Phichit's phone buzzes. christophe-gc has posted a new photo, it tells him. When he thumbs the screen, it brightens to reveal a shot of Christophe Giacometti, lounging on a bench, wearing nothing but a Speedo and his skates. greetings from your local king of selfies, says the caption.
Phichit doesn't actually know Chris - not personally. He has nothing to prove. But Phichit is also, categorically, a competitive little shit, and he knows he can do better.
So it begins.
haha, we'll see about that @christophe-gc! is the passive-aggressive reply he finally settles on, along with his favorite, classic duck-lips shot of himself at the rink in Detroit.
ohhhhhhhhh you wish @phichit+chu, says the next caption. Chris lounges (what is it, with the lounging) at a poolside in the snow.
haha, says Phichit's response (re: competitive little shit). He reposts one of his winter selfies, (pointedly) bundled up with his favorite red beanie and scarf.
you wish you had #looks like we do, says the next one. thanks for the assist @v-nikiforov! It's a shot of Chris and Victor, legs extended behind them, obviously taken by someone standing on the edge of the rink. They look flawless, unsurprisingly. v-nikiforov has added: thanks for the practice run <3.
Yuuri arrives at practice that day to find Phichit taking deep breaths and gripping his phone hard enough to crack the screen. Yuuri very seriously considers turning around and leaving the room.
(He does not, in fact, leave the room. Yuuri is a good friend.) "Did Chris post again?" he asks instead.
"Yes," says Phichit through a slighty manic smile. "Look."
Yuuri notes nothing except, it's Viktor Nikiforov, and he doesn't know what his face is doing but it makes Phichit burst into laughter. "Come on," he says. "Let's show them."
"What," says Yuuri, as he is dragged forcibly to the stands. "What - we're not showing them anything, I'm not getting involved in this - "
"Just because you have a crush," says Phichit, and Yuuri splutters gratifyingly. "Come on. Turn around, pop your legs up on the bleacher."
"Don't question me," says Phichit, and wow, okay.
Phichit hands his phone to Celestino, pops his legs up, mirroring Yuuri, and says, "Smile!"
Celestino is deeply unimpressed. Because he is an angel, he takes the picture anyway.
(He also doubles their off-ice time. Maybe he's not an angel.)
we'll see you at #GPF @k-yuuri @christophe-gc @v-nikiforov, says Phichit's next caption. He probably won't make it, this year, but he knows Yuuri will, and it's all the same, anyway.
Yuuri makes his signature "I'm livid enough to explode but also, I might throw up" face when he sees it, and Phichit says, "Just because you don't want Viktor to know you exist, let alone that you worship him - "
"It's not worship!"
"Right," says Phichit. "It's only three shrines." Yuuri has the grace to look abashed.
Yuuri knows before Phichit when the next shot is fired. Phichit knows this because he finds him sitting vacantly in the stands, looking at his phone, trembling slightly.
This is going to be so good.
"What did they do," says Phichit, because Yuuri wouldn't be freaking out unless --
The shot is the classic, Instagram alpha-male picture of two chiseled abdomens, two hands just visible in the frame holding shirts out of the way. It's been posted by v-nikiforov, and is tagged #workout.
Phichit takes the phone gently from Yuuri's hands, turning off the screen, and takes Yuuri's face between his palms. Yuuri blinks up at him, his mouth goldfishing, trying to make words.
"Shh," says Phichit, gently. Yuuri makes a vague whimpering noise and curls into Phichit's chest. Phichit reflects that he knows the feeling, and glumly pats Yuuri on the head.
The next day, Phichit has a plan. "Come on, Yuuri," he says, knowing that they have time before they need to warm up. "In the locker room."
Yuuri shakes his head, remaining firmly planted on the bench. "No. I'm not geting involved."
"You're already involved," Phichit points out, reasonably.
"More, involved, then," insists Yuuri. "I'm done. Take your own selfies."
What Yuuri has not bargained for is that Phichit has an ace up his sleeve. "You found WHAT?" says Yuuri, jumping up, and Phichit agrees to take him to the only restaurant in the entirety of midwestern America that sells pork cutlet bowls, if Yuuri will take an obnoxious muscle selfie with him.
It's not really a contest.
workout? types Phichit. we woke up this way. #flawless The picture shows the two of them in bro tanks and tight workout shorts, holding their legs casually over their heads. Phichit's eyelashes are caught mid-flutter and Yuuri was excited enough by the prospect of pork cutlet bowls to wink. It's amazing.
Phichit @'s Victor, Chris, and Yuuri, and hits post. He is stupidly gratified at the end of the day when his phone overheats with notifications, they have more likes than Chris, and - the cherry on top - v-nikiforov has added, with the usual Nikiforov frankness, I'd hit that. christophe-gc has liked the comment.
"Yuuri, come look at this," says Phichit, waving him over. Yuuri skids to a stop on the rink's edge, and peers over his shoulder. Both of them calmly ignore Celestino's yelling.
When Yuuri sees Victor's comment, several things happen at once. First, his face goes blindingly, sunburn-on-ice red. Then, his feet windmill, he loses his balance, and falls spectacularly on his butt right next to the rink's edge. Celestino's voice gets louder, and Phichit falls on the ground, wheezing and clutching his stomach with laughter. They don't really get much more practice done that day; Yuuri is practically catatonic.
(Celestino doesn't care. Phichit's not sure if his quads will ever forgive him.)
thanks, he finally replies, back in his and Yuuri's apartment. Less than 10 minutes later (honestly, it's a ridiculous time in Moscow, why is he even online) Victor has the audacity to reply, not you. the cute one <3
Phichit does not show this to Yuuri. He would like to avoid a meltdown, thank you very much.
(Yuuri sees it anyway. Phichit is awoken the next morning by a loud crash and Yuuri staring at his phone, which is currently lying on the ground next to the lamp he knocked over, like it is on fire. Phichit is laughing too hard to be annoyed.)
Later that day, v-nikiforov posts a pillow selfie, hair all over his face, green eyes lazy and sparkling, his dog beside him, hair gleaming in the morning light, the works. The caption says, i'll pull out of the selfie war if @k-yuuri posts one ;)
"No," says Yuuri.
"You don't want Victor Nikiforov to see your selfies?"
"Well, no. I mean, yes. I -" Yuuri's jaw is working hard, the muscles steadily bunching and relaxing.
"You didn't think he knew you existed, and now you're having a crisis," summarizes Phichit.
"Well - "
"And you want to post a selfie for him, but you're embarrassed - "
"I'm not - "
" - because you can't take selfies at all - "
" - and you want to look cute." Phichit watches Yuuri's face carefully, and it scrunches up. Oh. "Not cute," he amends. "Sexy."
Yuuri blushes brightly at the word, which Phichit finds horribly endearing. "Well," he replies, and doesn't have anything to follow it up with.
Phichit is hit quite violently with an unusual sense of destiny. "Luckily," he says, "you have me."
It takes them four tries.
The picture they finally settle on is one of Yuuri skating, hips thrust out, arms behind him, hair flying just a little, in a mimicry of one of Victor's short programs. With his glasses off, bundled into an old (and slightly too-tight) costume, Yuuri looks almost dangerous, his gaze smouldering directly into the camera. When Phichit sees it, he knows that this is the one.
"It's too much, right?" says Yuuri, trying halfheartedly to snatch his phone from Phichit's hands, where he has Instagram open and is typing out a caption.
"No," says Phichit, for at least the fourth time. "It's fine. He'll love it."
"That's the problem," says Yuuri, and honestly, Phichit will never understand this boy.
i'm holding you to that, @v-nikiforov, Phichit finally types, posting the picture. Yuuri makes a face that suggests he is very clearly not going to be thinking about this for the foreseeable future, turns off his phone, and stuffs it into the depths of his gym bag.
After practice, Phichit steals said bag, runs to the locker room, and unlocks it while standing on the sink counter, out of Yuuri's reach, ignoring his (very loud) protests. The picture has a ridiculous number of likes, including christophe-gc ("dem hips don't lie" and a hearteyes emoji) and v-nikiforov (i'd lose to this cutie :*).
Then, Phichit pulls out his own phone, opens the camera, and hands Yuuri his phone back. This results in a certain, priceless, collection of pictures to be stored safely in Phichit's camera roll, along with one video which is just Yuuri stuttering over words. It's glorious.
Phichit knew he started this war for a reason.
So it goes, until the Grand Prix Final is underway. Phichit goes with Yuuri for support, which results in a lot of talking-down from imminent panic attacks, and cheers until he's hoarse.
(Yuuri doesn't do so well, and Phichit holds him and lets him cry, after. Apparently some snot-nosed juniors brat cornered him in the bathroom. Phichit is going to find him, and kill him with his own skate.)
Second development: Phichit has to concede the war. After all, it's kind of hard to beat a podium selfie, with a medal, no less.
new phone bg! #GPF posts christophe-gc, and Phichit wants to throw something.
Phichit has to fly out before the banquet (which, as he will later discover, is a capital-m Mistake, not only because Yuuri's dignity is now resting in pieces, but also because Chris brought an actual honest-to-God pole) and a few days later, uploads a new picture of him in front of his home rink. rematch? it says, and when christophe-gc replies, i'm going to crush you at GPF next year, Phichit smiles to himself. we'll see about that, he posts, and it's on.
assorted moments over the next, rather eventful, year ~
"Aww," says Phichit to himself, looking at yuri-plisetsky's post, "the juniors brat did one too. With his cat! How cute."
(It's less cute when Phichit sees his free skate.)
just hanging out with my favorite student! @k-yuuri, with a picture of the two on the beach. Wow, okay. Phichit loves Yuuri, but his friend is going down.
Phichit gets to post the medal selfie at the Cup of China. Victory is sweet.
Jjleroy!15 posts a picture. His fans love it. Everyone else ignores it.
(They all lose, in the end. Yuuri just has to one-up them all, and buy rings. Rings. It's really, really hard to beat a picture of a pair of joined hands with matching gold bands, and a medal just visible in the corner.)