We are bone seeds
that do not know
how to take off our skin
disperse our blood
give our bones away
become a new person
picking out new solitude
on sufficient roads
Yuuri knows as soon as he hits the ice that he’s going to mess up. It’s not negative thinking or self-fulfilling prophecies, just biology finally catching up to him at the worst moment in a way he can’t ignore. He’s felt itchy inside for months, fighting hot flashes, waking up with evidence of wet dreams on the sheets in a way he hasn’t since he was fourteen.
For a while it had been working in his favor, sheer determination tunneling his focus to the ice and the music, to the point that he barely notices the audience or the judges during performances. It’s been his best competitive year to date. But then he finds out about Vicchan, and wakes up the morning of the Grand Prix Final to find the itchiness has been replaced by a horrific crawling sensation, like a nest of spiders hatched under his skin. His core is hot to the point that it seems it’s taken all of his body heat from his limbs, because his hands and feet are freezing even when he runs them under warm water. It leaves him off balance, unable to predict and or control his body the way he’s used to.
The news of Vicchan turns out to be the tipping point. For all that Yuuri hadn’t seen him in five years, it’s the loss of his childhood dog that set the final nail in the coffin of his already much-neglected biology. He’s known since before he moved that he should look for another secondary child replacement, something to hug and cuddle and dote on to appease his instincts. But he was afraid he wouldn’t have time to properly devote to an animal, and couldn’t bear the thought of getting another pet only for it to languish for attention. He’s always been a perfectionist with things like that. Besides, pets weren’t allowed in the dorms at the Detroit Skating Club anyway.
Because he’s more bull-headed than many would give him credit for, he skates both programs anyway. All things considered, it’s a surprise he lands any of his jumps at all.
Celestino tries to comfort him. He has no idea what’s going on with Yuuri’s biology, of course, because Yuri hasn’t told him; being a beta, Celestino wouldn’t know what signs to look for anyway.
The only reason Yuuri had done well under Celestino was because he was always comfortingly positive about any misstep Yuuri might make. This isn’t a misstep so much as the apocalypse of Grand Prix performances. Yuri can’t bear to meet Celestino’s eyes, having just wasted years of Celestino’s coaching career that could have been spent on someone with better self-confidence and more stable biology.
In the bathroom stall he manages to clumsily press the buttons for his phone so he can call his mother. She had been the most doubtful about his choice to move away. He barely gets through the call to make his apology, hangs up before he utterly breaks down. He has, again, been unable to help provide for his home and his family. It’s the worst kind of failure, to prove himself continually incapable of fulfilling the basic tenet inherent to all alphas.
The confrontation with Yuri Plisetsky is the icing on the cake.
While he’s not sure where his skating career is headed from here, Yuuri knows with the way his body is acting, a break would be mandatory even if he’d had a good season. He counts his suppressants, looks up a rationing table online, does the math on the best way to wean himself off while making sure to have just enough to get through his last college semester.
As a type L male alpha, left to its own devices Yuuri’s body would go into rut approximately once a year. It’s a relatively rare type. There’s documented research showing unequivocally that alpha birth control would be useless for him, but nothing regarding suppressants. Because of this, doctors aren’t able to give recommendations for how long he can go on suppressants without a break for ruts. He’s been getting pressure about it at his annual exam for four years, because the more common alpha and omega types are recommended to allow a cycle at least every 3. He’d even gotten a stern lecture the last two exams regarding his hormonal blood results.
It helps explain why he’s packing on weight so easily, even for him. Type L’s are known for uniquely challenging rut cycles.
He looks around his dorm room the day after grades are posted and concedes defeat to the little voice pointing out how horrible a rut would be with a shared room, in mixed secondary-gender dorms with too many people using bathrooms he has to cross a hall to access. He’s already taken his last pill, and while it could be weeks before the hormones flush out of his system, he packs his things and heads home.
Victor is lazing about at home, taking advantage of the last of his biyearly medical leave, when he sees the video. He’s wearing his softest day clothes, and has temporarily discarded a half-melted bag of ice by throwing it into the kitchen, uncaring of where it landed. Now he’s covered in the soothing warmth of Makkachin, which settles him in a different way despite not helping with the residual soreness from his heat.
Heats tend to leave his mind hazy and a bit blank, and often he gets his best routine ideas during the recovery period. This time, as last time, he’s coming up disappointingly blank and has taken to surfing his phone and getting caught up on social media.
Perhaps he should have more recollection of Yuuri Katsuki from before the Grand Prix Final, but all he has is a vague recollection of him periodically showing up in the rankings. Victor hadn’t been paying too much attention the last few years, too focused on gearing up for his own programs. There’s frustratingly little of him on social media, mostly he’s in the background or partnered in posts with Phichit Chulanont. What Victor’s seeing paints Yuuri as meek and camera shy.
After the dominant display at the banquet, the dancing that was obviously so targeted at impressing Victor, he had been surprised, and a bit disappointed, to not hear from Yuuri again.
And then a ping in the corner of his screen with a link from Chris, and Victor’s eyes go wide, lips parted in wonder. It’s Yuuri Katsuki, dancing to Victor’s program.
Why isn’t Yuuri Katsuki better known if he can skate like this?
Victor pets Makkachin’s head and her tail thumps pleasingly against his legs. Yuuri Katsuki and all of his contrary information is swishing around in Victor’s brain, back and forth, like precisely choreographed step sequences.
Wouldn’t it be a surprise to the fans, if someone who bombed so spectacularly the year before came back a winner?
The idea rolls over and over in his head, and before he knows it he’s checking the price of plane tickets to Japan, scouring the comments to the video on social media to find where the video was taken, so he can figure out where Yuuri is now. He eventually finds an old news article on Google, badly translated, but enough for him to read that Yuuri’s family runs a hot spring. He cross checks that with the information available on the poster for the youtube account with the video. It includes the name of an ice rink, and between that and the rest of what he's found he’s able to find a location that seems a likely match.
Victor stretches, Makkachin abandons him to go drink water out of her bow, and his shirt pulls up above his belly button. Victor’s body lights up, full of residual aches and soreness in his wrists, his shoulders, his back and thighs, and deep inside his core, where he’s inflamed and feels just shy of bruised. He just spent 3 days fucking himself with knotting toys slathered in synthetic alpha pheromones. A hot spring sounds good.
He returns to his phone and pulls up the tab with information for the only hot spring in Hasetsu-Cho. He books the hot spring and the plane ticket. He’s always had good luck; if he can’t find Yuuri there he’ll start asking around.
Nobody with that level of talent and skill should have bombed at the Grand Prix. Victor is going to find out why, and then, if he still wants to, he’s going to fix it.
Who knows, perhaps the change is what he needs to find more inspiration himself.