When Yuri was 6 he met Victor at the first time. Grandpa first took him to the skating rink and Yuri didn't like it at all. His feet were slipping, his hands were cold and other then Yuri there were no kids his age. Everybody around him skated and laughed and nobody seemed to care about little boy. Yuri hated that feeling, hated to be worst in something. Just when he decided never to skate again he saw a man. This was the most beautiful sight little Yuri ever saw. He moved with such grace as if skating was his whole life. With his long braided hair trembled on the wind, eyes down, hands clutched behind, this man looked like he was dreaming, peaceful and relaxed. People around Yuri started to whisper “Is that? No, it can't be. Nikiforov's here? Is it THAT guy who won gold in Euros this year? Skating here, in public rink?”, but Yuri didn't hear them. His eyes sparkled, his gaze followed the man and unintentionally Yuri lets go of grandpa's hand and makes few steps forward. Of course, he falls, not able to keep balance on slippery ice. Blushing, Yuri looks up at the man – did he saw? Their eyes met and tall man comes closer to help. He reaches out to Yuri and gives him the shiniest smile.
“Будь осторожнее. Если ты поранишься, то не сможешь кататься. Ты же этого не хочешь?” man helps Yuri to get on his feet and sprints forward. Yuri stand still. He does not understand how someone can move freely on such unstable surface, but now he wants to understand. His luck of skills, which couple minutes ago made him want to curl in a ball and cry, now serves as a motivation.
“Деда, я тоже буду так кататься” he says with a sparkling eyes. Nikolai Plisetsky doesn't answer. He smiles and hugs his grandson, happy to see his change of mood.
When Yuri was 10 he started training under Yakov. He worked hard, struggled to be noticed, and then finally the season came where he won every local competition in his age group. Yakov didn't usually train kids, leaving this job to other coaches and assistants. But there was something in this kid, his strength and devotion to figure skating attracted people to him. So the arrangements were made and Yuri was transferred to Yakov's group. His first day training wasn't very impressive. Yakov seemed to him like a regular coach, his training routine was practically same as before. Still, Yuri was glad. He will skate like Victor whatever the cost. Nothing can stop him. Yuri caught the glimpse of silver hear with the corner of his eye and immediately turned in that direction. He heard familiar voice even before he saw Victor at the entrance
“Morning, coach Yakov!”
“Vitya? What are you doing here?”
“Huh? I'm.. training, I guess? Oh, Yakov, I know that look. Did I forget something again?”
“Of course, you forget. I changed the training schedule this week. I have a new guy here, so your training will start in an hour. I e-mailed you. And sent a message. And left a voice mail”
Victor rubbed back of his neck and smiled “Sorry, sorry! Don't mind me, then. I'll just wait for a bit. Also, nice to meet a new face here. My name is Victor, and what is yours?”
Yuri blinked in disbelieve. He was sure he'll meet his idol some day, but didn't expect it to happen in his first day. Still in a shock he didn't realized what was the question and instead cried out “You hair! Why did you cut it?”
Victor run his hand through his hair. It was indeed short, the longest strand didn't even cover his ear. “Well, I wear long hear since I was 14. People got used to it and they weren't surprised by it anymore so I needed to change. If you can't surprise people, you're as good as dead. Remember it, …?”
“Remember it, Yuri. It was nice to meet you. Go now, you sure don't want to make Yakov wait”
When Yuri was 12 he landed his first quad in a competition. He knew, that even in senior division there are skaters who can't land quad Salchow and that made him confident. Time will come, Yuri thought, and he will surprise every one in the world with his senior debut. Just like Victor tought him. Listening to Yakov's scolding Yuri couldn't stop wondering. Why doesn't Yakov want me on my best? Victor always did everything possible to win. Yakov just doesn't understand.
“But you can win, even without quads.” Yuri's thoughts were interrupted. He looked up to see Victor's smiling face. “I'd bet money on it”. Bet, huh? A rebel idea came to Yuri's mind. Yakov is clearly playing safe with him. He can't impress people doing everything that his competitors can do. He needs more, he needs to surprise every single sole in the world. Only Victor understands it.
“Okay, if I win without quad jumps, them choreograph a program just for me”. Victor smiled. Yuri knew, he can't stand a bet like this.
“Sure. When you win the Junior World Championship, come see me.” Yuri have never been more confident. He'll make history with his senior debut, wining every possible gold medal with best choreographer by his side.
When Yuri was 14 he met Yuuri for the first time. This was going to be his last season in junior division. He was better than any of his competitors even three years ago. He's already earned his place in GPF, now he just needed a gold medal to prove it and to win a bet. Training became boring, Yuri no longer could motivate himself. He was looking forward to next season, but this year's skating was more duty than pleasure. He was trying to watch every competition in this year GPF series, not only ones with Victor as he did before. It was important to know his future competitors well. He did deeper research on this years favorites, sometimes he searched Internet for record of past competitions of his potential rivals. Yuuri Katsuki was not one of them. Early on season this Japanese guy barely made it to the podium with a bronze on Skate Canada. Yuri didn't payed him much attention, his eyes were on Victor, who clearly was best on ice and win his gold easily. He saw his free skate in practice, sure. But Victor always looked different in competition. He usually trained hard, concentrated on victory. He could spend hours to practice one step sequence ignoring everything around to make it perfect. But in competition everything changes. His skate remains flawless, but his body radiates pure happiness. Looking how emotional he skates no one could say how hard he trained. Victor makes himself look like a genius who gives all his affords to performance and doesn't care about his technical elements. Nobody there understands what he do every day to come this far. No one knows how he really wants that gold medal, his fifth Grand Prix gold. But Yuri understands. They grew closer in a past years. Victor usually gave him tips on his techniques and encouraged him to always try something new. “If you can't surprise people, you're as good as dead”. Yuri knew, he can't surprise anybody in junior division, but with Victor's choreography he was going to blow everyone's mind wining next year his first senior competition. Yuri smiled, looking at three men on the podium. “Only Victor can be my true competitor. And I'll do everything to surprise him”
Next couple of month was intense. Victor secured a place in GPF by wining Cup of China and that strange Japanese guy was second to join him, somehow wining Trophee de France. This surprised Yuri. He remembered that second Yuuri from Skate Canada. His program was easy and his jumps clumsy. But he still got himself highest performance score and climbed to the third place. Yuri scrolled some photos from event. This Japanese idiot looked on Victor like a puppy, Yuri half expected him to drool on his jacket from excitement. Uh, gross. His performance in France though… Yuri watched it closely. Something changed in this guy. His jumps still needed a lot of practice, but his steps and spins were amazing. And his performance… It was just like Victor's. His expression showed pure joy, he skated with a pleasure – a rare sight in competitive skating. Yuri caught himself enjoying the view. That's stupid, he cut himself. Even if he'll make it to the finale next year, I'll crush him like anyone else.
Still, there was something inside of him… He couldn't quite catch the feeling, but he was looking forward to see Yuuri compete with Victor again.