This is certifiably ridiculous.
There’s no way Viktor is actually going to do this. None.
He is a grown-ass, twenty-seven-year-old man and he is not—
He’s read about these kinds of things before, heard fans tell him they’d seen things online, sometimes with Christophe, sometimes with others.
It’s normal. It’s fine.
Well, alright, it’s a little weird if he thinks about it, but honestly? It’s either this or he goes back to stalking Phichit Chulanont’s Instagram feed in the hopes of glimpsing one radio silent Yuuri Katsuki.
Viktor knows they just met officially two weeks ago at the Sochi Grand Prix Final, but he can’t stop thinking about that wild and magical night, and so here he is, about to write what he’s learned is called an AU fanfiction: one in which Yuuri calls Viktor like he said he would, or texts him or hell, approves his follow request on Instagram.
(Everyone thinks Yuuri has no SNS presence at all, but he does have an Instagram, though it’s disguised by an odd screenname and private. It’s not even verified, but Chris assures Viktor that it’s the correct account.)
Anyway, Viktor has done some quick research, delving into works starring himself, to get the feel for how people did this whole “fanfiction” thing.
For this first one, he thinks, he’ll keep it simple: he’ll retell the Banquet – removing details he thinks will give away who he is (or that he was actually there himself)—and turn his and Yuuri’s dance into the foreplay it should have been.
Sure, Yuuri was a little tipsy, so they wouldn’t have really done much, but it could’ve been… more.
And fic-Yuuri will definitely call Viktor the next day like real-Yuuri promised.
And they’ll talk, and Skype, and a beautiful love story will emerge, and they’ll see each other at worlds soon and then maybe Viktor can make some of what he writes come true.
Writing is hard.
He thought he had all these brilliant ideas, but suddenly he’s re-reading what he’s got so far and realizing two things.
First, this isn’t so much a story as it is a babbling, stream of consciousness detailing how marvelous he thinks Yuuri Katsuki is.
Second, the parts that aren’t just rambling are too… concise. They just sound like someone recounting the order of events; there’s no emotion, no passion—and there had been plenty at the banquet that night.
He starts over.
An hour later, he has about 500 words of… well it’s still pretty rambly, but it’s an improvement.
Besides, this isn’t to win a literary award, it’s to help him cope with the fact that Yuuri completely ghosted him and he has to wait forever (read: two and a half more months) to see Yuuri again if he can’t get in touch with him by other means.
Most of the stories he’s seen posted are much longer than his—some alarmingly long, he thinks, remembering one whose word count was well over one hundred thousand and still counting—so he sees what he can do to make it longer.
He closes his eyes and imagines what he wanted to happen: how Yuuri would look, how he would sound, the words Viktor was longing for him to say.
He picks up a dusty novel off his coffee table and flips to a random page.
There are descriptions of where the characters are: Viktor adds a description of the hotel room.
There is dialogue: Viktor adds a short exchange between his Totally-Not-Viktor-Nikoforov-Self-Insert-Original-Character and Yuuri.
The novel includes a narrator’s inner thoughts: Viktor adds his own thoughts, not daring to imagine Yuuri’s own just yet.
He thinks it’s better—it’s certainly longer.
If he were to make a very bad skating metaphor here, he’d say his writing has all the rotations, even if the landing is a bit wobbly.
A bit self-deprecatingly, he thinks this is less of a wobbly landing and more of a total wipeout on the ice, but he shakes off the thought.
“This is for fun, to de-stress, to make missing Yuuri a little less awful,” he tells himself firmly.
He gets back to his writing.
Seven consecutive days of writing later, Viktor thinks his story is ready.
He wasn’t initially planning on publishing it—not really—but he’s sort of proud of the fact that he wrote over six thousand words, and he wants to know what others think.
So he goes to the site, and hits his first obstacle: he needs a username.
Something skating related, obviously, but nothing that would give himself away. He thinks Yuuri’s best jump was the triple axel, so he tries that, but “TripleAxel” is already taken, so he adds some numbers until it tells him the name is available.
He quickly finds the “post” button and sets to filling out the form. Luckily, many of them autofill for him, so he can just click on what he likes best.
He picks out a few extra tags based on what he’s seen others use, and copy-pastes the text of his fic.
This is where he encounters his next big problem: he needs a title.
He hadn’t thought of that at all, but he decides to keep it simple: What Should Have Happened at Sochi.
It’s not very inspiring, but he doesn’t much care right now. Other fics had had similarly simple titles and they got plenty of traffic, he thinks.
He checks that everything is filled out the way he wants, takes a deep breath, and posts his very first fanfiction.
It’s difficult to not just sit and refresh the page every few moments to see if anyone has read it yet.
Logically, he knows that he can’t get feedback before people have even read the thing; ridiculous to expect comments eight minutes after he’s posted it.
But he wants them anyway.
Over the next hour and a half, he distracts himself (poorly), limits himself to refreshing the page only once every fifteen minutes, and watches the hit counter slowly, slowly go up.
The next morning, he has an email saying that someone has left a comment on his story.
His heart leaps in his throat, excited to see what someone has said.
“Cute” is all it says.
Well it’s certainly not very detailed but it’s at least positive, so Viktor hums and types a quick “thanks”, because it seems the polite thing to do.
He tries to keep going about his days: training on and off the ice, taking care of Makka, attempting to have a social life with his rinkmates or on occasion, Chris.
Still no Yuuri.
He starts writing another story.
His frustrations are reaching a bit of a boiling point, and it comes through in his writing.
His OC takes on Viktor’s frustration with Yuuri, who always plays hard to get.
But it’s Viktor’s—er, the OC’s—charms that always whittle down fic-Yuuri in a way that Viktor never succeeded in real life.
It’s been a month and a half since Sochi now, and still… nothing.
Viktor keeps writing.
By the time Worlds roll around in March, Viktor is writing daily.
He’s posted seven fics totaling just over fifty thousand words.
Each story has gotten comments of some kind, and while most are short and simple like the first one he received, he’s found that the more, ah, explicit stories tend to get more enthusiastic comments, including Viktor’s favorite: “*fans self* WHEW that was HOT I didn’t really think of Katsuki as much of a love interest before this story, but now that I’ve read this? I totally see it. Great story, please keep posting!”
He had been so inspired by the comment that he wrote another fic that very evening, and it got a little out of hand on the kinks, but he figures it can’t hurt to spice things up a little bit.
But Yuuri isn’t at Worlds, and Viktor is shocked by the search results when he tries to figure out why.
He’s not ill, not injured.
He didn’t qualify.
Viktor doesn’t know what to do with this information, but he feels like maybe… Maybe Yuuri Katsuki was some kind of fever dream of his.
A fever dream that seduced him, that made him think that maybe there was still something new for him to do on the ice.
Now, in first place after the short program by a wide margin, Viktor doesn’t know what to think.
He doesn’t know if he has the heart to keep going.
He keeps writing, because it’s oddly satisfying to take out his lack of motivation on the ice out on his characters, too.
Viktor discovers the “angst” tag, and begins a story wherein his OC discovers that the magnificent vision he had of Yuuri at the Banquet was a dream, and that he was actually in a coma in a hospital, dying.
A regular reader of his commented that the piece was “heartbreaking” and said that it had made them cry, for both the OC and Yuuri.
Viktor didn’t understand why his reader would cry for Yuuri—wasn’t Yuuri the reason for the OC’s suffering? But no; the Yuuri in this story was never real.
And maybe… neither was the Yuuri in Viktor’s.
When Yuuri Katsuki’s Stammi Vicino video goes viral Viktor doesn’t let himself hesitate.
Viktor chooses to take it as a cry to Viktor himself, an apology of sorts for not contacting him sooner, a plea to hear from him again.
Viktor could be sensible and send another Instagram message, but Yuuri had never opened any of the previous ones he sent.
So instead, he does something senseless: he packs all his belongings and books a one-way flight to Japan.
Several things quickly become clear.
First, Yuuri did not intend to reach a worldwide audience with his skating of Stammi Vicino at the Hasetsu Ice Castle.
Second, he was much shyer than Viktor remembered him to be. Could it be the proximity to his parents? His childhood friends and ballet teacher, his hometown itself?
While things were certainly slow on the developing relationship, Viktor had read enough “slow burn” fics to look for the signs.
They would get closer, agonizingly slowly. Clearly, he was playing the “unrequited pining” role very well.
But if he could get through to Yuuri, just keep trying, keep learning new ways to get to know him, to support him, to give him whatever he needed… maybe Viktor could get his happy ending.
Except then Yuuri tells him that he just wants Viktor to be Viktor: he doesn’t want him to play a role, to fill a trope.
He just wants Viktor to be himself, and Viktor, well, he doesn’t know what to do with that.
Viktor hasn’t posted anything in the couple of months he’s been in Hasetsu.
The things he’s been writing about aren’t public knowledge (yet), and his OC was getting a little too transparent for comfort. The last thing he needs with this tentative friendship-maybe-moving-towards-romance is being discovered as the author of several explicit fanfictions of his self-insert nonsense. That, surely, would send Yuuri running for good.
And maybe writing all these rose-tinted self-insert stories wasn’t exactly the healthiest.
He tries something different, the next time he sits down to write: he writes it like a diary entry, though perhaps a bit more literary than usual.
Instead of writing what he wishes would happen, he writes it as just that: a wish.
He talks about his feelings without filtering them through his OC, without putting words in Yuuri’s mouth.
He’s not pining from St Petersburg for the sultry young man who so wooed him in Sochi: he’s living with and coaching a real—wonderful human being.
He’s falling in love with Yuuri Katsuki, and he doesn’t know what to do about it.
So he writes.
“What do you do on your laptop for so long?” Yuuri asks him one evening.
They’re sitting on opposites ends of the couch, legs and feet intertwined. They’ll leave for the Cup of China in two days, so they’re enjoying one last calm evening after a long, hard day of training.
Yuuri has been reading a book, though for the past few minutes, he’s stopped turning pages.
Viktor, as always is writing.
He absently clicks ctrl + s to not lose anything, then gently closes his laptop.
“I write, in my spare time,” he says.
“Oh? What do you write about? If you don’t mind talking about it, I mean.”
“Skating, sometimes,” Viktor hedges.
“Like thinking about new routines?”
“Not generally. Just… reflections. Notes, ideas, feelings on how our training is going.”
“Oh,” Yuuri says, and he sounds surprised. “I suppose it makes sense. You’re sort of learning how to coach, right?”
Viktor laughs. “You mean I’m not a natural?”
Yuuri’s expression betrays him, though he is quick to replace it with worried reassurance. “You’re doing great! I’m learning a lot, improving so much, really, I—”
“Relax, Yuuri, I was kidding. I know I have… room for improvement,” Viktor says, and it’s nice that he’s already had this revelation through his writing, or he probably would be taking this a lot harder from his first student.
Yuuri doesn’t say anything for a moment, like he’s gathering his thoughts. “You’re doing just fine,” he says quietly.
Viktor gives him a small but genuine smile. “You really think so?”
“Of course. Sometimes your words are… indirect, or sometimes they’re too direct. But you’re here, for me, and you’re trying. You have the knowledge, and by demonstrating and talking it through, we get there.”
The honest assessment feels like the greatest compliment Viktor has ever received.
“I feel like I’m improving,” Yuuri continues. “Don’t… don’t you see it too?”
“Of course, Yuuri! I see it every day,” he says, because how could he not see the way Yuuri is growing? “I just didn’t want to take credit for what may not entirely be my doing, is all.”
“You can take credit for this,” Yuuri assures him, and rubs his foot against Viktor’s thigh gently. “You’ve inspired me for so long, Viktor. All of this, it’s always been for you.”
The last part is so quiet, Viktor has to strain to hear it. He feels like he’s holding his breath, waiting for something that will cancel everything out, but Yuuri simply goes back to his book, a light smile on his face, like he doesn’t realize how much impact his words just had on Viktor.
He knows he’s inspired other skaters, but certainly not to this degree. He knows Yuuri well enough at this point to understand that Yuuri skates for himself—you can’t get to this level without having a certain degree of self-interest—but that Viktor can continue to inspire Yuuri makes his heart swell.
Yuuri has gotten to know Viktor, too, and he still skates for him.
Viktor opens his laptop again, and types Yuuri’s words in his document before he can forget exactly what he said.
Viktor would love to say that their on-ice, on-air kiss changed everything.
He would love to say that they declared their feelings for each other in no uncertain terms, and that they made passionate love for hours afterward, reaching the end of their 30k slow burn story arc.
But this is not the case.
If anything, it launches a brand-new arc, seemingly from nowhere, that Viktor thinks would fall under the tags “mutual pining” and “miscommunication”.
Speaking of fanfiction tags, an impressive number of stories have begun to populate the Viktor Nikiforov/Yuuri Katsuki tag after the kiss, while the tag had been considered an absolute rare pair before.
(It had been all but non-existent before Viktor moved to Japan; there had been four works tagged with their relationship, three of which they were more like a background pairing slapped together out of a need to pair off extra characters.)
The vast majority of them are based on a lurid, secret love affair that they had allegedly been conducting until their passion for each other boiled over onto the ice in China.
Viktor sighs, wishing not for the first time that this was the truth.
Instead, he is left to his own creative devices to assuage his slightly out of hand crush-turning-much-more on Yuuri.
Yuuri, for his part, is as open as always, accepting of Viktor’s affections as always, but he won’t talk about it and he won’t kiss Viktor again.
Clearly, Viktor is going to have to be the one to broach the subject, but he’s scared that Yuuri thought it was just a “surprise” thing, and not a “I have intense, romantic feelings for you” thing.
He needs to be tactful, careful about how he brings it up.
So naturally, he blurts it out the first second they’re alone.
“Yuuri, why won’t you let me kiss you again?”
Apparently, they’re both being very eloquent today.
“We kissed in China, but you won’t… when I tried again you wouldn’t let me? And you haven’t tried to kiss me, either, and—”
Yuuri is looking at him like he has no idea what Viktor is talking about.
“You’ve been trying to kiss me?” he asks.
“Um, yes? That night in the hotel, and the night after that, and then I thought that maybe you needed a little space so I backed off, but I tried again yesterday at the rink, too, and you just skated away like nothing happened.”
Yuuri seems to be thinking back on his memories of those events, searching for the signs he missed.
“I haven’t really noticed you behaving any differently than usual, I suppose.”
That’s because I’ve wanted to kiss you for months, Viktor thinks, but he holds back, thinking it might be too much at once, and he’s already blurted half this conversation without thinking anyway. He tries to gather his thoughts back.
“Is it… I’ve tried to bring up the kiss in China, too, and you always ignore me.”
“Did… did you not like it?” Viktor asks, heart in his throat.
“No, no, I did!” Yuuri rushes to reassure him, and Viktor lets himself relax a bit. “It’s just that I don’t know what to say?”
How about Viktor, let’s be boyfriends? Viktor muses. If he plays his cards right, maybe they can resolve this ambiguity now.
“Well, let’s start with the basics. You liked the kiss?”
“Do you… Are you interested in kissing again?”
“Do you want to do things besides kissing?”
“Like what?” Yuuri asks, sounding nervous.
Viktor can’t quite rectify this almost prudish Yuuri with the half-naked pole dancing Yuuri of Sochi.
“Like maybe dating things?” Viktor tries, side-stepping a more suggestive response.
Yuuri looks relieved, and Viktor isn’t sure if he’s upset by that.
“Um, that… I mean, I would like that, but also, you’re my coach, and wouldn’t that be a bit…” he searches for the right word, “inappropriate?”
One could also say that kissing on the ice was perhaps inappropriate as well, but Yuuri was hardly to blame for that (not that Viktor regrets his actions in the slightest).
“I’m not really sure we’re the most conventional coach and student pair to begin with,” Viktor grumbles.
“Well no, but…”
Clearly, the idea bothers Yuuri, and Viktor frowns.
Yuuri shifts a bit awkwardly. “What if we took things really slowly?”
Viktor perks up like Makkachin when Viktor takes her leash out. “I can go slow!” he says, eyes bright.
Historically, slow has not been his modus operandi, but for Yuuri he can learn.
Yuuri gives him the pleasure of a very small smile.
“Alright. Slow, then.”
They grin shyly at each other for a moment.
“Does slow include me kissing you right now? I mean, it’s been a week since our last kiss, that feels pretty slow to me,” Viktor says.
“Alright,” Yuuri says. He doesn’t move toward Viktor, like he’s waiting for Viktor to make the first move.
Well, the second move, as Viktor’s first move was the on-camera kiss in China.
But if Yuuri wants Viktor to do the work?
Well. Viktor’s a professional athlete. He’s not afraid of a little work.
The lines that Yuuri draws between acceptable affection and Taking it Slow are not very clear to Viktor.
In the weeks leading up to Rostelecom, there is a constant counter in his mind of how long it has been since he’s tried his luck; he has a map of place on Yuuri’s body—perfectly chaste, thank you very much—where he is and isn’t allowed to touch.
Shoulders, hips, collarbones, elbows – all fine.
Hands? Tread carefully, not too frequently, not for too long.
Stomach? Avoid at all costs. (Despite being in perfect competition form, Yuuri is very self-conscious about his tummy.)
Feet? Yuuri doesn’t seem to understand it, but he allows it without comment so Viktor will take what he can get.
Neck and jaw touches send little frissons down Yuuri’s spine, and he often pulls away but then hides his blush from Viktor, so he thinks that one is alright.
Viktor remains strictly professional during training, despite Yuuko waggling her eyebrows at him every time she sees him at the Ice Castle.
All this isn’t to say that Viktor is the only one trying to move things forward; Yuuri’s attempts just tend to be much more shy and sometimes Viktor only realizes they’re moves after he fails to respond the way Yuuri was hoping, and he sees the dejection on Yuuri’s face.
He tries to fix things when he can, but often Yuuri will move away, tell him “never mind” or to drop it.
Once, when Yuuri’s hand creeps near to Viktor’s, Viktor doesn’t even notice until Yuuri jerks his hand back like he’s been burned.
“No! Come back!” Viktor exclaims, and grabs at Yuuri’s hand.
“It’s fine,” Yuuri says.
“But I want to hold your hand,” Viktor says. “That’s what you were going for, right? I would love to hold your hand. Please?” he softens his voice, bows his head and looks Yuuri in the eye, trying to convey the sincerity of his feelings.
He’s getting crumbs, really, but he’s determined to sustain himself on the tiniest of gestures until Yuuri decides he’s ready for more.
Viktor thinks to fanfiction once again, considering how to either move things along more quickly (without making Yuuri uncomfortable, of course) or to deal with the frustration better himself.
It’s not miscommunication anymore, but their nascent relationship is far from the passionate flames he’s dreamed of. Clearly, “developing relationship”, and perhaps a dash of “unresolved sexual tension”?
The stories he reads often hinge on a character’s feelings getting hurt, things coming to a head in a nasty fight or a tear-filled confession of a past trauma or difficulty.
There has to be a better way.
Yuuri is unusually focused at Rostelecom.
It seems that seeing Viktor in his element, in his home country, has made Yuuri viciously determined to prove to Russia that he deserves to be with Viktor.
He delivers an amazing performance in the short, and everything is going well, until it very suddenly isn’t.
“You have to go back to Japan,” Yuuri says, his voice sure and his eyes staring Viktor down, daring him to disagree.
Viktor dares. “I can’t leave you! I—I don’t know what to do, there has to be a solution, there has to—”
“This is the solution, Viktor: you will go back to Japan and be with Makkachin, and I will stay here and skate tomorrow. She needs you.”
“And you don’t?!”
Yuuri is quiet for a moment, but the silence is no less intense.
“Of course I do,” he says after a few deep, controlled breaths. “But I can do this without… without you. I can. I’ll still be skating for you, even if you’re not here with me. But I could never forgive myself if I was so selfish as to keep you here while your dog…”
Neither of them dare follow where that thought leads.
Viktor lets out a shaky sigh. “Alright. I’ll… I’ll go back.”
Yuuri nods firmly.
“But you will keep me informed of everything, alright? I don’t care about the time difference. I need to know everything,” Viktor asserts.
Hasty arrangements are made with Yakov, who clearly only accepts out of pity for Yuuri; he’s still pissed at Viktor for his departure from competitions.
Viktor boards the plane, heart in his shoes, thoughts in a flurry, stomach uneasy with fear for his beloved dog.
If the worst should happen, he knows he absolutely cannot tell Yuuri until he’s finished skating.
Viktor nearly sobs with relief when the veterinarian tells him that Makkachin will be okay.
With such good news, he calls Yuuri right away, hoping that it will ease some of Yuuri’s stress.
“I’m so relieved,” Yuuri says, voice thick like he might cry too.
“I thought you would be,” Viktor says, smiling so broadly he’s sure Yuuri can hear it. “Now, how are things with Yakov?”
They chat about the skate, now only a couple of hours away. They have a plan, Viktor makes Yuuri speak with Yakov a bit, though Yakov’s English has never been very good, and Yuri Plisetsky plays reluctant translator.
They’re going to be okay, Viktor thinks.
Yuuri will skate just fine, Viktor will be watching every second, and Yakov is there with him.
Hell, even Yuri Plisetsky is there for Yuuri, though he would never admit as much out loud.
In the end, Yuuri places fourth, qualifying for the final by the skin of his teeth, and Viktor breathes the biggest sigh of relief he has ever let out.
Viktor is nearly to the point of counting the seconds until Yuuri’s plane arrives in Fukuoka.
They’ve only been apart for two and a half days, but it feels like an entire month of events has happened in the interval and Viktor is anxious to hold Yuuri in his arms again.
They haven’t always been great with their words, but with his touches, Viktor can give Yuuri unfiltered affection, and he’s learning to read Yuuri’s body language intimately.
Yuuri runs as soon as he sees Viktor, dancing impatiently in front of the automatic doors that take fractions of a second too long to open and let him through.
He practically throws himself at Viktor, who accepts him with open arms.
He had imagined Yuuri actually jumping, catching his body weight with his hands firmly under Yuuri’s thighs. (Alright, that may be Viktor’s latest fantasy; he read an extremely convincing wall sex fic a week ago.)
They just hold each other for a long moment, and it takes all of Viktor’s restraint to not kiss Yuuri deep and hard right there in the arrivals hall.
Take it slow, we’re taking it slow, he chastises himself.
Yuuri nuzzles into Viktor’s neck, inhaling deeply and then letting out the breath slowly, the hot air tickling Viktor’s skin.
Taking it slow doesn’t mean being at a standstill, and given the events of the last few days, he thinks now is as good a time as any to push just a little bit.
But whatever he was going to say—about what he can do as Yuuri’s coach, how he can be a coach and a boyfriend, how they’ll figure it out—Yuuri interrupts him.
He pulls back, just enough to look Viktor in the eye. “Please be my coach until I retire!”
Viktor doesn’t care at all that they’re in public, and with such a loud declaration, it seems like Yuuri isn’t thinking about their potential audience, either.
Viktor is willing to risk Yuuri getting retroactively embarrassed, so he takes one of Yuuri’s hands and kisses it sweetly.
Then, he remembers what Yuuri has taught him about Japanese culture, about how saying something like “I love you” is often too intimate; that overt statements of feelings in words is not usually done.
Viktor swears his heart stops for a moment, and then picks up again at double speed.
It’s almost like—
So much for taking things slow.
“It almost sounds like a marriage proposal,” Viktor says, realization dawning upon him.
Yuuri, apparently, hadn’t considered the implication of his statement, if the shock on his face is anything to go by, but he comes willingly back into Viktor’s arms, if only to hide the impressive blush that is taking over his face and neck.
They embrace a long moment again, and Viktor whispers into Yuuri’s ear. “I wish you’d never retire.”
Yuuri’s breath hitches in Viktor’s ear, and Viktor holds him just a little tighter.
“Let’s win gold together at the Final,” Yuuri says, but for once, Viktor is thinking of a different kind of gold than the medal.
It’s better than any fanfiction Viktor could have written.