The Olympic Games. A once in a lifetime opportunity to most. Third time’s the charm, if your name is Viktor Nikiforov.
Yuuri doesn’t know if he’s proud of his husband or exasperated, but most of the time they’ve managed to keep things professional about the competition. Interviews, promotional commercials, flying back and forth between Japan and Russia; it’s all a blur of preparations and the few valuable moments they get to be alone together.
And now, here – the Olympic rink, a fully packed stadium, and six minutes of warm-up before the short program.
He’s not as nervous as he could have been, as he used to be. Prolonged exposure to Viktor Nikiforov-Katsuki (and doesn’t that sound like a fantasy come true) has made him just a little bit less anxious, just a little bit more reassured that he deserves this, that he can do it. That he will do it.
They’ve choreographed together, counted out the base value of their technical components to match almost down to the decimal – “Isn’t it more fun if we go out there with equal programs,” Viktor had insisted – and now they’re on the same ice, in the same group of skaters getting ready.
The Yuuri who watched Viktor’s first two Olympics can hardly contain himself, but present Yuuri does his very best to focus. He can think of Viktor later, afterwards. Celebrate their achievements or mourn their losses. No matter what, Yuuri knows that when that time comes, Viktor will love him just as much as he does now, just as much as Yuuri loves him.
It’s a thought that settles like warmth inside his chest, keeps him centered through his jumps. The other skaters are a blur around him, friends outside the boards, rivals on the ice.
Yuuri does a good job of blocking sound out, right up until they start on Viktor’s presentation.
He. Should. Have. Known.
“Representing Russia,” echoes from the loudspeakers, “doing his third Olympics as the oldest skater in this division.”
The cheers are loud, almost (but sadly not entirely) drowning out the words. Yuuri doesn’t need to look at Viktor to know he’s making a face.
“He’s got the bronze from 2010 and the gold from 2014, and in his spare time he enjoys dog walks and reading. When asked about his expectations for this year’s Olympics, he said, I don’t expect to lose to anyone but my beautiful husband Yuuri. Viktor Nikiforov-Katsuki!”
When Yuuri throws a side-eyed glance at Viktor, he’s beaming. Honestly. He’s been nice enough to not say anything like that to Yuuri’s face because he knows how much Yuuri hates being jinxed, but clearly he’s had no trouble telling others.
They pass each other and Viktor’s grin turns a little sheepish, but he still blows a kiss and Yuuri still catches it because he’s ridiculously in love like that.
“Next up, representing Japan,” booms from the speakers, and this time the loud cheers make the announcer pause before continuing. “The so called late bloomer who stole Viktor Nikiforov from the world. He likes dogs and performing the quad flip better than his husband. Last year’s world champion and grand prix final gold medalist: Yuuri Katsuki-Nikiforov!”
That’s me, Yuuri thinks, a little in awe. I stole him and I’m never giving him back.
Then he shakes himself a little, getting rid of the stars in front of his eyes. That’s not the part he should be focusing on! Why are they saying all these silly things?! Did Phichit write their manuscripts? He rubs a hand over his face, determined not to look at Viktor. Instead he inhales, gears up for a jump, does the quad flip just because he can. It is in his short program so no one can accuse him of doing it for any other reason than practice.
When warm-ups are over, Viktor catches him just before stepping off the rink.
“Skate for me,” he says, one hand on Yuuri’s hip, the other grabbing onto the boards.
“If you skate for me,” Yuuri teases back, and Viktor’s laughter is a gift to the world.
After, when the short program is over and Yuuri sits on Phichit’s bed because Yakov banned Viktor from sharing a room with him, he watches Viktor’s program on his phone a few times too many.
“Haven’t you seen it a million times in real life,” Phichit asks as he comes out of the shower. “Or are you trying to figure out why he got more points than you?”
“No, that’s because of my salchow,” Yuuri sighs, because it’s still giving him troubles now and then.
He’s ignoring the first question, because a small part of him still mourns that he couldn’t watch it live, forced to prepare his own skate as he was.
“Well, it’s only two points.”
Phichit flops onto the bed, and Yuuri is so happy that he’s in fourth after the short program, with JJ in third and Yurio in fifth. Unsurprisingly, Yurio spent a lot of time cursing at all of them.
“It’s the free skate that counts,” Yuuri points out with a cheeky smile, and Phichit rolls his eyes.
“If you have five quads planned, sure… am I a bad person for wanting JJ to fall on his ass? He already got a medal!”
Yuuri snorts, pressing refresh to start Viktor’s short program for the twelfth time. He’s got his reasons. Don’t judge him.
“I thought the team event didn’t count?”
“When did I ever say that,” Phichit mutters, but soon lights up again, waving his phone at Yuuri. “At least my fans think I got robbed!”
“Mm,” Yuuri says, too absorbed by Viktor’s perfect step sequence.
Yuuri came up with it for him. Another thing that has teenage Yuuri swooning… (It has adult Yuuri swooning, too, but Viktor swoons at him as well so he likes to think it’s justified.)
Viktor is beautiful like this, shining bright with confidence in every jump, every flick of wrists. Yuuri wants him. Even though he has him, Yuuri wants him.
“Do you think Yakov will notice if I sneak into Viktor’s room?” he asks Phichit, tries to force down the blush that blooms on his cheeks.
“You’re married,” Phichit tells him, like Yuuri needs to be reminded. “What’s the worst he can do?”
In the morning, Yuuri wakes to Viktor’s mouth on his jaw, hot and dragging slowly across his skin. There’s Viktor’s arms holding him tight and Viktor’s chest against his back, and Yuuri shivers with the desire brewing inside him.
“Good morning, zolotse,” he breathes into Yuuri’s ear, makes a smile break out on Yuuri’s face as he turns to bury it in Viktor’s neck.
“Didn’t win the gold yet,” he mumbles, draws in Viktor’s scent like he’s starved.
“Yet,” Viktor echoes, but there’s only humor in his voice.
Yuuri loves this, loves him, wants to push closer to Viktor until their bodies are one. Maybe if they fused together they’d become the ultimate skater, and even Yurio would have to admit his defeat out loud.
“What are you thinking about?” Viktor whispers, and Yuuri produces a barely intelligible noise. “Not the short program I hope because that salchow was terrible, I’ve told you a hundred times to-“
Yuuri smacks his arm, emerging from his hiding place to pout at him. That seems to have been Viktor’s carefully thought-out plan however, because as soon as he’s within striking distance Viktor’s mouth catches his, kisses the frown off his lips with gentle little bites.
“You’re terrible,” Yuuri complains but it’s half-hearted, turning to a moan when Viktor’s hands slide down his lower back.
There’s a knock on the door.
“Vitya! Time to get up!”
Viktor deflates, sinks into the pillows with a pathetic little whine that has Yuuri laughing into his hand.
“Just for that I should tell him you’re here,” Viktor mutters, Yuuri’s eyes going wide before he immediately disappears under the covers.
He peeks out of a small gap as Viktor pulls on underwear, lingering a little on his ass as he walks over to the door.
“Yakov!” Viktor chirps. “You don’t need to yell at me through the door, you know.”
Yakov grunts, and even though Yuuri can’t see properly he imagines him with crossed arms, hat already pulled over his forehead early in the morning.
“Is Yuuri in there?” he asks, suspicious, and it should say something that Yuuri understands this particular part of the Russian language perfectly.
“Yuuri? My husband Yuuri? Now why would I be hiding my husband in my own room? Yakov, do you think so lowly of me!”
At least, Yuuri guesses that’s what he says because his Russian isn’t fluent yet. He doesn’t really need more than past experience and Viktor’s tone of voice, though, to fill in the gaps.
When Viktor returns he throws himself on the bed, squashing Yuuri underneath him.
“Vitya, off,” Yuuri groans, shoving at all 180 centimeters of pure muscle that make up his husband.
“I’ve been fatally wounded,” Viktor fake cries as he rolls over, hand on his forehead. “My coach thinks so lowly of me!”
“And my coach just crushed me,” Yuuri throws back, a pillow adding emphasis to his words.
“Crushed by love,” Viktor says with a wink, because he’s ridiculous and Yuuri loves him enough to let him get away with it.
The pillow ends up on the floor, and Yakov has to come banging on the door one more time until they make it out of bed.
The free skate event is… nerve wrecking, to be honest. Yuuri skates in the last group but he goes out as number two, leaving four skaters after him. It means he won’t know how well he did until the last skater is done, and – of course – Viktor is last.
When Yuuri steps out onto the ice, he doesn’t only envision the gold medal. He thinks of standing on the podium, in the middle, thinks of Viktor leaning in to kiss the gold around his neck. The perfect outcome, but only if Yuuri produces a perfect skate.
He might hold the free skate world record, but the Olympics is not a place where you win on past accomplishments. Anything can happen, and in this case-
In this case, Yuuri breaks his own record.
Coming off the ice he’d thought he’d done rather well. His jumps had felt smooth, his step sequence a blur of practiced motion, and the only regret he has is not keeping his final spin a bit tighter at the end.
Yakov greets him at the boards, claps his back. It seems he’s been forgiven for this morning, when both of them were slightly late to practice.
He doesn’t want to know the score. He desperately wants to know the score. He can’t decide if he wants to know or not, but then the points are all there and the audience roars and Yuuri feels his chest burst with an emotion he can’t name, feels the tears roll freely as he hides his face in his jacket.
A new world record at the Olympics is… too large for words.
He gets another clap on the back from Yakov, a grunted you did well. He wonders if Yakov will tell Viktor before he skates. Yuuri backloads his programs more but Viktor could maybe add another quad, could theoretically beat him if he tries.
Stumbling off the seat in the kiss and cry he makes his way over to the boards, determined to stay and watch despite the reporters no doubt dying to speak with him.
They can wait.
Yuuri’s coach is busy preparing for his own skate so it’s not like he has anyone to reprimand him right now, anyway.
Phichit is up next, and Yuuri cheers for him as loud as he can. It’s a wonderful skate and Yuuri hugs him after the scores are announced, convinces him to stay and watch the last three together. He wishes with all he has that Phichit can win the bronze, but Yurio beats him just barely. It pushes Otabek down to fourth, and maybe Yuuri shouldn’t just expect Viktor to beat everyone but he’s allowed to be biased towards his husband, right?
Watching JJ skate is not as awful as it maybe should be. He might be good but Yuuri knows he’s better, tucks the new record inside his chest like a precious gem, shielding him from anxious thoughts.
“Wow, Yuuri,” Phichit says halfway through JJ’s program. “You know you can’t do worse than bronze now?”
Yuuri stares at him, eyes wide. He’s at the Olympics. And sure, he won silver at the team event, but this is all on him, all his own, and there are only two skaters left.
“That’s-“ he falters, because this is what he’s dreamt of almost all his life.
“That’s so amazing!” Phichit shouts, hugging him and shaking him a little. “You’re an Olympian!”
He wants the gold. He wants it so badly, feels the ache in his fingertips to wrap around the medal. Bronze isn’t good enough.
“Do you think JJ will beat me?” he asks, tugging at the zipper to his jacket, watching the Canadian skater throw himself into a quad sal-triple toe-loop combo like it’s nothing.
Is this the point where he breaks, then? He was so focused on Viktor that he never considered anyone else beating him. JJ becomes a blur out on the ice, his throat clogging up. All he wants is for Viktor to be proud of him, and logically he knows that Viktor is, that he will be. But if JJ wins Yuuri might never forgive himself.
“Yuuri. Yuuri, look at me. Come on, I meant that as a good thing! I don’t even know your score!”
Blinking at Phichit, he hears the final notes of JJ’s music fade out – it’s a new theme song of his, terribly catchy, enough that he’s caught Viktor humming it to himself.
“Oh. Well. Two hundred and twenty-six point something?”
Yuuri grins, and then Phichit’s groaning, rubbing at his face.
“You think Viktor could beat that?” Phichit asks, and Yuuri has to shrug because who knows?
He didn’t break Yuuri’s previous record, but Viktor loves surprises. Yuuri loves them, too, but only if it’s Viktor surprising him.
“Honestly…” Phichit shakes his head, knocks his skate into Yuuri’s.
JJ’s scores are announced after a small eternity, and he doesn’t beat Yurio.
He doesn’t beat Phichit either.
“No offense,” Phichit tells him, “but I almost wish Viktor had retired now, you know?”
There’s an apology forming on Yuuri’s lips, but Phichit smacks a hand over his mouth.
“I said almost. I’ll win the next Olympics, alright? Let’s watch your husband struggle to beat you instead.”
No matter how many times Yuuri sees Viktor skate he can’t help but find him mesmerizing. Ethereal. Like he was made for the ice, sculpted from it, a frozen water spirit.
“You’re drooling,” Phichit tells him, and Yuuri’s cheeks burn even though it isn’t true.
He’s just… admiring what’s his.
(He still wipes his mouth discreetly.)
Viktor goes for the middle, slowly gliding forwards, eyes closing as he brings his right hand to his lips. He kisses both rings – the engagement ring, the wedding one – glinting gold over his glove. He’s dressed in dark red, a striking jacket littered with Swarovski crystals, his pants and gloves in black. Viktor complained it looked straighter than he envisioned – Yuuri thinks he looks like royalty. It’s possible he’s had a fantasy or two about it.
Yuuri wants the best for him, wants him to skate better than he ever has, brings his own rings to his mouth to whisper his wish onto them. He keeps his fist clenched, keeps his mouth pressed to his fingers throughout Viktor’s program. His Viktor, enchanting the world. Yuuri is so proud he could cry, hardly breathing as Viktor nails jump after jump. It is possible that Yuuri jumps with him, as best he can in his skates.
Viktor finishes, though Yuuri would have liked him to continue forever. They haven’t announced anything, haven’t discussed it more than necessary, but it’s the cold harsh truth that retirement lurks around the corner.
Like this, Viktor looks like he’ll never be too old, never too tired for competition. But Yuuri can see it in his eyes, when he greets him at the opening in the boards. Did you see, they seem to say, I did it, did you see?
Yuuri holds his arms wide, lets Viktor collapse into them. He’s breathing hard, sticky with sweat, and Yuuri loves him.
“Sit with me?” Viktor mumbles into his hair, neither of them ready to let go yet.
He nods, holds Viktor tighter, overwhelmed.
What do you say to each other after acing the Olympics?
Yakov pushes them to the kiss and cry, grumbling about this and that in Russian. Yuuri doesn’t listen, not really; he’s too busy smoothing down Viktor’s hair, fiddling with his costume. Viktor lets him for a while, and then he laughs, takes Yuuri’s hands in his own and kisses his palms, teases him for it.
“Do you think I beat you?” Viktor asks, and Yuuri looks at the replay of his perfect quad lutz on the screen.
“Do you think you broke my record?” Yuuri asks in return, trying but failing to look nonchalant.
It’s impossible, when Viktor’s eyes shine like that. Yuuri has to shine, too; has to twine their fingers together and meet his lips, breathe him in through the contact.
“I think I beat you,” Yuuri whispers, but only because he wants to see how Viktor’s eyes widen, how his nose and cheeks flush red.
He does beat him, but only by three points in the free, a single one in the total. It’s better than any competition’s ever been. It’s better than their wedding day.
“I love you,” Viktor chants between kisses, lifts him up with adoration in his whole expression. “I love you I love you I love you-“
On the podium, Yuuri pulls him up to the highest step, makes sure the cameras catch them kissing. Viktor’s silver medal bumps against his gold (“It’s perfect, Yuuri,” Viktor says later. “Now I have one of each color!”) and they laugh and cry and squeeze Yurio into the pictures as well, despite his initial protests.
And then, when it’s all over.
When they’re alone in their hotel room and wrung out from the partying, from the celebrating.
When Viktor falls onto the bed and Yuuri falls on top of him.
When Yuuri cradles Viktor’s face in his hands, runs his thumbs over his cheekbones like the most precious thing in the world.
That’s when Yuuri knows, beyond any lingering doubts, any anxiety waking him up at night telling him it’s all a dream.
He gets to spend the rest of his life making Viktor happy.