Christmas Eve, 2006. Viktor will be eighteen tomorrow. He’s been looking forward to this day for years. Tonight, he gets to meet the most important person in his life. The entire Grand Prix season, he’s driven Yakov and his rinkmates crazy by being distracted, rambling on about who his soulmate might be. If it had just been that, Yakov would have been mad but his rinkmates would’ve just rolled their eyes and let the dreamer kid dream. The problem is that Viktor had made the Grand Prix Finals, and finished with bronze. The problem is that he held a commanding lead after the short program at Nationals. Distracted as he was, he's still kicking everyone else’s ass.
Just getting to meet his soulmate didn’t guarantee anything. If his soulmate was young, they might not be able to tell him much. His father had been sixteen years older than his mother. Meeting a two-year-old was not very helpful.
Yakov came to check on Viktor after dinner, concerned for his most promising skater. “Vitya, calm down. You still have to skate tomorrow, no matter what happens.”
Viktor gave him a genuine smile. “I know, Coach. Tomorrow, I will have my head on the ice. No promises about after that.”
Yakov nodded and put his hand on Viktor’s shoulder. “When you wake up tomorrow, come find me. Tell me what’s going on. The way you’ve been skating, you can probably take some time off to go looking if you get enough to go on. I hope things work out for you.”
“Thanks, Coach.” Yakov’s own soulmate hadn’t been what it was cracked up to be. Realistically, Viktor knew that soulmates didn’t work out sometimes, for reasons no one understood. He might be one of those. Being famous tended to make it harder to maintain a soul connection. Viktor was already well-known and, barring injury, had every reason to expect to just get even more famous over the next few years.
The romantic part of him, the side of him that he kept very carefully hidden behind a carefree playboy public face, told him that he’d give up everything if that’s what it took to make things work. He didn’t share that part of himself with very many people. Even his younger sister, a gymnast training in Moscow, had rarely seen it. Yakov and Lilia were the only ones left alive after his mother’s cancer and father’s heart attack.
Viktor got into bed early, causing his roommate Misha to laugh at him. “As wound up as you are, there’s no way you’ll get to sleep this early.”
“I’ll sleep. Don’t worry.” Yakov would be furious if he knew Viktor was drugging himself the night before a competition, but he had sleep pills to help deal with jet lag. His doctor, who either didn’t know or didn’t care about his competition dates, had recommended taking the maximum dose to give him as much time with his soulmate as he could get.
It worked. Viktor was asleep within minutes.