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Viktor can't sleep.

The dog is dozing peacefully under his shoulder as if in spite, it's almost 4am, and Viktor has been lying wide awake since ten.

He wants to blame the caffeine—two late cappuccinos and no additional food to counteract it—or maybe his oncoming illness, aggravated by two cappuccinos and no food—but it's becoming more and more difficult to be dishonest with himself.

Yūri had kissed him.

Viktor had never felt the need to come out because it was never something he had to come to terms with. He just was. He didn't think much of teasing Yūri, because he’d never thought much of teasing anyone else. That was the excuse, anyway. That's just Viktor, he's just flirty.

It was rinkside, after a practice when Yūri was feeling down on himself and Viktor comforted him as usual. Was it more than another skater might've received? Being honest, yes, and that was selfish and Viktor will own that. Quietly and to himself, but he’ll own it. The practice had been heated, cut short just for Yūri’s frustration; Viktor held him as Yūri’s tears subsided, and eventually he sighed with only a slight hitch in his breath, sobs reduced to manageable watering. Viktor could feel his smile, cheek hot against his neck.

He's just touchy-feely. He's just drunk.

Then when Yūri broke from their embrace, Viktor was met with a quick but unmistakable kiss on his lips. He was so surprised all he could do was stare—it had been such an afterthought that Yūri looked back at him confused for a full two seconds before it dawned on him what he'd done. Poor thing turned tail and practically bolted from the building.

He's just doing his job.

Viktor thinks of that embrace, the scent of sweat drying cold in Yūri’s hair.

By the light of his phone he finds the switch on the lamp, feels for his bedside notepad, pen stuck into the wire, and begins to write.


“We need to talk.”

Yūri looks terrified, and Viktor can't blame him. It's probably the worst worst time to do this, literally the first time they've seen each other that day, and the morning of the long program to boot, but it has to be done. Plus Viktor is too focused to broadcast any of his emotions visually, so Yūri has zero signals to receive regarding the content of this conversation and that's clearly not helping.

When Viktor pulls Yūri aside, he slips the letter from his coat pocket and just holds it. He’d had the foresight to rewrite it on plain white paper, but inside it's still barely legible in his sleepless, uncertain hiragana.

“What is that?” Yūri is frowning, furrows deep on his brow.

“First—” Viktor puts his hands on Yūri’s shoulders and locks eyes—“I'm feeling very ill so please don't be alarmed if I have to vomit.” Seeing no response, Viktor nods slowly, and Yūri mirrors him, unblinking. Sort of a response.

Viktor holds out the letter.

Yūri is going paler by the second, so he seems to know what it is before his vision focuses on the lettering on the outside: Notice of Resignation. “But—no. . . .”

“I will find you a coach,” Viktor says. “That's on me.”

“Please, you—I'm sorry, okay, but—”

“Yūri.”

“I didn't mean it, it's—I was just—”

“You won't talk me out of this,” he says gently.

The tears are welling up now. His voice is soft, almost a whine. “But . . . why?”

Viktor puts his hands in Yūri’s hair and kisses him.

Just one kiss, not deep but more than the offhanded peck Yūri had given him. Yūri is still ghost-white and now wide-eyed, so it seems to have gotten the point across.

“Whether or not you reciprocate,” says Viktor, his tone even and slow, “my feelings for you are unprofessional. I can no longer operate under the pretense—”

Yūri’s lips cut him off.

So there they are standing, in a quiet alcove off the main path to the locker rooms, the nervous laughter and excited chatter of competition day echoing through the concrete-and-metal halls, and they are just kissing.

Then their lips part, silent, and their foreheads meet as they catch their breaths.

“Now,” Viktor says. “I really am very sick.” He nods, and again Yūri mirrors him. “So I might have to go lie down for this one.”

“Okay. . . .”

Viktor grips the hair behind Yūri’s ears. “You can do this.”

Yūri is nodding as Viktor takes him into a quick hug and plants a kiss on his cheek, but adds another, more intimate kiss to the forehead, as the first could be construed as a reflex, just part of a friendly hug. Then he adds another kiss on the lips because he can so what the hell. Their eyes meet again, and it might be a rather charged moment if it weren't for Viktor's dizzy stupid system fighting him every inch of the way. “I’otta go.”

“Okay.”

“Knock em dead. I'll be watching.”

“I know. I will.”

Viktor smiles as he watches him bound down the hall toward the rink, skates clacking.

He knows. He will.