.  “You’re only 34,” he replied, and then added worriedly, “You don’t feel sick, do you?” 

Yuuri frowned deepened slightly, but he shook his head.  “Not sick, only like elephants are tap dancing on my skull,” he replied.  “Thank god today is Saturday.” 

Viktor nodded absently.  He and Yuuri drank their coffee in silence for a few minutes, and then Viktor asked with forced nonchalance, “So, what do you remember from last night?”  He knew, from experience in college, that sometimes when he drank Yuuri blacked out and didn’t remember anything.  He hadn’t had that much to drink, though- he had danced well enough that he couldn’t have been blackout drunk.  So he had to remember enough about what he and Viktor had done, what he and Viktor had promised. 

On a whim Viktor got up, moving to sit beside Yuuri on the bed, and Yuuri gave him a questioning look before scrunching up his nose, thinking.  Seated in a disorganized rat’s nest of blankets, dressed in the too-large shirt he used as pajamas, his hair rumpled and sticking up and his cheeks still a little flushed with sleep, Yuuri looked adorable.  Viktor could barely resist the urge to plant a kiss on his husband’s lips, and took another long drink of coffee to distract himself. 

Yuuri huffed in frustration.  “I remember enough,” he said darkly.  “Not everything, but enough.” 

Viktor’s heart leapt.  Did Yuuri remember asking Viktor to kiss him?  Asking Viktor to dance with him?  Did he remember enchanting Viktor even more, than before?Did he remember Viktor falling even deeper into love with him? 

Yuuri’s eyes widened, and he gave Viktor a guilty, plaintive look.  “I didn’t do anything too embarrassing, did I?”  He set down his coffee and then covered his face with his hands, curling into myself.  “Oh my god, I hope you didn’t lose your job because of me.” 

Viktor smiled, resting his hand on his husband’s back.  When Yuuri leaned into his touch instead of flinching away, Viktor pulled him against his side.  “You didn’t do anything embarrassing,” he promised. “And as far as I know, I still have a job.” 

Yuuri looked up at him, his dark eyes still filled with shame.  “Oh my god,” he whispered, resting his forehead against Viktor’s shoulder.  “I regret everything.” 

A sick feeling started to churn in Viktor’s gut.  “Everything?” he croaked. 

Everything,” Yuuri repeated emphatically.  He squeezed his eyes shut and then opened them again, gazing at Viktor.  “I’m really sorry,” he said.  “I shouldn’t have had that much to drink.  And I’m really sorry for anything and everything I did after, I shouldn’t have done any of it, I didn’t mean to, I didn’t want to- I’m such an embarrassment, I’m so sorry, you probably regret getting married to me-” 

Viktor bottled up his hurt, saving it to deal with later, and gave his friend a comforting hug.  “You’re not an embarrassment,” he said soothingly.  “You’re my best friend, and I definitely don’t regret getting married.  I promise you didn’t do anything that bad, do you believe me?” 

“…Yes,” Yuuri mumbled, and then buried his face against Viktor’s shoulder again.  “I’m still sorry, though.  I hope you can forgive me for everything I did, for embarrassing you in front of your coworkers and forcing you to take care of me.” 

Viktor gently ran his hand up and down Yuuri’s spine, closing his eyes.  “I like taking care of you,” he admitted softly.  “You’re my friend, and my husband.  That’s part of the commitment we both made when we got married.”  He ran his fingers through Yuuri’s hair, and then laughed quietly.  “I expect the worst thing that will happen is that Chris will tease me at work on Monday.” 

Yuuri sighed.  “Still,” he murmured.  “I shouldn’t have let my drunkenness get the better of me.  I never do anything good when my inhibitions are lowered.” 

Viktor exhaled slowly, quietly, and shut his eyes.  Yuuri had wanted to dance with him, kiss him, when his inhibitions had been lowered. 

Yuuri cleared his throat and shifted a little in Viktor’s arms.  Viktor opened his eyes again and let his husband pull away from him.  “Anyways,” Yuuri said a little awkwardly, reaching over to grab his coffee mug off the side table.  “Thanks for the painkiller.  And the coffee.” 

Viktor smiled gently at him.  “Of course,” he said. 

Yuuri’s eyes sparkled.  “I guess we went through too many hangovers in college together to not know what the other needs,” he said. 

Viktor nodded.  “I’m always happy to give you what you need,” he said a little hoarsely, and then got to his feet.  “I’ll leave you alone now.” 

Yuuri flopped back in bed and groaned, throwing one arm over his face.  “I’ll just lie here and ruminate on my mistakes,” he replies dramatically.  “If you’re willing to wait a little, I can make breakfast.” 

“That’s fine,” Viktor promised, and then quietly left the room, taking care to close the door behind him. 

He walked a little numbly into the kitchen and was standing in front of the coffee pot before he realized that he had left his mug in Yuuri’s room.  Viktor heaved a sigh and grabbed another from the cabinet, filling it before retreating to his own bedroom and closing the door behind himself. 

Viktor sat down on the edge of his bed and sighed, rubbing his forehead.  He was getting a headache now too, maybe he was a little hungover as well.  Viktor managed to take one sip of his coffee before his hands shook too hard to hold the mug.  He set it down on the floor by his feet and rested his face in his hands and his elbows on his knees, trying his hardest not to break down. 

He was being stupid, he was overreacting.  There was no reason that he should be this upset.  After all, he had been friends with Yuuri for years, and had been secretly in love with him for almost as long.  It wasn’t like anything had changed between them.  Things were as they had always been. 

So why did Viktor’s heart feel like it had cracked? 

A ding from his phone caught his attention, and Viktor welcomed the distraction.  He lay down on his bed and then stretched to where his phone was plugged in, He sighed quietly when he saw the content of the message he had received, a text from Chris. 

 

Chris [9:38]

So….. how’s kissing your husband going? ;)

Chris [9:38]

No pressure to answer right away, wouldn’t want to interrupt your…. activities ;) ;) ;)

Chris [9:38]

I *did* tell you so, though ;)

Chris [9:39]

Have fun!!! ;)

 

Viktor pressed his lips together, but shut off his phone. He couldn’t bear to answer Chris at the moment.  It would be like rubbing salt in the wound.  Not that Viktor had a metaphorical wound, Yuuri had no obligation to love Viktor like Viktor loved him.  Viktor had only hoped… 

He stood up with a scowl, tossing his phone back on his pillow.  There was no use in dwelling on what could have happened if Yuuri felt more than just friendly affection for him, and he still had some work to get done before Monday.  He left his room only to grab his bag, and then returned to bed with his computer in hand. 

Viktor logged in and started recording invoices, but he found himself unable to concentrate on anything.  His thoughts kept drifting back to Yuuri, Yuuri dancing, Yuuri almost kissing him… 

He heard Yuuri’s bedroom door open and close, and then Yuuri’s soft footsteps in the hallway.  They seemed to stop for a moment outside Viktor’s door and then continued on in the direction of the kitchen.  Viktor saved his work and then closed his computer with a sigh, rubbing his eyes tiredly.  He was being ridiculous, moping around like this.  Nothing had changed.  There was no reason to act any differently around Yuuri. 

Viktor set his jaw.  He needed to act normally.  Yuuri was his husband, yes, and probably the love of Viktor’s life, but he was also Viktor’s best friend.  Viktor didn’t know what he would do if he lost Yuuri. 

He lightly punched his pillow and then stood to set his laptop on his desk before leaving his bedroom.  He found Yuuri in the kitchen making toast, and paused for a moment in the doorway to admire him.  Yuuri probably still had a headache, and he had bags under his eyes, but Viktor’s heart panged when he saw his husband all the same. 

It shouldn’t hurt. 

It didn’t hurt. 

“Hey,” Yuuri said with a welcoming smile, turning when he caught sight of Viktor. 

Viktor smiled back.  “Hey,” he replied.  “Feeling a little better?” 

Yuuri nodded, taking off his glasses to rub at one of his eyes.  “Yeah, a little,” he replied.  He sighed and set his glasses down on the counter before grabbing the toast out of the popped toaster, hissing as he burnt his fingertips. 

Viktor rummaged in the fridge and pulled out a carton of eggs and some jam, and offered, “I can take over if you want.” 

Yuuri shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair.  “No, I’m fine,” he said. 

Viktor inhaled, exhaled, slowly, caught off guard.  Yuuri stared at him, his fingers still slicking his hair back, his gaze fiery and a little squinted without his glasses.  “Are… you OK?” Yuuri asked uncertainly. 

Viktor looked down at the egg carton in his hands, the cardboard crumpling a little in his tight grip.  “I’m fine,” he promised, probably a little strangled. 

Yuuri shrugged, reaching out to take the eggs from his hands, and his hair flopped back over his forehead.  Viktor allowed himself just one moment of fantasy, one daydream, where he kissed Yuuri and Yuuri kissed him back, and then stepped over to help. 

The two husbands made breakfast in silence, only broken when Yuuri asked Viktor to pass him a pan, or Viktor let Yuuri know that his kettle of water for tea was boiling.  They began to eat at the table in a similar silence, both with their heads down, until Yuuri said suddenly, quietly, “Viktor?”

Viktor looked up, meeting his husband’s eyes.  “Yuuri?” he replied. 

Yuuri chewed on his lip, and his eyes slid away from Viktor’s face.  “Are you sure you’re not mad at me?” he said finally, his voice quiet and unsure. 

“I’m not mad at you,” Viktor said firmly, and winced.  He sounded irritated, frustrated.  Angry. 

Yuuri’s lips twisted into something that could have been a smile or a grimace.  “That doesn’t sound very convincing,” he muttered. 

Viktor pressed his finger to his lips, thinking.  “I promise I’m not mad at you,” he said in a gentler voice. 

Yuuri met his eyes again, and Viktor’s heart cracked a little bit more at the hesitance in them.  “I just,” Yuuri murmured, and then shrugged.  “Never mind.  Don’t mind me.  I’m just being-” 

“You’re not being dumb,” Viktor said, cutting him off.  He leaned back in his chair and sighed, his breakfast forgotten for the time being.  Yuuri smiled wryly. 

Viktor studied his friend, his husband, and then said quietly, “I don’t want to fight.” 

Yuuri raked his fingers through his hair.  “I’m not-” he said, sounding frustrated, and then shook his head.  “Never mind.” 

He picked up his fork again and took a couple of bites of breakfast before changing the subject.  “I’m going to call my parents after breakfast to figure out a couple of details about our trip to Japan, do you want to join me?” 

Viktor smiled slightly.  “Sure, if you’ll let me,” he replied.  He pushed the last piece of toast around his plate with one finger, and then said, “I’m looking forward to meeting your family.  In person, I mean.” 

Yuuri lit up.  “I’m looking forward to you meeting them too,” he replied.  To Viktor’s shock he reached across the table and took Viktor’s hand, lacing their fingers together.  “I think they’ll like meeting my husband,” he said with a smile. 

Viktor grinned back, trying to figure out if Yuuri was teasing him.  He must be.  Because otherwise- 

Yuuri gave his fingers a quick squeeze and then let go, getting up from the table.  “I’ve got the dishes,” Viktor said quickly, standing up so quickly that his chair almost tipped over.  “Since you did most of the cooking, it’s only fair.” 

Yuuri chuckled.  “Alright, I suppose so,” he replied, and stepped away from the sink before gesturing grandly.  “Have at it, dear.” 

Viktor grinned, raising one eyebrow.  “Dear?” he repeated. 

Yuuri went a little red.  “Well, you’ve been calling me pet names,” he said a little defensively.  “Shouldn’t I respond in kind?” 

Viktor cleared his throat and looked away.  “I guess it’s only fair,” he replied, stilted. 

Yuuri cocked his head slightly and gave Viktor a long, almost heated look.  Viktor took a shuddering breath and turned away, flicking the faucet to turn the water in the sink on.  He looked down at their dirty plates even as he heard quiet footsteps behind himself, and then Yuuri’s arms slid around his waist. 

“Let me know if you need any help,” Yuuri said, even as Viktor froze.  Yuuri was hugging him.  Yuuri was hugging him.  Hugging him.  From behind. In a way that seemed to have no immediate platonic explanation. 

“Right,” Viktor croaked. 

“I’ll be waiting in my bedroom,” Yuuri murmured, and then let go. 

Viktor stared down at the running water in the sink, motionless, and then sagged against the counter once he was sure Yuuri was gone.  With trembling fingers he shut off the water and pressed one hand against his thundering heart.  God, maybe he had been wrong.  Maybe something had changed between him and Yuuri. 

Viktor washed the rest of the dishes quickly, and then dried off his hands.  He took a moment to fix his hair in the bathroom mirror, and then knocked on the doorframe of Yuuri’s bedroom before pushing open the slightly ajar door. 

Yuuri looked up from where he was sitting crosslegged on his bed reading a book, and smiled.  “Hey,” he greeted Viktor, and then patted the bed beside himself, straightening out his legs and moving over a little to give Viktor room. 

Viktor gulped and then sat down, but not before surreptitiously wiping his sweaty palms on his pants.  As soon as Viktor was settled, close enough that he could feel Yuuri’s body heat, Yuuri reached over him to exchange his book for his phone on the bedside table.  Viktor tried not to jump when Yuuri’s soft hair brushed his cheek, and he caught a whiff of the shampoo he knew Yuuri preferred. 

Yuuri settled back in place, and then leaned against Viktor before looking up at him with a smile.  “Ready?” he asked.  Viktor nodded wordlessly, and Yuuri unlocked his phone and started a video call.  The call was picked up after a couple of rings by a woman Viktor recognized as Yuuri’s older sister Mari. 

“Yuuri,” she said with a small smile, and then added something in Japanese. 

Yuuri blushed, and snapped something back before saying, “Do you mind if we speak English?  So Vitya can understand?” 

“Sure,” Mari replied with a nod.  She glanced over her shoulder and then turned back to the camera.  “Mom and Dad are busy, they’ll come in a bit.” 

Yuuri smiled.  “Of course.” 

Mari’s eyes focused on Viktor, and she said, “Are you taking good care of my brother?” 

Yuuri went red, and he spluttered, “Mari, why-!” 

Viktor grinned, sure he was almost as red as Yuuri, and then dared to lean into Yuuri’s side a little.  “Of course I am,” he replied with a smile.  “He is my husband, after all.” 

“So you really went through with it,” Mari said pensively. 

Yuuri gave her a look.  “Of course we did, why wouldn’t we?” he asked.  To demonstrate, only to demonstrate, Viktor took Yuuri’s hand and held it up so Mari could see the ring on Yuuri’s finger. 

“Huh,” Mari said.  “I thought you’d chicken out, Yuuri.” 

Yuuri huffed.  “Should I be insulted?” 

Mari’s small smile grew slightly, and took on an almost evil edge.  “No, I think I’m a little justified in thinking you might back out,” she replied.  “Given how long you’ve-” 

“OK!” Yuuri said loudly.  He sighed.  “OK.” 

Viktor glanced curiously at him, just in time to catch Yuuri watching him out of the corner of his eye.  “Yuuri?” he said questioningly. 

Yuuri gave him a smile, and it looked just slightly strained.  “I’ll tell you later, Vitya,” he promised. 

Viktor nodded slowly.  “Alright.” 

Yuuri leaned his head against Viktor’s shoulder.  Knowing his arm would probably fall asleep, or at least get pins and needles, Viktor took the opportunity to slide his arm around Yuuri, pulling him a little closer.  Completely unintentionally, of course.  Yuuri leaned into him.  On the phone screen, Mari made a noise that sounded very much like a snort. 

“Anyway,” Yuuri said quickly, clearing his throat.  “We called to figure out what our plans are for when we visit.” 

Mari nodded.  “Right.”  She winked unexpectedly.  “I suppose you two already have plans for Christmas Eve?” 

Viktor paused.  “Not that I know of?” 

“I’m sure you will,” Mari snickered.  Yuuri just sighed.  Viktor gave him a comforting, subtle squeeze, and Yuuri smiled brilliantly up at him. 

“I love Hasetsu,” he said, “But it’s not exactly the most exciting town for tourists.  If you were interested, we could go into Fukuoka, or even Tokyo, although that would be more than a day trip.” 

“Sure,” Viktor agreed amiably.  “I’m fine with pretty much anything, you know.  It’s really your vacation, I’m just tagging along to spend time with you.” 

Yuuri’s eyes softened.  “Vitya,” he started. 

Mari cleared her throat, and both men looked at her.  She grinned.  “Can you two flirt later?” she said.  “I do need to go back to work eventually.” 

“Right,” Yuuri mumbled, and Viktor was sure his heart beat twice as fast. Yuuri hadn’t denied they were flirting.  Did that mean anything? 

It… it couldn’t. 

Yuuri and Mari went back to talking, pitching possible plans.  Viktor jumped in when either of them asked him a question, or Yuuri wanted his opinion, but for the most part he sat back and let his husband plan. 

And, with Yuuri nestled perfectly into his side while they planned their honeymoon, it was almost too easy.  Too easy to let himself think, to hope, to pretend that Yuuri really was his husband, in every sense of the word.  To pretend that Yuuri really loved him. 

But maybe, maybe, it wouldn’t hurt too much to pretend.

Chapter Text

It probably spoke to how long Yuuri had been away from home that he had forgotten how brutally long the flight from Detroit to Fukuoka was. 

Viktor had fallen asleep around hour seven, and Yuuri, while content to let his husband nap against his shoulder, was far too anxious to sleep himself.  It wasn’t only anxiety caused by being trapped in a tube with dozens of strangers hurtling through the air at hundreds of miles an hour that kept him awake... he couldn’t decide if he was excited or terrified for Viktor to meet his parents.  Viktor had talked to them before, of course, but a conversation over video chat was very different from Viktor and Yuuri staying in their house for a week and a half. 

Yuuri was terrified that, with more interaction, his parents might not like Viktor.  And, somehow, he was just as terrified that they would.  That they would like him so much that they would wonder why he and Yuuri hadn’t gotten married for real, and then Viktor would find out that Yuuri had been desperately in love with him for years, and he would be mad or uncomfortable, and he would never want to see Yuuri again, and-  

“Darling?” Viktor murmured, stirring at Yuuri’s side.  Yuuri squeezed his eyes shut. 

“Lapochka, are you alright?” Viktor whispered. 

“I’m fine,” Yuuri replied hoarsely, and lied, “It’s just the flying that’s getting to me.” 

Viktor took Yuuri’s hand and squeezed his fingers.  “It can’t be much longer until we get there,” he said soothingly.  “It feels like I’ve been asleep for ages.” 

Yuuri checked his watch.  “Three more hours, I think,” he replied. 

Viktor pouted.  “That long?” 

Yuuri just shrugged.  Viktor leaned against his shoulder again, and Yuuri’s muscles tingled with pins and needles.  He must have winced, because Viktor immediately moved his head.  “Sorry,” he said, letting Yuuri’s arm.  “That’s probably not the most comfortable for you.”  His lips twitched into a grimace.  “I hope I didn’t drool on you too much.” 

Yuuri laughed softly.  “You’re fine,” he said. 

Viktor poked him in the shoulder.  “That sounds like the words of a man who’s been drooled on and is just too polite to admit it,” he countered.  Yuuri laughed. 

Viktor lifted the armrest between then and pulled Yuuri close against his chest.  “Here,” he said gently.  “Try to get some rest, you’re going to be dead on your feet by the time we get to Hasetsu.” 

Yuuri bit his lip.  “Are you sure?” he said.  “I don’t want you to be too tired.” 

“I just slept for hours,” Viktor insisted.  He shifted slightly so that Yuuri’s head rested against him.  “I’m worried about you,” he said, almost too quiet to hear. 

Yuuri sighed, and turned his head so that his face was pressed against the soft fabric of Viktor’s sweater.  “Alright,” he said quietly instead of answering.  “I’ll try to sleep.” 

“I’m glad,” Viktor replied. 

Yuuri closed his eyes and tried to relax against his husband’s warm chest.  After a while, the drone of the plane’s engines and the soft thump of Viktor’s heart lulled Yuuri into a light sleep.  His dreams were scattered, soft and bright and fragmented, already slipping away by the time Yuuri started to wake up again. 

Yuuri first became aware, as he woke, how warm he was.  When he shifted slightly he felt fleece brush the cheek not resting against his husband.  Around him, the warm weight of Viktor’s arm curled a little tighter, pulling him just a little closer.  Yuuri sighed contentedly, drowsily snuggling a little closer. 

“My Yuuri,” Viktor murmured, and oh didn’t that sound nice… 

Yuuri curled his fingers into the front of Viktor’s sweater and mumbled what he hoped translated to I love you.  But this time, as he pressed closer, his glasses dug into the skin of his cheek under his eye.  Yuuri kept his eyes closed, trying to ignore the pinch, but it snapped him more or less completely out of his daze.  Grumbling, Yuuri sat up in his seat and rubbed at his eyes. 

“Oh, you’re awake!” Viktor said with a cheerful smile.  “They just made an announcement a few minutes ago, we’re about half an hour out.” 

Yuuri yawned into his palm and nodded, blinking sleepily.  After a moment, he realized that he had Viktor’s jacket slung around his shoulders.  When he looked down at himself, pulling curiously at the collar, Viktor added a little sheepishly, “You looked cold, you were shivering a little in your sleep.” 

Yuuri blushed.  “Do you want it back?” he asked. 

Viktor gazed at him, strangely intense.  “No, you can keep it,” he said firmly.  “I don’t want you to be chilly.” 

Yuuri shrugged.  “Alright.”  He wriggled a little to get his arms into the sleeves of the jacket, and then properly sat back in his seat.  “Thanks for letting me sleep on you,” he said.  “Sorry if your arm fell asleep.” 

“I’m fine, lapochka,” Viktor laughed.  He reached out and took Yuuri’s hand, lacing their fingers together.  “You can use me as a pillow any time.” 

Yuuri stared down at their hands, and then made the decision not to question it.  Maybe if he didn’t question it, Viktor wouldn’t let go.  Yuuri smiled a little awkwardly, trying to hide what he was sure was an utterly smitten expression.  “Be careful, you don’t want me to take you up on that offer.”  Viktor murmured something in reply, but just shook his head when Yuuri hummed questioningly.

They sat in companionable silence as the plane descended, holding hands, and Yuuri dared to lean his head on his husband’s shoulder again.  Viktor didn’t seem to mind, if the way he smiled at Yuuri was any indication, so Yuuri kept his position until the plane touched down on the runway in Fukuoka. 

Viktor reached over and opened the shade of the window beside his seat.  “What time is it here, do you think?” he asked as bright sunlight slanted over his chest. 

Yuuri blinked at the sudden change in light, and then said, “Um, maybe mid-afternoon?” 

Viktor brightened hopefully.  “Do you think we’ll have time to go in your family’s hot springs before bed?” 

Yuuri shrugged. “I think so,” he said.  “We still have to take the train to Hasetsu, but I think we’ll get there before dinnertime.” 

For whatever reason that seemed to instill new energy in Viktor, and he was cheerful and excited as he and Yuuri walked off the plane, still hand in hand.  “Um, stay close,” Yuuri said, squeezing his fingers.  “I don’t want to lose you, since you don’t speak any Japanese.” 

Viktor smiled almost lovingly back.  “Of course, darling,” he said.  “Lead the way!” 

And Yuuri did, making sure to keep hold of his husband.  Yuuri didn’t let go of Viktor’s hand for more than a few minutes as they navigated the busy airport, passing through immigration and customs without an issue before catching the last train from Fukuoka to Hasetsu. 

Once they were safely seated on the train Yuuri finally uncurled his sweaty fingers from around Viktor’s, and offered him an apologetic smile.  “We’re good.” 

Viktor’s expression seemed almost wistful for a moment before he looked up with a smile.  “Thank you for letting me come with you to Japan, Yuuri,” he said earnestly.  “I’m really looking forward to this.” 

Yuuri smiled back.  “I’m glad,” he said.  “I hope you’ll enjoy it.” 

Viktor absently played with his wedding ring, spinning it around and around his finger.  “I’m sure I will,” he said, and then got distracted by the view out the window as the train pulled away from the station. 

Yuuri laughed, gazing lovingly at his husband with his nose pressed to the window, and then pulled his phone out of his bag and turned it on.  He had several messages waiting for him, from his sister, his friend Yuuko, and Minako.  Yuuri bit his lip and then opened his sister’s texts.

 

Mari [14:09]   Minako is coming to pick you and Viktor up at the train station in Hasetsu.

Mari [14:13]   She insisted.

Me [14:58]   How much does she know?

Me: [14:58]   About Viktor, I mean

Me: [14:58]   Not that there’s anything to know

Me: [14:58]   Or any secrets

Me: [14:58]   I’m just curious!

Mari [14:59]   She knows you and Viktor are marred, of course. Mom told her.

Mari [15:00]   But she doesn’t know that you’re pretending like you’re not in love with Viktor.

Mari [15:00]   I didn’t mention it to her.

Mari [15:00}   Even though I think you should tell Viktor that you’re in love with him.

 

“Oh, are you texting your sister?” Viktor said, resting his head on Yuuri’s shoulder to see his phone. 

Yuuri nearly jumped out of his skin.  “Yeah,” he gasped, trying to calm his pounding heart. 

Viktor tilted his head seriously looking at their conversation.  “What does that mean?” he asked with a smile, pointing at Mari’s last message. 

Yuuri swallowed hard.  “Um, she was just telling me that a family friend is going to pick us up from the train station,” he replied, never more grateful for the fact that he and his sister texted in Japanese. 

“That’s nice of your friend,” Viktor said with a nod.  He shifted the angle of his head so that he was looking up at Yuuri, his blue eyes wide.  “I tried to learn a little Japanese before we came here,” he said. 

Yuuri inhaled a little shakily as Viktor’s soft hair tickled his neck.  “Oh?” he murmured breathlessly.  “How much have you learned?” 

“Not a lot,” Viktor admitted with a small frown.  “I can recognize some greetings, and my name, but that’s about it.  I’m hoping to pick up a little more while we’re here, though.”  He gave Yuuri a small smile.  “Will you teach me?” 

“Of course,” Yuuri whispered, his mouth dry. 

Viktor sat up properly, looking Yuuri in the eye.  “I hope I won’t be a burden to you,” he said seriously. 

“You won’t be!” Yuuri exclaimed, waving his hands frantically.  He smiled tentatively and added, “Besides, I speak about as much Russian as you speak Japanese.  So if we ever go to Russia together, you’d have to do the translating.”  He blushed a little.  “Not that I’m saying we’d go to Russia together, just…” 

Viktor winked at him.  “There’s no law that husbands can’t have more than one honeymoon,” he joked. 

Yuuri laughed quietly.  “I guess that’s true.”  Viktor reached out and rested a hand on Yuuri’s knee for a moment before turning back to the window, watching the scenery flash by with a heart-shaped smile on his face. 

Yuuri turned back to his phone, answering the messages from Yuuko and Minako before leaning back, resting his head and staring up at the ceiling.  He couldn’t help but run his sister’s advice over in his head.  I think you should tell Viktor that you’re in love with him.  Tell him you’re in love with him.  I love with… Viktor. 

Yuuri exhaled slowly, closing his eyes.  He could tell Viktor that he loved him, if he wanted their friendship to fall apart. 

And yet… sometimes, Yuuri almost wondered.  He knew that Viktor wasn’t in love with him, couldn’t be in love with him.  It just didn’t make sense.  Viktor was smart, wonderful, handsome.  He wouldn’t want someone like Yuuri.  And even if he did, Viktor would have said something.  Viktor was one of the most honest people Yuuri had ever met.  He wore his heart on his sleeve, and was more than free with his affection.  If he was in love with Yuuri, or was even open to being in love with Yuuri, Yuuri thought he would be able to tell.  He would know. 

Then again, though... Yuuri hugged Viktor all the time, and sometimes Viktor almost seemed to be reluctant to let go.  Sometimes Yuuri noticed Viktor watching him, almost gazing at him, with something in his eyes that could have been love.  But they had been friends for a long time.  Yuuri was nearly certain that Viktor felt nothing but platonic love for him, after so long. 

Unless… Unless Viktor was also afraid.  Unless Viktor liked him in a more romantic way, but was afraid of ruining their friendship just as Yuuri was afraid of ruining their friendship if he ever confessed his love.  Maybe Viktor felt just the same way ad Yuuri did, and hasn’t said anything because he was just as scared and nervous and vulnerable as Yuuri was.  And maybe the only way to know was to confess his love to Viktor, to see what he said.  To see if he maybe, maybe, felt the same way. 

Yuuri bit his lip and fiddled with the ring on his finger, a habit he had picked up from Viktor.  They would be on their “honeymoon” for the next week and a half.  Because Viktor didn’t know a whole lot about the language or country, he and Yuuri would have to stick close to each other.  So if Viktor didn’t feel anything but friendly affection towards Yuuri after he confessed, it would be incredibly awkward to spend the rest of their vacation together. 

Maybe Yuuri would confess.  Maybe he would tell Viktor how much he loved him.  Or maybe not.  But either way, it would have to happen after their honeymoon. 

The train began to slow, and Viktor touched Yuuri’s hand.  “Yuuri?” he said quietly.

Yuuri opened his eyes.  “Mm?” 

“Is this our stop?” Viktor asked, and then grinned.  “I can’t understand the announcements.” 

Yuuri sat up straight, rubbing at the crick in his neck.  He was fairly certain that he hadn’t fallen asleep, but he felt drowsy and disoriented nonetheless.  “Um, yes, this is our stop,” he confirmed, and then yawned. 

“Jet lag?” Viktor said with a sympathetic smile. 

Yuuri shrugged.  “I guess so.” 

“We can go to bed early tonight, if you want,” Viktor offered.  He cradled Yuuri’s hand in his, playing with his fingers. 

Yuuri nodded.  “That might be a good idea, yeah,” he said, and then laughed.  “We’re barely going to be here long enough to adjust to the time zone.” 

Viktor grinned.  “I think we’ll manage.” 

The trained pulled to a stop in the station, and Yuuri and Viktor got up out of their seats.  Yuuri felt only a little guilty over the fact that he was not at all reluctant to take advantage of the opportunity to hold Viktor’s hand, and led them through the station. 

They had just reached the ground floor, suitcases rolling behind them and the door in sight, when Yuuri spotted Minako.  Minako seemed to spy them at the same moment, and jumped up from where she had been waiting.  “Yuuri!” she shouted, waving one hand over her head, and then dramatically unfurled the banner she was holding. 

“I guess that’s your friend,” Viktor said with a grin, and Yuuri just sighed before heading in her direction.  “What does the sign say?” Viktor asked as they got closer, squinting as if to read the bright pink Japanese print. 

“‘Welcome home, Yuuri!  Welcome, Viktor,’” Yuuri translated, and then met Minako’s eyes with a smile.  “Thanks for coming to pick us up.” 

“Of course!” Minako said, and hugged him as soon as he was close enough.  “Your sister was sorry that she couldn’t come too.” 

“Oh, it’s fine,” Yuuri promised.  “We’ll see her soon.” 

Minako gave him one last squeeze, and then turned her attention to Viktor.  “Hello,” she said in English with a friendly smile. 

“Hey,” Viktor said in reply, clearly a little nervous.  Yuuri couldn’t imagine why, Viktor charmed nearly everyone he met. 

“Viktor, this is Minako, an old friend of my family’s,” Yuuri said.  “Minako, this is my husband Viktor.” 

Viktor gave Yuuri an absolutely delighted smile, and then shook the hand that Minako offered.  “It’s nice to meet you,” he said. 

“Nice to meet you too,” Minako replied.  She looked him over with narrowed eyes, and then said in Japanese, “You really picked a handsome one, Yuuri.” 

“Minako!” Yuuri exclaimed, going red. 

Minako smirked at him.  “Ready to go?” 

Yuuri nodded, and took Viktor’s hand.  “Ready?” 

Viktor nodded.  “Of course.” 

Minako took forcible custody of one of their suitcases and then walked with them out of the train station.  They loaded their luggage into the trunk of their car, and then got in, Yuuri and Viktor in the back. 

“So, Viktor,” Minako said as she started the car and pulled away from the station.  “How did you meet Yuuri?” 

“We were roommates in college,” Viktor explained with a bright smile.  “And then we were close enough friends that we stayed in contact after we graduated.” 

“And how long were you dating before you got married?” Minako asked.  When Yuuri looked up, she was watching them, her eyes darting between the road and the rearview mirror. 

“Um,” Viktor said, and then glanced at Yuuri. 

Yuuri swallowed hard.  He and Viktor hadn’t actually talked a whole lot about what they were going to tell Yuuri’s friends about their marriage.  His parents and sister knew that it was a loveless relationship (at least on Viktor’s end), but they hadn’t actually established how they were supposed to explain their marriage to others.  So Yuuri met Viktor’s eyes, and read the question in them perfectly. 

“We were dating for more than a year,” he blurted, and then blushed. 

Viktor blinked once, twice, and then went with it.  “I had been pining for Yuuri for years, of course,” he said, giving Yuuri a nervous smile.  “I hadn’t ever told him, because I didn’t think he felt the same way.  But then we ended up confessing to each other, and started dating.  And now, well…” 

“I wish I could have seen the wedding,” Minako sighed.  “You two are such a cute couple, you’re perfect for each other.” 

Yuuri cleared his throat.  “Thanks,” Viktor said in a strangled voice. 

“I’m happy to see that you’ve finally settled down, Yuuri,” Minako added.  “I think your mother was getting concerned that you would be lonely, all alone over in America.” 

Yuuri just sighed.  “Marriage isn’t a requirement for happiness,” he mumbled, and then happened to catch Viktor’s eye.  Viktor was watching him, his brow slightly furrowed, his bangs falling over one eye.  Yuuri reached up and gently brushed his husband’s hair out of his face. 

“Yuuri,” Viktor breathed, pink spreading across his cheeks, over the bridge of his nose. 

“Viktor,” Yuuri said, his tongue heavy in his mouth.  He took a deep breath, managed to let it out.  “Viktor, I-” 

“Here we are!” Minako interrupted cheerfully, turning sharply into the driveway of the onsen. 

Yuuri turned away as the car stopped, and rummaged for the backpack by his feet.  “Never mind.” 

“Alright,” Viktor replied quietly, getting his own bag before opening the car door.

Minako helped them with their bags, lugging them up to the front door of the onsen, and let herself in.  “Hiroko!” she called.  “Guess who’s here!” 

Yuuri held the door for Viktor with a smile, and then let it close behind himself just as his mother reached the entrance.  “Yuuri!” she said happily, clasping her hands in front of herself.  “It’s so good to see you again.”  

“It’s good to see you too, Mama,” Yuuri said. 

“And Viktor!” Hiroko added.  “It is lovely to finally meet you in person!” 

“It’s great to meet you too, Mrs. Katsuki,” Viktor said with a warm smile. 

“Oh, Viktor dear,” Hiroko laughed.  “You and Yuuri are married, I am technically your mother in law.  You do not have to call me Mrs. Katsuki.” 

Viktor looked ecstatic at that.  “Thank you!” 

“Here, come in, come in,” Hiroko fussed, beckoning them in.  “We do not need to stand in the doorway all night.  Minako, are you staying for dinner?” 

“I’d love to,” Minako replied. 

“I think Toshiya is in the kitchen,” Hiroko said, and then turned to Yuuri. “I am sure you two would like to put your bags somewhere.” 

“Thanks,”  Yuuri said gratefully.  Viktor leaned in and gave Yuuri a quick side hug before picking up his bags and following Hiroko, smiling at Yuuri over his shoulder.  Yuuri froze for a moment, surprised. 

Minako squeezed his shoulder.  “I’m glad you’re happy,” she said quietly, and then walked off in search of the kitchen.  Yuuri nodded to himself and then picked up his own bags and scrambled to catch up with his husband and mother. 

“We have recently had an increase in guests,” Hiroko said as Yuuri and Viktor followed her down the hall.  “So we do not have as many empty rooms as I had thought we would.  Are you two alright sharing?” 

“Yep, we’re fine sharing,” Viktor replied, flashing Yuuri a smile.  Yuuri nodded. 

“I hope Yuuri’s old room will be OK,” Hiroko said.  “We can find a cot for Viktor.”  She stopped in front of the door to Yuuri’s room from when he had lived at the onsen.  “I am very sorry,” she said. 

“Mama, it’s fine,” Yuuri promised.  “We don’t mind at all.  We're just glad to be able to stay here.” 

His mother smiled at him.  “Thank you for being flexible.”  She stepped over and gave Yuuri a quick hug before saying, “I’ll let you two unpack.  Dinner will be in about an hour.  Let someone know if you’re going in the springs, alright?” 

Yuuri nodded.  “Thank you,” Viktor said sincerely.  To Yuuri’s surprise, Hiroko gave Viktor a small hug as well. 

“Welcome to the family, Viktor,” she said with a wide smile before leaving them alone. 

“Wow,” Viktor whispered when she was gone, and when Yuuri looked over, his husband’s eyes were suspiciously bright.  “I didn’t expect to be welcomed so quickly.” 

Yuuri leaned against Viktor, the best he could do with his hands full with his luggage.  “Of course, I’m sure they’ll love you.” 

“I hope so,” Viktor replied softly.  He gave Yuuri a searching look, and then shook his head.  “Should we stash our bags?” 

“Right,” Yuuri said with a small cough, and inched around Viktor to open his bedroom door.  “It’s a little small,” he said sheepishly, pulling his suitcase inside.  “If you don’t think it will work out, we can try to find somewhere else for one of us to sleep.” 

“I don’t mind this,” Viktor said, looking around curiously. 

Yuuri became suddenly, painfully aware of the posters tacked to his walls, depicting the myriad of things he had been interested in at eighteen, before he had left home for college.  “Oh, wow, these are really old,” Yuuri mumbled, reaching up to untack a poster of an ice skater he had had a bit of a crush on as a teenager. 

“Aw, Yuuri, this is adorable,” Viktor cooed.  To Yuuri’s surprise, his husband came up behind him and hugged him, resting his chin on Yuuri’s left shoulder.  “You don’t have to take these down if you don’t want to.” 

Yuuri set the poster and the tack down on his desk with a sigh before resting his head on his husband’s chest.  “I wasn’t any less embarrassing as a teenager,” Viktor added, his quiet voice warm on Yuuri's cheek.  “I had a crush on this Russian actor, I had posters of him all over my ceiling.” 

Yuuri laughed.  “Oh, really?” 

“Yep,” Viktor said happily, rocking himself and Yuuri back and forth slightly.  “We can watch one of his movies when we get home, if you want.” 

“Sure,” Yuuri replied with a grin. 

Viktor hummed thoughtfully, and then said after a moment, “I hadn’t realized we had been dating for so long.” 

Yuuri stiffened slightly, and then turned in Viktor’s arms so that they were face to face.  Viktor let his arms slide down to rest around Yuuri’s waist, and Yuuri rested one hand on his husband’s chest.  “Sorry,” Yuuri said, embarrassed.  “I panicked, I kind of just made something up on the spot.” 

Viktor’s lips twisted into a small smile.  “So did I.”  His thumb traced small circles on Yuuri’s hip, over his shirt.  “Some things, at least.” 

Yuuri nodded.  “Right,” he agreed.  “At least the part about us being friends in college wasn’t a lie.” 

“Yeah,” Viktor muttered.  “Yeah, that was what I meant.” 

“Do you want to come clean with Minako?” Yuuri said worriedly. 

Viktor shrugged a little.  “It doesn’t make a huge difference to me,” he said. 

Yuuri took a deep breath.  “I can tell her,” he said.  “Otherwise it will be awkward.  Pretending, and all that.” 

“Yep,” Viktor said, a strange note in his voice, but when Yuuri looked up at his face there was nothing off in his expression. 

“I’ll tell her tonight,” Yuuri decided, resolute. 

Viktor smiled down at him.  “Sounds like a plan,” he replied.  “Shall we go meet the rest of your family?” 

Yuuri nodded.  “Let’s go introduce you to the rest of my family.” 

Before Yuuri realized what was happening, Viktor pressed a quick kiss to his cheek.  “Come on, husband,” Viktor said with a wink. 

Eyes wide, blushing, mind spinning, Yuuri offered a hand.  “Let’s,” he breathed.  Viktor grasped his hand and led them out of the bedroom. 

Yuuri slowly grinned in spite of himself as he followed his husband out.  He had a feeling that this was going to be an amazing honeymoon.

Chapter Text

Viktor’s life changed irrevocably for the better when he took his first bite of katsudon.  “Oh my god,” he gasped, staring down with wonder at the bowl of food in front of him.  “This is probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten.” 

At his side, Yuuri laughed.  “It’s not quite the same back in America,” he agreed.  Viktor glanced sideways just in time to see Yuuri take a bite of his own dinner, and watched as his husband’s eyes closed.  “I missed this,” Yuuri whispered when he had swallowed, an expression of bliss on his face. 

Viktor smiled softly, fondly, and leaned into Yuuri’s side slightly.  “Glad to be home?” 

“Mm,” Yuuri murmured. 

Someone cleared their throat from across the table, and Viktor glanced over to see Mari watching him and Yuuri.  He couldn’t tell if her expression was more amused or annoyed.  “Your katsudon is going to get cold if you keep flirting,” she said with an odd, pointed look in Yuuri’s direction.  Viktor would have delighted in the way his husband’s cheeks flushed, if he hadn’t blushed just as much. 

Yuuri mumbled something in Japanese and then filled his mouth with rice.  Viktor smiled at the happy expression on Yuuri’s face and then turned back to his own dinner.  It took him a couple of tries to get another bite of pork cutlet with his chopsticks, and he must have been struggling obviously enough that Yuuri noticed. 

“Here,” Yuuri said with a small smile, reaching over.  Viktor fought back another blush when Yuuri gently readjusted his grip on his chopsticks, his touch gentle.  “There you go,” Yuuri said with a quietly satisfied smile.  “That should be a little easier.”  His hand still rested on top of Viktor’s, his fingers warm. 

Viktor swallowed hard.  “Thanks,” he said a little hoarsely. 

When he looked up, Yuuri’s cheeks were pink.  “Of course.”  He glanced across the table at his sister and then quickly removed his hand, going back to his own dinner again.  Mari simply raised an eyebrow, and didn’t say anything. 

A moment later Yuuri’s parents bustled in, followed by Minako, and they all sat down at the table with the other three.  “How do you like the food?” Hiroko asked Viktor with a smile, and he smiled widely back. 

“It’s amazing!” he said enthusiastically. 

Hiroko beamed.  “I am glad you are enjoying,” she said. 

Yuuri nudged him in the side with his elbow, and then said  with a grin, “He likes it when he can manage to pick anything up with his chopsticks.” 

“Yuuuuuri,” Viktor whined, resting his head on his husband’s shoulder, jostling Yuuri’s arm enough that he dropped his own pork cutlet.  “So mean to me!” 

Yuuri laughed. When he turned his head slightly his lips almost seemed to brush Viktor’s forehead.  They both paused, frozen for a moment, and then Yuuri jerked away slightly and Viktor moved back. 

“Sorry,” Yuuri mumbled, and Viktor coughed a little awkwardly into his fist.  “You’re fine,” he promised.  Hiroko and Toshiya studied them from across the table, and Viktor tried not to blush. 

“Yuuri,” Toshiya said, giving his son an appraising look.  “Are you and Viktor planning to go in the onsen after dinner?” 

Yuuri pursed his lips thoughtfully and swallowed his mouthful of rice be for answering.  “We hadn’t really talked about it.”  He turned to Viktor, the corner of his mouth lifting into a small smile.  “What do you think, Vitya, do you want to go in the hot springs?” 

“Sure!” Viktor said.  “That’s what your family’s inn is famous for, right?  I’d love to experience it.” 

“I don’t know if I’d say famous,” Mari grumbled. 

Yuuri frowned slightly, and then asked something in tentative Japanese.  Mari gave him a long look and then shrugged.  “Don’t worry about it, little brother,” she said in English.  “Just enjoy your honeymoon.” 

“I mean it’s technically not really a honeymoon,” Yuuri started a little nervously, his chopsticks twitching in his fingers. 

Across the table from him Minako raised her eyebrows.  “How so?” she asked a little suspiciously.  “Didn’t you say this was your honeymoon?” 

Viktor set his own down for a second and wrapped an arm around Yuuri’s waist, pulling him close.  “It’s as good as,” he replied quickly, covering for his husband.  Yuuri looked up at him, a question in his eyes. 

“Two newlyweds going on vacation together to spend time together.  So we’re basically on a honeymoon, even though it’s a joke,” Viktor explained. 

“A joke?” Minako repeated. 

Yuuri shrugged.  “Neither of us really have the time to go on an actual honeymoon,” he said, his voice cracking.  “So using Viktor’s vacation days and my school vacation to go on a trip is the best we’re doing.”  Yuuri laughed a little anxiously.  “I guess all that’s missing is the wedding night,” he added in a murmur, his voice low so his parents and Minako couldn’t hear him. 

Viktor gazed into his eyes, and then his eyes darted down just for a moment to Yuuri’s slightly parted lips.  We can do the wedding night too, if you want, he didn’t say, and then pulled back.  “There you go,” he said, attempting a smile.  “So it’s basically the same as a honeymoon.  Might as well call this what it is.” 

“Right, right,” Yuuri mumbled.  “I guess, I don’t know, giving people the wrong idea, but-” 

Viktor shrugged.  “It doesn’t matter,” he said. 

“I can’t believe your jobs wouldn’t give you time off to go on your honeymoon,” Minako grumbled.  “Have they no concept of romance?” 

Yuuri laughed nervously.  “It doesn’t matter,” he said,  “This is just as good, we just want to spend time together.” 

“Of course,” Minako said with a smile.  “What matters is that you love each other, right?” 

Yuuri licked his lips nervously.  “Right,” he said, and his voice sounded a little hoarse.  Viktor decided not to try to decrypt that fact, and picked up his chopsticks again.  Yuuri reached over and absently corrected his grip, and Viktor smiled. 

“So, Yuuri,” Mari said after a beat of silence, and Viktor desperately tried to ignore the fact that the entire Katsuki family was staring at him and Yuuri.  “How’s work in America?” 

Yuuri lit up.  “It’s going well,” he said.  “I told you about my promotion, I’m now the head of the English department at my high school.  It’s time consuming, but it’s good work.”

“What do you do, Viktor?” Hiroko asked curiously, and Viktor smiled sheepishly. 

“Nothing so exciting as teaching,” he replied.  “I’m an accountant, I work for an international company based in Detroit.” 

Dinner continued and then finished like that, as Yuuri’s family asked the two of them questions about their lives in America.  Yuuri pushed his bowl away from himself when he finished eating and waited patiently for Viktor to finish, just a little slower.  When they were both done they carried their dishes to the kitchen.  Yuuri tried to stay and help clean up, but his father gently but firmly insisted that he take Viktor to the hot springs. 

“So where exactly are the hot springs?” Viktor asked, following Yuuri through the hallways of his family’s inn. 

“Out back,” Yuuri replied, tossing Viktor a smile over his shoulder.  “We need to clean off, though, and I’ll find us robes.” 

“Sounds good!” Viktor chirped.  He washed himself off in the shower room at Yuuri’s direction, and then took the robe he was offered. 

“There’s not much point in trying to tie it up now,” Yuuri said, avoiding Viktor’s eyes as the robe hung open around Viktor’s shoulders.  “Since we’re getting in the water in a moment anyway.” 

“We’re supposed to bathe naked, right?” Viktor asked, and Yuuri nodded, the tips of his ears burning red. 

“That’s correct,” he replied. 

“Will everyone else be naked as well?” Viktor asked curiously, following Yuuri outside into a large, steamy area willed with hot springs. 

“Yep,” Yuuri replied.  He glanced back at Viktor for just a moment before jerking his eyes away again.  “I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but we don’t allow pictures in the hot springs.” 

“Makes sense,” Viktor said.  He glanced around as he followed Yuuri, but there only seemed to be a few other people in the springs area- a couple of older men relaxing together in one of the large pools, and Mari off to the side mopping something up. 

“There’s a smaller one over here we can use,” Yuuri mumbled, leading Viktor through the steam, and then stopped in front of one of the pools.  Viktor had barely a moment to prepare before Yuuri shrugged his robe off, and he politely looked away from Yuuri’s bare body until his husband stepped into the pool. 

“Come on,” Yuuri invited, beckoning.  “The water’s even nicer than I remembered.” 

Viktor smiled.  He slipped his own robe off as well and then stepped in.  “I didn’t expect it to be this warm!” he exclaimed, quickly submerging himself up to his shoulders. 

“Ah, it’s so nice,” Yuuri sighed, resting his head back against the wall and closing his eyes.  “I forgot how relaxing this was.” 

“Don’t fall asleep,” Viktor teased, and Yuuri’s eyes cracked open. 

“Don’t worry, you can keep me awake,” he replied. 

Viktor laughed, shifting slightly and then relaxing against the wall across from Yuuri.  “I don’t know, who’s to guarantee that I won’t fall asleep?” 

“We’d drown together, then,” Yuuri laughed. 

“Oh, how romantic,” Viktor sighed, pressing his hands to his chest and pretending to swoon. 

Yuuri snorted.  “Sure,” he said.  “Lovers that lived together and died together.”  He seemed to realize what he had said, and flushed. 

Viktor just grinned.  “Sounds good,” he said.  “We are married, after all, doesn’t that basically count as being lovers?” 

Yuuri blushed a little deeper.  “I mean, technically, if you look at the definition of both-” he started. 

“Oh, don’t be such an English teacher,” Viktor said with a grin.  He stood up suddenly, and reached out to Yuuri with a dramatic flourish, his heart beating hard in his chest.  “Be my lover, Yuuri!”  He winked. 

Yuuri just stared up at him, his eyes wide, his cheeks red, his mouth open, and the silence stretched for just a moment too long. 

“I’m joking, of course,” Viktor said with a small smile, setting back down into his seat.  He sighed quietly as the hot water enveloped him, and then added, “We’re fine as we are.” 

Yuuri sunk down far enough that his mouth was covered by the water, his eyes blurry in the steam, and then nodded. 

Viktor tipped his head back and stared up at the sky, internally kicking himself.  There was no need to joke so much about loving Yuuri, despite the fact that each joking confession took a little more weight off his shoulders.  It had clearly made Yuuri uncomfortable, and Viktor far valued the happiness of his husband over his own jokes.  He didn’t want to lose his husband, his best friend, his Yuuri, over a few stupid sentences about being lovers. 

“Forget I said anything,” he said quietly, reaching across the pool with his foot to nudge Yuuri in the calf. 

Yuuri lifted himself up again so that his mouth was above water level, and said abruptly, “Sorry I didn’t tell Minako the truth about our relationship at dinner.” 

Viktor shrugged.  “It’s not a big deal,” he said.  “I don’t want to put you on the spot.” 

“I know,” Yuuri sighed.  He pressed his lips together.  “I’m a thirty four year old adult, I should be able to tell my family friend that I’m only married for convenience.”  He shrugged.  “It felt like… I didn’t want to ruin dinner, I don’t know.” 

“Don’t worry about it,” Viktor promised.  He hesitated, and then slid across to sit beside Yuuri.  He didn’t move to touch him, knowing that hugging Yuuri while they were both naked, even in a nonsexual context, would probably cross a line that they would then have to talk about.  But he did look deep into Yuuri’s eyes as he said, “I promise I really don’t mind what she thinks.  If you want to wait until we’re back in America to tell her that we’re not married for love, that’s fine too.  I want you to have a good vacation.” 

“I want you to have a good vacation too,” Yuuri replied.  “I don’t want to ruin it by making you pretend that you are romantically in love with me.” 

Viktor swallowed hard.  “I’ve always been a good pretender,” he said weakly. 

Yuuri smiled a little wryly at that.  “And I guess I’m better than I would think,” he replied. 

Viktor felt something brush his palm, and a moment later Yuuri’s fingers were lacing through his.  “I love you, Vitya,” Yuuri sighed, leaning his head against Viktor’s shoulder, the damp ends of his hair tickling Viktor’s bare skin.  Viktor’s heart skipped a beat, his breath caught in his throat. 

“As a friend, I mean,” Yuuri quickly clarified, his eyes darting to Viktor’s face before he looked away again, out into the steam.  “You're the best friend anyone could ask for.” 

“Then I love you too,” Viktor whispered, the words so true they hurt to say.  “I’m lucky to have you, Yuuri.” 

They stayed in the hot springs for a while, quietly enjoying each other’s company, until Yuuri started nodding off on Viktor’s shoulder.  The first time he noticed Yuuri asleep Viktor smiled a little and gently nudged his husband.  The second time, as Yuuri rested against him, Viktor just rested and breathed.  Yuuri’s breath against the skin of Viktor’s shoulder, his whispery little snores, were warm despite the warm steam, the warm air, and Viktor wished the moment could last forever. 

Too soon, though, Yuuri jerked awake again and said a little blearily, “We should probably get out and go to bed if we want to function tomorrow.” 

“Sounds good,” Viktor replied quietly.  The hour, the jet lag, must have dulled his impulse control, because he reached out and gently brushed the hair from Yuuri’s forehead.  “There you go,” he said. 

Yuuri blinked at him and then turned his face away, biting his lips.  Viktor couldn’t be sure if his husband’s cheeks were pink because he was flustered, or because of the temperature of the water, but he chose to believe the former. 

They got out, and Viktor couldn’t really muster the energy to be worried about modesty as he slipped his robe back on, clumsily tying it closed in a way that didn’t really work.  His exhaustion was finally hitting, and all he wanted to do was curl up in bed.  With Yuuri.  Preferably with Yuuri. 

Yuuri grabbed his hand once he was done fiddling with his robe, and gently led him out of the hot springs area and back into the inn.  They showered off quickly before returning to Yuuri’s bedroom. 

While they had been in the hot springs, someone had squeezed a cot for Viktor into Yuuri’s room, crowding their suitcases against the wall.  It took a little maneuvering to get their pajamas out, and then they changed and collapsed into bed.  Viktor finished before Yuuri and squirmed onto his cot, getting himself comfortable under the sheets. 

“Um, sorry,” Yuuri mumbled, and then quickly clambered over Viktor to get to his own bed.  When he was lying down he and Viktor were very nearly face to face- Viktor’s cot was only about two inches shorter than Yuuri’s mattress, but his pillow was higher so that when he was facing Yuuri he could gaze adoringly into his husband’s eyes.  Viktor proceeded to do just that, and Yuuri smiled gently. 

“Good night, Vitya,” he said quietly.  “Sleep well.” 

“You too,” Viktor whispered.  Yuuri’s hand twitched where it was resting on the pillow, but he didn’t reach out for Viktor. 

Viktor reached over, his arm just long enough, and turned off the lights.  “Sleep well,” he whispered again, and then almost too quietly to hear, “I love you.”

***

Viktor woke up with hair in his mouth.  It took him a moment to reorient himself- after all, he hadn’t had long hair since he was seventeen and still a rebellious teenager- but once he opened his eyes he realized that the shock of hair in front of his face, caught in his mouth, was black. 

It took him another moment to register the warm weight of a body pressed against his, the soft breathing that belonged to someone else, the warm lump under one of his arms, and then he realized what had happened.  At some point during the night, it seemed, Yuuri had rolled off his own bed and onto Viktor’s, squishing the two of them together on the small cot. 

Late morning light slanted through the slightly open blinds over Yuuri’s window, and Viktor thought he heard chatter from another part of the inn.  Beside him, Yuuri slept on. 

Viktor swallowed hard, assessing the situation.  His husband, the man he had been desperately in love with for years and years, was sleeping in the same bed as him.  They had fallen asleep in the same bed before, of course, but alcohol had always been involved and they had always written off any cuddling to the fact that they were both affectionate when drunk.  That wouldn’t work as an excuse this time.  It wasn’t Yuuri’s fault, of course, that he had moved in his sleep- but Viktor still lay beside him, one arm carelessly slung over Yuuri in what was basically a hug. 

Yuuri shifted in his sleep, making a small murmuring noise, and cuddled a little closer.  Viktor was afraid that the loud pounding of his heart would wake his husband.  Slowly, very carefully, he pulled Yuuri a little closer.  Maybe he could just pretend to be asleep when Yuuri woke, and they could forget about everything. 

But that wouldn’t be right.  Viktor was cuddling his best friend without consent, and there was no telling if Yuuri would freak out when he woke up. 

With a frown Viktor carefully extricated himself from his husband, nearly falling off the other side of the bed.  The resulting flailing seemed to startle Yuuri from his dreams, and Viktor’s husband groaned into Viktor’s pillow before opening his eyes. 

“Viktor?” he mumbled, his voice rough and low with sleep.  Viktor suppressed a shiver.  “Viktor, why are you in my bed?” Yuuri asked, fighting back a yawn. 

Viktor raised an eyebrow, and sat up.  Now that his Yuuri was awake, he didn’t need to worry about not wriggling around too much.  “I think you’re the one who’s in my bed,” he pointed out gently, the cot creaking underneath him. 

Yuuri’s eyes widened and he sat up quickly, looking over in panic at his own bed.  “Viktor, oh my god, I’m so sorry,” he gasped. 

Viktor laughed.  “Don’t worry about it, lapochka,” he said.  “It’s not a big deal.” 

His cheeks flushed, Yuuri quickly scooted back into his own bed.  “I’m so sorry,” he said again, and then ran his fingers through his hair.  “I hope I didn’t wake you up.  Do you know what time it is?” 

Viktor’s stomach growled, and he swung his legs over the side of his bed.  “Maybe ten or so?” he guessed.  He fumbled through the pockets of his pants from the day before and then pulled out his phone, eyes widening.  “Or it’s almost eleven.” 

Yuuri cleared his throat, and rubbed at his eyes.  “No wonder I’m so hungry.” 

“What do you want to do today?” Viktor asked as Yuuri eased himself out of bed and dug around in his suitcase for clothes. 

“I’m fine with whatever you want to do,” Yuuri replied.  “If you’re interested, I can show you around Hasetsu.” 

“Alright,” Viktor said with a smile.  “I’d love to get to know the place you grew up.” 

Yuuri smiled back.  “There’s not a ton to see,” he said.  “But I can show you the sights, I guess.” 

Viktor stood up and gently hugged Yuuri from behind while his husband was halfway into his pants.  “Thanks for letting me come with you to Japan, Yuuri,” he murmured. 

Yuuri laughed, pulling his pants up before leaning back a little into Viktor’s hug.  “I’m glad you decided to come,” he replied.  “I love having you around.” 

Viktor rested his chin on Yuuri’s shoulder and then pressed his face against the soft skin of his husband’s neck.  “Funny, same,” he said. 

Yuuri leaned against him for another moment, and then patted his hand.  “Why don’t you get dressed, and then we can eat breakfast and get going?” 

“OK,” Viktor said, not letting go. 

Yuuri shifted in his embrace until he was facing Viktor, nose to nose.  He made eye contact, and then very deliberately pecked Viktor on the cheek.  Viktor let go in surprise, and just barely avoided falling over. 

Yuuri laughed.  “It’s only fair,” he said, and then waved before leaving the room, leaving Viktor reeling and bright red.  Viktor pressed a hand to his chest, his heart fluttering under his fingertips, a grin slowly growing on his face until his cheeks ached. 

Viktor got dressed quickly after that, and managed to get down to the dining room without getting lost.  Breakfast was a simple, quiet affair with Yuuri’s family, and before long Viktor and Yuuri were out the door. 

“Where do you want to go first?” Yuuri asked as they ambled together down the street. 

Viktor looked around, observing the town now that he didn’t feel dead on his feet.  He caught sight of the ocean through a crack between buildings, and asked, “Could we go down to the shore?” 

“Of course,” Yuuri laughed.  He led Viktor down a side street and turned a few corners before the reached a road that went right down to the shore.  They walked together, hands brushing, onto the sand. 

“It’s so nice out this morning,” Yuuri murmured as they stopped, both staring out at the waves.  The sea breeze ruffled Viktor’s hair and tugged at the hem of his jacket, cool and bracing. 

“It is nice,” Viktor replied quietly.  He glanced sideways at Yuuri, and then added, “The view is beautiful.” 

“Mm,” Yuuri murmured.  Viktor took a few steps forward and then sat down on a small, sandy hill, still facing the ocean. 

Yuuri hesitated and then sat down beside him, pulling his knees up to his chest.  “I’m getting too old to be sitting on the ground like this,” he grumbled. 

Viktor snorted.  “Please, you’re thirty four.” 

“Isn’t that what I always tell you?” Yuuri asked with a teasing smile. 

Viktor gave his best friend a gentle shove, and Yuuri spluttered, gently shoving him back.  They devolved into pushing, and then wrestling, and Viktor couldn’t make himself care that he was getting sand all over himself. 

After a brief struggle Yuuri managed to pin him down, and grinned triumphantly.  “I’ve got you now,” he laughed, settling himself on Viktor’s abdomen, leaning over Viktor’s face to keep his wrists pinned. 

“I guess you do,” Viktor replied, his mouth suddenly dry.  Yuuri’s face was close, close, so close Viktor could pick out the gold flecks in his eyes and the few grains of sand that had gotten stuck to his cheek in the struggle.  Yuuri wasn’t grinning anymore- instead he stared down at Viktor, his eyes wide. 

“Yuuri?” Viktor said a little uncertainly, his pulse going a mile a minute. 

“Viktor,” Yuuri whispered.  He licked his lips slowly, his tongue pink.  Viktor swallowed hard.  When Yuuri exhaled Viktor could feel it against his lips, could smell the coffee on his husband’s breath.  The ring on Yuuri’s finger pressed against the skin on the inside of Viktor’s wrist, cool. 

“Vitya, I-” Yuuri started.  He bit his lip, and shifted as if to get off Viktor. 

“Yuuri,” Viktor whispered, something longing and almost pathetic in his voice.  Yuuri paused, readjusted his grip on Viktor’s wrists, and leaned in. 

And then Katsuki Yuuri was kissing Viktor Nikiforov, kissing Viktor, and it was the best thing that had ever happened to him.

Chapter Text

Viktor Nikiforov was kissing Katsuki Yuuri, kissing Yuuri, and it was the best thing that had ever happened to him. 

Viktor’s lips were soft, gentle, and Viktor made a quiet noise of happy surprise underneath him.  And then Yuuri realized he was kissing Viktor.  His husband.  His best friend.  The man that didn’t love Yuuri as Yuuri loved him. 

Yuuri’s hands slipped in the sand and his nose smushed into Viktor’s face before he jerked away, scrambling backwards off of Viktor. 

“Yuuri?” Viktor whispered, his eyes wide, his face flushed. 

Yuuri scooted back further. “I’m so sorry,” he said quickly, raising his hands defensively.  “I slipped.” 

“You... slipped,” Viktor repeated, his voice flat.  All emotion slid off his face. 

“Yeah,” Yuuri whispered.  “I slipped.” 

Viktor sat up, running his fingers through his hair to dislodge the sand that had caught there during their wrestling.  Yuuri panicked just a little bit more.  “I hope I didn’t hurt you,” he said.  “When I slipped, I mean.  I hope I didn’t hurt your face when I crashed into you.  Does your nose hurt?” 

“I’m fine,” Viktor said, his voice distant.  He absently pressed one finger to the bridge of his nose, feeling it, and then shrugged.  “I guess what happened doesn’t have to mean anything.” 

“Right,” Yuuri whispered.  “I won’t mean anything.” 

Yuuri wanted to pass out from embarrassment, cry with dismay, scream to the world no, no, that kiss didn’t mean nothing, it meant everything to him.  He said nothing. 

Viktor nodded.  He got to his feet, brushing off his jeans. 

Yuuri took a deep breath, and then stood as well.  He blinked hard, trying to pretend that the tears in his eyes were from sand in his eyes rather than his disappointment.  He had absolutely no reason to be upset- nothing had changed between him and Viktor, everything would stay the same.  No matter how much Yuuri wished that things would change. 

Despite his best efforts a single tear rolled down his cheek, and Viktor seemed to notice.  “Are you alright?” he said a little abruptly. 

Yuuri nodded quickly, turning his face away and wiping at his eyes.  “Yeah.  Sorry, just sand in my eye.” 

“Come here,” Viktor sighed quietly.  He reached out and cupped Yuuri’s face in his hands, turning it up to the light.  “Blink a couple of times,” he said, and Yuuri did as he was told, trying to get his eyes to stop watering.  It didn’t matter how upset he was, or how upset he had the right to be, he needed to stay composed in front of his best friend. 

“I don’t see anything,” Viktor murmured, his palms warm against Yuuri’s cheeks.  Yuuri stepped back slightly, and Viktor’s hands fell back to his sides.  “I guess you got it out,” Viktor said a little awkwardly. 

“Yeah,” Yuuri mumbled.  He wiped one last time at his eyes, and took a deep breath to compose himself. 

“It’s a good thing you’re not wearing contacts,” Viktor added, and Yuuri laughed nervously. 

“Yeah, I guess,” he said, absently pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. 

Viktor reached out and brushed a little bit of sand from Yuuri’s shoulder, his tough perfunctory.  Yuuri pushed down another swell of emotion.  He had no right to be upset, he reminded himself.  After all, he was enforcing the friendship between himself and Viktor just as much as Viktor was.  Viktor probably wanted to preserve their friendship just as much, even though it was Yuuri who was most likely to mess everything up.

There was a beat of awkward silence between them, and then Viktor smiled slightly.  The cheer in his voice seemed more or less genuine as he asked, “Well, unless you’d like to stay at the beach longer, do you want to move on?” 

Yuuri managed to smile back.  “I’m fine to move on.  Where do you want to go?”

Viktor shrugged, and then his eyes focused on something over Yuuri’s shoulder, back in the direction of the town.  “What’s that?” he asked. 

Yuuri turned, followed his husband’s gaze, and pointed.  “That?”  When Viktor nodded, Yuuri said, “That’s the ninja house.” 

Viktor’s eyes widened.  “Ninjas?” he gasped. 

Yuuri grinned in spite of himself.  “Ninjas, sure.”  he replied. 

Viktor reached out and grabbed Yuuri’s hand.  “Let’s go!”  He paused.  Hesitated.  And then said tentatively, squeezing Yuuri’s fingers, “Is this OK?” 

“This is fine,” Yuuri confirmed, his heart in his throat.  Without meaning to, he added, “I mean, this is good.  Great.  Wonderful, spectacular, amazing-” Yuuri cut himself off, blushing, before he could embarrass himself further. 

Viktor smiled slightly.  “I’m glad,” he said, and then shrugged.  “Friends hold hands all the time, don’t they?” 

“Yep,” Yuuri croaked.  “They definitely do.”  And as Yuuri let Viktor lead him off the beach and back towards the town, those words echoed horribly in the back of his mind. 

Friends hold hands all the time, don’t they? 

Friends.

***

“You kissed Viktor Nikiforov, and you’re only telling me about this NOW?” Phichit screeched into the phone. 

Yuuri winced slightly.  “Please keep it down,” he said.  “Viktor’s showering, I don’t know when he’ll be back.  I’d really rather he didn’t overhear.” 

“Yuuri,” Phichit said, and it was clear even from halfway across the world that he was trying very hard to keep his voice calm.  “It’s Christmas Eve night where you are.  You kissed Viktor two days ago, and I’m only hearing about it now?”

Yuuri grimaced.  “Yes?” he said.  “It’s not a big deal, Phichit.” 

“Not a big DEAL?” Phichit sounded like he was about to have an aneurysm. 

“Keep it down,” Yuuri hissed, glancing over his shoulder to make sure Viktor hadn’t come back yet.  His sister teasing him in front of Viktor was bad enough, but at least Viktor didn’t speak any Japanese.  Phichit, on the other hand… Yuuri really couldn’t afford his husband overhearing, especially since they were talking about him. 

“Yuuri,” Phichit said, his voice serious.  “Please, dear god, please tell me that you’re still kissing him.” 

“What?” Yuuri said, turning his attention back to his friend.  “What do you mean?” 

“Did you confess?” Phichit asked eagerly.  “I mean, a kiss is a pretty clear signal that you’re interested, and if he kissed you back… so please tell me you’re actually dating right now.” 

“Um, no?” Yuuri said.  “Nothing’s changed.”  He sighed softly.  “It’s better that way.” 

“What the fuck do you mean,” Phichit said flatly.  “Yuuri, the man you’ve been pining after for, like, almost half your life kissed you.  Why aren’t you dating?” 

Yuuri twisted his finger in the hem of his shirt until the tip turned white.  “Calling it a kiss is maybe generous?” he said.  “I kind of more… fell on his face?  And out lips happened to bump into each other?”  He winced, wracking his memory.  He was fairly sure he had slipped, that that was most of what had happened… but he couldn’t deny the memory of his burning desire to kiss his husband, the love of his life. 

Phichit made a frustrated sound over the phone.  “I don’t really know what to tell you, Yuuri,” he said.  “You’re married to the guy you’ve been in love with for a decade, you’re on your honeymoon, and you two have finally kissed, but you don’t think he loves you back?  This is ridiculous, Katsuki.” 

Yuuri pressed his lips together.  “I know,” he said.  “But every time I think that maybe he might love me too, he says something, or does something, and then we’re just… back to friends.” 

“You two are the biggest pair of idiots in the entire world,” Phichit huffed.  He took a long breath, and then said seriously, “I know you called me to vent, but honestly, if I could give you any advice?  Please just talk to him.“ 

“We did talk, we decided that our kiss wouldn’t mean anything,” Yuuri insisted, and then deflated.  “I don’t know.  I guess if the moment comes up, we can talk about it again.” 

“Alright,” Phichit sighed, and then his voice brightened ad he changed the subject.  “Did I tell you what my hamsters did yesterday?” 

“No, what did they do?” Yuuri asked with a small smile, leaning back on his bed and staring up at the ceiling.  He listened to his friend talk, occasionally asking a question or interjecting his own commentary, until Viktor came back from the shower. 

Yuuri sat up as his husband came into the room, a towel draped around his shoulders, wearing only a pair of sweatpants.  “Hey,” Yuuri said softly, smiling and putting his hand over the speaker of his phone for a moment.  Viktor flashed him a small smile and then bent over next to his suitcase, rummaging around for a change of clothes.  Yuuri swallowed hard, trying very hard not to stare at his husband’s butt. 

“Sounds like Viktor’s back,” Phichit said in his ear, and Yuuri hummed in acknowledgement.  “I’ll let you go, then,” Phichit added.  “Have a good night, Yuuri.” 

“You too,” Yuuri replied, and then hung up. 

“Phichit?” Viktor guessed with a smile.  

Yuuri nodded.  “Yep.  He was updating me on all the interesting things I’ve missed with his hamsters.” 

Viktor laughed.  “Exciting.”  He pulled a collared shirt out of his suitcase and held it up against himself.  “Do you think this is too wrinkled?” he asked. 

Yuuri shook his head.  “I think you’re fine,” he replied.  “I guess I should get changed as well.” 

Viktor shrugged, pulling the shirt on and then starting to button up the front.  “Our dinner reservation is at eight, right?” 

Yuuri made a sheepish face.  “Yeah, sorry it’s so late,” he said. 

Viktor nudged him as he passed on the way to his own suitcase.  “I told you I don’t mind.  This was the only time you could get, right?”  Yuuri just shrugged. 

Viktor rested a hand on his back for a moment.  “I always enjoy a nice night out with you, Yuuri.” 

Yuuri took a long, deep breath.  “I feel the same.” 

Viktor let his hand drop, and went back to buttoning up his shirt.  “So,” he said casually as Yuuri pulled a pair of pants out of his suitcase, frowning critically at the lint caught on the hems.  “I was doing a little reading earlier.” 

“Oh, what about?” Yuuri asked absently.  He knelt and pulled out two shirts, trying to figure out which one was better for a nice dinner out. 

“I was reading a little about what Christmas is like in Japan,” Viktor said, still in that same calm, level voice. “And one of the articles I was reading said that Christmas Eve is often a couples’ holiday here.  That lovers will go out together on Christmas Eve night.” 

Yuuri choked on his own spit, and Viktor patted him on the shoulder.  “Uh, I guess that’s true?” Yuuri managed to say, completely unable to look at his husband.  “Um, I… don’t remember?  It’s been a while since I’ve been back here.” 

Viktor was silent as he stepped out of his sweatpants, changing into a pair of slacks, and then spoke again.  “I think,” he said softly.  “I think maybe we should talk when we get back from dinner?” 

Yuuri bit his lip, looking down at the clothes in his hands.  “I think you’re right,” he said quietly.  His heart was in his throat, his stomach churning nervously, but something within him was calm and steady. 

“I’m glad,” Viktor said, and Yuuri thought he could detect just the slightest tremble in his husband’s voice.  “I’ll let you finish changing,” Viktor said quietly, and yes, his voice was definitely shaking just a little. 

Yuuri didn’t look up as Viktor picked up his damp towel and left the bedroom, carefully shutting the door behind himself.  Yuuri sat back on his heels, and slowly put one of his shirts away.  He got dressed in a daze and then sat down on the end of Viktor’s cot, resting his head n his hands, thinking hard. 

It was undeniably true that something had changed between him and Viktor after they had kissed, but Yuuri couldn’t really put his finger on what.  Viktor was a little less eager to touch him, and his hugs and squeezes were a little less common.  And yet… there had definitely been something in Viktor’s voice when he had asked to talk, something that Yuuri could almost imagine he had heard mirrored in his own voice.  Longing. 

Maybe… maybe it wasn’t so far beyond the realm of possibility that Viktor had romantic feelings for him.  Or maybe Yuuri was just kidding himself. 

Yuuri sighed quietly and got to his feet, grabbing his phone and wallet from his desk.  It didn’t matter now.  He and Viktor were going to talk, and if the moment came, if it felt right… Yuuri would tell his husband how he felt.  How he loved him. 

Viktor was waiting outside the door when Yuuri opened it, leaning against the wall and scrolling through a news site.  He shut off the screen when he saw Yuuri, smiling.  “Ready to go?” 

“You bet,” Yuuri replied, offering him a smile of his own. 

Viktor reached out and took Yuuri’s hand, lacing their fingers together.  “OK?” he asked, only a little tentatively, and Yuuri nodded, his mouth dry.  Viktor squeezed his hand, inching a little closer. 

Yuuri took a deep breath and then squeezed his hand back, leaning against him a the facsimile of a hug.  When Yuuri looked up at Viktor, his husband was blushing, his eyes wide.  Yuuri gazed up at him, fighting back the urge to kiss him. 

Viktor exhaled slowly, locking eyes with Yuuri.  “We should go, lapochka, or we’ll miss out dinner reservation.” 

“Of course,” Yuuri mumbled, a wave of hot embarrassment sweeping over him.  He loosened his grip on Viktor’s fingers just slightly, but Viktor didn’t let go.  That fact didn’t surprise Yuuri as much as he thought it would. 

The two walked hand in hand down the hall and out the door, stopping only to put on their shoes before leaving.  Neither let go on the way to the restaurant, and their fingers were still laced together when they walked in the door.  They were quickly seated at a table near the back, and it was only then that Viktor let go of Yuuri, with something that seemed like reluctance. 

Viktor smiled gently at him from across the table as they sat.  “So, lapochka,” he said.  “We have a week left of our honeymoon, how would you like to spend it?” 

Yuuri smiled.  “I have a couple of ideas for places we could go, or things we could do,” he said. 

Viktor rested his chin on his hands, gazing at him adoringly.  “Go ahead.” 

The rest of their evening passed much the same, filled with good food and pleasant conversation, and both men were a little buzzed from the sake they had drunk, and they clung to each other as they left the restaurant. 

“Yuuuuuri,” Viktor crooned in Yuuri’s ear, hugging him close.  “Did you enjoy dinner?” 

“I did,” Yuuri replied in a soft voice, leaning into his husband’s touch when Viktor nuzzled his cheek.  He was tipsy enough to be affectionate, his face flushed and warm and his movements a little clumsy, but not nearly drunk enough to let his instincts overcome his inhibitions, to give in to his desire to kiss his husband senseless. 

The walk back to the onsen was quiet, the two holding onto each other, Viktor’s arm around Yuuri’s shoulders and Yuuri’s arm around Viktor’s back.  It was very nice, Yuuri decided, to be able to touch Viktor like this.  He hoped it wouldn’t be ruined after he and Viktor had talked. 

That thought killed Yuuri’s mood a little, and he tried his best to keep his nerves off his face as he and Viktor reached the onsen and headed up to their shared bedroom, both greeting his parents in the dining room as they passed.  For whatever reason Viktor seemed similarly subdued, and there was a serious expression on his face as he closed the bedroom door behind himself. 

“So,” he said after a moment of silence that lasted just long enough to be tense. 

“So,” Yuuri repeated.  He took a deep breath and then sat down on the edge of Viktor’s bed.  “You wanted to talk.” 

Viktor lingered a little awkwardly by the doorway, and then gingerly sat down beside Yuuri.  “So did you,” he replied.  Yuuri shrugged, clenching his fingers, suddenly nervous. 

“Do you want to go first, then?” Viktor asked, and when Yuuri looked up he found his husband studying him carefully. 

Yuuri bit his lip.  “I, um,” he said softly. 

Viktor shifted a little on the bed, and then looked away from Yuuri, up at the ceiling.  “Or I can go.  Maybe we don’t even want to talk about the same thing.” 

Yuuri shrugged.  To be honest, he wasn’t sure he would be able to tell Viktor how he felt.  As much as he desperately wanted to.  As much as the words had been on the tip of his tongue the entire evening.  As much he hoped, maybe even believed, that his feelings weren’t unreciprocated. 

“Alright,” Viktor said, his voice a little shaky.  “Um, I guess I’ll start, then?  Since I brought this whole thing up?” 

Yuuri nodded.  He inhaled slowly, and tried to push away his nerves.  Viktor was his husband, and his best friend.  They had been through nearly fifteen years together, their friendship wouldn’t fall apart no matter what either of them confessed.  It would be fine. 

“OK,” Viktor said.  His knee jiggled nervously as he paused, and looked like he was trying to gather his thoughts.  When he spoke again his voice was low, serious.  “For a while now, um, a really long time… I guess I haven’t been entirely honest with you?  About some things?  But recently, you know, with getting married and everything, and then with what happened at my office’s holiday party, and us going out together, alone, on a night that's supposed to be for couples, I’ve been wondering a little if maybe, you know…”

He trailed off, looked up.  “You know what?” he said, and then gave Yuuri a small, crooked smile, his eyes suddenly bright.  “Dammit, I’m just going to say it.” 

Yuuri opened his mouth, his heart in his throat, his confession on the tip of his tongue. 

“I’m in love with you.” 

Yuuri’s eyes widened.  He hadn’t meant to blurt that out, but Viktor… Viktor had said the same words, at nearly the same time. 

Viktor’s eyes widened as well.  “You…” he said softly, and then scooted closer.  “Yuuri, say that again.” 

Yuuri’s mouth was dry, and he was sure his face was bright red.  “I- I’m in love with you,” he whispered. 

A slow smile grew on Viktor’s face, and he reached out to take Yuuri’s hand.  I’m in love with you,” he repeated, and then he began to laugh happily.  “Yuuri, I’m in love with you!  And you love me!”  Before Yuuri knew it, Viktor was enveloping him in a hug, holding him close.  “God, Yuuri, oh my god,” he whispered.  “I’m in love with you.” 

He went still for a moment, and then pulled back.  “Wait,” he said, frowning slightly.  “To be clear, I’m saying that I love you in a romantic way.” 

Yuuri smiled a little shyly.  “I love you in a romantic way too,” he replied.  “I have for a while.” 

Viktor lit up.  “So have I!” he said.  “I think I’ve been a little in love with you since we were in college.  And now, obviously, more than a little.” 

Yuuri blushed a little.  “Same,” he said.  “I kind of got a crush on you when we started rooming together, and I don’t think it ever completely went away.  Um, clearly.” 

“I’ve wanted this for so long,” Viktor whispered, his eyes wide and honest.  “I’ve loved you for so long, and I never really thought…” 

“I know,” Yuuri replied.  His voice was a little hoarse, and he suddenly felt like he might cry, he was so happy. 

“This is amazing.”  Viktor took his other hand, holding them both tightly.  “Yuuri, I love you,” he said.  “I’m going to say that as much as I can to make up for all the time we’ve lost.” 

Yuuri laughed, squeezing his husband’s fingers.  “I love you too, Vitya,” he said.  “So very, very much.” 

Viktor suddenly leaned over and hugged him again, burying his face in Yuuri’s neck.  “I think this is the best day of my life,” he mumbled. 

Yuuri wrapped his arms around Viktor, closing his eyes and resting his chin on Viktor’s shoulder.  He was shaking just slightly, and his heart was beating quickly, but this time it wasn’t because he was nervous.  He felt like he was the happiest he had ever been.  “Vitya,” Yuuri murmured, leaning against his husband’s warm body.  He paused, swallowed hard, and then said, “Can I kiss you?” 

Viktor pulled away so suddenly that Yuuri pitched forward on the bed a little, and Viktor had to put a hand on his shoulder to steady him.  “Absolutely, my Yuuri,” Viktor said, utterly serious.  “There is nothing I’d like to do more.” 

Yuuri smiled fondly.  “You’re such an insufferable dork,” he said. 

Viktor smiled back.  “I’d be insulted if I thought you meant that.” 

Yuuri cupped Viktor’s face in both hands, leaning in. 

“Yuuri,” Viktor breathed.  “Oh, Yuuri-”

And then Yuuri’s lips met Viktor, and Viktor’s warm hands were resting on his waist, and they were kissing.  Yuuri was smiling so hard that he could barely kiss his husband, and he tried to wiggle as close as he could get.  Viktor laughed against his lips, practically pulling Yuuri onto his lap. 

Yuuri kissed his husband desperately, years and years of pining finally satisfied as he tried to memorize how it felt.  He was kissing the love of his life, and the love of his life was kissing him back, and this time neither of them could use an accident as an excuse.  Yuuri had definitely never been happier. 

When Viktor finally pulled away he and Yuuri were both blushing furiously. 

Yuuri pressed his face against Viktor’s chest.  “Oh my god,” he said.  “We just made out.” 

“And we’re not even super drunk this time!” Viktor said happily, wrapping his arms around Yuuri and cuddling him affectionately. 

Yuuri slid his arms around his husband’s waist and the two leaned against each other, completely in each other’s space.  “We should probably go to sleep at some point,” Yuuri murmured finally.  “It’s getting late.” 

“Hm,” Viktor murmured.  He made no move to let go of Yuuri, but to be fair, Yuuri made no move to let go of him either.  “Yuuri,” Viktor said quietly. 

“Vitya,” Yuuri replied.  “My Vitya.” 

Viktor shivered at that.  “My Yuuri.” 

Yuuri’s heart swelled at the thought that finally, he was really, truly, Viktor’s.  And Viktor was really, truly, his.  “Oh my god, Viktor,” Yuuri laughed.  “We got married before he started dating.  We got married before we ever even confessed.” 

Viktor chuckled.  “We’re like characters in a bad romcom,” he said.  “We’re ridiculous.” 

Yuuri grinned.  “That sounds like something our friends would say,” he replied. 

Viktor mirrored his smile.  “It does, doesn’t it?”  Yuuri kissed him quickly on the lips, and then was unable to resist kissing him on the cheek, the forehead, the nose, the chin.  Viktor giggled, his smile so wide and bright it made Yuuri’s heart hurt with love.  “You’re so beautiful,” Yuuri blurted. 

Viktor gave him a soppy, adoring, tender look.  “I think you’re the beautiful one in this relationship,” he said, and then added gleefully, “The relationship that we have!  Together!  We’re dating!” 

“Technically, we’re married,” Yuuri pointed out, his smile dimming slightly as another thought occurred to him. 

Yuuri and Viktor hadn’t ever dated, had only known that their love was reciprocated for ten minutes.  And they were married.  They had gotten married platonically.  In a courthouse.  That was never how Yuuri had imagined he would get married, and he knew that the dramatically romantic Viktor was probably the same.  And Viktor deserved a proper wedding, just like he deserved to be properly courted and dated and proposed to for real.  But Yuuri wouldn't be able to court, date, propose to Viktor if they were already married.

“Yuuri?” Viktor said, his voice suddenly soft.  “This is real, right?  We’re in love, we’re married, it’s fine that we didn’t ever date or anything.” 

“This is real,” Yuuri promised quietly.  “This is the realest it’s ever been, I think.  Now that I know you love me, and you know that I love you.  But…”  He frowned, looked down at Viktor’s arms still wrapped around him. 

“Yuuri?” Viktor said, cocking his head slightly to one side. 

“Vitya,” Yuuri said.  “I think, maybe, we should end this.”