"Hm?" is his distracted response as his phone chirps in time with the candy he's crushing.
"Yuri, let me get through this level."
At twenty, Otabek Altin is in his prime, and Yuri has been noticing it every day since he came for an extended visit to his new condo in downtown Moscow. He especially notices it at night, after they've both showered away the day's training, when he lies clean and refreshed and stretched out on Yuri's bed in nothing but his pajama bottoms.
Yuri sits up and rolls over so he's straddling Otabek's thighs.
"Come on, Yura, this one's timed. There's only—"
"I want to have sex."
If his mission was to draw his boyfriend's attention away from his phone, Yuri has succeeded heartily. Not only does he stop looking at the screen, he drops his phone entirely and it thumps onto the carpet.
"I want to have sex," Yuri repeats, more sedately, slowly pushing his fingers up across his stomach and chest.
"I," Otabek answers, "weren't we—?"
"We were," Yuri says, leaning down, "and now we're not."
Yuri kisses him lingeringly. From under the bed, Otabek's phone plays the sad foghorns of a lost level, and neither of them notice.
"Mmn," Otabek says into his mouth, pushing his fingers through Yuri's hair, then continues, "we don't have to, you know. I don't want you to have to push yourself. If—"
"Beka, am I going to get on your dick tonight or not?"
There's a long rush of breath against Yuri's mouth, and he is suddenly rolled over, pushed flat onto his back, and Otabek's mouth trails down his jaw, his throat, across his collarbone. Yuri's eyes fall shut and he gnaws hard at his lower lip.
"You have such a dirty mouth," he mutters into Yuri's shoulder.
"You love my dirty mouth."
"God help me, I do."
They kiss for a while longer. Eager anticipation is thrumming under Yuri's chest.
"We probably shouldn't—" Otabek begins, regretfully, then falters, "I mean, not right now. We don't have any condoms or—"
"Nightstand drawer," Yuri says. Otabek draws back, furrows his brow, then leans over to pull it open.
His reaction is not immediate, but it is satisfying to watch the transformation.
"How… how long have these been here?"
"Couple days now," Yuri says. Otabek draws out the box of condoms first, glossy and unopened. "Condoms and lube, the I'm-going-to-be-having-sex-for-the-first-time Amazon Prime special."
"The lube's already been opened," he observes.
Yuri can't decide if he's embarrassed or excited to tell him. Some mixture of both, it feels like.
Dark eyes swivel to Yuri with sudden intensity. Yuri slowly unfastens each individual button on his loose-fitting pajama top.
"In the shower, most of the time," he says. "Just to see what it felt like."
Arousal falls over Otabek's face like a shadow. He leans down, nose against Yuri's cheekbone, breath on his neck. "And?"
Yuri shivers. "It feels really good, Beka."
A small groan. "Yeah?"
He nods feverishly, fingers fumbling with the buttons at greater speed. "It didn't right away, but the m-more I tried it, the more…"
Another groan, louder. Otabek abandons the box of condoms on the bed to help Yuri with his pajama shirt. Neither of them bother pulling it off entirely; once it's open, Otabek's hands immediately move down to the waistband of his pajama bottoms, and he pulls.
They've seen each other in various states of undress already, of course, although only in the locker rooms, and this is decidedly more intimate. Yuri's cock is already half hard and flushed red against his stomach, and the cool air of the room makes him shudder.
Now naked save for the open shirt, Beka sits back on his heels and looks him over, slowly and appreciatively, like he's trying to memorize him. Yuri chews self-consciously at his lower lip.
"Show me?" Otabek asks.
Yuri makes some weak, embarrassing sound. "Pass the bottle."
Otabek passes the bottle, and Yuri thumbs it open with hands that tremble in anticipation. Yuri can see him as he palms hard at what he can now recognize as the growing outline of his boyfriend's cock against the flannel, and with a rush of adrenaline, Yuri effortlessly bends one leg up, over the headboard, to press into the wall.
Otabek makes a low sound and mutters something breathlessly in Arabic that makes Yuri absolutely smolder; it's not often Yuri gets him flustered enough to ask for divine assistance.
"It got easier each time, Beka," he breathes, tossing the bottle over the side of the bed, two fingers slick and shiny with lube. "And I found out – I haven't been able to reach it myself, but I read – there's a—"
Yuri slides one finger past the taut ring of muscle and his toes curl.
"Nnnm," Yuri gasps rather than finish the sentence.
"You are the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen," Otabek mutters, and Yuri feels the heat of his hands on the undersides of his thighs.
"Beka," he whines, and slowly pushes the finger deeper.
"Keep going, God, you're stunning," he says, and Yuri rocks his hips in time as he slowly starts to fuck himself on his finger. "Just like that…"
He slides the second in alongside the first and rolls his hips. Otabek's right hand leaves Yuri's thigh and closes lightly around the shaft of Yuri's cock, which sends his entire body bucking up off the bed.
"How does it feel?"
"It's so good," Yuri babbles, because it is, it really is, the combination of his own fingers and Otabek's gentle hand is so hot that Yuri thinks he might melt. "God, it's so good."
Yuri feels his hand gently moved aside, and his fingers replaced with two of Otabek's own. Yuri howls and throws his head back.
"Ssh – Yura, your grandfather—!"
"The man spent the entire Cold War sleeping through air raid sirens, Beka, now shut up and—" Beka pushes his fingers forward. Hard. Yuri's entire body buckles at the chest. "Fuck!"
"Does that feel good?"
Yuri babbles something entirely incoherent. Beka leans forward, kissing Yuri hard, sliding his cock against Yuri's as his fingers work him open with increasing speed.
"You're so tight, Yura," he mutters hungrily against his mouth.
"Beka," Yuri manages, through long strings of overstimulated nonsense. "Beka, please."
"You cannot possibly imagine how long and how desperately I've wanted to fuck you," he mutters, scissoring his fingers inside Yuri. "Every day you just kept getting more gorgeous—"
Yuri decides that he's done with the foreplay, and with a surge of adrenaline, he pushes Otabek hard in the shoulder, rolls him over, and straddles his hips.
Yuri doesn't answer. Knees pressing into the comforter, Yuri holds Otabek by the root of his cock and tears open the box of condoms with his teeth.
"You're going to rip them," Otabek laughs breathlessly.
Yuri spends a frustrating twenty seconds extricating the condom, pre-lubricated, and rolling it down over Otabek's length.
Then he crawls forward slowly up his boyfriend's body, chest heaving, lubricant running down his inner thigh.
"You can go as slow as you want," Otabek says.
Yuri has no interest in going slow.
Head heavy with lust, Yuri reaches back and lines himself up. With one long, complete movement, he sinks back down onto his boyfriend's cock.
For a moment, his mind blanks.
He's big. Far bigger than fingers. And thick. Fuck, he's thick, spearing Yuri open in ways he was not aware were possible.
And he feels fucking phenomenal.
"Beka," Yuri gasps. Otabek's hands are on his waist. "Fuck. Fuck." He starts to rock his hips. The stretch and the burn, the pressure, the heat, he could get used to this. Yuri shifts his hips to get a better angle and—
His entire body shudders. The wave of pleasure is so intense that it actually paralyzes him for a moment.
"Oh," Otabek breathes. Then, "Oh. Yuri. There? Right there?"
Otabek leans up, kisses him hard, then flips him over again and starts rocking his hips past – fuck, fuck, fuck.
"Is that where it's best, Yura?" Otabek purrs into his ear, though Yuri can barely hear him, or anything at all, other than the sound of his own heartbeat in his ears, thumping in time with the hard, deep thrusts in and out. "Is this the spot?"
Yuri realizes, with haunting clarity, that he is going to come – very soon, very powerfully, and with barely a hand on his cock.
"You feel so good, Yura," he mutters, and he's so close, he's so close, his vision is going dark around the edges, "God, you feel so good…"
"B-Beka—" It's about all Yuri can manage at the moment. "I…"
Otabek grips the headboard with both hands for leverage and his pace doubles. Yuri's entire body tenses, bends, arcs upward, and the knot of energy catalyzes and releases; Yuri comes hard, so hard his vision clouds over, so intensely that he can't even manage to moan. He comes like he's dying, and maybe he is.
"Yura," answers Otabek's strangled groan, and the rhythm of his hips stutters, and Yuri only belatedly feels the subtle pulsing inside him that's not his own. "Yura, God…"
A few minutes, or possibly a few years, later, Yuri returns to something like lucidity. At some point, Otabek had pulled out and collapsed next to him.
"I am such a fucking idiot," Yuri croaks. He covers his face with both hands. "I can't believe I waited so long!"
Otabek bursts into hoarse laughter.
"Years we could have been doing that," Yuri says. "Years, Beka!"
"You weren't ready," Otabek chuckles. "Besides, that means we get to make up for lost time now."
Yuri sighs. To his left, Otabek rolls over to face him. "Although we're definitely going to have to embargo sex on the night before performances."
"Agreed," Yuri says reluctantly. His lower back is already starting to ache, albeit in the best possible way.
Fingertips on his jaw. Yuri let his head fall to the side. Otabek, hair slicked with sweat and smiling, leans in and kisses him lingeringly.
"Is it my imagination," Otabek says, softly, into Yuri's lips, "or are you very, thoroughly happy right now?"
Yuri realizes that he is.
In all the ways he's come around these past three years – moving to Moscow, finding a personal and professional balance, remembering his passions – Yuri feels like there's one thing left undone.
"You're sure you're okay with this?" Beka asks him, breath misting as they walk.
"I wouldn't say 'okay,'" Yuri admits, shoving his hands into his coat pockets. "I just… I have to."
"You really don't, not if you don't think you can."
The snow is deep today, up to their knees. But Yuri knows these hills, knows the well-worn paths, because he's walked them a thousand times before in another life.
"It's not…" Yuri sighs. "It's like you, after your father died, getting back on the rink for the first time. This is that for me."
Yuri doesn't look back to check the look on his face, but Yuri can feel the frown.
"All right," Otabek says.
Under the tree, at the bottom of the hill, a half-mile away from where that little ramshackle house used to stand, there's a granite headstone, drenched in snow and half-visible. Yuri's nose is red from the cold. He kneels down in front of it and brushes it clean as best he can.
ANNA NIKOLAYEVNA PLISETSKY, reads the stone. BELOVED MOTHER. 1968-2012.
Yuri lets out a breath so long that it feels like he's been holding it forever. He sets the portable speakers on top of the headstone and tucks his phone into it before he slowly, slowly puts on his skates.
By the time he's done, Otabek is already waiting for him on the ice. The pond seems so much smaller than he remembers it, but it's as big as it needs to be.
Otabek is watching Yuri's face carefully as he steps over the snowdrift and glides across the surface toward him.
"Ready?" Otabek asks him, and Yuri only nods.
The music starts up, muted on the snow. They start to dance.
Yuri choreographed the whole thing himself, and although he told Otabek not to spend too much time memorizing it – they both had the Grand Prix coming up, after all – he had been diligently working to memorize every gesture.
Since he knew it would never see competition, Yuri had gone with a modern, unconventional pick, sad but hopeful, slow but with energy. The dance is full of spins and lifts and triple jumps.
Nothing particularly taxing, in other words.
But it drains him anyway.
Otabek lifts him through the final, drawn-out spin, over his head, around his back, into a low dip, and they slow and slow as the music fades, until they are still, and the pond is quiet.
Yuri keeps his eyes shut tightly. He did not know what he was expecting to happen.
Had he been expecting to feel full of some angelic presence? Felt a grand weight lifted off his shoulders?
Otabek's hand reaches up, and the fingers of his glove smear the tears Yuri did not realize were falling down his face.
A sob fights its way up his throat unbidden. Yuri doubles over, burying himself in Otabek's chest.
"It's okay," Otabek whispers. "It's okay, Yura."
Otabek holds him as Yuri collapses down onto the ice. They kneel together like that for a while, with nothing but the snow and the smoke of their own breaths.
There's no angelic presence, no weight lifted. But there's something else. It's small and it's painful, like feeling coming back to a numb limb. It's something like healing, Yuri realizes, and something like release.
"I miss her," he sobs.
"I know," Otabek answers.
"I miss her so much, Beka. I…"
It hurts to be here. It hurts to have done this. But even as he sits sobbing on the ice, Yuri knows he'll come back next year, under the tree on the pond at the bottom of the hill, and skate for his mother again, because it matters, and she matters.
And maybe next year, it won't hurt as much.
Maybe, in time, it won't hurt at all.