Victor is 10 when he decides that this birthday of his is the worst day ever.
Intellectually, Victor gets the explanation given to him. They tell him something about giving a taste of what it’s like to be free of your bond-mate’s influence.
A soul bond is created at the moment of the younger one’s birth. You’re soul bonded to someone with highly compatible nature with you. But there have been cases where a soul bond becomes toxic, which is why at the age of 10, children are required to use a bond blocking bracelet for a day and have an appointment with a psychologist the next to determine whether they are suitable to continue developing their bond, or if they should keep wearing the bracelet.
Victor buries himself into the pillow—he can’t wait for tomorrow to come. He had an inkling of an idea that this day would be bad. Victor doesn’t think that hell expresses his misery clearly enough, he thought that this must be what living without being alive felt like…
He is so used to his bond mate’s gentle waves of emotion as a part of the background in his life, that when he lost it, the effect is jarring. The colour bleeds out from his world; his room feels colder, his food tastes blander, and he is accosted with loneliness so bad that he doesn’t know if he can continue with his day.
He calls clears the day’s schedule, and just lies on his bed, hoping, begging for sleep to take him so that when he opens his eyes again, tomorrow has come.
When his assigned psychologist gives a clear, his heart jumps and the bracelet removal process feels like it takes too long.
It comes off, and he is accosted with a burst of worry, sadness, and relief.
He gasps and sends back his own guilt, assurance and joy.
He takes another day off just to bask in the feeling of having his soulmate back again.
Victor is 11 when he finally able to send his first word echoes to his soulmate, a cheery “morning”.
His soul bond feels startled and a bewildered “dream?” gets echoed back to Victor.
Victor lets out a small laugh and sends a “no”, followed by “thank you” then “precious”.
Word echoes are just that, echoes. He doesn’t know what language his soul bond use, or how their voice sounds like, but this is enough for now. He spent another hour sending and receiving echoes, before he ends it with another “precious” followed by “goodnight” as he falls asleep. His soulmate is only really active at nighttime, but it’s worth it to stay up late if he can be there for his soulbond when he’s needed.
Victor is 12 when he enters his first junior national competition.
“Are you okay?” his bondmate asks.
Victor hadn’t noticed that his nervousness had bled into his soul bond when his bond mate’s concerned question reaches him.
“I’m okay, I’m going to…”
He wants to continue with ‘enter my first competition’, but he can’t. At this stage, they can’t share any information that can clue their bondmate in on their identity. They aren’t ready, so the bond doesn’t permit it.
He finally settles on “It’s a big day.” His soulmate sends back waves of encouragement, and Victor positively thrives on it.
He wins silver.
“You can do better,” Yakov says gruffly, but his tone is tainted with pride.
He supposes it may be good enough for other people to win silver on their first national, but not for him. Victor’s entire life consists of skating and his soul bond. Silver is not good enough; he can do better than silver.
He silently vows reach the gold next time.
Victor is 13 when Yakov offers him the choice of using a long-term bond-blocking bracelet, because the Russian Skating Federation is worried that it would affect his ability to skate.
Some athletes choose to use the bracelet since having middle or higher level soul bond is like having a constant presence influencing you and it can disturb your concentration.
Victor coldly rebuffs the mere idea of blocking him bond, and tells Yakov so.
He wins silver at junior nationals again, proving to the Russian Skating Federation that he is capable enough to keep his bond.
He is sorry that some people are unable to keep their soulbonds, but the only way a bond-blocking bracelet would ever be put on his body again would be because he’s dead.
Victor is 14 when he requests 2 days off a week before junior GPF starts.
“What are you talking about?!” Yakov growls through the tiny speakers of his phone, sounding pissed off.
Victor shifts his mobile in his grasp and tells Yakov that it’s going to be his bondmate’s 10th birthday.
“Victor you can-”
“See you in 2 days Yakov!” Victor cheerfully interjects, cutting off the connection before turning off his phone, setting it beside the sleeping medication he had convinced his doctor to prescribe for him.
“Is it really alright?” his bondmate asks in his head.
“It’s fine, it’s fine—I can still practice inside my dorm. Besides, from previous experience, I don’t think I can do anything for the day you’re blocked~” He replies.
“Sorry…” his bondmate projects, sending waves of guilt alongside it.
“Don’t be! You warned me and that is a whole lot better than what I did,” Victor cheerfully sends back, trying to cheer his bondmate up.
“We couldn’t talk, back then.”
“Still, that doesn’t make it right...”
“Is it really alright, you have this big competition coming up right?” his bondmate asks, changing the subject.
“I told you, it’s fine, really. Now, how about putting that aside and continuing to tell me about that snowman you made.” Victor responds, soothing his bondmate’s worries.
He stays up until morning to share as much as he can with his bond mates before they put on their bracelet.
“See you!” Victor sends through his bond.
“Um… See you tomorrow…”
And once again, after 4 years, Victor feels the emptiness. This is worse than before since their bond is higher now, and its absence is more jarring than anything he ever feels.
He downs his sleeping pill.
Victor is 16 when he wins his first gold in junior World.
“Oooo you win?! Congratulations!” his bondmate cheers through his head, pushing joy and excitement through their bond.
“Yes! Thank you, it is my first…” he still can’t say ‘gold’, “time at first place!”
Victor has so much to say that he can’t get across.
Any higher level bond requires them to know each other’s identity. It’s a cruel system since bond mates can be placed anywhere on Earth, and they can’t even give hints on who they are. Their current bond level is where most people stay at, but Victor wants more.
He smiles brightly at the camera and waves. Figure skating is not on the list of very popular sport, moreover, this is just junior category, but still, his face and his name will be spread and available to whoever interested worldwide. And he dearly hopes his soul bond would be one of the interested parties.
A few days later, Victor wakes up to his bond mate’s excitement.
“Good morning! Did something good happen?” Viktor asks.
“Ah, good morning! Yes! My friend shows me a recording of Victor Nikiforov, this year’s junior World winner, he is so good!” his bondmate replies, clearly excited.
Victor freezes. ‘It’s me!’ he desperately wants to say, ‘it’s me, it’s me, you noticed me!’
His bondmate stops his chatter, as their excitement changes to worry at Victor’s non-response.
“Are you okay?” his bondmate asks.
“Hello?” they project, sounding a bit panicked.
Victor tries a bunch of different wordings and sharp emotions to try tell his bondmate that it was him that they were admiring, but none of it went through.
“Did I say something wrong?”
In the end, Victor grit his teeth and grudgingly settles for, “Sorry, I'm just surprised. Yes, he is good, isn’t he?”
“Oh, you know him too?” his bondmate replies, relief palpable through the bond.
Yes! Of course he knows himself, but his bondmate doesn’t know that.
“Have you looked at any of his other performances? I recommend his last year’s skate at Russian National!” Victor sends through the bond. He can’t say it’s him, but he can encourage his bond mate to know about him, and prays to whomever it is above that it all works out.
Victor is 17 when he lets out a wail in the middle of a practice session.
“Vitya! Concentrate!” Yakov yells, but Victor is too happy to listen. He skates to where Yakov is and hugs him tightly while exclaiming, “Yakov! I’m so happy! Thank you!”
Yakov looks shocked, and understandably confused.
Victor releases him and does happy spins and jumps while chattering back to his bond mate. His strategy to convert his bond mate to become his fan had worked! Now, as the result of his bond mate knowing a variety of things about him, their bond level is high enough for him to know a few details about his bondmate as a person.
Apparently his bond mate had liked skating since they were a child, but chose to pursue ballet instead. Eventually, their ballet teacher noticed that they liked and admired Victor, so they pushed his bondmate down the figure skating path. They even have a toy poodle, brown just like his dear Makkachin, and had named it Victor.
It’s so cute Victor feels like bursting.
“That’s great! I like figure skating too, and I’m pretty advanced at it—let me teaches you a thing or two!” Victor excited tells his bondmate.
Victor is 20 when Yakov complains about his tendency to over-share on interviews.
Yakov doesn’t get it, when he of all people should.
He and Lilia are one of those people who gave up finding their bond mate. While it works for some, it did them no good. Both of them are busy people with too much stubbornness and pride. Without the bond’s ability to communicate, their relationship fell apart.
Victor doesn’t want that, so he utilizes every channel of communication he can.
He still doesn’t know if his bondmate has an interest in dating, which is, ironically, partially caused by their focus with figure skating. However, Victor still likes to dream that the double bed he bought for his new apartment would have the two of them lying there one day.
He hangs his first gold medal from the Worlds proudly on his wall and sends waves of encouragement to his nervous bondmate, who is participating in their first national competition today.
Later, he spends a few days to searching up and cross-checking what he knows about his bond mate and the result of Japanese national.
Is that you? Victor stares at the image of a black haired teen with brown eyes.
Victor places his index finger on his lip and smiles.
“Hey, I just found this really beautiful skater named Katsuki Yuuri!”
When the response from his bond mate stops, he knows he gets the right person.
“I’m a fan of him now~” he continues.
5 minutes later, he finally receives a response: a carefully worded, “why do you like him?”
Victor waste no time to unleash his praises. His bond mate, Yuuri, is prone to self-deprecation and anxiety. Victor is more than happy to encourage him.
Victor is 21, and an avid fanboy when he Yuuri’s word echoes changes into a distinct male voice.
“Oh!” Victor exclaims.
Yuuri stops and surprise flows through the bond, “Is that…” he trailed off.
“Yes! Finally!” Victor sends back, excitement colouring his tone.
A myriad of emotions goes back and forth from both ends of the bond; Victor is overjoyed and Yuuri can’t believe it is happening.
“Guess who?” Victor playfully says, then drops the bomb as he starts singing Russian National anthem.
“No way… No no no no no I can’t believe this!” Yuuri squeaks.
Victor laughs as Yuuri panics.
“Come on, Yuuri, guess who?” Victor goads.
Victor pours fuel onto the fire that is Yuuri’s panic by saying his name. Victor has been waiting for this moment for 5 years. He won’t let Yuuri get away so easily.
“Oh my god, I can’t believe this… Victor…???”
“Yes! It’s a pleasure to know you, I’m Victor Nikiforov!”
A wave of bewildered elation flows through their bond as Yuuri replies: “I still can’t believe this but… it is a pleasure to know you too, I’m Katsuki Yuuri.”
After Yuuri is done with his meltdown, he’s sent into another one after he realizes that he has been fanboying, complimenting and confessing his obsessive poster collection to the object of his affections himself.
Victor smiles and simply sends Yuuri the feelings that he never could send before, whenever Yuuri does that. He feel happy, flattered and inspired to do better for Yuuri, because Yuuri deserves so much more.
Victor is 22 when Yuuri moves from his cozy hometown Hasetsu to Detroit.
It feels a bit weird that after years of saying good morning followed by good night, now he is the one that receives a good morning followed by good night. Time zones.
The more jarring thing is the absence of Yuuri’s family and his dog. Yuuri spends a lot of time taking comfort in Victor while Victor echoes back his own absence of precious people and his thankfulness for Yuuri to always be there for him.
A few months later, Victor holds his phone as he livestreamed Junior GPF SP.
“Vitya! Get back to practice!”, Yakov yells out.
“5 minutes Yakov!”, he yells back as the next skater takes the ice.
“Are you watching?” Yuuri asks.
“This is for you,” replies Yuuri, before the person on the screen takes a deep breath and settles into his starting position.
Victor smiles and sends a bunch of warm, fuzzy feelings.
A day after that, Yuuri stands on the podium and says, “Wait for me?”
Of course Yuuri, for you I’ll wait forever and a day Victor thinks.
Victor is 24 when he asks for Yuuri’s position in the spectator’s seating area.
This year’s Junior and Senior GPF are just 3 days apart. Usually, they just watch each other’s competition from the screen, but Victor had asked Yuuri to watch him live during this performance. Of course, Yuuri agreed.
So here they are, Victor scanning the crowd as Yuuri directs him through the bond.
“A little bit to the left… a biiit more… ok stop and look upward for 5 seats or so.” instructs Yuuri.
Victor does as he is told, and is greeted with a young man with the most handsome smile.
“Why hello!” Victor exclaims with a smile.
“Hello to you too” says Yuuri.
“Watch me okay!”
“Of course, I won’t be here otherwise.”
“Watch me really closely, I have something for you~”
“Oh, is this what you’ve been hiding from me?”
“Yep, that one! Enjoy!” Victor exclaims as he takes the ice.
Through his program, he can feel quiet encouragement and adoration from Yuuri. When he gets to the second half, he aligns his position just so, so that his routine would allow him to look at Yuuri in the eyes.
“Yuuri, watch!” he repeats, as he resumes his movement, picks up the momentum, and jumps.
“Oh my God is that?!” Yuuri blurts out then catches himself, and settles for a wave of amazement and pride.
“For you,” Victor sends back, along waves of joy as the announcer shouts out:
“Qu- Quadruple flip!!! The judges recognize it as valid clean quadruple flip!!! The first ever clean quadruple flip in all ISU Championship is executed by Victor Nikiforov tonight!!! What an amazing occurrence!!!”
Victor is 25 and leading at a Grand Prix when a thick white paper and a permanent black marker is given to him.
“Sign please,” the person says innocently, but Victor is struggling hard to not ruin the game.
“Of course,” Victor replies pleasantly as he signs and adds a [勇利に] at the bottom right corner, for Yuuri.
“Do you want a selfie too?” Victor offers as he hands back the paper, trying his hardest not to sound too eager.
Yuuri looks like he is hesitating, but the sheer amusement flowing through the bond paints a whole different story.
Victor’s patience runs out as he reaches out and hugs him, “Yuuri you’re so cruel!” he sends, before he releasing him. He tucks Yuuri into his side, before and taking out his phone and turning the camera on.
“Okay, smile!” he exclaims, before pressing the button.
“Sorry not sorry,” Yuuri projects as he smiles at the camera.
Victor takes a few seconds longer than necessary to let go of Yuuri.
“Thank you for your time,” Yuuri says with a smile.
“Anytime~” Victor waves as he watches Yuuri leaves.
He turns to find Yakov sending his disbelieving stare at him, “Vitya, what are you doing.”
Victor gives no verbal response as he waves Yakov off to send the pictures to Yuuri, while trying his damndest hard to resist the temptation of posting it online.
As much as he wants to brag to the world that this amazing person is his bond mate, he respects Yuuri’s need to prove himself worthy…which is silly because Yuuri is already more than just worthy for him. But Yuuri needs that validation, so Victor can’t do anything but go along with it.
That doesn’t mean he can’t knock on Yuuri’s hotel door in the morning after the leading GP is over.
“… Is that you…?” Yuuri asks hesitantly.
“The one and only,” Victor singsongs back.
The door opens and Victor takes the liberty to come in uninvited.
“What are you doing here?”
“I saw a skater skates so beautifully that I can’t get him out of my mind. What else should I do but to ask him for a date?”
Yuuri gives a weak sad smile.
“I didn’t even get the podium,” he says despondently.
“If you ask me, this entire jump revolution thing is ridiculous,” Victor waves his worries away, and sends his true feeling when he watches Yuuri skate: astonishment, and longing. “In my eyes, you’re the most captivating skater. So, may I please have this date?” he asks hopefully.
Yuuri’s eyes soften as he accepts the feelings and replies, “People will talk.’
“What is wrong with fellow Grand Prix competitors spending time with each other?”
“Fellow Grand Prix competitor?”
“Yep, fellow Grand Prix competitor,” Victor vocalizes.
Yuuri bits his lip and finally agrees, “Alright then.”
Victor is 26 when his heart breaks into pieces.
He can feel fake annoyance with underlining amusement runs through the bond.
“You’re being dramatic.”
“How can I not be dramatic?! I was really looking forward to telling the world about us!”
“Well sorry,” Yuuri says dryly but there is a real tinge of shame there.
”No! No Yuuri!” Victor sent a wave of guilt, “I just don’t understand why bronze at World is not good enough for you!”
”Says the 4 times straight gold medalist”
Yuuri huffs but his feelings turns a bit more serious as he says, “The points difference between you and I is 40 Victor…40.”
Victor whines harder and sends his regret, “You do know that half of the things I do, I do it to surprise you right? The other half is to impress you.”
“I know… Just… One more year Victor, please?” pleads Yuuri.
Victor sniff haughtily, but both of them know it is empty. “I demand a day-long date as compensation.”
Yuuri’s “thank you” is accompanied with warm feelings. Victor feels so helpless right now… but he can’t help but to send back his own warm feelings.
Victor is almost 27 when Yuuri sent badly distressed feelings.
“Yuuri? Are you alright? What happened?”
“Victor, what should I do…?”
Victor tries his best to send a wave of calm to Yuuri, which isn’t going too well since he has nearly worked himself into a panic too. He gives it up and sends reassurance instead, “I’m here for you.”
It seems to work since Yuuri pull himself together just enough to tell his story: “I got a call from Mari-nee saying that Vicchan fell ill. They’ve taken him to the doctor but they aren’t sure about his chances… I really want to go back but if I go back now…”
“You probably can’t make it back in time for Final…” Victor finished.
Both of them stay silent for a few minutes.
If it is his darling Makkachin, would he go…?
He doesn’t truly know… but the answer probably would be no.
Being the sole representative of your country is a very heavy responsibility. While some would understand, hundreds other would call you a fool, even traitor for sacrificing your country’s glory for a dog.
But it’s Yuuri. Yuuri is not him. Yuuri who has a bad tendency to over-think; Yuuri who flubs his jump when he over-thinks. If something really did happen to his dog, Yuuri is as good as gone… In that case, then…
“Does Japan have a backup skater ready? There is still time to submit the Athlete Replacement Form.”
“Ah… Yes? Yes maybe? They should, I mean, they placed my name as backup skater 2 years ago… I’ll go call them, thank you, Victor!”
Yuuri shifts his focus, and his feelings that flows through the bond is now a muted panic.
Victor let go of his own anxiousness but his mood still drops.
It doesn’t improve even when Yakov gives his rare backhanded compliment during practice time when he said that his free skate (Stammi Vicino) interpretation showed a marked improvement.
It drops lower when, the night before his FS, something did happen, so he grieves alongside Yuuri.
Breaking his old Free world record and the media’s exclamation that it is the best rendition of Stammi Vicino he gives also fails to improve his mood.
It hits rock bottom when Yuuri’s Japanese representative replacement fails to live up to the hype, and the third place, Yuuri’s place last year, goes to a loud obnoxious Canadian who won’t stop yelling and offending people.
Excuse him,—not that he needs an excuse—but when that pesky reporter asked about his non-existent retirement plan, he gives the guy a sharp stare and a mocking, yet challenging smile accompanied by a heavy, “No.”
He had promised Yuuri that he’d wait for him, and Yuuri had promised to pick himself back up for the Worlds. Retirement can go over his cold dead body.
Victor is 27 when he dearly wishes he can show Yuuri how beautiful he is in his eyes.
Victor might still be the last skater to perform his Free, but the whole world must be blind and stupid to not know who the real winner is…
Yuuri bends down to pick up one of the sushi plushies and Victor thinks that well… it seems like the real winner in life is him.
Suddenly shock then exasperated amusement runs through their bond as Yuuri comments, “Of course, the first image I receive is focused on my butt.”
Victor gasps as Yuuri straightened his posture and look at him, and then Victor can see himself gasping.
“Yuuri, that is…”
“Vision projection yes? Wait, Victor, don’t start crying now!”
“It’s just… it has been years since the last time our soul bond level had risen...Yuuuriiii, how can I not cry?!”
“You’re up next, Victor!”
Victor huffs and composes himself.
His Free went barely ok in Victor Nikiforov’s standard, but he is just too happy to properly channel Stammi Vicino’s sad longing.
He wins gold while Yuuri wins silver, but Yuuri begs for another year since “this one doesn’t count because you’re heavily distracted.”
Which Victor easily agrees since he is still distracted with trying out their bond’s newest ability.
Surprisingly, it feels natural.
It is almost like a TV. You can let it run largely unnoticed in the background until something interesting catches your attention, but then, you still instinctively know which is your vision and which one is your partner’s vision.
It really helps him understand the world from Yuuri’s point of view. Especially when Yuuri projects his own reflection, which quickly zooms into the part layered with frustration or insecurities.
Victor sighs and projects his own vision of Yuuri, full of adornment and worship.
“What filter are you using, I actually look… beautiful…”
“None, no filter at all, you always look beautiful Yuuri, you just couldn’t see it before.”
Victor spends a day of his off-season vacation touring St. Petersburg. The familiar streets and places suddenly feel charming as he adds commentaries and explanations for Yuuri.
He stops in front of a certain building. The soul bond associations branch office.
“I never did actually ask you did I?”
When soul bond reaches a certain level, both ends of the bond can file to be legalized as soulmates. It is a very high-level permission, even higher than marriage. If it goes through, then both of them will essentially count as a single person.
They’ll be granted citizenship and full treatment as if they’re a legal citizen from the start. Anything and everything Victor have will be Yuuri’s possession and any decision Yuuri made will be accepted as Victor’s decision, vice versa.
“Do you think we qualify…?” Yuuri asks
“I believe so…” Victor reassures him.
“Oh… Do you want to?”
“I think I’ve been way too obvious already…”
“Yes… yes you’re. I’m just asking for… well just because...”
Victor basks in the warm feelings as he sits in a nearby café and waits for Yuuri. Half an hour later, he enters the office. At the other side of the world, Yuuri enters Detroit office.
For a decision that carries drastic consequences, the procedure itself is quick and done in only a few hours.
There is paperwork and tests to prove their consent and that their bond is real, but they are easy tests such as Yuuri saying out loud the reading material given to Victor. Easy if not for the years spent to reach their level of bond.
In the end, they get their approval and go home while the branch staffs are busy informing the government and other interested parties.
“That is rather anticlimactic.” Victor observes.
“Hmmm... Well, you’ve been really obvious about it and I’ve been anticipating it for years…”
Victor pouts and says, “I’ll make sure our wedding is grand enough to make up for this event’s un-grand-ness too.”
Yuuri sent amused feelings.
“Let’s live together?”
He can feel Yuuri battling with himself.
“… After Worlds…” Yuuri says after he comes to a decision.
Victor stops in his tracks, “Really…?”
“Yes, really. No matter what happen. I’ve make you wait for too long already…”
“I’ve told you it’s alright, I’d wait for forever and a day for you Yuuri.”
“You know, I can feel your impatience sometimes… Sorry…”
“No, please don’t be sorry.”
“Hmmm… Then I’ll make it up to you.”
Victor sends a wave of curiosity.
“No telling.” Yuuri says playfully.
“Awww, Yuuri, please?”
“No~” Yuuri singsongs.
Victor is 28 when he sits in the middle of the World Championship medalist interview table for the 6th year in a row.
On his right is Yuuri with a polite smile on his face, though Victor can tell that Yuuri’s mind is working overtime right now.
Then comes the all too often and all too annoying question about his retirement.
Unlike last year, this time Victor hesitates as he waits for Yuuri’s decision. Yuuri score is 10 points below him, and that is the nearest score anyone has ever got since 4 years ago. That should be enough validation for Yuuri right?
Finally, Yuuri lets out a particularly nasty string of Japanese curses, something which Victor very rarely hears, and with muddled feelings which he can’t identify, Yuuri asks, “Victor, look at me.”
So he did.
And gets utterly blindsided when Yuuri pulls him into a kiss. A slow and heated one that lasts for seconds, which he returns once he gets out of his shock-induced stupor.
Then Yuuri let go and goes back to his previous position like nothing happen.
Victor would believe that what just happen is just a dream if not for the wave of embarrassment and disbeliefs that rampaging on Yuuri’s side of the bond.
“There, my ‘payment’ for holding you up for so long.” Yuuri says.
Victor processes those words and laughs as he reaches out and pulls Yuuri into another kiss. This time Yuuri’s façade broke as a brilliant shade of red color Yuuri’s cheek.
“The reporters are still waiting for your answer,” Yuuri bashfully reprimands.
“They’re too busy snapping pictures and asking tons of question right now, but you’re right. I can’t let your ‘payment’ go to waste, can I?”
Victor’s right arm circles Yuuri’s waist while his left hand grab his mike and says, “Yes I’m retiring to coach my soul mate.”
All hell breaks loose.
Victor tackles Yuuri to the bed once they’re safely inside Victor’s hotel room.
“I still can’t believe you did that Yuuri!, he pours his amazement for this whole thing as he snuggles and tightly hugs Yuuri.
Yuuri hugs back more gently as he pats Victor’s back, “I owe you that much and some more.”
“Thank you Yuuri, thank you thank you thank you.”
“Mmm, you’re welcome and thank you too…”
Both of them notice that Victor lost the lustre of winning several years ago. It is like how someone can continue to play a game just to accompany their important person, Victor skates at competitions just to accompany Yuuri.
Victor is looking for something new, something more interesting than adding another gold to the already too high pile of it. But Victor thrives on surprising people, even if he can’t do that as much as he could before, and normal formal way of announcing retirement is… unacceptable and will leave a bitter taste for him.
Yuuri and his jaw dropping, heart stopping, worldwide screaming and internet breaking method of ‘payback’ is the best surprise and the perfect way of retiring.
“What do I do to deserve you?” Victor asks, wonder clear in his tone.
“Mmm… 27 years of soul bond and 1 year and ongoing of soul mate… Thank you for being here.”
“Thank you for being here.”
The next month pass as a blur as both Victor and Yuuri proceeds to rent out a penthouse at one of Hasetsu’s finer apartment complexes and make it their home.
Actually, the moving part isn’t so hard since the apartment is fully furnished and them being soul mate, means that Japan has no resistance in letting Victor in and stay.
The harder part, well maybe not hard, more like tedious, part is dissolving and drawing up new sponsorship contracts. Which goes smoothly but feels too slow and formal for Victor’s taste.
That and breaking his years of contract with Yakov… Actually, Victor doesn’t really care about that one but Yuuri insists on being polite… Which rewards him with Yakov staring at him like he grows a second head.
Yuuri doesn’t accept Victor’s, “Told you I should’ve ditched Yakov and gone directly to the airport instead.”
So here they are, longing at their living room while browsing for male haircuts. Or more precisely, Victor is browsing while Yuuri is busy hyperventilating while hugging Makkachin like a lifeline.
“What do you think about this one?” Victor points out.
Yuuri unhelpfully lets out a string of incoherent noises.
Victor frowns, “Are you really that against it?”
“No I…” Yuuri takes a deep breath and sorted out his emotions, he left behind a sense of bewilderment and wistfulness, “It’s just… You’ve long hair ever since I first saw you, so it would feel… weird.”
“My hair is thinning Yuuri, they say a short hairstyle can help,” Victor pouts.
“No, it’s not thinning Vitya, you look stunning,” Yuuri pushes his current vision to Victor. Victor lying on the fluffy carpeted floor with his long silver hair prettily spreads out and nicely glitters underneath the sunlight.
Victor considers it. He does look good… wait… “What did you just call me Yuuri?”
“Vitya”, Yuuri rolls his name verbally.
Victor marvels on the nickname, if this is Yuuri’s way of distracting him, it is very effective.
In the end, the topic of haircut is forgotten as Victor makes Yuuri say his diminutive in various tones.
Just because Victor retires from official competition, doesn’t mean he retires as a skater.
He still receives various invitations and offers, which he all rejects except for one. The exception came from a soul bond partner searching company that asked both him and Yuuri to perform a pair skate as promotion material.
In the end, they choose Victor’s Stammi Vicino. It was highly memorable and fun time. They received a copy of it, which they printed and stuck to their bedroom wall. Victor thinks that it’s truly a shame ISU doesn’t have a category for same gender pair skate, Victor would love to do it with Yuuri. Not that he regret choosing to be Yuuri’s coach.
Actually, coaching Yuuri is on his list of best decision in life, with pursuing Yuuri at the top of the list.
He had already helped Yuuri here and there before, but there wass a limited amount of things he could do without being onsite, and most of the time he was left dissatisfied with Yuuri’s routine. Celestino can’t see and can’t feel what Yuuri can truly do.
Yuuri is a masterpiece, he just lacks people who understand him. And nobody could say they know Yuuri better than Victor. Victor can do it, no, he is doing it. Creating a technically advanced choreography that challenges everything Yuuri thinks he can do and push him to do more, show the world what he could truly do gives victor satisfaction that is leaps and bounds above him winning gold.
“Alright! That was perfect Yuuri!” Victor gleefully cheers as Yuuri finish his short routine. Something spicy and different from Yuuri’s usual routine.
Both Celestino and Yuuri prefer mild/easy themes which Yuuri would be comfortable with. That is enough to win gold now that Victor is out of the competition, but just winning is no-good and no-go. Victor knows that more than anyone else.
Overall, life is being excellent to him. Now if Russia and Japan would stop their fight on which nation should Yuuri represents, it would be perfect.
Victor is 32 when he watches Yuuri sit in the middle of the World Championship winner interview table for the 4th time in a row.
“Are you going to retire?”
“Yes”, Yuuri says as he genially smiles.
There is a low buzzing among the reporters but most of them had anticipated it, “What is your plan after this?”
“Well for now…”, Yuuri trails then he sternly says, “I should stop my soulmate from hitting enter on that cruise ship reservation form.”
“Victor, you do that and JJ will be on the top of RSVP mailing lists.” Yuuri warns him.
“I’m just joking! I’m just joking!” Victor placates.
Yuuri’s smile is back to his face as he continues, “Since that is done, I would like to take this opportunity to inform everyone that our wedding reception will be public and anyone who is interested is welcomed to come. Next question, please.”
People gasps and they begin to hound Yuuri for details, which he refuses to give.
“It doesn’t beat announcing to coach your soul mate, but this is shocking enough yes?”
Victor laughs, “It’s perfect Yuuri!”
Surges of warmth echoes back and forth between the two of them, and Victor can’t help but to marvel at everything.
Both of them may be retired now, but they have the rest of their life waiting for them.