( Prelude: A short piece originally preceded by a more substantial work, also an orchestral introduction to opera, however not lengthy enough to be considered an overture.
Development: Where the musical themes and melodies are developed, written in sonata form. )
Viktor is simultaneously amused and terrified of Lilia Baranovskaya. He’s not as scared as Yakov is, though. Any skater who trains under Yakov knows of his long-lasting terror in regards to his ex-wife, and watching the normally gruff and coarse man bend and break under every sharp command that leaves the formidable woman’s pursed lips is fantastically amusing.
“I, however will not directly be training you. Not until my student has made certain that you will not be a waste of time.” Lilia tosses Yakov a disdainful look over her shoulder, and pulls her phone from her coat pocket. “Yakov has assured me that you will not be a waste of my time, but I will judge that for myself.” The sound of Lilia’s long, lacquered nails clicking against the screen of her phone fills the quiet rink, soft against the sound of skate blades scraping against fresh ice.
“Who the fuck is your student?” Yuri’s voice is impatient, and he crosses his arms, tossing his head impatiently, while a quick foot taps a fast beat against the rink floors.
Lilia slowly pockets her phone, raising an impeccably plucked eyebrow. “Why must you know? You will meet him when he gets here. For now, get back onto the ice. The godforsaken traffic in St. Petersburg is ridiculous at this hour.”
She clacks away, Yakov in tow, and Viktor looks back to Yuri. The younger man has a furious look on his face, cheeks slowly turning red. He laughs, patting the small blonde on his back. “Well, it looks like you’ll be having fun!”
“Fuck you, ” Yuri spits, stalking off, back to the rink. By the time he disappears, Viktor can hear Mila’s bell-like laughter, accompanying Yuri’s cat-like screeching.
Very, very fun indeed.
Yuuri hates St. Petersburg traffic. The Metro was delayed, so he’d decided to take a taxi - but, of course, rush hour, and now, Yuuri is frantically clicking away at his phone, trying not to piss Lilia off.
Lilia: Where are you? You are almost ten minutes late.
Yuuri: I’m so sorry! Traffic is being difficult.
Lilia: Fine. How much longer?
Pausing to look up from his phone, Yuuri leans over, tapping the driver on the shoulder. “Sir, do you know how much longer?”
The driver looks at Yuuri, then back at the road. “Five minutes, maximum.”
Yuuri: Driver says five minutes.
Lilia: Be in your backup flats when you get in. I want you to start working with this child immediately.
Yuuri leans back into the seat of the taxi cab, setting down his phone. Lilia is a terrifying whirlwind of a woman, but she’s basically best prima out there, so Yuuri will learn what he can from her - even if it means having to blunder his way through trying to teach a figure skater how to dance ballet.
Viktor trails after Yakov and Yuri, as they all follow behind Lilia. She’s leading them all to the main entrance, where her mysterious student apparently is. Her yellow coat fans out behind her like a peacock’s plumage, and Viktor can’t help but wonder, briefly, if her student has the same taste in lemon yellow coats as Lilia does. For as long as Viktor has known Lilia - which has been a terribly long time - she’s always been wearing a lemon yellow coat. Not the same one, just...the same color.
“This is Yuuri Katsuki.” They come to a stop, as Lilia gestures a young man over. He’s not wearing a lemon yellow jacket - and Viktor is glad for that. His eyes could only take so much vibrance at once - but instead a modest brown coat with what looks to be several ginormous pockets on it. A black scarf is wrapped around his neck, and tucked neatly into the collar of the coat. “Four time gold medallist at the USA International Ballet Competition, and currently training to be premier danseur with the Bolshoi Ballet. He will be your instructor for now, Yuri.”
Yuuri gives a short, small bow, a small smile stretching across his lips ever-so-slightly. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” His decidedly Japanese accent gives a softer sound to the normally harsh Russian words, and Viktor raises an eyebrow. He likes the way Yuuri manages to make Russian sound soft and rounded, as opposed to the jagged edges the language is often credited to have. It’s pleasant and easy on the ears.
“No,” Yuri says. “Oh no. There can’t be two fucking Yuri’s here. Not at all.” He sounds furious - and child-like - and Viktor decides now would be the best time to jump in.
“Ah,” he lilts, teasingly. “But there’s a simple solution to that! You,” Viktor points a finger in Yuri’s direction, and the blond somehow scowls deeper, eyes burning into Viktor’s head, “Yuri Plisetsky, will be Yurio, and Yuuri Katsuki can be Yuuri. Problem solved!” He claps his hands together, completely ignoring the way Yurio begins to fume once more.
“Why the fuck do I have to be Yurio? I was here first, damn it!”
Viktor grins once more, as surrounding skaters coming from their breaks peek out - whether in fear, interest, or something else, Viktor doesn’t know. Yurio is, however, infamous for his screaming rants. - and among them is Mila, who catches his eye, and coughs a laugh into her hand.
Yurio still hears it, however.
Mila grins sheepishly at Viktor, before mouthing a goodbye, as she drags Yuliya away with her.
“Well,” Viktor continues, turning back to Yurio. “If you think about it, Yuuri was here before you, Yurio. He’s older, after all.”
Yurio spits. “Fuck you. Don’t call me that.” He glares balefully at Yuuri, who seems taken aback - and slightly frightened for a split second. “I’m getting back on the ice.” And he stomps away.
Yuuri smooths down a flyaway strand of hair while he watches Yurio storming off, and Viktor can hear his gusty sigh from where he stands. The young man looks tired and perplexed.
“He’ll warm up to you,” Viktor says, walking up to him. “Viktor Nikiforov.”
Yuuri smiles, wider this time. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Nikiforov. I’m Yuuri Katsuki.” He pauses. “Wait but, uh, you already knew that.”
Viktor smiles. “Call me Viktor. It’s only fair, of course. I did already call you Yuuri.”
“Nice to meet you, Viktor. Am I allowed to watch Yurio’s short program?”
“Of course! Come, the rink is this way.”
Yurio is a beautiful skater. In an extremely technical sense, anyways. He moves with the fluidity and careful grace that experience figure skaters have, and from the looks of it, he rarely messes up, and even if he does, at this point, they’re small mistakes. Stepping out a millisecond early on the Biellmann spin, nearly catching the tip of his blade on the ice while doing a step sequence - they’re all tiny things, but Yuuri quickly realizes why Yakov had asked Lilia to come in.
Certainly, Yurio makes technical mistakes that would get him immediately whacked with a ruler in a ballet class or company, but he’s a figure skater, not a danseur. The biggest thing is the total lack of emotion. This dance, routine, short skate - whatever - is devoid of any feelings. Maybe frustration is there, but the routine is On Love: Agape. Agape is an innocent, unconditional love. It’s gentle, like a lullaby on a moonless night. Yurio’s interpretation holds no Agape, only some barely leashed frustration, and a lot of fierce spirit. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the issue is that the piece just isn’t about that.
“Does he normally perform these types of songs?” Yuuri asks, leaning against the divider in the kiss and cry section.
Viktor scrunches his nose, and sighs. “So, you can tell?” He sweeps stray locks of hair behind his ears, and Yuuri looks away for a moment. There’s no denying that Viktor is attractive - he really is - but right now, what is needed is professionalism. Yuuri can have a meltdown later. Just not right now.
He nods. “It’s sort of…”
“Emotionless?” Viktor offers, letting out a huff. “You aren’t wrong.”
“No, I wasn’t going to say that,” Yuuri says, trailing off, uncertain.
“Oh?” Viktor’s eyes are curious, looking away from where Yurio is twirling through the Biellmann spin once more. “What would you say is wrong?”
Yuuri gestures helplessly. “It’s sort of...angry. Agape is an innocent, unconditional love, but this is...angry. Or maybe frustrated. I’m uncertain.” He flounders for words, and instead, when it becomes clear that he won’t be able to clearly articulate what exactly it is he wants to say, Yuuri just sighs, and rests his chin atop his palms, leaning heavily on the divider.
Yurio is yelling at someone. The girl is laughing, and her companion is scrolling through her phone. Off to the side, Lilia is cowing Yakov - yet again. Yuuri briefly wonders what, exactly she’s planning this time. And beside him, Viktor is laughing at Yurio and the girl, blue eyes bright with mirth. Yuuri’s eyes linger on the slope of his nose, and the way his pale hair brushes over one eye. They trace the brilliant smile the man makes, and the rosy hue of the shell of his ears, undoubtedly from the chill of the rink. Yuuri takes a deep breath, and looks away before Viktor can catch him staring. He lets out the breath shakily, looking off at some indiscernible patch of white painted wall.
After lunch finds them in one of the downstairs dance studios. Viktor hasn’t been down here for years - not since Yakov had called Lilia in to help him, and he’s rather surprised that there isn’t a fine layer of dust piling up on the floor, barre, and mirror. Instead, the dance studio looks well taken care of, and the floor has a lacquered shine to it, that talks of a recent waxing. Lilia clicks her tongue at that.
“The floor has been waxed. Still, do barre on flats, then across the floors on pointe. I am going to see if Yakov actually managed to give me the right shoe size.” She crooks a finger at Yurio. “Come.”
Yurio slinks off after Lilia, and Viktor settles against a wall to watch as Yuuri all but bends himself in half on the barre. It’s impressive, especially considering that he can’t be more than, what, two, three years younger than Viktor? It’s rare to see that sort of flexibility in a figure skater older than junior division, but then again, it could be different in ballet. Viktor doesn’t know.
After nearly doing a split atop the barre, Yuuri sits down, reaching into the backpack he’d brought along with him, and pulling out a canvas drawstring shoe bag. The bag looks bright white, what Viktor can only assume is Yuuri’s name written close to the top in bold, black permanent marker. The way the dancer sets the bag down tells Viktor everything - these are Yuuri’s shoes. He handles them with care and a gentle sort of reverence, the way any skater worth his or her salt does with their skates.
“Are those your pointe shoes?” Viktor hovers over Yuuri’s shoulder, looking down at the pair of charcoal black shoes resting by the nude flats he’d just slipped off. Viktor looks at Yuuri’s bare feet, and blinks, shocked.
His feet, while delicately shaped, are a mess. There are bandages crisscrossing one another, great big plasters barely covering bloody wounds and sores on the dancer’s feet. Two toes are bandaged as well, and a thin strip of Ace bandages winds around Yuuri’s reddened ankles. His feet are bloody, bruised, and calloused, and Viktor has to look away for a moment.
“Ah!” Yuuri flushes, catching his shock at the state of his feet, before hastily stowing his flats into the backpack. His toes curl into themselves, and Viktor wants to tell Yuuri to stop, because he’s so clearly injured that - “It’s fine, t-this isn’t even that bad!”
Viktor pins Yuuri with an incredulous look. “Your feet are wrecked,” he says. “They’re bleeding! Should you even be dancing with them like that?”
Yuuri smiles, slowly sliding his feet into the black pointe shoes. “This is normal for dancers who go on pointe.” Picking up the shoe he’d yet to put on, Yuuri places it in Viktor’s hand. “Pointe shoes have wooden blocks in them, to give pointe dancers that extra bit of height. It’s why dancers aren’t started en pointe, and why not all dancers go onto pointe.” Taking the shoe back, Yuuri slides it on, and begins painstakingly lacing the ties up around his ankles, sliding his track pants on over them. He stands up, rising en pointe, before coming down in a neat pli é . “If you don’t train correctly, you can ruin your ankles.” Reaching down, Yuuri pulls out his phone, pulling the jack protector out from the headphone jack. A little charm dangles from the jack protector, but Yuuri slides it into his pant pocket before Viktor can see what it is.
“The stereo is over there,” he points, gesturing towards the speaker settled comfortably in the corner of the studio. “I can plug your phone in.”
Yuuri flushes. “Thank you. The song is Fjarlægur.”
Viktor nods, pensive, before he plugs the phone in. Yuuri has an abundance of both pop, classical and contemporary on his phone, and briefly, Viktor sees both of the On Love tracks, and he smiles at the thought of Yuuri pouring over the music and choreography, as Viktor had done. Yuuri clearly knows the choreography of Yurio’s piece, if the way he’d tracked every movement without surprise or shock was anything to go by.
The song starts up, soft and lilting, sounding almost like a music box being played, and Yuuri steps into a gentle glissade, before sliding into a tilting balancé. He steps out of the balancé, tilts into a demi-chassé, and then he jumps.
The music builds, quietly, gently, sneaking up on them on light feet, and Viktor watches, eyes wide and awed and Yuuri throws himself into a grande jeté, arms flung wide open, back curved and taught, a sinuous arc traced in mid-air. Everything about it is exultant, from the lift of Yuuri’s chin, to the shadowed dip where his neck meets his clavicle, the perfectly curved point of his toes, and the shock of dark hair as Yuuri throws himself into the air. If Yurio is supposed to be emulating Agape, then this, this would be Ludus - an uncommitted love, playful and fleeting, yet rich and full and oh so gorgeous while it had lasted.
Yuuri sways out of the grande jeté, swirling around in a series of delicate piqué turns, before whipping his leg around into a fouetté and ending with his body bent over, hunched and solemn - a love that had ended, bittersweet in its parting.
He stands up, chest heaving slightly, before sitting down to unlace his pointe shoes.
“That was wonderful,” Viktor says, shutting the music off. “How long have you been working on that?”
Yuuri flushes, tucking his short hair behind his ears nervously. “Ah, uh, that was a part of a routine I learned when I was in high school. The song is different now, but, the moves haven’t been changed.” His face is bright red, and he looks away from Viktor, rubbing his feet in quiet circles, before sliding them back into his shoes.
“It was gorgeous,” Viktor exclaims, helping Yuuri up. “The Ludus was gorgeous!”
“Ludus?” Yuuri cocks his head to the side, dusting off his track pants. “What is that?”
Viktor beams. “Ah! It’s another one of the seven types of love. Yurio is performing Agape, but there is also another piece by the composer called Eros. You, however, performed with such Ludus! A playful love, uncommitted, untethered, that can only end bittersweetly for both involved. It was truly beautiful.” Smile turning sly, Viktor reaches up, and pulls Yuuri’s glasses off from his face. The younger man splutters, face reddening gorgeously once more, as Viktor observes the fine lines and contours of his face. The gentle slope of his cheekbones, and the slant of his eyes - all of Yuuri’s face holds in it a gentle aura that Viktor knows Yurio has, but simply hides underneath his god-awful language, and brash, standoffish personality.
“I wonder,” he murmurs, “if you can show me an Eros I would have never expected?” With a small laugh, Viktor slides the glasses back onto Yuuri’s face - the danseur having gone completely red, just barely stammering out disconnected vowels.
“What the hell did you do?” Yurio says, stalking back into the room. A black cloud hangs over him, and he looks petulantly uncomfortable in the leotard and tights Lilia has fitted him into. Viktor wonders why - their costumes don’t really tend to be much better.
“Nothing, Yurio,” Viktor smiles, stepping away. Yuuri is still awfully red, but he clears his throat a few times, and smoothes his clothing of non-existent wrinkles, before looking up.
He’s still pink in the cheeks, but he shakes his head and moves forwards. “Yurio, do you have any experience in ballet?”
“Yeah, I took lessons for a year when I was younger.”
“Good. Can you take first position?”
Viktor watches, off to the side, as Yuuri gently coaxes Yurio through a small warm up, and smiles, if only to himself.
A young man who seems to posses only Agape, a boy who knows his Eros, and is better suited towards it. Interesting, Viktor thinks. Interesting, indeed.