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The Casanova of Japan is a Perfectly Sweet Boy

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Katsuki Yūri is 18 when he leaves his countryside home for the big city in the US. He doesn't really regret leaving his family and the few friends (two) he had for chasing after his dream and wanting to be better.

He arrives at Detroit with his new coach and is filled with sparkling determination to do his best. His English is good enough for conversations and living in a foreign country but his social skills leave much to be desired. Not that he cares because Yūri had always felt better on ice and though he wants to be less distant with his rink mates, his anxiety and shyness makes life hard for him.

And so for two years Katsuki Yūri developed a routine of practice, school, practice. He felt lonely but Yūri had long since decided that he was going to give skating all he had so resolved his self and enrolled in multiple dance classes to keep up with his skating. It wasn't until it was 2 and a half year since he came into Detroit did he start gaining friends.

It happened the night he was going home from his Tuesday Pole Dancing Class. The street was well lit and people where still walking around, so Yūri understandably lets his guard down and doesn't notice that he was being followed as he passed by a bar. Multiple things went through his mind as he thought up how to evade getting mugged on the streets of Detroit and possibly never making it big in the Skating World. His saviour came in the form of a girl with the most emotionless face ever who wore clothes that belong on a fashion magazine for punk fashion.

 

"Tsuki-chan~!" The formerly emotionless girl breaks out into a dazzling smile that makes Yūri’s face blushed.

 

She hugs him tight and whispers to his ear,

"You're being followed by a suspicious man, play along. I'm Nydia from your World Lit class."

 

Yūri did his best to play along, he didn't know if he was convincing enough but he still tried to act as if he actually knew the people he shared classes with,

"Nydia! I didn't realize I was near your hangout place." 

 

The sudden widening of her face made Yūri wonder if his acting was so horrible but Nydia's kind smile reassured him that he was doing fine. Probably. 

"You should join us then!" A wink, "You'll be in a field full of flowers." She teased and Yūri’s face became beet red.

 

He had never done well with being flirted at or admired, he was an awkward person and Yūri, naturally could only go along because his would-be mugger was still hanging around. Nydia's hand pulled him along and he stumbled behind her as he allowed himself to be led inside a reputable looking club and braced himself for loud sounds and packed bodies in small places. Except, what greeted him was the sound of smooth jazz flowing through the speakers like the sound of a nearby stream and soft light blue neon lights lining the walls, giving the place a cozy feeling.

Yūri felt that he could relax here until he realize what table Nydia was leading him and then his anxiety went back.

 

"I'm back! And I brought fresh blood!" Nydia exclaimed to her friends and Yūri could only muster a faint smile.

 

Whatever image Yūri had in his mind regarding his classmate’s friends shattered. He had been expecting people wearing the same clothes as Nydia only to be greeted by the sight of the most eclectic group of people. They all wore fashionable clothes but it was of differing styles, one was wearing clothes that would passed off for KPOP idols, another was wearing clothes that would be front page cover for Seventeen, another wore plain clothes, and one was wearing clothes that would make male models be envious.

 

“Seriously?! You came out for a phone call and came back in with a cutie?” the Seventeen complained.

 

Ayus ah, Pre, ano secret mo?"  (Nice one, Bro, What's your secret?)

 

“He was about to get mugged ya bastards. So I helped him, he staying with us since the mugger didn’t leave.” Nydia replied and then remembered that she still hadn’t done introduced Yūri yet.

 

“Move.” Nydia ordered Tonton.

 

Yūri had spent a long time in Detroit to be surprised by Nydia’s rudeness, but it did make him uncomfortable.

 

“Sit here.” Nydia gestured to the empty space and Yūri followed hesitantly.

 

“He’s Yūri by the way,” Nydia gestured at him “Yūri, this is Xia Zhen” KPOP smiled at him and gave a soft hello, “Aliyah,” Nydia gestured at Seventeen, “Zara” Plain Clothes, “and finally “Tonton.” Male Model Envy.

 

“Hello, I’m Yūri Katsuki.” He bowed slightly and found himself the receiver of multiple smiles. He wasn’t quite sure what kind of smiles they were except that it made him nervous.

 

“Yūri, has anyone ever told you that you’re cute?” Zara asked him and for all of Yūri thought about her plain clothes, Yūri knew that Zara was beautiful (devastatingly so).

 

“Yep, I guess now I know why Nydia’s been dutifully attending World Lit.” Aliyah teased and Nydia merely scoffed though Yūri could see that she was doing it with a smile.

 

He admired their closeness.

 

“Don’t tease him too much, Aliyah.” Nydia replied and turned to Yūri, “Order a drink, this is on me since I dragged you in here.”

Whatever ill thoughts Yūri had about her disappeared in the face of her apologetic smile and though he could have done with being warned, Yūri still found himself enjoying this unexpected occurrence. He likes them, something about their small group reminds him of his friendship with Yuuko and Takeshi to a certain degree, so he laughs softly and waves off the teasing remark. The grin that he receives makes Yūri much comfortable much more when Tonton gives him a cheeky smile and,

 

“Welcome to the group, Yūri.”

 

Two hours pass by quickly and Yūri finds himself going home with his new found friends, two of which are hanging on his arms, Nydia and Aliyah, while Tonton, Xia Zhen, and Zara were contented with walking behind them.

 

“Yūri, what floor do you live in?” Xia Zhen had asked him while he struggled to keep Aliyah from snuggling deeper into his right arm.

 

“Um, the third-Nydia!” His arm acted on instinct and found himself suddenly embracing a definitely sober friend.

 

Nydia looked surprised for a moment before Yūri found himself being a recipient of a very foxy grin.

 

“Yū~ri!” Arms were wrapped on his neck and pulled him closer, glasses askew, ”So smooth! Mr. Figure Skater!”

 

“Ny-Nydia!”

 

“No fair! Yūri! Be sweet to me too!” Aliyah whined and pawed at him.

 

Xia Zhen, Yūri was quick to learn, had no remorse for his faint heart and joined in with the two,

 

“Yūri! Don’t be so afraid they just want a threesome with you!”

 

“More like orgy.” Tonton scoffed before taking a video which Zara was already doing with added commentary.

 

“And here we have Mr. Katsuki Yūri, figure skater from japan about to go home with four lovely girls and a man.’

 

Yūri sputtered.

 

“Zara!” Yūri’s face was becoming alarmingly red and he had the look of absolute betrayal that made Zara laugh harder and Tonton was already smirking.

 

“C’mon you three, enough of that joke.” Tonton reigned them in and Yūri let out a sigh of relief, which was short lived with Nydia exclaiming rather loudly in front of their dorm,

 

“I thought Yūri was really going to sleep with us.”

 

“Nydia!” Yūri was now severely regretting meeting his new friends.


 Yūri’s life changed drastically (by his standards) ever since he met the five on that classy bar.

 

“Yūri! Open up! We need to work together for our essay!”

 

‘Speak of the devil.’ Yūri thought with a wry grin and stood up to open the door and was greeted by everyone in the group,

 

“You just thought of something mean didn’t you?”

 

‘Youkai!’

 

“You did it again!” Nydia whined.

 

Zara laughed and clarified, “Yūri, you’re way too easy to read.”

 

“That doesn’t explain the first one.” He replied with a pout and moved to let everyone in.

 

“You bastards, didn’t even bother to help us carry the food!” Xia Zhen complained as she huffed and dumped the plastic bags filled with different kinds of snacks. Yūri noticed how diverse the snacks were.

 

“I heard Nydia speak in English!” Aliyah hollered just as she barreled her way in and closed the door with her foot.

 

Nani o hanashiau kobuta ga?” (What are you talking about you, piggy?)

 

“I don’t understand what you said but I know enough to understand that an insult was added.”

 

Wakaranai yo daibuta." (I don't know what you're talking about, great pig.)

 

“Now you’re just being an ass.”

 

“Why can’t she speak in English?” Yūri asked as everyone else settled around the tiny table Nydia had bought on impulse that reminded Yūri of home.

 

“She lost a bet and she needs it for her proficiency exam.” Zara answered.

 

Nydia only huffed and demanded for her snack in Japanese and Yūri could only smile with how his friend struggled. Yūri still reeled in shock whenever he saw the amount of snacks Nydia ate, still it doesn’t stop him from taking one box of green tea flavored KitKat.

 

“Anyways I heard from the grape vine that one of us has an important competition.” Tonton announces.

 

Hai!”(Yes!) Nydia screams with glee, “Yūri-kun, sukeitou no kyoushou wa gambatte!” (Yuuri-kun, Good luck on your skating competition!)

 

“We’re gonna cheer for you so tell us where the venue is.” Aliyah grins at him and Tonton sidles up to him and slings over his arm around Yūri’s neck and says,

 

“C’mon don’t you wanna show up your other competitors by having us for your cheering squad?”

 

“No thanks.” He deadpans.

 

Que barbaridad! Yūri!"(That's awful!) Zara exclaims theatrically along with Aliyah who joins in with,

 

“OK. Fine we’ll just attend the after party of the competition.”

 

“That’s even worse!” Yūri shouts because by now he knows enough and been to enough after party of their groups to know that everything ends up as wild and be almost legendary.

 

He looks at Xia Zhen who nods at him and Yūri knows that he has found someone who understands,

 

“Don’t worry Yūri, We’ll all dress up so that your beloved Viktor would notice you, or start to at least.”

 

“Traitor!” Yūri bellows but though he dreads whatever would be unleashed on his first international skating competition, the warmth that spreads inside his heart makes him grin and laugh with his friends.

 

Yūri can’t imagine what his life would be without them. He’s having fun and no longer feels as unsure and insecure as he came here. He knows he’s changing and for the better all because he met them that one night four months ago.

 

“I can’t believe it’s just been four months.” He tells them.

 

And Tonton agrees with him and says, “We still have time before graduation. Two years and eight months.”

 

It’s a sobering thought and Yūri can’t help feeling sad. Two years and eight months is simultaneously long enough and not enough time for him.

 

Que Sera, Sera, Yūri!"(What will be, will be) Aliyah tells him, “We’ll follow you around in wherever that competition is, God knows how much money Nydia is swimming in with her stripping.”

 

Sou desu! Watashi wa kabushikishijou toushisuru!” (That's right! I invested in the stock market!)

 

“How the hell did you do that?!” Tonton asked the question everyone wanted answers to.

 

Goshoujin-sama wa seishou desu."(My customer is a businessman (with ties in politics) ) Nydia’s answer sends them to an instant panic. And Yūri feels like crying whether it’s because of fear or acceptance that this is his life now he can’t tell and he doesn’t want to cry so he laughs instead.

 

“You idiot! Cut off ties with him!” Tonton screams and Yūri has never seen him in a state so he laughs even harder, Xia Zhen has joined in and Zara for once looks fed up with them.

 

“Yada yo! Torie wa shiburu!"(I don't wanna! I'll milk him for all his worth!) Nydia’s petulant whining makes him laugh harder and Xia Zhen was laughing breathlessly while Aliyah for once was the one documenting it.

 

“You idiot!!!” Tonton screams for the lack of better argument and looks around for support.

 

Yūri laughs harder and becomes oblivious to the soft smile everyone was giving him. Nydia’s sudden scream of “Inu taiseki!!!”(Dog pile!!!) makes Yūri scramble up quickly and yet he still ends up in the bottom.

Nydia laughing happily above him, and then it becomes a mess because next thing Yūri knows the RA has come around and they’re getting a lecture. They all had to pull an all-nighter and come to class the next morning with concealer and make up but Yūri can’t find it in himself to care even if he learns later on that Aliyah had shared it online and everyone is suddenly interested in him. He is so happy right now and he feels like he isn’t alone anymore, carrying the burden of being his nation’s pride and hope in figure skating.

Still Yūri can’t help but wish he’d have someone who’s just as into figure skating as he is.

‘It would be nice,’ Yūri thought as he spent his downtime with his friends inside the public ice rink ‘to have a figure skating friend.’

 

“Yū~ri! Figure skaters are so amazing!” Nydia’s bellowing voice snaps him out of his thoughts.

 

“Shit! Yeah! You’re amazing. Fuck my feet hurts. If this is the kind of pain you go through everyday then man you’re amazing. Hashtag respect, bro.” Tonton follows suit and Yūri can’t help but smile at his friends.

 

“Damn. And don’t you also practice ballet?” Zara asked as she glanced at her friends, she had opted out of skating not liking the cold air.

 

“Yeah! Anyone who says ballet danseurs and primas are weak should fucking fight me! They’re awesome!” Nydia bellows from the rink which garners her a few claps from strangers and one that looked like was giving her their number.

 

“Nydia! You’d be more awesome if you can get off by the rails!!!” Aliyah shouts from the center of the rink and doing easy spins and beginner stunts.

 

“I have no sense of balance and THAT’S ILLEGAL YOU SICK WOMAN!” Nydia retorts loudly and Yūri is amazed with how easy their friend can censor herself.

 

Aliyah responds by giving her the double bird. Xia Zhen was too busy chatting up the cute female skating instructor that everyone pooled on to teach Nydia.

Yūri sighed and decided to go on to the ice and help his friend. He glides to Nydia and offers his hand,

 

“C’mon, Xia Xia is too busy stealing your coach, I’ll be yours for today.” He says cheekily and adds on a wink.

 

Nydia nods with an embarrassed grin and he begins teaching her the basics, Yūri knows that Nydia won’t have any interest in skating beyond as a hobby and would probably dropped this once she loses interest but Yūri can hope that somehow he can make someone love figure skating or even just skating as much as he does.

 

“Yū~ri~! Daisuki da yo!”(I love you!)

 

He smiles and lets her hand go to see her smiling happily for standing on ice upright and with perfect posture. Everyone on the rink claps for her and she waves at them all,

 

“Now if only you can maintain that while gliding.” Yūri sasses.

 

“Well, Mister Japan’s Top Male Figure Skater, I believe in physics.” She retorts nose up in the air and Yūri laughs at this softly.

 

“You barely passed.” Tonton calls out from the other side of the rink while skating arm in arm with a lovely girl who giggles at their exchange.

 

Nydia pouts, Aliyah cackles, Zara sighs exasperatedly and Xia Zhen ignores them all in favor of the coach everyone hired to teach Nydia.


Six months had passed since he met his friends who continuously changes their squad name to suit whatever occasion. And by that time Yūri has grown used to his new routine involving his friends. Yūri was used to hearing the soft pitter patter of Zara’s footsteps within their shared home, the sound of Tonton’s muffled morning complaints, Xia Zhen’s Chinese ballads echoing throughout their home in the mornings, Aliyah’s religious song starting their day and Nydia’s rushed heavy foot falls every 9 am. The simple sort of comforting domesticity he shares with his friends in their home. He’s so used to this that a week off to Thailand for his first qualifying competition jars him so much.

Meeting Phichit Chulanont however was worth the jarring sense of displacement he felt for a week. The 17 year old Thai was Coach Celestino’s new recruit, one that was placed under Yūri’s wing for the duration of his contract with the skating club. Phichit was everything Yūri wanted for in an ideal friend and more so naturally he invites his new friend Phichit to live with him in Detroit at the cheap house but still his home.

Phichit, after a small hesitance, accepts and Yūri had never felt so happy to have made a friend on his own so smoothly. Phichit’s arrival in their small home brought a new dynamic into their friendship group.

When Phichit had arrived at the small and definitely shabby (Nydia’s words) but homely building on Santa Monica Drive in Detroit, Phichit had only praises for it and shyly took a selfie with it as the background. Yūri had laughingly obliged his new friend (on the way to best friend) and posed a few funny poses with him.

As they entered through the door, Yūri had announced his return loud enough for everyone to hear it,

“We’re home! Guys meet my new friend, Phichit!”

 

“Welcome home, Yūri and Phichit!” Aliyah had greeted them first, emerging from the living room.

 

“Hello!” Phichit shyly waved at her behind Yūri’s back.

 

Zara and Xia Zhen came down from the stairs wearing their comfy shorts and thread-bare over-sized shirts. Both of them had greeted Phichit back in his mother tongue,

Sawasdee Ka! Phichit!”(Hello!)

 

The welcoming hug the three had given Phichit warmed Yūri’s heart, he was happy to find that the new addition to their group happened smoothly.

 

“Ah, Tonton and Nydia, won’t be back until tomorrow night, their family visited from the Philippines and tomorrow’s their last day here.” Xia Zhen had explained while Zara kept Phichit occupied by taking away his luggage and into the newly installed dumbwaiter by the stairs.

 

“Oh, I wouldn’t be able to meet them then?” Yūri mourned. He had always wanted to meet Nydia and Tonton’s family especially since they meant a lot to the two, Nydia specially.

 

“I’m sure they won’t mind if you went to meet their parents, just give her a heads up Yūri.” Aliyah replied before she went back to the kitchen to finish cooking.

 

Xia Zhen shrugged and followed Zara and Phichit upstairs to help their new housemate. Yūri gave it a thought and decided to text Tonton later, knowing that replies would be faster with him than with Nydia.

 

Phichit was having the time of his life in Detroit. His new found friends were patient with his fumbling English and were very kind just like Yūri had told him though Phichit thought that Yūri should have warned him with how beautiful everyone was. He had grown used to Yūri’s charms but his friends were on another level! Especially so when Zara had smiled warmly at him as he struggled on asking how to work the shower.

 

“Don’t worry, Phichit.” Zara had told him as she began showing him how to use the complicated shower, “By next week, the new shower sets would be installed.”

 

Phichit breathed a sigh of relief on that.

Xia Zhen covered her laughter through her mouth and said, “Phichit-didi13 must really hate those retro showers?”

 

“Yes. Um…they are…hard?” Phichit blushed with his uncertainty.

 

“Ah…complicated?” Xia Zhen offered which Phichit agreed to.

 

“Oh! Before I forget, Phichit.” Zara called his attention, “Xia Zhen and Aliyah’s room is next to yours and Yūri’s. Above your room is Nydia’s so if you hear anything at all ignore it.”

 

“Okay.” And though Phichit found it weird, he decided to not question it all. He was old enough to understand that somethings were better left unknown.

 

“Also Tonton and Zara share a room so don’t be surprised if you see him entering.”

 

“Eh? Ah, I see.” Phichit nodded, amazed with the aura of adulthood his housemates were exhibiting. Briefly, he wondered, if Yūri was the same as well before he shook those thoughts out of his mind.

 

“The bed on the left is yours by the way since Yūri’s posters of Viktor needed ‘covert’ wall space.” Xia Zhen had made quotation marks on the word covert, “Your suitcase is already inside the room, come down when you’re ready.”

 

“Thanks!” Phichit replied happily as he entered his shared room with Yūri.

 

He walked straight towards the bed on the left and easily found his suitcase and duffel bag. He turned around and found the multiple faces of Viktor Nikiforov staring at him, It gave him an unsettling feeling but the thought of Yūri displaying fanboy tendencies made him adorable in Phichit’s opinion.

‘Cute.’

 

When Phichit came down to the dining area that barely had any space with the eight sitter table occupying most of the space, he was greeted with a meal that had a variety of dishes.

 

“Glad to see you’ve settled, Phichit!” Yūri had greeted him and lead him to one of the chairs.

 

“Thanks, Yūri!”

 

“How was your flight here, Phichit?” Aliyah had asked as she set the pitcher of water on the table.

 

“It was a bit…um…rough? And Yūri was there to help me though!”

 

Aliyah smiled at this though there was something about it that Phichit did not understand.

 

‘Must be an adult thing.’ He thought.

 

“By the way, Yūri,” Zara had asked as she came out from the connecting kitchen along with a pot of curry Phichit was able to identify.

 

“Hm?”

 

“What did Tonton say about bringing Phichit along for introductions?”

 

“Ah, Nydia said it’s fine as long as Phichit is okay with it,” Yūri then turned to Phichit.

 

“I want to make friends!” Phichit answered with glittering eyes that made him more adorable in everyone’s eyes.

 

“My, my, Phichit-didi would fit just right in~!” Xia Zhen commented as she took a seat across from him and Yūri.

 

“True, and you’d help Nydia a lot.” Yūri added and everyone else laughed at that.

 

Phichit had a confused smile on his face but Xia Zhen telling him that it was an inside joke he’d get soon was enough for him to settle his anxiety. Yūri’s encouraging smile and good company eased his worries about living in a foreign land to chase after his dreams. Dinner was a merry affair and Phichit knew as he went to bed in his room with Yūri that he had kind people who’d look out for him.

However despite that, Phichit Chulanont was not prepared for the force that was called Nydia Salaamtan or her enabler Tonton Reyes. 


 

Phichit had prepared himself to be faced with someone beautiful like Yūri and his other friends. So when Yūri had taken him along to meet with Nydia and Tonton at a café near the airport, he was prepared to meet someone who was probably like gentle Yūri, or funny Aliyah, or someone like cunning Xia Zhen or sophisticated Zara.

He had not expected to see a male model to greet them like a host would in Japan, like that anime he watched long ago. The male model had smiled at Phichit and introduced himself as,

“Antonette Reyes, but my friends call me Tonton.”

 

Phichit could only numbly smile and nod before stuttering out his introduction. Phichit briefly wondered if this was what it felt like to have a god descend upon you during the olden times.

 

“You flatter me, Phichit-kun, I’m just an ordinary college student.” Tonton answered.

 

“I-I’m sorry, I said that outloud!” Phichit squeaked as he felt his face redden. Looking up to the much taller Tonton, who was smiling kindly at him, did nothing to recede his blush.

 

“Oi! Tonton tawag na tayo ng ating mudras and pudras!"(Our mamas and papas are calling for us!)

Phichit turned to speaker and found himself having eye contact with the most intimidating beauty he had ever seen. He had never expected to meet someone who could makes his knees feel weak and shake him this much. He was not a stranger to beautiful people but Phichit knew that at this moment, as the person who he guesses must be Nydia came toward them, Yūri and his friends were on a whole new level of beauty.

 

“Oh, Sawasdee krab! Phichit.” She greeted him and though Phichit knew that she had used the wrong greeting for her gender he still shakily returned it.

 

Beside the two who were unknowingly in their own world, Yūri and Tonton were sharing a look that said they knew were this exactly was heading. They were right but it would take a long time for that to happen.

But at that moment as Tonton and Nydia introduced Phichit and Yūri to their families, things had already stirred to a different direction. Phichit and Yūri’s lives had already began changing, the people they would meet, the ones they would leave behind, the friends they would make, and hearts they would break.

All of it began to change like a coin that comes down as tails.

Chapter Text

Phichit had already settled into a routine with his friends slash housemates in 2 months after moving in. Yūri is a wonderful friend and mentor and rink mate, He doesn't mind when Phichit wants to takes picture and joins in the fun. Together, they take social media by storm with their antics and makes their respective fan sites happy with his tweets and Instagram posts.

And then there's always the mini adventures in the morning whenever more than one had a lack of sleep due to deadlines. Phichit had, on more than one occasion, shared the very funny and mundane Monday experiences. And today was his turn to cook their breakfast, Zara was helping him out by setting the table while Aliyah busied herself with serving the finished food.

 

"Amazing, Phichit!" Zara praised as Aliyah finished serving the table, making it ready for her usual Instagram post whenever Phichit cooks.

 

"Oui! Phichit is quite talented!" Aliyah added as she posted the photo on Instagram. Aliyah's hair was currently tied up in a ponytail her two-toned hair much more eye catching today with her blue violet ribbon with purple linings.

       

"Nydiiaaa! You bastard you were awake?!" Aliyah screech just as the sound of a door opening and closing was heard in the still waking household. Zara took a glance at Aliyah's screen and stifled her laughter.

Curious with what made Zara laugh, Phichit took a look as well and saw Yūri's Instagram account's comment, more importantly he had taken notice the hashtags that went after Yūri 's comment.

 

"Yūri shouldn't have given his phone password to Nydia." Phichit comments as he conveniently ignores the rampage Aliyah was spearheading by herself. Moments later, the familiar sound of Yūri's screech and Nydia's loud,

 

"What the fuck?!" was heard through their home. Phichit smiled at this and loudly greeted the rest of the waking household,

"Good morning!!!"

 

Soon enough everyone had come down for breakfast. Though Tonton was noticeably still wearing his pajamas and night cap, while Yūri looked as if he was not quite sure why he was awake at this moment and regretting his life choices. As for Nydia, she seemed far too happy for someone who had just used Yūri's account and sporting a red cheek. Despite that all of them happily ate the hearty breakfast Phichit had cooked for them. Like their usual seating arrangement, Yūri, Phichit, Tonton and Xia Zhen sat on the left with Yūri at the head of the table and Xia Zhen at the end. 

On the other side was Nydia, Zara, and Aliyah who sat at the end while Nydia sat directly across from Yūri.

 

“Why you awake so early today?” Nydia directed her question at Tonton who was drinking his iced coffee as he read the newspaper.

 

“I don’t know, Nydia, why don’t you ask the one who decided to wake everyone else up with their scream?”

 

“It’s not my fault, Ali, has a shitty aim.” Yūri grumbled as he ate his breakfast at the same time ignoring Aliyah’s dramatic gasp and offered his compliments to the chef, “Good food by the way, Phichit.”

 

“Thanks, Yūri!” Phichit chirped and happily continued eating his breakfast.

 

“Wait, If Ali missed where did you get that red mark?” Xia Zhen asked as she pointed at the reddish spot on Nydia’s left cheek.

 

“She isn’t shitty when slapping someone.” Nydia grudgingly answered.

 

“I had practiced.” Aliyah proudly added.

 

“Thank god, I’m part of the Music Conservatory.” Zara sarcastically added as she ate her breakfast, “Anyone going to hitch a ride today?” she addressed everyone at large.

 

“Not me.” Tonton grumbled.

 

“Phichit and I’ll be jogging on the way to the rink today.” Yūri replied.

 

“We are?!”

 

“Saving up for something so I’m going with you.” Nydia answered as she finally began eating and stopped fiddling with her phone.

 

“Nydia’s jogging with us.”

 

“The hell?!”

 

“So that leaves Xia Zhen and Aliyah then.” Zara dutifully ignored Nydia’s outbursts.

 

“Seriously, Nydia?” Xia Zhen suddenly said which caught everyone’s attention. “Look at your Instagram account.” She said as way of explanation.

 

(Translation: Sleeping Beauty Yūri is stealing our hearts isn’t he? #goodmorning #Japan’sLivingNationalTreasure)

 

“Oh, so many likes when I just posted it a while ago.” Nydia commented blithely while Phichit laughed in glee and liked the photo as well as adding a comment as well.

 

“So that’s why you were in his room!” Aliyah said as she commented what she had typed.

 

“Nydia! I look horrible!” Yūri groaned as he surrendered to the fact that he probably won’t be able to jog to the rink in peace. Beside him Phichit, who had realize what his groaning friend thought, reached across the table to high five Nydia.

 

“Guess that’s three more people in your car.” Nydia grinned at Zara who merely sighed in exasperation. Though she could admit that Nydia was not far off the point with her caption.

 

Yūri groaned again.

 

“You should have realize what she planned when she was in your room, you know?” Tonton reminded Yūri as his sour mood lighten up.

 

“All of you are sadistic bastards.” Yūri half-heartedly complained.

 

“Tell me something new.” Nydia retorted.

 

Yūri pouted and resumed on eating his hearty breakfast as he sulked on his seat. This of course did not meant that he would take this lying down, he did in fact had a retaliation against his dear friend. One he had full intention of using once he was in the safety of his university grounds and far away from the College for Creative Studies. Zara, who had noticed the glint in her friend’s glasses, prayed for patience from God. She knew that she would need it today especially since Yūri, it seemed, was going to bring out the before puberty group photo.

 

Phichit knew that Yūri could be petty, objectively he knew that but seeing at firsthand how his best friend’s first actual Instagram post for a few months blew up, made hot news, and trended on twitter was another thing entirely. Primarily because the world seemed to see Katsuki Yūri as a quiet, shy, gentle boy not someone who was petty enough to drag his two best friends for “jogging” or get his revenge by posting a pre-puberty picture of a certain best friend.

Nydia’s prided three sizes apparently really did grew over night.

 

Phichit texted Nydia.

 

 

Phichit remembered the mild mannered and very polite national fans of Yūri and then his international fans, ‘Ah. But the International Fans are probably aren’t the same.’

 

“Phichit! Stop texting and do your stretching!” Celestino called out from the other side of the ice as everyone else watched Yūri skate for his new program.

 

“Yes! Ciao Ciao!” Phichit hollered back then sets aside his phone. He had someone he wanted to skate with in the same ice, and as Yūri glided past him, Phichit smiled.

 

‘One day, I’ll definitely be able to skate with Yūri!’


Objectively speaking, Nydia knows that falling in love was a very dangerous thing for her, considering her family history in regards to love.

Subjectively speaking, Yūri Katsuki is both the safest and most dangerous person to fall in love at.

 

But right now underneath the strobe lights of the dark club they all decided to party at after a particularly hard midterm week, Nydia wants to throw caution at the wind. She wants and wants and wants Katsuki Yūri, with his soft smile, devilish grin, kind eyes, and warm hands. She wants the Yūri who is used to being disregarded, wants the anxious ball of nerves that he is, wants the petty and sassy Yūri, the introverted Yūri. She wants everything about Yūri Katsuki who stole her heart without remorse and doesn’t even know how many hearts he has in his hands.

 

She wants this wonderful and damning beauty that leaves broken hearts at his wake, this beautiful young man who is a force of nature himself that is disarmingly charming.

 

Nydia knows that she couldn’t dance to save her life, not in the way Yūri could, so enchanting and engaging that no one is left uncharmed by him.

 

“Keep on staring and he might just melt.” Zara whispers at her and Nydia tears her eyes away from Yūri.

 

“Oh my, that’s what exactly I had in mind.” Nydia jokes, one step away from the truth.

 

Zara shakes her head and Nydia knows that this almost love for Yūri is something she won’t be able to hide successfully.

 

“Get him off the pole, we’re doing shots.” Zara orders her instead and leaves her just as fast and Nydia has no choice but to get Yūri off the pole and isn’t that a lovely imagery?

 

Katsuki Yūri moaning wantonly as she grinds against him.

 

She shakes this thoughts away and dances her way to Yūri, who smiles at her and takes her up on the pole, and she is utterly powerless against his seductive smile and she is nothing but his to do as he wants. Yūri laughs and she smiles at him, slightly in love and wholly fond. Yūri leads her away from the pole and they dance their way through the crowd, laughing at their own silliness, trusting each other completely.

She can always trust Yūri and Yūri trusts her enough for the two of them to share the same bed on days when things are too heavy for them. It is innocent and completely devoid of lust or anything not platonic but then that had also been her downfall.

 

“Your turn, Ny.” Yūri offers her a shot and she downs it in one go.

 

Eyes never leaving his smiling face. She smiles at him and hands him the next shot, ignoring the sharp burn of vodka on her throat and the want for a chaser. She needs the burn if only to remind her what she cannot do with Yūri. Beside her Phichit had come closer and shyly asked for a recommendation on cocktails.

She smirks and decides to give Phichit the full on welcoming scale of their group in regards to partying. Behind her Yūri sighs and signals for one of the waiters and shares a look with Tonton who shrugs and absolutely does not care for what would happen tonight.

Nydia leans into Phichit’s space, misses his reddening face, and whispers into his ear,

 

“For tonight, I recommend you start it off with an Orgasm.”

 

She leans back and guides him closer to the table, the drink had just arrive and Nydia gives Yūri a thankful smile, flirts briefly with the waiter and hands the drink to Phichit. She is dangerously toeing the line between platonic touches and not-so platonic ones but the night is young and Nydia just wants to have fun before she decides to deal with the inevitable fallout.

 

She completely misses the looks her other friends share. (It’s better that way.)


If there is one thing Aliyah is willing to admit about their group is that everyone falls too fast and too hard.

‘This,’ She thinks ‘could be evidenced by the fact that we are all enrolled in a pole dancing class.’

She grudgingly looks at Nydia who is a natural at the pole both in terms of technique and sensuality. But knowing that her friend, who had always let herself be dragged to classes she doesn’t like for the sake of being a wing-woman, decided to take a pole dancing class just to be closer to Yūri made her go along with it.

Even if she was solely tempted to just straight out tell the woman that Yūri had only started his pole dancing class that night they met and Yūri only continued since she seemed interested.

‘At least he had Tonton with him.’ Aliyah thought as she spun around the pole going down slowly.

She just sincerely hoped that Nydia nor anyone else would suggest drinking again. Except the universe likes to fuck around and mess with people so Xia Zhen is the one that suggests for them to have a night out and get drunk.

 

“Bar hopping.” The Taiwanese said with manic glee.

 

“Must be her latest breakup.” Zara comments idly.

 

She’s right but no one except Tonton is brave enough to ask why they can’t just drink at home.

 

“I fucking went to ballroom dance class with you.” Xia Zhen answers and well that’s enough for everyone to shut up and try to drink her under the table.

 

This of course is what led to Yūri’s body not only gaining an improve stamina but an iron liver as well.

They end up at the club where they first met and Xia Zhen immediately starts the drinks flowing. Even Phichit became wary until Yūri and Nydia decided to only let him take sips and drink the rest of the Thai’s cocktails. Together they keep Phichit from forging his tolerance early and at the same time get closer to alcohol poisoning.

Except as time passes on and Xia Zhen and Nydia gets progressively drunk, it becomes easily noticeable to the sobering group that Yūri is drunk but surprisingly seemingly sober still.

Of course, the exact moment this is noticed is the exact moment the alcohol wholly kicks in Xia Zhen’s head and gets the brilliant idea of planning to wreck her cheating ex-girlfriend’s house plants. Nydia, forever the defender of honest and open communication relationship, agrees and starts heading out.

Zara is quick on her feet to pay the bill with credit card and Tonton is left to struggle against a Yūri that is very much drunk and wanting to do a pole routine. Aliyah and Phichit were left to run after the surprisingly coordinated drunks and prevent them from committing a crime.

The bar hopping is changed into a game of tag between their three groups,

The drunk avengers, Xia Zhen and Nydia.

The chasers, Aliyah and Phichit.

And miserable trio, Zara, Stripping Yūri, and Tonton.

What follows was perhaps the most terrifying and wildest night of their second year in college.

Somehow Xia Zhen and Aliyah were able to purchase vodka (the good kind) and drank it on the way to their goal (Xia Zhen’s Ex-Girlfriend’s House) along with their other supplies (a rat poison, raw nuts, and superglue with glitters)

The two had stopped by an art store that sold glow in the dark paint and bought it on the fly. Then proceeded to scare a few late night walkers in the park when they had accidentally upend a red glow in the dark paint on their clothes.Aliyah had to pray to Allah for guidance and patience. Phichit, of course, was enjoying this with unholy glee. The two of them ended up getting chased by a Chihuahua of all things and had to be saved by two on the duty cops as they got chased by a dog and then explain why they were running.

 

(Aliyah would forever deny falling for the handsome lady cop but Phichit has pictures and self-defense class pamphlets as souvenirs from this event.)

 

And then the cops caught sight of a their other friends. (A stripping Yūri, A forlorn Zara, and a fed up Tonton)

Then they all had to explain why Yūri was stripping and then talk the officers out from driving them to the station or contacting Celestino because Yūri decided to flirt with the handsome lady cop’s partner who so happened to be a pretty male officer and they were engaged to each other.

 

(Aliyah shan’t admit of being heartbroken but she is willing to admit that she did briefly consider polyamory.)

 

And then the cops got a call and everyone still ended up at the station because somehow between Nydia and Xia Zhen the two was able to make the most dick move but still completely in the realm of legality revenge against Xia Zhen’s Ex-Girlfriend who apparently cheated on her with a hockey player. And then Nydia proceeds to defend their actions and everyone in the precinct is utterly confused and awed at the turn of events because no one need to call a lawyer.

 

(Tonton would one day tell his law students that they can only be great lawyer if they can defend their selves or anyone while being drunk off their ass.)

 

Nydia’s miracle defending was on the realm of D&D players creative solving.

The night ends with a firm wording from the engaged on duty couple cops (mostly directed at Yūri who was still flirting with the pretty guy except now even the handsome lady was included, and Nydia who wanted in on the fun.)

The biggest surprise comes the next morning after their frankly speaking dark adventure (which led to the creation of their Book of Secrets) when an UP delivery woman delivered a package for Yūri.

Apparently, the couple cops weren’t the only ones he flirted with on the way.

They all swore to never repeat it.

 

(This gets broken again and again every time someone decides alcohol is the solution, for the moment at least.)


 

Yūri had just finished practicing for his routine when Celestino had given him the news that he had qualified for the Worlds in 2013. Everyone around him had rejoiced and Yūri would’ve felt fear and joy at the same time before his crippling anxiety would come crashing down. It was at this moment that Yūri would’ve look back on and think,

 

‘I would’ve been a nervous wreck without them. For that I’m thankful that I was able to meet them.’

 

Because the Yūri Katsuki of that moment had only felt joy and determination. Yūri knew that he finally had a chance to win against his idol, and there was a lot of things he needed to do, a new routine, new costumes, a new theme. It would be frustrating, he knew it, he would end up in tears along the way, probably fight with his friends but the time they had spent together had already molded Yūri into something new.

 

“Let’s win the gold, Coach!” Yūri replies with a voice so full of determination and ambition to win that it had given his whole club their own fire.

 

Across him, Celestino Cialdini, nods at his star pupil and finally sees what he had known all along,

 

“Let’s get to business then, Yūri!”

 

Celestino Cialdini had first discovered Yūri Katsuki during a competition in Japan. If one were to ask him what made him recruit his current star pupil at that time. Celestino would’ve given an answer that would seem too romanticized to be real, and he would’ve been slightly crossed but shrugged it off because Celestino knew that Katsuki Yūri’s real strength lies not only on his stamina but on the way he skates.

There were no words in the any language that could aptly describe the feelings his student could evoke on ice. His step sequences were beautiful and so utterly humane it brought out the facets of a person they didn’t know they still had. Celestino was aware of this, He had come into Japan knowing that he’d be looking at figure skaters with an almost impassioned look.

And yet, he had lucked out upon watching Katsuki Yūri’s performance. He had given everything that he had to the sport and even his love for it was running out, but on that day, Celestino felt something in his heart stirring as he watched the then young figure skater tell the story of a lost young boy.

He felt the longing, the desperation, and the bittersweet feeling of hope filling his heart as Yūri Katsuki performed on ice. A rough artistry, Celestino knew, but still beautiful in its humanity. He knew that if he wanted to leave his mark in the world of competitive figure skating, Yūri Katsuki would be the one who’d do that.

And now as he discussed the theme for the next season with his star pupil he knew that though the Yūri right now was still a rough diamond, Yūri had already began his transition as the rising star of figure skating.

 

“Are you sure about this theme, Yūri?” Celestino asked.

And the sharp glint of determination that he sees in Yūri’s eyes is enough for him to relent to his student even before Yūri could verbalize his answer.

 

“Yes. This season’s theme is Chance.”

 

Celestino smiles at him and they finally begin the preparations for the next season.

 

The reality of having friends that don’t share mutual interest in competitive sports is that no one truly loved it the way one would. But the reality is also this, people are willing to understand to a certain degree how a sport goes for the sake of a love one, Zara for one enjoys contact sports and is willing to teach all of her friends about it, Nydia hates contact sports but likes the type Yūri’s figure skating and ballet falls in because of its artistry but at the same time willing to be taught about the rules in contact sports her friends care about, Xia Zhen only likes volleyball but is willing to watch sports videos with her friends, Tonton doesn’t care about sports at all but would learn anything about his friends favorite sports, Aliyah likes tennis and would be willing to test out her skills with her friends and learn their sports as well. This is also the reality of their friendship, what binds them isn’t their common likes or anything else, they learn that over time but what truly binds this group and changes them is the fact that all of them understand each other.

The reality is that everyone in their group is a little broken, bent, and cynical enough to survive the harsh realities of life. Life wasn’t easy sailing for any of them, but Life gave them a chance to meet each other and that’s enough reason for them to stick together because the pain, the fear, the despair, the anxiety of not being good enough, of failing and disappointing was something they all knew. They all needed someone to understand them, their flaws and ugly sides and accept those parts as well, all of them found that in each other.

Which was the reason why Zara ,who is part of the music conservatory, dedicates her next compositions to Yūri, piano keys creating the adante of being a drift before finally, finally stumbling into the oasis that you didn’t know you were looking for. She writes it in as Serendipity and wins an award for her composition.

The reason why Xia Zhen choreographs and pours her heart out for her new routine and shows how people needs to take a chance even if the risk to high and it’s painful because Xia Zhen understands what it is like to give your everything to a dream, this was something she shared with Yūri, this was their link, the sacrifices they made for a dream too risky. She names it Blood, Sweat and Tears and moves everyone who watches it.

Tonton knew what it was like to be at a disadvantage and knows that the rest has everything covered. He can only offer a few inputs in Xia Zhen’s choreography or Zara’s music. His tastes runs different from them, he can understand their aesthetic but has no liking for it beyond admiration. So he does what he could, in a way that would benefit Yūri. He scourges to forums and forums from different languages and finds tons and tons of information about who would possess a threat to Yūri, analyzes data and figures to find out the best way for his friend to rise on the top and get the gold.

He gives Yūri the rundown of his weaknesses and strengths, tells him the best way to turn his weakness into his strength and creates the perfect exercise regimen for Yūri’s performance. He shows Yūri what the probabilities and possibilities are so that his friend wouldn’t be caught unaware.

Aliyah knew that when it comes to artistry she was a behind her friends. She only knew how to appreciate and not create but this time she was willing to take a chance. She didn’t enter a specialize college just to lag behind her friends, all of which were chasing their dream. Her artistry might be mocked but Aliyah knew how make-up could change people and she knew precisely what she would do for Yūri this time.

Yūri was a beautiful art on his own but Aliyah knew she could turn him into a magnum opus and make his art into something people would never forget in their hearts. And she shows this by practicing at a dummy every night, every chance she gets, to find that perfect combination that would show the Yūri everyone loved. She ends up creating her own palette and calls it Luck.

Nydia knows the feeling of being thrust into spotlight without preparation. She loathes it and knows that Yūri understands the feeling of your own mind not functioning. Nydia understands that her commonality with Yūri lies in the fact that they swore to never be unprepared in things that matter. And this time the competition matters to Yūri a lot, a chance to pit himself against the best figure skaters, so she gives her all in designing clothes for Yūri , she doesn’t stop creating different combinations, bringing it into different colors until Yūri finds what he is looking for. This was the only way she could show her love for Yūri. The only one she knew how, and when Yūri does indeed find what he is looking for, she finds that the ache in her hands, the dull throb of her head and manic days were worth it for that smile.

She knows that everyone had poured everything for their Yūri and it was all worth it to see their efforts making Yūri shine even brighter as he skated his whole program for the first time showcasing their combined efforts.

Phichit knew from the moment of his integration into the group that Yūri was what held everyone together. He wasn’t blind despite what his persona may led some to believe, he knew that everyone else had it covered for Yūri . He understood enough that he was too young to do anything for his much older friends, who aren’t as rose tinted as he is.

So he helps Yūri the only way he can, he helps his best friend on ice, watches and points out flaws no one else but a skater would see and understand. He reminds Yūri to take a break and cool down at the same time not neglecting his own skating. He does all of these because he knows Yūri’s dream just as he knows everyone else’s dream in their group.

Though he is a bit envious of Yūri’s importance to the group, Phichit knows his own importance. He is still young and learning, but he knows enough and sees enough of his friends to understand that all of them are a bit manic when it comes to their dreams. Yūri gave them Life and Love, something every one of them was neglecting for the sake of their dreams but it is so worth it for the sake of their dream.

Phichit knows this. He is sure of it as he watches Yūri perform his full program for the Worlds inside their club rink for the first time in complete costume and choreography.

It is worth the heartbreak of knowing that his love won’t be returned in exchange for Yūri shining brightly on ice. Everything was worth it for this single moment in his life watching for the first time in person the magic, Katsuki Yūri had.


 

Yūri was nervous as he stepped on the ice and glided to the center of the rink. He knows this as he stares at his feet for a moment before falling into his starting position. He is shaking and he worries because he thought that he was over this, gotten over his anxiety and sick mind. He’s tired of breaking down on ice because he can’t take the pressure, tired of not being able to show his best.

 

“You can do it, Yūri!” Nydia’s voice registers on his mind and then the music plays. There is no time for him left to do anything else but perform.

 

The ice owns him and Yūri willed his body to move, tell the story of a boy taking a chance one cold night in the Detroit and finds what he didn’t know he was looking for. He dances on ice and lets his body do the talking, lets himself feel the music Zara composed for him.

He lands his first jump, a triple axel.

It’s shaky and Yūri knew it but he doesn’t care enough, he has a story to tell and he loses himself in his performance, his body moves in accordance to the rising tempo of piano.

 

“This is an adante, Yūri” Zara had explained as she sat on the piano and Yūri did his ballet, “it’s a moderate piece…”

Her fingers move across the ivory keys and plays the tune she had made for Yūri and Yūri finds himself going in time with beat of the music, body naturally flowing as his mind composes his steps.

“But this is only an adante at the start, like you Yūri ,” She continues on as Yūri ’s heart beats faster in time with the rising tempo of the piano, “No one has truly seen the you behind your adante.”

Yūri executes a pirouette and then jumps just as the piano hits its highest note.

“But this is just the beginning, Yūri. We are going to announce your arrival.” Zara says as the tune cuts of at its final note, “This is just the beginning of your symphony, Yūri.”

 

He lands his triple Lutz perfectly.

His transition to a flying camel spin then to a sit spin is flawless.

 

“Since you have natural stamina we should play it up for both of your programs.” Tonton casually says.

“Isn’t that overkill?” Yūri asked nervously.

“Overkill is back-flipping and landing on one blade.” Tonton answered as he looked at Yūri on the eye.

“That move can’t be used in actual competitions though.” Yūri reminded his friend and he knew that they were both sharing the same look in their eyes.

“So we go for the next best thing. We’ll combine your athleticism with your artistry.” Tonton smiled with stars in his eyes and blood rushing through his veins.

Yūri is hopelessly enamoured with his friend’s crazy idea.

 

He glides around the rink and prepares for a Russian split.

 

“You’ll get that gold, Yūri.”

 

He lands, and then does his step sequences.

Can you put all the hard jumps at the end?” Xia Zhen had asked as they took a break from their dance practice.

“I could, yeah, why?” Yūri asked.

“Tonton mentioned that your stamina and I know enough from Nydia that you’re step sequence is extraordinary.” Xia Zhen replies in a rare moment of hesitance.

“Oh.”

Yūri feels like he knows where this is going.

“Have you ever tried asking Celestino if you could put all your best jumps at the end after your step sequence?”

And Yūri knows that he hadn’t. Not yet.

“Xia Xia…”

“I’m no good at skating but I’ve always thought that ones who does that resonate better with me.” She adds haltingly, shyly and Yūri understands.

“Let’s do that.”

 

And as Yūri’s step sequence drew to a close, he knows what he has to pull to win.

 

“Come on, Yūri it’s to let the whole world know about your beauty.” Aliyah whispers into his ear and Yūri felt his face flush.

“Ali.”

“Yūri, you’ve kept on telling us that we’re beautiful, devastatingly so but don’t you see?” She strokes his face tenderly, “You’re beautiful too. Dangerously beautiful.”

“Continue doing that and I might just fall for you.” He teases as he slowly feels his confidence return.

“And we can’t have that, Nydia might just cry.” She tells him and Yūri laughs it off.

“Nydia is a tempest.” Yūri says as if it explains everything when it explains nothing at all but Aliyah doesn’t push and starts making her magic.

“You’re going to be an unstoppable force, Yūri.”

 

He does his jump combination, a triple loop and then a quad salchow. As his short program draws to an end he realizes that he is no longer nervous, he’s so far from breaking down on ice and barely notices his body transition to his spin combination all he knows as he slowly spins to a stop are the words Nydia told him as he chose his costume design.

 

“No one wants a perfect hero, Yūri. Everyone likes the perfect hero but the flawed heroes are the ones that are truly loved.”

 

And the music ends and Yūri realizes he is barely out of breath. Everyone around him is clapping and Nydia is overwhelmed, he skates to her with a new found understanding in his heart. And Nydia understands because she gathers him into his arms and hugs him tight.

 

Yūri places first on the short program at Worlds.


 

In all 18 years of his life, Viktor Nikiforov had dedicated all of it to the ice. This season he had expected that the only one he’d watch out for would be Chris. For the first time in his life, Viktor Nikiforov, aged 25, was the one being surprised. Katsuki Yūri was a dark horse, someone that no one really heard of until now.

And he had announced himself in such a grand manner. Viktor couldn’t take his eyes off the Japanese skater, couldn’t help but feel the music flow into his veins and feel the emotions Katsuki Yūri evoked. The young man was beautiful on ice and enchanting and every adjective in the world would fall short in describing what Katsuki Yūri could do on ice. Viktor wanted to skate on the same ice as this mysterious figure, this figure skater who had everyone in the audience under a trance.

It was as if he was finally found something he didn’t expect.

Viktor wanted to get to know this mysterious man who can easily take hearts without a care. It isn’t love but Viktor knew that it could grow into love.

And then the camera pans into the kiss and cry and Katsuki Yūri is seen kissing an equally beautiful girl.

‘Oh.’ He thinks, ‘Of course.’

Somehow the sight only fueled him to skate better and get this fellow skater’s attention. Viktor Nikiforov, unknown to anyone who wasn’t a friend or a rink mate, could be awfully short sighted and idiotic at times. He was really a train-wreck of a human.

Chapter Text

Tonton Reyes, born Antonette Reyes until he decided that there was only an Anton, was used to stupidity through being exposed to the various kinds of activities done by his relatives. Really, especially in the matters of romance, and then he meets Nydia and then meets Nydia’s family who has their own Book of Secrets because of her mother’s family side.

So really, stupidity is not something foreign to him. It does not, however, mean that he can tolerate it. In small amounts maybe, but Nydia’s pining and then Phichit’s pining heartbroken puppy eyes is grating on his nerves. This kind of thing was amusing in K-dramas or other people’s problem but being involved personally by proximity was taking out his valuable energy.

He was taking International Studies for god’s sake!

Tonton cared for his friends but he loves himself more. So really, him, kissing Yūri after his friend’s beautiful and excellent short program was him taking one for the team. It also doesn’t hurt that Yūri is aesthetically pleasing and feminine looking enough for him to not be slightly repulsed by kissing a guy. He doesn’t mind but his preference leaned to the females who are abundantly beautiful.

 

“To-tonton?”

 

And Yūri’s shy, confused, and bewildered look was a sight to behold.

He was quite sure that Nydia must be raging back in Detroit.

 

‘That or she’s going to take advantage of Sugar Daddy #3.’

 

Tonton smiles seductively for the audience and under normal circumstances this kiss wouldn’t have snowballed into a disaster but the course of true love never did ran smoothly.

 

When Yūri came to Canada for the worlds he had only brought Tonton as his plus one for the Banquet. Yūri was confident with his choice, knowing that with Tonton around there would be little to no collateral damage at all of any kind. So for the majority of the week that he was in Canada Yūri’s anxiety wasn’t acting much and he was in his top form, to the point that he had willingly came with Tonton to have a taste of the Canadian Night Life. He was so used to having his friends stop his anxiety attacks and ease his nervous breakdowns that he had forgotten that Life had it out for him.

Really.

There were so many things in the past months, since he had meet his friends, that used to trigger his anxiety and breakdowns the difference was that his squad had his back and he’d learn how to ask help for the little things. He brought Tonton along to be prepared, so it had never crossed his mind that Tonton would be the one to make him fumble.

Really.

Yūri really wanted to know why his friend, whose inclinations leaned to the female spectrum, decided to kiss him. Even if Tonton was indeed a good kisser and even if Yūri’s heart may have skipped a beat when Tonton had smiled, he’d really like to know what prompted this.

 

“C’mon, Yūri, let’s see your scores.” Tonton lead him away from the edge of the rink to the Kiss and Cry.

 

Tonton had smiled at him so gently and charmingly with eyes that said I’ll explain later that Yūri could only sigh and look at him fondly.

 

“You’ll have to do your best later.” Yūri warned jokingly, oblivious to the cameras and reporters who’d take that the wrong way.

 

Nydia’s arrival later on made him realize how very reciprocal he was towards the affections of his friends.

 

Aliyah knew that there was a drama brewing within their group. One that involved, Phichit, Nydia, and Yūri. Under normal circumstances, she would’ve not cared an ounce about who Nydia fell for, she trusted her friend and her friend’s standards. Except this time, she fell for their new friend Yūri, who was the dictionary example of purity.

She was very much aware of Yūri’s stripping tendencies but Yūri was innocent seduction and that was, as far as Aliyah knew, the most potent and dangerous one.

And Nydia was exactly the kind of idiot to fall for that type and despite all of the fights she had had with Nydia, Aliyah had already experienced Nydia’s devotion to the people she wanted to keep in her life and it was frightening and humbling. So looking out for Nydia’s first real love and doing her best to ensure that their friendship was strong enough to handle the inevitable fallout, this was how she was going to do it. Because Aliyah may be loud and self-centered but she was not blind to the weaknesses of her friends.

 

She cared for Phichit too, but Phichit was still young and rose-tinted and not broken like them. He wasn’t like Nydia who feared love that ran deep, who hated being loneliness but loved solitude. Nydia had already lost one friend, Nydia wouldn’t be able to take another.

 

When the picture of Tonton kissing Yūri blew up on Twitter, Facebook and even Tumblr. Zara was immediately on her feet to do damage control, for Yūri’s career, for Nydia’s heart and subsequently Phichit.

Zara didn’t know how Nydia would react, would not know if what Tonton did would be perceived as an act of betrayal. That Tonton didn’t trust her enough to make her own decisions.

 

‘God damnit Tonton.’ Zara cursed as she went back to her laptop and threw everything she had to ensure that no foul rumour would suddenly pop up and ruin their renewed friendship. She’d make her stupid friend pay later when he wasn’t ignoring their face book chats.

 

Zara wished Nydia wouldn’t do anything that would add to the damage.

 

Xia Zhen had been house sitting when she saw Tonton kiss Yūri live on TV and spend the rest of the time inside the house staring stupidly at the TV. She knew that Tonton would never take an interest on Yūri out of pure aesthetic appreciation and the fact that Nydia was in love at Yūri. The thing is, Xia Zhen is also extra sure that Zara and Aliyah would definitely kill Tonton. No one really wanted to see Nydia looking so lost and broken again and then there’s Phichit who’s at the rink and probably seeing this as well with his club.

 

“Oh my god.”

 

It had dawned on her that she probably should lock the doors and close the lights and every window at their house.

And then she texts Nydia first because she knows Aliyah and Zara are probably busy doing damage control in their own way even if the two are probably at work.

She checks twitter on her laptop and wishes her friends weren’t this stupid and then something else is trending world-wide at number one. She clicks it and sees Yūri and Nydia holding onto each other like they were the promo pic for a new romance anime.

 

“What the fuck?”

 

Xia Zhen looks up in the air and contemplates about her life.

 

“My friends are idiots.” She sobs.


 

 

Nydia knew that Yūri had been missing his dog Vicchan and knew that the best way to make him less nervous and happier is to obviously just take the cute dog with them in Detroit. So naturally, like the good friend that she is and a resourceful one too, she uses Sugar Daddy #2 and gets to fly in a mini jet to Japan and then a train to Kyushu, Hatetsu to the Yu-topia Inn that the Katsuki Family owns.

She sees the familiar figure of Yūri’s older sister and stops in front of her, eyes smiling and does her best in following Japanese etiquette.

 

“おはよぅございます真利あねさま!” (Good morning, Mari-anesama!)

 

Her bow is done perfectly at exactly 90 degrees, she stands perfectly straight afterwards and receives Mari’s fond smile,

 

“まま勇利の恋人礼儀正しいね?”(My, my, Yūri’s lover is polite huh?)

 

“いいえです!” (I-I’m not!) She denies and earning herself a laugh from Mari who enjoys seeing how flustered her little brother’s friend is.

 

Though Nydia would very much like being Yūri’s girlfriend, she’s not willing to risk losing the position of being part Yūri’s beloved friend for the sake of flighty feelings. She doesn’t know how to love anyone properly after all, and Yūri is the kind that would need constant affection subconsciously.

 

“ヴィッチァンわ取って参っているのか?” (Did you came to fetch Vicchan?) Mari asked just as an excitable toy poodle bounds over with a lolling tongue.

 

Nydia starts to understand Yūri’s affection for the excitable pup. She misses her first tiger stripped cat back at the Philippines.

 

“はい!” (Yes!) Nydia answers and Vicchan excitedly greets her with a soft bark then trots over to her.

 

“ヴィッチァンかわいい!!!”(Vicchan so cute!!!) Nydia squealed as she burrowed her face into Vicchan’s soft beige fur.

 

“さあ~はいりなさい, ナイチァン.”(Well, come on in, Ny-chan.) Mari invited her in.

 

“Thank you!” Nydia happily thanked her and earned another chuckle as Nydia took Vicchan into her arms and carried the happy pup.

 

Nydia spent a few hours conversing with Yūri’s family before promising to make sure that Yūri calls more often. She learns a few more things about Yūri’s childhood and of course gets to take copies of Yūri’s baby photos. She leaves Hatetsu with a smile, promising to return and of course promote the serene place.

Nydia hurries back to the airport and happily settles into the mini jet with Vicchan who happily explored the place, completely at ease with having a stranger with her. Vicchan easily charms the customs and the rest is an easy trip towards the event venue. Nydia arrives just as the senior competition ends and calls for Yūri.

 

“Darling, Meet our baby!”

 

Which gets the reporters attention and Tonton grins at his friend’s antics as well as feeling relief from seeing Nydia smiling happily at them.

 

“Vicchan!”

 

Of course, Yūri spots his dog first, happily running towards his beloved pet and taking her into his arms.

 

“Tonton!” Nydia, who wanted to shake off the feeling that Yūri didn’t include her into the hug, calls for her friend and hugs him instead. The cameras start flashing off though no one can make heads or tails of what’s actually happening.

 

“Ah, Nydia!” Yūri finally realizes his friend’s existence, looking around for her and then sees her hugging Tonton tightly. The two made a good looking pair, but Yūri knows that if he doesn’t give Nydia her daily dose of affection she’d sulk at him and steal Vicchan.

 

So he only sighs at his situation and hugs her from behind.

The cameras click faster and Celestino was feeling like a chopped liver by the corner. Slightly feeling glad that none of the reporters were asking him questions about what everyone had just witnessed on the lobby. He trusted his skaters to not do anything that would ruin his career and Yūri was the one he trusted the most, of course, he wasn’t discounting the fact that Yūri’s friends would also be able to do damage control and turn this event to Yūri’s favor.

He just wished his star skater told him about how it really was. Not many would understand polyamory after all.

Once Yūri realized that they were blocking the way, he had dragged his friends and beloved Vicchan away from the path and into somewhere they wouldn’t bother anyone. While Celestino fielded the reporters and promised that Yūri would take interviews tomorrow.

 

“Yūri, I’ll take your things into the hotel room, Do your best tomorrow as well.” Celestino told him before leaving the three to their own devices.

 

Vicchan yipped and charmed another person to spoil him. The three were glad to be alone and decided to find a dog friendly café, completely and utterly unaware of one Viktor Nikiforov who wanted to talk with Yūri while using his toy poodle as a conversation starter. Unfortunately for him, Vicchan who had missed his owner greatly had decided to pull his owner out of the event venue and into the streets, barking away happily and making Yūri far more attractive than he usually is.

The added effect of Tonton’s graceful beauty and Nydia’s alluring grin makes the scene look like out of a pictorial. The reporters who saw this scene doesn’t hesitate to take a picture. Viktor, too would’ve taken one if only he wasn’t busy fielding interviews about being brought down to second place.

 

After settling into a café that allowed pets, the three immediately caught up with each other, while taking pictures with a few fans who had followed Yūri. And like his master, Vicchan had easily charmed every male and female who wanted to take pictures with Yūri. Nydia and Tonton gladly took pictures for the fans and some had even requested to take pictures with them which they happily agreed to. Once all the fans were gone, the three ordered and sat outside to enjoy the night to celebrate Yūri’s first place.

 

“Tonton, now tell me what that kiss was for.” Yūri demanded though it had no effect at all with the amount of love he was giving Vicchan.

 

“Ah, well-“

 

“Kiss?” Nydia interrupted.

 

Her face was blank and Tonton froze up. Yūri still on cloud nine over Vicchan answered,

 

“Tonton kissed me after I skated the program we all worked hard on.”

 

“Oh. Kinky.”

 

Tonton had started to feel uneasy with the fake tone Nydia had and dared to look at her and found himself being the receiver of a blank look and Tonton felt like an asshole until Nydia smiled beatifically at him and said,

 

“Mag-usap tayo mamaya.” (We’ll talk later.)

 

“Ge.” (‘kay.)

 

Yūri was still too focused on Vicchan to pay attention to the two. Their orders arrived and somehow the heavy air between Tonton and Nydia was gone in the wake of delicious and aesthetically pleasing food.


 

 

On the hotel room that Tonton now shared with Nydia, Tonton was kowtowing on the carpeted floor of the room in front of Nydia who was sipping vodka.

 

“I’m sorry, Master!” Tonton said as he didn’t remove his forehead from the skinship it was having with the carpet.

 

“Akala ko ang higad lang si Banri, ikaw din pala higad na.” (I thought Banri was the only hoe, you were one as well.) She took another sip and looked down at the prostrating Tonton, “Bakla ka na pala ngayon.” (Now you’re gay.)

 

“Uy hindi ah! Cute lang si Yūri pero di ko sa ipapasok sa banga.” (Oi no! Yūri is just cute but he’s not my type) Tonton denied removing his face from the carpet.

 

“So sinasabi mo hindi pasok sa banga si Yūri?!” (So you’re saying Yūri isn’t attractive?!) Nydia cried, aghast and also ignored the lint on her friend’s forehead,

 

“Sa banga mo maybe, sa akin hindi.” (To you, maybe but not to me) Tonton replied offhandedly, “And pre, ginawa ko lang yun para mag confess ka na.” (And bro, I did that so you’d confess already)

 

The blank look he received made him add. “Dude, daig niyo na yung Meteor Garden sa pagkadrama ng love triangle niyo.” (Dude, you’ve surpassed Meteor Garden when it comes to the love triangle drama.)

 

Another blank look but with confusion.

 

“…Shet.” (Shit.)

 

“Anong love triangle?” (What love triangle?)

 

“Tara! nag scout ako ng club! leggo!” (Let’s go! I scouted a club, leggo!)

 

“Ton, anong love triangle?” (Ton, What love triangle?)

 

“May nakita din akong strip club di ba gusto mo nun?” (I also found a strip club, you like that right?)

 

“Pakshet, Ton, anong punyetang love triangle?” (Fucker, Ton, What fucking love triangle?)

 

“Nako, bes, may male strippers din dun may kamuhka pa nga ni Carlos Agassi!” (My god, Bes, they also have male strippers one also looks like Carlos Agassi!)

 

“Anton Reyes! Anong love triangle?” (Anton Reyes! What love triangle?)

 

“Bes, may happy ending din dun sa club!” (Bes, they also have a happy ending in the club!)

 

“Sino yung isa pang in love kay Yūri!?” (Who is the other one that’s also in love with Yūri!)

 

“Wow, Yūri agad? Di ba pwede ikaw muna?” (Wow, Yūri first? Can’t it also be you first?) And then a look of horrified realization settled on their faces for two completely different reasons.

 

“Me?”

 

“Don’t tell Zara.” Tonton begged.

 

“Me?”

 

Tonton nodded.

Their outward reactions were grossly exaggerated that when Yūri entered their room. He took one look at them and said,

 

“Did Aliyah break up with her boyfriend again?”

 

“No.” Both of them answered and Yūri nodded before informing them,

 

“The hotel doesn’t allow pets in the room so I’m checking out.”

 

Then he turned to Nydia and asked, “Does your sugar daddy also have a property here?”

 

“Yep, Let’s leave Ciao Ciao here and stay there for the rest of the event.” Nydia immediately offered and Yūri smiled at her gratefully before heading out to pick up his belongings. The door closed and Nydia sighed before turning to Tonton.

 

“Who?”

 

“Tell me you aren’t mad at me for kissing Yūri.”

 

“I’ll change your coffee to decaf.”

 

“Phichit.”

 

“Good boy.”

 

Arriving at the luxurious two story house that was located on Sandybrook Drive. Yūri and Tonton were amazed with the kinds of Sugar Daddies Nydia had.

 

“Number three is loaded.” Tonton commented as he blew a whistle.

 

“Hm? Two owns this one, Three doesn’t have a property here in Canada.” Nydia replied with confusion.

 

“But didn’t you say that three has a mini jet?” Yūri asked for clarification as all three of them headed inside, hanged their coats on the rack and let Vicchan loose on the house.

 

“Yes, but Two has mini jet and a property here so I asked Two besides he’s been stressed with his job lately.” Nydia answered as they moved deeper inside the house and Tonton immediately went to explore the place taking Instagram worthy pictures that would make Phichit envious.

 

“That’s a really lucrative business you’ve got there.” Yūri answered as he scrolled over the internet to find articles about Viktor’s short program. Instead what he found were articles placed 3 to 2 hours ago about him and Tonton.

 

“I-I forgot about the reporters!!!” Yūri screamed as he closed the laptop and fell to the ground dramatically.

Vicchan sniffed around her owner and called for the attention of Nydia and Tonton who rushed towards their fallen friend.

 

“Yūri what’s wrong?!” Nydia asked not fully understanding what it was about reporters.

 

“The-the ki-kiss! Everyone’s going to call me a- a playboy!” Yūri wailed as his mind immediately thought of how his supporters and fans would react. Nydia left Yūri to Tonton wanting to know what exactly was written and how bad could it be before Zara calls all of them for a ‘talk’.

 

“Ah, Yūri you forgot to wear your glasses.” Nydia lamented the fact that now everyone knew what Yūri looked like without his glasses off the ice.

 

“Seriously?” Tonton asked as he comforted Yūri.

 

“Let’s trust in Zara and Aliyah’s capabilities besides the article was certainly written in a positive tone and no ill-intent as far as I know.” Nydia answered and gathered Yūri in her arms and comfortingly whispered at the whimpering skater,

 

“Yūri, if things get bad we still won’t leave your side you know?”

 

“That’s not it! I-I don’t want to ruin your dreams af-after all of you helped me!” Yūri cried and Nydia’s hands never left nor stopped rubbing his back.

 

“No one’s dreams are getting ruined, Yūri. I know that you’re worried for our sakes but please remember we’ve done worse and we’re still here.”

 

Tonton nodded and ran his fingers through Yūri’s hair as the boy let out another whimper.

 

“Yūri, comparing this to that time you flirted at every handsome and pretty stranger in the streets of Detroit that one was arguably worse.”

 

“What if people find that out too?!” Yūri panicked harder and Nydia shot Tonton a glare.

 

“Oh, Mon cher…” (Oh, My dear) Nydia crooned, “Zara and Aliyah has our backs and we are fairly liked back at Detroit.”

 

“We have enough good publicity to drown out whatever bad publicity the rags would spin.” Tonton added as Yūri’s tears abated.

 

“Yep and with Phichit’s daily documentary we’re pretty much safe from whatever the naysayers would do.” Nydia assured him as she wiped his tears away and gave him tissue to blow his snot.

 

“Now, why don’t we all have a sleepover, it’s been a long time coming.” Nydia offered as soon as Yūri had cleaned up himself.

 

“Vicchan too?” He asked.

 

“Vicchan too.” Nydia confirmed.

 

“The dog would sleep between you two.” Tonton informed them looking at Vicchan warily.

 

Yūri and Nydia laughed and agreed to the terms, they all went ahead to get ready for the night after ensuring that all doors and windows were locked properly and the burglar alarm was on. The three were blissfully unaware that the article was just the beginning of a very troublesome misunderstanding that would bite them all in the ass three years later.

 


 

 

Today was the day of the Men’s Senior Division Free Skate Program and Viktor had been unsuccessful in his first attempt to get Yūri’s attention during the Short Program. However this time he was going to ensure that Yūri would know that he was skating for him. Especially since Yūri was set to go last. Viktor didn’t care that Yūri already had two lovers, he was quite handsome himself and wouldn’t look out of place besides Yūri and his two lovers.

He was not expecting that he’d meet the person who had ignited the fire in his heart during the warm-ups. Katsuki Yūri was far more beautiful up close and in person and Viktor was speechless.

 

“Oh! Um, So-sorry, Viktor!”

 

He was also unabashedly cute despite being nervous and Viktor could feel his face heating up.

 

“Vi-viktor?”

 

“Yūri!” He happily chirped and decided to try his luck, “I’ve watched your short program! It was so beautiful!”

 

“I am glad to meet you here! Have you met with Chris? He’s my friend you know and he’s also a fan!” Viktor added completely unaware of the effect he had with Yūri who was having trouble processing what he had just heard.

 

“T-thank you, It means a lot coming from you!” Yūri managed to say as he looked at Viktor straight in the eyes.

 

“Yū~ri, after the event would you like to have dinner with me?” Viktor asked as he went inside Yūri’s personal space and amped up his charm.

 

“U-um, I would like too-“ At this Viktor’s face brightened and Yūri almost forgot what he was about to say but thankfully able to still say it, “but I leave immediately since I have to prepare for my finals.”

 

“O-oh.”

 

Viktor couldn’t hide his disappointment and Yūri who had never wanted to make anyone said hastened to say,

 

“We could exchange numbers if you want.”

 

And Viktor, who had stopped caring about his public image, brightened at that like a lovesick idiot and happily dragged Yūri away from the rink and out of it to exchange numbers and other social networking ids. Both of them were completely on their own world that neither noticed the reporter clicking his camera away to write a new article about Japan’s Ace and Russia’s Star.

If one were to ask Yūri if he had ever imagined that he would end up in this situation, exchanging SNS IDs and phone numbers with his idol Viktor Nikiforov, he would stutter out a denial before his mind would wander to the daydreams he had when his idol would finally acknowledge him as a fellow skater. But right now this was a reality and he was for the first time skating in the same ice as Viktor.

Yūri couldn’t help the small smile that showed on his face as Viktor was obviously nervous with his fumbling around for his phone. Viktor notices this his face changing from an embarrassed one to a pout quickly. Yūri giggles at this,

 

“Sorry, sorry, It’s just that you could have just ask for my phone instead.”

 

Viktor realizes that not only was that true it would have save them time for more important matters, like talking to each other and getting to know each other better, Viktor whines at Yūri and feels so utterly happy and some other unnamed feelings as well as Yūri hands him his phone.

 

“Oh! Is this your pet?!” Viktor skillfully ignores the fact that Yūri’s lovers were also included in the picture Yūri had chosen as his home screen.

 

“Ah! Yes!” Yūri then blushes so cutely Viktor wanted to kiss him then and there but refrained. “Her name is Vicchan.”

 

Viktor didn’t believe in cupid’s arrows but he was quite sure that by now his heart was already filled with a thousand arrows from Yūri’s endearing persona.

 

“So cute! It makes me want to bring Makacchin too!” Viktor was so happy, that as he sent himself a friend request and memorized Yūri’s twitter and IG account as well as placing his number under his name and placing a heart emoji after it, he was unaware of Yakov’s darkening face and coming towards them.

 

“Let’s set up a play date for them!” Viktor suggested, forgetting about distance and the competition he was participating in.

 

Yūri laughs at his suggestion though without any malice, and reminds Viktor, “We live in two different countries remember?”

 

“Ah! No way~!” Viktor whined and as Yūri burst into another set of cute giggles, Viktor couldn’t help the bashful look on his face and just as he was about to suggest something to Yūri, Yakov had pulled on his ear and started reprimanding him,

 

“Vitya! You idiot! I told you to practice and not bother other skaters!”

 

“But Yakov! I wasn’t bothering Yūri at all!” Viktor whined as he tried to free his ear from Yakov’s tight hold.

 

“Yūri, it’s your turn on the ice now!” Nydia had skillfully interrupted knowing that Yūri would not know what to say and so Yūri had left Viktor to the mercy of his coach.

 

Everyone looks at him as he enters the ice and Yūri, would’ve cowered at that but he’s past that, he ignores the looks and skates to the center of the rink. Nydia nods at him, and presses play. Beyond the Veil by Lindsey Stirling begins and the whole rink is stupefied with the transformation.

Gone is the nervous boy with slightly unsure steps, in his place is a young man who was finally tasting adventure. And which glide, jump, spin that he makes everyone knows who to watch out for, because no one can make music the same way Katsuki Yūri does, his program tells of the story finding something unexpectedly not knowing that it was wanted nor needed.

This was the story of how he met his friends, the rising tempo of the violin and changing pace of the music, the soft drums on the back ground. This was him falling into a place he had never known until he took that hand that had reached out to him. This was his fear, his excitement, his anxiety, his hesitance, his joy all rolled into one as a music.

If the Short Program was created from the support his friends gave. Then his Free Skate was his thanks, this was his story before and after he met his friends and how it had changed him as a figure skater and as Katsuki Yūri.

Viktor could only watch with awe and admiration as Yūri performs his free skate again at the competition. He is dethroned but he doesn’t care, not in the way the world expects him too. There is no resentment, no ill-will towards the beauty of Katsuki Yūri. There is only awe and admiration, Viktor could never take his eyes off the younger man. Viktor knows that he is walking towards them, towards Yūri who makes his surrounding warm and lighter, all he knows is that he wants to know more and be with this beautiful human being who surprises him.

The irony of the situation is this, Viktor’s Chance led him to Yūri. This was his serendipity but Yūri’s Chance does not lead him to Viktor, Yūri’s serendipity led him to his friends instead. And so Yūri goes back to his second home in Detroit, blissfully unaware of having taken with him not only his first gold medal from a very large competition but also taking with him a heart that bleeds love for him.

The greatest irony of the situation is that no one knows of love yet. They are all still wet behind their ears floundering in the harsh reality of life and still naive enough to fully comprehend the world outside their own life. Whether it was fate or something else, Katsuki Yūri was the one who would lead everyone to their own serendipity.

Chapter Text

Life after the Worlds, after dethroning the favorite Viktor Nikiforov, after finally being his country’s pride and proving himself to everyone and most especially to his own fragile mind changed his life at the same time it didn’t. Katsuki Yūri, Japan’s Ace, Top Male Figure Skater and First Time Worlds Champion and world record breaker, still led life the same way he did. His friends were still the same, still slightly manic (like him), still moving mountains and oceans for friendship, still infuriating at times, all of them are still the same and yet they’ve changed too. Yūri can’t quite wrap his mind around that, though he supposes that all of this is could be attributed to the fact that they’ve all seen each other’s shortcomings, grown used to each other’s oddities, known each other’s deepest secrets and even made a book out of it that whatever glamour would have been cast doesn’t happen.

And Yūri is thankful for that.

He’s not used being stopped on the way to classes for pictures, but he does and thanks people for giving him support, he isn’t used on being given free drinks when not with either one of his friends but he accepts them graciously and lives a generous tip behind. He isn’t used on being called for interviews or invited to shows but he does attend the ones he could afford to attend to, he has Zara to thank for that. But most importantly he isn’t used on receiving people’s numbers with ‘call me xx’  in receipts or any pieces of paper or whatever solid surface.

Thankfully, Nydia had taught him how to handle such things ever since Zara decided that it was better if they just went along with the flow by being ambiguous.

 

“People like rumours, Yūri,” Zara told him when he had asked why, “and no one would be contented with the fact that all of us are just touch starved, Nydia especially.”

 

And somehow that decision had ended up creating a bet, The Bet as Xia Zhen said on a moment of insanity as she rode down the high of finally sliding down the pole graciously. Which of course brought him to the current situation.

Today was his first competition after Worlds and he had brought Xia Zhen with him after an intense battle of rock paper scissors erupted in their living room back in their home at Detroit. He was participating in Asian Trophy and Xia Zhen had come with him in place of Celestino. Yūri didn’t mind as he knew that Phichit would need Celestino for his Senior Debut at another competition. Of course the situation had nothing to do with Xia Zhen being his date, in the very loosest meaning of the term, but rather with the hordes of fans that came to greet him.

He hasn’t gotten used to annoyance of their screams and he was sure that they were disturbing the place and even the airport security personnel didn’t seem to be used to this kind of fans. And Xia Zhen was already clinging to him, in a very subtle manner but Yūri had known her long enough to see that she was very much afraid of the fans and experiencing culture shock, so he decided to take a pause in his walking and shouted over the loud cacophony of the noise,

 

“Please don’t push and shout over the security!”

 

And the noise died as if the holy spirit just descended the day Jesus got baptized by John the Baptist and God spoke to the people to announce his child, or so it went according Nydia and Tonton, Yūri still wasn’t sure if his friends were telling the truth because it wouldn’t be a farfetched thought that they were prone to dramatizing everything and well Nydia’s quips about what her country does when it comes to religious activities were well sometimes outrageous.

But when Xia Zhen whispered softly,

 

“This is just like Jesus getting baptized.”

 

Yūri decided that his friends were in fact telling the truth. Though he felt uncomfortable with using a deity as a comparison for what he did though.

 

“Thank you.” He finally said to his fans and gave an apologetic smile to the security personnel who had an easier job of escorting him out of the airport and into a waiting taxi. Though he did answer a question that was asked just as he entered the cab,

 

“Mr. Katsuki who are you with?”

 

“I’m with my Qīn Xia Zhen.” He smiled at them sweetly and waved them off.

 

All the while unaware of Xia Zhen’s bright red face and soft smile on her face as she too waved his fans good bye while never taking her eyes off him.

 

 

Arriving at rink after dropping off their things on the hotel with Xia Zhen was a nice change. Xia Zhen didn’t flirt with every single person that caught her eye nor try to play overseas wingman for Nydia the way Tonton does. Yūri liked how Xia Zhen preferred talking and making jokes with him, it was far more comfortable and wouldn’t stress him out the way Tonton’s serial flirting would. With Xia Zhen the most he would worry about her would be the fact that she’d probably give very sarcastic comments that would rival Nydia’s.

 

“Yūri, I’ve set up the skype call.” Xia Zhen calls out to him and he skates to her, taking a break from his warm-ups.

 

“Can we really refine this without Celestino’s help?” Yūri asked as he saw everyone in their group come online one by one.

 

Even Phichit who should be with Celestino right now. Sometimes Yūri hated how slow he could be, especially when Celestino’s face was the one that greeted him first.

After doing the initial greetings, Yūri continued practicing and refining the steps on his program trusting both his own judgement and his coach’s on how to make his program better. There were times though that Yūri worried whether Celestino felt like his friends were stealing his job but from the way Celestino interacted with his friends he feels like this was a baseless worry especially since his friends, Tonton and Aliyah, were more often than not helping out at the club by giving an outsider insight to the younger members of the club.

 

‘Though maybe, it has to do more with Tonton and Aliyah being attractive.’ Yūri thought as he went through his step sequences.

 

The music ended and Yūri did his final pose, not breaking a sweat at all. Xia Zhen clapped and from the sounds that he could hear from the center of the rink, everyone was impressed. Yūri smiled at their general direction and skated back to Xia Zhen who handed him a hand towel and a water bottle.

Celestino went over his program and pointed out his unsteady quad salchow, his shaky landings, and sloppy turns and was instructed to practice all three for the day until he got it better. Though not without a reminder to Xia Zhen to make sure Yūri did rest, and a very stern one for Yūri to take it easy. Both of them nodded and Celestino gave the floor to Tonton who gave him a new exercise routine on top of the regular ones they conducted for the program to make sure Yūri wouldn’t experience any trouble one he was done with this season’s program.

Aliyah then told him that Nydia had a contact in Thailand that could do his make-up and hairdo for him. He thanked them both for that before asking why Nydia was silent and only sending stickers as answers.

 

“The idiot forgot where she was and thought that she could take the heavy rain that Detroit pours.” Zara answered from across the speakers Nydia’s pitiful whine resounded.

 

“Nydia! We should’ve shared the umbrella if your body can’t take the rain.” Phichit replied and Nydia’s face masked and teary eyed face looked directly at the cam as she typed.

 

Better me than you.

 

Yūri sighed and decided to ignore Phichit’s blushing face and Nydia’s embarrassed looking ones. He really doesn’t understand why Nydia can’t just date Phichit already.

His first day at Thailand ends without much fanfare though he does take Xia Zhen sight seeing around Thailand with Phichit’s recommendations as their guide and makes sure to drop by Phichit’s home and greet his family and generally get baby photos of Phichit per Nydia’s orders.

It was the first time he was having fun in a competition. He thanked Xia Zhen for that as they finally took a rest and decided to finally succumb to jetlag.

 

Yūri wasn’t able to interact with his fellow skaters until the third day of the competition just after his short program. Though the only one he truly interacted with was a Swiss figure skater named Christopher Giacometti whom he easily striked up a friendship with due to mutual pole-dancing classes and the fact that he was used to his friends being touch starved so Chris being handsy was nothing he couldn’t handle.

Which of course led to the four of them; him, Xia Zhen, Chris, and Chris’ boyfriend going out at night to experience the Thai Nightlife, club hopping ended at a strip club and by the next morning Yūri woke up to him and Xia Zhen sharing a bed. Thankfully they still (mostly) had their clothes on, Yūri doesn’t think he can live his life knowing that Xia Zhen, who at mornings was the fashion police, would have criticized his briefs.

Though he did wake up Xia Zhen once he was done with his shower, knowing that she’d feel much better and be less culpable on judging people’s fashion choices behind her shades if she felt more human. Knowing that he was competing today brought Yūri nerves and he knew that he was on social media blackout starting at this moment. So with only a smidgen of hesitance turned off the notifications on his phone excepting ones from his friends and family, and the fanfiction sites he registered at via Nydia’s insistence.

Upon arriving at the venue, Yūri was once more crowded by the novice and junior skaters all of which seemed to want his autograph and pictures. He happily took one with them and shyly posed for a few ones and took a group picture with Xia Zhen on his arms. He thanked everyone who wished him luck and cheered him on.

 

“I’ll be waiting for all of you on the senior division, so don’t give up okay?” He told the junior skaters all of which were pleased and happily waved him good-bye.

 

Though he did ended up surprised with Chris suddenly groping his butt and laughingly slapped his hand away.

 

“Chris! What would your boyfriend think?” Yūri teased as the two fell into conversation.

 

“Oh! The bae wouldn’t mind but what would your bae think?” Chris replied with a wink that made Xia Zhen blushed though she did quickly regain her composure and answered,

 

“A foursome maybe a bit much for me…” She trailed off and expertly delivered the finishing blow by looking at Yūri, “but I’m not quite sure about Yūri though.”

 

Yūri gaped and felt utterly betrayed as he went on to discredit Xia Zhen though he couldn’t help but think that he was being overly dramatic.

 

‘Probably, Nydia’s fault.’ Yūri thought at the back of his head. All too willing to blame his friend for all of the dramatics he was catching on.

 

“My, Yūri! You didn’t tell me you were such a monster in bed.” Chris joined in on the teasing all too happy to see that Yūri Katsuki was far more approachable than first glance.

 

“Chris!!!” Yūri screeched in a scandalized tone as the three of them went on with their conversation. Completely and utterly uncaring of the people who were hearing this.

 

Yūri decided then and there as he saw Xia Zhen diligently work as his stand-in coach that he would skate his free skate for her. It was the only way he knew he could thank her for what she does and as he steps on the ice and dances for her, Yūri knew that while he was happy, this kind of happiness was different from the one he felt when he had skated for Nydia, for the rest of his friends. The music starts and everyone knew that something had changed.

Everything was still the same but the overall feeling had changed. Because Yūri was skating for Xia Zhen who was gentle and firm at the same time, Xia Zhen with her beauty, which was commonly depicted on Chinese light novels, cheering him on with her own language. Sharing her culture with him and expanding his world with each tidbit of her life before her family migrated from Taiwan. And as he fell into his ending pose, his eyes searched for his dear friend and easily found her to deliver her a thankful smile. He waved at the audience, skated around after thanking the judges and pick up some gifts before finally skating over to the kiss and cry.

The two of them nervously awaited for his score grasping each other’s hands and when Xia Zhen had hugged him happily and told him his score, Yūri couldn’t stop the giddy feeling in his heart,

229.21

 

 

Yūri brought home his first gold after Worlds that day leaving Thailand with new memories, and a new friend who understood his love for the ice. As the plane flew in the night sky, Xia Zhen was leaning on his arm, fast asleep and smiling happily, Yūri kissed her hair on the top of her head, and softly whispered to her,

Xiè xie nǐ, Xia Xia.” (Thank you, Xia Xia)


 

“Okay! Yūri’s Competition Date Battle Royale Begin!”

“Nydia, is there really a need for this?”

“Yes!”

“Oh, I got the king~!”

“Congrats, Aliyah!”

“Guess, you can’t use Yūri as an excuse to not do your first fashion show huh?”

“Fuck off.”

Zara merely sighed after Nydia sulked on the couch.

 


 

 

After a lot of bargaining (on Nydia’s part) Yūri’s next competition led him to Sydney, Australia for the Skate Down Under that would last for 3 days starting on August 20 and ending on 22. They had arrived there a day early to give Yūri a lot of practice time though they had only ended up sightseeing and catching a show in the Opera house which took one hour travel time from the rink. Yūri was starting to get used to fighting off his jetlag and genuinely enjoyed taking pictures with Aliyah on the Botanical Garden.

Though they did have to take a lot of pictures due to Nydia’s request for references she would need for her first fashion show.

By the end of the day, the two of them had dinner by the docks and went back to their cheap hotel to get ready for Yūri’s whole day practice.

Yūri found out how vastly different Aliyah’s coaching was from Xia Zhen’s. Where Xia Zhen would give her input and then let him skate, Aliyah would give him a list to work on and then have him perform how he did it up close before pointing out what exactly was wrong while looking at Tonton’s notes. Aliyah didn’t bother to sugar coat her words, reminding him of Minako-sensei, but Yūri did appreciate how Aliyah would massage him every time he would take a break.

His heart had warmed with her answer,

 

“You need your body in top condition, right? As your fan and friendcoach this is one of the ways I could look out for you.” Aliyah then deftly massaged his left calf as she added,

“Besides I’m the only one patient enough to give you a whole body massage.”

 

Yūri had laughed at that until Aliyah quipped,

 

“Though Nydia’s the one who would give you a Happy Ending.”

 

“Aliyah!” Yūri had screeched as he hit his friend in a scandalized manner.

 

“Oh my god, Yūri!” Aliyah dodged Yūri’s hit all the while laughing as Yūri went for a cool-down.

 

Yūri spent the next day with light practice until it was finally time for the second day’s last event. The Senior Short Program for Men was held at 8:00 in the evening and Yūri was the last one to skate. As he let himself get lost in his program, Yūri noticed how much he had changed since he first skated his program. It felt much smoother and more fluid than before and Yūri enjoyed that feeling with each jump and spin he did.

Yūri was looking forward to how much further could he change with his skating. His short program gets a score of 92.45 and places first.

It was a new personal best and Yūri knew that no matter what happened to him, as long as he had his friends by his side. He would be fine.

 

“Yūri! Congratulations on your new personal best!” Aliyah had happily lunged at him and he cradled her into his arms. Glad to have such a happy friend like her.

 

He ends up sleeping through the next day only waking up when at 1 in the afternoon. Yūri didn’t even realize how tired he was yesterday but seeing how Aliyah had already readied everything for him, Yūri didn’t mind sleeping in. His heart was calm and though he was slightly nervous it was nothing he couldn’t handle.

His free skate may have suffered a bit but Yūri couldn’t begrudge the gold winner and happily congratulated his fellow skater. Aliyah’s happy smile and the new friend he made a Russian named Georgi was worth it. He leaves Sydney with a wistful heart and a new friend, he wonders what lonely 15 year old Yūri would have felt if he knew that 6 years later he’d have a plethora of friends and a closer bond with his family.


 

“As an advance birthday gift, Nydia can accompany Yūri to his next competition.” Zara announced to everyone who was in the living room barring Nydia who stumbled into the small room and shouted,

“This time! This time! For sure I’ll win!”

““““…””””

“Huh?”

Everyone clapped and said, “You already won by pity.”

“…I hate you all.” Nydia said through her pitiful looking face and went over to Yūri who accepted her with open arms.


 

Yūri’s next tournament was the U.S. Classic held on Saltlake City with his event being on the first two days it left Yūri a lot of time to take Nydia out and have fun. His training session with Nydia was one filled with laughs and more often than not he had forgotten he was competing. It was only after he had won gold with his score of 250.21 did he realize that it was Nydia’s own way of helping him beat his anxiety.

He decided to take her to the Museum and Nydia’s excited face and happy smile was rewarding enough. Yūri had seen a side of Nydia he had never known and didn’t mind how his usually sarcastic friend was genuinely enjoying her time and it was really a nice break from her sarcastic and deadpan jokes.

 

“Yūri! They even have an entire section for poisons!” Nydia had happily squeaked out and with stars in her eyes Nydia looked cute.

 

Though Yūri wished she’d stop planting poisonous plants in their garden.

 

“Ny, please calm down.” He said with a small laugh and allowed himself to be dragged by Nydia deeper into the museum.

 

“I shan’t!”

 

They ended their date on the Planetarium and Yūri learned how Nydia loved the stars. She pointed out her favorite ones and thought him constellations as well as finding his star sign but what he could never forget was the way she had spoken when she found the Summer Triangle.

 

“Ah, I know this one.” Yūri said when she had listed the stars.

 

“Un. It’s celebrated in japan right? Tanabata.” Nydia replied, her eyes never leaving the stars as the narrator droned on. Yūri looked at his dear friend and saw for the first time, a Nydia without her sharp edges.

 

“Orihime-sama and Hikoboshi-sama were sweethearts that became star-crossed lovers,” Nydia told him, her eyes soft and seemingly seeing something else “I always thought that Tentei-sama was too mean, They were in love but they had to be separated, meeting once a year. There’s not enough time in a day to spend in the arms of your beloved…”

 

Yūri didn’t want to speak, didn’t want to ruin this fragile feeling between them. He was standing on the precipice of the unknown and Nydia held an ethereal feel right now. It was enchanting hearing her speak softly with something indiscernible in her voice.

 

“Could you imagine it? To be apart with the person you love so much that the whole world seemed to fade away, being a part from them and only meeting them once a year. It’s too cruel isn’t it? But still knowing that once was better than none at all…I wonder…”

 

“Nydia?” Yūri whispered.

 

It was soft, hesitant.

 

“…Yūri, thank you for taking me out for the day.”

 

Just before they leave to go back to Detroit, Yūri learns what the feeling of having a one-sided rivalry is. Jean-Jacques Leroy was the gold medalist of the junior division and the kid was by all means an excitable and loud person.

 

“Yūri, Wait for my senior debut! I’ll definitely win against you!” The young man who was just a scant few centimeters shorter than him said.

 

“Ah, JJ right?” Was all he could muster being completely caught on surprise.

 

“That’s right! I’ll defeat your style with mine!” JJ replied.

 

“You can do it, JJ!” The girl, whom Yūri assumed to be the kid’s girlfriend cheered from his side.

 

It was really a surreal experience.

Yūri could only laugh awkwardly before he decided to just end the conversation with a joke, “In that case, you better think of a name for your style, okay?”

And like magic the kid’s eyes sparkled and from beside him Nydia and JJ’s girlfriend shook hands.

 

“Isabella.”

 

“Nydia.”

 

Yūri only choke up the exchanged the two girls had as womanly telepathic conversation.

To JJ he added,

 

“I’ll wait for you in the senior division. Do your best.”

 

Yūri leaves Saltlake City with the air of a person who knew that reality was indeed stranger than fiction. Though he is dying of curiosity in knowing about what exactly went down between Nydia and Isabella, he shrugs it off and decides to just wait and see what happens.

 


 

“I’ll be going with Yūri to Milan.”

“...why?”

“I’ve always wanted to visit Italy.”

The oppressive silence was broken by Nydia’s reply, “Art materials please.”

“Deal.”


 

 

Milan was a beautiful city and Yūri agreed with Zara’s tastes in aesthetics. By now, Yūri had learned how to fix himself though he still had a long way to go before he could put make-up on his face. For this he was incredibly thankful for Zara who easily applied make-up within 5 minutes.

The Lombardia Trophy which took place in Sesto San Giovanni was a four day event starting from the 19th of September and ending the 22nd. The first two days were spent with a strict training schedule Zara had created on the fly and Yūri would never cease being amazed by how good his friend’s time management skills were. Yūri hardly felt tired or exhausted by the time his competition day rolled in, Zara had somehow miraculously fitted in a sight-seeing trip that doubled as his training exercise in two days while she enjoyed buying souvenirs for herself and then some for her friends.

And then there was the fact that Nydia had given Zara one of her credit cards (courtesy of Sugar Daddy #1) for them to use in Italy for the sake of her art materials. Yūri had a new found admiration for artists.

Of course the Lombardia Trophy also led them, or more likely him, to the Crispino Twins, Michele and Sara.

It had happened while he and Zara were getting back on the rink for their time and found the Sara having a trouble with her quad toe salchow.

Yūri remembering Tonton’s advice and Aliyah’s input said as soon as Sara had gotten up from her fall,

 

“Your feet isn’t positioned properly, you’re off by two degrees.”

 

“Wh-what! Are you saying my Sara can’t see her own faults?!” An angry look-a-like suddenly appeared in front of Yūri.

 

“Yes and No. She knows something’s wrong but can’t tell what. I did, so I told her.” Yūri replied with a deadpan tone that would’ve made Nydia proud.

 

“Yūri Katsuki, Japan.” He then introduced himself to the sputtering male.

 

“Michele Crispino…Italy.” Michele said with a tinge of embarrassment.

 

“Zara Arora. Yūri’s lover and other coach among others.” Zara decided enter the awkward conversation before turning to the girl on ice and her coach,

 

“I have a first aid kit here, she might need it.”

 

Under normal circumstances Yūri would’ve made an enemy with what he had just did but Zara’s grace saved him from that. Yūri, knowing this,  gave the Italian skaters an apologetic smile and assisted Zara as much as he could. Gaining Michele’s respect and Sara’s admiration in turn, after giving them a few more pointers Yūri practiced with Zara once more, this time refining his quads and attempting a quad flip.

 

“You over rotated on the flip.” Zara informed him as he went for a cool down, “but the landing was good so we need to work on your estimation.”

 

“Okay, anything else?”

 

“…Since I’m not an expert at this, you shouldn’t take what I say next to heart.”

 

Yūri nodded and Zara exhaled, “You’ve perfected the program both short and free but now it feels less.”

 

“Ah.”

 

“Your selling point is the humanity of your program Yūri. What were you thinking about when you skated?”

 

Yūri is silent for a moment before he gives up and answers,

 

“Nothing.”

 

Zara pursed her lips and Yūri felt anxious, “Yūri, you skate better when you feel…”

 

“I know.” Yūri answered with wry grin. He knew that at the same time he also knew that it was a double-edge sword.

 

“Do you have anyone you can skate for?” Zara asked and Yūri looked at her straight in the eyes found himself staring at her concerned look.

 

He smiles.

 

“I do now.”

 

Yūri doesn’t win gold and loses to the Philippine representative but even so his silver doesn’t weigh like failure on his tongue. He smiles for the camera and found answers he wasn’t looking for in Milan. Yūri is at peace with that. Zara had showed him something that would’ve cut his career short and for that he is thankful so he leaves Milan with new found friends, Sara who won her first gold and her twin Michele who placed fourth.

The reporters at Italy tell how gracious Yūri Katsuki of Japan is for his sportsmanship and humility. Gossip rags talk about his latest conquest, though by now no one really cares especially since everyone Yūri had been seen with only had smiles on their faces.

 


 

Yūri ends up staying in Europe for his next competition in Germany, Zara had long since returned to Detroit and Yūri manages on his own. The Crispino twins visit him as much as they could to keep him company days before Celestino arrives for him. He trains with the twins and stumbles into a Seung-gil Lee. Who reminds him of Nydia whenever she met someone new.

Eventually, Yūri learns once he is practicing alone with Seung-gil, that the junior skater was here to observe how the senior division was competitively.

Yūri realizes that Seung-gil was deciding whether he was going to continue or not. Somehow seeing how much fun the younger skater was having on ice made Yūri speak out his mind,

 

“Are you fine not stepping in the same ice as Viktor Nikiforov?”

 

Seung-gil glanced at him, “It’s easy for you to say.”

 

And Yūri knows where he’s coming from. Even now, months since winning his first gold at Worlds against Viktor still felt like it was a dream. That he’d wake up soon and find himself back at his miserable life before Nydia.

 

“True. But once isn’t enough.” Yūri replies honestly which shocks both of them.

 

“I’ve talked with Viktor regularly but even so, I still want to win against him. Prove to myself that it wasn’t a fluke.” Yūri continues and Seung-gil listens. “I want to continue skating in the same ice as Viktor for as long as I can…what about you?”

 

Seung-gil remains silent for a long time and Yūri fears that he has overstepped his bounds but he catches the flicker of something in Seung-gil’s eyes and he waits.

Seung-gil doesn’t disappoint,

 

“You’re a bit of bastard but…please wait for me in my senior debut next season.”

 

Yūri laughs and tells his new friend that he can’t wait to compete in the same ice as him. And then so as to further cement the bastard comment proceeds to tell Seung-gil all the problems in his skating. Yūri worries that Tonton and Nydia is influencing him a bit too much before he remembers that all of his friends were bastards and he relaxes.

Yūri wins gold at Germany and as a present for his three Japanese fans that came to support him. He takes them out on a date and the four of them had fun all the while reminiscing about their home country. Yūri tells his fans to visit Hasetsu sometime and gives them a 30% discount for when they decide to take a vacation.


 

“Okay! Ako naman! It's my time to shine! Showtime!” (Okay! It’s me this time!) Tonton announces on top of the living room table.

“Love charms.” Nydia merely replies and Yūri hopes that Tonton won’t start another long distance relationship.


 

 

He returns to Japan a week early in preparation for the Japan Open in Saitama, he brings Tonton with him in Hasetsu and takes his time in catching up with his family and friends all of which are happy to see him again. He cries for a bit when reunited with his family and laughs upon hearing how Nydia arrived and feels relief flood his heart once he learns that Hasestu’s tourism had grown. His whole family ends up with him in Saitama, their neighbors happily agreeing to manage the inn while the whole family has a reunion.

The time he spent on Japan fills the absence in his heart and this shows in his performance. It gives his program a new feeling, makes it more meaningful than the last and it shows with how his family cries as he finishes for the gold. Yūri left his home to follow his dreams and for the first time, the doubts that he had buried deep in his heart is gone.

For the first time since his win at the World’s Yūri realizes that the homesickness and longing for his mother’s cooking was worth it. He gives his gold to his mother and cries with his family. The media eats up their tearing reunion but Yūri doesn’t care, has learned to stop caring about what is written about him and learned to care about what the ones that matter to him say. He finally truly felt like he was winning against his own demons.

Yūri ends up staying a bit more in the empty rink, just sitting and thinking about how far he’d come. The season is half-way over and October would pass by in a blink. He smiles at this, feeling young and old at the same time.

 

“Um.” A voice interrupts him from his reverie and he turns to see a kid, much younger than him fidget in front of him.

 

He smiles at the kid warmly and greets, “Hello.”

 

The kid blushes and stammers, “I-I’m Ke-kenjirou Minami! I’ve been looking up to you for a long time now!”

 

Yūri is surprised by that. He doesn’t think he’ll ever get used to that saying but he knows that even with his insecurities, there is a warmth blossoming in his heart. Seeing the earnest and shining eyes of kid that reminds him of himself.

 

“Thank you, Minami-san.” He says, with respect. And he knows he did right with the bashful grin Minami gives him.

 

“Yu-Yūri-sempai doesn’t have to be so polite to me! I-um-“

 

“You’ll be skating until you reach the senior division right?” Yūri says instead.

 

“Ye-yesh!Eh? Sempai, how do you know I skate?”

 

Yūri smiles at him and simply says, “I’ll be waiting for you in the senior division so don’t give up, Minami-san.”

 

He smiles at Minami’s coach and leaves his cute fan with his autograph. Yūri wishes he could continue being someone the younger generation could look up to. Yūri decides that he’d do that along with his dreams and leaves Japan with a light heart and relit flame of his dreams.


 

“I’m taking Phichit.” Yūri declares and earns a hug and a kiss on the cheek from Phichit.

 


 

Belarus brings him Yuri Plitesky. A young Russian junior skater, he knows by the fact that Yurio shares the same rink as Viktor. Yūri never imagined that he’d skate in the same competition as Yurio whom he had only ever heard as a passing mention from Viktor.

Both of them were competing in Ice Star and by chance had bumped to each other in the middle of Phichit’s Instagram spree.

 

“Oh, you’re Yuri Plitesky aren’t you?” Yūri said upon recognizing the grumpy face that they had bumped into.

 

“You- you know me?” Yurio had said with a barely hidden admiration and disbelief.

 

“Of course, Viktor should watch for you.” Yūri says and then adds, “How are you doing by the way?”

 

Because he had heard from Viktor, who had heard in passing, that Yurio was the main earner for his family. He worries because he doesn’t want to see a bright child lose his dreams and Yurio felt Yūri, his idol’s, sincerity.

 

“I- I’m getting by.” Yurio managed to say, shame filling his body.

 

“Yurio, Can I call you that?”

 

“Huh? Yeah.”

 

Yūri smiles and Yurio’s face reddens.

 

“It might take time but if anyone in your family knows how to sew clothes well, tell them to call this number.” Yūri says and gives Yurio Nydia’s phone number.

 

“I’m not some charity case!” Yurio snarled.

 

“No. You aren’t.” Yūri says calmly, “I’m doing this more for myself than you.”

 

“Wh-what?”

 

“Viktor isn’t getting younger with each year,” Yūri explains and Phichit winces at this, “but you? You can surpass Viktor and myself easily once you hit the senior division.”

 

At this Phichit chimes in, “That number is my friend’s right now she’s taking the fashion industry by storm and she’s opening her first international branch in Russia. She needs talented seamstresses.”

 

“Of course, you’ll get a referral fee too if you pass it on.” Yūri adds and he knows that Yurio had taken it hook, line and sinker.

 

“You’ll wait for me alright!” Yurio declared as he clutched on the front of Yūri’s clothes and Yūri smiles at him, eyes filled with satisfaction and determination.

 

“Senior Division.” Yūri assures him.

 

Beside him Phichit sighs as Yurio walks away from them, back straight and looking like a soldier going into war.

 

“The Katsuki Yūri Effect strikes again.”

 

“Eh?”

 

“Don’t mind it, Yūri.” Phichit merely answers and Yūri is left confused with what he had just experience.

 

He leaves Belarus knowing that something changed within him again but he doesn’t know what, he returns to Detroit with Phichit and his silver medal along with the news that Yurio lost, courtesy of Viktor, but is greeted by the news that Nydia had found a promising branch manager for her Russian branch in Moscow.

He smiles and the heavy feeling in his heart eases.

 


 

Yūri goes to Romania for the Crystal Skate without a date. He is thankful for that and feeling nostalgic with Celestino now that it was just the two of them again. They fall easily into their routine and Celestino makes him work hard to land his quad Salchow better and practices his quad flip. Romania gives him Leo De La Iglesia a junior skater from America.

This is where Yūri starts to think that maybe the Ice is finally returning his love. Leo is young and a bit insecure around him, Yūri doesn’t know what to do so he takes a page from Nydia’s book and simply be Yūri Katsuki. Leo reminds him of Xia Zhen with his love for music, and music is what binds them together in their stay at Romania. Leo tells him of his friend, a younger junior skater by the name of Guang-Hong and Yūri smiles at their friendship.

He tells him so.

Leo blushes and thanks Yūri. They don’t talk about skating at all instead they bond over their favorite musicians, about songs that resonate in their hearts and never feeling right without music in their ears.

Crystal Skate is barely memorable to Yūri but he Leo De La Iglesia and his music is something Yūri won’t forget. He hugs Leo farewell when they part in America with promises to update each other over SNS.

He takes a long enough break to prepare for his Grand Prix Qualifier.


 

“Take Zara and Aliyah with you instead.” Xia Zhen suggested.

“Okay.” Yūri acquiesces.

 


 

Zara and Aliyah happily takes pictures in Beijing for Cup of China, a three day event that starts on the 1st day of November. Naturally, he meets Guang-Hong Ji by chance in the event venue. Yūri of course ends up discussing this with his friends via group chat only to receive hilarious replies from Nydia and Tonton who were both sleeping in the same room after watching Halloween specials from the Philippines.

Yūri doesn’t put much stock in fate but Guang-Hong was like a little brother he had always wanted and he treats him as such. And very much thankful that Zara and Aliyah who were far less crazy were his dates. Guang-Hong wouldn’t end up traumatize at all, and judging from the amount of likes Guang-Hong garners for each picture he took with them, Guang-Hong was seeing his own fans.

He wins gold in the Cup of China and realizes that the paparazzi barely focused on his “romantic life” and put more light into his recent successes. He smiles widely at that and neither of his dates miss the chance to spice up their bet.

At this Guang-Hong blushes and mutters softly,

 

“So this is what adults do.”


 

Yūri heads to Japan for the NHK Trophy and reunites with his family less tearfully this time and much longer. Celestino had decided to give him an early birthday present by arranging everything that was needed for him to stay in Japan, the university had given him an exception especially since it was leaked that he was enrolled in their university.

He eats his mother’s cooking, helps out at the inn, teaches a few classes in his home rink and spends his 22nd birthday with his family.

Snow was falling and Yūri knows that his time with his friends were even shorter, had this been before he would have been filled with a suffocating feeling and dread but in the warmth of his family, the warmth of Hasetsu seeping in his bones and settling, Yūri’s anxiety seeps away. He is happy and contented, he is learning to accept that even if he crashes down he could still stand, that he is able to stand.

 

“Yu-chan, what did you wish?” His mother asked him and he answers, bashfully.

 

“It’s a secret, Oka-san.”

 

And then Mari grabs him by the neck and ruffles his hair, teasing him about his numerous lovers and Yūri is forced to admit that they were all just playing an elaborate joke. His family laughs at this and Minako teasingly lectures him. Their merry party continues well into the night as Yūri regales his family with his exploits in Detroit (the ones that could be told anyways). Yūri knows that he has a lot of competition to prepare for.

But here back in his home for a long time, makes him take it easy.

 

Yūri wakes up the next morning with a single text from Viktor. He smiles and keeps this one close to his heart as well.

His training session with Celestino is harsher now that winter has come and Tonton had modified it to suit the season. He settles into a new routine easily and relearns his roots easily, it keeps him grounded and reminds him of his promise to himself.

He wins gold in the NHK Trophy and secures his spot in the GPX Finals.

Viktor is happy for him as well and Yūri doesn’t know what this feeling is in his heart but he likes it. Likes the warmth that he receives from Viktor that reminds him the warmth that his friends gives him. He hopes he makes Viktor feel this warmth too.


 

Viktor and Yūri meet in Fukuoka and the two happily trains together. Viktor in the flesh is exactly like Viktor in their chats. He is clingy and cheerful, Yūri points out that Viktor reminds him of Aliyah in the morning.

 

“Then should I act like Aliyah?” Viktor had asked.

 

“No. Just be Viktor.” Yūri replied with a warm smile unknowingly answering what he had thought to be a joke.

 

Viktor buried his face on Yūri’s hair and Yūri laughs at the ticklish feeling. Yūri knows that he had never been this happy before, and he says this to Viktor who admits the same.

 

“We have a lot in common then.” Yūri says as he gets out of Viktor’s hug and the two of them start skating for fun.

 

They still practice, still get scolded by their coaches, but they also made friends with their fellow competitors. Hangs out with Chris and laughs at how small the world is, they have fun and though Viktor gets the gold and Yūri ends up with bronze. He doesn’t mind because Yūri knows that he has won something far more precious than any medal.

He tells this much to the media who he had charmed long ago.

The newspaper headlines his quote,

 

“I won the friendship of Viktor and Chris, that’s worth any medal that I have.”

 

He tearfully parts with his new friends and tells them to drop by whenever he’s in Japan. And the rest of the season after this seems to pass him by. But he has captured all of it in film so he has no regrets. Yūri has pictures upon pictures of his life, mundane and whatnot and as he stands on the same ice as Viktor in the Worlds once more he knows that the best has yet to come.

 

He takes home his second gold medal from Worlds and finally looks at what the media wrote about his harem that he had brought with him. They all laugh at this together in their home in Detroit. He stops thinking about how much time he has left with his friends, Yuuri starts living in the present and hoping for the future.


 

 

Chapter Text

Viktor Nikiforov had always known that he was impulsive to a certain degree but ever since he had begun skating he knew that discipline was a very important aspect for athletes. And he had never failed in not giving in to his impulses on the things that matter except for one, and Viktor knew that he’d never regret making that decision. He knew it the same way he knew when he first stepped into the ice and fell in love with it, he knows the feeling that seeps into his bones, familiar with the bright lights and magic that he sees the first time he saw Yūri Katsuki skate on ice.

And Viktor knows that there is not enough adjectives in the world, in the different languages that humans speak, to accurately describe the beauty of Yūri Katsuki on ice and off ice. Viktor is a romantic, a cynical romantic but a romantic nonetheless. And he knows that there is something beautiful in falling for Yūri Katsuki, who is soft, kind, gentle and utterly beautiful in his humility. Viktor isn’t scared of that, he isn’t afraid of falling for such a beauty who easily steals hearts and leaves a trail of broken ones in his wake.

It is idiotic.

Viktor knows, knows that his heart might get broken if he falls for this disarmingly charming beauty who doesn’t even know the power he wields. But in that singular moment when fate had thrown their paths into each other on ice, gazing upon the brown eyes that sparkled as if it held the universe and everything in it, Viktor threw caution in the wind.

Because Katsuki Yūri is also the warmth of the fire in his childhood home during winter, the morning rays of the sun in a cold morning, the freshly brewed coffee in his hands during the storm, Katsuki Yūri warms his heart in a place he never knew had grown cold. So he takes his destiny in hand and decides to take the lead in starting something, anything, with Katsuki Yūri who would take the world and make history. Viktor wants to be with him when he does, beside Yūri and have his smile filled love and everything beautiful in the world aimed at him.

But the thing is, no one had ever told Viktor how hard it is to keep the ball rolling.

Viktor had never been a coward, even if he has to put on a bravado, he had always pushed on but right now as he debated on what to send to Yūri to finally start something between them, he is terribly and horribly at lost on what to do. It had been three days since the Worlds and he had yet to message Yūri and Viktor knows that Chris and Yūri regularly message each other and Viktor wants in on that!

He’s distracted in practice and Yakov punishes him for it and Viktor is professional enough to do as his coach says and by the time Yakov is finished with him, his muscles are groaning in protest due to added harsh regimen and Viktor is still nowhere near in finding out what to say to Yūri to start their conversation.

He wants it to be memorable, wants Yūri to fondly look back on what Viktor first sends him and say,

 

‘I never expected to receive this kind of message, from Viktor especially.’

 

And then he’d reply with,

 

‘Did I surprise you then?’

 

And then Yūri would smile at him and he’d fall for him again and whole lot more.

Viktor ends up consulting the internet and ends up at a website aimed for teens and Viktor decides he’s not that desperate yet but he does bookmark the page for future references.

He decides to send a normal greeting text and hopes for the best.

 

Viktor couldn’t believe what he had just sent and had to reread the conversation he just had with Yūri because he could not for the life of him accurately describe the feeling that is welling up within him. He had been nervous throughout the whole exchange, each minute that passes when Yūri doesn’t reply makes him think he’d overstepped his bounds like he always did. But instead he is treated by Yūri’s concern for his wellbeing and accommodating his selfishness at the same time.

Viktor can’t stop the smile on his face.

He doesn’t want to.

They’ve barely begun but Viktor has learned something about Yūri and he keeps it near his heart and goes to sleep with a smile on his face and he dreams of Yūri and his sweet smile, wishing him sweet dreams.

 

Their conversations start at the same vein. It’s always him starting it and not the other way around, Viktor tries to think of it as Yūri not wanting to disturb him during practice. But the thing is Viktor knows he’s going to end up doing something that would finally make Yūri tire of him which gives him more reason to thread carefully, or as much as he could because Yūri had always made him feel more and do things that surprises him.

He likes that feeling and likes that Yūri is the reason behind it.

He likes that he could have pieces of Yūri that no one else knows, likes the odds that maybe the Yūri he knows isn’t the Yūri everyone else’s sees or even know. And talking with Yūri is an exercise in patience even if Viktor knows that it’s only because of Yūri. It doesn’t mean however that Viktor wouldn’t try to speed up the process a little.

 

Yūri’s reply makes his heart stutter and Viktor knows that his face is red and that he’s probably doing a very weird face right now but Yūri had just told him he likes him and Viktor can’t help himself when he throws himself at Makkachin and whines happily.

“Makkachin! Yūri likes me! Could you believe it?! He likes me!” Viktor tells his closest companion and ruffles her fur and just hugs his beloved pet as his mind keeps on repeating Yūri’s confession. He hastily replied back and returns to squealing into Makkachins fur who happily allows her owner to do so and even barks.

 

Viktor is over the moon and he knows that if he is this happy with Yūri’s simple admission his heart might just burst once the thing that is budding between them is defined in the closest human term. He is so stupidly happy he ends up pushing his luck.

 

 

Yūri doesn’t reply and Viktor’s worried and anxious because what if Yūri had thought he was being creepy? He doesn’t want that at all!  

 

But all of his worries fades away when Yūri replies and with each and every message he receives, Viktor feels…happy. It’s a soft bubbling warmth pooling within him because Yūri is so so kind and makes his days better. Though Viktor wishes that Yūri wasn’t so good at returning the conversation on track because now he feels guilty for asking so much and giving so little and then Yūri goes on to name his price and Viktor had been prepared for whatever Yūri would’ve asked. He had expected it to have to do with skating, like a choreography or something but seeing it with his own eyes.

 

 

Well he could be forgiven for being an idiot since Yūri had surprised him again and filled his heart with so much warmth by now his brain is a puddle of goo.

 

(Translation: Awesome) 

It’s been a long time since he had someone who wanted to know him, really know him, and Viktor had never been more sure right now that he’d treasure this stolen moments with Yūri.

 

(Translation: Hagane= Steel)

But see, life is full of surprises and Viktor is still relearning it through his Yūri whom Viktor had taken to thinking as the very embodiment of Life itself. And Viktor had never known, could have never imagine that one drunken text from Yūri during the Asian Trophy would start everything he never knew he wanted.

 

(Translation: Stay with me forever ok, my Vitya)

Even when drunk Yūri was still so charming and Viktor doesn’t know how he’ll function tomorrow with the amount of affection Yūri had given him. He is used to being Russia’s hero used to the heaps of praises and affection given by the public but nothing had prepared him for Yūri’s.

He is Yūri’s life, Yūri’s sun, and Yūri’s treasure.

Viktor had to stay a bit longer in the rink and hide his face for a bit. He wants his heart to calm down, wants to go to Yūri and be with him even if he has to share Yūri with the rest of his lovers.  It is humbling and flattering to know such things even if Yūri is undeniable drunk in another country across the ocean.

And then Viktor remembers being called Mia Vitya and he gives in to squealing into his hands.

He thinks that maybe this is love. That this could be love. And Viktor wants it, wants it as much as he wants skating with Yūri on the same ice, and winning gold by surprising people. He goes back to his lonely apartment and talks to Makkachin. He sleeps with his beloved pet and he dreams of Yūri who looks at him with adoration in his eyes and loves him and him alone.

Viktor wakes up the next morning with a message from Yūri.

(Translation: Good Morning)

Later on he congratulates Yūri for his gold medal and new personal best.

 

 

Their messages continue but something changed ever since Yūri had texted him drunk. Viktor no longer has to wait until the scheduled time. And Yūri had taken to messaging him first and this makes him so happy that no matter how utterly apropos of nothing Yūri’s first messages of the day are, Viktor still replies honestly.  Though sometimes he wishes Yūri would stop sending him pictures that makes his heart and brain cease to function.

 

 (Translation: Take care!!)

Even so he’ll take it. Because with every message he receives from Yūri, Viktor knows he’s getting to know him better and they’re getting to know each other further.

 

And he’s starting to get used to the flirting except he’s heart still beats fast knowing that Yūri is actively flirting with him. And he likes it, likes this foreign feeling within him that isn't clear cut to him. He likes that Yūri makes him feel special and treasured.

Then there are things he realizes, slowly, with each message and tiny bit of information he gleams from his chats with Yūri. It was that Yūri rarely talked about himself without talking about others first, but Viktor thinks that he knows Yūri better that way. Yūri wasn’t someone who was just a shy, gentle and kind person. He was also snarky at times, a bit cynical, petty, devious. It was a realization that didn’t put him off but one that made him see Yūri at a different light. Someone beyond that figure skater from Japan that caught his attention, that set his heart on fire with their art. Viktor was observant to the things he had interest in, and everything about Yūri interested him, and he had observed that perhaps Yūri’s love for his lovers weren’t as impartial as the person made it look like.

 

 

Then again Viktor was also good at playing pretend. He pretends he could cook pasta. Pretends that prickly feeling in his heart as Yūri mentions Nydia once again isn’t there.

He pretends that he couldn’t see, doesn’t know a love story from unfolding right before his eyes.

(Sometimes Viktor feels like he’s just a side character in Yūri’s life. Easily forgotten and discarded.)

 

“…where are you, Yūri?” He whispers into silence of his apartment in Saint Petersburg. He wonders if Yūri thinks of him as well, tells people stories about him and see the fondness in his tone.

 

He closes his eyes and wait for Yūri’s reply.

(Translation: Goodnight)

He wakes up the next morning and sees Yūri’s string of messages. Whatever guilt he felt ebbs away in the face of Yūri’s concern for him.

With the time difference being 2 hours, Viktor spends the next four days talking back and forth with Yūri. With each passing day, the urge to run away from his training with Yakov and spend time with Yūri physically grows stronger. He wants to see Yūri, hear his laughter, see the closed eyed smiles of his and hold his hands.

But Viktor knows that Yūri wants to skate in the same ice as him again and that’s enough for him. For now.

So when he hears that Yūri was staying in Europe for a while longer he doesn’t impulsively buy a train ticket to Germany nor drive there. He settles for listening to his new rink mate, a surly kid named Yuri, almost religiously rattle off what Yūri was doing currently to Mila and the others. His fingers twitch and he aches to reach out for his phone and text Yūri again but the stern glare from Yakov stops him.

He doesn’t stop out of fear from Yakov but from Yūri’s reminder to listen to his coach and he hates disappointing Yūri. He wants Yūri to be proud of him as Viktor the human as well. So instead he smiles brightly at his coach and then sullenly returns to his practice. And then the tabloids in Europe gets a picture of Yūri and a Korean Skater the next day and Yakov had to pull Viktor off the ice for his horrible skating.

 

“You shouldn’t let jealousy consume you, Vitya.” Georgi said sagely.

 

“It’s true! Last I heard Katsuki was looking for a sugar daddy so you could have that!” Mila added.

 

And Viktor wondered when the kids had turned so mean. He brought out his phone to openly complain to Yūri right in front of the children. Which coincided with their Yuri walking over to get Mila to teach him her salchow.

This led to Yuri asking loudly albeit rudely,

 

“Why does a gramps like you have Yura’s number?!”

 

Which made everyone in the rink break into muffled laughter.

 

“I’m still young!” Viktor defended himself as his finger accidentally pressed call. “My hair just lacks melanin!” He insisted just as Yūri’s voice was heard.

 

“Vitya, did you just call me to complain about your hair again?”

 

Viktor wanted to die on the spot. Yuri Plitesky ran away not at all prepared to hear his idol’s voice over the phone. Georgi’s normally expressive face was blank and Mila was stifling her laughter. Yakov sighed and envied Celestino for having a lot of helping hands. The rest had quickly left the rink and the ran to the changing rooms.

 

I…no…I just accidentally pressed the call button.”

Oh.”

 

Yūri didn’t believe him.

 

“It’s not that I don’t Vitya, but you’re so dramatic like Nydia that I wouldn't put it pass you.”

 

And then Viktor realized that Yūri could understand Russian and asked him how.

 

“Nydia taught me but it’s rudimentary at best...I can read and write in Russian though only in cursive…”

Why?”

“Don’t judge me okay?! That was all Nydia could do! Apparently she did it to spite someone.”

 

From over the phone Viktor could hear Yūri puff and he let out a small laughter which Yūri heard and Viktor could practically feel the pout Yūri probably had.

 

Anyways, You’re lucky you caught me on a break… you aren’t calling me in the middle of practice right?!”

“No. I’m on break as well.” Viktor couldn’t help the warm feeling that welled up on him,  he didn’t care that people were seeing him like this.

“Good. I don’t want to give Coach Yakov trouble. Does your feet ache? What about your legs? Or your arms?”

 

He lets the warm voice of concern Yūri had wash over him and feels the ache of his muscles, “Mmm…There’s a dull ache but nothing I can’t stand.”

 

“Stupid Vitya. Take care of your body better, If I was there I would give you a full body massage like Aliyah would.”

 

“Not Nydia?” He teases.

 

“Unfortunately, Patience isn’t Nydia’s strong suite.”

“Oh.”

Mmm…Just like mia Vitya, so impatient, take a rest and don’t overwork your body, drink lots of water, listen to Coach Yakov and stop worrying about your hair, You’ll still be dashing without it.”

“So mean, Yura.”

“Ah… Is that your nickname for me?”

 

“Yep! Do you like it?” He asked nervously.

 

Of course.”

 

From the background he hears a voice calling out, who he guesses might be Celestino, then Yūri bids him farewell and another reminder to take care of himself. Whatever jealousy that erupted inside him is gone in the wake of Yūri and he returns to the ice blissfully unaware of the new rumor that erupted within his home rink.

He spends the rest of months buoyed by that feeling. Not even Yurio’s gloating could sink his happiness (Yūri had already sent him an apology then teased him) which each passing day that led him closer to competing at the same ice as Yūri.

(Translation: Happy Birthday! My heart. I miss you)

And when Yūri’s birthday comes around he makes sure to time his message so that Yūri would’ve received it the first hour of his birthday. Then the GPX Finals arrive and Viktor decided that he had been patient enough and spent his time clinging unto Yūri and generally getting his attention whenever he could get away with it.


 

Fukuoka with Yūri brings him a step closer to Yūri, they spend their time together as much as they could and sometimes Chris tags along with them bringing in his boyfriend that makes their group outing a double date. Viktor also meets Yūri’s family and relearns how he was Yūri’s inspiration, it makes the younger skater blush and makes Viktor’s heart flutter.

When Viktor wins back his gold, it feels very much like the first time he won his gold medal. He is actually happy and when he glances to his right and receives a warm smile from Yūri. Viktor knew that he would remember this season fondly. The interview isn’t dull, and it gives Viktor another realization about Yūri.

Yūri was someone that could inspire people. He was someone that inspires people to their best, and Viktor realized this as he listened on Chris recounting his anecdote about a conversation he had with Yūri, which brings him to a smile because he wasn’t the only one Yūri had changed.

 

“Mr. Nikiforov, do you also have a story about Mr. Katsuki?” A reporter asked.

 

He smiles and begins recounting,

 

“I do. A lot actually but this one is less about Yūri and more with how Yūri reacted when his girlfriend Nydia brought home another pet.”

 

The cameras click as Yūri whines at Viktor but doesn’t actually do anything to stop him from telling the story.

 

“Yūri messaged me one night and told me, apropos of nothing, how I really shouldn’t get housemates I knew then that whatever happened in Detroit probably had 90% to do with Nydia-“

 

“What about the other 10%?” Another reporter asked.

 

Yūri chuckled and leaned onto the microphone, “That has to do with Tonton.”

 

Viktor and Chris laughingly agreed with the statement before Viktor continued his story,

 

“So he tells me that and I hazard a guess that it was Nydia and I was in fact right.” Viktor smiles fondly at Yūri, “Then he goes on to send me this really long message which was a miracle of itself because Yūri is so straight to the point in his messages but the summary of that message was apparently Nydia panicked about something and brought home 3 hedgehogs in addition to the pets they already had.”

 

“Katsuki-san, could you tell us what these pets are?” A japanese reporter asked.

 

“Un. Phichit’s 3 hamsters, Aliyah’s Tiger striped Persian cat, Zara’s Amami Rabbit, Xia Zhen’s Koi fish, and  then Nydia’s Persian Cat, Himalayan Cat, Turkish Angora and then her dog, a Tibetan Mastiff…and of course my Vicchan!” Yūri happily answered.

  

The rest of the interview happens that way, focusing on their lives, the one where Yūri was involved. And Viktor can’t fault them for it, because Yūri was such a private person and this was the only time he was giving away bits and pieces of his life so freely.

The interview ends with one last question,

 

“Yūri-kun! Please tell us your thoughts about winning bronze!”

 

And then he worries for a moment but whatever it was that he was worried about is laid to rest when Yūri smiled so beautifully that Viktor could only stare at him.

 

“I’m glad to have placed in the podium and knowing that I had competed against two of the greatest skaters I grew up watching made me happy as well. I’ve come a long since my junior days, everyone had probably noticed how far I’ve changed since then-“ He laughs at this admission, “I never thought I’d get a chance to skate in the same ice as Viktor and Chris,” His tone turns almost somber at this, “much more end up as friends with them today…but knowing that this bronze medal is the proof of it—I’m not sad at all for my bronze medal even if past me would definitely be—” The camera flashes goes off at his statement, “I’ve come to realize a lot of things since my first gold medal, it might be pretentious of me but this is what I really feel about winning bronze, more than winning this medal the fact that I won the friendship of Viktor and Chris…” Yūri smiles at his two friends filled with so much love and warmth it made everyone who saw it smile, “that’s worth any medal that I have.”


 

Viktor leaves Japan with a heart full of warmth and love from Yūri and his family. And when his birthday came around, it was the first time he had ever felt so happy upon receiving a video message from Yūri and his family congratulating him. And when all is said and done, Viktor ends up with a silver medal in Worlds and happily hugs Yūri for his win.

He’s tempted to make a joke, a quip, but all too fast Yūri’s lovers arrived and everything falls into place as his eyes met Nydia.

A simple glance.

A silent message.

 

 

‘Ah. I want Yūri all to myself.’ He realizes.

 

Chapter Text

It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world. The Butterfly Effect is, of course, simply one of the explanations for the multiverse theory.

But theories are nothing but theories.

There is no definitive evidence that the flutter of a butterfly’s wing led to a change in the universe. But in this universe where a Japanese figure skater suffers from anxiety and crippling low self-esteem, the definitive proof that led to a deviation of the Universe pre-set variables happened. In that certain night 2 years ago in Detroit, Katsuki Yūri met Nydia Salamtaan.

Nydia Salamtaan, was never meant to exist within the field of Katsuki Yūri’s life, was never meant to exist at all.

She was but an error within the code of the Universe, and within this Universe, where the author’s Will is the Will of the Universe, the Will is the Law, and the Law is absolute. Katsuki Yūri and Phichit Chulanont was never meant to fall for the same person.

An error is a mistake.

The Law exists to prevent and correct the mistakes through one way or another.

Nydia Salamtaan, an error, had to be corrected by the Universe.

It was something no one but her knew.

 


 

 

December 13, 2014 [Grand Prix Final, Sochi]

6:30 PM

 

“Nydia, What time are you arriving here?”

 

御免, 勇利, ah! Vicchan please stop struggling!’ (Sorry,Yūri)

 

“Eh, Are you bringing Vicchan, alone?”

 

‘Un. It’s the first time Vicchan will be able to see you skate afterall~!’

 

“Nydia.”

 

‘Don’t worry, Yūrika~. We’ll arrive there in time for your free skate, you’re skating second to the last right?’

 

“Yeah. I’ll skate before Viktor, you’ll be here before then right?”

 

‘Of course! I want to show the whole world my love for you~!’

 

“Be safe, the two of you.”

 

‘We will, Yūri. Vicchan, say hi to papa!’

 

‘Woof!’

 

Yūri laughed softly, “Come here safely, Vicchan. Take care of mama.”

 

‘Yūri!’

 

“I’ll wait for you here, Get her safe okay? I love you.”

 

“…I love you too.”

 

 

Yūri ended the call and sighed.


 

 

December 24, 2013 [Tokyo, Japan]

9:00 PM

 

The city lights of Tokyo were beautiful to look at from above the Tokyo Skytree. Outside the observation deck, snow was falling down lightly and Yūri could not help but stare at Nydia’s childlike wonder.

 

“Nydia?” Yūri called out to her, eyes soft with fondness and voice filled with love.

 

“Yes?”

 

“ずっと一緒に居る。” (I want to be with you forever) He told her as he took her hand and held it as gently as ever.

 

“Yūri…”

 

He doesn’t stop smiling as he laid his heart bare and trusted it in her hands. Trusted that she wouldn’t break it and treat it carelessly.

 

“I—I—” She stuttered and struggled to get the words out of her throat, “I couldn’t stop myself from yearning for you.”

 

She took her hand away from his to wipe her tears.

 

“From the first time, I saw you, I couldn’t help but start falling. I always thought that I would be fine not having you love me the way I want to but— hearing you say that…Yūri, I’m not misunderstanding right?” She looked at him with trepidation and hope.

 

“Yes. Nydia, Mahal kita.” (I love you) He cupped her crying face into his hands and kissed her forehead softly, then space between her eyes, kissed her nose. He left feather light touches of his lips on her cheeks.

 

He savored the moment, where Nydia held his heart in her palms. Came into the notion that he had long since held Nydia’s heart in his palms. He kissed her lips chastely.

Their foreheads were touching each other, and Nydia was smiling softly as if she couldn’t believe what she was experiencing.

 

“Love is a foreign concept to us.” Yūri said softly, “But if you wouldn’t mind, would you please learn it with me?”

 

“Yes.”


 

 

January 1, 2014 [Daishoin Temple]

9:00 AM

 

The first time Yūri took her to the shrine as his lover was something he’d never forget. Nydia in a dark purple kimono with silver embroidered chrysanthemums and golden obi was breathtaking. She walked as if she had grown up wearing beautiful kimonos all throughout her life, there was grace in her footsteps and though her dyed pink her would have looked odd, Nydia made it work.

 

“You’ll catch flies with your mouth wide open.” She teased him but the light blush on the tips of her exposed ear betrayed her.

 

So Yūri teased back, “I couldn’t help but be in awe of your beauty.”

 

It was uncharacteristic of him, playing the role of the charming and suave prince as he took her hand into his and kissed her knuckles.

 

“Mou!”

She pouted and they move with the flow, crowds giving them space, as they watched Nydia who only looked at Yūri. The two of them were so breathtakingly beautiful, every bit of their body language screamed of a young couple utterly besotted with each other.

 

‘Please don’t take her away from me.’ Yūri wished.

 

“Yūri, I want to do that luck on paper like in animes!” Nydia demanded with childlike glee and Yūri happily taught her his country’s customs on New Year.

 

“Worse Luck?! Yu—Yūrika wh—what do I do?!” Nydia panicked as she read out her luck.

 

“Eh?! I think it should be tied to tree?”

 

“Tree. Got it.” She hastily looked around to see where she could tie the paper to prevent it from happening.

 

“Ah, ojou-chan if you buy one of our omamori it should fend off the bad luck.” One of the mikos told them.

 

“Really, onee-chan?!”

 

“Ah, then we’ll take two.” Yūri replied as he took out his wallet.

 

“That would be 500 yen each. Would you also like to take a love charm?” The miko onee-chan asked.

 

“Eh? Ah! I-I’ll buy two!” Nydia replied as she handed over the money.

 

The miko onee-chan chuckled and said, “My, my, are you two a new couple?”

 

“Ye-yesh!” Nydia stuttered.

 

“Oh my! Onii-san, you should cherish such a cute girlfriend~!”

 

“I know. I plan to cherish her for a long time.”

 

Nydia could only bury her face on Yūri’s back as he smiled at the Miko and everyone who saw his smile could see how beautiful it was.

It was after all, filled with adoration.


 

 

January 25, 2014 [Moscow, Russia]

8:00 AM

 

“Nydia, why do you even have to drop by at your own boutique?” Yūri complained as he sluggishly played translator for Nydia.

 

“Because Mrs. Plitesky has a new idea and it’s been a long time coming for me to meet my company’s sponsored skater other than you.” Nydia answered as she kept a look out for her boutique.

 

“Plitesky?”

 

Nydia grinned though Yūri couldn’t see it. Behind her, Yūri’s brain was starting to boot up as he recognized the family name.

 

“Could it be, Yuri Plitesky’s mom?!” Yūri exclaimed with excitement.

 

“Yep~! Aren’t you glad to be meeting your number one fan in Russia?”

 

“He’s probably tall now!” Yūri chimed in as he recalled the photos of Yuri attached with the letters Yuri would send to him.

 

“I know, I’m personally meeting them to talk about making Mrs. Plitesky as the Russia Branch Head.” Nydia revealed as she spotted her boutique and ran towards it, Yūri in tow.

 

The boutique’s exterior and interior resembled that of a Victorian Era shop. Everything inside screamed tranquility and elegance, it was naturally, an embodiment of Nydia’s sense of aesthetics.

 

‘Or a part of it.’ Yūri thought as Nydia shyly greeted her seamstresses in Russian.

 

Naturally, they were delighted.

 

“Oh, Nychka! Thank you for always helping out my Yuratchka.” The woman, whom Yūri figured was Nydia’s most favored seamstress, greeted them as she hastily set down her needle work and hugged Nydia and easily lifted her up.

 

“Tetushka Mariya!!!” Nydia squeaked out as she was lifted on the air.

 

“Oh dear, have you been eating well?” Mariya asked as she placed her boss back to the carpeted floor of the boutique and patted Nydia on her waist and arms.

 

Yūri, who knew how healthy Nydia had been eating the past few days, grinned as he said,

 

“She’s going on a diet with me.”

 

“A-anyways, Yūri this is Mariya Plitesky, my number one seamstress and former Russian Idol.” Nydia introduced them to each other with a tinge of embarrassment on her face,

“Tetushka, he is Yūri Katsuki, Japan’s Ace and Top Male Figure Skater.”

 

“Nychka, could this be your Zvezda?!” Mariya asked with utter delight as she happily welcomed Yūri.

 

Nydia took a glance at Yūri and was greeted by his charming (but definitely sadistic looking) smile. Most people would assume that between the two of them Nydia would have been the one that taught Yūri Russian, most people didn’t know Yūri as a certified Viktor Nikiforov Fanboy, most people didn’t know that Nydia was a certified Yūri Katsuki Fangirl.

It was of course, partly both parties fault why people would assume this. Yūri never bothered to correct assumptions, and Nydia was a naturally prideful person who wanted to keep the image people projected to her.

Therefore, Nydia, who was absolutely shit at Russian wanted to die in a ditch somewhere. Yūri, who ever rarely got jealous nor needed constant validation of Nydia’s affections, was grinning like a cat that got that canary.

 

“I—I—I can explain!”

 

“Oh dear, are you not lovers yet?” Mariya asked Yūri, looking very much like a concerned mother over their sole daughter.

 

“We are.” Yūri answered proudly, with a happy smile and glint in his eyes.

 

Nydia covered her face, feeling weak in the face of Yūri’s love for her. Mariya looked surprised for a moment before it melted into a look of glee and happily congratulated them, just as something came barreling towards Yūri and tackled him.

 

“Yurachka!” Mariya scolded but Yūri was quick to pacify her as he hugged Yuri who was clinging onto him like a koala.

 

“Yura! I won gold in the Junior Grandprix Finals!” Yuri happily told his idol.

 

“I know! Congratulations on your gold Yurachka.” Yūri congratulated him and didn’t bother letting go of his cutest Russian fan. It had took him a long time to get past Yuri’s rough and gruff exterior, it was a lot of trials and errors but everything was worth it. Yūri had always wanted a little brother after all.

 

“Yura, are you here for the Olympics?!” Yuri excitedly asked as he ignored Nydia and his mom in favor of Yūri, who was like a big brother to him.

 

Nydia and Mariya had let them be as they talked about sponsorship deals and the like for Yuri.

 

“Yes, That and I’m here with Nydia for your sponsorship deal.” Yūri fondly answered as they sat on one of the couches.

 

Yuri tilted his head like a curious cat before his eyes alighted in excitement and he exclaimed, “I’m sharing sponsors with you?!”

And Yūri nodded, knowing how Yuri had always wanted to have the same costume designer as him. It had been established early on that Yūri was the only skater she would design for competitions, ice shows were the only exception since more likely than not costumes would have little variation and more about the character on ice than the actual skater.

That is to say, Nydia deciding to design clothes for Yuri was a very big deal, one Yuri knew all too well.

 

“Mamochka! Yura said Mariposa would be my sponsor!”

 

“Yurachka, manners!”

 

“No need to shout, Tetushka, Yurachka is still learning, I’m sure he wouldn’t do it again.” Nydia said and then winked at Yuri who immediately brightened up again.

 

“Ha! That old man would definitely be jealous!”

 

“Yurachka, Don’t call Vitya that!”

 

“Really?” Yūri asked, the idea that Viktor would be jealous hardly made sense to him.

 

“Of course! Everyone in the rink wants to wear Nychka’s designs!” Yuri replied with certainty.

 

“Well then, Yurachka, let me explain to you what you have to do for us in exchange for Mariposa Designs sponsoring your competition costumes.” Nydia decided to bring back the conversation on track,

 

“You’ll have to model for us during fashion week, do a little bit of photoshoots for some of our catalogues, and wear tailored outfits I design.”

 

“What kind of outfits?” Yuri asked with caution.

 

“One up to your taste.” Nydia answered with a smile.

 

Yūri had never been more in love with her.


 

 

December 13, 2014 [Grand Prix Final, Sochi]

7:00 PM

 

“Yūri, It’s time for your warm ups.” Celestino said and Yūri stiffly nodded and followed his coach. As he stepped into the rink for his warm-ups, the crowd screamed his name and Yūri smiled at them.

 

He was worried and nervous.

Nydia still hadn’t arrived and it was important for her to be here with him right now. He knew that things might be going too fast between the two of them but Yūri was absolutely certain that he wanted Nydia with him for a long time.

 

“Yūri, Don’t worry too much about Nydia.” Celestino tried to console him, “She’s definitely going to watch you skate so relax.” He threw a wink for good measure.

 

“Coach…”

 

“Nydia loves you very much no?” Celestino asked.

 

“Yes.” Yūri answered firmly but slightly confused, “She does.”

 

“Then trust that she’ll be here. That girl of yours had always been by your side,” Celestino said wisely, looking very much like a father about to see his son get married.

 

Celestino had witnessed how Nydia and Yūri had grown from loving each other. Yūri had brought out Nydia’s lesser known soft side and human compassion, Celestino was loathe to use it but Yūri made Nydia more human-like.

As Yūri’s coach, he was very serious about who Yūri interacted with or came into contact with, he didn’t want to see his student getting hurt in any form and out of all the people he had met through Yūri, Nydia was the only one he had been so cautious of. As a coach he had studied a bit of psychology as a way to gauge out his students’ mental wellness in general and Nydia was the first person he had ever seen to tick off all the alarms in his head.

There was just something in the too sharp look and stoic face that was simply beyond the norm. It was in the reptilian way Nydia would tilt her head to the side, it was in the way she’d interact with people. Something was just inherently wrong with it, it was as if despite the smile on her face and open body language she was still untouchable.

Celestino had once warned Yūri about Nydia but the boy was just stubborn about her, and Celestino had worried for a moment that Nydia had gotten into Yūri already but the boy was just obliviously in love with the girl. Celestino didn’t point it out, partially because he was wary of Nydia but mostly because it was something Yūri should notice himself.

But he had seen the changes Yūri brought to the girl, he had turn Nydia into someone approachable and in turn Nydia, had brought out the confidence in Yūri, made him more sociable beyond the necessary interaction within the rink.

 

“Yūri, I’m quite sure that Nydia would happily say yes to your proposal.” Celestino assured him.

 

Because Celestino wasn’t blind to the depth of Nydia’s love for Yūri. She was exactly the type of person who’d love with all of their being without regards to anyone beyond the ones they cared for.

And Yūri was the person Nydia loved above all.

 

“Really?”

 

“Really.”

 

And Yūri’s phone rang, the familiar tune of Nydia’s ringtone echoing in the empty hallway.

 

“Go on, answer it.” Celestino encouraged him, “I’ll be waiting by the rink side.”

 

Yūri smiled gratefully at his coach as he watched the man leave. He answered the call and brought the phone to his ears,

 

“Nydia?”


 

 

February 6, 2014 [Winter Olympics, Sochi]

6:00 PM

 

“Ah~” Nydia groaned out as she collapsed on Yūri’s bed. The soft mattress enveloping her body as she sank into it.

 

“Oh, Tonton was right there are condoms here.” Yūri said offhandedly as he rummaged around the room he and Nydia were sharing while Celestino got the one that was originally for Nydia.

 

“Eh?! Really?!” Nydia said getting up from her comfortable position and went over to Yūri, hanging off his shoulders immediately as she looked on the gold wrapped Olympic condoms.

 

“Yūri, let’s bring home some!” Nydia suggested, “Do you think they have lube too and toys?”

 

“I saw a couple of lube down there, not sure about toys though.” Yūri answered.

 

It was this scene that Celestino came upon, neither couple noticing that he had finished unpacking and came to fetch the two lovers for dinner in the Olympic Village.

 

“…I see, so the two of you would be busy, my bad.” Celestino said as he immediately tried to close the door.

 

Yūri’s brain caught up with the implications and immediately ran towards Celestino, leaving Nydia to end up as a heap on the carpeted floor.

 

“Fuck!” Nydia exclaimed as she had skinship with the carpet just as Yūri frantically said,

 

“It’s not like that!”

 

“No, no, It’s okay, Yūri.” Celestino assured his athlete, “ You and Nydia are still young and there’s nothing wrong with being active just make sure you’ll be able to practice tomorrow morning.”

 

“I-it’s not like that! We were just curious about the condoms and lube!”

 

“And the toys!” Nydia added as she got up from her position on the floor and rubbed her knees.

 

“Ah, the organizers only provides the condoms and lubes, You’ll have to buy or use your own toys.” Celestino told them.

 

“Oh, I see—wait—Coach! It’s really not like that!”

 

“There, there, you two have fun, Opening Ceremony is tomorrow night.” Celestino reminded them, “You two can have your own full blown celebration on the 14th.”

 

“Ciao ciao!” Yūri whined.

 

“Ciao ciao, Yūri, Nydia!” He returned with a laugh and Nydia gave him the parting words of, “The receptionist with the light brown hair likes you Ciao ciao!”

 

And the door closed leaving Yūri to let out a long groan.

 

“Yūri?”

 

“I—I really had no plans to you know…” He said uncomfortably.

 

“…I’m willing to wait.” Nydia told him as she went over to him and hugged him from behind.

 

Yūri was hyperaware of her right now. He could smell the strawberry scent of her shampoo, he could catch the faint scent of chocolate on her skin from her lotion. It made him hungry.

 

“Nydia…”

 

“Hm?”

 

“A—a little bit wouldn’t hurt?”

 

“Oh.” Nydia blinked, “We-well just what exactly do you have in mind?”

 

It was the first time Yūri had ever seen an obvious blush on Nydia’s face. He could see that it continued down her neck and his eyes trailed below. It was the first time he’d ever want to tease her this much, there was a fire in the bottom of his stomach and Nydia’s sudden bashfulness just made it burn hotter.

From her eyes, the sudden glint of Yūri’s glasses made her heart skip a beat. He was looking at her with so much charm, she could barely think of a proper way to describe it.

 

“Hm. Then one of your fantasies perhaps?” Yūri suggested and Nydia wondered why the ground disappeared from underneath her.

 

The audible clink of the door’s lock echoed in the room.

 

“Eh?”

 

“I remember you telling me how hot I would look if I ripped a condom from my mouth,” Yūri reminded her, “Ah, trapped underneath right?”

 

Nydia had only became aware that she was already lying down on the bed, underneath Yūri who was smiling so seductively, hair framing his face so handsomely with this heated look on his eyes. Nydia had stopped thinking.

 

“Ano?” (What?)

 

Then Yūri ripped open the condom wrapper with his mouth and Nydia could only gulp. It was too much for her heart.

 

“Yu—Yūri—” Nydia could only say before Yūri’s thumb was over her lips.

Yūri could see how dilated his lover’s eyes were and he smirked, it was a good boost for his confidence knowing how catering to Nydia’s fantasies were.

 

“What do you want to do next?”

 

From the back of her mind, Nydia remembered, oh how she remembered how she had once told Yūri—in a moment of drunken honesty—how she wanted to slip on a condom on his dick with her mouth. It was during the early start of their relationship, Yūri had broached the subject of her sexual needs, he had wanted to clarify their monogamous relationship, wanted to make sure that she understood that they were by all means dating exclusively and each other’s lover.

They had talked at length about each of their kinks, talked what was their boundaries and it was the first time Nydia had opened up with her penchant for experiments on sexual pleasure. Yūri hadn’t judged her, accepted it as it was. And Nydia had felt relief at that.

He had asked for what she wanted exactly, never assuming.

So she did the same to him. To the man that was like no other, to the man that she had fallen in love with twice and then every single day ever since.

 

“Please let me use my mouth, Yūri-sama.” She pleaded eyes glazed with lust and love for the impossible man on top of her.

 

“As you wish.” Yūri replied before kissing her on the forehead and then he unzipped his pants.

 

He smiled at her.

And Nydia had never stopped feeling awed by Yūri’s love for her, never stopped being taken aback that he had chosen her above all.

She didn’t mind that she was Yūri’s mistress. Didn’t dare allow her heart to be jealous of the ice that claimed him.

Because the ice maybe Yūri’s wife but she was Yūri’s lover. And as Yūri placed the condom on her parted lips, she fervently wished that she could remain by his side until he retired.


 

 

December 13, 2014 [Grand Prix Final, Sochi]

7:20 PM

 

‘Yūri~ I’m already here at the venue with Vicchan but I can’t find you or Celestino at all~’ Nydia whined and Yūri smiled as he let out a sigh of relief.

 

“Just stay where you are and I’ll go to you.” He had already began walking, and from the sounds on the other side of the call. Yūri could guess where exactly her slightly directionally challenged girlfriend was.

 

‘Okay, can I stay on the phone with you?’ Nydia asked timidly.

 

“Always.”

 

‘Thanks~! So you see, Vicchan and I were on the way but we got stopped by a lot of people on the way! Vicchan is so popular with the ladies~! Right, Vicchan?’

 

‘Woof!’

 

Yūri let out a laugh, “Really? What happened then?”

 

‘They asked whether Vicchan wanted to breed and Yūri, I was so shocked because our Vicchan is a forever baby!’

 

“You did say that Vicchan is neutered right?”

 

‘Oh yeah, right.’

 

“Nydia.”

 

He could already see her but Yūri had zero plans on putting the phone down.

 

‘Yūri, you can’t blame me for forgetting about that.’ Nydia whined and Yūri could see how she was absentmindedly cradling Vicchan on her shoulders.

 

He gestured for Vicchan to remain silent and once he was near, he slipped his arms around her and hugged her tightly from behind.

 

“I missed you.” He confessed.

 

“I missed you too.” She returned.

 

“Woof!”

 

“I missed you a lot Vicchan~!” Yūri crooned as he accepted the licks of his particularly cute pet.

 

“Let’s go for the warm-up exercises. Celestino’s waiting for us by the rink.” Yūri led them both to the rink area.

 

And they arrived in time for Yūri’s group to practice, Nydia helped remove Yūri’s guard and feeling the intense stare of his, she looked up and smiled at him.

They didn’t need to exchange words.

For all of the languages the two had shared together with their friends, the lexicon that exists between the both of them was theirs alone. It was the kind of communication that was forge from years of knowing each other, from the moments they shared between the two of them.

So Nydia kissed his skates bestowing upon Yūri the depth of her devotion to him and his dreams. And Yūri smiled down at her before starting his warm up on ice. It was clear on the eyes of everyone who saw the two of them that Yūri Katsuki’s free skate was something to be look forward to.

 

“Both of you had come so far.” Celestino said, as both of them looked at Yūri who skated around the ice, doing a little jump for his fans but always shooting looks at Nydia.

 

“Yes, but tonight…tonight is the stage for Yūri’s peak.” Nydia replied.

 

She had never removed her eyes away from him, still utterly besotted, as she spoke once more, “Coach, This is just the ouverture to Yūri’s career.”

 

“Nydia?”

 

“My Yūri’s story has only just begun.”


 

 

February 15, 2014 [Winter Olympics, Sochi]

2:00 AM

 

They were drunk.

It was Yūri’s first time in Olympics and he had won gold. Against all odds, the gold was his, and tonight the most beautiful woman in town was in his arms and Yūri felt like his heart could burst with so much happiness.

 

“Yūri, Yūri, Yūri, You won!” Nydia chanted with breathlessness.

 

It was pure euphoria, he and Nydia had stumbled into the room after a few hours of partying and giving interviews. Everyone in their group had already sent in their congratulations and now in the comfort of their bed, everything still felt like a dream.

 

“I won.” Yūri repeated in a whisper.

 

There was something sacred in the moment, something louder than the whisper would break. He looked at Nydia and began to cry, softly, and Yūri could feel the snot in his nose.

 

“Yūri, my Yūri, what’s wrong?” Nydia crooned as she cradled his face in her hands and Yūri cried harder.

 

“I—I had always thought that I was a dime a dozen skater from Japan—but Ny—Ny—today I was finally able to prove myself against myself.”

 

It had always been his fear, his problem, his burden.

Yūri wanted to desperately believe that he was worth something, that all the sacrifices he had done was worth it, and now he finally had the biggest proof of it all.

 

“Yūri, today you surpassed Viktor.” Nydia whispered, “He was so happy about it too, this isn’t a fluke, Mio Yūri, My Yūri, 私の大事な大事な勇利 今日わ貴方わの人生航路始まりよ。” (My most precious Yūri, today is the start of your life journey.)

And Yūri chuckled at that, he brought her closer to him, foreheads to foreheads, chest to chest, with their legs tangled with each other’s. He asked in a soft voice with his eyes that sparkled against the dim orange lights of the table lamp,

 

“我がの夢なる一緒にしてください。” (Let’s reach our dreams together, please)

 

“一緒に。” (Together) She confirmed.

 

“ずっとに?”(Forever)

 

“ずっとに。”(Forever)

 

In the dim glow of the lamp, Yūri could make out the features of Nydia’s face, he could see the few pimples on her face, the bags underneath her eyes. She was imperfectly beautiful and so human, so different from her usual outward image.

People looked at her and saw someone cold and unapproachable. Yūri looked at her and saw someone who was like him. Lost and feeling so alone in a place filled with people. He kissed her, softly, reverently, on her forehead.

The softness of her skin palpable on his hands as he caressed her face.

She smiled and she kissed him back softly on his lips, eyes closed, and cheeks burning red.

Yūri had always known that Nydia was a tempest—she was sublime— in how unapologetically her she was. She was also so human that it took a while for people to realize that Nydia felt strongly more than the rest. Yūri didn’t need someone godlike, the stories he had read, the tales Nydia had told him, was more than enough to convince him that having a god for a lover rarely ended in good.

They traded kisses until the yearning in their hearts were content, until the need for human contact ceased and the hunger in their soul abated.

Yūri wanted to know so much about Nydia, whose wounds littered her heart and mind, who willingly bares her scars and fractured heart for the world to see on her art. He wanted to know—beyond the whispered confessions in the wee hours of the morning—about the her before Detroit, before Intramuros, before Tonton, before the garden of roses she had loved became her own hell.

Nydia who was strong and fragile. Who made Yūri stronger, who cared for his glass heart with all of her being.

 

“Tonight…Is it okay?” He whispered on her ears, encasing her in his arms.

 

“Yes.”

 

Her hands trailed on his form, unzipping his team jacket, cupped his face on her hands and kissed him fiercely. Like a fire whose embers burst into flames, Yūri felt Nydia’s love and lust burning bright, kissed her back with the same fervency that she did, lovingly removed her clothes piece by piece, leaving a trail of kiss on the body she loathed and loved.

A kiss on her breasts and along her hips for every stretch marks. A bite on the inside of her thighs. A kiss on the scar on her knees.

 

“Yūri.” She gasped breathless.

He guided her hands on the band of his tracksuit, She kissed her the stretch marks on hips, his abs, mouthed on the fabric of his boxers. He moaned her name, lets himself be maneuvered on the bed, he doesn’t know how his clothes are removed but all he knew was that they were now equally naked.

 

“あんたわ輝くなうつくしい。” ( You shine so beautifully) She told him as she gazed upon him with adoration.

 

“Sei la mia Venere.” (You’re my venus) He complimented her and pulled her to him, She laughed, happy and content to be in his arms.

 

“Dai un nuovo sense alla mia vita.”(You give new meaning to my life) He whispered on her ear before kissing her softly again, hands trailing down her back to fondle her ass.

 

“La tua belleza mi toglie il fiato.” (Your beauty takes my breath away) She confessed in the dark of their room as she leaves a mark on his collar bone, “Besarte es como ver las estrellas.”( To kiss you is like seeing stars.)

 

It was the closest she could use for admittance, not when saying the truth with her mother tongue when it truly matters to her feels too much.

Yūri’s touch made her burn, made her want so much. He loves her tenderly, takes her apart piece by piece until she no longer knew where he began and she ended. There is something erotic in having him fuck her into the mattress, working up a sweat as he brings her to her climax, he chants her name as if it was a prayer, marks her on her neck hard enough to leave bruises behind.

He is gentle for their first round. All whispered praises and gentle rubs on her breasts as she laid beneath him, moaning his name in broken record. Her nails dragged on his back, surely leaving a trail of scratches behind.

The sound of meat slapping on each other, and the sounds of her broken moans fueled his libido. Nydia is a mess underneath his fingers.

 

“Tu amor me inspira,  tu ternura me conmueve  y tus besos me enloquecen.” (Your love inspires me, your tenderness touches me, your kisses drive me crazy) Yūri admitted as he leisurely rode out her climax.

 

He kissed her on the forehead, then the edges of her eyes as tears drop from them, it wasn’t out of sadness but something between it and happiness.

It was tears of relief.

He knew that there are words, Nydia would never be able to tell him now, but they had a whole future ahead of them. So he would wait for her words, until then he’d shower her with his love again and again until she could never forget him.

 

“Eres el amor de mi vida.” (You are the love of my life)


 

 

December 13, 2014 [Grand Prix Final, Sochi]

9:05 PM

 

“—And now we have our second to the last skater, Katsuki Yūri from Japan,” Morooka announced as Yūri stepped into the ice and skated to his first position, “His music is ‘Hatsukoi’.”

 

‘Tonight, I’ll show my love to the whole world.’ Yūri thought as the first notes of Nydia’s love song filled the rink. He moves his arms as if catching something in his hands, he glides through the ice feeling the music and letting his heart show. He dances as if looking around for something, searching.

 

‘My first jump combination is a quadruple toe loop double toe loop combination.’

 

“His first quad is a success.” Morooka announced, “For his program, Katsuki Yūri has 3 quads planned.”

 

‘Ah, I landed it.’

 

‘I’ve never understood love before, before I met everyone I had always felt alone. There was no one I could relate to.’

 

He lands a triple loop.

 

‘But the ice led me to the people I’ve come to cherished.’

 

“His theme for this season is ‘Devotion’, Yūri has truly changed so much, and much of it had been credited to his lovers, Nydia Salamtaan being his favorite.” Morooka recounted, “now a Quad Salchow.”

 

 

From the rink side, Viktor Nikiforov followed Yūri’s figure as he danced on the ice. Viktor knew that this program was not being performed for him despite seeing his own style incorporated in Yūri’s skating.

This was not for him. He had blindly hoped, that Yūri would have taken notice of his feelings, would have left his multitudes of lovers, and would have left Nydia just to be with him. But the music, the steps, the story Yūri was telling on the ice for the whole world to see had no place for him. He remembered the first time he had seen Yūri perform, so taken in by the beauty that danced as if the music possessed him. Who told a story the way no one else could ever do, could only ever hope to do. Yūri was beautiful, is beautiful with all his pain and happiness exposed to the world.

Yūri had found love in the arms of the people he had met, received so much from so many people, Viktor was probably just part of the forgettable admirers of Yūri. Yūri, who left a trail of broken hearts in his wake, was the prince in the story and Viktor was neither part of the cast on stage. He was just an audience, looking and gazing from a far—wishing to be part of the tale.

 

‘Tomorrow, I’ll let go. But for now…just let me love you a little bit more.’

 

 

Yūri lands a Quad Salchow transitions into a triple loop.

 

“Next up is his favorite, a triple axel.”

 

‘I didn’t know how to communicate with words but Nydia, you were the beginning weren’t you?’

 

He does a triple axel and lands it.

 

‘That meeting on the side walk, I would have probably continued being adrift if you hadn’t walked towards me.’

 

He poured all of his feeling on the ice, and everyone could see it.

 

‘You, who were so beautiful against the glittering backdrop of the city lights. Tell me, did I take your breath away that night?’

 

He transitioned into a Beillmann spin then a sit spin just as the music reached its climax and then the piano slowed down for another piano to join it.

 

‘Ever since I met you, it’s been a chain of surprises. The ice brought me to you, and you brought me to a world I never thought I’d be part of.’ Yūri remembered the times he had laughed with his friends, having inside jokes and teasing each other.

 

He remembered the tears he had shed with them, remembered how all of them had met him halfway. Yūri had never felt more loved than at that moment—the first time they had all opened up to each other—they were all broken and bent but Yūri had never felt as if he was useless by their side.

Tonton—who never failed to help him with his training regimen, Aliyah—who always did his hair and make-up for him, showed him his beauty, Zara—who made sure that no one would ever hurt him, protected him from the worst of the worst, who composed and composed music that would always lighten his soul, Xia Zhen with her kind eyes and who would lead him to a dance just for fun when the ice would be too cruel to him.

Then there was Phichit, his best friend whose heart he broke, who gave up his feelings for Nydia’s happiness with him. He remembered the fear of losing a friend—that night when he returned to Detroit with Nydia—Phichit, was kind and so selfless. He wasn’t deserving of Phichit’s friendship but he would work hard to be worthy of it.

Yuuko, who had led him to the ice, made him start to fall for it. He had loved her at one point, that he knew now, and she would always have a little spot in his heart as the first person he had ever liked. Nishigori who became his friend later on and then stalwart supporter.

His family who didn’t understand but still loved him, who wanted the best for him.

His love had always felt weak to him, fleeting, dormant. But he still loved, loved the people that shaped him to be him.

Viktor, who inspired him to be a competitive skater, who continues to inspire him even now. Viktor was in with him in the ice, even if Viktor didn’t know. He was someone he looked up to and now was his treasured friend.

He does a triple loop double triple loop combination.

 

‘And then Nydia, who always waited for me and met me halfway.’ He searched for her in the crowd as he did a triple loop. ‘Even now you are watching me, waiting for me, and meeting me halfway, you who waited for my love, tonight in front of the whole world with the music you made.’

 

A triple flip.

 

‘Let me show the world the amount of love I have.’

 

“Coming next is a triple axel, double loop, triple salchow combination.”

 

The crowd cheered for him and continued to do as he did a triple lutz triple loop combination.

 

‘This time with my own words I’ll tell you the words you couldn’t say.'

 

“And now for his step sequence!”


 

 

March 15, 2014 [Detroit]

11:00 PM

 

“ね勇利、転生に信じられるよ?” (Hey Yūri, do you believe in reincarnation?)

 

“eh?”

 

“It’s nothing—just that you should know—that even if there are things I don’t say…I love you a lot okay?”

 

“Nydia?”

 

“I love you so much that I only ever want you to be happy. Even if the day comes you’ll stop loving me, you’ll always be part of my heart. In a place no one can ever have—you’ll be there—a place just for you.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Un.” She told him truthfully, “One day, you’ll meet someone—the first one you’ll ever want to hold on—until then please let me be by your side.”

 

She held onto him, her hand tightly holding his, “Love me like Marius did to Cossette, even if in this story I am only your Éponine.”

He could smell the alcohol on her lips but even so he took her words seriously. He kissed her on the lips, the moon and the stars as the only witnesses to a love that was never meant to be.


 

 

April 15, 2014 [Hasetsu Flower Viewing]

10:00 PM

 

Yūri had always found himself unable to stop from appreciating Nydia in a kimono. Her hair was no longer pink with the tips reaching just above her buttocks. It curled and waved as it scattered on the wooden floors of their porch. Nydia’s skin was fair, being lighter than it used to be now that she no longer went outside unless absolutely necessary.

 

He kept on running his fingers through her hair as she peacefully took a nap on his lap.

 

“Mmm…Yūri…” Nydia mumbled as she burrowed her face on his lap.

 

Yūri laughed softly and couldn’t resist taking a picture.

 

Nydia asleep was a sight to behold, it was something that would never ceased to amaze him.

 

“Ah, so this is where you are.” Mari’s voice came from the side and Yūri looked at his older sister.

 

His Mari-nee, who always had a calm demeanor, had a cigarette on her lips and a lazy smile.

 

“Nee-chan.”

 

She walked towards him, languidly, but years of growing up together had made him aware of the nuances his older sister had. She had been her protector, the one person he knew had his back at all times. She was the best sister he could ever wish for.

 

“She’s a good child,” Mari told him as she blew smoke rings to the air and sat beside Yūri, the lone cherry blossom tree in their house had its petals rain down on them as a gust of wind pass by “Shy, but definitely kind. Reminds me a bit of you.”

 

He gives a noncommittal hum.

 

“Mom likes her too you know? Treats her like the daughter she once wished she had.”

 

And that got Yūri’s attention, because there are still things he doesn’t know about his family,

“Nee-chan?”

 

“I don’t mind it though it does sting a bit…but she looks at me the same way you did when you were still a squirt.” Mari reminisced as she fondly look upon the slumbering form of Nydia, “You know, she told me once ‘I wished you were my family’ she looked so sad at that time…”

 

“What are you trying to say?”

 

And Mari looked at her younger brother, who she grew up with but rarely ever felt like he was truly with them, she looked at him and tried to reconcile the little boy she raised and the young man in front of her and her affection for her precious little brother, who was meant to see the world, over flowed. She had missed him so much, the little boy who followed her around like a duckling, who looked at her as if she held the answer to everything.

 

“Welcome home, Yūri.”

 

Mari, for all of her flaws, had always loved Yūri from the moment she had been told of his conception. She had cared for him from the womb, cared for him even now because Yūri with his soft eyes and warm smile had a heart too big for his small body. Her precious baby brother whose heart broke into tiny little pieces but still whole, her precious Yuu-chan who was always looking forward, running after his dreams with abandon that made him solitary.

Mari could never vocalized the mixture of worry, love, and envy she had for her little brother. She had always known that their quiet little town would be too small for him but it had not prepared her for the loss, the gaping absence of Yūri’s presence. She had always thought that he would have forgotten them, left in the wind and vestiges of the past for brighter and shinier things. She wouldn’t begrudge him for that, could never do so, but she knew she resented him for making it seem so easy to forget people, she resented that he had grown up in a blink of an eye.

 

“Hasetsu just isn’t the same without you.” She confessed and held the face of her baby brother in both of her hands, her cigarette lay forgotten on the edge of the porch, ”Home isn’t the same without you, call more often, don’t rely on your cute little girlfriend for remembering to call back home.”

 

“I’m sorry.” He apologized voice leaking out his small regrets, “I—I didn’t want to call unless I could make everyone proud—“

 

“Foolish little brother, we’re always proud of you, you’ve come so far, medal or not, you’re already one of the best.” She chided him, gently, fondly, slightly remorseful but grateful all the same.

 

“Not to me, it doesn’t feel that way to me.” Yūri told her and held his sisters hand, reminding him of the times he had tightly clung on her hands before, “It never feels enough, I’m learning but it’s hard when my brain tells me otherwise even if I know it’s not.”

 

“Yūri, let me help.” She told him because she cared, because she was his big sister no matter what, “That’s what big sisters are for, right?”

 

She would never truly understand his pain, his regrets, his frustrations but she had long since made peace with it, had accepted the harsh reality of her little brother’s mental health, but she’d rather die than not do anything to help, she was willing to give whatever her precious brother need.

 

“Just…just please be there…” He told her, looking at her like he did all those years ago, shyly asking for her help.

 

And like those yesteryears left behind in their memories of youthful and innocent days, Mari delivered.

 

“Always.”


 

 

May 9, 2014 [Detroit]

8:00 AM

 

It was nice being back in Detroit, a place Yūri never thought would be his second home, Nydia was buying drinks from a café in the airport.

“E-excuse me!” A timid sounding voice came from behind him and Yūri was greeted by the sight of a father and son pair.

 

The father gently signaled for the boy to speak, Yūri could see the fondness in the man’s eyes as he watched his child shyly speak up. The boy thrust forward a familiar poster to him, and Yūri smiled in delight as he wordlessly brought out his metallic blue ink marker and signed it.

 

“May I know your name?” He asked, gentle, as he squatted down to have eye contact with his fan.

 

“Nico. I—I’m Nico, and one day I—I’ll skate on the same ice as you!” The boy announced with glittering eyes and hesitant determination.

 

Yūri grinned, huge and filled with something indescribable, “I’ll be waiting for that day then, Nico!”

 

“Promise?”

 

“Yep.” Yūri swore and he handed back the poster of him to Nico, who looked at him with awe and worship.

 

“Yūri, how can I skate like you?” The boy had asked eagerly and Yūri remembered the days he had spent looking up to Viktor as a child.

 

He looked at Nico straight in the eye and brought his hand to his heart and answered,

 

“You have to feel it here. I skate because I love the ice, I skate with love and every emotion I feel.”

 

He smiled at the boy then added, “So skate whatever you feel and never forget that feeling when you skate.”

 

“Then I’ll be like you?” Nico asked hesitantly.

 

“You won’t.” Yūri answered and Nico’s face turned down.

 

“You’ll be better than me.”

 

And just like that, Nico’s down turned face beamed happily at Yūri.

 

“Really?!”

 

“Really.”

 

The father and son pair leaves him, but Yūri could see the unspoken words of gratefulness on the father’s eyes. And when Nydia came back from her errand, he took her hand into his and told her what happened. He looked forward as he regaled her about Nico, the boy with brown eyes and warm smile that wanted to skate like him.

Who reminded him of his younger days, when he was most vulnerable.

 

“I’m sure that child would never forget this day.” Nydia told him.

 

“I hope so,” Yūri hoped that he could inspire people to continue on skating, to love the ice as much as he does, “It’d be nice if I saw him on ice one day.”

 

“Me too.”

 

They returned to their home, hand in hand, braving the overdue reaction of their friends. They had spent a long time in the bubble of their own world, now it was the time to face the outside world. Yūri knew that they were going to face a lot of trials, especially since as far as the world knew, he was in multiple relationships.

The world knew Nydia as a heartbreaker, cold and aloof.

 

“Ready?” He asked.

 

“Ready.” She held his hand tightly.

 

 

“I always knew that she’d choose you…”Phichit admitted,”from the start I knew that this would happen—both of you were in love with each other.

 

“I—How?” He asked, confused by the admittance.

 

 

And Phichit laughed, hollow and it broke Yūri’s heart.

 

“I—I was always looking at you both—and—and Nydia only ever looked so happy with you.” He sobbed and Yūri doesn’t move from his bed, doesn’t dare comfort Phichit who was crying in front of him.

 

“I thought I had a chance—once—when she ran in the rain with me, while you were away, I—I thought I’d stand a chance against you but—but I couldn’t do it.” Phichit whispered brokenly.

 

“She looked at you as if you were the only thing she liked—she treats you differently than others.”

 

Yūri remembered a passing conversation he had with someone once, in their world lit class.

 

 

“You know—”a classmate whose name he had forgotten began, “the only time Salamtaan looks approachable is when you’re around.”

 

“Eh?”

 

“She’s popular and sorta well-liked, y’know?”

 

‘I don’t.’

 

“-But her face is always so aloof and she just has this aura,”

 

“Like she’s better than you?” Yūri offered because he felt and knew that more often than not Nydia was in fact better than most people at most things so as long as it isn’t socialization but even that is up for debate.

 

“Yeah, that but not really?”

 

Yūri doesn’t understand and his conversation partner sighed and said,

 

“You wouldn’t understand,” his conversation partner wistfully looked back at Nydia “She thinks you’re interesting unlike everyone else.”

 

 

And Yūri now understood what that meant. What it meant to be interesting to Nydia Salamtaan for someone who was in love at her.

Nydia, who admitted that she was bored with the world, was someone who only ever cared about someone interesting and that made him afraid because one day, Nydia, who laughed without caring what people thought, who spoke up for others, who cared so much, Nydia who was the tempest, would one day find him dull.

That fear gripped his heart tight.

 

“You’re lucky—Nydia would never find you uninteresting.” Phichit voiced out, with barely concealed resentment, as he curled up on his bed.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“Don’t.” Phichit looked at him in the eye for the first time since their conversation began, “Don’t apologize because you realized you love her too. I’ll be okay one day…we’ll be okay…we’re still friends.”

 

And Yūri nodded.

 

“You’re still my best friend.” Yūri told him and Phichit smiled at that.

 

“You’re mine too.” Phichit told him and that made Yūri feel better, “Never apologize for falling for Nydia, okay?”

 

Yūri nodded and Phichit easily summed up their problem,

 

“We’re just two people who fell in love with the same person.”

 

They don’t have a fall out but things are noticeably strained within their group. But they work through it, because that’s what people do even if sometimes they don’t realize it.


 

 

April 2013 [Kensington Metro Park]

11:11 PM

 

“Nydia, stop hogging the Smirnoff!” Aliyah whined as Nydia cradled three unopened bottles of Vodka on her arm while drinking.

 

“Okay, today we celebrate Yūri’s gold!” Xia Zhen announced drunk on Chinese beer.

 

“Fireworks, where the fire works?” Zara asked as she rooted around the bag they brought.

 

“Di ko kayang tanggapin, na mawawala ka nasha akin napakashakit na malinig na puta april boy ano kasunod nun?” (I can’t bear to accept zat you’ll be gone from me, it hursht

to heal that fuck april boy what’s next after that?) Tonton asked as he stopped in the middle of his screeching.

 

“Parokya ni Edgar! Inuman sessions 101 yeah!”(Drinking sessions 101 yeah!)  Nydia said as she lapsed into her mother tongue while chugging down vodka like a pro.

 

“I found the fire works!” Phichit screamed in victory as he threw it at Zara and hit her straight on the face.

 

“お踊る!踊るだよ!もう!いまわたし貴方たい踊る!!!” (Let’s dance! Let’s dance! Jeez! Let’s dance right now me versus you!!!) Yūri pestered Xia Zhen.

 

“Ya bastard! I don’t speak Japanese!” Xia Zhen swatted him away which Yūri took as an agreement for a dance battle.

 

“Nydia~ Be my judge!” Yūri happily requested as he fell over Nydia who was singing on-key with a tone-deaf Tonton.

 

And if it had been in any other situation Nydia would have been pissed off, but she was drunk and they were all happily partaking in what was probably illegal, so instead she laughed loud and free and took Yūri in her arms. Held onto him in a surprising display of her love, and Yūri accepted it, he laughed with her and looked at her with so much fondness.

 

“I’ll be anything you want~!” Nydia revealed, drunk on 3 bottles of vodka and without her filter.

 

“Anything?”

 

Fireworks exploded in the background, the kind where it sounded like a bomb and shook everyone in the near vicinity and as Phichit and Zara lit up each and every (probably) illegal fireworks with maniacal glee, Tonton and Aliyah were dancing around with sparklers on their hands. Attracted by the mayhem, Nydia danced along with them, taking Yūri with her and spun him around and around. They danced and danced merrily, without care in the world, feeling invincible in their youth.

Laughter and music filled the empty beach as fireworks went off in the background. They were just seven friends who were drunk, basking in the feeling of freedom in doing what they want and though it was well past midnight, their merry-making didn’t stop even if all of them sobered up slowly. The stars weren’t visible enough but in the dim embers of the burned wood they used, all seven of them gazed upon the moon and stars as they sat on the sand and allowed the gentle sounds of the sea crashing to the shore fill their silence.

 

Xia Zhen spoke in a hushed tone,

 

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been this happy.”

 

And Zara agreed, none of them took their eyes off the moon, each of them were in deep thought. A group of slightly broken and bent youth who hid their fear of the uncertain future behind their bravado. Aliyah smiled softly, almost wistfully,  as she recounted the events that took her to this place today, she thought of the days that lead her to the friends she had right now and professed,

 

“I want to be with you guys for a long time.”

 

“That’s sweet, In that case I want a whole floor to myself.” Zara declared and Nydia snorted.

 

“I want the topmost floor so if an earthquake happened, my chances of living is significantly higher than everyone else.” Tonton added as he finished off his bottle, “What about you, Phichit?”

 

“I want an ice rink!” He answered and Yūri nodded along.

 

The rest of them smiled in laughter, Aliyah teased Nydia,

 

“You hear that Ny? You better start saving up for that ice rink.”

 

Nydia snorted and retorted with,

 

“You don’t have to save up if your glucose guardians are the ones who’ll buy it for you.” She then tapped her head and Yūri snorted in laughter.

 

Before he nudged her and asked, “Are you happy?”

 

It made everyone pause and looked at Nydia—who for all of her penchant for theatrics and never gone sarcasm—and saw her seriously considering her answer. She was an open book to those who had known her for a long time, a very open book to the people who had taken their time to know her and let her know them in turn.

 

“I—I had never been truly happy until the moment I met everyone.” She admitted and Tonton who had known her the longest, back in their home country, smiled at her admittance.

 

And Yūri, who was still learning about Nydia, understood that they were truly alike.  So he held her hand and squeezed it, offering his hand the way he wished someone did back then. She smiled at him and Yūri, for the first time in his life felt his heart skip a beat—in the pale moonlight as she laid on the sand and slightly smiled at him—Yūri thought,

 

‘Beautiful.’

 

“We have our book of secrets don’t we?” Nydia spoke and Yūri blinked.

 

“Yep.” Phichit answered and wondered why.

 

“Then let’s make a promise, that we’ll be friends for as long as our lives last, no matter what—“Nydia proposed and everyone looked at her, surprised at her uncharacteristic maudlin act.

 

“—and when the time comes for our retirement, we’ll go out with a bang!”

 

“Meaning?” Tonton asked.

 

“We started by ourselves, we won’t end alone.” Nydia replied and then,

 

“Altogether now—“

 

“Are we really doing this?” Aliyah asked, hesitant with the way Nydia was acting.

 

“Of course! C’mon, this’ll be something fun to look back to.” Nydia baited her with a mischievous grin and Aliyah relented.

 

Nydia grinned and began the pact,

 

“From this moment onwards, we, Yūri Katsuki’s harem—“

 

“Please stop saying that.”

 

“—solemnly swear that we’ll be good friends for as long as our natural lifespan—“

 

“Better start an AA group for us.”

 

“—shush Ton—ahem—and swear that when retirement comes we’ll dedicate our last hurrah to this friendship composed of eclectic group of people but all devastatingly beautiful to quote Yūri that one time he got drunk and started hitting on the married bartender—“

“What?!”

 

“—All in favour of this pact say ‘aye’.”

 

“Aye!” Everyone chorused as they ignored Yūri’s spluttering.


 

 

 December 13, 2014 [Grand Prix Final, Sochi]

9:07 PM

 

Yūri gave everything he could on this step sequence, he had always been chasing after intangible things, always looking for that missing piece within him. From the moment he had first seen Minako-sensei dance to the moment Yuuko had brought to him Viktor, and even then he had never been contented. He translated it into the ice, showing exactly how different loves have brought him to this point in his life.

Yūri could hear it clearly in the music Nydia had composed for him together with Ketty.

 

‘I won’t leave you. I don’t need gold to prove myself to you, I know that now. All you’ve ever wanted was my love right?’

 

“He’s planned for a quadruple toe-loop for his final jump.”

 

‘I am the only one who can give you what you want!’

 

Yūri jumped into the air and everyone in the stadium broke out into cheers.

 

“A Quad axel! He fell, but there was enough rotations!” Morooka narrated as Yūri did his last spin in the middle of the rink, “Katsuki Yūri who has been known for his impressive stamina and putting jumps at the second part of his program had truly shown he is a man who’d go above and beyond our expectations!”

 

With a ragged breath as he stopped on his final position, Yūri looked at Nydia and smiled at her—who had already schooled her expression into a blank—and skated to the opening of the rink as she waited for him there.

“Nydia!”

 

She smiled at him with outstretch arms and teary eyed.

 

“You understand right?” He asked as he got closer to her and just like the moment they met, Nydia surprised him.

 

No one on the stadium expected it.

 

“Yūri, I want to keep on watching you skate forever.” Nydia confessed as she brought out a silver ring and placed it into Yūri’s ring finger.

 

And Yūri smiled as tears fell down his eyes.

 

“Never take your eyes off me.” He answered.

 

They walk into the kiss and cry wait for his scores together with Celestino.

 

Yūri squinted at the screen and got closer for a clearer view just as Nydia drops the flowers and hugs him. Surprised by the action he leaned back and turned to Celestino.

 

“Congratulations, Yūri!” Celestino congratulated him and hugged both him and Nydia together as the two laughed with joy.

 

“340.76!” Nydia whispered on his ear and his eyes widened.


 

 

June 2014 [Detroit Skating Club]

 

“In preparation for the Grand Prix and Worlds you won’t be competing in any competitions for the coming months.” Celestino told him and Yūri nodded, it wasn’t like he needed that much money anymore considering the amount of adverts and sponsorship he got ever since his first gold in the senior’s division.

 

Celestino smiled then proceeded to talk about this season’s theme,

 

“Have you given it any thought?”

 

“Not yet but I—Well—I wanted to skate to Nydia’s music.” Yūri revealed and Celestino looked at him the same way he did a year ago before he got his first gold.

 

“Are you sure you can win with this music?”

 

In another universe, Yūri would have been cowered by this question, he would have given up on skating with this music and it would have laid in a box hidden away. Until Viktor came and he remembered about it but this is not that universe.

A butterfly flapped its wings and a storm forms in an ocean miles away from it.

In this universe, the glint of his glasses doesn’t signal his aloofness, the edge of his glasses caught the reflections of the lights and makes him confident—cocky even—and Celestino saw this.

 

“Yes.” Yūri answered with a boyish grin and Celestino relented.

 

He gives him the go signal and later that night Yūri watched Nydia rush out of their shared home with barely audible bye as she rode her bike with her backpack on her back.

The next few days passed by with barely a hint of Nydia’s presence beyond left behind mugs and her dirty clothes left to dry in the dryer. The house is notably silent without her rambunctious behavior, even Aliyah’s morning religious music seemed lonely without Nydia’s music (ranging from love songs to the Holy Trinity of Emo playlist) following after it and before Xia Zhen’s KPOP music.

 

“I guess the saying ‘May you live in interesting times’ was meant for Nydia.” Aliyah was the first one to breach the now commonplace but nonetheless bizarre peace in their home.

 

“You miss her already?” Zara teased and Aliyah huffed not at all willing to admit she missed the small petty arguments and banters she had with Nydia.

 

“God, no! But Nydia is our home entertainment live.” Aliyah retorted, “Who else would decide to cook one day out of the blue just for sheer pettiness?”

 

Instantly everyone recalled how Nydia had easily accepted the challenge from some White Guy TM just to prove him wrong about her apparent inability to cook five star level meals. It was, of course, hilarious more so when famous celebrity chefs got involved to be the impromptu judged based on presentation and the ratio of ingredients + quality used according to the intended demographic.

Naturally, she won.

 

“It scares me whenever the first word that comes out of her mouth is ‘Naturally, I had to prove them wrong.’” Tonton divulged as he looked faraway.

 

And everyone laughed at that as they all commiserated on the various shenanigans Nydia had led them to due to her sheer pettiness.

By the third week of June Nydia’s absence on their life was already quite noticeable and alarming enough that even though they all went to different universities people they didn’t know were asking about her whereabouts and health. Even the music conservatory students from Zara’s college.

This of course led to the revelation that despite Nydia’s claims of being part of CCS, she was in fact not a student there.

 

“The fuck did she put—I quote ‘The person living up to the word ‘Creative’ in Creative Studies’ end quote—in her twitter bio?!” Xia Zhen raged.

 

“Do I look like, I know?” Tonton grumbled as he returned back to sleep by pulling down his sleeping mask again.

 

And then one night, Nydia had stormed into her room waking Yūri up from his sleep and they shared a moment of awkwardness (on his part) and confusion (on her part).

 

“I can explain!” Yūri screeched just as Nydia bemusedly asked,

 

“Did you miss me that much?”

 

Yūri looked around him and realize that he was in fact not only sharing Nydia’s bed with Vicchan but also all of Nydia’s pets.

Nydia chuckled and walked over to him, sat on his lap and rested her forehead on his, “I missed you too.”

 

He blushed as his hands rested on her back and pulled her closer to him,

 

“It was too quiet in here.”

 

And Nydia smiled and kissed his cheek softly and the two of them just basked in that moment. Until Nydia jumped out of the bed jostling their pets awake as she ran back to her fallen backpack and took out an mp3 player.

 

“I’ve finished the demo music! Ketty helped with the composition.” Nydia told him and as Yūri listened to the music he could see a story, one he knew quite well.

 

“What do you think?” She asked, shy and uncertain, and Yūri wanted to remember this moments where Nydia allowed herself to just be.

 

“I love it.” Yūri replied.

 

‘I love you.’ He meant.


 

 

August 2013

These are the three things movies made you believe would happen once you fall in love:

  1. Time slows down to a halt
  2. It is an earth shattering revelation
  3. It happens on first sight

Neither of these happens to Yūri and the movies never told the whole truth anyway but if there was one thing Yūri was sure of, it was that realizing that he loved Nydia wasn’t a revelation but rather a fact.

She wasn’t even doing something special when it happened, she wasn’t all dolled up or even halfway decent. She was just lying on the L shaped green couched they had crammed into the corner of the living room. Her bare feet was on his lap and she hadn’t even brushed her teeth yet, her hair was askew and her shirt had holes in it.

He grumbled at her and she merely raised a brow at him and Yūri didn’t even ponder why he kept up with her, didn’t react when his mind had helpfully supplied him with,

 

‘I love her that’s why.’

 

And nothing changed in his interaction with her, he bantered and sassed with her, played games with her, and did marathons with her. She takes his breath away, surprises him in the best ways, infuriated him with her accidental callousness, and comforted him in her own awkward way.

He loves her but he wasn’t going to do anything about it because Nydia Salamtaan was the kind of person who’d leave a niche on your heart that no one would ever be able to fill. With her sharp edges hidden in wool, and words that would forever leave a mark, Nydia would leave broken hearts hard to repair in her wake.

So he’d love her, won’t allow himself to be swayed by her enchanting eyes and beguiling not quite there smiles, he’d let other men and women be fools in love at her. Because he knew that people wanted her love, would think that the scraps she gave in one night was the first piece to her heart. He loves her but he wanted his heart whole and wanted none of her scraps.

(Except it would never worked out. Months later, when he kisses her against the wall and drowns in the weight of her love, he will think of himself as the foolish child who flew too close to the sun.)


 

 

If the Author’s Will is the Law of the Universe and the Law sets out to correct the distortion within the Universe by any means could it be assumed then, that the Author is heartless?

 

A butterfly flutters its wings and causes a ripple through time.

A coin lands tails and the course is altered.

A pebble is casted on the ocean and the ocean ripples.

Turn left and the story veers off course.

 

“You’re not his soulmate.”

“But I could be the love of his life.”


 

 

December 14, 2014

02:30 AM

 

Yūri had always waited for the other shoe to drop ever since he met Nydia, but along the way he had forgotten, because Nydia made him forget, made him at home in his own skin, and his friends had helped him through his anxiety that he forgot.

‘Tragedy strikes when you least expect it.’ Nydia once told him.

They were just engaged.

He had accepted in front of the whole world.

‘Why then did I kiss Viktor?’ He asked himself as he ran through the empty streets of Sochi in search for his fiancée.

And he hated himself because he knew that if he had asked, Nydia would have been open to polyamory. He didn’t have to start a make out session with Viktor fucking Nikiforov on a dimly lit corridor like a clichéd trope but he did and he regretted it.

He hated the shattered look in her eyes, the hurt and fury that pierced through his heart and made him detach himself from Viktor’s arms. He hated that he had truly forgotten about her in the moments that led to that kiss. And now he was here in the streets desperately looking for her, wanting to beg for forgiveness because Nydia deserved better.

And then he saw her across the street in the corner of his eye just as a bright light engulfed her body and the sound of screeching brakes echoed in the empty streets of Sochi.

The world didn’t slow down.

He couldn’t move.

It was like a scene on a cliché drama, Nydia’s unconscious body and blood spilled in the concrete as snow fell.

 

 

 

5 hours later Nydia Salamtaan was declared in a state of coma.


 

 

???

“Foolish girl, have you never heard of the boy who flew too close to the sun and burned?”

“I’d rather be a fool and have wax burn the skin on my back from knowing what it felt to be close to the sun than remaining in the wretched ground forever wondering and envious of the one that did.”


 

 

 

Yūri Katsuki withdraws from the Worlds and soon rumors of retirement circle around the skating community.


 

 

2015

 

He returns to Hasetsu to the town that mourns with him and casted him into the role of pitiful lover. And he hated it, hated how they pitied him. Not knowing his infidelity just hours prior to the accident, just hours after their engagement.

He is on a pedestal and he doesn’t know how to get down from it.

The only one that knows of his infidelity is Viktor and he can’t and won’t ask for support from his now estranged friend.

His regrets pile up one after another and he is drowning. He had burned his bridges and no way to return to the past. The ice was what led him to this loves and the ice was also the one that took away his greatest love.

 

(But could it truly be love when he had easily kissed another?)

 

He drowns his sorrow in food and running himself ragged.

 

(How could he function when he had been so used to her presence?)

 

His name was Katsuki Yūri, written with the characters for ‘courage’ and ‘to win’ and yet he didn’t feel strong at all. He works and works to forget the pain, he dances and dances to forget the bridges he burned but fails so he eats to forget.

 

(How do you go on to forget someone you knew like the back of your hand?)

 

He didn’t cry when the ambulance came, didn’t cry on the press release, he didn’t cry as he packed up her things and Tonton took her pets away.

His life went on, he graduated after his gold in the Grand Prix. He continued on until the house they shared became too much, until the silence became unbearable, until the inevitable came.

They all leave Detroit behind. Gone their separate ways with cold civility in the airport and neither of them looked back.

 

(She left her mark in places no one would ever fill.)

 

Instead he broke down when he saw the planted chrysanthemum on their backyard. Crumpled on the ground as he remembered his promise, remembered how easily he had broken everything they had held dear.

Distantly he heard his sister croon to him and he doesn’t hesitate to bury his face on her shoulder and desperately clutched on her clothes. She was everywhere in Hasetsu, in the cobbled streets of January, in the kotatsu of December, in his room that November, in the park that April.

He cried himself into exhaustion and dreamed of better days.


 

 

September 16, 2014

12:00 AM

 

“Happy birthday Nydia.” He whispered as he poked her awake.

 

“Mnnn.”

 

“Wakey-wakey, love.” He shook her shoulders.

 

“Nnnn.” She moved away from him.

 

“Nydia, wake up I have a surprise for you.”

 

“Fuck off.” She pulled her blankets over her head and went back to her deep sleep.

 

“If you don’t wake up I’ll tie you up.” He threatened.

 

She ignored him and Yūri whined.

He had set up an alarm do this romantic thing for Nydia, one that he knew would tug at her bullet proof double Plexiglas heart. He had thought that amidst Nydia’s claims of never getting up for anyone before 9 AM, he would be the only exception, apparently not.

 

“Nydiaaaa.” He whined more, burrowing his face on her shoulder and moving it via facial means.

 

He needed her to wake up, just so it’d be worth the inevitable teasing he’d receive from the rest once they all woke up. Nydia remained steadfastly asleep even going so far as to call out Tacobell in her dreams. Yūri pouted and even if he was quite sure he was acting too much like a poodle, he wanted Nydia’s presence which was very integral for this romantic thing he was planning to do.

 

“あなた。” (Dear) Yūri sweetly whispered on her ear, lips ghosting on the shell of her ear.

 

And Nydia’s eyes opened slowly, half-lidded she turned to Yūri with a smoldering look in her eyes and replied,

 

“あなたわ殺す。”(I’ll kill you)

 

“もうしわきありませんでした!” (I humbly apologize for my wrongs!)

 

By the time Nydia had woken up on her own terms, Yūri was already suffering the brunt of their friends’ good natured teasing, and though Nydia’s hair was askew and she had yet to wash her face, the slight smile she gave him was enough to buoy him through the teasing. Until she woke up and regained her mental capacity to deal with the world just to join in with teasing him.

They had spent the whole day doing cliché couple things and though Yūri wanted to wear couple shirts, she had drawn the line at that and instead told him to be contented with complimentary outfits and then she had kissed him so sweetly on his cheek that he forgot about couple shirts. They took pictures to post online and had everyone from the internet congratulate Nydia on her birthday. Going around Detroit looking for hole-in-the-wall shops and buying goods that were cheap and of good quality.

Of course, no one knew that they were exclusively dating but seeing Nydia grin at it made him at ease.

 

‘It’s sorta fun.’ Yūri thought as they pulled the greatest trick of all to the whole world.

 

“Ah, it’s almost time to meet up with everyone.” Nydia mused and Yūri hugged his girlfriend tight.

 

Because he could and he was allowed to so he did and Nydia’s answering flushed smile made his heart constrict in a warm way. She was absolutely beautiful.

‘愛して.’ (I love you) He thought.

He kissed her forehead.


 

 

October 2013

11:11 PM

 

There were words that couldn’t be quantified from the lexicon of Nydia to English to Yūri. Sometimes the thought that he knew someone that was like him was befuddling because how does one begin to describe what it meant to know someone who knew the way you suffered intimately? Who shared the demons in your mind and the constant battle in it?

There were not enough words to define it.

But right now, in Nydia’s room, Yūri laid privy to her thoughts and story. Listened to her childhood and held her hand as she spoke with a tone that was neither sad nor happy. And that made it more heartbreaking in his ears.

“Make a wish.” He said, eyes promising to make it come true no matter what.

“I don’t want to end up as my parents’ child.” She wished, eyes humoring him but never truly believing.

 


 

 

???

A long time ago, Yūri had been interviewed about his ideal person.

A long time ago, “Love” was a foreign concept to Yūri, love beyond familial bonds or childhood infatuations was vague and incomprehensible to him. He doesn’t understand the appeal of holding hands or kissing or dating.

Despite his silent nature Yūri doesn’t want a silent life. Maybe calm but not uninteresting. He wanted excitement and Hasetsu couldn’t give that to him.

A long time ago he answered,

“Someone interesting.”

 

(Was his love that fickle?)

 

A long time ago she made wish.

Before she understood that wishes aren’t like they painted in the TV, that wishes were grim fairytales.

 

A long time ago she traded her rose-tinted world away to chase after the foolish sun. She made a wish,

“Let me be part of their story!”

 

(She wore her oddity like a cloak and never looked back.)


 

 

October 2014

 

“Yūri get out of there already!” Nydia groaned from behind the door of the bathroom while he fidgeted on the costume Nydia had given to him.

 

When she had suggested to do a pair costume this wasn’t what he expected. He had not thought that he would have end up wearing a leather booty shorts with matching leather turtle neck crop top and ankle boots with thigh highs.

 

And Nydia. Nydia was holding his tail outside and the pink at the other end of the tail was enough clue for him to not get out. Because his lover was devilishly handsome tonight and Yūri was proud of that but he was sure it wasn’t worth wearing an anal beads for.

 

“NO!” He screeched.

 

He didn’t want to go out and party wearing such clothes while people pawed at his handsome lover and he was stuck at the table because he was shy about his outfit.

 

“Yūri~ we’re only going to be there to show-off and shut people up and then come back here for a party of our own.” Nydia groaned out and the sound went straight to his dick which was already constrained by the leather shorts that was like second skin on him.

 

“Promise?” He asked as he peeked out from the tiny crack between the door and the frame.

 

Nydia smiled beatifically and Yūri was taken aback by the exposed cleavage of his lover. And then his eyes zeroed in on the disguised anal beads and his dick throb. Naturally, Nydia took notice and didn’t hesitate to offer help.

 

“My, Yūri, you should have told me you were this hard already.” A rakish grin on Nydia’s face bloomed as they lick their lips and palmed him through the cloth.

 

Yūri let out a particularly erotic moan which surprised himself. Nydia stood closer and whispered,

 

“Be as loud as you want, everyone else is at the party.”

 

Yūri blushed bright and let out a yelp as cold air hit his ass and then felt fingers massaging his entrance.

 

“Ny—Nydia!” His voice cracked as he let out a moan on the first finger that slipped in.

 

“How eros of Yūrika~.” Nydia teased as they watched Yūri raised his ass and wiggle it around.

 

Yūri’s moans echoed as Nydia’s finger easily loosened him up to slip in the anal beads at the end of the devil tail they had bought at the sex shop.

Nydia had Yūri braced himself against the wall as they slowly inserted the tail bead by bead while Nydia’s free hand assisted Yūri’s body which was shaking. And then pressed onto his back to bite his ear.

 

“Ahn!” Yūri let out a surprised moan and could feel Nydia’s laughter.

 

He pouted and craned his neck to pout at them. Nydia stopped laughing and instead started kissing him and Yūri happily obliged.

 

“Since we’re already late, let’s just have a party of our own here~” Yūri suggested as he broke the kiss, looking very much like a succubus.

 

‘Ridiculous.’ Yūri thought as Nydia easily carried him on their bed.

 

Here in their arms Yūri had never felt more loved, with each loving caress and eyes that looked at only him, Yūri thought how ridiculous it was that people thought that Nydia would stray. He laughed at the absurdity that Nydia would lie to him because right here, right now, under the masterful touch of Nydia that set his skin on fire.

He was the only one that could satisfy his Nydia.


 

 

January 2013

 

“Our Yūri won gold!” They had all proclaimed a scant few minutes before the ball drop and Yūri had to deal with males and females wanting to take pictures with him.

 

And then they (Aliyah, Nydia, Zara) had decided to go on bar crawl. First it was the best bars on Detroit and Yūri didn’t see the harm in it. He ignored the fact that they were all becoming a burgeoning alcoholic.

And kept on drinking cocktails and dancing on the dance floor. He made out with anyone that caught his eye or interesting enough in every club they went to. It was fun, letting himself loose in places no one knew him and only saw a pretty face among the crowd.

Yūri collected phone numbers and gave away smiles filled with promises he would have forgotten once morning arrived. He danced with anyone and everyone in every club they went to, giving them the illusion that they had him for the moment. The alcohol coursing through his veins made him lose his inhibitions, made his blood burn with each moment Yūri allowed himself to feel the music in the way the ice couldn’t.

Tonight, Yūri was just another pretty face in the crowd. He doesn’t remember how they ended up in Canada and in custody of the Leroys but he remembered how Nydia looked like in the morning when she was just content, a state of being she rarely felt, and he knew that she was breathtaking.

Nydia with a lazy grin as she talked with Isabella, lamenting about lovers who didn’t know how to take off days. His eyes would always come back to her, advising JJ as if he was her younger brother, she was soft and inviting that he doesn’t realize the soft smile in his face, the fond look in his eyes, as JJ’s father comes over to him and says,

 

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say both of you were together.”

 

“Pardon?” Yūri said, wondering if he had misheard.

 

“You and that girl, Nydia, was it?” JJ’s father said before he took a long sip of his coffee, “You look at her the way I look at my wife.”

 

“Ah.”

 

“You didn’t realize huh?” He mused and looked at Yūri as if he was his son, “It’s always like that isn’t it, for people like us, I mean.”

 

And Yūri listened to the man who he knew was once an Olympic athlete.

 

“I loved my sport first and foremost, everything else came second and I ended up passing up on chances…” He looked at his wife and smiled tenderly, “by the time I’ve forgotten about love, my darling heart came around and I took her for granted, didn’t even notice she liked me, that darling of mine.”

 

“What then?” Yūri asked and he smiled at him as if he was sharing the secrets of the universe.

 

“I saw what was just right in front of me and took it with both hands. Courted her, thanked her, and offered every medal to her.” He looked back on his wife and his wife, feeling eyes on her, looked up from her conversation and gave him a tender smile, “I married her and had kids with her. I still love my sport but nothing compares to her.”

 

And Yūri looked back at Nydia who saw him and smiled like she knew a secret and in that moment when the light hit her just right, Yūri understood what JJ’s father meant.

(It was as natural as breathing.)


 

 

2015

 

He didn’t know what he was feeling beyond regret and anger. He hated the people who easily claimed that knew Nydia, hated how easily they gave interviews about their relation with her, how she acted, her quirks, her thoughts as if they were not meant to be kept as a secret.

He doesn’t know how other people could go on with their lives as if the hole she left didn’t exist. Her ghost lingered in the corridors of their inn, in the streets of Hasetsu, in the things she left behind in her room. She was everywhere and he didn’t know how to cope now that she was in a hospital sleeping deeply.

He hated how easily he had broken her heart and trust.

He regretted how he had cruelly thought she would be the one to stray.

He wanted her back in his side, wanted to rid himself of the painful reminder of a forever that turned to ashes.

He wore her ring on his neck and cleaned it every night before going to sleep, a painful reminder of broken promises and ruined hearts.


 

 

???

She had told him a long time ago, underneath the blanket of Dalmatians, how a state of marriage could be told from the gleam of a wedding ring.

“If it only shines on the inside, then chances are that person is having an affair.” She whispered, “but if it shines on both sides then that person is faithful and in a happy marriage.”

“What makes you say that?” He had asked.

And her smile was melancholic as she replied, “I saw the state of my father’s ring that was a dull gold.”

He promised her, not knowing the weight of his words, only wanting to see her smile, “I’d make sure that your ring would never be dull.”


 

 

2015

Days passed and Yūri never took notice of the passage of time. It had blurred all along, he had long since stop jogging in the wee hours of the morning, he hadn’t visited the ice once. All he could do was take out their pets for a walk, and try to enter her room. He was a coward, he left her messages through flowers she’d never see on her bed side table in the hospital room. There were days when he woke up happy enough to greet their pets and take them for a long run by the beach but then inevitable he’d remember passing conversations with her and it would be too much.

She was the first person he’d ever love and he doesn’t know how to stop loving her.

(How does one forget breathing?)

 

She loved him and he had repaid her by breaking her heart so easily, forgetting her so easily, for a man, for his idol.

(Was he even capable of love?)

He lost and adrift without her, without the people he had so easily alienated in the midst of his pain and he didn’t know how to build those bridges. He doesn’t know if he still had a place in their life, if he could go back to the way things used to be when Nydia, who was integral to him, was dreaming of things he didn’t know about.

(How do you find yourself?)

He wanted to go back in time.

And do away with his regrets that piled up one after another.


 

 

February 2013

 

“Eh? This chocolate is for us?” Yūri and Phichit wondered aloud as they receive chocolates from Aliyah, Nydia, Zara and Xia Zhen.

 

“What about me?” Tonton whined as he ate a Ferrero Rocher.

 

“People who receive tons of chocolate from their patrons in the bar should shut up.” Zara tched at the end.

 

“Oi, Just now you clicked your tongue didn’t you?!”

 

“Tch.”

 

“You did it again!” Tonton exclaimed, scandalized.

 

“Zara shouldn’t be so bitter just because she didn’t receive anything beyond friendship chocolates~” Nydia teased as she fed Yūri her chocolate truffle.

 

“Tch!”

 

Aliyah laughed at that and boasted, “Well, I know the flowers and chocolates my boyfriend gave me pales in comparison to the ones Nydia received but it’s the thought that counts right?”

 

“Just what exactly did she receive?”

 

“A new car—even if she can’t even drive—“Xia Zhen began listing and Nydia gasped, offended, “—from sugar mommy number one, a villa in France from sugar daddy number two, another villa—this time in Sussex—from sugar daddy number one, a flat in Moscow courtesy of sugar daddy number 3, a 4 star hotel in South Korea from sugar mommy number three, and last but not the least, a mini jet from sugar mommy number two.”

 

“What the fuck?!” Tonton and Zara exclaimed, pausing in the middle of their squabble.

 

Nydia blinked and said, “Now that you think about it, I think I just pretty much flirted with the 1% of the population.”

 

“No shit, Sherlock.” Aliyah retorted with an incredulous look and a hint of respect towards Nydia.

 

“Anyway what’s the occasion?” Yūri asked as he hand-fed Phichit one of Nydia’s more dubious chocolate.

 

““““White day.”””” All four of them chorused.

 

“…サン倍返し…” Yūri said as he remembered what that day meant and wept for his wallet.

 

“Eh? Yūri what does that mean? Sanbaigeshi?” Phichit asked as he felt dread settle in his stomach.

 

“Sanbai gaeshi means triple the return…” Yūri looked at the beatific smiles of his female friends and suddenly found them less beatific and more demonic in appearance.

 

“Thi—this calorie intake is too much for me!” Yūri blurted out as his (wallet’s) survival instincts blared into life and tried to get away from the three. Phichit trusting Yūri’s senses hastened to follow but the hand that landed on his shoulder easily returned him to the ugly green couch.

 

“Ny—nydia?!” He squeaked as Yūri got tagged teamed by Xia Zhen and Aliyah.

 

From his position on the singular sofa, Tonton chimed, “Give it up.”

 

Yūri who was scrawling on the red carpet floor of their tiny living room wailed as he tried to fight off the persistent combined weight of Xia Zhen and Aliyah.

 

“Make sure to not injure his bones and joints.” Zara ordered from beside Tonton.

 

Her usually kind and sisterly smiled felt more demonic that the ones the other three had and Phichit who took a closer look on Tonton’s face realized that his dear friend had the eyes of a soldier that had given up on war.

He looked at Yūri and saw that the white flag had been raised. The Great Wall had fallen. Manila had been occupied. The El Presidente was captured. Slowly, he turned to the hand that held onto him, his eyes trailed from the hand, to the wrist, to the arm and finally to the body that it was attached to.

The shadow on her face was very intimidating.

He gulped.

She smiled.

 

“I’ll be waiting for March 14.”

 

On that day, the males received a grim reminder: Never underestimate the shrewdness of female friends.


 

 

March 14, 2013

 

There are times that Yūri forgets—amidst the constant teasing and playful banter with everyone—that it was always the thought that counts.

Between the three of them; Tonton, Phichit, and him, they were able to make an Instagram worthy breakfast for the girls. The fresh produce from their own mini farm lovingly cultivated by Tonton and Zara are used to save money. In a way, it was also their bonding time, having light hearted talks and informative ones over the ways things are cooked for maximum efficiency and quality. Little cuisines from around the world, everyone’s favorite food, were cooked with love and care that Yūri’s face never stopped smiling as he prepared the desserts.

He had never thought that he’d find another place to call home in a foreign country with customs that clashed with his. The days that seemed too much for him were now bearable, he had people he could count on to take care of him, if he couldn’t. And in turn, he found people who depended on him and it felt wonderful, having a mutual partnership that didn’t feel overbearing to him. He had found an eccentric family of sorts in a place that used to mean nothing to him.

And now, Detroit was a place he found himself calling home. It hadn’t replaced Hasetsu in his heart but it had instead settled to right beside it. Detroit settled in his bones and made him more tethered, the city life wasn’t a chaos that he feared nor abhorred any longer, it was something he had begun to thrive in.

 

“Yūri, can you pass me the white onion please?” Tonton asked as he flipped the beef over.

 

“Sure.” Yūri passed him the chopping board while blinking his eyes to fight off the tears.

 

Beside them Phichit had finished making Paella, Aliyah’s favorite dish—and was starting on Zara’s favorite dish, Honeyed Chicken and Eggplant Biryani. Yūri had just finished making Xia Zhen’s tiě bǎn dòufu and was left it inside the pre-heated oven to keep it warm.

 

“Yūri, are the desserts chilled yet?” Phichit had asked as he chopped the eggplant.

 

“I’ll go check.” Yūri said as he left Tonton’ side and went over to their refrigerator to check over the desserts that need to be chilled, placed orderly were Nydia’s, Xia Zhen’s, and Zara’s favorite desserts; Leche Flan, Doufu, and Halawat El Jibn, respectively.

 

Aliyah’s Ghorayeba was left cooling in the counter.

 

“Yep.” Yūri assured them and began to set the tables as the sun began to rise and their home slowly came to life.

 

In their living room, Vicchan was slowly regaining his consciousness, Charlemagne—Zara’s rabbit—was already bouncing about in search of Phichit’s hamster trio: Lahkshimi, who had a brown coat, Shiva—the golden one, and Indra who had silver coloring.

Yūri decided to check up on Xia Zhen’s koi fish—named Yue—which had its own indoor pond right underneath the stairs and found to his horror that Loki—the long haired Persian cat—was pawing at the fish.

 

“Loki, NO!!” Yūri screeched as he ran towards the cat that lived up to its namesake.

 

Loki took off, running towards the sleeping Patrasche—the drowsy Tibetan mastiff—who didn’t only blinked awaked and drowsily got up only to lie down again on top of the disgruntled Persian.

 

“Good boy.” Yūri crooned as he scratched Patrasche behind his fluffy ears and gave him a dog treat.

 

Loki meowed miserably from his position but otherwise made no move to actually get up. Then the unmistakable sound of Gino’s—Aliyah’s Persian cat—distressed wail resounded followed by the unmistakable hiss of Jerry—the white coated Himalayan and Yūri braced himself for the inevitable chase about to occur.

And it did. Jerry had come barreling down the flight of stairs with amazing speed followed by the ever grumpy face of Gino and less fast speed but nonetheless amazing considering the cat’s fatness.

Yūri sighed and got hold of Gino and took the agitated cat into his arms for heavy petting and began to scold Jerry—whom Nydia had assured him understood them all very well—to the cat’s credit it did looked repentant.

By the time Phichit and Tonton were done cooking breakfast, Yūri had already finished serving the pets and all that was left was serving the food and waking up the girls.

The latter was left to Vicchan and Patrasche who systematically whined outside the doors of the girls until they got up. Aliyah and Xia Zhen languidly patted the two dogs and gave them treats before heading downstairs, phones at hand as they prepared for their day off.

Zara sleepily patted the two dogs before going back to lie down on the floor except Vicchan had not stopped licking her face and she grumbled as she got up patting the excitable toy poodle before finally heading down to the dining area.

Patrasche headed up to her owner’s bed, the door was left ajar, and easily climbed up the stairs that led to the bed and began to sleep beside her owner’s back.

 

“Guhhh…” Nydia let out as she felt the increased body heat.

 

From beside her head, Empress—the Turkish Angora—opened an eye before getting up from her position and trotted down the stairs. Vicchan sped past her and began yipping and licking Nydia’s face who used the pillow to stop the barrage of puppy kisses.

 

“Bicha no…” Nydia ordered as she kept the poodle’s face away from her.

 

Vicchan let out a whine and Nydia, relented welcoming the poodle to her arms and burying her face on his fluffy fur.

 

“Woof!” Vicchan let out a happy yip and his tail began to wag faster.

 

Nydia sighed and patted Patrasche to get up as she cradled Vicchan on her arms on her way down the bed. Beside the stairs, Empress had finished washing her coat and jumped atop Patrasche to hitch a ride down.

Nydia took one look at the two and took a picture as she spoke to her cat, “You’re too lazy.”

Soon enough, the entire house was filled with Aliyah’s morning music and the cacophony of conversations in the dining area. Nydia let out a soft smile as she headed down stairs and readied herself for another entertaining day.

 

“Happy White Day.” Yūri greeted her on the foot of the stairs with a warm smile and blue rose.

 

“Hm. Happy white day too.” She replied after accepting the rose and putting Vicchan down.

 

Their breakfast was filled with more laughter than usual, the deep-ache of missing home was gone from their bones in that moment, as all of them shared stories from their childhood. Their favorite food was on the table, each dish replicated the exact same taste from their childhood memories, it had reminded them of their simple days, before the world had worn them thin and fraying in the edges.

With each bite that they took, the more the ache in their hearts eased, they knew that it would come back full force once the day ends, but now there would a new longing in it, the desire to come back to their roots with their precious friends was there.

Aliyah wanted to show the friends she made back to her family in Yemen. Zara ached to show to the family she had found here in Detroit the life she had in Kyrgyzstan. Xia Zhen yearned to show her family back in Taiwan, who didn’t believe in her dance, that she had found people who loved her and the dance she chose.

In the place of words, the actions they made for their makeshift family, spoke louder than anything else. Because they knew the taste of food crafted with love, and the three males knew this, saw it with their very own eyes and reveled at the happiness they were able to give.

All of them had found a family that accepted their flaws, their eccentricities and loved them more for it.

“Thank you.” Nydia spoke, uncharacteristically soft and shy, and Tonton looked at his adopted cousin and smiled because he knew that she was not simply thanking them for the meal but for everything it symbolized.

He said nothing and fed her more white onions.

The rest of the day was spent in an outing, reminiscing childhood games and stories, deepening their bond and trust on each other.

There are days when Yūri forgets but he knew that he’d never forget this warmth that settled in his bones and deep into his heart. He’d never forget the warmth of a family he had stumbled into that certain night months ago.


 

 

2015

 

The thing is, Nydia had always been a romantic.

Yūri knew this as he watched her write stories, scribbled away in the pages of her filler notebook, in the quotes she left on the margins of her notes. In the descriptions of her fashion line, in the way she’d look at the works of aspiring designers that go up to her, and gave her best give advice to them, showing them how they could soar to greater heights and surpass her.

Nydia planted seeds not for her own but for the ones in the future.

So it hadn’t really surprised him to find her words hidden on his drawer. Instead it dawned on him, the same way he knew he loved her, the depth of her devotion. And with shaking hands, he opened the letter as her memory resurfaced in his mind.

 

 

“Yūri, Did you know that you can tell a lot about a person based on the letter they sent?” She had asked him apropros of nothing as they dallied in the art store.

 

“Isn’t that the purpose of a letter?” He retorted as he watched her finger through the stationaries.

 

She hummed and he went closer to her, the tips of her fingers touched upon a brown stationary with vintage borders.

 

“The contents of the letter yes but the letter itself?”

 

“Oh.”

 

She smiled at him and he reveled at the brilliance she would show him,

 

You can tell whether the sender is thoughtful or not based on the papers, ink, and enveloped used.”

 

“What about their personality then?”

 

“In the way the sealed the paper and wrote the contents.” She answered with twinkling eyes and bought 20 stationaries.

 

 

The letter was enclosed in a light pink envelope that had a sakura petals marked at the right bottom corner and sealed with a poodle sticker. His name was written in careful strokes of black ink and he knew that she probably used her cherished calligraphy ball pen.

He felt the tears coming as he took out the letter and recognized the paper, it was Nydia’s special paper, one she rarely used except for special occasions. It was brown and had cherry blossom petals drawn on the paper, raining down.

 

(Translation: My dear Yūri, are you well? Are you laughing? Are you happy? Am I still by your side? Are we still friends? But that doesn’t matter. Because I know the kind of person that you are, cowardly, anxious, a person that hates to lose, a kind person, a brilliant person, a beautiful person, a gentle person.

Everything, everything, is what makes Yūri Katsuki as a whole. Even if this letter is read 10 years in the future or even 50 years, know that no matter what I would never stop loving you. You don’t need me to live, understand Yūri? I am not the air you breathe, I am not the center of your life. You are strong without me. Don’t give up on chasing after your dreams, go beyond the expectations, live and love without fear.

I am just one of the many people that you have given ‘Life’ and ‘Love’ and there are probably many others who received that from you. Don't worry about me, wherever I may be because I will always love you no matter what and if a day comes that you carry a burden to heavy too bear alone, remember that you have us, the people who love you, with you. I’m sure that there are things I still haven’t told you, things that you want to know, one day I’ll answer all of your questions but for now let me tell you the words I could never say to you.

I love you, Yūri.

                                                                                                                                                                                Nydia)

 

He broke down and wept on his floor as his hand clutched on the letter, Vicchan came barreling in his room followed by the rest of Nydia pets.

And he cried harder, mourning the loss of the person who loved him so deeply, mourning the friendship he had easily burned down, he wept for his mistakes and swore that once he was done crying he’d do as Nydia wished in her letter. He’d make amends to the people he pushed away and make her proud.

 

‘Are you watching over me even now?’

 

“Mom, I’m going out.” He told them as he left through the front door, not bothering to see their looks as he rushed to Hasetsu Hospital. On the way, he had passed the flower shop that was being managed by his former classmate and bought a bouquet of lilies for the person that was waiting for him.

 

Yūri doesn’t know whether it was fate or destiny that led him to Nydia, whether they had met by chance or not. He didn’t have an answer to that but, he knew, deep down, that he loves her. He couldn’t turn back time to that moment, but he could make amends.

 

‘In a way, you were right.’ Yūri thought as he slowed down his pace as he reached her door.

 

He gathered up his courage and reached for the knob.

 

 

‘I’ve never been weak without you, I just didn’t want to go on and leave you behind.’


 

 

December 24, 2015

 

“Yūri, are you sure about this?” Yuuko asked as she set up the camera while Yūri laced up his skates.

 

“Un.”

 

“Uncle Yūri, can we really post this on mama's Youtube account?” Axel asked as she tugged on Yūri’s sleeves.

 

“I never go back on my words.” Yūri affirmed as he ruffled her head.

 

“Nydia-nee, would definitely enjoy watching this once she woke up, right?” Loop asked as she handed Yūri his gloves and headed with him towards the opening of the rink.

 

“Of course! Nydia-nee is a Yūri Katsuki Wotaku!” Lutz added as she received Yūri’s skate guards.

 

From the music booth Takeshi sighed fondly as he watched his friend get out of his depression. It had surprised everyone in the town once Yūri was seen getting out of the house frequently and jogging. The news had spread easily, and everyone did their best to help out their local celebrity. From giving him snacks and visiting Nydia to helping out in the rink, everyone had helped him out to get back on his feet. Soon enough Yūri had slowly lost the accumulated fats and was slowly returning to his figure back in 2014.

He remembered his small talk with Yūri, the first day he had dropped by in the rink after a long time.

 

 

“Takeshi, I want to book the rink until the foreseeable future.” Yūri had told him, eyes glinting with stubborn determination.

 

“Are you sure?” He had asked worried that his friend was pushing himself too much again.

 

“Yes.” Yūri replied, the gleam of his glasses covering his eyes for a moment, “I got tired of moping around.”

 

Yūri’s eyes were alive.

 

 

It had caught him off guard for a moment but he had relented nonetheless.


 

 

September 2015

 

Yūri hastily searched for the papers that Tonton had given him that held all off his practice regimen. It had been lumped together with his thesis papers and Yūri had only faltered for a moment before he had easily steeled himself again. He was done moping around and feeling sorry, he only had a few months left to train for the Nationals and Qualifiers for the Grand Prix, next season.

It wasn’t enough to make a routine but he would make do.

He just needed to get the attention of the person he knew had the ability to bring out the best in him.

Yūri read the data Tonton had collected and from it formed a regimen that would bring back his former body figure, as well as improving his stamina once more. He spent the next few hours in his room, creating and trashing ideas for his training schedule and diet until he finally found the one he felt had the perfect balance that could rival Tonton’s.

He felt his heart drop lightly at the memory of his friend whom he had lost all contact with.

“I’ll definitely win a lot of gold medals and show them the hard work they put into me wasn’t wasted.” Yūri told himself as he steeled his heart and prepared to face the inevitable effects of his return next season.


 

 

December 24, 2015

 

Yūri did a few warm ups on the ice as he got his heart into a regular beat. He tried to make himself relax and get the story in his head.

‘A man is lost, wandering in a town at night, he peers into every window in the town and found that everyone but him wasn’t alone. He walks on and on, lamenting that he was alone. The man had been left behind by his lover and in the middle of singing them an ode, he hears a voice just as sad as him singing as well. He follows it and finds someone abandoned, like him, as well.’

He opens his eyes and stops at the center of the rink.

He looks at Takeshi and signals him to begin the familiar music that called out to his soul. The lonely violin fills the air of Hasetsu Ice Castle and Yūri loses himself to the music and story he is trying to tell.

In every move he made, in every nuance of his arms and legs that seemingly reached out for an invisible person, everyone watching him felt their heart strings tugged. More than Viktor’s performance, that now seemingly held a shallow loneliness, Yūri’s version of Stammi Vicino, was lonely but Yuuko could see the yearning in his moves, the bittersweet feeling of having been left behind with sweet memories by a lover that you loved deeply.

Yuuko wept as Yūri came close to her position and saw in his eyes that he was looking not at her but at Nydia. She stifled her sobs as the program drew to an end and clapped loudly, for her friend, who had been through so much.

The engagement ring on his neck gleamed and it was the last image seen in the video posted later on.

 


 

 

April 2016 [Russia]

 

“That idiot!” Yuri Plitesky cursed as he ignored Yakov’s angry yelling in the rink. After months of silence since Nychka’s accident his feed was blown up by Yura's trending video.

 

His mom’s caller id came into view and he hesitantly slid the accept button.

 

“Mamochka.” He greeted her warily and took the phone away from his ear as his mother bellowed,

 

‘Yurochka! Our Yura is trending! Did you see his skating video? The investors are calling and wanted to know if this means Nychka is already awake?! Our Yura skated so beautifully.’

 

Yuri sighed and agreed with his mother, “Nychka, isn’t awake but you should better leave the PR to Tosha and Zasha.”

 

‘Oh dear, you’re right!’ Mariya exclaimed and Yuri held back a sigh just as he was ending the call his mother added,

 

‘And don’t you dare book a flight to Hasetsu as soon as possible without informing me!’

 

“Don’t treat me like that old man!” Yura screamed before ending the call.

 

[Hasetsu, Japan]

 

“…could this be a sign?” Yūri asked aloud as he warily glanced at the heavy snow fall. The video had gone viral last night and the comments were supportive of his return though he had yet to release an official statement.

 

“Woof.” Vicchan yipped as he lept into Yūri’s lap and curled on it.

 

Patrasche was being used as a heater by the three cats and made no move to get up. Yūri sighed and wondered what Nydia would think of him now.

 

“Yūri, don’t hole up in your room and help shovel the snow!” Hiroko called out from behind the closed door and Yūri sighed.

 

“Got it!” He answered back knowing that his family still worried about his mental state.

 

He got out of bed and dressed appropriately for the odd weather. Vicchan and the rest followed him out of his room and into the dining area where Loki, Jerry, Empress, and Patrasche were happily coddled and spoiled by the inn’s guest.

Vicchan followed him to entrance and heard another bark outside the door. Opening it, he was greeted by another poodle and got tackled to the ground.

 

“Vi-vicchan’s dopple ganger?!” Yūri screeched as he tried to get a better look at the dog.

 

“ah…it isn’t.” Yūri let out a sigh of relief just as Vicchan came over to them and barked with the taller and bigger poodle.

 

He stared a bit more and found himself slightly dreading the appearance of the Vicchan look alike.

 

“It couldn’t possibly be right?” He mumbled in denial

.

“Yūri, doesn’t he look like Vicchan a lot?” His father said as he stood behind him.

 

And Yūri’s thoughts were already running a mile per minute as his father spoke, “She came with a really good-looking foreigner.”

 

Yūri glanced back at the dog that was now sitting in front of him and nosing Vicchan. He gulped and took the chance to confirm his suspicions.

 

“Makkachin?”

 

“Woof!” Makkachin barked and went back to licking Yūri on the face, Vicchan joined in and Yūri found himself being slobbered by dog spit.

 

His boisterous laughter resounded in the inn and the guest smiled at the noise. It had been a long time since they heard Yūri laugh like that.

 

“Okay, okay, that’s enough.” He told the two excitable dogs and got up from his sprawled position. His father laughed as  the two dogs circled Yūri.

 

“Oh, he’s on the onsen right now.” Toshiya dropped out of the blue just as Hiroko told him to and worried with the sudden change in his son’s expression.

 

Yūri clumsily removed his shoes with haste as he barreled to the onsens, Vicchan and Makkachin deciding to stay behind and not get involve.

 

“Yūri?” Toshiya called out to his son as the boy left a trail of disaster in his wake, “Clean that up once you’re done okay?”

 

He called out to him and left to go back to his wife.

 

“Kids nowadays.”

 

Barreling into the indoor baths, Yūri took a quick glance before heading outside and stopping at the sight of the person he had been waiting for. He was out of breath but in the face of the person he had hurt he could only look agape.

 

“ヴィーヴィチャ…” (Vi-vitya)He uttered softly in disbelief.

 

Right in front of him, with an indiscernible expression on his face, was Viktor Nikiforov. Yūri watched as Viktor removed the white hand towel on his head.

 

“なんでわここいるよ?”(Why are you here?) He asked in disbelief, his plan had actually worked.

 

Viktor stood up from his sitting position and the water cascaded down his pectorals and to his legs. His whole body was dripping water and he looked like he was in for a photo shoot, which briefly annoyed Yūri—Viktor with great flourish reached out his arm and said,

 

“Yūri, starting from today, I’m your coach,” His estranged friend leisurely proclaimed, “I’ll make you win the Grand Prix Final!”

 

Viktor added a wink and though Yūri wanted to desperately retort he was not in that position to do so.

 

“まじで?!?!” (Seriously?!?!) Yūri’s screech was heard throughout the inn.

 


 

In every universe that branched out because of deviations made, there things that couldn’t be change no matter what. The universal constants that remain as they are in every circumstance or happenstance.

Just like the inevitable existence of Katsuki Yūri and his meaning to Viktor Nikiforov. Just like the undeniable bonds formed between Katsuki Yūri, Viktor Nikiforov, and Yuri Plitesky.

The inevitability of Viktor Nikiforov’s arrival in Hasetsu to coach Yūri is one of them.

Now that the anomaly had been removed, the Will of the Universe begins to move on its right track once again. Paying no mind to the anomalies and only caring for the main cast, the stage had been set for the story everyone had been waiting for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“In the end, just what did you worked so hard for?”

Chapter Text

There were things that Viktor would never tell Yūri, parts of himself that filled him with disgust, his flawed heart and selfishness for Yūri is one of them. A part of him, the rational part that he rarely listened where Yūri was involved, knew that Nydia’s accident would affect Yūri deeply, he wasn’t blind to the way Yūri would look at Nydia, so full of love and devotion, the 2014 Winter Olympics was the definite proof of it.

Yūri had worshiped the ground Nydia had walked on.

But still, his foolish heart saw himself in Yūri. It was in the way Yūri had skated in the 2015 GPF, he didn’t know why he had never noticed it before, but it was unmistakable because in that moment while Yūri had danced for all the love he had received, and his love for Nydia, Viktor saw himself in the ice. In the dip of Yūri’s body, in movements of his arms as he prepared for the jumps.

He knew his thoughts were poisonous and he was horribly aware of his shortcomings so he feared that, in the face of the ever seemingly perfect Nydia, he would pale in comparison. All of Yūri’s lovers were excellent in their own field, all of them shining brilliantly and overflowing with passion. And yet, here he was a Living Legend with a dying passion and artistry, chasing after a love that would amount to nothing.

Nydia was the Queen of Yūri’s court and secure in her position and there was nothing Viktor could do to have Yūri look at him the way he does towards Nydia.

Still, Yūri’s call for him, the yearning as he skated Stammi Vicino, had made his heart beat fast and ended up buying a one way ticket to Japan. He knew, knew that in Yūri’s heart the Queen would always remain but Viktor also knew, in the same way that Nydia had confronted him once, that even a lowly concubine could dethrone the Queen.

 


 

 

Yūri had always known that his Vitya was bit of an idiot but seeing his idiot friend sleep in nothing but the inn’s thin clothes was taking the cake.

 

“Vitya,” Yūri whined with a hint of worry as he shook his friend’s shoulder to get him to sleep in the room. “Don’t sleep here, you’ll catch a cold that way.”

 

Viktor who was still clutching Makkachin sneezed and woke up from his nap.

 

“Yūri?” He called out sleepily.

 

Yūri smiled fondly at Viktor remembering the times when Nydia would also do the same.

 

“Did you have a nice nap?” Yūri asked as he fixed his friend’s messed up hair and Viktor sunk into Yūri’s touch, Makkachin following closely and nosing at Yūri’s thigh for affection.

 

Viktor mumbled his assent as he felt Yūri softly carding his fingers through his hair.

 

“Yūri,” Viktor whined “I’m hungry.”

 

“What do you want to eat then?”

 

At this, Viktor’s closed eyes opened and revealed a delighted smile. Yūri blinked as Viktor made his request,

 

“Hiroko baa-chan’s Katsudon!”

 

Okukawa Minako, who had grown used to Nydia’s eccentricities and love-struck actions in regards to her student, was not at all phased by the way Viktor Nikiforov acted instead looking at the way the Living Legend was eating reminded her of Nydia’s first bite of Hiroko’s Katsudon. It had been endearing, especially since Minako had gotten past the shy and polite attitude Nydia took up towards people she liked but didn’t know how to get close to.

Minako knew that whatever Viktor was planning by going here in Japan to train Yūri, it was all going to end up being messy, especially since Nydia was well-loved among the townspeople and everyone in Hasetsu knew how sweet the two was towards each other. For all of her youthful looks, Minako was starting to feel the strain of her age, she held back her sigh and instead decided to simple watch whatever drama would unfold.

Yūri was old enough to decide what to do with his life, she would just give her advice if he needed it.

 

“Wait, why are there boxes in the hallway?” Mari asked as she peeked in the dining area.

 

Viktor waved at Mari and answered, “Can it be brought in the room I’ll be staying at?”

 

Viktor’s room, they had decided, would be the unused banquet hall.

Yūri tried to ignore the irony of the situation, Viktor and he had yet to talk about last year’s banquet. He didn’t know his plea would actually work and there were so many things they needed to iron out. And as Yūri placed the last box on Viktor’s new room, he prepared himself.

 

“Wow! This room is really large, Yūri!” Viktor’s amazed voice made him look up.

 

“Ah, yes. This one was the only room left.” Yūri answered on pilot, “Normally we wouldn’t allow a guest to sleep in a banquet room but this one was the only one left.”

 

Viktor grinned and teased, “Why do you look so nervous?”

 

Yūri didn’t know how to react to that, more so, when Viktor had kneeled in front of him and gotten too close, too intimate with him by taking his chin on his fingers and tilting it upwards and the burning sensation of Viktor’s hand trailing from his arm to grab at his left hand.

 

“Let’s build some trust in our relationship.” Viktor said to him.

 

And Yūri didn’t know what to do with that declaration.

 

“What relationship?” Yūri asked, voice cold and distant.

 

Which surprised him just as much as Viktor. Yūri didn’t want to be rude to him but Viktor’s nonchalant declaration pierced his heart. He doesn’t know where he stood with Viktor right now, where he stood with his estranged friends, where he stood with Nydia.

 

“Apologies,” Yūri said as he felt another wall build between him and Viktor, “I’m tired. I’ll be going to sleep. Good night, Viktor.”

 

He goes to his room and passes by Nydia’s ever dark room and falters for a bit before walking quickly to his own room and locking the door.

Yūri sighed into his pillow and held back a sob. He didn’t know how to get out of this mess he had created.

From his room Viktor curled up with Makkachin and Vicchan tears staining his pillow as his mind endlessly replayed Yūri’s cold words.

He was an idiot for thinking it would be easy.

 

 

The next morning, Yūri could feel the tension in the air as he easily kept up with Viktor’s pedaling. He knew that he shouldn’t have been so cold but Viktor’s nonchalance over their transgression to Nydia was too much. The tension never really left even when Viktor skated Stammi Vicino, even when they were brokering the deal with the Nishigori family. It was only when they had parted ways did Yūri felt like he could finally breathe.

Now though, in the safety of Minako-sensei’s ballet studio he was left conversing about the one topic he had been trying to avoid.

 

“You can’t run away from your problems.” Minako-sensei told him as he went over his figures.

 

“But I can try.”

 

“Yūri,” Minako-sensei called out to him gently and Yūri dropped his form to looked at his mentor, “That child loves you, you know.”

 

And Yūri averted his eyes and flinched at Minako-sensei’s sigh.

 

“Viktor looks at you the same way as Nydia did, go talk out whatever your problem with Viktor is.”

 

“…Minako-sensei what if the problem is because of us?”

 

“Then that’s more of a reason to talk it out between you two…” Minako-sensei replied, “But if it makes you feel better, Nydia would never do anything that would make you unhappy.”

 

“Minako-sensei?” Yūri looked at her and found his mentor giving him an indescribable look.

 

“Nydia would do anything for your sake, Yūri.”

 

Minako-sensei’s words kept ringing in his ears as he danced in the studio, form still fluid as it ever was and now more refined under his mentor’s watch.

Thinking about the depth of Nydia’s devotion brought dread into his heart.

 

 

The next morning came and Yūri had spent his session with Viktor absentmindedly doing Tonton’s training regimen. His thoughts were still circulating around Nydia and it wasn’t until Viktor spoke did his concentration break.

 

“Is Minako also part of your harem?”

 

The question was so absurd that it had caught him off guard and then there was the fact that Yūri heard that hated word.

 

‘Harem.’ Yūri thought viciously as he remembered all the times he had been mercilessly teased by the group whenever a new article was written about him and whoever it was that he hanged out with that time.

 

“Seriously, Vitya!?” Yūri pouted, “Minako-sensei is my god mother you know.”

 

“Eh? I didn’t know that…” Viktor could feel his cheeks flush with the way Yūri was acting so cutely with the pout and leaning towards him.

 

“Sheesh, why does everyone assume that kind of things whenever I hang-out with someone?” Yūri complained as he slumped away from Viktor and just sat there.

 

The distance between the two of them had never felt more pronounced to Viktor.

 

“Yūri, how—um—how often does it happen to you?” Viktor asked as he remembered reading all of those articles that followed Yūri’s love life over his skating career.

 

“A lot…ever since I won my first gold in an international competition…” Yūri mumbled, “I hated it but Nydia found a way to make it fun for me at least… Nydia had Zara and Tonton to back her antics…”

 

Yūri trailed off and Viktor’s heart ached.

 

Neither one of them knew how to get out of the situation they had carved, the longing Yūri carried in his heart was palpable in the air and Viktor felt like he was choking.

 

‘This,’ Viktor thought ‘is the mark Nydia left on him.’

 

Makkachin and Vicchan’s bark broke the dreary air around them. And Viktor’s attention was caught by the looming castle behind them.

 

“Yūri, what’s that castle over there?” Viktor asked as he thanked Makkachin and Vicchan for finding him a conversation changer.

 

“Oh, that’s Hasetsu Castle…” Yūri replied, “Though it’s actually a ninja house in disguise.”

 

“Really?! Ninjas?!” Viktor exclaimed with glittering eyes as he leaned towards Yūri.

 

They ended up taking pictures with Hasetsu Castle as the background and Yūri purposely forgot to turn off the location on Viktor’s phone. He knew that it would bring the reporters in but hopefully, it would also bring in the ones he knew were taking care of things over Russia.

 


 

 

Yuri Plitesky knew that there were things he wouldn’t understand yet, things that would only make sense once the years had passed and he was just looking back. It didn’t mean, however, that he wouldn’t make an effort to understand the complicated adult stuff around him. He was his family’s bread winner once, before his Yura had helped, even so formed habits were hard to forget, habits born out of necessity never truly left.

Which was why he had taken to hiding since Zasha and Tochka were on a war path that would take him to Japan where Yura and Nychka (and that idiot Viktor) was. Hasetsu was a sacred place, a place where a Nychka and a Yura who he didn’t know existed, it was the place that helped mold his Yura and Nychka.

(He was afraid of facing the reality, the possibility, that something would end once he stepped foot in Hasetsu.)

So Yuri hunched and hid in Nychka’s hiding place in St. Petersburg. He let himself be surrounded by the domesticity of Nychka and Yura that seeped into the wooden floors of their home in St. Petersburg. He wanted to believe that Russia wasn’t tainted by the red of Nychka’s accident, but dyed in the colors of Yura and Nychka, a family he found in a cold day of his life.

The thing is, Yuri wanted to believe, he wanted to believe in the love and adoration he saw between the two people who doesn’t hesitate to make time for him. He wanted to believe that Viktor wouldn’t start a relationship with someone utterly taken. He wanted to believe that his Yura would never betray Nychka, wouldn’t break her heart into a million pieces.

Hasetsu was where everything began and, Yura knew somewhere in his heart that, Hasetsu was where everything would end as well.

 The door opened and the light seeped in.

Yuri glared.

 

 

“We’re going to Hasetsu.” Tonton said with grim determination.

 

 


 

The thing is, the Will of the Universe is absolute. Despite the deviations caused by the interference, the Law of the Universe, without doubt, would steer the story to its inevitable end.


 

 

Yūri’s alarm blared into life. He opened his eyes slowly, and laid in his bed, absorbing the sound of the ocean crashing into the shore. His mind desperately trying to grasp the dream he had, he didn’t know the details of his dream but the tears falling from his eyes is enough of a clue. From his side Vicchan snuggled closer to him, and Patrasche remained asleep at the foot of the bed. There were days when the lethargy seeped into his bones and his mind felt like it was under the water, he knew that his love for Nydia didn’t fix it, but it helped.

Today he felt the hole she left behind more keenly. Like a huge crevasse that filled him with dread, it would be easy to just drop everything today, Vitya wouldn’t mind, would probably bundle him up and wait for him to get out of headspace he was in. But he was already so close to his target weight, so close to his goal that he’d be able to step foot in the ice soon.

He sighed and with great effort got up from the bed and began his morning ritual, slowly but surely. Sometimes doing the little stuff, the seemingly insignificant ones, is enough of a reason to congratulate yourself. By the time he had gotten out of the inn, with Vicchan and Makkachin in tow, he felt mostly okay and began his 5 kilometer run. The sound of the waves breaking up on the shore could be heard clearly especially since Hasetsu had yet to awaken, and Yūri remembered the rare mornings where everyone would go on a run with him, back in Detroit.

He remembered how Tonton and Aliyah would race with him through the still empty streets of their neighborhood. The way Nydia and Zara would sluggishly jog behind them, eyes still crusted by the vestiges of sleep, his mind played the memory Xia Zhen and Phichit riding bikes and laughing at their misery. He remembers the burn of his muscles and the feeling of being surrounded by people he loved and loved him.

They had all lied down on the grass then, chests heaving and chasing after their breaths, lungs burning from the exertion they weren’t used to. Yūri remembered laughing at Nydia’s raspy voice and broken curses, smiling at Aliyah meticulously cleaning herself before praying to Allah, the way Zara had started humming a tune she made on the spot, of Xia Zhen adding her own flavor to the music by beat boxing, he could still clearly remember Tonton’s rapping and Nydia’s back-up vocals. He joined in the merry making and sang in his language a song of meetings and miracles.

The park was empty and it felt like it was their whole world.

Yūri missed those days but he knew that he had burned his bridges.

He had burned too many and wasn’t sure if he could build them all.

Yūri was so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t hear the sound of the heavy footsteps coming from behind him. Just as he was about to reach the doors of the skating rink,

 

“YOU BASTARD!!!”

 

Was the last words he heard before his world turned and he found himself lying face up and staring at the ceiling of the rink.

Angry footsteps neared him and soon enough Tonton’s angry face greeted him from above. His dear friend looked every bit liked an avenging angel.

Beautiful and full of wrath.

 

“Oh, hello.”

 

Tonton’s face warped further and Yūri realized how he had just dug his own grave.

 

“You cut us off for a year and then some, and this is thE GREETING I GET?!?!” Tonton screeched as he lifted Yūri and shook him around in his vexation.

 

“Do I even weigh anything to you?!” Yūri asked as his world spun and spun.

 

“No. It feels like I’m holding a bunch of grapes.” Tonton answered as he put Yūri down and glared at his estranged friend.

 

It was only then of course did he notice Yuri who was standing far away.

 

“Yurochka!” Yūri greeted happily as he ignored the cluster of reporters outside the rink clamoring for his words.

 

Yūri scooped up the teen in his arms and hugged him tight. Yuri didn’t fight back and instead hugged his Yura tight.

Zara smiled at them before deciding to deal with the crowd. A year was too long for no contact and she knew that things had changed irrevocably, there were things they could never get back but it didn’t mean that all things were lost.

 

“We’ll release an official statement a week from now, so until then please direct all interview requests to me like we always do.” Zara gave an awarding winning smile and herded her group inside the rink just in time to see Viktor skating on ice.

 

Yuri immediately recognized the sequences that Viktor was doing on ice.

Yuri clung tighter on Yura and greeted Viktor rather rudely,

 

“Aren’t you doing great, Old man!?”

 

Tonton smirked at that and Yūri threw his friend a look.

Zara sighed and decided to ignore the males and talked to Yūko-chan.

Viktor laughed as he spotted his younger rink mate and suddenly remembered what he had forgotten while in the throes of his melodrama back in his home rink. He cursed his brain for easily forgetting how he had promised Yuri a program that would get Yūri’s attention for his senior debut.

 

“Vitya…”

 

Yūri naturally knew what and how to say words that would drive his point. It was a terrible habit he had gotten from Nydia.

Viktor visibly flinched at the flat look Yūri was giving him, and of course Yuri didn’t even bother hiding his pleased smirk.

 

“C’mon now, we still haven’t checked in with Hiroko kaa-san.” Tonton reminded them and Yūri’s delighted look surprised Viktor.

 

“I see! Yurochka, we’ll be having a sleepover then.” Yūri innocently announced as he hugged Yuri happily.

 

“Un. I’ll show you all my progress!” Yuri declared as he conveniently forgot that Zara had also book him a room.

 

“Eh?! How come Yuri gets to sleep with you in your room?!” Viktor whined just as Tonton grasped his shoulder tightly and softly spoke,

 

“A lowly concubine shouldn’t dare question the Emperor’s choices for the night.”

 

“Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about what you’re planning Nikiforov.” Zara fluidly inserted herself back to the conversation.

 

“What I’m planning?” Viktor parroted back as he played up his innocent façade.

 

Tonton took a step back and condescendingly looked at Viktor,

 

“The most you could be to Yūri is his choreographer, right now my training regimen was specifically designed for Yūri himself and accommodated all future changes for his body.”

 

Tonton gestured at Yūri’s form which was already back to his 2014 GPF body. Viktor clenched his hands and his calm mask was dropped as he glared at Tonton.

 

“Choreographer? We have Xia Zhen for that, with her training in Chinese classical ballet and other dances, she’d been giving Yūri gold and silver worthy choreography.” Zara reminded Tonton.

 

“Wa-wait, isn’t Xia Zhen busy with choreographing for ice shows right now?” Yūri intercepted the brewing fight albeit it was a poor attempt.

 

“Yūri, all you have to do is say the word and Xia Zhen would immediately fly here to choreograph for you.” Zara answered him as she texted on her phone.

 

Yūri could see that Viktor was bothered by his friends(?) treatment and tried to salvage the situation.

 

“Zara!”

 

“I’m just saying the truth.” Zara flipped her hair and looked at Viktor, to him she said,

 

“I’m not allowing a newbie coach in handling Yūri’s return. Nydia only allows the best of the best for Yūri’s skating.”

 

“But I’m Russia’s Living Legend you know.” Viktor reminded them.

 

“You’re Russia’s darling skater not its darling coach.” Tonton retorted and Viktor knew he had no reply to that. He knew he had nothing to give to Yūri that his other lovers couldn’t give, all he had was his love and even then…

 

“If you understand it, hurry up and return to Russia and give up this farce.” Zara demanded.

 

“No.”

 

“Hey, do you really think you have what it takes to bring back Yūri to the pinnacle?” Tonton asked him agitatedly.

 

“The only one who could bring out Yūri’s eros is me!” Viktor declared as he bared his heart to the world, “I’ll choreograph a program for Yūri that would surprise everyone!”

 

His eyes gleamed with determination that took both Tonton and Zara back. Zara was the first to recover and reply,

 

“Fine! We’ll settle this with a competition—!”

 

““Zara!””

 

“—winner gets to order the loser whatever they want!”

 

“Deal!”

 

“Stop right there, Zara-nee and Tonton-nii!” The triplets declared as they stood from behind the adults.

 

“If you’re going to do a competition let the three of us be the organizers!”

 

“Onsen on ICE!” Lutz declared followed by a grinning Loop,

 

“Zara-nee and Tonton-nii’s choreography versus Viktor Nikiforov’s!”

 

“An online poll for the choreography that surprises the audience!” Axel added.

 

“Hey, Yura what are those three talking about?” Yuri asked as he could no longer follow the conversation.

 

Yūri sighed and said,“It seems that we’ll compete in place of those three.”

 

Yuri still had the puzzled look on his face and Yūri smiled as he explained the situation better,

 

“They’ll probably have us compete against each other as proxy. Whoever wins means that the choreography is better.”

 

He turned to the three glaring people and said,“You better iron out the rules of the competition then.”

 

“Don’t worry, Yūri-jīchan!” Axel assured him, “I’ve got it covered!”

 

“Oh?” Yūri was impressed.

 

Axel beamed and said, “Viktor-nii has to choreography two programs for you while Zara-nee and Tonton-nii choreographs for Yuri Plisetsky! You and Yuri Plisetsky would compete on behalf of the three and the choreography that gets the most votes on the online poll wins!”

 

“My, my, Yūko-chan you don’t have to worry about your children’s future anymore!” Zara shouted back to the Nishigori couple.

 

“Thank you!” Yūko happily thanked her friend.

 

That evening it was announced to the whole prefecture and soon spread out to the whole of Japan. Viktor prepared himself for the fight that would either make or break whatever it was that he currently had with Yūri.He wouldn’t give up now, not when he was starting to understand Yūri better than before.

 


 

Viktor was currently spending his time talking with the people who knew Yūri. Collecting pieces of information that slowly completes the puzzle that was Yūri Katsuki. With each person he talked to, he gained an insight to the Yūri he didn’t know but it was Nishigori Yūko’s words that gave him the most important clue.

 

“I hope Viktor would be able to let us see a side of Yūri we haven’t seen before.”

 

Hasetsu Hospital was as generic as hospitals could get and the staff were friendly. He had been lead to the room of the person he knew held Yūri close to their heart. Nydia Salaamtan’s room was filled with flowers, get well cards, and clusters of paper cranes in the ceiling.

Her hair had grown longer and her cheeks were hollowed from lack of substantial food.

Viktor sat on the empty chair by her bed and stared at her for a long time. He could, in an abstract way, see her beauty. He observed her for a long time and tried to reconcile the person lying on a vegetative state to the person who had confronted him in the banquet. He didn’t hate her exactly but Viktor didn’t like her either.

At best he was envious of her and at worst…

 

“I’m jealous of you…” He whispered.

 

Viktor remembered the Winter Olympics where he had gotten silver. Remembered the look Yūri and Nydia had shared in their euphoria, he remembered how everyone had looked at the two lovers who didn’t cover up the marks they left at each other.

 

“Hey, how did Yūri come to love you so much?” Viktor asked her as he remembered the nights that Yūri would spent sleeping on the locked room beside his.

 

The purple colored utensils gathering dust at the cupboards of the Katsuki family’s private kitchen. The cats that followed Yūri around and Patrasche who guarded Nydia’s locked room every night whenever Yūri slept there.

 

“What do I have to do to stay by close to him?” Viktor asked the empty room whose silence was accompanied by the white noise of Nydia’s heart monitor.

A strong gust of wind came through the room and the curtains fluttered.

 

“Well then, I hope you wake up soon.” Viktor said as he bid farewell to the sleeping Nydia.

 

He didn’t want to dwell on how honest those words were and left the hospital with a turbulent heart.

 

 

 


 

It the empty hospital room Nydia’s hand twitched for a moment before stilling once more.

“You’re already losing everything…”


 

 

Yūri didn’t know what to expect when Viktor called him to the rink just as he had finished visiting Nydia in the hospital with Yurochka, Tonton, and Zara in tow. But as the music filled with sensuality filled the rink, Yūri could almost see the story it told.

 

“This is On Love: Eros.” Viktor had told him, “Yūri, I want you to show me your Eros.”

 

The look Viktor gave him carried so much weight but Yūri could not parse it at all, he didn’t know the words that those blue eyes held but Yūri could tell that it was important to Viktor. There were so many things he didn’t know right now, things he needed to learn, so he steeled himself and decided that the only way to do that was to start moving forward again.

He wanted to build his bridges now that he knew that it wasn’t completely lost.

 

“I want to eat pork cutlet bowls with Viktor so I’ll give you all the ‘Eros’ I’ve got.”

 

Viktor smiled so bright that Yūri feared his heart would burst from the warmth it radiated.

 

“That’s what I love!”

Chapter Text

‘Ah, Truck-san, you truly are the most powerful plot device.’ Nydia thought as she looked on her bleeding body on the side walk.

 

She offered a brief prayer for the poor unfortunate street cleaner who’d be tasked with cleaning her blood off the side walk.

 

‘Thank god they didn’t have to scrape off my brain like the last time.’ She thought distantly as she observed the rapidly growing puddle of blood on the side walk and the shaking truck driver hysterically calling for help.

 

“For someone supposedly smart, you’re incredibly stupid.”

“Ah, Nice meeting you here.” Nydia casually greeted the divine being that popped out beside her.

 

The divine being merely raised her brow and huffed. Nydia made no comment and merely waited for Pereplut to take a swig of her Purity Vodka and for whatever it was that a Goddess of drink and changing fortunes do.

 

“You’re an idiot.” Pereplut said and offered her bottle of delicious Vodka.

 

Nydia took a swig and sighed happily as the vodka began to take effect.

 

“When Pandaki asked me for a favor, this wasn’t part of what I expected.” Pereplut began, “The agreement was to change your miserable fate! Not change someone else’s!”

“That was between the two of you.” Nydia pointed out.

 

And Pereplut gave her a leveled glared.

From below them Katsuki Yūri was breaking down in tears as he held the rapidly cooling body of his fiancée.

Neither Pereplut nor Nydia paid him any attention.

 

“You idiot child,” The goddess berated her “You usurped Viktor Nikiforov’s role! You stole what was meant to be his alone!”

 

And Nydia, who knew that better than anyone else in the world, only gave the Goddess a wry smile.

 

“I know. But I’m a selfish idiot in love with someone who would never be mine.”

 

And Pereplut snorted at her, “You knew and yet you still did it anyway. Just as selfish as you were in your past life.”

 

The Goddess sighed and took one look at Nydia and knew, “You knew that someone had to pay the price for changing the direction of Katsuki’s fate.”

 

“I love him…well as much as a sociopath like could anyways.” Nydia replied as her mind replayed the deal she made with Yūri. Her smile was small and had a tinge of sadness that she could not hide. Pereplut saw it and wondered for a moment, just what she would see if she would have watched the lifetime record of a former president.

 

Nydia Salamataan, from what Pereplut knew, was perhaps the most infuriating miserable human she had ever encountered.

 

‘What a truly warped girl.’ Pereplut sighed, ‘Well, that’s none of my business though.’

“Hey, want to see how this would go?”

 

Nydia smiled at her offer.

 


 

Nydia knew that there was just something that wasn’t right with her. It was something that she had always felt from the start. A sinking feeling that wouldn’t go away no matter what she did, perpetually drowning in an ocean that would calm down some days only to thrash around the next. It was tiring feeling.

 

“…They’re crying?”

 

Nydia frowned.

 

She didn’t know why they cried. She couldn’t understand why everyone was wearing such terrible looking faces.

 

‘Did…anyone cry for me back then too?’

 

The thought that someone cried for death in the past life was preposterous to her but even so, she could not deny that it brought a pang in her heart.

 

“Shall I tell you what happens next?” Pereplut offered and Nydia looked at the Goddess that drank delicious tasting vodka, “Your heart would stop and all of them would do their best to get it to beat again.”

 

Pereplut pointed to a teary eyed nurse, “She’s praying for you. You saved her family after all.”

 

“I don’t remember giving alms to anyone.”

 

“Not what I meant. You had a mass hiring didn’t you? Her brother is one of your shoe makers. He needed money for his child’s medicine. His first pay was enough to save his child from hypothermia.”

 

“Ah.”

 

Nydia stared at the nurse who was crying as the doctor tried to start up her heart.

 

“You’ll live but you’ll sleep for a long time.” Pereplut spoke as she had finally gotten tired of watching Nydia’s blank face.

“I see.” She replied and floated out of the operation room and into the hallway.

 

Yūri was crying alone in an empty waiting area. Curled up and shaking like a leaf, Nydia noticed that his clothes were rumpled and soaked with her blood and his unmistakable snot and tears. She began walking towards him, eyes as blank as her unruffled heart.

As she stood there in front of him, unseen, her hand reached out to him and softly, ever so softly, she wrapped her arms around him. The only time she had ever crossed his space without his permission.

 

“I—I’m sorry.”

 

She hugged him tighter and all of her regrets flowed down as she buried her nose in his hair. With Yūri in her arms, Nydia felt almost human, it was the very first time she had ever felt relieved and her mind at peace.

It was a cruel thought, she knew, but she couldn’t find it in herself to care.

 

‘I am a truly horrible monster.’

 


 

Nydia remained by Yūri’s side, watching over him and the flux of gifts and cards constantly sent to her hospital room in Sochi. She watched with calculating eyes, how Yūri easily faked his smile or the dark looks Nikiforov would have whenever he was left alone with her body.

 

‘Ah, even when the Empress is gone…you can’t even get him to pay attention to you…’

 

Nydia smiled at that.

 

‘Poor you.’

 

Nydia sighed and left her room, to search for Yūri. There were other ghosts lingering in the hospital but none of them went near her, she didn’t like it but neither did she hate it. Russia’s private hospital was surprisingly just like any other hospital, generic white walls and a litter of medical professionals.

 

“Haaah…” Nydia sighed, “I didn’t even get to say ‘I’m going ghost’.”

 

“Yūri~! Yūri~!” Nydia cried out as she kept searching for Yūri, it wasn’t like he’d hear her but she could not help but call out for his name.

 

Like her blue 101 Dalmatians comforter that calmed her, such was the existence of Katsuki Yūri to Nydia.

 

She rounded the corner and found Yūri and the doctor in charge of her talking. She didn’t understand what they were talking about at all. Even so, she remained and stared at Yūri’s determined eyes. His hair was a mess and she could spot the bags beneath his eyes, he looked sloppy, Zara would have scolded him lightly all the while taking care of him while Aliyah hovered in the background.

She wondered how the others were faring.

They weren’t here at all to take care of Yūri, except for Yuratchka and Maria who’d taken Yūri under their care while Nikiforov attempted to help Yūri. Nydia thought of how interesting it was that Yūri had yet to lashed out to Nikiforov, even if she didn’t know why Yūri seemed disgusted with himself when he seeked out Nikiforov’s touch.

She knew that he didn’t became a black out drunk, she kept a careful watch of the drinks he had consumed and made him drink water every now and then.

 

“Yūri, just what are you thinking?” She wondered.

 

She watched him a little bit more before deciding to leave him be. There was nothing she could do for him, not while she was a ghost hovering between life or death. Like a piece of dust that floated around unseen, Nydia went to place to place with no set destination in mind, a literal wandering soul.

 

“…It’s so boring being a ghost...should I just go and haunt someone?” She toyed with the idea, immediately crossing out Aliyah, Zara, and Tonton from the list of people she’d prank.

 

Karma was really quick at getting back to her.

 

“Yūri is no fun right now…Xia Zhen has an exorcist friend and Phichit is…yeah the gods of Thailand are scary…”

 

Easily crossing out names like they were a grocery list, Nydia then gave up when she had reached the bottom of her list. Russia, despite the beauty she found in its architecture, was unbearably dull for her.

All moments of great excitement she experienced in Russia was that of her past life. The memories she had with Yūri in Russia was akin to kotatsu in winter, what she needed right now was not the comfort of a kotatsu but rather, the adrenaline brought upon making Molotov cocktails and lighting it up to be thrown into the battle field.

 

“It’s no good if I messed with Nikiforov here…the Slavic Seelie court is too scary.” Nydia muttered as she floated around a park she did not recognize.

 

““Privet!””

 

“Privet, Hors, Zywie…” She greeted them dully.

 

“Hm, hm, just as Perotchka said, you’re awfully sad.” Zywie remarked as she hovered around Nydia.

 

Hors, however, remained stationary and only tilted his head as he silently stared at her. It was an awfully long time before he spoke, by then Zywie had finished her inspection of Nydia,

 

“You…” Hors began “by all accounts fate should have dealt with you accordingly and you should be on your way to the nether realm.”

 

It was true.

What he said was the absolute truth, there is no character with the name that Nydia have chosen in Yuri on Ice. Mitsuro Kubo never created a character bearing that name nor a character bearing her story.

 

「She」 was not part of the Author’s Will.

 

“…What did you exchange just to be written by his side?” Hors asked her curiously and Zywie too, looked upon Nydia with great interest.

 

Nydia remained silent and only looked upon her opaque hands, she did not know how she could answer them without receiving judgement.

 

“I gambled.”

 

A simple word that carried too much meaning.

She did not say what she had gambled, but Nydia knew that if they were to probe about her past, it would be easy to see what she had gambled and what for.

 

“I see…what you gambled is not part of our reason for coming to see you.” Zywie informed her, voice as gentle as the spring breeze, “We were sent to inform you that you have a year and a half to decide about what you plan to do.”

 

She stared at them, eyes blank and face devoid of emotion. Hors thought that had she been part of a pantheon, she would without any doubt be a formidable deity.

 

“Give up or be eradicated permanently.” Hors told her, he had no qualms about ending her life despite whatever pity he held for the child, “Considering your status as a usurper, this is already a luxurious treatment.” He added.

 

Nydia smiled blandly, “I understand.”

  

They left her and Nydia knew that it was time to make a choice.

She had always been aware that she was never meant to cross paths with Yūri. This wasn't like the web novels in Syosetu where someone reincarnated into a mob character and ended up with the main character. She was never meant to mean something in Yūri's life, she was someone who lied to get what she wanted, manipulated people into doing what she wanted, and stole what was never meant to be hers.

Viktor Nikiforov was Yūri's soulmate and he was also the love of Yūri's life. Yūri could live without her, but Viktor? Viktor was someone Yūri could never live without. Viktor had always been a part of Yūri’s life, no amount of memories she had made with Yūri would amount to the ones Viktor had given Yūri, whether that man was aware of it or not, Yūri would always be Viktor’s.

 

"Viktor...I'm giving everything back to you."

 

She’d ran out of time.

 

 

 


 

 

‘There is no right way to love.’ Nydia thought as she watched Yūri slowly burn his bridges and still fail.

 

There was something utterly beautiful and heartbreaking in the way Yūri could not function without her by his side. She had known, in the depths of her heart, that she could be especially cruel to those she had perceived as people who had wronged her but Yūri was someone who could do her no wrong.

This was her infallible truth.

Yūri Katsuki was someone without flaws, perfectly kind and sweet to everyone around her, maybe not all the time but Yūri would never hurt anyone.

 

‘Almost as if he was meant to take her—no stop stop stop!!!’

 

Yūri who saw her in the cobbled stones of Hasetsu, in the red spider lilies she had loved, and in the other liminal places where she had showed Yūri her love, all of this had to be replaced if it could not disappear.

Nydia saw that she had to be careful with how she’d handle Yūri’s grief, apparently shared by the whole of Japan, if not the Japanese skating community. So she started small, with letters seemingly kept hidden in places she had once visited, this was the closest she could do giving Yūri half-truths, showing him pieces of herself she had kept well hidden.

Pieces of Nydia Salamtaan that would not scare him away. Parts of herself that Yūri had painted with his colors.

Except Yūri only seemed to grow more devoted to her and more distant to his soulmate.

 

“Hey~  Yūri~” Nydia whined despite knowing she could not be heard, “Why are you being so distant to Viktor?”

 

“I hurt you when I made out with him…” Yūri answered and Nydia’s eyes widened in shock.

 

“Yūri?”

 

“I never wanted to hurt you, but I—I realized it a long time ago…I’ve fallen for Viktor and…I love you too you know—I—” Yūri choked back a sob, “I wish you’d wake up soon.”

“…Idiot.” Nydia murmured and she curled on herself.

 

“You can love two people at the same time you know?”

 

She could only watch as Yūri broke down for umpteenth time since her accident. She doesn’t know how long she had been going around as a ghost, the passage of time was never on the forefront of her mind. In a way she might have been grieving too or perhaps grief was just an essential part of her being, that in the face of her first love’s grief, she was finally seeing it.

 

Yūri still couldn’t hear her even so she wanted to say something to stop his tears. Yūri never cried in a beautiful way like the ones shown in TV but Yūri wasn’t the conventional beauty anyways. In the right light, in the right set of circumstances, Yūri could take anyone’s breath away therefore in the right time, in the perfect situation, Yūri’s ugly crying could be beautiful too.

It was just that, Nydia only ever wanted happy tears on Yūri’s eyes.

 

She had only ever wanted him to be happy.

 


  

Nydia knew when things were a lost cause so if leaving letters subtly telling Yūri to let her go wouldn’t work then surely having more than Vicchan should do the trick. Naturally, it was time to go and haunt her dear cousin back in Russia.

 

“Now…just how do I get them to believe I’m haunting them?”

 

“Back already?” Not Ivan Braginsky greeted her outside of the Shere-something something airport.

 

“Just now you definitely thought of me as that APH Russia didn’t you?”

 “…It’s kinda weird to call the embodiment of a country by their supposed human name…” Nydia reasoned out.

“Well it’s weird for a poltergeist to hitch a ride on a plane when they can just pop out of nowhere.” Russia replied with a bright smile that held its ever present vague threat.

“Lol true.”

“Must you speak in such a way?”

“I’m dead or at least OTW to Death’s doorstep lol.”

 

Russia sighed at Nydia’s apparent disregard for current state of non-living.

 

“Well then shall I accompany you to my precious prized stallion?” Russia offered with beaming pride and a dash of gloating to which Nydia merely stared at before succinctly replying,

 

“I’m heading to where my friends are.”

“Huh?”

“I’ll deal with Nikiforov later on.” Nydia explained as she began floating a top buildings and enjoying her view of St. Petersburg, “Right now I need to convince Tonton and Zara to send my pets to Yūri.”

 

“Ah, could this be the famed pet therapy?” Russia asked as it followed suit.

“I dunno.” Nydia shrugged.

 

Russia hummed and after a few moments of silence asked, “How’s being reincarnated so far?”

“…Fun.”

“Don’t you miss your previous world though?”

“…No thanks compared to that place this one’s more peaceful.”

“Of course. You were your country’s famed strategist were you not?”

Nydia remained silent and Russia knew enough to not push for questions any more.

 


 

 

Tonton and Zara’s place was in fact the most glamorous bolt hole Nydia had, not that anyone of her friends actually took it seriously as her bolt hole, the place was an upscale two floor home with an exterior of mudbricks and interior of wooden paneling. It was at the very least a copy of her old home before she got reincarnated.

 

“Oh, you have a piano here?” Russia took noticed of the upright piano on the living room.

“…Yeah, I found an antique seller here.” Nydia replied as she wandered over and her fingers ghosted on the ivory keys.

“…Why don’t you play a piece then?” Russia suggested.

 

Nydia considered it and then moved to sit on the chair and began her warm-up as she thought of what piece she would play. There were so many piece she could play to indicate it was her doing the haunting but she needed the perfect piece to get her point across.

 

‘Salut d’amour?’

‘Gavotte?’

‘Lohengrin?’

‘Tomoyo’s song?’

“Hey~ What are you going to play?” Russia whined as it got impatient.

 

Nydia iqnored it and continued with thinking what piece would get her point across to Tonton, her cousin, who subconsciously understood what she meant.

 

“…Just what are you hesitating for?” Russia finally snapped, “Just play Yūri On Ice already.”

“I can’t just play that you know!”

“Why? Could it be…you’ve actually forgotten how to play it?”

“Wha—!I’d never forget how to play Yūri on Ice! It’s my favorite piece!” Nydia retorted angrily, the small ceramic vases rattled on top of the piano, “It gave me hope when I despaired—and—and it was the music that captured everything I’ve been through so how could I just forget how to play it?!”

“Then what exactly are you hesitating for?” Russia asked nonplussed about her outburst.

“…”

“You’re not here to actually scare them shitless, you’re just here to get them to do what you want.”

“…Would it?” Nydia asked timidly, “Would it truly reach them?”

“You may have stolen the spotlight from that other girl but in the end isn’t Yūri on Ice a love song?”

 

Russia coldly looked at the individual in front of it. A person who had crossed time and space chasing after a fictional love in their previous world, an idiot who gave up a moderately happy life to chase after a love that wasn’t meant to be.

 

“There is no right way to love, how you humans love properly differs from person to person,” Russia began, “You made a love song for that boy, a love song that doubled as his love song for everyone around him and a love song from you to him.”

 

Nydia remained silent but knew it was true.

 

‘This too, is a way of showing love.’

“I understand already…”

“Good. Because if you didn’t I’d finish you off the next time you step here in Russia, Viktor Nikiforov gave me a lot of honor with his gold medals you know.” Russia happily reminded her, “And that darling child of mine loves Japan’s beloved child.”

“I said it before didn’t I? I’m returning everything back to that damned Tarmac.” Nydia mumbled with irritation.

 

Changing her mindset and removing every negativity she had, her mind slowly recalled the opening notes of Yūri’s love song.

 

If there was something she had known about Yūri on Ice, it was that, the music perfectly captured Yūri’s likeness, hesitant but stubborn, the Yūri that she had watched behind the screen was soft and hesitant but even so there was an undercurrent of strength and desire to catch up. Yūri that didn’t hesitate once he got going, the moment he had decided on his course of action nothing would stop him.

She had been watching him from the beginning, how he slowly got bolder and firmer, showing the pieces of himself that he had hid. Opening up to the people around him, seeing and finally understanding the love that had surrounded him from the start, it was the Yūri she had fallen for.

Because Katsuki Yūri spoke to her, Yuri on Ice showed her what she had always wanted someone to tell her.

Katsuki Yūri was her in a sense, a shy person, someone afraid of opening up, who couldn’t connect with people easily and held her heart close to her chest.

How could she not fall for someone who’d understand her fears and hopes?

The difference was that she had no Viktor Nikiforov. There was no one who she could trust enough to show all of her flaws and expect them to love her still. She couldn’t find anyone who understand her the way Viktor and Yūri understood each other, up until her last breath she had felt the drowning feeling of loneliness that never abated.

But here, she had a chance, a shot to be the one on Yūri’s side.

An awfully selfish wish of standing by Yūri’s side.

 

‘But in the end, Yūri had always been Viktor’s Yūri. I am no one important, a mob character pretending to be hero…’ Her fingers slowed down as the piece slowly began its entrance to the second part. ‘Even so can’t I have a piece of Yūri? In the place of the violin can’t it be another piano?’

 

The music slowly built up and along it her complicated feelings rose and burst as the music began its end.

 

‘It’s going to end soon and I’ll just be a footnote in Yūri’s life…and one day all of the love I received would return to Viktor…’

 

The notes slowly faded into the air and only the faintest of its echo remained before that too disappeared.

 

“This—I—I’m really ending it aren’t I?” Nydia’s voice cracked and she curled unto herself, “Everything’s going to end now.”

 

Russia offered no words of comfort and merely looked at the person who had finally come down from upstairs then left to not deal with whatever was about to go down.

 

“Nydia?” Tonton whispered into the air, looking at the piano that was empty, “Is it you?”

 

Nydia curled unto her lap further, making herself smaller, as she shook and willed herself to not cry. Even if there was no one she cared for that could see her tears.The increasing worried tone and despair in Tonton’s voice only made it harder for her to stop the tears gathering in her eyes.

 

“C’mon man, do something if it’s you!” Tonton shouted at the empty air, “You’re the idiot that said you’d outlive God just to have the last word!”

“The idiot that studied so hard just to graduate early and skip a lot of grades!”

“The hell are you doing here playing the fucking piano?! Don’t you have a body to get back to and wake up from?!” Tonton cried out.

“Tang ina! Ano pa ba kailangan kong sabihin para magparamdam ka? Nagpakatanga ka para kay Yūri! Pumayag ka na makiparte sa inyo si Viktor tapos ano iiyak ka kasi nakita mo sila?!” (Motherfucker! What more do I have to say for you to start haunting? You became an idiot for Yūri! You agreed that Viktor would be a part of you and Yūri then what—you’ll cry because you them?!)

“Oo! Nagpakatanga ako alam kong masasaktan ako pero mahal ko si Yūri at akala ko sapat na naalam ko na mahal niya din ako!” Nydia screamed back “Di ko lang inakala na—na mas mahal niya si Viktor—akala ko—akala ko kaya niya akong mahalin kagaya ng pagmamahal niya kay Viktor…” (Yes! I became an idiot, I knew that I would get hurt but I love Yūri and I thought that it was enough that I knew he loved me too)(I just didn’t thought that—that he loves Viktor more—I thought—I thought that he could love me too the same way that he loves Viktor…)

“You can’t hear me right now but…Yūri needs us…he needs us to remind him that he had always been strong…”

“Nydia…” Tonton cried as he broke down on the marble floor, his hands slowly easing its clutch on the wooden wall.

“I need you to send my pets to Hasetsu.” Nydia requested as she carded her fingers through her cousin’s soft hair.

“Selfish bastard.” Tonton muttered to the cold marble floor. It was only for a brief moment but Tonton felt it.

 

The feeling of fingers through his hair and then Zara’s voice came from behind him. “Nydia?”

 

Tonton immediately looked up and saw nothing but air, he glanced back at Zara and found her staring, face wrought with emotion.

 

“You fucking bastard!” Zara cursed as she the opaque figure of her friend’s bittersweet smile.

 

It was hard and the sun was shining through her but Zara was good enough at lip reading to understand what her stupid friend wanted. Her idiot friend who did everything she could for the ones she love even if she didn’t know it.

 

“Ton, we’re sending the pets to Hasetsu.” Zara ordered him, “And we better get in touch with Xia Zhen before her family decides to exorcise this stupid friend of ours.”

“It’s really her?” Tonton asked voice laced with hope.

 

And Zara smiled at him, the first in a long while, “Yeah, and she’s being a busy body.”

 


   

Arranging for events while being a ghost was no easy feat and Nydia made sure to voice her complaints to whoever listened to her and sometimes to empty air as well. Aliyah had easily felt her presence and made sure to throw salt at her and Nydia retaliated by dunking her aromatic dispenser and kidnapping her fat cat.

Aliyah was not at all pleased by her actions and bought a bulk of charms to ward her off that proved to be very effective.

Nydia ended up having to bring offering of peace in the form of discount coupons for Aliyahs favorite brands of cosmetics.

 

“So how’s the ghost life?” Aliyah asked as she took a bite of her corndog.

 

“Free from taxes so fun.” Nydia replied sarcastically as she savored the taste of Shawarma rice, “’bout you how’s life?”

 

“Experimenting with a new line and having Yūri endorse it or at least him and his skater friends.”

“They’re our friends too since we partied with them at World’s”

“Ah,” Aliyah mused “How could I forget that party where you challenged Viktor Nikiforov for the right to enter Yūri’s harem.”

“…I did?”

“Yeah…Yūri officiated and everything. I was surprised it didn’t end up in a threesome…though you did say that Nikiforov’s dick won’t get anywhere near your vagina so…” Aliyah didn’t finish her sentence and left it at that.

 

“Damn. Did I call him Tarmac to his face too?”

“Yeah. Hurt his feelings too.” Aliyah confirmed and Nydia whispered softly, “Shit.”

“…Did you think it was an alcohol induced hallucination?”

“Yeah…Yūri thought so too.”

 

At that Aliyah burst out laughing and didn’t hesitate to text it to the group chat that Yūri and Phichit wasn’t part of. It was, of course, natural that Nydia quickly spirited out of Aliyah’s home out of sheer embarrassment.

Naturally, as well, she took three corndogs and a bottle of Nestea Lemon with her.

 


 

 

While Aliyah may have been quick to forgive her, Xia Zhen was not.

 

It took numerous blessed salts thrown at her general direction, 3 bottles of holy water thrown at her general direction, and Xia Zhen planting rose bushes that surrounded her home for Nydia to be forgiven.

 

“You could have haunted us sooner.” Xia Zhen muttered as she chopped leeks.

“Yes.”

“You could have left us a note.” There was a crack forming on the base of the chopping board.

“Definitely.”

“You could even eat food.” The crack grew bigger.

“Actual French croissants are really tasty.”

The wooden chopping board broke.

“AND YET YOU DARE COME HERE IN MY HOME, IN SOUTH KOREA, FOR WHAT EXACTLY?!” Xia Zhen roared as she once more got hold of the salts.

 

 Nydia dashed out of the way as the salt hit where she had been sitting.

 

“Patch things up with Yūri? I mean I need your help to get Yūri back on his feet?”

“YOU PIECE OF SHIT! WE MOURNED YOU AND YOU COME HERE TO ASK US TO WATCH OVER YOUR FIANCE WHO WAS MAKING OUT WITH NIKIFOROV?!?!”

 

Nydia winced and was tempted to just tell her where to stuff it but considering that Xia Zhen had effectively trapped her inside the living area Nydia kept her mouth shut.

 

“WELL?!”

“Viktor, Yūri and I are actually in a polyamorous relationship except only Viktor and Yūri are dating and I am well aware of it.”

“The hell is Yūri acting so torn up then?”

“…I may have overestimated my love for Yūri or Yūri’s love for me.”

“Explain.”

“I got jealous because I saw that Yūri loved Viktor far more than he loves me and I ran out of the hotel to deal with my emotions for the first time.”

 

Xia Zhen took one look at her friend and easily summed up her thoughts, “You’re an idiot.”

 

“I know.” Nydia agreed.

 

It was while they were eating dinner did Xia Zhen thought of asking Nydia about one thing that was bothering her,

 

“Nydia.”

“Yeah?”

“Yūri’s blackouts when getting drunk are panic fueled.”

“…Yeah?”

 

Xia Zhen kept staring at her and Nydia knew that she was missing a vital piece in this silent conversation. But the thing was despite her prominence in her past life and almost cheat-like abilities in this life, Nydia was still fallible, and in the matters concerning one Katsuki Yūri? She was damn near prone to making mistakes, small innocuous mistakes that no one ever thought of pointing out to her. 

The conversation ended at that and Nydia definitely deleted the conversation from her mind as soon as it was over.

 


 

Life as a ghost that could see and interact with Deities of the Old Religion was perhaps simultaneously the most boring and most eventful life Nydia had ever lived.

While she does not relish Pandaki’s habit of sending minor deities of the Philippine Mythos to check up on her nor does the fact that she was relatively well-known among the malignos and engkantos of her birth country please her.

 

‘You hex one prime minister one time and no one lets it go.’ Nydia thought bitterly as she once again replied to the inquiries of Pandaki and the other deities of the Philippine Pantheon via the most obnoxiously cheerful Tikbalang she had ever met. Once the bi-monthly indirect ‘reporting’ to Pandaki ended, Nydia found herself floating back to watch Yūri pick himself up and fall apart every other day.

 

“…Well it’s not like progress in the five stages of grief is linear…” Nydia remarked as she saw Yūri’s pained reaction to one of her letters.

Curling up as she floated in the air, Nydia remembered her first meeting with Yūri.

 

‘You found me, even if you weren’t looking for me…’

 


 

 

The thing, with being reincarnated into a world kinder than the previous one, was that it was hard to forget old habits from a past life you remembered. It was something that Maria Lucia Santos, before she became Nydia Salamtaan, often did. Hiding her oddities and pretending, always pretending to be normal to fit in, Lucia who did not forget the hardships of who she was before she reincarnated.

Lucia, that felt every pain and tears that her former self shed in a dark room, always alone, terribly alone in a war torn era. Lucia could not forget, was not allowed to forget what betrayal felt coming from the one person that promised to stay by your side nor could she gain reprieve from the memories of her final moments. It was really not surprising at all that she had lost her sense of 「self 」.

 Where Cecilia, who fought a war and won, was a courageous coward, Lucia with her impossibly bright mind and fragile heart was not.

 

「If something was lost and could not be found then replace it with something far more better.」

 

This was her logic.

A way to survive in a kinder world.

Bit by bit, she became neither Lucia nor Cecilia, with the passage of time, she became Nydia.

 

Nydia Salamtaan who was modeled after the person Yūri loved the most but even then a replica is nothing compared to the Original. Find the flaws and fix it, be the person Yūri would love the most, surpass the Original. She was a cheat-like existence that played up her flaws, pretending to be someone else, until the mask melted into her skin and the only thing that remained true was her love.

 

In that fleeting snowy night, in the streets of a kinder world that was still so, so cold to her. Yūri Katsuki saw her and with a gentle smile and stupidly warm hand reached out to her and said,

“Are you okay?”

She observed him, eyes shining behind the blue frames of her glasses, his cheeks were flushed and he smelt a little bit of liquor and citrus.

“I’m homesick.” She replied, stupidly honest and not at the same time.

She was missing a home never had in this kinder world and he didn’t know but still he understood the feelings of the girl with dark hair and pale brown skin that matched her melancholic eyes.

“Me too.” Yūri replied and his hand curled into hers as his face sank deeper into his scarf.

 

They didn’t speak with words but in that moment, in a kinder world that was cold to them, they found warmth in each other.

 

Yūri would forget the details, but he’d remember the faint smile of the girl that looked at him as if he had saved her and he’d smile back.

Nydia would never forget, how her heart pounded and the feeling of being safe and content. She’d smile at him with gratitude and adoration and memorize the kind and relieved smile he gave her.

 

‘I’m not your soulmate,’ She thought as he walked away from her, ‘but I could still make you happy if you give me the chance.’

 


 

Back in the present, Nydia looked over at Yūri and smiled as his eyes grew determined. She could feel her heart pounding rapidly, the feelings overwhelming her and Nydia knew from the depths of her soul that she would never be able to love anyone the way she loved Yūri.

 

He was starting to move forward.

 

“ね、勇利...愛を教えてくれてありがとう...ごめんねだって私は利己的な人だ、でも...きみは私に愛してね?この弱虫な人は実物語るない.” (Hey, Yūri…Thanks for teaching me love…sorry because I’m a hateful person but you still love me right? This cowardly person that couldn’t be sincere.)

 

‘One day…if I could still be by your side, I’ll honestly tell you what I can’t even tell to myself.’

 

 

Nydia began to distance herself from Yūri, only going to his side when she felt his grief becoming overwhelming and leaving once he felt better. The appearance of her pets around Vicchan made the inn livelier and Nydia could see that Hasetsu was still thriving even if the tourist seemed to be less than when they frequented the inn whenever Yūri got a break. Things were looking up for everyone and Nydia knew that the only thing missing was Viktor and Yurio.

 

“It’s time for a visit with that damned Tarmac.”

 


  

Viktor Nikiforov knew that he needed to be understanding, that the timing of his entry in Yūri’s and Nydia’s relationship was not at all right with Nydia’s sudden accident. It did not mean that growing distance between them didn’t hurt. He felt it with all of his heart and it bled out in the ice, in each and every time he performed Stammi Viccino.

It was in the increasing silence from Yūri, the lukewarm responses he was given for every inquiry, the silent accusation Viktor could never thoroughly understand. It was in the mocking eyes of the Nydia that appeared in his dreams, a cold-hearted cruel woman who held Yūri away from him.

 

His dream always started the same, Nydia and Yūri blissfully ignorant in their own world. Eyes only ever at each other.

And then Yūri would look at him from the corner of his eyes and Viktor would be Yūri’s world but never truly his because Nydia’s shadow loomed over Yūri, an ever constant presence that never truly left.

They gravitated towards each other never truly, like a sun that pulled a planet closer to its orbit and he was nothing but an asteroid passing by, never truly staying at the sun’s orbit. And tonight’s dream was just like always.

Just when he had thought Yūri would stay by his side, he’d turn back to Nydia again and she’d smile at him eyes mocking in silent. And he would suffer in silence even in his dream, drowning in the pain of never being loved like Nydia.

 

“So you’re giving up just like that?” The Nydia in his dream said, eyes bored and voice disappointed.

 

It grated at him.

 

“I didn’t know that Viktor Nikiforov’s love amounts only this much…worthless.” She antagonized him and Viktor wanted to scream back to his subconscious.

“Shut up!” He hissed.

 

And the scenery changed into a black void that only contained him and Nydia who wore a regal soft pink dress. She walked towards him and Viktor was filled with a sudden dread with each clack of her heels.

“Tell me, Nikiforov, are you giving up just like that?” She taunted him. “A minor inconvenience and you’re giving up?”

 

Nydia looked down on him and her eyes were filled with hatred and disdain. An emotion Viktor, if ever, rarely felt and he didn’t like it one bit. He couldn’t speak to refute the claim nor even to defend himself.

She then tilted her head, almost reptilian-like in its motion, and their surroundings change once again. In its place were walls with elaborate designs on its pillars, alternatively lined with paintings of fishermen and women in a picturesque river.

The floor were marbled tiles and Viktor could feel the history of the place, in its silent air of oppression within its subtle opulence. When he had noticed it, Nydia was already ahead of him and was walking forwards, Viktor ran after her and noticed how she fitted in within the halls that they were in.

It was as if she owned the place.

 

She had led him to a gazeebo that overlooked a river, the place was silent and only the soft breeze accompanied them.

Underneath the pink gazeebo was a metal table with a common design of leaves on its legs and glass top, the complimentary chairs were cushioned with red velvet fabric. The table held various tea party snacks and a steaming hot pot of what Viktor recognized as Yūri’s favorite brand of tea.

 

“You’re not dreaming,” Nydia spoke “If you haven’t figured it out yet.”

 

“What?”

 

“Take a seat, Nikiforov.” Nydia ignored him and instead set about to eat her scones, slathering it in strawberry jam.

“I have strawberry jam, blueberry jam, and purple yam jam.” She told him as Viktor looked at her askance.

 

They ate in silence, Viktor shooting her increasingly suspicious looks, and Nydia willfully ignoring him. If Nydia was uncomfortable with the silence, Viktor didn’t know, but when the last éclair was gone and the pot empty, Viktor breathed a sigh of relief when Nydia spoke.

 

“Let me tell you a story.” She said, eyes staring at her tea cup. “There was girl who loved a show, it was a show that captured her heart and one that she connected with.”

 

He didn’t know what to say so he remained silent and listened to the person who Yūri held close to his heart.

 

“The characters were so human in their reactions, flawed and charming, that she loved all of them but most of all she loved the character who reflected her own flaws, her own weaknesses the most. She had loved the anxiety ridden character that couldn’t understand people well, who knew of love and didn’t understand it.” She continued, lost in nostalgia and Viktor could slowly feel realization dawn on him.

“That character, with his flaws, his dreams, his hopes and despair…I loved all of him, wishing for his happiness at the same time wanting to be his happiness.”

“…Are you talking about Yūri?”

 

At this, she smiled at him and Viktor could recognize where he had seen that look before. It was the familiar face of loving someone, the look of hopeless love.

 

“Hey, Viktor Nikiforov…do you believe in soulmates?” Nydia asked, apropos of nothing.

 

In any other situation Viktor would have fibbed his answer but in this place where he apparently wasn’t dreaming, he felt as if only the truth could be said. It wasn’t by all means an uncomfortable truth for him but with Yūri being part of the topic in some way…it was a truth he didn’t want to share to her.

 

“…Yes.” Viktor answered reluctantly.

 

Still smiling that sad smile, Nydia leaned forward and with her hands cradling her face, she said seemingly taunting him,

 

“Then can you tell me the difference between a soulmate and the love of your life?”

 

And Viktor couldn’t not because he didn’t know their difference but because for him, Katsuki Yūri was both to him.

 

His soulmate.

 

His Love and Life.

 

The ensuing silence was enough of answer for Nydia, it was an answer she had always known but never wanted to acknowledge. She wanted to wrap everything up quickly, she wanted to cry in a place no one would ever see her tears.

 

“Nikiforov…I’m sorry for stealing Yūri away from you…for taking away your place by his side…” Nydia said with a pained look and Viktor could feel himself panicking, he didn’t know what to do when people cried, “You wouldn’t remember everything here but please don’t forget… you and Yūri? You were written in the stars.”

 

She began walking away from him as the scenery disappeared and all that was left was unending void of light. Viktor knew that this ‘dream’ was about to end but he there was still something niggling behind his head.

 

“Wait!” He called out, partly in desperation, “Just tell me, on that night in Sochi! What really happened?!”

 

Nydia turned back to him and answered, “It was my payment for my greed.”

 

 

 


 

 

“…Do you regret?” Pandaki asked as Nydia stood on an empty lot, overgrown by grass and weeds.

“Regret what? The choices I made in my past life? The choices I made here?” She retorted, voice cutting.

 

Pandaki didn’t answer instead he had opted to leave her alone, basking in the orange rays of the sunset as she overlooked the place she had once called home. It was summertime in the Philippines but the cool air abated the heat of the season and Nydia remembered flashes of her past life.

 

Of the house that used to be her home before she reincarnated.

“Kung nakikita niyo ako ngayon…” (If you could see me right now…) Her voiced cracked “ipagmamalaki niyo ba ako?” (Would you be proud of me?)

 

In the country that she used to love and in the place she used to call home, Nydia stood alone bearing the sins of her past life and the sins she had now. Night had fallen and she remained there for a long time and cried in solitude.

Begging for forgiveness, for the people she had hurt all in the name of a love that wasn’t meant for her.

 

 

On the otherside of the world, Viktor Nikiforov answered Yūri’s call, time was moving forward for them.

 

Now that the Law of the Universe was able to implement its Will. The story moves unto its right track, the story of love between Katsuki Yūri and Viktor Nikiforov can now truly begin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Yūri! The hospital called! Nydia’s awake!”

Chapter Text

Yuri Plisetsky had always known that competitive figure skating would be costly but at the same time he knew that with enough sponsorships he could help out his family. Being the main bread winner for his family who was barely keeping afloat was stressful enough even if his Dedushka told him to not worry about it and just skate. And then meeting Katsuki Yūri, his idol and someone he wanted to beat, changed everything.

Katsuki Yūri who looked cold and unapproachable became the reason why he had gained a sponsor before he had even hit the juniors. Katsuki Yūri and his entourage of weirdos that never seemed to mind his aggressive awkwardness were the reason why he had less things to worry about. His family’s financial situation that barely floats above the red line became stable enough that his mamochka didn’t have to worry whether they could pay the bills on time, or wonder if they’d have enough money for medicine when one of his younger siblings get sick.

That was why, he had grown complacent and soft because somehow somewhere between Yura’s occasional advice partnered with his weird entourage and Nydia’s monthly visits in Russia, he had started to think of them as capable and invincible older siblings. He had subconsciously began treating them on a pedestal, people who he knew wouldn’t suddenly disappear.

Nydia’s hospitalization proved him wrong.

And now here he was in Japan, chasing after ghosts and waking up to the reality that somehow his heroes weren’t as invincible as he thought.

Yuri could see the places that Nydia loved, could clearly see where she would have gone off on her own to think and get lost in her own world. And Yuri could imagine how Yura would have followed her footsteps, chasing after her and Nydia would slow down.

Waiting for him.

Yuri clicked his tongue and angrily continued his exploration of the town. He had left the inn of his own accord and let the noisy adults to handle their own issues, he was old enough to handle his own issues and he had been doing fine even before Yura came to his life.

He had done it once and he could do it again.

 


 

 

It was in the middle of his angry stroll did he come across a very familiar cat. A cat that he knew Nydia owned, it was Nydia’s Turkish Angora.

The very same cat that was eerily just as judgmental as Nydia’s eyes which says a lot and Yuri could literally feel how the cat’s slanted eyes were looking down on him and probably judging his teenage angst in the same way Nydia judges Aliyah’s choices in men.

At this point of the story, Yuri would like to clarify that he made no habit of carrying around cat toys, this was absolutely of pure coincidence and not because he was promised a trip to Japan’s Cat Island, in which Nydia owned a vacation house at. This was absolutely a pure happenchance, that on his angry stroll and exploration of the town, he had met a cat and coincidentally had a cat toy with him.

This was a pure coincidence.

“Myaooo~!”

In a flash, Yuri squatted on the ground and began calling the cat to his side with the cat toy, moving it up and down in a gentle manner so as to not frighten it.

Looking just as arrogant as its owner, the cat looked quite dignified as it strutted like a Victoria’s secret model towards the toy and then lurched at it. If Tonton and Zara were around to see this scene, they would have without a doubt say:

“This is humanity at its best and least dignified.”

This went on for 30 minutes before Nydia’s cat got tired and ran away from Yuri, leading him into a small bookstore that despite its simplicity was aesthetically pleasing. Yuri took a picture of the small maneki neko that was left right beside the shop’s signage.

“Myao.”

He glanced at Nydia’s cat that was pawing at the sliding door for a long time before deciding to take it into his arms and opened the shop’s door. With the movement of the wooden sliding door, the glass chime attached on top of it tinkled and the smell of books permeated the air.

No one came to greet him and Yuri decided to at least check out the books and see if there were any comics he could buy.

Slipping out from his grasps, Nydia’s cat softly meowed before climbing Yuri’s arms and settling around his neck and shoulders, its tail lazily curled around his neck. He sighed and resumed browsing around the shop.

 

 

Yuri wondered if Nydia visited this place once, the place seemed like something she would have liked. Everything would have appealed to her sense of aesthetics and whatnot, from the old fashion books to the niche literature that she enjoyed.

It was in the middle of his perusing did he met the shop attendant. An older woman in her early 30s that held herself in the same way Lilia Baranovskaya did, one that made Yuri automatically respect her.

 

“Добрый день.” She greeted him, “You must be Yuri, Nai-chan’s little brother yes?”

 

Yuri nodded at her warily, sensing his unease, she smiled warmly at him and introduced herself as Ichikishima Uga.

 

“Nai-chan’s friend of sorts.” She added before continuing, “I’ve been waiting for your arrival here.”

“Huh?”

 

Uga smiled at him and merely said, “Follow me. Nai-chan left something for you.”

 

It was enough to pique his interest. The idea of Nydia, even in her comatose state, to think of him gave birth to a mix of complicated emotions inside his heart that he didn’t know how to deal with.

Uga led him to the counter and went behind to retrieve a book. It was well kept and did not have a single speck of dust or tear on it despite its yellowed edges.

 

“Take it. It has already been paid for.” Uga told him as she slid the book across the counter top and Yuri took it with his hand, fingers feeling the smooth cover of the thin book and the marveled at its state.

 

It was a book about love written in Russian by an author he did not know of.

 

“Why?” Yuri asked as he clutched at the book and looked at her intensely.

 

Uga smiled at him and cryptically replied, “You must know that Nydia never does anything without reason.”

 

“What does that even mean?” Yuri raised his voice but Uga did not even lose her composure.

 

Instead she glanced at the clock and said, “It’s already time for dinner Yuri-kun, you better leave now. Hasetsu may be a safe town but you still shouldn’t stay out late. Empress here will guide you back.”

 

At that Yuri remembered Nydia’s cat and found it sitting at the stool, blue eyes staring at him and let out a soft purr as Uga’s hand lightly scratched behind its ears. Unnerved by the events, Yuri left the shop with Empress in tow and did not spare a glance, on his way out, to the shop’s eccentric keeper.

Empress calmly led him away from the shop and through winding roads, occasionally looking back to check on him, or calling upon his attention when he lingered too long on shrines and statues that caught his interest. There were times that Empress would meet residents that knew of its status as Nydia’s cat and stop for a while to chat with Yuri.

Small talk wondering about his stay here in Hasetsu and whether he’d visited Nydia yet, occasionally someone would give him food or an invite to dine at their stall and he would answer in stilted and fragmented mix of Japanese and English. Everyone was kind and Yuri could see how Nydia would have acted in this place, at the same time he could see how his Yura would have been indulged and quietly loved by the whole town in his childhood.

As he neared the street that led to Yu-topia, Yuri flipped the book open , flipping through the pages absentmindedly wondering if in a moment of her fancy, she had written down a note for him or even highlighted a part of the book as a message for him.

 

“Myao.” Empress mewed , snapping him back and reminding him that he had reached the entrance to inn.

 

“Yurio, you’re back~!” Zara greeted as she ran towards him and hugged him tightly, behind her was a large dog, Yuri remembered as the one Nydia had brought back with her to Detroit during one of her business trips in St. Petersburg.

 

“Come on in then, Oka-san and Otou-san already prepared our room and we’re about to have dinner.” Zara informed him as he was dragged inside the inn.

 

From behind them, Empress meowed before jumping on top of Patrasche’s back as the dog went to the backyard for their own dinner.

 


 

 

Dinner in Yu-topia was a tense affair. It didn’t feel like a dinner consisting of people Yūri were friends with but rather an awkward meeting between the ex that the whole family liked and the new girlfriend. Except, Yuri was quite sure, that neither Tonton or Zara were actually Yura’s ex-lover and Viktor was definitely not the new one.

 

‘But then again,’ Yuri thought as he ate Katsudon ‘there were rumours after all.’

 

He glanced at the veiled iciness Viktor emitted and Tonton as well as Zara’s coldly polite tone of talk whenever Viktor was mentioned. Then there was Yura who could barely hide his tenseness and Yuri could feel his appetite slowly go away. A heavy feeling settled on his stomach and Mari was the only one who noticed it and decided to do something about it.

 

“Yurio, why try some of the soup.”

“Huh?”

“Nydia couldn’t stand the taste of miso so we’d always weaken the flavor a bit so she can eat it.” Mari explained as she took a sip from her own soup bowl.

 

And Yuri consciously followed her, and found the heavy feeling on his stomach lessen. He looked at her with awe and Mari smiled at him,

 

“Katsudon can be heavy for first time eaters. Take a sip of the soup every now and then.”

 

Yuri did as she instructed and found the dinner more bearable. Even if Tonton had taken to pettily eating the meats Viktor was eyeing every now and then. While Zara teased Yura about his on-season food, Yuri wondered if this was how they all acted back then in Detroit.

There were many things he didn’t know beyond what Nydia and Yura showed him in St. Petersburg and the occasional competition that their paths would cross on.

Yuri looked at his bowl of Katsudon and wondered, not for the first time, where the truth began and the lie ended. He didn’t know why he came here in Japan, knowing that Viktor had forgotten his promise to choreograph a program for his senior debut, knowing that no one from Detroit knew the events that happened in Russia.

But most of all, he knew that there was a missing part in the banquet two years ago. That in between Viktor and Yura’s dancing and Nydia’s goading of them, something happened.

 


 

 

The next morning, Viktor had brought him and Yura to the Ice Castle to show his choreography for Yura. Zara and Tonton had left to visit Nydia in the hospital all the while telling him to be patient and wait for them at the rink, and to try not throwing his skates at Viktor at the same time promising to take him to Nydia after practice.

And so here he was watching Viktor show two choreographies dancing to the same composition but different melody.

Yuri could see, the fucking Eros routine that Yuri didn’t need an artistic interpretation for, there was no need for an artistic interpretation for the Eros routine because Yuri could recognize it for what it was.

Viktor fucking Nikiforov being petty and a diva that he was, it was basically an amalgamation of his and Yura’s more risqué dance and a fucking petty clap back at Nydia’s dance with Yura. The absolute twat and then there was his Yura who looked like he got into a trance.

 

“Ah, Viktor is so eros.” Yuuko, the rink owner, remarked beside him and Yuri worried about her bleeding nose.

“A-are you okay?”

 

And then when he had looked at Yura, the idiot was in a similar state minus the bleeding nose.

 

“I-it’s enough to get even a man like me pregnant!”

 

And Yura could literally feel his blood pressure rise up with that statement. He had wanted to retort that Viktor no matter what people claimed would never be able to get a man pregnant. Except before he could even do that, Yura had skated towards Viktor as if he was being called by a siren.

Yuri swore that he was surrounded by idiots.

Viktor even had the gall to look pleased with Yura suddenly appearing on the ice skating towards him. He really wanted to throw something to the forehead idiot but refrained from doing so.

 

“…I can land the salchow in practice, but never in competition.” Yura told Viktor, “Um, I think I can do it if I try!”

 

Hearing that made Yuri marvel at his Yura, who despite landing a quad axel still had jumps he couldn’t do. It washed away the prickly feeling in his heart and something bubbled inside him.

 

“So, um…” Yura stuttered.

“Then you can practice the basics,” Viktor said “I’ll let Yurio practice first.”

 

It made Yura happy being the first one to use the rink at the same time the air between Viktor and Yuri seemed less tense that last night.

 

“How many times have you messed up during a competition?”

 

Of course Viktor had to go and ruin it. Yuri could practically foresee what would happen next. Of course Yura had the skill to make it happen and he already did but hearing Yura’s answer made him wonder if they were still talking about figure skating at all.

 

‘I lack confidence.’

 

Yuri inwardly snorted at that. He had seen how Yura acted with his friends, with sponsors and even when he got drunk. He knew that Yura had a strong support system so where would this thought of lack of confidence come from?

And then Viktor the idiot, Yura would definitely tell Yakov about it, had made a pass on Yura while claiming it as his job to make Yura confident while stroking Yura’s lips.

 

‘Wait until we get back to Russia and I’ll have Yakov on your ass.’ Yuri thought as he made sure to remember this particular event.

 

‘What kind of idiot would believe that a coach has to be that close to his student?! That’s already sexual harassment.’ Yuri thought as he turned around to properly look at what kind of stunt Viktor was pulling only to see the process of Viktor practically invading Yura’s personal space and definitely not having eye contact with Yura.

 

Viktor was staring at Yura’s lips.

 

‘Though to be fair Yura was doing the same.’ Yura thought furiously ‘What the hell does he mean Yura isn’t aware of his own eros? He had Nydia for a lover, the girl practically oozed it all the time.’

 

“Can you show it to me soon?” Viktor whispered to Yura.

 

Seeing his Yura shake in fear, Yuri decided it was time to save his Yura from Viktor’s sexual harassment,

 

“Oi, Viktor! Aren’t you letting me practice first?!”

 

Then Viktor just had to tell Yura to think long and hard what eros meant to him.

 

‘Obviously, wouldn’t that be Nydia?’ Yura thought as he grounded his teeth in anger.

 


 

 

It was late into the afternoon and Yuri despite getting the technical aspect of the program Zara and Tonton showed him, they still found something wrong and it was grating on his nerves.

He was panting and it took them the end of the practice to tell him what was wrong. He really wanted to punch Tonton in the face.

 

“…With the way you are now, your greed is way too obvious,” Tonton claimed “There’s no sense of agape, unconditional love, in your performance at all.”

 

He frowned at that, partnered with exhaustion the next thing  Zara spouted made him really wonder how people even thought of her as smart.

 

“It’s good to have confidence, but this isn’t a program where you should show it off.”

“Huh?” Yuri didn’t understand what that meant at all especially when Tonton had been skating it with confidence.

 

“Well then, What’s agape to you?” He asked as his anger grew at the idiotic look on his temporary coach’s face.

“It’s a feeling of course,” Tonton answered with a cryptic smile and not at all bothering to hide his amusement “so I could never explain it in words.”

 

As if mocking him further, Tonton asked, “Do you bother thinking about that when you skate?”

 

Yuri was speechless as Zara continued the conversation by saying,

 

“You’re a funny one, Yurio.” Smile as grating on his nerves before they ended up sending him to a temple.

 

Yuri lost count of the number of times he had been lightly hit on the shoulder by the monk. He hated every moment of it. By the time he had returned back to onsen, guided by Patrasche this time, he was tired and worn out beyond doubt.

Happiness came in the form of seeing Yura just as tired as he was. They spent their time in comfortable tired silence until Viktor came in and Yuri was so done with his shit.

The idiot was blatantly seducing his Yura and not even a shred of decency. He was so tattling Viktor to Yakov.

 

“Ne, ne, Take a photo of me in the bath so I can post it online.” Viktor had stupidly asked as he angled his body towards Yura and Yuri felt glad that Yura’s reaction was only to tell the idiot about the  onsen’s rules.

 

Viktor ‘s reaction was so fake it practically had Made in China stamped on it. 

Dinner was perhaps the most eventful affair they had considering both of them were tired and neither Zara nor Tonton was talking to Viktor. Viktor was the only one with enough energy to eat while both him and Yura were dead tired.

Despite that, Yura had gained enough strength to stop Viktor’s advances by his exclamation.

 

“I got it! Katsudon! That’s what eros is to me!”

 

Viktor’s expression on Yura’s exclamation made the following days of harsh training worth it. Especially since he had shared it to the rest of his rink mates back in Russia. He slept on his room, body sore and mind tired with the long day of practice, he had essentially forgotten all about it until later on.

 


 

He rarely had a time to talk with Yura and exchange news the next few days but it was nice sharing the same training regimen that Tonton had designed for Yura. Albeit it was altered to accommodate him, still the pressing matter of still not finding his agape bothered him more so when Zara had taken him for a brief visit to Nydia’s hospital room.

Seeing Nydia didn’t evoke a feeling of Agape in him but something else that he didn’t understand besides that he hated that visit.

Zara had only sighed at him before taking him back for his afternoon practice.

Except this time, both him and Yura were sent off by their coaches to a waterfall to find their agape and eros respectively.

He really wanted to punch their faces.

 

It was late in the afternoon and the water was cold. He was no closer in knowing what agape was to him but on the bright side he was able to talk to Yura on the way.

 

“Yura…why didn’t you choose Nydia as your eros?” It was something that had been bothering him until now.

“Ah…” Yura hesitated for a while before answering as they made their way up to the waterfall for meditation.

“My love for Nydia isn’t something that can be classified as eros,” He explained softly “I didn’t begin loving her because I found her sexually attractive…”

 

He paused and thought for a while as he fondly remembered his shared memories with her, “It’s not that she wasn’t erotic because every time she moved, languidly or not, felt like a seduction in its most subtle form.”

 

“I loved her in the way that a flower slowly blooms as spring come, gradually and slowly, that was how it began…” He added lost in his sea of thoughts, “Nydia isn’t my eros, she’s something between Pragma and Storge for me.”

 

Yura didn’t speak any further as he steadily led the way to the falls and Yuri didn’t bother asking for a better explanation.

So there they stood bathing in the middle of the waterfall. It was therapeutic actually, the constant and unfaltering feeling of water rapidly hitting their back. It was easy to get lost in thoughts with the rhythmic sound of the cascading water.

He thought back to the past before he had met Yura and Nydia, where his mamochka worked night and day to provide for them. He was too young then, to understand their financial situation. His innocent request to his dedushka, the feeling of wanting to be praised.

He didn’t understand what Agape was to him but it felt like his dedushka on that cold winter day.

Then he remembered the book Nydia had bought for him, the one about love, and the shop keeper’s words came to the forefront of his mind.

 

“Nydia never does anything without reason.”

 

His heart started beating rapidly in excitement at this revelation. Not at all thinking about the eerie coincidence of his gift from Nydia. The moment was short-lived as Yura pulled him out of the water fall.

 

“Let’s call it a day.” Yura told him before being fussed over once he sneezed and snot came dripping out of his nose.

“Ne, Yura, where’s Viktor and the rest?” He asked as Yura toweled his hair off. It was a nice feeling and warmth blossomed in his chest.

‘This…could be agape too…’

 

Which dissipated quickly with Yura’s answer.

 

“They’re in Nagahama ramen, probably eating…”

“Eh?! We’re going there too!” He told Yura as he feared that Tonton would without a doubt provoke Viktor and Zara would not do anything to stop it at all.

 

Their dinner time was considerably weird considering Zara’s sulking and Tonton pacifying her, adding more onto the fact that Viktor looked extremely proud.

He understood everything though when Yura’s former ballet teacher asked them about the costumes.

Zara and Tonton definitely forgot about it and Viktor was all too eager and smug about it in providing for his costume as well. Yura was the only one who didn’t notice it. Then they all had to haul all the suitcases that had Viktor’s costumes and he had to watch Yura excitedly run about the room, telling which program used which costume and in what year.

The only advice Zara had given him before going to bed was to pick something in white.

He definitely didn’t miss the smug look Viktor gave them as Zara and Tonton retired early to sleep. And then there was the moment between Viktor and Yura that didn’t sit right with him so he left after finding the most acceptable costume in white and went to sleep as he tried to erase the look the two shared when Yura had chosen the black see through costume.

As he turned over, his eyes caught sight of the book Nydia gifted to him. The shop keeper’s words echoed in his mind before he reached out and began scanning the table of contents to look for the page that had Agape written on it.

It was just as Tonton and Zara explained.

Agape was unconditional love.

 

“…unconditional…like dedushka or mamochka?”

 

But the words that caught his attention the most were the following;

 

‘Regardless of flaws and shortcomings’

 

It struck a chord in his heart.

 

This was his Agape.

 


 

 

There was something nerve wracking in a competition that wasn’t about you at all. It was in the way Zara and Tonton had pulled him over to the corner and said that this was only the beginning of his journey.

It was the constant repeat of the shopkeeper’s words in his mind and the meaning of Agape. The ease of him pulling the emotions his family evoked and the need to remember the jumps and step sequence he needed to do.

 

“Remember Yurochka, confidence and vulnerability.” Zara reminded him before he stepped into the ice.

 

As he slid into the center and positioned himself, Yura constantly reminded himself of his agape. He moved just like the way Nydia did in the video Zara and Tonton had shown him. Copying the way her arms moved, the movement of her body. Soft and firm at the same time.

 

“…the way you are now, there’s no sense of agape at all.”

 

‘Shit!’ Yuri thought as his body performed a technically better version of Nydia’s skating.

 

Do you bother thinking about that when you skate?”

 

Despite his inner turmoil, Yuri could not stop skating the program, even if the audience didn’t notice it, he was sure the judges did. Even Viktor would have noticed it.

He wasn’t skating for Agape at all.

 

“Nydia never does anything without reason.”

 

What felt like a short time to others felt incredibly long to him. He just wanted the program to end because he knew better than anyone that…

 

‘I could do better than this…’

 

The program ended and Yuri wanted to cry or lash out but he held it in as he greeted the judges and the audience before sliding out of the rink and into Zara and Tonton’s arms. He didn’t dare look at them instead he focused on Yura’s skating.

It was everything he couldn’t do.

He left the rink with Zara and Tonton at his heels. He didn’t need to hear the results, Viktor’s look said everything that needed to be said.

 

“Wait!” Yuuko called out to them, tears on her eyes as she told them,

“Nydia’s awake!”

 


 

 

He had rushed into the hospital barely caring for the costume that was tailored for him as he changed his clothes. There sitting up on the bed was Nydia whose skin was pale, cheeks thin enough that her cheek bones was almost jutting out.

 

“Nychka!” He screamed before running to her bed and hugging her tight. He didn’t care about the commotion he caused all that mattered was she was awake.

Then he felt her arms around him and he buried his face into her stomach as her hands moved up and down his back as she comforted him.

 

“I’m okay now.” She said as if she had not been hit by a truck and been in a comatose for more than a year.

“I-I missed you and so many things happened while you were asleep! Fuck, the media had a field day with your accident! And Yura—”.

“Yurochka,” She interrupted him as he wound himself up, “breathe.”

“It—It—felt  so weird when you we’re gone.” He explained as he took gasps of air and Tonton handed him a glass of water while Zara rubbed his back.

“Welcome back.” Was all Tonton said before hugging her and bringing him and Zara into the hug.

 

Yuri had ended up telling Nychka what he did while she was asleep omitting the part of his visit to the bookstore and the shop keeper’s cryptic words. Then he whined about his recent loss and saw Nychka glare at Tonton and Zara. Who both gave her an awkward shrug.

Their small reunion was ended by Yura bursting into the room and running towards Nychka and hugging her tight. Crying and begging for her forgiveness, Yuri didn’t know what happened after that as he was led out by Tonton and Zara who asked the other people who came to visit Nychka to let the two alone for today.

Nychka’s soft reply didn’t escape his ears.

 

“Yūri, we need to talk.”

Chapter Text

Yūri would be the first person to freely admit that he didn’t care what people thought when he rushed out of the rink just to go to her.

It was his visceral need to see with his own two eyes that she was back, that they could still fix this and that single moment of impulse wouldn’t crumble what they had. He was clinging into a thin hope, in that sliver of hope that her devotion had not yet fade.

He wanted to make things right for her.

But as his steps grew closer and closer to her room, he could feel his thoughts consume him.

An unceasing loop of his doubts eating at him. In the end all thoughts ceased to be when he saw her. She had looked so fragile in that bed, even now with her still sickly pale skin and thinned cheeks, it felt like she could easily be broken down by the wind.

He didn’t need to hear her words to know what she said.

Because in that moment when her lips formed his name he rushed to her side and held her just tight enough to know she was real and here. And everything that he had held in came rushing out in his litany of apologies and begging for her forgiveness.

 

“Yūri!” She called his name so tenderly that he could do nothing but burry his face into the crook of her neck.

 

“Nydia.” He choked out still clinging to her.

 

“Yūri, we need to talk.” She told him, softly, eyes filled with devotion he doesn't think he deserves.

 

‘How could you still look at me like that?’ He thought as her fingers gently wiped away his tears.

 


 

After having a good cry, Yūri had sat beside her holding her hand and focusing his attention to her empty ring finger. They were supposed to have a conversation, a long overdue one, but he didn’t want to be the one to start talking especially when even the thought of it was enough to shake his calm.

There was something almost cathartic at knowing what was about to come. In this room where neither of them held any pretense of any kind, Yūri wanted to see her devoid of any mask she had put into place. So he glanced at her and found her staring outside her window, the orange sky was slowly turning into violet and soon night would descend upon them.

The windows reflected her expression, soft and distant.

 

“…Yūri…”

 

She didn’t look at him.

He never tore his gaze from her.

 

“I—I don’t know how to begin,” Nydia explained haltingly and Yūri could see how tense she was.

 

“You must know by now,” She paused, considering her words “the depth of my devotion…that is.”

 

She still wasn’t looking at him and Yūri let her. He didn’t interrupt her because he knew that being this honest was not easy.

 

“I’ve always loved you…Even when you didn’t knew me at all…” She took a deep breath and tension melted away from her the slump in her shoulders, “I first saw you in your junior years. Lohengrin.”

 

Yūri could still remember that program, how he had loved it and later on became utterly embarrassed by his costume design. The idea that Lohengrin was where it began for Nydia was a funny one. She had loved him in during those years where he had already begun giving everything to the ice.

 

“I didn’t know why…it was only that I could no longer take my eyes off you back then.” She smiled softly as if she was reliving that moment in her mind, “Just like how Viktor was your goal…you became mine.”

 

Her hand which had been lying limply on his moved to hold his hand tight. Yūri placed his free hand on top of hers and gave her the courage she needed.

 

“I—I’m not a good person, Yūri.” Nydia admitted, voice wavering with hesitance and shame. “I did things I’m not proud of, I don’t regret it at all…because you see I wanted to be able to stand by your side with pride and no fear.”

 

For a moment, Yūri feared the words she would say next.

 

“I love you. I have always loved you.” She said, taking her eyes off the window and looking directly at his.

 

Against the setting sun, Nydia’s brown eyes glowed and Yūri saw her vulnerability in it. This, he knew, was an admission that took much of her courage. It was perhaps the most honest thing she had ever said thus Yūri knew that what she was telling him was hidden in the depths of her heart.

 

“I had only ever wanted to make you happy. I used to think that I would be contented with being your friend…that I didn’t need you to love me in the way I love you…”

 

He wanted to reach out and chase away all the hurt he gave her, the pain of his betrayal and make her take a chance once more.

 

“Don’t.” She said firmly.

 

His hand was gently pushed away from her face and Yūri could feel his heart slowly cracking at the seams.

 

“Yūri, I—I don’t think I’ll be able to stop loving you but—”

“Don’t say it!” He stopped her.

 

His body was shaking in fear and he could feel desperation sink into his bones.

 

“Don’t say it yet please.” He begged her.

 

“Yūri,” She called as she began to move her hand towards his bowed head only to stop inches from it. Instead she asked him,

“Why not?”

“Because—we can still make it work.” He answered.

 

And she was silent, only staring into his eyes searching for something he did not know of. She sighed and Yūri knew that she had decided to let matters lie for a moment.

 

“I’d like to have a talk with Viktor then.” She told him leaving no room for arguments in her tone of voice. Not that Yūri would have done anything to dissuade her. Viktor was the involved party after all.

 

“I understand. I’ll—I’ll go tell him then.” Yūri replied, breathing a soft sigh of relief.

 

“Nydia...” Yūri called her attention but under her intense gaze he could only swallow his words and smile at her instead.

 

Ignoring her confused expression, Yūri told her that he’d come back tomorrow to bring in everyone else for a visit. He left her with a kiss on her forehead and called one of the nurses for her.

Yūri cried on his way back home, shoulders heaving as he tried to hold in his sobs. The words had come stuck on his throat, unable to form even if his mind screamed it.

‘I love you,’ He thought but the words would have felt hollow if said.

 

The next few days, Nydia had spent some time mingling around Hasetsu and taking Yurio for a tour around the town before their departure back to Russia while he spent it running away from Viktor after his practice. And somehow between his running away from Viktor and the problem he represented, and after the three’s departure, Nydia decided to have her talk with Viktor.

 


 

 

This is how the end begins.

It starts with a few choice words exchanged between Viktor and Nydia, a conversation they had had in Minako-sensei’s bar. A conversation done with vodka and Minako-sensei’s hands-off supervision.

 

“To air out their jealousy.” Minako-sensei had told him, no longer elaborating further.

 

A conversation that had ended up in a screaming match and tears as Nydia collapsed on the floor of the bar and Viktor storming out of the place. Minako-sensei had been the one to call him. Telling him to go after Viktor and leave Nydia to her even if his guilt screamed at him to stay by Nydia’s side.

In retrospect he should have noticed it then, should have known that Nydia never does anything without reason.

In the future he would have looked back in that moment and wondered, wondered very briefly what would have changed if he chose to stay by her side.

Instead, like a fool, he walked away from her with just a single word from her. He chose Viktor over her.

Viktor, who came to his home town, promising him gold and wanting to mend burned bridges. Viktor was all alone in Japan and without the people he was closest to.

 

This is what Yūri failed to see, Viktor wouldn’t cry because Yūri wasn’t his yet so losing Yūri now would not break him apart but Nydia had Yūri once, for a brief moment of her life, Yūri was hers. Yūri had consumed all of her life, she had built her image upon the person he loved the most; Viktor. Like how her love consumed all of her, her jealousy too would be a raging fire burning her from the inside until nothing is left.

 

This is what Yūri saw, Nydia’s words cut deep and leave scars that would never fade and Viktor is only human and lost.

But the conversation wasn’t really the beginning of the end, it was the calm before the storm. There were many things he had failed to see or perhaps, it was more accurate to say, that Yūri had averted his eyes from the truth.

It had already ended a long time ago.

From the moment he wore his ring on a necklace, their time had already started to end. He had known this and he knew her just as she knew him, Nydia never does anything without reason.

 

‘That’s why,’ Yūri supposes as he stood in front of Nydia, both of them breaking down ‘you distanced yourself.’

 

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ANYONE ELSE BUT YOURSELF!” He screamed as tears run down his face and his heart breaking at seeing her just as her hurt as he was.

 

“YOU CAN’T SAY THAT!” She screamed back, voice hoarse as she cried and curled up on his bedroom floor.

 

“You can’t say that…” She repeated in between her sobs and Yūri just wanted to cradle her in his arms until both of them felt okay.

 

“Why?” He asked in desperation to understand why she didn’t agree to Viktor’s proposal.

 

“Because I can never find it in myself to share you with anyone else.” She whispered and she looked at him underneath her lashes. “Yūri, Let’s end this.”

 

“Are we breaking up?” He asked her as his own tears stopped and calm entered him.

 

“Yes.” She answered eyes never wavering and he didn’t say anything else but walked out of the room.

 


 

 

He didn’t know how he ended up in his older sister’s arms but Yūri had felt safe there. He didn’t know when she had started to card her fingers through his hair and hum a song as they both sat on the back porch.

 

“Why couldn’t we work it out?” He asked her.

 

“…I don’t know, maybe it was because the two of you were never meant to be.” Mari hazard a guess, “or maybe it was because the two of you fell for each other at the wrong time.”

 

At that Yūri curled up and hugged her tighter.

 

“How am I going to tell Mom and Dad about this?”

 

“I’m here, idiot little brother of mine.” Mari answered softly, voice filled with protectiveness and loving care, “I’ll tell Mom and Dad, you should talk with your publicist about how you’ll tell the rest of the world.”

 

By the time the rest of the world knew of their break-up, his parents had already offered their apologies that it didn’t work out between him and Nydia. It did not mean that Nydia was no longer welcome at Hasetsu, she had special place in their hearts after all.

Yūri didn’t know how Nydia’s talk with his parents happened, only that she had left their room in tears and promise to check in with them often. Yūri couldn’t bear to send her off, couldn’t even look at her without turning away. Minako-sensei had been the one to send her off to the airport, he didn’t know what Yurochka thought of him now and whether she was able to leave peacefully.

He didn’t know why he was still running away from Viktor.

He didn’t know a lot of things nowadays, and it made him feel like he was back in the past again. Lost and adrift before he met Nydia and the rest, finding his footing and keeping his head above the water.

He piled up on his excuses just like the regrets that he had piled up over the years and now it felt like he was drowning.

It had only felt worse when he had ended up sharing a bath with Viktor, who he thought was contented at the silence between them except,

 

“Yūri, have you found your free skate music yet?” Viktor asked.

 

Of course, Yūri had forgotten all about his free skate music. He had been so used on having Ciao ciao in picking his music and later on being reminded by Nydia and the rest that it had slipped his mind. The thought of Nydia still brought him pain, adding on to the fact that he didn’t know if the rest would still help him out.

 

“Yūri?”

 

“Not yet. Ciao Ciao used to pick my music for and then…later on either Zara or Nydia would compose for me…” He answered softly as the memory of their bygone days pervaded his mind.

 

Viktor remained silent for a while,

 

“Yūri, do you know why I wanted to be your coach?” Viktor asked him and Yūri remembered the day Viktor arrived in his home town.

 

Yūri looked at him and wondered, “Why?”

 

Viktor’s answer wasn’t what he expected, out of all the things he had once thought of when Viktor had arrived, not once had he ever considered it.

 

“I was drawn to you because of the music…” Viktor had looked at him tenderly and filled with confidence as he drew Yūri’s hands close to his lips, “you skate like your body is creating music.”

“Viktor…”

“I wanted to create a high-difficulty program to maximize that.”

“…were my previous programs lacking?”

“Only I can truly bring it out of you, Yūri.”

 

Yūri didn’t know what to say to that or to Viktor’s insistence to talk with Ciao Ciao, all the while stretching his body here and there as he reminded him again and again on who was his coach.

 

‘And everyone saw that too!’ Yūri thought with embarrassment as he remembered the looks they had receive from the rest, ‘Why did they have to look like a proud parent!?!’

 

In the end he had ended up calling his previous coach to have a long overdue talk that he had feared.

There talk had naturally touched upon his break-up with Nydia and the uncomfortable realization on how much of his life involved her. Then there was the odd protectiveness of Ciao Ciao over him in regards to Viktor’s status as his new coach.

It had felt weird hearing Ciao Ciao being cold and barely civil with Viktor over their short talk on the phone. Not that it had stopped Viktor from ignoring it and out rightly asking,

 

“How did Yūri handle his program music before?”

“Huh? I usually select music for my skaters, but I also let them choose if they want.” Ciao Ciao said over the phone and Yūri knew what was next,

“Then Yūri brought me a piece. It was Zara who composed the first piece Yūri brought to me.”

 

He confirmed, “I brought a piece to Ciao Ciao with help from my friends.”

 

After that he fell into silence as Ciao Ciao continued and Viktor listened. It was odd hearing the story of how his life changed from another person’s mouth, hearing how others had viewed left him melancholic and aching for his friends.

Viktor thanked Ciao Ciao and before Yūri ended the call he wanted tell his former coach his own version of thanks,

“Celestino, I—I’ll redeem myself in the Grand Prix Finals.”

“That’s what I’ve always wanted to hear from you.”

 

The call ended and with that his feelings of yearning were washed away in the face of Viktor demanding to hear his music choices. Which brought him to his current predicament.

He didn’t know how to talk with his former friends now that he had broken-up with Nydia.

‘They’re Nydia’s friend first before mine anyways.’ Yūri thought as he slumped on the table. It was already late at night and he had exhausted all of his music in his library.

None of Zara’s previous compositions for him resonated in him and then the matter with Nydia still weighed heavily in his heart.

“…I…really don’t know what to do…”

He had been absentmindedly scrolling through Instagram when he stopped at Phichit’s new post.

“Oh, so that’s where Aliyah went…ah that’s Xia Zhen in the background right?” Yūri wondered aloud as he brought the screen closer and squinted, “Yep, it’s her.”

 

And then there was Nydia’s new post, the first one after their break up. And Yūri stared at the white ivory keys of the piano and the visible end of the music sheet. The lighting suggested that it was in the afternoon when she had taken the picture, but what caught his attention was the person she had tagged it with.

 

“She’s back in Detroit?”

 

‘Is she doing fine there?’ He wondered, remembering how she hated being left alone for too long.

 

Then he saw the comment and paused.

 

‘I wonder if I can have a music that resonated as much as Yuri on ICE did?’

“I want to talk to them…” Yūri thought for a while, “Should I just wing it?”

 

‘Yūri, if there comes a time when you can’t get the courage do something, you should just wing it.’

 

In the end, Aliyah’s words of wisdom pushed him to do it. With trembling hands he pressed the video call.

 

“Phichit-kun, Sawadee krab.” He greeted with a shaky voice.

 

“Yūri! Are you doing fine?” Phichit asked with genuine worry, popping into the screen was Aliyah and Xia Zhen.

 

“Yūri, have you been resting well?” Aliyah asked as she clung to Phichit’s shoulders while Xia Zhen squeezed herself into the frame.

 

“你好吗 晚上好, Yūri!”(Good evening, how are you)Xia Zhen greeted him.

 

“I’ve been doing fine, did you guys talked with Nydia yet?” He asked them.

 

“没有, Yūri.” (No, I haven’t) Xia Zhen replied with a shake of her head, “But we did receive some postcards from her.

 

“That’s true, Yūri! I’m sorry it didn’t work out for both you,” Aliyah piped in “Ah! Don’t worry too much though, Zara and Xia Zhen are already doing their best to make sure it won’t have any negative effect on either of your careers.”

 

“You shouldn’t go searching for articles about it though, Yūri.” Phichit added.

 

“I see, are you guys doing fine over there?” He inquired.

 

“Yep, Ciao Ciao is the same as always.” Phichit answered, “Aliyah and Xia Zhen are helping him out though!”

 

“That’s good…I—I’d like to ask for a favor,” Yūri paused and considered his words “Do you think that I could have Nydia’s new contact number?”

 

“…Yūri…about that…” Xia Zhen began to explain, “We lost contact with her too…I’m sorry.”

“Eh?”

 

“It’s true, Yūri.” Aliyah said, “We tried contacting her through SNS but she didn’t reply, she has an automated reply set on her emails…the only reason why we know she’s alive is through IG and the post card she sent.”

 

A gloomy air settled between them however Phichit was the first to break it,

 

“You should try sending an email to her though, you’ll probably have more luck than us.”

 

“Do I?” Yūri asked bitterly as he thought back to their screaming match.

 

Seeing their pitying smiles, Yūri could only sigh and promised to try. Saying their good-byes and promises to meet up in the finals as a whole, Yūri decided to try his luck one more time.

It was without a doubt the shittiest email he had ever sent but Yūri knew Nydia would have at least appreciated his straight-to-the-point and concise approach towards her. He sighed and decided to just sleep on his problems.

 


 

 

Unsurprisingly it didn’t work for him at all, not to mention Viktor was hounding him for the music.

 

“Why can’t you trust your own decisions?” Viktor had asked him, “Just try to remember something like when a girlfriend loved you ah—”

 

“Hah?!” He snapped.

 

The air had turned awkward and Yūri could see that Viktor had realized what he had done.

 

“Ah—S-sorry,” He apologized “It’s just that—I—”

 

Yūri didn’t know what to say. He was tired and Nydia still had replied to him about the music.

 

“Right, I’m sorry…I forgot.” Viktor replied in an indescribable tone of voice.

 

Practice had ended in stifled silence and Yūri just wanted to get away from everything then, not even Viktor’s awkward attempt at apologizing was enough to convince Yūri to face the elephant in the room.

 

“Yūri, let’s take a bath.”

“No, thanks.” Yūri avoided looking at Viktor.

 

“Yūri, Let’s sleep together!”

He slammed the door in Viktor’s face before opening it up again and calling Makkachin inside and then closed it again.

 


 

 

When the morning arrived, not even the cuddle fest he had with Vicchan and Makkachin could wash away the guilt that was eating at him. He had curled up on his bed, with the full knowledge that he was late for practice but a part of him really didn’t want to face Viktor and the world today.

The dogs whine were almost enough to convince him to get out of bed however it wasn’t until he had declared,

 

“I can’t stand this guilt anymore!”

 

And the opening of the door with Viktor’s fed up smile that he was familiar with,

 

“Yūri, おはよう let’s go to the beach!” (Good morning)

 

Yūri agreed with much trepidation and guilt.

 

The beach was just as grey as Yūri’s feelings and he was inclined to believe that Hasetsu tend to reflect whatever predominant feeling he had. It was just a nice thought however.

 

“Look Yūri, Seagulls!” Viktor had pointed out with joy and Yūri couldn’t help but correct him in his own joking dead-pan way,

“Black-tailed gulls.”

 

It was enough for Viktor to open up to Yūri, offering him the peace of the story he had always wanted to know,

 

“Ever since I came here, I’m reminded of St. Petersburg whenever I hear the seagulls in the early morning.”

 

Yūri merely sat and listened to Viktor.

 

“I never thought that I’d leave that city so I never used to notice the seagulls’ cries.” Viktor continued, his left hand petting Makkachin’s fur. He paused for a moment and then asked Yūri,

“Did you ever have a moment like that?”

 

Yūri thought for a while and started telling him a story,

“Back in Detroit, before I started winning gold and silver consecutively, there was this girl.” He paused and thought about that day’s events, “She wasn’t pushy, she was really just overly affectionate.”

“A rink mate got into an accident, novice, one day and I was really worried that day in the hospital. It was just us there, that girl and I were the ones to take the kid in the ER…” Yūri trailed off as he remembered the events of that day clearly and with it the emotions he had felt then, “Nydia and the others weren’t Ciao Ciao’s assistants yet…so I ended up sending them a text I couldn’t explain properly because I was shaking in the waiting room…and then the girl just tried to hug me…I didn’t want it that time.”

 

He took a deep breath and continued, “I was the oldest in the rink and Ciao Ciao had something to do that day so he left me in charge. She, the girl, wasn’t part of the skating club but she’d drop by occasionally and help out a bit. She came with me and stayed with me in the hospital but I pushed her away…She looked really hurt back then and I just looked away from her…”

 

“Wow, why?”

 

“I hated it. I didn’t like how it felt like she was intruding on my feelings or something. Nydia arrived at that time and I felt more at ease with her finally at my side, she didn’t try to hug me or anything…she just held my hand and waited for me to tell her what happened…” Yūri answered “Things got awkward between me and the girl afterwards…at that time I was only thinking of how Nydia, just like Minako-sensei, Nishigori, Yuuko-chan, and my family never treated me like a weakling.”

 

“They all believed that I’d keep growing as a person at the same time Nydia believed that I didn’t need her so they never stepped over the line…” Yūri realized and having it said out loud made him realize how true it was.

 

Viktor’s affirmation only added to it and slowly he could feel himself feeling better, much better than the rollercoaster of feelings he had been riding in since Nydia’s accident.

 

“What do you want me to be to you?” Viktor asked him and Yūri thought of the time when Viktor had asked him the same thing in a different way.

 

“A father figure?” Viktor offered and Yūri snorted at that.

 

“No.” He turned that offer down.

 

“A brother, then?”

 

Yūri was quite contented with having one sibling and Phichit’s siblings, so that too he turned down, “No thanks, having you as a brother would be annoying.”

 

“A friend?”

“You’re already my friend for a long time Viktor.” Yūri replied and it felt like a lie.

“Am I?”

 

Yūri paused and thought back to the kiss he had shared with Viktor in that dimly lit hallway, it wasn’t a feeling of completion but rather the feeling of having found something that had been lost. It echoed the emotion he felt when he had met Nydia back then outside that bar, as if something had clicked into place.

 

“We haven’t been friends for a long time now…” Viktor admitted.

 

Yūri realized how true it was. They had shared a kiss, and if Nydia’s shadow weren’t looming over them it would have been more by now. Yūri remained silent even if he could see sadness creep into Viktor’s eyes.

 

“You’re right…” Yūri knew he had to be the one to say it, “I don’t want you to be my boyfriend either.” He added because he knew Viktor and it was probably one of the choices he would offer.

 

“I don’t want you to play any role…” Yūri continued as he stood up and looked at Viktor and realized that they had grown closer and further apart ever since Viktor came to Hasetsu.

 

“You don’t have to be anything but just you, just be Viktor, don’t turn into someone else just because you think I’d like it…” He said softly, “Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, Vitya.”

 

Saying that endearment felt like something in him had finally come undone, it felt like he can finally begin untangling the mess they had started in Sochi.

 

“I’ve always looked up to you, I ignored you because I didn’t want you to see more of my shortcomings…and it didn’t feel like I deserve you even now…” He confessed haltingly, “I kept running away from you and Nydia because I didn’t want either one of you to see how I really am.”

 

He clenched his hands and didn’t stop himself from being honest, “But I’ve decided to stop running away now…so let me make it up to you with my skating!”

 

Yūri didn’t know what Vitkor thought, what his soft smile and tender look meant but Viktor’s outstretched hand that was reaching out for his was enough for Yūri to understand that things were going to be okay between them.

 

“Okay, I won’t let you off easy then.” Viktor told him, “That’s my way of showing my love.”

 

Yūri placed his hand in Viktor’s and thought,

 

‘When I open up, he meets me where I am.’

 

In the evening, within the dark confines of his room, Yūri found the answer he was looking for.

 

Nydia’s cold reply was expected but hearing that she would do it still gave him relief. He had faith that Nydia would definitely give him a music that was made just for him.


 

 

“Nydia told me she’ll send it before the week is over.” Yūri told Viktor first thing in the morning.

 

“Okay, I look forward to it.” Viktor honestly said.

 

“Until then, could you please teach me all the jumps you know?” He requested with all his courage.

 

Their practice was therefore spent with Viktor teaching him all the jumps that he knew 13 times that by the time practice was over Viktor was visibly sweating like a pig. Not that Yūri thought he was ugly, on the contrary Viktor still looked impossibly handsome that Yūri thought of it as unfair.

As Viktor continued the one-sided conversation, Yūri could not help but stare at Viktor’s hair whorl which was beckoning to him. His impulsive thoughts of,

‘Poke it!’ kept repeating and repeating inside his mind that even Nydia’s pranking face came into mind.

By the time he had realized it his finger was feeling the warmth emitted by Viktor’s head as it remained in the center of the hair whorl.

 

“Ah…sorry…” He apologized blandly.

“I-is it really thinning out that much?” Viktor said as he hid his emotion away from Yūri. All the while remembering all of Nydia’s drunken teasing back in Sochi.

 

However Viktor could not stop his body from sliding into the ice, not that he wanted to. After all, even Yūri had noticed his thinning hair.

 

“I can’t go on anymore…” He mumbled into the ice, ears deaf to Yūri’s apologies and assurance that it was not thinning at all.

 

On the side of the rink the Nishigori couple watched over the two fondly. Nishigori Takeshi commented,

“I guess they’re getting along fine now.”

 

To which, Yuuko had only smiled happily at.

 

That night, a package arrived in Yu-topia, addressed to Yūri. It had no return address but Yūri could tell from the handwriting that it was from Nydia. The box had various foods and souvenirs in it including a few shirts in different colors saying the same “I heart Caleruega”, a miniature wooden windmill pen holders, and fridge magnets.

However on top of all of those was a cd case inside multiple bubble wraps and an envelope.

 

“Who’s Tarmac?” Yūri wondered out loud as he read the name written on top.

 

“…My forehead isn’t that big!” Viktor commented as he sulkily took the other envelop and Yūri tried to not laugh at Nydia’s pettiness.

 

He ignored the niggling curiosity burning at the back of his mind, the sadness and envy mixing inside his head upon realizing that Viktor was the only one that got a letter.

‘Maybe one day…when the wounds are healed…I can ask Viktor about it.’

 

Both of them listened to the music in Viktor’s room and as the opening notes began Yūri lost himself to the music. It was a familiar feeling hearing the hesitant notes that represented him but as the music went on, Yūri could not hear the second piano any longer. It was replaced by the sound of the violin, gentle and firm, grandly following the rise of the piano until it weakens, leaving the piano to play a solo before gently and slowly entering again and Yūri could see the story Nydia had weaved.

It was still Yuri on Ice but better and Yūri knew that this was the music he had been waiting for. It was a music that reflected him well. He couldn’t wait to start practicing his free skate with the music.

Viktor turned at him and smiled with excitement.

 

The next morning, Yūri and Viktor discussed his free skate and Yūri could not stop smiling at the familiarity of his program. Viktor’s Yuri on ICE gave him a sense of comfort that seeped into his bones and settled there.

Unknown to Yūri, Viktor was looking at his soft expression.

 

“Yūri, did you change your theme?”

 

“Un.” Yūri answered and he looked up through Viktor under his lashes and added, “This year’s theme is ‘on my love’.”

 

“That’s the best theme,” Viktor smiled “Perfect.”

 

That same night the assignments for the Grand Prix were released.


 

St. Petersburg, Russia

 

“Ah! Ton, the assignments have been released!” Zara announced as she browsed the net after taking a break from recording Yurio’s free skate music.

 

“Really? Is Yurio and Yuri going to compete in any same event?” Tonton asked as he stopped his perusal and turned to Zara.

 

“Rostelecom Cup!” Zara answered, “Oh, Yūri’s sharing the same assignment as Phichit too…awkward…”

 

“Eh really?”

“Yep. Cup of China…better call Xia Zhen and Aliyah...” Zara muttered to herself as she remembered how petty the two could be especially Aliyah who does not warm up to anyone easily.

 

“Ah…true.”

 


 

 

Bangkok, Thailand

 

“Hohohohoho, so we’ll met that Viktor Nikiforov in China then?” Aliyah said with an indescribable look on her face that made Xia Zhen scoot away from her.

“Oh, Seung-gil will be there too!” Xia Zhen happily noted and willfully ignored Aliyah’s mad ramblings.

 

She texted Seung-gil about the assignments and flirted with him while at it. At the same time texting Zara to be prepared to do some damage control during the Cup of China event.

 


 

Ulaanbataar, Mongolia

 

Nydia took in the scenic view of the city as she sat in front of her laptop. The assignments had been released and she was debating whether to watch personally.

“China…am I still black listed there?”

 


 

Hasetsu, Japan

 

Yūri didn’t understand why his family and friends decided to hold a mini celebration with his GPF assignment but he wouldn’t stop it from happening. He was glad that he’d see Phichit and Yura again but there was still a little bit of sadness in his heart knowing that this would be his first grand prix without Viktor in the lineup.

 

“I bet if you showed up with Viktor as your coach, they’ll think you stole him from the sport.” Takeshi joked.

 

And Yūri could feel his nervousness settle in as Yuuko chimed in with, “Maybe skating fans worldwide hate you now!”

 

Yuuko was the first one to notice and comfort her dear friend, “Sorry Yūri, we’re on your side!”

 

Minako-sensei also added her assurance in her own prima ballerina way. Which he was thankful for but he had remembered something else entirely.

The triplets were quick to remind their parents and Viktor about the Nationals.

 

“Ah…that’s right you didn’t finish your season and took a break afterwards right?” Takeshi remembered, “Don’t worry you’ll breeze it in though!”

 

“Minami Kenjirou from Fukuoka will be competing there too!” The triplets reminded them and Yūri found himself being aware of how much time had passed.

 

“More than 6 months…” He mumbled to himself as he felt the weight of Viktor leaning into his shoulders.

 

“Yūri?”

“I guess I’ll be meeting Minami-kun there…this will be my first competition with them…”

 

“Good, Good! We can cheer you on this year as well!”  Toshiya happily commented “Good luck, Yūri!”

 

“Dad…” Yūri felt grateful.

 

“We’ll use this chance to make money!” Toshiya added.

 

“Dad.” Viktor called out.

 

“You’ll sign an autograph won’t you?” Hiroko directed her question to Viktor and Yūri.

 


 

‘A lot of things had changed at the same time some things remain.’ Yūri thought as he ran up the stairs and towards Viktor, ‘I’ve always thought that I was fighting alone but meeting Nydia and Viktor that had changed…’

 ‘Everything feels new to me,’ He thought further as he stepped into the ice ‘I may never be able to regain what I have lost but right now…’

 

On the ice, Yūri positioned himself as the opening notes of his program music began

 

‘I can clearly see what’s right in front of me.’

 

Yūri moved across the ice and weaved the story he wanted to tell, the things that remained and the things that changed.

 

‘This will probably my last competitive figure skating season’ Yūri thought with a tinge of sadness as he moved on the ice, ‘Figure skaters are only competitive for a short time.’

 

The music neared its end and Yūri could feel the music settling in his heart.

 

‘I don’t know how long Viktor will stick around…’ Yūri thought as he listened to Viktor’s words ‘or how long my body will hold up.’

 

‘So please God, give me Viktor’s time, if only just for now.’ Yūri thought as he looked on his bruised feet.

 

 

September arrived and their season began.


 

 

 


 

 

In the early hours of the morning before the sun had even risen, Katsuki Yūri, 23, was anxiously waiting for the beginning of the draw lots for his first competition this season.

 

‘So-somehow…the stares this time around is more intense…’ Yūri thought as he tried to calm his wildly beating heart.

 

Viktor was on the other side of the room, along with the other coaches, talking to someone over the phone.

 

“Yu—Yūri-sempai!”

 

Yūri turned to his left and saw the three other competitors looking at him avidly but none as bright as Minami Kenjirou’s starry eyes.

 

“Ah…Hello, Minami-kun, um, Fujiwara-kun and Ookita-kun right?” Yūri stumbled over the other two’s names but he was glad he got that right.

 

“Yūri-sempai! I’m so glad you still remembered me!” Kenjirou happily said as he clasped Yūri’s hand.

 

“Hora, My memory isn’t that bad you know.” Yūri jokingly chastised him before turning his attention to the other two, “Fujiwara-kun and Ookita-kun  this is your second year at

the seniors right?”

 

“ “ Yes!” ” They both answered nervously.

 

“Let’s all do our best then!” Yūri told the three as he remembered Zara’s advices about maintaining his image.

 

His name was soon called and Yūri nervously walked towards the woman holding the draw lots. He took a deep breath before putting his hand inside the sack and scrambling it for a long time before choosing one of the cards.

He closed his eyes and raised it as he waited for the verdict.

 

“Katsuki Yūri-san is on first!” The woman announced happily and could only cover his face after returning the number.

 

‘I’m first again!’ He screamed inside his head as he walked back to the seats and nodded at Fujiwara-kun who was the next one to draw.

 

That left him with Minami-kun who was entirely too happy to talk with him and to a lesser and more controlled extent, Ookita-kun too. They had exchanged stories and Yūri was all too fine with giving them tips and satisfying their curiosity. By the time Minami’s turn arrived all conversation had ran dry and Yūri was left to his thoughts.

Distantly Yūri heard Minami broadcasting his number placement and absentmindedly smiled.

 

‘September…at this time, what are you doing now?’ Yūri thought as he remembered the well-wishes that had flooded the internet during Nydia’s birthday. The simple message that felt fake and the picture that accompanied it.

 

It said so much and so little about her current state that Yūri wondered how she was fairing. After their initial correspondence, Nydia had went back to being distantly present in their lives. Yūri knew that the whole world wanted to know why they ended but Yūri was thankful that Xia Zhen and Zara had already scheduled a press conference before the Grand Prix starts.

It was the only way he could focus on his skating and not fall apart while thinking about her.

 

“Yūri, it’s time for our short interview.” Viktor reminded him as he came to collect his student.

 

“Un.” Yūri nodded and excused himself from the other skaters.

 

“How was your call?”

 

“Ah~ It was a scary one, Yūri!” Viktor answered ,  “I’ve never talked with someone so sharp tongued and sarcastic! I was called an idiot a lot of times in all kinds of variations!”

“Eh? Just who were you talking to?”

 

Viktor pouted and refused to answer the question. Yūri had only sighed and decided that whoever it was must have been pretty important if the way Viktor was acting after the call indicates.

 

Viktor led him to a spot where the informal interview was taking place, there was already a small crew waiting for them along with a crowd that Yūri recognized as part of his fan club.

 

“Katsuki-san, Nikiforov-san, good morning!” The reported greeted them and Yūri smiled at them as charmingly as he could without caffeine running in his blood.

 

The interview itself was a blur to him and Yūri hoped that no one would notice that he was already disassociating due to his nerves. Viktor, like always, was one not to disappoint and quickly brought Yūri back to the real world with his statement,

 

“We’ve timed him to peak at the Grand Prix Final, so this isn’t a problem.”

 

In any normal circumstance, those wouldn’t be enough to crank up his anxiety, the time he had spent with his friends acting as his coaches in place of the times Celestino had to accompany another skater was enough to prepare and desynthesize him from similar statements like that. It was what followed after that riled him up,

 

“He can take it easy and earn a personal best score today!” Viktor said.

 

Yūri couldn’t even remember his former personal best anymore! Not to mention how Viktor made it look like he wasn’t thinking highly of his opponents this year. If there was one thing Zara and Aliyah had thought him in regards to public image is that, no matter how the media painted him as, he must be anything but unsportsmanlike in conduct and image.

 

‘Somehow, the person who called you an idiot in many ways is right.’ Yūri thought as he turned to Vitya and said,

 

“I think I’ve told you this many times, butIcutmyseasonshortanddidn’tparticipateinlastyear’snationals.Vityayouidiotareyoumakingmyfellowcompetitorshateme?”

 

Viktor the bastard only said, “Wow.”

 

‘Ah…this would be my first competition with Nydia…’ Yūri remembered as he began practicing his program on ice.

 

By the rink side, Viktor was holding out his Makkachin tissue holder and Yūri decided to skate over and get rid of the snot he could feel in his nose.

 

“Yūri, Makkachin’s cheering for you.” Viktor had said waving the tissue box up and down cutely.

 

Yūri agreed half out of wanting to pacify, what he knew was Viktor’s need for his attention and  to calm him down, the other half because he found Viktor cute. He thought of the times, Nydia had acted like the manager of the skating club before Ciao Ciao had asked her and their friends to finally be his assistants.

 

‘At that time…wasn’t she acting this way too?’

“Try to be happier, Yūri~!” Viktor whined and Yūri ignored him returning to practice his program once more.

 

He shivered as he felt Minami staring at him from behind.

 

“Mi-minami-kun…practice properly please.” Yūri told him as he saw Minami’s coach looking ( ・0・) ง

“はーはい!!!” (Yes!!!)  Minami replied before turning back and continuing his own practice.

 

His coach looked at Yūri gratefully and he gave her a small smile before practicing again.

 

‘I’m not sure if I’m in a good enough shape for the Grand Prix, if I’m at the level where I can compete again…other skaters don’t matter, I can’t lose here right now.’

 

Minako-sensei’s voice echoed in his mind as he remembered how he had faded away with Nydia’s accident.

 

‘I can't fall apart no matter how everything around me reminds me of you.’


 

 


The event began in the evening and the lobby of the Okayama International Skating Rink was already filled with the media and supporters. Okukawa Minako and Nishigori Takeshi were standing by the less crowded area of the lobby, a few paces in front of them was Yūri’s fan club, which Takeshi was familiar with considering how Yūko was one of the club’s site administrator and P.R.O.

 

“Will Yūri be okay?” Minako voiced her concern, “He tends to gets nervous before competitions.”

 

Just as she mentioned her student, Yūri had come towards her with a worried look.

 

“Minako-sensei, have you seen Viktor?” Yūri asked worriedly, “The competition’s about to start.”

 

Emerging from the crowd of female skaters was Viktor Nikiforov, donning a bespoke suit, while Yūri looked at his coach with disbelief.

 

“Sorry for making you wait.” Viktor apologized while fixing the cuffs of his suit.

 

“Why did you change?” Yūri questioned his friend and coach.

 

The crowd of female skaters were still lightly shrieking and Yūri wondered if either one of his friends ever did this.

 

“…No wait…Tonton and Nydia elicited similar reactions from the crowd.”

 

“Yūri, today is my glorious debut as a coach, so I should be in a formal attire.” Viktor replied in a matter of fact tone and Yūri couldn’t even refute him nor abate the mixed emotions emerging from his heart.

 

From behind the crowd that was surrounding them, Minako questioned Viktor’s motives.

 

“That Russian coach stands out more than the skaters.” She commented with a frown on her face and Takeshi silently agreed with her.

 

“Ah, Yu-Yūri-kun!” One of Yūri’s fan girls approached him and shyly said, “Do-do your best, we’re all cheering for you.”

 

Armed with a mega-watt smile and the accumulation of Aliyah and Tonton’s joint teaching of smiling so charmingly, the fangirl stood no chance against the sincere but definitely for the public smile that Yūri had mastered.

 

“Thank you for your support and the Harem’s as well.”

 

This time the squeals were for Yūri and Minako could only smile wryly at her student who easily got the spotlight back.

 

“Detroit really changed Yūri.” Takeshi commented with a proud and amazed smile.

 

 


 

 

“…The event must be starting now.” Nydia mused as he looked out to the glittering city scape of Almaty.

Sitting alone inside the Ferris wheel, Nydia thought back to the birthdays he had spent together with his friends upon arriving in Detroit. Most importantly, he thought of the first birthday he had spent together with Yūri. Even the glittering landscape of Almaty’s city at night was not enough to take his mind off Yūri’s first event of the season.

He had planned to stay at Hasetsu until then but he couldn’t bear to stay any longer, not when the stark difference between his and Viktor was noticeable. Nydia wanted to cry but no tears would come, as if he had exhausted all his tears, and he found it fitting in a way. That Yūri would have all that he could give.

 

‘Would everything be the same? Or would something change?’ Nydia thought as he remembered the events of Yūri’s comeback, ‘Do you still remember Minami-kun? Would you fall apart once you see how the audience react? Would he be able to stop you from self-destructing?’

 

“…I really wanted to stay by your side…” He murmured.

 

As if mocking his pain, Nydia’s phone rang and Viktor’s caller ID mockingly lit up on his screen. He pursed his lips debating whether to answer the call or let it go unanswered. After a moment of deliberation, he pressed the green button and greeted Viktor,

 

“What do you need?”

On the other side of the call, Nydia could practically see Viktor’s fake smile and even faker politeness.

 

“Which would look professional a black tie or—”

 

Nydia interrupted him before Viktor could finish the question.

 

“I’m hanging up.”

 

He didn’t want to rack up a phone bill, despite his wealth, over Viktor’s fashion problem.

 

“No—wait—wAIT!! That was a joke.” Viktor told him and Nydia could hear the rustling of clothes.

 

“We’re not even friends for you to make jokes.” Nydia replied bitterly.

 

“If you insist—”

“I do.”

“—then fine but what words of encouragement do you usually tell Yūri?”

 

Nydia didn’t have to think too hard to recognize what the call was actually about. This was as much as Viktor’s nervousness over being a coach at his first event as it is about Yūri’s first competition of his comeback season.

 

“I can’t remember.” He told him not willing to relinquish that tiny bit action that was solely between him and Yūri to Viktor.

 

“Oh—then sorry for bothering—”

“But that shouldn’t matter to you right, Viktor?”

 

There was a better way to word it, more subtle and less sharp but Nydia was no longer a politician and found no need to deliver such a performance to Viktor.

 

“Yes. Of course.” Viktor agreed guiltly.

 

The line was silent for a while before Nydia spoke up once more,

 

“This is Yūri’s first competition on his comeback,” Nydia paused and considered his next words “He can win this.”

“But?”

 

“But sometimes his anxiety tells him otherwise, I’m sure he’d already told you so.” Nydia explained as his mind thought back to the heartwarming scene of Viktor and Yūri finally closing their distance.

 

“10 centimeters…”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Idiotforov, if you can’t figure out what to do then you better reconsider being Yūri’s coach.” Nydia deflected and then hesitantly she added, “Do your best Coach Viktor…and good luck.”

 

He hanged up without waiting for Viktor’s reply and stared at his phone screen for a long while as his capsule slowly descended. He didn’t know what things would change, whether this would allow Yūri to open up the way he was meant to or not but as Nydia stared at the landscape of Almaty at night he wondered,

 

“…are you still thinking of retiring?”

 

 


 

 

A coin falls unto tails and the course of the story changes.

A stone falls into the river and the water changes its course.

A butterfly flaps its wings and a storm begins somewhere in an ocean.

Take a left turn instead of right and history changes.

 

This is how alternate timelines occur, this is how two same scenarios with differing outcomes or causes exists simultaneously, and it starts with a choice.

One choice is set as “The Destined Answer” while the other is an “Alternative” but for such worlds to refrain from collapsing due to deviation there are set points in time.

 

The coin falls.

The stone sinks into the river.

The butterfly flaps its wings.

A turn is made and history still happens.

 

How Viktor and Yūri meet is irrelevant.

How they end up together is not a detail the universe would particularly care about.

 

But what matters to the universe is this;

Viktor and Yūri. Life and Love. Two souls intertwined in the most beautiful way that it was unconceivable to have it be in any other way.

 

Even the appearance of an irregularity would not be enough to set the course of the universe to an entirely different direction. Because every interaction that leads the two closer to each other is the fixed point of the universe.

The deviation from their destined course may have given them a greater pain but it had also given them a sweeter path. In another universe it would be harder for Viktor to parse the language that Yūri speaks, in this universe Viktor understands Yūri better.

 

And that makes all the difference.