“Yuuri! We’re heading out now, are you sure you don’t want to come to the festival with us?”
Yuuri Katsuki looked up to face his mother where she was standing in the doorway of the inn’s kitchen. Placing one of the dishes he just finished drying away, he smiled up at her while pushing his thick-framed glasses further up his nose once they had started slipping off.
“It’s fine Mom, besides I still need to finish up here.”
His reassurance didn’t seem to sooth his mother’s worrying as she gazed into his brown eyes.
“Yuuri, the dishes can wait a few hours. You’re always working so hard, you need to get out and have fun with your friends more often. Your father, sister and I love you very much Yuuri, but we can’t help but be worried every now and then. It’s not good for a young and handsome man to shut himself up all the time.”
Yuuri had to hold back a sigh as he listened to his mother talk. He has heard this same speech from both his family and his few close friends so many times through the years that he could recite it by memory alone. He loved his family and friends and knew that they meant well but they worried too much.
Yuuri was perfectly fine living his life the way he was now, away from large crowds of people and unnecessary attention. If only he could get the people closest him to understand that just because he wasn’t actively seeking out adventure after adventure like many of the other young inhabitants of their small town, it didn’t necessarily mean that he was unhappy.
Sending his mother another reassuring smile, he unwittingly made a decision that would change the entire course his life was currently heading in.
“I know mom, I’ll see about visiting Phichit when I’m done with this, so I won’t be at home the entire time, okay?”
Seemingly appeased by her son’s promise of heading out later, Hiroko relented and allowed herself to be whisked away by the rest of her family to go join the rest of the festivities.
Alone once more, the young man returned his attention back to the pile of dishes, drying each one slowly and thoroughly before putting them away in their proper place. Once the last dish was placed neatly on the pile in the cabinet, Yuuri let his hands fall to his sides aimlessly as he thought about his next move.
‘I don’t have to go out, the streets are sure to be packed with the celebrations as well as the parade…but I promised mom that I would and it’s been a while since I dropped by, Phichit will definitely give me an earful if I don’t visit him soon.’
Resigning himself to the cruel fate of having to navigate through the crowded streets, Yuuri shrugged on a blue waist coat over his white dress shirt, fixed his sleeves (which he rolled up before doing the dishes) and grabbed his, admittedly plain, hat and left the inn in the capable hands of their employees before leaving.
Just as he feared, the streets were packed. It took all the willpower he had to not just turn around right then and there, but the thought was nevertheless very tempting. As he navigated through the streets, occasionally exchanging greetings with passersby (more like they greeted him and he reciprocated due to hours of grueling lessons in manners from both his mother and his dance teacher) he mentally debated the best route to take.
‘If I go through the alleyway next to the building along with a few others I should be able to reach the theatre in about forty minutes, then again…if I cut through the square I might be able to get a ride on one of the carts and cut my traveling time down by at least twenty or twenty-five minutes. But the square is always so full during festivals, I’m pretty sure Phichit mentioned something about a dance this time…the other way is always much quieter, though it can be quite dangerous if you think about it…but festivals can be too with it being the ideal time for pickpockets to strike. Phichit did say that the theatre was going to close earlier today to give the other performers a chance to enjoy the festivities, though, so if I don’t hurry I might not be able to catch Phichit before he leaves…’
Letting out a sigh reminiscent of that of a man who has the entire weight of the world on his shoulder and totally not appropriate for someone who’s only twenty, the raven-haired man turned a corner that led right into a sea of people, while tucking his glasses away into an inside pocket of his waist coat. Glasses were expensive and he was not about to lose another pair all because he got shoved and they landed on the ground only to be demolished by stampeding feet.
‘The square it is…’
The town square was alive and loud with music blaring loudly from the small band playing on a podium right in the centre of all the activity while people danced around it. Laughter filled the air and everybody seemed to forget all their troubles. It really was a spectacular sight and if it weren’t for his crippling anxiety or his apparent fear of having to socialise, Yuuri would have been very tempted to join them. As things are, however, he was currently trying to make himself as small as possible while he weaved through the dancing couples, trying to go unnoticed.
As he was walking, he passed by a small group of people surrounding someone, the sound of squealing and complements were easily heard over the music, as well as a heavily accented voice replying to them calmly. Yuuri caught a glimpse of silver hair and shrugged.
‘Must be a tourist, as far as I know nobody in Hasetsu has silver hair…except for the older generation, but I highly doubt so many girls and boys would be in the process of swooning over whoever it is if they were over fifty… Oh well…whoever it is should be gone soon enough so I guess it doesn’t really matter. I wonder how things are going over by the theatre? Phichit told me last time that they were going to put on a brand new show soon about a king and a figure skater, he said he was planning to go out for the roll of the skater. I wonder whether he managed to get it…I hope he did, he’s always so hard-working and dedicated not to mention passionate when it comes to performing, if anyone deserves to get that part it’s him.’
“Darling!!! There you are! I’ve been looking everywhere for you! You’re late!”
Abruptly pulled out of his thoughts by both the loud voice next to him (a heavily accented voice at that) and the arm suddenly wrapped around his shoulder, it was all Yuuri could do to not let a startled scream escape his lips. Just what exactly was going on?!
His entire body going stiff just thinking of all the possible gruesome and terrifying things that could follow, Yuuri risked a glance upwards only to freeze up even more as his startled brown eyes met with gorgeous blue. Yuuri wished he didn’t take off his glasses, if only because he would then have been able to see this stranger clearly, but even with his blurry vision he was able to see one thing clearly. The man was beautiful.
He had long silver hair that cascaded down his shoulders like a waterfall, and although only the elderly had white hair, his seemed to make him look even younger, then there was his smile…that kind of smile shouldn’t even be possible, I mean really, what kind of person has a smile that looked just like a heart?
‘This one apparently…’
Supplied Yuuri’s mind unhelpfully.
Then there was his eyes, his eyes had to be the most vibrant shade of blue that Yuuri had ever seen, and yet…they seemed kind of dull…as if their owner had lost all of his drive…but that could just be due to the fact that Yuuri wasn’t wearing his glasses.
As if the stranger didn’t stand out enough, even his clothes drew in the eye with their…um…eccentric appearance. The plain white dress shirt that he was wearing wasn’t so bad (even if he left the top three buttons undone) and it suited him nicely along with his black pants…his jacket however…Yuuri had never before seen such an obnoxiously vibrant shade of magenta and he was sure that if anybody else wore it they would immediately be labelled an arrogant prick, but somehow it actually looks good on him. However, the sheer amount of jewellery this guy had on was just plain reckless and an invitation for thieves to strike, and that’s not even starting on his earrings...
Yuuri could feel the heat spreading across his cheeks and neck. Why in the world is a person who could easily be mistaken for royalty standing next to someone like Yuuri with an arm around Yuuri’s shoulder and calling him darling?!
‘What’s going on?! Who is this guy? Why is he touching me? He called me darling! Why would he call me darling? We’ve never met before now…did we? I don’t know what’s going on! He said I was late, am I late? Late for what? Did I accidentally make plans with this guy and then forgot about it…and him? No! No way! I would definitely have remembered meeting this guy…unless…shit! Please tell me I didn’t meet this guy after getting blackout drunk! No…no…calm down Yuuri, I’m sure that’s not the case…Phichit would have told me something, unless he was equally as drunk… No! Nope! I know that I never met this guy before! The last time Phichit dragged me to a party and I got that drunk was months ago, nobody would make plans such a long time in advance and not even exchange letters. This guy must just have me confused for someone else. Yes, that’s it. Any moment now he’ll realize that he made a mistake, apologize and walk away… WHY ISN’T HE WALKING AWAY?!’
Seemingly oblivious to poor Yuuri’s internal struggles, the stranger just kept smiling at him with his unfairly beautiful smile. If anything, he tightened his hold, causing the poor boy’s already racing heart to increase its pounding tenfold and the red spreading across his face to turn a few shades darker than it already was.
When it became clear that the stranger was awaiting a reply, there was a hundred things that Yuuri wanted to tell him. ‘Sorry, you have the wrong person.’, ‘I don’t know you, sorry.’, ‘Have we met?’, ‘Please remove your arm, you’re making me uncomfortable.’ And let’s not forget ‘Damn, you have beautiful eyes.’, but under the piercing blue of the stranger’s gaze, his own speeding heartbeat and the nerves that were quickly getting the better of him, he could only manage to stutter out one word.
Seemingly not noticing the tenseness off poor Yuuri’s shoulders, the man simply continued beaming at him with his blinding smile and started leading him away from the small group of people who were surrounding him earlier and who were now watching the exchange with gaping jaws. Honestly, Yuuri couldn’t blame them, his jaw felt like dropping at the sudden situation too. And too make matters worse, he’s pretty sure he recognizes a few of the people in the group, even with his blurry vision…If he’s right and Gabby Lawson is indeed among them nearly the entire town will know of this encounter by this time tomorrow.
“Don’t worry about it, my dear, I’m just delighted to once again see your beautiful face.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the entirety of the small group stumble in surprise as they collectively called out, “EHH!!!!!”. He nearly joined them, before realisation dawned.
‘Of course! I get it now! This is a prank! It must be, after all he just called me beautiful which is completely ridiculous! He’s just some tourist who happened to be passing through today and got bored so he decided to kick up some drama for entertainment. Well, the joke was funny enough while it lasted, he really had me going for a second, but I don’t appreciate being held for a fool. I might not be attractive or anything, I know that much, but that doesn’t give him a right to make fun of me like this!’
The more Yuuri thought about it and the more he decided that this entire set-up was just some kind of twisted joke, the angrier he became. He barely noticed that the stranger led him far out of ear-shot from the group and right unto the dance floor until they passed by the rowdy musicians. Clenching his shaking fists to his side, Yuuri opened his mouth to speak, to tell the stranger that just because he was a rich prick didn’t give him a right to make fun of him, that just because he was obviously stunning and far out of Yuuri’s league didn’t mean that he had to rub it in his face.
“Thank you for playing along and not calling me out.”
The warm voice abruptly pulled Yuuri out of his thoughts of giving the stranger a piece of his mind. His accent curled around each syllable, it’s ridiculous, an accent alone shouldn’t be able to make one guy’s voice sound so musical. The gears in Yuuri’s head abruptly came to a standstill, leaving his brain standing still on one particular thought.
‘Fuck. He has a really nice voice.’
Oblivious to the effect his voice has on our protagonist, the stranger just takes his silence as a sign to continue talking.
“I’m sorry for just grabbing you out of nowhere like that. But that particular group has had me cornered for quite some time now, and when I saw you it was as if angels started singing! I knew that someone with such beautiful and clear eyes would be kind enough to help me-”
“I’m going to stop you right there.”
The stranger’s blue eyes widened slightly at the soft voice that so abruptly cut him off and found himself staring into Yuuri’s brown eyes, which were clearly frowning at him. The raven-haired boy sighed and continued talking before all his nerve left him.
“Even though I dislike the fact that you used me, I can understand why, but the fact that you continue to mock me is rude and insulting. Just because I might not be as attractive as others doesn’t mean that you have to…”
Yuuri cut himself off with a sigh.
“Look, you accomplished what you wanted and got away from those people so you don’t need me anymore, in which case could you let go of me? I’m running late as it is and-”
Before he could say anything else, the silver-haired stranger abruptly grabbed his hands and pulled Yuuri closer. Any semblance of appearing calm and collected disappeared from Yuuri, he could feel his ears burning and knew for a fact that he likely resembled a tomato at the moment. It just wasn’t fair…how could anyone be expected to be calm and collected while looking into the most beautiful blue eyes ever, while their owner is clutching his hands like his life depended on it?
The stranger himself was staring wide-eyed at Yuuri, and it could only be his imagination but Yuuri could swear that the man looked worried. The stranger opened his mouth to speak again and Yuuri tried not to look at the way his lips were moving (which is a lot harder when there is so little distance between the two people concerned) opting to focus on his eyes instead (which is a lot easier with them being such a wonderful shade of blue, though it might have been a mistake considering that it is getting progressively harder to look away).
“You have it all wrong.”
The stranger says urgently.
“It was not my attention to mock you, I truly do think your eyes are stunning and if I have offended you in any way I am truly sorry. I admit that it might have been inappropriate of me to just use you as a means of escape and you have my deepest apologies, but please give me a chance to make it up to you.”
Yuuri was at a loss for what to do. The man wasn’t making things any easier by looking so much like a kicked puppy. Averting his gaze to an extremely interesting looking crack on a nearby building, he let out a heavy sigh.
“O-okay, fine. Y-you’re forgiven, bu-but I really need to go now…um…so…”
The rate at which the man’s expression changed was just plain alarming and Yuuri wished he had his hands back so that he could cover his face with them, or at the very least take a few steps back from the worryingly brightness of the smile.
“Really? I’m so happy! But I insist of making it up to you somehow! It would only be right. I’ve got it! I’ll be your escort to wherever it is that you’re going!”
‘This man was going to cause me to die of heart failure, isn’t he?’
“N-no, no, r-really that’s n-not necessary!”
Yuuri tried to decline the offer as politely as possible, but the stranger was relentless. The more distance Yuuri tried to put between them, the closer he seemed to move until his lips were right next to Yuuri’s ear.
“Please, I insist.”
His warm breath tickled Yuuri’s ear and it took everything Yuuri had not to spontaneously combust right then and there. Swallowing once, he tried to ignore how much his legs were suddenly shaking as well as how his heart is threatening to beat out of his chest.
‘This man…he really doesn’t play fair, does he? Why does he have to be so close?! Doesn’t he know the meaning of personal space?! I should just push him away and run, yes I’m going to push him back and run in the other direction!’
Mind made up, Yuuri braced himself to put his plan into action, only to freeze when he sees the hopeful expression on the other’ s face. Instead of pushing the other away and running, he gives a shaky nod of his head.
‘Damn…I should really stop looking at him…period…’
The happy smile on the other’s face was near blinding as he offered his arm towards Yuuri, who only hesitated for a second before taking it.
“Great! Don’t worry my dear, I won’t disappoint! This’ll be an experience you’ll never forget!”
A nervous smile made its way onto Yuuri’s mouth while a single sweatdrop ran down his neck.
‘What did I just get myself into?!’