“Pair skate?” Viktor’s eyebrows rise toward his (definitely not receding! He’s going thirty, not fifty) hairline.
Yuuri nods, determination shining in his eyes. His face is close enough to Viktor’s for his breath to tickle the other’s skin. “Your short program is made for it. And you want to keep surprising people, don’t you?” He presses forward further, until Viktor drops back onto the pillow behind him.
Yuuri uses this moment to sit on Viktor’s stomach - best to keep him from escaping that conversation (not that there are too many places in Hasetsu to go to at 2am. And none that Yuuri couldn’t find within twenty minutes).
“...yes?” Viktor replies, visibly processing Yuuri’s suggestion, and very comfortable in this position.
Yuuri leans down, brings their foreheads together, and forcefully shuts up the tiny voice in the back of his head that keeps wondering whether this is a good idea. “So?”
“Pair skating is very different,” Viktor mumbles, but Yuuri can see a spark in his eyes. He’s definitely interested.
“Then let’s try it out,” Yuuri suggests. (Unbeknownst of the things his little idea will unleash).
Viktor smiles brightly. “Of course.” He reaches up, buries a hand in Yuuri’s hair and pulls his head down.
They make it to the rink a little later than usual the next day (what with last night having lasted a little longer as well. As a matter of fact, it’s rather a testament to skill that nobody is limping). At least they end up being in synch during warm up - Yuuri finds it easy to pick up every subtle clue Viktor gives and before long they glide across the ice, mirroring each other's movements.
It's new and exhilarating, and when Viktor holds out his hand Yuuri takes it without hesitation.
How long has it been since he held somebody's hand while skating? He curls his fingers around Viktor’s, marveling at how easy it is. When he'd first gotten the idea - well, he'd thought it be difficult to coordinate. They're both solo skaters, after all. Though like this - they turn simultaneously, match their speed, and when Viktor tugs Yuuri into a spin, he follows the lead.
Before they know it, they’re skating to inaudible, familiar music. Yuuri knows the program by heart, and so does Viktor. They've not choreographed it as a duet yet, but that turns out to be fairly easy (or perhaps it's only easy because Viktor is a genius and Yuuri trusts him unconditionally).
“Heads up, I'll lift you,” Viktor announces just before the place where the program usually requires a jump. Yuuri makes an odd noise when Viktor grabs him under the armpits. For a moment the world spins. Then his feet are back on the ice.
It probably didn't look very elegant, but they didn't fall or stumble. Viktor chuckles, and when Yuuri looks over his eyes shine with joy.
“How about a dip next?”
It's rather like what Yuuri did with Viktor at last year’s banquet and he flushes (if asked, he'll blame exertion. Or the closeness of Viktor’s face). His heart beats fast - he doesn't think he's ever been quite as happy.
So when Viktor helps him back into an upright position, Yuuri picks up speed and takes the lead. Viktor’s eyes widen in surprise.
“Do you plan on doing all the lifts and dips yourself?” Yuuri asks, skating forward. He tightens his grip on Viktor’s hand.
“Yes?” Viktor replies, though he easily surrenders the lead to Yuuri. It's one thing Yuuri realized early - Viktor is used to leading, to making the decisions on his own, but if he can let go, he will do so gladly. Yuuri has already won that trust in their relationship (after difficulties because, he will admit that, they can both be stupid and stubborn at times) - he will earn that trust on the ice too.
“You’re the short one after all.” Viktor mumbles and Yuuri grimaces.
“Yeah, but I’m the one with more stamina,” he says, turns and pulls Viktor toward him. His hands grip Viktor’s waist and easily lift him up.
Of course, even when lifted without warning, Viktor is perfectly poised in midair.
“See,” he says after Viktor lands back on the ice again, and the other looks at him, a little flushed. Yuuri’s own heart is beating faster (he is familiar with holding Viktor in the privacy of their room, and maybe spin him when alcohol burns in his veins. On the ice, it's very new).
Viktor laughs, his cheeks glowing and hair shining under the rink’s lights. Yuuri's own heart echoes at the true happiness he sees there.
“Okay,” Viktor agrees easily. “We do it your way.”
Yuuri beams at him. “Surprising, no?”
“Indeed,” Viktor chuckles, and happiness wells up in Yuuri’s chest. His ability to make Viktor happy still renders him incredulous at times. For so long Viktor had been an ephemeral idol, untouchable and distant. But where his fingers entangle with Yuuri’s, where Yuuri wraps his fingers around a surprisingly slender waist, he has become gloriously real. Yuuri’s initial fears that all of this is a dream (or some cruel joke) evaporate.
“We could switch for the second half,” Viktor contemplates as they slow down, both sweating lightly. “That way we can share the strain.”
Yuuri thinks it over. A change is bound to surprise the audience even more - and it works with the story, too. “So for the first part we display the seduction, and then the plead to stay?” He realizes just then how easily that could also fit their story, and the blood rushes to his cheeks. “I mean…”
“Yeah, it does make for an intriguing story,” Viktor comments with a wry grin.
Yuuri bashfully agrees. “Though should we get a coach for it? I mean if we’re skating together, it will be difficult to spot any errors.”
“Good idea,” Viktor says. “Let’s ask Yakov!"
And thus, before Yuuri quite understand what is happening, they are flying to St. Petersburg. He isn’t entirely certain Viktor actually asked Yakov to coach them on a pair skating program (does Yakov even do this? And doesn’t he already have his hands full with Yuri, Georgi, Mila, and others?)
To tell the truth, Yuuri figures Viktor hasn’t told Yakov anything at all. Because when they visit the rink, Viktor cheerfully waves, and everybody’s jaws drop. They certainly weren’t expected.
“Pair skating?” Yakov Feltsman echoes in stoic disbelief. His former (still? again?) star pupil Viktor beams cheerfully at him. Really, no man approaching thirty should be able to look that endearing (he's admitted to himself that he is very weak to pleading looks from children, which does make him a favorite uncle and regularly drives everyone else to exasperation. However, Viktor is certainly no longer a child).
“Yes, Yuuri had the idea,” Viktor adds cheerfully. Yakov very slowly turns to glance at the Japanese skater next to Viktor (he doesn't miss their linked hands). Yuuri Katsuki’s smile looks a lot more forced and less convinced.
For an idle moment Yakov wonders if Katsuki got that idea after drinking too much alcohol again. But he can't recall Katsuki drinking that much after the banquet in Barcelona - not like he did in Sochi.
He had been surprised then. To the point of nearly intervening several times. The dance off, he'd told himself, was harmless enough. (He's also been mildly impressed. For all his temper, getting Yuri to actually accept a challenge Katsuki had to be a special character). Then Katsuki had zoomed in on Viktor and Yakov had been half-way out of his seat, thinking about twisted ankles and broken toes.
However, even when dead drunk Katsuki had swept Viktor off his feet with exemplary pose. Yakov had relaxed. And then watched in curious wonder as Viktor’s initial surprise and confusion melted into warm, open laughter.
He's not seen his star pupil laugh like this in years. A decade maybe. Viktor isn't unhappy (for all that Yakov is a coach, he is aware that he also needs to pay attention to the mental health of his young charges, especially the young ones without much family to support them) - but he's not laughed like this in a very, very long time.
Yakov had allowed his shoulders to slump and when Celestino held out his glass in a silent toast, he'd clinked his against it. Katsuki may not have done great on the ice, but he's certainly the life of the party.
(Then the pole had appeared. Yakov had in vain tried to make Yuri leave. And Katsuki had slung his arms around Viktor, humped his leg, and asked him to be his coach. Yakov hadn't thought he'd do it. But Viktor has always had something for surprising people. He probably should have known.)
“You thought that through?” he asks the two skaters standing before him. He can feel his hair going greyer.
Katsuki’s smile wavers. Viktor’s grows even wider. “We choreographed it.”
Which means rather than think it through, they took it on the ice immediately. Yakov feels like sighing. Or like quitting (which he hasn’t done in twenty years now. He never intended to coach ice skaters - he used to play ice hockey, and only took over the gig as a favor to a friend twenty years ago. Somehow he got stuck).
“Show me,” he demands instead.
“The fuck are you doing here?” Yuri exclaims when two very familiar forms (that ought to be very, very far away) join him on the ice.
“Hello Yurio!”, Viktor cheerfully greets and waves as if he’d not walked out on all of them (more like run away, though those who had been there for the Sochi banquet had muttered about eloping. He’d taken his dog after all) to settle in Japan of all places. “I’ve missed you!”
The nerve, Yuri thinks.
Yuuri manages a shaky smile. “How do you do,” he says politely.
And Yuri feels his mood darken like an incoming thunderstorm. Seriously? Those two love blind geezers are seriously coming here to skate? “You fu - “
A warm hand lands on his shoulder and Yuri feels his anger evaporate.
“Oh, hello Otabek! Did you change rinks?” Viktor inquires without missing a beat, and Otabek inclines his head in reply.
“Ah, that’s lovely,” Viktor comments, while Yuuri in a rare display of sanity bends down to adjust the laces on his skates (not that they need adjusting. But anything is probably better than this conversation). “I heard you and Yurio have been getting on really well lately. It’s so nice to have somebody to train with, isn’t it?”
Now, Yuri would like to state he resents the implications. Unlike Viktor, he’s not abandoning his career for some drunk pretty boy humping his leg (no, his brain reminds him, Otabek rather heroically picked him up with a really cool motorcycle, saving him from a group of overenthusiastic fans). Yuri grows bright red.
Viktor (and Yuri is going to murder him, he is!) has the audacity to giggle (that man is nearly thirty. Doesn’t he have any dignity?). Yuuri wisely keeps fiddling with his skates.
Otabek doesn’t move a muscle. “It is,” he agrees in that calming monotone that is balm for Yuri’s soul.
“Are you ever going to skate?” Mila calls over from where she stands with Yakov on the far side of the rink. “Or is this going to become a foursome?"
Yakov gives in to the urge to hide his face in his hands. Just for a moment.
When he looks up again Viktor is bent over laughing, Katsuki still hasn’t gotten up again (he appears to be hiding a tomato red face), the other Yuri appears to be on the verge of acute violence, and the only sane person remaining (Yakov is growing more and more grateful he agreed to take on Otabek as well. That boy’s a pillar of stability in this madhouse) gently steering Yuri off the ice.
Yakov ignores Viktor’s reply “in that case I think we’d better ask Chris” to Mila’s suggestion.
Time to skate.
Yuuri isn’t entirely convinced this is actually happening. They only attempted this the for this first time two days ago (the day after Viktor had made a few phone calls, taken Yuuri’s passport and disappeared to the Russian consulate. Once he’d come back they’d left for the airport immediately. Yuuri hasn’t even had a chance to replace the toothpaste he forgot to pack (he’s been stealing Viktor’s instead)).
Viktor takes his hand and tugs him into position. “Relax,” he whispers as the rink around them grows quiet. “Let’s give them something to look at.”
A calm, assured sense of confidence spreads through Yuuri’s chest. He forgets about the audience, forgets about the world. Entangling his fingers with Viktor’s, he concentrates on his breathing.
The music starts.
And then him, Viktor, and their story are the only things left.
They’re good. They’re very good.
Yakov purses his lips. Obviously, there is room for improvement. Katsuki ought to lift his leg higher during the dipping figure, Viktor ought to raise his arms a bit higher. The choreography isn’t all that different from Viktor’s original program either, and the audience might not like that - however, the mood is very different.
“What kind of soap opera is that?” Yuri hisses without looking away from the two figures twirling and spinning simultaneously (they are astonishingly well synchronized, especially if - as Yakov suspects - they haven’t gone through this more than a handful of times).
“Ach, I think it’s nice,” Mila comments with a wide smile. “Rather like something Georgi would do, isn’t it? It’s a pity he isn’t here.”
Seated at the window side overlooking a busy street of St. Petersburg, Georgi sneezes. He probably shouldn’t have stayed up so long talking to his now Mexico-based girlfriend. But it was worth it, he thinks with a smile and goes back to working on his choreography for “My Heart will go on”.
On the ice, Yuuri takes over the lead. Yakov feels a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth - it’s a clever choice, matching the music and the theme. The scene they paint, what with Yuuri dipping Viktor and spinning him over the ice, feels a little too familiar.
“Gross,” Yuri hisses, and earns himself an elbow to the side from Mila.
“It’s cute,” she insists. “Isn’t it, Beka?”
Otabek nods in diplomatic silence.
Then the peanut gallery is silenced when on the ice Yuuri lifts Viktor. This late in the program it’s a surprise, but Yakov recalls Celestino lauding Yuuri’s stamina and strength. Still, witnessing the rather petit Japanese skater lift Viktor (who isn’t heavily built, but taller) as if he weighted nothing.
The audience is going to like that.
Also, did they just kiss?
“Ugh,” Yuri makes a very displeased noise. Mila has her phone out and is filming. Otabek sports a nearly invisible flush. Apparently, Yakov concludes, they did.
“Coach,” Mila says and her phone-holding hand never wavers, though Yakov’s knees do as she turns a wild, enthusiastic gaze at him. “If they get to skate that for the exhibition, I’m going to do One Day More. With Sara.”
Yakov closes his eyes. If he was a religious man, he’d have muttered a prayer. “Do you really want the home security department to visit again?”
“The judges liked Do you hear the people sing, and so did the audience. They were even singing along,” Mila protests. They were, Yakov has to admit. And at least the Petersburg home security people found the enter escapade amusing as well. But they do have to check out when somebody inspires larger crowds to sing about revolutions.
Otabek, Yakov notices, stares at them with slightly widened eyes. Considering how completely unexpressive that boy usually is, he must be shocked. Yakov only hopes he doesn’t quit - the truth behind the glorious and superbly talented Russian skating team is something of a well-kept secret. (Look at them: their coach used to play ice hockey, their living legend is more of a lovelorn idiot, Georgi’s skating reflects his fractured love life, and their best female skater has a thing for attractive rivals and revolutions. Yuri may have anger issues, but he is a teenager, so Yakov fathoms he’s the most normal out of all).
On the ice, Yuuri and Viktor slide into their final positions. Mila claps cheerfully, Otabek politely. Yuri glowers.
“The internet will love this!” Mila shouts, waving her phone.
“Oh no,” Yuuri mutters. Yakov silently agrees. He also thinks he’s going to like the boy.
The internet does love the clip. And so do the people who actually have Yuuri’s phone number.
“That was amazing, Yuuri!” Phichit shouts on the other end of the line, while Yuuri lies on Viktor’s couch, petting Makkachin with his free hand. Behind him, Viktor putters around in the kitchen, mumbling something about food.
Yuuri’s head still hasn’t entirely caught up with everything. “Thanks,” he mumbles into the phone.
“You know, there’s some time after the exhibition and before the next tournament,” Phichit continues cheerfully, though Yuuri recognizes that tone (“You know, you have some time before your next class”, Phichit had said and somehow they’d ended up at Niagara Falls). “I was thinking about doing an ice revue in Thailand. It’s becoming popular, but having you guys here would make it huge!”
“Ice revue?” Yuuri echoes. The clanging in the kitchen stops.
“Yes,” Phichit says, while Viktor drops on the couch next to Yuuri. “Like a musical on ice. I asked Guanghong already and he thinks it’s a great idea.”
Yuuri’s rational side isn’t entirely certain what to make of the idea. It sounds a bit silly, doesn’t have much immediate merit, and consequently appears not entirely sane. Then again, pair skating with Viktor for the exhibition (while they’re likely to compete against each other after) isn’t sane either. And lastly, he owes it to Phichit to support him (after all Phichit hasn’t yet sent Viktor any of the pictures he took of Yuuri’s “shrine to Viktor” in their Detroit dorm).
“That sounds interesting,” Yuuri replies with what is probably a rather unconvincing smile. Not that it deters Viktor from leaning closer in order to catch the conversation. “Did you have a particular story in mind?”
“We’re still working on that,” Phichit answers. “At first I wanted to do my favorite movie, but Guanghong said that probably wouldn’t work too well outside of Thailand. So we were thinking of crossing it over with his Shanghai underground routine.”
Those two things do not go well together, is Yuuri’s first thought. Luckily, he was raised to be polite and diplomatic. “That sounds interesting,” he manages, while Viktor stifles his laughter with one hand.
Phichit makes a noise of agreement. “I was wondering if you’d join as well. And of course, Viktor can come to. Thinking about it, I think we’re kinda missing a love story in that revue anyway.”
Viktor, still covering his mouth, gives Yuuri the thumbs up.
It doesn’t sound like a revue, and more like a deliciously insane hodgepodge of everything – and surprisingly fun at that. Yuuri, envisioning his sanity packing and leaving, grins. “We’ll think about it,” he tells Phichit, because they really need to start thinking about it.
“Great! And now I really need to go back to training,” Phichit laughs and hangs up. In the meantime, Yuuri’s phone has accumulated several more messages regarding their pair skate (most congratulatory, some astonished, and one from Chris stating “we know you got him this time, but wait until you see my new program”).
Yuuri shows the message to Viktor. “I wonder if he convinced his coach to let him skate naked this time around,” Viktor comments idly, and since apparently nobody is really sane here, Yuuri laughs. His life has been a wild, exciting ride ever since Viktor came into it (or perhaps even the Sochi banquet) and he loves every mind-boggling, bemusing, exhilarating second of it. So once his mirth calms and he sees Viktor watching him with an adoring smile, Yuuri leans forward.
Their lips meet, and Viktor’s eyes close, but Yuuri doesn’t stop pressing, not until Viktor falls back against the couch with a soft ‘oof’ that Yuuri swallows immediately. Viktor’s lips are soft and warm and slightly chapped, and Yuuri deepens the kiss, because no matter what Chris plans, or what the other skaters bring, he’s not letting go of Viktor.
(Then the fish Viktor put onto the stove starts sizzling loudly and smoke).