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We'll Be Fireproof

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The end of his second semester of classes was hard on Yuuri, not just because of the fact that he was drowning in final papers and exams and projects, but because he would have to make the three hour trip home for the summer when most of his friends would be staying together in the area around his school. Realistically, he knew that they wouldn’t forget him, but as he trudged home with a car full of all the things he’d packed at the beginning of the year, but for the most part didn’t use once, he felt like they might. However, he soon arrived home to his childhood friends and his old job that he’d, thankfully, been re-offered this summer. He’d been lifeguarding at his local pool since he was sixteen years old, fresh out of a certification class with no idea that the odds of all the disasters he’d learned about in the class so rarely actually happened. He’d settled comfortably into his job despite his constant anxiety that everyone was going to die, even convincing his best friend Yuuko and her boyfriend Takeshi to join him so his long shifts in the summer weren’t so terribly boring.

This summer already felt different. Yuuri had been informed via email of the fact that he would be  one of the regular daytime shift of guards, working from 8 to 4 every day, with a break around noon for lunch. Yuuri didn’t mind the long shifts in theory; he’d get to spend all day with his best friends and he needed the money more than he would care to admit. The email had also told them the daily schedule, which Yuuri was surprised to find had two blocks simply captioned “Swim team practice” from 9:15-10:15 and 12:30-3, which had never been on the schedule before. It made Yuuri miss his own team back at college, who would probably be going through similar practices in order to maximize their fitness in the downtime before the girl’s season started. The boys team was just dragged along because there was no good excuse to fall out of shape during the summer.

The first day of work, Yuuri showed up after doing his morning workout, blearily walking in wearing his same old uniform, the shirt thinning in spots, the letters printed on the back peeling at the edges. Still, the bright red shirt read “LIFEGUARD” across the back clearly enough for Yuuri’s bosses to not care. He was just at work anyways, no one expected him to look perfect, and if they did, then should he really care what they thought anyways?

As they prepared to open the pool for the day, Yuuko was talking his ear off about how excited she was for the summer, and how they had to hang out with all of their high school friends because she’d missed all of them so much, Yuuri included of course, and how awesome it was going to be to get paid to hang out together all day, and especially if there’s a swim team there like all day, they’ll barely have to do anything at all. Yuuri smiled and nodded and sipped the strong cup of coffee, filled with cream and probably too much sugar, that he’d made before he left his house. At 8:15 on the dot they unlocked the front door, and an old man immediately walked in after them, bidding them good morning before he went into the locker room to get ready to swim. Yuuri took a seat in one of the guard chairs around the deck, and Yuuko followed him over, deciding to continue excitedly babbling instead of taking a seat and just watching the pool like they were supposed to. None of the swimmers seemed to mind them anyways, too focused on getting in their morning workout before leaving at the end of the allotted open lap swim at 9:10 so the pool could get ready for the swim team to come in.

“What team is it anyways? It just said ‘swim team practice’ on our schedule. Is it high schoolers or something?” Yuuri questioned, knowing that two practices a day for the entire summer was a bit harsh for high school swimmers, most of whom just swam for fun.

“You seriously don’t know?” Yuuko paused, looking at Yuuri as if this was the most obvious thing in the entire world, “Yuuri, come on. The pool at RU is getting renovated, so the Sharks are practicing at this pool during the summer.” Yuuri nearly spit out his coffee at that.

“Wait, the Sharks as in my school’s rival? As in the best team in the state? As in, I’ll have to swim against all of these people once the season starts?” Yuuri didn’t want to freak out, but, well, that’s kind of part of who he was. He felt like a spy, like he was going to be watching something he shouldn’t.

“Well, when you put it that way, I guess so. No need to freak out, it’s not like they’re going to recognize you or anything.”

Yuuri calmed down a bit with that realization. His team had just barely lost to the Sharks during the last season, and Yuuri had been touched out* in one of his races. Even though he wasn’t the only one who had a close race, and him placing second instead of third wouldn’t have actually won them the meet, Yuuri blamed himself for being the dumb inexperienced freshman who had cost them points they desperately needed.

The team was trickling in, and he saw the boy who had touched him out, Christophe Giacometti, messing around with his friends as they all arrived. None of them were in the pool yet, so Yuuri was lazily watching them walk onto the deck. Yuuko had finally stopped talking so much as she stared at all of the very much in shape guys start to strip before jumping in the pool.

“Don’t get too distracted there Yuuko, there are also girls in the pool, and you’ll need to guard them too,” Yuuri teased. Yuuko immediately snapped out of it, hitting Yuuri on the arm before turning to go take a seat on the opposite side of the pool.

“Like you’ll be any better, Katsuki!” She called over her shoulder, trying to hide her embarrassment by teasing Yuuri right back. Yuuri rolled his eyes and settled more comfortably onto the wooden seat he would be occupying for the next hour as the coach, the famed Yakov who Yuuri knew he could never look in the eye without trembling, starting yelling at everyone to get their asses in the pool to start their warm up. As he started yelling, another swimmer, seemingly the last to arrive, walked in and threw him a dazzling smile, only making Yakov yell directly at him.

“Nikiforov! Couldn’t you make it one day without being late to practice?”

“I’m not late, coach. Look, there are still at least five people not swimming right now. I’m just one of them.” Of course Victor Nikiforov is here. Oh god, why didn’t I think of that.

Victor was the top swimmer on his team, in the state, and some would argue that soon he would be one of the top in the country. He was already going to major competitions, but he refused sponsorships and going pro because he wanted to finish out his last year with his college team that he loved so much. Of course, it made perfect sense that he was here for practice, but holy fuck was Yuuri starstruck by him being here.

He snapped out of the way he was staring, mouth slightly open at Victor, and went back to his actual job of guarding the pool. Yakov went to the stereo by the side of the pool, but before he could turn it on, Christophe climbed out and ran over to his bag, yelling that he had made the perfect playlist for practice, and if Yakov tried to play classical music one more time all of them would drown because they wouldn’t be able to stay awake through morning practice. Yakov grumbled, but grudgingly plugged in the boy’s phone and hit play on the playlist, which immediately started blasting some top 40 song Yuuri was sure he’d heard about a thousand times, but still didn’t know the name of. Christophe danced up to the edge of the pool, only getting back in as Victor laughingly pushed him. He then shot a look at Yuuri, as if saying are you going to yell at me for that? And Yuuri responded with a look that he hoped said don’t test your luck kid. Victor smiled apologetically before diving in and starting to warm up with the rest of the team. Yuuri mostly zoned out during practice, knowing that unless there was a freak accident none of these swimmers would be drowning.

The practice ended, all of the swimmers groaning about having to go do drylands* after they got out, and one smaller boy who barely looked old enough to be there groaning that he needed food in order to survive, snapping at anyone who told him to chill. Yuuri managed to keep his eyes scanning around the pool and all of the swimmers at its edge, as opposed to just watching Victor the way he wanted to. Once everyone was off the deck and Yuuri and Yuuko had pulled out the lane lines, Yuuko joined Yuuri back by his chair.

“So, why did you look like you were going to literally die when that late guy walked in?” Yuuko asked, cutting right to the point.

“I, what? No, I didn’t look like I was going to, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He finally settled on feigned ignorance, knowing inside he probably looked like an idiot.

“Who was he? Someone good or something?” Yuuri immediately scoffed.

“He’s not just good, Yuuko. He’s the best. Like the swimmer right now. He’s probably going to go pro once he graduates, but he wants to finish his last season with his team. He was a huge breakout star a few seasons ago, and he’s been on top of his game ever since,” Yuuri sighed, “man I wish I could swim like him. I swear to god, he’s not even human. He swims like the water is flowing with him.”

“Sounds like you’ve got a bit of a crush. Now remember, there are other people in the pool, you’ll need to guard them too.” Her teasing made Yuuri blush, and he shooed her away as a water aerobics class began, the old women in the class shooting them looks for talking and not doing their jobs. Soon enough noon rolled around, and they locked up the pool so they could eat their lunches in peace before the afternoon rush started. Takeshi started at the end of their break, but he showed up a few minutes early with coffee, making the already exhausted guards happy as they could be while working a shitty minimum wage job indoors for far too many hours. The afternoon passed by more quickly than the morning, as Takeshi and Yuuko bickered and flirted and entertained Yuuri to no end. The team’s afternoon practice looked like hell, and Yuuri did not envy them at all for having to get whipped into shape so harshly.

The first week went by like this. Sometimes Victor would catch his eye and shoot him one of his dazzling smiles and Yuuri would blush and try to act like he hadn’t been staring, and Yuuko or Takeshi almost always caught onto it and teased him for it later. After a week of these glances and smiles and pretending not to notice, Victor came up to him on his way out of afternoon practice one day.

“You seem kind of familiar. Do I know you from something?” He asked. Yuuri immediately tried to keep his cool, although he didn’t feel like he was going to do a very good job. Oh god, he’s got an accent. I had no idea he had an accent. It made complete sense, since he supposedly had moved to America around the time he started high school. Though the two were from the same town, Victor had attended an expensive prep school that Yuuri generally kept a healthy distance from. Boys that went there didn’t have the best reputation against boys like Yuuri.

“Oh, uh, yeah, I swim for Prix. We were up against each other last year.” Yuuri manages to get out the words in an actual timely manner and he’s pretty proud of himself.

“That makes so much sense! That was a really close meet. You guys definitely gave us a run for our money,” he says it with a smile so bright that Yuuri is momentarily blinded.

“Y-yeah, we really were trying to break that seven year losing streak. Didn’t quite get there, but it’ll probably be easier once you graduate.” Yuuri realizes that he put his foot in his mouth a few seconds after he’s jammed it in there, and his eyes widen slightly. Victor just laughs though, patting Yuuri on the shoulder.

“Yeah, I hear that a lot. Don’t slack off just because I’m a senior though; some of these kids are pretty good.” At this, a blond boy sticks his head back onto the pool deck, and his eyes narrow when he spots Victor talking to Yuuri.

“Hey Nikiforov! Let’s go! You’re my ride today, remember?” Victor swears under his breath, and it becomes evident that he didn’t remember.

“Yeah, one second Yuri.” The boy’s head disappears from the doorway as he goes out to wait for Victor.

“I didn’t catch your name by the way, what is it?” Victor asks, hiking his bag up higher on his shoulder. As he does this his shirt rides up just a bit, and Yuuri can see a bit of the toned muscles he usually got to stare at only when Victor was in the pool.

“Oh, um, Yuuri Katsuki. Nice to meet you Victor.” He awkwardly sticks out his hand and Victor laughs before shaking it.

“Nice to meet you Yuuri. The smaller, angrier Yuri is waiting for me, so I’d better roll out before he comes in here and tries to drown me. See you tomorrow!” As Victor walks away, Yuuri digs his nails into his palm as he tries to figure out if that conversation actually happened, or if he had fallen asleep on deck. The sting from the small crescent shaped marks in his palm told him that this was actually real, and he let a small smile break onto his face. Once Victor was off the dead Yuuko and Takeshi were immediately next to him.

“Yuuri, are you still breathing? Do you need CPR? Maybe the AED because I doubt your heart is beating at a usual pace right now,” Yuuko said, laughter bubbling out of her lips. Yuuri rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t stop smiling.

“He probably was just being nice because he catches me staring at him all the time.” Takeshi rolled his eyes, clapping Yuuri on the back.

“Just accept that he thinks you’re cute, kid. Doesn’t happen very often.” Takeshi walked off before Yuuri could formulate a comeback other than an indignant “Hey!” and Yuuko followed after him, giggling on the way to her chair.

The next morning Victor is actually on time, much to the amazement of his entire team. He winked at Yuuri when he caught him staring and Yuuri immediately turned red, quickly looking away.

“Hey Yuuri, do you need some water or something? You’re looking awfully thirsty right now,” Yuuko casually said as she walked past him on her way around the pool. Yuuri sighed at her teasing, knowing that he really needed to chill out if he wanted to actually get to know Victor at all.

Victor started being on time, and in some cases even early to practice so that he could say hi to Yuuri. They would trade sarcastic remarks about the team, how boring it was to make sure a bunch of near professional swimmers didn’t drown, and how long until Yakov screamed so hard that his eyes literally popped out of his head. It became a routine after the afternoon practice for Victor to stop and chat with Yuuri for a little bit, each day’s chat lasting longer than the one the day before, and Yuuri made every possible effort to be less horribly awkward with each conversation.

“That practice looked brutal. Do you think you’re going to make it?” Yuuri asked after a particularly hard set, a teasing edge to his voice. Victor immediately laughed wholeheartedly, letting a real smile show, and not his usual dazzling, though fake, one.

“I don’t know, I might collapse on the spot. Think you’ll be able to save me, oh valiant lifeguard?” The tips of Yuuri’s ears turned pink as he laughed with Victor.

“So when is the changing of the guards?” Victor asks, a smirk at his horrible pun playing across his face.

“That’s… I don’t know if I should be mad at how bad that joke was,” Yuuri replies, pretending to be deep in thought. Victor laughs a little too hard, probably because of the fact that all of his muscles, and his mind, must’ve felt like jelly after working so hard.

“Come on, I want us to grab coffee or something. When are you done?”

It took Yuuri a second to realize that the Victor Nikiforov was asking him to hang out, in a possibly date-like manner. Once he realized it he blushed and stammered a little.

“I, uh, I don’t get out for another hour, you’re probably exhausted, I don’t want to make you do anything when you’re so exhausted I-”

“Yuuri, I brought it up so you’re not making me do anything. Really, I want to. There’s this awesome cafe downtown I haven’t been to in a while, they have the best espresso. I promise, it’ll be awesome. I can pick you up so you don’t have to figure out how to get there or anything.”

“I, um, yeah, sure.”

“Alright cool! If you just want to give me your number I can text you, and when you get out you can save my number and I’ll get your address?” Victor seemed a little nervous, which made Yuuri feel a little better about the fact that he was practically shaking.

“Yeah, that sounds awesome! I mean, I, yeah, yeah I’ll text you when I get out.”

“Awesome! Well… See you later then!” Victor hurried off the deck, trying to hide the small smile on his lips as he went. Takeshi and Yuuko walked over to him immediately, not saying anything but with expectant looks on their faces.

“We’re going to get coffee at a place downtown when I get out,” Yuuri mumbled, waiting for their reactions, which he knew would embarrass him.

“That’s amazing Yuuri!” Yuuko was buzzing for him, ready to jump up and down and ask a million questions before Takeshi cut in.

“Are you skipping out on practicing today then?” Yuuri felt the excitement drain from him.

“Oh, right, I totally forgot I need to practice… Maybe I could just do two tomorrow?” Yuuri was trying to think of the logistics of back to back practices, or fitting in something during his lunch break, when Takeshi let out a heavy sigh.

“Let me guess, you want me to come in during the early morning laps so you can get one in then and one in the afternoon?” Takeshi said, pretending to be exasperated though he obviously wasn’t as annoyed as he was acting, considering he was the one who had come up with the idea.

“I mean, that would be really great, Takeshi…”

“Fine. Just this one time, Yuuri. You’re lucky I’m such a good friend.” Yuuri jumped up and hugged Takeshi, much to the other boy’s dismay.

“Thank you so much! You’re the best!”

“Yeah yeah, just tell loverboy to wait until after you practice next time.” Takeshi ruffled Yuuri’s hair before moving away to set up the pool for open swim.

When Yuuri got out of work he had a text on his phone. He immediately saved the number as “Victor!!!!” before actually reading the message and responding.

 

Victor!!!: Hi it's victor!!!! Don't forget to text me your address so I can pick you up :)))

Yuuri: Hi! I'm just leaving work now, could you give me a few to get changed?

Victor!!!!: Yeah of course np. What's your address?

 

Yuuri responded quickly before calling his best friend from school, Phichit, as he climbed into his car.

"Yuuri! Hey I haven't heard from you in a few days what's up?" Yuuri put the phone on speakerphone as he started his car, wanting to be home as quickly as possible for his not-quite-date with Victor.

"Victor Nikiforov and I are about to go get coffee," Yuuri blurted out. He'd already told Phichit about his crush, but he hadn't updated him on the fact that they'd been talking more.

"Wait, really? Dude that's so awesome!" Phichit exclaimed, and Yuuri could practically see how he was ready to scream in joy about it.

"It's just coffee, but I mean I don't know, it's hanging out when I'm not in a lifeguarding uniform I guess."

"You know that's probably the only reason he asked you out; he probably loves a guy in uniform."

"Alright, sure Phichit.”

There was a pause before Phichit said anything else, and his teasing tone went away as he gently said, “I’m glad you’re getting back out there. I know things didn’t end so well last time, but seriously, there are good guys out there somewhere.” The amount of caring in his voice only made Yuuri miss his best friend more.

“Yeah, I know. I think I’m ready to give this whole dating thing another shot. Not that this is a date of course, for all I know Victor is just straight and being a nice guy or something.”

“Of course, sure. Guys being dudes often ask their bros to go get coffee at cute cafes in the city, and they especially make sure that they give them rides there and back. Just dudes being bros.”

“Okay, okay, he’s probably hitting on me, but you know how oblivious I am.”

“Yeah, of course I do. Remember Caitlyn?” Yuuri groaned at the name. Caitlyn was a girl on his swim team who had the biggest crush on Yuuri. He felt really bad when he had to tell her he wasn’t interested, especially because she tried to make a move on him while she was drunk and immediately started crying upon being rejected. It made practices with the girls’ team pretty awkward, but they were attempting to work through it (read: avoiding each other at all costs).

“I try not to. Listen, I just got home, so I'll talk to you later, okay?"

"Okay, get that dick!" Phichit hung up before Yuuri could say anything back, and Yuuri rolled his eyes as he parked his car and raced into the empty house he’d lived in his whole life. The rest of his family would be at work until later, so Yuuri could run up the stairs two at a time without being questioned as to why he was acting like a maniac (also without anyone laughing at him for tripping on the top step and nearly wiping out entirely). He texted Victor that he was home and almost ready as he threw on a tshirt and shorts that seemed acceptable enough, cursing the fact that it wasn't winter so he couldn't just hide in a giant sweater. He brushed his teeth and attempted to run a brush through his hair, which had become frizzy while he was on the humid pool deck. As he pushed his glasses up his nose, his phone buzzed with a text from Victor saying that he was out front. With a deep breath Yuuri rushed down the stairs, managing not to trip on them this time. When he locked the door behind him and turned to face his driveway, immediately seeing a grinning Victor waving excitedly from his car. Yuuri laughed as he approached the car, letting his smile stay on his face and mask some of his nervousness as he climbed in.

“Wow, it’s weird to see you in a color other than red. This already feels surreal,” Victor laughed, smiling genuinely at Yuuri as he pulled out onto the road.

“Yeah, I know, a huge change when I’m not in a ratty tank top,” Yuuri let out a chuckle before glancing out the window and asking, “Where are we going again?”

“Oh, well, I’m actually a serial killer, so this is the part where I kill you,” Victor said, a teasing edge to his voice.

“Darn you, Nikiforov, you’ll never get away with this. Completely fruitless, too many people knew about this.” Yuuri was beginning to wonder why he was so nervous before, this was the same Victor he cracked terrible jokes with every day.

“Ah, you’re right. Completely sworn off of my life of crime, you’ve changed my entire life,” Victor said solemnly, causing both boys to break into laughter. The tension in the air was dissipating more and more with every minute, and the two of them were falling into an easy banter. Victor held up an aux cord, gesturing for Yuuri to take it. Yuuri was cautious, knowing that if he put on a song and Victor hated it, then he would have to pretend he didn’t like the song too much to save the date, even though it wasn’t even a real date because neither of them had actually called it a date, and fuck, he’s had his music app open for like fifteen seconds and he hasn’t even glanced at it yet. Eventually he settles on a song he’d had stuck in his head all day, Youth by Troye Sivan. After he had already clicked on it, he realized he had chosen a gay artist. It would probably look like a purposeful act, like he was testing out the waters, but in reality he was completely clueless of the implications until after he’d hit play, and by then it was too late to take it back.

“I love this song,” Victor said, turning up the radio to sing along. His accent was still partially showing it’s edge as he sang, and Yuuri had to try to keep singing and not act as completely entranced with Victor’s entire being as they drove. Yuuri ended up sticking to more upbeat pop music throughout the ride, just playing random pop music hits until Victor was parallel parked along the curb of a cute street downtown, with a welcoming looking coffeeshop called “The Corner” right next to them. When they walked in, Yuuri was immediately hit with a stark difference in temperature as the air conditioning was on full blast. The air smelled like fresh coffee and something sweet, almost like vanilla but not quite. Victor immediately walked up to the counter and began scanning the board, and Yuuri quietly followed him, squinting up through his glasses to try to figure out what to get.

“The iced coffee here is really good,” Victor offered, seeing Yuuri’s confusion.

“Oh, yeah, thanks. That sounds good, I’ll just get that,” Yuuri replied, and Victor smiled in reply.

“Will this be together?” The barista asked, smiling as she wrote the drink orders on the cups. Before Yuuri had a chance to respond, Victor quickly nodded, shooting a smile to Yuuri to show that he was more than happy to make this feel more and more like a date with every passing second. After they’d gotten their drinks, they took a seat at a small table by the front window, sipping on their coffees as they talked.

“No, I’m completely serious I thought that Yakov’s head was really going to explode this time. But Chris had no idea that practice had already started an hour earlier and just strolled in and casually started getting ready to swim, thinking he was like five minutes late. Yakov’s face was literally purple before he even started talking, it was the funniest thing in the world.” Yuuri laughed as he imagined Yakov getting more and more worked up as Christophe nonchalantly prepared for practice.

“My coach is a little bit more chill than that, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him mad, let alone hear him actually yelling at us.” Talking about Celestino made Yuuri miss him, even though he definitely didn’t miss the way he would destroy the team during practice. Phichit would constantly post on instagram, going so far as to get a waterproof case for his phone just so that he could take selfies during breaks in the practice, and when he was posting so constantly Yuuri could stay updated on everything going on, but it wasn’t the same as being there.

“So why didn’t you stay at school to train?” Victor asked casually. Yuuri knew that Victor’s intention wasn’t trying to pry, but it still made Yuuri’s palms sweat.

“Oh, I, I just, um, my parents wanted me to be home,” Yuuri eventually stuttered out, although he knew it was a lie. He could tell from the way Victor was dressed and the car he was driving that money was never a problem for him, and while Yuuri didn’t really think that Victor would treat him any differently for not being able to afford things like staying at school to train, Yuuri didn’t want to take a chance the first time they were hanging out outside of his job.

“That makes sense. One of the perks of going to college in town, I’m never far enough away for my parents to miss me.” Victor has a bitterness to his voice, but Yuuri knows that Victor doesn’t want him to ask, so he doesn’t. Victor senses the slightly awkward air he started and said he had to run to the bathroom and would be right back. Yuuri smiled at him as he got up before pulling out his phone. He had a notification from Phichit on instagram, and he unlocked his phone to see a throwback photo of the two of them on the day of one particularly torturous practice during the season, when they were between sets and Yuuri thought he might actually die. Yuuri was floating on his back, staring up at the ceiling with a look on his face that screamed this is the end, this is where I drown as Phichit gave a thumbs up and laughed in the foreground of the picture. Celestino could be seen in the background too, laughing at his team and how over dramatic they were all acting.

Victor walked back to the table to see Yuuri grinning down at his phone and glanced at it to see the picture, laughing as he said, “Looks like I’m not the only one who dies during hard practices.” Yuuri immediately flushed red and laughed.

“Yeah, my best friend takes a million selfies, including during practice. I don’t know how he was even smiling here, that set ruined all of us.”

“What’s he like? You’ve kind of met all of my best friends to some degree since you’re on deck every day, but I’ve barely heard about yours.” Victor rested his elbows on the table, resting his chin on top of his hands as he waited for Yuuri to respond.

“Oh, well, I mean he’s really… Bubbly, I guess I could say. He’s always the life of the party and takes a million selfies, but he somehow looks good in all of them?” Yuuri paused to laugh, and Victor smiled at how happy talking about his friend was making him, “He’s the only reason I ever went anywhere this year.”

“Not a huge partier then?” Victor questioned, leaning back a bit as he picked up his coffee, wincing at the slightly watery taste from the ice melting.

“Not really. Too much anxiety to go to a party unless I have friends with me. Plus I get kind of wild when I drink, so I usually end up making a fool of myself,” Yuuri mumbled, blushing.

“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind,” Victor smirked, making Yuuri splutter.

“What exactly does that mean?”

“It means that if we ever get drunk together we’ll see if our ideas wild are the same. I have a feeling that they aren’t.” Yuuri rolled his eyes at this, and then the conversation flowed away from the topic. They sat there for another hour before Yuuri got a text from his sister asking if he could make dinner tonight because she was running late, and Yuuri had to ask if they could go. As they left the cafe Yuuri couldn’t stop smiling. There hadn’t really been too much awkwardness between the two of them, much to Yuuri’s amazement. He wasn’t good at keeping up a conversation, but with Victor it felt completely effortless. By the time they arrived back at Yuuri’s house, neither one of them wanted their time together to end.

“We should do this again soon,” Victor said as they pulled onto Yuuri’s street.

“Yeah! Definitely. Just maybe a bit later next time because I’m supposed to do a set from my coach in the afternoon.”

“Oh shit, did I keep you from practicing today? I’m sorry, you could’ve told me, I would’ve waited, I-”

“It’s fine, Victor. I’m just going to do it during the morning lap swim tomorrow before you guys get in the pool. Don’t worry about it, really,” Yuuri said, a look in his eyes that told Victor he would rather be with him than practicing anyways. Victor smiled and nodded.

“Well then, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow?” Victor said as he pulled into Yuuri’s driveway. Yuuri nodded, saying goodbye as he climbed out of the car. Yuuri had to restrain himself from literally skipping to the door of his house, and he waved to Victor after he’d unlocked the door. Victor waved back and pulled out of his driveway, sparing Yuuri one last glance before driving away. Yuuri closed the door and smiled to himself, feeling like that had all gone so well, but at the same time not knowing how Victor was feeling.

Yuuri floated through the rest of the night on cloud 9, only coming out of it when his family asked what was up with him today, and in that case he just mumbled a reply about hanging out with a friend. His family shared knowing smiles, but they knew that Yuuri would tell them what it really was when he felt comfortable, so they didn’t push him.

The next morning showing up to work in the morning to swim laps instead of guard felt odd, and he felt like he was out of place, but he still stored his stuff in the locker room and brought out his phone, cap, and goggles as he walked onto the deck.

“Nice speedo, Katsuki,” Takeshi said as Yuuri walked towards an empty lane. Yuuri rolled his eyes before pulling up his set on his phone and getting ready to dive in, mentally thanking Phichit for the hundredth time for getting him a waterproof case for his birthday last year. He put his phone down next to his equipment and did an easy dive into the pool, immediately starting his warm up. While Yuuri swam, his mind was blank, only consisting of counting strokes, focusing on his next breath, his next turn, how fast he was going, and nothing outside of his underwater world. As he finished up his last set, he glanced up at the clock on the wall, only to find Victor standing next to it. Yuuri bit his lip, trying to act as though he hadn’t seen Victor before breaking into his final 50 of the set, putting all his remaining energy into making this one fast and strong looking. He finished it well within the time he had for the set, and immediately gulped down water before glancing at the clock again and waving to Victor. Victor waved back, smiling guiltily at being caught watching Yuuri. Yuuri did an easy cool down before climbing out and grabbing his things.

“So this is what it feels like on the other side, huh? I bet I could be a lifeguard,” Victor joked, walking with Yuuri towards the locker room.

“Hey now, don’t go stealing my job,” Yuuri joked as he found his locker, taking out his dry clothes.

“Alright alright sure, as long as you don’t go stealing my times. I caught the tail end of your last set, how do you have the stamina to finish with that much power?” Yuuri blushed at the compliment, taking out his towel and drying off as Victor stuffed his things into a locker.

“I, I don’t know. I’ve always just pushed myself harder when I got tired, and eventually it started taking longer to get tired I guess?” Victor smiled at Yuuri before stripping out his clothes to get ready for his own practice.

“Maybe I can work on that. I guess it’s all in your head anyways, right?” Victor said. Yuuri made sure he was looking at Victor’s face, and not his body, even though it was taking a lot of his self control to do so.

“Yeah, it’s, uh, it’s all up here,” Yuuri said, tapping his temple. Victor smiled, but before he could say anything else other swimmers started, very loudly, making their way into the locker room. One of the first was Christophe, who slapped Victor’s ass as he walked in.

“Is this the new guy or something?” He asked, plopping his bag down on a bench.

“No, this is Yuuri. He literally is the lifeguard every day during practice do you notice nothing?”

“Oh yeah, that makes sense. I guess it’s just hard to focus when he’s not fully clothed.” Christophe sent Yuuri a wink and Yuuri immediately turned red and grabbed his clothes, turning to walk away so he could get dressed in peace.

“Wait, Yuuri, have we met before? Like before the summer I mean,” Christophe called, stopping Yuuri.

“Yeah, we were in the same event at your meet against Prix last year,” Yuuri mumbled, hoping Christophe wouldn’t remember the fact that he’d touched him out.

“Oh yeah! The 100 breast right? Man that was a close one, I just barely touched you out on that didn’t I?” Christophe was smiling, and all Yuuri wanted was to find a nice sized boulder to have fall from the sky and crush him.

“Yeah. Two tenths of a second. Believe me, my coach didn’t let me forget it.” Celestino hadn’t been mad at Yuuri per se, but he had the entire team stay an extra half an hour at the next practice to work on their finishes. Even though Yuuri wasn’t the only one who got touched out, he knew his race was the closest one so he blamed himself for the extra work they had to put in.

“Oh right! Man, that was a good race. See you out there this season!” Christophe said, smiling as he walked back out onto the deck. Victor could tell that the entire encounter had made Yuuri uncomfortable, and he sent him an apologetic look.

“Chris means well, but sometimes he doesn’t really understand that people aren’t quite as carefree as he is,” Victor looked like he wanted to keep talking, but he heard Yakov start yelling about getting in for warm up and grimaced, “I better get out there before coach has my head on a stick. I’ll talk to you later!” Once Victor left Yuuri changed quickly into his guard uniform before going onto the deck to let Takeshi off duty.

“Only time I’m ever doing this Yuuri. You can make Prince Charming wait next time. God, I’m so tired. I think I might die,” Takeshi whined, handing Yuuri his rescue tube and pack* before going to collect his things from the lifeguard office and trudging out. Yuuri felt like his mind was only half on the pool, and half on everything happening with Victor. It was only three weeks into the summer, but Yuuri already felt as though his schedule was all that he had ever known. The days seem to be lazily rolling away, and his mind was becoming a blur of working out, swimming, and trying not to focus too much on Victor’s existence. Of course, the latter was only becoming harder as Victor was showing more and more interest in Yuuri and his life. By the time that Victor came up to Yuuri after his afternoon practice to talk with him, Yuuri knew he was royally failing at not thinking about him constantly.

The next week went by like that, Yuuri in the daze of a new crush, and Victor only making Yuuri like him more and more with each day. A week later, Yuuri was climbing out of the pool after his afternoon set when he saw Victor sitting there, just watching him.

“Oh, uh, hi Victor. How long have you been here?” Yuuri knew that he had just done a terrible job with his workout because his head was completely up in the clouds this week.

“Just for a bit. You’re running late today, my caffeine-addicted head told me it’d be a good idea to come check on you and see if we could get coffee today.”

“You could’ve just texted me, you know, you didn’t have to drive all the way here,” Yuuri sighed as he pulled off his cap before adding, “Sorry, I was so slow today so I just added an extra set to make up for it.”

“Yuuri what are you talking about? I’ve been here for the last half an hour and that set was amazing. You were flying through the sprints like they were nothing. I know you said your parents would miss you, but seriously why aren’t you at school training? You could easily make it to the championships if you were focusing on only swimming and not working all the time as w-”

“I don’t have the money for that, Victor. I’m broke as shit. My family can’t afford for me to stay in the dorms and not work all summer. The scholarship only covers tuition and part of housing, and god, Prix is such an expensive place to live,” Yuuri was looking anywhere besides Victor as he rambled, embarrassment at his circumstances making his cheeks red, but he couldn’t stop his words from hurrying out of his mouth, “It’s not like it’d be worth it anyways, I don’t have any chance of going pro like you, I’m just an average mediocre swimmer, there’s nothing particularly outstanding about me like you, I’m really not going to be anything after school, so-” Yuuri was silenced as Victor tilted up his chin, forcing him to look into his eyes.

“Yuuri, if what I’ve seen in your practices is anything to go off of, you’re an amazing swimmer. And I understand, I’m sorry I pushed it, I really didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.” Victor’s eyes flicked down to his lips, and Yuuri gulped.

“Oh, um, thanks, Victor.” There was a moment of tension, but Victor sensed Yuuri’s nervousness and let Yuuri’s chin go.

“So, um, what are you doing this weekend?” Victor asked. To be honest, Yuuri had no life outside of work and practicing, but he pretended as he was thinking for a minute to make it seem like he did literally anything else.

“Nothing, I don’t think. Why?” Yuuri was suddenly very thankful that he had his weekends off. Oh right, and it’s Friday. Oh my god, it’s the weekend already thank fuck.

“I’m having a bonfire with the team tomorrow because Yakov gives us Sundays off, and I was wondering if you wanted to come? You can just crash there because odds are no one will be in the state to drive by the end of the night,” Victor said with that dazzling smile of his, trying his hardest to convince Yuuri.

“Oh, yeah, sure. That sounds fun. Did you still want to get coffee? I just need to get changed, then we could go, if you still wanted to, I mean.” Victor laughed and nodded.

“I’ll meet you outside in a few?” Victor questioned, beginning to walk backwards to the door.

“Yeah, sounds good, I’ll be right out,” Yuuri said with a smile before gathering his things and walking towards the locker room. Takeshi stopped him before he got all the way there.

“Dude, what was that?”

“He, I… I don’t know. We’re going to go get coffee. I’ll have to come back to get my car though, do you want me to get you anything?” Yuuri let the words come out in a rush, and Takeshi eyed him carefully.

“No, I’m alright. Have fun out there.” Takeshi clapped him on the back as Yuuri continued on his way to the locker room.

By the time Yuuri went out to the car, it seemed as though Victor had completely forgotten about the awkward almost-kiss moment they had shared just a few minutes earlier. He chattered on about some new song he loved, playing it from his phone as they drove to the coffee shop that they were slowly becoming regulars at. By the time that Yuuri got home, his sister was lounging in the family room, watching some random show Yuuri knew she loved, but that he’d never gotten around to actually paying enough attention to to learn the name.

“So, how’s your boyfriend?” She asked, not really taking her eyes off of the TV.

“He’s--wait, what? He’s not my boyfriend, he’s just my… friend. Where did you get that idea from?”

“The heart eyes you make every time you come in with another cup of coffee in your hand. You’re going to get addicted, you know.”

“Okay, yeah, whatever. I’m going to go be anywhere besides here,” he mumbled, walking away, much to Mari’s amusement.

The next day Yuuri got up early to make sure he had time for his drylands workout, which consisted of lifting weights that made Yuuri feel both strong and like he was going to be squashed like a bug by them at the same time. He finished up his workout by driving to the pool, powering through a shorter set, only forty-five minutes as opposed to his usual hour and a half, before returning home to rest before he had to be over at Victor’s. He ended up falling asleep after his shower, blearily waking up and realizing he had to leave in ten minutes if he wanted to arrive at Victor’s when he said he would. He quickly scrambled to look presentable while shoving things into a bag so he could stay over before running down the stairs, wincing at his sore muscles as he said goodbye to his family, telling them he’d be back in the morning. His mom told him to have fun, while Mari yelled, “use protection!” earning her a warning glare from Yuuri. Yuuri had time to make his heart slow down it’s erratic beating, but it didn’t seem to get the memo as his anxiety increased during the course of his drive.When he pulled up to Victor’s house, Yuuri had to convince himself to not just turn around and head home, faking an illness.

The house was huge, at least twice as big as Yuuri’s modest family home, and there was so much space between houses it almost seemed like Victor didn’t even have neighbors. There were giant trees lining the driveway, making Yuuri feel more like he was in an enchanted forest than a house in a neighborhood only fifteen minutes from Yuuri’s. He had assumed that Victor’s family had money, but this made him see that it was definitely much more than Yuuri predicted. He gulped as he parked in the half full driveway, wondering how many of Victor’s teammates were already there. He took a deep breath as he gathered his things, texting Victor to tell him he’d arrived. Only seconds later it seemed Victor opened the front door with a wide grin on his face.

“Yuuri! You’re here! Come in, come on I can show you my room so you can put your stuff down!” Victor called, smiling widely. When Yuuri was close enough, Victor immediately pulled him into a bone crushing hug, and Yuuri could smell the beer on his breath.

“Victor, it’s like 4 o’clock how are you already drinking?” Yuuri asked, smiling despite the worry for him settling in my stomach.

“Yuuri, I don’t know how you do it at Prix, but us Sharks are tough man. Day drink or bust,” he laughed, grabbing Yuuri’s hand and pulling him into the house. It was obvious that Victor wasn’t drunk, just a bit tipsy, and the added enthusiasm he had made Yuuri laugh as he was pulled into the house.

“Your house is really nice, thanks again for asking me over. I feel bad for crashing team bonding,” Yuuri said as he eyed the glass door to the backyard, where he could see some of the swimmers from Victor’s team standing around in swimsuits, with a poodle running around at everyone’s feet. Of course he has a pool and a dog, why wouldn’t he.

“No problem! We’ve bonded enough. Except for the new kid. Some transfer, I think he’s going to be a sophomore or something?”

“So, my age?”

“Shit I always forget you’re not my age. Yeah, I guess he’s your age. But yeah he’s really quiet, who knows if he’s even coming. Anyways, upstairs is this way.” Victor pulled Yuuri up towards a set of stairs and down a hallway, turning into the first door on the right. Victor opened his door to reveal a spacious room, fitted with a full bed and with walls covered in posters of swimmers. There were medals hanging on the wall next to his large windows, which looked over the backyard. Yuuri had to stop himself from gaping at it because he was pretty sure that Victor’s room was as big as his family room.

“And there’s a bathroom through there, if you need to use it in the middle of the night or something,” Victor paused, eyes scanning Yuuri, “You’ve got to come meet everyone, but throw on your swim suit first. You saw the way out back, right?” Yuuri nodded, and Victor smiled before walking towards his door. “See you in a minute then!” He called, closing the door behind him. Yuuri changed quickly before opening back up the door, closing it behind him carefully before padding down the stairs and out to the back. Once he closed the sliding glass door he stood there uncertainly for a few seconds before Victor spotted him and walked over, offering him a beer immediately. Yuuri took it, glad for something to help make the oncoming social interaction seem more doable.

“Your parents don’t mind you having a bunch of underage kids getting drunk in your backyard?” Yuuri asked, cracking open his beer and taking a sip. It wasn’t the cheap stuff Yuuri was used to, and the unfamiliar taste made him scrunch up his nose.

“They’re away on business at least one weekend a month, so they never really know that I throw these little soirees. Do you wanna go in the hot tub? You look like you’re limping a little, tough workout?”

“Uh yeah, sure. My drylands killed me this morning,” Yuuri responded, following Victor. Before they could get to the hot tub, the poodle that Victor had noticed earlier was bounding up to them, barking playfully at Victor.

“Makkachin, what do you want?” Victor asked, adoration on his face as he looked at his pet.

“He’s so cute,” Yuuri murmured, crouching down and reaching out for the dog, who immediately ran over to him and started licking his face. Yuuri giggled as he scratched Makkachin behind the ears, and when he looked up Victor was smiling fondly at the two of them.

“He usually isn’t so happy to greet strangers, he must have a good sense of you.” This made Yuuri blush as he stood up, much to Makkachin’s disappointment as he sat on Yuuri’s feet. Victor laughed before pulling him towards the hot tub, though Yuuri had already momentarily forgotten their destination. There were a few swimmers already in it, and Victor waved as they climbed in.

“You know Chris, and this is the other Yuri. This is Otabek, I was telling you about him before, remember?” Victor tilted his head and Yuuri nodded. The weird transfer kid, right.

“I’m Yuuri, nice to meet you guys.” He said as he climbed into the water next to Victor.

“Aren’t you the lifeguard?” Yuri asked, a slight accent like Victor’s coloring his voice. He was the bratty blonde kid who was always yelling about how all of his teammates were idiots, so the slight disdain in his voice didn’t really put Yuuri off.

“Yeah. I also swim for Prix.”

“Vitya, you’ve brought one of our rivals to a team party? You really are going soft on us,” Yuri scolded, hitting his arm.

“Remember whose house we’re at Yurio,” Victor teased, causing Yuri’s face to heat up.

“That’s not my name! And you knew me first, so therefore he should be Yurio!” Yuri proclaimed, climbing out of the hot tub indignantly, taking Otabek with him.

“Man, were we that touchy when we were freshman? I can’t even imagine us treating upperclassmen like that back then,” Chris said, chuckling at Yuri’s antics.

“He thinks he gets a free pass because our grandfathers were friends back in Russia. He’s harmless enough,” Victor responds easily, taking a rather large sip from his beer. Russia, that’s where the accent is from. That makes so much sense.

The next hour or so was spent with Victor eventually coaxing Yuuri out of the hot tub, and then the two of them greeting some of the other guests. Yuuri smiled at everyone and steadily drank more beer until he could feel a buzz beginning. Yuuri felt bad that he was glued to Victor’s side, but any time that he tried to fade back and let Victor talk to his friends, Victor always pulled him, sometimes literally, back into the conversation. After an hour, Victor began to sense that Yuuri wasn’t having too much fun socializing with so many people he didn’t know, so he decided to pick him up and toss him into the pool, causing a domino effect of everyone jumping in at once

“Victor, I’m going to come get you!” Yuuri yelled as he climbed out of the pool.

“No! I’m sorry, I’ve seen the err of my ways! Please, my hair looks so good today!” Victor cried, running away from Yuuri. Everyone laughed as the two boys weaved through them, Yuuri right on Victor’s heels. Christophe eventually helped Yuuri out by blocking Victor, and assisting Yuuri in carrying a squirming Victor towards the pool.

“This is torture! And mutiny! You’re turning on your captain!” Victor was half heartedly trying to get out of their grip right up to the point where he was midair on his way into the pool. Once he resurfaced he was frowning, fixing his hair as it flopped over his face.

“Yuuri, aren’t you supposed to be the responsible one here, oh mighty lifeguard?” Victor said, a teasing smile on  his face. Yuuri responded by reaching into the cooler he was next to, and immediately chugging an entire beer.

“I don’t think I can guard in this inebriated state,” Yuuri shot back, causing everyone within earshot to laugh. Victor climbed out of the pool with a devilish smile on his face, and Yuuri slowly backed away.

“What are you thinking Victor? We’re even, come on.” This didn’t deter Victor in the slightest as he suddenly ran forward, picking up Yuuri bridal style and running to jump in the pool, barely giving Yuuri time to close his eyes before they hit the water. Victor didn’t fully let him go as they kicked to the surface, still holding onto Yuuri’s arm.

“Now we’re even,” he said, a teasing smile playing across his lips.

“Sure. You just wanted the final say,” Yuuri joked, splashing him a little.

Of course, this small splash devolved into a giant splash fight amongst the entire team. This went on for a while before Yuuri managed to slip away and climb out of the pool to get another drink. He was sitting in a chair next to a girl he thought was named Sara, and she was excitedly talking about the upcoming season.

“I’m only going to be a sophomore, so I’ve still got time to improve, but I really think I could do something great this season,” she said, smiling widely at the thought.

“Yeah, I feel the same way. I’m a sophomore too.”

“No way! That’s so cool! I thought you were a senior because I’ve only ever seen you around Victor, and he’s a senior. I guess I was wrong!” She paused before adding, “You guys are really cute together, by the way. The way you look at each other is really sweet.”

“Oh, we aren’t, uh, we aren’t dating,” Yuuri stammered out.

“Really? I’m surprised. Victor usually moves pretty quick with stuff like this. Although I suppose I’ve never seen him ‘date’ someone for more than a few weeks,” she said, making dramatic air quotes around date to emphasize it.

“Oh, yeah, I don’t know. We’re just friends right now,” Yuuri said, blushing. Victor then looked around in the pool for a minute, seeming mildly panicked when he didn’t see Yuuri before spotting him at the table.

“I thought you were a goner!” He called as he escaped the ongoing water war occurring in the pool.

“No, I just thought I’d get another drink.” Victor smiled and opened another beer himself, taking a sip before glancing at the waterproof watch he was wearing.

“The pizza should be getting here about now, wanna help me carry it in?” Yuuri nodded, perking up at the idea of food, and set down his drink before following Victor through the house and out onto the front porch, where they sat and waited for the pizza delivery man to show up.

“I ordered so much pizza. Enough, hopefully, for an entire team of crazed and starved swimmers,” Victor said gravely, staring into the distance.

“And we only have us to carry it? I think you may have overestimated our strength,” Yuuri teased, knocking his shoulder against Victor’s. Victor smiled and nudged him back before moving closer on the stair so their arms were pressed together. He reached his hand down and intertwined his fingers with Yuuri’s, and Sara’s words played through his head. Before Yuuri could really start to overthink Victor’s actions, the pizza delivery man pulled into the driveway and started to attempt to carry up some of the pizzas. Victor and Yuuri greeted him by the car so Victor could sign the receipt for the pizzas before they carried them back to the party. There were 8 party pizzas in total, which usually would’ve been too much, but based off of how much a single swimmer could eat sober, these would probably all be gone by the end of the night. There was a lot of cheering as they set them down, and everyone got out of the pool and half dried off before crowding around the pizza to get what they wanted. Yuuri was glad he had been able to grab pizza first with Victor because it looked like a warzone next to the spot they’d set them down. He settled back down at the table he’d been at before, glad that his drink was still there, and Victor stole Sara’s seat, much to her momentary dismay. She wandered back off, and Victor and Yuuri fell into choppy conversation in between eating too much pizza. Yuuri didn’t know where the time had gone, but the sun was already beginning to set, and he felt a shiver run down his spine.

“Are you cold, Yuuri? Why don’t you go inside and change, I can start up the fire,” Victor said, standing up with his now empty paper plate and grabbing Yuuri’s as well.

“Sounds good, thank you,” Yuuri mumbled before standing and walking back into Victor’s house, making his way up the grand staircase and to Victor’s room. He quickly stripped, barely keeping himself from falling over in his half drunken state. He slipped on the t-shirt and sweatpants he had brought with him for the night, knowing that he would end up with ankles covered in mosquito bites if he didn’t cover them up. When he went to leave the room, he opened it to see Victor waiting on the other side.

“Hello again! I didn’t want to walk in on you changing so I just decided to wait out here. I started up the fire, so everyone is down by there,” Victor said, a slight slur to his words.

“Alright, I’ll see you in a minute then.” Victor smiled at Yuuri as they passed by each other, and Yuuri let a small smile fall onto his face. When he got out there, there were people already crowded around the fire.

“Yuuri!  I thought you and Victor had snuck off somewhere to be alone,” Chris called, winking at Yuuri.

Yuuri blushed, trying to splutter out a response, but only stammering out something along the lines of, “We aren’t like that, we just both had to change out of our swim suits, I don’t know what you’re-” Yuri was cut off by Christophe’s laughter, and he shut up as he searched for the closest cooler for another beer. Victor reemerged with the supplies for s’mores, and the entire team around Yuuri began cheering. Victor proudly held up the ingredients as he walked into the circle and sat down directly next to Yuuri, too close to be construed as just friendly. Yuuri smiled to himself and leaned into Victor a little, earning him a lazy smile from the boy. They fell into easy drunken conversation with the rest of the team, and Yuuri laughed more than he had since he was away at school with his own swim friends.

After about an hour, Victor leaned over to mumble in Yuuri’s ear, “I think we’re running low on marshmallows, will you come inside to get more with me?” Yuuri glanced around and saw a bag of marshmallows in Christophe’s hands and shrugged before nodding and standing up with Victor. They walked into the house, walking close enough that their arms kept bumping into one another, but Yuuri thought it was mostly an accident. The giant stereo began blasting Youth by Troye Sivan as they walked into the kitchen, and Yuuri smiled as he thought back on the first time they’d gone to get coffee together.

“Yuuri, I watched you see that Chris had an entire bag of marshmallows, so I know that you can tell that was just an excuse to get you alone,” Victor said, leaning against the island in the center of the kitchen. He was looking up at Yuuri from under the swoop of his now-dried bangs, and Yuuri could barely get his brain to function long enough to string a sentence together.

“I didn’t, I just thought that, that you wanted to get more? I didn’t think it was an excuse, I-” Yuuri was cut off as Victor took a few steps toward him, until he was just inches away.

“So does that mean you don’t want to kiss me right now?” Victor asked, a hint of nervousness breaking into his usual confident demeanor. Yuuri took a deep breath before deciding to say fuck it and kiss Victor.

Victor didn’t quite catch on to the fact that Yuuri was kissing him for the first few seconds, but once he did he responded enthusiastically by backing Yuuri up against the wall just a few feet behind him, grabbing Yuuri by the small of his back and the back of his neck to pull him as close as possible. Yuuri had his hands up on Victor’s cheeks, but slowly they ran back to rest in his hair and his shoulder, also trying to desperately pull him closer as they kissed. They were both drunk, and it was probably a little messier than it needed to be, between the gasped out breaths and small sounds both of them were letting out, but Yuuri felt more alive than he had since he’d been with- don’t think about him, you’re literally kissing a living god right now. Think about Victor. Yuuri tried to shut off his mind, but that didn’t really happen, of course, as it never did. Victor trailed his hand from Yuuri’s back lower, pulling him impossibly closer and causing Yuuri to let out a small gasp. Victor smiled into the kiss, but he pulled away so that their foreheads were touching.

“Are you alright? You seem a bit… Distracted. Why don’t we go back to the others?” As he spoke, Victor’s hands came to rest on Yuuri’s waist, and Yuuri tried to keep his disappointment from the older boy.

“Sorry, I, I guess I just didn’t expect this?” Yuuri mumbled out, looking up at Victor who was still so close Yuuri could taste the beer on his breath. Then again, that taste might’ve been from not even a full minute earlier when Victor’s tongue was in his mouth, but he tried not to think about it too hard.

“It’s alright, Yuuri. Really.” Victor gave him another smile as he pulled away to rifle through the pantry, grabbing a bag of marshmallows. “Got to keep up the cover story,” he added with a wink. Yuuri chuckled a bit because he knew that the second they went back out there they all would know what they had been doing in the house for a much longer period of time than it actually took to get marshmallows. Sara’s words echoed in his head again, and he was worried that he was just allowing himself to become another notch in Victor’s bedpost. He tried to let these thoughts drain from his mind, but they wouldn’t go no matter how hard he tried. He managed to at least push them away from the forefront of his mind as Victor reached out for his hand and led him back to the party. Christophe, of course, being himself, let out a whistle when he saw the two of them coming back.

“Man, those marshmallows must’ve been very well hidden!” Chris joked, raising his eyebrows suggestively as he grabbed the bag from Victor and speared one of the marshmallows onto his skewer. Victor rolled his eyes and Yuuri let out a small, strained laugh.  Slowly over the next half hour or so, people started to trail off, yawning and mumbling about sleeping for the rest of time. Yuuri couldn’t help that the ball of anxiety was rising from the pit of his stomach to the middle of his chest, making him feel as though breathing was a much less natural task than it should have been.

“I think I’m going to head up to sleep, I’m pretty exhausted,” Yuuri said, letting out a fake yawn as he stood up. In reality, his anxiety had him extremely awake and hyper aware of everything going on around him to the point where his senses felt like they were on overdrive, the entire world was too loud, too hard, too fast, too much to handle in his current state.

“Do you want me to come up with you?” Victor asked with a smile suggesting more than sleep was on his mind.

“No, it’s okay, I’m just going to crash, really,” Yuuri mumbled, immediately turning and going inside before he could see Victor’s face. As he passed through the house, he noticed people crashing on every available soft surface, but in a way that was much more organized than he would’ve thought drunk college kids capable of. He brushed off the odd thought as he got to Victor’s room, immediately going into his bag to grab his toothbrush. He tried to scrub the taste of Victor out of his mouth, hoping it would calm his heart which was pumping too fast and his lungs which were trying too hard to get some sort of usable breath into his lungs. He ended up clutching the sink of the bathroom with one hand as he brushed his teeth with the other, fighting just to stay standing long enough to accomplish this simple task.

You’re stupid to think you can do anything right, you ignorant boy. Why would Victor Nikiforov want someone like you? Why would anyone want someone like you? Devon sure as hell didn’t want you, and he probably had standards impossibly lower than Victor’s. Why did you even agree to stay over? You know that if he wants you, it’s probably just for sex, and not for anything more than that. You’re nothing but a blip on his radar, and whatever the two of you have will go away just as quickly as it came.

Yuuri managed to finish brushing his teeth, despite all of the anxious thoughts clouding his vision. When he opened the bathroom door, he found Victor was sitting on his bed, and he looked up with a smile on his face for a second before he caught onto Yuuri’s expression.

“Yuuri? Are you alright? Are you going to be sick?” Victor asked, panic laced into his voice.

“Fuck, I, I didn’t want you to see me like this. Fuck, I’m, I’m so sorry, you don’t need to see me like this,” Yuuri panted out, trying to regulate his breathing.

“Yuuri you’re scaring me, what’s wrong?” Victor asked again, getting up and taking a few steps closer to Yuuri.

“I’m just, I’m having a panic attack, it’s fine, I’ll be fine soon, I just can’t really breathe, but this, it happens pretty often I’m used to it, it’s fine I’ll be fine.” Yuuri’s breathing wasn’t really improving, and he was just staring at his feet, wishing for the ground to swallow him up. Suddenly there was an arm around his shoulders, guiding him towards the bed to lay down.

“I’m sorry, I knew you had anxiety around big crowds I should’ve warned you there would be a lot of people here tonight,” Victor murmured, brushing Yuuri’s hair back from his forehead as they sat on the edge of the bed.

“That’s not, I, that was fine. I like your team, they’re all really nice, I just,” Yuuri paused, trying to figure out how word this, “Why do you want me around? Is it just, just because you want to hook up with me? Because I, I just need to know that up front so I don’t get more hurt than I need to, if that’s all that this is going to be.”

“Yuuri, I… Did someone say something to you? About me being… A player, or whatever they want to call it?” Yuuri’s silence was telling enough for Victor as he sighed and continued to brush back Yuuri’s hair. “I like you Yuuri. And I’m not just saying that because you’re drunk and we’re on my bed. I’m saying it because I wake up and hope to see a text from you, and I work harder during practice because I know you’re there and I want to impress you, and when we go out to get coffee for an hour I smile more than I do for the entire rest of the day. I like you, I don’t just want to hook up with you.” Yuuri could feel himself calming slightly at these words, but the pressing weight of not being good enough for Victor was still heavy on him.

“You deserve better,” Yuuri muttered, his hand reaching up to capture Victor’s one that was still carding through his hair. Victor pulled him into his chest, holding him close as he rubbed Yuuri’s back, trying to calm down the younger boy.

“No I don’t. I don’t care what anyone says or thinks, I just want you,” Victor said softly. They sat in silence for a minute as Yuuri tried desperately to pull himself out of his panic attack, and Victor was just there for Yuuri, silent and probably worried, but Yuuri couldn’t bring himself to pull away to look up at Victor’s expression, too anxious about what he’d see.

“I just really want to sleep,” Yuuri mumbled, still feeling the effects of the alcohol and anxiety running through his system.

“Okay, I’ll be right here when you wake up,” Victor said, releasing Yuuri so that they could both lay down before pulling him closer so that his head was lying on Victor’s chest. Victor’s fingers ran through Yuuri’s hair, lulling him into the sleep he needed.

When Yuuri awoke the next morning, it took him a second of disorientation to realize where he was, who was holding him, and why he head felt like it was going to explode. When he sat up, he immediately fell back into the bed because the room had begun spinning and he was not up to dealing with it just yet. Victor stirred beside him, half awake and reaching towards Yuuri to bring him closer. Yuuri let himself be pulled, even though he felt guilty as he allowed himself to remember the events at the end of what could’ve, and should’ve, been an amazing night.

“Good morning, how are you feeling?” Victor murmured against the top of Yuuri’s head, letting out a yawn as he ran his fingers down Yuuri’s arm.

“My head hurts, but other than that I’m pretty much fine… I’m really sorry I freaked out last night, you really didn’t need to see that,” Yuuri mumbled, trying desperately to not come off sounding as embarrassed as he actually was. Victor gently pushed Yuuri off of his chest so that he could turn to face him, and Yuuri nervously scooted up the bed when Victor patted the pillow next to his. Once they were face to face, Victor responded.

“Yuuri, I don’t mind, really. I should’ve actually talked to you when we were sober instead of waiting for the courage to kiss you just because we were drunk. I’m sorry I came on too strong too, I really didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable, I just… You don’t need to apologize,” Victor concluded, his eyes burning with the seriousness in his words.

“I… Thank you. It wasn’t that you came on too strong I just… Get freaked out easily.” They just laid there for another minute, staring at each other before Yuuri eventually got embarrassed and looked down, not meeting Victor’s electric blue eyes anymore.

“Want to go eat some breakfast? The supply may be kind of low by this point in the morning, but we’ll see if anyone left us something to eat,” Victor said, a fond smile on his face as he thought of his teammates.

“Yeah, that sounds good,” Yuuri murmured, looking up at Victor as he stood up off the bed. Yuuri sat up, more slowly this time, and felt his splitting headache worsen for a minute. Victor seemed to notice him wincing, and he looked sympathetic to Yuuri’s pain.

“I’ve got so aspirin downstairs too, that should help,” Victor said, taking a small step towards the door, but still waiting for Yuuri.

“That would be great, thanks,” Yuuri said, smiling through the inconvenient pain. The two of them walked down to the kitchen, which was bustling with a small crowd of swimmers, all of whom were trying to not be too loud.

“Ah look! The sleeping beauty is awake! And Victor too,” Chris said, laughing at his own joke. Victor rolled his eyes and walked past them to grab the aspirin already out on the counter, presumably from another hungover swimmer in need. Victor made the two of them breakfast, trying to ignore the unrelenting teasing from Chris and his other teammates. By the time that Yuuri left in the mid-afternoon, him and Victor hadn’t had another moment alone, and Yuuri hadn’t really had the chance to talk to him more the way he wanted to. He tried not to think about it took much and figured there were more moments for that in the future, if Victor really like Yuuri as much as he said he did.

He hadn’t really checked his phone too much before leaving, but as he got in his car he glanced down and saw that he had a bunch of texts from Phichit and Yuuko, most of which consisted of something along the lines of “use protection ;))))” or “how’d it go??” He decided to just call Phichit while he was on his way home, knowing that he was more demanding when it came to responses than Yuuko would be.

“So? How did it go?” Phichit said, answering after only the second ring. I swear, that boy is always on his phone.

“Well, it was fun hanging out with the Sharks and getting to know them and all that. Then me and Victor made out while we were drunk, then a bit later I had a panic attack because one of the girls on the team said that Victor could sometimes be a bit of a player, and then he calmed me down a bit and we went to sleep,” Yuuri said, trying to sound nonchalant though he knew that Phichit would take it as anything but.

“Is he like that do you think? Is he just fucking with you? Because I’ll go straight to his house and knock him the fuck out I don’t care how good of a swimmer he is.” The seriousness in Phichit’s offer brought a smile to Yuuri’s face, and he couldn’t help but laugh.

“No, he’s not I don’t think. I mean, he literally walked in on me having a panic attack in his room and just like… Held me and told me he really liked me and had only made a move while he was drunk because he was worried about me rejecting him so he needed some liquid courage. He sounded like he was serious, so I believe him.”

“Okay, that’s good… The offer to kick his ass is still on the table if he hurts you,” Phichit said, sounding mildly disappointed he wasn’t going to get to fight Victor.

“Good to know,” Yuuri laughed. The two moved on to talking about things happening on campus, and Yuuri ached with how much he missed his friends. Once he got home, he said goodbye to Phichit and walked into his house, hoping that no one would question him because all he wanted to do was sleep off the remainder of his hangover.

“Look who’s finally home. How was the party?” Mari asked. No such luck on that one.

“It was fun. I think I’m going to go take a nap, late night and all that.” Yuuri rushed off to his room before he could be questioned any further, much to Mari’s apparent dismay.

The next morning when Yuuri arrived at work, he felt excited to see Yuuko and Victor as well as the rest of the Sharks, but he tried to keep his usual demeanor in place. It worked until Yuuko started questioning him on whether Victor was a good kisser or not, and then Yuuri devolved into a stuttering mess, leading to only more teasing from Yuuko. When Victor showed up for practice, he was still blushing from her last line of questioning, which she finished when she saw Victor walk in. He shot Yuuri a questioning glance, but Yuuri just shook his head, laughing to himself at how ridiculously embarrassed he probably looked. As the rest of the team showed up, a lot of them waved to Yuuri and it made him feel really good because he really wasn’t used to having social interactions go his way, and he had apparently succeeded in making a lot of people like him at a party he was barely comfortable at to begin with. Phichit would definitely be proud of how far he’d come from hiding in the corner of every party he was dragged to during their first semester together.

When Victor stopped to talk to Yuuri after afternoon practice, Yuuri caught himself staring at Victor’s lips and half listening more than once.

“Would you like to go see a movie later?” Victor asked suddenly, stopping whatever he had been saying before mid-thought to ask.

“Oh, uh, yeah, I’d love to,” Yuuri responded nervously, a wide smile spreading across his face before he could stop himself.

“Awesome! I’ll pick you up at the usual time?” Victor asked, and Yuuri nodded dreamily, not believing that Victor was asking him on what could be considered more of a real date than just going to get coffee was. When Victor left, Yuuri felt lighter than in months, practically floating through his last hour of work and his afternoon practice before he raced home to shower and wait for Victor. He knew that this wasn’t really all that different from the other times they’d gone out together, but after making out against a wall in Victor’s kitchen and then proceeding to have a panic attack in front of him, Yuuri felt like there had been a shift in their relationship.

When Victor picked him up, things felt relatively normal, up until they arrived at the movies and got out of the car to walk in. Victor walked next to Yuuri and brushed their hands together before intertwining their fingers, looking up from their hands to see whether or not Yuuri was okay with what he was doing. After Yuuri gave him a smile in response, Victor answered with his own smile so full of joy it made Yuuri’s heart melt. The two of them went in and Victor bought tickets to some new action movie they had talked about a week earlier, and Yuuri was trying to fight his too-wide smile off his face the entire time. Since Victor paid for the tickets, Yuuri insisted on paying for the popcorn and soda, much to Victor’s disapproval.

The movie was mediocre, as expected. Yuuri was only half paying attention if he was being honest, he was much too focused on how close Victor was. At the beginning of the movie, they were just sitting side by side, watching the stereotypical opening scene full of running and explosions. Victor’s hand trailed over towards Yuuri’s about ten minutes into the movie, interlocking their fingers and resting on Yuuri’s thigh. Yuuri had been exhausted before they’d gotten to the movie, even feeling like he might doze off during the trailers, but when Victor touched him he was immediately completely awake and all of his nerve endings seemed to be at complete attention. After a few minutes Victor’s fingers let go of Yuuri’s hand, and for a second Yuuri panicked, was my hand sweaty? Is he regretting this? Oh my god, I’m probably making a fool of myself. This was so dumb, what am I even doing- Of course, his thoughts all cut off as Victor put his arm around Yuuri’s shoulders, resting against the back of his chair casually, as if this wasn’t making Yuuri feel like his skin was on fire, and he drank in the feeling of Victor’s warmth from the innocent touch. Victor glanced down at Yuuri with a small smile on his lips, and Yuuri responded by smiling back shyly, much to Victor’s apparent amusement. Yuuri leaned into his touch, reaching out for the hand of Victor’s that wasn’t draped over his shoulders. Victor apparently didn’t see this coming, and Yuuri could see the look of surprise cross his face at the fact that Yuuri was actually initiating any of their contact. Yuuri liked the way that Victor looked when he was surprised, it made Yuuri feel pride that he could, for once, surprise Victor the way the older boy constantly surprised him. Victor would occasionally trace circles on Yuuri’s exposed shoulder, sending a shiver down Yuuri’s spine, which never failed to make Victor smirk a bit. By the end of the movie, the feeling of being so close to Victor made Yuuri want to just grab Victor by the front of his shirt and kiss him with all of the energy that he had, but Yuuri knew that they were still in public, and that wasn’t a good idea in the least. When the movie ended, Victor was slow to remove his arm from Yuuri’s shoulder, and once they’d gathered their discarded popcorn and drink containers, Victor laced their hands together.

“Would you like to come over to my house for dinner? We could just order takeout or something, my parents are out of town until tomorrow,” Victor said, obviously trying to sound casual about the fact he was asking Yuuri to hang out alone at his house.

“Yeah, that sounds good, I miss Makkachin,” Yuuri teased. Victor looked slightly offended at the implication that Yuuri was only going to his house to hang out with his dog, and he pretended to pout a bit as they walked to the car. Yuuri only laughed at his ridiculous antics, and Victor couldn’t help but crack a smile at the pure joy in the sound. Victor had managed to misplace his aux cord, so they had to listen to the radio, which Victor insisted was set to the top 40 station so that he could “keep up with those young kids” on his team. Yuuri tried to picture blonde Yuri listening to Justin Bieber without wanting to kill someone, and he couldn’t help but let out a deep laugh at the mere thought. When they got to Victor’s house, Makkachin was already waiting excitedly by the door, though he immediately ran to the back and began scratching to be let out. Victor handed Yuuri a stack of well-worn take out menus as he walked toward his dog, telling Yuuri to pick whatever he wanted for dinner because Victor wasn’t feeling too picky at the moment.

Yuuri felt a pang of sadness in his chest at the fact that Victor was obviously used to ordering food out and eating alone, but he didn’t tell Victor that as he picked out a menu for a chinese restaraunt that he loved. When Victor returned, he breathed a sigh of relief at Yuuri’s choice.

“Thank god, I was really hoping you weren’t going to choose pizza. There was some left over from the party so that’s basically all I ate yesterday. I’m pizza-ed out.” Yuuri couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculously high level of relief that Victor was feeling over this, but he pushed it aside as they decided what they wanted and Victor called in the order. Once he was off the phone, he turned to look at Yuuri.

“What do you want to do while we wait?” He asked, a glint in his eyes that made Yuuri feel warm all over. Before Victor really had a chance to see how Yuuri would respond to the suggestive look in his eyes, Yuuri was pulling Victor closer by his shirt and kissing him, hard. Victor seemed surprised for all of two seconds before he was kissing Yuuri back with just as much force. Yuuri was leaning against the counter, and it was uncomfortable against his back, but he didn’t really care at all. Victor pulled away for a second, but before Yuuri could protest Victor was picking him up and placing him on the counter, knocking off a plastic cup that was thankfully empty, though it wouldn’t have mattered either way as both of the boys ignored it and the sound it made as it clattered helplessly against the floor. Victor moved in between Yuuri’s legs, pulling him flush against his body as both of them tried so desperately to get closer to the other. Yuuri’s hands were in Victor’s hair and on his neck, and Victor had one hand on Yuuri’s hip and the other on the small of his back, pulling him ever closer. Victor pulled Yuuri back for a second, only to trail kisses down his neck. Yuuri was panting at the sensation, just barely holding in moans. Victor’s hands went under his shirt and pulled it over his head, and Yuuri grabbed Victor’s head to bring their lips back together before reaching down and pulling off Victor’s shirt as well. Yuuri pulled back for a second to catch his breath, keeping their foreheads together.

“How long did they say they were going to be?” Yuuri asked, wondering how much longer until the spell of this moment was broken.

“Long enough,” Victor mumbled in reply before kissing Yuuri again hungrily. Victor pulled Yuuri to the edge of the counter, so that he was barely balancing on the edge as Victor rolled his hips against Yuuri’s. This time, Yuuri couldn’t hold in the breathy gasp that escaped him.

“Oh my god, Victor, fuck,” Yuuri moaned as Victor pulled away to kiss down Yuuri’s neck again, trying to hold in some of his louder moans, and for the most part failing. Victor pulled Yuuri forward until he was back on the ground, and Yuuri barely stayed on his feet, as his knees felt like they would give out any second. Victor looked up at Yuuri with a devilish look in his eyes, and Yuuri didn’t have much time to think about what he was planning before Victor running his hand down Yuuri’s body, reaching for his belt buckle.

“Is this okay?” Victor asked, making sure that things weren’t moving too fast for Yuuri, as the younger of the two already looked like he was on the edge.

“Yes, please, more, please don’t stop,” Yuuri panted, gripping onto the countertop behind him to keep himself steady. Victor smiled as he fully unbuckled Yuuri’s belt and unbuttoned his pants, letting them fall to the floor. Yuuri kicked them aside as Victor brought his lips back up to Yuuri’s kissing him hard as his hand reached into Yuuri’s boxers to stroke his hard cock. Yuuri moaned into Victor’s mouth, which only made Victor smile into the kiss as he continued to pump Yuuri lazily for another moment before dropping to his knees, looking up at Yuuri with a questioning look in his eyes and his hands on the elastic of Yuuri’s boxers. Yuuri nodded, probably too enthusiastically, and Victor had to suppress a laugh as he slid Yuuri’s boxers down his legs. Victor nearly moaned himself at the sight of Yuuri’s erection, and as soon as Yuuri had kicked his boxers away to somewhere near his shorts, he took him into his mouth.

“Fuck, Victor,” Yuuri moaned, “Feels so good.” Yuuri’s hands clutched in Victor’s hair, his nails scratching against the older boy’s scalp as tried to keep from thrusting into Victor’s mouth.

Victor pulled away for a second, stroking Yuuri as he said in a low, seductive voice, “Tell me how good it feels Yuuri.” There was a look in his eyes that made Yuuri’s pulse quicken even more, to the point where he knew it would probably be dangerous to his health soon. When Victor wrapped his lips back around Yuuri’s cock, Yuuri couldn’t even think straight for the first moment enough to form coherent thoughts, let alone a few words or a sentence.

Once he got his mind back together a little bit, he moaned, “Been dreaming about this Victor, fuck, ever since the other night I’ve been thinking about this.” Victor took him in even deeper, causing Yuuri to moan even more as his thoughts spiralled away again, only consisting of Victor’s name over and over and over.

“Fuck, I think I’m going to come,” Yuuri panted. At that, Victor looked up at Yuuri, taking him in even deeper than he had before, and as soon as Yuuri looked down at those blue eyes and the bruised pink lips wrapped around him, he couldn’t hold himself back any longer, as he came with a string of expletives and Victor’s name. Victor swallowed before standing up, and Yuuri’s hands immediately went to Victor’s pants, fumbling to unbutton them in the haze of his post-orgasm brain. Victor kissed him, chuckling slightly as he helped Yuuri take off the remainder of his clothes. Yuuri pulled away nervously, biting his lip as he saw the pure desire in Victor’s eyes.

“I’ve only sucked someone off once, I don’t know, I…” He trailed off, not quite meeting Victor’s eyes.

“Yuuri, I’m not going to make you do anything you don’t want to do,” Victor murmured, his fingers softly pulling up on Yuuri’s chin so that their eyes were locked. Yuuri pulled Victor’s lips to his as he held the back of his neck, wrapping his other hand around Victor’s cock and pumping it. Victor started thrusting into Yuuri’s hand, and Yuuri went faster, trying to take care of Victor the way he’d taken care of him. Victor moaned into Yuuri’s mouth, and it made Yuuri smirk a bit to know he was the one making Victor feel that way.

“Tell me how it feels, Victor,” Yuuri murmured as he kissed Victor’s neck, making Victor release another loud moan as his head fell back.

“Oh god, Yuuri, feels so good, I’ve been waiting for this for so long, fuck, ever since I caught you staring at me.” Victor cut off as he let out a breathless moan, rutting into Yuuri’s hand for another few seconds before he came all over their stomachs and Yuuri’s hand. They kissed sloppily for another minute before Victor pulled back, stumbling over to a drawer to pull out two washcloths, wetting them and handing one to Yuuri as he wiped his cum off of himself.

“That was…” Victor paused, looking for the right words to describe what had just happened, “Something. Something good, but definitely… Something.”

“Yeah,” Yuuri said, still breathless. Victor kissed him again, but this time the kiss wasn’t full of the heat and hunger like the kisses from before. This one was languid and full of the emotion they’d left out in the earlier moment. The doorbell rang, and Victor’s eyes widen as he scrambled to get dressed as quickly as possible, as Yuuri laughed at Victor’s almost comical levels of distress. Yuuri knew the kitchen wasn’t visible from the the front door, so he didn’t try to get dressed too quickly while Victor went and got their food from the delivery man. He was just putting his shirt back on when Victor returned with bags of takeout and a wide smile stretched across his face. The two went into Victor’s basement, where he had a home theater, unsurprisingly. The two of them ate, half watching the movie, but mostly just talking over it. They talked about random things, but the conversation flowed, and Yuuri couldn’t be happier that it hadn’t become awkward after their encounter on the counter earlier.

When he had to leave to go home, although Victor pouted and tried to get him to stay, Yuuri kissed Victor in the foyer of Victor’s house before Victor drove him home.

“Why can’t you just stay over again?” Victor asked, his hands fisted in Yuuri’s shirt, drawing the younger boy close as he tried to convince him to stay.

“Because I have to get up at 6 am to go do my drylands workout, and there’s no way I’m making you get up and drive me home that early,” Yuuri responded, again. Victor pouted but sighed and relented, releasing Yuuri.

“Alright, you got me, I’m not waking up before 8 am for anyone, no matter how cute they are.” Yuuri laughed as they walked out to Victor’s car. As soon as they were on the road, Victor reached out and took Yuuri’s hand, interlocking their fingers and resting his hand on Yuuri’s lap as he drove, only occasionally releasing it when he had to use both hands to drive. Top 40 music was playing on the radio again, but the two of them just sat in comfortable silence as they went. When they pulled into Yuuri’s driveway, Yuuri could see that the only light still on was his sister’s room, and he felt slightly guilty that he hadn’t seen his parents the entirety of the day. The thought was pushed out of his mind as Victor reached across the center console, guiding Yuuri’s chin so that they were face to face.

“I had a really good time today,” Victor breathed, his eyes flickering down to Yuuri’s lips.

“Me too,” Yuuri responded before giving him a small kiss, nervous that his family would somehow see into the dark car. Victor could sense his hesitation and kissed his forehead before pulling away.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then?”

“Yeah, same time, same place. Don’t be late to practice, and definitely don’t tell your coach I encouraged you to make poor nutritional choices,” Yuuri joked, being rewarded with a hearty laugh from Victor. They said a final goodbye before Yuuri was climbing out of the car, walking up to his front door with his head in the clouds and waving goodbye one last time as he unlocked his door and walked into his house.

“You were out late. How’s the boy you won’t tell any of us about?” Mari asked, lying on the couch in their living room with her legs thrown over the side, flicking through channels.

“I, uh, his name is Victor. He’s good. I’m really tired, I’m just going to head to bed now.” Yuuri started going up the stairs before Mari could protest, knowing she wouldn’t yell after Yuuri and risk waking up their parents. He fell asleep as soon as he crawled into bed with a smile still plastered on his face over the perfect day he’d shared with Victor.

The next morning, Yuuri woke up completely exhausted. As he stretched before his morning workout, he felt some discomfort on his back and quickly lifted his shirt towards the mirrors on the wall of the gym, seeing that there was a small line of bruises from where Victor had pinned him against the counter the afternoon before. He blushed as he quickly pulled his shirt down to cover it and went on with his usual routine. When he got to work, Yuuko could tell something was different and stared at him until he cracked and told her everything that had happened.

“Oh my god, Yuuri! Bruises, seriously? I didn’t know you liked it rough,” She teased, nudging him on the shoulder. He immediately blushed bright red, trying to choke out a response that made sense, but eventually just giving up and chasing Yuuko away towards her chair so she’d stop bothering him. When Victor arrived, Yuuko sent Yuuri a suggestive look and a wink, which Victor managed to catch and laugh at. He sauntered over to Yuuri, who was trying to act like he hadn’t seen the whole exchange.

“So I take it Yuuko figured it out?” Victor asked, standing just a bit too close to be friendly.

“Yeah, she pestered me into telling her. Now she’s going to make innuendos for the rest of my life,” Yuuri groaned, earning him a whole hearted laugh from Victor.

“Well, I’m sure it’ll be amusing if nothing else.” Yuuri sat back in his chair, wincing as he hit one of his bruises. “Are you alright? Hard workout this morning?”

“I, uh, actually, um, I got some bruises along my back from, uh, from the counter,” Yuuri mumbled, blushing harder. Victor looked a bit upset, and it made Yuuri’s stomach fall.

“Why didn’t you tell me I was being too rough?” Victor asked. At this point, Yakov started yelling at swimmers to get their asses in the pool before he throws them in, but Victor made no show of moving or even acknowledging his coach.

“I didn’t notice until this morning, plus I kind of liked, um, being pushed around a little bit by you?” Yuuri was a blustering mess at this point, and Victor got the devilish look in his eyes like he’d had the day before.

“I’ll keep that in mind for later,” Victor practically purred, not helping Yuuri’s blush at all. Yakov yelled again, and Victor sighed before turning to walk towards the pool. “I’ll talk to you later, Yuuri!” Victor was diving headfirst into the pool before Yuuri had a chance to say anything else, and Yuuri had to struggle to pay attention to all of the swimmers the way he was supposed to for the rest of the practice.  

After Yuuri got out of work that afternoon, he arrived home to see that Victor’s car was already in his driveway. Yuuri smiled and thought, Yeah, I could get used to this.

He did get the chance to get used to the new way that things were because it became his daily routine. Every day, he would work out, go to work, swim, then be with Victor. When Victor’s parents were out of town Yuuri would sleep over, as he could never resist the look Victor would give him as he asked him to stay so he wouldn’t be lonely. They never went much further than they did the first time they hooked up, though Yuuri felt more and more comfortable around Victor with every passing day.

One night Yuuri slept over, as Victor claimed his parents wouldn’t be back until the next morning, and assumed that meant after Yuuri would have already left the house at 6:15. Yuuri woke up to his alarm, chuckling at the irritated mumbling Victor made at the sound as he adjusted so that Victor was no longer clinging to him and climbed out of bed. He got dressed quickly before walking down to the kitchen with Makkachin on his heels. He let the excited dog out quickly before making himself a cup of coffee. He stood right outside the back door and called Makkachin back in, knowing if he didn’t then the odds of Victor forgetting he was outside and leaving him out all day were pretty high. When Makkachin came back and the two went inside, Yuuri jumped as he saw a woman standing in the kitchen, looking at him with confusion across her face.

“Who are you? Why are you in my house?” She asked. Oh fuck, Victor’s mom. It made sense, looking at her. She was thin with platinum blonde hair, dressed in professional clothing with a minimal amount of makeup on her face.

“I’m Yuuri, I’m a friend of Victor’s. I crashed here last night, Victor said you wouldn’t be home, I’m sorry.” Yuuri was rambling, and he knew this, but he stopped as Victor’s mom laughed.

“He always was a forgetful one, wasn’t he?” She paused to give Yuuri the same dazzling smile Victor had perfected, “I’m Mrs. Nikiforov, it’s very nice to meet you.” She held out her hand and Yuuri shook it, an embarrassed smile on his face.

“Nice to meet you too,” Yuuri said before he glanced down subtly at his watch and frowned at the time.

“Don’t let me keep you, I just like to know the people who are in my house,” she laughed, turning towards her kitchen to make coffee. Yuuri said a quiet goodbye before leaving quickly, embarrassed by the entire interaction.

When Victor got to practice that day, he immediately came over to Yuuri with an apologetic look on his face.

“I had no idea my mom’s flight was coming in so early, I’m sorry, I would’ve come downstairs with you if I’d known she was going to show up,” Victor said, rubbing the back of his neck.

“It’s fine, she was nice. It was just… a surprise. Especially because I turned around and she was just there I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” Yuuri laughed, and Victor cracked a smile.

“That would’ve been a much worse first impression, that’s for sure. She said you were nice though, and then she asked why I never brought my friends over when she was home. I think she wants you to come over again tonight. I don’t think she knows that our sleepovers aren’t exactly pg.” Yuuri choked on the sip of water he’d been taking, and Victor laughed at his slight distress before he heard Yakov yelling and waved before going to join his teammates in the pool.

The rest of the summer was a blur of nights with Victor and bonfires on the weekend and working and smiling so much he was sure his cheeks would fall off. Yuuri couldn’t remember the last time he was as happy, or as exhausted, as he was the last month of that summer. Victor and him still danced around defining what they were, but Victor didn’t seem like he was in any rush, and Yuuri didn’t want to bring it up and ruin the way that things were going. When there was only a week left until both of them started class again, Victor finally breached the subject.

“So, Yuuri, what do you want to do when summer ends?” The two of them were laying on Victor’s bed face to face, and Yuuri felt anxiety raise in his stomach as he thought of the end of what had been the best time of his life.

“Pass all my classes?” Yuuri said uncertainly, knowing that it probably wasn’t what Victor was asking, but worried that he was misreading the conversation.

“Yuuri, I don’t mean… What do you want to do about… Us?” Victor looked more vulnerable and nervous than Yuuri had ever seen him before, and it made his heart ache.

“I… I really like you, Victor. I don’t know, I haven’t really… I don’t have the best experience with relationships.” Yuuri knew this conversation would come eventually, but he still wasn’t properly prepared for how fast his heart was beating and how his mind was spinning.

“I can’t tell you I won’t be like him because you haven’t told me anything about him other than that Phichit hates him. I don’t even know his name,” Victor murmured, looking like he was ready to put up his defenses and block out everything if Yuuri rejected him.

“I… His name was Devon. I’ve always been really shy, and I’ve had anxiety ever since I can remember, so I never really went out and did anything besides go to practice. When Phichit and I got close, he started convincing me to go to parties with him and would let me stick to his side, and one night I met Devon. Phichit set us up at a party, but we didn’t start officially dating because he didn’t want to put a label on things, and I still fell for him so quickly and readily. And I was still… I hadn’t had sex because I hadn’t been out of the closet to most of the people at home and it made me too anxious to go on grindr or tinder or anything. After about a month and a half of us not-dating I was so head over heels for him that one night I gave in and had sex with him, and the next morning after I left he sent me a text saying that he wanted to talk,” Yuuri could feel the knot of mixed emotions bubbling in his chest just thinking about it, “He told me he was dating someone else. That I’d just been someone he was hooking up with, and that he was sorry things had gone too far, but he was in love with his boyfriend and they’d decided not to have an open relationship anymore or something dumb like that. I was just a dumb freshman who couldn’t see he was just with me to get in my pants. And I know you aren’t like that, I know that you aren’t like him, but I just… There’s always this thought in the back of my mind that I’m not going to be enough for anyone. And especially if we’re not around each other all the time, I’m just… I don’t know.” Yuuri stopped talking and couldn’t meet Victor’s eyes. He was embarrassed that he’d shared so much so quickly, and he was breathing more heavily than he really needed to be, anxiety tightening his chest. Before he could work up the courage to look at Victor, arms were wrapping around him and he was being crushed into Victor’s chest.

“I had no idea, Yuuri. I’m so sorry that happened to you. That’s so terrible, I never… I know that your anxiety makes it even harder to trust people, and I’m sorry that you have to go through that… I would never do that to you,” Victor pulled back so that he could look Yuuri in the eye, “If we decided to date, I would never, ever do that to you. You know that, right?” Yuuri nodded feebly, not knowing how to really respond.

“Can we just… Can we not talk about it right now? I just… I need to think.”

“Yuuri, why? You know I wouldn’t do that, don’t you trust me?”

“Of course I trust you, Victor, don’t say it like that, like I don’t.” Yuuri was pulling away from Victor and sitting up, getting annoyed with the older boy and agitated in general as the situation overwhelmed him more and more. Everything began feeling too loud, the bed too soft, it was trying to suck him in and pull him down, down, down.

“Well you aren’t acting like you trust me. We like each other, why shouldn’t we date? Don’t you want that?”

“I do, but I just-It’s hard, Victor! What if we stop feeling the same?”

“But what if we don’t?” Victor tried to pull Yuuri towards him, but Yuuri pushed him away and climbed off the bed, beginning to look around for his clothes and getting dressed.

“Victor, I can’t do this right now.”

“When will work for you Yuuri? Because we only have a week left.” Yuuri paused, feeling tears in his eyes.

“You think that I don’t know that, Victor? Of course I know that! This summer is the happiest I’ve ever been, do you think I don’t know that it’s going to end soon?” Yuuri was shouting, and he knew that this was probably being blown out of proportion, but he didn’t want to hold Victor down when he knew that the other boy could do so much better than him, and he would probably realize that.

“Then why are you acting like this! I want you, and you’re just going to leave because you’re nervous? When are you going to start just living Yuuri?” Yuuri was fully dressed at this point, and he grabbed his bag as he stalked towards the door.

“I’m leaving, Victor. See you later.” Victor got up out of the bed, pulling on his discarded boxers before trying to follow Yuuri.

“No, Yuuri, come on, I didn’t mean it like that, please don’t go,” Victor said, desperation in his voice as he grabbed Yuuri’s arm. Yuuri just shook him off and stormed down the stairs and out of the house, leaving Victor standing speechless at the top of the stairs. He tried to hold onto his anger so that he could delay the sadness he knew would come until Victor couldn’t see him. He opened his car door and threw in his bag, and it slammed against the passenger side door before falling to the ground. As soon as he sat down and started the car, the radio turned on to the top 40 station he’d had on, and, of course, Youth was playing. Yuuri immediately put his head down on the steering wheel and began sobbing, unable to hold it in anymore. After a few minutes he heard a knock on his window and looked up to see Victor standing there, now fully clothed with tears in his eyes and an apology written across his face. Yuuri swallowed down his tears and rolled down the window a crack to listen to whatever Victor would say.

“Please, stay.” The brokenness in Victor’s voice gripped Yuuri, and he rolled up the window. Victor looked more hurt until Yuuri turned off the car and opened up his door. As soon as he was standing, Victor immediately pulled him against his chest.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I won’t push you anymore, just please stay. I’ve never had anyone that I wanted to hold onto the way I want to hold onto you.” Yuuri was still crying, and he could feel his tears dampening Victor’s shirt. The two stood there in Victor’s driveway until Yuuri stopped crying, and they had no idea how long they’d been there. When they went back inside Makkachin whimpered and jumped up on Yuuri, trying to cheer him up. Yuuri laughed and scratched behind his ears until the dog was satisfied that he was cheered up and scampered off. Victor smiled at the exchange, holding out his hand for Yuuri to take. The two walked back up to Victor’s room in silence, and when they laid back down in bed, Victor immediately pulled Yuuri into his chest, holding him tightly.

“I’m sorry I’m not ready,” Yuuri said quietly, not wanting to break the already fragile moment by being too loud.

“I’m sorry for pushing you,” Victor replied, holding Yuuri tighter. They lay like that for a while before Makkachin started scratching at the door, and Victor sighed before sitting up.

“Do you want to order take out or something? Maybe we can watch a movie?” Victor offered, still being overly cautious around Yuuri after the tense argument before.

“Yeah, I’d like that.” Yuuri smiled as the two of them walked downstairs, and though things were tense for the rest of the evening, neither wanted to talk about it again and risk upsetting the other.

The next day, Yuuko noticed as soon as Victor walked in that there was a difference. She waited until their lunch break to ask about it, knowing that it wouldn’t be a good idea to ask Yuuri while they were on duty, especially if Victor was there.

“What happened between you two?” She asked the second the doors to the pool were locked.

“We, uh, got into a fight last night. We talked about it, but it’s still… Not exactly resolved.”

“What was it about?” Yuuri hesitated, unsure if Yuuko would understand his doubts.

“I think Victor wants to try long distance and I’m not sure I can handle that.”

“Why? Takeshi and I handle it just fine, and sure it can be hard at times, but really it isn’t that bad.” Though Yuuko was trying to be helpful, it only made Yuuri groan.

“You guys have known each other since we were five, and you were dating for years before you tried long distance. Victor and I, we aren’t… We aren’t that serious, and with everything that happened with Devon, I just don’t know if I can even think about having a normal relationship, let alone a long distance one.”

“Look, Yuuri, do you like him?”

“Of course I like him.”

“Then it’s easy. You date him. That’s it, and then you go and figure it out from there.”

“That’s not easy Yuuko! Easy was starting things with him, but continuing them is just getting more and more difficult, maybe he’ll be happier in the long run if I just end things with him.” Yuuri knew he didn’t want to do that, but maybe it would be easier to leave than to be left.

“Would that make you happy, Yuuri?” Yuuri’s silence answered the question for him. “Look, I can’t tell you what you have to do, but what I can tell you is what I think you should do. I think you should stop putting so much pressure on yourself to define it. You know where Victor stands, you know he wants to be with you, just go with it for now. You leave on Saturday; you’ve only got four more days after today. Make them all count.” Yuuri nodded at the advice before jumping up to give Yuuko a hug, surprising her so much that she almost dropped her lunch on the floor. She pretended to be mad while Yuuri half-heartedly apologized, and they went on to talk about more lighthearted topics for the rest of their break. When the afternoon practice ended, Victor looked slightly hesitant to approach Yuuri, and Yuuri smiled at him as encouragement. They decided to throw back to the beginning of summer again and just go get coffee today, not pushing the already slight strain on their relationship. The next day Yuuri went over to Victor’s, but he didn’t stay over. It made Yuuri feel odd, sleeping in his own bed when he knew Victor was in an empty house, but he also knew that it would make the separation a bit easier if he didn’t completely depend on Victor’s arms around him to ensure a good night’s rest. Of course, when he went to bed at ten he genuinely believed he could fall asleep alone. By eleven he had given up, and was just staring at the ceiling of his dark room, watching the shadows move around as cars passed down the street in front of his house. He noticed one car stop right outside of his house before the lights shut off, putting the shadows back to where they usually fell. Everyone is already home, who could that be? Maybe it’s one of the neighbors? Yuuri was still trying to puzzle out who it could be when he heard a small clink against his window. He immediately scrambled out of bed to see Victor standing underneath it in his pajamas. Yuuri threw open the window and stared in silent disbelief at Victor for a moment.

“What are you doing here?” Yuuri whisper-shouted, a smile trying to fight its way onto his lips.

“Couldn’t sleep. Can I come in?” Yuuri nodded before gently closing his window and quietly running downstairs. He groaned when he saw Mari on the couch.

“You keep quiet about this, and I continue to pretend I didn’t see you sneaking that blonde boy into your window three weeks ago, you got it?” He said as he walked by her. She immediately became flustered and confused, though some of that went away when he opened the door.

“Victor, this is my sister Mari. Mari, this is Victor.” Yuuri’s eyes switched back and forth between the two, and Victor quickly put on his dazzling smile.

“I’ve heard a lot about you! It’s so nice to finally meet you,” Victor said, still smiling. Mari gave him a small smirk in return.

“Wish I could say the same, I had to fight Yuuri to just give me your name at the fact you were a swimmer. You guys better be quiet, you know how mom is,” Mari said before turning back to her tv show. Victor’s eyebrows shot up, and Yuuri shrugged before grabbing Victor’s hand and pulling him up towards his room. The two fell asleep almost immediately after hitting the bed, and the next morning, for the first time, Yuuri skipped his early workout so that he could live in the feeling of Victor’s body pressed against his, puffing out sleepy breaths onto his neck while he slept.

The next two days Yuuri tried to pretend that this wasn’t going to all end, but the last night he couldn’t block out reality anymore. When he got to Victor’s house that Thursday night he began crying almost immediately, much to Victor’s, and Makkachin’s, obvious distress.

“Yuuri, please don’t cry. Just because we can’t see each other every day doesn’t mean we won’t talk. And you aren’t too far away! You can come home for breaks and weekends if you really miss home,” Victor said, desperately trying to reassure Yuuri so that he wouldn’t be so upset. Victor pulled the younger boy into his arms, holding him against his chest and willing himself not to join in Yuuri’s tears.

“I don’t want this summer to end, Victor,” Yuuri finally said after his tears had mostly subsided.

“Me neither.” They stood together for a few more minutes until Yuuri managed to stop crying, and he sighed before pulling himself out of Victor’s arms.

“So, the usual night?” Yuuri said, a fragile smile on his face. Victor laughed and nodded as they ordered take out and curled up in the basement. After a few hours, Yuuri started getting quiet, and Victor immediately got worried.

“Yuuri, are you okay? Are you over thinking about things again?”

“I want to have sex,” Yuuri blurted out, immediately blushing and swallowing thickly. Victor was stunned into silence for a minute.

“Like?... More than we’ve already done?” Victor asked when he finally got his mind together enough after Yuuri’s sudden statement. Yuuri stood before climbing onto Victor’s lap and kissing him. Victor’s hands immediately gripped Yuuri’s waist and pulled him closer.

“I want you to fuck me,” Yuuri whispered against Victor’s lips, immediately making Victor moan. Victor pulled Yuuri closer as they continued to kiss, Yuuri’s tongue slipping into Victor’s mouth after a minute. Victor rolled his hips against Yuuri’s ass, and Yuuri could feel that he was already half hard. He pulled away and started kissing Victor’s neck as Victor gasped out breaths.

“God, Yuuri, you have no idea what you do to me,” Victor moaned. Yuuri began sucking a mark onto Victor’s collarbone, and Victor was too in the moment to tell him it might not be the best idea, since his teammates would be sure to comment on it. Once Yuuri was satisfied with his work and pulled back, Victor wound his fingers through his hair and pulled their lips back together. Victor’s hands drifted back down and wrapped around Yuuri’s thighs before pushing him back, urging him to stand. Yuuri took a step back and watched as Victor stood back up before pulling Yuuri in again for a second before pulling back and linking their hands together before leading him upstairs, stopping a few times to pin Yuuri against walls and continue to kiss him. By the time they finally got to Victor’s room, Makkachin was trying to follow them and Victor had to guiltily lock him out, much to Yuuri’s amusement. When Victor had finally gotten the dog out of the room and turned around, Yuuri was stripped, only in his boxers and lying on the bed. Victor followed suit and stripped before he straddled Yuuri, kissing him deeply, his hands in Yuuri’s hair and Yuuri’s hands gripping onto his shoulders to pull him closer. After a minute Victor pulled away to kiss down Yuuri’s body, sucking a mark into his hip bone. Victor looked up as he began to pull down Yuuri’s boxers, and Yuuri understood his hesitation as a question and nodded vigorously. Victor smiled as he took off Yuuri’s boxers and threw them on the ground behind him as he took Yuuri into his mouth. Yuuri’s breaths came quicker as he wound his hands into Victor’s hair, moaning out his name. Victor pulled away, but before Yuuri could protest, Victor was reaching into his bedside drawer and taking out a bottle of lube.

“I’m going to prep you now, okay? Tell me if anything is uncomfortable, I don’t want to hurt you,” Victor murmured, pressing a gentle kiss to Yuuri’s lips before he returned to where he was before as he poor lube onto his hand, coating his fingers before looking up at Yuuri, who looked nervous despite trying to hide it.

“I’m ready, just, go for it,” Yuuri said, biting his lip. He let out a gasp at the foreign and vaguely uncomfortable feeling of Victor’s finger inside him; he had only done this once before, and it had been quite a while. Victor stopped immediately, but Yuuri urged him to go on. Victor leaned up and kissed Yuuri as he continue to open him up, Yuuri gripping into the bed sheets as he adjusted to Victor stretching him out. When Victor hit his g-spot he moaned out, and Victor smirked into the kiss, continuing to crook his fingers so that he would hit it. After Victor had opened him up what Yuuri considered to be enough, Yuuri mumbled against his lips, “Please, I need you inside me right now.” Victor moaned at the desperation in Yuuri’s voice and went into the drawer next to his bed again to grab out a condom, rolling it onto himself and pouring on lube before positioning himself behind Yuuri.

“Tell me if it’s too fast, or if I hurt you, don’t hesitate, okay?”

“I will Victor, please, I need you, now,” Yuuri begged, his hands reaching out for Victor. Victor kissed Yuuri once more before beginning to slide in, and Yuuri let out a gasp at the stretch, even though Victor had prepped him more than enough. Victor took all of his noises, the way he was clenching his fists into the sheets, grinding his teeth together, and closing his eyes tightly as signs for when to slow down, though every time Yuuri would urge him on again. Once he bottomed out he kissed Yuuri again, and Yuuri kissed back lazily as he got used to the feeling.

“I’m ready, you can move,” he said, gripping Victor’s shoulders. Victor moved slowly as first, coaxing moans out of Yuuri as the pace slowly got faster. Yuuri’s nails were digging into Victor’s shoulders, but it only made him moan and pick up his pace even more.

“Yuuri, oh god, so good for me.” Yuuri pulled Victor down to kiss him again in response, their lips messily crashing together as both of them came closer and closer to the edge.

“Victor, feel so good, should’ve done this sooner,” Yuuri moaned, “I’m so close Victor.” Victor responded by kissing Yuuri and picking up his pace, reaching a hand down to stroke Yuuri. Yuuri let out a loud moan as he came, and the feeling of his walls clenching around Victor made him cum as well as he collapsed on top of Yuuri, kissing him gently.

“So beautiful,” Victor murmured after a minute, pulling back to stroke his finger over Yuuri cheek.

“You aren’t too bad yourself,” Yuuri teased, holding the back of Victor’s neck. Victor pulled away, taking off the condom and throwing it out before he got up to go get a washcloth for Yuuri, though he paused halfway to the bathroom and turned back.

“Do you want to just shower?” He asked, cocking his head to the side. Yuuri nodded, stretching a bit as he sat up and stood up off the bed. When his knees buckled a bit beneath him, Victor ran to his side, but Yuuri just batted him away.

“I’m fine, I just got up too fast. Really, Victor, don’t make that face at me. I’m fine.” Victor’s worried expression turned into a small embarrassed smile, and they locked their fingers together as they walked to the bathroom to shower. Once they were clean and dressed, both in Victor’s clothes, they laid on Victor’s bed face to face, the way they had so many times over the course of the summer.

“Yuuri, do you want to talk about it?” Victor asked quietly, his damp hair falling across his forehead.

“I don’t want to ruin this night with fighting, please, I just… I want to take this moment in,” Yuuri murmured, reaching out to pull Victor closer. The older boy complied to his wishes and let Yuuri rest against his chest. Yuuri counted Victor’s heartbeats, trying to remember each one and let the feeling etch into his mind, just in case this was the last time. Victor’s chin resting on the top of his head and his arms wrapped around Yuuri’s body made him feel safe, and he never wanted to leave the spot ever again. He never knew that someone’s arms could feel so warm and welcoming around him; he’d only ever felt like he was trapped when people held onto him before. The way that Victor’s body seemed to fit perfectly into his own made him feel as though he was made to be in his arms, and he never wanted to be anywhere else ever again. If he had his way, he would never leave Victor’s arms, but life didn’t ever work the way anyone wanted it to.

The next morning, Yuuri didn’t have to do a morning workout, so he got to stay with Victor for an extra hour. When he woke up to his later alarm and walked downstairs to let out Makkachin and make breakfast for himself and Victor, he couldn’t help but tear up again. He knew that moments in life were always fleeting, but the summer had strung together more happy moments than he ever thought possible, and he was afraid that he would never be this happy again. Victor stumbled down the stairs a few minutes later, immediately noticing that Yuuri was crying and sighing sadly, pulling him into his arms.

“This isn’t the end, Yuuri. I promise. This isn’t it,” he murmured into Yuuri’s hair before pulling away and making them breakfast, though Yuuri was still trying to help. Yuuri gave up eventually after the third time Victor shooed him away from what he was cooking and just made coffee, watching as Victor bustled around the kitchen while humming a melody that Yuuri didn’t know. They didn’t really talk as they ate breakfast, both of them just soaking up the feeling of being together before Yuuri left and everything changed. When Yuuri had to go he barely held back his tears, partially because he didn’t want to face Yuuko’s reaction when he got to work. The pity she would have mixed with the knowing look in her eyes would definitely be too much for Yuuri at the moment, and he needed to not cry again today.

He made it through the first hour of his shift without Yuuko noticing the hickey on his hip and the slight discomfort he showed when he sat, but once she put it together, she practically ran over and whisper shouted, “You had sex last night, didn’t you? How was it?” Yuuri blushed and shifted his eyes around, making sure that no one had heard or was within earshot before responding.

“It was… really great. I’m going to miss him a lot. I’m going to miss this entire summer so much,” Yuuri confessed, sighing sadly.

“Well, at least you guys made it official, right?”

“Um, well, not exactly?”

“Yuuri,” she sighed, “Why can’t you just let it happen? Did he bring it up again?”

“He did, but I didn’t want to fight, the night was too… Don’t give me that face, believe me, I know. And I know long distance can work, but I just… I want to give it a few weeks at least of us being apart physically before we decide anything,” Yuuri explained, glancing around as Victor’s teammates began showing up.

“Did you, by chance, tell him this?”

“Well, no… I… I didn’t want to spoil our last night together, and when he tried to bring it up I just asked him to not talk about it right then because I didn’t want to make him upset.”

“Yuuri, you’re going to kill that boy… but it is your life, I suppose I should chill?”

“Would you even still be yourself if you learned how to chill?” Yuuri questioned. Yuuko hit his arm and Yuuri let out a loud laugh, startling one of the swimmers in the lane closest to them.

“Whatever. I’m going to go do my job now,” Yuuko laughed, walking away from Yuuri. It was the last day of summer practice for the team, as the pool at their school would be opening up on Monday and Yakov decided to give them the weekend off to get settled in before classes started. The whole team was buzzing, unable to contain their excitement at the new year starting, and all of them talked about their friends that had been away and their new classes. Yuuri watched them talk from a distance, not wanting to intrude, but at the end of the afternoon practice Christophe and a few of the other swimmer came over to him with a devilish look in their eyes and slight smirks on their lips. Victor didn’t seem to know what was happening, and Yuuri shot him a panicked look as they approached.

“Yuuri, thanks for being such a great lifeguard this summer. Really, you kept us safe. Except Victor, you seem to have left a mark or two on him last night,” Christophe winked and Yuuri blushed bright red. Suddenly, on some hidden cue, the four boys rushed him, picking him up and throwing him in the pool, guard tube and all. Yuuri didn’t really get a chance to do anything besides gasp, so when he entered the pool he accidentally took in a gulp of water. Luckily, he had a floating device literally attached to him, and he clung to it as he resurfaced, coughing up the water that hadn’t gone down the right way. Yuuko rushed over, giving him a worried look before shooting a warning glance at the boys.

“If you push or throw me into this pool, I will end you,” she warned before crouching next to where Yuuri was floating, still coughing.

“Are you okay?” She asked quietly. He nodded, though he was still coughing. He managed to climb out of the pool, and as he sat on the edge he noticed Victor was there, looking extremely worried. Yakov was already yelling at the swimmers who had thrown him in, but they weren’t really paying attention to their coach as much as the exchange between Victor and Yuuri. Yuuri heard snippets of Yakov yelling at them for being “irresponsible, as always” and “never thinking about their actions” before he completely tuned the lecture out.

“Are you sure you’re alright? I can drown them next practice, you won’t be guarding for us so it won’t even be your responsibility,” Victor murmured, pushing Yuuri’s hair back from his face. Yuuko stood and walked away, letting them have their moment without any distractions.

“I’m,” cough, “fine, I just didn’t,” cough, “have time to close my mouth, so the water,” cough, “went down the wrong way a bit. I’ll be fine.” Yuuri’s voice was scratchy and felt dry, and the worried look didn’t leave Victor’s face until the boys that threw him into the pool were done being yelled at and slowly walked over to where the two of them were sitting. The glare that Victor gave them seemed to stun them all more than Yakov’s rant, and they slowed their approach even more.

“Hey, Yuuri, sorry we threw you in the pool.,” Christophe said, looking like a kicked puppy. Yuuri immediately laughed at the entire situation, much to the confusion of everyone else. He cleared his throat once more, feeling like he was starting to get his voice back closer to how it normal sounded.

“It’s fine, guys, you were just doing something for fun, I don’t care. I’ll just smoke you all when you swim against Prix, and then we’ll be even.” There was a teasing, mischievous look on Yuuri’s face, and the other boys were stunned for a minute before they laughed.

“Yeah, well, we’ll see about that Katsuki, won’t we?” One of the other boys teased. Yuuri laughed and stood up, with Victor reaching out to him to make sure he was okay. His shirt rode up a bit, and before he could cover it, Chris noticed the bruise that had been sucked into his hip.

“Jesus you guys didn’t think about the fact you walk around in swimsuits all the time, did you?” Chris said, laughing at the scandalized expression on Yuuri’s face.

“You all had better go get changed! I wasn’t kidding about that run!” Yakov yelled, and the boys groaned as they slunk off towards the locker room, grumbling about how terrible their life is.

“Do you want to get coffee today?” Victor asked. The this last time was silent, but it hung heavy in the air between them.

“Yeah, I don’t have to practice so I’ll be home right after work. Might need to shower since I still got in the pool today,” Yuuri joked. Victor let out a small laugh and nodded before saying goodbye and walking into the locker room with his other teammates.

After they got coffee and Victor drove Yuuri home, they sat silently in Victor’s car as both of them tried to figure out how to say goodbye.

“I’ll miss you. A lot. You better expect a million texts a day because I won’t shut up,” Victor said finally, smiling sadly at Yuuri. Yuuri gave him a watery smile in return and nodded, chuckling a bit.

“I’ll miss you too, and I… I’m sorry I don’t want to be official, but maybe if… When I come home again, maybe if you still want that, then we can do it. I’m just… I’m afraid, and I can’t back myself into a corner the way I did last time, you know?” Yuuri said.

“I understand. I’ll wait forever for you if that’s how long it takes.” Yuuri huffs out a breath as he tries to stop himself from crying because he had definitely done that too many times this week and he was sick of it, sick of feeling weak.

“This is goodbye I guess?” Yuuri said, glancing over to Victor. Victor nodded before he opened his door.

“What are you doing?” Yuuri asked, surprise coloring his voice.

“Listen, if this is the last chance I get to hold you for weeks, then I’m taking it.” Yuuri scrambled out of the car and walked around it to where Victor stood, and Victor immediately pulled him into his arms. They stood like that for a minute before Yuuri pulled away, holding the back of Victor’s neck and going onto his toes to kiss Victor. The kiss was soft, full of all the things they had whispered on nights spent wrapped in each other’s arms, secrets murmured into pillows and wrists and lips during kisses even softer than this one. When Yuuri pulled away, he sighed and squeezed Victor tightly one last time before letting him go.

“I’ll call you when I settle in tomorrow?” Yuuri offered, running his hand through his hair.

“Yeah, that sounds good,” Victor said, standing there awkwardly as he obviously didn’t want to leave. Yuuri pulled him in for one last kiss before he turned and walked up to his front door, waving to Victor who was finally getting into his car to leave. When Yuuri got into his room, full of his packed up bags for the year, he might have cried again, but no one had to know that.

Being back at school was amazing, despite how much he missed Victor. The first night the entire swim team went out, all of them joking and laughing and acting like Yuuri had never left. The new freshman seemed a bit hesitant to talk to him after not spending any of the summer with him, but after Phichit forced them all to interact they all got along fine. The first morning practice had them all collectively dying, and they all complained profusely in the locker room afterwards. It was at this point that Yuuri found out that the entire team knew that he was not-dating Victor, thanks to someone who had a highschool friend on the Sharks. Once they all realized how flustered he got when they brought it up, they did so at every possible opportunity for the next ten minutes as Yuuri got ready to go to his first class of the semester, and he practically ran out of the locker room once he was dressed and had all of his things shoved into his locker.

 

Yuuri: I forgot that our little bubbles aren’t like entirely separate

victor!!!: ?

Yuuri: Apparently one of the juniors on my team knows someone on ur team and he told them abt us

Yuuri: So my whole team knows and it’s weird

victor!!!: Why is it weird?

Yuuri: idk because I didn’t tell them myself

Yuuri: Also all of them keep asking for your autograph and generally being annoying

victor!!!: what if I gave them an autographed copy of this? [pic]

Yuuri: I AM IN CLASS

Yuuri: WARM SOMEONE BEFORE YOU SEND NUDES

victor!!!: I’m wearing a swimsuit??

Yuuri: BARELY

Yuuri: YOU CAN STILL TELL YOU HAVE A FUCKIN BONER

Yuuri: I HAD TO LEAVE CLASS BECAUSE I’M FLUSTERED

Yuuri: YOU’RE DISRUPTING MY EDUCATION

victor!!!: I didn’t even know u were in class y were u texting in class

victor!!!: You were being naughty I suppose I just returned the favor ;)

Yuuri: Victor

Yuuri: I’ll print out the pic and give it to my ENTIRE team before we swim against u I s2g

victor!!!: But it was just for u :(

Yuuri: yeah yeah yeah okay stop pouting u dork

Yuuri: I have another class now I’ll text u afterwards since u apparently can’t be appropriate while I’m trying to be a good student

victor!!!: Good student? While texting in class?

Yuuri: Alright, while I’m trying to be a mediocre student. Ttyl

victor!!!: I’ll miss u <3

Yuuri: dork

Yuuri: miss u too

 

Yuuri sighed as he put his phone away before his next class could start, taking a minute to compose himself. The rest of the day went by easily as he went to his other two classes of the day and was handed and read a syllabus before being dismissed. After his nightly practice, he got a text from Victor to see if he could facetime, and after quickly responding that he could, his phone immediately started ringing with the request. He was glad that Phichit wasn’t in the room as he really didn’t feel like having him watch over his shoulder the way he had the last few days when Victor called. As much as Yuuri loved Phichit, he was a bit of a gossip and wanted to know everything going on all the time.

“Hi Yuuri! How are you?”

“I’m pretty good, I survived the first day of class which is always good. Not that you were of any help,” Yuuri said, huffing as he thought of the picture Victor had sent him earlier.

“Hey, you didn’t tell me you were in class, how was I supposed to know your schedule on the first day of the semester?” Victor whined, pouting at the camera.

“Don’t give me that look, I’m going to forgive you too easy if you keep giving me that look.” Victor responded by exaggerating his features even further to make Yuuri laugh.

“It won’t happen again, please forgive me?” Yuuri sighed and stared at Victor’s face on his phone with a fond look on his face.

“Yeah, sure, you’re forgiven? How was your day?” They talked for a while about Victor’s classes and how Yuri had been angry at one of his professors and barely restrained himself from throwing a textbook he found out he actually didn’t need at him. After a while the conversation lulled a bit and Victor sighed.

“I spent a lot of it thinking about you today,” Victor’s voice became lower and quieter as he spoke, “Your eyes… and your lips… and the way you look when you’re underne-” Yuuri had been staring at his phone, swallowing thickly as he listened to Victor speaking, when the door to his room burst open and Phichit started loudly spewing something about how he was going to literally die because of the dining hall food. Yuuri accidentally threw his phone on the floor, and Phichit picked it up before Yuuri could get his mind together enough to do it for himself.

“Hi Victor! Here you go, Yuuri, you dropped this!” Phichit said brightly, completely unaware that he’d been interrupting at all.

“Thanks, Phichit,” Yuuri muttered bleakly.

“Were you guys busy with something? Was I interrupting?” Phichit raised his eyebrows at Yuuri, and Yuuri immediately rolled his eyes at his roommate.

“No, Phichit, you’re fine, this is your room too. Hey, Victor, I should probably go, I’m pretty tired and we have early morning practice again tomorrow.” Victor sighed like he understood the roommate struggle that Yuuri was having, even though Yuuri knew that Victor lived at home and commuted to his college every day.

“Okay, talk to you later, Yuuri.”

“Text me or something, okay?” Yuuri said, and Victor nodded before he hung up. Yuuri sighed as he set his phone on his night side stand.

“Sorry I didn’t, like, knock or anything before I came in. I should probably start giving you fair warning and all that jazz,” Phichit said, rambling a bit. Yuuri waved him off and yawned, already exhausted even though they were only one day into the semester. After reading over a few syllabuses, Yuuri got ready to go to bed and lay down, checking his phone one last time before going to sleep.

 

victor!!!!: Retry tomorrow on that facetime?

Yuuri: Yes, definitely. This time I’ll make sure Phichit doesn’t walk in lol

victor!!!!: sounds good to me ;)

 

As Yuuri’s classes started picking up, the only thing getting him through every day was his nightly facetimes with Victor. No matter how tired they were, or how much homework they had, they would pop up on each other’s screens for as long as possible, even if both of them were working, just the idea that they were together even though they were hours apart made both of them feel better about the distance. Phichit tried his best to let them have their privacy when they were actually talking, even though he would immediately ask Yuuri about what the two talked about when he got back.

“I swear, Phichit, you’re more invested in Victor and I than I am,” Yuuri teased after Phichit asked him with an especially large amount of enthusiasm about the night’s call.

“I just love seeing you so happy! You always smile so much when you talk about him.” Yuuri blushed and tried to make up some sort of reason to leave the room, but Phichit promised to stop being annoying if Yuuri stayed, and he didn’t really want

About a month into the semester, Phichit was more excited than usual about a party that one of his countless friends was throwing, and he insisted that Yuuri comes with him, saying that he would even pay his cover charge. Yuuri eventually agreed, though he was already regretting it by the time they arrived at the party. Phichit immediately started talking to a million people, introducing Yuuri to the half-drunk bunch of college students despite knowing that none of them would remember anyone’s names. The shots of cheap whiskey Yuuri and Phichit had done in their room before leaving weren’t enough to get Yuuri into the mood to socialize with anyone. Some other swimmers from the team showed up though, and Yuuri hung out with them as he downed the cheap keg beer provided by the house. He was texting Victor throughout the night, and his teammates finally asked him what was so important on his phone. Once they found out who he was talking to, they all insisted that he tell them all about Victor, and he mumbled a few basic things they all probably knew before excusing himself to get another drink, which he felt he desperately needed even though he was already drunk. He accidentally stumbled into someone as he walked down the hall outside of the living room where the keg was, and as he apologized he looked up and saw it was Devon.

“Yuuri! It’s so great to see you! How have you been?” He asked, kindness in his voice. Yuuri could see through it, and he swallowed some of the anger threatening to burst out of his chest before responding.

“I’m great,” Yuuri responded curtly, trying to walk away. Devon grabbed his arm and stepped in front of him, forcing Yuuri to back into a wall if he didn’t want to be within inches of his ex-not boyfriend’s body.

“Me and Ethan broke up. It wasn’t working anymore,” Devon said, reaching towards Yuuri’s chin. Yuuri jerked his head to the side to avoid the touch, though Devon didn’t really get the message as he rested his hand on Yuuri’s shoulder.

“I don’t care. I have a boyfriend, will you please let me go?”

“So? I had a boyfriend when we were together last time. What he doesn’t know isn’t going to hurt him, will it?” Devon was getting closer, and Yuuri felt trapped and panicked and there was no one else near them in the hallway.

“Get the fuck off me!” Yuuri shouted, pushing Devon so hard that the other boy slammed into the wall across from him. Yuuri quickly scurried off before Devon had a chance to respond, and he immediately left the party without looking back to walk back to his dorm. He could feel the panic rising in his chest, but he didn’t want to bother Phichit or his other friends who were having a good time, so he just walked straight back to his dorm, sneaking in past the RA and throwing himself on his bed. He immediately called Victor, not facetiming because he didn’t want Victor to see him so freaked out.

“Yuuri?” A sleepy Victor answered after a few rings.

“I’m sorry, did I wake you up? You can go back to sleep, I’m sorry, I’ll go I’m sorry,” Yuuri rambled, trying to make his shaking hands move the way he wanted so that he could hang up and let Victor rest.

“No, Yuuri, it’s okay. What’s wrong? You sound like you’re crying, what happened?”

“I was just at that party, and I was having fun, like as much fun as I can have at big parties, and then I went to get a drink and then fucking Devon showed up, and he was trying to hit on me and it was,” Yuuri let out a sob, “He wouldn’t stop so I pushed him and then I ran away and I just, I miss you so much Victor. I wish you were here.” Victor was silent for a few seconds, and the panic in his chest rose as he thought he might have upset him.

“If he ever tries to get near you again I’m going to fucking kill him. Did he hurt you?”

“No, he didn’t. I think he was trying to kiss me, but I got away from him before he could. I think he forgot that I’m not as weak as I look.”

“You don’t look weak, Yuuri, not in the least,” Victor paused, huffing out an angry breath, “Where was Phichit? And your other friends, weren’t you with a bunch of swimmers?”

“I was going to get another drink, I didn’t even know that Devon was at the party, I wouldn’t have gone.” Victor sighed, and Yuuri yearned to have him close so that he could feel safe in his arms again.

“I’m sorry he did that,” Victor said earnestly, “I wish I was there too. You should go to sleep, you can deal with this in the morning. And did you tell anyone at the party what happened or that you left?”

“No, I called you first.”

“Maybe tell Phichit where you are before you go to sleep, okay?”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea. Thanks, Victor. You’re the best.” Yuuri was too drunk to realize what he’d said at first.

“Goodnight Yuuri. Call me again if anything else happens, okay?”

“Okay. Goodnight.” Yuuri hung up and texted Phichit before he stripped out of his clothes, too upset and lazy to actually put on pajamas, so he just grabbed an extra blanket on the floor next to his bed and slept in his boxers.

When he woke up the next morning, he had a pretty bad hangover, and he groaned at the sunlight streaming in the window.

“Yuuri! You’re awake! Oh my god, I was so worried when you texted me last night, what happened?” Phichit said as soon as he heard Yuuri moving. Why doesn’t Phichit get hangovers like a regular human being?

“It was a lot… He was trying to corner me to hook up with me. I told him I had a boyfriend because I thought he would stop, but he just said that he had a boyfriend when he was with my last time,” Yuuri mumbled as he sat up and reached for the water bottle and motrin he kept next to his bed.

“That’s so fucked up, I’m going to throttle him next time I see him,” Phichit growled. Yuuri was slightly taken aback by the look on his best friend’s face, as it was very rare to see Phichit unhappy, and even more rare to see him angry.

“That’s what Victor said too,” Yuuri said, laying back down. Phichit shifted around a bit, looking weird as he suddenly changed the subject.

“Do you want me to go get breakfast? Are you up to eating?”

“Yeah, that would be awesome, Phichit. You’re the best.” Yuuri said, rolling onto his back and throwing his arm over his eyes to block the sun.

“Alright! I’ll be back in a bit. Maybe you can shower or something, it’ll make you feel better,” Phichit said before racing out of the room. Yuuri was confused, but brushed it off as Phichit just being his weird self as he dragged himself out of bed and down the hall to the showers on his floor. When he returned he started getting dressed, and there was a knock on the door as he was pulling on his pants. Yuuri sighed as he threw his shirt on his bed and walked toward the door.

“Phichit, did you forget your key again , I’m telling you, you have to start remembering-” Yuuri cut off as he opened the door and saw Victor standing there, smiling at him.

“Victor? What are you, what, how? Oh my god!” Yuuri immediately jumped at Victor, throwing his arms around his neck. Victor responded by holding Yuuri tightly and letting out a joyful laugh that made Yuuri smile even wider.

“I wanted to surprise you, after last night was so bad. So I managed to contact Phichit on twitter and he told me where your room was. He isn’t here, is he?” Victor asked, peering past Yuuri into the room. Yuuri realized they were still standing in the hall and pulled him into his dorm, shutting the door.

“No, he went out to get us breakfast. I think it may have just been an excuse to get him out of the room, in retrospect,” Yuuri mused. Victor smiled before leaning down to kiss Yuuri, and Yuuri smiled into the kiss.

“I missed you so much, Yuuri,” Victor said as he pulled away slightly, their foreheads pressed together.

“I missed you, too. I knew being apart would be bad, but I think I just forgot how bad it really was and how much I missed holding you until you showed up.” Victor smiled and kissed him again gently.

“I love you,” Victor murmured, his soft voice making Yuuri’s chest tight with emotion as he spoke.

“I love you, too.”

“Will you be mine? No dancing around it anymore?” Victor was hopeful, and he pulled away slightly to look Yuuri in the eyes. Yuuri nodded enthusiastically, kissing Victor again before pulling away just to hold him.

When Phichit came back too early and saw a bit too much, Yuuri didn’t even care that the entire team would know within the hour. He was too happy to have Victor be his , and in his arms again.