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It turns out that Katsuki has a great poker face and secretly thinks Victor crying is hilarious, and also, if you say a word against Victor Nikiforov, the Best Skater in the World, he is calmly, quietly prepared to burn your world down.

He's Mila's new best friend, and she tells him so.

"Thank you?" says Katsuki. "I think?" He squints up at the pipes in the hallway leading to the hockey team's dressing room, and then just kind of ... levitates ... up, pulling himself up and onto the pipes easily. Mila bets Victor has gross wet dreams about that upper body strength. "I mean ... if Victor gives me a sad look I'm going to fold like wet paper? I feel like you should know that?"

Mila clicks her tongue impatiently. "What does that matter?"

Katsuki carefully balances on the pipes and reaches down. Mila passes the rope up. "He could ask me if I did it."

"He won't," says Mila, positively. Victor doesn't - exactly - hate the hockey players, but there's a long standing, traditional rivalry between the two groups, and Victor's been involved in too many battles against them to ask any stupid questions.

"He could, though," argues Katsuki, pulling the buckets up. "Mila -- these smell really gross."

"You were the one who insisted on using the jam," says Mila.

"Did you see the expiration date on it," says Katsuki flatly. "I won't have it in my house. Flat. Fiancé. Whatever. Seriously, if he asks me --"

"Then," says Mila impatiently, "Then you look at him from under your cow eyelashes and you bite your lip, and he forgets what he was talking about!"

Katsuki turns very slightly pink.

"Or that," says Mila. "That would also work."

They've almost got the bags of glitter arranged where they want them, when the clicking of heels coming down the hallway makes them both freeze like startled rabbits. Katsuki looks down at Mila. Mila stares back at him, and then they both look down the hall, waiting for their doom.

Madame Lilia walks up. She looks from Mila and Katsuki to the buckets, and one perfectly pencilled eyebrow raises slowly. "What, may I ask, are you doing?"

Mila is frozen. She bites her lip, sure if she says anything it will be something like "saving Victor from mold" or something equally ridiculous.

Katsuki, above her, squeaks.


Mila darts an agonized look at Katsuki. He can't get down from the pipes because they haven't finished rigging the tripwires yet. Madame is looking up at him like he's a particularly large, obnoxious spider that she hasn't decided if she will put outside on a leaf or flush down the toilet.

"A prank, madame," says Katsuki. Bald-faced honesty was something that hadn't really occurred to Mila as an option, but what the hell, she's dead no matter what.

"On the hockey team, madame," says Mila.

Madame Lilia casts a sweeping look of crushing disdain at the scene. Mila hopes she doesn't see the plastic squids. Katsuki had refused to use real ones because, he said, they were beautiful and intelligent creatures and also his mother had not raised him to wantonly waste food.

"Is this a beautiful thing to do?" says Madame Lilia, staring up at Katsuki. "A petty prank, against the hockey team? Of course they are troglodytes. But are you, Yuri Katsuki?"

"No Madame," says Katsuki, eyes lowered. Then he takes a gulp of air and says, defiantly, "They were saying things. About Victor."

"Hmm," says Madame Lilia. She and Katsuki look at each other. Then she says, "And how does a danseur revenge himself? I suppose that That Minako at least taught you that."

"Beautifully, Madame," says Katsuki, as if by rote.

"Well?" says Madame Lilia, tapping her foot.

Katsuki just blinks at her with his wide, brandy eyes. He looks like one of those eagles who like to be petted despite being a killing machine capable of ripping your arm off. "I don't want to be deported, Madame. This will have to do."

"Hmmm. I suppose." Madame Lilia sniffs. "Mind your form, Yuri Katsuki. Crawling around pipes is no reason to look like a hippopotamus."

"Oui, Madame. Merci, madame." Katsuki somehow manages to sketch a bow even hanging onto the pipes. Mila's kind of impressed.

"I expect you in the studio this afternoon, Yuri Katsuki," says Madame Lilia, and stalks off.

Katsuki and Mila both sigh in relief. "That was - that was too close," says Katsuki.

Mila looks up. Katsuki is surprisingly calm for someone who had hidden behind his fiancé the first time he'd seen Lilia, and still squeaks if she looks at him. "Okay -- how does a 'danseur revenge himself beautifully'?"

"Death." Katsuki says it so matter-of-factly that it takes a second to really sink in.

Mila gapes at him. "Seriously?"

"Ha ha ha," says Katsuki. It's not like a real laugh. It's more like the sound of a laugh. He is completely serious, and there's something dead in his eyes. "A little ballet joke."

Mila suddenly has a lot of questions about the rest of the Russian skaters during Yakov's career. She also never, ever wants any of them answered.

"Let's hurry," says Katsuki.

Ten minutes later Mila pounces on Little Yuri and lifts him up to skate with him around the rink like a sack of very angry potatoes. Katsuki takes off his skate guards and skates a loop around the ice, going into a beautiful hydroplane around Victor and coming upright with a cute little swizzle.

Victor looks like he's been swizzled.

Katsuki cuts to a stop in front of Victor and tilts his head up in a silent demand for a kiss. Mila takes a second to admire how far Victor has allowed himself to be enchanted. Katsuki is so clearly channeling his Eros persona that Victor should have been immediately suspicious - but instead Victor bends down obediently and gives Katsuki two or three little butterfly kisses, hands cupped around Katsuki's face.

Then the screaming starts.

Katsuki jumps, of course, because even if he was expecting it, it is very loud. Victor more or less instinctively pulls him in close so Katsuki can hide his face against his chest. It's very romantic.

"What the fuck did you do," says Yura, but he's smart enough to let Mila pretend to drop him in surprise. They land in a convincing heap as the hockey players pour into the rink, shrieking profanities and trailing ooze. It's beautiful.

"What - what - WHAT is going on?" roars Yakov.

Ten very angry hockey players all yell at once. Katsuki lifts his head up, gives them a shattered look, and then hides it again. The weaker hockey players hesitate.

Mila wishes she had someone's strong shoulder to hide against, because this is the funniest shit she's seen all week. She bursts into raucous laughter.

"Who did this?" screams Alexis Pavelsovich.

Katsuki lifts his head up again with the cautious grace of a wild deer. He's squinting a little because he doesn't have his glasses on. The entire hockey team falters, faced by Katsuki's dark eyes shaded by his inky eyelashes. It's very effective. Mila's going to find out what mascara he uses.

"Did - did someone pull a prank on you?" says Katsuki. His Russian isn't terrible, but between his soft voice and his frankly adorable accent, half-American and half-Japanese, he sounds like a little lost lamb.

Alexis tries to recover. "I know it was Mila!"

"Oh, really?" says Mila. "Why would I bother doing something like this, Alexis Pavelsovich? You think I care enough about you?"

Alexis opens his mouth, and closes it again. He could say 'I cheated on you with an ice dancer' out loud, he clearly realizes, but also Georgi is standing with her now and Victor has lifted his head enough from cooing reassurances at Katsuki to lift his eyebrows at Alexis. Victor hasn't done anything about Alexis cheating on Mila - yet.

Alexis swallows hard. "You - you often do this sort of thing!" he says.

"But she was with me all morning," says Katsuki, taking a brave step forward from Victor's arms.

Alexis gives Katsuki a look up and down, clearly thinking that Katsuki is too quiet and shy to help, let alone come up with, something like this. "That -"

"That looks really sticky," pursues Katsuki. He leaves the shelter of the group of figure skaters, and moves gracefully to where the hockey team is clustered. He reaches out one delicate hand and plucks at Alexis' knockoff designer shirt. "Did it get on the floor?"

Alexis blinks at him for a second, blinded by Katsuki's aura, and then tries to recover. "It got everywhere!" he yells.

Katsuki looks at him with his big caramel-sweet eyes and says, anxiously, "You're not going to leave it for the staff to clean up, are you?"

Alexis opens his mouth, and closes it again. He obviously wants to say 'isn't that what the staff is for', but he can't quite manage to make himself say that to Katsuki's trusting eyes.

"You should go clean it up," says Katsuki.

Alexis turns an ugly shade of red. "We should not! Mila should clean it up! We --"

"It's very rude to leave things like that for the staff," says Katsuki.

One of the other hockey players shifts and says, "Alex, we don't --" even as another says, "I don't mind --"

Katsuki looks at them with faint approval in his eyes. To the hockey players he probably looks like he's happy that they're not complete barbarians. To Mila, it looks like he's evaluating them as future, what was the word, patsies. "What the fuck," whispers Yura from under Mila's armpit. "What. The fuck."

"Same," whispers Mila.

"You -" says Alexis, then recovers what thin veneer of authority remains to him. "Why don't you help us, if you're so worried about that staff!"

Yura draws in a deep breath, probably to scream that the piggy doesn't need to clean anything, but Mila clamps her hand over his mouth. His eyes widen in outrage and he looks over at Victor. Victor has his finger on his mouth, which means that a) they're both busted and b) Victor isn't going to help the hockey team. So that's fine.

"All right," says Katsuki.

Ten minutes later Katsuki is "helping" the hockey team clean up the mess, if by "helping" you mean perching on the banister and sometimes pointing out a spot they've missed. Alexis tries a few times to regain control, but Victor had thoughtfully put some of his Chanel balm on Katsuki's mouth.

Madame Lilia clicks by and gives Katsuki a look.

Katsuki doesn't seem to notice her, but he stops swinging his legs and points his toe about an inch. The illusion that he's wearing silk stockings and five inch, very very expensive heels, waiting for someone to beg to be stepped on, is so sudden and complete that even Mila blinks. The hockey team, as a body, redoubles their scrubbing.

"Well," says Victor, "you boys seem to have this well in hand. I'll just steal my fiancé."

Katsuki allows himself to be helped down from the banister. The hockey players look up. Katsuki says, "I'm sure the staff will appreciate your help," and floats off, apparently oblivious to ten sets of eyes watching his hips as he leaves.

Mila is impressed all over again.

Victor more or less drags Yuri to the figure skaters' break room, and sits down on the one armchair before drawing Yuri onto his lap. "Victor," says Yuri, looking around the room. There's people around.

"I have to cuddle you or you won't know you're in trouble," says Victor. He punctuates this with a couple kisses and an extra squeeze.

"This is disgusting," says Yurio. "I am disgusted."

"What," says Yuri.

"You're in a lot of trouble," says Victor, picking up Yuri's hand and kissing the ring. "What did they do to you?"

"Nothing," says Yuri. He isn't going to talk about what he heard them saying about Victor and Mila, let alone Yurio. With any luck they'd learn their lesson after they walk into their locker room anyway.

"Bunny," says Victor.

In his own defense, Yuri didn't know Russians were that weak. He supposed that he'd never really had to deal with the hockey players in Detroit, because Phichit had them all well in hand, but he was almost sure they wouldn't have broken under this little of a strain.

"I didn't even do anything bad to them," says Yuri. "In Detroit that would barely be a prank."

Everybody squints at him in the way that Yuri gets squinted at when he talks about his experiences in the States. He's used to it now. His life in Detroit was pretty normal and boring, really. It was just that he was best friends with Phichit and Phichit made interesting things happen if you wanted them to or not.

Victor sighs heavily and kisses Yuri's temple. "Don't make the hockey players cry, bunny," he says.

Yuri purses his mouth up and says, "I didn't do anything to their sticks or jerseys, I don't know why they're so upset."

"Probably because their new god looked at them from under his mascara and then walked off with their worst enemy," says Georgi.

"My Yuri doesn't use mascara!" says Victor, looking unreasonably proud. "My Yuri is naturally this beautiful!"

"Victor...." says Yuri.

"My Yuri had all the hockey players in Detroit wrapped around his thumb!" says Victor. "Phichit told me stories! And Boris Androvich, who went there, says they were true!"

"Little finger," says Yuri. Everybody turns and stares at him. "IF I had hockey players wrapped around - it's, the expression is 'wrapped around your little finger', Victor. Or 'under your thumb'. Not wrapped around your thumb."

"My Yuri is so smart," says Victor, as Yurio retches convincingly into a trash can.

Across the building, Lilia tilts her head as a long, drawn out wail of despair issues from the hockey team's locker room.

She smiles slightly.

That Yuri Katsuki has promise.