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Behind Your Bruises

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“Please… Don’t!” a figure begs desperately as he pushes himself back against the wall, sliding down to make himself as small as possible. He shakes in terror as he watches the man he calls his “lover” stalk closer with clenched fists, “Demyan, Please!”

“Oh my little slave, you know I can’t do that… Not when you break the rules like this.” Demyan steps closer, ignoring the sobs of fear and the screams of protest as he grabs the smaller figure’s wrist in a vice grip, pulling him up violently and dragging him to their shared bedroom.
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Yuuri lets his tears fall freely as he stares at the bruises in the bathroom mirror. They’re everywhere… Hickies dotting his chest, stripes of spotted purple across his butt and all the way up his back, as if he’d been whipped with a belt…

As many as there are, this wasn’t the first time Yuuri has woken up to bruises across his skin. Ones he doesn’t remember getting. These fresh bruises only added to the mottled rainbow of fading ones already marked across his body.

He doesn’t feel them. He can’t feel any of them no matter how much he wishes he could. They aren’t his wounds to feel. Only to see.

That’s how the world is. Everyone is tied by the invisible string of fate to their other half, their soulmate. This was discovered long ago by noticing one shared trait between matched halves… Soulmates share injuries. What happens to one, painlessly appears on the other.

Yuuri doesn’t get bruises of his own often, the occasional misstep or hard fall on the ice being the only bruises he’d gotten in years. His soulmate, however, isn’t so lucky…

It started slowly… marks appearing that could be written off as clumsy accidents, ones that Yuuri had once thought were adorable as he imagined a less than graceful soulmate. Then it got worse. Two year ago, Yuuri had woken up to one eye nearly swollen shut with bruising. Since then, it has become a pattern… Many bruises showing up all at once, a period of peace long enough for them to yellow with fading, and then it would repeat.

This time it’s worse, and it sends a wave of anger, sorrow, and the desperate instinct to protect through his veins, much stronger than any time before this. Through his tears, he glares at his body in the mirror. Striped around his neck is another bruise, in the clear, distinctive shape of a handprint.

He grips the edge of the bathroom counter so tightly, his knuckles turn white. He is so focused he doesn’t hear the door squeak open as his roommate walks in.

“Hey, Yuuri, we need to get going soon or Celestino is goin-,” Phichit gasps, his hands coming up to cover his mouth as he looks at Yuuri, who turns to him on the verge of tears.

“Phichit… They’re suffering,” He chokes out, “They’re in trouble and there isn’t anything I can do…” he collapses to his knees, fully breaking down into sobs.

Phichit is on the floor in a split second, gathering Yuuri into his arms and holding him tightly as the older skater shakes, screams, and sobs in his arms.

“I don’t know what to do! This can’t keep happening!” Yuuri clutches Phichit’s shirt desperately, his tears soaking the soft fabric, “I’m going to lose them!”

What could he do? Yuuri has never met his soulmate, he doesn’t even know the first thing about them! How do you help someone who could be anyone and anywhere in the world?

Chapter Text

Yuuri wipes the sweat of his brow, taking a long swig of his water as he leans over the wall of the rink. Celestino is lecturing him, probably about his refusal of doing any jumps today, but Yuuri doesn’t hear him, lost in the concern and trying to figure out some way, any way to help his soulmate.

 

I need to figure out who they are. Their name, where they live, anything! Once I know that, I’ll be closer to being able to help them… How do I do that…. Come on think!

 

“Yuuri! Are you even listening to me?!” Celestino yells, his arms raised in frustration.

 

Yuuri shakes his head to focus, giving a wide eyes look to his coach that obviously reads he didn’t hear anything he said, even as he responds, “Y-yes coach!” He looks down at his water and notices the cover up on his wrists is fading, melting off with sweat, “ I think I’m going to call it a day… I’m not in my right mind today.” He skates and steps off the ice before Celestino can get a single word out, rushing to the locker room and hearing the steps of guarded blades behind him, Phichit.

 

“Are you alright?” His roommate calls after him gently once they are enclosed in the quiet tiled room.

 

“I’m fine. Just have a lot on my mind… There has to be something I can do…” Yuuri speaks back quietly, searching in his bag for the small bottle of makeup that Phichit had taught him to use years ago when the bruising became too violent to pass off. He dabs the cream on, touching up the coverage on his wrists and double checking his neck in a nearby mirror.

 

Phichit sits on the bench as he watches his best friend, “ I’m not sure there is anything you can do at the moment. You haven’t even met them before…”

 

“I know that! But there has to be something! I have this connection with them, I have to help in some way!” Yuuri throws himself down on the bench, quickly untying his laces and throwing on his shoes and grabbing his bag, “I’ll see you at home. I need some time to work through things.”

 

“Okay,” Phichit hesitantly speaks, looking at his roommate with deep concern, “If you’re sure.”

 

Yuuri nods, “I’m sure. See you later,” He turns and starts to walk out.

 

Phichit can only watch. Oh Yuuri… I can’t imagine what you are going through… If only there was a way to get a message out to them…

 

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Yuuri opens the door to his shared apartment, setting his bag down with a quiet clatter as he take his jacket off to hang by the door. A way to communicate…. He walks gently into the living room. He grabs his laptop and pulls up his instagram feed, immediately being bombarded with notifications.

 

Viktor Nikiforov Pulls Out of Russian Nationals

 

Nikiforov Retirement Looming?

 

Nikiforov Seeking Medical Care in Home!

 

What?! What is going on? Is he hurt?!  He clicks a link, following it to the article about his idol.

 

Yakov Feltsman, coach of Russia’s Hero, Viktor Nikiforov, has called an emergency press conference to discuss the rumors and allegations regarding his student’s career and state of health.

 

Earlier today, medical personnel were seen entering the Nikiforov residence, answering a frantic call from his lover, Demyan Voznesensky. His injuries have remained unspoken with the public, and Nikiforov has not left his house.

 

Yakov Feltsman called an emergency press conference after many fans turned to social media, sharing their theories about what has befallen our National Hero.

 

One of the press, a reporter from our very own St. Petersburg Times, inquired about Nikiforov’s career, emphasizing on whether or not he would be participating in Russian Nationals this upcoming weekend.

 

“Viktor has received injuries, personal injuries that he will recover from, but the nature of those injuries is unknown, even to me. He has informed me that he will not be competing in Nationals, but is planning on being back on the ice in time for the Worlds Championship. As of right now that is all we know. We will give more information as it becomes available to us.”

 

Later on another reporter asked about the rumors regarding the retirement of the 27 year old figure skater, to which Mr. Feltsman responded that he had “No comment” and “That is up for Viktor to decide in his own time.”

 

He ended the interview there, walking back into the Sports Champions Club, in which the Russian figure skating team practice would be taking place shortly after.

 

This interview has left our readers and followers with resolutions, but with many questions as well. While we know that Viktor Nikiforov will be back on the ice soon, what exactly happened to take him in the first place? Even when he comes back, how long will Nikiforov stay on the team before retiring from competition for good? Is this event the start of the end for Nikiforov?

This is Reporter Anzhelika Medvedeva, reporting to you from St. Petersburg Times, signing off.

 

Yuuri stares at the screen, reading the words over and over. Viktor is injured? What happened?!

 

Suddenly he feels a tingling sensation on the bottom of his foot, the tell tale sign of injury to his soulmate. The first he’s felt while he is awake in a while, usually not being able to feel the almost pins and needles feeling in his sleep.

 

Their foot? Why would someone hurt the bottom of their foot? That’s such a weird place. He hesitantly pulls his sock off, scared to look at the injury for fear of seeing more cruel brutality. What he doesn’t expect to see is scratches. Gentle enough to leave marks, but strong enough to appear through the bond.

 

The scratches send a sense of relief through him, followed by the heavy sense of dread in his stomach.

 

Help Me.

Chapter Text

Help me.

 

It was a short message. Written large enough to be seen, but small enough to leave space for a reply.

 

Silver hair falls into aquamarine eyes, quivering as much as the man it’s attached to as he waits in desperate fear for a reply, a word, anything! Please answer me. Please Please…. Help me whoever you are!

 

Viktor sits in tense silence, staring for a reply and listening for any indication of Demyan’s return.

 

Lord know what he’ll do if he catches me using my soulmate bond to get help… He shivers at the thought of suffering through another round of beatings. The marks across his skin still ache from last night, pulsing pain over every part of his body. He only barely recognizes the tingling sensation of a new scratched message on his foot pulling him from his thoughts.

How?

 

Viktor looks at the message, That’s… a really good question… Demyan is the Police Chief's son…He’s in the force himself! Even if we go to the police, they’ll cover it up and take Demyan’s side...Then he’d find out it was me who turned him in…

 

Before Viktor can even think of his response, another messages tingles across the bond.

 

Name?

 

That’s easier!

 

Viktor scratches along the ball of his foot, carving his name with scratches as gently as he can get away with. Viktor. U?

 

Letter by letter, Viktor can’t help but smile as his soulmate’s name appears.

 

Yuuri

 

Yuuri…Yuuri! His name… I know his name now! Viktor’s heart races in his chest, happiness sparking in him regardless of the extreme pain of ths marks across his skin. He watches as Yuuri scratches another message across the bond, moving to the other foot as they run out of room on the first.

 

Police?

 

Viktor shakes his head, even as he presses the broken tip of the pencil he found to his skin for another message. Can’t he is 1. He looks at the message, using shortened text-like lingo to save space, God I hope you understand what I’m saying.

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Yuuri’s hands are shaking with every scratch he puts into his skin. I’m talking to him! He looks at the last message Viktor sent

 

Can’t he is 1.

 

His abuser is a cop? Shit… Okay um… think… think! He gasps slightly as he comes up with a new idea. Phone #? He waits with a small sliver of hope until he gets a new message, his heart falling as he reads.

 

Monitored.

 

His phone is monitored? He has almost no way to ask for help then! Maybe I should give him my number… If he ever gets the chance to use someone else’s phone in secret, he’d be able to use it! He’s already scratching out the numbers before he even finishes his thoughts.

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A phone number appears on Viktor’s heel and he stares at it, committing each digit to memory. He moves to reply, but a loud crash echos from the front door of the apartment, signaling Demyan’s return and from the sounds of it, he’s severely drunk. Viktor swallows, hiding the pencil under the mattress on his side of the bed. He takes a deep breath and stands to go meet Demyan in the living room...as usual.

 

“There you are, my precious little slave,” Demyan slurs, his pale skin flushed pink with intoxication. His gray eyes are glazed over as they struggle to focus on the silver of Viktor’s hair as he clumsily cards through the long locks, tangling it as he does. His short black hair tickles Viktor’s skin as Demyan leans close, whispering loudly in Viktor’s ear, his hand already moving down to cup Viktor’s soft length through his sweats. “Tonight, you’re all mine.”

 

Viktor feels sick to his stomach, but he easily complies against his will. It’ll be worse if he makes the drunken man angry.

Chapter Text

Yuuri sits in anxious silence for what feels like hours, but had only been about 20 minutes, waiting for any response from Viktor. One that never comes. He waits until the apartment door creaks open, signalling Phichit’s return from practice.

 

“Yuuri! I’m home!” He calls from the front door, dropping his skate bag with a soft clatter.

 

Yuuri isn’t paying attention, doesn’t even register that Phichit is speaking until the man flops next to the couch and pokes his cheek, pulling him out of his thoughts.

 

“Huh? Oh Phichit! Hi,” Yuuri startles back to attention, his body jumping as he realizes his roommate is right next to him, staring at him with concern. His eyes drop back to his feet, and Phichit’s gaze follows.

 

“Are you feeling alright, Yuuri?” Phichit’s hand comes up and intertwines into Yuuri’s making the man drop the chopstick in his grasp to the floor.

 

Yuuri’s eyes never leave his feet as he opens his mouth to speak, “He… We were talking… Phichit he asked me for help…”

 

“He what? Wait… Were you two… Messaging with the bond?” It’s only just now that Phichit notices the fading red lines covering the bottom of Yuuri’s feet, some of the letters obviously not written by his roommate.

 

The older roommate nods solemnly. “Phichit… He is really in danger… He doesn’t have a way out! No phone, He can’t go to the police. Nothing!” Yuuri turns to Phichit with wide eyes desperate to find someway to help his soulmate, tears pricking in his eyes.

 

“Oh Yuuri… Take a breath, We’'ll think of something… I promise you.” Phichit pulls Yuuri into a tight hug, squeezing his roommate tightly. “Does he have a name?”

 

Yuuri nods where he is hiding in Phichit’s neck, “Viktor… His name is Viktor.”

 

“Viktor?” Phichit immediately pulls back, “Yuuri… Could it be that Viktor? Viktor Nikiforov?”

 

Yuuri immediately shakes his head, “There’s no way! I’m sure it’s just a coincidence… There are a ton of men named Viktor… It’s probably someone else…” His cheeks flush as he thinks of a crazy world where the Viktor Nikiforov is his soulmate. No there’s no way… I’m sure his soulmate is way better than me… Someone who stands equally to him… Someone he deserves….

 

“But Yuuri… Maybe it is… He did just pull out from Russian Nationals for severe injuries… The timing to me just seems really weird… You got all of those marks at the same time…”

 

Phichit has a point… maybe he is… No. There’s absolutely no way… As much as i wish he was, he can’t be. I’m sure he’s already found his soulmate… Didn’t they say he had a lover on the article? Yuuri shakes his head, “No.. He’s not… I’m sure of it.” Even as he tries to force a smile, his voice is riddled with disappointment.

 

As much as Phichit believes Yuuri is wrong, he knows he won’t be able to change his mind in the moment. I’ll drop it for now. But the timing is too perfect… Viktor Nikiforov. I’m sure it’s him! “Okay. Okay. So what all did you guys talk about? Maybe we can figure out a plan from there.

 

Phichit listens in silence, paying full attention as Yuuri describes everything from the moment he got the first message to Phichit coming home. He describes Viktor’s situation, at least what he knows about it. How his abuser is a cop, his phone is being monitored, every single detail. Yuuri is crying by the end of it, speaking calmly as tears drip unknowingly down his cheeks.

 

Phichit nods as he takes in everything, letting it process as he thinks through. “Okay… So we know he doesn’t have the resources to ask for help outside of you for the moment, but that’s really all we know…” He places a hand to his chin in thought, “I think the best thing we can do for right now is to wait for him to reach out again… We don’t have enough information to help yet. I think we should wait for him, and in the meantime, we need to focus on practice as well, and school.”

 

As much as Yuuri wants to protest that they need to do something to help, he knows Phichit is right. We’ll help him. We just need to be patient… Okay. “You’re right… I’ll go… make dinner, and go back to practice tomorrow…” He reluctantly stands up and slowly walks to the kitchen, pulling out a pan to get started.

 

Days passed… Then weeks… Four continents and Europeans came and went. Yuuri had placed 4th and Yuri had placed 3rd, some of their best performances of the season! Yuuri however, couldn’t celebrate, his mind consistently flitting to thoughts of his soulmate and the worry that they still hadn’t heard from him. He watched the stream of Europeans on the laptop in front of where he was cuddling with Phichit. Viktor was next, the last one to skate the free program.

 

They watched as he confidently skated laps around the ice, warming up in the last few seconds before gliding to his coach, listening for last minute guidance before the announcement team finally called out Viktor’s name for the crowd. The music started and Viktor immediately pulled everyone’s eyes to him. Stammi Vicino. Yuuri had seen this skate numerous times, but he’d never seen it like this. Viktor skates a routine filled with loneliness and sorrow, as if he was reaching out for someone.. Someone unreachable. The routine is nearly flawless, however, when Viktor tries to exit his signature jump, he catches his toe pick on the ice and falls hard across the surface. He makes a quick recovery, however and finishes the program, leaving most people who had been watching it, including Yuuri, in tears. What Yuuri didn’t notice, however was the gentle tingling sensation of a new injury across his right hip, His attention pulled in by the routine, and the new bruise hidden among his own he had received from that morning’s practice.

Chapter Text

Phichit has become in the habit of taking care of Yuuri over the last few months. He’d make sure the man finished his school work, relaxed, went to practice on time, ate, showered, you name it. Yuuri’s been so out of it that without Phichit’s help, he’d easily forget himself, getting lost in his mind of possibilities as to why they hadn’t heard from Viktor.  With every passing day, Yuuri’s worry grew, and more than once, his mind sent himself into a fit of panic, dissociating with the world around him, hyperventilating so much that he would faint, waking up every night screaming, or even crying so hard his sobs force him to throw up, leaving him a shaking, teary mess on the bathroom floor. 

 

Once the attacks started getting worse, Phichit talked Yuuri into going back to his doctor and counselor. They upped his dose, as well as scheduled a more regular time for his counseling. Phichit made sure he attended every appointment, but as much as the panic stopped, the depression set in. Yuuri would space out, staring at nothing for hours unless someone snapped him out of it. He lost passion for his studies, video games, and even his practice time with Celestino. He still practiced of course…. It was the middle of the season, nearing the end, no sense wasting all year now. 

 

Phichit helped Yuuri through everything… even to the extent of sometimes ignoring his own needs of sleep, or emotional well being. He’d do anything for his best friend.

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“I think that’s everything,” Phichit sighed, wiping sweat off his brow with the end of his shirt. He turned to look at Yuuri who was gazing out the window, spacing out again. The Thai rubs his forehead, starting to feel burnt out from everything he’s been doing for Yuuri, before walking over and squeezing Yuuri’s shoulder, bringing him back from his trance. 

 

“Huh?” Yuuri shakes his head slightly, rubbing his eyes that had begun tearing up, “Sorry, what?” 

 

“I think that’s everything! We’ve got our costumes, skates, and everything we’ll need for a week in Sapporo!” Phichit speaks as if nothing had happened, this was the new normal after all. 

 

“Oh good,” Yuuri speaks, he tries to force the enthusiasm, but it comes out more like a grimace as he checks his watch, “just in time… Celestino should be downstairs any minute now…. I’ll help you get the bags.” He stands and between the two of them, they manage to “college kid one trip” all of the bags down in the first go, waiting outside their apartment building for a moment until Celestino’s familiar red Volvo comes to a stop before them. They both quickly pack their things in the trunk, familiar with the routine and finishing the task quickly before Yuuri slips into the backseat, Phichit having already called “shotgun”. Yuuri knew he would look suspicious to Celestino if he blanked out for no reason again, so he pops in his earbuds, flipping through his phone music until the soft notes of Sammi Vicino spring to life in his ears, the lyrics and notes blending with every melancholy beat of his heart...  

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By the time they arrive at the airport, Yuuri’s cheeks have tear tracks on them that he hurriedly scrubs away before Celestino can see. The music having broke his sorrow through the brink silently in the form of salt water streams that noiselessly fell from cherrywood eyes. 

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After running a maze of security and crowds, Phichit, Yuuri, and Celestino finally throw themselves into their seats with a unison sigh of relief. They were all well-known in Detroit and it usually made getting through the terminal extremely difficult, much like today. The many fans who spotted them had nearly caused them their flight, forcing them to be the last passengers on just as the gates were closing behind them. 

 

“I thought we’d never make it!” Phichit chuckles, shoving both his and Yuuri’s bags under the seats. 

 

Yuuri can’t help but smile as well, “Not our fault the Chulanont Brigade showed up.”

 

“I swear… Sometimes my fans are worse than Yuri Plisetsky’s!” Phichit full on laughs as they both relax into their seats, the flight attendants beginning their safety demonstration as the plane taxis to the runway. 

 

Within an hour, Yuuri’s exhaustion peaks and he falls into a calm sleep, laying his head on Phichit’s shoulder. The Thai man smiles softly, looking down with concern at the soft cheeks of his best friend before taking Yuuri’s hand in his own, interlacing their fingers, hoping to combat any nightmares that come Yuuri’s way… He needs the sleep.

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If they thought the Detroit airport was bad, it had nothing on the Airport in Sapporo. But I suppose that’s to be expected this close to the World’s Championship. Many of the skaters were arriving. Yuuri and Phichit both hid under beanies and face masks, thankful for the still chilly spring air of Japan. Celestino was leading them both quickly guiding them to the doors after they collected their luggage. Yuuri’s eyes were cast down, half way spaced out. He didn’t see the man walking in the opposite direction until their bags collided and both of their things were scattered across the floor. 

 

“Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry!” a voice all to familiar to Yuuri rang out, the stranger already on his knees trying to gather their bags.

 

“It’s my fault!” Yuuri responded as he two leaned down. He reached for a small carryon bag, one that must be the man’s. The man reached for it as well, their hands brushing against each other. Yuuri pulled his back, holding it to his chest. What was that? Like a spark…. It sent chills down my spine. 

 

The stranger gasped on contact as well, pulling his hand back in confusion. 

 

They both looked at the other, cherrywood eyes meeting icy blue. Instantly they felt a connection.

 

What can this be?

Chapter Text

Yuuri’s eyes drop to the floor as his cheeks redden under the strange gaze of The Viktor Nikiforov , his hands still pulled tightly to his chest from the initial shock of the touch. What is he doing here? There’s no way I just bumped into him! Please tell me I didn’t! Ahhh Great Job Yuuri, Great first impression!

 

Viktor flinches as he hurriedly bends to start picking up the fallen bags, “I’m so sorry! That was my fault.” Silver hair falls in front of worried blue eyes, as he cleans.

“What? No,” Yuuri shakes his head, clearing his initial shock as he scrambles to help pick up as well, “No, I wasn’t paying attention! Here, let me help…” He grabs one of the bags that was scattered, a small backpack, and hands it to Viktor, unable to meet the eye of his long beloved idol. 

 

“I’ve got it! Oh…” Viktor looks up to see the young Japanese boy handing him his bag, he reaches for it, hiding the stiffness of his arm, sore from the harsh punishment of the night before. “Um, Thanks!”

 

 Yuuri is already reaching for another bag when he speaks, “Of cour-course!” He continuously looks down, avoiding the eyes he had only seen for a moment as they clean up the rest of the bags. Yuuri bows deeply in apology once they each have their bags collected. “I’m so sorry, please forgive me.”

 

“It’s no trouble. Wait,” Viktor places a hand to his mouth in thought as he watches the man in front of him, “I think I know you.” 

 

“You… you do?!” Yuuri can’t help but stand up, nervously, finally bringing his eyes to meet Vitkor’s once more. Blue. The deepest blue I’ve ever scene…. They look lost… distant…. They look tired… He hides it well, but his eyes play a whole different tune… Why are they like that? Yuuri’s thoughts are interrupted when Viktor smiles and speaks.

 

“Katsuki, Yuuri, Da? I’ve seen you skate!” The silver haired man tilts his head down, the fringe covering his eyes and cheeks. “Very… um… Nice from what I remember?” Viktor places a hand behind his head, letting a shy chuckle rumble in his chest.

 

Wait… just then… Is he… blushing? Yuuri swears he might be seeing things, but upon closer focus, pink cheeks are hiding under nervous eyes. Yuuri tries to laugh along, but it comes out more like a gurgling choke. 

 

Viktor crosses his arms over his chest, hugging himself as he recognizes the sound, having echoed it many times before to blow off different situations, “Are you okay?” He looks genuinely concerned.

 

Yuuri clears his throat, forcing the bubble keeping him from talking away as he tries to come across with some semblance of confidence, “I’m fine!” He answers much to quickly, “I uh… Sorry! I’m just- I’m a really big fan of yours!” Yuuri bows his head, both trying to show respect and hide the cheeks that may have well blossomed to roses with the color they are. 

 

“You are?!” Viktor smiles widely, he brings his right hand up to run up and down his left arm, feeling happy, yet unworthy of such enthusiasm as Yuuri shows, “I’m… I’m not that great… Especially this season.” Not with how many hours of practice I’ve had to miss for injuries, not to mention pulling out of nationals…

 

“Are you kidding!?” Yuuri shrieks, “You’re the best skater I’ve ever seen! I mean, how many people can say they are a 4 time consecutive world champion! And your Quad Flip?! I’m so jealous!” Jeeze. If Phichit were here he’d really say I’m letting my fanboy flag fly… But I can’t help it! I’ve looked up to Viktor for so long! He needs to know how much he inspires people!

 

The silver haired man huffs a laugh, sending a few strands of hair flying, “Thank you…I think this is someone else’s season though, I’m not feeling that…. Feeling! You know?”

 

“I know all too well…” Yuuri visibly deflates thinking to all his past seasons. Each failure, each mistake, each time he felt like he should give up. Not now, Yuuri. Anxiety later. Talk now. “Ah sorry! I’m sure you get more than enough attention from your fans…” Yuuri scratches through his hair, fidgeting nervously, “I just ah- Lost myself for a second.”

 

I lost myself a very long time ago, dear Yuuri. “I do that too! I mean… sorry, I’m a bit of an idiot sometimes”

 

Yuuri takes the line for a joke and chuckles softly behind a shy, barely there, smile, “Me too.” 

He takes the liberty to stand up finally, since the bags are all sorted and holds out a hand for Viktor as well, “I uh… Since we’re both going to be at the same hotel, did you want to maybe do dinner tonight? Just to talk… Really the only two people I know here are Phichit and Chris. It’d be nice to know someone else…” What are you doing!? Forward much?! Come on!

 

“Sure!” Viktor answers with no hesitation, reaching out for Yuuri’s hand before his thoughts stop him in his tracks. Oh God… Wait… Demyan… The bruising from last night throbs under his skin, the marks not yet completely showing, but the pain there nonetheless. “Um… I might think about it… I-If that’s okay? I’m a bit tired…” 

 

Great! You’ve scared him away! Think you idiot! “Phichit will be there too! And I can invite Chris along if it’ll make it less awkward! I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to sound so pushy!”

 

Demyan will know… he always knows… He’ll find out! Hold on… If there are two others there, then it’s just a skater meeting… right? He knows he can’t keep me from those without people raising brows… Viktor finally takes Yuuri’s hand and lets him help to stand, “You don’t! Sorry! I mean yeah, I think that would be nice…”

 

The sigh that leaves Yuuri’s lips seeming takes all the tension out of his shoulders. He shakes his head and flashes a wide, excited, smile, one that Phichit says literally melts the heart of anyone who sees it, “Great! I’ll text them now and let them know!” He pulls out his phone, constructing a quick message to Chris and sending, reminding himself to talk to Phichit once he caught up. 

 

Viktor clutches his heart that pounds erratically in his chest at the sight of that cute, soft, excited smile, internally squealing. He’s so cute! A Cinnamon roll! A Precious Chicken Nugget! Oh my gosh! “ Soun-Sounds good!” He finds his cheeks getting sore from the wide heart that he can’t help but give, the first genuine smile in what feels like forever, “I guess I’ll see you, then?”  

 

“Sure! Uh… hold on!” Yuuri pulls out his phone again, opening a new contact, “Do you have a phone number so I can get in touch with you about details?”

 

The phone in Viktor’s pocket feels as though it’s burning a hole into his skin. I’m not supposed to use that phone for anyone but Demyan and Ice Skating business… Demyan tracks it, I can’t give him that one! Uh…. Oh Gosh… Yuri, forgive me. “Okay! It’s 7-953-5558-239! I can’t call, only text. And if I don’t recognize you, please be patient with me?”

 

“Perfect!” He enters the number and pockets the phone once more, leaning down and picking up the handle to one of the skate bags, the one closest to him, “I’ll text you as soon as I get a response from Chris and Phichit… Speaking of, he’s waiting for me now, I should go…” 

 

“Okay,” Viktor finds himself feeling sad that Yuuri has to leave so soon. I’ll see him later for sure! “I’ll see you tonight! It was nice to meet you, Yuuri.” Viktor’s tongue wraps around Yuuri’s name like a purr, the sounds feeling absolutely perfect in his mouth.

 

Yuuri’s eyes drift and cling to Viktor’s mouth, watching his name fall out so wonderfully, his cheeks, ears, and neck burn with how the way Viktor’s mouth affects him, “Uh… It- It was nice- To meet you too…” He starts walking away, head scrunched down to hopefully hide his red ears, “B-Bye! Viktor!

Chapter Text

Yuuri stays awkwardly silent the entire way to the hotel, knowing Phichit will flip if he talks about his encounter with Viktor. He’s nothing like I thought. He seemed almost nervous? Anxious? Not the always confident champion he is on T.V. And come to find out he likes my skating?! I really much have misheard him. I was looking too much into things… yeah! That’s gotta be it!

 

His internal monologue fights with itself all the way up the elevator ride to his and Phichit’s shared hotel room. He steps in, slamming the door behind him, catching Phichit’s immediate attention.

 

“Yuuri what’s-”

 

“You’ll never believe what happened at the airport!” Yuuri whispers harshly as he locks the door.

 

“What?” Phichit turns fully, stepping closer to find out just was has Yuuri so on edge. He hasn’t seen his roommate look so excited in months!

 

“I ran into THE Viktor Nikiforov!” Yuuri squeals, shaking Phichit by the shoulders.

 

“NO!” Phichit grabs Yuuri in return, his grip tight with a desperate need for details, “Tell me everything right now!” 

 

Yuuri pushes his glasses up his nose, “You and Celestino got really far ahead of me. When I tried to catch up, I bumped into him and knocked all out bags over!” Yuuri covers his face with his hands, shying away from what happened, “Phichit! I’m such an embarrassment! Of all the times to be a freaking klutz, it had to be in front of him!” He flops on his back on the bed, pulling a pillow over his face with a groan. 

 

Phichit was having none of that! He climbs up on the bed, straddling Yuuri’s hips and fights to pull the pillow away, “What did he say?! Was he nice about it? Did he fall in love at first sight like a cheesy rom-com?”

 

“What?! No!” Yuuri sits up, holding himself up on his hands as Phichit stays straddled over his lap, the younger man giving him puppy dog eyes for more details, “Of course not… He seemed really nice about it… He kept apologizing… like it was his fault.”

 

“Oh! He’s just like you!” Phichit’s legs tighten slightly around Yuuri’s and he takes his older rinkmate’s cheeks in his hands, pinching them cutely, “Aww!”

 

Yuuri pouts, pushing Phichit’s hands away from his face, but catching the man by the waist when he threatens to fall backwards to the floor, “Shut up!”

 

“I can see it now!” Phichit wraps his arms over Yuuri’s shoulders and around his neck. He shoots the older man a mischievous yet daydreaming smile as he sighs dreamily, “Mr. Yuuri Nikiforov!”

 

“It’s- It’s not like that!” As much as Yuuri tries to sound serious, he’s giggling at Phichit’s shenanigans as he brings up a pillow to smack Phichit to the bed beside them. 

 

The younger man squeals as he falls to the side before gasping dramatically with a hand to his chest in insult, “How dare you harass me in this way!” He pouts and crosses his arms, turning his head away with his eyes closed.

 

“You deserved that and you know it,” as well as the boop on the nose Yuuri gives him with a chuckle.

 

“Hmph…” Phichit stands holding his mock pout as he goes to unzip the garment bag hanging on the bathroom door, “Hmm… Mine’s a bit crinkled. Check your costumes early!”

 

“Good idea,” Yuuri stands as well, pulling his garment bag with both his costumes off the top of his suitcase, opening it and pulling out a sparkly blue costume, “We should probably, check out skates too. Just to make sure they didn’t get damaged on the flight.” He pulls out his free skate costume and Phichit’s eyes go wide.

 

“Did you change your free skate costume?! Ciao Ciao is going to kill you,” Phichit smiles as he singsongs the comment, not really caring either way. Yuuri’s been doing this long enough. He knows what he’s doing.

 

Yuuri waves him off dismissively, “It’s easier to move in this one… and I think it fits the story better," he takes one last once over of his costumes with a sigh before hanging them in the closet and lifting his skate bag onto the bed. He unzips it and flips the top open, gasping and stepping back in surprise until his back is against the wall, his hands cupped over his mouth. “No… Way…”

 

Phichit takes Yuuri’s freaking out as fear, “Is there a spider in there?!” His breath speeds up, “YUURI IS THERE A SPIDER?!”

 

“N-no…” Yuuri pulls his hands slowly from his mouth, raising the top of his bag again, eyes widening impossibly large as he stares at the set of skates in his bag.

 

“Whew” Phichit visibly relaxes, “What is it?” He leans forward cautiously, curiosity overtaking his actions, “Oh my God… Are those?”

 

How could this have happened?! How could I end up with… “Viktor’s skates… There’s no way!” Yuuri can’t believe his eyes, he reaches out to touch them, ensure they really are Viktor’s, but his hand stops short as if touching them would ruin them.

 

Phichit, however, holds no such reservations, he reaches for one of the skates, lifting it up and inspecting it closely, “Yes they are! Look!” He turns the skate to show Yuuri the back, “The Russian flag! The gold blades!” Phichit can’t hold in the squeal of excitement just holding the boot, “So pretty!”

 

Yuuri allows himself to go slack, sliding down the wall until he is sitting knees to chest on the floor, head down and hidden, “But h-how… Oh no… The airport! We must have switched bags when we bumped into each other!”

 

“Oh how romantic,” Phichit clutches the single skate carefully to his chest, looking like a lovesick puppy who’d been reading sappy romance novels, “Now you HAVE to go and make him fall in love with you for saving his skates!”

 

“Phichit!” Yuuri groans, “Will you stop spouting nonsense? This was a mistake! And did you forget I have a soulmate already?!”

 

Phichit grins, “I still firmly believe that Viktor Nikiforov IS your soulmate! And look at this! It’s fate! He’s waiting for his prince charming to bring him his skate bag!” Phichit carefully places the guarded blade back into the bag before flopping dramatically.

 

Yuuri is running through different ways he could fix this, looking for the easiest way. A buzz from his phone in his pocket gives him the idea, “I’ve got it!”

 

“Wait… got what?”

 

“I invited him to dinner tonight! With you and Chris and me! He said he would be there… I’ll just text him and explain everything and bring them with us tonight!” Yuuri pulls out his phone, texting the new number he had put in at the airport Hey, Viktor. This is Yuuri! I think there was a mixup. I have your skate bag, so I’m pretty sure you have mine. Switch at dinner tonight?

 

“Wait just a second! Hold the phone!” Phichit jumps up, crawling over to Yuuri and shaking him violently with disbelief and excitement. “You’re telling me that you have the phone numbers of both Viktor Nikiforov AND Christophe Giacometti!? And I get to meet both of them tonight?!” When Yuuri nods, Phichit can’t contain his scream of excitement, throwing himself onto his back and kicking his feet, “Best day ever! You are literally the best freaking best friend ever!”

 

“Did I forget to tell you about Chris?” Yuuri rubs the back of his head guiltily, “Ah sorry… He’s actually a really good friend of mine…”

 

Phichit can only gape, “WHAT?!” He sits up and grabs Yuuri’s arms again, “YUUUUURII!!! How could you leave out such a vital piece of information?! I thought we were friends?!” He flops down in Yuuri’s lap, feigning betrayal

 

Yuuri pouts, “In my defence, I’ve had a lot going on…” his pout softens to chuckles as he watches his dramatic friend, “He’s actually really excited to meet you.”

 

“No… Noooo” Phichit’s eyes go wide and cheeks go red, “Yuuri! I- Ah! Ahhhhhh!!” Phichit flops back down, his tongue sticking out playfully pretending he’s lost consciousness. 

 

“Oh come on, drama queen. Pull yourself together!” Yuuri full on laughs at Phichit, standing and quickly zipping the bag back up, taking it and placing it next to the door. Can’t forget this.

 

Phichit forces himself to take a deep breath as he stands, dusting off his shirt and pants, “Soooo Dinner tonight yeah? Sounds good! I’ll be there!” Yuuri can hear him squealing under his breath and Phichit does little to hide the way he is bouncing on the balls of his feet with excitement.

 

He’s so freaking cute. Yuuri smiles fondly as he continues to unpack, “I’m glad… It’s because you and Chris are going that Viktor said yes. He seemed really… hesitant to be alone with me.” I was too forward… I probably scared him away… besides… who would want to spend any time alone with me… aside from Phichit…

 

Phichit senses the energy shift in Yuuri’s mood, coming up behind him and wrapping his arms around his chest, resting his head in the space between Yuuri’s shoulder blades. “He’s intimidated by your sexy Eros.” He chuckles lowly.

 

Yuuri can hear the wink in Phichit’s voice, “Oh he’s put off by the fact that my first impression is falling over him… I’m such a klutz!”

 

The younger man’s arms tighten around Yuuri’s chest, “Falling… for him?”

 

“Nope! Stop that right now!” Yuuri practically flies out of Phichit’s arms, quickly grabbing his shampoo and soap from his bag, “This conversation is over for now!” His hand is hiding his face from Phichit as he passes, but it’s obvious he’s blushing hot as a branding iron, and flustered just as much and he runs and hides in the bathroom.

 

Phichit laughs, finding his roommate both adorable and hilarious. Once upon a time there was something there. Phichit’s feelings for Yuuri were once as obvious as Yuuri’s for Viktor are now. He hides that though, at least he hopes he does. Yuuri’s my friend. No matter how I feel, he wants nothing more, and that’s okay. I’m his best friend first. He slides down the door of the bathroom, knowing Yuuri can hear him from inside. Might as well have just a little more fun. “Do you think Chris will let me take a picture with him?!” He yells through the door as he posts a photo to his snapchat. Locked out of the bathroom again. Such a High Maintenance roomie :D

 

He can hear the exasperated sigh hidden behind another smile from inside the bathroom, “PHICHIT!”

 

Chapter Text

“Viktor!” a small blond teenager yells from outside of Viktor’s room, “Why the hell am I getting texts for you!?” He raises his hand to bang on the wooden door, “Don’t think you can ignore me! Come out here, old man!” 

 

He continues to bang until the door opens and Viktor peeks around the edge, a curious teasing smile on his face, “I haven’t seen the kitten fluffed like this in forever… What did I do this time?” Viktor teases, forcing himself to smile and hide the fact that the banging from the door had caused his heart rate to skyrocket. 

 

“Cut that bullcrap.” Yuri thrust’s his phone into Viktor’s face, having already added the new number to his contacts, hiding everything but the name and the message, “Why am I getting your texts! And who the fuck is Yuuri?”

Viktor’s eyes go wide and a genuine smile makes its way across his cheeks, “He texted! He really did!” Viktor takes Yuri’s phone, typing a reply as he walks back into his bedroom, letting Yuri follow in behind him. “Yuuri is someone I bumped into at the airport. He invited me to dinner tonight and I forgot my phone at home, so I gave him your number.” Viktor shrugs his shoulders as he hits send. Oh gosh… I’m glad we were able to find that out before the competition ^_^’’ Definitely switch back tonight. When and where? “Sounds like we got out bags switched. So we need to switch them back tonight anyway.”

 

“You could’ve at least given me some warning,” Yuri pouts as he flops onto Viktor’s bed. He knows Viktor didn’t forget his phone at all. Yuri is the only one who knows the truth about everything, and knows they can’t risk anyone passing the door overhearing. He relents his phone and watches Viktor closely. It’s been so long since he smiled like that… Who is this Yuuri? “Can I come too? It’s not like I have anything better to do.”

 

Viktor looks to the teen, “Oh? Actually wanting to spend time outside of the mysterious Otabek?” He is obviously teasing.

 

Yuri almost smiles, happy to see Viktor this carefree… He missed this. But he keeps his scowl, “As if. I just know if I don’t go with you I get to sit in with Yakov, Mila, and Georgi.” He groans even as he speaks.

 

Viktor laughs and starts to type a second text, “I’ll ask, but I don’t think he’ll mind. He’s really nice and there are two other people going too.” Mind if I bring a friend? He’s a little… grouchy? But harmless :P

 

It takes a moment for Yuuri to reply, but it comes quicker than Viktor expects. We are meeting downstairs at 6pm and then deciding where to go from there. And sure! You can bring whoever you want. :)

 

Yuri’s phone is pressed back to him as the text comes through, Viktor showing him that they both can go. “If we’re going, we need to get ready, it’s already 5:30!” He stands and rushes to the bathroom, rushing to get ready so they won’t be late. He goes to work covering the marks that are starting to show across his skin. 

 

Yuri is up and watching as Viktor gets ready, not having much to do himself. He looks over his older friend and notices the start of a darker mark at the top of his shirt, peeking out over the collar. “Here. Sit down. There’s some spots you can’t reach…” He sighs as he walks in and takes the makeup and sponge from Viktor, gesturing to the toilet for him to sit. Viktor removes his shirt and sits backward on the closed toilet, letting Yuri see the red lines, scratches caused by some dull object, pushed hard into his skin and starting to bruise. “Viktor… You need to get out… This is going to far…” 

 

Viktor rests his chin on his crossed arms atop the toilet tank, “I know… I just… I can’t yet… I have nowhere to go. And besides… It’s not like it’s all his fault… I’m the one who broke the rules.”

 

Yuri growls, “This isn’t healthy. You haven’t done anything wrong! He’s taking it too far!” As harsh as his words come out, his hands delicately apply the makeup over the scratched marks, worried to hurt Viktor even more.

 

The older man winces under the harsh words.

 

“I’m sorry.” Yuri immediately apologizes, pulling back his tone as he blends softly. 

 

“It’s alright.” Viktor thinks things over, seemingly lost in his thoughts for a moment. This isn’t fair to Yuri. He just wants to see me happy and safe. And he’s right… Demyan is going too far… but what can I do. “Yura? I promise… I’ll take the first chance I get to leave.”

 

Yuri hears the determination in Viktor’s voice and smiles, “You better.” 

Chapter Text

Yuuri is sitting anxiously in the arm shair of the lobby, leg bouncing as he watches the time on his phone. He should be here any minute now!

 

Phichit reaches over and places a hand on Yuuri’s knee, pressing down to stop the fidgeting movement. “Yuuri, you’re freaking out. Calm down.” He smiles.

 

“I’m sorry,” Yuuri takes a deep breath, “I’m just… nervous. I didn’t expect him to say yes to dinner.” I expected him to say no. He tried to until Chris and Phichit were going too.. He obviously isn’t coming for me. 

 

“You have no reason to worry,” Chris lilts from where he is lounged across the couch, “I don’t know much about Viktor, but he’s always been really… isolated? At least since I met him last year. The fact he’s coming out it great! He wouldn’t do it unless he really wanted to.” He smirks at Yuuri, trying to give him the reassurance he needs. 

 

The elevator dings and the doors open revealing two people, causing both Phichit and Yuuri to gasp. They didn’t realize Viktor’s friend would be Yuri Plisetsky! They can’t help but stare as they walk over.

 

Yuri has his hands in his sweatshirt pockets, glaring at the two men staring at him. The ones they happened to be walking towards. What the hell do they want? Why are they staring like that?

 

When Viktor sees the group he smiles nervously, wringing his hands together behind his back. Demyan is going to find out… No This is fine, it’s just a group of people… It’s fine… But What if-

 

“Vitya.” Yuri whispers, seeing Viktor start to drift into his own thoughts, “It’ll be alright, we’ve had dinner with other groups before and nothing happened. You’re safe.”

 

The older man nods, “You’re right… Sorry. I’m okay.” He forces himself to take a deep breath and plasters a smile onto his cheeks as they get closer. 

 

Yuuri is standing when they get there, “Hey, Viktor. Gl-Glad you could make it… And this is?” He gestures to Yuri, not that it matters since he’d been following the Juniors division and Yuri’s skating really closely. 

 

“This is Yuri!” Viktor is only too happy to introduce him, “Yuri Plisetsky! And Yura, this is Yuuri Katsuki. The person I ran into.”

 

Yuri glaces Yuuri up and down. Why did it have to be him… Of all people… 

 

“Nice to meet you, Yuri.” The older namesake bows with a smile.

 

“Tch.” He looks away, cheeks slightly pink as he holds up his uncaring persona, “Don’t get used to this… I’m only here for Viktor. Not for you fanboys.” 

 

Yuuri can’t help but giggle. Wow… Viktor wasn’t kidding when he said he was grouchy!

 

Yuri’s cheeks darken just a little, “Why are you laughing, Piggy?”

 

“No reason,” Yuuri calms himself down and gestures to the two men behind them, “This is Phichit Chulanont and Christophe Giacometti. They’ll both be competing with us.”

 

Chris walks up and hugs Yuri first, the younger man growling at the friendly touch. He then hugs Viktor who he feels become as still as a statue in the embrace. He can hear shuddering breaths hidden beneath the smile. “Nice to meet you both officially.  My name is Christophe, but you can call me Chris. I’m from Switzerland.” He backs away, allowing the Russian the ability to calm down, hiding the fact he knew Viktor had freaked out at the contact.  

 

Phichit bounds up next, exuding excitement as he holds out his phone, already open up to his camera, “Oh wow! Hi I’m Phichit Chulanont, Yuuri’s best friend forever! It’s so cool finally meeting the living legend that is you. Yuuri is such a big fan, he always talked about you in prac- Opps” He giggles and covers his mouth.

 

Yuuri gasps frantically, smacking Phichit on the arm with red cheeks and a whine, “Phichit!”

 

Viktor’s cheeks turn a bright pink as he watches the two, he can’t help smiling at the indirect confession. “I like your skating too..” 

 

“Did you hear that Yuuri he likes your skating too!” 

 

Chris laughs as he cups his left hand over Phichit’s mouth, wrapping his right arm around the young Thai and pulling him away, “Ignore him. He’s a bit… Energetic!”

 

Phichit pouts and licks the hand as he is pulled away. 

 

“Is it true though Yuuri? I meant what he said? You’ve watched me from the start..” Viktor’s voice is low, breathy with disbelief. I’m not all that special...

 

 “Ever Since your Junior debut…” Yuuri sighs and admits, looking down at his hands as he fidgets, looking for anything else to distract him.

 

“Well that was a long time ago...” He chuckles and rubs the back of his neck, long silver hair running through his hair 

 

Yuuri looks up and smiles with a shy nod, thinking back to the  first time he’d ever seen Viktor on the television, the fun jazzy routine had kept Yuuri on the edge of his sea the whole time with wide eyes and a pounding heart of excitement and inspiration.

 

Phichit buts in, tugging on Yuuri’s sleeve, “I think we’re all ready! Where does everyone want to go?” Everyone starts discussing where they should go for dinner.

 

Viktor shrinks back slightly, letting everyone discuss and talk. He’ll be fine with whatever they choose, not wanting to upset anyone by interjecting into the conversation. He watches how they interact, laughing, friendly touching, and his eyes keep coming back to fall on the Japanese man. Yuuri with his wide expressive eyes, and his soft features, and calming personality. Immediately, Viktor knows. Yuuri is safe. 

 

Within five minutes, the group is walking out of the hotel, having chosen a popular italian restaurant in the city. Chris and Phichit lead, having become fast friends as they walk nearly shoulder to shoulder. Yuri stays close to Viktor, watching him talk quietly with the older Yuuri and noticing that for the first time in years, Viktor seems genuinely happy, even so far as laughing at a joking comment spoken. Maybe Yuuri isn’t so bad… 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

The restaurant is quiet, having been more hidden away than most of the other places that other skaters would probably be meeting at. It had high reviews though, and overall the atmosphere was inviting and cozy, perfect for the group of skaters getting to know each other. 

 

“So I had two chickens running in my apartment, my cat going crazy and still wet from falling in the fish tank, and I had 10 minutes until my date was going to be there.” Chris is animatedly telling his story, arms moving in dramatic gestures and he is speaking through his smile of mirth as he remembers the chaos.

 

Phichit is leaning in close, his arm “accidentally” pressing against Chris’s own, “Oh my god! What happened then?”

 

Yuuri smiles at his friend, only half paying attention to the story, more interested in noticing those around him. Phichit was very obviously flirting, his hands occasionally brushing against Chris, his cheeks tinged the lightest bit red. Chris wasn’t much better. Responding unconsciously with touches of his own and leaning closer to Phichit the longer time when on. Yuri was confusing. He’d go from quietly watching everyone, his eyes staying on Viktor more than anything, to being pulled into the conversation, bursting in with attitude most of the time. Then there was Viktor. Viktor seemed to be at odds with himself about something. He;d be laughing and joking with everyone, smiling as he listened and provided his own comments, but he didn’t add many stories of his own, and every now and then, Yuuri could see him fidget nervously with his hands in his lap, becoming quiet and contemplative. It was as if he was scared of something, nearly becoming rigid between both Yu(u)ris. Yuuri wished he could just reach out and take Viktor’s hand, offering him any support he needs, but his own nervousness about being so close to the people he’d idolized for so long, keeps his hands on the table. He decides instead to distract the man who had become lost in his thoughts again.

 

“So… Viktor, do you have any family in Russia? I don’t hear much about them.” Yuuri asks innocently, quietly enough that Chris and Phichit continue their conversation, not hearing him. He can see Yuri look over in curiosity though. 

 

Viktor shakes his head as he is brought to the present and out of his thoughts of Demyan. “I uh… My mother and father both passed away when I was little, so I was adopted by my coach, Yakov! I stayed with him until I was 18 and then I moved out on my own.” Viktor smiles fondly at the mention of his coach. Yakov really had become a father to him. 

 

“And what about now? I had read you had a lover?” Yuuri questions as he sips his water, and out of the corner of his eye, he sees Yuri stiffen, hands tightening to fists under the table where Chris and Phichit wouldn’t be able to see. 

 

Viktor flinches too, but immediately covers it up with a cough and a fake smile across his face, “Oh you mean Demyan! We started dating three years ago. We moved in together shortly after.”

 

That was a really… weird reaction. He seems nervous? Scared? “What does he do?” Yuuri questions, hoping to find out just what is setting Viktor off, and Yuri… 

 

“Oh he’s a Po-” 

 

“Hey guys! Let’s go dancing! There’s this really cool club Chris went to the last time he was here! We should all go together! One last bang before we knuckle down for Worlds!” Phichit has somehow gotten himself wrapped around Chris’ arm as he bounces in excitement from his seat. Yuuri’s and Viktor’s attention are both pulled to the Thai, dropping their conversation for another. 

 

Chris is already nodding, telling everyone about the club and how it has a great DJ lineup and really good drinks. 

 

Yuuri is looking to Phichit who is begging him with his eyes to say yes. How can I say no… He needs me to be his best friend right now. “That sounds fun! But I won’t drink too much. Let’s do it!” He’s already waving the waitress over for the check, seeing everyone’s empty plates, except Viktor’s which was half eaten, but untouched for the second half of dinner. “Do you want to take your leftovers home?” He asks politely. 

 

Viktor looks down at his plate, He’d not eaten much, lost in his thoughts about Demyan throughout dinner. He looks to Yuri who nods just barely, before nodding himself. “Yes, Please.”

 

Yuuri smiles and nods, “Okay! We can drop it by the hotel on the way to the club.” He pauses, remembering he hadn’t heard a response about the plan from either Russian. “You are coming, right?” He forgets to disguise the hopeful tone in his voice, or the puppy dog eyes that he shoots at Viktor.

 

“I uh…” Viktor’s heart is pounding. How is he so cute... He doesn’t even think of any consequences before he’s nodding, “Yes! We’ll go.” 

 

Yuri’s jaw drops, but he stays silent. 

 

The waitress comes by with five checks and Yuri instinctively reaches for both his and Viktor’s . Demyan probably didn’t send him with any food money… like usual. What does he want Viktor to do! Starve?  

 

Yuuri beats him to it, gathering both Russian’s checks with his own, “Allow me. I did invite you out tonight.” He smiles shyly as he hands the three checks and his debit card to the waitress, not having had time to gather Chris and Phichit’s before the Swiss swooped in and paid for both of them. 

 

The gesture has Viktor blushing, softly thanking the man. And if the shy smile Yuuri gave made Yuri’s heart stutter for a moment. Well there wasn’t anyway that the tiger would tell him.

Chapter Text

The group stops by the hotel on the way to the club, dropping off Viktor’s leftovers and changing into more appropriate attire. Most of the group dons button up shirts and jeans, paired with tennis shoes good for dancing. Except Phichit, and by extension Yuuri, who come out wearing crop top tee shirts that show their stomach, shorts paired with fishnet stockings, and high stiletto heels. Everyone immediately knows Phichit picked their wardrobe and Yuuri happened to be an innocent victim of the storm of his roommate. 

 

The club is dark, loud, and vibrating with bass as the group walks in, the youngest donning an underage wrist band. It’s crowded and lively across the dancefloor and the energy is infectious. 

 

Phichit drags Chris to the bar as the other three requisition a booth for the night. He smiles conspiratorially and looks back making sure they are out of ear shot before turning to Chris, “ I need your help.”

 

Chris shares the same mischievous smile, “I can already tell you’re up to no good. Tell me what you need Peaches.” he winks and nudges Phichit’s shoulder with his own. 

 

“I’m getting my best friend drunk of course!” Phichit proclaims proudly he turns to the bartender and orders four “ Cherry Blossoms ” knowing it will suit Yuuri’s taste. He makes sure to grab a shirley temple for Yuri as well, “Trust me, that’s when the party will really start!”

 

Chris grins as he helps Phichit carry the drinks back to their booth, setting them down in front of everyone. Both Viktor and Yuuri look skeptically as the glasses in front of them. 

 

Phichit immediately waves both of them off, “Oh come on. One drink won’t kill you. Promise.” He gives them an innocent smile. They look to each other, shrug and go back to their conversation, sipping the sweet cognac drinks. Yuuri is so involved in Viktor and their conversation, he doesn’t notice Phichit order another drink for him and switch it, and then another, and another. 

 

Yuri sips his shirley temple and looks around him at the group. His phone screen sending a smile through him as he looks at the message. 

 

I’m here too. They asked me to DJ since I’m in town. Meet me by the booth?

 

I know I promised Viktor I’d stay close. But these guys seem okay. Surely he will be fine if I go find Otabek for a bit. Especially if he’s with Yuuri. He seems… happy around him. I’ll ask him first. Yuri nods as he leans over to Viktor, tapping him on the shoulder and earning his attention. “I’m going to go find my friend who’s here,” he whispers. Viktor gives him a wide eyes look, but nods with a soft smile. “If you need me, I’ll be at the DJ booth. Stay close to the piggy.” 

 

Viktor nods and turns his attention back to the mentioned man next to him, feeling the bench shift as Yuri’s weight leaves. Wow… he must really trust Yuuri if he’s leaving me alone… I’m glad I’m not the only one… 

 

Viktor watches as Yuuri takes drink after drink given to him and can’t hide his amusement as the man sways more and more with each sip. Phichit really knows how to get you to do what he wants… The longer Yuuri drinks the closer he scoots to Viktor. Eventually he is practically in the man’s lap and whispering to him from mere inches away. 

 

Phichit can’t help but to take picture after picture, the flash from his phone blending in with the strobe lights of the dance floor.

 

Yuri is sitting on a table behind the DJ booth, sticking close and talking between sets that Otabek trades off with another DJ. His knees are parted over the edge and Otabek stands between them as much as he can, brushing back blond hair and leaning in to steal kisses or nip at Yuri’s jaw between words. They have been dating since the European Championship and Yuri doesn’t hide how happy he is to have the man nearby. 

 

“Here. I normally wouldn’t condone it, but one won’t hurt.” Otabek passes Yuri his newly filled beer. “You might not like it.” he warns.

 

Yuri sips at the drink and lets the liquid warm him from the inside. “It’s good.” He purrs. 

 

Yuuri has taken to shifting in his seat repeatedly to the beat of the music, speaking in slurred words and refusing to adjust the glasses that are half falling off his face.  

 

Viktor doesn’t know what to do, but the happy confident energy Yuuri exudes is contagious. 

 

Phichit gets another idea, “How about we all go dance?” He giggles as Yuuri lights up and is already trying to climb past Viktor to stand up. 

 

Viktor is dragged to the floor as well, excited to see where this leads, but anxious as the crowd surrounds in around them. They all stick close, dancing together and Viktor lets himself forget everything but his new friends and lets himself have fun. 

 

Yuri joins them a little while later, feeling electric and energized and slightly off balance, but laughing all the same as they all dance. He accidentally trips, bumping into Yuuri and looks up to see just how disheveled the man has become. Yuuri’s shirt clings gently to the sweat of his chest, his shorts riding low on his hips and his glasses are missing. He holds a confident smirk across his face, one that holds an aura of mischievousness within. Compared to when he met Yuuri a few hours ago, this man seems completely different. He also doesn’t expect the challenging, teasing words that fall from his mouth.

 

“What’s wrong, Yurotchka,” Yuuri taunts playfully, having heard Yakov call Yuri that in the past, He leans in and speaks into Yuri’s ear, “Can’t keep up?”

 

Yuri blushes profusely at the proximity and the way Yuuri’s breath feels on his ear and cheek, even at the way the diminutive sounds coming from his accent. As much as Yuri wants to hate it, the alcohol in his body has other ideas. “Please. I think you’re the one that can’t keep up with me, Katsu.” 

 

Phichit can’t hide his excitement as Yuri and Yuuri dance around each other, both showing off and turning the dance floor into a competition stage, which people are more than happy to let them as they clear out to the edge and cheer. 

 

Each man flips and turns, break dancing to the beat as Chris, Viktor, and Phichit cheer from the sidelines. Otabek has taken over the booth and makes sure to keep the beats up for the dancers, watching his boyfriend with a smirk. 

 

They get through a song and a half, each keeping up easily with the other as they show off their talents, but Yuri slips in a puddle of spilled drink, falling backwards with yelp. His eyes squeeze shut as he prepares for the impact that never comes. Opening his eyes, Yuuri has one of his hands in his own, and Yuri feels Yuuri’s arm around his waist, keeping him up and dipped, nearly chest to chest as Yuuri balances them both. 

 

The drunken Japanese leans in close and whispers again in Yuri’s ear, “I think I won.” He helps the boy stand steady and laughs at the flustered blushing cheeks of his younger counterpart. 

 

Yuri pouts and walks off, rejoining Otabek at the booth, who makes sure to let him know just how amazing he looked on the dance floor.

 

Viktor is laughing at Yuri’s pouting expression until he is taken surprise, a hand being held out in his direction. He looks up to see playful Yuuri smiling encouragingly back at him. He blushes deeply, and reaches out before he can think, taking the invitation to dance with a shy smile. 

 

Man can Yuuri dance. He spins Viktor across the floor, keeping him close and leading the way with ease. They spend the better part of the next hour dancing together, falling into dips, laughing into exhilarating lifts, and giggling when Viktor accidently steps across Yuuri’s toes. 

 

A slower song comes on and Yuuri smiles as he dips Viktor low, holding one of the Russian’s legs up behind him and leaning in to press his forehead against Viktor’s. They stare into each other’s eyes, sharing the same panting breaths and both feel their hearts pounding in their ribs. Yuuri finds himself leaning closer, glancing at Viktor’s lip slowly as they both forget the world around them. 

 

Yuuri loses his balance as Viktor is taken from his grasp, and the frightened yelp that Viktor emits set Yuuri’s nerves on edge.

Chapter Text

Yuuri loses his balance as Viktor is taken from his grasp, and the frightened yelp that Viktor emits sets Yuuri’s nerves on edge. He looks up from where he is sprawled on his knees across the floor and takes in the sight before him.

 

A large brown haired man stands before him, his large glazed over dilated eyes and wobbly stature showing the extent of his severe drunkenness. That’s not what sends Yuuri’s heart into his throat though. What worries him is the panicked look in Viktor’s eyes. The way that even through his fear, he stays silent. And the way that he doesn’t even so much as flinch as the man’s hand find their way over his front. 

 

The stranger is whispering something into Viktor’s ear and starts dancing in an unsavory way, grinding against Viktor in front of him. Something that scares him even more and Yuuri watches as Viktor shuts down, his breathing heavy and staccato. Hyperventilating. Yuuri can recognize the symptoms of severe anxiety, the symptoms of a dissociative panic attack. Viktor is shutting down. Pliant and obedient as a defensive mechanism of his fear. 

 

Yuuri quickly stands and reaches for Viktor, grasping his hand and pulling the Russian until he is safely behind him. “Leave him alone!” The normally shy and quiet man’s blood is boiling with the urge to protect. 

 

“What? You’re the only one that’s allowed to throw yourselves all over everyone?” The stranger sneers back, already stepping closer to try and take Viktor back. 

 

“I’m not!” Yuuri defends, already stepping back and pushing Viktor back as well. 

 

Three figures step in between Yuuri and the tall stranger, blocking eye contact. Yuuri looks around to see Phichit, Chris, and the DJ from before...Otabek? Standing in a stare down with the man. Yuri comes up to Yuuri and takes one of Viktor’s hands. 

 

“We need to get him out of here. Come on Yuuri. Help me.” Yuri snaps quietly, already pulling Viktor in the direction of the bar, knowing of the quiet room behind there for the bartender’s breaks and that Otabek will clear them and keep them from getting in trouble. 

 

Yuuri is immediately there, leading Viktor with his hand on his shoulder, hovering above the skin as much as possible.

 

They walk right by the bartender to the back room, the girl obviously reading the aura of them all and making the decision to scold them later. 



The two Yu(u)ris help lead Viktor until he is sitting, curled up on the couch, the two of them sitting on the ground in front of him. Yuuri’s hands sit fisted on his lap, sitting on his knees and looking anxiously between Yuri and Viktor. 

 

“Vitya,” Yura speaks calmly, keeping his voice low, “I need you to come back to us. You’re safe here, with me and Yuuri. Can you name five things you see?” 

 

Viktor’s glazed eyes shakily focus as he turns to Yuri’s voice and looks around the room, trying to take in the surroundings. He speaks softly in Russian, nearly a whisper, “I see.. Um I see you… And Yuuri… I see that picture on the wall of a tree… I see the rug…. And I see the ceiling fan.”

 

Yuri smiles encouragingly, “Do you know where we are?”

 

The silver haired man looks over at Yuuri, taking in the Japanese man’s features before nodding and responding, “We’re at the club… the one in Sapporo.”

 

Yuri breathes a sigh of relief, “That’s right. We’re here for Worlds. We came here withYuuri and his friends.” The blonde gestures to Yuuri as he speaks. 

 

Viktor thinks back and climbs down slowly onto his knees in front of Yuuri. “That man… the one on the dance floor…. You saved me from him…” He speaks in disbelief. No one has ever saved me before… 

 

Yuuri nods, “I couldn’t let him do that to you. No one deserves to be treated like that and you just looked so…” Yuuri pauses, unable to come up with the right word, “I knew I had to get you away from him.” He states resolutely.

 

Viktor leans forward and wraps his arms around Yuuri’s neck, whispering into his ear, “Thank you…” 

Chapter Text

Viktor thinks back and climbs down slowly onto his knees in front of Yuuri. “That man… the one on the dance floor…. You saved me from him…” He speaks in disbelief. No one has ever saved me before… 

 

Yuuri nods, “I couldn’t let him do that to you. No one deserves to be treated like that and you just looked so…” Yuuri pauses, unable to come up with the right word, “I knew I had to get you away from him.” He states resolutely.

 

Viktor leans forward and wraps his arms around Yuuri’s neck, whispering into his ear, “Thank you…” 

 

Yuuri hesitantly wraps his arms around Viktor’s middle, making sure to gauge his reaction so he can pull back quickly. He feels Viktor melt into his embrace a bit before the silver haired man is pulling back. Yuuri swears Viktor’s lips brush against his cheeks for a moment. I must be imagining things… 

 

Viktor is red when he pulls back, fidgeting with his long hair that he’s pulled forward over his shoulder. He looks over to both men in front of him, “Can we go back to the hotel… I don’t want to be here right now.”

 

The two Yu(u)ris nod and both reach a hand out to help him up. Viktor makes sure to hug Yuri as well, earning a flustered kitten in return and a petulant, “You’re welcome”. 

 

Viktor finds himself gravitating toward Yuuri, feeling safe and calm whenever he is around and before he thinks, he reaches down and grasps Yuuri’s hand, grounding himself, as well as making sure he stays close. Viktor notices Yuuri flinch, but the man doesn’t take his hand back, “I-is this okay?’ Viktor asks shakily.

 

Yuuri tries to hide how his voice cracks with nerves, “Uh. Sure!” He clears his throat and forces a deep breath into his lungs, “Whatever you need.” 

 

Viktor’s heart flips when Yuuri flashes him a sweet encouraging smile.

 

Yuri watches the interaction curiously. I’ve never seen Viktor act like this before. So free and confident. He is taking what he wants and feels safe to do so with Yuuri. Vitya…. Eventually you’ll need to tell him.... Yuri watches as Viktor’s eyes light up and he leans in closer to Yuuri, confidently holding his hand, he can’t help but smile fondly at Viktor and feels at ease that he is able to be happy still. I guess it can wait until later though. Until you’re ready. But I have a feeling that Yuuri is your way out….

 

The trio walk back into the bar, and Phichit is the first to spot them, bringing Otabek and Chris over to check on their friends. 

 

“Oh my gosh, are you guys okay?” Phichit asks worriedly, looking over Viktor and Yuuri carefully, making sure not to touch either of them. 

 

“We’re fine Phich, just a bit shaken up.” Yuuri smiles softly at his best friend’s concern. “What happened to the guy?” He feels Viktor’s grip tighten on his hand and the man steps behind him slightly.

 

Otabek steps up, “Once security caught wind of what was happening, they escorted him off the premises. Although, not before Chris got in a good punch to his jaw.” He fails to hide his amusement as he side eyes Chris. 

 

“Hey!” Chris playfully pouts, “It’s not my fault he messed with 6 international athletes. He’s lucky I didn’t have my knife shoes!” He casually wraps an arm around Phichit’s shoulder, the younger absolutely not complaining as he leans into the touch and blushes profusely. 

 

The whole group laughs at his skate joke and they all start to leave the bar, staying close to each other as they walk the ten minute walk to the hotel. Once back inside the safety of the building, they break off, each going to their rooms, except Yuuri who walks Viktor to his and Yuri’s door before returning to his own. 

 

Phichit doesn’t even let him get the keycard in before he is opening the door and dragging Yuuri in by the collar.

 

“Yuuuri!!” Oh my god!” Phichit is squealing about the night, sitting Yuuri down on the bed and then gathering a pillow and joining him cross legged on the sheets. “I need details man! I didn’t think you were This into Viktor!” Phichit feigns betrayal in his tone, leaning forward as he waits for Yuuri to spill. 

 

Yuuri still feels the effects of the alcohol, still making him tingly with tipsiness, but Viktor’s panic definitely helped sober him up. Yuuri’s eyes sting slightly as he thinks of Viktor, of every interaction they have had today, “Phich… He’s so different from what I was expecting…. He’s beautiful and kind and down to earth… I feel so… right around him. It feels like the most natural thing in the world… He’s so much more.” Yuuri’s eyes spill a few tears as he thinks and gushes, becoming overwhelmed with everything that just happened. 

 

That’s what cinches it for Phichit. You just described how soulmates feel when they meet Yuuri… Why can’t you see that… Although I can see why it’s hard to believe… Having met my soulmate tonight, I still can’t believe it… “So you like him?” Phichit plays off.

 

Yuuri just nods, pulling a pillow into his lap and wrapping his arms around it, squeezing it to his chest. 

 

Another matter presses into Phichit’s mind as he thinks through the rest of the night, “Was he alright? He seemed rather… out of it when that guy showed up.”

 

Yuuri thinks carefully over his words, trying to remember every detail of how Viktor was, “He…. He shut down… No, more than that. He dissociated… It was like he wasn’t even there with us, he was somewhere else. Yuri was able to talk him back quickly, but I’m worried. It happened so fast, like it was an immediate instinct he had to protect himself… and the way Yuri was reacting, this wasn’t the first time this happened either. It seemed… common for them. I’m really worried… Something must've happened to him in the past.”

 

“Did he tell you anything about it?” Phichit asks gently, knowing when Yuuri is worried, he can easily fall into panic. 

 

Yuuri only shakes his head, remaining silent. 

 

Phichit chooses to end the conversation there, instead pulling out his laptop and inviting Yuuri to cuddle with him as they stream “The King and the Skater”, Yuuri falls asleep first and Phichit is trapped as Yuuri has wrapped him up in his arms, his waist in a near vice grip. He instead scrolls through his phone, swiping through instagram and answering texts. It’s only then he remembers all the photos in his gallery and excitedly uploads them all, tagging each photo and waiting until they upload before he finally succumbs to sleep.

______________________________________________________________________________

 

His finger slides slowly as he swipes through his phone. Checking all social media in which the name Viktor Nikiforov appears in the tags. He is about to shut the device off when a picture catches his eye. 

 

Viktor is dipped low, the tip of his long, silver hair brushing the ground as his head is thrown back, a wide smile on his face. He is clutched to another man who gives him just as big a smile, both obviously intoxicated, and both very obviously interested in each other.

 

Who is this. Why is my Viten’ka with him? I guess he didn’t learn his lesson the last time with that Russian skater. Seems like I can’t trust him on his own…

 

Demyan doesn’t think twice as he switches apps and books the nearest flight to Sapporo, growling when he realizes he won’t be able to get there for 3 days. He throws his phone down and storms around the house, eventually coming to a wall and tripping, sending his anger through the roof. He punches the wall hard, breaking through the dry wall and adding yet another hole.

Chapter Text

 

Yuuri wakes up and immediately sprints to the bathroom, vomiting the contents of his stomach and swaying from the pounding headache. The jackhammer in his head seemingly stabbing him with each movement and glance of light. He can hear Phichit rustling in bed and calling out to him from somewhere by the open bathroom door.

 

“Are you okay?” Phichit asks, his voice rough and low with sleep, one hand rubbing his eyes. 

 

Yuuri rests his head against the edge of the bathtub and swallows over and over, trying to stop the stinging in his throat. He doesn’t respond to Phichit.
 

The Thai sleepily walks in, getting a cup of water, and sits cross-legged next to Yuuri, rubbing his back in gentle circles, passing the small paper cup to the sick man who takes it gratefully. “We don’t have much time today. The official practice is in an hour and Celestino will kill us if we miss it.” Phichit is whispering, his head leaning against Yuuri’s back as the man starts to calm down.

 

“I hate you.” Yuuri mutters, knowing it was Phichit’s plan to get him drunk last night. “What even happened last night?” 

 

Uh oh… I may have gone too far last night… He has to know. Especially if we see Viktor and Yuri at practice today… “Um we went to a club… You danced with Yuri and Viktor… You saved Viktor from a guy.”

 

Yuuri’s mind pieces a few scenes together and he remembers Viktor’s faraway look, the way he’d shut down, and then the way he’d been clinging once Yuri talked him back. Yuuri can only nod and force his way up. “Come on, let’s get ready…” He sighs, still lost in his head as he tries to piece together last night.

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Yuuri and Phichit walk in carrying their gear and rolling their skates behind them, both taking a deep breath of the cool rink air. They can already hear blades of the other competitors scraping across the ice, gouging their passion into the frozen surface. Both of them turn toward the benches and are caught in an angry stare of their coach, no doubt upset that they’re late. It makes them race to get their skates on and onto the ice. 

 

A few minutes into practice, Yuuri’s eyes catch on glinting silver hair that dashes by him. He subconsciously comes to a stop to watch as Viktor skates his routine through.

 

Yuuri’s seen Viktor skate many times before, but he’s never seen Viktor look so… free? He flies across the ice with easy grace, as if he weighs practically nothing. A smile dons his cheeks and it is so much brighter than Yuuri’s seen on TV before. It’s genuine. Yuuri’s heart nearly stops, and his breath catches as he watch Viktor skate, he doesn’t even realize when Yuri skates up next to him.

 

“He’s different today.” The blond speaks, voice sounding amazed under forced petulance, “I’ve never seen him skate like this.” 

 

Yuuri startles and looks over to the blond, “Me either… Wait… Aren’t you in the junior division still? Why are you here?” 

 

Yuri glares back, “Since my competition is done, Yakov was able to swing it to get me some ice time with you guys. I wouldn’t be here normally, but since I’m moving up next season, Yakov dragged me along to see how it’s different from the juniors.”

 

“That makes sense I guess,” Yuuri reasons, turning back to watch Viktor as he falls into a death drop sit spin at a dizzying speed. “He’s beautiful. I didn’t even know he could skate like this.” 

 

Celestino yells out to Yuuri and causes him to jump, immediately going back into action to avoid the anger of his coach. 

 

He runs through his program, the lyrics ringing in his head, the very feeling of his story and emotions emitting from every limb in every aspect of his step sequence. He’s reaching out to someone, desperately pleading at them some message unknown to the other skaters watching. 

 

A certain silver haired Russian is captivated, eyes never able to leave Yuuri’s graceful form, “Wow..” 

 

Phichit is skating up to the wall for his water when he hears the breathy admiration from Viktor, so much like how he used to be watching Yuuri, “I know right…”

 

“Has he always skated like this?” Where has he been all this time if he can skate like this! He easily should platform! 

 

“Skate this gracefully? Yes, every single day in practice. In competition? Not so much. But I’ve never seen this choreography before… I wonder what he is doing?” Phichit thinks to himself as he watches his best friend, knowing that Yuuri is a bit of a spit fire when he comes up with ideas. 

 

Viktor feels a strong pull to this man, like there is an invisible rope pulling him to Yuuri, “It’s like he makes music… just by the way he moves. He’s… Beautiful…” His breaths become shallow in awe, heart pounding as Yuuri seemingly reaches the climax of his skate, still no music to be heard, but it doesn’t matter.

 

“I know right,” Phichit sighs dreamily, unable to stop from falling into old emotions of watching Yuuri skate for the first time. Each time breathtaking.

 

Viktor watches as Yuuri continues through his program, and feels drawn to him as he comes to a close. He doesn’t even realise he’s skating over until Yuuri startles at finding him, body going rigid in a form completely opposite the one Viktor just saw, “You’re amazing…”

 

Yuuri blushes and rubs the back of his neck, avoiding Viktor’s gaze, looking anywhere but the deep blue eyes, “I uh.. I’m not that great. I still need a lot of work.” 

 

Viktor shrugs, “Only one or two tweaks maybe, I can show you if you like?”  The corrections are so small… how can you not see your talent!?

 

All Yuuri’s christmases have come at once, he can’t believe his idol would want to coach him. “Really?! I mean…. You don’t have to, I know you need to work on your own skating.” He continues to babble, nerves forcing him to speak so quickly, no one but Phichit can really make out what he’s saying. 

 

Viktor doesn’t think his words through before saying them, appearing more blunt than he intended. “My skating is perfect, don’t worry about it. Come here.” He gestures with his hand to come closer.  

 

“Um.. Okay.” Yuuri skates over shyly and awaits direction, cheeks permanently burning.

 

Viktor takes on a new aura, one both gentle, but demanding, “Show me the position you use for your Ina Bauer.” He smiles but his eyes are like his coach’s demanding fast paced results.

 

Yuuri startles for a moment before stepping one foot backward, each foot facing out as he lunges forward onto his left, straightening his posture to appear proud and graceful. 

 

Viktor smiles and reaches forward, placing his hands on Yuuri’s hips, turning them to square them up to the rest of his body, “Do you feel that? The way you’re stance is, it’ll slow you down. You need to open your hips just a little more. This gives you more stability and speed and makes it easier to correct your posture. You can even lean back a little to give off more of a graceful persona with the arch of your back.”

 

Electricity surges through Yuuri, starting at his hips where Viktor’s fingers make contact. He flinches as one of Viktor’s fingers accidentally pushes up his shirt and grazes the skin of his hip, making him feel as if he was burning from that one point of contact, “O-Oh. Th-thanks!” He squeaks and clears his throat. He forces himself to swallow and focus on how different the corrections feel, making sure to memorize them for his use, “I can feel the difference. I feel more stable…” He smiles as he skates off and tries the corrections in a moving ina bauer. It takes him a second, but he finds the sweet spot and smiles as he finds himself easily following Viktor’s corrections. He’s right. It really does make it easier! He is smiling widely as he skates back up to Viktor, pride in both their eyes. 

 

Viktor doesn’t waste any time. He offers another gentle smile, “Your spins are really great but if you want to spin quicker, I would have my arms…” He skates around Yuuri and right up behind him, running his hands down Yuuri’s arms before taking his wrists and bringing them up into the spin position, making sure to use his elbows to press Yuuri’s closer to his body, “Like this…” Viktor breathes and notices he can smell Yuuri’s sweet smelling shampoo, causing him to gasp as he realizes he is so close. So close and not freaking out.

 

Yuuri nods, his cheeks a tomato red and hot to the touch, but he finds himself only slowly pulling out of Viktor’s arms, “Th-thank you.. Let me try again… Please…” He turns to Viktor and asks in a voice that is completely different to his usual shy demeanor. It’s determined. “Please will you watch me?”

 

Viktor is thrown off guard with the confidant request, blinking with wide eyes before softening with an easy encouraging smile, “Of course, Yuuri.”

 

Yuuri nods and swallows his nerves as he skates to center ice, taking his place and losing himself in the routine. He skates his heart out, reaching out to someone withevery fiber of his being. The corrections Viktor gave him helped in more ways than Yuuri realizes and it really takes the grace of the program up to the next level. He performs the corrections perfectly this time. 

 

Good job… You skate so well… You rival even me! I don’t understand how all this talent has remained under the radar! Where have you been, Yuuri?

 

The routine comes to a close and Yuuri cheers to himself quietly, pumping his fists once before turning and practically running to Viktor, pride exuding off him in tidal waves, “Did you see that! That’s the best run I’ve done!” His excited giggles resonate through the rink, making everyone smile, his joy contagious. 

 

“I’m so proud of you!” Viktor almost throws himself into a tight hug, but a flash of Demyan on his mind forces his hands to stay put right at his sides. Not now. I’m okay. I’m safe! He shakes his head and forces the thoughts from his mind. 

 

Yuuri is close and skating a quick, wide circle around Viktor with another laugh before coming to a full stop, ice flying as he scrapes into a hockey stop right in front of Viktor. He’s breathless, sweat dripping from his forehead, but it is easily seen how happy and proud of himself he is. He bows low with a wide smile, “Thank you so much!”

 

Viktor swears he feels his heart stop for a moment before it’s pounding and fluttering in his chest at just how… angelic Yuuri looks in this very moment. “I uh.. You’re very welcome! It was… It was no trouble at all!”

 

Yuuri gets caught up in his excitement and is speaking before he even realizes his mouth is moving, “Can I watch you? Maybe I can return the favor?” He freezes and becomes shy, still smiling because he is really so happy, but nervous and beating himself up in his head as well. Why would he want that! Stupid! This is VIKTOR FUCKING NIKIFOROV you’re talking to! 4 time world champion?! Skating Legend! What could I possibly offer him in terms of corrections…. Stupid!

 

“I would love that! Something seems off and I can’t figure it out… It’s like something is missing.” Viktor’s hand comes up to his chin as he thinks about the issues he’s had bringing out the true potential of his routine. Yuuri is the best skater he’s ever seen! Surely he’d know how to help... “So if you are willing, I’d love some tips from the best.” He gives a rare playful wink before skating off to center ice, taking his starting position, seeming fully comfortable and confident. He truly feels at home on the ice. 

 

It takes Yuuri a moment to process what Viktor has said, and the Russian is off quickly before he can respond, “I uh… Wait… best… What?!” He is left wide eyed and stuttering as he watches Viktor skate off and start into an amazing routine. One that Yuuri knows really well, almost like the back of his hand. 

 

Viktor is beautiful, demanding the eye of everyone in the room, and Yuuri is just as much a victim as everyone else. As soon as Viktor performs the routine piece Yuuri notices a piece at what he knows would be the climax of the piece, the choreography falters. There’s a piece missing, and Viktor hides it well, but Yuuri can see exactly what he means. The story… it has all it’s elements, but it speaks of a transition in someone’s life, starting from isolation and understanding of the inevitability of loneliness, before suddenly transitioning into a want to fight! A want to live… The transition just needs something to smooth it out. 

 

Viktor finishes his skate reaching to the sky in a desperate plea for someone to give him the chance to change his life. He seems to take a moment, closing his eyes and having a personal conversation with himself before turning back to Yuuri, questions for suggestions in his eyes.

 

Yuuri stands a moment in awe, “You’re skating is beyond incredible… I can’t even believe I’m watching it with my own two eyes… but, I can see the part you were talking about.” Yuuri hums as he thinks, closing his eyes and tapping a single finger to his chin, “What if you did another spin there? Not one for components, but one to bridge the gap? It could start off small, maybe a sit spin variation that builds up into an eventual scratch spin that you can burst from when the new meaning takes place?”

 

Viktor blinks at him a few times before giving a wide heart shaped smile and practically jumping in place with excitement, “That’s perfect! It is perfect to bridge the meaning! Thank you so much!” Viktor is about to skate out to try the new addition, but a whistle sounds from where Celestino and Yakov are now both standing.

 

“Five minute break! Quickly!” Yakov gruffs loudly enough for all the skaters left to hear, which just so happen to be only Celestino’s and Yakov’s skaters. 

 

Viktor nearly pouts, but knows not to argue, nodding to Yuuri and gesturing to the door.

 

Viktor and Yuuri skate side by side, stepping off and sticking close as they sit on the benches and gulp their water. It feels natural… Like they are two pieces of the same two piece puzzle. Neither wanting to pull from the other now that they’ve begun the connection that keeps their hearts pulling toward each other. 

 

Yuuri is already trying to figure out how he can spend any more time with Viktor, even if it’s just a few seconds. “Is- Is there anything you have to do after practice? Maybe we can walk back together, grab dinner on the way…” He looks over to his roommate who seems very bound determined to get the grumpy Russian kitten to warm up to him, “Phichit is planning on doing some sight-seeing, so it’s just me after.”

 

Viktor smiles and opens his mouth to answer, but a flash of Demyan in his mind causes him to hesitate. I can’t go with Yuuri alone… That’d be breaking Demyan’s rules… The last time I broke the rules I couldn’t breathe right for a week… No I can’t… But… His mind is at war. No. Demyan isn’t here… And it’s not like it’s a date or anything, just stopping to get dinner on the way back from practice! Nothing out of the ordinary for anyone…. Besides… If it’s just me and Yuuri, how would he find out? He won’t… He can’t! I’m safe with Yuuri, I can just feel it… and I… I want this… is that so wrong? He’s made up his mind, nodding to himself before determinedly speaking, “I’d love to! Yes, please!” He feels both terrified and exhilarated at being able to make a choice of his own. 

 

Yuuri’s eyes close as he smiles so widely with such a genuine smile that his cheeks hurt, feeling his heart beat quickly with anticipation, “Great! I can’t wait!” 

 

Viktor pauses mid sip of his water as he fully takes Yuuri in. So cute! I don’t understand how one man can be so adorable! He swallows loudly and forces himself not to choke as he recaps his water and stands, looking back and subconsciously reaching a hand out to Yuuri, “Shall we keep going?”

 

Yuuri takes Viktor’s hand and stands smirking competitively and squeezing Viktor’s hand in a challenge, “Sure! I bet I can spin longer than you!” Yuuri laughs as he half runs in guarded blades back to the ice, stopping only enough to remove the guards before he skates quick laps around the rink.

 

Viktor watches and feels a piece of him fall into place. 

 

This… This is what I’m missing… Skating used to be so fun and carefree for me, something I did solely for the fun of it… It’s lost that… The competition. The Sponsors. The income. It’s become a chore to me… No inspiration.

Yuuri… You bring me back that joy! That love of the ice! I’ve been missing it for so long… Especially since… Him… 

 

I want it back!

“Oh, you’re on!” 

Chapter Text

The practice lasts for a few more hours, Viktor and Yuuri seemingly in their own little world as they alternate between running their programs and playing games of chase. At one point, Yuuri even comes up behind Viktor and places his hands firmly on his waist, causing a flash of fear in Viktor before the Japanese man lifts him up high, causing a yelp of surprise, and excited giggles from the Russian. 

 

“Where did you learn to do that?! Were you a pair skater?!” Viktor is practically buzzing, the feeling of flying still fresh in his mind even as they sit and begin  to untie their skates. 

 

Yuuri smiles widely, dabbing the sweat from his forehead with a towel, “Briefly, for like a season. It wasn’t really my thing. But after that Phichit and I would always practice it just for fun. Just a way to destress between competitions or before exams. Nothing serious of course,” he laughs, thinking of the last time Phichit had pulled him into an impromptu pair skate session. He’d been so lost in his thoughts, worrying about his soulmate, but Phichit completely distracted him, “He absolutely loves when I lift him. Says it makes him feel as if he’s on top of the world!” Yuuri’s eyes drift to the ice where Celestino is having Phichit skate another run through. His best friend is skating hard, but exudes confidence and flair with every move. “He’s really an amazing friend…” 

 

Viktor’s eyes soften as he follows Yuuri’s gaze, “He really cares for you, you know. You can see it in the way he looks at you… You’re precious to him…” Like Yura is to me… 

 

Yuuri smiles, returning his attention to the Russian next to him, “And he is to me.” 

 

“Are you two…” Viktor raises an eyebrow, raising an eyebrow and leaving his question hanging, leaving the implication that there is more between them. 

 

Water splashes the floor as Yuuri chokes and coughs, the mouthful unable to stay contained, “What? No.. nothing like that! Phichit is just a friend!” 

 

“Really? Sorry, you guys just seem so… close.” Viktor places the soaker covers over his blades before placing the skates in his bag.

 

“Just really close friends,” Yuuri smiles as he does the same, standing once everything is put away, “Are you ready to go?” He sticks out his hand to Viktor without even thinking, just a natural movement. 

 

Viktor blushes and hesitantly takes Yuuri’s hand, lifting himself up to standing as he nods silently. 

 

Their hands drop immediately, both men looking anywhere but each other, fidgeting with their clothes or hands, an awkward silence between them. They wouldn’t ever say it out loud, but their hands still tingle with heat, as if they’d been shocked. 

_____

 

Yuuri and Viktor walk side by side, strolling past open shops, and the people who are bustling around on the sidewalk. Yuuri had tried to salvage the awkwardness, but one could only handle so much small talk. They’ve been walking in silence for a while.

 

Yuuri looks up and sees the lit up signs of shops and restaurants. That’s right. We were going to get food before we got to the hotel… I wonder… “Hey Viktor?” 

 

The silver headed man is pulled from his thoughts, “Hm? What is it?”

 

“What kind of food do you like? Or is there anything you want to try while you’re here?” Yuuri gives him a soft friendly smile, and from there, the awkwardness melts away. 

 

No one but Yura has ever asked what I like… I usually just go with whatever they choose… “Um… I… I’ve never had real ramen before…” his hand comes up and twists a part hair that has fallen in front of his shoulder, “But we can go wherever if you don’t want to. I don’t mind.” His eyes drop as he suggests Yuuri picks, the anxiety of not pleasing him thrumming in his chest. 

 

“I know just the place,” Yuuri smiles and before he realizes what he’s doing, he’s leading Viktor by the waist.

 

Viktor’s heart races, but for once, he feels safe… he feels cared for, and if he leans into Yuuri’s side at all, well, it’d be rude to pull away, wouldn’t it? 

_____

 

“Amazing!” Viktor gasps as Yuuri leads him into a small ramen shop. It’s a little shop that has 3 tables, a counter being wiped down by the old woman behind it, and the kitchen that you could hear people walking around and cleaning dishes. The old woman looks up and her eyes brighten as she recognizes Yuuri.

 

“(Yuuri dear! How are you?)” the woman comes forward with an eye crinkling smile, her hands come up to pinch and tug on Yuuri’s slimmed cheeks, “(Oh so skinny, Let’s get you some food, yes?)” She smiles with a kind familiarity at the young Japanese man. 

 

“(Obaa-chan! It’s been so long… I’m so happy to see you! How is everyone?)” Yuuri leans forward to hug the woman close, speaking in his native tongue with an ease that impresses Viktor as he listens to the quick unfamiliar words.

 

The woman steps back and holds Yuuri at arm’s length, examining him closely, “(Oh everyone is good, yes! We’ve been missing you…)” To Viktor she looks as if she is scolding Yuuri and he can’t help but giggle at Yuuri’s apologetic expression.

 

“(I’m sorry! I haven’t been in a Japanese competition in years… I knew I just had to come visit as soon as I could.)” Yuuri is bowing in apology, but his eyes show that he truly missed this woman. 

 

“(Well you are welcome anytime, darling Yuuri.)” The woman cups Yuuri’s cheek fondly before pulling back and bowing slightly, her back straining a little. “(I shall ensure you get the best food while I have you here.)”

 

Yuuri bows respectfully back, “(Thank you! Oh!)” Yuuri straightens up, gesturing to Viktor and unconsciously taking the Russian’s hand to pull him forward, “(I have someone I want you to meet!)” Yuuri looks to Viktor with soft eyes that steal Viktor’s breath away. He switches back to English easily as he introduces Viktor, “Obaa-chan, This is Viktor Nikiforov. He is competing with me in the World Championship this year.” He turns to Viktor with a smile, “Viktor, this is Chiyoko.” 

 

Viktor tries his hardest to imitate Yuuri’s bow from earlier, probably going a bit lower than necessary, “Um. Hello, Chiyoko. It’s nice to meet you.” He gives an awkward smile and brushes his hair back behind his ear with his fingers as he returns to standing.

 

“Please call me Obaa-chan,” Chiyoko smiles speaking English surprisingly well, but she switches back as she whispers something back to Yuuri, “(Such a handsome young man… You needed one like this, huh Yuuri?)” She winks and it’s obvious she’s teasing the young man by the blush and stuttered response from Yuuri.

 

“Obaa-chan! Not in front of him,” His ears go even redder and his subconsciously squeezes Vitkor’s hand that he doesn’t realize he’s still holding as he realizes he said that in English.

 

“(Oh you know I can’t help myself.)” She teasingly hits Yuuri’s arm before smiling at both him and Viktor, “Now what can I get you, boys?”

 

Yuuri takes the change of subject with relief, letting go of Viktor’s hand and placing his hand on Viktor’s back instead to lead him forward, “Just a table for two, I want Viktor to have the full experience while he’s here in Japan.

 

Chiyoko claps her hands together excitedly, “Oh that sounds lovely! Should I bring the chefs special?” 

 

“Just Menus will be fine, Obaa-chan.”

 

Chiyoko pulls two menus from the counter, spinning and beckoning for them to follow her. She leads them toward one of the tables closer to the back of the restaurant, one that is hidden behind the decorative shoji dividing the room. There are cherry blossoms painted along the walls around it, and in the middle of the table sits a small bouquet of blue carnations, though Yuuri is really curious where they got them this time of year. The lighting by this table is a bit muted and overall the whole thing is romantic, more like this were for a couple. With that, Yuuri knew exactly what Chiyoko was up to….

 

She turns around, looking as if she were completely innocent. “Is this okay for you?” 

 

Yuuri is about to open his mouth and tell her they are just friends, but the way Viktor’s eyes light up melts his heart. 

 

“Yuuri… It’s perfect…” Viktor sighs, bringing his hands together in front of his mouth.

 

Yuuri holds back a sigh as he relents to Chiyoko’s ministrations, “It’s great Obaa-san, Thank you.” 

 

She hands him the menus and winks at Yuuri, nudging him in the ribs on the way back to the front. 

 

Really Obaa-chan show some restraint. Yuuri rolls his eyes, but is smiling nonetheless, even as he pulls out Viktor’s chair for him to sit down. His mother did always raise him as a gentleman. 

 

Viktor’s cheeks heat and his heart is beating wildly in his chest as his eyes drop to the table, he sits and let’s Yuuri help him scoot the chair in until he’s comfortable. “No one’s… No one’s ever done that before…” Why is my heart beating so fast! We’re just out to dinner as friends. Nothing else… Demyan would kill me if it were anything more. Calm down Viktor!

 

“Really?” Yuuri is genuinely shocked, “That’s… unexpected. No one?” Doesn’t he have a boyfriend? He should have this stuff done all the time! Stupid guy… Doesn’t realize what is in front of him… Viktor is perfect! Wait… Calm down… He’s just a friend. 

 

The Russian fidgets with the cloth napkin folded on the table, not looking up at Yuuri as his smile falls to a more somber feeling. “Most of my partners weren’t the… I guess you could say romantic type.”

 

Yuuri’s eyes drop to that table as well in thought, “That’s really… for lack of a better word, ridiculous! I can already tell by how you act, you are the type who likes the romance… You deserve to be romanced.” His voice drops lower as he speaks until he’s barely whispering, “If you were mine…”

 

Viktor doesn’t hear Yuuri’s last words, and shakes his head, wanting to get the subject off the table, “Yeah… So anyway… Tell me about yourself.” 

 

“I came here all the time before I moved to Detroit, I used to train here when I was in juniors,” Yuuri speaks with fondness of the memories, sipping from a glass of water that was set in front of him. “Chiyoko used to be friends with my grandmother. So she’s known me practically since I was born.”

 

“She seems really nice,” Viktor sips his water as well, setting the glass down with a soft tap. 

 

“She is,” Yuuri hands Viktor a menu that surprisingly enough, is written in English, causing Viktor to look up with wide eyes of relief. Yuuri chuckles, “They don’t get many people who don’t speak Japanese here, but they know that people who come in with me are usually international. So they had me help them translate the menu into English. I taught them the words as well so they’ll be able to understand what you order. Get whatever you’d like, my treat.” 

 

Viktor relaxes a bit as he reads over the menu, allowing himself to find comfort in the softly lit dining room and the quiet of the environment. They sit in silence, looking over the menu for a moment. 

 

“Is there anything you have questions about?” Yuuri sets his menu down and looks over to Viktor, placing his head casually on his right hand. 

 

Viktor scrutinizes his menu, “Um… Yeah… What’s the difference between Chashu and Kakuni pork?” 

 

“Chashu is cooked and sliced, while the Kakuni is a stewed piece,” Yuuri explains matter of factly.

 

It’s not more than a few minutes before Chiyoko returns, notebook in hand asking for their order. She’s gone in a flash winking at Yuuri on her way out. 

 

The Japanese man shakes his head before turning his attention back to Viktor. “So… I heard on the news that you have a boyfriend? What’s he like?” 

 

Viktor’s smile drops and he cups his hands around a small cup of hot tea that Yuuri had poured him. I can’t tell him the truth… He’d freak out… He’d think I’m broken… weak… I’m not weak… Besides I wouldn’t really call Demyan my boyfriend… it hasn’t felt like that in forever… Oh no, He’s looking at me and he looks worried! Come on think of something to say you idiot! “Oh we.. We broke up actually.” Viktor chuckles nervously, but Yuuri doesn’t believe the false joy. 

 

“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to upset you…” Yuuri is immediately apologizing, placing a comforting hand over Viktor’s on his tea cup. 

 

“Oh no, you didn’t, it’s just really hard to talk about!” That’s right… one lie after another… what would anyone see in someone who lies so much. 

 

Yuuri stays silent a moment before decidedly changing the subject, “Umm.. Do you like dogs?” 

 

And like the flip of a coin, Viktor’s face immediately brightens up, “I love them!”

 

“Do you want to see this Dog I’m looking into adopting once I get back to Detroit? I have tons of pictures from the visits I’ve gone to, to see her.” Yuuri pulls out his phone and quickly pulls up the pictures of a standard sized poodle puppy with chocolate brown fur. She can’t be more than a few weeks old. 

 

Viktor fawns over the photos, swiping through all of them and finding a video or two of the young pup playing with what is probably Yuuri’s fingers, gnawing on the ends.“She’s so cute! Look at her little paws!”

 

“She’s about 9 weeks old now,” Yuuri smiles fondly, watching Viktor swipe through the photos with glee, “I’ll be able to officially adopt her in 3 weeks. They wanted to make sure she got a really good start since she was the runt of the litter.” 

 

“I’d love to meet her!” Viktor smiles as he passes the phone back to Yuuri. The awkward questions of Demyan forgotten. 

 

“Well you know, I could always bring her along to one of the competitions, I’m sure she’d love to travel!”

 

“Ah Perfect!” Viktor claps his hands together excitedly.

 

Chiyoko comes over within the next few minutes, silently placing the two dishes in front of the boys with a knowing smile, allowing them to continue their fawning of the puppy. They put the phone away once their meals arrive. 

 

Yuuri claps his hands together, “Itadakimasu!” He quickly takes a bite, resisting the urge to moan at the familiar taste. 

 

Viktor watches Yuuri take his first bite and looks down at the table, staring at the chopsticks next to his bowl, sitting there so dauntingly. He picks them up and snaps them apart before trying to hold them. Before trying to make it look like he’s done this at least once before. He looks at Yuuri’s hand and tries to mimic the grasp, thankfully Yuuri isn’t paying too much attention, at least until Viktor’s fingers flail and send his chopsticks clattering in front of him across the table. He hides his shocked gasp behind his hand and shrinks into his seat. This… He’s going to start getting mad at me… Frustrated… I can’t even hold chopsticks! Surely he’ll think I’m just useless…. 

 

Yuuri chuckles slightly as he watches the chopsticks roll across the table, he never thought Viktor could look so… clumsy… It’s really endearing and warms Yuuri’s heart. “How you ever used chopsticks before?” He asks with a smile.


Viktor flinches expecting Yuuri to snap at him but when he looks up all he sees is Yuuri’s patient eyes, and a soft smile. It let’s Viktor relax a little in his seat and his ears feel hot as he tries to laugh it off. Come on… Act normal… It’s Yuuri. Not Demyan.. Yuuri is safe. “Is it that obvious?” He tries to bring his anxiety down with a deep breath that he plays off as a sigh. 

 

Yuuri tries to come across encouraging, “Only a little, here. Let me help?” He doesn’t know what overcomes him as he stands and walks to Viktor’s side of the table, standing behind the Russian and leaning low until he can take Viktor’s hand in his, lining up their fingers so that if Yuuri were to bend his, Viktor’s would too. He places the chopsticks into Viktor’s hand and uses his own fingers to push Viktor’s into the right position, “See, it can be a little tricky, but if you do this, and hold them kind of like a pencil,” He nudges Viktor’s fingers just a little more, speaking softly, but not realizing just how close he is. He doesn’t realize that his short black hair, softly sweeps against Viktor’s long silver, or how his breath grazes over Viktor’s ear with each word, something that which, if Yuuri were to pay attention he’d notice, causes goosebumps and a slight shiver to shake from Viktor with quick breaths. “It makes it much easier!” 

 

Viktor’s hand is shaking as his heart beats rapidly against his ribs, Yuuri’s so close and he smells so… amazing... He shakes his head and tries to put all of his focus back to using the chopsticks. Yuuri’s hand falls away but the man stays close behind him, each breath still warming Viktor’s ear. Viktor’s tongue pokes out just a little as he focuses and wiggles his fingers, moving the chopsticks, awkwardly, but still sucessfully! “Hey! I did it!” 

 

Viktor’s excitment is contagious and Yuuri leans forward even more, wrapping his arms around Viktor’s shoulders in a hug, his lips accidentally brushing against Viktor’s cheek, “I knew you could do it, Vitya!” 

 

Vitya… How did he? How did he know about the diminuitives? He says it so… perfect… I could hear it forever… Oh but if I bring it up, he may not call me that again! I’ll just… I’ll let him use it how he wants… He instinctively tenses as Yuuri hugs him, not used to gentle contact, but he calms and turns to face Yuuri. “Well… I had a great teacher. 

 

Yuuri returns to his seat with a laugh as Viktor works slowly to take a bite of his ramen, “Thank you, but that was mostly you.” 

 

Viktor remains silent, chewing his food slowly as he thinks over how Yuuri treats him. 

 

Yuuri returns to eating as well, taking another bite of Katsudon and sighing happily as the familiar taste fills his mouth. His eyes close and the taste takes him back to when he would help his mom in the kitchen, breading pork cutlets while standing on a step stool. Obaa-chan really did teach mom everything… 

 

The Russian finishes his bite of ramen and watches Yuuri for a moment. He takes a breath and he can smell Yuuri’s dish tingling his senses and making his mouth water. “What did you get? It smells good…” 

 

Yuuri swallows and smiles widely leaning forward a bit, “It’s called Katsudon. It’s a pork cutlet bowl!” He exudes joy as he speaks, “It’s been my favorite since I was a kid! Do you want to try?” 

 

Viktor can’t help but get caught up in the contagious joy that is Yuuri and wiggles his chair closer to Yuuri, “Yes please! Mine is great! But I want to try that too!” 

 

The younger man nods and suddenly gets an idea. He picks up a bite of his food and holds it up across the table, meaning for Viktor to take the bite. “Here, I think you’ll like it.” His hand treatens to shake and his ears are hot as he realizes he is feeding Viktor Nikiforov in public! 

 

Viktor leans over and takes the bite, licking drips of soup from the end of the chopsticks as he pulls back. He hasn’t even finished eating the bite before he is exclaiming excitedly, “Vkusno! This must be what God eats! There are no words!”

 

Yuuri’s eyes widen marginally as he takes in Viktor’s reaction, “ Really? You like it that much?!” 

 

Viktor is practically squirming out of his seat and he nods with a definite ‘mhmm’ before he swallows and sighs happily, “So good!” 

 

They both return to their food, occasionally giving each other bites across the table between words of steady conversation. Eventually, they are talking over empty bowls, and at some point their hands came together on top of the table, neither of which noticed, they were too engrossed in the words of the other. 

 

Yuuri smiles as he realizes Viktor has a stray piece of rice on his cheek near the side of his mouth.  He really can’t help himself as he reaches forward, using his thumb to wipe the rice off of Viktor’s cheek before placing it in his own mouth. It takes a second to process, but Yuuri gasps hides behind his hands, mortified at what he’d just done. “I uh- I didn’t mean! Sorry! I…That was weird… Sorry!” 

 

Viktor’s mouth is open in shock, his hand coming up to his cheek as he glances down, hiding his eyes shyly, “That’s... I mean...It’s okay.” 

 

Yuuri quickly stands with an embarassed nod, muttering something about paying the check, but really just needing a break to collect himself again. 

 

Once the check is paid Yuuri comes back under a forced calm and gathers Viktor. They walk in an awkward silence the rest of the way to the hotel. 

 

“This is me,” Viktor speaks quietly, gesturing to his door. Yuuri had walked him up, the awkward silnce more of a comfortable one by this time. 

 

“Oh, okay. I um.. Thank you for coming out with me tonight. And I’m sorry about-” Yuuri’s hand comes up behind his head, scratching through his hair. 

 

Viktor interrupts him, “Don’t apologize. I had a good time, Yuuri. Really. Thank you for tonight…. For everything?”

 

“Anytime, Vitya.” Viktor’s words calm Yuuri down and he leans casually against the wall next to Viktor’s door, not quite wanting to leave. He really enjoys Viktor’s presence… It’s calming and fun and just… Yuuri shakes his head. I can’t let myself get caught up. I need to focus on my competition… Besides! I have a soulmate. And he does too! I can’t do this to myself… It’ll only hurt-

 

Viktor’s giggles punctuate Yuuri’s thoughts, “I like that… Vitya…”

 

Yuuri thinks back and realizes he hasn’t called Viktor that just once, but multiple times throughout the night, “Oh I’m sorry! I never asked if that’s alright! I heard it from Yuri at practice. He explained it a little bit to me. Is it alright? If not I can call you Viktor… I mean I don’t want to impose or push things on you… and I know diminutives are really important in Russia, and I’m not Russian, so I don’t know if it would be okay for me to use it and-”

 

Viktor reaches up and cups Yuuri’s cheek, subconsciously running his thumb across the soft skin there, “Yuuri, I like it. Really. Please call me that more.” 

 

Yuuri leans into Viktor’s touch, enjoying the warmth and tenderness Viktor uses, “O-Okay, Vitya… I guess I should really let you get to bed. We have the short program tomorrow.”

 

“Will I get to see you again? Out of practice?” Please say yes… I really want to spend more time with you… I haven’t felt this relaxed… this cared for in years…  

 

Yuuri reaches forward and brushes a strand of Viktor’s hair out of his face, “I’ll make sure of it.” He gets stuck staring into the deep blue pools of Viktor’s eyes, falling and drowning in the depths.

 

Viktor thinks silently for a moment, eyes closed before he nods and Yuuri notices he looks determined about something. He wonders what that something is until Viktor suddenly leans forward and kisses Yuuri’s cheek, lingering just a second too long, “Sounds like a plan…” 

 

Yuuri is speechless, “I uh… Um.. Vitya?”

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow.” He smiles nervously and quickly lets himself into his room, leaning against it once he has it closed, one hand on his lips, the other on his chest trying to quiet his pounding heartbeat. I wonder… Could you hear my heartbeat, Yuuri? He closes his eyes and replays tonight in his head, smiling wildly. He’s so lost in his thoughts he doesn’t see the pouting kitten on the bed. 

 

“Viktor!? Where were you? You just disappeared from practice!” Yuri snaps, wanting to come across angry, but it’s obvious he is relieved Viktor’s back. When he couldn’t find him, he’d been worried something happened. 

 

“I’m sorry I worried you, I was with Yuuri. He took me out for dinner tonight,” Viktor’s voice is dripping with love sick and his cheeks start to hurt with how much he’s smiling. 

 

Yuri walks over and looks Viktor over carefully, looking for any sign of injury or discomfort and finding none, just a love sick puppy dog look in his eyes. Gross… “He better not have done anything you didn’t want…” He speaks petulantly. 

 

“He wouldn’t. Yura, I… I trust him…” Viktor speaks seriously and slowly. Him and Yuri had come up with a phrase to let each other know when there was someone they really wanted to hold on to. Someone that they trust… “I trust him.” 

 

The words catch Yuri by surprise, and suddenly he looks at Viktor and his eyes sting at the treat of tears. He’s not sure he’s ever seen Viktor look so… happy. It’s like he’s glowing… and this is all because of that Yuuri? That Japanese piggy? “You… You really like him don’t you?” He whispers.

 

Viktor falls back on the bed, covering his face, “I… I do. I really do… Yura, he’s just so…. Everything…”

____

 

Yuuri walks back quietly to his and Phichit’s shared room, his hand on his cheek. It’s as if he can still feel Viktor’s kiss. It’s like electricity on his skin. He lets himself in and falls back against the door. So much for not getting involved… I’m drawn to him! 

 

Phichit comes up immediately with a scolding look and places his hands on his hips, “Yuuuuuri! Explain yourself!”

 

“Oh Phichit…. I uh… I was just out to dinner… With. Viktor…” the last two words come out soft, like he still doesn’t believe tonight happened.

 

Phichit relents with a knowing smirk, pulling Yuuri over to the bed, “I figured as much… Well? Give me all the deets!” 



Yuuri flops on the bed next to Phichit, curling up and hugging a pillow close to his chest, “I took him to Akimine Ramen, he said he’d never tried ramen before… And Then I walked him home… He-.... He kissed my cheek…” Yuuri is still beet red as he returns his hands softly to his cheek.  

 

Phichit squeals and sits up onto his knees, tackling Yuuri on the bed, straddling him to make the grip easier, “Awwwww!” 

 

“Oh hush! I’m sure it meant nothing! Its probably just a cultural thing… But… He said I can call him Vitya…”

 

“Awwwwwwww! My OTP!” Phichit sits up and is practically fist pumping. He’s so excited for Yuuri. 

 

“Oh stop it fanboy…” Yuuri laughs, pulling the pillow over his face, causing Phichit to giggle. 

 

“So, honestly, what do you think of him?”

 

Yuuri sits up and looks Phichit in the eyes, his heart is so full from his feelings of Viktor he feel like he could cry. “He’s so perfect! So much more than I could have dreamed! He’s just… Everything.”

Chapter Text

The air is electric as the skaters stretch and warm up gently for the beginning of the day. The short program. The audience members are buzzing with excitement over their favorite skaters, and oozing their pride for each one. Yuuri and Viktor, however are in their own little world it seems. The russian and Japanese teams had claimed space near each other in the waiting area and no one missed the stolen glances and shy smiles between the two oblivious idiots. 

 

“Yuuri!” Celestino chastises, his voice tired and somewhat irritated, “How many times do I have to tell you! You’re literally the first skater! You have to focus!” He places his hands on Yuuri’s shoulders, startling his gaze from the silver haired man a few yards away. 

 

“Uh- Sorry!” Yuuri shakes his head, “I’ll do better!” He turns to Viktor once more who seems to be giving him a teasing look of being caught, at least until he received a similar reprimanding from Yakov. The two of them nod and focus as much as they can on their warm ups from that point on. 

 

“Attention skaters, would the first group please make their way to the ice for the 6 minute warm up,” An unexcited voice sounds over the speakers, calling the members of the first group rinkside. 

 

Katsuki Yuuri. Viktor Nikiforov. Otabek Altin. Jean Jaques Leroy. Cao Bin. Leo De La Iglesia. 

 

They wait until the official start announcement before entering the ice, skating warm up laps before breaking off into their own devices, practicing a myriad of spins, jumps, and other elements from each of their skates. 

 

Viktor and Yuuri try to stay apart, they really do, but with each move they end up closer and closer, focused on each other until they realize they are mirroring each other… Matching spins, matching jumps… Almost as if they were pair skating. It was something they just fell into, neither skating things from their choreography as they lose their focus of the competition.  

 

Before they knew it, 6 minutes passed and the skaters were called off the ice. Everyone except Yuuri, who was receiving another stern talking to from his coach. He shakes his shoulders and allows himself to think. 

 

I’ve done this routine a million times. I could do it in my sleep… I always get too focused on the technicality… but that isn’t going to work here. I need to be better. I need to just lose myself to the music. That’s when I’m at my best. Lose myself in the skate. Okya Okay...

 

“Please welcome to the ice, representing Japan in the Men’s single firgure skating division, Katsuki Yuuri!” 

 

The audience goes wild, ecstatic the men’s skating is finally starting. There’s just something about it. It makes it addicting to watch.

 

Yuuri skates, taking one more lap and just a few more warm up bunny hops, skating to the center before the 30 seconds is up and taking his starting position. 

 

The first note sounds and Yuuri throws himself into motion. He’d loved this routine since the beginning, becoming enthralled with the difficult technical work of his step sequence, which he starts into with a smile, following the energy of the music. 

 

His skates scrape against the ice, rolling with deep edges as he turns and steps with the music, making sure to stay on tempo as he let’s his body do the work. 

 

I’m still too stiff… Come on Yuuri. Viktor is watching! You can’t let him down! You need to show him you’re just as worthy of the ice as he is! Maybe… Maybe I should skate like I used to… Skate like Viktor would… 

 

He feels his body shift, losing himself him is memories of imitating Viktor with Yuuko as a kid. Before he knows it he’s throwing himself into his first jump, a triple axel, his favorite. 

 

You’ve spent so many years watching him. You know you’re better than you have been. It’s time to show him that. It’s time to show everyone that… 

 

His mind blanks as he moves and before he knows it the song’s last note is ringing through the arena. Not that you can hear it, the crowd is going crazy to see Yuuri skate like this. With no mistakes. 

 

Yuuri’s heaving for breaths as he bows to each side of the rink, waving to fans and picking up a stuffed onigiri that was thrown before skating over to the exit, letting Cao bin onto the ice behind him. He’s met with Phichit who is giving him a suspicious glare, and a teasing smile. 

 

“You know. If I’d have known it would take getting Viktor near you to get you to skate like this, I would’ve done it a long time ago,” Phichit nudges Yuuri’s ribs earning a pout.

 

“It’s not like that! It’s just… This is worlds. If I’m going to have a chance at Podium, I need to step it up… no big deal.” Yuuri shrugs off hoping the heat of his cheeks is hidden by exertion as he pretends that he didn’t just think about Viktor Nikiforov for the entirety of his skate…

 

Phichit doesn’t believe him. And Yuuri knows that, but the both drop it. Yuuri walks out to the interview room, being bombarded by flashes of cameras and pressing news reporters. He barely makes it to the podium through the crowd and is pointing to one of the reporters in the front row, a familiar face. Morooka. 

 

“Katuski! I think we all noticed a dramatic change in your skating today that we haven’t seen in previous skates this season. What changed?” 

 

Yuuri leans forward, tapping nervously on his leg behind the podium as he tries to think of how to answer the question. 

 

“Um… I’ve been practicing something of a technique that I used to use when I was in Juniors. I guess you could say I’m looking up to someone, just like then. Someone… important to me.” Yuuri’s words drop as he realizes how that sounds, and the reporters go crazy. 

 

Yurio is helping Viktor stretch, pushing down on his back until he’s in a flat pancake split. He’s the last one to skate in the group, so he is trying to keep his muscles warm until it’s his time to skate. 

 

He feels oddly relaxed. Usually he feels more pressured, either by the fact that Demyan is around, or because he has to constantly keep his persona up the whole competition as he is followed by paparazzi and fans. This is different though. Yuuri’s made it so they found time away from the lights. Found time that Viktor could relax. And it really was so easy to relax with Yuuri. He felt completely safe. Like he could be himself like he hadn’t been able to in years. It’s a freeing feeling, even if it is a bit terrifying after so long. 

 

Who am I? Who did I used to be? It’s been _____ years since I was able to just enjoy myself… Just enjoy my sport. Here’s my chance… I might be able to reclaim myself out there… I’ll have a chance to show exactly who I want to be… Someone who is free… Someone who is happy… Someone like Yuuri. 

 

Viktor’s thoughts are interrupted as he hears the music come to a close on the ice. It’s his turn. 

 

He stands and walks over the rinkside, unguarding his blades to step onto the ice as Leo steps off. He skates around, letting himself just feel the ice under his blades. I remember the first time I ever stepped on the ice. He stops by the edge of the rink, only half listening to Yakov’s lecture as his thoughts trail back to his past. Back to when he had fun on the ice. 

 

“Welcome to the ice, Representing Russia, Viktor Nikiforov!” The crowd as always goes crazy as Viktor presents himself on the ice with wide waves. 

 

He takes his pose and closes his eyes with a deep breath.  Just let yourself feel… Be the you you want to be… The you that Yuuri brings out… 

 

Viktor glides across the ice, his movements unhindered… free as he turns and throws himself into his first jump. He feels himself go faster as he spins in place. The program is going better than he ever imagined it could be… It was one Demyan designed afterall. It was time for Viktor to make it his own.

 

I haven’t felt like this for so long… I feel like I’m flying… This… This is who I can be.... No. This is who I am! Yuuri brought it out so easily… Supported me without even realizing… This is who I can be with him! This is who I can be without…. Without Demyan! 

 

His step sequence falters slightly at the thought of Demyan, but Viktor recovers, filling his head with thoughts of Yuuri… with thoughts of Yura… With thoughts of Yakov… He opens his heart and lets it spill across the ice, letting himself dance in the way he wants. In the way that no one dictates… no one tells him to do. He skates for himself until his arms wrap himself in his final pose, his eyes leaking tears as he realizes just how free he feels. How supported he feels… 

 

The crowd is deafeningly loud as they scream their approval and Viktor brings himself back into the present, smiling widely for the first time in forever as he lets himself feel proud. He waves to everyone, tears still spilling over his cheeks and he laughs. His chest tightening in disbelief that he could ever feel this way. 

 

Yakov meets Viktor at rinkside with a rare smile, pulling his prodgeny into his arms for a tight hug. He know’s Viktor has lost himself over time… He’s seen the slow descent into the shell of a man Viktor had become on the ice, skating robotically, without emotion. He saw how Viktor pushed himself to reclaim the ice in the skate. And regardless of scores, he couldn’t be any more proud of his son. 

 

They sit in the Kiss and Cry, sharing just one more tight hug before the announcer comes on the speaker with the score. 

 

“And now, the short program score for Viktor Nikiforov… 111.21! Ladies and Gentleman, Viktor Nikiforov has broken the world record once again! Surpassing his own score set two years ago!”

 

Viktor’s eyes blink and his jaw drops in shock until he feels himself hefted up, hefted onto Yakov’s shoulder, cheering coming from the coach. 

 

Yakov feels so much pride and joy, he doesn’t notice just how light Viktor is… Just how thin his limbs feel. It’s all masked by the celebration.

Chapter Text

Phichit is standing rinkside as he waits for the skater ahead of him to come off the ice. It’s been a long day of waiting and stretching at this point, having picked for the second to last spot to skate. He felt confident and a little nervous. Yuuri actually had a chance to watch him this time… really watch. There had always been other things to pull Yuuri’s attention from him. But not this time. Phichit would make sure of it. 

 

The skater’s music comes to an end and Phichit turns to Yuuri taking the older man's hands in his tightly and forcing Yuuri to look at him in confusion.

 

“Hey, Phich? Are you alright? You’re going to be okay. You know this.” Yuuri smiles encouragingly, it’s not like Phichit to get nervous. 

 

“I’m just fine,” Phichit smiles, but the look in his eyes is pleading… begging, “I need you to watch me skate. I mean really watch. Please?” His hands squeeze Yuuri’s in his own and his voice drops just a little.

 

Yuuri can tell Phichit is serious and nods, squeezing Phichit’s fingers back, “I promise.”

 

With those two words, Phichit’s back to his normal self and stepping onto the ice immediately skating quick circles around the rink before coming to speak to Celestino. 

 

“Please welcome to the Ice, representing Thailand, Phichit Chulanont!” 

 

Phichit’s smile is wide and excited as he waves to the crowd with both hands, making cute peace signs and blowing kisses until he gets to the center, stopping and taking his starting position. The music starts. 

 

It’s a slower song than Yuuri is used to seeing Phichit skate. He remembers the younger man saying he wanted to skate about love and friendship this season, and the song portrays that perfectly. Yuuri’s eyes are transfixed as Phichit dances across the ice.

 

Phichit makes sure to make eye contact with Yuuri before turning into his combination spin.

 

Yuuri. I’ve been here all along… I’ve supported you in everything. I need you to know that I’m here. I’m not invisible. I’ve stood in the background. I’ve hidden things from you. Things I didn’t even realize until Chris forced me to see. I need to make you see. To make you understand. 

 

He comes out of the spin, reaching high to the sky before pulling back, as if what he is reaching for is something he isn’t allowed to touch. Something that if he grasped, would burn him where he stood. He steps into a series of twists, turning back and forth as if surrounded by something- needing to find the way out, but at the same time he moves as if he’d rather just stay... Stay in the fog of what’s around him, even if he feels lost and isolated. 

 

I’ve been your roommate since we lived with Celestino. I’ve known you for 5 years and my life is so different now than it used to be. You’ve changed and I’ve changed in so many ways since then. I’ve gotten to see every step you’ve took. Every panic attack. Every all night study session. Every breakup. Every break down. Every single time a new mark has blossomed like a cancerous wall flower across your skin. Injuries that weren’t yours…  I’ve seen it all, and I accept every part of you. You’re perfect in every way no matter what happens… I didn’t see for so long, but maybe I did and just tried to hide it. It’s not my place.

 

Phichit glides into an outside spread eagle before throwing himself into a triple axel. 

 

Yuuri recognizes his jump in Phichit’s skating and his eyes that had been watering up to this point finally spill over his cheeks as he realizes what Phichit is saying to him. It’s in every movement, “Oh Phichit…” Yuuri suddenly feels very guilty, his heart tearing at him in his chest as he forces himself to keep his head up through the sobs. No matter how much it hurts, he promised Phichit he’d watch. 

 

Don’t you see Yuuri? See everything you make me feel. I thought I could just hide away, maybe you’d never know. But it was killing me inside. I know nothing will ever become of this… of us, but I needed you to see everything… I’ll always be your best friend. I know I won’t be anything more and I’ve accepted that, but I needed to tell you, if only for this one time. I love you! Yuuri I’ve loved you for so long… 

 

Yuuri can see the glistening of Phichit’s cheeks and knows that the younger man is crying, spilling his heartache across the scratched glass below him for everyone to see. But that doesn’t matter. He’s skating for one person now and anyone who knows the pair, knows that. 

 

It all becomes too much, Yuuri’s sobs come out uncontrollably, shaking his form and coming out in screams behind his hands as his knees collapse underneath him. His heart is aching, feeling guilt, and love, and pain. 

 

Phichit holds his tears back as much as he can until he comes to his final stop, on foot crossed behind him, his right hand over his heart, and his left reaching up, reaching for something he can never reach.  Only when the music has stopped does he let himself feel everything, his chest shuddering in the same sobs as Yuuri, tears dripping to freeze in small raised bumps on the ice below. It didn’t matter that this was the first time he’d ever skated this routine flawlessly. All that mattered was that Yuuri finally knew everything. He could hate Phichit, and that terrified the young Thai, but his shoulders feel lighter. All that he could do is wait and pray. 

 

He picks himself off the ice after a short moment, turning to bow in each direction with a proud thankful smile on his cheeks, as if the tears weren’t still falling. When he gets to rinkside, he realizes the power of everything he’d done on the ice, Chris gives him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder before skating out. 

 

Next to the wall, Yuuri is curled up, hands over his eyes and he is shaking, obviously crying. Phichit takes a deep breath, and smiles slightly. He knows Yuuri understood everything. Phichit doesn’t care how Yuuri sees him, it doesn’t matter either way to him, and right now, Yuuri needs his best friend. 

 

He walks over on guarded blades and sits himself next to Yuuri, pulling the man into a hug and letting Yuuri’s tears leave tearstains across his shirt. Phichit let’s himself cry to, his tears soaking into Yuuri’s hair as they sit there for who knows how long. Everything else could wait. They could talk about everything later. What they needed now was the support of their best friend in the whole world, they needed each other. 

Chapter Text

Awkward hours pass until the skaters are able to leave the competition for the day. The current first place holder is Viktor Nikiforov, unsurprisingly with his world record breaking skate, and right behind him, much more of a surprise, is Phichit Chulanont. Yuuri Katsuki is currently in 4th place behind Otabek Altin. 

 

But none of that matters right now. What matters now are the two skaters that Celestino is leading out of the rink. Phichit and Yuuri. The other skaters knew that it wasn’t such a good idea to approach either of them at that moment. They needed time to figure things out. Even Viktor and Yurio kept their distance, instead following their coach out. 

 

Celestino doesn’t ask what’s going on. He already knows. He’s known for years that this day would come. He just needs to give his skaters time to talk. They needed to work this out on their own. He drops them off at their shared hotel room, giving them both proud hugs and prideful praises for their hard work today before stepping away to his own room. 

 

Yuuri and Phichit let themselves into the room and the tension becomes thick. So much that you could cut it with a knife. Both have words on the edge of their tongues, but neither speaks, unwilling to mention the elephant in the room. They pack their stuff from the day away into the closet, the room silent until they are both sitting on the edge of the bed, Yuuri fidgeting with his fingers in his lap, and Phichit unable to sit still. 

 

It’s only then that Phichit breaks the silence. 

 

“Colour?” He questions. One of their codes to tell each other where they are each at mentally. 

 

Yuuri sighs and thinks about his mindset for a moment for answering. He knows he needs to be completely honest with Phichit. Just like always. “It’s hard to describe. I feel grey… yellow? My mind is kind of everywhere.” 

 

Phichit nods in agreement, “Me too. Yuuri. I just want you to know, this doesn’t have to change anything between us. None at all.”

 

Yuuri shakes his head, speaking his thoughts aloud. They won’t get anywhere if they aren’t open. “How will it not change? Phichit… I’ve been hurting you… I didn’t even know…” Yuuri sniffles, his voice going quiet, but he keeps strong. 

 

“You didn’t know because you don’t feel the same. Not about me.” Phichit feels his heart constrict for a moment, but the lingering pain of hiding everything for so long is gone. “I knew that all along and I’ve accepted that. My feelings for you are something I knew would never change that about you.”

 

“Then why tell me in the first place?!” Yuuri snaps. He doesn’t mean to. He really doesn’t. The guilt in his chest is exploding, the pain of having hurt his best friend for so long bursting into anger at himself, but coming out in yells at Phichit. His eyes spill over again, the tears scalding his skin, “If you knew it wouldn’t change anything… Why?” 

 

Phichit stays silent for a moment, thinking of his answer and feeling a little guilty… He never meant for Yuuri to feel like this. “I needed to tell you. Even if I knew nothing would change. It was eating at me every day. If I ever want to be able to move past this, I needed you to know.” 

 

“But why now? Why now when we’re competing… when you know everything going on with Vik-...” Yuuri cuts himself short, his guilt morphing into regret. He remembers every time he’d forgotten about Phichit because he was more interested in idolizing Viktor, or worrying about his mysterious soulmate. He regrets because Phichit didn’t tell him. No. Couldn’t tell him. Yuuri never gave him the chance to. 

 

Phichit takes the chance to reach out and touch Yuuri’s hand, bringing him out of his thoughts. “Yuuri. There is something you should know. I love you. I have for a while. But I met… I met someone. Before I was able to just live with things how they were. It didn’t matter to me either way. Not until recently.” Phichit’s eyes drop, feeling almost shameful at telling Yuuri everything only to tell him he wants to move on. 

 

Yuuri stares for a moment, sniffling and trying to find some sort of way to fix the situation. He felt as if he owed Phichit… owed him for years of pushing him aside. “I-... I don’t know what to say... I’m sorry… I’m sorry for everything…”

 

Phichit watches as Yuuri visibly deflates, “You don’t have anything to be sorry for, Yuuri. I know you don’t feel the same way and that’s okay. I promise. I love having you as my best friend just as much.” Phichit smiles and he knows in his heart, that while he loves Yuuri, it’s not enough to make him want to lose his best friend… 

 

“I love having you as my best friend too. I… I love you… Just not… like that. You’re my family Phichit.” Yuuri speaks softly, squeezing Phichit’s hand in his own. 

 

“I know, and you’re mine, and that’s enough,” Phichit tilts forward and leans his head against Yuuri’s moving closer to cuddle him, just like always. Something so mundane to them that Yuuri falls into the embrace. “Let’s keep things the same, okay? I want to move on.” Phichit whispers.

 

Yuuri nods softly, nuzzling under Phichit’s chin, wrapping his arms around Phichit’s middle. “Okay… So.. Who is this guy?” Yuuri’s voice sounds awkward, but he really does try to make the effort to just be the same, maybe with time, it’ll become easier, and they will be able to tell this story at each other’s weddings some day, laughing it off. 

 

Phichit smiles and speaks as if he’s about to give Yuuri the juiciest gossip, “It’s Chris. I.. Yuuri… He’s my soulmate…” 

 

That sentence causes Yuuri to lean back, giving a wide eyed stare of surprise to his roommate, “He what?! How do you know?!”

 

The younger of the two can’t help but laugh at Yuuri’s reaction, giggling loudly trying to stifle them with a hand over his mouth. When he finally settles down, he boops Yuuri’s nose trying to erase the pout from his face before speaking, “You remember when we went to the bar? And that guy was being an asshole and you and Yuri took Viktor to the back?” 

 

Yuuri nods, curiosity filling his features.

 

“Well. Things got a bit heated. The guy tried to follow you and Otabek stepped in the way to give you guys time. Yuuri the guy swung at Otabek!”

 

Yuuri gasps, “No way!”

 

Phichit nods excitedly, “He missed of course, the guy was drunk as a skunk... seriously… But anyway, I was the next closest and apparently caught his interest with Viktor out of his sight.” Phichit shivers as he remembers the scene, “He grabbed me around the waist, and tried to pull me to go with him. I fought, but he was stronger than he looked. Thankfully Chris stepped in. He punched the guy and pulled me away! It was incredible Yuuri! He was so heroic!” 

 

Yuuri is so enthralled with the story he can’t help by smile at Phichit’s enthusiasm, waiting for him to continue. 

 

“So anyway… The owner came over and kicked him out, and was about to kick us out too, but people vouched for us that we didn’t do anything that wasn’t self defense. When he was gone, that’s when Chris realized that my hand was bleeding. He looked it over for me and Otabek was actually the one to point out that Chris had a matching injury. His hand was bleeding too, from when he hit the guy. They matched perfectly…”

 

“You found him,” Yuuri smiles widely, pulling Phichit into a tight hug. “That’s so exciting Peach! Why didn’t you say anything sooner!?” 

 

“When would I have had the time to, Mr. ‘I’m going to spend every waking moment with Viktor Nikiforov’?”

 

The awkwardness between the two fades away as Yuuri smack Phichit’s shoulder with a pout, causing the latter to laugh wildly. Nothing would ever change the fact that these two were bonded in a way that wasn’t by soulmate bond, or even blood. These two were bonded family by choice. And they won’t let anything, even each other, separate them.

Chapter Text

“Yuuri! Wake up!” Phichit speaks loudly, gently shaking Yuuri from his sleep where they had been snuggled together, falling asleep after having started a pay per view movie to ease all the tension. When Yuuri doesn’t wake up, Phichit resorts to drastic measures. He’s unable to move with Yuuri snuggling into him with a vice grip, so he leans forward and playfully licks Yuuri’s face.

 

Yuuri groans and sputters in surprise as he wipes his face dry, “Phichit Gross!! What are you doing?!”

 

“You have to wake up. You’re going to be late.” Phichit giggles stretching as he finally starts to regain feeling in his arm. 

 

“Late for what?” Yuuri is rubbing his eyes, hugging a pillow to his chest as he sits up.

 

Phichit guiltily holds up Yuuri’s phone in front of him. “I may or may not have used your phone last night…”

 

“Phichit. What. Did. You. Do?” Yuuri snatches his phone from Phichit’s grasp, immediately opening his messages frantically. His hand comes up to cover his mouth as he realizes just what his roommate got him into. 

 

“Don’t hate me! Here me out!” Phichit is holding his hands up in defense, but is smiling widely regardless.

 

Yuuri takes a deep breath, trying to settle his nerves, and nods.

 

“I wanted to make things up to you. Help you relax a bit before the free skate tomorrow. I know last time you went out with Viktor went really well, I haven’t seen you that happy in months! I… I wanted to make you happy again… And I know he does.” Phichit looks sheepish as his voice drops sadly. He’d really missed seeing Yuuri so carefree and relaxed. 

 

“Phichit…” Yuuri doesn’t have it in him to be mad. He feels guilty that he’d put Phichit through so much the past few years. “I’m sorry… I haven’t been a good friend to you, but here you are, always trying to cheer me up. I’ll take Viktor out on the date. And I promise… I’m going to be a better friend to you… You deserve the world.” He leans forward and pulls Phichit into a tight embrace, nuzzling his face into the younger man’s hair.

 

Phichit can’t help the wide smile across his cheeks. He’d really missed his friend….

_____

 

Yuuri sits in the stiff, yet comfortable chair that is settled near the fireplace in the hotel lobby. He feels different… maybe from the outfit Phichit made him wear. He wore dark denim jeans, ones that wrapped comfortably tight around his thighs and… assets, as well as a plain blue tee shirt, layered under a long sleeved, navy plaid, button up. He’d long since rolled the sleeves up because jeez… It’s like a sauna in here. He runs his hand through his hair once more, ensuring the gel he used is keeping the strands in place. His eyes are somewhat itchy, courtesy of still adjusting to the contact lenses. But he doesn’t dare rub his eyes, for fear of ruining the thin line of eyeliner his roommate insisted on.  

 

Yuuri glances at his watch, his leg bouncing erratically as his nerves build. He feels as if he’s been waiting here forever. In all actuality, it’d been about 10 minutes, and of course he’d shown up about 15 minutes early as it was, afraid of making Viktor wait. His nerves have him so wound up, he doesn’t hear soft, shy footsteps behind him.

 

“H-Hi, Yuuri,” a familiar voice whispers. 

 

Yuuri startles so much, he nearly tumbles forward out of his seat. 

 

“Vitya!” It’s all he gets out before Viktor is in his vision, stealing his breath away.

 

Yuuri’s not sure he’s ever seen Viktor in jeans, but the light colored denim really suits him, especially when paired with the silky pink dress shirt he wears. The lightness, like his hair, makes his azure eyes pop, bringing the color out to be the focus of his face. Yuuri feels lightheaded, Viktor making him forget to breathe. He forces a shaky breath through his lips. 

 

“Wow, Vitya… You look… Stunning.” Yuuri’s cheeks and ears are hot, but he catches Viktor’s eye and smiles fondly. 

 

“Thank you. I think you look incredible,” Viktor sounds nervous and breathy, words hesitant. He doesn’t know how to act… This is all new to him… Will Yuuri treat him like Demyan? No… Yuuri isn’t like him. Not at all. Yuuri is safe… I’m safe with Yuuri. 

 

They both stare for a moment, losing each other, before Yuuri breaks the silence.

 

“Are you ready to go?” He gestures to the door, holding out his free hand to Viktor in an invitation.

 

Viktor nods, smile genuine, yet timorous, as he places his hand in Yuuri’s. 

_____

 

They stroll hand in hand, falling into their comfortable silence. Yuuri has so many ideas for the day running through his mind, but what they do depends on Viktor. On what he likes. Yuuri is galvanized to show Viktor how he deserves to be treated, unlike the other guys the Russian mentioned in passing over dinner the last time they’d been together. 

 

“Hey, Vitya?” Yuuri’s grip on Viktor’s hand tightens slightly, gaining the attention of the latter. 

 

Viktor turns to look at him with a responding ‘hmm?’.

 

“I was just wondering what kind of things you like to do? I never really asked you before.” The younger man smiles, hoping to encourage Viktor to open up to him more. 

 

Viktor’s eyes widen as he realizes he doesn’t know the answer to that question right away. What I like to do? I don’t know… It’s been so long since I was able to do what I wanted… What did I used to like before? So many things taken from me… Viktor finally relaxes and smiles as he remembers something, “I like shopping, and classical music, and dancing.” He lists off. Things that he wanted during every miserable second of captivity with Demyan, but was never given the freedom to have, not on the terms he liked. 

 

Yuuri’s eyes lighten as he realizes they have some things in common aside from skating. He knows exactly what he’ll do for Viktor today. 

_____

 

Yuuri leads Viktor to the front doors of a stunning large building, the script on the sign out front, impossible for the Russian to understand. He sees when they step inside that it is some sort of theatre, a short line at the box office selling tickets to people who are much more well dressed than either of them. 

 

“Yuuri? What is this place?” Viktor asks, taking in the high ceilings and beautiful decor with awed eyes. 

 

Viktor takes in the scenery, but Yuuri prefers to just watch Viktor, taking notice at each change in expression and making sure not to be caught staring by the man in question. “This is the Sapporo Concert Hall, They have a concert today that I’d been looking at going to, but wanted to share with you as well,” Yuuri crimsons as he steps up and places a hand on Viktor’s lower back, leading him to the ticket counter. 

 

“(How can I help you?)” The ticket seller is curt and obviously looking over Viktor and Yuuri’s attire, sneering at them rudely. 

 

Yuuri abjectedly passes his credit card across the counter,politely asking for two tickets for the best seats available. Yuuri is thankful that Viktor is still lost looking over all of the decor that he doesn’t see the impudent rolling of eyes the teller gives them both, at least until he looks at the name on the card. 

 

“(Um. Excuse me. Are you Yuuri Katsuki of Hasetsu? The Figure Skater?)” he asks shakily as the card quivers in his fingers. 

 

Yuuri nods once, heart racing with anxiety of a possible issue “(Is there a problem with my card?)” 

 

The ticket seller shakes her head, bowing it low in apology, “(I apologize for my behavior, sir. I didn’t realize who you were.)” The man hands over two tickets and the card, uncharged. 

 

“(Um. It’s okay? What’s this about?)” Yuuri takes the tickets and glances at the seats. The ones printed are the ones he knows are reserved for only the highest of regarded people. “(Surely there’s been a mistake?)”

 

“(Nonsense, Our owner is very fond of you and told everyone on staff that if you were to ever come to our concert hall, that you wouldn’t be charged, and that we were to give you the best seats possible.)” The man’s demeanor has changed completely, from rude to venerating in only a second. 

 

“(Who’s the owner?)” Yuuri inquires curiously. 

 

“(That would be Ketty Abelashvili. She’s our new owner, taking over for her grandfather only in the past year.)” 

 

Yuuri smiles in recognition. “(Thank you, I’ll have to let her know my thanks, I know she’s running business in Europe with a composition commission, so I’ll contact her myself.)” With that he turns with a prideful smile for his dear friend. She’d graduated from their college a year and a half ago, running a concert hall was her dream and Yuuri couldn’t be more proud. “Vitya, It’s time for us to take our seats, the show is starting soon.” Yuuri calls, drawing Viktor back from his exploration of the adornments.

 

Together they walk into the concert hall and up to one of the balconies, this one overlooking the stage with an amazing, unobstructed view. Viktor is star struck, looking excitedly at everything and only getting to his seat because Yuuri is leading him by his hand. 

 

Yuuri settles them down into 2 of the 8 seats in the balcony and quickly sends a text to Phichit, letting him know about the turn of events, thanks to Ketty. He turns back to Viktor and feels his breath taken from him at the bewildered, excited, and whimsical look that Viktor has. He feels his heart pound as he realizes not for the first time today, that he is on an honest to god DATE with Viktor Nikiforov! And his heart is pounding in his chest as he realizes that he’s happy… not that he’s on a date with his idol, but that being with Viktor just feels… right. 

 

Within minutes, people are seated and the lights dim over the audience as the spotlights come up on the stage, reflecting against the small metal pieces of instruments. The room falls to silence as a single violin and piano begin to play a slow, harmonious introduction. 

 

Viktor leans back with his eyes closed, reaching for Yuuri’s hand as he lets himself fully engulf in the music. “ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso…. Saint Saens.” While Viktor listens, Yuuri just stares, the music forgotten as he just reads the music of Viktor’s body language, knowing that Viktor shares a deeper connection to music than he ever will… It’s beautiful watching his body react. Feeling his fingers twitch with the beat of the piano… almost as if he was itching to play. 

 

They continue on like this, enjoying the concert… the music… everything… It isn’t until the apex of a symphony that Yuuri realizes just how much Viktor is connected… The harmony revolves into a large climax of the piece and Yuuri, who had turned his attention to the stage, feels droplets on his hand, that had since been pulled into Viktor’s lap. The older man’s eyes drip with tears and he shudders with a smile as goosebumps scatter across his skin like quick paced musical notes.

 

Yuuri doesn’t say anything, but his heart stutters and his cheeks rush to heat. I… I l-like him… This feeling I have… I think… I’m falling for him… He smiles at the thought before pulling his hand from Viktor’s death grip, and instead placing his arm behind Viktor’s shoulders. 

 

Viktor gasps, looking at Yuuri in surprise. He seems… nervous? He’s… he’s so cute… and… such a gentleman… Viktor doesn’t even realize when he leans into Yuuri, scooting closer to him, as much as his seat will allow. 

______

 

A few hours, symphonies, and nervous cuddles later, the two walk comfortably together, Viktor’s arm wrapped around Yuuri’s as he follows him through the streets. 

 

“I didn’t realize how much you’d like the concert,” Yuuri smiles, “I’m glad we went!” I didn’t realize just how much you loved music… But now thinking of your skating… Everything makes sense.

 

“I’m glad you took me,” He replies with  gentle smiles as they walk. 

 

“I have plans for later as well, but first we need to get a few things in order.” Yuuri winks conspiratorially with a finger to his lips, keeping his plans secret. 

 

“Oh I love surprises!” Well.. I used to.. 

 

Yuuri smiles, placing his free hand over Viktor’s on his arm, “I’m glad. I’m taking you shopping first, we need to get you something you can move in.” 

 

Yuuri leads them to a tall tower labeled JR tower, and within, Viktor can see the many shops of Stellar Place shopping center. 

 

“Oh wow~” Viktor practically skips forward, hands clapped together in front of his mouth as he takes in all the surroundings. 

 

Yuuri can’t help but giggle at the childish nature of his date as he follows along, letting the man explore as he pleases. He checks his phone as he receives a message from his old teacher, Minako.

 

M: Everythings set up. Studio’s yours at 9. She’s going to leave you with a copy of the key. 

 

Y: Great! Thanks again, this really means a lot…

 

M: No problem, champ. :)

 

Yuuri smiles at the old nickname, before looking up to see Viktor gazing widely at the beautiful fountain set up in the center of the entry hall, “Beautiful isn’t it?”

 

“I really want to fill it with bubbles!” 

 

“I’m not sure the employees would like that too much,” Yuuri laughs openly at the mischievous look in Viktor’s eyes.

 

Viktor pouts half heartedly but giggles at the thought of losing himself in the shiny bubbles created by the running water. 

 

Yuuri grabs his hand, intertwining their fingers and leading him away, further into the mall, “Come on, Vitya. There will be plenty of time to harass the workers later!” He winks as he pulls Viktor along. 

 

“Is that a promise, Yuuri?

 

“So long as you don’t get caught, Mr. ‘International Superstar’,” The younger man giggles as they walk, before leading Viktor into a store nearby. One that sells dance attire. 

 

“Oh can I get the pink tights!? The bright ones?” Victor runs his hand along the pink dancer’s tights. “So soft..”

 

“You can get whatever ones you like, Vitya,” Yuuri smiles gently. He doesn’t bring up the fact that when he’d seen Viktor’s training clothes before, they’d been too big. Yuuri wants to give him the chance to buy things he needs in the right size. 

 

“The ones I.. Like? I like?” 

 

The comment makes Yuuri glance in confusion. “Hey Vitya? Do you get to do your own shopping back home? I’ve noticed you’re not used to… let’s say, getting things you really want?”

 

“Oh I do..” 

 

“Sorry.. That was a rude question to ask…” Yuuri looks away nervously.

 

“It’s okay, I just don’t really have a good answer. I’m used to having to buy things for this dress code… Yeah that Yakov has at the rink! I’m not used to being able to buy outside of that, for skating or dance at least...” 

 

“Oh!” Yuuri thinks for a moment, “That makes sense. Well… when you’re with me, you can wear whatever you want right?” Yuuri asks curiously, watching Viktor’s nervous mannerisms.” 

 

“Yeah, Yeah I guess so.”

 

Yuuri places a hand on Viktor’s lower back, gesturing to the wall with a calm smile, “Then you can get whichever ones you like, any at all!” 

 

“But I don’t have any money.. I mean, it’s all locked away in my savings.”

 

“Vitya, I’m offering to pay, this is a gift for you,” The younger man comes up behind Viktor, wrapping his arms around the older man’s slender Almost too slender… waist with his chin on his shoulder. 

 

Victor isn’t sure if he’s even breathing, the arms around him are soft and slim, not at all intimidating or controlling. He allows himself to sink into Yuuri, fuck it, if he’s going to hell, he’s going in the strong warm arms of Katsuki Yuuri. “Okay, but one day, I owe you a drink Mr. Katsuki.” 

 

Yuuri smiles and finds himself nuzzling his nose into Viktor’s neck, drawn to his scent as if it was his own personal drug, and he was far beyond addiction. “Think nothing of it, just let me spoil you.” 

 

“But why are you doing this? Spoiling me? Shouldn’t you be spoiling your girlfriend or partner.. Instead of just.. Me?” 

 

“I-... Well I don’t have a partner…” Yuuri pulls back, stepping forward to stand by Viktor, nervously glancing at Viktor a few times to gauge his reactions. 

 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to push you away be an asshole… I just don’t really understand why I am the fortunate recipient of your affection.”

 

Yuuri blushes a dark shade of red, “Um.. Well… I um… D-Do you like these?” He nervously holds up a pair of pink dance leggings up, trying to steer the conversation away from the topic at hand.

 

“Hmm..” Victor runs his hand along the soft fabric, his free hand touching his lips in a delicate but sensual gesture. “I like them.” 

 

“We… Is there something else you like better?” Yuuri swallows as he watches, well practically stares, at Viktor’s finger dancing across his lower lip.

 

“I don’t think so, I think these are.. Actually.. Maybe a nice grey?” 

 

“What about both?” Yuuri smiles genuinely. 

 

“But, they cost so much..” 

 

“Vitya… Don’t worry about that. I’ve got it.” Yuuri places a comforting hand on Viktor’s back. “Let’s get both. I think you’ll look stunning in the pink, and the grey fits into your dress code right?” 

 

Dress code.. Right.. “You.. Don’t have to.” 

 

Yuuri smiles and shrugs it off, “Please let me spoil you, Vitya?”

 

“Okay..” Viktor sheepishly holds out the items of clothing to Yuuri and smiles gratefully at him. 

 

“Now… For shirts and shoes…” Yuuri smiles and walks off, headed to the other side of the rather large store. 

 

Viktor steps to follow, but feels the itching sensation of unease… He feels as if he’s being watched. He turns around, surveying all directions nervously, his hands wringing the ends of his long hair, but sees no one. Regardless, the feeling doesn’t fade. Yuuri… I need to stay with Yuuri… He’ll keep me safe… Viktor shakes his head and hastily walks in the direction he saw Yuuri go, hoping he’ll find him quickly, even with the shelves higher than he can see. He feels the beginning of panic starting in his chest, and he knows that as soon as he sees Yuuri, it’ll vanish… Yuuri is safe. 

 

He hears a step behind him and he tempts fate to look back. He thankfully sees nothing, but it doesn’t stop the rapid thrumming of his heart. He steps even quicker, practically in a run, not looking where he is going, instead looking behind him. He doesn’t even see when someone steps around the corner in front of him. 

 

They collide, both falling to the ground and Viktor fearfully looks up, one hand clutching at his chest. He feels a bit of relief as his eyes meet familiar cherrywood. Yuuri…  

 

“Vitya! Are you alright?” Yuuri quickly stands up, offering a hand out to Viktor to help him up, which Viktor quickly takes. He stands and pushes himself closer to Yuuri. “You look scared.. Are you okay?”

 

Viktor is gasping, but he turns to look behind him, where he’d heard the step. Seeing nothing, he leans forward to hide his face in Yuuri’s neck, breathing in his green tea scent. “I’m okay, I just.. It’s nothing… I’m okay.” Viktor speaks with a tone of finality. One that Yuuri recognizes and he chooses not to push. 

 

“Okay, Let’s get what we need, and then we’ll leave okay?” Yuuri gently pulls Viktor into a hug, rubbing his back comfortingly before taking his hand firmly in his. Something really set him off… Yuuri knows the signs of panic anywhere…

 

A few dance shirts, leggings, and a pair of shoes later, Viktor hides behind Yuuri, still trying to shake off the eerie sensation of before, as the younger man pays. They leave quickly after that, not stopping until they are in a busier part of the shopping mall, a series of food shops along the corridor. 

 

Yuuri can feel his hand vibrating with how much Viktor’s are shaking. They need a quiet place. Somewhere alone to calm down. Yuuri knows just the place. He pulls Viktor down a hallway, and past two corners, continuously looking behind them to make sure they aren’t followed. Only once they are alone, does Yuuri take a deep breath and sit Viktor down on the floor, propped against the wall. 

“Let’s sit here for a little while. Take some time to calm down okay?” Yuuri speaks slowly, keeping his voice calm as he pulls out his phone and wireless earbuds from his pocket, handing the two small ear pieces to Viktor. “Put these in, Don’t worry. We’re alone. I promise.” 

 

Viktor takes the devices and puts him in his ears, his eyes glazed slightly as he tries to rid himself of his seemingly pointless anxiety. No one is here… It’s just me and Yuuri.. There wasn’t even anyone there earlier. I was just hearing things… just overreacting… yeah… Slow, soothing notes fill his mind as Yuuri presses play on his phone, sending music through the headphones for Viktor. 

 

Once the music is playing, Yuuri pockets the phone and sits down next to Viktor, curling up to patiently wait it out. He wraps his arms around Viktor when the older man leans into him. 

 

A few minutes pass and Viktor is visibly calmer, even pulling out an ear bud to speak, “How did you know? That I needed this I mean…” He questions hesitantly, handing the single earpiece over to Yuuri for him to listen as well. 

 

“I could see you were… freaking out a bit. You had the same signs that I show when I’m bordering a panic attack… Mari used to bring me back here when I would panic while we were here. She’d prop open that door,” He points to the door directly in front of them, one that had gone unnoticed to Viktor until that moment, “And smoke while I took the time to calm myself down.” 

 

“I didn’t know you had anxiety… You seem so… calm when we’re together,” Viktor lays his head on Yuuri’s shoulder and takes a full breath, letting it seep into every part of him. 

 

“I’m on medication for it… without it, I’m a complete mess. You can ask Phichit, he’s the one who got me into a doctor for them. It started getting really bad 2 years ago when… Ah- nevermind.” Yuuri shrugs the shoulder Viktor isn’t laying on, before checking his watch, “Oh! It’s getting late. I have 2 more places I want to take you. Is that okay? We can stop here if you’re not feeling up to it.” Yuuri gives Viktor an understanding look, letting him know, he won’t be disappointed either way. 

 

“I want to go with you, I don’t want to go back to the hotel yet.” Viktor smiles gently. There is still the sharp edge of uneasiness in his chest, but it’s easier to manage, easier to box up and move on. This will pass, I’m worried for nothing. I’m not going to let this ruin my date with Yuuri! 

 

“Then let’s go,” Yuuri takes Viktor’s hand in his and squeezes tightly before they walk side by side out of the mall.

_____ 

 

“What is this place?” Victor stares in wonder at the plain looking building. 

 

“This is a studio that I used to come to when I would visit Sapporo with family,” Yuuri opens the door and ushers Viktor in out of the cold, his hand on his waist protectively.

 

“Oh so warm in here.” Viktor flexes his fingers and hums quietly. 

 

“There’s a studio room up here to the left. I took my first ballet class there,” Yuuri waves to the woman at the front desk, who waves with a polite smile. She obviously knew they were coming. 

 

“Wow~” 

 

Taking him by the hand, Yuuri leads Viktor down the long hallway to the room in question, opening the door to let them both in, “Here it is!” Yuuri waves his arm in a presentation, “And for however long we like, tonight, it’s only ours!” 

 

“Really!?” Viktor claps his hands together in excitement. 

 

“Yep! My old dance instructor, Minako, pulled some strings for us. Want to go get changed and then we can dance together?”

 

“Sure.” Viktor strips off his jacket and then his shirt, his old self coming back to him as he carelessly undresses in front of Yuuri, excited to get started.  

 

“Vit-Vitya!” Yuuri’s cheeks go red and he turns around, giving Viktor privacy and staring out the windows to the hall, and running to pull the thankfully convenient curtains, “Someone could see you!”

 

“Huh? Oh right..” He pulls his shirt on quickly over his chest and blushes before heading to the corner of the room. “You can have the changing room.” 

 

The younger man sighs in relief once the curtains are closed, “It’s- Alright, I just wasn’t expecting that. Yuuri tries to avoid eye contact with Viktor, not that he could see much with him across the room anyway

 

“I used to be pretty body confident, especially since Yakov used to make the late students strip by the ice rink so we wouldn’t lose precious seconds.” Viktor rolls his eyes at the light memory. When was the last time I had to do that? Hell… when was the last time I could do that!? Once he started leaving marks… I had to hide them… People would think less of me… I had to keep them secret. I didn’t even think of it now, there are no marks… not right now… and You know… What if… What if I told Yuuri- No I couldn’t do that! He’d… He’d leave… He’d think lower of me… I can’t tell him. 



“I’m so glad Celestino never resorted to that, We can change here. Or would you rather I leave?” Yuuri hands Viktor the bag with his new dance clothes, his eyes nervously looking away, making sure to not let Viktor feel uncomfortable. 

 

“I don’t mind. Yuri used to laugh at me whenever I was late. Which was always.” Cringes. His voice sounds too tight, almost forced out, but he realizes in his heart, he really doesn’t mind this… Yuuri isn’t really looking, this is okay… 

 

Yuuri nods and steps to the other side of the room to change, making quick work of it. “You said you like to dance, and I know with competition practice, it’s hard to get time for it. So I wanted to surprise you.” Yuuri explains once they are both dressed and stretching along the bar. His eyes flit across Viktor’s thin, delicate form… He seems… underweight… almost, bony? But not? Do I bring it up to him? I don’t want to embarass him… maybe I can ask Yuri about it later… Pink really is his color though… and he looks much more comfortable in clothes that fit him… “I even have a spare key, so we can stay as late as we want.”

 

“Thank you… No one has ever put this much thought into doing things for me… I don’t really know how to react…” Viktor’s cheeks are red and he hides behind his ponytail, twirling the end in his fingers. 

 

“Well how about instead of reacting…” Yuuri takes a step toward Viktor, watching cautiously for Viktor’s reaction, “You dance with me?” He holds out his hand, nervously.

 

“I’d love that…” Viktor smiles and places his hand in Yuuri’s as the younger takes his phone out as well, pressing play on one of his favorite dance playlists and setting it down before leading Viktor to the middle of the floor. 

 

“Do you know how to waltz?” Yuuri asks as he raises one of Viktor’s hands in one of his own, placing his other hand on Viktor’s waist. 

 

“It’s been a while since I did last.”

 

“Don’t worry. It’s like riding a bike.” Yuuri smiles and pulls him into an easy waltz. Taking it slow and working their way through the playlists of waltz songs, they feel more comfortable and free with the dance as they move.

 

Eventually Yuuri is lifting Viktor into the air, much like he did on the ice, spinning him across the floor until the older man’s gleeful giggles chime through the room, setting Yuuri’s heart on fire as they dance late into the evening. 

 

Outside, quiet enough that it can’t be heard over the music is a string of curses behind the closed curtains. Pacing footsteps as a figure retreats to the front of the studio.

_____

Yuuri climbs a few steps behind Viktor as he prances up the last few steps of Mt. Moiwa, coming to the large lit fountain, and the view overlooking the city. 

 

“Wow~” Viktor clasps his hands together in awe, as he stares wide eyed at the skyline. 

 

Yuuri smiles and leads his date to the railing by his waist, keeping his hand protectively there, “Beautiful isn’t it? I love how we can see all of Sapporo from up here… All the city lights lighting up the night…”

 

It’s not nearly as beautiful as you are… “I wish we could stay up here forever…” Viktor leans over the railing, sighing as he just feels the breeze across his cheeks. He feels completely at ease… but somewhere in the back of his mind is that gnawing feeling he’s being watched… stalked… Just the thought makes him shiver, rubbing the chill from his arms and shaking his head to rid himself of the thought. 

 

Yuuri doesn’t see the shiver, his eyes glancing up at the sky instead as he comes up to lean against the railing, his and Viktor’s shoulders nearly touching, “We can stay as long as you like, Vitya.” 

 

Viktor turns his head to look at Yuuri, the wonderfully adorable man who’s beauty captivates Viktor with such ease, much like the stars have captivated that cherrywood glance in this moment. Viktor could stare at Yuuri forever. There’s no way anything will be the same after this competition… So much has changed… I don’t want to leave! They stay in silence, just letting it settle between them for a little while as they take in all of the views. 

 

“I love coming out here just to think at night when I’m in town… It’s the only place you can see the stars” Yuuri smiles as he looks up at the sky fondly, hand coming up to trace one of his favorite constellations with his finger.

 

“I love the stars,” They’re the little light in the dark… They’re like hope. The itching nervous feeling returns again and Viktor turns, to look down the stairs behind them. He swears he sees a shadow move. He immediately turns back to the railing, and shivers beside Yuuri, pulling his jacket closer to him. I’m imagining things. It’s dark, I’m sure it was just an animal. It’s fine! I’m safe! I’m with Yuuri!  

 

Yuuri sees Viktor shiver out of the corner of his eye, and he gives him a teasing smirk, “Don’t tell me the great Russian Nikiforov is cold?” 

 

“I am not…” Viktor pouts, but a cold early spring wing comes rushing past and he realizes, he really is chilled, even in his jacket.

 

The younger man chuckles and takes his scarf off, wrapping it around Viktor’s neck snuggly, making sure to tuck in the ends so it doesn’t come unwrapped. 

 

Viktor looks at him like he’d just grown a second head. “But won’t you be cold?” Why would you do this? Give up your comfort for me? Why…

 

Yuuri takes a second to brush Viktor’s hair out of his eyes, “That doesn’t matter,” he smiles sweetly, “Don’t worry about me, Vitya.”

 

“People don’t just give something for nothing…” Viktor mumbles as he hides his mouth in Yuuri’s scarf, sighing when he realizes it smells of green tea and cologne. 

 

Yuuri boops Viktor’s nose and hugging him close, hearing the mumble, “Maybe not everyone, but good people do. I want to take care of you, that’s it…” He unconsciously nuzzles into Viktor’s neck.

 

Viktor gasps quietly, suddenly he’s toasty warm. ”Please…”

 

The younger man notices he’s nuzzling and pulls back awkwardly, stuttering and blushing brightly, “I uh- Sorry.” He’s still holding Viktor close, but is now staring into his beautiful blue eyes, instead of burying himself in Viktor’s long neck. 

 

“No.. I- I l-liked it… Viktor loses his train of thought, being so close he can feel Yuuri’s breath on his cheeks, he puts his hand on the side of Yuuri’s face, not thinking, but letting himself just… do what his heart wants for once. 

 

Yuuri can’t help but lean into Viktor’s warm, soft hand with a breathy sigh, “Vitya… 

 

“Yuuri…” He leans in closer… What! What am I doing! I- but… he’s not pulling away… This is okay right?! He told me… He wants me to want things too… This is okay? Demyan’s not here… It’s just me and Yuuri, and Oh my god he’s leaning in closer! Ack! What do I do? What do I do…… Yuuri… Yuuri wants… I want… It’s okay to want right? I want… Viktor let’s his thoughts drift away, closing the distance between the two of them suddenly.  

 

Yuuri cries out with a startled sound as he is kissed, but he relaxes quickly and leans forward just as Viktor tries to pull away, kissing him again and deepening it gently, tasting the sweet cherry chapstick and feeling Viktor’s breath mingle with his.  

 

Viktor feels all of the tension in his body, every feeling of nerves drip away, and he feels himself fall into the kiss. He pulls Yuuri close, wrapping his arms around his waist tightly. He wants to fall into the abyss with him… Never let this moment end. 

 

Yuuri’s hands linger on Viktor’s hips, holding him just as close for just a moment longer before pulling back, breathless, “W-wow…”



The older man’s eyes are still closed, as he whispers softly, “Shh.. Shh…” He leans back in and kisses Yuuri again, biting Yuuri’s lower lip ever so gently.

 

Yuuri turns them until Viktor’s back is pressed against the railing, Yuuri’s hands on either side as he thoroughly kisses Viktor, letting his tongue slightly graze against Viktor’s lips, and taking full advantage when they open for him.

 

Viktor moans quietly and moves his arms to wrap around Yuuri’s neck, his body pressed completely flushed to Yuuri, unwilling to let him have even an inch of space.

 

Down the steps, hidden behind a bush, a tall, looming figure lurks, watching the two lovebirds with a growling sneer… He pulls out his phone and snaps a photo, thankful to the lighting to avoid the flash. Before he turns and storms down the stairs silently, planning to return to the hotel room. “This… This fucking Jezebel is going to get what’s coming to him.”

Chapter Text

“Tonight was amazing,” Yuuri sighs happily as they meander down the hallway leading to Viktor’s room. He squeezes his dates hand, bringing it up once to plant a placid kiss over Viktor’s soft knuckles.

 

Viktor giggles slightly and squeezes Yuuri’s hand back, “I had a lot of fun… Thank you for giving me tonight. It was like a dream!” 

 

“I’m glad you enjoyed it, Vitya.” Yuuri smiles hesitantly, “I’d love to take you out again. Anytime you want… That is… If you’ll have me?” Yuuri knows the date went well, but can’t help the dip in his self confidence at asking for a second date.

 

The older man leans against the wall next to his hotel door as they come upon the number, “I’d love that…” He gives Yuuri a genuinely excited smile as he speaks, one that makes Yuuri feel as though he’d melted to that spot permanently. 

 

“Re-really?! Okay! I’ll text you a bit later then? We can set something up?” Yuuri raises his eyebrow in inquisition. 

 

“I’ll be waiting.” Viktor sighs happily, pulling Yuuri close, wrapping his arms over the younger’s shoulders. “But we really should get to bed… Our coaches are going to be lecturing us tomorrow as it is.” Their foreheads touch as they giggle at just how much trouble they got each other into. 

“You’re right. You’re right.” Yuuri sighs as his laughs abate, “Can I kiss you? A goodnight kiss?”

 

Viktor doesn’t even give an answer, he just pulls Yuuri in, using his arms around his neck, sharing one last deep, connecting kiss before pulling back.

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” Yuuri deplores, nearly whimpering at the mere thought of letting this man go, even for a night.

 

“I promise,” Viktor beams as he let’s Yuuri go their hands coming back to clasp each other. He unlocks his door and starts to step in, holding Yuuri’s hand until the distance separates them, and letting them glide until it’s only their fingertips touching, “Good night… Yuu-chan.” 

 

Yuuri’s pretty sure his heart stops. But he doesn’t have time to reply as the door quickly closes after that, as if Viktor was nervous… or embarrassed. It doesn’t matter. Yuuri’s heart is pounding and he practically sprints down the hall to the stairs, and down to his and Phichit’s room, trying not to yell out in excitement.

 

Viktor laughs as he watches Yuuri’s reaction through the peephole on the door. He truly is adorable… 

 

“Well hello, Viten’ka,” an icy voice sounds from the bed behind the Russian, freezing him solid to his spot, and suddenly he wants to open the door and run to Yuuri. But from the moment Viktor closed that door, he was trapped. And he knew that. 

 

Viktor turns around, feeling his shoulders slump, the instict to make himself as sall as possible setting in already. “D-Demyan!”

 

Demyan smirks smugly from where he is perched on the edge of the bed, legs crossed nonchalantly, the seemingly statue of peace. Viktor knows better. Hidden in those eyes is a look of fury. Demyan isn’t in a good mood… 

 

I’m- I’m not safe.. I’m not safe here… He’s going to hurt me… Yuuri… help Please!

 

“You know,” Demyan leans back, making a come hither motion with his finger, ordering Viktor to come sit next to him, “I got here early this morning, and just as I was checking into the hotel, I saw something really interesting! Come take a look, I think you’ll like it.”

 

Just do what he says… He’ll go easier on me if I just do what he says… Viktor forces himself one step at a time across the room, obediently settling on the very edge of the mattress. 

 

“Oh come on darling, you know I don’t bite. Not unless you deserve it right? Come closer,” Demyan demands as he pulls his phone out of his pocket, unlocking it out of view of Viktor. 

 

Viktor moves closer, and feels like a grain of sand, so small at the hands of this man… fearful as a child. 

 

“Look at all these pictures I got today, Vitenk’a,” Demyan holds the phone in front of Viktor’s face, swiping through photo after photo of Viktor and Yuuri. Every place they’d been all day…. From the hotel lobby, to the statue at Mt. Moiwa… 

 

He… He followed us… I- I wasn’t just imagining… Demyan… He found me with Yuuri… He’s going to kill me… The more pictures Demyan shows, the tighter Viktor’s throat feels until his eyes are dripping in fear. 

 

“Care to explain what my Viten’ka is doing with another man? Like a complete whore?” Demyan growls lower with each word, the sound vibrating in Viktor’s chest as he lifts his eyes to stare in horror at Demyan, shaking in terror through every limb.

 

Viktor scoots back, opening his mouth to give some sort of excuse… or plea…. “I-..”

 

The dark haired man seizes long silver tendrils in his hands and pulls… no… rips Viktor’s hair until they are standing and Viktor is balanced on his toes and is yelling out in pain, “What the hell are you doing? You fucking slut! What the fuck are you doing with another man!” He drops Viktor and lets him fall, hard, to the ground. 

 

“I- Demyan Please!” Viktor whimpers as he collapses, knees rubbing against the rough cheap carpet. 

 

“Don’t ‘Demyan please’ me,” Demyan mocks, “You fucking worthless tramp! Can’t control yourself huh… Fucking slut,” Demyan is yelling, kicking his captive as he speaks. 

 

Viktor curls up into a ball almost immediately, instinct to protect himself as much as possible, he sobs and cries out in pain at every impact. Yuuri… Yuri… someone… please help me… 

 

After a few minutes, Demyan is standing over Viktor’s crumpled form, sharp green eyes tracing over every inch of his body. “Stand up, whore.”

 

It’ll be over sooner if you cooperate… Viktor coughs as he struggles to stand, one hand over his ribcage as he finally does, keeping his eyes low. 

 

Demyan walks around him, one hand over his mouth, as if he were judging an animal for slaughter. “Why’d you do it huh? Why’d you betray me, Viten’ka ?” He stands behind his Viktor… his slave… The slut knows better than to speak. He pulls one of his feet back, letting it swing and impact the back of Viktor’s knee, forcing it to buckle with a cracking sound and sending Viktor down with a pained scream. “Maybe you wanted to be punished…” Demyan kneels down and takes Viktor’s chin in his hand roughly, forcing the weeping eyes to look at him, “It has been a while hasn’t it? Maybe you’re forgetting just who you belong to… Viten’ka… ” The once sweet pet name sounds like acid dripping from the brunet’s lips. 

 

Viktor whimpers, trying to stifle his sobs as he starts to realize exactly where Demyan is going to take this… Like he has many times before… But now more than ever… Viktor wishes he had the strength to scream… scream until his throat bleeds… anything to get someone here… anything to make someone hear… But Viktor feels his throat clenched up…. Years of “conditioning” taking his voice from him… 

 

“I guess I’ll just have to remind you then.” Demyan growls. Viktor had pushed himself up to sitting, nursing the injured knee and putting himself into a perfect position for Demyan to shove him forward, sending him face first into the floor. 

 

Viktor bawls as his knee protests with excruciating pain at having any weight put on it. His vision blacks out from the sheer intensity of it as he feels Demyan’s hands on his hips, pulling them up into the air. He’s vaguely aware of his jeans being ripped down and before he can even comprehend anything outside of the pain, Demyan is forcing his length into Viktor, splitting him open dry on his cock. Viktor screams, but is muffled as Demyan forces his face onto a pillow he pulls out from under the bed, obviously having this planned.

 

Demyan pushes into him over and over, scratching down into Viktor’s back with possessive, bloody marks, even leaving marks along the pale skin with his teeth. Viktor is HIS and no one else can have him! He doesn’t stop until Viktor’s body collapses, turning onto his side and struggling for air from the suffocation of the pillow, Demyan knows he’ll be just fine though. It’d be suspicious to end up in a hospital at this time of night. 

 

“You are mine, Viten’ka. Only mine.” 

 

Viktor falls into unconsciousness, those words the last to pass his mind.

Chapter Text

Yuuri wakes up, eyes crusted over from the tears he shed the night before… What had started as an end to an amazing night, turned sour nearly immediately after when Yuuri felt the tingling sensation of the bond. His soulmate… being injured again… over and over. At one point, Yuuri felt one of his knees go weak as he paced in the hotel room, causing him to collapse. Along with the tingling sensation Yuuri knew that his soulmate had just taken a major injury to the knee, along the back side.It was hours before Phichit physically pulled Yuuri into bed, holding him to his chest until the older man gave into the pull of sleep. 

 

Today was the free skate… and all Yuuri wanted to do was curl up…

 

“We have to start getting going Yuuri, we’ll be late…” Phichit begs as he places Yuuri’s free skate garment bag across the foot of the bed. 

 

I… how can I skate like this? Even laying down, I can feel how weak my knee still is… I guess I could always get a brace… We travelled all this way! I can’t just give up… not now… Not again… I need to keep going. For him! Yuuri remembers how he packed two free skate costumes, and immediately sets a plan in motion. He sits up and gives a thankful look to Phichit. “Okay, Okay,” How he puts a smile on his face, he’ll never know, but that doesn’t matter, “I need a favor though… I need you to get me a knee brace… One with a lot of support… The bastard did a number on ours…”

 

Phichit’s eyes light up when he realizes Yuuri isn’t going to let himself give up like he had before, he nods excitedly like a puppy and runs out to Celestino’s room. Thankfully the old coach knows Yuuri’s soulmate situation, so he isn’t angry at all at his skaters, even if he wants to kill a certain monster of a man of which he doesn’t even their name. The young Thai returns to their room and passes Yuuri the brace. 

 

“I need some help. Think you can put your charm to work?” Yuuri questions with a teasing glance. 

 

Phichit laughs and rolls his eyes, “You act like I don’t have it ready 24/7… Come on, have you met me?”

 

“I need you to help me convince Celestino and the ISU Officials to change my music. If we go now, the ISU shouldn’t care too much, but we need to be quick.” Yuuri smiles and pulls out his newest costume, as well as a CD from a hidden pocket in the garment bag. 

 

“You know… Ciao Ciao is going to kill you…” He means to sound worried, but the excitement and mischievous energy in his eyes speaks otherwise. With Yuuri, trouble is always fun. 

 

“Yep! But it’s fine, He’ll kill me for coming home at 2 last night anyway,” Yuuri shrugs and laughs, finishing the straps on the brace before standing up, nearly losing his balance. The injury is worse than he thought, leaving his knee constantly tingling and feeling as though he could collapse any second. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is getting a message out. First things first, handling their coach.

_____

 

“What are you thinking Yuuri?! Changing music this close to the performance?! Have you lost your mind?!” Celestino bellows, his hands flailing with disbelieving frustration at his skater.

 

Yuuri and Phichit stay silent as Celestino breaks into talking to himself. Listening as the coach talks about how much trouble him and Phichit are in, and how he should have been a florist… As much as the things Celestino mutters should hurt, Phichit and Yuuri know the coach loves them as much as his own children, and they share amused looks from where they are sitting next to each other on the bed. They even mock the coach’s speech, having memorized so many of the things said after so many lectures from Celestino. 

 

“Give me a good reason why you want to change your program with such little time left.” Celestino’s fingers are pinching the bridge of his nose as he waits for an answer.

 

Yuuri had this answer prepared, “My normal program is a high technical routine… A lot of the elements of it are things that are difficult on the knees on a normal day… You know from Phichit that I have a bond injury to my knee. I believe it to be a ligament injury. It’s hard to balance standing, let alone a routine as difficult as my usual.” 

 

As much as Yuuri hates that he can’t skate a difficult routine due to the injury, he’s thankful it gives him an out to change. He wants to make sure he gets the message out, even if his soulmate might not see it. Surely there will be recordings posted all over the web. It’s not everyday that a skater changes his music last second…

 

The older coach thinks Yuuri’s answer over in his head, weighing the pros and cons the situation would bring to all of them, but in the end, glances to Yuuri and is a complete sucker for the begging eyes the young man gives. He sighs loudly, soundly defeated, “When we get back to the rink you’re in for a world of hurt, you got it?” 

 

The two charges cheer, hugging each other with a laugh. Yuuri turns back, “Thank you so much.”

 

“Go get your things you two. If you’re going to make me change the music we need to leave now, and we’ll stay until the end of the competition tonight.”

 

“On it!” They both answer before running (well, hobbling together really) to their room.

 

“These two are going to be the death of me… much more of this and I’ll start looking like Feltsman…” 

_____

 

“You better skate a perfect routine, Yuuri,” Celestino warns, he throws down the paperwork in front of Yuuri that specifically states the reason and confirmation for the music change.

 

“I-” Yuuri looks over the paperwork, a wide smile over his cheeks, “I promise!” He probably had to pull a lot of strings to make this happen… I owe him big!

 

“Now enough dawdling! It took me so long to convince them and gather paperwork of your injury. You two go work on your warm ups off ice. There’s only an hour and a half until competition and I want you both at your best!” 

 

“Yes, coach!”

 

Phichit and Yuuri work through stretches and different warm up routines they’d used over the years. Before they know it, the other competitors have arrived and the competition is underway, starting from the bottom of the scores roster after the short program and working up to the top, meaning Phichit and Yuuri would be in the last group. 

 

The two take a break, since they know their group isn’t for a while. They sit on a bench in the waiting area and take in the groups around them. Something seems different… off to them and they aren’t able to pinpoint why until they look at the Russian team… 

 

An angry coach, two men in costume working through stretches nervously, and blond teen, glancing anxiously to his phone and around the room. At least until his eyes meet Yuuri’s.

 

Yuri Plisetsky walks over to the two of them, trying to seem cool and unfased, but obviously extremely worried over something. “Yo… You guys seen Viktor?” He asks quietly

 

Yuuri blinks a couple of times, confused by the question. Viktor isn’t here? But… He’d never… No It’s fine, I’m sure he’s just running late. “I haven’t seen him since last night… er this morning? I walked him to his room last night.”

 

The teen ignores the fact that they’d been out together last night on a date, “He wasn’t there this morning and he isn’t answering his phone… That idiot… He knows the free skate is today!”

 

“I’m sure he’ll be here!” Yuuri reassures, “It’s not like him to miss a competition this important.”

 

“Yakov’s going to have a field day with him when he finally shows up…” 

 

“We’ll keep an eye out for him and let him know to come find you,” Yuuri promises. I really hope he’s okay. 

_____

 

“Attention skaters, group 6, the 6 minute warm up is starting now,” A droning woman speaks over the loud speaker, signaling the final group to enter the ice for their warm up. 

 

Yuuri Katsuki, Otabek Altin, Phichit Chulanont, Christophe Giacometti, Seung Gil Lee,  and…

 

The five skaters are doing their starting laps looking around and taking in the rink. Each of them notice something missing. A someone to be precise. Viktor is still nowhere to be found. Seung Gil is least affected as he skates diagonally to the center, giving his quad loop a final run through  before running his edges to get a feel for the freshly zambonied ice. 

 

One by one, they each run their warmups, Yuuri taking one test jump on his injured knee. He lands it cleanly, thank goodness, the brace doing it’s job to support him on his landing. 

 

“Skaters, the 6 minute warm up period is now over, please exit the ice to continue the competition.”

 

Yuuri skates to the edge quickly, guarding his blades and making a beeline to the Russian Team’s waiting area. He finds Yuri who had the same idea and came to frantically meet him. Their eyes meet and they know they both share the same fear. Where are you Viktor?!

 

“Something is wrong. He never waits this long to show,” Yuri is pacing, pulling at his blond hair, “Tell me everything you did last night!” Panic seeps into the teens voice. I’m supposed to be the one there for him! Dammit! What is going on!?

 

“Okay okay!” Yuuri raises his hands in defense and starts from when he met Viktor in the hotel lobby the night before. He details every part of the date as much as he can as Yuri stands quietly, taking everything in with an out of focused look.

 

“He didn’t act weird at all?”

 

“He had a small panic attack… and He told me something about feeling like he was being watched at the dance shop. Other than that, no.” Yuuri thinks back, making sure he didn’t miss anything in Viktor’s behavior.

 

“You didn’t see anyone weird right? No one following you? Or anything like that?”

 

Yuuri can only shake his head. Trying to think of what to do. His phone vibrates with a text message and suddenly remembers he has Viktor’s phone number! “I’ll try to call him, maybe he’ll pick up?” His phone is in his hand and he is pressing the call button, before Yuri even comprehends what he says.

 

“Wait, No!” Yuri shouts, reaching for Yuuri’s phone. 

 

Yuri’s phone goes off in his back pocket, the ringtone the only sound in the room. 

 

It takes a second, but the ringing and Yuri’s facial expression of shock and embarrassment tell Yuuri exactly what is happening. 

 

“Wh-Why do you have Viktor’s phone?” Yuuri asks quietly, pulling his own device from his ear. 

 

Yuri sighs and takes out his phone to silence it. “I don’t have his phone… He gave you my number. Let me try calling him.” The young teen puts his phone to his ear, looking around the room, trying to figure out how he’ll talk himself out of this and keep Viktor’s secret. The automatronic voice comes over the line instead of the usual ring.

 

The number you have dialed is either no longer in service or has been disconnected. Goodbye. -dialtone-

 

Shit… shit shit shit…

 

“We aren’t going to get him on the phone. We need to… I don’t know… I don’t think he’ll miss his time slot… We need to look out for him any second we can. You get Phichit and Chris to keep a lookout. I’ll get Otabek and the rest of my team…” Yuri is no nonsense, having returned to his pacing as he tries and nearly fails to push the dark thoughts of what could have happened from his mind. He shakes his head and runs off without saying another word. 

 

“But you didn’t explain…” Nevermind, I need to get to Phichit and Chris. We need their help. 

 

Yuuri rushes out to rinkside where each of the 3 other skaters are waiting, Seung Gil having recently come off the ice and walking off, avoiding everyone else except his coach as they walk to the next room where reporters are waiting for his interview. Phichit is on the ice, taking his last few words from Celestino before skating to center ice. I’ll have to tell him after his skate. But for now… Yuuri rushes up to Chris who is stretching near the rink wall. “Chris!” 

 

The Swiss man looks up at the mention of his name and his eyes grow wide with concern when he sees Yuuri, “Yuuri? What’s wrong?”

 

“We can’t find Viktor at all! He hasn’t shown up yet.”

 

“What?! He skates in like 20 minutes!” 

 

“I know! Look, we need to watch for him. If you see him AT ALL, text me! I’m going to go look until it’s my turn.” Yuuri is bouncing on the balls of his feet nervously, anxious to run and look everywhere he can think of. 

 

“I’ll keep an eye out.” Chris looks just as worried about Viktor as Yuuri feels. 

 

“Oh, and can you tell Phichit too? I’m going to go.”

 

“Consider it done. Now go find him, and don’t miss your slot.” Chris turns Yuuri and pushes him forward, nearly making the man tumble over. Yuuri is getting more and more used to walking in the brace the more he moves, but his heart hurts at the thought of just what caused the injury. 

 

“Right!” Yuuri runs off as fast as his injured knee will let him. 

_____

“The free skate score for Otabek Altin of Kazakhstan… 181.19. Total score 286.4.Currently in 2nd place.”

 

The crowd cheers as the score announcement, and there is pride on Otabek’s face as he walks out of the kiss and cry, but the competition doesn’t matter. Not when Viktor is still missing. 

 

“Next on the ice, representing Japan, Yuuri Katuski!” 

 

Yuuri is a shaking mess of nerves and anxious glances at any spec of silver in his peripheral vision. Viktor skates right after him. Where is he!? Ignoring, well more like not hearing, the words of his coach, Yuuri skates off to the center. He takes a breath and forces every thought out of his mind. I need to focus! I need to skate! Everyone is looking… He’ll be here… I just need to trust in him… 

 

Coming to a T-stop in center ice, Yuuri wobbles, nearly slipping as his knee shakes. 

 

That’s right… I’m skating for him… for my Viktor…. For my soulmate… Everything else can wait… I need… I need to reach out to him… I need to tell him I’m listening and I’m here!

He takes his starting pose and the first few notes ring through the air, the guitar and orchestral strings setting up his skate as he starts into slow sweeping movements, backward glides, and three turns on the waltzing notes, keeping his head low, eyes closed. He wants to… no Needs to reach out… he doesn’t need to see to do that. 

 

The lyrics start and Yuuri skates their message with every part of his being.

 

You’re not alone. Together we stand. I’ll be by your side, you know I’ll take your hand.  

 

His steps stay in time with the slow waltz, filling the air around him with reaching arms, graceful twizzles, and desperate begging in his movements. 

 

When it gets cold, and it feels like the end. There’s no place to go, you know I won’t give in. No I won’t give in....

 

I’m not sure if you can see me… or hear me... right now…. But I promise… I’m here. And I’m not going to give up until I find you. 

 

On the last word of the phrase, Yuuri glides and turns until he’s skating backwards, leaping into a quad two loop, landing on the build up note perfectly. 

 

Keep holding on… ‘cause you know we’ll make it through, we’ll make it through… Just Stay Strong. ‘Cause you know I’m here for you, I’m here for you. 

 

Yuuri’s arms are reaching with every move, willing his message outward… willing it to find his soulmate wherever he is. What he doesn’t realize is two icy blue eyes, watching with rapt attention and stinging with tears are on him from the sidelines. The eyes of his secret soulmate. 

 

Yuuri steps into a quick combination spin, coming from a camel position and lowering into a sit spin, before finally coming up into a scratch spin for the rest of the chorus. 

 

There’s nothing you can say! There’s nothing you can do! There’s no other way when it comes to the truth. So keep holding on. Cause you know we’ll make it through, we’ll make it through.

 

Viktor… No matter where you are… I want you here… I want you here where I can protect you… Keep you safe… You deserve so much more… So much better!

 

So far away, I wish you were here. Before it’s too late, this could all disappear. Before the doors close, and this comes to an end. With you by my side, I’ll fight and defend. I’ll  fight and defend, Yeah. 

 

Yuuri gears up, timing the next jump, a combination, to land on the start of the Chorus. He’s not sure what his mind is thinking, but his thoughts… His heart… They all inexplicably turn back to Viktor Nikiforov… Before he knows it, he’s throwing himself into a Quad flip, followed by a triple loop, falling out of the second jump, but forcing himself to stand and keep going. 

 

I am going to find you. And when I do, I’m never letting you go… I can’t anymore… I need you here with me… I’m going crazy having this distance between us!

 

Yuuri continues through the routine, pouring his heart out over the ice and calling out for him… For Viktor… for his soulmate… 

 

Silver hair is pulled back by a cheap brush, pulling quickly through tangles and into the long ponytail down the skater’s back. The one they always wear for competition.

 

“I expect you to skate better than that, understand Vitya?” A voice growls in challenge as he rips the brush through Viktor’s hair. “No half assing the routine… I gave you this program to win with. Quit ruining it, and just skate it right!” 

 

Viktor is only half listening to Demyan, enough to give him the answer he wants to hear, but his eyes are only on Yuuri, dripping with silent tears that pierce his soul with the message Yuuri is desperately trying to send. 

 

I need to keep going… I need to hold on… I need… I can’t keep living… Demyan… Eventually he’ll end up killing me… I know that… I’ve known that all along… But I haven’t left…. I’m weak. I’m a coward… I need to escape… I need to hold on and escape! I have people who support me… I can do it… no I have to do it! 

 

Before long, Yuuri is taking his final pose, holding it just long enough for the crowd to start cheering, reaching out to the side of the rink he faces. He comes out of his pose with a gasp and wide eyes, hands coming up to clutch his costume on the chest as he cries with relief. 

 

Yuuri can see him… He’s here… Viktor… He’s here! He rushes to skate off the ice, hoping to reach Viktor. He can see him walking down the side of the rink, walking toward the entrance for skaters to step on the ice. Yuuri steps off and barely stops to guard his blades before he tries to run to Viktor. 

 

He feels a hand on his collar pulling him back, dragging him along. “Come on, don’t distract him now, He’s next. We have to get you to the kiss and cry for your score, and then your interview after. There will be plenty of time to talk to him later.” Celestino is lecturing, but Yuuri can hear the pride in his voice, he knows the routine will easily score a personal best. 

 

Yuuri barely hears his score, he doesn’t care. His eyes never leave Viktor, even as the man steps past his furious coach, walking along the wall, holding it for support it seems. Did he get hurt? Yuuri can’t tell though, because Viktor steps onto teh ice and is gone from his field of view in an instant. 

 

“Welcome to the ice, representing Russia, Viktor Nikiforov!” 

 

The crowd goes wild and Yuuri can hear the first few notes of the free skate he’d watched over and over, even as he is dragged out for interviews by his coach.

 

Viktor carefully slides into his first few elements, favoring his (ENTER) side through each step, turn, and glide. His head is dizzy and spinning from the amount of night time pain killers Demyan had forced him to take, but it didn’t matter. Nothing could stop the pain, or the new weakness of his knee. He preps for his first jump and falls out of it, sliding across the ice a bit before slowly forcing himself up and back into the routine.

 

I can’t do this… I feel like I’m going to collapse… or puke… or…. I can’t finish this…

 

Viktor enters his first spin sequence at nearly half the speed he normally uses. Any faster and he feels as if he’ll fall over. 

 

What… What did he do to me…  What did I let him do… Why am I doing this? It’s not even fun anymore… What made me think I could keep going like this… He’s ruined it… 

 

Viktor finds himself so distracted, when the muscle memory sends him into his second jump, he falls hard, his hand slamming against the ice as he slides and impacts the wall with his back… His eyes are blurred and vibrating as his head sways, but eventually his vision goes dark and he falls unconscious. His music stops immediately, having only played for a minute. 

 

It’s a rush with med team running to gather equipment and two members of the Russian team sprinting across the rink to his aid. 

 

Yuuri nods and answers the next reporters question with a smile. 

Chapter Text

Yuuri is wrapping up the interview that Celestino forced him into, when doors slam open with commotion. His thoughts had been on nothing but his soulmate the whole interview, especially after he’d gotten the tinge of a bond injury on the side of his head, and then felt a wet, dripping sensation in his hair. Reaching up, he places his fingers over the bond injury and they come back red and sticky with blood.

_____

 

Two of the Russian team sprint across the ice, flying to the aid of their teammate. When they get there, Viktor is unconscious, knocked out cold from the now bleeding wound on the side of his head, tinging his silver hair a coppery red, and dripping to frozen coagulations on the ice below. They lift him carefully, using training they’d learned from their med team back home, and carry him off the ice. Even unconscious, Viktor flinches and whimpers in pain when they touch his knee. 

 

The med team meets them at the door and quickly take Viktor into their care, holding pressure to the bleeding wound and taking vitals to begin. Both the women on the med team, after a few minutes of assessing the skater’s injuries, decide Viktor needs to go to the hospital. The head injury to begin with is more than they can handle with the equipment they have on hand. 

 

By this time, Yakov had stepped forward and Demyan had reached the group forcing his way in to the heat of the action. 

 

“I’ll take him.” The man states seriously, “I can get there faster than calling an ambulance here.” With little fight, the med team hands Viktor over to the man, having ruled out neck or spinal injury that would make it dangerous to move him. Everyone watches the man carry Viktor out of the rink, headed toward the parking lot quickly.

 

The doors slam open into the room where reporters and such are waiting, having just wrapped up their interview with Yuuri. The man carrying Viktor shouts out loud enough for everyone to hear, “No Questions! Move it’s an Emergency!” And unbelievably the reporters back off, clearing a path for the pair. The man stops as he gets to the door, turning to find just one person. His eyes meet worried, Cherrywood. Yuuri Katsuki. 

 

“This is your fault.” He mouths, before pushing the door open and carrying Viktor out to his car. 

 

One of the crowd stays hidden, his green eyes wide with terror and his feet frozen where he stands. Yuri is shaking his head, panic starting as he watches the familiar form grow smaller in the distance, carrying his rinkmate. No… No he can’t… How is he… NO! Yuri’s mind flashes back to the moment he’d seen this man before. 

 

~~~ FLASHBACK~~~

 

Viktor nudges Yuri with his elbow after practice, making the 14 year old spill the water he is drinking over his front. “You really are going to make Yakov go balder than I made him!” Viktor laughs as he reaches down to start untying his laces. He quickly undoes the strings and pulls his skates off, sighing in relief after having worn the boots for hours. 

 

“Huh- As if… He barely has any hair left! So that’s not that hard to do…” Yuri pouts, growling as he takes in the wetness of his shirt, shaking his head and stripping it off without a second thought. It’s not as if he wasn’t going to change anyway… 

 

Viktor pouts and whines at his rinkmate, “You’re so mean to me!” 

 

“Oh come on, you can take it,” Yuri laughs as he kicks his untied skates off and stands to go change into his day clothes.

 

Viktor smiles fondly before turning to his own bag, packing his blades away and sipping his water. He takes out his spare hairbrush and steps over to the mirror, pulling his silver hair out of it’s now knotted ponytail and working the brush through the long length. He raises his arms to pull it back again into a bun, his shirt unwittingly riding up over his hips and his sleeves falling to his elbows has his arms stay raised.

 

Yuri glances over, and does a double take when he sees purple where pale white should be. Along Viktor’s revealed hip, a dark bruise in the shape of a belt, whipped across his skin. Taking a step forward, Yuri realizes there are handprint shaped marks around Viktor’s wrists as well.

 

“Viktor… Where’d you get those bruises?” Yuri asks, nervously.He’s walked up to Viktor at this point and reaches out to run his fingers gingerly over the mark. 

 

Viktor flinches back and pulls his shirt down hastily to cover everything. His eyes are wide and scared as he steps back even further, “It’s nothing.” He says too quickly.

 

Yuri doesn’t believe him. And suddenly he has a theory. “Did… Did he… do that to you?” Yuri swallows back bile, feeling nauseous for the situation he believes Viktor to be in. 

 

“Yuri, it’s nothing really!” 

 

“Tell me the truth!” Yuri yells, eyes stinging as they fill with tears.

 

Viktor flinches and nods, shrinking into himself, “He.. He didn’t do it on purpose… He was drunk this time… And angry…” 

 

Yuri feels his blood go cold, “This time…? He’s done this before.”

 

Viktor’s eyes drop in shame and that’s all the answer Yuri needs. The blond rushes up and hugs Viktor close, nuzzling his face into Viktor’s chest and trying his hardest not to cry.

 

A week later Demyan does his monthly visit to talk to Yakov about Viktor’s improvements on his programs, like any good choreographer.

 

This time however, Yuri confronts him. Viktor swore him to secrecy from the team, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t talk to Demyan about it himself. Yuri waits at Demyan’s car in the parking lot, knowing him and Viktor are the last to leave as usual. The two come out of the rink within a few minutes and both give confused glances to Yuri when they approach the car. 

 

“Hello, Yuri, What do you need?” Professional as always, Demyan smiles at the teen.

 

“Cut the shit.” Yuri growls and steps up, squaring up to Demyan as much as a fourteen year old his size can. There is no fear in his eyes. “What the fuck are you doing?”

 

“What do you mean?” Demayn quirks his head innocently.

 

“Yura…” Viktor whispers worriedly, shaking his head as he sees exactly where this is going. 

 

“Don’t ‘What do you mean’ me. I’ve seen the marks… and the way he acts around you. What do you fucking think you’re going to him?!” Yura shouts, standing his ground. 

 

“What I do with Viktor is none of your business, Yuri.” Demyan crosses his arms and shifts his weight to one foot, the smile dropping to a look of frustration and warning. 

 

“It’s my business when you’re hurting hi-” Yuri steps forward, raising an arm to swing up at Demyan’s chin. 

 

Before the impact, Demyan reaches forward and pushes Yuri back into the car, hard, one hand on his chest. “Quit meddling where you don’t belong!” Demyan snaps, eyes flashing with anger. 

 

Yuri feels the breath knocked out of him, and he feels fear build in his gut. I’m not scared. I’m not scared of him! I need to get Viktor safe… I have to do what I can.  “You’re going to kill him! I’m not going to stop!”

 

Demyan takes a fuming breath, stepping back and lowering his hand, “Fine. Have it your way then.”

 

Yuri leans to take a step toward Viktor, but suddenly he sees Demyan’s arm raise back out of the corner of his eye. He turns to try and defend himself, but he’s too late. He collapses at Demyan’s fist makes contact with his eye, sending him to the asphalt.

 

“Yura!” Viktor screams, rushing forward to help his rink mate. His wrist is grabbed and he is pulled into Demyan’s arms, his back to the man’s chest. Viktor’s blood runs cold and he freezes instantly when he realizes Demyan is holding a blade to his neck, threatening to slice.

 

Yuri looks up and his eyes are filled with fear. He doesn’t care that he is hurt. He only cares about Viktor in that moment. Demyan could kill him at any second! “N-No don’t!” 

 

Demyan smiles at the small desperate form in front of him, “Much better. You’re better to deal with when you’re obedient.” The man sneers and tightens his grip on the knife, causing Viktor to look up and try to back away, whimpering at the tight grip Demyan has on him. “Here’s what is going to happen.”

 

Yuri looks on with horror, not daring to move an inch for fear of Viktor being injured.

 

“You are going to stand up and walk away from my car. Viktor and I are going to go home, and we are going to pretend this never happened. Understood?”

 

Yuri’s fear turns to anger and his mouth opens to rebuttal, but Viktor’s cry of pain stops him short. Demyan’s knife is covered in a thin line of dripping blood, a small barely there cut over Viktor’s throat. 

 

“This never happened… Or I’ll kill him. Do you understand?” Demyan challenges. 

 

“Just do what he says,” Viktor says as calmly as he can manage, “I’m okay, I’ll be okay, I promise. It’s okay, Yura.” Viktor flashes him a thankful and encouraging smile.

 

~~~ FLASHBACK OVER~~~

 

Yuri shakes his head, bringing himself back to the present, that was barely a year ago… So much has changed since then. I’m stronger now than I was then. He needs me. I’m going to get him out! 

 

The teen takes a step to run after Demyan, but the memory of the broken bone he’d received from Demyan that day freezes him with fear… I can’t…. I can’t do this… I’m weak… a coward… But… Maybe I can do something. Yuri looks over to where Yuuri is standing on the interview stage, watching in shock as Viktor is taken away.

 

Yuuri… Viktor goes on and on about him… He can help! He has to…

 

Yuri pushes through the crowd and up onto the stage, grabbing Yuuri by the sleeve and dragging him away to find someplace private. He finds what he assumes is an old lounge area for employees and shoves Yuuri in before following and locking the door behind him. 

 

“Yura? What’s going on? What happened to Viktor?” Yuuri questions worried. 

 

“I don’t know! I was on my way into the rink when he came out unconscious!” Yuri is pacing. “Look… We need to talk! And I need you to believe me, please!” He turns grabbing Yuuri by the arms and shaking him slightly with his desperate pleas. 

 

Yuuri nods and stays silent. 

 

“You saw the guy carrying him right?” Yuri asks.

 

“Yeah… He said something to me before they left…. ‘This is your fault’.” Yuuri quotes. 

 

“Fucker… that man… That’s Demyan Sokolov… He… He abuses Viktor…” Yuri swallows throw his tight throat. 

 

“He… What?” Yuuri blinks, unsure of that… I mean Viktor is an international icon, who could ever hurt him?

 

“Look… Just hear me out…” Yuri takes his phone out of his pocket, scrambling to open the gallery folder and pulling up hundreds of pictures he’s taken over the last year… Secretly when Viktor wasn’t paying attention… Documenting every bruise, mark, and cut he could. Keeping every photo and making sure that each one had the date stamp in the picture info. He hands the phone over to Yuuri, letting him swipe through the photos with growing dread and terror, watching as Yuuri’s hand comes up to cover his mouth, tears streaming down his face. “Yuuri… You have to help me… You have to save him…” Yuri drops to his knees, openly crying at his guilt of being too weak to help. “Please… You have to save him… I can’t… I can’t lose him….” Yuri sobs, rubbing his eyes as he feels himself break. 

 

Yuuri looks at every photo in silence, feeling himself nauseous and disbelieving… “Yura…. Yura… I know these injuries…”

 

Yuri looks up from his hands, tears still falling, “Wh-what?”

 

“I know these injuries… They.. They all showed up on me… They are the exact same… Yura…”

 

Viktor… is my… soulmate…

Chapter Text

“Viktor.. He’s my soulmate.” Yuuri speaks low, hardly a whisper, hardly believing himself, even if he has hard evidence right in the palm of his hand. 

 

“He’s your…” Yuri scrubs the tears from his eyes, “You mean to tell me, you have spent the last 4 days together and you’re only just now realizing that!” The teen’s eyes are disbelieving and frustrated. 

 

“How was I supposed to know?!” Yuuri retorts, shoving Yuri’s phone back at him. 

 

“You are hopeless… Are you going to help or not?” Yuri genuinely asks, worrying and concern and begging in his eyes. 

 

“Of course I’m helping.” Yuuri stands and hugs Yuri to his chest tightly, “You’ve been taking care of him all this time… Thank you.” 

 

Yuri stands awkwardly still as the older man hugs him, “Umm you know.. I uhh.. It’s whatever I guess.”

 

Yuuri takes the hint and lets go, “Okay… We should start by asking everyone what happened right?” 

 

“R-right!” Yuri says determinedly, “We need to tell Yakov what’s been going on… He might be able to help… I think Viktor will forgive me for telling him, but we have to get him completely out.” 

 

“We’ll get him out,” Yuuri places a hand on Yuri’s shoulder, “I promise.” 

 

“Okay… you promised…” Yuri nods, taking the first step out of the room to lead the way back to Yakov. 

_____

 

“How long has this been happening?” Yakov is sitting in a folding chair, having practically collapsed as he processed the words Yuri spoke, trying not to vomit when he sees the photos. 

 

“I’ve known for a year…” Yuri speaks soberly.

 

“I’ve had marks show up for about 2 and a half years now, sir…” Yuuri is looking at the floor guilty, wondering to himself why he didn’t see things sooner… 

 

Yakov leans forward, his hand rubbing his forehead with irate grief over not knowing anything was wrong for so long. How could he have been so blind? “Okay… Have you contacted any of the police?” Yakov looks to the two young men, they need to figure this out and quickly. 

 

“Viktor told me he’d tried, but Demyan is the police chief’s son, so they didn’t help at all… They swept it all under the rug,” Yuuri explains, thinking back to the day he received messages scraped into the bottom of his feet. 

 

“That fucking bastard, if I ever get my hands on him, so help me…” Yakov growls. 

 

The group stays silent as they try to think of how to handle everything. Yakov is lost in thought and eventually shrugs, “I’ll talk to Lilia. She has some… Secret connections that could probably help us.” The old coach looks nervous, having obviously needed Lilia’s help in the past and knowing exactly what hoops he’ll have to jump through for her. “Do we have any idea any information about Demyan? A phone number or something?”

 

The two skaters look at each other and know exactly what they need to do, sharing their idea with a nod. “Give us until tonight.”

_____

 

Yuuri sits on the edge of his bed, staring at the ground with nervousness of his plan. I promised myself I’d never hurt him… I’d never use the bond unless he did first… I promised… But… I need him… Yuuri picks up the safety pin with a deep breath, lifting his right foot to settle on his knee. His hands shake, but he starts to scratch at his skin with the sharp end, pushing just hard enough to mark without cutting. 

 

Demyan’s phone #?

 

He then sits back and waits, body shaking with anticipation. He can only pray that Viktor had woken up from his unconscious stupor. Minutes pass and then a full hour. He feels hopeless that Viktor will answer. 

 

“Any luck?” Phichit asks, having quietly entered the room. He doesn’t expect Yuuri to startle, but he figured Yuuri was pretty out of it anyway.

 

The older skater shakes his head. “None… He hit his head really hard according to everyone… He… What if-”

 

“Stop that thought right there,” Phichit warns, covering Yuuri’s mouth with his hand, “He’ll be just fine. He’s waiting for us. It’ll be fine.” 

 

Yuuri only nods, knowing Phichit won’t take the argument. 

 

“Maybe we can try something else,” Phichit suggests, “Something a little more… morally grey,” He smiles mischievously and pulls out his laptop. “Text Yuri and tell him to get his butt here. We’ll need him for this.” Phichit logs into his laptop and cracks his knuckles, almost as if he were preparing for some difficult feat, “Time to show you just how much of a ‘Computer geek’ I am…” He laughs, throwing the playful nickname that Yuuri teased him with, back at him. 

 

“Wh-What are you going to do?” Yuuri trepidatiously asks.

 

“I’m going to see if we can’t find some information on Demyan. I’m going to try and do some online stalking, while you and Yuri are going to call around to the local hospitals, hotels, and airport and see if they have someone checked in under the name of Sokolov, or Nikiforov. We’re going to find this son of a bitch if it kills us.”

Chapter Text

“I love you, Vitya.” Yuuri smiles, running his thumb across Viktor’s lips and cheek before leaning in to kiss him deeply, possessively. 

 

It’s a moment before Viktor can speak, whimpering into the overwhelming kiss and leaning into Yuuri’s warm embrace, whispering as Yuuri pulls back, “I love you too, Yuu-chan.”

 

“I’ll keep you safe. Always.” Yuuri speaks, but it sounds distant, as if Yuuri were standing across the room rather than right in front of him. 

 

“Yuuri?” Viktor looks into the brown eyes that have gone characteristically cold. “Yuur-” The floor crumbles  beneath him and he’s freefalling, screaming and reaching up desperately as his hair whips around him, tangling itself as it flutters. He falls for what seems like ages before hitting the ground, slamming his head into an explosive headache screaming from the left side of his head. 

 

He can already feel wetness dripping from the bump, bleeding. 

 

His body is sore and shaking, barely listening to him as he pushes himself up looking around to see just where he’d fallen. Around him is a windowless room, the walls made of peppery gray brick, and the ceiling dripping in the far corner, just like always. There is only one way out of this room and that is the thick mahogany door. The one that Viktor already knows is locked with three different types of locks on the other side. 

 

He curls up, pushing himself into the corner behind him and shrinking himself down as the familiarity of the room sends his heart rate spiking. His thoughts seemingly echo in the emptiness around him.

 

“How did I get here… I don’t want this! I’m… I’m trapped! Someone help… Anyone help… Please… Yuuri!” 

 

Viktor sobs in the corner, losing what little control of his panic he has, spiraling into hyperventilating. 

 

A metallic click silences him, freezing his sobs into a bubble within his throat. A second click, this time more drawn out as someone trails the chain lock open. 

 

Viktor can’t do anything but watch in silent terror as the last lock clicks, and the door swings open slowly, revealing his own personal nightmare. 

 

Demyan. 

 

Viktor startles awake, gasping for breath and sitting up immediately, instantly regretting it as his head throbs and send stars across his sight. He pushes the pain and the accompanying nausea down and looks around frantically to gain his bearings, hoping to see Yuuri’s face.. Yuuri is safe.

 

But Yuuri isn’t anywhere to be found. Viktor finds himself lying across the backseat of an unfamiliar sedan, unbuckled and sore. 

 

“About time you woke up there, babes,” A deep rasping voice comes from the front seat. 

 

Viktor flinches as he recognizes Demyan’s voice… And forces himself not to cry… not to panic. He needs to stay calm… I’m sure Yuuri and Yura are looking for me… I just… I just need to stay calm and try to escape when I can… I need to… Yuuri… I need to get back to him… I need to fight for him… 

_____

 

“Okay. So I did a facebook search for Demyan Sokolov and I had 4 men come up… Plisetsky, are any of them him?” Phichit asks, passing the laptop over to Yuri. 

 

The blond carefully looks over each profile, scanning the faces of the profile pictures. The last one catches his breath in his throat, pulling a memory up, of meeting the man in person for the first time, “Th-The last one… That’s him… That’s who has Viktor.” Yuri swallows loudly, hand coming  up to his cheek at a flash of the phantom memory. 

 

Phichit tugs the laptop back into his lap with a smile, “Good. Give me some time.” 

 

“What are you doing?” Yuri asks curiously, watching as Phichit’s fingers fly across the keyboard at a dizzying speed. 

 

“You won’t get an answer… He’s in the zone now… Besides. You probably don’t want to get involved too much. He reaches a…. Morally gray area, shall we say,” Yuuri chuckles as he pulls the blond’s attention to him. “Just give him 10 minutes. If there is any information he can find on Demyan, he’ll have it then.”

 

“He’s a hacker?” Yura breathes in shock, glancing over to see the almost glazed over eyes of Phichit as he works his magic. 

 

“In practical terms? Yeah, pretty much,” Yuuri laughs, glancing down at his phone. “Did you want to start calling around? See if they are somewhere in town? It’s been a while.” 

 

“Yeah. Let’s do it.” Yuri pulls his phone out of his pocket and they use Yuuri’s laptop to pull up a list of hotels. 

 

Ten minutes, several disappointing phone calls, and numerous worried glances later, Phichit breaks the tension with a cheer of success.

 

“Seems like our target isn’t so smart, afterall! The idiot left his location on, on his phone.” Phichit laughs as he continues to type, “He’s headed toward the airport. My guess? He’s taking Viktor back to Saint Petersburg. Back to home turf where he has the advantage.” Phichit stretches his shoulders before typing some more, bringing up the airline website. “Okay. How early can you guys be ready to travel?” 

_____

 

Demyan pulls the silver sedan to a halting stop as he parks it in the parking garage outside of the airport, grabbing his backpack from the passenger seat, stepping out with a slam of his door . Viktor freezes in the backseat, watching as Demyan comes around to open his side. He can’t move away fast enough, not with how gelatinous his limbs feel, and Demyan catches him by the elbow in a tight, unrelenting grasp, dragging him out of the car.

 

Demyan stands Viktor up and turns him until Viktor is facing away. He quickly pulls Viktor’s hair up into a messy bun, carefully covering as much red as he can. They’ll go to the bathroom and get rid of the evidence when they get inside. For now, they just had to get past the ticket desk as quickly as possible. 

 

“You will not say a word, do you understand?” Demyan says harshly, pulling an old, dusty winter beanie over Viktor’s silver locks, hiding the blood even more effectively. 

 

Viktor nods, his head spinning. He knows for a fact he has a concussion, he can tell without even being seen. His head is throbbing and foggy. His vision is blurred and sometimes split in two. He feels as if he’ll vomit at any moment. 

 

For now, he just has to behave, has to follow. Making a scene here will for sure not end well… It’s not the right time. 

 

Demyan wraps an arm around Viktor’s waist, both as a warning, and as a crutch to keep them from looking too suspiscious. 

_____

“How early? Are you kidding! We have a chance!” Yuuri yells out, standing quickly and rushing to the desk for his wallet and passport. “I’m going now. Coming or not?” He demands, pulling his phone out to call a lyft to the hotel. 

 

“Coming.” Phichit and Yuri say in unison, both rushing to grab their things, Yuri having to go to his room for his passport, but coming back sprinting.

 

“Let’s go. I’ll call Yakov on the way.” Yuri gasps. 

 

They all rush down to the hotel lobby, impatiently waiting for the Lyft driver, and clamboring in when she pulls up. Phichit throws two twenties into the front passenger seat, “Step on it please, Get us there as fast as you can.” 

 

The woman looks with wide surprised eyes at the money and meets Phichit’s eyes in the mirror with a nod, “You’ve got it.” She speaks in heavily accented english. 

_____

 

“Hello. Yes, we’d like two tickets for the next flight to Saint Petersburg, Russia. Please,” Demyan speaks smoothly, lilting his voice to come off flirtatious to the young woman running the counter.

 

With a blush and a shy giggle, the woman types up the information into her computer, bringing up any flights to Saint Petersburg. “It looks like our next available flight is in an hour, sir.” 

 

Viktor can’t help but notice the numerous times the woman bats her eyes, or how she presses her arms closer together, pushing her chest out more. The look in Demyan’s eyes nearly makes his gag with shame. Why didn’t he ever look at me like that? 

 

“That’s perfect honey,” Demyan smiles and winks, reaching forward to take the flower out of the vase on her desk and place it gently behind her ear, “Two tickets please.” 

 

The woman stutters, flailing for words as her cheeks turn bright red, “O-Of course!” 

They set up the information, and within 5 minutes the woman is shyly handing over two plane tickets, a soft smile playing across her lips. 

 

Why do I even feel like this… This jealous! I don’t want him.. I don’t love him! I- I have no reason to feel this way. But Viktor can’t help the tightness of his heartbreak in his chest, or the stinging of betrayed jealous tears that threaten to fall. 

_____

 

“Yura!” Yakov barks over the phone, answering the frantic call of his skater.

 

“Yakov, look I don’t have much time to explain. We found Viktor.” Yuri snaps into the phone, his impatience for even the light traffic bleeding into his words. 

 

“You found him? Where?” 

 

“”Demyan’s taking him back to Russia!” Yuri practically screams as the car has to slow down once more, “We are on the way to the airport now. Tell Celestino Yuuri and Phichit are here.”

 

“Yura! This is dangerous! Wait for u-” Yakov yells worriedly, but is cut off as Yuri hangs up the phone. 

 

“We’re in so much trouble when this is over,” Phichit slumps back into his seat.

_____

 

Forty five minutes pass, Demyan and Viktor slowly getting through security after Demyan practically rips Viktor’s hair out with the force of his scrubbing to erase the injury as much as possible, ignoring the forcibly hidden whimpers of pain from the silver headed man. 

 

Viktor is slouched into one of the uncomfortable airport seats, his eyes stinging and drooping as he struggles to stay awake. 

 

Demyan is sitting next to him, legs bouncing with nerves as he glances around, watching for any familiar faces. Ones that he would recognize from Viktor’s competitions. 

 

All he can do is wait and pray no one shows up, even as Viktor prays Yuuri finds him faster. 

_____

 

The red van screeches to a halt, the door sliding open before the vehicle his even fully stopped. Yuuri throws another twenty in the front seat to join Phichit’s other two as he races out of the car, already running inside.

 

“Thank you,” Phichit supplies, climbing out with Yuri and rushing in after the other skater. 

 

They reach the counter and are frantic, gasping for their breath. 

 

“We need 3 tickets for the next flight to Saint Petersburg, Please,” Yuuri practically begs.

 

The woman, sensing the panic, quickly pulls up the information on the screen. “The next available flight is in 4 hours. I’ll need your ID’s and passports please.”

They each take out their information and hand it over. Walking away a few minutes later, tickets in hand. 

 

The trio go through security really quickly given they only have their wallets, passports, and cellphones on them and before they know it they are walking through the terminal, avoiding small groups of people as they walk toward their gate, knowing they are ridiculously early, but unsure of what else to do in their anxiousness. 

 

Phichit is on his phone, texting Chris their situation, when he walks right into the back of Yuuri.

 

“Hey Yuuri… What’s going on-” Phichit doesn’t need an answer when the looks at where his best friend is staring in horror. Silver hair, being led by a taller brunet. Viktor and Demyan, walking up to board their plane. 

 

The two of them step into the door and before Yuuri can stop himself he’s shouting, “Vitya!” Desperately, rushing to try and reach him. 

 

Viktor turns around, hearing Yuuri’s voice, seeing the worried cherrywood eyes.

 

He came for me! Viktor can’t help but feel his smile as he reaches a hand out to Yuuri.

 

Only to be interrupted as the gate door slams, cutting them off from each other with a mere few feet between them. 

 

Chapter Text

“No!” Yuuri screams, running up to the woman running the gate. “Please ma’am you have to open the door!” 

 

The woman’s face is stern, no nonsense as she looks at Yuuri, “I’m sorry, but I have orders from the captain to shut the door. If you’re late to arrive you’ll have to talk to the front desk to get transferred. Rules are rules.”

 

Yuuri pulls at his hair anxiously, “Ma’am, you don’t understand! There is a passenger in danger on that plane! You need to let me on!” 

 

The woman pauses for a moment, her hand hovering over the phone she was reaching for to call security, “You’re serious?” She asks. Knowing she has the authority to call the captain if something is affecting the safety of the passengers.

 

“Yes! Please you have to stop the plane!” Yuuri practically shouts, Phichit and Yuri behind him, looking to the woman with desperate eyes.

 

“I’ll delay the plane,” The woman says finally, pointing to the seats at the gate’s waiting area, “Please sit there. No one is moving until the police arrive.” Her tone is no nonsense, falling into emergency protocol. She picks up the radio and speaks professionally and clearly into the receiver, “Cockpit, passenger in danger, remain on apron, repeat remain on apron.” 

 

A rough, disconnected voice replies through the radio, “Affirm. Ready for airbridge.”

 

Yuuri is freaking out, nerves coursing through is body as Phichit leads him to the chairs by a gentle hand on his shoulder. “It’ll be okay, Yuuri. We got here just in time. As soon as the police get here, we’ll get everything sorted out.” 

Yuri steps quietly behind him, throwing himself into his seat, but he can’t stop the nerves from bouncing his legs, or making every position uncomfortable. 

 

Yuuri can only sit in silence. Waiting in his own personal purgatory, unknowing what to do, or what will happen. 

 

They sit impatiently like this for what seems like hours until four uniformed men walk up, an intimidating aura around them. The police. They approach the woman first, who explains what she knows and points to Yuuri.

 

Yuuri stands as the police approach, his hands shaking as he looks up at the two taller men. 

 

“Hello, what’s the situation? You claim a passenger is in danger. How so?”

 

Yuuri has to swallow his nerves back before he can answer, “There is a passenger, Viktor Nikiforov, who is traveling with Demyan Sokolov. Mr. Sokolov physically hurts Viktor, who is currently injured and needs medical attention.” 

 

“This is a severe charge.” the second police officer speaks, writing notes into his notepad. 

 

The third officer walks back over to the woman, “Please open the bridge.” To which she complies, letting 3 of the officers onto the plane to Demyan and Viktor after giving the police their seat numbers. 

_____

 

Demyan knew he’d been caught when he’d heard that damned brat screaming Viktor’s name, but he didn’t think Yuuri had the balls to delay the whole fucking plane. Kid’s got balls that’s for sure… He leans over and growls into Viktor’s ear, quiet enough for only him to hear, “Police are going to come for us. You are going to go along with my story and make it fucking believable,” He pulls a pucket knife from his jeans and clicks it, holding the blade against Viktor’s skin, “Or you’ll be sure to never see that fucking pretty boy again. Understand, babes?” 

 

Viktor in his concussed, dazed state can only nod and whimper as he feels the glinting steel on his spine. I need to make it out of this alive. It’s the only way I’ll ever see Yuuri again… It’s the only way Yuuri has a chance to save me. No matter what. Stay alive…

 

Within 20 minutes, police are storming onto the plane passed the flight attendants, who follow their protocol and stay out of the way. The police walk straight up to where Demyan is seated with Viktor, Viktor along the aisle seat, bodily hiding the knife from view. The police have their hands on their guns, but not drawn. 

 

Demyan smiles politely, and Viktor leans into his seat. “Is there a problem officers?” Demyan asks innocently.

 

“Yes. We have a statement that Mr Nikiforov is in need of medical care, and we have reason to believe that there is a domestic situation involved between you two.” The police officer states, an air of authority in his voice. 

 

“Sir, with all due respect, did this “statement come from a young japanese man, who may or may not be with a teenaged blond boy, and a dark haired foreigner?” Demyan begins to pull at the threads of his lies, weaving them together, and pulling the descriptions from his glance on the air bridge of the trio.

 

The police officers are shocked that he knew that, and one of them nods. “What of it?”

 

“You see,” Demyan uses his free hand to pull his badge from the pocket of his shirt, “I am Demyan Sokolov, with the Saint Petersburg Police station. I’ve been placed on Viktor’s case and have been investigating Mr. Yuuri Katsuki for months for multiple counts of Domestic violence. Unfortunately I do not have jurisdiction to make an arrest outside of Russia, but Viktor here has agreed to come back to Russia where I have the power to protect him.” He plays the strings of his lies like a fiddle, drawing everyone who hears to believe him. 

 

“Mr. Nikiforov, is this true?” a police officer kneels in front of Viktor, making eye contact.

 

If I say no… Demyan will kill me… If I say yes… I live and have the chance to see Yuuri again… but… but Yuuri… Will take the blame? He’ll be arrested… His career will be ruined... I-It would be my fault… What do I do? What do I do?! I can’t hurt Yuuri like that… I can’t do that to him…

 

Demyan presses the knife harder into Viktor’s skin and instinct takes over. “Y-yes it’s true… Please…” make it believable… or he’ll kill you… “Please I just want this to stop. I just want to go home and be safe…” Viktor is sobbing, saying one thing and meaning it in a completely different way... His heart shatters as he realizes what he just did. The police officers nodding, apologizing for the inconvenience, and leaving the plane just as quickly as they boarded. Viktor breaks into sobs that take his very soul and shreds it to pieces as his heart is ripped from his chest by the lies he had been manipulated to weave… The forced apprentice of the master… 

_____

 

The police line up and meet with the fourth man who’d come with them, quietly discussing what had happened on the plane, and all coming to the same conclusion. They turn and walk to the trio. 

 

The oldest of the four steps forward to speak, “Are any of you, Yuuri Katsuki?” He asks seriously. 

 

Yuuri stands and steps forward, “That’s me, is Viktor alri-”

 

The cop snaps and grabs Yuuri’s wrist, spinning him until he is able to slap his wrists with harsh metal cuffs, “You are under arrest for domestic abuse and violence against Viktor Nikiforov.”

Chapter Text

“Yuuri Katsuki, You are under arrest for domestic abuse and violence against Viktor Nikiforov. You have the right to remain silent,” The oldest of the four cops harshly cuffs Yuuri’s hands behind his back.

 

“What?!” Yuuri gasps, crying out as the officer cuffs his wrists to tight. “You’ve got the wrong man. I didn’t do anything!” 

 

“What the hell?!” Yuri yells out, standing quickly, trying to make himself taller.

 

“Sir! You’re wrong! Demyan is the one to blame!” Phichit steps forward and places a hand on the officer’s arm, begging him to let Yuuri go. The officer whips his arm, throwing Phichit off and making the young skater fall backwards, sprawling across the sticky carpeted floor. 

 

“Hey!” Yuri screams, rushing over to Phichit to help him up, “We told you! You’ve got the wrong person!” 

 

Yuuri’s anxiety screams in his chest, heart racing as the officer starts to pull him, leading him away from the gate. His heart races in his chest, breaths spastically shaking in his ribs as he pulls against the cuffs, fighting to get away from the officer with a scream. “I didn’t do it! Please! You have to listen! He’s in trouble! I didn’t do anything!” His eyes are streaming tears and his shoulders angrily protest as he throws his weight in every direction desperately. 

 

Yuri stands after Phichit is sitting up, and runs after the officer holding Yuuri, only to be grabbed by one of the other japanese officers and practically lifted off the ground as he holds the blond back. “Fucking Asshole! Let me go!” Yuri flairs in the man’s arms, legs kicking from where they can no longer touch ground. He raises one of his legs as high as he can with a yelling growl, kicking it down and back, hitting his target on the dot. The man immediately dropping him and collapsing to the ground, hands clutching between his legs as he moans in pain. Yuri scarcely avoids the other two cops as they dive for him and sprints at the man dragging Yuuri away, raising his arm and throwing his weight completely into the throw as he punches the heavier set man across in the jaw, forcing his grip on Yuuri to drop, sending the young skater to the ground. 

 

“Yuuri, come on, stand up!” Yuri rushes to his side, trying to pull him up, struggling as Yuuri has no way of helping him with his hands. 

 

They aren’t fast enough, Even with Phichit trying to hold the fourth cop back with crying screams, the three officers pin both Yuuri and Yuri down to the ground. You can’t trick us. We know  from Mr. Nikiforov himself, that you are the one who has been hurting him. He told us himself and begged us to save him from you. Scum like you don’t deserve to see the light of day.” 

 

Yuuri stops cold, flinching against the harsh words… Viktor? Viktor said that..? But I thought… Why? The tears start streaming faster, flooding to the ground as Yuuri feels his heart shatter with betrayal, as if his glass heart has been dropped, falling like an ornament from a Christmas tree to scatter across the ground in tiny slivers. 

 

“That’s not fucking true! Viktor would never betray us like that! He would never…” Yuri screams, fighting, but losing the battle as he takes in the reality that they are being arrested because of Viktor’s words… A year of fighting… A year of fucking keeping him safe… of protecting him… for this… for him to side with Demyan?! How could he… Yuri screams as he feels his mind blank, heartbroken, betrayed.


Phichit is staring on in hopelessness as Yuuri and Yuri are both cuffed. He doesn’t even register that cuffs are around his own wrists until he’s dragged away as well. This was our chance… This was our only chance… wasted…

Chapter Text

Yuuri sighs, curled up, head on knees as he sits in the corner of the cell. He’d long lost his voice after hours of pleading, screaming, and sobbing his heartbreak out as is bleeds from his chest. Yuri and Phichit sit on the bed, Yuri laying across the barely there mattress, facing the wall, face half buried in the pillow he clutches to his chest. Phichit sits cross-legged at the foot, elbows on his knees, forehead balanced in his hands. He truly has not words he can think to say. None at all. He doesn’t see any hope in this situation. No light in the dark. 

 

They all sit in a tense silence, the only sound they can hear from their temporary holding cell is the dripping of a pipe somewhere in the ceiling, and the gossiping of the woman running the front desk on the phone. Both grate on their ears. 

 

None of them move for hours, even as two sets of footsteps send echoing taps from where they begin to approach. Not until their names are called and keys jangle in the locks of their door.

 

“Plisetsky, Katsuki, Chulanont,” a deep baritone speaks in heavily accented english. “You’ve made bail.” 

 

The door swings open to the two officers standing at the door, obviously there to escort them to the front. 

 

Phichit and Yuri sit up in surprise, hesitantly stepping from the bed to the door. Yuuri stays exactly where he is, seemingly lost in his own head, numbed to everything taking place in reality. 

 

Phichit sighs and walks over to his best friend, kneeling low in front of him and grasping his hands. “Come on Yuuchan. We have to go.” He pulls Yuuri up and leads him out by the hand, Yuuri mindlessly following behind him with glazed tear-swollen eyes. 

 

Yakov rushes to meet them as they are led to the front room. “Oh thank god… What the fuck happened?!” His face is twisted in fury until he looks at the desolate faces across the group. 

 

Yuri steps forward, feeling betrayed and heartbroken. “Viktor did this. He got us arrested.” 

 

“What? Vitya wouldn’t da-” Yakov starts.

 

Yuri snaps, breaking into angry sobs, “Don’t tell me he wouldn’t when he did! He fucking betrayed all of us! We got to the airport! We even made it in time to stop the fucking plane! The police came and even intended to arrest the damned bastard! And Viktor told them Yuuri did it! That Yuuri is the one who fucking beats him! That Yuuri is the one who puts him through hell everyday for two years!” Yuri is openly sobbing, his words coming through broken gasps and scrubbed tears, “Viktor betrayed us…” His anger finally gives way to sorrow, breaking him down until he throws himself into yakov’s chest, screaming his agony.

 

Yuuri steps forward, feeling every single drop of Yuri’s anguish in his own heart. He places a hand on his shoulder, grabbing his attention. The blond turns his tearstained face, to the older skater. Without thinking, Yuri pulls back and instead buries his face in Yuuri’s chest, clinging to his shirt tightly in both fists. 

 

Yuuri whispers, voice hoarse, completely monotone and emotionless, “We have to go get him.” 

 

Phichit gasps, trying not to sound as happy as he feels, even if he knows Yuuri is still in heartbreak.

 

Yuri looks up with wide eyes, as if Yuuri had just grown two heads. “You- You still want to save him? Even after he did all this.”

 

“As much as my heart hurts, Yura, I have to. He’s my soulmate. And even in this situation, it doesn’t change the fact that Viktor is still in danger.” Yuuri sighs, reasoning both with Yuri and himself, “As much as this hurts, I still love him… And you do too…” 

 

Yuri hides his face in Yuuri’s chest again, but no one misses the subtle nod the blond gives. 

 

“We have to go.” Yuuri declares hoarsely, deciding in himself that no matter what, he was going to save Viktor. Even if it killed him. 

 

Silence comes from everyone, waiting for a certain blond’s reply before anything else… Yuri hesitates, before nodding and stepping back, wiping the last of his tears away, “You’re right. Let’s go.” 

 

Phichit cheers, jumping forward to wrap his arms around the two Yuris. Yakov stangs proudly, hiding his happiness that even in this dark spot, there are good people looking out for his skaters. 

 

A tall, gruff man steps forward awkwardly, clearing his throat to gather their attention, “Um… Excuse me. We need to talk before you all leave. First off we have your belongings.” The man nonchalantly holds the small bin out, letting the skater’s take their phones and wallets back. “Secondly, we wanted to discuss the terms of your bail, in particular, Yuuri Katsuki.”

 

Yakov steps forward, standing in front of his skaters, because at this point Celestino’s kids are his, whether they want to be or not. “What are the conditions?”

 

“First off, Katsuki Yuuri’s flight privileges have been revoked until the case has been resolved. He is also not allowed within 200 feet of Viktor Nikiforov. Finally, until the case has been resolved, Katsuki Yuuri must be GPS ELEPHANT at all times up until the final ruling.” The man crosses his arms smugly, cruelty in every drop of his voice as he knows that he is the alphamale in this conversation. 

 

At least until Yakov smiles, eyes sizing up the man with an aura of mercilessness, “With all due respect, sir. That won’t be happening.”

 

The man sputters, cheeks going red with anger, “Sir! This is the law that he must follow due to the charges put against him by Viktor Nikiforov himself! If he doesn’t follow this protocol, he will be rearrested on the spot!” The man steps forward, squaring his chest with Yakov who frustratingly enough, keeps his stance relaxed. 

 

“No sir, and here’s why.” Yakov holds out his hand, palm up to his side in expectation, “Yura. You’re phone please.” He gently demands. 

 

Yuri nods and places his phone in Yakov’s hand, unlocked. 

 

The older coach pulls the phone in front of him, fingers swiping across the screen to find the gallery files saved to the phone, smile growing as he finds the file named ‘Viktor’. “You see, based on what I have been told, I have a few questions about how you handled the event at the airport.” 

 

The officer scoffs and rolls his eyes, “And what gives you the power to tell us how we can and cannot handle the cases within our jurisdiction?” 

 

“A one, Lilia Baronovskaya, Head interpol detective, and the woman who’s case you impeded on and interfered with.” Yakov swipes through the photos nonchalantly , finding the earlier ones before even making eye contact with the officer.

 

“And what of it?” The man grumbles, “Justice was served. Case closed. We even have the verbal statement from Viktor Nikiforov himself, the victim of this monster.” The officer… Officer Nakamura, Yakov finally reads across the man’s name tag… jabs his finger in Yuuri’s direction. 

 

“Oh really, well. Here’s the thing,” Yakov pauses, “Katsuki! When did you first meet Viktor?” 

 

Yuuri stutters over his words, “Um… Monday, sir.” 

 

“Did you ever have any contact with him before then?” 

 

Yuuri shakes his head, before realizing Yakov is still faced away, “No sir.” Wait that’s not technically true! “Actually only once in January. I didn’t realize it at the time, because I didn’t know it was him, but I had talked to Viktor through our soulmate bond… He had scratched messages for help into the bottom of his foot using some sort of blunt object so they would fade.”

 

The officer is dead silent, glaring with increasingly red cheeks as Yakov continues.

 

“Katsuki, do you have proof of when you first had contact with Viktor? Including text messages, social media, and anything else?” Yakov smiles, knowing from Yuri’s grumbling that Viktor had ‘forgotten his phone’ and gave Yuuri the younger’s number instead. He temporarily closes the gallery app and opens the messages app, pulling up the messages under the name ‘Yuuri’. He scrolled up to the top and clicks the message to show the date and timestamp. 

 

“He gave me his number at the airport on monday when we bumped into each other. But I found out today that he’d actually given me Yuri Plisetsky’s number instead. We texted monday night for the first time.” Yuuri smiles slightly as he realizes that Yakov has a solid case and their plans may not be ruined by the law.

 

“Yura!” Yakov snaps, changing his questions to be directed at the blond. “When did you find out that Viktor was in an abusive relationship?” 

 

The teen smiles smugly, knowing Yakov has all the evidence for his statement in the literal palm of his hand. “Over a year ago, closer to a year and a half.” Yuri places a hand on his hip and forces the officer to make eye contact with him, “And I have photographic evidence I’ve kept of each injury I was able to document, both on Viktor and myself from Demyan Sokolov.” 

 

Upon cue, Yakov turns the phone in his hand to face the officer, swiping through the folder of hundreds of photos, each one with date stamps. 

 

“But- But!” Officer Nakamura splutters stepping back as he realizes just the position he’s in, “What about the statement! Viktor Nikiforov himself told us specifically that it was Kats-”

 

Yakov tosses the phone behind him high over his shoulder, leaving Yuri scrambling to catch it. “Did you ever think about Sokolov’s position?”

 

The officer remains silent, unable to come up with an answer.

 

“Demyan Sokolov is a Russian Police officer.” Yakov starts pacing, his hands behind his back casually. “Tell me, did your men have either Viktor or Demyan stand in your altercation on the plane?” 

 

“No.. But-”

 

“So is it possible, that Sokolov, an officer who legally is able to carry a weapon on his person, even while on a plane, could’ve been manipulating Viktor’s answer with a threat to his health and/or life?” Yakov’s tone becomes accusatory… Seriously… Do your fucking jobs!

 

“It’s um yes but-” 

 

“And did you, or did you not, make an arrest of a person, whom you even assumed, would have been a suspect of an international case, which, I’d like to remind you, is out of your jurisdiction, Officer Nakamura? Tell me, what happens to officers who step out of their jurisdiction? It’s an automatic demotion if not expulsion for interference of an investigation. Isn’t that right?” 

 

The officer takes another step back, spluttering to backstep his situation, “Um.. Wait! We’ll- We’ll drop all charges! Please just don’t tell my supervisor!” The man gets down on his knees, bowing low in apology Dogeza style. 

 

Check Mate.

Chapter Text

Viktor relaxes, falling slack into his seat as soon as Demyan removes the blade from his skin. He flinches slightly, and tries to hide his shiver of disgust when he feels Demyan’s fingers pet through his long hair, pulling it from its bun and “rewarding” his Viten’ka. 

 

“You did really well, babes.” Demyan whispers in his ear, brushing the now flowing long hair over Viktor’s shoulder. “Very believable. I almost forgot how beautiful you look when you cry.” Demyan cups the back of Viktor’s neck, his rough fingers massaging where they touch pale skin. 

 

Viktor nods, head swaying at the unstable dizziness he fights every second. All he wants to do is sleep, eyes heavy and drooping. He struggles to stay conscious, but the fuzziness in his head is a thick fog of confusion, sending his vision darker and darker as his body drops from the adrenaline of the altercation with police. Before he can stop himself, His head is dropping, his vision succumbing to the darkness as he falls unconscious leaning against Demyan’s shoulder. 

 

It could have been minutes or hours when Viktor came to again, his head screaming in pain, making any thinking difficult and slow coming. His stomach is in knots and he feels as if he’ll throw up, a cold sweat dripping across his forehead, swallowing to try and rid himself of the feeling. He gags once and immediately sits up straight, covering his mouth with both hands. 

 

Demyan is right there, rushing to open the provided sickness bag from the seat in front of him, shoving it in front of Viktor just in time as the silver headed man snatches it and vomits noisily, tears streaming down his face from both the shame consuming him, and the acid burning his throat. 

 

Demyan brushes Viktor’s hair back, holding it away from his face with one hand and rubbing the sick skater’s back with the other. “It’s okay, Viten’ka. You’re okay… It’ll be over soon.” His hand moves in gentle circles across Viktor’s shoulder blades. He pulls Viktor to lay on his shoulder when the worst of it passes, holding him close as dry heaves shudder through his chest. He makes sure to tilt Viktor’s chin up and wipe the tears away, erasing the tear stained tracks down his cheeks. 

 

Viktor is too foggy with concussed exhaustion to pull away, falling into the warmth, imagining that he’s surrounded by the soothing cherry blossom scent, trying to erase the overpowering scent of rose water that follows Demyan where he goes. 

 

He barely registers the kiss to his forehead as he feels himself drift back into sleep. 

 

He’s awoken again to the shaking of the plane hitting a patch of turbulence, explained by the dark gray thunderclouds Viktor sees out the window. His stomach flips as he feels the plane drop in altitude, trying to escape the turbulent air. 

 

He sighs, wishing for Yuuri in his mind, and stands after the turbulence clears. Demyan is sleeping against the window, snoring gently, much to Viktor’s relief. His head spins slightly as he stands, but he forces himself down the aisle of the plane to the lavatory, using the seats with sleeping passengers as a balance to hold on to as he steps. 

 

He reaches the bathroom and closes himself inside, resting against the locked door for a moment to try and refocus his clouded mind. He takes a deep breath and looks at himself in the mirror, finding almost a shell of a man in his place, dark circles under his eyes, vacant blue eyes.

 

What did I let him turn me into…

 

He shakes his head, pulling his eyes away from the ghost in the mirror and moving over to the toilet to relieve himself.

 

He only just barely tucks his length away and moves to the tiny sink to wash his hands when a knock comes tapping against the door. Quick. Staccato. Impatient. 

 

“Som-Someone’s in here!” He calls out, quickly washing his hands and wiping the wetness away on his pants.

 

Another knock, louder this time, making Viktor flinch as the raps throb in his head. One. Throb. Two. Throb. Three. Throb.

 

“Okay! Okay!” Viktor practically whines as he reaches for the door handle and pushes the door open in irritation, trying to step quickly out of the way to let the knocker in. Impatient Jerk…

 

Before Viktor can take a step out however, he is pushed back into the miniscule latrine, nearly toppling over the toilet, having to turn away from the door to catch himself. He feels the telltale click of the door’s lock before he is pulled up by the back of his shirt and pressed harshly against the door, pushed as close as he can be to the cool metal. 

 

“Hello Viten’ka. We’re going to do this quickly and quietly.” Demyan growls into Viktor’s ear in a harsh whisper, pushing his own body up against Viktor’s back and slotting his hardened length between Viktor’s cheeks, grinding into hip persistently.

 

“Dem-” Viktor tries to speak before thick, silky fabric is shoved into his mouth, tasting of the bitter alcohol of cologne. Demyan’s tie. Viktor tries to call out, but his cries are muffled by the makeshift gag. 

 

“I told you. We’re doing this quietly.” Demyan warns, holding Viktor’s hair in a vice grip and pulling. “It seems lately that my little Viten’ka has forgotten who his master is. He’s forgotten who owns him.” The taller Russian sliding his free hand under Viktor’s leggings, pushing the fabric out of the way to give himself access. “So I’m going to reclaim my little slut…” Demyan thrusts into Viktor hard, unprepped. He drops Viktor’s hair to cover his mouth tightly with his hand, drowning out Viktor’s scream of pain even more, coming out just barely able to be heard. It really worked to Demyan’s advantage the younger man screamed his throat hoarse the night before. 

 

Demyan thrusts into Viktor over and over, quickly and rough as he chases his own desires. 

 

Viktor sobs from the pain, tears falling to the floor.

 

Yuuri… Help please… 

Chapter Text

“Can’t this fucking wait go faster?!” Yuri grumbles as he paces back and forth fervently, glancing at the wall clock every few minutes, growling at the lack of movement of the hands. 

 

“Time only goes so fast, Yurotchka… Staring at it, won’t make it go any faster.” Yakov snaps, looking up from his phone and the messages between him and Lilia

 

Phichit and Yuuri stay unmoving, staring at Phichit’s laptop screen as the young Thai skater types furiously, murmuring between each other every so often. 

 

“How much longer until the flight?” Yuri groans, throwing himself across a set of airline seats that are missing the armrest, turning the line of uncomfortable chairs into a makeshift bench. 

 

Yuuri glances to his watch, just as impatient as Yuri, “We should be boarding within the next ten minutes. We just need to sit and wait.” Even as he speaks the words, his fingers are fidgeting in his lap as one of his legs bounces his anxiety. 

 

“With the delay we had at the station, Demyan got a major lead on us. According to his phone’s location, they should be landing here in the next hour and a half,” Phichit speaks precisely, his eyes still continuously grazing the screen as he types.  “When we’re on the plane, I won’t be able to track him again until I get wi-fi. Which I don’t know if I'll be able to get securely in Russia. I’ve just done a search into the different addresses and locations he has used to log into his facebook and instagram in the past. Looks like there are 4 addresses. My guess? He’s taking Viktor to one of those…”

 

“What makes you say that? Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to go to a new address he knows no one knows about?” Yuri asks, glancing over from where he is laying on the bench. 

 

 “It would make more sense that way, but I’m taking into account that Demyan knows we were arrested. He knows that aside from us, likely no one else was coming after him. He built his story to take Viktor to the hospital that way, to rid people of their suspicion. He’ll be feeling comfortable since the police took his side. This comfort will force him to make mistakes.” Phichit’s smile is smug, cracking his knuckles and taking a picture of the 4 addresses with his phone, saving them to his gallery for later. 

 

“It’s best to just go with it, Yura,” Yuuri sighs, giving a fond smile to his best friend. “This isn’t the first time he’s done this for someone, he knows what he’s talking about.”

 

“I’m the best and you know it,” Phichit chuckles with a wink, leaning over to kiss Yuuri’s cheek, playfully. 

 

Yuri mocks disgust before shaking his head. “Okay… So if he’s going to go to one of those places… How do we know which one to try first?” 

 

“That is a bit more complicated, but we have time to work that out along the way. I mean it is a 16 hour plane ride.” Yuuri supplies, glancing at his watch again. He doesn’t have the chance to guage the time, however, as a feminine voice projects from the speaker of their gate. 

 

“Attention passengers, will the passengers for flight 4537 please approach the gate for boarding. Once again, will the passengers for flight HZ 4537 please approach the gate for boarding.”

 

“Finally!” Yuri cheers to himself as he pushes himself to standing, pulling the backpack he’d left lying by Yakov’s feet onto his shoulders. 

 

Yuuri stands and holds a hand out to Phichit as the younger skater places his laptop into his bag. Phichit grasps his hand and pulls himself up, finding himself looking up into Yuuri’s anxious eyes. “We’re going to save him, Yuuchan. I promise.” 

 

Yuuri nods and tries to give Phichit a small smile, pulling him into a tight hug before they start toward the gate to board the plane. 

 

The three younger skaters take a few steps before they realize there is someone missing. They all turn to see Yakov standing, fingers tapping against his phone screen. 

 

“Aren’t you coming?” Yuri asks, stepping forward to Yakov and gently pulling the phone from him.

 

“No, Yurotchka. If someone doesn’t stay to keep in touch with Lilia, we’ll have even less of a chance of finding Vitya,” Yakov ruffles Yuri’s hair as he takes his phone back. He looks up to all three of them. All three of his skaters. “I’ll stay here and keep Interpol updated with your location. From my understanding, they are going to meet you at the airport and help you search the four addresses.”

 

“But, Yakov… What if something happens?” Yuri is avoiding eye contact, his hands shaking. “What if- What if we don’t come back?”

 

“That won’t happen, Yurotchka. I promise,” Yakov pulls his youngest charge into his arms, holding him tightly in a hug before gesturing for Yuuri and Phichit to join them. “If there is anyone who can find Viktor, it’s you three. I’ll handle things while you guys are on the plane. We need someone here to help when you guys are on blackout.” 

 

Yuri nods, sniffling and taking a deep breath to swallow his fear. I can do this… We can do this… I’ll confront him… Just like Viktor did for me.

 

Yuri and Phichit both thank Yakov for their help before pulling back and walking to the plane to meet the impatient gate guard. Yuuri hesitates for a moment, hugging Yakov tighter to him and whispering into his ear. 

 

“I’ll bring him back, sir. I promise.” 

 

“Yakov pulls back, holding Yuuri at arms length for a moment before ruffling his hair, just as he had done to Yuri. “I know you will. Text me as soon as you land and I’ll let you know the situation.”

 

“Yes, sir. Thank you.” Yuuri gives him one more smile and a quick hug before rushing to the gate.

 

“Go get your Vitya back, Yuura.” Yakov whispers mainly to himself before returning his attention to his phone, sending off a quick text to Lilia. The boys are boarding now. I’ll let you know when they land. 

 

You act as if I won’t already know, Yakov.

 

The old coach laughs and pockets his phone, determined to get back to the hotel and take care of his other skaters. He knows he’ll have a lot of explaining to the Italian coach when he gets there. 

 

The first flight of three is an hour and a half long and they end up waiting in the next airport impatiently for 17 hours until their connecting flight. Demyan had lucked out with a faster flight with no layovers, just a connection. The boys were not so lucky… In fact Demyan and Viktor have already landed in Saint Petersburg when their first flight lands. 

 

Yuuri and Yuri find themselves pacing, calling anyone they could think of, even just sitting and staring into space for the whole 17 hours, unable to find sleep  like Phichit. Eventually, they are boarded on the second plane.

 

With every half hour that passes after take off, Yuuri gets more and more wound up. Tapping his feet or fingers against anything that makes noise, glancing out the window over and over hoping to see the ground get closer. He loses himself in his head until Phichit reaches a hand out, taking Yuuri’s in his own. 

 

“Yuuri, you need to get some sleep. You haven’t slept since we woke up for the free skate.” He squeezes Yuuri’s fingers gently, rubbing a comforting thumb across his knuckles. That was over 42 hours ago… Please Yuuri… You’re going to run yourself into the ground. Both of you will… He glances at Yuri in the seat on his other side. 

 

“Phich… I probably won’t be able to sleep until I have him back… I need to know he’s okay. I need to know he’s safe and as long as he’s with that asshole, I know that’s not happening.” Yuuri sighs, his free hand rubbing his stinging eyes. 

 

“Please just try? For me?” Phichit pleads gently, bringing Yuuri’s shaking hand to his lips for a small kiss. He can hear Yuri’s music blasting from his headphones on his other side, being seating completely in the middle. 

 

“Mmm..” Yuuri shrugs, but leans against Phichit’s shoulder anyway, nuzzling close, even if his eyes refuse to close completely. 

 

Phichit sighs, leaning his head against Yuuri’s. After a moment, he gets an idea, and smiles.

 

He starts humming softly, a song that he used to sing to calm Yuuri out of his panic attacks. One that no matter how hard he tried, Yuuri never figured out the meaning of the lyrics, but it would always calm him. Let’s see if it still works…

 

“Yahk kayup kao bpai glai tur… Yahk roo juk stung dtae dai jur… Jai chun sun meua dai yin siang tur, Dtung dtae wun raek jur gor plur ao bpai kit lamur.” He starts, singing slower than the song is written, and keeping his voice as calm as possible.  Almost immediately, he can feel some tension leave Yuuri’s body. Great! If I keep going, I’m sure he’ll fall asleep, just like he always did! So he continues, singing softly, unable to hide the caring smile that he carries in his cheeks, “Por roo juk gor yahk ja tuk tai… DYuuri’s eyes start drooping, his head becoming heavy on Phichit’s shoulder, but what surprises the young Thai is the feeling of weight against his other shoulder. He turns to see Yuri leaning his head against his shoulder, headphones around his neck and eyes slightly dazed. So it works on all Yuris apparently…

 

He smiles wider, continuing with the song until there are two sets of soft snores coming from the men at his sides. Phichit sighs in relief that the two are finally taking a moment to breathe. He raises his phone still on airplane mode and snaps a few selfies, catching the sleeping faces of the two boys with a mischievous smile and a wink. He saves the photos for a better time… These pictures will be fun to post after everything is fixed. 

 

Phichit can’t help but glance out the window, and then at the time on the phone in his lap. 

 

9 hours to go until we land in Saint Petersburg… Here’s hoping they sleep until we land at Sheremetyevo… 

Chapter Text

 

“Yeah, we just landed in Saint Petersburg… Yes. Pulkovo Airport… Okay, Thanks Yakov. I’ll text you and keep you updated… Sayonara…” Yuuri hangs up his phone as he waits for Phichit to finish up in the bathroom. Lilia is on the way, so they have a bit of time to kill. 

 

“What did the old man say?” Yuri asks, handing Yuuri a cup of tea he’d bought from the small terminal cafe. 

 

Yuuri takes it gratefully, taking a sip and trying to hide the grimace at the bitter taste. Brewed too hot… “ Lilia is on her way, about ten minutes out. When she gets here, we’re supposed to correspond with her about the information we have. From there We’ll have to work with Interpol. So we won’t really know what happens until then.”

 

Yuri takes a long swig of his sweetened latte, watching the people walk quickly to get through the terminal, “What about Celestino? I can’t imagine he’s not angry with you two…”

 

“I’ll be doing his hell laps for the next 6 months at least…” Yuuri whines, taking another sip of the tea, grateful for at least the caffeine boost. 

 

“Chances are if he’s talking with Yakov, I’ll be doing them too…” Yuri shivers… “With your stamina, I’m guessing they aren’t fun…” 

 

Yuuri can only nod. 

 

“ Alright guys! I’m ready to go!” Phichit bounds up next to them, having at least triple the amount of energy that they do.

 

“You’re such a princess…” Yuuri teases, glancing out of the corner of his eye. 

 

“Hey! It’s not like we can leave right this minute anyway,” Phichit pouts, crossing his arms,”Besides, I needed to freshen up after 28 hours of being in an airport. I felt gross!” Phichit stretches his arms up as tall as he can with a soft whimper. 

 

“Yeah Yeah… Princess, ” Yuuri continues to tease, placing his tea down on the table next to them, unable to stomach another sip of the bitter abomination they try to pass as green tea. His phone vibrates in his lap, an unfamiliar number blinking across the screen with a text notification. 

 

We are parked out front, look for the black SUV. Plate number Y656YE-98. And Welcome to Saint Petersburg…

 

“Hey guys I think Lilia is out front… I got a text from a russian number with car and plate details… Let’s go.” Yuuri prompts, standing and gladly throwing away the rest of his tea, faking finishing it for Yuri’s sake. He was just trying to be nice after all. He grabs his backpack, and waits for the other two before walking out to the pick up line outside the airport doors. 

 

The SUV was easy to find. In all honesty, it was the nicest looking car there, and had two suited men with sunglasses standing at attention next to it. Too obvious. When they approach the car the shorter of the two men speaks with a no nonsense tone, “Names?”

 

Yuri steps forward and gives all of their names, “Yuri Plisetsky, Yuuri Katsuki, Phichit Chulanont.” This is familiar to him… He’d had to deal with Lilia before… When Yakov had saved him from a similar situation as Viktor. 

 

The man nods, “Welcome to Russia. Ms. Baranovskaya has been waiting for you.” He opens the door and ushers them inside, taking their backpacks to throw into the trunk as they buckle in. There are two rows of seats… A full back row and a middle row with a seat on either side of the car, one of which was taken by an older woman, donning an immaculate bun and a severe expression, even if her eyes were filled with warmth. Yuuri and Phichit climb into the back row, Yuri taking the seat across from Lilia. 

 

“Hello. My name is Lilia Baranovskaya… But you can call me Lilia…” She introduces herself to the two foreign skaters, turning to Yuri with a familiar fondness, “Nice to see you’re doing well Yura.” She reaches a hand over and places it on his knee gently. 

 

“You too, Babushka,” Yuri flashes a rare smile as he pulls her hand up to kiss it with respect.

 

Lilia smiles, reaching up to pinch Yuri’s cheek before returning back to her all business self, “Okay. So from my understanding, you three have a lead on the whereabouts of Viktor Nikiforov and one called Demyan Sokolov?” She directs her question to the trio.

 

Yuuri is the first to speak up, nodding and clearing his throat, “Um.. Yes. Phichit was able to track his phone details and has 4 addresses they are likely to be.” 

 

On cue, Phichit pulls out his phone with the picture he took of the addresses, passing it to Lilia. 

 

“Other than that, I would need access to a secure Wifi connection to be able to continue searching..” Phichit speaks all business, matching Lilia’s tone and posture with practiced ease. 

 

“This is a lot of help. Honestly you’d think the people in my squad had never used a  computer before… You did in one day what my officers have practically refused to do based on principle alone.” Lilia sighs with irritation at her crew’s lack of progress. “Okay, now for our plan of attack. I have 10 officers under my squad… and with us that’s 14. That means to cover all four at once, we’ll need to break up into groups of 3. Two groups with have 4. I would say do each address one at a time, but if he gets word that we are investigating places he’s been, he’s likely to run… We need to keep the element of surprise on us.”

 

The trio nod, each looking to each other intensely. They all nod at one another before Yuri speaks up. “We want to be on the same group…”

 

Lilia gives Yuri a wide eyed stare, “Yurotchka! That… It would be safer to split you up!  We don’t know what Demyan is capable of!” She tries to talk him out of it, but the three skater’s resolve stays unwavered.

 

“With all due respect ma’am,” Yuuri speaks up, “We wouldn’t be going in completely blind. I have a soul bond with Viktor. And this isn’t something we’re requesting… We’ve lost one of our own. We refuse to separate and tempt fate losing someone else if we have the chance to help. I’m sorry, but we stick together.”

 

Lilia looks at each of the boys in turn before sighing and nodding, “Fine. But I WILL be on your team and you will do exactly as I say, understand?” She looks to Yuuri who she seemingly knows is the leader of the trio.

 

Yuuri smiles at her, “Understood. Now let’s discuss this once we arrive and are able to talk with your team.” 

 

Lilia nods and even under her stern glare, Yuuri can see that she is somewhat amused by his gall to call the shots. Somehow, he knows he’s earned a bit of her respect. 

 

Within thirty minutes, they are parked and all standing in a room with air so thick with tension you could slice it with a knife. 

 

“Alright. From our intel, we have reason to believe that Demyan Sokolov is hiding in one of four locations.” Lilia is pacing in front of a projection on the wall of the room, “With that in mind, I’ve split our team into four groups that will each take one location in a simultaneous assault. The teams are divided as follows…” She presses a button to move to the next slide of her presentation. “Plisetsky, Katsuki, Chulanont, and myself will be taking the house furthest to the north. Baranov, Chernov, and Alexeev, you’ll be taking the house in the center of town. Ivanov, Kozlov, Lebedev, and Orlov, I want you on the house to the south. And finally Petrov, Rozhdestvensky, and Vinogradov, you’ll be taking the fourth house to the east. Any questions?” Lilia pauses, making sure everyone understands their assignments. 

 

Everyone glances around, the trio keeping each other close at the back of the room. 

 

“Okay. The investigation of the houses will commence at 2230. We all need to coordinate as to not set off any suspicion and cause the subject to try to run. Understood?”

 

 “Yes Ma’am,” The men shout in unison.

 

“Dismissed. Proceed to your locations. At 2230, enter and apprehend Demyan Sokolov. We need to ensure Viktor Nikiforov is rescued at all costs.” 

 

The man all nod and rush to their groups, quickly delegating who takes which role during the search. 

 

Yuuri takes a deep breath as it settles in him that they are about to throw themselves into danger. They might not make it back. His hands shake slightly and his eyes drop. Phichit notices. 

 

“Hey…” He grabs Yuuri’s hand, “It’s going to be alright. We are going to get Viktor. And We are going to come back with him safe.”

 

“He’s right,” Yuri grabs Yuuri’s other hand awkwardly, “Lilia will be with us, it’s going to be fine.”

 

Yuuri squeezes both of their hands, nodding and swallowing to force his anxiety down. I can’t break yet. Vitya needs me. I’ll bring him back no matter what.

 

“You’re right. Let’s bring Vitya home.”

Chapter Text

Lilia glaces to her watch, “5 minutes… Be ready…” She pulls out a gun from her belt, ensuring that it is fully loaded, placing it back in its holster. Protect the boys at all costs. 

 

Yuuri, Yuri, and Phichit were all given a crash course in using a hand gun, and were each given one for their protection. They crammed as much knowledge as they could into the 2 hours they had to prepare. 

 

Yuuri stopped keeping track of each injury long ago, but still notifies Yuri with each one that he feels appear, allowing him to get pictures. At this point Yuuri is covered in bruises around his wrists, neck, and hips, all shaped like hand prints. Marks that make him feel nauseous to imagine how they appeared there. His back tingles in stripes as he watches the front house, wincing at the pain that his Vitya must be feeling. He speaks up when the 10th stripe tingles down his back with no signs of stopping, “We need to go now! He’s whipping him… I can feel the blood of my back… We need to go!” Yuuri doesn’t wait any longer before jumping over the short stone face they’d been hiding behind and making his way to the front door, holding his pistol at the ready and breathing deeply even against the tightness of the borrowed bullet proof vest.  

 

“Katsuki!” Lilia calls out in an angry whisper. Before she can get him back, however, Yuri and Phichit have followed his lead, lined up on the outside wall, out of sight from any windows of the building. She growls and runs up to join them, pushing herself in front and giving them a warning glare. “We follow my lead.” It’s two minutes before 2230 when Lilia skillfully picks the lock to the door quietly, working carefully to not alert Demyan to their presence. They’re in.

_____

 

Viktor is screaming, hands clenched so tightly that his nails have scratched into his palm, blood finding its way under the short lengths. Each lash feels as if he is being hit with a branding iron rather than the heavy tawse that Demyan strikes his back over and over with. He feels the blood dripping down his sides, splattering against the stained carpeting of this room. This familiar room… windowless… pepper gray brick… dripping in the corner… He knows there is no escape from this room… Not while Demyan has him under his thumb. He’d been under the man’s control for just over 50 hours… starved the entire time… spending every second, since they arrived, in the room and receiving “Punishment” after “Punishment”... Viktor’s not sure that he could physically stand let alone fight, the lack of food making his limbs heavy and shaky. 

 

After 17 lashes they hear a bang through the ceiling, forcing Demyan to freeze and Viktor to instinctively quiet… just like he was trained. Demyan immediately puts the tawse down on the ground next to the bench Viktor is sprawled across and rushes out of the room.

 

Viktor can’t be sure, but he didn’t hear the door latch. And he pushes himself to the floor, forcing himself hands and knees to the door and realizing that in his rush, Demyan left it opened, just a crack. This is my chance… That bang wasn’t something random falling… someone is here… 

 

He takes a peek outside the door, looking down the hallway toward the stairs before crawling out of the room. From the sounds of familiar footsteps from the creak of the ceiling, Demyan isn’t anywhere near the stairs. Okay… One step at a time… Viktor shivers with every step he climbs, feeling the cold air right through him. He’s exhausted… dizzy… nauseous… I have to keep going… I need to see Yuuri again.. I have to fight! It’s the thought of seeing Yuuri again that forces Viktor down the hallway. If he can get to the end of it fast enough, he can escape through the back door. 

 

A loud crash and yell of effort echo from where Viktor can only think is the kitchen, causing him to flinch and nearly tumble at the unexpected noise. But what he hears next both chills him even more to his core, and fills his heart completely. He hears fighting in the kitchen, but there is another sound, coming closer, running.

 

“Vitya! Vitya where are you!?” Yuuri calls, running through the house and checking every room. He has to move quickly while Lilia has Demyan distracted. 

 

Viktor can hear Phichit and Yuri calling for him too. They… They came for me… Viktor opens his mouth to call back and tries to yell through his bleeding, sore throat, “Yu-Yuuri! I’m here!” He barely croaks out… Hardly a whisper… Dammit! Come on! You need to call him! Tell him where you are! Viktor looks around, his voice completely shot from hours upon hours of screams until he gets a better idea. Next to him in the hallway is a small, rickety table. And from what Viktor can see, the glass vase with dead roses is still settled atop, ignored and forgotten. One chance… What’s a few more cuts… Viktor takes a deep breath before using what little strength he has to throw himself into the leg of the table, causing to to fall out from under the table and sending the vase shattering across the hardwood, not without hitting his head in the process though… another bump to form on his temple. His vision goes double.

 

“Vitya! Vitya!” He hears Yuuri call distantly, and he sees a semi familiar blur running toward him, Yuuri only coming into focus when he bends down and is inches from Viktor’s face. “Vitya I’m here. It’ll be okay.

 

“Yuu-ri..” Is all Viktor can make out before he lets himself succumb to darkness once more, feeling relief as he is surrounded by Yuuri’s cherry blossom scent.

Chapter Text

Yuuri gasps when he hears the shattering of glass down the hallway, he just knows it has to be Viktor. He turns the corner where the sound had come from and freezes for a second, relief flooding him as he finds Viktor. “Vitya! Vitya!” He sprints to Viktor’s side, kneeling low to take in what he knows is going to be a new bruise from the tingling in his temple. “Vitya I’m here, It’s going to be okay.” Yuuri brushes Viktor’s hair back, looking into the searching blue eyes. 

 

“Yuu-ri…” He feels rather than hears Viktor speak before he watches the exhausted man smile and fall unconscious in his arms. Asleep. Yuuri kisses his forehead once before looking to Phichit and Yuri behind him. 

 

“We need to get him out of here while we have the chance,” Yuuri speaks as he lifts Viktor into his arms bridal style… He’s so light… too light… Vitya.. What did he do to you… 

 

They hear a loud bang from the kitchen and Lilia cry out in pain. They can hear her collapse and they all stare in horror at each other as they hear Demyan’s footsteps come closer. 

 

Lilia called backup… The closest unit is likely still 5 minutes out… We need to survive until then… 

 

“Yuuri what do we do!?” Yuri whisper yells in a panic. 

 

Before Yuuri can completely think straight, he’s passing Viktor off to Phichit.”Phichit. I need you to get Viktor out of here. Take Yuri with you.”

 

“Yuuri! What are you doing?!” Phichit gasps.

 

“I need to keep you guys safe. I’ll be okay, I promise. Get out of here now!” Yuuri runs off before anyone can stop him. 

 

“You fucking idiot!” Phichit calls after him, tears forming in his eyes,but it’s too late to stop him… Phichit has a job to do… “Yuri let’s go… There is a back door there,” Phichit points with his chin, “We need to go! We need to get out of the way!” Phichit is already rushing to the back door, taking three steps before he realizes Yuri isn’t following. “Yuri! What are you doing! We have to go!” Phichit yells at this point.

 

Yuri is staring at the ground, long blond hair covering his eyes… His fists are clenched to the point of shaking and Phichit can hear his teeth grinding as he fights within himself. I can’t stand by useless. Yuuri needs help… Even if- Even if Demyan hurts me again… I need to fight! Yuri is fighting back his fear, sniffling the onset of tears from the terror of what he is about to do. And without a word, he runs past Phichit, around the corner and out of sight. 

 

“Yuri! Wait!” Phichit calls after, his tears falling full force now. I can’t lose you both… Please don’t do this! He forces a breath through his teeth as he carries the unconscious Viktor down the hall. I need to get Viktor to safety first… I need to trust them… Reinforcements will be here in a few minutes… I need to be out there to flag them down… Okay… You both better come back alive or so help me I’ll kill you both!

_____

Yuuri reaches Demyan in the hall, thankfully catching him off guard as he checks the rooms for where they would be. He sprints faster and raises his arm, throwing as much of his weight as he can into the punch that connects with Demyan’s cheek. 

 

The Russian man cries out in surprise and falls to the ground, but he quickly recovers, pushing himself to his feet and pulling out a kitchen knife from where he had placed it in his belt, holding it firmly in one hand. “So you’re the infamous ‘Yuuri’ I’ve heard about… The one who is trying to steal my Viten’ka away.” 

 

The younger man squares his shoulders, an angry sneer on his face as he takes in the monster before him, “And you’re Demyan… The bastard who has been hurting my soulmate!” 

 

Your soulmate?” Demyan laughs, “Sorry to break it to you cutie, but Viktor is My soulmate. I’m not letting you take him!” Demyan lunges forward, knife first with a growl. 

 

Yuuri’s agility helps him dodge the larger man’s clumsier moves and he side steps out of the way, letting Demyan trip over his own feet. Yuuri takes the opening and kicks with as much strength as he can muster into the back of Demyan’s head. I can’t let him hurt me… Viktor has suffered enough…

 

Demyan groans, running a hand through the short dark hair before turning back to Yuuri with a growl. He doesn’t see a certain blond sprinting at him, or the young Thai reaching for the backdoor to find it locked from the outside, cursing under his breath and giving Yuuri a panicked look. 

 

Yuuri knows he needs to lure Demyan away… Needs to create an opening for Phichit to get Viktor out the way they entered. So he catches Demyan’s eye and immediately sprints back to the kitchen. Sighing in relief as he hears Demyan’s loud steps behind him. He sees the door to what he assumes is a small pantry or closet, and before he hears the older man turn the corner to the kitchen, he tucks himself inside, grabbing the first thing his hand comes in contact with as a weapon, a mop. 

 

“Come out, come out, Yuuri Katsuki,” Demyan growls with mock sweetness as he stalks into the kitchen. He passes the closet and nearly gets to the other open door of the kitchen, leading to a dining room. 

 

When he passes, Yuuri quietly exits the closet and steps lithely behind him, raising his arms up and quickly bringing the wooden mop handle down as hard as he can, missing Demyan’s head and slamming it down onto his shoulder instead. He drops the mop and quickly leaps onto Demyan, wrapping one arm around his neck as tightly as he can, wrapping his legs around the man’s waist for leverage.  

 

Demyan reaches up, trying to claw at Yuuri’s arms, leaving behind bloodied scratches, “You fucking brat! Get off of me!” He screams. He throws his body back into one of the walls, and Yuuri’s grip falters as the wind leaves his lungs, his weight falling off Demyan and to the ground. “You should have just left us the fuck alone!” the man roars, raising his hand with the knife high above his head, the point of the blade down toward Yuuri. 

 

He starts to thrust the knife down, but before he makes contact, his arm is pushed violently, the knife falling from his hand and clattering against the tile. He watches the knife fly as a small blond kneels next to Yuuri, pulling him up by his hands and pulling him away from Demyan to the other side of the kitchen, where Lilia lay unconscious, bleeding from a large cut in her side. He talks softly to Yuuri, “Phichit is on his way down the hallway… We need to keep him distracted enough to not see them…”

 

Yuuri nods, forcing a deep breath into his lungs, “Stay safe.” 

 

“You too.” Demyan runs up, forgetting the knife that had slid into the dining room, and choosing instead to take Yuuri on, one on one, ignoring the small weakling of a blond next to him. He rushes and tries to land a hit on Yuuri.

 

Yuuri side steps, missing the blow, but stumbling over an empty bucket that had been knocked over. He loses his balance for a moment and Demyan takes full advantage, lunging in to tackle Yuuri to the ground. Demyan straddles the younger’s lap, throwing punch after punch against Yuuri as many times as he can, Some connecting with his face, most connecting with Yuuri’s arms as they curl up in front of him to protect himself. 

 

Yuri looks around frantically until he sees a row of wine bottles on the counter. He runs to grab one, coming back to shatter it against Demyan’s head, sending shattered glass everywhere, splashing in the burgundy wine. 

 

Demyan looks over to Yuri angrily and sees a flash of caramel and silver in the doorway of the kitchen behind him. He runs to step forward and kicks an abandoned pistol forward. He kneels to grab it and immediately takes aim. If I can’t have my Viten’ka… You sure as hell can’t either.

 

Yuri rushes forward, pulling the nearly forgotten pistol out of his back pocket, taking as much aim as he can with two hands.

 

The trigger is pulled. BANG!

Chapter Text

The trigger is pulled… BANG!

 

There is a moment of silence as time stands still for a fraction of a second. Everyone’s ears ringing before being interrupted with an ear piercing shriek of horror. 

 

Yuuri is screaming, eyes running with tears as he watches Yuri collapse to his knees, the gun dropping from his hands as he reaches for his own chest slowly. His fingers touch right under the edge of the drooping, ill-fitted vest pulling his fingers back to stare with wide, terrified eyes as they come back covered in blood. He tries to gasp, but it bubbles in his throat, sending him into a coughing fit. Blood dripping from his mouth as he shakes and tries to breathe… Struggling with every attempt. 

 

Yuuri tries to get up and get to Yuri, but is stopped by the shock of red flooding from his side, soaking his shirt. He doesn’t feel any pain… That means… no!  Yuuri frantically looks to where Phichit is wide eyed with terror, holding Viktor in his arms still as blood drips from Viktor’s side as well. 

 

Yuuri looks around, trying to take everything in, trying to find something to help! Anything! And that’s when he meets the pained eyes of Demyan as he nurses a gunshot wound to his shoulder. And immediately, Yuuri sees red. 

 

“You! You fucking did this!” Yuuri’s tears are streaming, his glasses missing somewhere across the floor. His side is bleeding profusely, but that’s not going to stop him from making this guy pay. Yuuri screams, his tears mixing with the blood on his cheeks, throwing himself on Demyan. He catches the man completely off guard and is swinging left and right, landing blow after blow on Demyan’s face. He doesn’t stop… Fueled on by his rage and sorrow. He doesn’t stop until he is being forcefully dragged off of Demyan’s now unconscious form. “Let me go! He deserves this! I have to protect them! Let me go!” Yuuri is screaming as he throws his weight around, blind in his anger as he tries to go after Demyan again, even as two interpol officers drag the unconscious body away. 

 

The sirens of multiple ambulances ring outside and Yuuri is brought out of his head enough to look around… Take in everything that’s happening. 

 

Paramedics quickly rush to take Yuri away on a gurney, one of the workers holding pressure to his chest and another taking his vitals. Yuuri didn’t notice until then that blood had poured down his chin or that he was unconscious… He watches as two other teams rush in… one to tend to Lilia, one to take the injured Viktor out of the still frozen in place in shock, Phichit’s arms. 

 

He stops fighting… pulled out of his blind red vision as he realizes just what they’d been through… 

 

The two interpol officers let him go, sympathetic looks as they are pulled to other duties. Yuuri stumbles, collapsing to his knees as the adrenaline fades. He is sobbing, best over until his face is nearly touching the ground. His wails ripping out of him. 

 

Phichit comes to enough to shed his own tears, walking to Yuuri and holding him as tightly as he can as they both let themselves sorrow. Only to be interrupted when a paramedic walks over to them, kneeling to grab their attention. He looks to Yuuri, “I’m sorry to interrupt… But are you Yuuri Katuski?” 

 

Yuuri nods, scrubbing his tears as he sits up fully. Only then does the feel the effects of his still bleeding wound, rocking as his head spins. 

 

“We need to get your wound patched up… I also have a request from Viktor Nikiforov to see you. He just woke up and asked for you.” The paramedic places his arm under one of Yuuri’s wrapping it around his back. Phichit, unprompted, steps in to help, carrying Yuuri’s weight from his other side. “Huh… This wound looks extremely similar to Mr. Nikiforov’s…” The paramedic notes. 

 

Yuuri nods, “He’s my soulmate… Please… Please save him…” Yuuri pleads. He focuses on trying to keep his vision straight enough to walk to the ambulance where Viktor is laying on a gurney, gasping whispers of Yuuri’s name, tears on his cheeks. 

 

“We’ll take good care of him. But for now, let’s get you patched up. It’s a shallow wound, so it won’t take too long.” 


Yuuri nods as he is helped into the ambulance, Phichit joining him as the paramedics thankfully let him into the lat chair in the corner of the van. He cooperates pliantly as the paramedic wraps his wound. And once that’s done, he clutches Viktor’s hand in his own. Viktor… Yura… Lilia… Please…. Please be okay… I’m so sorry... I couldn’t protect you….

Chapter Text

Yuuri walks mindlessly through the halls of the hospital, letting himself replay all of the events in his head. He has a large white bandage wrapped around his torso, covering an injury that doesn’t hurt, given to someone who doesn’t deserve it. He swallows down his guilt, forcing himself to keep walking.

 

How is it that Yuuri walked away with barely a flesh wound and a black eye, but Viktor is in surgery, getting fractures and tendons corrected from all of the injuries he’s sustained. This isn’t fair! He doesn’t deserve any of this! God! Why didn’t he take me instead! Viktor NEVER deserved this! Why didn’t I get there sooner! Why didn’t I notice before he performed! Why did I EVER let them keep him on that plane?!

 

He collapses into a chair as he comes to the waiting room of the OR, hanging his head in his hands as he continues to mentally berate himself. 

 

“Stop that.” Phichit gently demands, coming into the room and placing his hand on Yuuri’s back as he takes the chair next to him. 

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about…” Yuuri lies, rubbing his face with his hands in emotional exhaustion.

 

“You know exactly what I’m talking about. I know you Yuuri,” Phichit points out matter of factly. “This is NOT your fault… You did everything you could to protect him… To protect us… You didn’t do anything wrong.” Phichit lays his head on Yuuri’s shoulder, willing him to listen.

 

“There was so much I could have done different… Viktor… He has so many injuries… And Yura… and Lilia… I couldn’t- I couldn’t protect any of them.” Yuuri feels his eyes sting and his throat tighten.

 

Phichit immediately kneels in front of Yuuri, wrapping his arms around the anxious prone skater, holding him as tightly as he can. “Yuuri. Things went south quickly and it was your choices that got us as far as we did… You risked your life… For all of us! There are just some things that are out of our control… We didn’t know just how far Demyan would go…” Phichit whispers into Yuuri’s ear as he holds him, his heart breaking at the emotional toll this all took on Yuuri. 

 

“Yura could die… We don’t know his status yet…” Yuuri lets himself break, lets his tears fall and clutches Phichit tightly to him. “Phichit.. I feel so helpless… What do I do?” He sobs. 

 

“Oh Yuuchan…” Phichit runs his hand through Yuuri’s hair, scratching his scalp gently in an effort to comfort him, “Right now… All we can do is wait… and hope…” Phichit holds Yuuri for a moment before coming up with an idea, “Have you called Yakov yet?” 

 

Yuuri shakes his head, pulling back from Phichit and pulling his phone from his pocket, turning it in his hands nervously. 

 

“You should call him…” Phichit suggests, his hands on Yuuri’s knees, “He doesn’t know about any of this.”

 

“But.. What if- He’s going to hate me… I promised I would get everyone out! I promise I would bring them all back safe! I promise-”

 

“Yuuri. I think you need to talk to him. He needs to know and you are the one he needs to hear it from.” Phichit smiles softly, speaking in a low encouraging voice. 

 

Yuuri stares him down wide eyed, scared, before giving him a single nod and pulling his contact list up on his phone. His thumb hesitates over Yakov’s name, clicking it before he psychs himself out of it. He hits the speaker button, refusing to bring it to his ear. 

 

“Katsuki! I’m glad to hear from you! I was starting to get worried…” Yakov sounds relieved as he finally hears from someone. Anyone. 

 

“Hi… Um Hi Yakov,” Yuuri clears his throat when it cracks, willing himself to sound more stable than he feels. 

 

“Yuuri? What’s wrong?” Yakov’s relief quickly becomes concern mixed in with fear, “What happened?”

 

“I-I’m sorry…” Yuuri sniffles, trying to keep it together.

 

“Yuuri talk to me,” Yakov gently pries, having done this a million times with Mila, he’s become a pro at this point. 

 

“Viktor… He um.. He’s in the OR right now… and Yura… God.. Yura,” Yuuri is sobbing, covering his mouth as he gasps. He hasn’t been able to stop seeing the red flowing from Yuri’s mouth, or the fear and shock on the younger’s face when he’d realized what happened.

 

Yakov gasps, his voice shakier than either skater had ever heard. The complete opposite of the normal booming voice they typically get. “ Yura… He’s not… Yuuri! Tell me he’s-” He can’t even finish the sentence. 

 

“He… he was shot…” Yuuri whispers. 

 

“Oh..Oh bozhe…” 

 

The two skaters hear the older man’s voice crack before falling into silence.. It’s only then that they realize Yakov had muted himself from the conversation.

 

Phichit takes the phone from Yuuri’s hands and tries to get Yakov back on the line. “Yakov? Mr. Feltsman, sir. Yuri is currently in the OR… We don’t know much about what is going on because we aren’t his family, but we do know that he is suffering from a punctured lung that ended up collapsing, and severe shock.  They are doing everything they can.” 

 

Yakov’s line comes back to life and the two know the man is speaking through tears, “He’s a fighter… If there is anyone who can get through this… It’s him.. Thank you for letting me know…”

 

Yuuri clutches the phone back from Phichit and holds it in front of him tightly, “Yakov… I’m sorry… I promised I’d- I’m so sorry…”

 

Yakov is hushing him before he can get anymore words out, “Hush Katsuki. You did everything you could and got them out of there. I’m so grateful to have you looking after them.”

 

“But I-”

 

“Fought to protect them against the odds,” Yakov interrupts, “And right now I need you to find your strength. They need to you be strong and take care of them until I can get there.”

 

Yuuri is dumbfounded at the trust Yakov is giving him, speechless.

 

“I’ll be there in 2 days. Keep them safe, Katuski.” Yakov speaks encouragingly, much like how he does to Viktor or Yuri, and he hangs up before Yuuri can argue, leaving him to make the decision himself.

Chapter Text

The man on the bed opens his eyes, blinking the sting of the bright lights away, trying to focus his blurred vision, looking around for something… anything… familiar. His head feels like he’s underwater, foggy and pressured. He doesn’t recognize anything around him, but can feel something in his hand. Something warm and vaguely familiar. He blinks a few more times, his eyes finally adjusting as his vision clears enough to see just what is in his hand. Laying on the edge of his mattress is a mop of black hair, closed eyes with glasses crooked and low on his nose, and a hand, intertwined with his own. 

 

Yuuri…

 

Viktor tries to sit up, using his free hand to push himself, but his strength is sapped. Instead, he takes his hand from Yuuri’s and pokes the sleeping cinnamon roll on the nose, pouting when Yuuri does little more than sigh and return to a deep sleep. He tries again, tapping Yuuri’s nose incessantly until his eyes scrunch up, blinking open in confusion.

 

Yuuri fixes his glasses, correcting how splayed across his face they are, and gasps when he realizes that Viktor’s blue eyes are blinking at him, almost in expectation of something. “Vitya!” He practically throws himself into Viktor’s arms with both relief and excitement, only pulling back when he feels his love flinch, obviously feeling the extent of his injuries. “Ack Sorry! I’m just. I’m so happy you’re awake. I’ve been so worried…” Yuuri’s cheeks are red as he composes himself, but he can’t hide the wide smile he has, no matter how hard he tries.  

 

“How di-” Viktor coughs, his throat dry and hoarse from the last few days. “Wh-at happened?”

 

“Hush.. Don’t push yourself too hard.” Yuuri soothes, brushing Viktor’s hair back and helping him sit up in his bed. “After we were arrested, Yakov bailed us out… He helped us deal with police and then sent us off on a plane to Saint Petersburg…”

 

“Arrested… Yuuri I’m so sorry!” Viktor’s voice cracks and hurts him to talk, “I didn’t mean it! I- He.. Demy-”

 

“Vitya, Vitya! It’s okay,” Yuuri takes Viktor’s hand in his and squeezes it tightly, reaching up with his free hand to cup Viktor’s cheek, making eye contact quickly, “We knew it wasn’t true… and after the initial shock, we figured you were being manipulated.” His thumb brushes across Viktor’s skin gently, “You did what you had to do to survive. It’s okay.” Yuuri smiles softly, bringing Viktor’s hand to his lips and placing a kiss across his knuckles. 

 

“I was so scared…” Viktor’s eyes water, his voice in whispers, refusing to let go of Yuuri for even a second. 

 

Yuuri looks to the door, figuring it’ll be a little while until the nurses come in. Without a second thought, he quickly climbs into the bed with Viktor, hugging the older skater to his chest, “I know, Vitya. I was too. I promise, I’ll never EVER let him hurt you again.” He leans down to plant a kiss in Viktor’s hair, rubbing his hand in soothing circles on Viktor’s back. 

 

Viktor nods before pulling back enough to look Yuuri in the eyes, not hesitating to lean up as much as he can and pulling Yuuri into a much needed kiss. 

 

Yuuri kisses him back instinctively, cherishing the moment like he’ll never see Viktor again if they part. 

 

After a moment, the silver haired skater pulls back, nuzzling under Yuuri’s chin, partly hiding as he speaks, “I love you, Yuuri”

 

“Vitya…” Yuuri gasps, startling slightly before relaxing completely with a smile, “I love you too… And about that… There is something that I should probably tell you.” Yuuri chuckles as he pulls back to catch Viktor’s glace once more. 

 

“Mmm What is it?” Viktor tilts his head, almost like a confused puppy. 

 

“You’re my soulmate.”

Chapter Text

“Soulmate? Really?” Viktor’s eyes are wide with both shock and excitement. Much to Yuuri’s delight.

 

Yuuri nods animatedly, “I don’t know how we didn’t know sooner… looking back it was kind of obvious… and now I owe Phichit twenty bucks…” 

 

“Wh-en,” Viktor coughs dropping his voice to a whisper once more, “When did you find out?” 

 

“Yuri told me about what he knew of Demyan. He showed me lots of pictures. Ones I don’t think you know about, actually. He’s been documenting your injuries for over a year now. I recognized nearly all of them…” Yuuri’s voice drops sadly, even if he is more than happy to have Viktor in his arms now. 

 

“Yuri… He really was trying to protect me the whole time wasn’t he?” Viktor sighs, relaxing back into Yuuri’s arms, at least until the fact that he hadn’t seen Yuri yet, crossed his mind. “Where is he?” Viktor turns to look around the room. Surely, Yuri would be here too… 

 

Yuuri flinches at the question, eyes falling with guilt, avoiding eye contact with Viktor… “He um… Viktor…” 

 

Viktor looks both worried, but curious, “What is it?”

 

“Yuri… He was injured when we came to get you…” Yuuri starts with a sigh, “Demyan was going to hurt you.. He was going to shoot you, but Yuri jumped in front of him. He shot Demyan with his gun, but Demyan got him too…” 

 

Viktor feels as if he may throw up, like a rug has been pulled from under his feet, leaving him falling and off balance. “He- He’s hurt? He… did that… for me?” Viktor is breathless, “Wait! He’s going to be alright right?! Yuuri? Tell me he’ll be okay!” Viktor tries to push himself out of Yuuri’s arms, wanting to run and find Yura as fast as possible. 

 

“Vitya, Vitya wait. Calm down,” Yuuri gently pulls Viktor back into his arms, “You’re still hurt.”

 

“I don’t care! Yuuri… I need to see him,” Viktor hides in Yuuri’s chest, teary eyed, “Please. I need to…” 

 

Yuuri’s heart hurts for Viktor, squeezing in his chest as he hears the sniffling breaths, “I know I know… Just… Wait here for a minute okay? Let me go talk to the doctor?” 

 

Viktor nods and hesitantly lets Yuuri go, whimpering as he climbs out of the bed and steps out of the door, leaving Viktor alone for several tense minutes. He waits impatiently, thought after worrying thought passing through his mind with every second. 

 

Why isn’t Yuri here… Was he really hurt that badly? What if… What if he’s gone? Oh god.. Yura… Please god…. Don’t take him! He doesn’t deserve this! He never deserved any of this! 

 

A knock pulls Viktor from his inner voice, followed by the opening of the heavy oak door. He looks up to see an unfamiliar face, set into a professional smile. 

 

“Mr. Nikiforov, It’s great to see you awake! You definitely gave my paramedics quite a scare. It’s my understanding that you wish to see Yuri Plisetsky?”

 

Viktor nods, “Please.. I need to.” 

 

The doctor nods and helps Viktor sit up in his bed, “I’m sure that can be arranged, but first I need to check how you’re doing, okay?”

 

A short while later, after having been assessed for his concussion as well as his vital signs, the doctor smiles and calls for a nurse to bring in both Yuuri and a wheelchair.

 

“You still have quite a bit of recovery ahead of you. And once your concussion is more under control, the police want to talk to you about your experience with Demyan Sokolov. But that can wait. There is already plenty of evidence to have him locked up for a long while.” The doctor pauses, looking at his chart once more, “I’ll be back to discuss your treatment plan later this afternoon, but for now. I think you need to see your friend.” 

 

Viktor smiles slightly, He’d gladly go through any treatment, so long as he and Yuri can both get better, “Yes, sir. Thank you so much.”

 

“I do have to warn you,” The doctor sits on the edge of the bed, giving Viktor a serious look, “Mr. Plisetsky was severely injured. It might be a lot for you to process…” he pauses for a moment, ensuring that Viktor is paying attention, “He is still unconscious, and is stable for now, but that stability is very fragile. We won’t be able to let you into the room with him, but there is a viewing window where I will have the nurse take you.”

 

Viktor swallows nervously, “I understand. Thank you, doctor.”

 

The doctor places a gentle hand on Viktor’s knee for support, giving him one last smile before leaving, being replaced with a small statured nurse, pushing an empty wheelchair and Yuuri.

 

“Alright Mr. Nikiforov,” The small nurse smiles, “We are just going to get you moved in to this wheelchair and we’ll be on our way.” The blonde woman brushes a piece of hair out of her eyes and keeps her voice gentle, even if it is obvious on her face that she has no idea how she’ll be able to move Viktor with him being practically twice her size. 

 

Yuuri puts her out of her misery and offers, “I can lift him, I’ll be going with him to see Yuri too.” 

 

“Thank you, just make sure to lift him gently and keep pressure off of his knee,” She smiles relieved and proceeds to guide Yuuri in how to properly lift Viktor without aggravating the healing injuries. Yuuri lays a secret kiss on Viktor’s head where it lays on his shoulder, Viktor’s arm wrapped around his neck. 

 

“Are you sure you’re ready, Vitya. We can wait until you’ve recovered more…” Yuuri trails off as he settles Viktor into the chair, kneeling in front of him on one knee and taking Viktor’s cold hands in his. 

 

Viktor nods, giving Yuuri’s fingers a gentle squeeze, “Please… I have to.” 

 

Yuuri returns the squeeze with a gentle, yet concerned smile, “Okay, let’s go.”

Chapter Text

Viktor and Yuuri stay silent the entire way to the ICU, the only real sounds being the tapping of the nurse’s and Yuuri’s shoes, and the gentle squeal of the wheels of the chair as they roll down the halls. The closer they get to Yuri’s room the more the walls seem to close in on them, the more the air chills with both fear and tension. Even if the walls are decorated with colorful information boards and classy art to make people feel at home, Yuuri and Viktor both sense a feeling of dread in the air. 

 

The nurse comes to a stop at a corner, stepping around and turning to face both of the skaters, “Mr. Plisetsky’s room is a few rooms down the hall. I can escort you, of course, but I was wondering if you might like some space? I know this can be hard, and I want both of you to feel comfortable.” Her eyes are filled with warm sympathy, a look that really shows how close to her job this woman is. 

 

Yuuri looks to Viktor, seeing a wanting look flash across the blue irises, he gives the man a nod before turning back to the nurse, “I’ve got it from here, ma’am if we could just have some time alone?” He quirks his head to the side slightly.

 

“Of course! I’ll be at the nurses station back down the hallway, and if you need anything there is a call button right by the viewing window. His room is the third window on the left.” She smiles one last time before turning to walk away. Her eyes turn sad with sympathy once she is out of sight. 

 

Yuuri watches the nurse walk away a few paces before turning to Viktor, “Ready?” 

 

“As I’ll ever be I guess. You’ll stay with me right?” Viktor looks up into Yuuri’s cherrywood eyes, pleading. 

 

“Always. I promise.” Yuuri steps behind Viktor, running his fingers through Viktor’s loose ponytail before pushing him down the hallway. Yuuri had been down this hallway a few times, having visited Yuri shortly after his phone call with Yakov and alternating between the rooms for the last 12 hours Viktor had been unconscious. 

 

He is only halfway prepared for Viktor’s reaction though. 

 

Viktor stretches to see as soon as he can and gasps, hands clutched to his mouth, tears immediately springing to his blue eyes as he takes in Yuri’s condition. 

 

Yuri lays within a large white bed, slightly propped up. His small form is almost childlike within the structure, practically drowning in the sheets. His face is serene, even as a tube taped to his cheeks holds his mouth open, helping the young man to breathe. He’s surrounded by wires, tubing, and different monitors, seeming overwhelmed within the technology. Yuri himself looks pale… too pale for the typical almost childish rosy cheeks Viktor is used to… His eyes, though closed, are ringed by purple underneath. The steady beats of the machine attached to the breathing tube set Viktor on edge… 

 

This isn’t right… Yuri. This isn’t real! This can’t be real! I’m- I’m dreaming! I have to be… I’m going to wake up and Yuri’s going to be right there… Just like always! Please… Please let this be a dream! Wake up! Wake up! 

 

Tears freely fall down Viktor’s face, his head dropping to hide his eyes in his hands. He doesn’t even realize when his thoughts break through aloud, “Wake up… This isn’t real… Please…”

 

Yuuri immediately bends down to Viktor’s side and wraps his arms around the sobbing man, feeling the shudders of breaths so deeply his heart feels as if it’s being grasped with the sorrow he feels from Viktor. 

 

They stay like that for nearly an hour… Viktor crying and trying to force himself to come to terms with Yuri’s condition… Yuuri being his rock and support the entire way… Long after tears are dry and gone. Viktor stays silent for a long while before forcing a breath in and looking to Yuuri. 

 

“What… How is he? Tell me everything…” His eyes drift back to the boy on the bed, practically his little brother, in so much… trauma. 

 

Yuuri places a steadying hand on Viktor’s shoulder before speaking, “He’s currently in a medically induced coma. The… Well the bullet… punctured his left lung and grazed close enough to his heart that it started causing his heart to fail… There was some damage to the surrounding muscle tissue, thankfully that they were able to repair in surgery. His lung collapsed, which is why he is on a breathing tube… He ended up needing a blood transfusion. And he-” Yuuri cuts himself off, not intending to tell Viktor just what went on in the OR… He’d been put in charge of so many decisions… So many difficult positions… He’d been the one the doctor’s had gone to for the decisions made… Yuri being a minor, with no guardian within easy contact… Yuuri was put in charge… 

 

“And he what?” Viktor prompts, voice monotone and emotionless… numbed to the situation.

 

“Viktor… He flatlined… twice… The gunshot just… got too close…” Yuuri’s throat feels like it’s closing as he chokes on the words, “They were able to stabilize him, thank god… But… Viktor… He’ll likely never skate competitively again…” Yuuri’s words burn like hot coals in his chest, breaking his own heart as much as he knows this will break Viktor’s…

 

“He’ll never compete again?” Viktor whispers in shock, his hands shaking and head reeling with the flood of information. He feels a falling sensation, like his mind is freefalling into his own personal nightmare… He won’t ever skate in seniors… because he… because he was protecting me… this is my fault… It’s my fault… oh god. Yura… 

 

It’s my fault.

Chapter Text

Viktor had been practically inconsolable once he realized the situation that Yuri is in. Nothing anyone did was able to calm him or bring him out of his own thoughts… Eventually he fell asleep, eyes swollen and red, too exhausted to handle his emotions anymore… Yuuri had stayed by him for hours, trying to help in anyway he could. Once Viktor fell asleep, Yuuri kissed his forehead and excused himself out of the room. 

 

He currently paces nervously in the waiting room, Phichit watching as he walks back and forth… back and forth… back and forth… 

 

Phichit lets him burn his nervous energy off, knowing that Yuuri is waiting in what probably feels like purgatory… “Yakov will likely be landing with his team at Sheremetyevo here soon right? Are you going to tell him then?”

 

Yuuri is turning his phone over and over in his hand in time with his steps, “I don’t know! Should I tell him then? Or should I wait until he’s here and tell him in person? Phich I don’t know what I’m doing!” Yuuri pulls at his hair distressfully, feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders. Stay strong! You have to stay strong until Yakov gets here! He practically flops into the chair next to Phichit, his head hanging, settled in his hands where his fists are tightly clenched in his hair, greasy from nearly 4 days without a shower, having been wound so tightly or so involved he couldn’t find the time. It’s been non stop going since the morning of the free skate… Combined with the severe lack of sleep, having only gotten about an hour or two of sleep since the flight nearly 2 days ago, Yuuri is extremely on edge.

 

Phichit knows it’s only a matter of time before he cracks. He takes a breath and gently pulls Yuuri’s hands away from his head, replacing them with his own gentle fingers and scratching Yuuri’s scalp gently. “Yuuri I think you need to take a break… Maybe we can go find a hotel and take a small rest.” He feels Yuuri’s body shaking slightly, tremoring with exhaustion.

 

“I can’t! I have to be here to watch over them and What if something happens and I’m not here. What will they do then? And Yakov will be so upset with me. And of course if Viktor wakes up, he’ll want me here and if Yuri drops again I’ll need-” Yuuri starts rambling, his hands shaky but waving exaggeratedly as he talks. 

 

“Yuuri…” Phichit prods, going unheard, “Yuuri…” He tries again, still watching as Yuuri seemingly doesn’t hear him speak. Phichit eventually resorts to drastic measures, placing his hand over Yuuri’s mouth to silence him and speaking loudly enough to catch his best friend’s attention, “Yuuri! Listen to me!” 

 

Yuuri immediately silences, flinching under the rare snappy outburst from Phichit, he just looks his roommate in the eye, wide eyed, yet ringed red and purple with fatigue. 

 

“You can’t keep pushing yourself like this…” Phichit starts, “There isn’t anything wrong with taking a break to sleep, clean up, and take care of yourself… Do you think Viktor would want to see you when you reach your tipping point? Do you think you can make the best decisions for Yuri if you’re exhausted and can’t think straight?”

 

Yuuri thinks, his eyes cast downward with newfound guilt as he shakes his head, no. 

 

“Look,” Phichit pulls Yuuri into a hug, laying his head on the tired man’s shoulder pleading, “I’m not telling you to stop and give up… I’m asking you to take care of yourself so you can take care of them… They need you… But they need you fully awake and in the moment rather than spacing out. Please… Let’s just take a break… Shower,... get some sleep… If the doctor’s need anything, they have your number.”

 

Yuuri sighs and hugs Phichit back, “I’m sorry… I pushed too hard again, didn’t I?” 

 

Phichit nods, his hair ticking Yuuri’s neck and ear, “It’s okay… Let’s just go for now, okay?”

 

“Okay.”

_____

 

Phichit closes the door behind him and Yuuri, watching as Yuuri practically drags himself in, throwing himself onto the bed. Yuuri had hit his crash about halfway to the hotel, and was tired, whiny, and needy. The Yuuri Phichit would deal with after all nighters before an exam. 

 

“Yuuri. You should probably shower first, you’ll sleep a lot better if you do,” Phichit tempts, pulling off his jacket and hanging it over a plush chair by the lamp of the room. 

 

Yuuri only whines into the sheets, groaning his displeasure at the idea of getting up from the bed that he knows is stiff and uncomfortable, but feels like the softest cloud under the weight of his sleepiness.

 

“I promise you’ll feel better,” Phichit laughs as he pulls Yuuri’s shoes off of the feet hanging over the edge of the bed. 

 

Yuuri turns his head, “Too tired….” 

 

“How about I help? I’ll wash your hair and everything and then you can sleep after?” Phichit suggests.

 

It wouldn’t be the first time Phichit has helped Yuuri in the shower. He’d done it multiple times over the years when Yuuri’s depression would take hold and refuse to free him for days on end. He’d wash Yuuri up, help him clean his room, and make him eat something. And Yuuri did the same for him, mainly when Phichit became so overwhelmed with his assignments he’d forget to take care of himself. They look out for each other no matter what. 

 

Yuuri sighs and knows Phichit won’t let him sleep without a shower, so he nods and pushes himself up grudgingly to his feet. 

 

“There we go,” Phichit smiles, grabbing Yuuri’s hand and pulling him to the bathroom. He steps to turn the water as hot as he can, trying to match the water of the onsen Yuuri’s family runs. It’s been a while since we visited. We should go soon, maybe take Viktor and Yuri with us…

 

Yuuri is able to push his pants and briefs down and step out of them, leaving them in a crumpled heap on the floor. He reaches back to grab the collar of his shirt to pull it off, and about halfway up, he gets tangled. Confused in his weary mind and stuck, his arms in the air, face covered in the soft fabric, and bare from the belly button down. He hears Phichit try to stifle a laugh when he turns around.

 

“Need some help there, Yuuchan?” Phichit speaks through a smile. He doesn’t wait for an answer before walking over to pull Yuuri’s shirt off the rest of the way. His eyes dip over Yuuri’s form, more a result of habit now than anything.

 

“Thanks,” Yuuri speaks, running a hand through his now frizzed, mussed hair, fingers getting caught in the tangled knots it has worked itself into over the last few days. 

 

“Of course,” Phichit quickly strips himself before pulling one of Yuuri’s hands to lead him into the hot water. Turning Yuuri to face away from him, he runs his hands over Yuuri’s hair, letting the water soak into the greasy locks.

 

Yuuri hums as he feels Phichit’s hands in his hair, having always been sensitive to the touch. 

 

Phichit’s cheeks warm slightly at the noise, not having heard it when they had done this any other time before. He shakes his head to focus and reaches for the shampoo bottle on the little shelf in front of Yuuri. He places a hand on the older man’s back for balance and leans, trying to ignore just how Yuuri’s now water warmed body feels against his at the few connections of their skin. 

 

Snapping the bottle open, the younger man squeezes a small amount of shampoo into his hand, placing the bottle on the small shelf behind him. He rubs his hands together, working up a gentle lather before running the soapy fingers up into Yuuri’s hair, scrubbing the days worth of grime away, scratching at his scalp gently. Phichit’s finger slide down Yuuri’s head, getting caught in a knot near the base of his neck. 

 

“Nnghh,” Yuuri moans.

Chapter Text

Yuuri covers his mouth with both hands, his body going tense in embarrassment, “S-Sorry!” 

 

Phichit’s cheeks are flames as he stares wide eyed and in disbelief at Yuuri’s back. Did he just… no I’m just imagining things. There’s no way that Yuuri just moaned… But he knows that’s a lie when he sees Yuuri’s ears, flushed hot with shame. “Yuuri?”

 

“I’m fine! It’s nothing!” Yuuri quickly says just a touch too loud. 

 

Phichit tries to laugh it off, think of something to cut the tension and lighten the mood, but his mind is blank of anything but the forbidden urge to hear Yuuri’s moan one more time. His laughter dies off with an awkward silence… His fingers still working through Yuuri’s hair, more gently now.

 

Yuuri stands stalk still, forcing himself not to lean into Phichit’s touch anymore than he has to for the height difference, even if the younger man’s nails scratching across his scalp feel sinfully good. 

 

A full minute of awkward silence passes before Phichit retracts his hands, gently pushing Yuuri forward into the spray of the water to methodically rinse the suds. Phichit is careful to not to pull his hair again. 

 

With Yuuri under the hot water, Phichit has a second to take in the twitching of muscle under skin, the way the droplets of water cling, and just how much Yuuri has kept up with his physique. Sure, he’s got a little pudge on him around the hips, giving him just a glimpse of a more feminine figure, but Yuuri is overall slim. Slim and strong. It wasn’t too long ago when Phichit would fantasize about what it would feel like to be held in those arms, feeling as safe as could be as their lips met for the first-

 

No. Wait… Stop! I’m supposed to be moving on… I can’t do that if I keep thinking of Yuuri this way… I need to stop… It doesn’t matter how much I want… He doesn’t see me like that… I need to… let go.

 

Thankfully the shower water hides the evidence of tears sliding down Phichit’s face with heartache. 

 

Yuuri’s eyes are closed as he feels the splashing of the spray against his cheeks, his head tilted back to let his roommate reach his hair better. 

 

I can’t believe I just did that! What was I even thinking!  I just got lost in the moment… It’s not like I haven’t thought about Phichit like that before… I mean he’s fucking beautiful… But it just never… felt right. Like something was missing.  God… I’m an idiot… Peach is here taking care of me, butt naked, and trying to get me to calm down… and I’m just messing it up… I’m sure this is harder on him than me… I really am a terrible friend. 

 

Yuuri is pulled from his thoughts precipitously by a harsh pull of his hair, making him cry out in surprise, and whimper for… other reasons. “Phich! What did you do that for?!” 

 

“Oh come on, you and I both know you hum when you’re degrading yourself,” Phichit is smiling, but Yuuri sees the telltale redness of crying in the corners of his stormy eyes. 

 

Yuuri doesn’t say a word. Instead, he turns fully to face Phichit and tugs him close for a hug, squeezing him as if his life depends on it. “...Thank you…”

 

“Uh- Sure,” Phichit blushes, unsure of what to do with his arms, instead having them awkwardly hang, “Yuuri, can I tell you something?” 

 

Yuuri knows where this is going and tries to relax, opting to gently push Phichit away and grab the shampoo, squirting some into his hand and looking at the young Thai, “Of course, Phich, you can always talk to me about anything at all, I promise.” Yuuri boops Phichit’s nose with a dot of sudsy shampoo before working the soap into Phichit’s hair, using his thumbs to wipe away the bubbles as they try to drip down his forehead into his eyes. 

 

Phichit can’t hold eye contact as his nerves of the topic come to head. “Look… I- I really don’t know what I’m trying to say… Like the words are getting mixed up in my head… But about the short program? I- I meant every bit of it…”

 

Yuuri stays silent, letting Phichit work through his words without interruption, continuing to lather his hair, and massage it into his scalp soothingly. 

 

“I love you, Yuuri… I really do. And I know I said I want to move on, and I do! I really do… but I didn’t think…” Phichit pauses, his breath short in his chest, “It’s so hard, Yuuri… It hurts… so much,” Phichit tries to hide his voice cracking, and turns acting like his eyes are itchy to hide the start of tears. It doesn’t matter though. The minute he lets a crack into his wall, it becomes a flood. 

 

Yuuri quickly pulls Phichit into his arms, letting the younger man sob into his chest. His arms are wrapped tightly around Phichit, as if he is trying to hold all the broken pieces together. His heart is wracked with guilt, but now isn’t the time for that. His chin rests in the suds of Phichit’s hair.

 

Phichit feels himself break, letting loose all the pent up emotions he’s kept bottled up for years until they are flying everywhere mindlessly. He doesn’t hear himself speaking… too far gone in the moment as he clutches his arms around Yuuri, leaving red, bleeding indents with his nails on Yuuri’s shoulder blades. “Why couldn’t it be me?” 

 

Yuuri feels a sharp pang of guilt, eating at him with every tear Phichit sheds. He knows Phichit will say things when he is upset that he ends up regretting or not meaning, so Yuuri tries not to take it too much to heart… But this? If there was anything he could do to ease the pain he’s putting his best friend through… This hurts him so much deeper. He feels so… helpless. 

 

He lets Phichit cry until he can’t anymore, just sniffling and hiccuping as they stand under the cooling water. Yuuri knows that between the two of them they really do need some sleep. He pushes Phichit back tenderly and tries to bury the guilt he feels seeing the reddened swollen eyes and cheeks. “It’s been a long day for us both… How about we finish washing, and then we can go watch a movie and sleep?” Yuuri suggests, knowing exactly which Movie they’ll watch, and knowing the feel good movie and childlike songs will have them happier and cuddling like always by “Shall We Skate”. 

 

“Okay,” Phichit whispers as he reaches for the small bottle of body wash on the ledge, grabbing the loofa he’d hung on the bath faucet earlier, he scrubs himself down quickly as Yuuri does the same. He is startled when Yuuri reaches for his hand,  flinching away and looking up at Yuuri in confusion.

 

“You still have the shampoo in your hair, let me rinse it out?” Yuuri asks, waiting for Phichit’s nod before pulling him under the spray. 

 

Once they are cleaned and dressed, Phichit sits up with his knees tightly to his chest by the headboard of the single queen sized bed, watching Yuuri as he methodically pulls up the movie of choice for the night. 

 

It’s awkward and tense, but they slowly melt, cuddling closer to watch the small laptop screen, both of them shy and shooting questioning looks to each other when they move. Their closeness has taken a toll, but maybe not as big as they’d thought. 

 

They fall asleep together to the wonderfully familiar tune of “Shall We Skate”, the rest of the movie playing on without an audience, putting their dreams at ease.