Katsuki Yuuri didn’t hate Viktor Nikiforov. To tell the truth, he was the one Viktor would consider as a best friend, besides Christophe Giacometti. And Viktor was Yuuri’s other best friend besides Phichit Chulanont. They were pegged as rivals, ever since Yuuri snatched the gold from Viktor; both in his senior debut during Grand Prix and Worlds for two consecutive years. After that, Viktor amped up his routines and kept his title as gold medalist, with Yuuri tailing ever so closely behind with barely a one-point difference between them.
Yuuri was young, but he was ambitious. He had better stamina than Viktor, and he knew how to utilize it to his advantage.
And Viktor loved the challenge.
He still remembered how Yuuri was in daze when they announced his first gold in Grand Prix Final, defeating the reigning champion Viktor Nikiforov in Yuuri’s senior debut. Viktor often chuckled when he remembered the deer in the headlights look on Yuuri’s young face. Viktor thought he was 13 or 14 years old the first time he saw Katsuki Yuuri and embarrassed himself when he told Yuuri today was Men’s Single for Senior Division, not Junior.
Yuuri was pouting and said that he knew, and he was in Senior Division before turning away from Viktor and fuming angrily.
It was cute.
And for the first time after years, Viktor stood on the podium of Grand Prix Final holding silver instead of gold.
That day, their friendly rivalry-relationship started.
People often thought Katsuki Yuuri was cold and aloof. His face was full of determination before he stepped on to the ice with noise cancelling earpieces covering his ears. He never really spoke to anyone before his turn on ice, not even his Coach. Yuuri told Viktor he had to calm down beforehand or else he would get anxious and mess up. Being a good rival he was, Viktor nodded and decided only to talk to Yuuri after the free program was finished.
Viktor never knew when his respect for Yuuri as a rival turned into something else, and slowly he watched Yuuri got comfortable with his own body. More confident, sometimes snarky, with the laugh that reminded Viktor of the wind chimes Yuuri bought him as a gift after he received the NHK Trophy.
Viktor still remembered that one banquet after the GPF, where Viktor finally won the gold again after being defeated by Yuuri two years in a row in GPF and Worlds, Yuuri was pretty upset that he was beaten with merely one point difference between them. Viktor didn’t know who spiked Yuuri’s juice with alcohol (probably Chris), making the 19 year-old pretty much drunk off his ass, and starting to challenge every skater in sight for a dance off.
They had fun. Yuuri’s crazy stamina gave him the advantage, and he had beaten pretty much everyone in the room. Viktor was having the time of his life snapping pictures of drunk Yuuri breakdancing and pole dancing with Chris, even Celestino couldn’t stop the determined Japanese skater from dancing the night away.
“Viktooor… Dance with me now!” Yuuri whined and drunkenly pulled Viktor to the empty dance floor. “You… You won gold today… I’ll beat you… on the dance floor, Viktor!”
Viktor laughed and happily accepted the challenge. Yuuri really hated losing, and as a good friend, Viktor indulged him a bit. The music changed, and the two of them moved fluidly into a wild and passionate tango. Viktor smiled when he saw how refined Yuuri’s moves were, but Viktor wasn’t going down that easy. Both of them had fun, exchanging moves, challenging each other with smiles on their faces. They slowly got closer until the dance off had turned into beautiful Paso Doble. Viktor was letting Yuuri lead at first before they started to change roles. Yuuri was smiling and laughing as he dipped Viktor smoothly, and they continued the dance.
Never before Viktor had this much fun. These past few years were exciting because of Yuuri. Not only on the ice, but also off the ice. He had so much fun with skating because Yuuri was always there, challenging him with his adorable cocky smile before he stepped onto the ice. And tonight… as they danced in each other’s arms... Viktor felt his heart was beating faster.
Yuuri was beautiful. The cute boy he had mistaken as a Junior skater had turned into this beautiful creature in such a short span of time. Sure, he was still adorable, Viktor wanted to hug him all the time especially when he got chubby during off season (Yuuri just looked so warm and soft), but with all the sweat and his flushed face from all the dancing and alcohol, it was as if Viktor was seeing Yuuri’s beauty for the first time.
And before he knew it, the party was over. He headed back to the hotel along with the other Russian skaters while Yuuri returned to his hotel with Celestino.
It was late at night when Viktor was laying down on his soft and comfortable bed in the hotel room, thinking about what happened at the banquet, when realization suddenly swept him off his feet. Without thinking, he pulled out his phone and dialed the number he was so familiar with.
“Viktor… why are you calling at this hour?” he could hear the Swiss skater whine into his phone. Viktor probably woke him up from his sleep.
“I think I have a crush on Yuuri…”
Yet, Viktor never had the guts to ask Yuuri for a date.
It wasn’t like Viktor was inexperienced or anything, hell, he was often called a playboy with his flirty nature and the number of exes he had. But Yuuri was different. He didn’t want to risk his friendship with Yuuri if things didn’t work out between them.
At least, that was what he told himself as the next season of figure skating rolled in, and Viktor kept his crush a secret, letting it grow inside of him. Even Chris had given up telling Viktor to ask Yuuri out and get over his pining phase which wasn’t “attractive”.
Until that certain year came and Viktor finally, finally, found the courage in himself to ask Yuuri out (that one article in the magazine about Yuuri being close to a female model who lived in Detroit might also be one of the reasons Viktor thought it was time for him to tell Yuuri about his feelings. Viktor called Yuuri and asked him about that article, and the Japanese skater told him he didn’t even know any models let alone date them).
It was his policy to only talk to Yuuri after his free program was over. Viktor waited and watched Yuuri breeze through his short program perfectly. As usual, he was ambitious, packing the whole jumps into the second half of his program, with high difficulty entries. Not only that, he amped up his performance by lifting both arms for every single jump, even though he almost missed the step for the last combination jump. He broke the world record Viktor set last year with that by a whole eight points, and gained him first place for tomorrow’s free skate.
The next day’s free skate was a disaster for Yuuri. Viktor could feel his heart clench tightly when he saw Yuuri crumbling on the ice. He missed the music cue if Celestino didn’t yelled at him, he flubbed his jumps, his step sequences were awkward, his body was stiff, and he didn’t get into his performance like usual.
Yuuri got the lowest score despite his record breaking short program. Viktor tried to console him, but Yuuri was avoiding everyone.
Viktor never managed to ask Yuuri for a date after that. Yuuri flunked in Nationals, and the next thing Viktor knew, Yuuri was announcing his retirement and disappeared.
But Viktor still had a crush on him.
“Yuuri~!” Viktor smiled brightly as he draped himself all over the Japanese man when they met again in Rostelecom Cup; where Yuri Plisetsky’s second assignment was held. Viktor was assigned to Rostelecom as well after he won gold in Cup of China. Yurio won silver in the NHK Trophy, beaten by JJ Leroy from Canada. Viktor was still saddened by the fact that Yuuri was here as Yurio’s coach instead of competitor, but he was happy just to see Yuuri after so long.
“Viktor!” Yuuri smiled. He was standing there wrapped in a dark suit and fashionable coat, wearing that hideous baby blue tie Viktor wanted to burn so bad. His hair was slicked back messily like the way he used to do for his skates, but he still wore his blue rimmed glasses.
“Where’s Yurio?” Viktor asked.
“Talking to his Grandpa. He couldn’t come today, so I let him call his Grandpa before his program started.” Yuuri said simply. “And please tell Yakov to stop glaring at me… Madam Baranovskaya just cornered me a while ago and told me if I want to quit figure skating she would gladly take me as her protégé rather than having me pretend to be a coach…”
“What can I say? She saw the choreography you made for Yurio’s free program. Prima ballerina… how do you come up with it?” Viktor chuckled.
“Brainstorming with Minako-sensei,” Yuuri sighed. “Why is Lilia Baranovskaya here anyway?”
“She’s Mila’s choreographer.” Viktor said simply, nodding at Mila who was sitting a bit further away from them. “She wanted to see Minako’s student again after all these years.”
Yuuri just sighed and looked around. Unlike in NHK, Rostelecom was full of new faces he wasn’t really close to, like Lee Seung-gil, or Emil Nekola, or Jean-Jacques “JJ” Leroy (Viktor insisted it was “Janet Jackson” not “Jean-Jacques”).
“Yuuri… after this, let’s go out on a date.” Viktor said slowly. There was no playfulness in his tone, there was no flirty smile that always made Yuuri annoyed, either, because at first he thought Viktor was seriously hitting on him before he realized the silver haired male did it practically with everyone. But this one though, this one was different. Viktor face was serious, yet vulnerable, and Yuuri could feel his heart skip a bit at the sight. His face was blushing a beautiful shade of pink.
“Viktor…” Yuuri sighed softly. Viktor was just playing, wasn’t he? There was no way…
“I’m serious, Yuuri. I’ve been meaning to ask you out on a date since two years ago, but you decided to beat me to it by announcing your retirement and disappearing.” Viktor said softly. “After the free program… Please, go out with me…” His voice was so quiet, Yuuri wasn’t sure if he heard it right.
Viktor smiled and pressed his index finger gently to Yuuri’s lips to shut him up and smiled at Yuuri. “Please, think about it, Yuuri. Give me your answer tomorrow, after the free program. Tonight, let me seduce you with my ‘Eros’,” Viktor leaned down and kissed Yuuri’s cheek before he whispered hotly in the Japanese skater’s ear. “Don’t you dare to take your eyes off of me.”
Yuuri’s breath hitched, he couldn’t utter a word when Viktor mused his slicked back hair and stepped onto the ice for six minutes’ warm up. He didn’t even realize Yurio had come back and asked him if he was okay. Yuuri was in a daze. His cheek was hot, and he could still feel Viktor’s soft lips pressed against it. He could still feel the hot breath brushing the sensitive skin on his ear.
Yurio muttered something about Yuuri was being weird and left him rinkside. Yurio stepped onto the ice for the warm-up while Yuuri gripped the barrier to keep himself in check. Yurio would be performing after Viktor. He had to focus on Yurio, because the blond skater was his student. Yet, his mind kept flying back to Viktor.
When Viktor entered the rink for his ‘On Love: Eros’ program, Yuuri kept his promise and never took his eyes off Viktor.
He swore his heart stopped when Viktor blew a kiss at him.
“Here comes Viktor Nikiforov, 27 years old, the Living Legend of Russia. The music of his short program is ‘On Love: Eros’, choreographed by Yuuri Katsuki!”
Viktor won gold, while Yurio only managed bronze, being beaten by Jean-Jacques Leroy again.
The young skater was pissed beyond belief. He was snarling at everyone until Yuuri gently ushered him to the changing room to calm him down. He let Yurio know his Grandpa was waiting for him in the lobby, and it seemed to cheer the boy up, as he changed rather quickly.
“Grandpa wants to meet you, Yuuri. Is it okay if I sleep over at Grandpa’s tonight? I’ll be here in the morning for exhibition skate practice, I promise.” Yurio asked politely, it almost surprised Yuuri. Yurio was rarely polite, and him asking Yuuri politely made Yuuri smile in understanding. He really wanted to spend time with his Grandpa, even if it meant he had to ask Yuuri politely. Not that Yuuri would forbid him if he asked rudely, however.
Besides, maybe spending time with his Grandpa would cheer him up after being upset for only winning bronze, so Yuuri nodded.
“Sure you can, Yurio.” he said gently, patting Yurio’s head.
“I’m sorry… I only won bronze…” Yurio mumbled quietly and hugged Yuuri.
Yuuri sighed and hugged him back gently. “You still won, Yurio, and I’m so proud of you.” Yuuri said softly. “Congratulation on going to the Finals!”
Yurio nodded, but still didn’t look happy.
“Let’s go meet your Grandpa.”
“Are you waiting for me?”
Viktor turned around and smiled when he saw Yuuri was standing behind him. He still wore his suit and coat with that atrocious tie Viktor hated so much. Yuuri looked calmer than yesterday, apparently Viktor was right to give Yuuri some time to process everything.
“Yuuri…” Viktor sighed and returned the smile. None of them said anything for a while.
“Well? Aren’t you going to ask me something?” Yuuri raised an eyebrow.
Viktor smiled brightly and hugged Yuuri tightly. “Do you want to go on a date with me, Yuuri?”
And thus, both of them went to the hotel first so Viktor could shower, and Yuuri changed into something more casual.
It was late at night when they met up again. Yuuri told Viktor that Yurio was visiting his Grandpa. Viktor nodded and reached for Yuuri’s hand before they started to stroll around Moscow together.
“Your free program was beautiful,” Yuuri said as they walked alongside the road with plastic cups of warm cocoa in their hands. “It was so rare for you to skate to something so upbeat, poppy, and lyrical like that.”
“Yakov wasn’t so happy when I told him I want to skate to that song.” Viktor chuckled. “Besides, I thought a Japanese song would convey my feelings to you better.” Viktor hummed the refrain of said song happily.
Yuuri blushed and glanced at Viktor. He looked like he had enjoyed himself so much, even though they didn’t do anything much for their first date. Just walking around the city, trying any street food they could find.
“Yuuri, I’m really serious when I asked you to go out with me.” Viktor said slowly. “To be honest… I had a crush on you since the GPF banquet five years ago…”
Yuuri could feel his breath catch in his throat.
“Yeah. The one when I finally won gold again after you beat me two years in a row,” Viktor smiled fondly at the memories of them dancing the night away together. “I never had courage to tell you, until two years ago at least. But you dropped the bomb by saying you were retiring, and just disappeared before I had my chance…”
Yuuri stopped walking at the revelation, and he looked up at the Russian skater carefully.
“So all this time… When you flirted with me…?” ‘You were serious?’ went unsaid.
“Well, I thought if I flirted hard enough you would take the initiative or something.” Viktor laughed. “So I was waiting for you even after you retired. Until I saw the video of you skating to my free program last year, I thought I would try again to be with you on the ice. But Yurio beat me to it. I was trying really hard when we were in Japan, you know, but Yuuri’s reaction was very lukewarm, I thought my feelings were unrequited…”
“Stupid.” Yuuri mumbled quietly as he looked down to hide his blushing red face. “You’re the dumbest human being on earth, Viktor Nikiforov! Why the hell did you take a roundabout way like that, huh?! I thought… I never thought you were serious… You flirted with everyone and you’re like… this hotshot genius skater playboy people always talked about… and I’m just me…” Yuuri didn’t know when he had starting to cry. “So… So I didn’t say anything… because I don’t want to get my hopes up… and be disappointed because you didn’t feel the same way… And I don’t want to lose our friendship…” Yuuri kept crying.
Viktor was standing there awkwardly. He didn’t know how to deal with someone crying in front of him like this.
“Y-Yuuri… Yuuri, please don’t cry… I’m sorry… I’m really sorry, okay…?” Viktor said nervously. What should he do? He just made his crush cry on their first date! “Yuuri… I don’t know how to deal with someone crying in front of me… Should I kiss you or something…?”
Yuuri only cried harder, and now they were attracting a crowd. Viktor quickly pulled Yuuri towards a less crowded place and decided to wait until Yuuri stopped crying. He hugged Yuuri gently and rubbed his back until the Japanese male’s cry turned into quiet sobs.
“You’re the dumbest person on earth.” Yuuri mumbled, hiding his face on Viktor’s shoulder.
“Yes, I am. I’m sorry, Yuuri…” Viktor apologized.
“I thought you were better at this romance thing, your best friend isChris for God’s sake…”
“He told me to tell you, but I was so scared you would reject me, and I would lose our friendship…”
“You should make it up to me…”
“Of course, Yuuri.”
“I want ice cream.”
“And cuddles… and kisses… and hugs…”
“So demanding,” Viktor teased.
“Keep that up and I’m going to cry again, Nikiforov.”
“Please, don’t…!” Viktor said in horror.
“You’re making me waste so many years of not doing anything, Viktor…”
“Well, I waited for five years!”
“And I’ve been waiting longer,” Yuuri said slowly. He buried his face deeper into Viktor’s shoulder. “I’ve had a crush on you since I was 12.”
“By the way, what happened at the banquet anyway? You said you realized you’d fallen for me after it. Did something happen between us?” Yuuri asked once they got back to the hotel, and Yuuri was having a sleepover in Viktor’s room with a large bowl of ice cream in his lap. He was happily cuddled close to Viktor while they watched some mindless action movie on the TV.
Viktor gasped and looked at Yuuri in disbelief.
“Yuuri! You don’t remember?!”
Yuuri looked up at Viktor with confusion and shook his head. Viktor just sighed and pulled Yuuri closer to him. Viktor didn’t say anything. He needed to collect himself first before he answered that question.
In the morning, he received threatening messages from Yurio, Phichit, and Christophe among other people, demanding his explanation on why he made Yuuri cry last night. Apparently, some fans took a photo of Yuuri crying in the middle of the street while Viktor very guiltily tried to calm him down. It became a headline on sport news sites: “Russia’s Hero Viktor Nikiforov Drives Retired Japanese Ace Skater Katsuki Yuuri into Tears”.
Viktor sighed and turned to his new lover (he smiled happily at the term) who was still sleeping beside him. Viktor leaned down and kissed his forehead gently.
“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty~”