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All the Wrong Words

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Yuri Plisetsky, sitting in a chair at the kitchen table, stretches his fingers in his lap and tries to control his shaky legs. Sweat trickles down his neck, the faint buzz of the kitchen light making it difficult for him to think. He needs to say the words.

“Yurochka, what is it you wanted to tell me?”

Sentence fragments soar through Yuri's head, but none that make sense. “Well, you see...” He grips his hands together, his knuckles turning white. Why can't he find the right words to make his grandpa understand? “You remember Otabek, right? What am I saying? Of course you remember Otabek. What I mean to say is, Otabek and I, we're not just friends.”

“Not just friends? What else could you be?”

“L—lovers.” Yuri stumbles on the word.

“You've been kissing that Kazakh boy? Have you had sex with him?”

“We've kissed, yes, but we haven't had sex...yet.”

The hand slamming on the table makes Yuri jump. He tries to calm down, to focus. Continue. Just continue. “We—”

“That is enough, Yuri Plisetsky. I'm a poor old man. Are you trying to give me a heart attack?” He clutches his chest. “I will not have my grandson doing inappropriate things with another man. You're lucky to have a roof over your head. What makes you think you can rebel like this?”

Yuri stands up. “You fucking suck!” Fury runs through his body, and he kicks the table. “I can't believe you, Victor. You're supposed to be helping me.”

Unperturbed, Victor rests his elbows on the table and leans forward. His lips form an amused smile. “I am helping. I have to prepare you for the worst. What would you do if your grandpa wasn't okay with it?”

“He'll be fine with it,” Yuri insists, swiping at his eyes. He glares fiercely at Victor—if he had a fork or spoon, he'd chuck it across the table. It was stupid to ask Victor for help. He couldn't understand what Yuri was going through.

“How can you be so sure?” Victor's mouth forms a grim line.

Shit. Yuri's stomach lurches. He isn't sure, and that's what scares him the most. But Yuri hopes his grandpa won't react that way. He knows Otabek. It's not as if Yuri's introducing a stranger—or some random guy he met while drunk. He loves Otabek. His grandpa has to understand that.

“Come on, Yurio. Let's try again. I'll show you a disappointed reaction this time. Statistically speaking, that's the most likely response.”

“That's it.”

Beaming, Victor runs a hand through his silver hair and strikes a pose. “Great. I've already planned out my speech. Are you ready to hear it?”

“No, we're done here. I'm asking Katsudon.” Yuri storms down the hallway of the apartment and knocks on Yuuri's door.

It takes a moment, but a sleepy Yuuri pulls open the door. Judging by the state of his clothes, he'd been in the midst of an afternoon nap. “What's the matter?” he asks with a yawn.

“Look, I don't have time for any bullshit. Just pretend you're my grandpa and let me confess to you about Otabek.”

Yuuri smiles and invites him into the room, seeming a little too eager. Yuri eyes him warily. He's not going to try to hug him again, is he?

The curtains in the room are a bland blue, the same shade as Victor's eyes, but they let in soft light. Immediately, the atmosphere feels more relaxed than in the kitchen.

Yuuri sits in the armchair, and gestures for Yuri to take a seat on the couch. There's still a good five feet between them, with the coffee table as a barrier, but it's more comfortable than the kitchen table. Yuri makes a mental note not to deliver the real conversation over the dinner table.

“So, Yuri, what did you want to tell me?” Yuuri's face is kind and open, radiating the same warmth as his grandpa.

The words come easier this time. “It's about Otabek. You know how we've been getting closer lately?”

Yuuri nods. “He's a kind young man.”

“Right!” Happiness slips through Yuri's facade. He tries to hide it, but he can't stop smiling. Not when Yuuri's smiling like that—like he's proud of him.

“What were you going to tell me about Otabek?”

A deep breath. Yuri's heart feels light and giddy just from the reminder of Otabek. “I love him, like, really love him.”

Yuuri is grinning so wide it makes Yuri blush. “As a romantic partner?” he asks.

“Yes.” The word sounds firm, but Yuri fiddles with the strings of his hoodie. Yuuri won't shut him down like Victor did, will he?

But Yuuri doesn't say anything. He walks over to sit next to Yuri on the couch.

“What are you doing?” Yuri asks, shifting uncomfortably.

Still nothing. Then Yuuri pulls him into a hug. “I'm so proud of you, Yuri. If you can say that to me, you can definitely tell your grandpa. He'll accept you. I know it.”

Yuri doesn't hug him back, but he doesn't push him away either. He hopes he's right. It would break his heart if Grandpa rejected him.

A week later, Yuri arrives in Moscow for the Rostelecom Cup. He took gold at his first Grand Prix series event, so all he needs to do is place fourth or higher. He knows he's got a good chance since he's made the podium at the last four Grand Prix Finals. But he's still worried about the conversation that needs to happen before he sees Otabek again.

Grandpa is waiting for him in the parking lot. He opens his arms wide for a hug. Yuri gives him a small half-hug, not his usual glomp attack. He's still terrified about the conversation, and can barely think about anything else.

Once they're in the car, Yuri tries to answer the questions Grandpa asks about training, but his answers come out rushed and confusing. He twirls a lock of his pale hair around his finger and turns his phone's lockscreen off and on without even paying attention to the time.

Grandpa pulls up the driveway to his house, and walks around to open the car door for Yuri. The sun is still high in the sky, casting a bright glow on the cobble-stoned street. Yuri opted for the early flight so he would have plenty of time to talk to his grandpa.

“Aren't you going to take off your coat?” Grandpa asks once they're inside.

“Oh, yeah.” Yuri fumbles with it, embarrassed, and hangs it on the hook by the door.

The living room looks the same as always. In the corner sits the green armchair, with the TV in front of it. Grandpa's favorite place to watch Yuri's skating competitions. On the opposite side sits a sofa, almost the same beige color as the wooden walls.

Yuri plops down on the couch. Normally, he would spread out his arms and sprawl across it, but he keeps his hands in his lap.

“What's wrong?” Grandpa asks. He sits down on the couch and gives Yuri his full attention.

It's time. If Yuri keeps delaying, Grandpa will only worry more. He takes a deep breath, locks eyes with his grandpa, and spills out the words. In the wrong order. “I love me, and Ota—wait, no, that's not it.”

Grandpa touches Yuri's shoulder. “It's all right. Take your time.” His voice is soothing, but the worry doesn't leave his eyes.

Yuri nods, and runs his hands through his hair. He can't calm down. Instead, his whole body shakes and he starts to cry like a child. He's nineteen, for fuck's sake!

“Yurochka, please talk to me. You can tell me anything. You know that, right?”

“Thank you,” Yuri breathes. “It's just, I'm scared. So scared. I haven't felt this way since...” He lets the words drift off. He doesn't need to explain it to Grandpa.

“Just as I said then: everything will be all right.” Grandpa smiles gently, and squeezes his shoulder. “So, tell me what's wrong.”

Now. He needs to confess now. Yuri takes a deep breath. “Grandpa, I—I've been spending a lot of time with Otabek lately. But not just doing friend stuff. I mean, it's more like kissing and romantic stuff. He makes me, uh, feel things...” Yuri studies his grandpa's face for any sign of acceptance.

“How dare he!” Grandpa yells, pounding his fist onto the coffee table. He stands and stomps towards the door, his fists clenched. “Where is that bastard? I'm going to give him a piece of my mind.”

Yuri's heart drops—no, shatters—and it feels as if the air has left the room. He runs after his grandpa and grasps his arm. “No, please, don't. If you're going to punish anyone, punish me.”

Grandpa turns to look at Yuri, his brow furrowed. “Why would I punish you?”

“For loving Otabek.”

The tension in Grandpa's shoulders releases, and he lets out a laugh. A fucking laugh.

Yuri can't breathe. Literally cannot breathe.

“Yurochka, forgive me. I'm not making fun of you. I'm laughing out of relief.”

“Relief?” Confused, Yuri stares at his grandpa.

“You were crying, so I thought you meant that he forced himself on you.”

“No, no. Nothing like that! We're in love, Grandpa.”

Grandpa smiles. It's the same proud smile Yuuri wore earlier. “You've grown to be such a fine young man, Yurochka. I'm glad you've found someone who can make you happy. You deserve all the happiness in the world.”

They hug then, as tears stream down Yuri's face. He's not scared anymore. Grandpa accepts him. It's more than he ever hoped for. “Grandpa, there's one more thing.”

Grandpa grips Yuri's shoulder and holds him at arm's length. “What is it?”

“Otabek and I...we're getting married.”

Grandpa's eyes widen. “When?”

“After the Final. We want you to come to the wedding.”

“Of course I'll come, but really, how long have you two been together?”

Yuri can't help but blush. “Three years.”

“Three years, and you didn't tell me until you got engaged?” Grandpa acts surprise, then ruffles Yuri's hair. “I really wish you'd told me sooner.”

“I'm sorry, Grandpa. I didn't want to ruin things between us. You're my only family left.”

“Not for long.” Grandpa grins, as if he holds a wonderful secret. “Soon Otabek will be your family too.”

Yuri smiles as dreams of a future with Otabek fill his mind. Yes, this is what he wants. This is right. Grandpa still loves him, and Otabek will soon be his husband...

Yuri's heart flutters. Husband. What a wonderful word.