I've found hope in a heart attack - pt. 1
Viktor x Fem!Reader Modern AU (Eventual NSFW)
Synopsis: When Jayce sets up a group trip then cancels, you find yourself booked for a week and a half long vacation with the man you've had feelings for the last year. No biggie, right?
Warnings: Sexual themes (mention of a condom), but nothing too spicy. Yet.
Word Count: 1.8k
A/N: This story will be multiple parts, and it's a bit of a slow burn! Hang in there, I promise it's worth it!
There’s something in the way Jayce Talis smiles that tells you he’s had a bad idea. It’s foolproof, really. The spark that lights behind his eyes, the haughty smile that paints his lips, and most of all, the way he looks at you and Viktor. As if he has something he desperately needs to tell you. As if he’ll die if he doesn’t.
You’ve known him long enough to recognize it when you see it, to stop the spark before he can coax it into a flame. The problem is that you can’t stop it when you don’t see it. Primarily, while you’re sitting at your desk, ruminating over your notes. Lost in the depths of your minds, only stirring when Jayce claps you on the back.
“I’ve had an idea,” he says. You promptly shut your notebook. The memories of him electrocuting himself are playing in your mind, along with some other… choice incidents. If the realm of bad ideas is a kingdom, then Jayce must sit on its throne. Unfortunately, so does Viktor.
“Hear me out,” he says, eyes darting between you and Viktor. “What if we went on a trip? A group vacation!”
And there it is - a bad idea. The basic equation of it, the small voice in the back of your head that’s telling you don’t. But most of all, the anxiety that twists in your stomach. You click your pen absentmindedly, trying to come up with a response.
The problem is that when Jayce gets an idea - whether good or bad - it consumes him, burns through him like a wildfire. What’s the right way to put this one out?
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, Jayce,” you settle on. Your voice sounds weaker than you’d intended it to, but you hold his gaze firmly.
Jayce stares at you for a moment, then leans forward, his smile reminiscent of something. Ah, the Cheshire cat. Lips curling up into his cheeks almost unsettlingly.
“Why not?” he asks. “Scared of relaxing for once?”
There’s a very good reason for you not to go on a group trip. He’s sitting a few feet away from you, mumbling softly as he goes over his notes, completely and utterly lost to the world. You try very hard not to look at him, but fail - your eyes seem to instinctively flick over to him, hunched down over his desk. He doesn’t seem to have heard Jayce’s suggestion.
“It just doesn’t feel like a good time,” you answer, tearing your gaze away.
“And when is a good time?” he asks. “What we’re working on can wait a little. Come on, we all need a break from this place. I can see it just looking at you. All of us, cooped up in here all the time, we’re going crazy! I’m telling you, what we need is to relax. We need some sun for once - warm beaches! Sand under our toes! I mean, look at me! Look at Viktor!”
You do. He’s still in his trance, scribbling something down on his paper.
“It’s winter, Jayce,” you reply evenly, going back to your notes. “There’s not a warm beach for hundreds of miles.”
“Somewhere else, then. My point is that we need to get away!”
When you don’t respond, Jayce turns his attention to Viktor.
“Hey, Vik,” Jayce says, resting his hand on Viktor’s shoulder. He flashes a smile back at you, which you pretend not to see.
“Yes?” Viktor asks distantly, still scrawling over the paper. Jayce is leaning in, reading what Viktor is writing from over his shoulder. At Viktor’s glance of annoyance, he snaps back.
“I was thinking,” Jayce starts, his voice sweet, like honey, “what do you say we get out of this place and take a vacation?”
Viktor, not even bothering to look up, steadily erases something he’d just written. “And where would we find the time for that?”
“Leave that up to me,” Jayce says, confidence oozing from his words. His smile has returned, the bad idea one that makes your stomach drop.
Shit, you think.
It’s a month later that you find yourself on your knees, packing a suitcase. The buzzing in your nerves won’t go away - it’s as if bad idea bad idea bad idea is on repeat, flooding your veins with the words until they consume you. You try to fight it with what’s the worst that can happen but that doesn’t help, because you already know what the worst thing that can happen is, and how close you’ve come to it before.
Why you agreed to this trip, you’ll never know. It would have been easy to tell the two of them that you’re busy, that you can’t afford to take a vacation in the middle of a project. Jayce had been persistent, but it hadn’t taken much to persuade you to go. Then again, you’d never in a million years thought Viktor would go on a group vacation. In fact, you had counted on him not going.
Which leaves you now, with tickets to stay at a cabin in the middle of some secluded town for a week and a half, and no good reason to cancel no matter how much you want to. You haven’t had to pack for anything in years, and it’s taking you forever. There’s still some things from your last trip in your bag, things you had completely forgotten about.
A tattered old shirt, a stray sock, and… a condom.
“Won’t be needing that,” you mutter, almost bitterly. There’s a soft tap as it hits the floor behind you. Jayce wouldn’t happen - he’s with Mel, and there’s not a chance that you’d ever need or want that for him. Viktor, well, as much as you want a scenario where you’ll need a condom with him, there’s no way in hell it’d play out.
Packing is hard. It’ll be freezing out, and you’ll need warm clothes, layers that don’t seem to fit into your suitcase no matter how much you push. Your arms begin to ache from the strain, double-checking the itinerary to confirm what you’ll need, shoving item after item in and then trying your hardest to zip it. It takes twenty minutes of rearranging and a good amount of compromise before it finally sits shut, and you sink back against the edge of the bed in relief.
This trip cannot be worth all of that effort.
Your phone pings with a text, but it goes ignored as you drag your suitcase to the side, huffing when it’s finally out of the way. It’s only when you hear another text come through that you pick up your phone, and see the two messages. More importantly, you see Viktor’s name on the text, and raw emotion fills your gut. You can’t place what it is - it could be anxiety, or joy, a mixture of the two. All you know is that your hand goes numb.
Your bed is warm, and that’s where you find your comfort, tucked under the blankets as you open the message.
Looks like it will be a little bonding trip for us, eh?
Your heart flutters a little at the sight of it, a sudden warmth spreading through your chest like a hot drink on a cold night. What does it mean? It must be connected to the other text you’d gotten. Burying yourself deeper into the blankets, you find that Jayce has sent a text in the group chat. Bad news is the first thing you see, and your heart starts pounding like a drum.
“Fuck,” you murmur, opening it.
Bad news, guys. Just got called in for a family emergency, and I can’t make the trip. You guys should still go, get a break from everything! I’ll see you when you get back. Don’t have too much fun without me!
Jayce must be crazy. You and Viktor, alone for a week and a half? You can count on your fingers how many times the two of you have interacted outside of Jayce, and a good number of those still leave you flushed with embarrassment. True, they could have been worse, but those brief moments had been torture.
One particular instance pushes to the front of your mind, where Jayce had left the lab early to go on a date with Mel. You’d been so focused on your work that you hadn’t even noticed his empty seat until you looked up and put two and two together. Just you and Viktor.
You’d attempted to act natural, but couldn’t ignore the cutting silence that had washed over the lab, only disturbed by the scribbling of Viktor’s writing. When you’d tried to say something to dull the sharpness of it, you couldn’t find any words that didn’t choke up in your throat.
Eventually, Viktor had lifted his gaze from his work and very politely asked you to lend him one of the tools that was on your desk. When you’d gotten up and handed it to him, your hands had brushed, your heart thrumming so loud in your ears that you were sure he could hear it.
Then you’d gazed at him for a moment too long. You hadn’t meant to, but it was like you were frozen, locked in place, eyes flitting from the beauty mark near his mouth to the one under his eye, then straying downward. He’d lifted an eyebrow inquisitively, and you’d found yourself stepping back, breathing heavily. When you met his gaze again, there was a slight tilt to his lips, informing you that he’d noticed you staring. Of course he had - he’s a genius.
He hadn’t said anything, though. He’d just watched you, those eyes burning with an unreadable emotion as you meekly went back to your desk. You could’ve sworn that you felt the heat of his gaze on your neck after that, and it’d completely ruined your concentration - you’d finished up the little bit of work you could stand and bid him good night, pushing the door open before he could reply.
That had been agony, and it’d been short. How are you supposed to survive a week and a half?
Then you remember his text. A bonding trip, he’d called it. He really could have cancelled on you, he’s busy enough that you would have understood. Is it reading too much into it to think that he actually wants to go with you? On the other hand, he just might want to relax. The bags under his eyes have become etched into the skin. You wouldn’t blame him for wanting to sleep for once.
Either way, you won’t risk disappointing him, not when the thought of it alone sends a shooting pain through your chest. Whatever friendship is between you, you intend to keep it, even if it means some awkwardness. Maybe it’ll even be fun. A good night’s sleep is sounding more appealing by the second.
You must spend five minutes typing and retyping your response to Viktor before your impatience wins over your anxiety and you finally send out a reply that seems alright.
Looking forward to it!
Viktor is a complex person. He is intelligent, but not only when it comes to scientific research.
Back when he lived in the Lanes, he had to learn from a very young age how to survive and how to avoid danger - including the man-made danger. As a cripple and a child, he was often overlooked and underestimated, which allowed him to get away with a lot.
It also allowed him a very close look at the way the "respected" people of the Lanes talked and behaved. How they manipulated. How they faked their confidence and lied so smoothly no one ever suspected a thing.
Viktor has never been a fan or a master of manipulation - but as he grew up, he learned to pay attention to the subtle details.
There's a quiet sense of confidence in Viktor that isn't noticeable at first. A lot of the time Viktor prefers to listen first and let people speak around him. It allows him time to understand them and check if it's even worth arguing.
When Viktor finally decides to speak though, he knows how to make himself heard.
He doesn't have to raise his voice or gesture wildly to earn all the attention in the room. When Viktor has something important to say, he will speak slowly, deliberately choosing very concise yet still polite words. There is something in the tone of his voice that puts just enough pressure on people to not even think of interrupting.
His brows furrow slightly and there's steel behind his eyes when Viktor talks down a person clearly in the wrong. He is never rude, but more often than not, the sheer weight of his gaze is enough to shut up idiots.
When Viktor speaks, he does slight movements with his free hand. It isn't anything aggressive, but still catches the attention of others, prompting them to stay focused.
Viktor doesn't think of himself as a dominant person and to a point, he isn't.
It isn't an effect of his conscious choices, but there are times when Viktor (regardless of his true intentions) appears confident and in charge enough to put a blush on people, especially younger students seeking him out for help with their projects.
There is something in the way Viktor rolls up his sleeves before approaching the lab table, with his eyes already focused on the issue presented to him. These are the moments when his crutch doesn't feel like it's holding him back, and new strength fills his body.
There are also moments when people find Viktor in an old armchair tucked at the corner of one of the offices, with the sun that comes through the high windows erasing the soft shadows from his face. He might look asleep, but his eyes are usually cracked just a fraction and a soft smile plays on his lips as he enjoys the warmth. He is leaning comfortably back on the cushions, and his legs are spread just in the right position to best relieve his muscles.
Viktor doesn't move first when he's approached there. Instead, he slightly turns his head to face the visitor and observes them from beneath his thick lashes. There is quite a lot of space to be crossed from the door, and if not prompted, Viktor won't break the silence. His crutch is within his reach and if he wanted to, he could stand up.
But he waits.
And let them come to their own conclusions.