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To Coach, or Not to Coach, That is the Question

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It was three weeks since the 2016 Grand Prix final, two weeks since Yuuri Katsuki’s official retirement announcement, and one week since Yuri Plisetsky received a wedding invitation for the union of Victor Nikiforov and Yuuri Katsuki in matrimony.

The mere sight of it made him want to gag.

Yuri was more surprised than he should have been. Katsudon had said he was only going to skate for one more year. But Yuri found it hard to believe he’d quit now. He’d won silver, after all. A very close silver too. When the two of them were alone, he asked (demanded) if Victor was making him retire as a ploy to make Yuuri marry him. Yuuri just laughed.

“We’ve been engaged for over a year now, Yurio,” he said. “Also, I proposed to him… kinda… I don’t actually know. It just sort of…”

“You mean you proposed? And on accident?!?” Yuri was appalled.

Yuuri blushed, “It was a happy accident!” he insisted. “besides,” he continued. “Victor tried to talk me out of it, I’m just… I’m done with competitive figure skating. Sure, I enjoyed it, but really, I just want to skate for myself now. Competition brings so much extra pressure, and for what? A medal? It's just not what I want anymore.”

“How can you say that?!?” Yuri slammed his hands in the table.

“Are you going to miss me, Yurio?” Yuuri chuckled at the young man’s sputters.

“I most definitely will not!”

“Well, I’ll certainly miss seeing you every day, Yurio.”

Yuri blushed all the way to his ears. “Shut up, Katsudon!” he yelled, “The only reason I care is I like beating your ass, and nobody else is at my level!”

“Wow, did I just get a complement, even though back-handed, from the two-time gold medalist and world champion?” Yuuri teased. “That’s high praise coming from you, Yurio.” He Ruffed the boy’s hair affectionately, knowing how it drove him crazy.

Yuri slapped his hand away. “S-shut up!” he snapped, just as Lilia Baranovskaya entered.

“Yuri!” she scolded.

“It was my fault, Madame,” said Yuuri quickly. “I was teasing him.”

“Humph, he probably deserved it” Lilia smirked just a little. “Yuuri, won’t you join us in Yura's practice today?” she asked.

“Oh no, I wouldn’t want to cut in on Yurio's time,” said Yuuri politely.

“Nonsense!” Lilia exclaimed. “Yura performs much better in your company, and also does not whine as much.”

“Hey!” cried Yuri indignantly, blushing more than he’d like to admit.

Yuuri chuckled, but not unkindly. “I would love to join you, but I am meeting Victor for lunch in just a few minutes, perhaps another time? But only if it’s okay with you, Yurio?”

Yuri mumbled something incoherent to himself, but Lilia clasped her hands together and spoke for the two of them. “Excellent, we would be delighted to have to have you next week!”

“Certainly, Madame, thank you.” Yuuri gave her a small bow before turning to Yuri. “I’ll probably see you Thursday sometime, but until then take care Yurio!”

“Goodbye, Loser,” said Yuri already looking at his phone and getting ready to block out whatever lecture Lilia was preparing to give him. At least next week he wouldn’t have to deal with her alone. He also had a lot to think about. He has a new idea that was just beginning to take form…

 

Yuuri and Victor had finally successfully moved out of Victor’s old apartment and into a small house outside St. Petersburg. They were throwing a mini house warming party. (The guests included pretty much just the Russian team and Yuuri’s sister who had come from Japan to help with the move.)

Yuri kept to himself for most of the gathering. He swirled the drink in his cup absently. He’d been meaning to ask Yuuri something to do with that idea a couple of weeks ago at the rink, but now that he was here, he was starting to second guess himself. Maybe he was being stupid. What if Yuri said no? What if-?

“Yurio? Are you okay?”

Yuri jumped a little and scowled. Yuuri was looking at him with concern from the small couch opposite the one he was sitting on. Victor was snuggled into Yuuri's side (ew, gross) looking only slightly put out that his fiancée's attention was no longer solely on him. But he went on sipping his coffee and looking around the living room pretending not to listen in.

“You’ve been kind of quiet, are not feeling well?”

Before Yuri had a chance to think about what he was doing he blurted out what he’d been planning to ask.

“Now that you are retired, will you be my coach next season?”

Victor choked on his drink. The room went silent except for Victor’s coughing. Everyone turned to look at the three of them curiously.

The world was beginning to spin as Yuri realized he actually said that out loud, and now Yuuri was staring at him with his mouth slightly open, and everyone would see how bright red his face was, and Lord, how would he ever live this down-

“Oh, Victor, I suppose I'll have to get a rag for this,” said Yuuri getting up.

“That’s Vitya for you, brand new carpet, brand new stain,” said Mila.

“Come with me, Yuri?” Yuuri whispered as he passed him, grabbing the young boy's hand. Under normal circumstances, Yuri would never have allowed himself to be lead anywhere, especially holding hands, but Yuri was somewhat emotionally compromised right at that moment.

Yuuri lead him into the kitchen, leaving the sound of laughter at Mila's joke behind.

Yuuri didn’t say anything, and went to get a rag like he had said. As he was scavenging under the sink, Yuri plucked up his courage.

“I-I um… I’m sorry about what I- you can just forget I –"

Suddenly, Yuri found himself being embraced. If Yuri had ever imagined what a mom’s hug felt like, he was pretty sure a mom hug and a Yuuri hug were one and the same. He had grown in the last year and now they were pretty much the same height.

“Yuri, did you mean that?” Yuuri said quietly, his voice sounded rather tight. “You want me to coach you next season?”

“Y-yeah, kinda… I guess... I don’t know!” Yuri felt overwhelmed. He kind of wanted to cry and that made him really angry.

“Wow…” said Yuuri really quietly. His voice was wobbling a little. “Okay, that’s… wow.”

“Are you crying?”

Yuuri laughed wetly. “Maybe a little.” Yep, he was definitely crying.

“You’re definitely crying.”

“Yeah… you’re right, sorry.”

A silence fell between them for a moment. Yuuri was still hugging him and he kinda wanted to hug back. He lifted his arms and sort of gently wrapped them around Yuuri’s waist. He didn’t know if that was right, but Yuuri didn’t object so he guessed it was okay.

“You know I really care about you, Yurio?” said Yuuri. “You know that, right?”

Yuri nodded into his shoulder, not trusting himself to talk.

“And as much as I would love to be your coach and watch you win every single competition, I can’t do that,” admitted Yuuri. “But you asking was-was one of the nicest, most absolutely amazing complements I have ever received.”

It hurt. Yuri knew it was coming, but it hurt. It hurt worse than he expected. “Okay,” he said. But it wasn’t okay.

“Besides I would be a useless coach anyway.”

“Victor was a lousy coach and you turned out okay.”

Yuuri laughed, for real this time. “You’re right, but he’s getting better.” There was a pause. “We are still hugging,” Yuuri mentioned. “Should I let go now?”

“Yeah, you probably should.” They awkwardly let go and Yuri stepped back a pace.

“You know I’ll still be around the rink, just probably not every day. I can even try to do coach-y things like cheer ridiculously from the sides.”

“That’s not a coach-y thing, that’s a Victor thing,” Yuri pointed out.

“Yeah, I was joking, but you get what I mean? I love you, Yuri, I want the very best for you. You really are an amazing skater, and you will go far. I just am not the right person to get you there.”

“… thanks.”

“I really am sorry, Yuri.”

“Oi, just get that rag to Victor’s stupid mess, Katsudon.”

Yuuri smiled one of his big, absolutely beautiful smiles and Yuri felt his heart shutter in his chest a just a little. As he watched Yuuri leave the kitchen, a part of him regretted opening his mouth at all. He knew the answer would be no. Yuuri was too busy with his new life and Victor to worry about training him. Not for the first time, he felt a twinge of anger at Victor, or maybe it was just jealousy.

But when he came back in to the living room, he saw Yuuri and Victor together. Yuuri was teasing Victor and playing with his hair around his ever-growing forehead, Victor pulled away his hand, kissing it with a small pout. Yuuri burst out laughing, kissing Victor’s lips chastely. They looked utterly content, and happy together. Here, in their new home, maybe they'd have a family in this house, or maybe just a ton of dogs. Yeah, probably the dogs.

When he looked at them sitting there, Yuri felt the anger melt away. There was still a sadness, and a longing, but he could understand. If anyone deserved happiness, it was Yuuri Katsuki.

“Yurio, come sit over here.” Victor waved way more dramatically than was necessary, especially since Yuri was already looking right at him.

“ugh, fine,” Yuri rolled his eyes. “Shove over, old man, your stupid cologne makes me want to puke.” He said, plopping down between the two of them and ignoring Victor’s indignant sputtering. Hey, if Victor gets to spend the rest of his life with Katsudon, he can let Yuri have him to himself for the rest of the party at the very least.

He might not have Yuuri for a coach, but at least he has him as a friend. It wasn’t Yuri’s perfect ending, but it might just turn out alright after all.