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Here In The Real World

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Taking Yuuri to the beach was one of the best ideas Viktor had ever had. The two of them had a great time splashing in the waves and looking for shells. Taking Yuuri to the beach to hang out with Phichit was an even better idea, because Phichit knew how to have fun. Inviting Chris to come to the beach with him, Yuuri, and Phichit was the absolute best thing ever. Chris was smart enough to remind Viktor that he was Russian and hadn’t seen the sun since August and therefore probably needed to be very diligent about his sunblock, unlike Yuuri and Phichit who were naturally darker. Chris also brought Paul with him, which helped stave off any media scrutiny of Chris joining them on vacation.

While everyone was there, they celebrated Phichit’s upcoming birthday with cake. “Last year in novices, Phichit! You’re going to dominate, right?” Yuuri said.

“I hope so!" Phichit swallowed the bite of cake he'd taken so more crumbs wouldn't fly out. "There’s some good skaters to compete against though. There’s this one guy who I can’t seem to pull away from. He’s annoying. Really good at math, but no social skills at all.”

“So pretty much your complete opposite?” Chris teased.

“Pretty much!” Phichit seemed pretty happy about Chris’s teasing. “Anyway, I should be in good shape going into next year. Yuuri can warn me who to look out for who's staying in juniors even though he probably won't.”


After a week, the boys split up. Chris and Paul headed for America, Phichit went home with his family, and Viktor and Yuuri left for Hasetsu. Mari met them at the airport. “Have fun on your romantic beach getaway?”

Viktor rolled his eyes. “Chris and Paul were the only ones enjoying any romance.”

“Yeah, I know." Mari showed them the headlines on her phone. "Media had a bit of fun with it. Your guys got on it quickly. Hamsters too. Phichit leaked some photos of Yuuri throwing sand at Chris and Paul when they started kissing.”

Yuuri smirked. “Good for Phichit. That’s why I threw the sand.”

“Can’t prove a negative, but Phichit leaked some other photos and the implication was pretty clear that if there were any juicy pictures to leak, they’d be leaked too. Kid’s smart.”

“He’s scary,” Viktor corrected.

Their time in Hasetsu began with helping Minako move back home. Viktor and Yuuri got out on the ice at the Ice Castle, where Viktor started doing some double and triple jumps. Quads he was still waiting on, just a bit longer, but his ankle held up to the stress. “Shame I had to hurt myself during ninja season.”

“I know." Yuuri skated to the side of the rink for water. "Any thoughts on a theme for this year? You might be able to use your ninja skate as your exhibition.”

“No, that’s boring. I’ll make a new exhibition like I always do." Viktor came over to get some water as well. "I was thinking of doing something with fairy tales. Guess why."

Yuuri shook his head. "I'm scared to know."

Viktor grinned. "Dragon free skate!”

Yuuri stared at Viktor with a mixture of awe, amusement, and exasperation. “That’s going to be fun to choreograph. Ina Bauer while you breathe fire?”

“Oh, that sounds like a good idea! I’ve got a few pieces I need to put together. I even have music for it! And then short program… I haven’t decided yet whether I want to rescue a princess or be a fairy. The rescue will be easier to get by Yakov, but you know what’s going to happen in the media.”

Yuuri knew, all right. He was a little surprised that Viktor wouldn't skate something just because of that. “I’m the princess.”

“Exactly. I don’t care about the things they’ve said about me, but I’m not going to set you up for it.”

“I don’t mind. I’d rather them call me a princess than have them say you’re rescuing your own version of Chihoko.” Yuuri thought for a moment while Viktor got the snorting under control. “You could do something like… be the witch that curses everything. Then you could rescue the princess for your exhibition, and it’s kind of meta too. Because if you don’t make it to the exhibition, then the princess remains unrescued and the dragon and the witch win. You have to save the princess with your skating.”

Viktor squealed and his heart-shaped grin lit up the ice. “Perfect!” He skated over and hugged Yuuri. “What about you? Any ideas for yourself?”

“Um… no. Not yet." Yuuri should have been using his time since Junior Worlds to come up with something, but he hadn't. "I was thinking of finding my music first and then bullshitting a theme once I had that. I was actually thinking of The Magic Flute, but if you’re doing fairy tales…”

“We’re not competing against each other! If you did that and Peter and the Wolf, it would be very different from mine.”

True. Yuuri would be skating well-known fairy tales, while Viktor would be creating his own. There was one huge problem he could see. “Do you think Yakov would approve?”

Viktor shrugged. “Only one way to find out! I don’t see why not, though. It’s not like we’re asking to skate the same programs.”

Yuuri burst into giggles, imagining it. “That would be a disaster. Either I’d hold you back, or I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

“Well, the same programs with different technical elements," Viktor conceded. He put a finger to his lips. "That actually sounds like fun for an exhibition skate…”

“Maybe. Something to think about. Something for the press to talk about, too.”

“Are you going to choreograph your own programs this year, or ask Lilia or Minako to do it?”

“I’ll probably ask Lilia. I wouldn’t know where to begin to choreograph a program.”

“I’ll teach you! We can choreograph my exhibition together, which makes it just as much yours if you decide you want to skate it.”