Viktor smiled as he sipped his vodka from a crystal goblet. He sat at the large mahogany desk in the corner of their bed chamber, a few flickering candles providing just enough light for him to see Yuri’s slumbering form nested deep into the richly lined fur blankets of their gilded canopy bed.. It had become difficult for Viktor to remember what nights had been like without Yuri by his side. Viktor’s aquamarine eyes were delighted while he watched his petite lover sleep, choosing to ignore the document he needed to review before the morning came. Viktor was unable to contain the jovial feeling that bloomed in his chest as Yuri softly sighed, burying his face further into one of the Tsarevich’s pillows.
Yuri was a beautiful treasure that Viktor had been lucky enough to keep all for himself. They had been together for over two years now, and Viktor still believed he was more fortunate than any other man. It had been fate for them to meet. There had been something so compelling when Viktor had first seen Yuri; a strange alignment of the stars or act of god that he had never been able to properly identify that demanded that he be with Yuri for the rest of their lives. The blond had ensnared him from the very beginning. Though Viktor liked to believe that he had been in control, it had been Yuri all along. Yuri was the true master in their relationship, but on that day they had hardly shared even a single moment together. Viktor was foolish enough to think that he had be upper hand.
It had been a blustery winter morning when Viktor caught his first glimpse of Yuri. He had traveled to the countryside in place of his father, a common duty shared between him and his brothers. Viktor wasn't ever given a choice, he went where his father told him. It was his duty as a member of the royal family, and his family meant everything to him. He would travel to the far ends of the Siberian tundra for his father. He would gladly walk miles on end if it brought any sort of joy to his mother's heart. So, here he stood today, wrapped tightly in his heavy coat as a sharp wind whipped across the empty fields that surrounded the towering walls of the building that loomed large behind him, waiting to cut the ceremonial ribbon for a new steel mill like the proper son of the empire that he was.
There were more people waiting outside of the factory than Viktor had expected when the Tsarevich first arrived in his luxury car. He emerged with a reserved smile as he waved to the men and women that were huddled together in front of a raised wooden platform. Viktor made his way to the top, shaking hands with a burly bearded man before turning to give the large group of workers another quick wave. He clasped his gloved hands together in front of him, the buttery soft black leather barely kept out the cold. His blood red coat hung to his ankles, the crisp silver embroidery glittering the in slivers of sunlight that peeked through the clouds. A feeling of guilt made him uneasy as he turned to face the crowd, watching the shivering faces gaze up at him
Maybe it was the look of utter panic in those unforgettable emerald eyes that had bewitched Viktor from the moment he first saw him. The blond had always been rife with fear, so nervous and unsure even after the countless rendezvous they had shared as lovers. It had taken a great a amount of time, but eventually their years together had quelled some of that skittishness, a small piece often still lingered, but it was all part of Yuri’s charm.
When he thought back to their first meeting, Viktor decided that maybe it had been the supple curve of Yuri's dewy lips that had caught his attention. When he smiled at the older man next to him, there was an unspoken innocence that clung to every fiber of Yuri's being. Most of the men and women there had years of hard labor, slaving in factories and fields, Yuri was untarnished. He appeared delicate, shielded away from any sort of factory work. Yuri stuck out among the weathered faces of the workers around him. Viktor longed to see more of the milky skin that was hidden beneath a worn out smock. He could feel his mouth watering as the blond tucked a golden lock of hair behind one ear. Such beautiful little ears…
The whole crowd had been wearing matching exasperated expressions as the factory's new foreman droned on, stating for the third time how much of an honor it was to have the Tsarevich in attendance for such a momentous occasion.
The factory wasn’t even fully operating yet and already the air felt weighty in the lungs of its prisoners. Blackened fingers, faces smeared with grease and daylight had only just broken across the sky. A life of endless toil as men flit between machinery while women pricked their fingers with needles. Beneath Yuri’s nails there was only dirt, saved mostly from a life of steel and industry, rather he plucked weeds and mixed mulch at home in the safety of their garden. At times the palace could be seen from his berry patch, when the wind whisked the trees. But the factory, with its ugly smoke and drab stone, was far more prominent in the eyes of Russia’s peasants.
A new factory meant new money. Not necessarily for the Plisetsky’s but rather for the nobler men who decided what was best for their country. This is what brought them here, to the stone building with overly loud cranking that never seemed to end, the whirl of a machine felt annoyingly foreign to the ears of a farm boy. His brother, Sergei, appeared unaffected by the echoes and shouts as he stood tall and proud between Yuri and their father, Nikolai. What pride they exhibited felt strange in contrast to the beautifully clad, elegant tsarevich upon the stage. A man who needed no false bravado as he look so coolly across the crowd to observe his empire’s newest employees.
The foreman spoke words of encouragement, even smiling with his yellowed teeth and kind eyes while the Tsarevich so dutifully stood beside him. Yuri wondered for a moment if he hated it here.. hated the noise, hated the stench of peasants, hated the look of exhaustion everyone’s eyes. What must it be like to descend from his palace to muddy his leather shoes? Yuri knew so little about their world. His brother had always insisted that nobles were wolves just waiting to snap the necks of their prey between powerful jaws. Nikolai would quell that talk, warning Sergei to remain loyal, to have faith, to pray for strength but at times it all felt so helpless. Sergei would scowl at the admonishing, and even on his youthful face there were lines.
Men in their dark clothes pushed past him, uncaring of the boy in an embroidered apron, with his white shirt now stained with dirt and sweat. They didn’t care when they stepped on Yuri’s worn boots but would merely sneer at the mop of blond hair and pale skin. Out of place and so very obvious. Sergei and Nikolai wore their work, their black clothes remained stained with muck while Yuri washed out his mother’s clothes in the lake. “We can’t afford new clothes Yura.” They’d said when he outgrew his last pair of trousers. “Wear mama’s.” Sergei had shoved their mother’s old clothes at him, looking both irritated and perhaps reluctant. She had died just a few years ago, just as Yuri was preparing to begin life as a child of industry.. then she was gone. Perhaps it was the sorrow that killed her, to see her own sons scrape the bottom of their bowls at dinner to seek out every last morsel. But she was gone now and could not even teach Yuri how to sew his skirts in to trousers.
But he caught Viktor’s attention, caught the handsome noble’s gaze. A so very piercing gaze and with a face that looked carved from marble. Did he even sweat? But why did this Tsarevich look to him, perhaps it was his colorful clothes or the way he stood so shortly among the hoard of men. Regardless of the reason, a thumping began aching dully in his chest when Viktor looked upon him. That look would never leave him feeling anything other than breathless- centuries could fly past them and never would Viktor’s gaze sate him. Left weak in the knees and his heart sent fluttering, it was like a spell.
But the crowd was moving and suddenly Yuri felt the ache of obsession swell in his chest, so badly he wished to catch Viktor’s attention once more and speak to him. But Sergei was grabbing him by the arm, tugging at the thin limb until an attendant, a palace guard was halting their father. “I want a word with your son.” The entire family had a look of pure bewilderment but Sergei slowly released his brother’s arm, almost like a surrender. While Yuri looked full of curiosity, Sergei was the epitome of skepticism. What did a guard want with Yuri? The boy had broken no laws or committed any crime? But Nikolai once again hushed his eldest son as Yuri was being escorted towards a dimly lit hallway. All he could focus on was the bright glint of the guard’s belt.
“What is your name?” Came the stern question, a question that momentarily left him speechless and full of fear. “Yuri Plisetsky.” His swallow stuck hard in his throat. No one in his family had ever been very relaxed around authority.
“Where do you reside, Plisetsky?” The guard’s gaze is so stoic it actually feels like a source of comfort. There was hardly a flicker of emotion behind those eyes- anger, cruelty- nothing.
“In the farmlands, just beyond the blue roofed church. The first house.” His answer is quite earthy in quality. Only giving landmarks, as though he knew nothing of the cardinal directions or even units of distance. His world wasn’t measured in numbers- no it was measured in days survived and the smiles upon his family’s face.
“You will be receiving a letter summoning you to the palace. Please do not be accompanied by your family, the Tsarevich requests only to hold a private meeting with you.” The words are so even and frightening, Yuri hardly hears them as he stares into his steely gaze. “Enjoy the rest of your day, Plisetsky.” With that, he was gone, only the soft clack of boots in his wake. But numbness is crawling up Yuri’s spine, is it fear, or delight? The emotions feel at times so similar.
Viktor smiled to himself as he rode back to the palace, watching the factory fade into the hazy smoke filled air as he passed through another heavily industrialized stretch of land. His mind buzzing with the image of the beautiful young blond that he had so quickly became infatuated with. The small Russian had been a glittering jewel in a sea of drab faces. Viktor had wanted to talk to the boy himself, but his keepers advised against showing such a familiarity with someone so common. He had learned the boy’s name was Yuri, and he was anything but common.
Yuri would be his.