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Fly Close to Me

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If you had asked Katsuki Yuuri a year ago if he'd ever find himself sharing the same sky as Victor Nikiforov, he'd have said "NO!" with emphatic hand waves, then probably would have buried himself under the covers in his room. 

After all, he was a dime-a-dozen Quidditch player and had only made Chaser on the Mahoutokoro team by accident - a stray bludger had taken out the first-string flyer and he'd subbed in at just the right time to score a few winning points before their opponent caught the snitch.  He'd managed to hold his place on the team for the next four years due to sheer determination and constant practice, and had been made captain because he was one of the oldest players left on the team (although technically Yuuko and Nishigori were older by nearly a year even if they were in the same School Year).  And it was only because the rest of his team were exceptional - especially little Minami Kenjirou, their Seeker - that they'd made the semi-finals of the inter-school Quidditch championship. 

And if it hadn't been for the Hogwarts stairs trying to kill him, it was doubtful that Victor Nikiforov would have even known who he was.

The Mahoutoko team had only been at Hogwarts, the host for this year's championship events, for two days and Yuuri was still trying to figure his way around the school.  So when the step that had been firm under his foot one moment suddenly disappeared without warning, he was caught completely unaware.  (And who had thought that having moving staircases, trick steps, and ghosts was a good idea for a school?  Were they seriously trying to kill their students?)  Yuuri had flailed for something to grab so that he wouldn't plunge three stories when a firm hand had caught his, pulling him back up to safety. 

"Are you okay?"

Yuuri looked up and froze at the familiar face and voice.  "I - uh - yeah - "

"Good."  Victor Nikiforov, Keeper for Koldovstoretz and winner of Witch Weekly's "Most Heart-shaped Smile Award" four years running, was smiling down at him.  He looked even more beautiful close up than he did on the posters on his wall back home.  "Chris fell nearly two floors yesterday - thank Merlin for cushioning charms."

"Stupid stairs, huh?"  Yuuri croaked out then could have hit himself because talk about stupid.  And was "Chris" Christophe Giacometti, Beauxbaton's Keeper?  There were rumors in the Quidditch magazines that the two Keeper's knew each other.

Victor didn't seem to think it was stupid because he laughed freely, his eyes sparkling.  "What were the Hogwarts founders thinking, da?"

"Yeah."  Victor didn't seem to realize that he was still holding Yuuri's hand and Yuuri certainly wasn't going to bring it to his attention - he was too busy ordering his palm not to sweat. 

Unfortunately, Victor seemed to realize that himself and he let go of Yuuri's hand, slowly.  "You're Yuuri Katsuki, Chaser for Mahoutokoro, da?  You are heading to the pitch?" he asked, as if noticing the broom in Yuuri's other hand for the first time. 

Yuuri nodded, aware that that he was blushing a little.  "I, um, thought that I should get accustomed to it?  Ours is very different..."

"Tell me about it!" Victor said with a laugh.  "My first year on the team, the Championships were at Mahoutokoro - and I was defending rings right above the ocean!"

And still they'd won, thanks to Victor's Keeper skills.  Yuuri had been sitting in the stands, watching with awe and wonder, as Victor flew effortless through the sky, his long silver braid streaming behind him.  It was what had made Yuuri try out for the team the next year, after practicing with Yuuko all summer.

"Before you go - a commemorative photo?" Victor asked, pulling out a magiscroll, one of the new Wizard devices modeled on a Muggle cell phone. "The best Keeper and best Chaser together!  Smile!" 

He didn't wait for an answer, throwing an arm around Yuuri's shoulder and holding up the magiscroll to snap their picture.  Yuuri hoped that he didn't have too much of a deer-in-headlights look on his face, although past experience was against him.  It must have turned out well because Victor beamed at the result.

"Perfect!  I will send you a copy," he added, thrusting his device into Yuuri's hands for him to input his contact information.  Feeling a bit surreal, Yuuri typed in his name and information, then handed it back to Victor.  Victor smiled widely and tapped at the device for a moment.  "There!"

"Thanks," Yuuri said, then added awkwardly, "um, I left my 'scroll in my room but I'll check it later?"

Victor's smile faded a little, then returned as he said, "Enjoy your practice."

Yuuri nodded in reply and hurried down the stairs, taking care not to step on any more problem spots.  Once out on the pitch, thankfully deserted at this time of night, he flew in circles until the flush in his cheeks cooled.

It wasn't until he was climbing back up the stairs that he wondered why Victor had been on the staircase to Ravenclaw tower.  The Koldovstoretz team was lodged with Slytherin in the dungeons....