i was at target earlier and i decided to wear short sleeves without a jacket because i was hot which is a big deal for me because i’m so self conscious about my self harm scars and this little girl who couldn’t have been older than 4 was running down the aisle i was in and accidentally ran into me and she fell so i helped her up and she saw my scars and she said “what happened ?” and i didn’t really know what to say so i was just frozen and her mom comes up to me and apologized for her daughter and I said it was totally fine and then the little girl said “mommy look she has the same ouchies that you have” and the mother just looked up at me shocked and i put both my arms behind my back and i was literally about to cry and she showed me her arms and i saw her faded scars and that’s when i lost it, i was bawling and i dropped my arms to my side and she looked at them and she pulled me into a hug and just cried together … i honestly needed this because i’ve been in a really dark place mentally and i’ve shut everybody out and this just reassured me that i wasn’t alone and that i was going to get better
5. Well. Yell, scream, say something. Anything. you guys asked for this
When he saw Yuuri coming through the window, Victor poured the coffee he had brewed over his own hand. Victor swore, stumbling down so he was hiding behind the café counter as Yurio snapped at him for being careless. Victor shook his hand to get the hot coffee off, distractedly rubbing it off his black apron as his heart thundered in his chest. Yurio stomped over, swinging a tea towel down at Victor with impatience.
‘How stupid are you?’ Yurio growled, but Victor took his chance and bolted in one fast movement, breezing past Yurio’s slim body through the back kitchen door. Victor stood by the work table, resting a hand on the warming racks as he tried to catch his breath. Yurio followed him in, grumbling already. ‘Did you burn yourself that bad?’
‘It’s Yuuri,’ Victor said, throat squeezed narrow with a shaky breath.
‘What? Where?’ Yurio said, turning in his Skechers to look out the small window of the kitchen door. He went up on his tiptoes, blond ponytail bobbing behind him. ‘Shit. He’s at the counter.’
Victor’s heart was a stopped clock in his chest- frozen on the moment he spotted Yuuri moving through the street outside. Victor felt like he couldn’t breathe; like the hollow, nervous feeling that was swelling his chest was suffocating him.
‘I’ll tell him you’re not here,’ Yurio said, looking over his shoulder as he sank back down onto his feet. Victor closed his eyes, shook his head.
‘No, that won’t work,’ Victor said, fidgeting with the tie of his apron across his waist. ‘He knows my schedule.’
Yurio tapped a foot, crossing his arms. ‘Do you want to talk to him?’
‘No,’ Victor said quickly, before his heart pained him. ‘Yes?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Okay,’ Yurio said slowly, blowing a stray strand of hair out of his face. ‘I’ll tell him you’re on break. Give you a chance to think about it.’
‘What is he even doing here today?’ Victor asked manically, looking at Yurio like the kid had any chance of knowing the answer. Yurio shrugged at him, green eyes sharp as he turned to head back out onto the café floor.
Victor hovered for a moment, readjusting his t-shirt. Retying his apron. But it was only a few moments before he gave in. Victor walked up to the kitchen door, hovering just along the frame to look out the small window. Yuuri was at the counter, his hair slicked back like he wore for work. He was still wearing his glasses though and in the smart black coat, he looked striking. It made Victor ache, made the corners of his eyes sting.
Yurio had his back to Victor, gesturing wildly in the direction of the large clock that sat over by the booths. Yuuri was frowning, talking quickly across the countertop though Victor couldn’t hear over the sound of the grinder and patrons. Yuuri had his hands on the counter, tapping nervously. They were bare, ungloved and red-knuckled- and Victor’s resolve broke like a dam.
Victor pushed the door open, a frightened emotion fluttering inside of him. Yuuri looked up, brown eyes wide in shock and Victor could feel the wings of hope beat against the cage of his ribs.
‘Victor,’ Yuuri said softly, his voice a prayer. ‘Please talk to me, just five minutes-’
‘Not here,’ Victor said, cutting Yurio’s protest off and casting a quick glance around as a few customers had turned to look at the commotion. Yuuri nodded, determination a promise in the firm line of his lips.
Victor held the door open, letting Yuuri walk around the counter and into the kitchen. Victor followed him, shaking his head to Yurio when he tried to follow. Victor silently directed Yuuri to the small office a the back, the little room they both knew so well.
When Victor locked the door behind them, there was only the two or three feet between them with Victor at the door and Yuuri in front of the desk. Victor’s mind wandered, memories of Yuuri’s back against the grain of that wood. His nails scratching the veneer. Victor flinched, closing his eyes as he couldn’t remember the Yuuri of that day and the Yuuri of now, standing before Victor looking so put together.
But Victor couldn’t help but feel like Yuuri looked dwarfed in the suit, in the coat. Like they just didn’t fit him right and something dangerous in Victor’s heart was comforted by it.
‘I thought you told me to keep my distance,’ Victor said uselessly, opening his eyes and trying to focus on the shine of Yuuri’s fine leather shoes against the dull carpet of the office.
‘Ever since I saw you standing at the bar yesterday, I’ve felt sick,’ Yuuri said, words bumbling out of him in a rush. ‘I didn’t know you were coming, I didn’t mean to be… it threw me off.’
‘Chris set us up,’ Victor admitted, not caring if Chris was about to get into trouble. Yuuri’s mouth twitched, but his dark eyes were too heavy for a true smile. He reached out with his right hand and Victor stared at the olive skin of it, realising something too late.
‘I didn’t want to be there,’ Victor continued, head shaking. ‘I should never have gone.’
‘I was happy to see you,’ Yuuri said quietly, cheeks flushing the way Victor so adored when Yuuri was embarrassed. It hurt to see it now. ‘I’m happy to see you now.’
‘You’re making this worse,’ Victor said because it was true. Yuuri crossed his arms over himself, making himself swim even more in the too big coat. Victor would never have bought him something so ill-fitting. ‘You shouldn’t be here, Yuuri. You shouldn’t have come to see me.’
‘You think if I can’t see you I’m not thinking about you anyway?’ Yuuri asked, his voice dropping to a whisper like the truth was too heavy to carry. Victor pressed his palms flat against the door, only because they were itching to gather Yuuri into them. To curl Yuuri beneath Victor’s chin, where he should be.
‘We can’t do this,’ Victor said, pushing a hand into his hair. Gripping his fringe to feel the sting against his scalp. ‘I should’ve told you to go.’
‘Then why didn’t you?’ Yuuri pressed, taking one of the few steps they had between them. Victor was trapped, looking at Yuuri through the silver of his hair and blur of his fingers. Victor lowered his hand, trying to steady himself.
‘When you were speaking to Yurio, I saw your hand,’ Victor said, nodding down to where Yuuri had them crossed in front of himself. Yuuri looked down at the bare fingers of his right hand. ‘I saw that you had taken the ring off.’
‘Um, yeah,’ Yuuri said, clearly not following and it punched heavy in Victor’s stomach. ‘We took them off, for the-‘
‘The ceremony tonight, I know,’ Victor finished for Yuuri, watching as Yuuri looked up at him. Saw the comprehension gather in Yuuri’s face like rain clouds. ‘I figured it out. But for a moment, just a moment, I thought…’
‘You thought I had left him.’
Victor didn’t trust himself to answer, closing his eyes and nodding.
‘Is that… is that what you want?’ Yuuri asked, moving closer. Victor pinched his nose, trying to stop the tears that were brewing.
‘It’s too late for that now,’ Victor said as someone had to. Yuuri made a wounded noise and it tore at Victor’s resolve like a thorn.
‘If you don’t love me,’ Yuuri said, words trembling like they were on unsteady ground. Victor’s whole world was crumbling around him. ‘I think I could bear it. But I can’t not know, Victor. I can’t.’
‘This isn’t fair,’ Victor said, trying for stern but the words weren’t strong enough. ‘He’s a good man, Yuuri.’
‘I know, but-’
‘And you’re going to marry him,’ Victor continued, breaking Yuuri’s excuse in half like the biscuits they used to share in those stolen moments.
‘Tell me not to, and I won’t,’ Yuuri said, eyes burning the way they always did when he was determined. It set Victor’s love on fire, burnt a hole in his chest. ‘Tell me not to marry him.’
‘I can’t,’ Victor said, voice cracked. ‘I can’t, Yuuri. You can’t do that to me. You can’t make me the bad guy. You’re the one getting married, it’s your decision.’
‘How can I marry him when I feel this way about you?’ Yuuri asked desperately, tears down his cheeks. Yuuri stepped forward again as he said it, hands on Victor’s chest now. Cold palm over Victor’s heart.
‘Yuuri, we don’t have a chance-‘
Then Yuuri was up, his lips against Victor’s and it was the sun going out in a burst. Yuuri’s arms scouring days around Victor’s neck as Yuuri kissed him deeper, memories of missed chances. Victor’s arms a bracket of the years they wasted as they looped around Yuuri’s waist to pull him closer. Victor made a small, broken noise in the back of his throat as he tasted Yuuri on his tongue, Yuuri’s glasses catching on his cheek they were so close and kissing so desperately.
Yuuri pulled back, chest heaving and lips quaking like lightning as he tried to catch his breath. Victor had him gathered up, on the tips of his toes and pressed so close they were sharing air. Victor’s heart was hollow, Yuuri’s presence carving it out and sitting there. It ached.
‘Well,’ Yuuri said, brown eyes moving over Victor’s face. His nose almost brushing against Victor’s. ‘Here’s another chance. Yell. Scream, say something. Anything. And I won’t go through with it.’
Victor closed his mouth, eyes stinging with tears that just wouldn’t fall. Yuuri’s body was a skittish, quivering thing in Victor’s arms and so close. So close to being where it should be.
‘I’ll figure something out,’ Yuuri said, voice on the edge of desperate again, hands firm around Victor’s neck. ‘Buy us some time. Think of an excuse. Just- just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.’
Victor tightened his grip, love a splinter that poured blood. Victor wanted… oh, god, he wanted. But this wasn’t about him. This was about Yuuri. And Yuuri’s life, and the things Yuuri thought he wanted to give up. Victor closed his eyes again, breathed in the salt of Yuuri’s skin. Pressed his lips to Yuuri’s cheek. There could only be one answer.