It began the day after Victor had taken him to the beach. The coil of tension that had settled in his stomach clenched even tighter as they watched the clouds roll off the waves in the distance, silent, save for the soft sound of Makkachin panting and licking her fur. For awhile now, Yuuri had found it difficult to look at Victor for too long because he wasn’t sure if he understood what was often in those unreadable, pale blue eyes. Did he want to be here? He certainly seemed cheerful enough, and enjoyed lounging around Yuuri’s space with a wide smile. But sometimes, those eyes seemed to rest on him in a measuring way and the focus of them left Yuuri blushing and turning away resolutely. Victor’s eyes were an icy blue, but they had a translucence to them that suggested depth, the way glacial ice might hold both shadows and shafts of light that seemed to flicker from within.
That day at the beach however, both Yuuri and Victor’s gaze were turned toward the churn of waves and the little white hulls of seagulls passing overhead. Victor broke the silence to speak of his home back in St. Petersburg, and the gentle, measured sound of his voice was reassuring. Opening back up to him, taking that step forward and having Victor do the same filled Yuuri with a sense of determination to work hard towards Victor’s expectations, his way of meeting Victor’s love.
The day after they had gone to the beach, Yuuri noticed a warmth that had settled in his chest, spreading to his arms and legs so that every time he skated he felt lighter, able to flow through the movements more. The warmth danced lightly, like the kind of warmth that settles on the shoulders from the sun during a cool spring day. He found himself opening up more, shyly, slowly, but each time he did he was rewarded with a soft, genuine smile from Victor, who despite being critical at times with his technique, was always accepting of Yuuri’s suggestions and ideas. He loved the music for his Free Skate program, and so desperately wanted Victor to love it too.
When Victor began planning out his program, when he began choreographing the sequence, he was struck with not only how well Victor already understood him as a skater, but his life as well. The story of the program put his life on display, and he had never viewed it with an especially favorable eye. But watching Victor skate it for him the first time… he seemed to imbue it with all the feelings and emotions from the past, but also from the present. He’d found himself smiling more often, eyes sparkling. At that moment though, the warmth that had settled in his chest seemed to race throughout his body, darting up his spine and into his fingertips.
A feeling that Yuuri had no name for until he watched Victor glide through the outside eagle into the Ina Bauer. At that moment a patch of sunlight picked up the bright, silvery tones of his hair and his bright, bright, arctic eyes, which opened and closed with a tenderness that left Yuuri unable to pull his eyes away. He whispered, “Please, God. Give me Victor’s time, if only just for now.”
In that moment, he decided to call it love.