Yuuri’s first jump of the routine landed as perfectly as Victor had expected. Watching from the sidelines of the practice rink, he jotted down a few notes on characterization and returned to watching his pupil’s practice. Yuuri was completely focused this go around. Victor could tell he was intent on nailing the final jump, regardless of his exhaustion after a long morning practice. To Victors dismay, he had turned down the offer of a break multiple times. “Not until I get that jump,” he'd said.
Victor shook his head. Yuuri could be so stubborn when he wanted to be. Narrowing his eyes, the coach could clearly see the essence of the routine lacking due to tiredness. Well, that aspect could be saved for another day. It was important to Yuuri to nail the technical aspect first so he would honor that, at least for today. He supposed it was necessary anyway, considering the routine had to be ready in three weeks time for the next competition that was scheduled.
The music reached a peak and the skater leaped into the air, spun, and landed with practiced grace. Humming, Victor set down his pen and notepad and settled to watch. Yuuri had improved this season beyond anyone's expectations. Victor could not have been prouder of him. He had truly blossomed, and so had their relationship. Since their first kiss, they never actually discussed what they were to each other. They just knew, it didn't need explaining. They held onto their professionalism as student and coach, but privately they we both head over heals, Victor especially. Yuuri was amazing to him and someone he would protect at all costs. He was absolutely gorgeous on and off the ice and Victor still couldn't wrap his head around how he had gotten so lucky. He smiled with a small flush as his mind wandered, watching the young man take his second to last jump. 'Beautiful', Victor thought. 'He's absolutely beautiful.'
Yuuri narrowed his eyes with determination as he began to lead into the final jump. Victor stood and leaned over the barrier in anticipation when suddenly something caught his eye by Yuuri’s skates. A loose shoelace. Victor's eyes widened and he opened his mouth to call out.
“Yuuri! Don't do the jump!”
But Yuuri was already in the air. Time seemed to slow as he spun, skates gleaming amongst the ice. As he came down, all Victor could do was watch on in horror as his skate touched down at an awkward angle, lace knot unraveling and stretching. His landing ankle, unprotected by a tightly laced skate, bent unnaturally and gave out.
Without so much as a yelp, Yuuri hit the ice. Hard. His limp body slid into the barrier opposite where Victor stood, suddenly much colder than a moment ago. A second later, he was running unsteadily across the ice to the skaters side. He was laying on his stomach, head off to one side and hair an icy mess. Victor fell into a full panic.
“Yuuri! Yuuri answer me! Are you alright?” Victor tentatively shook his shoulder, not knowing the extent of the damage and not wanting to risk any further injury. Yuuri replied with a groan and flipped over onto his back. His eyes squinted up at Victor's pained face.
“Yeah, I'm okay. Sorr--”
Victor gasped. “You're bleeding моя любовь!” He reached down to help Yuuri sit up, cradling his scraped face. The gash above his right eyebrow was clogged with ice chips and was starting to drip onto his shirt. In one swift motion, Victor slid off his scarf, put it to the wound, and called for Yuko. “Please call the rink's local medic and tell him that if he does not come as quickly as possible, I'll have him fired before he arrives," Victor told her sternly. With a worried nod she ran off.
With her gone, Victor turned his full attention back to Yuuri who still looked a bit dazed from the rough fall. “Can you stand, Yuuri?” he asked gently. “We need to get you off of the ice.” With a small nod, he began to stand with Victor’s help. Victor held his shoulder and arm as Yuuri held the scarf to his forehead but suddenly, he let out a cry of pain and fell back to the ice with tears in his eyes.
“What is it, моя любовь? What hurts?” Victor was a master of composure in all situations. All situations that didn't involve Yuuri. If any other skater was injured, Victor could handle it with ease and experience, but when the one he cared about most was on the line, charisma was very hard to grasp. Nevertheless, he was trying his hardest to remain calm as to not upset Yuuri further. But no matter how hard he tried, he could not keep the tremor out if his voice. “Yuuri, talk to me. What hurts?” Unable to speak through the beginnings of panicked breaths and tears, Yuuri gestured to his right ankle where the lace had been loose. Victor furrowed his brow, nodded, and positioned himself under Yuuri's arm.
The trek back to the bench was a long and slow one with Victor's skateless feet and Yuuri’s single one. Finally, the two reached the benches. Victor sat Yuuri down gently and immediately went to work on his skates, focusing on the uninjured side first. Once that one was off, he began the surgical process of removing the other with as little pain as possible. Yuuri hissed at the final tug if the skate and began to shake when he saw the state of the injury.
It had already begun to swell and bruise around the top of the foot and ankle. Victor quickly examined it and pulled over a box to set it up, elevated. 'Where is that damn medic,' he thought angrily. He then pulled himself up to a shivering and terrified Yuuri. He removed his gloves, dropped his coat over the man's shoulders, and cupped Yuuri's smaller hands in his own. “Don't look at it, Yuuri. Look at me.” Obeying, he slowly turned his head up to him. Victor knew that face well. That was the face he saw on the day if their first kiss. A face of genuine terror and worry. A face that one wrong word could shatter. Victor pulled him into a soft embrace, one hand buried into his soft, black hair, the other grasping his hands. “You're going to be fine моя любовь,” he whispered. "I promise."
A moment later, the medic arrived. The process of dressing the cut was quick and simple as it was not very deep but the ankle injury was another story. While the medic went to work on assessing the injury, Victor, although ever watchful of the medic, never let go of Yuuri. He knew that he was terrified. Injuries are the killers of skaters and if this happened to be a particularly bad one, it could knock him out of the rest of the season. Or longer. Victor didn't want to give the thought a chance but he knew Yuuri could think of nothing else at the moment. The medic asked him to try to move the foot. Yuuri nodded unsteadily and bit his lip as he did. It was only a slight movement but Victor sighed in relief, gripping Yuuri's shoulders in further reassurance. Movement mentioned no breakage, which was a start.
The medic nodded and began to wrap the ankle tightly. “Well?” Victor asked insistently.
The medic offered a smile up at the two. “It's not too serious, only a bad sprain. Keep it iced and elevated and keep him off of his skates for about a week.” The man patted Yuuri's knee in reassurance. “It should heal fine since you've had no other injury on this ankle.”
Victor let out the breath he was holding as he felt Yuuri relax a bit under his embrace. He thanked the medic and the two began the process of packing up. “I will call a car down for us, Yuuri. Will you be able to walk with crutches?”
“Yeah,” he replied as he was gently sliding on a sneaker. “Thank you, Victor.” He gave a weak smile which Victor could tell was forced, but he decided to not make a comment.
The ride back to the hot spring was short and silent. Yuuri kept a tight grip of Victor’s hand, which was fine with him because he had no intention of letting go. Glancing over to the man beside him, the same look of fear was evident on his face. Victor refused to let his worry show, but it was tearing him up. He knew Yuuri could recover and learn the routine well enough before the competition, but why didn't he? Or maybe he did and it was something else? What was it? Victor sighed and gripped the other's hand tighter.
Once they reached the house Victor refused to let Yuuri do anything but walk in on his crutches and lay down. He explained to the Katsuki's what had happened and that Yuuri was to rest up the next week. Everyone began to work on setting his bed up for him, elevating the injury, icing it, and feeding Yuuri pain pills. Soon enough, however, the family quit their pampering and left him and Victor alone. The polite smile Yuuri had for his family slowly faded and soon the look from before was back in his eyes.
Victor put on his brightest smile in an attempt to remedy this. “Is there anything I can get for you, моя любовь?” Yuuri shook his head, pulling out his phone. “I'll let you have katsudon, just this once,” he tempted. Yuuri shook his head. Victor frowned. Something had to be wrong.
Pulling up Yuuri's nearby desk chair, Victor settled himself next to the bed and crossed his arms. Yuuri looked over to him. “Victor, you don't have to stay here, you know. It's not like I'm going anywhere.” At that, Victor laughed, wholeheartedly. Yuuri frowned “What's so funny?”
Wiping tears from his eyes, Victor settled down. “What's funny is you think I'd like to be anywhere but next to you, Yuuri.” The skater blushed deeply and turned away.
“Don't say things like that. It's embarrassing.”
Victor shrugged. “The only ones here are you and me. Oh! Speaking of which…” Victor leaned over the bed and placed a tender kiss on the already red man's lips. Yuuri only protested a moment before sighing and leaning into the kiss. When Victor finally pulled away, both were short of breath. Victor was not very good at showing his feeling for others, but looking down at the flushed man beneath him, on word came to mind. With a fond smile Victor whispered, “You're beautiful, Yuuri.”
Yuuri's frown returned as he turned away slightly. “Don't say that.”
Victor sat back in his chair with a smile and put Yuuri's hand in his. “But it's true!”
“No, it's not!” Yuuri snapped. Victor jumped in surprise and Yuuri turned back to him, gripping his hand. “Sorry! I'm sorry…”
Furrowing his brow, Victor leaned over the bed and rested his chin on the soft blanket next to Yuuri's head. “Mоя любовь, what is bothering you? You know you can talk to me.”
Yuuri studied the back of his phone case, making sure to look anywhere but Victor. “I know… I'm sorry it's just this sprain is getting to my head.”
Victor poked his cheek playfully. “You know you'll be back on the ice soon and ready for the competition in no time, right? You'll be fine, Yuuri. You already know the choreography by heart.”
“I know that. That's not what's bothering me really,” Yuuri replied, swatting Victor away gently. “It's just…” He let out a deep sigh. To Victor, he sounded like the very idea of telling him what was going on was exhausting. He squeezed the skaters hand.
“Victor… how long are you going to keep this up?”
Victor cocked his head, confused. “I don't know what you mean, моя любовь.”
“Don't call me that!” Yuuri was verging in tears now. “Don't call me ‘your love’. Don't make a promise you can't keep, Victor. It will only end up hurting me more in the end. Don't you know that?!” Yuuri squeezed his eyes shut and choked back a sob.
Victor was never good with crying people either, especially when it was Yuuri. His first thought was to kiss him, but then he thought better of it. Instead, he wiped away thick tears and cradled his face in his palm. “Yuuri…” he cooed softly. “I would never hurt you. And I do love you, Yuuri. More than anything.”
The other strained to speak. “But what happens if I can't skate anymore? What- what if I get hurt worse next time? What if I… what if I-?!” Yuuri shook with sobs and gasps.
Victor leaned in closer and grasped Yuuri's face with both hands, forcing him to look him in the eye. “Then I will still love you, Yuuri! And I will never stop loving you!” Victor shook his head and gazed into Yuuri's eyes. They were always a deep hazel when he cried, Victor could never look away from them. Just one of the many parts he loved about him. “No matter how good or how bad you are at skating, no matter how able you are, no matter how smart or dumb, no matter how old or young, I will always stand by you, Yuuri. That's a promise I will never break.”
Yuuri searched Victor’s face and sniffed. “Really?”
Victor huffed a laugh and pulled him into an embrace. “Of course, моя любовь. Of course.” Yuuri gripped his shirt and quietly sobbed into his shoulder while Victor rubbed his back slowly, whispering reassuring words in his ear.
After a few minutes Yuuri's breath began to even out. Victor slowly pulled away to grab a tissue box from the desk, but he was stopped by Yuuri's grip on his hand. “Don't… don’t leave. Please, Victor.”
Victor smiled down at him softly in understanding. “Alright, scooch.” Yuuri made space on the bed as best he could and Victor slid next to him, draping a blanket over them. Yuuri turned and buried his face into Victor’s chest the best he could with his ankle up, still sniffling. Victor chuckled. “Who knew all I had to do for you to let me sleep with you was to get you all snot nosed.”
Yuuri giggled through his stuffy nose. “Shut up.” Before long, Yuuri was out like a light, softly snoring into Victor’s shoulder. He gazed at him fondly.
'Yes… he is beautiful.'