When his shifts align on weekdays so he’s present at 11:27 AM, Victor’s day immediately changes from mundane to beautiful, bright, and perfect.
11:27 AM is the time without fail that [Redacted] analyst in his navy suits and Four-in-Hand knotted ties arrives at the register while fellow [Redacted] analyst who usually wears black and some touch of red excitedly chatters to him.
[Redacted the First] has the most stunningly open, beautiful brown eyes on record since humans evolved sight. His smile is something out of a period romance, like Colin Firth coming out of the mist with an open shirt aka Victor’s Giant Gay Awakening.
Victor waits for this Every. Single. Shift.
He transferred to the hidden Starbucks at the CIA’s storied Langley headquarters four months ago. It took a ridiculous amount of time thanks to needing to pass clearances and polygraphs. His angry, elderly neighbor Yakov was interviewed by the government to ensure he’s not in collusion with Putin or whatever since his last name is Nikiforov even!
[“My family’s from Montauk,” Victor complained in a dark room with blatant one-way spying mirrors for spying and such.
“Sure,” the dude from Homeland Security said. “How’s your debt to income ratio, son?”]
His is better than most, since he’s been using the Free Tuition program available through his job, but still he may need to find better coping skills than the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and speakeasy outings with Chris and Georgi.
It’s 11:23 and Victor is practically vibrating. He checks his face in a pocket mirror, having taken excruciating pains to put his hair up in an elaborate braid crown through his kicky black visor covered with 18 enamel pins. The Tour of Coffee one is a source of pride thanks to how long it took to acquire.
11:26 and Victor rings in a strawberry yogurt scone with a light roast pour over.
11:27 and Victor hears an angelic voice sing of true, abiding love, thanks to an unnerving degree coincidence when the Supremes’ version of “A Lover’s Concerto” blares from the Starbucks Official Spotify Playlist.
[The Most Beautiful Redacted in the World] gives him a small smile. “I’ll have—”
“Matcha tea latte, grande, with soy milk and two pumps of raspberry,” Victor recites. The name he types onto the order is The Agent Who Launched A Thousand Ships. “Anything to snack on today? We have a summer berry croissant that’s incredible!”
The Red One elbows him with a snort. “Let him give you a bite of his sweet, sweet pastry.”
Victor pauses and stares just as [Beautiful Yet Redacted] shoots [Slightly Shitty Redacted] a look somewhere between murder and disgust. Then he looks at Victor. “Um. I’ll have one. Thanks.”
“Would you like me to warm it up for you?” Victor asks. His own cheeks are a bit flushed. It’s the curse of being so pale.
“He wants you to warm something,” [Definitely Instigating Redacted] says before Victor’s agent chokes on nothing. A loud stompy sound tells Victor [The Redacted Love of His Life] had likely stepped on his foot.
“That will be $8.88,” Victor says. He’s paid in cash with a three dollar tip in the jar, and they wait at the end of the counter for his drink. Victor sighs, watching with visible longing. Why can’t he ask his name? Or give his number? They can’t even bring their mobiles into the building.
“Green tea latte with raspberry for The Agent Who Launched A Thousand Ships,” calls Mila at the bar.
[The Future Mr. Redacted Nikiforov] blinks. “Are… you sure that’s mine?”
[Assholish Redacted] sighs. “Obviously. The two of you give off so many pheromones when you’re in the building together, it’s like mating season.”
“Phichit,” he screeches. Though, he looks at Victor and gives him a kind of shy and hopeful smile.
Victor lights up, smiling back. He waves.
The analyst checks his watch, grabbing the berry croissant and his cup. “We have to get back upstairs,” he says with his eyes locked onto Victor. They’re full of obvious regret, Victor’s heart filling with pangs in response.
They head back to work, the one man looking over his shoulder at Victor a final time, and Victor sighs as he makes himself a strawberry infused iced tea. Now that he knows [Redacted Beauty Beyond Compare] is interested, how can he make any headway? Victor is not allowed to ask the man’s name, let get any contact info!
Victor sips his iced tea with a sad, loud slurp.
Maybe sometimes, even if they feel right, certain things can never be.
Emil called out sick, so Victor ended up working a double to cover, and after making his way through all the usual security protocols, he begins the trek to his part of the parking deck. He likes his job a lot, honestly: he loves being social, he enjoys sharing his knowledge of coffee and tea when he has the time to do so, the benefits at Starbucks are amazing, and he doesn’t have to cut his hair short or get rid of the rose gold highlights in his waist-length strands even at Langley.
He smells like Pike Place grounds, far too many variants of milk (some of which are sour), and he’s very lucky a Wag! Walker could come over to spend some time with Makkachin on almost no notice. He wants to go home, change out of the necessary-yet-still-oppressive corporate dress code, sit on his couch in some sweats, and maybe order food when he’s not as tired.
The ETA on that is sometime next summer.
A chirp of a BMW alarm sounds on the same part of the deck about 500 feet away, echoing off the concrete walls, and Victor instinctively glances at it. Just a red 3-series. Lots of people drive them in this area. He puts his apron and slip-free shoes in the tailgate, changing to black and white saddle oxfords before taking the visor off. The ponytail part of his hair comes down next, and he shakes out the stiffness in his neck.
The Bimmer drives down the exit lane before slowing and stopping by his car. It’s probably that one agent that exhausts Victor when he comes to get his drinks. He’s one of those douches obsessed with the alleged Secret Menu. He also never shuts up about Tim Horton’s being better, and Victor would love to go to jail by throwing a Frappe at his face one of these days. His face and his horrible undercut.
“Hi,” calls a soft voice Victor hears in his happiest dreams.
Victor turns around, idly twisting a lock of his hair. “Hi,” he says to the Beautiful Man in the Navy Suit aka [Redacted of His Dreams.]
“Um… do you like tapas?” he continues.
“I mean, I’m always left waiting for the actual meal to come,” Victor answers far-too-honestly. He winces. Oh no. He’s going to blow it! He’s going to—
“Oh thank god,” his [Redacted] replies. “It’s just the like… most romantic food option off the top of my head. I don’t care for them either.”
Victor feels so much lighter. “Oh. Good.”
“If you’d like, you can follow me in your car,” [Redacted Who is a Consummate Gentleman] says. “Safety, you know?”
“If you were unsafe you wouldn’t offer that, would you?” Victor says with a smile.
“Or would I?” is the reply. His smile is not only a little bashful but bright and teasing too.
Victor locks up his car, then scurries to the passenger seat of the Bimmer. He climbs in and buckles up. “Let’s go!”
They end up in Great Falls at a French place found through Waze that Victor is definitely underdressed for, dining under a scarlet umbrella near a babbling fountain. His [Redacted] becomes Yuuri when they’re seated. They dine on sweet breads and truffle chateaubriand for two, and somewhere between finishing a nice bottle of cabernet and the arrival of their chocolate soufflé, Victor falls accidentally in love.
Yuuri, it turns out, loves dogs but can’t have one of his own thanks to his demanding hours and frequent traveling. He sighs and coos over Makkachin, which melts Victor’s heart. They have scarily similar taste in music, Victor pointing it out over the amuse bouche since Yuuri had Sacred Hearts Club playing from his satellite radio as they drove, Victor mouthing the words to “Pay the Man” during lulls in conversation.
Yuuri is deeper than first assumed. He’s fluent in six languages compared to Victor’s Russian and French as a linguistics major, was formerly in the Marines with high honors, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland College Park thanks to a two-year project regarding Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment, and he’s just… so accomplished and beautiful. Victor wants to find a way to home make for him and miraculously give birth to his gifted, comely children.
He’s a prince in a Chesapeake Bay of pigs.
Dinner wraps and Yuuri opens the car door for Victor. When he pushes the button to start the ignition, Victor puts a hand on his thigh. “We don’t have to end the night so early, do we?”
Yuuri clears his throat and loosens his tie. He doesn’t take Victor’s hand off his leg. “We… don’t. If you’re okay with it.”
“More than,” Victor offers. “I’m in Arlington.”
“Glebe Road or 66?” Yuuri asks.
“Glebe,” Victor offers.”It’s faster this time of day.”
Yuuri nods with a smile, and off they go. He drives a standard transmission, which in an area as traffic laden as the District is a new level of badass heretofore unknown to Victor. The speed limit on Glebe is only 30 MPH, but Yuuri gives Victor a subtle smirk as he shifts into higher gear and takes off down it going 50.
Victor whoops with joy. He claps a hand over his mouth when he giggles.
A car follows them a bit close for the time of night, but Victor doesn’t pay it much mind until he gives it a second glance.
“Yuuri,” Victor begins.
“Hm?” Yuuri notices the road ahead has a detour, so he slows down until the real-time navigation system corrects their course.
“The car behind us doesn’t have a front tag,” Victor says. “That’s abnormal, right?”
Yuuri eyes the car in his rearview mirror. “The District as well as Maryland and Virginia require both front and back license plates on all legally registered vehicles. Delaware only requires one on the back, though.”
“Oh okay. They’re probably just someone who commutes from Wilmington then.” Victor resettles in the front bucket seat. He turns on the warmer just because he can. Then he swaps to the cooler because DC was built on a swamp, it’s summer, and novelty only wins against that for so long.
Yuuri glances into the rearview mirror more frequently than before. The car was a plain Jane Chevrolet with tinted windows. It’s not really worth the scrutiny.
Victor decides to try to lighten the mood, since Yuuri’s brows have furrowed into a serious line. “Is the driver your ex-lover?”
“What?” Yuuri answers.
“How many ex-lovers do you have?” Victor continues, because now he’s genuinely curious. “I have a few myself, like the one who--”
As Yuuri cries “No comment!” the Chevy taps their back bumper. Well...tap is an understatement. It’s not quite rammed, but it’s not as gentle as a minor fender bender. It’s an actual vehicular accident, and they should pull over, exchange info, and call the police.
Except...it happens three more times, each one more violent.
“I don’t know how they found me,” Yuuri grumbles. He guns it down a side street, then another. They don’t shake their tail. Yuuri downshifts, drifts around a corner, then goes the wrong way up a one way street, away from Arlington into the District proper. They speed across the Potomac with an illuminated view of the Tidal Basin.
Victor has no idea what the hell is going on. “How...who found you?”
"Can you do me a favor?" Yuuri says, deflecting. "First, open my glove box."
“What am I looking—“ Victor stares.
There’s a gun. Next to it sits a box of ammunition, presumably the correct caliber for it.
“Why do you have a Glock in your glove box?” Victor asks with a dull, disbelieving tone.
“It’s a 9mm Browning Hi-Power, actually,” Yuuri prattles. “And I need it before—“
The tail rams their back bumper with an ugly metallic crunch. Victor jerks forward with the seat belt rubbing uncomfortably into his sternum. He’s going to have bruises, he thinks.
“Before… that happens,” Yuuri elaborates. He guns the engine through Dupont Circle, then chooses a back route towards Howard University.
Victor grabs the gun. “So if you have to shift with your right—”
Yuuri swaps to the paddle shifters, setting the cruise control. “Hold the wheel.”
He takes the gun, kneels on his bucket seat, somehow loads the gun without setting it off while they drive over less-than-pristine DC roads. With precision that is both sexy and horrifying, Yuuri fires three rounds through his back window into the driver’s side of the Chevy’s windshield in a fairly tight cluster.
The car swerves and falters.
Victor bites his bottom lip and adjusts how he sits. It’s the hottest, sexiest thing ever. Mr. Darcy is no longer his Gay Awakening. He didn’t know what Gay even was until he watched Sex on Legs in a Suit shoot the bad guys.
Yuuri climbs over his center console to the backseat, kicking out the shattered rear window for an unobstructed view. “Drive!” he barks, and Victor undoes his seat belt, gets in the driver’s position, and thanks his lucky stars Papa insisted he learn stick. He turns off the cruise, guns it like he’s in the Dukes of Hazard, and goes.
The gun goes off another four times, reverberating booms that Victor thinks he may need an ENT specialist for when he wakes up tomorrow. He hears Yuuri check the clip, ostensibly to make sure he’s got ammo left, and then he clicks it back into place. He fires twice and there’s the distinct, startling sound of a tire exploding.
Victor’s too busy driving to notice much beyond the sound of a car crash and some kind of bright light behind him. He chances a look into the rear view mirror; they hit a power line.
Pepco’s gonna be pissed.
Victor continues to imitate a bat out of hell while Yuuri keeps his line of sight clear and his barrel in position. When they’re finally convinced the one car was it, Yuuri sits in shotgun. He cleans the muzzle of his gun like it’s a daily habit.
…Is it a daily habit?
“You’re not a bean counter, are you?” Victor asks.
“I never said I was, to be fair,” Yuuri answers. It’s… not much of an answer, but it is true. Victor’s every prior conclusion about him was based on assumption. “Phichit’s my handler.”
“Who’s Phichit?” Victor asks. Wait. [Trolling In Real Life Redacted?]
Yuuri smiles. “You haven’t worked at Langley long enough for me to have gone… erm… out of the office for a meeting.”
“Does that happen a lot?” Victor gives him a sad smile.
“Three times a year, for a few weeks,” Yuuri answers. “I can’t really tell you where, but I can probably hint to you that they represent a Maoist group from Peru. Maybe they’re called Sendero Luminoso. Who can say?”
Working at Langley means Victor’s picked up some things. Like… the English translation for the name of a Peruvian Maoist guerrilla group certified as a legitimate terrorist organization by the EU, the US, Japan, and basically anyone with a modicum of sense. “Shining Path just tried to kill us?” Victor shouts.
“They’ve declined in activity, but… well… there’s a reason why my passport has a lot of stamps for Latin America,” Yuuri admits with a rub of the back of his neck and a crooked smile.
Victor slams on the brakes.
“Those are ceramic! I can’t just replace the rotors, BMW makes you replace the whole set at once! It’s really stupidly expensive, you know, and the free maintenance won’t cover—“ Yuuri criticizes him.
“You’re the reason why Shining Path’s in decline?” Victor asks.
“Well, I mean, their leader was captured in 1992,” Yuuri says with a shrug. “I just… help them limp along to certain death, is all.”
“You’re an actual hero,” Victor says.
“Off the books,” Yuuri explains. “My reports are full of heavy redactions. The Director and Phichit basically are the only ones in the know—mmph!”
Someone seems to have used one of those UFO catcher cranes to drop Victor into Yuuri’s lap. They’ve also compelled him to initiate some furious, “teens left alone in the basement”-esque making out, and Yuuri’s hands take an immediate, firm hold of Victor’s ass.
Something about adrenaline or endorphins or dopamine, Victor thinks. He only took Intro Psych, so he’s not well-versed in the reason why he’s so horny and desperate aside from we both almost died added to I have wanted this man for months. Judging from the moan echoing through his mouth when he rolls his hips so his ass grinds into Yuuri’s suit-covered cock, his already rock-hard suit-covered cock, Yuuri is in a similar mood right now.
Victor doesn’t carry things like lube or condoms randomly on his person. Yuuri seems to have no similar qualms as he opens his glove compartment and pulls out a little leather zip-up pouch. He sets his glasses in a cup holder (smart, Victor thinks, since they keep poking him when they kiss), and Victor takes the pouch. When he unzips it, there’s a gold tin and a bottle of high-quality lube.
The tin looks like an Olympic Medal of Sex and houses four condoms.
Victor isn’t a fool, so Victor undoes the belt and tailored slacks Yuuri wears, while Yuuri returns the favor with his barista-wear. Not only is Yuuri hard, Yuuri is gifted in this particular area, both size and girth, and Victor is about ten seconds from begging him to go down.
Yuuri has other plans, tearing a wrapper and rolling it down Victor’s shaft in a way that makes him whine. It’s too slow, and not… enough. It’s just not enough after the months of pining, awkward looks, and poison-tipped loneliness he’s endured, dreaming of this beautiful, incredible man beneath him.
Victor feels like fire and rain simultaneously as Yuuri covers himself in thin latex as well. He opens the lube and liberally coats both of his hands, lining their cocks up, and then stroking them together. The car, Victor dimly ponders as Yuuri’s teeth mark a spot on his clavicle his work shirts normally cover. The car interior and the suit would be… not in a state fit for eyewitnesses if he doesn’t wrap them both up. Practical, and the slickness, the friction of them together, Victor jerks, thrusts, pants, and Yuuri’s endearments are in a mix of languages, his voice going oddly guttural while he utters them as his hips rise and fall in tandem with Victor’s.
Surprisingly, Yuuri comes first, but Victor’s only a moment or two delayed, and when the aftershocks end, Yuuri kisses him again like his life will end.
Like… it almost did less than an hour ago.
Victor looks at him, in his soulful brown eyes, in his lovely, soft face lit by street lamps. He got them all the way to Nationals Park. They’re in one of the pay lots for the stadium. The Nats are away tonight playing the Brewers, so the atmosphere is oddly tranquil.
The outside atmosphere, anyhow.
“Your job is really...not safe,” Victor begins.
“Not much is,” Yuuri says. “But...more than a lot of things, yes, my job is quite dangerous.”
“This could...conceivably be the only moment we ever have,” Victor continues.
Yuuri doesn’t speak this time, the only sound that of the engine’s continued idling. Yuuri sighs as he looks out his window, and Victor twists his hair around a finger as he stares straight ahead. The Supremes play, punctuating the moment in a strange, warped mirror of earlier that day, with the same song that brought them here.
Oh, don't ever make me cry, through long lonely nights without love.
Be always true to me, keep this day in your heart eternally!
Though the months-long fantasy of taking care of kids while Daddy goes to Langley immediately gives way to kissing Yuuri goodbye for a mission only for Victor to receive a call from his handler that no one ever wants. The happy home and kids becomes a funeral full of people in dark Ray Bans with earpieces. Victor is handed a flag, the children asking why Daddy is being buried, and Victor realizes he’d never receive the truth about why Yuuri came home in a pine box.
Yuuri cleans his glasses with his pocket square. He actively avoids meeting Victor’s gaze. “No estés lejos de mí un solo día, porque cómo porque, no sé decirlo, es largo el día, y te estaré esperando como en las estaciones cuando en alguna parte se durmieron los trenes.”
His accent is beautiful, and it’s imperceptible he isn’t a native speaker of the language. Victor knows French and not Spanish, though, but love poems are universal regardless of origin, and he feels a little better, but a little more frightened just the same.
“Neruda was Chileno, not Peruano,” Yuuri says. He’s been cleaning his glasses since the Bronze Age. “But… still. Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because — because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.”
Victor picks at his cuticles instead of his hair. Love and life, full of risks, highs, and lows. The fear grips him like a vise, and he tries to imagine a better future: Yuuri living to middle age with him in a charming Georgetown brownstone, kids, retirement, dying in their sleep surrounded by love. He thinks back on only an hour or so ago and...he was so happy when they were on their date.
The sparkle in Yuuri’s eyes, the poetry and the softness in his kiss tells Victor he was happy, too. As scary as the worst case scenario is, he won’t refuse to grasp life and love with both hands. Even if it ends in tragedy, it’s not worth sacrificing their happiness to play it safe. There’s no guarantee that Yuuri won’t get hit by a Metrobus if he’s in the District proper, there’s no promise Victor won’t be in a pile up on 495, they may move in together and a gas leak happens while they sleep.
It’s all wrong, but more importantly it’s alright.
“This is where you kick me to the curb, isn’t it.” Yuuri’s voice is unbearably sad. Victor wonders how many times this has happened to him that he assumes this will be his next move. How many times has Yuuri denied himself any joy for his work?
“No, if anything I want to be with you even more,” Victor answers. It’s true, his feelings aren’t done justice by the word like or want now. Victor turns enough to shut off the engine after making sure the emergency brake’s on and the car’s in neutral. He gives Yuuri a long, considering look. Honesty, he decides. Honesty is the best potential beginning for them both. “I’m afraid you may not come back. I’m really, really scared you won’t come back.”
“I can’t promise anything,” Yuuri admits. “I can do my best, but… I can’t promise anything.”
Victor leans down to kiss him by the corner of his lips. Gaming the system, Yuuri tilts his head at the same moment and they kiss for real. It’s gentle, like a delicate winter snow, and Victor just knows. He knows like he knows when Makkachin needs to go for a walk, like he knows when the milk steamers are getting temperamental, like the innate gift he has for recommendations and flavor profiles in beans from all over the globe.
Headlights turn into the lot, and Victor scrambles off Yuuri so he doesn’t get a CIA agent arrested for fucking in public. Yuuri has a trash bin hanging from the back of his seat, so he puts the condoms in it, they put their dicks back in their pants in a pretense of responsibility, and Victor silently recites a quick Birkhat HaGomel in gratitude for their survival.
Yuuri drives them back to his flat. He comes in for the night, smiling and joyous as he meets Makkachin, until they turn in to properly make love for the first time. They don’t sleep at all that night, getting better acquainted until Yuuri has to go to Langley. Victor rides along to retrieve his own car, and security protocols be damned, he has Yuuri’s number and personal email now.
Five months later, when Yuuri is sent to [Redacted] for the first time since they became a couple, Victor’s chosen prayer is that of a safe voyage, that his beloved will return to him in peace. Yuuri comes home unharmed, placing a gold band on Victor’s right finger, having spent his time waiting for his extraction to research the wedding customs native to Russia.
Victor says yes, of course. He’s less fond of the obnoxious cat calls of Yuuri’s handler while he films the courthouse ceremony for their families, but with the way their relationship began, it’d have been scarier if the day went smoothly than not.