Yuri discovered it while scrolling through Pinterest, looking for cute cat toys. It must have shown up because of the word ‘toy’ in his search, and even though it has nothing to do with what he’d been looking for, it’s still perfect .
Yuri clicks on the link excitedly, bringing his phone a little closer to his face. Unfortunately, the link brings him to a colorful page written entirely in Japanese and the picture he’d been looking at was nowhere to be seen. Impatiently, he scrolled down the screen, clicking random links until he finally found it. A grin crept onto his face. Yeah, definitely perfect.
“Whatcha lookin’ at Yura?” Yuri jumps, and feels no guilt at all when the top of his head knocks into Victor’s jaw. Pain, yes, because Victor has an icepick for a chin, but no guilt.
Yuri spins around and pushes him away crossly. “Nothing,” he snaps. He pulls his phone close to his chest.
It’s a mistake. Victor was rubbing his chin, looking put out, but he grins when he notices the defensive move.
“Ooh, is our little Yura looking at porn?” he practically sings. Yuri’s face heats up to volcano levels.
“NO!” he yelps, jumping backwards. He hits the boards and the water bottle he’d been drinking from earlier tips over and spills all over the ice. Across the rink, Yakov looks over from where he’d been working with Mila.
“What is going on over there?” he yells as he comes towards them. Yuri opens his mouth, but Victor beats him to it, because the universe hates Yuri, apparently.
“Yura’s looking at porn!” he shouts merrily. “The Japanese kind too, he’s got good taste!” The Katsudon trips and nearly falls in the middle of his warmup Ina Bauer.
Yuri tries to say ‘shut up Victor’ and ‘it’s not porn, you imbecile’ and ‘are you trying to kill your husband?’ but what actually comes out of his mouth is some kind of amalgamation of all three, and ends up sounding more like a drowning donkey.
Yakov turns a worrisome puce color as he stops in his tracks. He looks like he’s trying to think of something to say, but gives up and does a sharp about-face instead. “Get up!” he shouts at Mila, who is rolling on the ice and holding her stomach as she laughs breathlessly.
Fuck. His. Life.
It takes him three days to fight through his residual embarrassment so he can approach Katsuki. Incidentally, it also takes that long before he can manage to get him alone. Victor clings to him like a limpet and honestly, the stupid Katsudon isn't much better. It kind of makes him want to vomit. Scratch that, it definitely makes him want to vomit.
Finally, Yuri fcatches him doing his stretches one morning and jumps at the chance while he still has it.
“Do you, uh, need any help?” he opens with, wincing even as it comes out of his mouth. He doesn’t think things could get any more awkward, but Katsuki proves him wrong as he looks up from his toe touch and blushes bright red.
“Oh, uh, no, that’s okay,” he stutters. He draws his knees up to his chest and leans forward to rest his arms on them. He gives Yuri a look that is probably meant to be reassuring or understanding or some other adult-role-model bullshit. Mostly he just looks profoundly uncomfortable. “Actually, I uh, wanted to talk to you, about...I mean, I know you’re at an age where -”
Oh my god STOP,” Yuri says. “I wasn’t looking at porn , and even if I was, this is not a conversation we are ever going to have, got it Katsudon?”
“Oh thank God,” Katsuki blurts out, looking every bit as relieved as Yuri feels. “I know Victor likes to joke about us being your dads, but…” Yuri shudders and makes a face. “Yeah, exactly.” His posture relaxes and he straightens his legs back out in front of him. His head tilts curiously. Yuri wonders if he knows that he looks like Makkachin when he does that. “So what did you want, then? I’m assuming you didn’t actually come here just to help me stretch.”
Yuri shrugs and sits down in front of him, mirroring his position with his feet press against Katsuki’s. As long as he’s here, he might as well start his own stretches. They link hands and Yuri leans backwards. Katsuki grunts at the strain and gives him a dirty look. Yuri grins savagely and pulls a little harder. “I need you to translate something,” he says as they hold the position. Katsuki raises an eyebrow when Yuri finally releases the tension, and now it’s his turn. Katsuki leans back hard and ouch , yeah, he may be the more flexible of the two, but he’s also growing like a freaking weed right now and he’s pretty sure his arms aren’t meant to go that far past his feet. He tries to keep his face passive, but going by the little smirk on the Katsudon’s lips, he’s failing. Vindictive bastard.
“I’m going to need a little more than that,” Katsuki says dryly when Yuri doesn’t continue.
“No. You don’t,” Yuri says flatly. “Look, will you do it or not?” Katsuki releases his hands and straightens up. He gives Yuri an unreadable look as he does a few side twists to loosen up his spine.
“Okay,” he says calmly. Yuri is immediately suspicious, but Katsuki just opens his legs up into a split and gives him an expectant look. Yuri stands and walks behind him as Katsuki leans forward. Yuri grins, turns around, and sits on his back. Katsuki wheezes out a string of Japanese that Yuri assumes are curses. “Ow,” he says sharply, rolling his shoulders back.
Yuri immediately transfers most of his weight to his legs, feeling a little guilty as Katsuki breathes a small sigh of relief. He’s not going to apologize, but figures the burn in his thighs from the prolonged squat is penitence enough. Instead, he growls, “Well, if you’d rotate your hips down to the floor, it wouldn’t hurt that bad.” He frowns as he glances under him at Katsuki. “Jesus, your form is horrible.”
“Victor likes my form just fine,” Katsuki snipes back, but shifts into a better position and sighs as it releases some of the strain.
He and Katsuki have their own language of teasing and insults; he’s been forgiven. Still, to keep up appearances, he hides his smile behind one palm and moans,“Whyyyy. Why do you hate me?”
“Aww, I don’t hate you, Yurio.” Yuri drops his hand just enough to glare.
“I was talking to the universe, asshole.”
Katsuki snorts and swats at his thigh. Yuri stands and they switch positions. Yuri rolls his eyes as the pressure on his back puts his chest several inches from the floor. “Come on, push harder, would you? That’s barely even a stretch.”
Katsuki grins. “That’s what Victor sa-”
The older man cackles, head dropping back. Yuri flails one arm behind him and connects solidly with Katsuki’s face. “Ack!” He pushes Yuri’s hand away, but he’s still laughing a bit and he doesn’t sound very angry.
“Do a better job and you won’t get hit.”
“Okay, then,” Katsuki says. Yuri regrets everything when the asshole nudges Yuri’s legs into a wider split and then braces them with his feet so Yuri can’t close them when he presses down harder on his back. Yuri breathes into the burn; he will not show weakness. That whimper he lets out doesn’t count. “So what exactly did you want to make, anyway?” Katsuki asks innocently.
Yuri doesn’t even attempt to speak until his muscles and tendons feel a little less less like ripping. He’s still a little breathless when he finally answers.
“I think they’re called ‘amigurumi’?” Katsuki hmms noncommittally and releases him, finally. “I’m not sure if that’s a name, or a technique, he continues as he gingerly moves into a more relaxed position. “Have you ever heard of it?” He takes the hand the other man offers and lets himself be pulled to his feet, begrudgingly admitting that he does feel better.
The smirk slides back onto Katsuki’s face. “I’m not sure, is it a sex thing?”
“Aaaaand, we’re done.”
Yuri will never, ever admit this out loud, but if he thinks about it, Katsuki would be more of an annoying big brother than a father.
Not that he ever thinks about it.
Chapter 2: Interlude
Sorry this one is so short, guys! Tomorrow's (I plan on daily updates) will be much longer, as will the rest of them so...have patience?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The thing is, Yuri does know how to crochet, even if patterns are a foreign language he’s going to have to learn. Scarves, blankets, a rug one time... all come like second nature after years of trial and error. He even taught himself to knit the winter he broke his leg, but he rarely if ever uses the skill. It’s just not the same.
When he was very young, his Babushka put a hook and yarn into his hands as a way to distract him from his ‘anger issues’. He sat at her side for hours on end, crocheting endless chains while she worked on her own projects. It had nearly backfired when he learned that the chains he’d spent so much time on were only meant to be starting stitches, and weren’t going to magically transform into a blanket like he’d assumed. Babushka simply chuckled softly and rubbed circles into his back as she always did during one of his fits, a steadying touch while he lay on the floor and screamed impotent rage into a pillow until he exhausted himself and they could continue.
(The pillow was Dedushka’s solution to the problem and while it worked, it was nothing compared to yarn and hook and Babushka’s knobbly fingers guiding his clumsy ones into a single stitch, double, half double crochet, and repeat. Now turn and...there you go Yurotchka, you’ve got it. Try the next row on your own.)
Yuri tried to continue after she passed away, channeling into the yarn all the sorrow and anger and excess energy that Dedushka just couldn’t keep up with, buried as he was in his own grief stricken state. But Dedushka would go quiet, fragile, every time he found Yuri working feverishly on the blanket she had only been a quarter of the way through. The distant look in his eyes triggered panic deep inside Yuri’s chest, scared that one day Dedushka would slip too far away and disappear, just like Babushka and his mother, and his father before that. So Yuri folded up the half finished blanket, shoved it under his bed alongside all the skeins of yarn and different sized hooks, and went back to punching and screaming into his pillow.
He went through a lot of pillows those first two years.
It wasn’t until he was ten and suspended from school yet again, sitting on his bedroom floor and trying not to wince as Dedushka dabbed iodine onto his split knuckles, that the old man finally noticed one corner of the bright blue blanket peeking out from its hiding place. His eyes grew distant and sad again, and Yuri was struck by that familiar swell of panic. He closed his own eyes, kicking himself for not burying the thing deeper under his bed the last time he’d wrapped it around himself in an effort to stave off nightmares.
He startled when a warm, paper-skinned hand cupped his cheek, narrowly missing the black eye developing. He looked up into that sad gaze, but this time there was no distance there. Dedushka was right here with him, pensive and regretful, but so tender that it made tears well up in Yuri’s eyes in a way that no split knuckle or black eye or fat lip ever could.
“Oh, Yurotchka,” the man breathed. He pulled Yuri close and rubbed circles into his back just like Babushka used to, as sobs punched their way free from the weight of all the years he’d spent ignoring them. “I didn’t realize…”
When Yuri’s heart and lungs finally settled and his shaking subsided to nothing more than small aftershocks, Dedushka set a steadying hand over the nape of Yuri’s neck. He pulled Yuri away just enough so that he could look at him directly.
“You don’t need to stop. You never needed to stop, or hide it away, kotyenok .”Yuri sniffed hard and barely resisted rubbing at his sore eye to clear the leftover wetness. “It hurt you so bad every time you saw,” he said in a small voice, half hoping Dedushka wouldn’t hear. The hand on his nape tightened.
Dedushka was silent for a long time and when Yuri chanced a glance up, he was staring somewhere into the middle ground, a deep furrow between his brows. When he finally spoke, it was haltingly, as if he wasn’t entirely sure how to translate his thoughts into proper words.
“It...did hurt. Does hurt. But. I think sometimes, it might be okay for things to be painful.” He took Yuri’s hand in his and gently kissed the bruises and cuts there. Iodine still stung the open wounds. “How else are we going to heal?”
If he hadn’t already exhausted his supply of tears, Yuri probably would have started again. Instead, he twisted in Dedushka’s grip and snagged the errant corner of the blanket. He pulled it close, and Dedushka wrapped it around them both. They curled into each other and the quiet warmth of their cocoon until the shadows grew long and Yuri’s stomach broke the silence. Dedushka laughed and pulled them both to their feet, leading Yuri into the kitchen. There, he sat at the rickety kitchen table, fingers fumbling to find the rhythm of half forgotten stitches - single, double, half double crochet and repeat. Now turn and...there you go Yurotchka, you’ve got it. You can do the next rows on your own now.
So yeah, Yuri knows how to crochet.
Come join me on Tumblr at: Disasterbek-altin
I was really hoping to get this out earlier, alas. The joys of randomly dislocating ribs. Anyways, there are links throughout. You don't have to click on them, but if you are interested in learning a little more about the things being talked about, then have fun!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Yuri prepares himself before he knocks on Victor and Katsuki’s door. It swings open and Victor appears, arms open wide for a hug, but Yuri is already ducking through the gap between him and the door.
“My son is - hey!”
Makkachin, alerted by his owner's yelp, comes bounding out of the kitchen to dance around Yuri's feet until he kneels and pets her big floofy head. Yuri's not a fan of dogs, but he likes Makkachin. They have an understanding; she doesn't pounce or slobber on him, and he slips her bits of dinner when Victor and Katsuki aren't looking. “Good girl,” he murmurs just loud enough for her ears only.
Katsuki pokes his head through the kitchen doorway at the commotion. His cheeks are flushed; Yuri sincerely hopes it’s because of the heat from the kitchen and not from anything he and Victor might have been...doing. He wants to eat and actually enjoy his food, thanks.
“Ah! Yura, you’re here. Perfect timing. Vitya, stop pouting, you know he wasn’t going to let you hug him.”
“Can’t blame a papa for trying.”
Victor ignores Yuri’s disgusted huff and claps a hand on his shoulder as he passes, which is...acceptable, he guesses. He’s still going to pretend otherwise. Katsuki just rolls his eyes at their theatrics and returns to the kitchen. Makkachin abandons him for the kitchen again; Katsuki tends to “accidentally” drop bits of dinner so Yuri can't be too upset. Yuri bites back a smile before standing up to glare at Victor.
“Is this how things are going to go tonight?” he asks, exasperated. “Because if you’re going to keep calling yourself papa, I’m just going to leave now.” Victor shrugs and throws that stupid heart shaped smile over his shoulder.
“Come help me set the table,” he says instead of answering. Yuri heaves a sigh but complies anyway.
Or he was, but as he passes the kitchen doorway, Katsuki grabs the sleeve of his shirt and tugs firmly. “Sorry, luchik ,” he says sweetly. “I need him more.” Yuri fights down a gag. Luchik, he thinks in disgust. He’s 95% sure that prolonged exposure to the couple will lead to diabetes, which unfortunately means Yuri is screwed. He blames the Katsudon’s mom for how often he ends up over here for dinner; he wonders sometimes, if she knew what kind of weapon she was putting into her son’s hand when she taught him to cook.
Yuri allows himself to be pulled into the kitchen, though he shakes off Katsuki’s grip once inside. “What’d you need, Katsu?”
Katsuki blinks, looking thrown for a second. “Oh, uh, scoop out the rice, I guess?” Yuri raises an eyebrow and crosses his arms. “Oh shut up,” he hisses. “I just wanted to get you alone.”
“Next time on: Things a Grown Man Should Never Say to a Seventeen Year Old Boy.”
“Oh, so you don’t want your translation, then? Is that what you’re telling me right now?” Katsuki looks at him, deadpan, until Yuri breaks and shakes his head sullenly. He smiles in that way only Katsuki can, simultaneously sweet and smug, and flicks a finger at the rice steamer on the counter. “Then I suggest you get to scooping, Yurio.”
If Yuri had known what a sarcastic little shit Katsuki would turn out to be, he’s pretty sure their interactions would have gone very differently in the beginning.
Now is not the time to push things. Yuri scoops rice into three porcelain bowls decorated with tacky Japanese dragons. Victor’s purchase, not Yuuri’s; these are the few remaining soldiers in a set that had magically disappeared or ended up in pieces on the ground.
“So I was trying to translate the pattern,” Katsuki says in a low voice. He doesn’t look up as he pours a bit of egg into the saucepan full of chicken, veggies, and broth in front of him. He covers it and gently shakes the whole thing.
“Trying?” Yuri asks, unimpressed. He holds out one of the bowls when Katsuki gestures at it with the pan. He pours the soupy concoction over the rice, then refills the pan from a pot next to him and starts the process over.
Yuri nearly starts drooling as he breathes in the fragrant aroma before reluctantly covering the bowl with the lids they came with to keep it warm. Katsuki chose oyakodon for dinner tonight.
It’s one of his favorites, and actually fits into his skating season meal plan. He’d been dreading the second workout he’d need, to compensate for tonight’s transgressions, but it looks like it won’t be necessary after all. Katsuki does care.
Although, maybe not so much right now, judging by the pissy glance he throws Yuri’s way while waiting for the next batch of oyakodon to simmer. “Yes, trying. Forget Japanese, there’s only so much I can do when the whole thing is written in some sort of foreign crochet language in the first place. I’m not a Rosetta stone, Yura. And I’m not sure what those diagrams are supposed to be, but they pretty much just look like crop circles to me.”
Yuri slumps a little and dejectedly fiddles with one of the bowls. “Damn,” he mutters. He’d really been hoping Katsuki would have the answer.
The man gives him a sympathetic look. “Sorry.”
“It’s...whatever.” It sucks, is what it is. “Thanks, I guess.”
“Everything okay in here?” Victor pops into the kitchen, probably drawn by the frustration in his dearest, darling fiance’s voice.
“Yes!” he and Katsuki say in unison. Because that’s not at all suspicious or anything.
Katsuki throws him a sharp ‘be cool’ look, then glances over his shoulder as Victor comes up and takes gentle hold of his hips. Katsuki melts backwards into his embrace like it’s second nature, and they sway together ever so slightly. The movement subtly mimics the easy rhythm of a pair skate. A bitter feeling wells up in Yuri’s throat; it’s not jealousy, but it might be a cousin of it.
“We’re fine,” Katsuki reassures softly, “just finishing up. We’ll be out in a minute.” Victor searches his face with narrowed eyes. Yuri forgets sometimes how perceptive Victor can be, but that’s kind of the point of the happy-go-lucky, airheaded persona he slips on as easily as one of his expensive suits. It annoys Yuri to no end that he still falls for it sometimes.
He has to hand it to Katsuki, the man doesn’t break under Victor’s shrewd look, doesn’t so much as blink. He keeps his own mask perfectly intact: innocent smile and wide, unassuming eyes behind his glasses. It’s a little disconcerting, honestly.
Whatever Victor sees, it must be enough to satisfy him, because he gives a small, amused huff and shakes his head before pressing a soft kiss to Katsuki’s temple. “Okay, pryanichek . Let me know if you two need anything.” The look he shoots Yuri when he rolls his eyes is only slightly less fond. He tugs his braid on the way out, just shy of painful, but Yuri squawks and bats at him anyways. Katsuki snorts inelegantly as Victor swans back out of the kitchen.
These two idiots, seriously. Diabetic hazards, the both of them.
Yuri glares at the side of Katsuki’s head; the man ignores it completely as he adds more egg and repeats the process of covering and shaking the pan. Some chicken bits mysteriously end up on the floor and Makkachin pounces. “You guys are so gross,” Yuri grouses. Katsuki just smiles blithely and gestures for another rice bowl.
“We really are,” he says agreeably. “It’s horrible.” He makes the word horrible sound like a good thing. If Yuri rolls his eyes any harder, he’s going to end up with a headache.
Katsuki side-eyes him with a smirk and asks, “So how is Otabek doing these days?” And just, no. Nope, abort mission, not going to happen.
“Just peachy,” he snaps. Katsuki smothers a laugh, but then his face smooths out into something more serious.
“How’s he actually doing?” he asks softly. Yuri shifts, uncomfortable as he always is when Otabek’s injury during Worlds last year comes up.
“He’s...okay,” he says haltingly. “He’s definitely coming next month. He said his doctor thinks his leg is healing well enough that he doesn’t think surgery will be necessary, and his PT says that he should be ready for next season, as long as he keeps working as hard as he has been, which, duh, it’s Beka. I don’t think he even knows what slacking off is. Not being able to do anything these last few months has driven him up the wall.” He pauses, then admits, “And me too. I feel bad, but sometimes I kind of want to strangle him.”
Katsuki chuckles. “Sorry to inform you, but that happens even in the best of relationships.”
“Oh my god, he’s just so whiny!” Yuri bursts out, unable to hold it in now that he has a sympathetic ear. He lowers his voice, imitating Otabek’s. “Yura, I’m so bored, Yura, my PT keeps telling me to slow down before I hurt myself, Yura, I think she’s trying to kill me, every muscle hurts and I’m so out of shape and do you think I’m getting fat?”
Katsuki bursts out laughing, head thrown back and hand clutched to his chest like an idiot. Yuri smiles against his will. At least someone’s getting joy out of his suffering. “I’m just saying, you don’t see me complaining about all the falls I’ve taken because of this stupid growth spurt.
Katsuki gives him an incredulous look. “Yura, you’ve literally complained non-stop for the last three weeks.”
Yuri pouts. He doesn’t want to, but his facial muscles have decided otherwise. “Yeah, but not to him,” he mutters.
Katsuki shakes his head and gives him an indulgent smile. Yuri wants to punch it off his face. “Well, that makes all the difference,” he says, then continues quickly when he sees Yuri’s murderous expression. “And the concussion?”
That’s...a harder one to answer. He stays silent for a moment, playing with the bowl covers. “A lot better,” he finally says. “He keeps saying it’s completely healed, but he’s still...off, you know? We’ll be talking and suddenly he’s just staring off into space. He forgets stuff sometimes too, and I know he’s still getting headaches because he gets this, like, headache face.”
“Headache face?” Katsuki says, sounding amused. Yuri scowls.
“Yeah, headache face,” he snaps. “His eyes go all squinty and his jaw clenches up and he gets pale.” Katsuki holds his hands up in peace, and Yuri deflates. He hesitates, not sure if he should continue, but if anyone can understand, it’s Katsuki. “I, uh, I think he might be depressed? A little? Maybe, I don’t know. But he’s always sleeping and shit. And he snaps at the smallest things, and sometimes I can’t tell if he even cares about getting back to skating.” By the end, his voice is barely a whisper. He feels guilty, like he’s airing all of Otabek’s dirty laundry. “I just…I don’t know.”
“Concussions can take a long time to heal, even up to a year sometimes.” Hah, as if Yuri didn’t know that, hadn’t done days of worth of research to learn what they could expect when it first happened. “And his was a pretty bad one.”
“No shit? I guess skidding head first into a wall will do that,” Yuri snipes. He shrinks in on himself immediately when Katsuki give him a disappointed look.
“I’m just saying, it’s only been six months, and everything you described are pretty common side effects. Even depression.”
Yuri knows that, But he’s frustrated. Not because of all of those things, but because… “I just feel like he’s...I don’t know, hiding. Pulling away, or something.”
Katsuki is quiet as he finishes plating everything, a wrinkle between his brow that says he’s thinking hard. “I don’t know what to say, Yura,” he finally sighs. “Otabek’s allowed to have his secrets. Being friends doesn’t automatically mean he has to share everything with you.”
Yuri grits his teeth so hard they squeak. “I know that. But friends are supposed to lean on each other, aren’t they? I mean, he talks about his leg all day long, but it’s like he doesn’t trust me with any of the real shit.”
“Well, he’ll be here soon. Maybe he’ll feel more like talking when you guys are together. And if nothing else, we’ll get a better read on him. If he is depressed, it’ll be easier to offer him help, too.”
Yuri hates it when Katsuki actually acts like an adult. It makes him feel childish in comparison, which just makes him want to act even more so.
“You know what would really help?” Yuri says pointedly. “If I could make him this stupid bear.”
Katsuki sighs, throwing him a look that says that he knows that Yuri is derailing the conversation, but takes the bait anyways. “There have to be some bear patterns out there in Russian, or English at the very least. Just choose one of those.”
Yuri could, should, do that. He knows this. But it wouldn’t be this bear, and this is the one that’s perfect, with its tiny ice skates and inscrutable gaze. Any other pattern he finds just won’t be the same. Yuri tells him as much as they dish up the last of the oyakodon.
“Well then, I suggest you figure out how to read those charts,” Katsuki says, apparently done humoring him for the night. He turns off the stove and dumps the pots in the sink for later. “Because otherwise, I’ve got nothing, kid.” He grabs two of the prepared bowls, nudges Makkachin out of the way, and slips out of the kitchen.
Fine then. He’ll just figure it out on his own. There have to be resources online somewhere for learning how to read diagrams; if he can figure that out, he won’t need the instructions. Screw Katsuki , he tells himself as he grabs up the last bowl. He doesn’t need the Katsudon’s help.
(He’s still begrudgingly grateful when the man surreptitiously hands Yuri a few half-translated printouts on his way out the door. But only a little.)
In the end, the solution is so simple, Yuri kind of wants to bash his own head in to erase the memory of how stupid he’d been not to think of it in the first place (and thereby save himself from the indignity of having to ask Katsudon for help.)
Turns out, Google really does have all the answers.
There is, Yuri finds out, a world of difference between crocheting a blanket or scarf, and crocheting a freaking stuffed animal. Who knew.
He lets out his third wordless scream of rage in the last hour; Potya glares at him from under his dresser, where she’d escaped after the first scream. “ Why is this so hard ?” he whines to her, threading his fingers through his hair and tugging hard. “It’s just a fucking single stitch, that’s like the easiest stitch out there!” Potya murrs sympathetically at him but crawls a little further under the dresser. Traitor. At least she wasn’t attacking his yarn anymore, though, so that’s a plus.
He glares at what is meant to be to be an arm, but right now looks more like a cone. Screw trying to read the pattern (which is still only barely comprehensible, even with three different tutorials). Forget counting his stitches (he’s counting , goddamnit! After the fifth time unraveling his work, he’d been desperate enough to literally make a tally mark for every. Single. Stitch. He still ends up with each row expanding and getting bigger and bigger and how does that even work when he’s making the same amount of stitches for each row? .) And screw that stupid magic circle crap. He followed the directions each time and still ended up with a giant hole in the middle of what should be the bottom of the foot. He’s not sure how he’s going to close that up, since the last thing he wants is stuffing poking out of the ends of each limb, never mind the top of the head. (That’s a problem for future Yuri, though; present Yuri would rather put a hole in his own head than fail yet another attempt right now.)
He just wants to know what he’s doing wrong . He stares at the lumpy piece of crap in his hands, eyes prickling with hot tears of frustration. There’s a sharp knock at his door. “Go away!” he yells. His voice comes out raspy and cracks in the middle and that’s just great. Thanks, puberty, way to pile on. He rubs at his eyes angrily and clears his throat.
It’s quiet outside the door for a moment, then, “Yuri Plisetsky, open the door this instant.”
Lilia. Shit. He throws the stupid would-be arm onto his bed and stalks over to the door. He swings it open with a bitten out, “What?” Potya streaks out of the room and down the hall. He glares after her.
Lilia stands outside his door, arms crossed, feet apart, and looking down her nose at him derisively. Yuri calls it her ‘I don’t have time for this shit’ power stance. She’s very good at it.
“Explain to me just what is so terrible in your life that you feel the need to scream repeatedly at -” she looks down at her watch, “10:00 at night?” Yuri blinks, surprised. He hadn’t realized it was already so late. That means he’s been at this for three hours now, with absolutely nothing but a headache to show for it. He clenches his jaw and stares at the air over her shoulder.
“Sorry,” he grits out. Lilia gives him a piercing stare, eyes narrowed. He can only guess what she’s seeing: red rimmed eyes blinking too much in an attempt to hold back tears, cheeks flushed and splotchy like they always get when he’s upset or frustrated.
Lilia heaves a put upon sigh, but something softens in her eyes and stance, if not her voice. “What is wrong, Yura,” she demands.
“It's nothing,” he says, hand on the door and ready to close it in her face. “I'll shut up, I'm giving up anyways.”
Lilia raises one eyebrow and looks unimpressed. “Giving up is for the weak,” she sniffs, “and I don't waste my time on the weak.”
“Well maybe you should just stop wasting time on me, then!” he snaps and tries to close the door. She stops him with one hand to the door and damn, for an old lady, she is strong .
“You’re being melodramatic, Yura. It's unbecoming.”
He stares at her. Of course he's being melodramatic. He’s 17; it's practically a requirement for his age, and he refuses to be anything but the best at everything, including this. She still doesn't have to rub it in.
Besides, he thinks he has some pretty good excuses for it. He's fucking exhausted, and his bones ache all the time because the universe decided it would be funny for him to grow two inches and counting in less than a month, which coincidentally also means that he has no control over how his body moves anymore. He’s flubbed more jumps than he’s landed in the last few weeks. He is a patchwork quilt of bruises. He has stretch marks on his fucking knees and arms and, embarrassingly enough, on his back and hips according to Katsudon. No one ever told him guys could get those, but apparently it's possible when your body decides to do its best impression of Jack's beanstalk. Yuri was just glad it had been Katsuki who noticed, because Victor would have teased him for ages, while Katsuki just gave him a one armed hug and showed Yuri his own “tiger stripes”.
Yuri likes that name; it makes him feel slightly less like crying, so he makes no comments about the ones obviously from Katsuki’s growing out, not growing up.
And now here he is, working for hours trying to make one stupid gift for his only friend, and he can't even get that right and he’s letting his babushka down and -
Oh. So that’s why he's about 10 seconds away from just melting into a mass of tears and self loathing. Huh.
Fuck you, puberty. Just. Fuck you for bringing babulya into this.
It's funny, but this realization almost makes him feel a little better. Not much, but a bit. Maybe. Actually, probably not, since it doesn't change the fact that he's still disappointing babulya. And himself. And Otabek too, because he deserves a friend so much better than Yuri, and whatever crappy birthday present he ends up with will no doubt be what makes him realize it. Awesome.
Lilia must get tired of him standing there silently moping, because she looks over his shoulder and says, “What is that?”
For one terrifying, agonizing second Yuri panics thinking maybe he had left his laptop open on a porn site or something, and then feels like an idiot because he didn't even have any tabs open right now; he'd been too busy making a mess of his yarn to think about making a mess of anything else.
Lilia picks up the pathetic stuffed animal attempt with two fingers. “What on Earth is this meant to be?” she asks. Yuri flushes and crosses his arms defensively.
“The arm for a stuffed bear,” he mutters to the ground, wishing she'd just leave and let him wallow in his own misery. She holds it up a little higher and squints.
“I think you might want to try again,” she says cooly. Yuri lets out a growl and storms over to snatch it from her. She pulls it out of reach; several stitches come undone as the skein of yarn on the bed tumbles to the floor. Whatever. It's all going to get unravelled anyways.
“I have tried again. I've tried ten thousand times and it never comes out right.” He's practically snarling at her. Some small part of him is cowering in fear at speaking to her this way, but since it’s currently curled up in a terrified little ball in the corner of his mind, his anger easily overwhelms it.
“Then clearly you are doing something wrong,” she tells him primly, as if he didn't already fucking know that. She holds it out to him. “Show me what you are doing.”
“Uh...what?” he asks, thrown by the command. She makes an impatient gesture when he doesn't take it from her immediately.
“Show me. I've seen that blanket you work on when you think no one is watching.” The blanket in question is babulya’s half finished one. He adds a few rows whenever he’s feeling really stressed; it’s probably the length and width of three king beds by now, but that’s not the point. Working on it is the fastest way to clear his mind. The anger management counselor 16 year old Yuri had been forced to see had approved of the technique. Not that any age Yuri cared.
He’s added almost seven inches in the last two months.
Lilia is still talking, unaware that Yuri’s brain had taken a sharp left turn.
“You are a perfectly adequate, if somewhat rudimentary, crocheter, so I can only assume there is some step you’re doing incorrectly. Show me what you're doing, so I can assess the problem.”
He takes it from her reluctantly, absentmindedly unraveling his stitches as he asks her, “How would you even be able to tell?”
“Don't presume to know which skills I may or may not have, boy. No, don't bother undoing your stitches. Just start from there and continue as you were.”
The next few minutes are probably the most uncomfortable he’s ever felt while holding a hook and yarn. Lilia watches him, assessing his stitches with eagle eyes while he stands, back straight and fingers working (because he’s not going to sit in front of her, even if it is extremely awkward to be doing this while standing.) He feels like he should at a Barre in her studio right now, listening to her tear apart his finger placement and sloppy yarn-over skills. The image makes his lips quirk in spite of himself.
It's as if she senses the impending smile, because she gives a sharp sigh and snaps, “Enough.” He looks down; he'd barely gone through two rounds. What could he possibly have done so badly in just 20 stitches? “Why did you do that?”
He squints down at his work, trying to figure out what she’s talking about. “Uh...do what?” She points an imperious finger at the two stitches he’d just made.
“That. Why did you add a single stitch at the end of your round before continuing?”
Yuri blinks, a little confused. “Because,” he falters a little, feeling a little like he had the first time she’d torn into his ballet form: sure he'd done everything right, when apparently everything he'd ever known was wrong. He straightens a little. He was used to her critiques by now, used to how much they sucked, but how much better they made him. This wasn't any different. “Because the tutorials say you have to add an extra stitch at the end to get the height needed for the next round.” It was the same when crocheting in rows; if you didn't, you'd just end up with a triangle instead of a square.
Lilia tsks. “Only if you are using a slip stitch to join each round,” she said as if it were obvious. It was not obvious. At all.
She makes an impatient sound, apparently fed up with him staring at her blankly. “Let me see these tutorials. The pattern as well.” Yuri scrambles to get his laptop and pulls up the tabs with the tutorials and hands it to her, along with the printed out pattern from Katsuki. She spends a moment glancing back and forth. “Ah, I see.” She looks up at him and holds out the laptop and papers for him to take back. “There are several ways to crochet in the round. This tutorial shows you one way when the pattern calls for a different technique. You're adding a stitch every row, so it gets bigger each time.” She gives him a sharp look. “Which you would have realized if you had used a stitch marker.”
He doesn't want to ask this next question. He probably shouldn't need to, but damn it, he's going to have to anyway.
“...what's a stitch marker?”
“What is a…” Lilia pinches the bridge of her nose and looks pained. Yuri’s almost impressed that he's managed to reduce her to this so quickly. It usually takes hours of terrible ballet to get her to this point, though Victor can cut that in half, easily. She heaves a huge sigh. “Get another hook and a different colored skein of yarn, then bring them and your atrocity to the dining room. I will show you how to mark your stitches and how to properly crochet in the round.” She pauses on her way out the door. “A notebook and pen, as well. I will only show this to you once.” She sweeps imperiously out of his room.
Yuri scrambles to gather the requested items and scurries down the hall after her.
Learning crochet from Lilia is completely different from his babulya’s gentle instructions, but there’s still something comforting in the way she snaps at him, grabbing his fingers and forcibly pulling them where she wants them, just as she does in the studio. By the time she declares him “passable,” he has one full leg done and half of another, as well as a much better understanding of proper magic circles (he still hates them on principle).
“You'll have to figure the rest out on your own,” she says, pulling apart the piece she’d been teaching with. “I don't have the time or patience to hold your hand through such a ridiculous project.”
(She still helps him through the next three snags he hits with hardly more than a sigh.)
Starring special guest star Frankie, who wanders into pictures and incidentally ends up making the picture even better.
Come join me on Tumblr at:Disasterbek-altin
Chapter 4: Interlude
We're definitely getting more into the angst part of the angst and fluff tag, but there's still plenty of fun and fluff to be had in this story. Possible TW for injury aftermath. If it bothers you, there's really nothing in this chapter that you absolutely have to know (hence, interlude), so it's okay to skip if you need. A short description of possible triggers is at the end so you can decide for yourselves.
Also, fair warning, I have never used Skype before, so the specifics of that are probably completely wrong. Oh well.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Otabek startles awake as his tablet alerts him to an incoming Skype call. He sits up slowly and scrubs his hands over his face roughly before running them up and over his hair. He grimaces; he needs a shower. And a shave. And to remove his contacts, because his eyes feel like someone took sandpaper to them while he slept. At least the grease in his hair will help him to comb it back into some semblance of order.
God, he’s a mess.
The tablet falls silent. He mutters curses and leans over to grab it from the floor, wincing as his thigh pulls stiffly and his knee gives a dull warning throb. He curses, getting it out now before he returns the missed call. Rolling back to the center of the bed, he shoves some pillows behind his back and wakes the tablet up. The notifications show one missed call from Yuri Plisetsky. Otabek finds himself smiling in spite of himself. He runs his hands through his hair once more for good measure and hits the callback button. He remembers at the last minute to grab his phone and turn on the smart lights his brother had installed after his surgery. He doesn’t need Yuri questioning why his room is so dark in the middle of the day.
Yuri answers almost immediately. “Hey asshole,” he says with a grin, “I figured you were busy or something.” He must be on his way somewhere; his phone is too close to his face and the picture is bouncing around wildly as he walks. There is traffic in the background. Otabek purses his lips so he doesn’t do something dorky, like tell him to pay more attention to his surroundings. It would either piss Yuri off, or he would would find it hilarious and tease him forever. Either way, he’s really not up for being called a mom.
He pastes on a smile instead. “Nope, just didn’t quite get to the tablet in time.” It’s technically true. “What are you doing?”
“Oh, I’m -” he’s interrupted by a loud horn; he turns away from the screen to shout angry obscenities, then looks back and continues as if nothing had happened. Otabek is going to have a heart attack one day, and it will be all Yuri’s fault. “I’m on my way back home for a bit. I’ve got a couple hours between ice time and ballet with Lilia. Figured I’d take advantage and give you a call.” He smiles and looks down for a second, a light flush dusted across his cheeks that is probably from walking, but might also be a blush.
Otabek kind of hopes it’s the latter.
“Hold on a sec,” he says. Keys jingle and Otabek is treated to a shaky view of…
“Did you seriously just put your phone in your armpit?” The screen has gone black.
“What? No!” There’s a clatter, and the screen swings wildly for a moment before settling on Yuri’s scowling face. Otabek raises an eyebrow. “Shut up.” Otabek catches brief glimpses of Lilia’s home before a door slams and Yuri’s familiar room comes into view. He can’t see much other than what’s immediately beyond Yuri’s head, but he knows Yuri’s routine so well he can visualize it as if he were right there beside him. The sound of a zipper as Yuri pulls his skates out of his gear bag, followed by a dull thump as he tosses the bag and the rest of its contents into one corner. Two smaller thumps are his shoes hitting the wall as he carelessly kicks them off; there are black scuff marks all over the wall, but Yuri always sets his skates down with all the care he never affords the rest of his belongings.
Otabek closes his eyes and counts to five. Yuri always takes a flying leap onto his bed and it makes him slightly motion sick. When he opens them again, Yuri is finally settled on his stomach on the bed. Potya is making herself at home on his back. Otabek winces; just the thought of Yuri’s adorable, fuzzy, and extremely fat cat laying on him makes his low back twinge.
Yuri has been talking this entire time. Otabek only feels a little guilty for zoning out; Yuri is his best friend, but the guy talks. A lot. Usually about things of no real consequence. Fortunately, he doesn’t seem to mind if Otabek is sometimes less than attentive. Especially now, since Otabek’s mind tends to go on holiday more often than it used to. Yuri’s voice is comforting, truth be told. Otabek could, and has, fallen asleep to the easy cadences of his rambling. He finds his eyelids growing heavy now.
Yuri has stopped talking, Otabek realizes suddenly. He shakes himself out of his half doze and blinks a few times, eyes blurry. “I...sorry, what was that?” he asks, rubbing at them.
“Were you seriously falling asleep right now?” Yuri asks, brow furrowed. His eyes widen suddenly. “Wait, did I wake you up earlier?”
“No,” Otabek lies. Yuri levels a flat look at him.
“You have pillow creases on your cheek, by the way,” he tells him.
“I...oh, um,” Otabek falters, then gives up. “Okay, yeah, I was sleeping.”
Yuri gives him a strange look. “It’s, like, 3:00 your time.” He shifts around so he can sit up, dislodging Potya in the process; she scrambles off the bed with a disgruntled meow.
Abruptly, annoyance floods Otabek. “What’s your point?” he snaps. He scrubs harder at his eyes; they’re starting to burn. “I’m tired. I took a quick nap.” He doesn’t mention that his definition of quick was three hours, or that it was yet another blinding migraine that had sent him there in the first place. It’s still lurking behind his eyes, waiting to attack.
“Okay, okay,” Yuri says quickly, holding up one hand. “I wasn’t accusing you or anything, I was just surprised, is all.” He leans a little closer to the screen and squints. “Are - Beka, are you okay? Are you crying?” He sounds panicked, and Otabek wants to feel bad for worrying him but...really? He drops his hand so he can glare at his friend.
“I’m not crying,” he says, exasperated. When he blinks, his right eye goes blurry again. “Oh for…hold on.” He sets the tablet on the bed so he can reach for his bedside table where he keeps his contacts case. He unscrews the lids and takes the dried up contacts out. It feels vaguely like he’s peeling the top layer of his irises off. He is never going to sleep in them again. He puts some drops in his eyes, which helps, but the thought of putting his contacts back in makes him recoil. He sighs heavily and pulls out his glasses case. It's not like Yuri’s not going to see them eventually, might as well get it over with.
Behind him, Yuri is calling his name. “Beka, come on, I didn’t mean to piss you off, I was just worried, okay?”
“I’m not pissed off,” Otabek says as he slips the black-rimmed frames on. He reluctantly picks the tablet back up. “And you don’t need to worry, I’m fine.”
Yuri clearly isn’t paying attention to his reassurances. He’s staring at him, wide-eyed and slack jawed. Otabek waits patiently, resigned, for Yuri’s brain to reboot and the teasing to commence.
“You...you’re…” Yuri stutters for a moment before shaking his head. He’s turning an interesting shade of red, although Otabek’s not sure why. “You have glasses?” he squeaks.
“No,” Otabek deadpans. “Whatever would make you think that?” The sarcasm seems to break Yuri out of his daze, because his eyes refocus and he gives an irritated eye roll.
“Damn, someone’s cranky. How exactly was I supposed to know that? You’ve never worn them before.” He leans forward, as if getting closer to his phone screen will somehow give him a better view. “But seriously, how have I never known that you wear glasses?” He sounds honestly mystified.
Otabek shrugs and looks down. Because he hadn’t needed them until six months ago, he doesn’t say. If he did, he’d have to explain that the concussion from his accident had permanently knocked some screws loose. He couldn’t look at a computer screen for five minutes anymore, before everything doubled and blurred and he felt like someone was shoving an ice pick through his eyes.
There’s no easy way to tell someone that technically, you’re brain damaged, so instead he just says, “I hate them. I usually wear contacts.”
“Huh,” Yuri says. He tilts his head and examines Otabek contemplatively. “Why do you hate them? They make you look…” he trails off, goes redder.
“Like a hipster douche bag?” Otabek supplies dryly. He knows exactly how the chunky black frames make him look, but they were the cheapest ones his ophthalmologist had, and he honestly never expected anyone outside his family to ever see them.
“Like a sexy librarian,” Yuri finishes. Otabek’s cheeks and ears go instantly hot and he hopes to god that the crappy Skype visuals will hide it. By the looks of Yuri’s smirk, god is not on his side today. “But I guess hipster douche bag would work too. How’s that man bun coming along, anyway?” Otabek groans and just barely manages to stop from instinctively running a hand through his hair. He regrets ever mentioning that he’d started growing out the top part of his hair. Not enough to bother getting it cut, though.
“You sure you want to go there, Yura?” he asks with a pointed look at Yuri’s frizzy mess of a braid. Otabek has yet to figure out if he’s doing it that way on purpose, or if he was just that bad at braiding. “Because we can go there, but I don’t think you’ll enjoy it.”
Yuri wisely changes the subject. “So why are you so tired, anyway?” Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Great.
Otabek exists in a world of good and bad days. This has been a really shitty one.
“I just am,” he says, laying back and trying to get comfortable without wincing too obviously. He really doesn’t feel like talking about this stuff right now. Time for a diversion. “Amina really kicked my ass today. I kind of feel like dying right now.”
Whining about PT never fails to make Yuri glaze over and change the subject as quickly as he possibly can without looking like a complete asshole. (Never mind the fact that he absolutely is one, or that Otabek likes that about him.) Complaining is Otabek’s ace card, and he uses it shamelessly whenever he needs to.
It works like a charm, as always; Yuri is already making apathetic noises of sympathy and half-hearted reassurances, eyes wandering off to the side to look at something offscreen.
Otabek would be offended by Yuri’s indifference, were it not for that fact that he’d been extremely caring and supportive in the beginning, and it had been the absolute worst. He’d stayed with Otabek for almost two weeks after his surgery and by the end, homicide was not out of the question. Who would have killed whom was a coin toss, frankly.
Turns out Yuri is a mother hen. The kind that accidentally ends up suffocating its chicks.
Otabek would much rather have an easy out of awkward conversations than having yet another person smothering him. It means he doesn’t have anyone to talk to when he actually needs to vent, but his sister Aylin is pretty good listener for a four year old. Her advice usually involves crayons, but sometimes, he thinks, that’s a pretty damn good solution.
He’s wandering off again. His words had petered out somewhere along the way, but he’s saved from further scrutiny by Yuri crying out, “Potya, no!” Yuri drops his phone; it clatters to the floor as he leaps off the bed. Otabek can’t see much other than the ceiling and a part of Yuri’s bedspread, but he can hear a stream of curses, and the frenzied sound of paws skidding across hardwood floors. He sighs and rubs his temples as he stares at Yuri’s ceiling. His migraine is coming back.
A furry belly suddenly flashes across the screen, trailing...Otabek squints...is that string? Yarn maybe? Whatever it is seems to be wrapped around one paw, and she’s dragging it everywhere. Otabek hears an ‘oomph’, a thud, and the wail of an unhappy cat. A door opens, then slams closed again. When Yuri finally retrieves his phone, he’s got a scratch across one cheek and several more on the hand that’s currently holding a tangled bundle of string.
“Shit, sorry,” he pants. “My cat is a fucking menace, I swear.” Otabek privately agrees, but he will never tell Yuri. He likes his balls right where they are, thanks.
Yuri seems to realize that he’s still holding a handful of string and drops it quickly; twin spots of red bloom on his cheeks as he looks away quickly, then back. Otabek really wants to know why he suddenly looks so shifty, but before he can ask, Yuri hurriedly blurts out, “I, uh, I should probably go; she’s made a complete mess, and I still have homework I need to do. Talk later?” He barely lets Otabek get a word in before he’s continuing. “Cool. And don’t worry, things will get better once you’re in Russia, promise. Later, Beks!” Otabek stares as the call disconnects, thrown by the abrupt end to their conversation.
“Yeah, see ya,” he says, unnecessarily. He huffs out a small laugh. Yuri is a force of nature, and Otabek has no idea why it still surprises him whenever he’s caught up in the whirlwind.
Otabek sets the tablet down on the bedside table and, after a moment, picks up his phone. There are three texts and two calls from Amina, and two more calls from his mom. He swipes away the notifications and turns off the lights before dropping it next to the tablet. He huddles back down under the covers, clutching one of his pillows tightly to his chest. He’ll deal with things later, when he’s not so exhausted. Right now, all he wants to do is sleep a while longer.
TW: Basically, Otabek is dealing with fairly significant pain in his knee (I can tell you right now that there will be no opioid addiction in this, since it's a sensitive subject for me. just so you know). More importantly, many of the side effects of his concussion are discussed, though Otabek is actively trying to hide them from Yuri. There is definitely unspoken but obvious depression. I think that's it, but if you think of others (or other tags I might need), please let me know!
Come join me on Tumblr at: Disasterbek-altin
And finally, we get to the scene that started this story. Also, the grand reveal of: The Bear. Hope you enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Yuri narrows his eyes at his creation, considering.
“Needs eyebrows,” he decides. And, because he's a masochist just like every other professional skater, “Fuck me, a leather jacket too.”
Yuri is a perfectionist, and damn him if this isn't going to be the best fucking gift ever created. With a groan, he goes back to where it all started: Pinterest.
T-minus two days until Otabek comes for his visit, and he’s finally, finally done. He bites back a grin as he adjusts the sleeve of the crocheted leather jacket to sit a little better over the bear’s arm. He wants to share this. He needs to share this. Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, even LiveJournal if he can remember his username and password. His fingers twitch with the urge to press Post. He wants to so badly, but…
He can’t. Not anywhere. The second he does, people will see it. They will share it. It will go fucking viral and even ‘I’m too cool to have time for social media’ Otabek will no doubt see it as well.
Seriously though, the bear is the cutest thing in the entire world and he’s not even being biased. He knows, because when he shows the final product to Lilia, she gives it an actual, honest to God smile. Yuri wonders if he’s accidentally consumed some LSD or mushrooms or something, because he is definitely hallucinating. Unfortunately, his shock causes him to say this thought out loud, so now he’s stuck with an extra hour of ballet practice.
It ends up being a boon, because the answer to his problem comes to him when he’s sweating his way through his ten billionth grande plie. He doesn’t even wait to take a shower before he’s racing for his room, phone in hand. He takes a moment to pose the bear on his bed; Potya is under his blanket, but her paws sticking out are kind of adorable, so he lets her stay. He snaps a couple pictures, chooses the best one, and slaps a filter on it before opening up his text thread with Yuuri.
Yuri doesn’t wait for an answer, oddly nervous about how the Katsudon might respond. He plops back onto his bed, then rolls over on his side and folds one arm under his head. He gazes at the stuffed animal (whom he may or may not have dubbed Otabear). It had tipped over with the bed’s movement and now looked like it was laying down staring back at him. “Beka’s going to love you,” he murmurs to it, playing with one stuffed arm. “Right?” He waits for a moment, then shakes his head and feels incredibly stupid for half expecting the bear to answer. He has got to get some sleep.
Shower first. He rolls off his bed with a groan; he’s pretty sure his legs are about to give out on him any second. He stays in the shower for as long as the hot water lasts, even knowing that Lilia will likely ream him out for it. When he gets back to his room, flushed and pleasantly lethargic, he sees he has a text notification. He waits to open it until he’s pulled on his sleep clothes because it doesn’t matter the what the subject might be, he is not going to read or answer a text from Katsudon while naked. Once he’s under his blankets with Potya cuddled up to his side and Otabear is carefully placed on his nightstand (because even he knows that sleeping with the platonic gift you made for your platonic friend crosses the line into creepy), he finally opens the text.
Yuri blinks at the screen. Wrapping paper?
It hits him like a bus; normal people weren’t like he and dedulya, who never bothered with extraneous things like wrapping paper. Normal people wrapped the gifts they gave to others.
Yuri doesn’t think he has ever wrapped a single thing in his life. Still, how hard could it possibly be?
The answer to this question keeps him up the rest of the night.
“You managed to crochet a stuffed bear, and then went and wrapped it like...this?” Yuuri holds up the lumpy package. The thing is a mess; he hadn’t even used real wrapping paper. Yuuri is pretty sure he’d just scavenged for any available piece of paper he could find in his apartment - printer paper, notebook paper, a To Do list featuring a little kitten playing with a ball of yarn, and...was that Yuuri’s shopping list from last week? All of it had been cobbled together like some sort of Frankenstein’s present. There were hastily added patches in several places and when Yuuri points at one with a raised eyebrow, Yuri sets his jaw mulishly and crosses his arms defensively over his chest.
“So I ripped it in some places,” he bites out. “So what? I fixed it, didn’t I?”
Yuuri is not smiling. He isn’t, really. The twitch at the corner of his lips is simply a facial tic. He turns the thing over in his hands speculatively. “Is there a reason you decided to use duct tape?” he asks gently. Yuri flushes.
“It was all I could find,” he mutters.
Yuuri can’t hold back his laughter any longer.
“Shut up, pig! It’s not funny!” Yuri tries to snatch the present back from him, but he holds it above his head. The kid’s growing like crazy, but Yuuri is still just tall enough to keep it out of reach, even with Yuri jumping and trying to claw his arm down. Yuuri winces; does Yuri sharpen his nails or something? He’s going to have marks, he’s sure it.
“Stop. Laughing!” Yuri grits out when he finally gives up. “How the hell are you even supposed to wrap a stuffed animal anyways? It’s all lumpy and squishy!”
“You put it in a box!” Yuuri presses on hand to his chest, trying to catch his breath after laughing so hard. “Or a bag.” Yuri blinks.
“Like...a grocery bag?” he asks, confused. The look on his face says he doesn’t believe Yuuri.
Oh God, he’s going to die of laughter, he’s sure of it. His gravestone will read: Here Lies Katsuki Yuuri, Tragically Taken From This World By The Funniest Shit He’d Ever Heard.
“A gift bag,” he manages to gasp out, doubled over. “God, it’s like you’ve never wrapped a gift before. Don’t tell me you make your grandpa wrap his own gift.”
Yuri looks away, shoulders tight with sudden tension. Suddenly the situation doesn’t seem quite so funny. “My family never really made a big deal out of birthdays,” he says stiffly.
“Wait, what?” Yuuri falters. He has no idea how to respond to that. “But...you guys celebrate Christmas at least, don’t you? I know it’s a little different here, but you still give each other gifts...right?” There’s no way they had never exchanged presents; they loved each other way too much to never give the other something special.
The look Yuri gives him is indecipherable. “Of course we exchange gifts, idiot. It’s just…skating may be sponsored here, but that doesn’t mean we had the money to waste on stupid things like wrapping paper. Presents were expensive enough. And when I got older, there didn’t seem to be a point in splurging,” he says, devoid of emotion. He shakes his head. “What’s the point, anyways? If you don’t want someone to see their gift, just fucking hide it or something.”
Yuuri wants to argue; what difference could a few dollars for wrapping paper make? Just how poor were they, he wonders sadly.
Something must show on his face, because Yuri snaps furiously at him, “Don’t do that!”
Yuuri swallows. “Do what?” Yuri gestures at his face.
“Look all sad and shit. I don’t need your pity, Katsuki.” He shakes his head sharply. “You know what? I don’t need your help either.” He grabs the gift out of Yuuri’s limp hands. “If Beka has a problem with my wrapping, then he can fuck right off, just like you can.” His hands clench unintentionally and the paper tears in several places. Yuri looks down at it for a second, then with a garbled cry of rage he throws it at the wall, narrowly missing a lamp. The paper gives way entirely and the poor bear he’d worked so hard on falls to the floor in a heap. His shoulders slump. “Forget it. This was a stupid idea anyway.”
Yuri heads for the door without even bothering to retrieve the bear.
“Yura, wait!” Yuri turns. He looks frustrated, and tired, and defeated. Yuuri picks up the bear and holds it out to him.
“You made him something amazing, and he’s going to love it,” he says firmly. “Otabek’s not going to care if it’s wrapped perfectly, or horribly, or even wrapped at all.” He pauses, unsure if he should continue or just let it go as Yuri takes the crocheted bear reluctantly and clutches it to his chest. He doesn’t look up. “But if you want it to be wrapped, I can show you how.”
For a long moment, Yuri is quiet, then, “I guess.” He looks back up at Yuuri, eyes narrowed. “But it’s going in a box, because bags are for losers,” he declares. Yuuri tamps down another smile and nods solemnly.
“Alright, come on,” he says, gesturing for Yuri to follow him towards the guest room. “We’ll raid Vitya’s stash. He gets ridiculous about making sure everything is wrapped perfectly.”
By the time they are done, Otabek’s present is beautifully wrapped, complete with a little skate ornament and dozens of curlicued ribbons in all sorts of colors. Yuuri kind of regrets teaching Yuri how to curl ribbon; he’d looked just a little too gleeful when running the ribbons over the edge of his scissors. Also, it’s going to be a bitch cleaning up all the discarded attempts because “they have to be perfect, Katsudon! What’s the point otherwise?”
It’s worth it for the small, proud smile on Yuri’s lips as he surveys the final product. He looks over at Yuuri and scowls, but his eyes are still soft. “I guess it’ll do,” he says gruffly as he gathers the gift and stands.
“You’re welcome,” Yuuri says dryly, collecting bits of paper and ribbon strewn around them on the carpet. Pieces of tape are stuck to the carpet, and yup, this is going to suck.
It’s quiet for a moment, and Yuuri assumes the teenager has left. He startles when he feels a soft touch to the top of his head. His hands fly up in shock to touch the spot Yuri had briefly pressed his lips against. Yuuri turns, but Yuri has already fled. “Thanks, Katsuki!” he yells from the living room just before the front door slams.
Yuuri sits there a moment longer, hand to his head, before he drops it and starts to peel another piece of tape up without ripping out any of the carpet fibers. He shakes his head and smiles to himself.
When Victor gets home a few hours later, Yuuri is cooking dinner. Arms slide around his shoulders and he leans back into his warmth. “Why are there pieces of wrapping paper in the trash, Pryanichek,” he murmurs into Yuuri’s ear. “Did someone get me a present?”
Yuuri lets out a snort. “Ha! No,” he says, continuing to stir the vegetable stew he’s making. “But we are going to have a talk about why you’ve never given Yuri a single gift before. And then we are going to go out and get him something immediately.” He turns and takes in his fiancee’s baffled expression. “If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll even let you wrap it.” Victor’s eyes light up.
I'd just like to say, making that picture of Otabear was a real bitch, and I'm still not happy with it. Otabear is comprised of 2 different bear patterns, manipulated and cobbled together. Plus, the skates from a different pattern, and the jacket itself, because I am just as much of a masochistic perfectionist as Yuri is. If anyone is interested in links to the individual patterns, let me know and I can dig up links.
Come join me on Tumblr at: Disasterbek-altin
Sorry, a little late today. It's been a helluva day. Tomorrow should be earlier though. To those whose comments I haven't responded to, I will do so soon, I promise!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“You’re still jumping like your center of gravity is where it used to be.”
Yuri glares up at Victor from where he’s sprawled out on the ice, hip aching from his most recent tumble and hands smarting through his gloves from slapping the ice repeatedly in frustration.
“You’re not my coach,” he growls. It’s a tired line; even Yakov has given up trying to prevent Victor from butting his big head in.
Victor crouches next to Yuri, arms wrapped around his knees and balanced perfectly on his skates. Yuri’s honestly not sure he could pull off the same position right now and it’s infuriating. “No, I’m not,” Victor agrees, and whoa, that’s new. “But I do have a unique perspective on this matter that Yakov doesn’t.”
Yuri stares at him; he honestly can’t remember the last time he’d seen Victor look so serious, but it had to have been pre-Katsudon days, at the least. It’s enough to capture Yuri’s attention. “Yeah? And what’s that?” he asks, trying to keep to minimal snark. Victor smiles.
“Yakov’s short. I’m not.” He stands smoothly and holds out a hand to Yuri. Yuri reluctantly allows Victor to pull him up, biting back a curse when his balance once again betrays him and he has to quickly rock backwards on his skates before he topples into Victor.
“See? That,” Victor points out, because of course he can’t just politely ignore Yuri’s clumsiness. “You move as if your center of gravity is still here,” he touches Yuri’s hip, lightly in deference to the bruises blooming there. “It’s not. It’s here.” A hand held level to his belly, just below his navel. It’s a good two inches, maybe more, higher than the previous touch. “You’re constantly readjusting your weight to try and balance on a fulcrum that isn’t centered. The added length in your arms and legs should be an advantage, but you aren’t utilizing them properly.”
Yuri huffs and crosses his too-long arms. He doesn’t try to use them for balance because just keeping them in check and contained is already hard enough. He can’t get a handle on where he begins and ends, on his own mass and the rapidly expanding space it occupies. He’s constantly off-kilter, and he’s so tired of feeling like someone’s taken his world and shrunk it down. Just a little, hardly enough to notice, until suddenly nothing and no one is where he expects and so he crashes and destroys and hurts. But trying to explain that his body doesn’t fit him anymore is difficult and hardly worth it anyways, so he just says, “I don’t need a science lesson, old man. I know the physics of skating.”
Victor looks unimpressed. “Do you?” he asks pointedly. “There’s a big difference between knowing and applying.” Yuri flushes. He could probably rattle off all sorts of scientific mumbo jumbo about body mechanics and center of mass and torque versus angular velocity and all that shit. He’d never had to consciously think about applying it though, because it had always come naturally until now. Victor nods, as if Yuri had just proved his hypothesis. “Come with me,” he orders. He turns and skates off without even looking to see if Yuri is following. Yuri contemplates ignoring him just for spite’s sake, but Victor actually seems sincere about helping, and at this point, he’ll take anything he can get. With an obligatory grumble, he pushes off and skates after Victor.
They end up in the locker room. Victor goes over to an incongruous pile of clothes and gear bags and sets them aside until he finds what he was looking for with a soft “Aha!” He turns and holds it out to Yuri with a big grin.
Yuri blinks, nonplussed. He’s holding out a (beautifully and intricately, damn but Katsuki had been right) wrapped present. It’s big, probably a good two feet long and at least a foot high. When Yuri doesn’t immediately take it, Victor shakes it a little, impatient. “Well?” he finally snaps.
“Did...you want me to give it to Otabek for you?” Yuri asks. He completely lost; how does this have anything to do with what they’d been talking about? Victor must get tired of holding it out, because he steps forward and sets it on the bench between them.
“It’s for you.” The ‘idiot’ at the end of that sentence is implied. Strongly. Did Victor just roll his eyes and scowl at him? What the hell is going on here?
Yuri takes a step back, eying the thing as if it might be a bomb. “It’s not my birthday,” he says blankly. “It’s bad luck to give presents before your birthday and mine isn’t for months. Are you trying to kill me or something?” Not that Yuri believes the old superstition, but it’s still rude.
Victor pouts. The fully grown man in front of him actually pouts, pushed out lip and all. Jesus Christ. At least it’s more in line with the Victor he’s used to. “It’s not a birthday present.” He actually sounds offended. “It’s a…” he trails off and puts one finger to his lips in thought before grinning that stupid, impossible heart shaped grin. “It’s a ‘Congratulations on Puberty Finally Hitting You, Too Bad It’s Using Brass Knuckles’ present.”
Yuri turns and walks away. And here he’d thought Victor was actually trying to be a good person for once.
“Yura, wait.” Yuri pauses, halfway out the door. Yura, not Yurio, and in a solemn apologetic voice, no less. Yuri sighs and turns around. Victor even looks regretful, one arm wrapped self-consciously around his body and clasping the other at the elbow. What. The. Hell. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t tease.” He shrugs and says with surprising candor, “It’s a defense mechanism. This is really uncomfortable.”
Well that’s an understatement. Yuri sighs and tromps back over to the gift. He fingers one of the ribbons idly. “Katsudon put you up to this, didn’t he?” he asks, resigned. Victor makes a noncommittal sound. Grumbling to himself about sentimental idiots who can’t keep their mouths shut, he grips the ribbon more firmly and tugs to untie it.
Victor gives him barely enough time to untangle the ribbon before he’s bouncing on his feet and impatiently saying, “Come on, you’re supposed to just rip the paper off! It’s not surgery.”
“Shut up, I’m savoring,” Yuri snipes back. “It’s pretty.” He closes his eyes, immediately regretting the words. He can practically hear the smarmy grin being directed at him.
“I know,” Victor says smugly. He clasps his hands behind his back and rocks back and forth on his feet. What a fucking child. His smile widens. “That’s because I put it in a box first.”
Mother fucking Katsuki. He’s going to kill him one day, he really is. But right now, he can at least take immediate revenge on Victor. He slows his movements down to a crawl, carefully sliding one fingernail under the tape. Victor’s frustrated, agonized sounds make for the best soundtrack as he stretches out the unwrapping as long as he possibly can. Finally though, he gets the box open and pulls out the object inside.
“You got me a balance board,” he says slowly, turning it back and forth in his hands. It’s surprisingly heavy. He peers a little closer at the wooden platform attached to a gleaming metal half sphere. “You got me a used balance board,” he corrects. He looks up. “Thank you, Victor, how will I ever repay you,” he says flatly.
Victor sniffs haughtily. He takes it from Yuri and crouches to set it on the floor. “It was my balance board,” he explains as he lets go of it. The platform stands completely level with the ground. “It’s made of the finest materials, perfectly calibrated, and more expensive than those skates you have on, so yes, it’s used.” He tips the platform to one side and lets go. It wobbles for a few seconds before returning back to its original position. He demonstrates a few more times, and okay, Yuri may or may not be slightly impressed. Victor stands, wincing a little as his knees pop. Yuri fiercely ignores the reminder of his own future and nudges the board a few times with his skate to test it out himself.
“When I was thirteen, I grew four inches in a year, then another two the year after,” Victor says quietly. “Every time I thought I was finally catching my equilibrium, I’d grow another inch.” Yuri moves back a bit as Victor steps on the board, still in his skates. “It’s pretty safe to say that this board saved my career.”
Victor balances, arms out and one leg extended backward. The board barely so much as wobbles. Then the asshole executes a modified twizzle, using the ball as a stand in for his skate blade. He returns to his original position, perfectly balanced once more. He looks at Yuri expectantly. Yuri crosses his arms. “Am I supposed to clap or something?”
Yuri very much wants to clap.
Victor rolls his eyes and drops his arms. He mutters something that sounds suspiciously like ‘ungrateful brat’ as he sets both feet on the board. He balances easily, as if he could do this all day, every day, without so much as a blink. Yuri scowls. “Oh come on, it can’t be that hard, if your old ass can do it.” Victor steps off and gestures to the board wordlessly. With a huff, Yuri steps on.
And promptly tips straight forward. He only barely saves himself from falling flat on his face. “What the fuck?” He steps on again. This time he wobbles to the side but doesn’t fall. He looks up to smirk at Victor, and abruptly teeters the other way. He tries to regain his balance but overcompensates and the next thing he knows, he’s stumbling straight into the bench. He sits with an oomph, not entirely sure how he got there. Victor stands next to him, one hand (badly) hiding his smile.
“Maybe you should try without your skates,” he suggests innocently. Yuri throws him the evil eye and bends over to unlace his skates as quickly as possible. He steps back onto the board barefoot, arms out to steady himself as he takes deep, calming breaths. He wobbles like a day old fawn, but manages to stay on. He even manages to even himself out a bit, not quite straight or still, but close. He feels embarrassingly pleased with himself. “Good,” Victor says, voice warm. “But now I want you to concentrate on your body, not the board. When you feel like you’re balanced, try and look up at me.”
Yuri keeps breathing slowly and lets his eyes unfocus. He concentrates on the way his chest moves, how his heart thrums just a little too fast against his rib cage. Steady, he thinks, and imagines himself, feet firmly planted and body perfectly aligned. His mind briefly flits to Otabek, who is steadfast and centered. He is a boulder in the river - unwavering as the water parts to make way for it. Yuri banishes the image, but holds on to the warm feeling it evokes.
At some point, Yuri must have closed his eyes. He opens them slowly to find the board beneath his feet completely still. He smiles; his mind is calm and clear for the first time in months. He slowly raises his head to look at Victor, who is smiling softly and giving him a look he’s only ever seen on Dedulya’s face. His stomach twists and his eyes prickle. Shit. He blinks hard and refocuses. Confident, he decides to go for broke and extends one leg out behind him.
He immediately falls forward and face plants directly into Victor’s unyielding chest. “Ow,” he whines, rubbing at his abused nose. He pulls away from Victor’s steadying hands on his shoulders. It’s safe to say that his zen attitude is long gone. He spins to glare at the board, crossing his arms. “Why is this so fucking hard?” He wants to kick the board across the room, but he’s barefoot and would prefer to come out of this with his toes unbroken, thanks. “I’m not even having this much trouble on the ice!”
Victor turns him around and gently pries Yuri’s hands away from his biceps with a small frown. Yuri hadn’t even realized how hard he’d been gripping. His fingers are cramping; he’s going to be adding a few more bruises to his already impressive collection.
“When you’re skating, you have an entire blade to balance on. That thing?” Victor flicks a finger towards the balance ball. “You have a surface approximately the size of a pencil eraser. You’d be delighted to know just how long it took me to manage what you just did. Go easy on yourself.”
Yuri’s not sure he knows how to go easy. Victor seems to know this, judging by the rueful quirk at one corner of his lips. They are alike in more ways than either of them wants to admit.
Victor looks away and their little bonding moment breaks. Yuri is intensely grateful. He pulls an envelope out of the box that had gone unnoticed before, and hands it to Yuri. “This is a list of exercises you should do. When you’ve mastered one, move on to the next. You’ll be jumping quads again in no time.” He pauses, tapping his lips. “Well, until your next growth spurt.” Yuri gives a heartfelt groan and Victor nods in sympathy. He tries to tussle Yuri’s hair, but he manages to dodge out of the way with a dirty look.
“Yakov said to split your time between this and the ice for a few days,” he says as he exits the locker room. He’s mostly out the door when he calls back, “Oh, and there’s one more gift in there for you. It’s from me and Yuuri.” He disappears. Yuri is immediately suspicious. He finds the smaller present and pulls it out, inspecting it carefully, but doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary aside from the fact that it, too, is impeccably wrapped. Yuri opens this one slowly as well, because he wasn’t lying when he said it was pretty. The sentimental, magpie part of him wants to keep it, until he catches a glimpse of what’s inside and sentimentality goes right out the window. He rips the rest of the paper off and drops it to the floor. He stares, slack jawed, at the jumbo box of condoms. Variety pack, he reads numbly.
His brain finally reboots; he drops the box and jumps away like it’s trying to bite him. “Oh my god!” he yells at the ceiling. “Do neither of you two assholes care that I’m underage?”
The sound of voices jolts him into panicked action. He scoops everything up and dumps it into the bigger box, then hastily folds the top flaps closed. He beats a hasty retreat from the locker room, shoving past a confused Mila and Georgi and ignoring their shouts as he escapes.
Yuri practically runs home, feeling as if every single person he passes must know what’s hiding inside the box in his arms. He yells a quick hello to Lilia, then slams his bedroom door closed, finally feeling a little less hunted. It still takes him a few minutes to regain his calm. Fucking Victor and Katsuki.
He drops the box in one corner and kneels to pull out the contents. The balance board gets placed next to his bed and surrounded by pillows, because he’s not stupid and he has no desire to crack his knees or tailbone when he inevitably falls. After a few moments’ thought, he carefully folds the untorn wrapping paper and slides it into a desk drawer. Maybe he’ll surprise Dedulya some day with a perfectly wrapped gift of his own.
He avoids the box of condoms while he practices some more on the balance board, but eventually he gives in to the nameless feeling crawling around in his stomach and throat. He gingerly pulls them out and immediately tosses them into the depths of his closet. It’s not the condoms themselves, nor their implication. He’s a seventeen year old boy, for Christ’s sake, and he’s not entirely innocent. It’s that they’re condoms from Victor and Katsuki, and the very idea is enough to make him want to lose his lunch. Still…
He pulls them out of his closet and stares at them for a moment. He straightens his spine determinedly and stands up. Waste not, want not. Or something. He puts them in his bedside drawer next to the half full bottle of lube he’d ordered off the internet and nearly had a heart attack over when he found Lilia opening the padded envelope it had been sent in. Apparently she’d been expecting a sample CD of some potential songs for Yuri’s freeskate. She’d taken one look at Yuri’s beet red face and silently handed the package over. They haven’t spoken of it since, and Yuri hopes to god they never will.
He stares down at the supplies. In the corner of his vision he can see his desk and Otabek’s present sitting on top, waiting for its recipient. He can practically feel OtaBear’s judgemental gaze. The condoms go back in the closet.
Fun fact: I grew 4 inches in 7th grade. Between the sudden height and an innate proprioceptive disorder, I was black and blue for months and was banned from going anywhere near anything breakable. The balance board thing was a whim, but it actually worked surprisingly well.
Coming up: the long anticipated arrival of Otabek!
Edit: kit7en asked for a picture of the kitty in the Otabear pic. Sadly, that cat is not mine, BUT! Here is a pic of my lil kitkat Frankie, who is the inspiration behind Potya's crazy yarn antics.
Please follow me at Disasterbek-altin. We can geek out together about these beautiful idiot boys.
Yay! The chapter you all have probably been waiting for: the arrival of Otabek and the reveal of OtaBear!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Yuri fidgets nervously as he waits for Otabek to deboard his plane and work his way through customs. He absently stretches his feet and hips while he waits, practicing his ballet turn out. He ignores the strange looks he gets from the passersby because fuck them, he’s being productive, and checks his phone for the ten millionth time. According to the app (and Otabek’s text), they had landed close to twenty minutes ago. He had to be getting close, right? Any minute now, definitely.
This is not the first time he’s had this conversation with himself. Each time he becomes more and more convinced that something strange must be going on with the the physics surrounding the airport, because one minute should not feel like forty.
Yuri is so busy staring at his phone and wondering if there’s a bug in the clock app, that he doesn’t notice someone come up and stand right before him until they clear their throat pointedly. Yuri jumps, head jerking up. Then he’s flying straight into Otabek’s already open arms.
“Beka!” he yelps, excited. Otabek winces. “Shit, sorry,” Yuri says in a much quieter voice, pulling back so he’s not speaking directly into his ear. Otabek chuckles and the sound reverberates through Yuri’s body.
“It’s fine,” he says. A smile lurks in one corner of his mouth. Yuri is suddenly aware just how close they are, and that he’s been staring at his friend’s lips like a complete moron. He pulls back as far as Otabek’s tightly wound arms will allow him and meets his eyes instead. He can’t help the grin stretching his own lips. It had been almost seven months since they’d last seen each other in person, right after Otabek’s surgery, and oh shit, Yuri probably shouldn’t be leaning so much weight on him right now.
He eels his way out of Otabek’s embrace and holds him at arm’s length. “How’s your knee? Does it hurt? Do you need to sit down before we go?” Otabek’s wearing a heavy duty black knee brace. Really heavy duty. It’s mostly camouflaged with jeans the same color, and while Yuri would love to say this is a fashion choice, it’s more likely that he just didn’t want to draw attention to it. Why is he even wearing it in the first place? Wasn’t he supposed to be a lot further along in his healing?
Otabek cups his elbows and gives him a soft shake to regain his attention. “Yura, I’m fine,” he says firmly. “More sitting is pretty much the last thing I want to do right now.”
“But -” Yuri nods towards the brace with a frown. If Otabek has been lying to him about his progress, he’s going to be pissed. Otabek rolls his eyes and lets go completely.
“I knew I’d be walking a lot. Better safe than sorry, right?” Yuri wants to ask him how he plans on skating if just walking around an airport has him reaching for his brace, but for once manages to keep his mouth shut. He has this stupid fear that if he pushes too far, Otabek might come out and say something stupid, like that he’s thinking of retiring or something. Yuri settles instead for a dubious look and pointedly takes his checked bag. Otabek huffs out a small sigh, but doesn’t comment.
As Yuri leads him out to where their Uber will pick them up, he chatters about all the things that have happened since their last Skype session while Otabek nods along, content just to listen, the way he does when he’s exhausted and the thought of stringing together words and thoughts is too much trouble.
Yuri finds himself faltering after a few minutes, searching for new topics. Most of his life has revolved around The Gift recently, and he can’t exactly talk about that with him.
His stomach squirms uncomfortably as thoughts of The Gift wriggle back to the forefront. Yuri logically knows that Otabek is going to like it, but that doesn’t stop him from coming up with all kinds of nightmare scenarios: Otabek thinking it’s stupid or childish, Otabek (correctly) realizing Yuri’s feelings and gently but firmly turning him down, or worse, being disgusted and deciding to book the next flight back to Almaty. While he’s not sure if he could stand two weeks of awkward interactions and avoidance, he’s positive that being left entirely would break him.
Yuri is overthinking this, like always. He casts around for another topic, but Otabek saves him the trouble.
“You’ve grown,” he says. He looks over and studies Yuri closely, as if measuring him with his eyes. “You’re almost as tall as I am.”
Yuri smirks. “Taller,” he says smugly. The added height might be ruining his life, but at least he has this. Otabek’s eyes narrow at the top of his head.
“Maybe,” he allows.
Otabek grins widely. “Wanna bet on it?” he asks as their Uber finally pulls up.
“Oh, you are on.” They shake on it.
Yuri is exactly one centimeter taller. Lilia rolls her eyes as Yuri crows gleefully, and offers to show Otabek to his room.
Yuri bounces on Otabek’s temporary bed, watching him carefully and methodically transfer his clothes to dresser drawers. Otabek is one of those geeks who always unpacks, no matter how long he’s staying in a place. Yuri has literally seen him unpack his suitcase for a twelve hour stay.
Meanwhile, Yuri once lived out of his suitcase for almost three weeks. The only reason it wasn’t longer was because he eventually went through all the clothes he’d packed and after finally doing his laundry, it was easier to just throw them in his drawers. He’s pretty sure half the travel supplies in his toiletry bag have expired, they’ve been in there so long.
He kicks his legs rhythmically against the bed frame, thrumming with a nauseating mixture of excitement, anticipation, nerves, and just a hint of fear. He couldn’t get the image of The Gift out of his mind, just sitting on his desk and calling out for him. Should he go get it? Except Otabek got weirdly cranky if you interrupted his travel routine, and the last thing he wanted was a cranky Beka opening his painstakingly handcrafted and wrapped gift. So he should wait, definitely.
God, he’s going to explode if Otabek goes any slower. “Are you done yet?” he asks, trying to keep impatience out of his voice. Otabek stops carefully arranging of all his eye stuff (and damn if the image of Otabek wearing those glasses doesn’t make his brain short out every time) and other random crap on his night stand. He throws a pointed look at Yuri’s swinging legs. Yuri freezes, then carefully plants his feet back on the floor.
Otabek gives a quiet snort. “Almost,” he says, and goes back to being the slowest unpacker to ever unpack. Yuri’s leg starts to jiggle almost as soon as he turns away. Personal effects properly arranged, he reaches down to grab his toiletries bag from his suitcase. Yuri eyes the way he bends from the waist, leg held conspicuously straight and stiff. He bites his lip and doesn’t say anything. Otabek turns around, bag tucked under his arm. He eyes Yuri’s jittering legs and gives a long suffering sigh. “Bathroom?” he asks. Yuri points vaguely, preoccupied with his thoughts.
“Left, next door down,” he says absently. Maybe he should just go get it. Who could possibly be cranky in the face of hand crocheted bears? He picks at his cuticles, then examines the ends of his hair for split ends. But if he gives it now, it wouldn’t be special, and he wants it to be special. He separates one strand from the rest, glaring at it. He needs a haircut. Badly. He definitely needs new conditioner. Maybe he should steal some of Otabek’s; his hair is always so soft and shiny, especially since he started growing the top part. It’s almost long enough for one of those douchey man buns, and the second he ties it up, Yuri plans to make fun of him mercilessly (even if he does think Otabek would look hot with one).
He sighs. He’s making too big of a deal out of this. He’s going to end up making it weird. They’re friends, not lovers. He doesn’t want Otabek coming to the wrong conclusion. Unless he’s on the same page. Is Otabek on the same page? Yuri’s not even sure if he’s on that page. Oh, who’s he kidding; he’d climb Otabek like a tree if given half a chance. Or just cuddle the shit out of him, he’s not picky. Whatever Otabek is comfortable with. If he’s on the the same page. Which he probably isn’t. Fuck.
A pair of hands clamp down on his knees, stilling their frenetic movement. Yuri squeaks, actually squeaks like a complete idiot. He drops the ends of his hair and clamps both hands over his mouth, wide-eyed and red faced. Otabek’s warm brown eyes stare into his from half a foot away as he bends over, weight resting firmly on Yuri’s knees.
“Yura,” he says, firm and deliberate. “What. Is going on. With you?”
Yuri groans and flops back on the bed as he moves his hands up to cover his eyes instead. He jolts back up almost immediately as he realizes how suggestive their positions could be. Unfortunately, not even Victor’s balance board is enough to stave off his clumsiness entirely; he misjudges the space between them and ends up knocking their foreheads together, hard.
Otabek stumbles back, hands pressed to his forehead, but manages to regain his equilibrium. Yuri, on the other hand, says goodbye to any remaining sliver of grace or dignity as he slides halfway off the bed, pulling the comforter down with him. He stills for a moment, gripping the edge of the mattress for dear life, then gives in and gives up. He plops all the way down onto the floor and pulls the comforter over his head. “Kill me now. Please.”
All is quiet for a moment, then Otabek snorts, loud and ugly. He follows it up with a snicker that turns into a giggle and quickly evolves into giant, gasping belly laughs.
Yuri raises the edge of the comforter just high enough to allow him to give Otabek his best death glare. The asshole has the gall to laugh harder as he hunches over, one hand still on his forehead while the other clutches his belly. “What the hell, Beka! Stop laughing!”
“I don’t think I can,” he manages to wheeze between bouts. “Oh my god, Yura, your face…”
Yuri flushes bright red and pulls the covers back over him as he flops over on his side. Maybe if he closes his eyes, he’ll wake up in his own bed and all this will just be a nightmare. Otabek thunks down to the floor next to him “God, I needed that,” he murmurs as his laughter subsides. He falls quiet except for the occasional little hiccup that Yuri absolutely refuses to admit is completely fucking adorable. Otabek leans back against Yuri’s curled legs and plucks at the edge of the comforter. Yuri grips it tighter and yanks it closer to himself. “Yura,” he singsongs. “Come out, come out.” Yuri jerks the blanket out of his grasp again.
“No,” he sulks. “I wouldn’t want my face to make you choke and die of laughter.”
Otabek give an amused hum. “And yet it sounds like that’s exactly what you want to happen.” Yuri doesn’t answer, lets the silence speak for him. Otabek gently pulls on the blanket again. “Come on, Yuriyim, it wasn’t that bad. It was funny.” He pats what he probably thinks is Yuri’s head, but is actually his face. Yuri bats at him through the blanket. Otabek sighs.
“If you won’t come out, will you at least let me in?” he tries. Yuri debates, but Otabek seems to take his continued silence as a negative, because he heaves another sigh. “Fine,” he says. He shifts around for a moment, then stretches out next to Yuri. He flings one arm over his waist and tucks his chin over the top of Yuri’s head. It’s...nice, except for how he kind of feels like he’s suffocating with his face pressed against both the blanket and Otabek’s neck. Yuri wriggles and manages to claw the blanket down just enough that his head peeks out and he can breathe again. Otabek shifts back just far enough so he can look down at him and Yuri knows he probably looks like a hot mess, face red and splotchy and hair everywhere but, well, the angle give Otabek a double chin, so there.
“What does that mean?” he asks, fierce. Otabek looks entirely confused. “Yuriyim,” he clarifies. “You’ve never called my that before.” Otabek’s face clears.
“Ah. It, uh. It’s sort of like a Kazakh...diminutive? Like Yurotchka, kind of.” The tiny bit of color spreading across his cheeks and nose suggests that this probably isn’t the entire story, but Yuri will take it for now. He can always look it up later. He makes a small disgruntled sound and presses his forehead sullenly against Otabek’s collarbone. It’s still sore and throbbing a bit.
“Fine,” he grumbles, lips mushed up against Otabek’s throat and muffling the words. “I’ll allow it.”
Otabek shudders, arm tightening briefly. Yuri pulls back and glares. “Are you laughing at me again?”
“Definitely not laughing,” he says in an odd tone, then contradicts himself immediately when he huffs out a wry, breathless chuckle. Yuri narrows his eyes at him suspiciously. Otabek is definitely blushing this time; Yuri opens his mouth to ask why, but Otabek distracts him by poking the bump on his head with one finger. “You’re going to have a bruise.”
“Yeah, well, you have a hard fucking head,” he complains.
Otabek smiles. “I do,” he agrees. The soft look in his eyes is too much for Yuri. He wriggles onto his back to give them a little space and frees his arms so he can shove his unruly hair out of his face. Otabek sputters as some of it hits him. Then he props his head up on one hand and stares down at Yuri intensely. Yuri’s breath hitches as he lifts the arm that had been slung over Yuri’s waist and slowly reaches up. He keeps his eyes locked on Yuri’s as he slowly pulls a strand of blond hair out of his mouth.
Yuri cackles and shoves him over. He sits up and finally frees himself from the sweaty confines of the comforter. “Get used to it, asshole. I’m like a cat - I shed everywhere.”
“I know,” Otabek says mournfully. “I was finding hair on my belongings for months after the Grand Prix. We didn’t even room together.”
The light atmosphere abruptly withers. Yuri’s mind supplies him with HD images of Otabek’s final exhibition skate. Sees Otabek’s leg twist out of a bad quad and buckle sideways , watches helplessly as he slams headlong into the boards and lays crumpled and motionless on the ice. The hollow dull thunk Otabek’s head made as it connected is going to haunt him for the rest of his life. Everyone says he’s lucky he came out of it with only a concussion and some ripped tendons instead of a broken neck.
Otabek pushes himself into a sitting position, legs sprawled out in front of him. He picks at the brace he’s still wearing, rubs at his knee in an absent-minded way that speaks of habit. Yuri’s mouth twists. Well, if there was ever a time to change the subject…
“I have something for you,” he announces loudly. He pushes himself to his feet, almost graceful for once. Maybe Victor’s board idea was starting to pay off. Otabek looks up at him, eyebrows raised. “I’ll be right back.” He bolts out of the spare room and into his. He grabs The Gift and heads back, hesitating just long enough outside Otabek’s door to take a fortifying breath before entering. Otabek had messily draped the comforter back over the bed and was now sitting on it, elbows resting on his thighs while his clasped hands dangled between them. He looks about a thousand miles away, but glances up and smiles when Yuri comes back in. His eyes land on the present held awkwardly in Yuri’s hands. Yuri roughly shoves it into his hands.
“Here, for you,” he says in a gruff voice. “Happy… ‘Yay, You’re Here’ day, or whatever.” He probably should have thought this part through a little better.
Otabek sets it in his lap and examines it, biting his lip to hide a smile. “Is this what you were freaking out about?” he asks. Yuri colors.
“I wasn’t freaking out,” he denies. “Are you going to open it or what?” Otabek fingers the little skate charm.
“I don’t know, it’s so pretty, I kind of don’t want to.” Yuri suddenly empathizes with Victor completely. He should probably apologize for screwing around with him while opening his own present, except it’s Victor , so fuck him.
“So take a picture, and then open it,” he says impatiently. Otabek rolls his eyes but does as Yuri says. He opens up Instagram to post it, but Yuri snatches the phone out of his grip. “Post later, open now.” Otabek holds up his hands.
“Okay, okay.” Otabek, at least, doesn’t toy around with unwrapping. He rips the paper off quickly, pausing only long enough to set the little skate charm on the bed next to him, before popping the box open. He pushes aside tissue paper, then stills, hand hovering just over where OtaBear lay nestled safely inside. Yuri bites his thumbnail, realizes he’s holding his breath, and inhales deeply. Then he holds it again. The tension is getting to him. He wants to yell at Otabek, ask him ‘well? Don’t just sit there staring, do you like it or not?’ He opens his mouth to do exactly that, but Otabek finally moves. He reaches into the box with both hands to pull the stuffed animal out, cradling it gently between them. It had ended up a little bigger than Yuri had anticipated, standing a little under a foot and a half tall, but he thinks he likes it better that way. It feels solid, like you could really cling on to it as tightly as you wanted. Yuri may or may not have done that a few times himself before wrapping it. For testing purposes, of course.
Otabek tilts the bear, peering at it from all sides. A delighted grin spreads slowly across his face and lights up his eyes. It simultaneously makes Yuri want to melt into a squealing pile of goo and light the whole world on fire so that it matches the warmth that threatens to overtake his body.
Yuri watches and tries (fails) his hardest to look chill (he isn't. At all.) Because he's staring so hard, he sees the moment when Otabek’s glee turns puzzled, then perplexed. Yuri’s stomach drops. Was it too much? It must be; his emotions have burst out of his overstuffed heart, ripped his seams and are spilling all over Otabek. And sure, a part of him had hoped Otabek would see the bear and understand and maybe even return the sentiment, but the small, bemused wrinkle between Otabek’s eyebrows was not a good sign. Sharp pain bursts through his thumb as he bites at a hang nail too hard and takes some skin along with it.
It was too much. Definitely too much. Fuck.
Oblivious, Otabek plays with the collar of the crocheted leather jacket, runs a thumb thoughtfully over one eyebrow. “Did you commission this?” he finally asks. “It's awfully...specific.”
Yuri blinks. Blinks again, as his world view shifts to one where Otabek isn’t looking directly into Yuri’s heart and soul and rejecting it. Then, because he is a complete coward, he blurts out, “Yes! I commissioned it! For you. Uh.”
He wants to slam his head against a wall a few dozen times. Why, why had he said that? But Otabek is smiling again, soft and fond, and hugging the bear to his chest in a way that makes Yuri blindingly jealous for a moment. Of the bear.
He has officially reached a new level of pathetic.
“It's perfect, Yuriyim, thank you.” Otabek stands and draws him in with one arm until their foreheads, press together careful of their matching bruises. His gaze is so warm and close and strangely solemn.
Yuri’s breath catches in his throat. Wait, what is happening right now? Is this what he thinks it is? Holy shit.
And then Otabek goes and ruins everything. He leans up just a bit and kisses Yuri lightly on his forehead, just above the forming bruise. Just like Yuri has seen him do countless times to his little sisters and brother.
“Thank you,” he says again, squeezing Yuri's shoulder once before letting go. Yuri stands, frozen, as Otabek goes back to examining the bear.
...God damn it.
One more chapter, guys! Hang in there, because we are not quite done with the fluff and humor...or the angst.
For more on Yuriyim and its significance, you can go here. It's actually a really interesting post on the Kazakh language, so I wanted to put it here. But TL;DR - it's a Kazakh possessive marker, "My Yuri", basically. So Otabek wasn't... exactly lying when he said it's similar to a Russian diminutive, but he was definitely fudging things a bit, imo.
Come join me on Tumblr at: Disasterbek-altin
I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who has commented, given kudos, and just taken the time to read my story. You have no idea how happy you have made me! You are all the best, seriously! Enjoy the finale!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Yuri doesn’t see the texts from Katsudon until after they have already arrived at the ice rink.
Yuri tries to stop Otabek from entering the rink, but he misses his chance by stupidly answering Katsudon’s frantic texts first.
“Wait!” he calls out, slamming through the doors after him. Otabek turns, but it’s too late; Victor has spotted them and is already heading over, one hand raised in greeting. To his credit, Katsudon tries to intercept him, but he has to stop to put his blade guards on; there was no chance in hell that he’d catch Victor when he’s in Coach Mode. Yuri drops his face into his palms. He resigns himself to the fact that Victor is going to spill the beans. He’s already plotting out exactly what he’s going to say to explain his lie.
“Otabek, welcome!” Victor approaches, one hand held out to shake. He notices the bear peeking out of Otabek’s gear bag and gives them that stupid giant grin of his. He ignores Yuri’s death glare, as well as the emphatic slashing motions he’s making across his throat. “Yurio!’ he exclaims instead, “Is that the bear you made? It’s even cuter in person!”
Sometimes, Yuri thinks Victor lives to torment him. Times like this, he’s sure of it.
He sees the moment Otabek processes what Victor had said. His shoulders tense before deliberately relaxing them. “Yes, it is,” he says placidly. He pulls the bear out of the bag and holds it out to Victor. An aborted protest comes out of Yuri’s mouth before he can stop it. He does not want Victor’s grubby hands all over OtaBear.
Otabek gives him a look out of the corner of his eye as Victor takes the stuffed animal. The corner of his mouth twitches up ever so slightly. Yuri’s eyes widen.
Mother fucking son of a bitch . The asshole is screwing with him.
“It looks just like you,” Victor says with delight. He touches the heart-shaped nose (what? It was cute, okay? It was a necessary addition). Behind him, Katsudon finally makes an appearance and grabs his arm. Tightly, if the wince Victor gives is any indication.
“Vitya,” he says sweetly, “I’m still having trouble with my step sequence. Come help?”
Victor ignores him completely. He’s not even bothering to hide the evil gleam in his eyes, now that he’s recognized a comrade in arms. “Do you know, he spent weeks making this? Of course, he wouldn’t tell us what he was making, but you could tell he was spending every spare moment on it.” Correction, he wouldn’t tell Victor what he was making, and for damn good reason. Please see example A: this shit show.
Otabek nods somberly as he takes the bear back and and cuddles it to his chest. In any other situation, it would have made Yuri want to squirm with happiness. Right now, he mostly wants to squirm with embarrassment. He grits his teeth instead and focuses on his breathing the way his anger management instructor had taught him.
“He’s a very good friend,” Otabek says.
“He really is, isn’t he? It’s adorable.”
“Victor,” Katsuki snaps, losing all pretense of subtle damage control. Victor finally seems to cotton on to the fact that he’s gone too far.
“Screw you all,” Yuri hisses. He storms past Otabek, ignoring his ‘oomph’ as Yuri’s bag hits him in the stomach. As far as Yuri is concerned, it’s the least he deserves for making fun of all of Yuri’s hard work. He slams through the locker room door and throws his gear bag at the lockers. It hits with a dull clang.
The thing is, he knows he’s overreacting.They’re just teasing him, and logically he knows that Otabek deserves a little payback for Yuri lying right to his face. But it hurts . He’d put a lot into that bear, and not just time and effort. Seeing him make light of that, with Victor , no less...it just feels shitty, is all.
Yuri sits on a bench, elbows on knees, and digs his hands into his hair. He counts breaths. In for four, hold for seven, out for eight. He’s not fifteen anymore; he’s supposed to have better control than this.
In for four, hold for seven, out for eight. Repeat until you no longer feel like killing someone, especially yourself.
Hands take gentle hold of his, untangling them from his hair. “Please stop,” Otabek says from behind him. “You’re hurting yourself.” He sounds upset. Good. Serves him right.
“Am not,” he grumbles, even though his scalp is aching and there are strands of hair tangled in his fingers. He hadn’t realized how hard he’d been pulling.
Just like he hadn’t realized how hard he’d been gripping his arms with Victor, or the multiple other incidences over the last few weeks. Maybe he should be worried, but just thinking about it has his fingernails digging into his palms, so worrying about it seems a little self defeating. He’s just a little stressed, is all.
He’s distracted by fingers carding through his hair, unknotting tangles and massaging his scalp. Yuri practically melts into it, suddenly boneless. He wouldn’t admit this on pain of death, but he lets Mila try out new hairstyles on him whenever she wants, even brings her pictures of things to try sometimes. She probably knows why, but he has a hard time being ashamed when it feels so damn good.
“I’m sorry, Yuriyim,” he says. “I didn’t mean to make you feel bad.” His fingers pause their movement. Yuri growls and pushes his head more firmly into Otabek’s hands.
“Do. Not. Stop,” he growls. With a chuckle, Otabek starts up his ministrations again.
“I’m sorry,” he says again. “We were just teasing, but we took it too far.”
Yuri sighs and makes himself pull away. He faces Otabek, arms crossed tightly around him. “It’s fine,” he says. He forces himself to look at Otabek instead of the empty air over his shoulder. “I overreacted.” He manages a wry smile. “I do that sometimes, no big deal.” He turns away and pulls his skates from his bag, silently apologizing to them for treating them so roughly earlier. “Let’s just forget about it, yeah?” Otabek looks like he wants to say something but Yuri doesn’t give him the time. He heads quickly for the door; he’ll put his skates on by the rink. Or possibly use them to eviscerate Victor so he can string him from the rafters with his own guts, he hasn’t decided yet.
Yuri has very vivid imagination. Victor is one hell of a muse.
He’s almost out the door when a tug on the back of his shirt pulls him back in. He swings around and rolls his eyes at Otabek’s frown. “It’s fine , Beka, let’s just get out on the ice. I haven’t been spending enough time there lately. Too busy with other stuff.” Okay, so maybe he’s still a little bitter. He’ll get over it.
Otabek makes a small, frustrated sound. His brows are pulled sharply down, lips pressed tight. “Why did you lie in the first place, Yura?” It’s his firm, I’m-so-done-with-your-bullshit voice. Yuri’s only heard it a few times in the two years they’ve been friends. Shit.
Yuri leans back against the door, looks down. He stares resolutely at the skates in his hand. He really needs to buff out the scuff marks; they look terrible. He concentrates on this to keep his cheeks from flushing and giving him away. He fails miserably.
“It just...seemed like too much,” he finally mutters to his skates. He hates that he sounds sullen, childish. “It didn’t when I was making it, but then when I gave it to you it became pretty fucking obvious. I mean, you seemed surprised that I would even commission it, so telling you that I’d actually made it? Yeah, way overkill just for some stupid, random present.”
“It’s not stupid. ” Yuri’s head snaps up, surprised by how fierce Otabek sounds. His brow is still furrowed, but he’s flushed tomato red. Yuri has never seen him this off kilter before; he can’t help but stare, wide eyed and fascinated. Otabek is obviously embarrassed and supremely uncomfortable, yet he still manages to keep his gaze firmly on Yuri. “It isn’t stupid,” he repeats, more softly this time, “and it wasn’t too much. Isn’t too much. I’m sorry if I made you feel that way.”
“I…” Yuri’s not sure how to finish that sentence, so instead he goes with, “It’s...okay? I mean, it’s fine. I’m over it, seriously.” Otabek nods firmly, and Yuri is suddenly reminded of when they first met, how determined he had been when asking if Yuri was going to be his friend or not.
“Good. Then...” he goes to the bench to pick up the bear he’d left perched there and brings it back, holding it close to his chest. “Thank you for the gift.” He hesitates for half a second, then leans forward and presses a kiss to Yuri’s cheek.
Yuri’s brain screeches to a halt. He touches a hand to his cheek. His eyes are probably wide as saucers as he stares at Otabek, who is now looking pretty much anywhere but Yuri. His blush has traveled down past the collar of his t-shirt. He’s clutching OtaBear for dear life. A slow grin overtakes Yuri’s face. His cheeks hurt and he doesn’t know if he’s ever smiled so hard in his life.
Fuck it, he thinks. He surges forward and crashes into Otabek. He kisses him, all teeth and noses bumping a little too hard. It’s...not great, to be honest, but hopefully his enthusiasm makes up for it.
Apparently Otabek doesn’t agree, because he doesn’t respond. Yuri pulls back abruptly, crushed by the sudden onslaught of disappointment. And humiliation. There is a lot of humiliation mixed in. God, he is so stupid .
“Sorry,” he whispers and turns away. He swallows hard and squeezes his eyes shut, resolving to ignore any and all feelings for at least the next three hours. Just long enough to finish practice, get home, where he can sob for a few hours in the privacy of his room. Otabek has his own room at Lilia’s to stay in, so it should be fine, right?
For the second time in five minutes, he’s grabbed and swung around. He stumbles and falls into Otabek’s chest, dropping his skates in the process. He tries to pull away, the horror at treating them so badly ingrained deep in his soul, but Otabek refuses to let go. He locks his arms around Yuri and squeezes him closer. It could be a hug, but feels more like a prison. The next thirty seconds are spent in a silent battle between them as Yuri tries to get away and Otabek struggles to keep hold. Yuri is slippery and fierce as a cat, but Otabek is unflinching and inexorable as stone. Also, heavy as one, Jesus Christ. Is the man made of lead? Yuri finally gives up and sags into his arms, feeling carved hollow and exhausted.
“Would you please just let me go, so I can go about erasing this moment from my memory?”
“No,” Otabek says calmly. Yuri drops his head back and glares.
“Seriously, Beka? Let me go .” Otabek’s hold finally loosens into something slightly less rib crushing; a traitorous part of Yuri’s brain wonders if this is what it would feel like to be held by him in a more romantic situation. Yuri drops his head to Otabek’s shoulder. Now that he can pull away, he desperately wants to stay. Otabek presses his forehead into the crook of Yuri’s neck.
“You surprised me,” he murmurs.Yuri stares at the lockers across from him. Otabek pulls back, a small, fond smile on his face as Yuri slowly transfers his gaze to him.
“Sorry?” he tries, unsure of where this is going. Otabek huffs out an amused sound and shakes his head. He brings his other hand up to cradle Yuri’s cheek, the same one he’d kissed earlier.
“I like it when you surprise me.” He leans his forehead to rest against Yuri’s.
"I swear to God, if you kiss me on the forehead or cheek again, I’ll-” He’s cut off by Otabek’s lips against his. Yuri is totally okay with this.
They part after what feels like hours and minutes at the same time. Yuri rests his forehead against Otabek’s shoulder and tries to catch his breath. His eyes focus on something laying on the floor next to their feet. He pulls back abruptly. “You dropped him,” Yuri screeches, diving to save OtaBear from the nasty, dirty locker room floor. He glares up at Otabek from his crouched position. Otabek runs one thumb over his lips absently. He’s leaning up against the wall; somehow they had managed to switch places, but Yuri has no idea how or when. His eyes catch on Otabek’s red, kiss-bitten mouth and he momentarily forgets what he was angry about. It doesn’t last long. “I can’t believe you would just drop OtaBear like that!”
“OtaBear?” he asks, lips curving up in a smirk that is part amused, part smug, and 100% aggravating. Yuri point a finger at him sharply.
“No. You aren’t allowed to make fun of me about this.”
Otabek pushes off the wall. “I’m sorry,” he says, actually sounding a little distressed. Good. He should be. “It will never happen again, I swear. And I promise I’ll never drop him again, either.”
Yuri stands, clutching OtaBear protectively to his chest. “You’re damn right you won’t,” he says, “because you aren’t getting him back.” Otabek’s jaw drops. Actually drops in surprise.
“Wait, what?” he splutters.
“You heard me.”
“But...you gave him to me. You can’t just take him back.” Otabek laughs, looking slightly incredulous at the thought of Yuri actually keeping his present.
Yuri juts his chin out stubbornly. “I sure as shit can. You don’t deserve OtaBear.” He stares at him, daring him to laugh. Otabek stares for a moment more, but when it becomes obvious that Yuri isn’t joking, he shakes his head. A soft, genuine smile takes over his face.
“I guess you’ll just have to take care of him for me, then,” he says. He tugs at the front of Yuri’s shirt and reels him back in; Yuri reluctantly allows him, still a little annoyed even though he knows it’s stupid. He’d spent weeks on the thing, after all. Otabek leans in until their lips almost brush. “Maybe someday you’ll trust me to take care of a YuraCat.” Yuri laughs. Otabek is so cheesy.
He kind of loves it.
“Maybe,” he allows. Otabek smiles and kisses him again.
They stay that way until Victor walks in and proceeds to make a Huge Deal out of it. Katsudon has to forcibly drag him out. Yuri has approximately ten seconds to feel grateful. Then, he ruins it by calling over his shoulder, “Remember kids, safety is sexy, so make use of our other gift.” Yuri drops his head against Otabek’s shoulder, which is shaking suspiciously like he’s laughing.
“Gift?” he asks.
Fuck. His. Life.
Aaaaand we are at the end. Or are we? Like I said at the beginning, I do plan to write a sequel to this. It may take a little while, because I don't post stories I haven't finished yet, but it will be coming, I promise! In the meantime, I hope you guys enjoyed the ride!
Come join me on Tumblr at: Disasterbek-altin
This is not actually a new chapter, just an update. The sequel, Ripping Stitches, has officially started posting.
What it says on the tin. I just wanted to give a heads up that there is now a sequel to Made For You which is being posted. I hope you guys will check it out and enjoy!
Also, feel free to come follow me on Tumblr at Disasterbek-altin. We can geek out together about these beautiful idiot boys.