EXT. BEACH - DAY
It's a sunny day as a young man in his late twenties, VICTOR, takes a stroll along the beach. The sun has barely risen and he lets the sound of seagulls and waves crashing against the shore wash over him with the morning breeze.
He leans back against a railing and lets out a sigh, a wistful expression playing on his face until his phone goes off. He rolls his eyes at the sudden distraction before answering it.
“Hey, Chris.” Victor sighs, leaning back against the railing.
“How's it going you bum?” Chris’s voice rings out from the other end. “Just thought I should call you to make sure you haven't been kidnapped or died yet.”
“You're so dramatic it's just one year off.” Victor smiles.
“A year away from filmmaking for the amazing Victor Nikiforov?!” Chris gasps. “Why that's positively absurd! What would the academy say!”
“Not much I’d imagine.” Victor muses. “They've been snubbing me for the past two years, why would they care about what I’m doing now?”
“Two Oscar nominations not enough for you?”
“Not when they make a point to give the award to someone else.”
“Whatever.” Chris says. “I still can't believe you're traveling to somewhere like Japan and you won't even entertain the idea of going to the big cities. Why is it so important you go to places like Hasetsu and not Tokyo?”
Victor smiles and gives a small shrug. Truth be told he's not too fond of widely populated areas, the streets are often too crowded and he can't even go shopping without someone recognizing his face, but nice quiet towns like Hasetsu allow him room to breathe and enjoy his time away from work. Sure, there are still people that recognize him and ask for the general selfie and autograph, but for the most part the people here seem to keep to themselves and give him space to do the same. The atmosphere and general feel of the area let him take in his surroundings and focus on new stories and ideas, which is very convenient since he's been dealing with writer's block since his last snub from the academy.
Right now, Hasetsu is exactly where he needs to be
“You know not all of us have a taste for big cities.” Victor smiles.
“Coming from someone who lives in Los Angeles?” Chris scoffs. “I honestly doubt that. Besides, what’s the point of a vacation in Japan if you can’t see all the sights and shop around?"
“There are sights here.” Victor tells him. “They have shops here.”
“Not what I meant.”
“Pray tell, what did you mean then?”
“Would it kill you to act like a tourist at least once in your life?” Chris asks him. “You never actually take a vacation, you just find different places to seclude yourself and work to death.”
“Maybe you'd gain more perspective as an actor if you went to places that weren't all tourist traps.” Victor shrugs.
“Don't give me that crap!” Chris scoffs. “I know for a fact that you're staying at the only touristy place in that small town for an entire week! If I fall into tourist traps you sleep in them!”
“You know I can't go to a place with a hot springs and not check into the hotel too.” Victor smiles. “Besides, it's my second day here I've barely even had time to try it since my jet lag last night was so bad.”
“Then why are you up so early it must be the crack of dawn down there!” Chris asks him.
The sound of playful barking pulls Victor away from the conversation for a few seconds and over to the large brown dog running around in the water without a care in the world.
“Makkachin wanted to go for a walk.” Victor tells him. “Who am I to ignore such a request?”
“You're such a dog person.”
“No shame in that.”
“Whatever.” Chris says. “I'll leave you to your dog. Don't have too much fun without me.”
“I'll make no such promises.” Victor smiles. “Bye Chris.”
“Later.” The call ends and he lowers the phone and puts it back in his pocket.
It's been five years since Victor Nikiforov quit acting to pursue a career behind the camera despite his parents better judgement.
It's been three months since he was nominated for Best Picture.
And only two months since they gave it to someone else again.
There's the phrase “It's honor to be nominated” that he hears people use all the time when they're in his situation but he can't help but feel like the words are just cold. He's been teased like this by the academy twice already for his films and it's starting to feel like he's just a name to fill a nominee box rather than someone these people actually respect.
It's something he needs to take a break from.
That's not to say though that Victor hasn't been trying to write these past few months. Sure he's been visiting different towns with the facade of needing a vacation but if he's quite honest with himself he's trying to find something to keep him writing with each place he settles into. Hasetsu is just one of the many small towns he plans on visiting on his journey for inspiration, and he really only has a little over a week here to accomplish that. But he can't really stress too much about that right now, afterall he's supposed to be relaxing on vacation.
At least until his dog runs too far into the ocean.
“Makkachin no!” Victor yells as he runs to pull his dog out of the water and back to shore.
After quite a bit of splashing and being dragged underwater and pushed into the sand Victor admits that he looks like a mess. Sticking the leash back on Makkachin’s collar he makes his way to the closest business he can find to dry off. He settles on a nearby ice rink with the words “Ice Castle” written on the building and makes his way inside.
“Hello?” He calls out.
“Oh, hello sir!” A woman greets him popping up from behind the desk. “I hope you don't mind but we’re still in the process of opening.”
“Oh don't worry about that, I was just hoping I could use your restroom real quick.” He tells her.
“No problem.” She smiles. “Down that hall to the right.”
“Thank you.” He sighs before making his way over and trying to get the dirt and sea water off his clothes.
Victor rinses himself off as best he can and is walking through the halls ready to head out when something catches his eye. He glances over at the doors leading to the rink and notices a small figure moving around on the ice. Full of curiosity he makes his way to the doors and pushes his way inside, the cold air filling his senses as the sight set in front of him stops him in his tracks.
Out on the ice, there is a man skating alone.
The only sound that seems to be echoing in the area should be the scrape of ice as the man skates but even with the lack of a score Victor swears he can hear the sound of music flow from the skaters movements. Every step and glide the man seems to make is like watching a painter create a masterpiece before his very eyes. It’s enchanting to watch, so much so that Victor becomes afraid to look away should the mysterious figure disappear before he can decipher whether or not such a sight really exists. There are no cameras, no props, and no script but Victor can feel the story of longing and fear resonate throughout the room.
‘He's an artist.’ Victor thinks to himself.
The skater prepares to make another jump, and before he can catch his bearings Victor watches him crash to the ground and roll on the ice. As if woken from his trance Victor takes a step forward to help before hearing a familiar voice call out.
“Yuuri!” Victor looks down and sees the woman from the desk rush onto the ice.
He watches as the two interact, noticing how the skater flinches away from the woman’s attempts to help him up. Victor debates on whether or not he should stay any longer until the skater glances up at him. There's a brief second where their eyes meet but before he can really say anything Victor rushes out the door and back outside, a light blush dusting his cheeks.
For just a moment, Victor could've sworn he's seen those brown eyes from somewhere before.
The sound of Makkachin barking pulls him back into reality and he realizes that it might be best to head back to the small Inn. Thoughts of the mysterious skater still dancing in his mind, Victor makes his way back to the onsen he's staying at and lies down in his room.
He's actually pretty lucky that the hosts here allowed him to bring his dog, when he asked if it would be alright they assured him they would have absolutely no problem with him bringing his beloved companion along. He watches as Makkachin makes himself at home by curling up on the bed next to Victor and scratches behind the dog's ears until she falls asleep. Despite his dog’s fatigue from the morning Victor remains awake, too focused on thoughts of the skater from earlier.
It's not like Victor is a stranger to figure skating, especially not after his best friend married a former ice dancer, but never has he seen such raw emotion poured into one performance. It was as if he was making the music flow all around him, the story and struggle of love and separation being laid out onto the ice for the world to see and feel as he moved. He's never seen anything quite like it before, nothing as powerful or passionate in his life, and then it all came crashing down in one moment.
“Who was that Makkachin?” Victor asks his sleeping dog. “Who in the world could that possibly be?”
It's a strange feeling for Victor to witness someone tell a story with no need for words or cameras considering he's spent his whole life working in front and behind them. It makes him curious to know more, to see who this mysterious skater is and what other stories he can tell the world without the tools Victor’s spent his life using.
“Yuuri.” Victor muses, remembering the name the woman from the desk used earlier. “Who are you?”
Victor had the whole day planned out, he was going to spend time at the beach and walk around town taking in the sights and maybe even visit the ninja castle that he's heard people talk about from here. His day is planned to be full of excitement and normal touristy fun so he can enjoy his vacation while he has it.
Which is why it makes no sense that he's spending hours on his laptop instead looking up ice skating videos.
Apparently typing “Yuuri ice skater” into google gives him a lot more results than he expected. He’s scrolls through a barrage of videos about a young Russian skater from this year and countless interviews about the “Russian Fairy” but is unable to find anything relating to the skater he saw earlier today. He watches a few of the routines from the young blonde boy and has to admit that he's impressed by his talent, but it just isn't the same.
He scrolls through a few other videos from this years competitions and watches all the different routines but is unable to really find anything close the skater he saw today. He almost feels like giving up when he sees a video dated to last year.
“That's him!” He exclaims, startling Makkachin from her nap.
Victor watches the video and sees the same young man from this morning glide onto the ice in a blue costume and his hair slicked back. The crowd goes silent as he takes his stance and the camera closes up on his face as he takes a deep breath, his eyes cold and focused.
The music starts and Victor instantly recognizes the song, it’s the same one they used in their film last year, but as he watches the skater glide across the ice adding jumps and twirls he feels like the song no longer belongs to his work. The skater weaves a story through his movements, not unlike today, that leaves the audience enchanted and on the edge of their seats watching. Every jump he lands is met with a roar of applause, every spin met with admiration, and by the end of the dance the crowd is in love. It feels like waking up from a dream when the skater finishes his routine and the crowd showers him with gifts and applause as Victor watches him bow towards the audience and make his way over to his coach.
Despite the applause and praise coming from the audience Victor watches as the young man sits next to his coach with a frown on his face, almost like he’s disappointed in the performance he had that day.
“Yuuri Katsuki from Japan.” He hears the announcer's voice cut through, drawing the attention of the skater and the rest of the crowd.
He sees the numbers displayed at the bottom of the screen underneath the two and while he doesn’t really know what they mean he can understand the most important piece of information it has to give.
His coach turns to congratulate him on his success and the crowd cheers and applauds for him and yet he still looks upset.
Victor looks through some of the other videos with Yuuri Katsuki in them, each routine as beautiful and heartfelt as the first, but no matter how many times Victor watched him win it never looked like it was enough.
Victor can hear the buzzing of his phone and he looks over to see his parents calling him again. Rolling his eyes Victor puts the phone on silent and continues to look through the different videos from previous years.
It’s late into the evening when he finally decides to head downstairs to the kitchen for some dinner, a little upset at himself for wasting the day away when he swore he was going to try and enjoy his vacation. He orders the first thing on the menu and watches as one of the women there wrestles the remote away from everyone and switches the channel over.
“Up next, from Thailand, Phichit Chulanont.” The announcer says, and Victor can see a young man glide onto the ice with dark brown skin and eyes.
“It's been interesting to see Chulanont out there this season without Katsuki by his side.” One of the commentators says.
“We were worried that he wouldn't have the same competitive spirit since his longtime rival and best friend decided to take a break this season.” Another one says. “But it seems like he's got the same spirit and passion as any other year.”
“But he's got to look out if he wants to keep Plisetsky off his trail.” One of them laughs.
“Well that's true for all of them.” They say before going silent and letting the music play.
Victor watches the skater go through the routine with grace and poise, adding emotion and depth to every turn and jump. While he's impressed he can't help but wonder what happened to the skater from this morning, who they are and why they would be missing from the season.
“Alright Minako, you've had too much to drink for one night.” He can hear the owners tell the woman by the tv.
“It's just not fair!” She slurs out. “You know if Yuuri was there right now he’d be sweeping the podium like it was nothing.”
“We know, we know.” The older woman nods her head. “Now come on, we should get you to bed before you do anything irrational.”
Victor watches her drag herself up and heave herself down the hall with the help of the elderly couple keeping her up. He finishes his meal and leaves a generous tip before heading back to his room and grabbing a towel.
“I think the hot springs are still open.” He tells Makkachin. “I'm gonna try and soak in the water while I can.”
Giving his dog a quick pat on the head he makes his way to the baths. There's not as many people there since it looks pretty late but he makes his way to the back and lets himself slip into the outside spring. The water is very hot, but he's able to adjust and let himself relax into it.
As he sits he ponders through the past few months and let's out a sigh. His parents have been calling him nonstop since the Oscars fiasco, not to mention how many times he's been asked to give an interview about whether or not he would take up acting again.
Victor never cared too much about being a career actor, his parents were the ones that threw him into that as a child. Sure, he was good at it, but it also meant that very few people would take him seriously when he tried to branch off into writing and directing.
He hasn't really allowed himself the time to relax since he started writing if he's quite honest. While Victor would like to just enjoy a normal vacation it's almost like he's wired not to. He wants to start working again, to put some new ideas down on paper and start writing. The only problem is, he doesn't know what to work on.
Sure, he started working on something quick for Chris and his husband but it's not like he knows anything about ice skating or competitions. And asking Masu about it would ruin the gift so he scrapped the project. Other than that Victor has no clue what he should work on next, two movies and suddenly his mind's on empty when it comes to creative ideas.
Maybe he made a mistake.
Shaking his head at the thought Victor gets up from the hot spring and dries himself off before grabbing his robe and heading back to his room. He tries to keep his mind from wandering back to work and doesn't notice when he collides with someone carrying a large stack of towels. As they both hit the ground Victor looks up at the person embarrassed and tries to to help them pick up all the towels they dropped.
“I'm so sorry about that!” He says looking up at them only to stop in his tracks.
“It's alright it was my fau-” They start before glancing up at Victor and stopping midsentence.
Kneeling on the ground in front of Victor is the same ice skater from this morning in a large sweater and glasses. He looks at Victor with wide eyes and his hands let's go of the remaining towels.
“It's you!” They both yell in unison.