Yuuri’s eyes only twitched when he was dreaming a heavy dream, one that weighed on his mind and made his heart heave - the feathery strands of his hair dangled across his eyes, catching in his long, fluttering lashes as he began to stir. Viktor, lying nearby with Makkachin sprawled on his chest, watching his every movement, his every restful moment, all with fascination in his glittering eyes. How did someone so simple, he wondered, captivate my every thought?
“Viktor?” a sleepy voice mumbled, Yuuri pulling himself from the tossed sheets. Rubbing his tired eyes from the exhausting, fretful dream, he groped at the nightstand for his glasses - of course, Viktor had moved them so he could have a few extra moments to look Yuuri in the eyes. “Where did you put my glasses?” He sheepishly lifted them and crookedly placed them on Yuuri’s face.
“On your face, of course. What were you dreaming about?” The Japanese boy’s eyes drifted off as he recollected the dream. Both knew it had been stressful, but the question was, did Yuuri find the need to talk about it?
“Nothing, nothing,” he flatly lied. Viktor’s silver eyebrows raised.
“Nothing? That was a lot of movement for nothing,” he replied, running only the tips of his fingers through Yuuri’s mussed bangs. “Were you dreaming that you were chasing something? Because Makkachin was...” Upon hearing his name mentioned, the ashy brown poodle leapt up and barked, panting wildly. He was more excited than both of them to be awake and part of the conversation.
“H-He was? How cute,” Yuuri continued, ruffling the pile of curls on top of the poodle’s head. A master of changing the topic. But Viktor wasn’t having it.
“Hm, yes. Now what was your dream? Something frightening? Another anxiety induced trail down bad memory lanes, or however you described it before?” Yuuri’s expression sagged as he heaved another sigh, yet his somber attitude was interrupted by a sloppy kiss from Makkachin.
“It...It was a nightmare; I’m sorry for not telling you sooner. I just didn’t want you to think too much about it! I’m really sorry,” he said, but Viktor quickly pressed a hand over Yuuri’s mouth.
“You’re doing it again. You’re apologizing when it’s not needed,” Viktor told him with a frown. “Just tell me what happened in your dream, and do it without apologizing.” Yuuri nodded without a word, his brown eyes darkened with worry behind those thin, blue glasses.
“In my dream...I was skating. We were at the Grand Prix again, but I wasn’t skating to any music. It was silent, just dead silent, not even any noise from the crowd. My skates wouldn’t make any noise either, and when I tried to see why, that’s when I realized that I wasn’t skating at all. I was standing still. The more I tried to move my feet, the less they would do anything. Before too long, my legs locked up, like they were frozen, and then everything from the waist down was stuck. It didn’t take long before even my arms were growing stiff, but I still tried to pull myself away from whatever was paralyzing me.
“That’s when the ice started to crack. It was quiet at first, like a really distant sound, but when I tried to find the source of the sound, it got louder and louder, and...then the ice practically exploded beneath me! I mean...I-It all just broke underneath me, and there was absolutely nothing under the ice, just a whole bunch of darkness!” Viktor didn’t want the mood to be so grim, so dark, he wanted to see Yuuri smile instead of stress out like he was.
“Maybe the ice was breaking because you’re overweight, Piggy,” he said as he pressed a finger into Yuuri’s pudgy belly. Although his cheeks reddened and his eyes drifted down, Yuuri didn’t laugh at the joke.
“That wasn’t it. I tried to ask you for help, you were standing on the sidelines like you always are, but you just stared at me like I had something on my face! I was squirming and thrashing around, but my body kept getting stiff, a-and I couldn’t escape! I even started screaming, and you didn’t do anything; you just watched me! And...Eventually, I begged for you to come help me loud enough, you raced over with your hand out...I thought you were going to save me, but...” Yuuri’s sentence broke off as his eyes filled with tears. A gentle sob left his lips.
“B-But you just reached down, grabbed onto my hair and my head, then you pushed me farther down until I was completely trapped under the ice, and it closed up behind me.” The room was filled with a heavy silence, so thick and weighted that it pressed on their shoulders, made their heads ache, and clogged their throats.
“I-I wouldn’t do that, Yuuri, don’t you know that? I wouldn’t push you down, I would have grabbed you off the ice the minute your legs stopped working,” he insisted, a cold feeling of guilt growing in his stomach - he hadn’t done any of what Yuuri was thinking, he knew it wasn’t real, but the unbearable guilt he felt was certainly not an illusion. Yuuri nodded solemnly. It was clear he hadn’t wanted to tell Viktor, knowing a situation like this would occur.
“But...it was just a dream,” Yuuri explained. “I-It was only a dream. It shouldn’t bother me so much.” Without another word, he rolled himself out of bed and into the bathroom - Makkachin’s claws clicked on the wooden floor as he followed Yuuri, plopping himself in the doorway and watching him brush his teeth. Yuuri didn’t want to talk about it anymore and neither did Viktor, but that wasn’t the end of it for either partner.
Minutes ticked into hours, and the sun had long since risen. Yuuri had trailed off to the Hasetsu Ice Castle at some point during the day, needing solitude to sort through his dreams. Their bedroom, having only a North-facing window, didn’t receive light during the day - the only source of light was from Viktor’s laptop screen, which was filled with fourteen different tabs of the meaning behind dreams and how to solve nightmares.
“Nothing here is helpful,” he muttered with another frown. That expression had been plastered on his face for the entire day, full of concern and distaste for how useless the internet had become to him. Eventually, his attention wandered to online shopping, and soon his cart was overflowing with sleeping medication, herbal essences, white noise machines, and anything else that could have helped Yuuri get a better night’s rest. Just as he pressed “order now,” there was a clammer from the entrance of the house.
“Vitya? Are you out of bed yet?” Yuuri’s voice sounded so chipper, finally. Skating had put him at ease, and Makkachin bounded out of the room to greet him.
“Yes, I am! Welcome home, Pork Cutlet Bowl!” he shouted from the bedroom, pulling on a robe before following his excited dog. “How are you? How are you feeling? Okay, right?” Viktor knew Yuuri didn’t want to talk about it anymore, but he couldn’t help but make sure.
“Y...Yes? Yes, I’m fine? Why wouldn’t I be?” he replied with a confused expression on his innocent face, hanging up his jacket by the door. Although he was about to mention the horrible dream, Viktor closed his mouth and smiled brightly.
“I just wondered. Can’t I ask my husband how he’s doing?” Yuuri feebly smiled in reply as he placed a plastic bag on the table.
“I bought dinner for us! I didn’t have time to go grab something you really would have liked, but this was nearby and easy, so I hope you don’t mind Pepper Lunch,” he quickly stammered, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. Stress eating, Viktor thought immediately.
“None for you, Piggy. Greasy food will make you even fatter!” Yuuri stared at him for a moment before he realized the issue.
“...O-Oh! Right, right, that makes sense,” the small one said, stumbling through his sentence again. After Viktor had cut down his eagerness for the meal, the two of them chatted solemnly through the night, hardly looking each other in the eyes. Is he, Viktor wondered, just tired? Night fell far too soon for the liking of any of them - Viktor wanted to talk about what was going on, Yuuri didn’t want another dream, and Makkachin wanted to play with the sock he had just found under the dresser.
“Good night, Vitya,” Yuuri mumbled as he slipped under the plush comforter, burying his face in his pillow before he had a chance to reply. He fell asleep quickly, at least, Viktor thought with wonder. This time, however, was different. Although his pulsing heart slowed and his eyelids rapidly gained weight, Viktor pushed away the essence of sleep. Just as he thought he would have to submit to the tiring claws that pulled at his hair and beckoned him to rest, a sudden shift from Yuuri ripped a surprised gasp from Viktor’s throat.
“...Are you still asleep?” he whispered stupidly, although he could clearly see Yuuri’s closed, restless eyes. It has to be that dream again. He couldn’t stay and watch. Viktor couldn’t stand, from the outside, and watch Yuuri struggle, watch him fall into the cold, tight feeling of dread that the dream left behind. After pondering for several moments, yet not of the repercussions his actions would cause, Viktor snaked his arms around his trembling husband and buried a kiss onto his bare shoulder.
“It’s okay, Yuuri, I’m here,” he breathlessly insisted, pulling the squirming boy closer into his embrace.
Two hours past the rising sun marked the timing of the alarm, something about which Yuuri had always been particular. Dark rings crested beneath the Russian man’s eyes - there had been no sleep for him all night, only trying to embrace Yuuri as much as he fought away.
“Good morning, Piggy,” he muttered with a yawn, laced with intoxicating amounts of exhaustion. His black-haired counterpart rolled out of Viktor’s arms and stretched his limbs for several seconds before bothering to reply.
“How did you sleep?” he implored, running a finger through his thick locks as his glasses glinted in the golden, streaming light of the sun.
“How did you sleep?” Viktor insisted rather than giving a straight answer. From the heaving sigh and droop in Yuuri’s tense shoulders, it was clear the next answer wouldn’t be a positive one.
“Not great. The dream was back. What am I going to do, Viktor? It was worse this time...You were you, but you weren’t at the same time. Y-You were a...Twisted, demented version of Viktor, I can’t explain it,” he muttered through his trembling voice, clogged with fears from his mind. “You didn’t just push me this time...You jumped in and dragged me down, I can still remember the feeling of your arms around me as we both sank into nothing...or maybe death, it might have been death down there.”
“Is there any chance,” Viktor started slowly. “...that it was a romantic gesture? Killing both of us at once, like...A Romeo and Juliet double suicide?” Yuuri’s doubtful eyes grazed across Viktor’s expression, only to shy away at the last minute.
“N-No, it wasn’t like that,” he quickly responded, a heartbroken tone to his voice - clearly, he didn’t think Viktor understood, which was something that threw him into a heavy feeling of despair. “I-I’m going out for a run. Or...maybe something to eat, I-I don’t really know yet.” His curt explanation was finished with the click of Yuuri snapping on Makkachin’s leash, and before Viktor could even respond, the pair of them jogged out of the house, letting the screen door slam behind them.
As tears of regret filled his eyes, the chance to sleep weighed on his mind heavier than before - where had he gone wrong? What had he said to drive Yuuri away so quickly? The troubling thoughts, however, pushed themselves away from his cloudy mind before the slender man collapsed onto the mess of pillows. Sleep drove away all his concerns in that instant. When his eyes fluttered open once again, the dancing light of the sun had vanished.
“...What...time is it? Did I sleep all day?” he groggily asked, scanning the room for some kind of explanation. Another gentle yelp left his lips when he felt the sudden appearance of a warm body and head of hair pressed against his own abdomen. Yuuri, Viktor thought with satisfaction that his love had actually come home. Now fully rested, Viktor took the opportunity - in that moment of peace - just to watch Yuuri again and think of all the apologetic words he could say in the morning.
“Maybe I can say...I’m sorry, my love, for not ever knowing what I did wrong and still being able to cover it up with bad apologies,” he muttered with a wry laugh. Yuuri stirred at the vibration of Viktor’s voice, but a frown slowly found its way onto his once peaceful expression.
“No, no,” the Russian man said when he realized what it could mean. “Not tonight. You aren’t going through that again.” He immediately shook Yuuri awake, causing a panicked gasp, which in turn, startled Makkachin into a bark before realizing it was only the three of them.
“Vik...tor? You’re awake?” Yuuri mumbled, reaching for his glasses on his face where there weren’t any. “Wh-What’s going on?”
“You...Were dreaming again,” he assured Yuuri. “But I couldn’t let you fall into another nightmare, I’m sorry.”
“S’okay,” Yuuri tried to mutter, but Viktor cut him off.
“It isn’t. Yuuri, I want to make sure you know...That I would never do any of that, alright? I wouldn’t ever...hurt you like that. Please, you’ve got to understand that I love you. Don’t you know that?” There was a moment of silence as sleep-riddled Yuuri tried to process the situation.
“...Yeah, I know,” he quietly stated beneath a yawn, not yet fully comprehending the conversation. “And...I love you, too, Viktor, you know...and I think I know what was causing these nightmares, there was something I was avoiding asking you…”
“Yes, Pork Cutlet Bowl? Ask me anything, you can always come to me,” Viktor assured as Yuuri found another comfortable place, pressed against his spouse. His fingers pushed through Yuuri’s dark roots until coming to a peaceful rest.
“...What...do you think about having kids?” Viktor felt his heart pick up in pace at the thought of what that meant for him - screaming babies, rapid balding, constant money wasted, and the end of his career as he knew it.
“U-Um...Repeat that, please, Yuuri,” he requested, a panicked chuckle topping off his request. Yuuri had already drifted to sleep, leaving him alone with the stressful thought for the next few stressful hours. Without doubt, Viktor could feel his own nightmares brewing.