The Morning After the Sochi GPF Banquet
A loud, jarring alarm pierced the quiet of the hotel room. Yuuri started awake, and moaned in pain. He fumbled for his phone, desperate to turn off the alarm blaring in his ears. The harsh noise sent lances of pain through his skull. He managed to stop the noise and groaned as he slowly sat up.
He covered his eyes with his hands, attempting to block the morning light filtering through the curtains and into the room. What happened last night? I must have drank too much champagne at the banquet. I don’t remember a thing…
Yuuri forced himself to get out of bed and move towards the bathroom. I should take some aspirin, and drink some water. I need this hangover to go away before I get on a plane in a few hours…
His train of thought came to a screeching halt as he caught sight of himself in the bathroom mirror. Yuuri blinked slowly. He rested his hand just below his left eye and stared in disbelief.
His left eye, which had been blue since birth, was now the same warm brown color as his right.
Yuuri felt tears forming behind his eyes. My eyes match…
I met my soulmate last night.
And I was so drunk that I can’t even remember… What’s wrong with me?
Yuuri felt his legs give out from under him. He sat down hard on the cold tile of the bathroom floor. The tears fell freely from his eyes, his breath coming in harsh gasps. Yuuri sobbed uncontrollably, curled up on the bathroom floor, miserable and alone.
This has been the worst week of my life. First, Mari called and told me that… Yuuri couldn’t even finish the thought, the pain still too new, too sharp in his mind. Grief and guilt formed a heavy lump in his throat.
Yuuri squeezed his eyes shut and pushed the heels of his hands against them. It did nothing to stop the flow of tears from his eyes. And then, I screwed up my free program. It has never been that bad before.
I finally got the chance to skate on the same ice as my idol, and I screwed up so badly that he didn’t even know that I was a fellow competitor. He thought I was a fan…
The memory of his one and only interaction with Victor Nikiforov still stung. Yuuri played back the scene in his mind. He made eye contact with Victor. For a moment, Yuuri fantasised, as he had for years, that Victor’s blue eye was a match for his own. That they were soulmates.
And then the moment when the fantasy was broken, when Victor looked straight at Yuuri and asked if he wanted a commemorative photo...
Of course Victor’s soulmate wouldn’t be someone like me. That would be ridiculous. It is just a coincidence that his left eye is brown. And mine is… was…
Yuuri’s tears, which has slowed somewhat, restarted in earnest. What the Hell happened at the banquet? Why did I drink so much? And why can’t I remember who my soulmate is?
Yuuri pulled his knees up into his chest. What am I going to do?
A Few Hours Later
Yuuri met Coach Celestino in the lobby of the hotel. He had his sunglasses on instead of his normal glasses. Celestino looked at Yuuri, his eyebrow raised in question. Yuuri sighed heavily and said. “I have a hangover. Too much champagne at the banquet…”
Celestino nodded. “Okay, Yuuri. Come, let’s go home.” Poor guy, first his dog died, and then that disaster of a free skate. I don’t blame him for drinking a little too much at the banquet. Hopefully he'll feel better once we get started home.
Yuuri left his sunglasses on as they made their way to the airport and checked into their flight. He only took them off briefly in security. The security agent checking his ID looked at Yuuri in surprise as he glanced down at Yuuri’s passport picture. Yuuri said quietly, “It just happened, I haven’t had time to get a new ID made…”
The agent nodded as he handed back Yuuri’s passport. He shrugged. “It happens more often than you’d think. Congratulations.”
Yuuri mumbled a quiet “thank you” as he took his passport from the agent. He fought against the tears that were threatening behind his eyes. I don’t feel like this is something I should be congratulated for. I don’t even know who they are! Or why they didn’t want to stay with me…
Yuuri slipped the sunglasses back onto his face and followed Celestino to their gate. I can’t let Celestino know. Not yet. I’m too embarrassed. I know… I know that he would be happy for me, but how could I explain to him that I have no idea who my soulmate is?
The Next Day
Yuuri sighed in relief as he closed the door of his apartment behind him. He sank to the floor in the entranceway and pulled his shoes off of his feet. Yuuri mumbled out quietly, “Tadaima.”
A door opened down the short hallway. Yuuri winced. I had hoped that Phichit wasn’t home, but I guess that was too much to ask…
Phichit bounced excitedly down the hallway. “Yuuri! You’re home!”
Phichit stopped dead in the doorway. He narrowed his eyes briefly as he studied Yuuri’s face. Then he let out a high pitched squeal of delight as he ran towards Yuuri, falling to his knees and skidding to a stop in front of him. Phichit wrapped Yuuri up in a rib crushing hug.
“ Yuuri! I can’t believe it! You found your soulmate!?!”
Yuuri winced as Phichit yelled directly into his ear. Phichit continued excitedly, “Tell me all about him. It is a him, right? I can’t imagine that your soulmate is a girl, not after all of those years of you pining over Victor Nikiforov… Oh my God... Victor’s left eye is brown, right? Is Victor your soulmate? Please tell me that Victor is your soulmate…”
Yuuri looked down, away from Phichit. He said quietly, “Victor isn’t my soulmate… How could he be? I told you what happened.”
Phichit rocked back on his heels. Yuuri looks miserable. What happened?
“Yuuri, who is it?”
Yuuri shook his head, tears falling from his eyes. “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know?”
Yuuri used his arm to dash away the tears falling from his eyes. He said angrily, “I mean, I don’t know who my soulmate is! I was drunk…”
Phichit gasped. “Oh, no… Yuuri. It’s okay. We can figure this out. Who was at the banquet? Skaters, coaches, sponsors…”
Yuuri mumbled, “Wait staff, hotel staff, photographers… It could be anybody. Blue is not that uncommon of an eye color in Russia. And there were a lot of foreigners in Sochi for the competition.”
Phichit tapped his finger against his mouth. “Someone had to have seen something. We’ll just have to ask around a little bit. I’ll see what I can find out, okay? You just concentrate on your national competition. That’s coming up soon, right?”
Yuuri nodded. “In a few weeks.” But right now, I feel like I should just stay here. Why bother when everything in my life seems to be falling apart?
A Few Weeks Later
Yuuri quietly closed the door to the apartment. His shoulders sagged as he toed off his shoes. He shed his coat and dropped it and his bag on the floor. Yuuri left his suitcase by the door as he walked slowly towards the couch.
Yuuri sat down heavily, his shaking hands coming up to hide his face. He tried to take deep, even breaths, in a vain attempt to keep his emotions at bay. Tears welled in his eyes as his breathing became more shallow and irregular.
He felt a hand on his shoulder. Phichit said calmly, “What do you need?”
Yuuri moaned pitifully. “A new life?”
Phichit sighed. “Yuuri. So you had a bad day.”
“More than just one.”
Phichit waved his hand dismissively. “Okay, a bad month. Let’s break it down, shall we?”
Yuuri groaned. “I’d rather we didn’t…”
Phichit ignored Yuuri’s weak protest. “Everyone has bad days on the ice, Yuuri.”
Phichit scowled. “I bet Victor’s sister has never called him right before the free program and told him that his dog died, either.”
I mean, seriously. Why couldn’t she have waited until after the Grand Prix Final was over? There wasn’t anything that Yuuri could do at that point, anyway. And I know for a fact that it is what set off this whole series of unfortunate events for Yuuri.
Yuuri sighed. “No, I guess not. But that doesn’t excuse my terrible performance at Nationals.”
“After what happened at Sochi, I’m not surprised.”
Yuuri looked at Phichit, a look of shock and betrayal on his face.
“Don’t look at me like that! I didn’t mean it that way. I just meant that you have had a lot on your mind, is all.”
Yuuri nodded sadly. “I still don’t remember anything, Phichit. And no one has really put any pictures up online. Not even Christophe, and usually he floods Instagram with banquet pics.”
Phichit sighed. “I know. I’ve been checking, too.” Phichit sat up excitedly, “Speaking of Insta, did you see Victor’s newest post?”
“No? I’ve been on a plane since yesterday.”
Phichit grinned as he unlocked his phone and started up the app. “He posted a selfie with his gold medal from the Russian Nationals. I think you might be interested in seeing it…”
Phichit held out the phone towards Yuuri. Victor was smiling and holding up the gold medal so it could be seen in the shot. Yuuri gasped.
“Both of his eyes are blue now…”
Phichit nodded excitedly. “And he still had one brown eye when you saw him in Sochi, right?”
Yuuri nodded slowly.
“The rumors say that he’s had blue eyes since he returned to Saint Petersburg.”
Yuuri groaned as he ran his hand down his face. “We’ve been through this, Phichit. Victor is not my soulmate. He can’t be.”
Yuuri sighed, exasperated. “For the same reason that your green eye doesn’t mean that you’re destined to be with Christophe. Because things don’t turn out that way. Real life is not a fairy tale.”
Phichit sighed. “Yuuri…”
Yuuri hung his head, tears falling freely from his eyes. He shook his head slowly. “No, Phichit. Please, just stop. Victor isn’t my soulmate. And… whoever it is, didn’t want me. I’ll never find out who it was…”
I’ll always be alone…
Phichit winced. “I’m sure that they had their reasons. Are you sure that they didn’t leave you anything? No note, nothing?”
“We’ve been through this. There was nothing in the hotel room. Nothing on my phone. Whoever it is, they didn’t leave a trace.”
They didn’t want me to be able to find them.
Phichit gathered Yuuri into a comforting embrace. “Then it is their loss.”
Yuuri sniffled, his tears falling unchecked onto Phichit’s shoulder. Phichit rubbed comforting circles on Yuuri’s back until his crying ceased. Exhausted, Yuuri fell into an uneasy sleep. Phichit carefully laid him out on the couch and covered him with a blanket. He carefully removed Yuuri’s glasses and set them on the coffee table. Phichit sighed as he walked over to the light switch.
I don’t know who your soulmate is, Yuuri. I wish I did, so that I could go give them a piece of my mind. As if things weren’t tough enough for you right now…
In a way, I wish that Victor really was your soulmate. At least he would have had a valid reason for not staying with you. Even though he could have at least left you a note or something…
Phichit turned off the lights in the living room before moving quietly down the hallway towards his bedroom. Tomorrow is another day. Hopefully Yuuri will feel better once he gets out on the ice…