What are the chances that Victor walks straight out of this studio and Pavel paints his portrait in the style of Dalí, a loose, liquidly creature with his high forehead sliding off the edge of a table like a fried egg? Victor’s about ready to find out.
He’s mostly bare, the studio’s space heater is failing to offer any significant heat, and he can no longer feel his ass from holding his pose. To say nothing of the ache in his bad knee which he'd been ignoring for the false hope that it wasn't from these sessions. Getting naked for someone other than Yuuri as an anniversary present is a paradox Victor’s been questioning for weeks.
Pavel looks over his easel, eyes flicking up and down as he attempts to ‘capture natural sensuality on canvas.’ He huffs again and Victor is made to understand that he’s tired of this as well. “Victor, look at me. Try to look inviting at least.” Then he tacks on a requisite, “Please.”
It’s amazing when people forget who he is, who they’re addressing. He’s too accustomed to the grace and tolerance of others. Such an interesting reminder of what his status affords him.
So maybe he won’t be depicted with long, twiggy legs that bend awkwardly, like a baby giraffe’s. Perhaps just two pokey bits curving out from the sides of his philtrum in an attempt of Dali’s signature mustache. Victor has clearly had too much time to sit and be with his own thoughts. That never goes well. He prefers to keep his mind and body busy, concentrating on his skaters, fine tuning programs until there are no loose ends or lazy limbs. With the field as deep as it is, there’s no margin of error for Yuuri, Yuri, or Otabek. They’re the best for now, dominating podium after podium in a variety of orders, sometimes mere fractions of a point between them. And there are other challengers polishing up who shine brighter with each passing competition. It’s an exciting time to be on the ice.
Pavel squints and looks at the gray sky outside the skylights. “The color of your hair is too difficult to capture in this light. I think another storm is coming in. We’re going to have to call it for today. So,” he wipes his hands and grabs his paint smudged planner, “what works for you next week?”
Victor pulls up the calendar app. It’s like playing Battleship trying to find a solid two and a half hour block of time for this. “Nothing for next week. Or the week after. I have the 1st at 6pm and then the 4th at 7pm. After that I’m out of the country for–”
“Either works for me,” Pavel cuts him off, “but I may require another sitting to get your nose right as well, and I’ve barely started your eyes because of all this bad weather. It would be best to schedule both in the interest of time. You’re a very busy man, as am I.”
Now it’s Victor who huffs. But he doesn’t put up a fight. He has no will to do anything but get this finished in time for his anniversary, which is coming up in March. More specifically, the day they return Worlds. Yuuri had said they could wed any time after the season and maybe Victor had taken the liberty of that permission too far. Their anniversary schedule is always so tight but he couldn’t wait a day longer to make Yuuri his husband, much less another week. This year is no different and the portrait has added yet another layer considering they have to rush home for the big reveal instead of enjoying another honeymoon in the hosting city.
Not for the first time, he wishes he’d hired a photographer and just taken some lusty pictures like a basic. He has plenty of contacts from brand modeling and even though he lamented the time involved, it’s nothing when compared to the numerous hours this painting has eaten up. And he could have given photos to Yuuri anywhere. But it was a portrait he wanted. Not one of those stuffy ones with the waistcoats and frills, or the chaise loafing. Something sultry. He wasn’t going to be young and beautiful forever, and Yuuri’s clearly some kind of incubus who hasn’t aged a touch since high school. He just gets more beautiful. And his hair is so thick.
Victor is having a very different and much more difficult relationship with Father Time even before his retirement. Mama had assured him that he would only grow more handsome, gaining a dignified look that comes with age for beautiful Russian men. But Victor had already decided by then. He wanted to be put down in oil as he was now, with the face he knew and recognized, if change, however good, would come.
With a deep, clearing breath, he stands and gets dressed, body stiff and wooden. He doesn’t even try to peek at the canvas on his way out, a rule laid down early by the artist. Pavel is built like a lumberman and Victor’s been bodychecked by enough hockey players grousing over ice time that he knows better than to try it. He was not made to take that variety of pummeling from grown men.
Back at the apartment, Makkachin greets him at the door, quick to weave around his legs and then pounce at the wall where her leash is hooked. Their walky is a short one. He’s too eager to get into the shower and carefully defrost in a way that spares him the sensation of burning alive.
Once he’s dressed in some velour sweats, hair carefully blow dried with that wave he likes to put in it when he has a minute, he realizes he hasn’t heard from Yuuri since this morning’s jump set. But Makkachin’s meds have been dutifully administered already, so he must’ve missed him by less than an hour.
It’s fine. He has last minute #coachlife issues to clear up anyway. Yuri’s still growing like a weed and runs through skates like paper cups. His costumes have to be adjusted before every competition. Somehow these things have fallen on Victor because Yuri’s kind of slobby when it comes to anything that isn’t bending his body in half for points.
He sends a couple of quick emails arranging for the routine prep plan, then calls his usual agent to arrange for flights and hotels. She’s a fan so it goes very smoothly, even though he neglected to make note of all the pertinent dates.
He and Yuri will be heading to Euros in two weeks and then they’ll dash off to meet Yuuri and Otabek at Four Continents. It’s likely Yuuri’s last. Next season is an Olympic year so he’ll be skipped over to better his chances at the more prestigious event. Yuuri’s worked so hard. Victor can’t wait to see that prized gold medal around his husband’s neck. Yuuri will definitely have to skate over his own rinkmates for it, though. Fortunately that’s something he enjoys.
Having cleared his to-do list, Victor looks through menus to have dinner delivered. At this point, Victor can admit he's sitting around, waiting for his husband to come home. Yuuri’s calendar has this time blocked out for cross-training, which could be anything, but his phone tracker isn’t available and he’s not answering his texts. Yuri’s texts say he’s not at the rink. He’s certainly not in Victor’s lap where he belongs.
If he were as insecure as he was in past relationships, he would worry about unfaithfulness. But Yuuri’s essentially come out as Victorsexual, so he doesn’t waste any time stressing in that direction. Still, Victor doesn’t like this, and it’s been happening more and more lately.
Where is his husband?
And then, just as his worry coils tight enough to snap, the door opens and Yuuri pops in, pink and snow flurried, his scarf wrapped half over his face. “I’m home!”
“Yuura, welcome home. I didn’t realize it was snowing.”
“It started when I was already on my way back.” He unravels himself and reaches to give Victor an icy kiss. “Mmm you’re warm.”
Victor wraps his arms around him, freely offering both his love and body heat.
“It’s later than I realized,” Yuuri notes, pulling away a little from where he’d buried himself in Victor’s sweater. “Have you had dinner?”
“Not yet. Are you hungry?” He watches Yuuri nod and move to sit and unlace his trainers. He looks tired. Too tired to wait for delivery.
Victor hastens to the refrigerator to pull out some leftover beef kabobs, roasted tomatoes, and whole wheat couscous, then slices some fruit as that heats up. He brushes off Yuuri’s attempt to clear the table of Turgenev novels and skating forms, doing it himself while Yuuri halfheartedly play-wrestles with Makkachin over a favored squeak toy. Happiness is the sound of his husband cooing at their baby, calling her a good girl and laughing as her foot rabbits from particularly well-placed tummy scritches.
They eat while going over the latest skating gossip. Who’s bragging about overtraining on sns, whose coach took on yet another skater, who needs to get serious before Worlds for Olympic consideration. They run over what needs to happen in the next few days and Yuuri still doesn't offer any explanations as to where he’s been lately, in the gaps of their allotted schedules. But Yuuri’s cheerful despite his sleepiness, a rare combination for him, and that’s enough to ease Victor’s worries.
They clean up and then Victor goes for another walky with the puppy while Yuuri washes the day away. Victor brushes Makkachin’s teeth at the kitchen sink and settles her down by the sofa, kissing the top of her snout before heading for the bathroom to get ready for bed.
His eyes immediately focus on Yuuri through the steamed up shower door. He’s blotched with bruises, his ass, hips, and thighs layered in various shades of healing. Magnificent as his jumps have become, Yuuri still falls on occasion. He gets distracted and worries, and sometimes doesn’t sleep well. Thankfully it’s not anywhere near as often as before they were married, but it happens and Victor’s learned to let it go quietly. Besides, Yuuri’s forte is getting back up stronger than when he'd gone down.
Still, Victor’s curious about the colorful contusions, watching Yuuri wince while drying his hips. He knows Yuuri’s worked on the quad axel together with Yuri. Their rivalry over ratifying it in competition is not exactly a secret. They’ve joked about it a couple of times in post-skate interviews, when Yuuri’s tongue is loose from the high of a hard earned win, and once when a mic got shoved in his face and Yuuri went a lot off script. But even his ice demon husband isn’t foolish enough to try it at this point in the season, not out of a harness. Someone has to set a good example for the children.
With a sigh, he pushes his curiosity away as the evidence of whatever Yuuri’s been up to disappears behind his towel. The night is winding down now, Victor’s favorite time of day. He brushes and blow dries Yuuri’s hair, slow, unrushed, silently torturing himself as it comes out so thick and shiny he could weep. It wouldn’t be the first time. They do their short skincare regimen which involves a French snail mucin serum Victor doesn’t dare translate for Yuuri and a favored emollient he received in a swag bag at a movie premiere. Then it’s footcare time which Victor drags out for as long as possible. Tired as they are tonight, they enjoy all of this. Victor caring and attentive, Yuuri quietly allowing himself to be loved.
While Victor cares for his own feet, Yuuri cleans his glasses and phone, setting them on the bathroom counter for the morning. Yuuri flosses, brushes his teeth, rinses with mouthwash. What he doesn’t do is find anything to wear after discarding his towel. Instead, he walks to the bed just as he is and Victor’s heart races at the subtle sign. Yuuri wants him tonight.
In bed, he cages Yuuri in, sinking into that heat, hands carefully framed around the crescented bruises on his thighs. Their shape intimates that they might be from dedicated pole work, and Victor wonders if his husband has spent his missing hours preparing a special anniversary present of his own. So he doesn’t say anything, doesn’t push, just coaxes Yuuri onto his knees and loves him as hard as he can while keeping his full weight off those trophy bruises.
It’s been so long since they did this. Not that they haven’t found time for sex. They’re never too tired to work it out when they’re sleeping in the same bed, even if Yuuri has to wake Victor up for it, he will, and that’s such a weird thing to store meaning in, but it means something all the same.
It’s just that lately it’s been rushed to an extreme degree. Midnight frotting and quick have-ats against the kitchen counter during breakfast. Their last surprise tryst, he’d caught Yuuri in the closet, half undressed. They got caught up in kisses, thirst surging forward, and before he knew it, Yuuri was naked and pulling them to the floor. Victor tucked his shirt under his chin and encouraged his husband to straddle his chest and stroke against it, their knees and elbows pushing over his rows of Italian leather shoes. There’s something about the way Yuuri needs so little to get off when they’re face to face. There’s really something about watching him tumble to orgasm, spend connecting their bodies, hot and tacky between them. Yuuri didn’t even wipe off before slinking down, hitching Victor’s sweatpants just low enough to take him into his mouth.
As amazing as that was, Victor doesn’t want it fast tonight, even if he misses the visual. Yuuri’s almost as alluring from behind as when Victor can watch him, eyes open and soft, mouth just the same. But like this Victor can better appreciate his defined waist and strong back. There’s a road that leads away from salvation along the camber of his hips, something sinful around every curve. And as if that weren’t enough, Yuuri feels so, so tight right now. Victor knows it’s the rarity of having him like this, during their busiest season, when they can’t dedicate hours to taking each other apart off the ice. It tricks him into thinking Yuuri’s somehow tighter than usual. He knows all of this, but God, it’s so good. How can Yuuri feel this incredible all the time?
But he does, and he's especially alluring when he moans in Japanese that isn’t so secret at this point. Yuuri can’t hide behind that language barrier any more than Victor can hide behind his. They understand every word between them now and Victor collects them all to keep.
“Vitya, Vitya, oh I need it deeper, please,” he whines a bit in Japanese. And then, in Russian, “Why are you holding back? I want all of you. Need you. Please.”
These are phrases Yuuri’s picked up in their bed, when it was Victor begging Yuuri to give himself over. To take what he wanted without worrying so much. Victor delights in teasing. He lives to surprise and that translates into adventure between the sheets and other, less expected locations.
Yuuri’s apparently tired of having only what Victor’s decided to offer. “Stop torturing me and let me up. I want to ride you.”
He knows this is Yuuri’s favored position, where he’s in control and can watch what he does to Victor with every lift and fall, where he can pinch at his nipples and stop for swift, breathy kisses. Yuuri does none of that tonight. He leans back and takes. And takes. And takes. Victor had no choice but to take as well, reaching to stroke Yuuri’s cock so no one gets left too far behind. Victor’s first. The visual hit too hard. Yuuri climbs up and holds himself, waits for Victor to open his mouth, and thrusts in a few times before backing off again. The sensation of hot cum on his collarbone and neck blends with pleasant aftershocks and gasping breaths, and then Yuuri’s kissing him again, wet and hot and perfect.
Yuuri takes gold at Worlds, to the surprise of no one. Phichit snatches silver right out of Yuri’s hands, knocking him to third, to the surprise of everyone. It’s a podium that delights Victor endlessly. His skaters thrive on competition and don’t take kindly to outsiders butting into their rinkmate-centered feud. Even–no, especially–when they’re disrupted by super charming Thai men who kill you with kindness and cut you in the same sentence. Yuri looks so put out in all the photos while Phichit and Yuuri are understandably overjoyed.
In high spirits from another conquered competition, Victor calls Pavel from the airport ahead of their return flights. Victor jumps into it as soon as the artist picks up. “Pavel! Victor here. I was wondering if my portrait would be delivered today or tomorrow?”
“Delivered today? It is not finished, Victor.”
Victor holds his fragile smile in place. “I thought it was done? My sittings have been over for weeks.”
“There are still finishing touches, then the drying process. And the varnish to apply. And framing to do. You have not even chosen the framing yet.”
Victor quickly realizes he doesn’t know enough about painting for someone who commissioned one.
“Ok.” He will keep calm and carry on like that poster someone repeatedly posted in Yakov’s office. “Well, can my husband and I come by the studio and have an unveiling of what is finished, then?”
Pavel barks out a deep laugh, clearly amused. “Oh I suppose an unveiling, in the loosest sense of the word, can be arranged.” There’s some paper shuffling and Victor imagines that smudgy planner split open. “Let’s say tomorrow at around 8pm, after my last session. Yes?”
“Yes. Thank you.” It would have to do.
Travelling together has become a bit of a dance, perfectly choreographed, practiced and performed many times over the years. They each know their part, taking comfort in the repetition of their steps. Yuuri handles the luggage, which is a focus considering that time they left it all behind in Fukuoka. Victor still can’t believe they were oblivious to the point of abandoning Yuuri’s skates and costumes. They’re lucky no one made off with them to sell online. Imagine sending Yuuri to the Final in something off the rack while those beautiful pieces sat amassing bids on ebay.
While Yuuri carefully scans the conveyor, Victor calls the car service and pet sitter. They head to a doggy bakery first, where Yuuri gets Makkachin’s special travel treats, then pick up their best girl. Once home, Yuuri takes her on a long walk. Victor quickly unpacks and sets out the dry cleaning. They’ll handwash the costumes carefully tomorrow to keep the crystals in place. While he has a minute away from Yuuri, he checks in with the restaurant near Pavel’s to make sure his dinner reservation is still in order. He also reminds them that they’ll be celebrating their anniversary. Hopefully that means they’ll have a little more privacy from both the staff and other guests. Yuuri in particular does not enjoy being approached when they’re sharing a romantic moment. When they’re together, the rest of the world disappears, and they prefer to keep it that way.
Yuuri returns, shielding himself as Makkachin predictably shakes the sleet off her ears. Victor shows him a sweet picture someone posted of them leaning together by the luggage conveyor. The caption reads ‘i missed my connection, but caught this one. bask in their glow, friends.’ It’s been retweeted by hundreds of fans but was posted just minutes ago.
“Nice of them to wait until we’d left the airport to post,” Victor notes.
“Hmm,” Yuuri agrees, listing from jetlag and a post-competition stress crash. Thankfully the ending steps of their travel dance are synchronized quick showers and long naps. He needs to get Yuuri to sleep soon if they have any chance of heading out tonight.
“I’m setting an alarm,” Victor says in a hushed tone, lips brushing against Yuuri’s forehead, sheets pulled up to their chins. “We have dinner reservations for tonight, at Anne’s,”
Yuuri giggles silently, his vibrations giving him away, and he sits up so they can see each other. “You’re kidding, what time?”
“Early, six. I know you love their desserts and I didn’t want you to feel rushed.”
“You’re sweet.” His husband’s voice is so fond. “I actually made a reservation for 6:45 just down the street, at Bijou, since I know it’s your favorite.”
“Oh.” Yuuri usually leaves these things up to him, so Victor falters. They need to be at Pavel’s by eight and Yuuri is going to hit that dessert menu hard. “Can you cancel? We went there last year and I know you don’t care for it as much as I do. Besides, I’d love to have time to take a stroll after. The shops around there are quite charming.”
Yuuri’s smile is as breathtaking as it was on their wedding day. “That sounds amazing.”
It is amazing. A complimentary bottle of Victor’s favorite champagne is waiting at their table when they arrive, iced and ready to pop. The waiter takes the cork and hands the fizzing bottle over to Victor, as he prefers to fill the glasses himself. Yuuri rolls his eyes a little at this, as if it were the first time.
“You love it.” Victor knows by the smile quirked at the corner of Yuuri’s mouth. “Who else can pour with the unrestrained flourish required to properly mark such an occasion?”
“There is no one else,” Yuuri answers easily, taking his glass.
It’s too bad the stuff they served at their fateful banquet was acidic swill. If it were half decent, they could’ve secured a case of the vintage and made a lovely tradition of it for a few years. Instead they honor a blood oath. According to their agreement, they’d recite Chris’s intended wedding toast on every one of their anniversaries if he read a cleaner, more sentimental version at the event itself.
So now, with a bit of Giacometti flair, Victor finds himself saying, “Thank you sixteen glasses of bubbly and Bunny of Big Pole Energy for bringing us together. May we breakdance battle over who’s making breakfast every morning and tango into bed together every night. May we learn how to pair up on the pole as well as we do on the ice, even if it means we have to practice constantly and reach out to our dear friend Chris on facetime for pointers.”
He’s not saying the whole thing in public, stopping when Yuuri angles his glass so they meet in a soft ring of crystal, obviously grateful to Victor for omitting the whole falling in love with his pants down thing and the part where he gyrated his way into Victor’s heart at a formal ISO event. They’re fond memories for Victor. They’re also embarrassing, blackout drunk hours for Yuuri that they both worry will one day leak to Twitter.
Victor tacks his own bit to the end, to keep the mood right where he wants it. “That night in Sochi, my eyes lit up like never before. I haven’t been able to look away since.”
Yuuri’s a little flush, and it’s not from the champagne. “It’s funny the way things happen. We met under such wild circumstances, but…”
“We’re the most romantic couple you know?” Victor finishes, hoping that was what Yuuri meant.
“I was going to say the happiest, but yes. Thank you for always being so lovely.” They kiss in lieu of touching glasses, then indulge in a few more small, lingering kisses that leave Victor aching for another set. Truly it doesn’t take much. Yuuri calling him lovely is enough to make him want to kiss his husband for hours.
The food does arrive though, and therefore they must eat it. Luckily it’s all delicious. They enjoy a rather substantial dinner of gruyère gougères, a proper Caesar salad, a smash burger which Yuuri likens to a gourmet slant on a BigMac. To finish it all off, they each get a piece of Yuuri’s beloved matcha mille feuille crepe. Victor feeds half of his to Yuuri anyway. It’s definitely a meal meant to be savored, celebratory decadence the likes of which will not be repeated until they’re treated to the now famous Katsuki katsudon.
Part one of his plan complete, he scoops up Yuuri’s hand, kissing his wedding band and then walking with their arms swaying, rings touching. He’s so glad they were able to get a second set of snowflake engraved bands for their wedding, even if it was done out of practicality. Random people from other countries didn’t immediately understand that they were married and that’s a high crime in Victor’s book. It should carry a serious sentence, at least 60 poodles worth of hard labor.
But Victor doesn’t have that kind of power, so they each have two bands now, one on each ring finger, all of them as golden as his husband and the majority of their medal collection. Now most people correctly assume they’re a married couple and, as an added bonus, he can kiss Yuuri’s ring no matter which hand he catches.
In general he’s found he rather likes having matching things with Yuuri. Japanese couple culture is full of cute paired items like mugs, pajamas, outfits, slippers, even phone cases. Yuuri got them matching Makkachin skate soakers for this past Vicmas, much to everyone’s delight but especially Victor’s.
It’s snowing lightly, making everything wet, so they spend the majority of their stroll sheltering in shops. They’re so caught up in window shopping that they’re late to Pavel’s. Victor did his best to guide Yuuri toward the studio, but Yuuri ducked into the light fixture shop next door and Victor couldn’t figure out a way to pretend they didn’t need another bedside lamp. Four weren’t nearly enough for two people and Makkachin, and he was glad Yuuri finally saw reason.
So they’re behind schedule for part two of his anniversary plan, but Yuuri doesn't know that and Pavel isn’t harping on it when he meets them at the door. In fact, Pavel is as pleasant as when Victor secured his commission.
“Hello, hello,” the artist welcomes them further into his space, shaking Victor’s hand. “Nice to see you again. Ah, but where is the husband?”
Maybe the double rings aren’t as effective as he’d thought. After sharing a confused look with the group, Victor steps up with a charming, “This is my Yuuri.”
Just so Pavel can level him with a bemused, “Yes. I see,” and takes Yuuri’s hand as well.
“He knows who I am, Vitya,” Yuuri mutters.
“Right, yes. Good.” Of course Pavel knows who Yuuri is. He’s a fellow gentleman with taste, Victor’s decided just now.
“Ok, we will start with the first appointment, then. Come back here, to the drying room. It’s too cold to dry them in the studio so I’ve set up in here.”
Victor’s portrait is near the entrance, large and expressive and nothing like he expects. Where is his pale skin, cheeks blooming red from the cold? Where is his high forehead? And with the amount of time this painting took, he should be able to count every single one of his silvery eyelashes from several steps away.
The most irksome element is what looks like a lush fur draped over him, done up in deep evergreen, the shade they’d chosen together for the background.
“Where was that fur when I was freezing to death?” Victor wonders aloud.
“It is art, Victor.” Pavel says as if he’s the only creative in the room. “It doesn’t always work out the way we expect.”
Victor is enraged. Victor is plotting a murder. His pink convertible is way too conspicuous and he’s not adept at hotwiring stolen vehicles, but he’s sure he could pick it up rather quickly given the situation.
He’s interrupted by Yuuri’s gasp of breath, like he’d forgotten to breathe and needed more air. Yuuri rushes up to the painting to get a closer look, making sure to take in every curve and corner.
Then Yuuri grabs Victor's hand and kisses each ring, his eyes shining with sweet affection, “It’s almost as beautiful as you. I love it. Thank you.”
His husband is adorable, blushing while he looks over the portrait again with obvious pride. Even if the experience isn’t one he’d like to repeat, this moment is everything Victor dreamt of.
Pavel only gives them a few moments before ushering them along. “Shall we move on to the other? It’s over here.”
As they round the easel, Victor expects to see a failure, an attempt at his likeness, with the evergreen background and white sheet cloth thrown over his shoulder for interest. The original, planned arrangement. It is. Not that.
Instead, he’s met with a portrait of Yuuri, sat with a pillow across his lap like he’s hiding an open secret, face tilted in mischief, lips smirking the way he does when he calls Victor to bed for his pleasure. His October eyes aren’t soft and velvety. They’re suggestive. Overtly sexual. Victor feels his face heat.
“Umm, surprise?” Yuuri says, glasses riding low. “I guess we had the same idea.” His smile is nervous. Victor can’t have that.
“My God, Yuura. You’re so gorgeous, zolotse, and you know what that look does to me. I can barely stand right now. You may have to carry me home.”
Yuuri grins with his mouth open, chin held high. It’s his lovestruck face, the one that’s kind of goofy and wobbly, and altogether the best expression Victor’s ever seen. This is what his husband looks like when he’s most happy. “So dramatic. We received the same gift.”
He is not being dramatic at all. “I’m overwhelmed. Hold on to me.”
Yuuri laughs but Victor gets those lovely, strong arms around him and that’s what really matters.
“You two are so troublesome,” Pavel says, exasperated by their love for some reason. “Your portraits couldn’t be more different. If you’d told me ahead of time, I would have coordinated them. Perhaps I can rework it so the spirit is more cohesive.” Victor is almost checked out of the conversation when Pavel continues with, “Would you prefer the more demure ‘look but don’t touch’ mood of Victor’s, or Yuuri’s sultry ‘show me yours and I’ll show you mine’ expression?”
Awareness hits Victor hard. “If you’ll excuse us,” he says curtly to Pavel before taking a few steps away, Yuuri in tow.
“You did your sittings looking like that?” Victor whispers, “For hours?”
“I know, my face was so dead. I didn’t think I’d spend that many hours away from training, either.”
Yuuri can’t be this oblivious.
“That’s not what I meant.” It comes out harsh, more so than he intended, more so than he wants to speak to his Yuuri. But it’s done and Yuuri’s already got that confused look about him, like he can’t even imagine why Victor would be upset by this.
“Vitya, I don’t understand what's happening.” Yuuri reaches for his wrists, his thumbs brushing along the pulse point, “Why are you hurt?”
They’ve talked about this many times, learned together that Victor reacts poorly when his feelings are bruised. He doesn’t just cry. Sometimes he acts out. Sometimes he yells. He’s been working on it but there’s simply been nothing to make him this upset in a while. Months, perhaps a year. Victor doesn’t even remember.
The reason comes to him slowly, and for good reason, as it doesn’t really make sense. “I’m jealous,” he tells Yuuri, even though it makes him reveal neglected insecurities. “I’m so jealous right now.”
“Why?” Yuuri counters softly. “The painting is for you.”
“It’s–I just…” There has to be a way to make himself understood. “How can I hang this in our home knowing you made this face for someone else?”
Yuuri’s brow is raised, challenging. “The same way you handled my Eros performance, which I skated at your insistence for thousands of people. Because–”
“It’s different, Yuura. You’re my husband now. And yes, maybe it’s irrational, but it just feels wrong. Like an infringement? Somehow? I don’t know. You tell me all the time that feelings don’t have to make sense for them to be real.”
“Vitya,” Yuuri licks his lips and seems to weigh his words, “I could only skate like that because I wanted to keep your eyes on me. I don’t care if everyone sees. They should know.” He tightens his hold at Victor’s wrists. “All my eros is for you. All my everything is for you.”
And wow is that a way to put it.
“Your everything?” he can only repeat back.
“Of course.” Yuuri says it emphatically and with a bit of metal.
He lets the entirety of that sink it, soothing over the nicks until there’s less hurt, incongruous feelings settling down.
“Ok. God, ok.” Victor tucks Yuuri’s hair behind his ear and looks into his eyes for forgiveness, but says the words aloud so Yuuri doesn’t have to worry any longer. “I’m sorry.”
They leave only after Victor had pored over every brush stroke of Yuuri’s painting again, his husband still a bit prickly, as to be expected. Victor knows he’s in so much trouble when they get home and, God help him, that’s always kind of hot. It’s not his fault, he’s conditioned. They never stay upset with each other for long and the way they make up is, well, something else.
He’s right. Yuuri’s settled into quite an assertive mood tonight. Victor revels in being edged, truly there’s nothing else like it, but Yuuri’s riding him so slow and hard, and possibly to death.
“Who do I belong to, Vitya?” Yuuri doesn’t ask so much as he commands a response.
“Me,” Victor grits between clenched teeth.
“Say the whole, complete sentence or don’t bother.”
Victor can barely put the words together. “You belong to me.”
“And these eyes only see who?”
“Your eyes only–ah–see me.”
Yuuri stops to cradle his jaw, holding Victor in place. “And my mouth only kisses whose?”
Thankfully he can think when they’re still like this, even if it’s torture. “Your mouth and kisses are all mine.”
“That’s right.” Yuuri kisses him hard, tilting his face to get everything he wants. At the moment he definitely wants Victor’s tongue, sucking on it like it’s his life’s purpose. Tucked between the wet, insistent kisses, Yuuri starts whispering reverent filth in his ear.
“My body is geared to capture your attention the way you’ve always held mine. My eyes, my mouth, my thighs, my ass,” Yuuri says, grinding down. “I just want to keep you under me so you can’t even think of looking away.”
Victor reacts in an instant, thrusting up just for relief, then stealing control of the pace. Yuuri frantically tries his best to push back harder.
“Where would I go when I could be right here? Always feels so amazing.” Victor's fingertips tease where they’re joined, meeting Yuuri’s hand that carefully cups Victor’s balls to keep him inside. It’s a lot of touch at once and so exceedingly lewd that Victor can’t help but grab greedy handfuls of his husband’s ass and erratically increase the loud beat of their bodies slapping together.
“Yes, yes, yes. Who gets to take my ass like this, Vitya?” Yuuri lets himself lose it, lying boneless and granting Victor full control. “Fuck. Tell me, say it while you’re inside me."
Victor holds Yuuri still and diligently answers, “I'm the only one who gets to fuck you,” drawing out the obscenity and listening to Yuuri’s embarrassed keening. They’re rarely this sort of mouthy, in bed or otherwise, and it shows. Yuuri is clearly overwhelmed by his choice of words and that makes Victor smile with his own breed of mischief. “Over-rotated a bit there, my Yuura?”
“Hush,” is his husband's short warning, which he knows Victor won’t heed.
“Oh, but I thought we were talking now, zolotse?”
Yuuri sits up and rakes his sweaty hair back. “No more talking.” Then his eyes soften a little. “As long as you understand what’s right in front of you.”
Victor loves this. “My husband, gorgeous, sexy, and all mine?”
“Exactly.” He quickly tilts back, physics in his favor so Victor’s easily pulled flush against him, close enough to kiss. But Yuuri doesn’t move to close the distance. He’s gone quiet, face broken and vulnerable. His mouth opens but no words come.
“You have nothing to worry about,” he finally decides to say. “You and I are–we’re forever. And I–” His voice is thick but then he’s laughing. “I love you more every March. How is that even possible?”
Victor knows. “It’s because I’m still learning. I feel that I’m not who I want to be? Yet? And nowhere near who you deserve.”
He sounds unsettled again, so Victor reassures him, “I’ll get there, Yuura.”
“Working on yourself is good.” Yuuri smooths his hand down Victor’s nape to knead at tension he didn’t know he was carrying. “But love isn’t about deserving. It’s about being known and accepted as you are. There’s no better version of you that I’m missing, so don’t go reaching for it.” He smiles and holds Victor closer. “Keep your arms around me, instead.”
Calmed by Yuuri’s tender words, Victor does exactly that, and they slip into the worshipful, essential kind of sex they’ve only had with one another.
Victor’s on the phone with his Mama, who has been very eager to hear how his anniversary surprise went. “He loved the painting, Mama, just as you said. But it won’t be ready to hang until next year. I know that now. I wish I had known how long it would take. Especially the sittings. We have that whole gallery wall of you, I can’t believe you never complained!”
He listens to her soft laughter before she repeats his plight to Mamochka, who gasps only to poke fun at her son’s impatience over a handful of hours. “All these years devoted to the ice and you can’t sit for, what, six hours at most?”
Victor is quick to correct Mamochka’s embellishment. “Excuse me, it was not a mere six hours. Wait, did you mean a session? That’s so long–oh, six hours in total?” Victor is having an experience. “Am I mishearing you? Six hours. Wow.”
He can barely breathe, his lungs filled with rage where air should be. “That letch. That absolute letch just dragged it out, watching me naked and shivering and trying to look beautiful for my husband. I went nearly every week for months!”
“A nude? How shameless, Vitya,” his Mama admonishes, sounding more amused than anything.
“No it wasn’t a nude. It was tastefully scandalous, just how I’d like to be remembered. Yuura’s though, Mama, Yuura’s has to be burned upon my death.”
“Vitya,” Yuuri scolds from the kitchen.
“He also sat for that same letch of an artist and–no you cannot see it! I will never allow anyone to see it!”
The ring of a pot lid slapping onto the counter echoes in their apartment. “Victor Surkovich. Stop.”
“Oh dear,” Mama gasps, “I’ve never heard him call you that. You’d better quit now and–”
“Yuura, if you don’t allow that to be in my will, I will donate it to a museum tomorrow and contact the press. Your mother will see it. Your sister. The triplets. Our future children. Is that what you want?”
Yuuri’s unfazed, hand on his hip where his apron strings are tied. “I don’t care at all. And if you donate it to a museum, I will sit for a full nude and donate that as well. Venus de Katsuki.” He looks Victor up and down. “Try me.”
More than a hundred years later, on loan from the Katsuki-Nikiforov family for a special exhibition on sexuality and sportsmen, their infamous triptych is openly displayed. A Study in Eros: Two vertical boudoir portraits and third underneath them, the length of Yuuri displayed from head to toe in his naked glory. The other dozen or so nudes are housed in a private gallery at home, each more salacious than the year before. Thank goodness for the ones immortalizing the dogs or the sitting room walls would be bare.