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Viktor hasn't been home — he hasn't seen Russia, since the башкиры Rebellion.

Traveling is easier when his only source of food (hence his survival) ends up causing a stir wherever he goes, whispering of murderers and heathens.

He doesn't enjoy killing. It's the only way to get by, it seems. Nobody becomes alarmed by a couple of disappearances in monthly intervals, especially in the bigger and bustling cities where the lost souls are commonplace.

Back home, Viktor knows the frightening bedtime stories of the "eretica" — the soul of a woman who sold her soul to demons, returning as an undead, hag-like creature. Or the "upyr" — with iron teeth and deathly cold hands, thirsty for the blood of naughty children who it preys on.

Somehow… he doesn't feel as if he's either definition of a monster. Do monsters regret killing?

The ocean churns noisily, tossing white-foaming waves towards a sky dappled in greyness. Viktor notices a lone figure as he walks along the beach. A young man, Japanese like everyone else in the region. He sits with his legs curled comfortably to himself, staring pensively towards the raging, oscillating waves.

His hunger, for the young, hot blood pulsing inside him, thuds and thuds more inside Viktor's skull.

He approaches slowly, thinking over the consequences of taking the life of someone appearing so healthy, clean and shaven. It means the increased likelihood of having a family, people who would miss him dearly. This is an open, public area — anyone could spot them, either on bicycles or in cars passing along the road.

Which unfortunately means, Viktor will need to move on quickly after this is done…

"Konnichiwa!" he says cheerfully.

Viktor shoves his hands into his trousers, peering down on the young man who blinks and gazes up confused at him. Admittedly, Viktor's knowledge of the Japanese language comes off limited. He stumbles around the correct phrasing, tilting his head.

"Watashi wa nihongo… ga suko…?"

The young man winces, even while trying to appear polite.

"… I speak English."

Viktor throws up his hands a little, his smile widening. "Слава богу," he mutters in his native tongue, plopping into the sand. "I apologize. I'm having a hard time navigating myself— oh, was I interrupting?"

"It's fine, I don't mind," comes a breathy and not entirely truthful response. Viktor eyes him with undisguised curiosity, noting the shivering and the fact the other man is only wearing a fleecy, bright blue hoodie and a pair of thin, sand-crusted jeans.

"You're cold, aren't you?" he asks.

Viktor slips off his overcoat, gathering it up into his arms. As he drapes it carefully around another pair of shoulders, his companion yelps and shakes his head, turning bright red. "N-No, it's— you don't have to—"

"I would like to, please," Viktor insists calmly, beaming when the other man quiets down and sheepishly lowers his head. He presents out a hand to him. "My name is Viktor. It's nice to meet you."

"Viktor…" His own name, for a moment, sounds lovely and harmonious to the other man's lips.

A tentative hand-shake.

"I'm… I'm Yuuri."

Viktor hums pleasantly, letting go. He's secretly and mildly impressed by the fact Yuuri never winces again or comments on how deathly cold Viktor's hands were on his. Most people retreated from the sensation.

Yuuri's hands are more like an inferno, to contrast.

"A beautiful name for someone as equally as beautiful," Viktor drawls. There's not even a hint of mocking nature. It brings on an awkward, embarrassed laugh, with Yuuri avoiding Viktor's memorizing stare, but faintly smiling.

"Does that ever work?" he asks, raising his eyebrows in disbelief.

The sarcasm ends up short-lived, as Viktor's forefinger pushes underneath Yuuri's chin, helping his face to turn.

Viktor extends his abilities to their fullest, attempting to drown Yuuri into hypnotism deeper just as he moves in closer, lips grazing against Yuuri's cheek. There's no point in allowing him to feel pain or suffering…

"If it's not… then why are you still trembling?"

At the lack of an answer, Viktor smirks. He lids his eyes, and then his nostrils fill completely with thickening amount of smoke. Viktor coughs out, waving a hand in front of him and glancing back at — what in the many hells is going on?

… … Yuuri's gone?

He glances at his wintry surroundings, at the raging, noisy sea and the empty road at Viktor's back.

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The local onsen accepts new guests staying overnight, and Viktor pays with cash.

Anything else requires having an identity and something to trace back to him. By now, he's let go of any desire for commitment.

He passes a flowery shrine near the wall, framed with a vividly colorful picture of a grinning boy and his poodle.

It's barely worth sparing a glance.

No matter how many attempts, Viktor can't warm on his own. The blood of the living is the only guarantee, but he doesn't stop him from pretending sometimes he can soak in the steam, maybe absorb the heat. There's only a few people in the communal, indoor areas, just as naked as he is and conversing with each other.

Viktor tries going over what happened in his mind, for the millionth time: Yuuri was there, with him, and then he wasn't.

He disappeared like… just like he had been made of…

Someone collides roughly into him, their bare, tannish skin unnaturally dry for such an environment.

"Sorry, I'm so sorry…"

Is — wait a damn minute!

Viktor's eyes round out. He recognizes that stammering, lovely voice within moments. His hand lurches towards the other man, clasping around their forearm with near-crushing and monstrous pressure.

"You…!"

Even through the steam, he witnesses Yuuri's arm materializing completely out of existence. Viktor's fingers clench into themselves as he stares in astonishment. Yuuri inhales sharply, brow furrowing — and his forearm reappears as it was, emerging from the white — smoke? the onsen's steam? does it even matter?

Viktor blinks, perfectly mirroring Yuuri's earlier confused expression.

"Who… are you?"

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Once Viktor ushers them into his guest room, away from prying eyes, Yuuri explains reluctantly. But only after confirming Viktor is indeed about as human as Yuuri is, displaying his enlarged, fanged canine teeth.

"We call it being a yōkai…" Yuuri lets out a nervous but frustrated sigh, plucking absently at the band around his ivory-colored yukata.

Viktor cannot help but be in awe of him, observing Yuuri's every movement as if it might not stick in his memory.

"Or in my case, being an enenra. A… it's, I guess, a spirit made of smoke."

"Wow!" Viktor exclaims, almost gleefully. "I've never met anyone like me!"

"Like you?"

"You couldn't tell I wasn't human?"

Yuuri shrugs noncommittally, eyes lowering on his fingers still plucking.

Viktor's hands rest on the bedding of his cot, taking his weight as he leans back casually on the edge.

"Do you live here then? In the…?"

"In the onsen?" A low, barking laugh. Yuuri does meet Viktor's studious gaze, frowning as if offended by the implications. "No— no! It's… it's just nice here," he mumbles. "It helps me."

Viktor nods, trying to come off as understanding. He's never met a spirit before either. "I intended on taking your life — I should apologize to you once more. Blood is what helps me live."

"Like a—?"

He sighs as if expecting this question, not sharing Yuuri's enthusiasm.

"Like a vampire, yes."

Yuuri's smile, however, is adorable — so Viktor decides to forgive him.

"I didn't think they were real!"

"Neither did I— not until I was attacked on a road, left to die," Viktor says, his features solemn. The brightness in Yuuri's smile fades out, replacing with sympathy. Viktor forgives him for that abhorrent emotion as well. "Only I never did. I rose out of the snowbank, covered in my own blood and hungry for something that wasn't natural."

Viktor already hates the atmosphere building between them. He climbs onto his feet.

"It's so strange… you look very human," Viktor says softly, walking over to Yuuri. He appears like a human, yes — but the fact that Yuuri is becoming wispy around the edges, the close Viktor gets — not so much.

Viktor's fingers long for touch, one he was earlier denied. Yuuri gulps audibly, strands of his dark hair hovering into the air, as a light, pure white film of smoke rises off his broad shoulders.

"So warm… flushed…"

A pale, ice-cold thumb runs over the crease of Yuuri's mouth, separating his lips and pushing the bottom down gently to expose a row of straightened teeth. Yuuri's eyes widen in a slow, wonderstruck daze.

This time, Viktor sees him dissipate, right into a burst of white, thinning smoke.

"Yuuri?" he calls out to the nothingness. "Yuuri—? I didn't mean to—"

An irritated breath.

"Серьезно?" Viktor mutters, feeling stung of all things, running a hand through his silvery locks.

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It's another two days before he sees Yuuri again — this time waiting outside his bedroom door.

Viktor gazes him over, appearing genuinely surprised.

"… Yuuri?"

The other man bows his head, Yuuri's hands knotted together and clenching up behind his back.

"Can I come in, Viktor?"

"Of course you can," Viktor tells him, smiling benevolently and patting Yuuri's upper arm, closing the door behind him. "I'm very happy to see you. Although… I fear you are going to vanish again in the middle of a conversation."

At the obvious jab, Yuuri makes a thwarted sound with his throat, his expression scrunching up.

"That's exactly why I wanted to see you, Viktor… um…" Yuuri dares to look bashfully at him. "If you could teach me not to… do that?" he asks, voice coming out teenier and hopeful.

Viktor folds his arms, narrow his eyes critically.

"How can I do that?"

"Touch me."

At the following silence and Viktor's amused grin, Yuuri chokes out a squawking gasp, turning a bright, unmistakable red and emitting a gust of smoke at the top of his head. "I—! No, I meant—!"

Viktor chuckles, unfolding his arms to wave the remnants of visibly smoky air from his eyes.

"If you'll allow me… I would like to help you, Yuuri."

He steps into Yuuri's personal space, as if sizing him up. But there's no intimidation in Viktor's body language, not with his loose-limbed stance and the continuous, affectionate stare from bluish-green eyes.

"As your friend…"

Yuuri swallows, meeting Victor's eyes and nods firmly — despite all of the wisps of smoke blowing out of him, Viktor gets the impression that Yuuri's confidence is finally beginning to strengthen.

"R-Right…"

Maybe it's just a trick of light, but Viktor thinks a flash of disappointment flits across Yuuri's face.

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He doesn't believe in falling in love anymore, but there's something irresistibly captivating about Yuuri. The way he reacts when Viktor slides his fingers underneath the ivory yukata, with little gasps and whines for more.

The way Yuuri doesn't recoil from him.

Smoke thickens around them, unable to ventilate in the closed-off quarters but not making it far.

Viktor specifically requested found a room without a fire alarm before arriving at the hotel — just in case. The more Viktor keeps his hands inside Yuuri's clothes, pressing their skin together, the more of the heat and smoke emerges.

He think sometimes the odor is like a burning wood-fire. Not rotting, not damp with mold, but something natural, pure and clean.

"Maybe we should stop for now…?"

Smoke builds within Yuuri's own eyes, the irises and pupils vanishing into a stark, gleaming white. Viktor has seen so many surprising things because of Yuuri: This one is a little concerning.

Yuuri shakes his head with a brave, concentrating glare, panting.

"Starting to get used to it, just a little more…"

There's a perfect way to discover just how much more. Viktor agrees, cupping the side of Yuuri's flushed, solid-feeling face and inclining his head. The kiss is simple and sweet, encouraging when Viktor licks against Yuuri's moaning, opening mouth, tongue pressing inside and savoring all of the heat Yuuri provides him.

To both of their relief, the suite room clears out. Nobody knocks on the door.

Yuuri's eyelids flutter, revealing those dark, glittering pupils and the darker irises rinding.

He exhales, quivering, blissful under Viktor's hands — a twirl of smoke ghosting out of Yuuri's lips.

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The snow falls deeper, piling on the little, square window.

Viktor remains naked in the firelight, staring outside and rubbing at his neck.

Yuuri confesses to be attracted to flames and other sources of heat, as his instinct, and Viktor discovers Yuuri's need to hibernate in them — as a means of absorbing energy and regenerating, if you will.

He worries about Yuuri vanishing entirely. One day, without a warning.

Yuuri has promised him before he wouldn't. He promised him like a child would, murmuring to Viktor's neck, Yuuri's arms draping possessively to his waist and nudging them close. But they are not children, let alone human.

Promises… they mean little in terms of survival.

Survival is all Viktor has thought about for centuries. He took the life of an elderly homeless man, a couple of hours ago. Viktor could taste the sickness in his feeble body — but blood was blood, even sour-hot and tinged with fear.

Viktor wonders if Yuuri could taste it, the decay and fragments of humanity between Viktor's teeth and his fangs. When they're shifting on top of each other — Victor's flesh temporarily warmed by the consumption of another life. When Yuuri cries out underneath him, bucking into each dragging, grinding thrust, his knees cradling Viktor's hips. There's pleasure to being cock-deep in Yuuri, wringing a corporal, dry orgasm out of him.

But he can't afford to love Yuuri… even if Viktor's losing the willpower to follow through.

Especially when a soft-hearted "goodbye" whispers into Viktor's ear.

(Do monsters have regrets?)

Viktor pulls his stare from the frosted, snowy window, glancing towards the roaring fireplace shielded by an oversized, black-steel grate. "… Were you ever alive, Yuuri?" he speaks aloud, as the flames climb, leaping and swaying.

It's a language Viktor cannot translate, much like his own unbeating heart.

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Yuri! on Ice isn't mine. Despite everything going on, despite my country on the brink of a possible apocalypse for myself and everyone I love, writing is what is keeping me going. Writing and sharing with you all here. Writing has gotten me through the worst hellish days of my life. So it's gonna happen for as long as I'm still breathing. BUT OKAY, on a less extremely somber note, I'm really thrilled to share a longer Viktuuri fic! I actually brainstormed this with lamienthana from Tumblr and I'm a LOSER for supernatural AUs so here you guys go! Come join me in AU heaven! I wanna say a HUGE thank you to my Russian translator biowareconsumemysoul on Tumblr for making this fic even better! Any comments/thoughts on this are so appreciated! Thank you!

Translations:

"Thank god" - "Слава богу/Slava bogu"

"Are you serious?" – "Серьезно?/Ser'yozno?"