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Home Is Where the Heart Is

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“Yurio, you’ve been so helpful. We can’t thank you enough.”

He grumbled incoherently from the corner of the empty kitchen as he placed down the last cardboard box, but Yuuri still smiled. Yurio had been helping him and Viktor move into their new house over the past couple of days, and they had finally finished unloading the moving van.

After three years, they had finally outgrown Viktor’s small apartment and found a more fitting place just outside of the city, not too far from the rink where Yuuri had recently begun teaching a children’s figure skating class and his husband had taken over the retired Yakov’s coaching position. It was a bit large for just the two of them, but Yuuri had a feeling that once they furnished it, filled it with familiar couches and pillows and tables, it would seem a lot more cozy.

When Yurio rose again, Yuuri couldn’t help but stare in awe. It seemed that the little ice tiger grew another inch every time he looked at him—in fact, it probably wasn’t appropriate to call him little anymore, considering he was eighteen and barely an inch under Yuuri himself. He suspected that in due time, he would grow right past him and start catching up to Viktor.

“Feel free to stay a while,” he said. “Are you hungry? We have leftover katsudon in the cooler. Or there’s a frozen pizza, if you prefer.”

Yurio didn’t quite smile, but his resting scowl vanished. “I’ll take the katsudon.”

At that, Yuuri made his way through the maze of boxes and disorganized furniture to the cooler they were currently using in place of a fridge, because Yuuri had refused to throw away any of the groceries from their old place—why waste perfectly good food? Once he found it, he dragged it over to their new refrigerator and began unloading. 

It wasn’t long before another set of hands joined in. 

“You have a lot of food,” Yurio noted.

Yuuri nodded. “We do. Take anything you want—I’m not sure if this all will last much longer.” He reached down into the ice again, and his hand landed on a small white box. “Hey, here’s the leftovers from your birthday cake. I think Viktor ate his piece, but I never got around to mine. Want the last one?”

Yurio snickered, but he took it. “Are you trying to get me fat, Katsudon?”

“Hey, you could stand to put on a little weight with how tall you’re getting,” he replied. “And speaking of katsudon, here it is.” He found the red Tupperware container and placed it on top of the box Yurio held. “Dinner and dessert.”

“Thanks,” Yurio said quietly. Yuuri didn’t have time to process his unusual tone or expression before he turned and walked away to use the microwave, his black hood blocking the sides of his face—and then there was a knock at the front door.

It was much louder than a normal knock, which meant it was Viktor using his boot because his hands were full. Yuuri hurried back around the clutter and turned the knob. The door was heavy and rich-looking and not anything like their former apartment’s, but Yuuri liked it, even if it would take some getting used to. He especially appreciated the little brass nameplate Viktor had hung on the outside that read Katsuki-Nikiforov.

The door swung open, revealing windblown platinum hair a heart-shaped smile.

“Yuuri!” Viktor exclaimed as if he hadn’t seen him in ten months instead of ten minutes, like he had been overseas at war instead of at the hardware store, and he immediately leaned forward to kiss him before he even stepped into the house. That came second, and Yuuri closed the door behind him as he set down the numerous shopping bags he held.

“Viktor, what on earth did you buy?” Yuuri asked, coming up behind him. “I told you we only needed a few light bulbs.”

“I know,” Viktor replied apologetically, whirling around to face him again and catching his forearms in his gloved hands. “But a store manager started talking to me, asked me if I needed help, and I got carried away! Yuuri, I don’t know anything about hardware, and he was so helpful. He told me everything I needed, and…” He let go of one of Yuuri’s arms to gesture at his shopping bags. “…I got it all!”

Yuuri repressed a sigh and resisted asking Viktor for a receipt to see just how much of their hard-earned money he spent while Yurio cackled from behind him.

Viktor narrowed his eyes at him over Yuuri’s shoulder. “Hey, Yurochka, don’t sit on our counter!”

Yuuri turned in time to see him spread his arms, chopsticks in one hand and the container of steaming katsudon in the other. “Then buy some chairs, old man. I’m not eating on the floor.”

“There are a couple of chairs upstairs,” Yuuri said. “Let’s go up there.” He eyed Viktor knowingly, causing him to blink and straighten up again.

“Yes! Upstairs,” he agreed. “Come on, Yura. Bring the katsudon with you, but don’t spill it. Please.”

“You’ll be lucky if I don’t dump it down your coat,” he grumbled, but he hopped down from the counter and followed them.

The second floor held much more furniture left behind by the previous owners, likely due to the fact that they rented out this part of the house and therefore never used it anyway. It was all in good condition, and Yuuri saw no reason to get rid of it. The space was homey and comfortable, certainly big enough on its own for a single person or young couple to live. It even had its own small kitchen, into which Yuuri led them. They settled on three barstools around the center island.

“Still can’t believe this place has two kitchens,” Yurio mumbled as he sat down. “So weird. What are you gonna do with two kitchens?”

Viktor chuckled softly. “We’ve been thinking—”

“Really? That’s new for you, old man.”

“Yurio, let him finish. Go on, Viktor.”

Viktor, ever the competitor, grinned like he’d just landed on the top step of the podium. “We’ve been thinking, Yurochka, that we won’t have much of a use for this upstairs space.”

Yuuri nodded along. “We considered renting like the previous owners, but—”

“But you don’t want random strangers living in your house,” Yurio interrupted, swallowing down the last bite of his katsudon. “That’d be so weird.”

Yuuri blinked. “Well, yeah, that’s part of it. But mainly…” He glanced at Viktor for backup, but he was biting his lip like he couldn’t hold back the secret any longer. “You’re eighteen now. An adult. And we wanted to…” He couldn’t help smiling as he noticed Yurio’s head prick up like the ears of a cat. He took Viktor’s hand in one of his own and reached out to cover Yurio’s with the other. It was a miracle he didn’t pull it away. “We wanted to offer it to you.”

Yurio seemed to be shocked into paralysis and was, for once, rendered speechless. “You…what?”

“You’re old enough to have your own place now,” Viktor supplied. “And you’ve worked so hard these past couple of years, Yurochka. You deserve it.”

“Don’t—” Yurio started. He blinked furiously a few times. “Don’t you get all sentimental on me, old man. I—” He turned to face Yuuri. “I don’t really know what to say. You’d…let me live here?”

Yuuri nodded. “We’d love you to. Only if you want to, of course.”

“There’s a back door,” Viktor added, gesturing over his shoulder. “It leads out to a little porch with a stairway. You could go in and out all you wanted, and you wouldn’t even have to see us.”

Yurio snorted and finally pulled his hand away. “Hmm. But what about bills? This place is huge. Gas and electric are probably way too expensive.”

Yuuri held back a laugh and shook his head. “Don’t worry about that until you’re older, Yuri. Consider it a late birthday present.”

His eyes widened. “Are you serious?”

Viktor nodded with a smile and a wink. “Always serious, Yura.”

“Yeah, right,” he huffed. Then he stood, dropping his fork into the now empty container, and faced both of them. “I’ll—I’ll think about it, okay? I gotta think about it.”

Yuuri smiled. “Of course.”

That was good enough for now.

***

Three weeks later, another moving van pulled into the Katsuki-Nikiforov driveway.

As they sat at their new kitchen table eating breakfast in their pajamas, Yuuri and Viktor noticed it through the window, took one glance at each other, and rushed over to the door.

They opened it just in time to catch Yurio, hair tied back messily, running up to their front porch wide-eyed and smiling.

Of course, as soon as he saw them, his face reverted back into its usual scowl, and he folded his arms over the orange tiger on his black sweatshirt.

“Hey,” he greeted flatly.

Viktor ran down the steps in his bare feet and threw his arms around him. “Yurio! You’re moving in!”

Yurio grumbled but allowed himself a rare hug. “Not with you, loser. Upstairs, remember? You’ll be lucky if you ever see my face around here.”

“Oh, Yura. I know you’ll be down for dinner almost every night.”

Yuuri figured the truth was somewhere in between. He was about to slip his shoes on and offer to help unload the van when its rumbling emission suddenly stopped.

Viktor froze in place. “Who turned off the van?”

Yurio finally freed himself from the embrace. “Probably the driver, stupid.”

“Driver? You didn’t drive it yourself?”

Yuuri pointed to the driver-side door, which had just opened. “Viktor, look!”

Out of the van came a familiar figure dressed in black motorcycle leather and boots that looked like they were made for stomping on faces. Of course, atop all of that was a warm smile and a cordial thumbs-up.

“Otabek!” Viktor exclaimed as he approached. He then looked to Yurio with a knowing grin. “What’s he doing here?”

“He’s here to help,” Yurio replied, crossing his arms again. “Because you guys are weak and can’t lift the heavy boxes with all my trophies.”

Yuuri was about to protest—he had great upper body strength, thank you very much, and had carried numerous boxes of both his own and his husband’s countless trophies—when Viktor laughed.

“Ah, I see.” Viktor hummed and lowered his voice. “So you invited him because you appreciate his big, strong arms, eh?”

Yurio raised a hand like he was about to slap him, then balled his fist like he decided that a punch would work better, but then he heard Otabek’s voice behind him and dropped the act. He didn’t forget to glare, of course, but Viktor reacted as if it were a hiss from a tiny kitten.

“Hey,” Otabek greeted. “Hope I’m not intruding. I’m here to help Yura move in.”

Yuuri finally walked down the steps to meet them, lack of shoes be damned. “Never, Otabek. You’re always welcome. Stay as long as you’d like.”

Yuuri didn’t see it, but Viktor must have thrown Yurio another look, because he received a kick to the shin.

“Thank you,” Otabek replied. Then he turned to Yurio. “Should we get started on the boxes?”

Yurio nodded quickly and followed him back to the van.

Once they were alone again, Yuuri took Viktor’s hand. “I knew he’d come around eventually.”

Viktor chuckled. “I was a little worried. But I’m not surprised.”

Yuuri smiled and hummed in agreement. “We should get shoes on. My feet are freezing.” He tugged on Viktor’s hand and led him back up to the front porch. “After we change, we’ll help them unpack.”

Viktor squeezed their intertwined fingers and followed him. At the door, Yuuri stopped suddenly, and Viktor leaned against his shoulder. “What is it, Yuuri?”

If he had followed Yuuri’s gaze, he would have seen that it was directed at the brass nameplate. Katsuki-Nikiforov.

“Nothing,” Yuuri replied, turning to smile at him before reaching for the doorknob. “Just happy.”