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“Yep, that’s him. Although I don’t know what's going on with his nose. Dumbnut probably broke it before they saw him.” Yuri stabbed his knife through the poster, impaling the tree along with the picture.  

If anyone had asked Mila to describe Yuri Plinsetski in this moment, it would be appallingly harsh. And no, she wasn’t just spiteful because he led them on a trek through the forest equivalent of Jurassic Park.  

They had been walking through the same forest for hours, and she was pretty damn sure she had seen that rock multiple times before.  

“Great,” JJ said from behind her, “does this have anything to do with were we need to go? I thought you were the king’s precious attack dog; can the puppy not sniff out a trail?” He clicked his tongue, smirking proudly. Mila could almost smell him preening.  

Yuri stiffened, swinging the dagger he had used to cover (read: stab) through Katsuki’s disfigured nose towards JJ, the latter shrieking loudly before gaining composure.  

“Listen here Jean Jackass Leroy—”  

“Yuri.” Otabek’s hand rested on Yuri’s shoulder, the young teen melting into the touch. So far, Otabek has proven himself to be the ultimate Yuri whisperer, which was doing her a large service.   

Shes glad she doesn’t have to take care of him like she used to, babysitting her angsty cousin when a royal ball was held. Being that she was three years older than Yuri, it was deemed “cute” to stick them together on the dance floor when they were little, making for many unfond memories.  

The first time Mila Babivelchika met Yuri Plinsetski was at a family gathering, where he stood proudly by the king’s side. If Yuri weren’t so attached to his grandfather, Mila was sure that Yakov would have claimed him as his own in a heartbeat.  

He was a brat back then, of course. Always so confident in every move that he made, to the point where it was almost infuriating.  

Still was, if she felt like being honest.  

So when she found out that she was being put on a special team with her distant cousin, she almost hurled. She had thought at the time it couldn’t have been too bad when she heard there were two others under his command as well. At least she wasn’t the only one underneath his command.  

Although, being surrounded almost entirely by gross, s weaty, men was doing a number on her earlier thought process.  

“Hey, guys,” their last team member, Emil, said. “I’m not entirely sure, but I think I hear something.” The rest of them froze while the bearded man cupped a hand to his ear, squinting his eyes in concentration.  

He had done this a concerning number of times. At least all his calls had been right, meaning that he did hear something, but so far it had only been rabbits.  

Still, they decided to humor him. Yakov said he had been good at this.  

So, all three of them were surprised when he swung his head back and frantically started pushing them towards a large bush with fervor, the universal sign for “be quiet” coming up to his lips.  

“There’s someone coming,” he hissed through his teeth.  

Yuri was tense beside her, the only thing that kept Mila hyper focused on seeing past the leaves.  

A loud snap followed by muffled cursing came from across the clearing, making her heart rate pick up a notch.  

She felt rustling to her side, whipping her head around only to see Yuri making his way to a standing position, almost past crouching.  

“What are you doing,” she spit through her teeth.  

Callous as ever, Yuri opted to ignore her until she physically assaulted his leg seconds later, making him stumble and almost fall to the ground.  

“Let go of me vedma!” Yuri hissed a little too loudly, everyone quieting and staring wide-eyed.  

“Who’s there!?”  


They all looked to Yuri, relying on him for their next plan of action. From what Mila could tell, the voice sounded distinctly feminine, and all she could do was hope that the woman was alone.   

JJ made eye contact with her from between Yuri’s legs with a look that screamed he desperately needed to hurl. With as much as he talked himself up, he really wasn’t cut out for peril. The man was shaking, a nd he wasn’t even standing up.  

For after what seemed like eternity, Yuri stood up fully and exposed the group. Otabek and Mila rose shortly after.  

They faced a tall and lanky woman with high cheekbones and brown hair, looking at them like the dirt underneath her feet. She seemed to be less than pleased, a small curse falling from her lips along with something near “place guards”, a surprising change from the shock Mila was suspecting.   

“General Yuri Plinsetski from the Palace Guard, Ma’am. We mean you no harm, as we were just passing through.” He stood straight up, shoulders pushing back against his armor. Yuri lifted the disfigured poster in the air, flashing it to the woman. “Would you happen to have seen this gentleman? He has committed a large felony against the crown, and it would do us good to have a lead.”  

“No,” the woman answered in a clipped tone. Her expression screamed displeasure; her stature oozing uncomfortableness. “Now, if you would excuse me, I must leave.” She turned on her heel, briskly walking back the way she came.  

That...was kind of suspicious.  

“Halt!” Mila and Yuri said at the same time, Mila promptly ignoring the massive side eye she received from her companion.  

The woman strode off into the trees, faster now, unheeding their command.  

It took less than a second for Otabek, Yuri, and Mila to leap over the bush in fast pursuit of the woman. Mila could see a brunette blur in front of her, Yuri pulling ahead. He had a large lead in front of her, very close to being able to grab onto the back of the woman's garment.  

It was unexpected when he tripped, sinking into an unpreceded mudhole in the ground. The woman continued, getting lost in the trees before Mila could decide whether to help her cousin or proceed the chase.  

Otabek seemed to do the same, feet getting sloshed in the mud in the struggle to pull Yuri up. Mila ran over and grabbed his arm, feet digging into the dirt. Yuri was deep, limbs thrashing in the mud pool.  

“Damn it!” He screamed when his last leg popped free, flopping onto the ground.  

“She knows something,” Otabek said, offering a hand that was rapidly swatted away by the intended recipient.  

“No shit, and we just lost her,” Yuri spat, wiping mud off the side of his face. He stood up just as Emil and JJ came into the clearing. Mila grimaced.  

“Come here dipshits, we have work to do.”

“Yuuuuuri,” Victor yelled, elongating the “u” in a way that he was much too familiar with. Yuuri sighed, leaning against the base of the tree while Makkachin snuffled next to him, forgotten.  

Thirty minutes.  

It had only taken thirty minutes for this admittedly beautiful man to lure him into insanity.   

Falling from the tower in a disastrous leap, proceeding to splash around the puddles with his dog who was bundled in his hair like a makeshift knapsack, and rolling around on the hills in an unbelievable cute but childish haze were a true testament to Victor’s ability to make Yuuri loose his mind.  

His left leg was not having it.  

It had been a pain in Yuuri’s ass to climb down the tower with his leg throbbing every time he so much as put pressure on it--not a good sign, he was sure--all the while listening to his silver haired companion busying himself with splashing in the puddles.  

Victor made another lap around him, swinging impossibly fast around the tree. “This is the best. Day. Ever!” He laughed, kicking at the trunk of the tree and dropped down near Yuuri.   

He walked past him, plopping down near a big rock and leaning against it. For unexplained reasons, he reminded Yuuri of the old Greek paintings that Yuuko had on display at her art gallery. Yuuri wanted to slam his head into a tree, because really, who has the right to look that pretty with sticks littered in their hair?  

Infuriating. Absolute blasphemy.  

The audacity that Victor possessed to, one, kidnap and enslave him to being his guide is astounding. Minako would be rolling in her grave if she found out that her student was forcibly roped into this kind of thing, seriously, he thought he was stronger.   

If only his god damned leg would let up on the pain. Yuuri had done a bad enough job from hiding it from his captor, the silver-haired wonder giving him a few pitying glances until he forgot and found something else exciting to roll in.  

In reality, Yuuri knew that Victor was probably harmless, if not the least bit annoying. His mother, on the other hand, sounded terrifying. Yuuri almost pitied him.  

Yuuri plodded over to the rock, plopping onto the stone with an exhausted groan. He was already wrung out and it hadn’t even been an hour yet. He glanced down at Victor who had sunk down into a patch of berries and was currently dying his hands red with syrupy juice.  

“I would stop that, if I were you.” Yuuri watched as Victor’s head tilted upwards; eyes focusing on him.  

Victor gave a breathy little laugh, softly patting Makkachin. “No, these are harmless. Mother would always bring up batches to help cook her berry stew.” He looked down, assessing the state of his hands. “Seems that I’ve made quite the mess though.”  

His mother.  

From what Yuuri had heard so far, it seems that he was locked into a tower with an insane control freak of a mom. He couldn’t help but remember Mari’s rants on Stockholm syndrome from her medical studies. Yuuri hoped that this wasn’t the case.  

Although, it could help him out in the long run if he wanted to get rid of this leach of a companion.  

“Your mother,” Yuuri started, “wouldn't she, I don’t know, be crushed about your sudden leap of absence. I garnered that you were quite close.” He executed the first step of his plan nice and smooth, statement laced with false concern. He picked a berry, rolling it in between his fingers.  

“Well of course, I was kind of hoping she would be.”  


Shes been quite evasive as of late,” Victor said absentmindedly while picking at his nails, seemingly unaware of Yuuri’s game plan crashing in the distance. “I would say that I deserve a little adventure, wouldn’t you?”  

There was no way he wasn’t playing with him  

Yuuri was going to kill him. Smash that stupid innocent façade of his into the ground. The last thing Yuuri needed to do was parade around town while his bounty prices were steadily rising in the thousands.  

No, no. Yuuri was calm. He would be fine; he’s gotten out of worse. He had a backup plan for a reason.  

“Well, Victor ,” Yuuri put on his most charming smile, “you wouldn’t happen to be getting hungry, would you?” Yuuri mentally fist pumped when Victor’s interest seemed piqued, inquisitive frown forming on his lips. “I know a restaurant around here that is simply divine, the best quality you could find! My friend Celestino owns it.”  

If he could just get Victor to agree to go with him, he could kill two birds with one stone. He could contact Phichit discreetly, and maybe manage to gross Victor out in the process and have him chicken out. Celestino is known for breaking in crime lords after all, it was no place for someone as seemingly delicate as Victor.  

“Oh really? What’s its name?” Victor stood up, wiping his palms on his pants.  

Yuuri smirked lightly, crushing the small red berry between his fingers.  

“The Ugly Duckling.”