Victor Nikiforov was five years old and a big boy now. He didn't believe in angels, thank you very much.
His papa had told him that he shouldn't be wasting his time on silly things like that, and Victor believed him. Of course he did. His papa was big and smart and brave and knew all kinds of things that he would tell Victor about, while he sat on papa's lap before mama would come and take him to bed.
He had always believed everything his papa had told him. Right up until now. Because Victor was sure he was looking into the eyes of an angel.
Big startled wet brown eyes mind you, but Victor thought they were the prettiest eyes he'd ever seen. Maybe even prettier than mama’s, and that's saying something because Victor thinks mama has the prettiest eyes in the whole wide world.
The angel sniffs still staring at Victor with shiny wide eyes.
“What?” The angel asks wiping away tears with the sleeve of his jumper.
Victor swallows and blinks down at him. Once, twice as he watches pink slowly fill the angels cheeks which makes his cute little mouth begin to pout.
“Did Takashi send you to make me cry again?” The angel huffs out, wrapping his arms around his knees and wiping left over tears on them.
“Because I won't!” The angel continues crossly. “Mari said if anyone makes me cry again she will….erm….she said…..she said she'd kick their butts” he says the last part in a whisper like he doesn't want anyone else to hear what he said.
Victor feels like he has one of those balls that mama bought for him, when he was super helpful and helped mama put all the food they needed in the shopping trolley, stuck in his throat.
He doesn't like it. Maybe the angel has special magic that stops people from talking so they can't tell their secret. That must be why papa doesn't know about them.
The next thing the angel says though, proves Victor must be wrong.
“What's wrong with you, can't you speak or something? Or are you shy? That's ok mama says that I'm shy too.”
“Are you an angel?” Victor blurts out, finally managing to ask the boy that he thinks is most definitely an angel.
The angel giggles, and Victor's eyes widen at the sound that tinkles out.
“You're silly” the angel smiles, tears finally starting to dry on his chubby pink cheeks.
Now Victor loves his mama more than anyone, ever. Even papa, but only by a little bit, not that he'd tell anyone that. And he knows his mama is the prettiest, kindest, bestest person he knows.
But, the angel had just laughed one of the cutest sounds Victor has ever heard, it makes him want to squeal, and the smile that follows when he calls Victor silly, which he is most definitely not by the way. But if it makes the angel smile at him like that again he's totally willing to be as silly as the angel wants.
“What's your name” the angel asks as he moves his legs into a crossed legged position.
“Victor”, he manages to say.
“Well my names Yuuri”.
Yuuri~, Victor thinks to himself. Yuuri. He likes the name. It's pretty, just like the angel, sitting staring up at him expectantly.
“Hi Yuuri, it's nice to meet you” and he finally manages to put his awe aside and smile his big heart shaped smile mama always loves.
It's the most Victor has said and done since he found Yuuri sitting here alone crying, and it brings a blush to Yuuri's ears and a shy smile as he looks down at his hands wriggling in his lap.
“You too” he whispers, still not looking at Victor.
Seeing Yuuri shy gives Victor some of his confidence back. So he moves and plops himself down in front of the angel.
“Why were you crying?” He asks once Yuuri looks back up to him.
“Oh...erm” Yuuri says, picking at a loose thread at the bottom of his trousers, frowning.
“Takashi was being mean to me again”.
Victor doesn't know who Takashi is. He doesn't know who any of the other children at this new school are. Except Chris. He was the blond curly haired boy who showed Victor around this morning and promised to eat lunch with him this afternoon.
It's only his first day, and he's spent all his morning watching mama fill in some forms and then being shown where everything is. This is the first time he's been allowed to his class room after mama kissed him goodbye.
“Who's Takashi?” Victor asks. He already doesn't like the sound of this Takashi.
Victor watches as Yuuri's eyes quickly scan the room. “Him, over there”.
Eyes following where Yuuri is pointing he sees a black haired bulky boy playing in the sand pit next to a small brown haired girl.
“He doesn't like it when I play with Yuuko,” he says as he points to the girl.
“Why not” Victor asks, frowning at Takashi.
Yuuri just shrugs his shoulders.
It's quiet while they both watch Takashi and the girl named Yuuko playing in the sand. Victor watches as Takashi tries to show Yuuko what he built and then as Yuuko turns her head away and crosses her arms, pouting.
“I think Yuuko is mad at Takashi now too,” Yuuri says. “She doesn't like it when Takashi does mean stuff to me”.
“What did he do?”
Yuuri bites his lip and goes back to picking at the loose thread.
“It's nothing,” Yuuri whispers, staring intently as he pulls at the thread.
Victor can see Yuuri's ears going a bright shade of pink.
“You'll think I'm a baby”
“No I wouldn't” Victor replies, shaking his head furiously so long silver strands fall around his face. “I pinky promise I won't,” he says holding out his little finger to Yuuri.
Yuuri looks up at Victor through his long lashes before quickly looking at the little pinky being held out in front of him.
“Ok”, Yuuri says as he slowly moves his finger to link it to Victor's. “If you pinky promise cause that's serious. You can never break a pinky promise”.
“Cross my heart”, Victor says seriously.
Yuuri hesitates, thinking whether or not he can believe what Victor is saying. After a short pause Yuuri decides he’ll take the chance.
“He hurt Mochi,” Yuuri says, pouting once more.
“He hurt someone,” Victor gasped. “Did you tell on him?”
“No” Yuuri whispers “I didn't want Mr Cildini to think I was a tell tale…...or a baby”.
“Why would he think you're a baby for that?”
“Cause Takashi said I was for having Mochi still,” Yuuri says as he crosses his arms angrily.
Victor is confused. He frowns at Yuuri trying to make sense of what he just said. Who’s Mochi?
Victor is about to ask when a small boy with jet black shiny hair runs up to Yuuri waving what looks like a stuffed animal over his head.
“YUURI!” The boy shouts enthusiastically. “I cleaned him look”.
Victor watches as Yuuri’s head snaps towards the boy, watches as he blinks up and his eyes light up, watches as he scrambles to his feet and watches as Yuuri smiles at this boy like he’s Yuuri’s most favourite thing in the world.
Victor feels a weird twisting feeling in his stomach. He doesn’t know what it is but it’s a feeling he hasn’t felt before and he knows he doesn’t like it.
“Phichit” Yuuri gasps happily as he takes whatever it is that the boy is holding above his head and squishes it to his face, rubbing his chubby cheek over the brown fur.
Phichit pats Yuuri on the shoulder, smiling, and says “see Yuuri I told you I’d make him all better”.
Victor gets to his feet as Yuuri turns his big brown eyes on him.
“Look Victor, Peach made Mochi all better! Isn't he the bestest friend ever”. Yuuri says eyes bright, “I’m sorry I let Takashi bury you in the sand Mochi.” He says, stroking the brown fur. And if Victor thought he might have been an angel before he's super sure now. Papa was definitely wrong.
The brown fur, that Yuuri has happily been rubbing his cheek on, turns out to be a stuffed poodle. A stuffed poodle called Mochi.
Victor thought Yuuri was cute before but Yuuri snuggling with a stuffed toy, and not any stuffed toy but Victor's favourite animal in the whole wide world, is cuter than that puppy he had cried over for days after his mama wouldn't let him run across the road and give it cuddles. Which it so obviously wanted.
“Mochi is your poodle?” Victor asks.
Yuuri stops rubbing his face into the soft brown fur and looks up at Victor, a beat passes and he nods his head once, little shoulders wiggling in joy.
Victor wants to squeal at how cute Yuuri is. But the boy called Phichit moves in front of Victor and pulls his attention away from Yuuri.
“Hi! I’m Phichit” he says waving at Victor with a big smile. He has a red jumper with a hamster on the front.
“Hi” Victor replies, looking back at Yuuri.
“This is Victor” Yuuri tells Phichit “he has really pretty hair” Yuuri’s eyes go wide and he shoves his face into Mochi’s fur in embarrassment.
Victor giggles at Yuuri’s reaction. He’s used to people calling his hair pretty thanks to mama and all mama’s friends.
Victor is about to tell Yuuri how poodles are the bestest things in the world, but Mr Cildini claps twice and calls everyone back to their seats.
Victor hesitates he hasn’t been given a seat yet and he’s a little worried he will accidentally take someone else’s place.
But Yuuri, the angel that he must be, grabs Victor's hand and starts walking.
“You can sit with us,” Yuuri says, guiding Victor towards one of the round tables with six chairs around it.
There’s two other kids sitting at the table by the time they reach it. He watches as Phichit sits next to one of the boys already seated.
Yuuri sits in the chair next to Phichit and pulls Victor down into the seat next to him.
“Mochi normally sits here with me but he won’t mind if you take his seat” Yuuri says as Victor sits in the chair Yuuri pulls him into. “Just as long as you’re nice to him” Yuuri looks so serious as he says this, so Victor replies just as serious back.
“Ok, as long as Mochi won’t mind”
Yuuri’s face lights up with that smile that makes Victor's tummy feel funny and says “He doesn't mind, he can just sit here on the table”.
Yuuri places Mochi in the middle of the table and pats his head.
“Wow Yuuri you must really like Victor if you’re letting him have Mochi’s seat”. Phichit says and Victor watches as Yuuri’s cheeks go bright red again.
“NO! Mochi told me he liked Victor and that I could let Victor sit in his seat actually, where else is Victor going to sit?”
The boy that’s sitting next to Phichit stops colouring and looks around the room and says, “He could sit on Yuuko’s table, then Mochi could have his chair back”.
Yuuri looks over to the mentioned table and wrinkles his nose. “Eww no Leo, then he’d have to sit with Takashi”.
“Takashi isn’t that bad,” the boy named Leo says, shrugging, and Yuuri pouts and folds his arm.
“Takashi is a big meanie and I’m not letting Victor sit with him, right Victor?” Yuuri says as he turns big brown eyes onto him.
“Erm I’d rather sit here if it’s ok” Victor says He likes Yuuri, thinks he’s cute and funny and he has a stuffed poodle that’s sitting in the middle of the table and Victor really doesn’t want to switch.
Victor doesn’t switch seats. He stays sitting next to Yuuri for the rest of the day. Even at lunch when they move to the hall where they eat their lunch and Chris comes to find him like he promised, he sits next to Yuuri.
And when he goes home he tells his mama how he met an angel at school and then he tells his papa that he was wrong and that angels really do exist and there’s one at his school, and his name is Yuuri and can he please, please invite Yuuri round to play so they can see for themselves.
Victor sits next to Yuuri for the rest of the year, and the year after that. The next year, when they’re eight and the classes get mixed around and Yuuri is put in the other class with Phichit, and Victor with Chris, and Yuuri had cried all day when he found out. He still promises to sit next to him at playtime and lunchtime and when they eat dinner at each other’s houses every weekend when they have sleepovers.
Because they’re the bestest friends ever and will be friends even when they’re grown up and have jobs.
Victor will make sure of that.