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Once and Future Kings

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Late March, Detroit

*Long, slender fingers ghost down his side as Yuuri throws his head back with a gasp. A piercing blue eye sparkles up from between his thighs as a warm tongue coils around him. A brief glance of perfect, heart shaped lips smirking up at him, then Yuuri’s back arches as he is fully taken in one hot, wet motion. His hands tangle in silken, silver blond hair as he shatters into his finish. ‘Vic…Victor!’ he gasps…*

Yuuri bolted upright struggling for breath, still shaking with the phantom orgasm. He threw off the covers and walked unsteadily to the bathroom, frantically turning the shower on cold at full blast. He stepped into the streaming water and waited, head down, for the shaking to subside. Finally stepping out of the shower, he placed his hands on the counter and slowly brought his gaze to the mirror, gazing impassively at his reflection. Fresh off competition season, he was toned - waist trim, cheekbones and jawline slightly sharper than they had been when he was younger. Damp black hair hung just past his collar, lips pressed thin with frustration, brown eyes dull and tired. As he watched, his eyes began to water with tears and his hands rose to wipe them clear.

“Damn it,” he cursed, “28 years old and having a wet dream like a teenager. Pathetic. As usual. Get it together Katsuki!” He grabbed a towel and roughly dried his hair before reaching for his robe and glasses. Passing back into his darkened bedroom, he spared a glance at the dimly glowing clock on his nightstand. 4:45. Lovely. Yuuri briefly debated the merits of crawling back into bed to attempt another hour of sleep before his regular morning run, but dismissed the thought as a waste of effort. Quietly opening his bedroom door, he made his way into the small kitchenette and flipped on the electric kettle. As he prepped his mug of tea, he glanced into the sparsely decorated living space, smiling slightly at the sight of boxes crowding near the entrance. A creak from the direction of the second bedroom drew his attention and he raised an eyebrow as his new roommate stumbled through the door.

“Yuuri? Wha… WHY are you up?” Phichit mumbled through his yawn. Yuuri snagged a second mug from the shelf as he turned back to the counter to prep hot tea for himself and his best friend. Turning back to Phichit, he shrugged as he waited for the tea to steep.

“Sorry, Phi… still, uh, jetlagged after World’s I guess. Did I wake you?” Yuuri trailed off, hoping desperately that he hadn’t made any awkward noises mid-dream. Phichit wandered further into the room, making grabby hands towards the tea cups. Yuuri huffed a laugh and poured a mug for the sleepy man. Phichit sighed in content before aiming a skeptical eye at the taller Japanese man.

“Yuuri… Montreal is in the same timezone as Detroit. Even YOU can’t possibly be jetlagged… what’s wrong?” Phichit pressed, looking anxiously at his friend. Yuuri shrugged, turning to walk towards the living area. The other man followed, automatically joining Yuuri on the couch since it was the only seating available. He paused, glancing around the room. “You know, Yuuri, I know I only moved in a few weeks ago and with competition prep I didn’t really get a chance to unpack but… you’ve been here nearly a year and this place is… empty. There’s nothing on the walls, barely any furniture. You’re the top ranked men’s skater in the world. You have a gazillion sponsors. An Olympic gold! Where are your awards? Photos? Souvenirs? Where’s ANYTHING?” Phichit pressed.

Yuuri determinedly glared out the large window overlooking the street. “Between grad school, skating and those gazillion sponsors, I’ve been a little too busy to decorate, Peach. Feel free to do what you want.” Phichit sighed as he watched his friend close himself off. Choosing not to press the issue, he sipped carefully at his cooling tea. Deciding to change the topic, he starts again.

“It’s so surreal to be roommates again! Back at the old skate club, back at Wayne State… it’s the ‘Peaches and KatsuDamn Show’ all over again! A five-year reunion tour de force! Can Detroit handle us?” Yuuri flashes a half-hearted grin his way before slumping into the cushions. “Yuuri, best friend, skate-demon, most Eros of Katsudons… please tell me what’s wrong?” Phichit begs. Yuuri winces at the final nickname, then glances at the calendar hanging on the nearby wall.
“A five-year reunion…” he whispers, “Five years ago I went back to Hasetsu. And then…” Phichit stills, cursing at his accidental reminder. Of course, this would boil down to Victor. It always did.

Early April, St. Petersburg

With a groan, a lean, silver blond figure smacked his phone, struggling to turn off the blaring alarm. Succeeding, he slumped back onto the pillows, rubbing his hands over his eyes in an attempt to hasten consciousness. Out of deeply ingrained habit, he turned towards the other side of the bed, hand automatically reaching for a body that hadn’t been there in over a year. His lips tightened as he, once again, mentally reprimanded himself for that lingering reflex. He forced himself to roll the other way and sit up, finally glancing at his phone. His lock screen was crowded with message indications, social media tags and the reminder memo – ‘Meeting with Yakov, 7:30.’ He cursed and rose, knowing he’d barely make the appointment. He must have hit the snooze button in his sleep several times… but then, he hadn’t slept well that night. Didn’t sleep well most nights. How could he, when a pair of enormous brown eyes kept interrupting his sleep, haunting his dreams?

A quick comb through his hair, a vastly reduced skin care routine and a brisk brush of his teeth was all he had time for before he snagged jeans and a striped red Henley from his closet. A few minutes later and he was out the condo door, keys in hand. Thankfully, the roads were clear this time of morning and he pulled into the lot at the rink with a few minutes to spare. Slinging his jacket over his shoulder, he strode towards the double doors, pausing as he noticed the sleek black car parked near the entrance. The expensive vehicle definitely didn’t belong to one of the other coaches or any of the Club’s skaters. He paused and narrowed his eyes in speculation. FFKK. Damnit, Yakov had roped him into a meeting with Russia’s All Seeing Skating Overlords. He cursed, knowing he’d have to go inside. He could see several skaters loitering in the lobby and knew they’d tell Yakov if he suddenly turned heel and retreated. Bracing himself, he pasted on the charming but fake smile he had so carefully cultivated during his competitive years and strode confidently through the doors.

“Oi, old man! Yakov’s looking for you!” Victor pursed his lips at the grating shout. “Ahhhh, Yurio, your dulcet tones are as graceful as your jumps.” “Whatever,” grated the tall, slim younger man. “Get your ass in there before Yakov loses the rest of his hair!” The silver haired Russian rolled his eyes and sauntered toward the offices near the back of the rink. Resting his elbow on the door frame, he leaned into the office, somewhat pleased to note that his instinct in the parking lot had been completely correct. Definitely FFKK officials.

“Victor! Come in,” Yakov grated. “Are you familiar with Council Members Mishin and Rubina?” Victor strode forward, hand extended in a graceful greeting.
“Of course! The Coaches’ Council is legendary among coaches and skaters alike!” The stiff looking older man and woman rose as he approached and accepted his hand.

“Mr. Nikiforov,” began the woman, “Your entry into the world of coaching was somewhat… unusual.” Victor stilled as she paused delicately. “However, your success in your limited Seniors coaching experience was quite impressive. Multiple international gold medals, including an Olympic gold prior to returning to his previous coach, isn’t that correct?” she continued. The male figure cleared his throat and glanced significantly at his partner.

“A shame those golds were earned for Japan and not by a Russian skater, but an impressive resume nonetheless.”

Victor’s voice was stuck in his throat, he could feel Yakov eyeing him with barely concealed apology. “I… I… I’m sorry, I’m not sure why we are discussing Yu… Skater Katsuki,” he stuttered. The woman gave him a sardonic glance.

“We are discussing your coaching resume Mr. Nikiforov. Since your retirement and … Skater Katsuki’s departure from St. Petersburg, you have been acting as an assistant coach and choreographer under Coach Feltsman, correct?”

“Yes,” Victor replied cautiously, unsure where her line of conversation was heading.

“Vitya,” Yakov interrupted, “I’m planning to retire. I’ve suggested you as my replacement for Head Coach of the St. Petersburg Club.” Victor’s eyes widened, his throat suddenly dry. “You have the best reputation, both as a retired champion and a successful coach,” Yakov continued, “You’ve been working well with the novices since you retired, plus you choreographed both Babicheva and Plisetky’s programs last year. It’s no small thing to choreograph and assist with TWO reigning Grand Prix Final gold medalists.” Victor tried to calm the rising panic, knowing he wouldn’t be able to leap away from the rapidly approaching train heading his way.

“Yes,” mused Councilwoman Rubina, “If you can duplicate your success with Skater Katsuki, there is no reason Russia cannot sweep gold at the Beijing Olympics.”

“Congratulations Coach Nikiforov, I am certain you will continue to make your country proud,” Councilman Mishin finished sentencing Victor to his doom.

As the council members swept out of the small office, Victor stood frozen. His lungs screamed for air he couldn’t seem to draw through his constricted throat. Hands shaking, he heard the door close, sounding impossibly loud in the small space. He jumped at the sound of a throat clearing behind him, turning to see his mentor eyeing him with understanding. “Vitya,” he started, voice softer than the shaking silver legend could recall hearing in a very long time. “Victor, you were the best, the ONLY choice that the Coaches Council could agree on to take over this Club. We have a reputation to maintain and you are the only one with a track record that could possibly be acceptable to the FFKK.”

“So, Russia’s Legend still hasn’t given enough to his country?” Victor grated through his teeth. “Dammit Yakov. Head Coach? That means… Seniors. Mila, Yuri, Alexei’s debut… that means traveling to competitions again. You KNOW I’m not… I don’t…” Victor stopped, his voice strained. Yakov’s eyes softened.

“Yes, Victor. It will mean international competitions. The Grand Prix, European’s… World’s. It will mean the Olympics most likely.” The aging man pretended not to see the glisten in Victor’s eyes. “And yes, Victor. It will mean seeing...” Victor jerked convulsively, reaching out a hand to stop the name before it could fall from Yakov’s lips. The legendary coach paused, knowing he had pushed his student to the edge. “Come. I will make the announcement to the Club and then you may take a few hours to calm yourself.” Standing, he strode out of the office, leaving his distressed protegee to trail in his wake, stunned.

Outside, the chilly spring morning had turned impossibly sunny. Victor paused at the sight, numb. Five years ago, it had been snowing. In Hasetsu.