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Solemnly Intoned

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“What do you mean you’re retiring?” Yuri shouted, and it had impact because he didn't shout often nowadays. He used to shout everything, but age and that one time he’d blown out his vocal cords and burst a blood vessel in his eye had kind of toned that down. Not much, though. Victor once told him that if he kept it up, he’d look like Yakov when he got old, but Victor was a moron.

“It is time,” Otabek said solemnly. He didn’t even say it, he intoned it, the idiot. Otabek fucking solemnly intoned that it was time he went to the great big skater graveyard in the sky, like they were all forced into it the moment their thirties were on the horizon. And if Yuri complained about how stupid that was, they all looked at him with soft eyes and told him that he’d understand it when he got older.

Well, joke was on them because Yuri was twenty-six now and there was a whole generation of senior brats that grew up with his posters on their walls. He’d gotten older and everyone was leaving him and it sucked.

Otabek put his arm around Yuri’s shoulder and pulled him close. He was only able to do that because they were both sitting down, a fact that Yuri would never tire of pointing out even though Yuri had been taller than Otabek for nearly a decade now. “You know this doesn’t mean I’m leaving you, right?” Otabek said. “I’ll have even more time to see you skate! But I fractured my ankle last year, my knees are giving out, and every time I attempt a quad now I feel like I’m shaving a day off the end of my life.”

“I know.” Yuri sighed and blew his bangs out of his eyes. Sometimes he wished he’d never cut his hair. Maybe he’d grow it out again and skate with it down all season, then shave it all off before he followed Otabek off the ice for good. He kissed Otabek’s cheek. “I’ll just miss competing with you. But I’ll get over it.”

“Good.” Then Otabek smiled the one smile of his that meant Yuri wasn’t going to like whatever he said next. “But the best part is now I’ll have more time to deejay.” He put one hand up to his ear and mimed spinning records.

“Oh god,” Yuri said, and buried his face in his hands.