Yuuri rarely drank. He always limited himself during the season, and not just because it was hard on the body, especially one that had to get up early and train. It was also a huge waste of calories, particularly for someone like Yuuri who not only gained weight easily but also preferred fruity drinks with lots of syrup and garnishes. It made him self conscious to drink in front of others, family or competition. And he was a total lightweight.
Worst of all, Drunk Yuuri said everything that Sober Yuuri was thinking, any semblance of a filter blown straight out the window never to be seen again. He dealt with embarrassment poorly, and it was always horrendous to wake up with a physical hangover and a social media hangover to follow. Drinking in general was not fun enough to warrant the consequences.
But it was so hard to say no to Victor when he smiled. And they were celebrating his China Cup win, so he didn’t necessarily have to practice the next day. And it was nice there, in the clean and quiet restaurant bar, with his skating friends but none of the younger competition, who he liked to interact with but easily got overwhelmed by…
A few couldn’t hurt. Especially if Victor was buying. And it was a special occasion.
“A toast,” Victor declared with the full force of his picture-perfect press smile, “to the winners tonight! But especially to the one that I’m coaching, Yuuri Katsuki!” Victor, being Victor, got the whole bar into it, and Yuuri’s face burned as he accepted the champagne Victor poured into his glass. It ran down over the edge and he knew it would make his hand sticky, but all he could think of was the sticky-sweet way his own heart bubbled in his chest when Victor looked at him like that. Proud. Excited. Expectant. Challenging.
He almost spilled the whole thing when Victor kissed him on the cheek in front of the crowd, and definitely spilled half of it when the crowd cheered again.
“Ah- Um- Thank you-” he stammered out, but they lost interest when Victor didn’t order a round for everyone, and their burning attention was soon onto the next subject. Relieved, Yuuri sipped at his drink and tried not to stare at Victor. Even after he continued to show his affection like that, it was hard to shove his anxieties down his throat and not think he was looking for something in return. Maybe he was.
“Isn’t this wonderful, Yuuri?” Victor, apparently sharing none of the same anxieties, was already a few drinks ahead of Yuuri and completely in his element. It was hard to imagine a time when Victor wasn’t in his element, actually.
He let Victor pour him another glass, getting slightly less on his hand this time. Even so, he’d have to go to the restroom and wash his hands sooner or later. It was a good excuse to tuck into the back of his mind.
“Yes, wonderful! It’s not Yuu-topia, by any means, but it’s lovely!” He clinked their glasses to commemorate another toast, sloshing more champagne onto Yuuri.
“And that performance today! I haven’t been so excited about second place since I was a teenager!”
Yuuri blushed and drained his glass to busy himself. Perhaps he didn’t mean for his compliments to come out so barbed. It was hard to forget that Victor was still leagues above him, and even as he trained like hell, somehow the gap still seemed to be widening.
“Not that first wasn’t well deserved! Or yours either, Yuuri!” He laughed and threw an arm around Yuuri and Yuuri was silently thankful he’d already emptied his glass, though it was harder to know how to react without something to occupy himself. Victor was warm and the embrace, though a little rough and sticky, was definitely pleasant.
Knowing Victor had impressive muscles and actually feeling them were two different things. He’d gotten more used to Victor clinging to him, since that was a habit he seemed to delight in, and even though it flustered him, he had to admit it was nice. Being so close to someone who loved and supported him wholeheartedly was the kind of thing his life had always been missing. He finally had a strong foundation to lean on, and the castle they built there was going to be fit for skating royalty.
Maybe it was just the bubbles tickling his throat, but something flighty and daring rose up in Yuuri and he kissed Victor on the cheek, a smooch repaid. Victor turned to see his face and laughed in surprise, his perfect face flushing like it was the sweetest thing he’d ever experienced. Seeing his own action bring that kind of look onto Victor’s face made Yuuri feel powerful, like he could take on the entire world, and Victor would be right there beside him, cheering him on.
“I have to wash my hands,” he said before he could get ahead of himself. “But you should find us a booth.”
“You’ve got it,” Victor said, still sounding a little starstruck. Pride bubbled up in Yuuri’s chest and he nearly avoided skipping to the bathroom. He’d know he was really drunk when he started tip-toeing everywhere, an old habit he’d never fully broken from ballet. For now he was still flat-footed, all of his grace left on the ice with his dignity.
“Don’t embarrass yourself,” he hissed at the mirror, steeling himself for what Victor clearly intended to be a romantic night of celebration. “And stop drinking so fast!” He gripped the sink, then remembered he ought to dry his hands before he slipped and hurt himself. Already, he was getting foolish. Maybe he ought to text Phichit. He was smart. He was younger than Yuuri, but he had plenty of experience. He was also a good friend, who was certain to help Yuuri from making too huge a fool of himself.
There had been a few previous incidents, but Phichit swore it was for Yuuri’s own good.
But Phichit had gone back to his hotel to rest after straining his muscles, and it seemed rude to push him to join them before he was ready. Especially if Victor was looking to be alone.
Yuuri swallowed. He wanted this, didn’t he? Victor was amazing. He was a great skater, an excellent, if inexperienced, coach, and… well, they hadn’t really come out and said exactly what their relationship was yet. A boyfriend? Lover? Was it inappropriate to date one’s coach? Did he care?
No, he did not care. And he didn’t want to care about anyone else’s opinions either. He loved Victor, and dammit, he loved loving Victor, and being loved by Victor, and holding onto Victor when he was so desperate for touch, and letting the whole world witness their love. Nothing could take that away from him, not even his own anxieties. He summoned the courage he felt on the ice and left the bathroom.
He was here to have a good time, and that was all that mattered.
The other tipsy skaters and skating aficionados helped him find Victor, who had ordered some appetizers… and more drinks. Yuuri had already seen first-hand how much Victor could drink, and he never should have let his guard down after finally accepting to drink with him. A shot for each of them and a fancier drink were laid out on either side of the nachos, and when he approached, Victor turned to him and smiled a smile that could melt solid glass and anything resembling Yuuri’s inhibitions.
“You’re back! I was starting to worry about you!”
That fluttered in Yuuri’s chest as he sat across from his coach, and his fingers found the shot glass to stay occupied. That was another reason he was such a poor drinker, he figured. When he was younger, he’d almost blacked out at a party because he didn’t know anyone there and the cheap beer had kept him from having to talk to anyone. He supposed he never should have doubted the screen depiction of American college life.
“Ah, yes, I was just… Those look good.” He fished out a cheap and psyched himself up for eye contact. Victor was so beautiful it was sometimes hard to look at him, like sparkling freshly fallen snow that had already frozen underneath. “What did you order?”
“Vodka, of course!” He grinned at his own joke, as if he’d been expecting Yuuri to want him to live up to the stereotypes. “It goes down easier.”
“Ah- maybe I’ll just-”
“We can do it together! And then, for your chaser, I ordered something I thought you’d like.” His sly grin grew brighter. “It’s sweet, like you.”
Yuuri felt a thousand arrows pierce his heart and the last pieces of his resolve crumbling. At least this time he wouldn’t have to be the one to take care of an extremely drunk Victor. And he had Phichit in his emergency contacts.
“Well, alright.” He returned a shy smile, picked up the shot glass, and allowed his evening to get totally out of hand. If he didn’t stand up, no one would have to notice him tip-toeing.
. . . . . . . .
“I’m just saying,” Yuuri slurred, leaning against Victor and twirling the umbrella from his drink between his fingers. “He’s not just a great figure skater. He’s the greatest figure skater ever.”
“Is that so?” Clingy even when sober, Victor’s hands were wandering into dangerous territory for a public bar. Yuuri had no intention of stopping him, though, and Victor’s strong hands around his waist felt so good they might as well have belonged there.
“Yes! He’s- he’s the only one to win the… the thing- five times. In a row. Five. Victor is clearly the best. The numbers say so.” He held up five fingers and pressed them against Victor’s nose for emphasis.
“Mm,” Victor said, pushing the hand out of the way and rubbing his face against Yuuri’s neck. “Sounds like a great guy.”
“I could probably take him in a fight, though.”
Victor laughed and it tickled right down to Yuuri’s core.
“That Japanese Yuuri is giving him a run for his money this season, though.”
“Pssshhhhh,” Yuuri said, gently slapping Victor’s warm face and patting it affectionately. “Debatable.”
Victor laughed again, this time so hard that he couldn’t keep the joke going and pulled Yuuri in for a passionate, if sloppy, kiss. The combination tasted like strawberry lemonade and peach bubbly and love, bursting bright and brilliant, and Yuuri’s hands wound into Victor’s hair with no attention to the other patrons in the bar or their relative visibility or anything besides how comfortable and right he felt in Victor’s lap. He wanted to sleep there, to camp there and make it his home, and he pressed their foreheads together to catch his breath while he wrapped his strong legs around Victor’s torso, planning to never let go. And not just because he’d already taken his shirt off and Yuuri’s weight on his lap was the only thing holding Victor’s pants down.
“Yeah?” Victor swayed and smiled at Yuuri like he’d personally hung the stars and Yuuri felt a supernova being born in his heart to commemorate the occasion.
“Victor, Victor....Victor, hey. Hey.” He rubbed their noses together, and bumped their foreheads again, like a magnet drawn to him and stuck forever. “Hey Victor.”
“Yes, Yuuri?” His voice rang with bells of laughter. Like wedding bells. Maybe Yuuri was getting ahead of himself. That was silly, wasn’t it?
Even though he wanted to keep Victor to himself forever. And he loved and adored him. And he probably looked like a prince in a tuxedo…
Faced with a sudden headrush, he pressed his face into Victor’s shoulder and closed his eyes. Victor’s skin was warm and comforting against Yuuri’s pounding head, and the smell of him under the alcohol was now pleasantly familiar after almost a year within close quarters of him.
He’d drank too much. He should have known.
“Can I tell you a secret?” Yuuri’s voice was muffled against Victor’s perfect collarbones, but the soft vibrations of his words seemed to get Victor’s attention.
“Of course.” He stroked Yuuri’s hair slowly, like he did with Makkachin, and though it should have been embarrassing to be pet like a dog, Yuuri had never felt more comfortable than he was tangled like a pretzel in a world famous skater’s lap.
“I love you.”
Victor’s petting stopped, but Yuuri couldn’t, and the words just tumbled out of his mouth in a slurry of drunken truth.
“I love you so much, I don’t want to lose you, I don’t think I’m good enough for you but I want to be, more than anything, and I never thought when I first had a crush- I had a crush on you, isn’t that embarrassing? I’ve had a crush for so long- Can you believe I named my dog after you? Who does that?” He pulled back from Victor and tugged at his own hair, flushing brightly.
“And you’re my coach, and so much more talented, and I’m a fat crybaby, and you were my idol- but now you’re different! Or maybe- I’m different? I know you as a person, and you’re so much better because you’re-” He dug his hands into the material of Victor’s pants and took a shaky breath. “You’re real.”
“And- And now I know you, I know the real you, not...just the one in posters- don’t get me wrong, I like him too still, I don’t want to hurt his feelings, you know? But you’re you- and I’m me- and we- we can be us, together... Can’t you imagine?”
He looked up at Victor, surprised to find tears in his eyes, and the waterfall of words slowed to a trickle. Victor tilted his chin up delicately, such a graceful move when he’d had as much or more to drink, and looked him right in the eye before admitting,
“I love you too.”