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Don't Cry, Solnyshko, For I Will Always Be At Your Side

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Viktor sat, watching Yuri skate his free program, a small smile tugging at his lips. He was so tired, but seeing this was worth the effort to stay awake. This was truly the best program Yuri had ever done. They had been in Moscow for three days now and there was a constant stream of friends standing nearby at all times, keeping curious eyes from looking too closely. Viktor couldn’t have been more grateful.

Still listed as his coaches, Yuuri and Viktor had been allowed rinkside, though no one doubted that they would have been let there anyway. After the program, Yuri paused by them before heading to the kiss and cry with Yakov. First he wrapped Yuuri in a tight hug and then leaned down and kissed Viktor’s cheek and whispered. “I skated for you, dad.”

Vitkor’s eyes filled with tears and Yuri pulled back and went off with Yakov. The score was announced, easily breaking the previous world record. Viktor took a shuddering gasp of breath and reached out, grabbing Yuuri’s hand.

“Yuuri, Yuuri, we have to leave. Now,” Viktor gasped out.

“Vitya?” Yuuri glanced at him curiously as Viktor trembled.

“Now, to the room,” Viktor whispered. He felt like he was grasping at tendrils. He was so, so tired.

Yuuri obeyed, rolling Viktor towards the elevator, pausing only to call to Chris who was nearby. “Ambulance,” he said in a low voice when the blonde leaned in to hear the whisper. Chris nodded and pulled out his phone as Yuuri rolled Viktor away.

Once in the room, Yuuri lifted Viktor out of the chair and put him in the bed. “What do you need?” He asked frantically.

Viktor reached for him. “You, I need you.”

Yuuri fell forward, leaning into Viktor’s weak embrace. “What’s happening, Vitya? Talk to me.”

“It’s time, Yuuri,” Viktor whispered. “I can feel it.”

Yuuri looked up at him, panic written all over his face, tears streaming freely from his eyes. “No, it’s too soon,” he sobbed out.

“It will always be too soon,” Viktor said hoarsely. “You’ll tell Yura how proud of him I am, won’t you?”

“Tell him yourself. Don’t leave me,” Yuuri whimpered and clutched Viktor’s shirt tightly in a fist.

“I love you, Yuuri, always, always love you,” Viktor took a slow, labored breath. “Now and in the next life.”

Yuuri’s whole body was shaking with the intensity of his sobs. “I love you too, Vitya. Stay with me, please, please. I need you.”

Viktor’s fingers shakily wiped at Yuuri’s cheeks. “Don’t cry, solnyshko, for I will always be at your side.”

“Please,” Yuuri gasped out and as he watched, the light left Viktor’s eyes. “No, no, no.” Yuuri gasped and cried and wrapped himself around Viktor’s body like an octopus, desperate for the warmth that was Viktor.

He didn’t know how long he stayed there, screaming and crying, but suddenly strong arms were pulling him away. He clawed at them, trying to get back to Viktor, but the arms kept pulling.

“No!! Vitya!” Yuuri screamed and then he realized that he was being rocked. He blinked several times and turned to see Yuri clinging on to him.

“Otousan… Dad… Is dad…?” Yuri was crying too, holding Yuuri tightly, rocking them both.

Yuuri turned into him and let his tears soak into Yuri’s chest, and then there were more arms coming around both of them, Chris’ voice telling them that the paramedics had to take Viktor’s body. Phichit’s soft voice cooing gentle words that the rushing in Yuuri’s ears wouldn’t let him discern. Yakov’s rumbling voice laced with tears as he watched the closest thing he had to a son lay motionless. Soft crying from others, Yuuri was sure that everyone was there, watching his pathetic display, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. He just cried and cried as Yuri swayed them back and forth, crying with him.

Part of him told him he had to be strong for Yuri now. He was supposed to be the parent. He was supposed to stand tall and comfort the boy who looked to him as a father, but here he was, sitting on the floor entirely enveloped by Yuri’s arms and legs letting himself be taken care of. Another part of him told him it was fine. He was allowed this. After all, Yuuri had just lost the very beat of his heart, he was permitted this. Later, he would be strong and look forward and take care of Yuri like Yuri was taking care of him now.

After what could have been seconds or hours, Yuuri couldn't tell, his tears ran out and he just heaved dry sobs into Yuri’s chest. Yuri was still clutching to him, but Yuuri was beginning to register that it was probably more for himself than it was for Yuuri. Slowly, he breathed in and reached out, wrapping his arms around Yuri.

“Yura,” Yuuri whispered.

Yuri’s face was scrunched up and tears were falling from his eyes. He wasn't wailing like Yuuri had been doing, but aborted half sobs kept escaping from his throat. Once he registered that Yuuri had calmed down enough he let out a small whimper and buried his face into Yuuri’s shoulder.

They remained like that for a long time, Yuri’s long limbs keeping Yuuri squeezed tight to him, face buried into his shoulder, occasionally letting out small sounds of anguish. Yuuri’s own arms looped around Yuri’s head, and slowly, Yuuri realized that the dynamic of the room had changed.

At some point, Viktor’s body had been moved. Phichit was sitting on the other bed, watching over the two of them on the floor and Yakov was sitting next to him, his head in his hands. Everyone else had left them alone. Yuuri felt a little guilty that he hadn’t even taken the time to see who had come in.

“Yura,” Yuuri whispered out again, trying to control the shake in his voice. “Vitya asked me to tell you how proud of you he was.”

Yuri cried out, the first unrestrained sound he had made and pressed his face harder into Yuuri’s shoulder. “I’ll never forgive him for leaving us,” he whispered, his voice muffled.

Yuuri hushed him and gently stroked his hair. “He wouldn’t have left us if he could help it,” Yuuri spoke, even as he felt a curious calm, numbness sweep over him.

Yuri’s arms tightened around Yuuri more. “You won’t leave me, too, will you, otousan? Everyone leaves me,” Yuri’s voice sounded impossibly small, like he wasn’t a strong man of twenty who had just broken world records in figure skating. Everyone left him. His parents, his grandpa and now Viktor.

“I won’t leave you, Yura,” Yuuri returned the squeeze. “We have each other, and you have Otabek.”

Yuri nodded. “Where is Beka?”

Yuuri shot a glance to Phichit who stood quickly and stepped out into the hall for a minute before returning with the other skater. “Yura,” Otabek called softly, running his hand down Yuri’s back.

Yuri lolled his body to the side, leaning into Otabek’s reassuring presence. Carefully, Yuuri disentangled himself from Yuri and walked over to Phichit. “Where…” he started, but he couldn’t finish the sentence.

“The paramedics took him,” Phichit’s eyes were filled with sadness. “Chris went with them.”

Yuuri nodded. “Phichit, I need a drink.”

“Alone, with me or with everyone?” Phichit asked without hesitation.

“Everyone,” Yuuri muttered.

Phichit nodded and pulled out his phone. They had a group text the group had set up for guarding Yuuri and Viktor from the press, so he opened that and sent out the message that they were all going to a bar. Everyone immediately agreed to go.

 

``~`**`~``

 

Going home was difficult. It was like Viktor was whispering to Yuuri from every corner of the house, there but just out of reach. If not for the persistent numbness in his mind, Yuuri was sure that he would have broken down. It was only worse when Makkachin bounded up to greet them, only to look curiously behind the small group, looking for Viktor. She let out a soft whine when he didn’t appear.

Yuuri sunk to his knees and wrapped his fingers into her soft fur. “He’s not coming, Makka,” he said softly. “Viktor isn’t coming home anymore.”

Makkachin nuzzled him and gave a soft lick to his cheek, even as she whined again, almost as if she understood.

Phichit reached out and gently touched Yuuri’s back. “We’ve been sharing the spare. That’s fine to continue, right?”

Yuuri nodded, reluctantly pulling back from Makkachin. “That’s fine. Not, Yura’s room, right? He said he was coming home.”

“No, the third room,” Phichit smiled, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes like it used to.

“Perfect,” Yuuri replied and walked into the kitchen. He ran his fingers over the counter like he wasn’t in his own home before standing on his tiptoes and opening the cupboard over the refrigerator. “Aha,” he muttered, pulling out a bottle of vodka.

“Yuuri?” Phichit looked at him in confusion and Chris stepped forward.

“Are you sure about that, mon cher?” he asked carefully.

The look on Yuuri’s face shut both of his friends up quickly. He opened the bottle and downed a swig without bothering to find a glass. They both watched and he grimaced a little bit at the harsh taste.

“Vitya thought I didn’t know he had this stashed up there,” Yuuri muttered, taking another swig.

“Yuuri...” Phichit bit his lip, looking like he wanted to say more,but instead he went around Yuuri and retrieved three glasses and took the bottle from Yuuri’s hands, pouring them each a shot.

They drank until Yuuri couldn’t remember which way was up, let alone anything else and the bottle of vodka was gone. Chris and Phichit drank slowly, keeping their heads, but Yuuri drank like his life depended on it.

“Vitya,” Yuuri called into the empty house. “Vitya, where are you? Come dance with me and call me sweet things.”

“Yuuri,” Chris stood and tried to get Yuuri’s attention, but the brunette wasn’t having it.

“Why won’t he come?” Yuuri demanded.

The look on Phichit’s face could only be described as devastation. “Hey, why don’t you go to bed,” he choked out, trying to keep his voice clear of the tears that were welling in his eyes.

It was then that the front door opened and Yuuri’s face lit up. “Vitya!” he cried and started towards the entry way only to sway on his feet and almost fall.

The arms that caught him weren’t Viktor’s like his alcohol addled mind thought they should be. “Otousan, I’m home,” Yuri said softly, looking down at him with sad eyes.

“Oh, Yura, where’s dad?” Yuuri grinned sloppily at Yuri.

Yuri’s bottom lip quivered before he turned a harsh glare to Chris and Phichit. “Why did you let him drink so much? Can I not trust you two to do anything?” he demanded.

Phichit lost the battle he had been waging and burst into tears, fleeing further into the house where he and Chris were staying. Chris swallowed hard and looked down at Yuuri who might as well be made of jello, only supported by Yuri.

“How were we supposed to stop him?” Chris muttered.

“Any way necessary,” Yuri grated out. “Come on, otousan, let’s get you to bed.”

“No, I want to wait up for Vitya,” Yuuri whined like a petulant child.

Yuri swallowed hard and hoisted Yuuri to his feet. “Dad wouldn’t want to come home and find you sleep deprived. You know that. He wants you to take care of yourself.”

Yuuri nodded and swayed in place. “Okay, I’ll go to bed.”

“Good,” Yuri’s smile was tight.

“Yura, carry me, I don’t think I can walk,” Yuuri said after a second of not moving.

“I’ve got you, otousan,” Yuri said gently and scooped the older man into his arms carefully.

After Yuuri was tucked in, Yuri returned to the kitchen and sat down at the counter, resting his elbows on the granite, burying his face into his palms. Chris watched him from a few stools down.

After a few moments Yuri sighed into his hands. “I’m sorry I snapped at you.”

Chris stood and walked over, resting a gentle hand on Yuri’s back. “Don’t apologize. As much as Yuuri is dealing with the death of his husband, you are dealing with the death of your father. Phichit is more sensitive than most, but this is why we are here. We are here to support you both, so lean on us. We are your family, too.”

Yuri dropped his hands and turned to Chris. “It hurts.”

“I know, mon cher,” Chris said gently and pulled Yuri into a hug. “I’d be surprised if it didn’t.”

“I have to be strong for otousan. He needs me,” Yuri whispered into Chris’s embrace. “But I want to scream and cry, too.”

“Yuuri won’t blame you for crying,” Chris replied. “You’re only human, like the rest of us.”

Yuri was silent for a few minutes before he spoke again. “I’m terrible.”

“You are not,” Chris gently smacked Yuri’s back.

“I am,” Yuri snorted. “I’m angry, Chris. I’m angry at Dad leaving us.”

Chris paused. “That’s not an unexpected reaction, you know. I’m sure there are parts of Yuuri that are angry, too.”

Yuri sighed and pulled out of the hug. “I just can’t stop thinking that Dad knew how many people have left me, how could he let himself be one of them and I know that’s not fair. This wasn’t his choice, but I can’t help it.”

Chris sat down on the stool next to Yuri. “You’ve not been dealt a good hand in life, Yuri, but you are not alone. There are quite a few people who love you, and even though Viktor is gone now, his memory will keep us all linked together. Officially, you and Yuuri are family, but we are all in this together. We are all related by love.”

Yuri nodded. “I know that. I just don’t know what to do with this anger.”

Chris tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Why not skate it out?”

Yuri bit his lip. “I don’t want to leave otousan alone.”

“He won’t be alone. Phichit and I will be here, and I promise we will do a better job at keeping him sober. No matter what, you still have a life you must continue. You are still competing,” Chris pointed out.

“I know,” Yuri leaned against the counter again and reached out for one of the abandoned glasses, poured himself a shot and drank it down quickly.

Chris frowned. “I am yelling at you in place of Yuuri right now. You shouldn’t be drowning your sorrows in alcohol.”

Yuri snorted and placed the glass back down. “Relax, I’m Russian.”

Chris rolled his eyes. “Your father used to tell me the same thing, but I bet your otousan would still reprimand you.”

Yuri laughed slightly. “He would. You should have seen the fights they would get into whenever otousan caught dad slipping me drinks before I turned 18.”

Chris smiled. “Tell me all about it.”

Yuri let a small smile fall to his lips and he parroted some very convincing impressions of Yuuri and Viktor. “‘Yura, you put that drink down, Vitya, you know he’s too young. Stop giving him alcohol!’ ‘But, solnyshko, we are Russian!!’ ‘I don’t care if you’re from Mars, no alcohol for the minor .’”

Chris laughed. “That sounds just like them.”

“I’ve spent enough time around them to get pretty good at impersonations,” Yuri replied. “Dad used to hate it when I would do them back at him when I didn’t want to do what he said.”

“I could imagine just how he would react. Viktor always had a flair for the dramatics,” Chris poured himself another drink.

Yuri hummed in response and then stood. “I need to go to bed. Get rid of the rest of the bottle, would you? Otousan doesn’t need any more alcohol.”

Chris nodded and watched Yuri retreat towards his bedroom. He frowned and took a quick swig from his glass. From what he could tell, neither of the Yu(u)ris were handling this well. Yuuri seemed prepared to drink himself into a stupor until he forgot that Vitkor was gone and Yuri appeared ready to pretend that he didn’t have the negative emotions.

He slowly poured the remaining vodka down the sink. He and Phichit might need a bit of help. His frown deepened. No, he needed help. Phichit seemed to be struggling to deal with the raw emotions already. The usually bright-as-the-sun man didn’t appear to have to ability to deal with just how depressed Yuuri was. It was time to call in the reinforcements.

 

``~`**`~``

 

“I need help,” Chris spoke quietly into the phone. He was alone in the living room, the early morning light streaming into the room, the events of the night before playing in his mind. “Phich can’t handle it, Yuuri is… Not doing well, Yurio is trying to pretend he’s not hurting, I can’t hold them all up on my own.”

There was silence on the other end of the line for a few moments before Minami’s voice crackled through. “Team Russia can’t help?”

“I’m sure they can, but I was thinking that maybe Yuuri’s family would help him the most. I’m calling you because I was relying on Phichit to be Yuuri’s light and now that I’m seeing he is struggling, you’re the closest to the sunshine boy.”

Minami laughed softly. “Thanks for that. I want to help, but... Do you think I’ll be able to use the rink in Russia? I’m still competing.”

“I don’t think anyone will deny you access, not if you’re here for Yuuri,” Chris ran his hand down his face.

“Alright, I’ll see what I can do,” Minami replied. “I’ll text you when I have a more concrete answer. As it stands now, at least I’ll be there as soon as possible.”

As the call ended, Chris heard a creek behind him. He turned around and smiled. “Yuuri.”

Yuuri blinked at him sleepily. “How much did I drink? My head is killing me…”

“You drank more than I’d have recommended,” Chris replied. “How are you feeling otherwise.”

Yuuri made his way to the kitchen and filled a glass with water before coming to sit across from Chris. “I’m fine.”

“Forgive me for not believing you, mon cher,” Chris said gently.

Yuuri scowled for a moment before his face cleared to a blank expression. “Who were you on the phone with?”

“Minami,” Chris responded honestly.

“Ah, Japan,” Yuuri frowned. “I have to contact my parents… They don’t know that Vitya is gone yet.”

“You should call them then,” Chris replied.

Yuuri looked away. “I don’t want to face them yet.”

“You are going to have them come to the funeral, aren’t you?” Chris asked.

“I… Of course,” Yuuri stood slowly. “I need a shower.”

As Yuuri retreated, Chris frowned. He knew that this was still raw for everyone involved, especially Yuuri, but the Japanese man seemed almost too calm, even in his avoidance. Chris knew that Yuuri was just hiding from what would be his parent’s reactions to the news, even if they most likely already knew by now, with the news covering the death of Russia’s living legend and all of the friends that had gathered to Yuuri’s side. However, ever since the hotel room, he hadn’t seem Yuuri cry. In fact, the only emotion he’d seen that wasn’t alcohol derived was the flash of anger moments ago. Yuuri wasn’t coping, he was denying and Chris couldn’t wait for help to arrive.

 

``~`**`~``

 

Yuuri knew that Chris was trying to help. He knew that, but he couldn’t stop the anger rising inside. It seemed to be the only emotion that would break through the pervasive numbness that coursed through his veins, through his very being. He didn’t want to stop it even though he knew whoever it was directed at was undeserving. It was relieving to feel something , even if that feeling was anger like he never had before.

And yet, the numbness was welcomed in a way. As long as he was numb, the wound left by Viktor’s death stayed closed. It stayed away from the forefront of his mind and he was able to do what he needed to.

As Yuuri stepped into the shower, he sighed. It was too early in the morning to drink, but he craved the taste of alcohol on his tongue, the burn of liquor sliding down his throat, the feeling of the world growing dim as he forgot his surroundings, his circumstance. Somewhere, in the back of his mind he registered that was bad. He shouldn’t allow himself to follow the call of relief induced by alcohol, but, his brain replied, who was there to care? Viktor was gone and there was no one left to look at him in disappointment if Yuuri drowned himself in liquor. Yuuri was alone again. Somehow the feeling was worse than when he had returned to Hatsetsu after five years, but it was also dulled by that numbness like everything else.

The inside of Yuuri’s head was a confusing place for him right now. He wasn’t entirely sure which way was up in his own mind. What emotions he was actually feeling, what was a bad thought, what was a good idea. He didn’t know anymore. All he could really identify was that one single sensation. Alone. You’re alone. All alone. Alone. Viktor left you alone. Alone again. ALONE.

Yuuri gritted his teeth and finished his shower. Alone. He dried himself off as he got dressed. All by yourself . He left the bedroom. Viktor abandoned you. Yuuri started making breakfast. If he had loved you, he wouldn’t have left you all alone. He slammed a pan down on the stove a little harder than intended. Maybe you should join him. “He doesn’t deserve my company,” Yuuri growled out.

“Yuuri?”

Yuuri whipped around and glared at Phichit who took a visible step back at the unbridled rage on his face. It took him a second to relax, to reign in the anger, to let his face relax. He took a deep breath and turned back to the stove. “Good morning, Phich. Do you want some breakfast?”

Phichit was quiet for a moment before he responded. “Sure, Yuuri. That sounds great.”

“Alright. Can you go see if Chris and Yura want some, too?” Yuuri replied, forcing false cheerfulness into his voice. Look how much like Viktor I am.

“Alright,” Phichit said quietly.

A few minutes later, Yuuri registered someone behind him. “Otousan.”

“Good morning, Yura,” Yuuri replied, focusing on the breakfast he was preparing.

“Look at me, please?” Yuri asked, his voice just slightly strained.

Yuuri slowly turned around, the smile plastered to his face tasting fowl and fake. “What is it?”

Yuri studied him for a few moments before he stepped forward and hugged him tightly. “It’s not like you to put on one of Dad’s media smiles.”

Yuuri froze for a moment, his arms limp at his sides. “I’m fine, Yura,” he said quietly.

“You’re not fine, I’m not fine, no one is fine. We’re all hurting, some more than others,” Yuri replied. “We’ve lost something precious, but otousan,” Yuri pulled back, his hands on either of Yuuri’s shoulders. “You’re not alone.”

Yuuri quietly stepped backwards, pulling himself from Yuri’s grip, turning back to the stove. “I am fine, Yura. Set the table for me, would you?”

“Otousan…” Yuri started again, but Yuuri cut him off.

“I said I’M FINE,” the anger in his voice stopped anything that Yuri would have said.

 

Alone. Alone. Alone. Alone.

 

Alone.

 

ALONE.

 

ALONE.

 

``~`**`~``

 

It was the next day that the doorbell rang. There was silence inside for a few moments, all of the occupants had already figured out the necessity to walk on eggshells in Yuuri’s presence. He’d drunk himself into a stupor again the night before, the other Chris, Phichit and Yuri unable to stop him, not even aware of where he was getting the alcohol from. It wasn’t until Yuuri called from the kitchen for someone to get the door that anyone moved.

Phichit answered the door only to be greeted by the bright smile of Kenjiro Minami. “Hiya, Phichit!”

Phichit blinked in surprise. “What are you doing here, Minami?”

“We’re the reinforcements!” Minami said joyfully. Phichit could see a little bit of sadness in the young skater’s eyes, but he still grinned as he always did.

“We?” Phichit glanced over Minami’s shoulder and his eyes widened as he observed what might as well have been a bus load of people swarming in the hallway.

“I brought… Hatsetsu,” Minami laughed.

Chris appeared behind Phichit. “Minami, I have never been more happy to see you.”

“No problem, Chris. Can we come in?” Minami smiled at him.

“Yes, but there’s some things I need you all to know first. One, Yurio needs lots of love and attention,” Chris started and Minami started relaying Chris’s words back to the group behind him in rapid fire japanese. “Two, everyone has to be very careful around Yuuri. He’s angry almost constantly and he might snap at any one of you.”

After Minami was done, Hiroko stepped forward. “Where is my son?”

“This way,” Phichit said quietly, leading the group into the apartment. Fitting everyone in would be tricky. The apartment was huge, sure, but it was still an apartment and there had to be 15 people coming in.

Hiroko entered the kitchen and found Yuuri leaning against the counter, a glass halfway to his lips. It took her less than a second to understand the situation. Before she can say a word, however, a voice rang out behind her.

“Katsuki Yuuri, you put that drink down this instant. It’s two o’clock in the afternoon,” Minako’s sharp voice called.

Yuuri looked up at them and then squinted down at his glass in confusion. “I’ve obviously drunk enough to start hallucinating…” he muttered. “What’s in this anyway…”

Minako marched into the room and took the glass from Yuuri’s hand. “Don’t do this to yourself.”

Yuuri looked at her blankly. “My hallucination just took my drink. That probably should be concerning.”

“Oh, Yuu-chan,” Hiroko sighed softly. “My son, you’re hurting.”

“I’m fine, okaasan,” Yuuri said tensely. “I’ve said it enough times, I don’t need figments of my imagination questioning me, too.”

“Yuuri!” Minami appeared behind Hiroko and slowly Yuuri began to notice more Japanese people than he’d seen in one place since he moved to Russia milling around the apartment behind them.

“Oh,” Yuuri said quietly. “Look at that, I’ve lost my mind.”

Yuri walked into the kitchen looking bewildered. “Otousan, why is all of Hatsetsu in the living room?”

“You can see them, too, Yura? That’s reassuring,” Yuuri replied. He paused and then his eyes widened. “Wait, you can see them, too? I’m not hallucinating??”

Yuri’s brow crumpled in confusion. “You thought you were hallucinating and we’re just… Alright with it?”

Yuuri just blinked at him for a moment before he shrugged. “I mean, it wouldn’t be the worst thing that happened this week.”

Yuri’s mouth opened and closed like a fish. He couldn’t seem to find a response to that and before he could really do anything he was being pulled into a hug by Hiroko. “Yurio, how are you, child?”

“Ah, babushka,” Yuri said, sounding almost nervous as he accepted the hug. “I’m alright.”

“Hush, now, you’ve lost your Papa, we are here for you as much as your otousan,” Hiroko soothed him.

“What’s going on?” Yuuri asked slowly.

“Chris called me,” Minami grinned. “So I called your parents and they had a collection running to pay for them to come to Russia for the funeral, but it wasn’t enough yet, so I made a gofundme page.”

Yuuri blinked. “How is everyone else here?”

“Well, the gofundme raised so much money we just decided to buy as many extra plane tickets as we could and here we are!” Minami walked into the kitchen and hugged Yuuri tightly. “We’re here to support you, Yuuri.”

“I… I need a minute,” Yuuri muttered. He felt like his head was swimming. There was too much happening and he didn’t know about any of it. He pulled out of Minami’s hug, reached out and took his glass out of Minako’s hands and downed it quickly before walking briskly to the bedroom and shutting the door behind him. It was too much. There were so many people and he was still alone. He slid down the wall and pulled his knees to his chest.

“Vitya,” he whispered into his knees. “Vitya, I need you… Where are you? Why did you have to go?”

He wanted to cry, but no tears would come. Instead, the anger rose again. Anger at Viktor for leaving, at himself for not being able to feel anything but the rage inside him, at everyone around him for keeping on insisting he wasn’t alright, at the whole world for daring to exist when Viktor no longer did. How dare they. How dare they.

 

``~`**`~``

 

“How long as he been like that?” Minako asked quietly.

“I haven’t seen him anything but that or drunk since the hotel room,” Chris replied.

“When we found him he was just screaming and crying, clinging to Viktor’s body. They were alone when it happened... Yuuri was the only one with him when he died,” Phichit bit his lip. “That’s more than anyone should have to experience.”

“It’s my fault,” Yuri interjected.

“What, no, nothing is your fault,” Hiroko chided him from where she still hugged him.

“No, this started while I was crying. Otousan calmed down and turned to comfort me and now he’s just… I think it broke him,” Yuri finished the sentence at barely a whisper.

“Yuri, you can’t blame yourself for this. Yuuri isn’t coping in healthy ways, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t as well,” Minako said gently.

Yuri was tense for a moment and then tears began to slide down his face. He turned and hugged Hiroko closer, her petite frame almost swallowed up in his much larger one. “I miss him so much. Dad brought us all together and I miss him,” he sobbed.

Hiroko squeezed him tighter and rubbed his back. “I know, child.”

“Otousan is falling apart and I can’t help him and I don’t blame him either and I just want my family back together,” Yuri gasped out in shuddering breaths.

“It’s going to take time, but things become easier,” Hiroko said comfortingly. “You have a family still and as long as we remember Vicchan in our hearts, he will stay with us.”

Yuri nodded and then pulled back with a sniffle. “Sorry, I probably crushed you a little.”

Hiroko clicked her tongue and reached up to place a hand on his cheek. “Grandmas are for this, yes? This and spoiling their grandbabies.”

Yuri laughed slightly through his tears. “You don’t have to spoil me, babushka. I’m too old for that anyway.”

“Nonsense,” Hiroko chided. “You’re never too old. I only got to have you as my grandson officially when you were 17, I need to make up for lost time.”

“I think otousan needs it more than I do,” Yuri said quietly.

“You both need it,” Hiroko said firmly. “Now, I need to cook a meal for everyone. Show me around your kitchen.”

 

``~`**`~``

 

Yuuri emerged from his room sometime later to find everyone laughing and talking, crowded in the living room and kitchen. He felt a spike of anger at their happiness before the scent of food hit his nose and he managed to notice that there were even more people in his apartment than before. At quick glance he could see Georgi, Mila and Yakov in the fray.

“Yuuri!” Minami beamed at him and grabbed his hand. “Come eat!”

He found a plate of food shoved into his hands before Chris was standing in front of him. “This was one of Viktor’s final wishes he communicated to me,” he said softly. “He asked me when we were alone to hold what he called an Irish wake. He said that he didn’t want to be remembered with tears. He wanted everyone who loved him to rejoice in the life he lived.”

Yuuri bit his lip. “Why didn’t he tell me?”

Chris smiled. “Probably because I’m the only one as crazy as he was. I suppose he was trusting my party planning.”

Yuuri snorted. “I…” he started, but couldn’t find the words.

“Just listen to people’s stories, eat the food your mother made, you don’t have to participate. No one will blame you,” Chris gently took hold of Yuuri’s arm and lead him to a spot on the couch recently vacated.

As Yuuri listened to friends and family recount stories of Viktor’s antics, the anger boiled. How dare they. How dare they sit here and laugh while I’m alone. Makkachin wandered over to Yuuri and put her big soft head in his lap with a soft whine that his ears immediately tuned to. He slowly ran his fingers through her curls, taking comfort in her presence. Out of everyone, Makka probably understood him the best. After all, while she had become theirs she had been Viktor’s constant companion before Yuuri was in their lives. Slowly, he felt the anger melt away.

He quietly set the plate of nearly untouched food to the side and slid off the couch onto his knees, wrapping his arms around her. Makkachin let out a series of small whines and huffed into his hair, licking him wherever she could reach. Yuuri felt the first real smile he’d had since Viktor’s death crack his face. It almost felt unnatural, but he ran his hands up and down her soft fur. She understood. She knew how Yuuri felt. Even if he couldn’t count on anyone else, he could rely on Makka.

“Thank you, sweet girl,” he muttered into her fur. She boofed softly back at him. After a moment he reclaimed his spot on the couch, and if anyone questioned why he had been on the floor, hugging the dog, they didn’t say anything. The party continued to swirl around him, but Makkachin stayed by his side, sensing his need for her close by and the rage didn’t rise again for the rest of the night.