Actions

Work Header

Unscripted

Chapter Text

 

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 frustrating.

It's infuriating.

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. 

First place. 

His coach turns to congratulate him on his success and the crowd cheers and applauds for him and yet he still looks upset. 

Disappointed. 

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.

Chapter Text

“You're Victor Niki-”

“-the ice skater from the rink!”

As soon as the words leave his mouth Victor can see the other man tense up.

“Oh, you saw that.” Yuuri says, trying to avoid eye contact. “Yeah, I guess that was you this morning then?”

A wave of embarrassment washes over Victor as he tries to figure out what to say to the ice skater kneeling on the ground next to him. Up close Victor can see that his face is more rounded than it was in the videos of his performances and it looks like he had put on some weight as well since the last competition Victor saw him in. But as he looks the other way to avoid Victor’s gaze with a blush on his face Victor can't help but notice that he is unfairly handsome.

“I'm sorry I didn't mean-”

“Will you have lunch with me?”

“What?” Yuuri asks, looking up confused.

A faint blush creeps up on Victor’s face as the ice skater continues to stare at him dumbfounded.

“Tomorrow.” Victor tries to continue. “Will you have lunch with me? I'm new to town and I don't really know too many places around so, yeah. Lunch?”

Still confused Yuuri gathers the rest of the towels in his arms and nods his head.

“Uh, s-sure?” Yuuri says. “I'm free at 1 tomorrow if you want to meet in the lobby?”

“Perfect!” Victor exclaims, a small unbelieving smile forming on his face. “Yeah, that sounds great.”

They both look at each other unsure of what to do before Victor stands up and offers Yuuri a hand.

“I'll see you tomorrow then?” Victor asks him.

“Yeah, I guess?” Yuuri tells him. “Lunch at 1?”

“Yeah.” Victor nods.

“Alright.” Yuuri smiles, and excited glimmer in his eyes. “Then yeah, tomorrow at 1.”

And with that Victor watches as he gives him a quick wave and turns his back to make his way down the hallway. Feeling his heart rapidly beating in his chest at the encounter Victor quickly makes his way back to his room and flops down on the bed the moment he is alone, letting out a loud groan into the mattress.

“Why did I do that?” Victor asks himself, heat rising to his face as he recounts the embarrassing hallway encounter. “Who just asks strangers to lunch?”

Clearly woken from her sleep Victor hears his dog make her way over to him and cuddle up next to him on the bed.

“Makkachin.” He says, looking over at his sleepy companion. “Why am I like this?”

His dog offers no response and happily drifts off to sleep, leaving him to toss and turn on his own for the night contemplating what to do when the morning comes around.

What was he going to do?

He really had walked into this with no plan in mind quite honestly, Victor didn't know why he had asked this stranger to lunch with him he only knew he really wanted to talk to him. There are so many questions running through Victor's head at the moment he doesn't know how he's going to get any rest tonight but he tries.

As the morning rolls by Victor is woken by the sound of his phone ringing. Still half unconscious he rolls over to answer it without noticing the number.

“Hello?” He grumbles.

“Victor?” A woman's voice cuts through. “Is it early in the morning down there or something? Why aren't you awake yet?”

Victor groans at his mother’s questions and slowly sits up.

“Hey mom.” He says. “How are you and dad?”

“We'd be a lot better if we knew why our son was flying around the world for a whole year.” She huffs. “Seriously Victor, what were you thinking? Your father and I are worried sick about you!”

“That's a first.” Victor rolls his eyes.

“Don't start with me young man.” She tells him. “And then you don't even have the common decency to answer any of our calls either! What is wrong Victor? Where are you?”

“Nothing's wrong I just needed a break.” He sighs. “And I'm in Japan right now, I'm staying here for a week and then I was gonna make my way through Europe.”

“Are you ever planning on coming home?” She asks him.

“I will eventually.” He says. “You still haven't asked me about it yet.”

She hesitates for a moment.

“About what?” She asks.

“The whole reason you've been calling me nonstop for the past few weeks.” He tells her. “It's alright, you don't have to tiptoe around the subject just ask.”

There's a brief moment of silence as she hesitates and Victor thinks for a split second that she might let the whole thing go.

“Are you alright?” She asks him. “You know, one award show isn't the end of the world. You can come home at anytime.”

“No mom, I'm not alright.” He sighs, leaning back against the head of his bed. “I just need a little space for now, and I don't think dad is too happy with me at the moment anyways so I'm pretty sure coming home right now would be a big mistake.”

“We only want the best for you Victor.” She tells him. “And if it looks like this whole directing thing isn't working out there's no shame in-”

“I'm gonna stop you right there mom.” He interupts her. “I kinda have a busy day today so I'll have to call you another time.”

“Alright.” She sighs. “But call this time, you never call us anymore.”

“I will, I will.” He tells her. “Bye mom.”

He hangs up before she has a chance to say anything else and puts his phone back down on his dresser face down. Looking over he can see that Makkachin is still sleeping curled up next to him and he turns around to pet her soft fur.

“You can come home at anytime.”

He rolls his eyes, usually when she tells him that it means they want him to “Come to his senses and stop messing around with this whole directing nonsense!” as his father once put it. He's not too inclined to go back home to that specific lecture at the moment, and would much rather worry about his lunch date than anything else.

Wait.

Victors eyes snap open as he frantically reaches for his phone to see the numbers 11:47 AM staring up at him. Heart beating out of his chest he leaps out of bed and starts frantically searching through his suitcase for something to wear for the day. Noticing his distress Makkachin wakes up from her sleep and makes her way over to him.

“I know you're hungry.” He tells her. “I'll get you breakfast later, I just need to get ready real quick.”

He sorts through his bag and ends up settling on a blue button up and a pair of jeans. He hears his phone go off again and sees a text from Chris pop up.

Not to interrupt your vacation but I've got a premier coming up and Masu and I were wondering if you were gonna be able to make it?

Victor reads through the message before texting back.

Can I call you?

It only takes a few minutes before he gets a reply.

Sure just a sec.

A few moments later Victor’s phone starts ringing and he answers it.

“What did you do?” Chris asks him before he can even speak.

“Why do you always assume I did something when I need to call you?” Victor scoffs.

“Because I'm the one that calls to catch up in this relationship.” Chris tells him. “You're the one that calls when you've set something on fire or publicly humiliated yourself. So what did you do?”

“I think I accidentally got a lunch date.”

“Congratulations.”

“Wait there's more.” Victor tells him. “I also kinda freaked out and asked him out last night by screaming in his face and then running to my room. Plus my mom called this morning so I'm already off to a bad start and I have nothing to wear.”

There's a beat of silence as Chris takes in the information.

“And you need what?” He asks Victor. “Fashion advice?”

“Chris!”

“Well I'm being honest here!” He exclaims. “Why did you ask the guy out if you didn't want to go on a date with him!?”

“That's not what I said!”

“That's what it sounds like!”

“I didn't think it was a date in the moment!” Victor tells him. “I panicked I wanted to talk to him but I didn't want to freak him out!”

“So you asked him out instead!?”

“Yes!”

“Alright let's walk through this real quick.” Chris sighs. “So you have a lunch date today, you have nothing to wear to it, your mom called I think, and you're in general freaking out? Is that what I'm hearing?”

“Yes.”

“What clothes did you pack?” He asks Victor.

They end up going through his luggage together, all the while trying to assess the situation a little better. In the end they decide to stick to Victor’s original outfit and just style his hair a little bit.

“So who is this mystery date?” Chris asks him.

“Uh, he's an ice skater.” Victor tells him. “I saw him skating yesterday and I wanted to talk to him so when I ran into him I just panicked and asked him out.”

“Oh an ice skater.” Chris laughs. “What's their name? Maybe Masu knows them and can throw in a good word in case you screw this up.”

“I resent that, first of all.” Victor scoffs. “And his name is Yuuri Katsuki.”

There is complete silence on the other line as soon as he says this and Victor waits for his friend to respond.

“Chris?” He asks. “You still there?”

When there is still no reply Victor lets out a sigh.

“If you're not gonna answer then I'm just gonna-”

“What the fuck Victor.” Chris interrupts him. “What the actual fuck.”

“What?” Victor asks him. “Do you know him?”

“Of course I know him it's Yuuri Katsuki!” Chris exclaims. “Please tell me how exactly you managed to accidentally get a date with a world champion!?”

“I ran into him?” Victor says, unsure of how to react. “I asked if he would like to have lunch and then I ran away?”

“And he said yes!?”

“Yeah that's what I've been telling you this whole time we've been talking.” Victor sighs.

“Why do I get the impression you don't know who he is?” Chris asks him. “Please tell me that after three ice skating competitions you paid enough attention to at least recognize who he is.”

“Nope.” Victor tells him. “Why, what do you know about him?”

“Victor he's an Olympic gold medalist!” Chris yells. “He's literally one of the highest ranked ice skaters out there! We literally watched him compete last year!”

Victor thinks back to the competition that Chris brought him to last year. He really wasn't in the mood at the time to talk to anyone or do much considering he was too upset over losing the nomination for directing to another director who wasn't afraid to voice his opinion of Victor’s work. Other than sulking the whole day and getting drunk at the bar with Chris after the competition Victor didn't remember much about that day.

“I wasn't really paying attention when we went.” Victor tells him.

“Well remind me to never invite you to something like that again.” Chris scoffs. “He's a high profile ice skater that everyone is constantly battling for gold. He's been world champion consistently for four years until just recently but that's only because he took the season off.”

“How come he didn't compete this season?” Victor asks him.

“Official story was that he got injured at practice and had to take some time off.” Chris tells him. “The only news ice skating fans got after that was that he decided to take the season off and relax in his hometown before things went quiet. Nobody really knows what the plan is for this next season for him, hell nobody has heard from him in months. The amount of fangirls that would kill to have your luck is mind shattering.”

Victor remembers seeing Yuuri on the ice the other day. He remembers how beautiful it was to watch him dance and glide on the ice, how confident and emotional he looked skating compared to when he ran into him later in the day. He wonders how someone who can put that much emotion and heart into something could just stop all of a sudden.

“When are you going to meet up anyways?” Chris asks him.

“In less than an hour.” Victor says. “I should probably finish getting ready pretty soon.”

“Yeah no shit.” Chris sighs. “Let me know how it goes. Oh, and are you gonna be able to make the premier this next week?”

“I don't know Chris.” Victor tells him. “I'll try.”

“Alright, just let me know, good luck.”

“Thanks.”

With that Chris hangs up and Victor looks at the clock reading 12:39 PM. Letting out a sigh Victor finishes getting ready and leaves some food and water out for Makkachin before heading towards the lobby area.

Victor watches as the people move around him while he waits for Yuuri to show up. A few minutes roll by, then half an hour rolls by, and Victor eventually looks down at his watch to see 1:17 glaring up at him and feels his heart sink.

‘I'm an idiot’ He thinks to himself.

Deciding that this was just a really embarrassing mistake he decides to make his way back to his room. As he starts walking he hears someone call out from behind him.

“Hey you're that Nikiforov guy right?”

Victor turns around to see a young woman close to his age pointing at him. He recognizes her as the innkeeper's daughter that he met when he checked in.

“Yeah that's me.” Victor tells her.

“If you're looking for Yuuri you should be able to find him at the ice rink.” She says. “Sometimes his lessons run late and he gets home closer to 1:30.”

“Lessons?” Victor asks her.

“Yeah he teaches a couple of kids who live around here how to skate in the mornings.” She smiles. “It seems to get his mind off of things. If you want to find him though he should be there.”

“Thanks.” He smiles.

He watches her give him a quick nod before making her way back to the lobby and Victor heads out towards the ice rink from yesterday.

Still unfamiliar to the towns layout Victor finds himself only slightly lost as he wanders through the streets but is able to find his way back to the ice rink. When he walks in he notices the lady at the desk seems to be missing and he can once again hear the sound of people and ice scraping behind the door leading to the rink.

He walks in and sees a small group of children gathered around Yuuri as they listen intently to what he is telling them. In the middle of his lecture Yuuri seems to glance up and his eyes go wide with panic as he notices Victor. Quickly looking down at his watch he gives the kids a quick send off before ending the lesson and Victor can't help but smile as he watches the young students crowd around Yuuri’s legs asking him questions.

When the crowd finally seems to disperse and the kids make their way over to their parents Victor makes his way through the rink to where Yuuri is frantically unlacing his skates.

“Nice class you've got there.” Victor smiles.

“Y-yeah sorry about that.” Yuuri sighs. “I completely forgot about lessons today and got a little caught up trying to work on their form that I lost track of time.”

“It's fine don't worry about it.” Victor tells him. “So, you're a teacher then?”

“Yeah, kind of.” Yuuri says. “My friend Yuuko needed some extra help around the rink and since I wasn't doing anything in particular I volunteered. I got in a lot of requests to have lessons in the mornings after a couple of parents caught me showing her daughters a few tricks.”

“Yuuko?” Victor asks.

“Yeah she runs the desk most mornings.” Yuuri tells him. “She told me she met you yesterday and was instantly embarrassed that she didn't recognize you.”

“Oh.” Victor smirks. “So you're fans then?”

A deep red blush paints Yuuri’s cheeks at the comment and Victor can't help but let out a slight laugh.

“I-if that weirds you out I totally understand-”

“Don't worry about it.” Victor laughs. “It's always nice to meet someone who likes what I do.”

Victor can see the tension in Yuuri’s shoulders fall as he looks up at him with a shy expression.

“So what did you have in mind then?” Yuuri asks him. “I mean, for lunch that is.”

“Well I'm not quite sure to be honest.” Victor tells him. “I’ve only been here for a few days so I haven’t had a lot of time to walk around town. What do you recommend?”

Yuuri takes a moment to think before looking back up at him with a small smile.

“I might know a place.” He smiles.

Not fifteen minutes later Victor finds himself at a small bar that seems fairly empty except for the few customers trickling in throughout the day. The atmosphere is friendly and as he sits himself across from Yuuri he can’t help but settle into his new surroundings.

“An old family friend owns this bar so I thought it would be nice.” He tells Victor.

“Oh thats cool.” Victor says. “What kind of family friend?”

“My old ballet teacher actually.” Yuuri smiles. “She’s actually the one that got me into ice skating.”

“Really?” Victor asks. “That's interesting, I didn't know ballet often led to ice skating.”

“You'd be surprised.” Yuuri smiles. “She’s actually a huge fan of your work too.”

“Acting or directing?” Victor smirks. “Or is she one of those fans that prefers my ‘unique’ video art projects from college?”

“Oh come on those weren't-"

“So you have seen them.” Victor sighs, putting a hand to his forehead to add a dramatic flair. “My deepest apologies.”

Yuuri laughs at that and begins to shake his head.

“No I thought they were interesting.” Yuuri smiles. “But I do think I'm a bigger fan of your more mainstream films than anything.”

“Well that's always nice to hear.” Victor says. “What about you? Any experimental ice skating you're keeping hidden from your fans?”

“Less experimental and more embarrassing.” Yuuri sighs.

 

INT. BAR - LATE AFTERNOON.

The couple fall easily into a conversation as the time rolls by. We see them receive their meals and continue to laugh and smile while people come and go from the small bar.

From the counter we can see the same woman from the inn who was watching ice skating the other day smiling as she watches them. We can tell that it's taking all her willpower to not go over there and introduce herself, so instead she keeps her distance and lets the two talk.

As the sun begins to set the two gather their things and begin to walk back towards the inn, the last bit of sunlight illuminating their faces.

 

“So what's it like?”

“What?” Yuuri asks him.

“What's it like to to be an international ice skater?” Victor asks, looking over at Yuuri. “What kind of life is that?”

“Uh, well, stressful.” Yuuri tells him. “There’s a lot of pressure to do good, practices take over most of your free time, and the competition is always getting stronger and tougher every year.”

“But there has to be some degree of love in it too right?” Victor smiles. “You can see it when you skate, someone as good as you has to at least love what they do don't they?”

“Yeah, there's definitely love in all my routines but passion doesn’t put you on the podium.” Yuuri scoffs. “Maybe love got me to put forward all my effort, but I only got to where I was because I worked for it.”

“Does that mean you’ll be skating next season then?” Victor glances at him.

Yuuri goes quiet for a few seconds before stopping next to Victor and looking towards the beach. He looks as if he is contemplating something as he stares off into the water before glancing back at Victor.

“What about you?” Yuuri asks him. “Why'd you stop acting?”

Victor smiles at him before shaking his head.

“If you want more than the tabloid answer I'm afraid I can't say too much about that.” Victor shrugs. “But if I tell you my secret will you tell me yours?”

Yuuri hesitates for a second before nodding his head and Victor sighs.

“Honest to god I just hated it.” Victor tells him. “I never really had any say in what I did or where I worked it was just one set right after the other. I wasn't even that interested in movies but for the longest time it was just the easiest way for my parents to keep an eye on me. I didn't mind doing the work since my parents were there with me, and when I started doing films on my own it wasn't a big deal, but I didn't really care for any of the work I did. I decided to work behind the camera after one of my directors asked for my help looking over our script and I was actually pretty good at it, in fact I liked it a lot more than acting out the lines. I learned a few tips here and there, took some classes on directing and screenwriting, and before I knew it I was the one sitting behind a camera telling people where to go and when to film.”

“And do you like it?” Yuuri asks. “More than acting?”

“Yeah, I really do.” Victor smiles. “But it makes me a little restless sometimes. My friend Chris says I'm always looking for a better story, that's part of the reason I came to Hasetsu.”

“Did you find one?”

Victor glances back at Yuuri and shakes his head.

“I'm afraid you only get one secret out of me tonight.” Victor smiles. “Now it’s my turn.”

“Ask away.” Yuuri sighs, looking back at the water with a solemn expression on his face.

Victor can see how tense Yuuri gets at this, and something about the look in his eyes tells Victor that there's something he just isn't ready to talk about yet.

“Why did you choose that song?”

Yuuri looks back up at him with his eyes wide open, clearly not expecting that to be his question. Victor smiles at him and nods his head.

“It's from my movie last year, Aria , isn't it?” Victor asks him. “A bit of a depressing story to base a skating routine on, I was wondering why you chose it.”

It's not the question he wanted to ask, and Yuuri knows that too, but the relief in Yuuri’s eyes when he asked him about his music was worth more than the questions plaguing his mind.

Victor can wait.

“I-I don't know.” Yuuri tells him. “When I saw the movie I felt a connection with me and the main character, I wanted to skate to the song he sang.”

“You related to a retired opera singer gone mad with loneliness?” Victor smirks. “Doesn't sound like you I'm afraid.”

“But he's more than just that!” Yuuri argues. “He doesn't go crazy at the end like everyone says he does he just finds what he was looking for the whole movie. The main character wants to fall in love with singing again but doesn't know how to so he claims that he's infatuated with a mystery woman who sang a song he wants to learn as an excuse. When he finds out that the woman isn't real he still sings the song anyway because he learned to love his work again, even if it did drive him a little mad. He was an artist falling in love with his work all over again and I don't know, I wanted to recreate that passion. I wanted to understand how he could feel in that moment.”

Victor smiles as Yuuri rants about the film he worked on a little over a year ago. He spent what Chris considered an obsessive amount of time on set working with the actors and sitting in the editing room making sure it all came together the way he envisioned it.

“You should’ve been there with us on set.” Victor tells him. “Chris says I nearly drove the poor actor crazy making him do the same scenes over and over again.”

“Phichit says I do the same thing to my coach.” Yuuri smiles. “Sometimes I have to be reminded to go home if I’m working on a routine for too long.”

The conversation begins to drift from there and for the first time in a long time, Victor isn’t thinking about his next movie or when to crank out another script. He’s just having a regular conversation with someone and not thinking about anything other than the softness in Yuuri’s smile and how easy it is to fall into step with him.

By the time they make it back to the inn the sun has gone down and the night sky has settled over their heads.

“I really liked this.” Yuuri tells him. “Do you want to, maybe, do something like this tomorrow?”

“I’d like that.” Victor smiles. “I can meet you at the rink after your lessons.”

Yuuri nods and with a slight blush dusting his cheeks wishes Victor a goodnight before heading inside and to the back with his family. Victor doesn’t remember the walk back to his room or even how excited Makkachin was to see him when he opened the door and flopped down onto his bed. The day doesn’t feel real, Yuuri doesn’t seem real, and in spite of spending the whole day with a stranger Victor can’t help but feel elated from the whole experience.

The buzzing from his phone draws his attention and Victor can see a text message from Chris pop up on his lock screen.

So how’d your date go?

Victor lets out a contented sigh before opening his phone and replying back to his friend.

Amazing

The next day they go sightseeing, and Victor lets himself be shepherded around the town looking at different shops and tourist destinations. The next day they walk around on the beach and Victor laments about how much he wishes he didn’t work on the crappy teen romance movie he did when he was nineteen. The next day Yuuri tries to show him how to ice skate and they spend their whole evening watching Victor continuously fall on the ice and beg Yuuri to hold his hand the whole time. With all the time that they spend everyday Victor gets to know the little things about Yuuri. He learns about his favorite food, his loving family, and his passion for skating. He learns that before every competition he likes to drown out the crowd with music, and that his parents like to reward his victories with his favorite meal. They treat every little thing they learn about each other as secrets, and as the days roll by the unread messages from Victor’s parents pile up yet he can't seem to care.

“So why did you decide to come here?” Yuuri asks him one day.

“Well Chris kept telling me to go on a vacation because I'd been working myself ‘Too hard’ and I wasn't really in the mood to make anything else so I decided to travel.” Victor tells him.

“But why Hatsetsu?” Yuuri continues. “Why not a big city like Tokyo or Kyoto?”

Victor thinks about the places he’s visited over the past few months, all of them rather small towns with very little to do. He thinks about the large cities he's stayed at and the different people he's met each time in each place. He always feels like he's looking for something, it's hard to describe himself and everytime he leaves it's like he knows he won't find it there.

“I was looking for a story.” Victor smiles. “I've been looking for a reason to write since the Oscars.”

“Did you find one?” Yuuri asks.

“I'm afraid that would be two secrets.” Victor tells him. “Ask me tomorrow if you really want to know.”

As their walk comes to an end and the sun sets on Victor's last full day in Hatsetsu, the two fall asleep with a final question for the other playing in their mind. They are questions they know the other doesn't want to answer, and yet with time running out to ask they are the only ones the two can think of. While they both dread the next morning, Victor can't help but dread their final evening.

 

EXT. AIRPORT - MORNING

A young boy with long blonde hair wearing a leopard print hoodie steps outside. The hood covers most of his face except for his sneer. He looks up at the sky and takes a deep breath.

BOY

   KAAAATSUUUUUKIIIIIII!




Chapter Text

Victor wakes up the next morning and opens up his phone to see a variety messages left by his mother from the past few days before noticing one from his dad. He stares at the number for a few seconds, his thumb hovering over the contact, before turning off the phone and sighing.

He looks over and notices Makkachin still fast asleep at the foot of his bed. He reaches over to scratch behind her ears, causing her to look up at him slightly annoyed.

“Sorry to wake you Makka.” Victor smiles. “But we should start packing up soon.”

Makkachin blinks up at Victor with tired eyes before drifting off to sleep again.

“Guess I'll just have to do that all by myself then.” He shakes his head, before getting out of bed and throwing on a shirt.

As Victor roams around the room gathering up his things his dog slowly starts to wake up, looking at him with sad eyes as he packs away their belongings. Victor looks over at the clock that reads 11:30 a.m and shakes his head.

He knew he was only supposed to stay here for the week, it wasn’t like this was a surprise to anyone. Besides, he doesn’t really have any excuse to stay.

But he knows that's a lie.

Despite that he finishes packing the rest of their belongings away and checks his phone to see a message from Yuuri.

I have to stay by the rink a little bit longer today, sorry about that.

Victor frowns at this but shrugs it off.

That’s alright. He types out. I’ll just meet you there.

As he makes his way through the hallway he can hear the sound of people shouting getting louder and louder until he finds himself in the lobby looking at a crowd of reporters trying to get inside and Mari doing her best to keep them out.

“Is it true that figure skater Plisetsky traveled here today to train with Yuuri Katsuki!?”

“Do you have any comments to make about your brother's retirement!?”

“Is it true that Yuuri Katsuki is planning to officially resign this year!?”

“We've told you before and I'll tell you again!” Mari yells through a small crack in the door. “Unless you're a paying guest you are not allowed inside our facilities! Either come for the hotsprings or go home!”

Victor watches as the reporters continue to ignore her and she shuts the doors on them. Letting out a sigh she looks up and he can see the large bags under her eyes.

“Long night?”

“No kidding.” She says. “I've been holding these guys back since three in the morning but they just won't stop. I hate it when the paparazzi show up on our doorstep.”

“But it's not like we're not used to it.” Hiroko sighs, walking into the room and eyeing the reporters outside. “I bet they already tried the rink if they're trying to get in here.”

“They never stood a chance against Yuuko.” Mari laughs. “What about you Victor? What were you and Yuuri gonna do today?”

“Just the usual.” Victor smiles. “Walk around, grab a bite to eat, go to the beach, but I think we might have to figure something else out today.”

“I'm sorry about this.” Mari frowns. “Usually they leave us alone, but ever since this morning they've been incredibly persistent.”

“Any idea why?” Victor asks her.

Mari opens her mouth to answer him only to be interrupted by the yelling outside.

“Is that Victor Nikiforov in there!?”

“Mr. Nikiforov why are you visiting Hatsetsu!?”

“Mr. Nikiforov is your next film going to be shot here!?”

“Mr. Nikiforov are you going to write your next film based on the retired skater Yuuri Katsuki!?”

“Victor, what is the relationship between you and Mr. Katsuki!?”

“Oh dear.” Hiroko sighs. “Looks like they've decided to leech onto you Victor. Don't worry we can sneak you out through the back.”

“Sorry about that.”

“Don't worry about it.” Mari tells him. “Wouldn't be the first time we snuck someone out.”

“We can check your room out later tonight.” Hiroko reassures him. “But for now, let's get you some breakfast.”

Victor spends the rest of his morning with Hiroko as they talk about his trip so far and where he’s planning to go next. He waits a few hours for the paparazzi outside to disperse only to see them growing in numbers. He hasn't even checked any of his social media, but he bets there are already plenty of articles going around about what he's doing here.

He really wanted to keep his travels quiet this time, not posting anything other than the occasional photo of Makkachin here and there. The fact that he's being followed by more cameras as he tries to relax is incredibly annoying.

He can only imagine how Yuuri is dealing with it.

After watching the number of reporters increase outside for some time now, Victor takes up Hiroko’s offer and is snuck out the back. She weaves him through the building and outside around the hotsprings before leading him towards a small dirt path right outside the property.

“Just go straight and it should lead to the ice rink.” She tells him. “If you run into any trouble with those reporters don't be afraid to ask for help, people in this town are used to driving them out.”

“Thank you.” He smiles.

He heads out and takes the small dirt path for a little bit until it turns back into the street he would walk on every morning. Sure enough there are no reporters hanging around where Victor can see them and he quickly makes his way to the ice rink.

Turning the corner he can see the rink up ahead and rushes up to it. As he does a small group of reporters notice him run past them and quickly gather up their things to approach him.

“Mr. Nikiforov, do you have any comments on the recent retirement of Yuuri Katsuki?” One of them asks, blocking his way to the door.

“I don’t have any comments on any of this.” Victor tells them. “Now please just let me through.”

“But Mr. Nikiforov what have you been-”

“What did I say about keeping your questions away from my business!” A woman’s voice cut’s through the air, interrupting the reporter. “Let him in and get out of my doorway!”

Victor turns around and sees Yuuko pushing her way in front of him and away from the reporter.

“Go ahead.” She tells him. “I can shoo them off.”

She gives Victor a quick smile and he ducks his way inside, leaving her to push the reporters off the building’s doorstep.

As he makes his way inside he notices how empty the facility is compared to yesterday after Yuuri’s morning lessons with the kids. As he wanders he can make out the sound of a song he’s never heard before coming from the ice rink. Making his way inside he sees Yuuri skating on the ice to the music and a young teenage boy with blonde hair watching from the bleachers, his shoulders hunched over and arms crossed.

He hears the door open behind him and looks back to see Yuuko make her way inside and notice the sight in front of him. She smiles as she notices Yuuri skate and stands next to Victor to watch the performance.

“I forgot how good he really is.” Yuuko tells him. “It’s been so long since he’s worked on something new.”

“I didn’t know he was working on it.”

“Neither did I.”

They stand there for a bit, watching Yuuri skate together, before she turns back to him.

“I’m sorry about all the reporters here today.” She shakes her head. “We didn’t know that Yurio would be showing up all of a sudden.”

“Yurio?” Victor asks. “Who’s that?”

“Oh, I forgot that you haven’t met him.” She laughs before pointing at the young teenage boy. “That's Yuri Plisetsky, he's one of Russia's top skaters but we call him Yurio around here. He's been following Yuuri like a lost kitten ever since his senior debut.”

“Ah, so he's a fan.” Victor smiles.

“I wouldn't let him hear you say that.” She tells him. “All he talks about is having the chance to beat Yuuri at the Grand Prix Final.”

Victor watches the young boy follow the routine laid out before them. His eyes are cold and focused, as if he's trying to find any mistakes or missteps in the program.

“So why is he here?” Victor asks her

She lets out a sigh and shakes her head.

“I don't know.”

The music comes to a stop as Yuuri finishes the routine and turns towards Yurio.

“It looks good.” Yurio tells him.

“Then it's yours.” Yuuri says, before stepping off the ice and sitting next to him.

“Fuck off.” Yurio snaps. “You know I didn't come all the way here to your shitty small town for a short program.”

“Yurio, I'm not-"

“Stop pulling excuses out of your ass!” Yurio exclaims. “Either stop sitting on your butt feeling sorry for yourself or go out there and tell everyone about your shitty retirement!”

Yuuri doesn't say anything, instead he calmly finishes unlacing his skates and puts them aside.

“It’s been a year.” Yurio sighs. “You promised me, I didn’t think you were one to quit so easily.”

“Then you didn’t really know me that well.”

In a huff, Yurio storms out of the room leaving Yuuri alone to stare at the ice.

As he walks away he crashes into Victor’s shoulder and turns to look at him, his face contorted with anger.

“Watch it asshole!” He screams before disappearing into the hallway.

Yuuko watches the scene play out with a sad expression on her face.

“I’ll go talk to him.” She says.

Victor nods his head and watches as she walks out the room to chase after Yurio, leaving him alone with Yuuri just a few feet away.

He walks up to him and notices the way in which Yuuri’s eyes seem to be staring blankly at the ice in front of him. No particular emotion playing on his face except for one as clear as day.

Fear.

“Sorry I’m late.” Victor says, hoping to pull him from his trance.

Yuuri straightens his back and turns to look at Victor, his expression slightly dazed as if he had just woken up.

“Victor!” Yuuri exclaims. “I’m so sorry about all of this, I honestly had no idea that Yurio was supposed to show up today!”

“Don’t worry about it.” Victor tries to reassure him. “I was more worried about how you were handling everything.”

Yuuri gives him a soft smile before shrugging his shoulders.

“I'm fine.”

It was almost completely transparent how much of a lie that was, but Victor decides to ignore this and give Yuuri a large smile.

“I haven't seen that routine of yours yet, is it new?” Victor asks him.

“I guess it kind of is.” Yuuri sighs. “I've had the music for a while, but I could never really come up with anything to go with it.”

“Well, I'd say you were able to put something together.” Victor smiles. “What's the song called?”

“On Love: Agape.” Yuuri tells him. “It's one out of a series of compositions about the different forms of love. Agape is supposed to be about unconditional and selfless love, which I thought would work best with me. However, I've never been able to capture it quite right.”

“Unconditional and selfless love, huh?” Victor muses. “Well, that just doesn't make any sense.”

“Why?” Yuuri asks him.

“Because, I've never met anyone as selfless as you.” Victor sighs. “I think you're just being too hard on yourself.”

When Victor looks back at Yuuri he can see a bright red blush covering his face as he tries to look away. Victor can't help but smile himself at the sight, it is truly unfair how lovely Yuuri can be at times.

“Either way it doesn't look like we're gonna be able to visit the market like we wanted to today.” Yuuri says, ignoring Victors previous comment. “I'm sorry about the paparazzi, they usually leave me alone after a while but with everyone in Hatsetsu lately they're a little..."

“Pushy?” Victor offers. “Don't worry about it, if there's anyone who's used to dealing with a bunch of cameras and reporters in their face its me.”

They hear the door to the rink open behind them and turn to see Yuuko walk in, her broom in hand as she wipes the sweat off her forehead.

“A couple more showed up here after Victor came in but I was able to chase them off.” She tells them. “You guys want some lunch? Looks like we might be eating in today if you don't mind.”

“Lunch would be great.” Victor smiles.

While Yuuko orders the takeout Victor pulls out his phone and opens instagram to see a flood of people speculating about what he's doing in the comments of his last photo. He skims through them for a bit before closing the app and opening up his email. He's already got a flood of messages from different publications asking him for a quick interview that he marks as spam.

Deciding that it's going to be a lot of damage control for the day he puts away his phone and walks over to see Yuuri doing the exact same thing he was doing in a different corner of the room.

“You're gonna fry your brain if you try to read it all you know.” Victor tells him.

Yuuri looks up from his phone and lets out a long and drawn out sigh.

“Yeah, I know.” Yuuri frowns. “Honestly, I just want to know what they're saying.”

He puts away his phone and Victor joins Yuuri in their corner of the room.

“So, who’s the kid from earlier?” Victor asks him.

“Oh, that's Yuri Plisetsky.” Yuuri tells him. “He's probably still somewhere in here to be honest. It's hard to avoid the reporters outside without Yuuko's help.”

“He a student or something?”

Yuuri lets out a belting laugh at this and shakes his head.

“No he's no, I'm pretty sure he'd kill you if you said that.” Yuuri smiles.

Victor takes a seat next to him and nods his head.

“Well I can't call both of you Yuuri that'll just get too confusing. Your family calls him Yurio right?”

“Yeah, my sister came up with the nickname a long time ago.” Yuuri tells him. “He's got a bit of a temper though I wouldn't-”

Before he can finish his sentence the sound of feet stomping draws their attention and Yurio enters the scene and takes a seat at one of the tables across the room.

Victor watches the young teen turn his back to the two of them, clearly trying to ignore them and distract himself with his phone. They all sit in silence for a few minutes before Yurio finally glances back at the two of them.

“What?”

“Nothing.” Yuuri tells him. “Just wanted to know what you're doing.”

Yurio doesn't answer him, instead he rolls his eyes and slumps back in his chair.

The room goes silent once again and Victor looks back and forth between Yurio grumbling and Yuuri's contemplation.

‘Grooooooooooooooooooooowl’

Victor looks over to see Yurio bashfully grab at his stomach as a deep red blush engulfs his face.

“Ah, so you’re hungry.”

Yurio snaps his head to look in Victor’s direction and glares daggers at him.

“Shut up old man!” He exclaims. “You don’t know who I am you don’t knowanythingabouthowlongI’vebeenwaitingaroundthisareaandwhothehelldoyouthinkyouare-”

“Guess who got us some lunch!”

Yuuko enters the room with two bags in hand that seem to be exuding a wonderful aroma. Yurio’s eyes travel to the source of the smell and his stomach lets out another intense growl that causes him to look away from the three of them in embarrassment.

This doesn’t seem to deter Yuuko however, as she sets the food down in front of them and starts to pull out different styrofoam containers and place them down on the table. Victor looks over to see Yurio awkwardly hovering over their shoulder and gestures toward the seat next to him.

“You should sit with us.”

Yurio hesitates for a moment before his stomach rips another intense growl and he begrudgingly takes the seat next to Victor.

Victor must have forgotten what it was like to have a teenager’s appetite because he watches in amazement as Yurio shovels down more food than he could consume in an hour like it was nothing. This seems to be no surprise to Yuuri and Yuuko as they watch the scene unfold with a smile on their faces.

“I guess you were hungry then huh?” Yuuri asks him.

Yurio looks back at him with his cheeks full of food and rolls his eyes before nodding his head. Yuuri laughs at this and smiles at the young boy.

“I hope you let Yakov know where you were going before you hopped on the plane here.” Yuuri tells him. “I don’t want to get another angry call from your coach because you felt like yelling at me.”

“There’s no way Yakov knows I’m here yet.” Yurio grumbles. “Besides I’m only gonna be here until you decide to compete again.”

“Who’s Yakov?” Victor asks them.

Yurio looks at Victor with wide eyes.

“You don’t know who Yakov is?” Yurio exclaims. “What have you been living under a rock?”

“He’s Yurio’s coach in Russia.” Yuuri tells him. “He’s turned out more champions for Russia than any other coach these past twenty years.”

“Ah, so I guess he’s pretty good then?”

Yurio looks as if he’s about to bang his head against the table while Yuuri gives Victor a soft smile and nods his head.

He’s pretty sure a quick Google search could’ve given him more information about the man but watching the young skater become increasingly annoyed with how little Victor seemed to know was infinitely more entertaining.

As they finish up their lunches Yurio becomes a bit more conversational as he begins to argue with Yuuri about calling his coach. Soon enough he’s making jokes at both of their expenses and they’re happy to let him roast them on being old by a fifteen year old’s standards.

Eventually Yuuri leaves the two of them alone and Yurio glances over at Victor hesitantly.

“So, you make movies right?”

“Yup.” Victor smiles. “Acted, directed, and wrote a couple of famous ones here and there. Why?”

A sparkle forms in Yurio’s eyes and not a moment later Victor finds himself down the rabbit hole of showing all the different types of animals they use on set and explaining how the trainers work with each of them. While Yurio really only wanted to know if he had ever worked with a tiger he was immediately enthralled by all the different wildlife and trainers Victor had worked with in his previous productions.

As they continue to scroll through the different behind the scenes photos Victor kept on his phone from his last film Yuuko makes her way back into the room and lets out a yawn.

“I would love to hide you guys in here all day, but I gotta close up the rink soon.” She tells them. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure the coast is clear for you guys to head back to the inn before you leave.”

“Where did Yuuri go?” Victor asks her.

“I found him back on the ice a couple of minutes ago.” She sighs. “One of you should probably warn him I’m about to close up shop.”

They make their way back to the ice and as they approach the same music from the first day he was here grows louder and louder. As this happens the look on Yurio’s face darkens and his shoulders tense up.

Out on the ice Yuuri is doing the same routine he does every day, and even though Victor has seen this performance countless times he is still floored by how beautiful it really is in person. He looks beside him to see Yurio glaring at Yuuri down below and nudges him on the shoulder.

“Something wrong?”

Yurio doesn’t answer for a moment before glancing up at Victor.

“Do you know why he’s still skating that same routine everyday?”

Not knowing the answer Victor shakes his head and Yurio lets out a sigh.

“Last year around this time Yuuri withdrew from the Grand Prix Final due to an ankle injury.” Yurio tells him. “And then he withdrew from nationals, and then decided to just take the season off. The thing is, this was his second major injury to his left ankle two years in a row. When a skater recovers from something like that it’s always a toss up with whether or not they’re gonna be able to continue to compete.”

Victor takes in this last statement and looks back down at Yuuri on the ice.

“No one really knew why but, this program was really important to Yuuri last season.” Yurio continues. “He had been practicing it nonstop for a while and had it perfected when suddenly-”

Yuuri takes off into a jump only to tumble onto the ice and slowly get back up.

“...that happened.”

Ignoring the fall Yuuri looks up to see the two of them staring down at him and makes his way to the edge of the rink.

“I know it's selfish to come all the way here so he’ll compete against me for my senior debut.” Yurio tells him. “But I don’t know what’s gonna happen if he just gives up now.”

Victor watches as Yurio makes his way down to greet Yuuri with a flurry of insults and he can’t help but take a moment to really let what he just learned sink in. The music he was skating to is cut off and Yuuri makes his way up to Victor with Yurio close behind.

“Hey, ready to head back?” Yuuri asks him.

“Yeah.” Victor says. “Ready when you are.”

Sure enough the path toward the inn is cleared as they make their way back and enter the hot springs through the same area that Victor took beforehand. The sun has set by the time they get back and as Victor finishes packing up his things he turns to see Hiroko smiling in the doorway.

“You can stay another night if you want.”

“I’m afraid my plane leaves tonight.” He tells her. “But I would if I could.”

She nods her head at this and walks over to scratch Makkachin behind the ears which she responds to with glee.

“We’re all gonna miss having you around here.” She tells him. “I think you really did a lot of good for Yuuri during your stay. Have you had a chance to speak to him?”

“No, we weren’t able to talk much at the rink.” Victor sighs. “He pretty much found himself on the ice all day while I got to know Yurio.”

She looks up at him and rolls her eyes.

“Oh, that boy.” She laughs. “Always trying to skate away his problems. Before you leave could you do me a favor? Can you make sure you have time to tell him goodbye?”

Victor gives her a nod and just like that she stands up from her spot beside Makkachin and lets out a sigh of relief.

“Thank you.”

As she walks out the door Victor looks over at Makkachin’s pouting face and lets out a sigh. He doesn’t really want to leave, but he knows that he can’t just stay here forever. Despite knowing this it still doesn’t feel right to just pack up and move on to the next town.

Deciding to clear his mind Victor finds himself sneaking out to take a walk along the beach.

EXT. BEACH - NIGHT

The water is calm as it gently laps against the shore under the silver moonlight hanging overhead. A summer breeze travels through the air as it softly lifts a few strands of hair from Victor’s face.

As he approaches the water’s edge he looks around to notice another familiar face across the way. Sitting there by the railing is Yuuri, unaware of Victor’s presence at the moment as he is looking in the other direction.

Straightening up his shoulders and taking a deep breath we see Victor approach Yuuri and tap him on the shoulder.

“Hey.”

Yuuri jumps back slightly as he notices Victor standing there.

“Oh hey.” He sighs. “I didn’t think I’d see you around here. Sorry I’m still a little on edge about all the reporters in town right now.”

“I would be too.” Victor tells him. “They’re a bit like a swarm aren’t they?”

“Yeah.” Yuuri laughs. “They are.”

They stand there for a moment and simply watch as the waves roll in and the breeze brushes against their faces. Victor glances over at Yuuri to see him bury his face in his arms against the railings.

“So, this is my last night.”

Yuuri doesn’t respond so Victor decides to keep going.

“I didn’t think it would be so hard to leave Hasetsu behind.” Victor tells him. “But I guess there’s just something about this place that makes me want to stay. I haven’t felt that way about somewhere in a long time.”

“I know that feeling.”

Victor glances down at Yuuri straightening himself up.

“I didn’t want to leave Hasetsu to train in America at first.” Yuuri tells him. “I tried to come up with as many excuses as to why I needed to stay, but the truth is I was just scared to leave home.”

The air around them grows still as Yuuri looks up at Victor with a pained smile on his face.

“You still have one more secret to tell me you know.”

“I know.” Victor sighs. “But only if you tell me yours first.”

Yuuri nods his head and Victor takes a deep breath.

“Are you going back?”

There’s a beat of silence as they let Victor’s question hang in the air.

“...I don’t know if I can.”

Yuuri’s shoulders slump as the words finally escape his mouth.

“I really messed up my ankle when I took that fall last year.” Yuuri tells him. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen if I mess it up again. And it doesn’t help that everyone around me is just watching and waiting for me to make a decision I’m not sure I’m ready to make. If I go back to the ice then everyone is gonna expect me to skate like I did before, and if I retire people will want me to go into coaching younger skaters. I can’t do either of those things, and Yurio wants me to drop everything and train with him in Russia for the next Grand Prix but I don’t even know where to go from here. I just feel like I’m-”

“Lost?”

Yuuri looks up at Victor and nods his head.

“Yeah.” Yuuri says. “I feel lost.”

Victor takes in everything that Yuuri just said and looks over at the water.

“I’ve been there too.” He tells Yuuri. “I didn’t know what I was gonna do when I decided to quit being an actor. My parents were mad, my agent was pissed, but the people who wanted to see what I could do had no idea what to expect of me either. I really just was alone in that decision to branch off on my own, and when I finally did get to do the work I wanted to do nobody would take me seriously.”

Victor turns back to Yuuri and sighs.

“But it wasn’t about them.” He tells him. “I was doing the work that I wanted to do. So I know we haven’t done this before but I’m changing my question.”

Yuuri looks up at him and nods his head.

“Alright then.” He hesitates. “What’s your question?”

Victor gives him a soft smile and speaks.

“Do you want to go back?”

Yuuri stares at a him in shock and Victor stands there waiting for an answer.

After what feels like years Yuuri finally opens his mouth.

“Come with me.”

“What?” Victor exclaims.

“Come with me.” Yuuri tells him. “Why not? There’s nothing stopping us from going together so why not?”

Victor shakes his head in disbelief.

“We’ve known each other for a week.” He tells him, trying to fight back a smile. “And I’ve got a plane to catch tonight.”

“I know and I don’t care.” Yuuri shakes his head. “I know it's crazy and I know we’ve barely had any time to really get to know each other but if you’re asking me what it is I want then that’s my answer. I want you to come with me.”

“What will I do in Russia?”

“I don’t know.”

“The media would have a field day.”

“I know.”

“What about my story?” Victor asks him. “You still haven’t asked me if I’ve found it yet.”

Yuuri nods his head at this and sighs.

“I figured you already had.”

Victor’s takes a deep breath and reaches out to grab Yuuri's hand.

“Come with me.” Yuuri tells him. “I’m not ready to say goodbye.”

Yuuri’s words rest in Victor’s head the entire walk back. They don’t say much to each other on the way to the inn, but their hands remain interlocked until they reach the building.

As Victor makes his way back to his room he closes the door and slumps down on his bed. Looking around at the different luggage already packed and his dog staring up at him patiently he pulls out his phone and texts Chris.

Hey, do me a favor and tell me I’m crazy.

He stares at his phone for a moment before a reply pops up.

Whatever you’re about to do, you sir are a madman.

 

INT. INN - MORNING

The next morning Yuuri wakes up and makes his way to the dining area where his family is enjoying breakfast. He walks past Victor’s room and hesitates for a moment before shaking his head and moving forward.

As he walks into the dining area he hears the sound of the TV playing and his family chattering away. Looking up he catches a glimpse of silver hair before being tackled to the ground by a large brown dog.

The dog licks his face repeatedly and he sees a familiar figure standing over him.

Victor smiles as he extends a hand to help him up.

VICTOR

I missed my flight.

 

Chapter Text

It's been years since Victor last visited Russia.

His mom and dad use to fly him to St. Petersburg when he was a kid to visit his grandparents. It was one of the few times he didn’t have to deal with a camera being shoved in his face. Once he got a little older their visits became less frequent as Victor’s acting career started to take off, and when his grandparents passed away they stopped going all together.

There was a house nearby that his family would rent when they'd visit for the holidays. Victor’s mom insisted on staying there since his grandmother didn’t have a lot of space. When he was a kid the place felt like a mansion.

But now that he’s older it seems...cozy.

His mother was a bit surprised when he asked her whether or not they were still able to use the house. However, after a few phone calls, and a bit of scolding from her for ignoring her messages, she was able to help him pull a few strings and find a place to sleep.

Makkachin wasted no time in getting to know the layout of the building. As soon as they walked through the front door she happily started running through the halls and jumping on top of the furniture. She was still a puppy the last time they visited so Victor doubted that she would have any memories of the house from before.

He watches her make herself at home and goes to throw his luggage in the master bedroom. Looking around he finds a few older pictures of his family when he was a kid put up on the mantle and on the bedside. One in particular had him standing between his mom and dad in front of a large cathedral. Victor remembers how he use to complain about staying inside all the time when they came to town and practically dragging them out to look at some of the landmarks. His mother did her best to act excited to be out and about while his dad would roll his eyes and complain about the tourists who he was sure would recognize them.

Surprisingly it was his father who decided to make them take the picture. It was one of the few family photos they had where they weren’t on a red carpet or hiding from the paparazzi.

A thin layer of dust sits on top of the glass protecting the picture, Victor puts the frame back and lays down on the bed.

It feels weird sleeping in the same room his parents did so long ago, but he doubts his old bed would be big enough for him to sleep in now. The mattress was too small for him as it was the last time they stayed here and it didn’t help that Makkachin tried to sleep in the same bed as him even when she was a puppy.

His phone buzzes and he pulls it out to see a message from his mother.

Did you get there alright?

He stares at the message for a while, his thumb hovering over the home button, before letting out a sigh and turning it off.

It still feels weird to be back in this place after being gone for so long, despite everything that’s happened in Victor's life the house itself remains untouched. A faded memory of family vacations and childish wonder that was left to its own devices outside the passage of time.

As if he never left.

It’s not like he doesn’t want to be on speaking terms with his parents it’s just that sometimes things like this are complicated. His father was never one to really try and communicate with Victor on a personal level, and his mother wasn’t the easiest person to talk to some days but she tried.

That’s not to say that Victor isn’t also responsible for the rift between him and his parents. There are some things that he regrets in regards to their family and maybe he shouldn’t push them away so much when they do try to make an honest effort to fix things, but at this point they're going to need more than a few phone calls and Christmas visits to fix the distance between them.

His phone buzzes again and a message from Yuuri pops up on his screen.

Hey, we’re heading over to the rink right now if you wanna meet us there?

Victor smiles as he reads this and quickly types out his reply.

I’ll be there in just a bit.

The ice rink in Hasetsu is just a little bit smaller than the one they have here in Russia.

That's a lie, it’s tiny compared to the giant rink looming over Victor’s head at the moment. Yuuri and Yurio wait for him outside by the entrance and waves him over.

“What took you so long old man?” Yurio asks him. “We’ve been standing around for hours!”

“That’s an exaggeration.” Yuuri sighs. “Come on, we should go make sure Yakov is here before we make any further plans.”

He follows them inside the massive building at a small distance and really takes the time to absorb his surroundings. While the Ice Castle in Hasetsu was smaller in size this place seems to tower overhead like an arena. More seats than he can count surround the ice down below as skaters practice their routines.

An older man with a permanent scowl on his face is reprimanding a girl with red hair on the ice. He's wearing a long dark coat and his face seems to turn red as he shouts at the girl who is visibly ignoring him. Suddenly she turns her head to see the three of them and her eyes widen before pointing them out to the older man.

He looks up at them and sees Yurio and Yuuri approaching, his expression goes from annoyed to outraged.

“I guess he noticed you were gone.” Yuuri says glancing back at Yurio.

Yurio shoves his hands in his pockets and tries to sink into his hoodie.

“YURI PLISETSKY WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!?”

Victor watches the older man approach them while he scolds Yurio and shakes his head.

“Geez Yakov, it wasn’t that big of a deal.” Yurio rolls his eyes. “You’re acting like I commited murder or something.”

“How else am I supposed to react to one of my star skaters running off to Japan with no notice!?” Yakov exclaims. “The next time you pull something like that you better not expect a coach when you come back!”

Yurio shrinks further into his jacket as Yakov continues to tell him off before finally turning his attention toward Yuuri.

Yakov’s demeanor shifts at this, his shoulders loosen up and his scowl grows soft but remains in it’s rigid and sour frown.

“So why are you here Katsuki?” Yakov asks him. “Surely it’s not to steal one of my students before you retire.”

Yuuri shakes his head at this and with a smile sighs.

“No, Yurio’s the one that dragged me here actually.”

Yakov nods at this and crosses his arms.

“Why?”

There’s a beat of silence that hangs in the air as Yuuri finds himself unable to explain the situation. Victor catches the shift in mood as both skaters stand there awkwardly unable to really say anything. Taking a deep breath Victor puts on his best smile and holds his hand out to greet Yakov.

“Hi, my name is Victor, it’s nice to meet you.”

Yakov glances over at Victor and looks him up and down before reaching out to shake his hand.

“Yakov Feltsman.” He tells him. “I don’t believe we’ve met before, how did you get tied up with this lot?”

“I’m a friend of Yuuri’s.” Victor smiles. “I actually met him while trying to come up with the script for my next movie. I’m sure you’ve seen some of my work before.”

“Sorry, don’t watch many films these days.”

Victor feels the color drain from his face at this comment and is fully aware of how uncomfortable he feels when Yakov turns away from him and back towards Yurio.

“I’ll meet you down on the ice in ten.” He says before glancing back at Yuuri. “As for you, we should discuss this in my office later.”

With that Yakov heads back down towards the ice below. All the tension building up in Yuuri’s shoulders is released as both him and Yurio take a deep sigh in unison.

“Well, that could’ve gone worse.” Yuuri tells them.

“Yeah, for you.” Yurio huffs. “I’ll be lucky if I don’t end up dead from exhaustion by the end of the day. I guess I should go get ready to practice my step sequence for three hours straight.”

And with that Yurio rushes off to the locker room leaving Yuuri and Victor by themselves. Yuuri gives Victor a soft smile and shakes his head.

“Sorry if he comes off as a little cold at first.” He says. “He’s not exactly known for being the most tactful person in the whole world.”

“Not everyone’s a fan I guess.” Victor shrugs. “Hopefully he doesn’t kick me out before I can really get a feel for what kind of work you guys do.”

“I doubt he’ll kick you out at all.” Yuuri laughs. “Come on, let me show you around the rink while we wait.”

After going on an impromptu tour of the facility Victor begins to feel a little bit more comfortable with his new surroundings. Yuuri points out the names of the skaters down below and gives him a quick rundown of what they're working on.

The girl with the red hair from before is apparently Mila Babicheva, a senior in the lady figure skating world. She's currently ranked third in international Ladies Singles and the current Nationals champ as of this last season. Practicing alongside her is a young man by the name of Georgi Popovich. Yuuri mentions his ability to really bring out his emotions in each skate which usually helps his PC scores during competition.

Soon enough Yurio makes his way to the ice and begins his warm up. Yakov moves on to work with him and makes Yurio run through a series of what look like different types of drills to get the skater started.

It’s interesting watching the way that each of them work on their own in terms of their routines and warm ups. Each skater has their own approach to how they spend their time practicing that links up to the personalities they display. It’s different from the few times he got to watch Yuuri back at the Ice Castle, he was always so focused and closed off when he wanted to work on something.

Watching Yakov adapt to each of the skaters themselves is also something that Victor found interesting. While he seems to be a bit more tough and strict with Mila and Yurio it seems that his demeanor immediately shifts to a bit more patient when it comes to Georgi. It’s far different from the classes that he would see Yuuri teach with the kids, he seems to have his own methods for getting each skater to improve in their own ways.

But for the moment it seems like he’s just making Yurio run through a step sequence on repeat as punishment.

“So is this what it usually looks like?” Victor asks Yuuri.

“Well, for most it is.” Yuuri tells him. “Yakov only coaches a select few skaters and all of them are Russian so he doesn’t have as many people at his practices as I did back in Detroit. My old coach use to take international students from all over the world so we had quite a few people on the ice at once.”

“Sounds crowded.”

Yuuri smiles at this.

“It could be some days, but I usually didn’t mind too much.”

As the practice comes to an end Yakov makes his way to where they’re sitting and gestures at Yuuri to follow him.

“C’mon.” He says. “Let’s talk about this in my office.”

Yuuri nods at this and gets up to follow him.

“I’ll be right back.” He tells Victor before following Yakov out of sight.

Victor looks down at the skaters below putting away their stuff and walks over to Yurio who seems to be caught in a heated debate with Mila.

“If you call me short one more time I’m gonna rip you apart hag!”

“With those tiny arms?” Mila laughs. “Are you sure you’ll be able to reach?”

Noticing the conflict going on next to him Georgie turns to look back and sighs.

“Why do you two always bring conflict onto the ice?”

Looking up from their playful banter Mila notices him approach and waves him over.

“Hey!” She exclaims. “You’re that Hollywood guy that Yuri was complaining about earlier!”

Victor smiles at this and walks up to them.

“That’s me.” He says reaching out a hand to greet them. “I’m Victor Nikiforov, it’s nice to meet you two.”

She shakes his hand and smiles.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Mila and this is Georgi.”

“Weren’t you in that movie Summer Winds a while ago?” Georgi asks him. “I loved that movie! So much emotional turmoil and beautiful romance, you truly were amazing in it.”

Victor grimaces at the mention of an earlier romcom from when he was younger. That movie in particular was incredibly hard to finish making as the director kept making changes last minute and his costar was hard to get along with. However, he knows how much people tend to eat those stories up and it seems like Georgi falls into that category.

“Yeah, that was one of my earlier films.” Victor smiles at him. “I assume you’re a fan unlike your coach?”

Mila laughs at this while Georgi sighs.

“Yakov doesn’t have fun.” She tells him. “I wouldn’t take it personally, the most television I’ve ever seen him watch was a nature documentary. And even then, he only put it on because Yuri made him.”

Georgi nods his head at this and looks around the ice rink.

“I’m assuming they went to go talk then?”

“Yeah that was the plan.” Victor nods. “I don’t know how long that’ll take though.”

Yurio rolls his eyes at them and finishes packing up his things.

“They’re just figuring out what to do for the next season guys.” He tells them. “It’s not that big of a deal.”

Mila looks over at him with a smirk on her face and puts her hands on her hips.

“Then why’d you drag him all the way to Russia?”

“Because he’s an idiot that makes bad decisions!”

“Sure.” She smiles. “You know, it’s going to be confusing having two Yuri’s in the same place. We should really figure out how to distinguish between you two.”

“Oh, so you don’t know about Yurio’s nickname in Japan?”

“Yurio?” Mila looks over at him confused. “Which one is Yurio?”

She looks back to see Yurio fuming behind her and a smile forms on her face as she realizes who he is talking about.

“You never told us you had a nickname Yurio.

“BECAUSE IT’S NOT MY NAME YOU OLD HAG!”

They stay there for a while talking and Victor really takes the opportunity to get to know the two skaters.

Mila is nice to talk to, she tells him the in’s and out’s of the rink and is more than happy to crack a few jokes here and there about their work in Russia. Georgi continues to ask him about his work in the film industry as an actor and what that was like.

After waiting for over half an hour Yurio gets up from his seat and gathers up his things.

“I’m gonna go check on Yuuri.” He says. “Make sure Yakov didn’t rip into him or anything.”

Victor watches as he heads off and turns to look at the other two who are also gathering up their bags and standing up.

“We should head out too.” Mila sighs. “It’s getting late and I want to watch my soaps. I guess we’ll see you guys tomorrow?”

“Probably Yuuri and Yurio but I might stay back.” Victor tells her.

She looks over at Georgi who shrugs before walking off without her.

“Hey Victor do you mind if I ask you something?”

Victor shakes his head.

“I don’t mind.” He says. “What’s up?”

“If you’re a writer, why are you here in Russia?”

Victor doesn’t answer her at first, instead he gives her a shrug and lets out a sigh.

“I’m here to write a script.” He tells her. “I don’t know what kind of movie it’s going to be yet, I just know that I was supposed to come here and find it.”

She frowns at this and shakes her head.

“What’s the real reason you’re here?”

He looks up at her confused and she glances in the direction that Yuuri and Yurio ran off in.

“You didn’t need to come all the way here for a script.” She says. “But you did, and now that you’re here I think you should stop coming up with excuses and face the facts. This is the world we live in, as artists and athletes, it’s not something you can really learn from reading a wikipedia article online. What we go through, everything we’ve worked toward and sacrificed, it’s not something someone can comprehend from the outside. If you really want to understand that kind of life, you should come back tomorrow. You might even be able to learn a bit about what this world is like for us.”

She looks back at him and gives him a soft smile.

“What it’s like for him.”

Mila waves her hand and heads out, leaving him sitting on the bleachers alone. He glances back at the ice and sees the zamboni begin to make its way across the surface, erasing every mark and cut made from the day.

 

EXT. ICE RINK - AFTERNOON

The sky is overcast with dark gray clouds that splash rain down at full force soaking the roads and sidewalks. Standing at the entrance of the building watching the downpour is Victor, his eyes carefully surveying the scene.

He holds a hand out from under the cover of the building and catches a few of the raindrops in his palm, a soft smile forms on his face as the storm grows.

Even though the sound of the rain smacking the pavement is as loud as the thunder from above the scene is peaceful for a brief moment.

 

A door opens from behind him and Victor turns around to see Yuuri walk outside with his shoulders slumped and head down. His glum expression changes when he notices Victor standing there.

“Hey.” Yuuri says, looking over at the storm pouring down on them. “I guess I really should’ve let Yurio wait for me after all.”

“No ride?”

“Nope.” He sighs. “I guess I can call a cab to drive me over.”

Victor looks over at Yuuri and can see the weight of the day reflected in his eyes and shakes his head.

“I’ll drive you.”

Yuuri’s eyes widen at this and he looks at Victor confused.

“What?”

“I rented a car before we got here.” He tells Yuuri. “Come on, I’ll give you a lift to Yurio’s house.”

With that Victor shrugs his hood over his head and gestures for Yuuri to follow him towards the parking lot.

They dash past several cars with their heads low until coming across the small silver rental that Victor paid for when he arrived in Saint Petersburg. It isn’t flashy or extravagant like the one he has in California, but he likes it.

They duck inside and shut the doors before any of the rain can leak inside. Victor goes to turn on the radio only to be greeted by static on every station. Yuuri notices this and takes out his phone.

“I can put some music on.” He says. “I’ve got a playlist I’ve been meaning to listen to.”

“Alright.” Victor nods before handing him the aux cord.

They sit in silence listening to the variety of artists and genres on Yuuri’s phone as the storm drones on.

Victor glances over at Yuuri staring out the window every once in a while. His eyes are almost blank as he focuses on the scenery outside and he can tell that something must be weighing on his mind.

“Got a lot to think about?” Victor asks him.

Yuuri looks back over at him and shrugs his shoulders.

“Nothing I didn't already know.” He tells Victor. “We called my old coach to make sure he was fine with the switch. While he wasn't too happy about losing me as a skater, he did make sure to wish me luck.”

“That must've been hard.”

Yuuri nods his head and glances back out the window.

“Yeah, it was.”

The silence returns and Victor decides to drop the topic entirely.

As they continue the drive suddenly the soft piano music that had been playing from Yuuri's phone shifts into a fast paced tango. Victor notices the change in style and glances over at Yuuri with a smile.

“What is this?” He laughs.

A bright pink blush forms on Yuuri's face.

“Sorry about that.” He says. “I forgot I put this song on here. Remember that routine I showed Yurio back in Hatsetsu?”

Victor nods and Yuuri sighs.

“The composer who wrote that song also wrote this one on the same album.” Yuuri tells him. “It's basically the same song but with a different take on love.”

“So instead of Agape what's this one about?”

The blush on Yuuri's face spreads and he looks away for a second.

“...Eros, or uh, sexual love.”

Victor's eyes widen at this and he looks over at Yuuri's bashful expression and lets out a bellowing laugh. Yuuri, clearly not as amused as Victor seems to be, looks up at him slightly annoyed.

“What?” He asks Victor. “Not something you can see me doing?”

“No it's absolutely something I can see you pulling off.” Victor tells him. “But it’s definitely not like anything else we’ve listened to this whole ride. Why don’t you skate to something like this every once in a while?”

“I don’t know, it just doesn’t fit with what I usually do.”  Yuuri sighs. “It’s definitely not like anyone would expect me to do a routine based on sexual love.”

The song comes to an end and Victor glances back over at Yuuri with a smile.

“No but it would definitely get people's attention.”

Yuuri nods his head at this and looks up at Victor, whatever weight he had on his shoulders from before seems to be lifted as his expression and demeanor becomes more relaxed with their conversation.

Victor pulls into Yurio’s neighborhood and parks in front of the house. The rain is still pouring down onto the car roof and Yuuri hesitates to step outside.

“I don’t know if I’m ready to do this.”

Victor doesn’t respond, deciding to put the car in park instead and listen.

“I just keep going back to what happened in the last season.” Yuuri sighs. “How frustrated I was with just sitting back and watching everyone else work and skate while I waited for my ankle to recover. Then when it finally did I was too scared to actually step back on the ice, I didn’t want to mess myself up again. And now I’m finally ready to get back out there and I’m just…”

He trails off from there and takes a deep breath before looking up at Victor.

“Would it be stupid of me to say I feel stuck?”

“No.” Victor tells him. “Yuuri, it’s normal to be scared to go back to something that’s important to you after taking a break. I feel like I can’t put down a single sentence after I step away from writing for a few days, let alone a year. But the fact that you made this trip, the fact that you’re even here right now in Russia talking to coaches and listening to program music lets me know that you’re more than ready to get back on the ice. If there’s anyone who can make a leap of faith like this it’s you, I just know it.”

Yuuri’s eyes start to tear up and he throws his arms around Victor and pulls him into a hug.

“Thank you.”

After dropping Yuuri off at Yurio’s home, Victor makes his way back to the house and pulls up in the driveway. He walks through the door to find Makkachin asleep on the living room floor and walks up to scratch behind her ears, stirring her from her sleep.

“We’ve still got a bit of sunlight if you wanna take a walk?” He asks and her ears perk up at the suggestion.

They wait a bit for the rain to finally clear up and take a quick walk around the neighborhood. The streets look basically the same as they had twenty years ago, only with a few alterations here and there. The most obvious one being a public park nearby that he probably would’ve escaped to every summer as a kid.

His mind begins to wander as the last rays of the day start closing in and they are forced to retreat back inside the house. If he’s being honest the reason why he followed Yuuri to Russia doesn’t really make any sense. He can write a script from anywhere in the world, and if he was really that dedicated to making sure the story was accurate he could’ve poured some extra hours into research on different ice skating careers. But he didn’t, he came here, and some part of him can’t seem to understand that irrational decision.

He is a stranger to this world, to the people, and to their lives. While he himself has been in the position of not knowing everyone automatically before, he’s never been completely alone in the process. It feels like he’s relearning how to write. Everything around him is so different, but with all the confusion there is also Yuuri.

The thing about actually putting the words down on a Final Draft document is once he commits himself to the story it will no longer be his alone. Victor doesn’t write to appease himself and shove the contents away never to be seen, his work demands an audience. The problem isn’t whether or not he knows what he’s going to write yet, it’s if he is willing to lift the veil of where he’s been hiding and let other people look inside. But if this is really the path he’s chosen then Mila is right, there’s no point in hesitating any longer.

He opens his phone to see his mother’s text from this morning still left unread and sends her back a quick message to let her know he’s okay. She doesn’t respond but he can see she read it, probably for the better anyway, it’s most likely late at night where she is.

The next morning Victor wakes up to see notifications on his phone from Twitter alerting him about the latest stories he’s been tagged in. However, he sees that people are actually talking about Yuuri, and the announcement he made about returning to competition this year. A smile forms on his as he goes through the different articles detailing the situation and decides to get ready for the day.

After pulling himself out of bed he makes some breakfast for himself and looks down at his phone to check the time. Noticing he still has a few hours before Yuuri and Yurio would be at the ice rink Victor grabs his laptop and let's it power up while he finishes his meal and settles down in front of the computer. An empty blank page stares up at him with a blinking cursor waiting for him to put his thoughts into words, and words into narrative.

Like everything else in his life, it begins with a logline.

 

EXT. BEACH - DAY

 

Chapter Text

As the months pass by Victor watches Yuuri transform from his leisure ridden state to competition mode. It’s almost as if he’s become a different person, but at the end of the day it’s still Yuuri.

Getting into competition shape put a lot of stress on him, but after a strict diet and workout regimen that Yakov implemented Yuuri was finally able to shed the couple of pounds he gained from back home.

As they move forward in their training Victor witnesses Yuuri bloom into the intense and passionate athlete that he’d only seen online. It’s incredible how focused he can be at times, and when he takes to the ice the air grows still and Victor’s eyes are immediately drawn to the performance.

Their conversation in the car must’ve stuck in Yuuri’s head as he decided to use On Love: Eros for his short program music, a choice that shocked the skating community in a good way. Plenty of people are already looking forward to seeing what the finished product is going to look like on the ice.

General fan reaction to Yuuri’s return was for the most part filled with praise and excitement. Of course, there are a few negative outliers here and there, mainly people who are waiting to see what he’ll do in retirement and Reddit users. They try not to delve too much into what the public is saying about the situation, even Yuuri thinks it’s a waste of time.

Which is probably a good thing.

Just as Yuuri’s fans are excited about the new skating season plenty of Victor’s fans are speculating what he’s doing in Russia. Different gossip rags and other pop culture websites wasted no time in asking him for a statement about whether he was still on vacation, working on a new movie, or enjoying the company of a specific skater.

There’s more than enough articles about Yuuri and Victor’s alleged romance throughout Europe that people think is either a romantic summer fling or whirlwind romance. He’s ignored most of the comments he’s been getting about the idea of them together, it’s something he hopes isn’t making it’s way into Yuuri’s social media feed as well.

It’s not like it would be a problem if it did though, Yuuri rarely goes on social media in the first place.

Still, it’s annoying.

He’s had speculation about his love life before but that doesn’t mean he has to get used to it. Having millions of strangers on the internet feel entitled to personal matters like that has always made Victor uncomfortable.

Other than that Victor’s been spending most of his time working on his script. The story at this point has become heavily influenced by Yuuri as a skater, and since he wants to be as accurate as possible Victor took Mila’s advice to heart and started sitting in on their practices. He’s interviewed Yakov on what kind of training each of his skaters go through, talked to Mila and Georgi about the competitions, researched the way scoring works, and of course, spent whatever free time Yuuri had to discuss his perspective and personal story in the competitive world.

At first, it felt awkward to lurk on the sidelines and take note of everything, but once he was able to get Yakov to sit down and watch one of his films he started to feel less like an outsider. They all got pretty much used to Victor asking them questions during their water breaks and would poke and prod him for a peek at what he was working on and how it was coming together.

Along with the skaters in Saint Petersburg, Victor was introduced to a few of Yuuri’s former competitors and old rank mates. They all seemed excited to hear the news of Yuuri’s return when he was introduced to them and were more than willing to share a few stories here and there about their antics at competitions. Phichit, in particular, was enthusiastic about letting Victor in on all the gossip from his days skating together with Yuuri.

When he isn’t sitting in on their practices he’s back at the house hunched over a computer screen. Chris will call every once in a while to make sure he’s still breathing and force him to take a break. However, after all the research and interviews it’s become harder and harder to step away from the work. Just as Yuuri is engulfing himself in his routines on the ice Victor is immersed in the fictional world that he’s creating.

He didn’t attend the first few competitions that Yuuri competed in at the start of the season, not feeling comfortable being in the way when Yuuri is supposed to be focusing on his comeback. But with the debut of his new programs and the medals Yuuri brought back Victor has become aware of the Grand Prix assignments that are right around the corner.

Mainly because Yakov invited him to join their traveling party.

“Are you sure I won’t be in the way?” Victor asks him.

“I’m sure.” Yakov sighs. “I don’t know if you’ve been able to notice this, but Yuuri has been overworking himself in preparation for his first assignment. I don’t want him to hurt his ankle again before he hits the ice, and since you’re the only one I’ve seen pull him away from his own head I was hoping you could keep him from staying up all night.”

Victor looks over to see the bags under Yuuri's eyes as he comes to a stop by the edge of the rink to grab some water. Despite his efforts to stay upright, his shoulders are slouching and without a doubt, he looks exhausted.

“I’ll do what I can,” Victor tells him.

He’s noticed how late Yuuri’s been staying at the rink after practice, and he usually hangs behind to make sure he has a ride back. Yurio would either start to fall asleep waiting for him to finish up or would lose his patience and storm off, so Victor took up the mantle of being Yuuri’s ride. He doesn’t mind, but he can tell that something’s off with the way that Yuuri’s been behaving lately. He doesn’t talk as often as he used to and will drift off during conversations.

It worries Victor.

“I don’t know if I should be going with them.”

“Then why are you going?” Chris’s voice rings out from his phone’s speaker. “You’re not obligated to rush down to China with the rest of the crew, you can stay back.”

“I know but his coach was the one that invited me.” Victor sighs. “And if he wants me to keep Yuuri distracted then it must be serious.”

“Well, I guess that’s your grave to dig.”

Victor rolls his eyes at this and closes his bag as he finishes packing for the trip. He looks over at Makkachin lying asleep on the bed and sits next to her.

“I’m having Makka stay at Yurio’s place while we’re gone.” He tells Chris. “I think traveling so much has tired her out.”

“It would tire anyone out,” Chris says. “Honestly, I don’t know how you can just hop on a plane to a different country and not get a serious case of jet lag. It’s gotta be affecting your writing too you know.”

Victor nods at this and lies down next to his phone.

“Just a little bit.”

His mind wanders to Yuuri and how hard he’s been working over the past few weeks. When competition season started he was stressed of course, but it wasn’t quite as bad as it is currently. Victor’s never seen him push himself so hard before, something about Yuuri’s upcoming assignment seems to have lit a fire in him.

“I’m worried about him you know,” Victor says. “I don’t want him to hurt himself.”

Chris doesn’t respond, the silence that resonates within the room fills the air.

“...Why?”

Chris’s response brings Victor back to reality and he looks over at his phone in shock.

“What do you mean ‘why’?” He asks him. “He’s my friend, why wouldn’t I care about him?”

“It’s just…” Chris hesitates. “You usually don’t go this far for any other research you’ve put into your scripts. You spent a week with an opera singer for Aria but other than that I’ve never seen you go months on end traveling with someone for ‘inspiration’. Why do you care so much about someone that you’re just using for your next film? You’ve never cared before, at least never to this extent.”

There’s a beat as Victor ponders his response, before choosing to ignore the question instead.

“I gotta go, Chris, I have a plane to catch tomorrow.”

Chris lets out a sigh as he comes to terms with the fact that his friend doesn’t feel like finishing the conversation.

“Alright.” He tells Victor. “Make sure to send me a copy when you’re done with the script, I want to read it.”

“Will do.”

With that as their final goodbyes, Victor hangs up the call and collapses on top of the bed.

The next morning he drops Makkachin off at Yurio’s place and gives the two skaters a ride to the airport. Yurio’s grandfather seems more than excited to welcome Victors large dog into his home for a few days, much to his grandson’s dismay.

After dropping off his pet the three of them board their plane, tablet and headphones prepped and ready for the long flight ahead of them.

Victor and Yuuri end up sitting next to each other but as soon as they get the okay to turn their devices on Yuuri plugs in his headphones and drifts off to sleep. Victor doesn’t mind too much, deciding to open up his tablet and continue his work on the next scene.

It isn’t until moments later that he feels a considerable weight fall on his shoulder and he looks over to see Yuuri completely out of it. The added distraction makes it infinitely more difficult to focus on what he is writing but Victor tries his best.

After trying for a long time to keep his mind focused on the script and not the handsome man passed out on his shoulder Victor gives up and drifts off to sleep as well.

Yurio wakes them up with a quick shove as soon as the plane lands, and they quickly gather up their things to meet with Yakov.

Victor has never been to Beijing until now, he finds himself staring out the window in awe as the different buildings and surroundings pass by them in the car. Yuuri seems to notice this as he is pulled from his own head and gives Victor a very tired but excited smile.

“You know,” Yuuri says, “I’ve done this competition so many times but I never take the time to sightsee.”

“Well, that is a travesty,” Victor tells him. “I guess that just means we’ll have to explore the city together.”

“Can you guys not be gross for like five minutes.” Yurio groans. “I don’t feel like barfing in the car.”

They glance at one another and try not to laugh at Yurio’s sudden commentary.

As they pull up to the hotel a swarm of reporters is seen surrounding the entrance. They tried for the most part to keep the flight they were boarding a secret but the location of their hotel is the same as all the other skaters.

Noticing this Yakov turns to the rest of them and gestures towards the flashing cameras outside.

“I’ll do the talking, just go to your rooms and get settled in.”

They nod at this and sure enough as soon as the car door opens flashes of light and questions from all around start pouring in. Victor finds himself shielding Yurio from the brunt of it while Yakov pulls them into a different direction to answer their questions.

As soon as they are able to make it inside they grab their room keys and head upstairs. Deciding to`settle in and unpack their things they split up, and Victor plops his luggage on the floor of his room and collapses on the bed. He stays like that for a few minutes before rolling over to grab his laptop and open his script document.

Looking over the piece in its entirety he’s close to finishing the first draft, just a few more scenes including the climax and resolution of the whole conflict and he’ll be ready to re-edit. His hands hover over the keyboard with this knowledge and he struggles to put any words down.

Glancing over at the clock and letting out a yawn he decides to close the laptop entirely and check his phone. Going through his notifications he can see a few dozen articles noting his presence with the skaters in China. Along with those are a few photos Chris posted with his husband celebrating their anniversary and the casual dog or cat picture that pops up every now and then.

The next morning he heads down with Yakov and the rest of them to meet up with the other skaters for their warm-up practice. There’s no avoiding the press when they arrive but as soon as they get to the ice, for the most part, they are left alone.

It seems they’re one of the first to arrive as Victor watches Yakov send his skaters onto the ice. Music echoes throughout the stadium as the clicking and flashing from the reporters surrounding them take pictures and record Yuuri and Yurio practice their routines. Soon enough more people start to show up and the attention is divided between everyone getting ready for the competition tomorrow.

Victor takes note of the schedule of events and ignores the different questions being flung in his direction every once in a while. He notes the different cameras from stations all over the world getting ready to broadcast the event and takes a headcount of how many skaters are allowed on the ice at a time.

After a while, they clear the ice and move on to their individual practice. Each skater is given a chance on the ice to practice their routine with their own program music and work through any additional pieces of their work they want to polish. There are a few skaters that go on before Yuuri and Yurio that Victor is able to get a glimpse of here and there. He watches as they carefully go through each step sequence and pace themselves at a speed where they can slow down every once in a while and go back to work on something.

While the other skaters hit the ice Victor looks back to see Yurio definitively ignoring their routines and instead opting to play on his phone while they work. Sitting next to him though, Yuuri zeroes in on everyone that steps onto the ice individually.

His eyes are focused as he watches, and his shoulders tense up as each performer takes their spot on the ice before him. It’s an immediate reaction that Victor hasn’t seen in a while, in fact, it's one that he hasn’t really seen at all until now.

The only time Victor really gets to see Yuuri relax is when Yurio is finally able to hit the ice and practice his routine. Victor hasn’t really spent a lot of time watching Yurio during his practices so he has a very vague idea of what the actual program looks like. As soon as the music starts playing though Victor automatically recognizes it as the song that Yuuri skated to in Hatsetsu when Yurio arrived.

It looks a lot different from when Yuuri first performed it back in Japan, Yurio seems to put his own kind of flare into the routine. It’s not any less delicate than it was when Yuuri showed it to him but it does have a bit more of a passionate feel to it. If there was any way to phrase it Victor would say that when Yurio was practicing it the whole routine felt less hopeless.

Yuuri watches this with a small smile forming on his face and for a second there Victor would say that he looks a little proud. Back in Russia, he noticed how Yuuri would take some time to work with Yurio on different parts of his routine and help him through his step sequences. He can only imagine there would be some pride in seeing the routine they worked together on for months come to life.

As soon as Yurio’s time slot is up it’s Yuuri’s turn to hit the ice. Victor watches as the worry sinks back into Yuuri’s face as they get up and glide to the center of the rink. Yurio stays by the rinkside to watch along with everyone else in the room.

The chatter of the press, the clicking of cameras, the conversations passing by all seem to stop as Yuuri takes the ice and assumes his opening stance.

Everyone is watching him.

The room is quiet.

And they wait.

The air is still as the opening notes of On Love: Eros start to play and Yuuri begins the routine. Within the first few seconds there is already a shift in attitude between how Yuuri was acting just moments ago. It’s almost like a completely different person has overtaken his body as he gets into the music and winks in Victor’s direction, causing a light blush to form on his face while Yurio groans in the background.

It feels like the first time Victor saw Yuuri skating back in Hatsetsu, a story that can’t really be put into words comes to life as he goes through each jump and spin. It becomes more than a story, almost like an emotion that Victor can’t really put his finger on.

The people around them seem to be pulled into the performance as well, watching as intently as Yuuri was for them. Each of his competitors display a mixed reaction of excitement and fear as the routine goes on, and all of the reporters are seen desperately taking note of every spin and jump that Yuuri displays.

The program is close to an end, and as Yuuri takes off into his final jump, he tries for the quad flip and-

CRASH

He hits the ground with a solid thud and stumbles to get back up. The momentum of the entire program seems to disappear as this happens and Yuuri rushes to the end of his routine. All the chatter and voices in the room reappear as he steps off the ice. The first thing Yakov does is have him sit down so they can check his ankle. Panic spreads on Yuuri’s face as they check to see if anything is wrong, wincing every once in a while as they look over the damage.

“Just some bruising.” Yakov sighs. “Nothing we need to worry about as long as you don’t do anything else to strain it.”

A wave of relief passes over Yuuri’s face as he says this and he nods his head.

“Yuuri! Are you alright?”

Victor turns around to see one of Yuuri’s former rinkmate’s, Phichit, make their way over to them.

“Phichit!” Yuuri says, a smile forming on his face. “I haven’t seen you in forever! How are you?”

“Don’t change the subject.” He shakes his head. “You always overwork yourself you know, you’re not young like me taking a fall like that could seriously hurt you.”

“I’m only 24 you know.”

So oooooooooooooooold.”

Yuuri laughs at this, the fear in his eyes from the fall earlier fading away as he catches up with his old friend.

“This is Victor, he’s been traveling with us these past few months.”

“I remember you!” Phichit exclaims. “We talked over the phone, you’re writing that script about Yuuri right?”

“Yup that’s me,” Victor nods. “Although, I’m almost done working on it.”

“Well, that’s good to hear.” Phichit smiles. “It’s crazy that you two ran into each other since Yuuri told me all about-”

He seems to be cut off though by the sight of Yuuri furiously shaking his head, a sight that does not go unnoticed by Victor.

“-absolutely nothing in particular.”

Victor nods his head at this, confused but not curious enough to press for details. Seeing the subject is dropped Yuuri lets out a sigh and looks around the rink.

“So where’s Celestino?” Yuuri asks him. “You’re still training in Detroit right?”

“Yeah, he’s dealing with some of my sponsors right now.” Phichit sighs. “After all of this, we were gonna go grab something to eat. You two wanna come? It’s been a while since we’ve hung out.”

“I don’t know,” Yuuri says, looking back at Yakov who notices his hesitation.

“Go have fun.” He tells him. “Just make sure you’re not late tomorrow morning.”

Phichit smiles at this and waves at Victor and Yuuri.

“Great, we’ll see you guys later.”

With that, he takes off and Yuuri looks back over at Victor.

“I hope you don’t mind going out with us tonight,” Yuuri says. “You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.”

“And miss a night out on the town?” Victor smiles. “Not a chance.”

Yuuri lets out a small laugh and finishes taking off his skates before turning to watch the next skater’s performance.

Once the day is over they head back to the hotel to drop off their things before meeting up with Phichit. As Victor is about to leave he stops to take a quick look in the mirror before attempting to tidy up his hair a bit and deciding to just leave it after a few minutes.

They all decide to go out and grab a hot pot, Phichit groaning at Yuuri’s insistence to have more vegetables at the table then meat. While they order, a tall Italian man approaches their table and Phichit seems to notice as he waves him over.

“Celestino you’re here!”

“Wouldn’t miss a chance to catch up with one of my skaters.” He says sitting down at their booth. “It’s good to see you again Yuuri, how’s Russia treating you?”

“It’s been great,” Yuuri tells him. “This is Victor, by the way, we’ve been traveling together throughout the season.”

Victor reaches out a hand to greet the man who, unlike Yakov in their first meeting, is happy to shake it.

“Nice to meet you, Victor.” He smiles. “I hope you don’t mind me barging in on your evening with these two.”

“Not at all, I feel more like the intruder in this case than anything.”

Celestino laughs at this and orders a round of drinks for all of them, Yuuri being the only one that really declines.

In stark contrast to Yakov, Celestino seems really laid back. He laughs and jokes with the rest of them while they eat and tells Victor stories about how the two skaters would drive him crazy back in Detroit. Phichit complains about how boring the end of last season was without Yuuri around to skate with and goes into detail about how excited he is to show off his new short program tomorrow.

“I’m finally doing it Yuuri.” He says. “I’m putting the King and the Skater officially on ice! It’s gonna be so exciting!”

Yuuri nods his head at this and smiles.

“Yes I know, it’s only your favorite movie in the whole world.”

“The 2009 picture?” Victor asks him. “I think I knew a guy who worked as a sound mixer on that film.”

Phichit’s eyes go wide as he says this and he turns his attention to Victor.

“Oh my god tell me everything.”

They drink and eat until Celestino has one too many and Phichit decides to call it a night.

Making their way back to the hotel Yuuri and Phichit continue to talk while lugging Celestino through the streets. There’s an unfamiliar feeling of dread that gathers in Victor as he watches the two, he can’t really understand why that would be though. Victor likes Phichit, he thinks both him and Celestino are really fun to hang around and everything. But watching Phichit and Yuuri joke around and poke fun at each other seems to make him aware of just how distant he tends to feel around Yuuri some days.

The days leading up to the Cup of China while they were back in Russia made this very clear to both of them. As Yuuri became more focused on his programs Victor retreated into his writing, conversations became shorter, and while they saw each other every day their time together became so short and calculated. It’s been a while since he saw Yuuri this open and having fun, and a part of him is a little uncomfortable with the fact that he’s not the one who was able to bring that out in Yuuri again.

Despite this, he keeps these feelings to himself and they say their goodbyes to Phichit and his coach in the elevator. As soon as it’s the two of them Victor looks over at Yuuri and can’t help but feel a little relieved at the fact that at least he doesn’t look as tense as he did when they first arrived.

“You know, it’s only 10 o’clock,” Yuuri mentions. “Want to watch a movie in my room?”

Victor raises his eyebrows at this, clearly not expecting an invitation to spend time together past dinner, but smiles nonetheless and nods his head.

“As long as it’s not one of mine.”

While Yuuri scrolls through his Netflix Victor looks through his feed on social media, hopping in between the chaos that is Twitter and the comment section of his Instagram. He notices he’s been tagged in a couple of photos from Phichit, along with Yuuri and the rest of them having dinner together.

“So, were you and Phichit ever-”

“No, god no.” Yuuri interrupts him before he can finish. “Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s great, but he’s only ever been a friend to me.”

For some reason, a huge weight seems to be lifted from his chest as he hears Yuuri say this, and he can’t help but feel a small smile form on his face.

“I guess I’m just prone to assumptions then.” He says. “Still, it’s nice to have someone you’re close to like that. I’ve only really got Chris to hang out with back in L.A and that’s about it.”

“That’s got to be a lie,” Yuuri tells him. “You grew up with two Hollywood stars as parents, and you’re telling me they never set you up on any play dates with one of their famous friends?”

“Oh, they did I just never liked any of them.”

Yuuri laughs at this and shakes his head.

“What’s it like?” Yuuri asks him. “You never really talk about your life in California, and I don’t mean the glamorous parties or long days on set, I mean beyond all that what’s it like?”

Victor sits there, unable to find an answer to Yuuri’s question since he’s never thought about it. He contemplates how to put it into words for a moment and sighs.

“It’s like... I’m in a constant cycle of creative labor.” He says. “On the one hand I’ve got the studio cranking out demands, then the press trying to peek into my life, and my family waiting for me to make choices they’ll approve of. My world is pretty much like one big role. I just play the part that everyone expects from me and force myself to work and create for those who are watching. After a while, I don’t really feel like much of a person, just another piece on set during a constant performance.”

Yuuri nods at this and Victor looks away.

“I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s lonely.”

The air in the room grows thick as they sit there in silence, unable to really say anything to each other. Victor, fully aware of how uncomfortable he feels right now, tries to get up and leave when suddenly he feels a weight fall onto his shoulder.

He looks down to see Yuuri resting his head on him, their eyes drooping as he moves closer.

“I know how that feels.”

A lot of people in the past have said those exact words, and granted maybe they did understand what kind of life Victor had growing up, but for the first time it feels like someone actually means it.

They pull up a documentary about dogs to watch as the night crawls by, but it doesn’t matter because within the first half hour Yuuri falls asleep. Victor turns the movie off and pulls the comforter over Yuuri before picking up his things and heading out, only stopping for a moment to look back at Yuuri’s drooling face on the pillow. He can't help but smile at this before turning off the lights and heading back to his room.

Once he’s by himself Victor pulls out his laptop and opens up the script, settling himself down and working on the next scene. A good hour and a half pass by while he sits there typing, and when the clock reaches midnight he stops at the last few words he needs to write. His pace suddenly slowing to a halt as he patiently types out letter by letter the last sentence in his script.

FADE OUT.

It’s finished, there are editing and revisions to be made of course, but in the long run, the story itself is done. The research, the travel, the interviews, the nights spent typing away until his hands felt numb are over. In one simple and quick sentence, he finishes months of work.

So why is he so sad?

His mind can’t help but wander back to Yuuri, and every last moment and sleepless night they had back in Russia, that week in Hatsetsu when it was just the two of them getting to know each other. It really feels like they’ve grown closer together than he has with anyone he’s ever worked with. He can’t help but feel excited when they see one another or when he knows they’re gonna have some time to be alone. Even today he felt real fear when he saw Yuuri take that fall during practice, and when they were alone in his room just talking about his life back home he’s never felt comfortable with anyone enough to open up like that.

He wants to see him happy, wants to be the person that makes him happy, and it doesn’t make any sense because even though it’s only been a few months some part of him is still afraid to assume anything about where he stands in Yuuri’s life. It’s a foreign concept to him, being the one looking in from the outside. Beyond everything, beyond reason and logic, he wants more than anything to just hold onto those small moments together for as long as he can.

And when he finishes this script, that’ll all be over.

When it’s over he’ll have no reason to stay anymore, and without any reason to stay in Russia where will he go? Does he go back to the states and try to sell his script? Get a production company to produce it? Once that’s done where will that leave him?

And where would that leave him and Yuuri?

Really he has no reason to be so upset about this, and he doesn’t really understand exactly why he is so hesitant to step out of Yuuri’s life. Maybe it’s because he’s selfish and he doesn’t really want to go back home, or maybe he’s scared that what he’s worked on won’t be enough to get him back on track with his career. Neither of those explanations really put into words the gut-wrenching feeling he gets when the idea of walking away appears in his mind. Saying goodbye to everyone, to Yuuri, and as strange and suddenly as it appears the answer to all of this brings Victor to a halt.

He loves him.

The thought just sits in his mind for awhile as he comes to terms with a truth that some part of him has known for a long time but refused to acknowledge. It hits him like a train and a wave of conflicting emotions rise up in his heart as he takes in the fact that his feelings for Yuuri go beyond admiration, and have rooted themselves in something far more intense and real.

He loves him.

You shouldn’t fall in love with someone that you’re writing, becoming friends and caring about them as people are bound to happen but love is something far more dangerous. It’s something that he has no control over, something that he’s never had to deal with or understand before. How does he try to reason with himself about how he got here? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to suddenly have these feelings when he’s worked with people before, sat with them through interviews, and traveled around the world with co-stars and actors in the past, but he’s never felt anything for them beyond friendship.

He loves him.

But this isn’t something that should make sense right? He’s just so confused and trying to put the pieces together of how it got to this point but all he can think of is how worried he was when he saw Yuuri take that fall today. How his heart is suddenly lifted when he sees him smile, or when they have the time to hang out and not stress about work or skating. He can’t help but be pulled into the way that Yuuri seems to change his expectations and surprise him at every step of the way, how easy it is to fall into step with him and joke around, and it feels like they could waste a whole day talking about anything and it would be the best day he’s had in a long time.

He loves him.

And how could he not? Yuuri is just so incredibly kind and inspiring that everyone that meets him would fall in love with him, and if they don’t they must be blind. He's wonderful and kind in every way imaginable, and the thought of just saying goodbye and leaving like he has with everyone else is too hard for him to picture. For the first time ever he wishes he could freeze himself in time and never leave his place by Yuuri’s side. He knows what Chris would say about the situation, and he might be right.

He needs to tell Yuuri.

But if he tells him how he feels would that even be right? Yuuri’s been training for months nonstop to get to where he is right now on his comeback season, he doesn’t want to just bring that all to a stop because he is finally able to see the bigger picture of his own heart. If he brought his own feelings into all of this wouldn’t that be selfish? And yet he can’t help but feel like he’s already being selfish by sitting in on this moment that Yuuri’s been working toward for so long.

He closes his laptop and goes to bed, it’s better to figure this out in the morning after all. As he slips under the sheets and turns off the lights more than anything he wishes he had his dog to comfort him as she has for so many years.

When the morning comes he throws on a button down shirt and nice slacks, trying to pump himself up for the competition later today.

As he makes his way towards the elevator he runs into Yuuri, who looks well rested but incredibly tense. His costume is hidden underneath his warm-up outfit and it looks like he’s already styled his hair up.

He looks up at Victor and gives him a soft smile, one that sends a pang through Victor’s heart.

“Hey, sorry about falling asleep on you last night.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Victor smiles. “I’m just glad you got some rest, it was starting to look like you’d stay up all night worried about this if I didn’t find some way to distract you.”

Yuuri laughs and nods his head.

Silence sits between them as the elevator starts to descend and Victor can’t help but glance over at Yuuri every once in a while. He looks nervous, and as much as he can try to disguise it with a smile or a calm facade his eyes will drift off as if his mind is somewhere else.

“I finished my script last night.”

As quickly as the words left his mouth Yuuri’s eyes snap back to reality and looks up at him.

“Really?” He asks. “That’s exciting, are you happy with how it turned out?”

Victor nods his head at this.

“Yeah, I think it’s one of my best in a while.” He tells Yuuri. “I need to go over it a few times and make a few edits here and there, but for the most part I’m finished working on it.”

Yuuri doesn’t say anything, just simply nods his head and looks away. Victor tries to understand what his expression could mean but is unable to make anything out.

“I’m happy for you,” Yuuri says.

His expression could be anything but happy, however, but before Victor could ask him anything the doors open to the lobby and Yuuri rushes out of the elevator towards his coach and Yurio.

Victor follows suit as they hop into the car and make their way towards the stadium, Yuuri keeping his gaze out the window the whole time. The tension in the air is thick and even Yurio is lost in his own mind as he drowns himself in music coming from his headphones.

He watches by the sidelines as they head into practice, and even though Yuuri seems to be focused on his routine something seems off. He isn’t working on any of his jumps and looks like his head is somewhere else at the moment. Victor can’t quite put down what’s wrong, and it looks like Yakov is concerned as well.

When the time comes for the competition he takes a peek at some of the other skaters to see what they are up against. Each routine has a different story or theme that is brought to life each time someone steps onto the ice, no two pieces are the same. Fans from all across the world seem to be gathered up in the stands waving the flags their favorite skaters are from or reigning gifts down after every performance.

When the time comes for Yuuri to skate the roaring crowd goes silent, everyone’s eyes are all focused on him as he skates into the middle of the ice and goes into his starting pose.

The air is deathly still.

The music starts to play and Victor watches as Yuuri moves from his opening stance, but something is different from the day before. He can’t tell if it’s nerves but this is not the same routine from yesterday, it feels slower and less passionate than it has during practices. The crowd seems to notice this too and as he goes into the set up for his first jump everyone is sitting on the edge of their seats holding their breath and-

 

He falls.

 

The rest of the routine is hard to watch from there, he looks stiff and his movements are slow, but he’s able to pull off just enough to not end up in last place.

When the music ends the crowd cheers and claps for him but the damage is done, and Yuuri watches with a blank expression as his score is given in the kiss and cry.

Yurio is the last to perform, and with their final scores clocked in Yuuri ends the short program in sixth place and Yurio in second next to Phichit in first.

They don’t talk on the way back to the hotel, the entire ride back is tense as Yakov tries to give some criticism here and there to keep in mind for the free program. Despite all his efforts however it just doesn’t seem like it’s getting through to Yuuri at all. And when they make their way into the elevator Victor turns to see Yuuri staring straight ahead, doing everything he can to ignore him.

When he’s finally alone in his own room Victor plops down on his bed and lays there for a moment staring up at the ceiling.

He can hear his phone buzzing and he takes it out to see a message from Chris pop up.

How’s the script coming along?

Victor looks over the message for a few minutes, thinking about today and everything that happened, before typing out his response.

Finished the first draft, wanna read it?

This isn’t about him, he refuses to be the person that distracts Yuuri from something he’s been working toward for so long. He can’t make things more difficult than they already are, and telling Yuuri how he feels is too much of a distraction. It’s better to keep things professional and make sure he finishes what he came here to do. And as he clicks send on an email to his friend with a copy of his work he understands that his time as an observer is over.

Once the competition wraps up he’ll pack his things in Russia and go back to the states, it’s what’s best for him anyways.

It’s what’s best for Yuuri.

 

Chapter Text

INT. STADIUM - DAY

A thunderous applause rings through the air as the crowd is brought to their feet. Their eyes filled with tears from what they’ve just witnessed, gifts from fans being showered onto the ice from all around, and yet as he looks up there is a pained expression in his eyes.

Across the rink he finally sees him, and as he does the crowd goes silent. Their cries are unable to reach his ears as they lock eyes.

He reaches forward.

They reach back.

_______________________________________

Victor doesn’t sleep that night.

Hours go by while he stares up at the ceiling by himself, eyes drooping ever so slightly but they never rest, his mind too busy at the moment to dream.

When the alarm on his phone goes off he turns to look at the time glaring up at him and sighs.

He gets up. 

Takes a shower.

Gets dressed.

Combs his hair.

Brushes his teeth.

Everything feels like a grocery list at this point, but Victor doesn’t really care at the moment. He’s too tired and stressed to really focus on anything other than the instant coffee sitting in his room that tastes too bitter.

Before making his way out he glances back at the laptop sitting on his bed and considers for a moment whether or not he wants to see if Christophe got the email. He’s almost positive they would’ve seen it by now and written back any comments or suggestions, but glancing back at the clock he decides to wait until later tonight to check.

Making his way towards the elevator he walks past Yuuri’s room and hesitates for a second. Victor struggles with the decision of whether or not he should check on him, only to shake his head and walk away.

Heading into the lobby Victor sees Yakov and Yurio already there waiting for him to arrive. Yurio is struggling to keep his eyes open at the moment and glares up at Victor’s direction while Yakov stands to the side downing a cup of coffee.

“Is he almost ready?” Yurio grumbles.

“I don’t know.” Victor says. “I thought he’d already be down by now.”

Yakov takes notice of this and checks his watch. 

“He needs to be here in the next five minutes or we’re going to be late.” He sighs. “Why didn’t you two come down together like yesterday?”

Victor shrugs his shoulders.

“I just got up before him I guess.”

Yurio rolls his eyes.

“You sure you two didn’t get into a fight or something?” 

Victor glares at him and shakes his head.

“I can go make sure he’s up.” 

“Don’t worry about it.” Yakov sighs. “I’ll go bring him down.”

He gets up and walks to the elevator only to stop when the doors open and Yuuri makes his way towards them. 

 Unlike the day before he looks well rested, his hair is styled back and his costume is hidden away inside the workout bag slung across his shoulder. He looks up at Victor and for a moment their eyes lock before turning away to face his coach.

“Sorry it took me so long.” He tells Yakov. “I overslept, we can head out now.”

His eyes are cold and emotionless as he speaks before walking right past Victor, as if he isn’t even there. Confused and a little hurt by the chilly attitude that Yuuri is giving him right now Victor decides to brush it off and follow everyone outside.

The ride to the stadium is silent.

Uncomfortably silent.

Yuuri sits on the opposite side of him and keeps his eyes focused out the window, leaving Yurio to sit in between the two of them. Victor glances over in Yuuri’s direction every now and then, only to be ignored.

The awkwardness does not go unnoticed by Yurio, who is glancing between the two of them, curious as to what exactly is going on. He gives Victor a look as if to ask if everything is alright but Victor can only shrug. They didn’t get a chance to talk the night before, after what happened with the short program he figured Yuuri would like some time alone, and to be honest he needed some time to himself to think as well.

Apparently not satisfied with his answer Yurio rolls his eyes and plugs in his headphones, trying to drown himself in heavy metal to ignore the awkward atmosphere. Victor can’t blame him, the fifteen minutes it takes to get to the stadium feel like hours, and for the first time in his life the sight of paparazzi and flashing cameras feels welcome. 

Yakov guides them through the masses and they make their way inside, Yuuri and Yurio walking ahead to meet up with the other skaters and stretch. Victor feels something tug at the sleeve of his jacket and turns to see Yakov gesture towards Yuuri.

“Did something happen between you two?” He asks. “We don’t need any distractions today.”

Victor shrugs his shoulders.

“Nothing I can think of.” 

Yakov nods and glances back at his two skaters. He looks concerned, and to Victor’s surprise, a little nervous.

“I’ll take your word for it.”

Yakov goes to supervise them, leaving Victor to watch from the sidelines unsure of what exactly he should be doing. He watches as Yuuri interacts with the other skaters for some time before the sound of his phone buzzing draws his attention. 

He opens it up to see a phone call from Chris.

“Hey what's up?”

“Did you get my email?” Chris asks him.

“No I haven’t had the chance to look at it yet.” Victor says. “Why, what did you think?”

There's a beat of silence on Chris’s end of the conversation, and it sounds like he’s talking to someone in the background. 

“Yeah, I loved it, I just wanted to make sure it was alright before I-”

Victor doesn’t hear the end of his sentence however as he realizes that Yakov is waving at him to catch up as they make their way towards the rink.

“Yeah no that’s fine.” 

“Really!?” Chris exclaims. “Because I didn’t want to do it without letting you know first.”

“Yeah no it’s fine.” Victor says. “I gotta go, they're calling me over.”

“Alright well I’ll let you know what he thi-”

Victor hangs up before Chris can finish that thought and makes his way over to the ice with Yakov and the rest. 

As he approaches Yuuri takes note of Victor and skates onto the ice without saying a word. There’s not a lot he’s said this entire day, but there’s something bothering him. Victor can tell that something is off, and it kills him that he doesn’t know what it is. 

The practice goes off without a hitch, Yuuri pops a few jumps here and there and Yurio fumbles on his step sequence a few times. For the most part there’s really not much to stress about right now, but there’s so much tension in the air that Victor can’t help but feel like they need to be worried.

They step off the ice as their time slot runs out, Yurio is pacing back and forth listening to his music and trying not to act nervous, but he can’t really tell what Yuuri is thinking. Even Yakov doesn’t quite know what to say as he goes over what to keep in mind for the competition tonight. 

_______________________________________

INT. INN - EVENING

The sound of people scrambling to find a good place to sit as they eagerly turn their eyes towards the television screen echoes through the building. The large crowd chattering away fills the hallways of this small inn, and the Katsuki family is doing their best to make sure everything remains calm.

Yuuko and Nishigori are gathered on the floor with their children at the front, and as the ISU logo pops up everyone starts to quiet down and pay attention.

The door at the front entrance swings open suddenly and in rushes Minako, shrugging off her jacket and struggling to catch her breath. Hiroko makes her way up to greet her.

 

“It’s a bit of a madhouse today due to the competition.” She tells Minako. “I don’t know if we’ll have enough drinks to keep everybody happy.”

“I’m sure it won’t be too bad.” Minako says. “I’m sorry I’m late, has he gone on yet?”

Hiroko shakes her head before the crowd gathered in the dining hall erupts into cheers.

They both rush in to see footage of Yuuri walking through the hallways of the facility in China, his coach and Victor following close behind with Yurio doing his best to get past them.

He has his headphones on and his eyes are glued to the floor as he tries to evade the cameras, the announcers start discussing different stats for the season as a graphic pops up on screen.

Minako scrunches her nose at this and shakes her head.

“He looks nervous.” 

“I know.” Hiroko nods, her eyes glued to the screen. “I hope the stress isn’t getting to his head, I’d hate to see him mess up his ankle again.”

Minako doesn’t say anything, instead trying to keep her focus on her former student scrolling through his phone on screen.

“You didn’t tell him about the watch party did you?”

“Of course not.” Minako scoffs. “I know how he gets before a competition, I didn’t want to freak him out anymore than he’ll already be.”

Hiroko nods and keeps her eyes glued to the screen, the worry on her face plain as day as she tries to get a read on her son.

“There’s something on his mind.” She says.

“Well it is his first competition in the Grand Prix Seri-”

“It’s not just the competition.” Hiroko interrupts. “It’s something else.”

Minako stops to look at her confused.

“What do you mean?” She asks. “How can you tell?”

Hiroko doesn’t respond just yet, her focus instead on Victor in the background keeping a measurable distance between him and Yuuri. His eyes drift over in Yuuri’s direction while he’s not looking before turning away as soon as he’s caught. Victor’s not alone, Yuuri’s been doing the same thing this entire time.

“Call it a mother’s intuition.”

_______________________________________

Back at the rink Victor and Yakov stand to the side as their skaters take to the ice to warm up with the others in their group. While everyone else sheds off their jackets and sweats Yuuri keeps his on, choosing to keep his costume hidden away.

They go through the motions of his routine and Victor tears his eyes away to get a look at the other competition. Phichit seems relaxed as he practices his program absentmindedly and chats with the other skaters from America and China. His costume is a bit more subdued from the previous day with a sky blue top and his hair slicked back. He makes a comment to Yuuri as they pass each other and gives him a pat on the shoulder before turning to look back at Victor briefly.

Victor doesn’t think much of it, at least he tries not to. It’s the first time this entire day he’s seen Yuuri engage in any conversation.

“We’ve only got two quads in Yuuri’s program going up against Phichit.” Yakov grumbles. “He’s got to be absolutely flawless today.”

“Why does he only have two?” Victor asks. “How many does Phichit have?”

“Cialdini has him marked down for three.” He says. “The lutz, the toe loop, and the flip, which has put us at a clear disadvantage. Yuuri is able to land a solid triple axel, and Phichit is allegedly still shaky on his landing with the lutz, but Yuuri hasn’t been able to practice his quad flip since the fall last year. No, after yesterday everything has to be perfect if he wants a chance against Chulanont. And that’s not even considering the other skaters here today, it used to be that when Yuuri Katsuki came to compete people would only wonder who would come in second and third, but now it’s anyone’s game.”

Victor doesn’t know what to say, so he stays silent. He feels his stomach drop as Yakov details all of this to him, unable to come up with the words to respond in any meaningful way. 

“I can’t help but feel like I’m failing him.” Yakov sighs, his shoulders slumped as Victor glances over at him shocked. “There’s just something holding him back that I can’t see, something that’s keeping him from skating the way I’ve seen him skate before.”

Victor ponders over this for a moment, thinking back to all the events leading up to today.

“Maybe it’s me.” He says. “Maybe you were wrong about having me come with you guys on this trip, I should’ve stayed back in Russia with the others.”

Yakov lets out a grunt and shakes his head. 

“It’s not you.” He says. “Out of everyone here, you’re the only person I’ve seen who is able to pull that boy out of his own head. A miracle considering how blind you are.”

Victor doesn’t have time to ask what that means before the skaters are called off the ice and one by one they file out.

Yakov occupies himself with guiding them away from the ice and backstage to the warm up room with everyone else, noticing the cold shoulder still coming off of Yuuri though Victor takes a step back. 

“I’m gonna watch the first few skaters for a bit.” He tells them. “I’ll catch up with you all later.”

Yuuri glances up at him as he says this, a pained expression playing on his face. Yakov doesn’t seem to notice as he nods his head and walks away with Yuuri and Yurio in tow.

He watches as the first few skaters take to the ice, and he has to admit that he’s impressed. The skater from China’s free program is absolutely beautiful in every way, and the American’s routine is fun and exciting. He’s almost able to distract himself enough to forget why he’s so stressed about being there in the first place.

The crowd is unlike anything he’s ever seen before, they wave flags and banners with skaters faces plastered on the front whenever they step onto the ice and shower the performer with different gifts to show their support. Victor watches as plush animals and flowers fall from the crowd and onto the ice like heavy rainfall, never failing to cheer the skater up even if they’ve made a mistake or fell on the ice. He wonders how many of these mementos Yuuri’s received in the past, after the short program he had more than his fair share of presents thrown onto the ice, but Victor can only imagine the collection Yuuri must have by now.  

Another competitor is about to take the ice when someone grabs Victor by the arm and pulls him back. 

It’s Yurio, who looks out of breath, as he tugs at Victor’s sleeve.

“We need your help.” He says, and for the first time since he’s met Yurio, he looks worried.

They rush backstage to the warmup room to find Yakov pacing back and forth frantically going through his phone as they approach.

“There you are!” He exclaims. “Have you seen him?”

“Have I seen who?” Victor asks, looking back and forth between Yakov and Yurio. “What’s happening?”

“Yuuri’s missing.” 

Victor feels his stomach drop to the floor as he stares at them in disbelief.

“Did you see him while you were out there?” Yakov asks him. 

Victor shakes his head, unsure of what to say. His eyes dart around the room to see if maybe they were mistaken and he’s standing somewhere hidden in the crowd, but Yuuri is nowhere to be seen. 

Yurio lets out a groan and crosses his arms across his chest.

“Figures he would leave.” He pouts. “I don’t have time to worry about the pig, I’m supposed to compete right after him.”

Victor pulls out his phone to dial Yuuri’s number only to be sent to voicemail. Yakov takes note of this.

“I already tried that.” He tells Victor. “We’re supposed to be on the ice and ready to perform in ten minutes. Do you have any idea of where he would go?”

Victor shakes his head.

“I’ll take a look around.” He tells them. “I’m sure he’s close by.”

With that he heads off down the hallway and starts asking if anyone has seen Yuuri, to his surprise nobody knows where he could’ve gone. Not even the press that stays back to record the skaters stretching and warming up caught Yuuri wandering around. He’s starting to get worried when he runs into Phichit.

“Woah!” Phichit exclaims, nearly avoiding collision with Victor’s frantic pacing. “You alright there Victor-”

“Have you seen Yuuri?” 

Phichit looks at him confused and shakes his head.

“No, I haven’t.” He says. “Why? What happened?

“We can’t find him anywhere.” Victor tells him. “I’ve been wandering around here for a while just trying to see if anyone’s seen him. Do you have any idea of where he could’ve run off to?”

Phichit thinks to himself for a moment.

“He’s probably freaking out right now.” He says, shaking his head. “I might have an idea-”

“Phichit!” Cialdini stops him. “I need you over here now!”

Phichit rolls his eyes and sighs. 

“In a minute!” He shouts, before turning back towards Victor. “The last time I caught him doing this he just wanted to be left alone for a while.”

“So you know where he is?”

Phichit frowns at this.

“I think I do.”

As Victor wanders further down the parking garage, far from all the noise and excitement, he hears muffled crying echo through the room. In the distance he can make out Yuuri’s figure curled up on the floor, his face hidden and shoulders shaking. 

“Yuuri?”

He looks up at Victor, tears still fresh on his face.

“Victor!” He exclaims. “You shouldn’t be here!”

Victor ignores this and rushes towards him.

“Are you alright?” He says. “We couldn’t find you anywhere.”

As he reaches out Yuuri flinches back, causing Victor to stop in his tracks. Yuuri tries to wipe the tears from his face and takes a deep breath. 

“I’m fine.” He says. “I was just trying to calm down. I’m sorry, I didn’t want anyone to find me like this.”

“Calm down?” Victor asks him. “Why? What happened?”

“I don’t really-”

“Yuuri you can talk to me-”

“Victor please-”

“I’m sure whatever it is-”

“Stop!”

“We can fix this!”

“You don’t-”

“Why won’t you just talk to me!”

“Because I can’t do this!”

Victor freezes at this and Yuuri looks up at him, his eyes red and shoulders slumped.

“I can’t do this.” Yuuri tells him. “I’m not capable of doing this, I haven’t been in a while. I don’t know why so many people keep putting their faith in me when I’m just never able to live up to it! If I go out there right now do you know what is going to happen? I’m going to make an absolute fool of myself in front of everyone! It doesn’t matter how hard I work, or how long I practice, what people expect from me and what I can physically do just don’t match up and I am so tired of being a disappointment! I. Can’t. Do. This .”

Victor freezes, unsure of how to react, and scared of saying something wrong. He kneels down on the ground in front of Yuuri and leans forward.

“I don’t know what to say.” He admits. “I’ve never seen you like this before.”

“Because I didn’t want you too.” Yuuri says. “I didn’t want anyone to see me like this, I hate this about myself so much! I hate how helpless and needy I get when I break down like this, I mean come on already! I heard that you’ll be heading back to America soon afterwards and I just broke down completely. How much more pathetic can I get?”

Victor feels his heart skip a beat for a second, though he’s not entirely sure why.

“I never said that I was going back.”

Yuuri rolls his eyes at this.

“What else are you going to do in Russia?” Yuuri asks him. “It’s not like there’s anything else worth staying for.”

For a moment, Victor considers telling him the truth. He feels the urge pulling at him to just confess everything right then and there, to lay out his heart and say how he feels right now. He wants to tell him what is really keeping him from hopping on a plane back home to edit his script, wants to admit that he does have a reason to linger in Russia for a while longer and that reason is sitting there right in front of him shaking with fear.

He wants to tell him.

But he doesn’t.

It wouldn’t be fair to Yuuri if he were to make this moment about how he was feeling right now, even Victor is capable of recognizing that, so instead he pulls back and takes a deep breath.

“What do you want Yuuri?”

It’s not the first time he’s asked this question, and yet Yuuri looks up at him just as confused as he was that day on the beach.

“What?”

“What do you want Yuuri?” Victor repeats himself. “Not what the audience wants, not what your coach wants, not your family or friends, and not me. What do you want?”

He doesn’t answer, not at first, silence sits between them as Yuuri lets the question sink in. Victor waits patiently, forcing himself to stay quiet and let Yuuri have this time to think.

“I want...to fall in love with skating again.”

He looks up at Victor, slowly regaining his composure.

“I want to enjoy what I’m doing.” He continues. “I want to feel like this is something that I chose to do. I want to do a routine that I’m going to love. I want to call my family afterwards and feel proud about how I performed. I want to celebrate with my friends after the competition and actually have fun instead of thinking about how I could’ve done better. I want to go home and eat my mother’s katsudon with everyone over and no paparazzi taking pictures of my every move. I want you-”

He stops himself before he can finish, but Victor presses forward.

“So why don’t you do that?” Victor asks him. “If this is how you feel why aren’t you letting  yourself have it?”

“It’s not that simple.” Yuuri tells him. “I don’t get to have that luxury.”

“Why not?”

“I just don’t.”

“Yes you do.”

“I don’t deserve it.”

“Yes you do.”

“I’m scared.” Yuuri stops him. “I’m just scared of what it means to let myself have that kind of room to breathe. The only reason I’ve gotten so far is because of how harsh I’ve been on myself, and if I let that go I don’t know how good I’ll really be. I’m scared to let that go, I’m scared to give myself a break, and I’m scared that if I go out there and skate without any of that weight and fear holding me down then it won’t be enough. I’m scared that I won’t be enough.”

Yuuri’s shoulders relax and his overall composure loosens up. Victor reaches out a hand tentatively, and when he sees that Yuuri isn’t going to flinch away, he rests it on his shoulder.

“It’s okay to be scared.” Victor tells him. “You have every right to be scared right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go out there and do this. I didn’t know who you were until we met, I had no clue how big of a deal you were until my friend told me over the phone, and even then it wasn’t the titles or your history on the ice that drove me to you. You love your mother’s katsudon even though it violates every rule in your diet, you know more trivia about the films I’ve written than even I do, you’re really really bad at speaking russian to the point where even I sound better than you and my family makes fun of my accent all the time.”

Yuuri laughs at this and shakes his head.

“You’re funny, and kind, and flawed.” Victor continues. “And you can do this. I’ve been with you every step of the way this season, I know how capable and talented you are, if there’s anyone here today who can step onto the ice and give a performance unlike any other it’s you. Not because you’re a champion, but because you’re Yuuri Katsuki. It doesn’t matter what the world wants, they don’t get to have a say.”

They sit there for a moment, the sound of the crowd above cheering muffled by the walls, and yet it doesn’t matter.

Yuuri straightens up his shoulders and takes a deep breath before rising to his feet and holding out a hand for Victor.

“Come on.” He says. “They’re waiting for me.”

Victor smiles at this and takes his hand.

As they rush out onto the ice Yuuri quickly strips himself of his warm up jacket and sweats to reveal the royal blue costume underneath. The rhinestone pattern on the back glistens under the fluorescent lighting, and even though his eyes are still puffy from crying he looks more determined than ever.

Yakov looks up at them surprised and rushes over to Yuuri and Victor.

“Where the hell have you been!?” Yakov exclaims. “You’re supposed to be on the ice right now!”

“I know, I’m sorry.” Yuuri tells him, his voice still shaky. “I had to take care of something.”

Before Yakov can say anything Yuuri walks past him and takes the blade guards off his skates before stepping onto the ice. He holds onto the side for a bit as the crowd greets him with excited cheers and screaming. 

Ignoring this he looks up at Victor and gestures for him to come closer.

“What’s up?” Victor asks, stepping closer to the barrier.

Before he has time to process what’s happening, Yuuri grabs Victor by the shirt and pulls him forward, planting a soft kiss on his cheek. Victor can feel the blush rising to his face as this happens and even though the sound of cameras and screaming fills the room, it's almost as if the entire world has stopped spinning. 

“You were right.” Yuuri tells him, his voice barely above a whisper. “I’m scared, more scared than I’ve ever been in my entire life.”

At this he leans back a little bit and Victor can see a smile on his face.

“But I can do this.”

He knows there are people staring at him and shouting from what they just saw, and yet he can’t seem to hear any of it. Victor finds himself too busy watching as Yuuri turns his back to him and skates towards the middle of the ice. 

He almost doesn’t catch it when the song begins to play amidst all the chaos until Yuuri shifts into his routine. It’s a routine that Victor knows by heart at this point, he’s seen it practiced again and again almost everyday back in St. Petersburg for the past month now, but something’s changed. The story that Yuuri has been weaving into his performance for months now is shifting, and suddenly Victor can see what Yuuri’s been trying to tell him this entire time. 

And he finally understands.

“What is he doing?” Yakov asks him. “This isn’t what we’ve been working on.”

But it’s exactly what Yuuri’s been trying to get across for months, and it’s clear as day at this moment right now. Yakov turns to look back at him for some kind of answer but Victor doesn’t know what to say as they watch Yuuri go into his first quad. Victor watches with anticipation as Yuuri gets into position and as the music swells he leaps...

 

...and lands it.

 

It wasn’t perfect, in fact he could hear Yakov next to him mutter under his breath about how shaky it looked, but regardless Victor can see the pride in Yuuri’s eyes as he keeps going. 

There’s a whole different energy coming off of Yuuri as he leads them through every twist and turn. It’s full of excitement, heartache, passion, and an overwhelming sense of love just radiating from every sequence and spin. He’s never seen anything like it before, he feels his heart swelling with an emotion he’d only dare to ever name, and as the program leads into its final stretch Yuuri changes something. Victor can hear Yakov gasp beside him.

“I can’t believe it.” 

And neither can Victor.

He brings his skate down onto the ice and leaps into the air.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four rotations.

The room holds its breath as he comes back down onto the ice and sticks the landing.

Everyone in the stands rises to their feet, in complete disbelief at what they’ve just witnessed. Yuuri was only marked down for two quads, and as if it were a spur of the moment decision he just pulled one right from the air and into his routine. It knocks the breath out of Victor for a moment, unsure of what to think.

And then he does it again.

Replacing the combination jump he was supposed to do Yuuri decides to move into a quad flip, and is in sync with the crowd as they lean forward cheering him on. The music starts to dwindle down into its last piano run, and as it does Yuuri goes into his final spin combo before ending the whole thing in his finishing pose, reaching out towards Victor.

Victor can see the sweat dripping down his face from where he’s standing, and it doesn’t take a genius to put together how difficult that was for Yuuri to perform last minute. Victor can’t imagine how exhausted he must feel right now, let alone process the whirlwind of emotions travelling through his head.

And yet he feels his heart swell as Yuuri reaches out toward him, because even from across the room with gifts being showered onto the ice from every direction he can feel the joy and pride in Yuuri’s eyes from what he’s just accomplished. There’s no list of things he’s done wrong running through his head, no tension, no criticism, just pure and utter joy displayed for all the world to see right there on Yuuri’s face. It’s vibrant, and blinding, and the most beautiful thing Victor has ever seen in the world.

It’s all rushing around him as Victor moves forward towards the kiss and cry, not paying attention to the world around him. His heart swells with every step he takes and with little hesitation he knows exactly what to do.

 

INT. STADIUM - DAY

A thunderous applause rings through the air as the crowd is brought to their feet. Their eyes filled with tears from what they’ve  just witnessed, gifts from fans being showered onto the ice from all around, and yet as he looks up there is a pained expression in his eyes.

Across the rink he finally sees him, and as he does the crowd goes silent. Their cries are unable to reach his ears as they lock eyes.

He reaches forward.

They reach back.

 

And then he kisses him.

He tries not to leap into his arms immediately, but it’s hard to hold himself back when he’s finally got it figured it out. Yuuri struggles to keep them standing, and they lose their footing for a bit before regaining their composure. Victor can feel Yuuri let out a soft laugh against his lips as they hold onto each other, trying to keep the both of them standing upright. The warmth from his touch makes Victor want to lean into his embrace, and he lets out a soft sigh as they finally pull away from one another.

Yuuri looks up at him with the gentlest look Victor’s ever seen, and cups his face in the palm of his hand.

“I did it.” He smiles, still struggling to catch his breath. “I finally did it.”

Victor can’t help but feel overwhelmed with joy as he smiles and rests his forehead against Yuuri’s.

“You did.”

Going through the motions of waiting for the scores to come in and attending the medal ceremony felt more like drifting through a dreamstate than the normal chore it had been in the past. They cheer for Yurio as he absolutely shines through his free skate performance and listen patiently as Yakov lists off the different sections of their routines they need to go over when they get back home. Yuuri ends up taking home a silver medal, and Yurio the bronze by a close margin, and to celebrate they have dinner with the other skaters as per Phichit’s request. 

They spend the night holding onto one another, drifting between a celebration of Yuuri’s performance and a longing to be in each other’s arms. Victor can’t help but smile as he watches Yuuri, it’s the most he’s seen him celebrate ever since they met. Their eyes meet throughout the night and there’s something left unspoken just waiting to be addressed. Something that took a while for him to figure out, but now he knows without a doubt what it is. 

They end their night together in Victor’s room, the door locked, and finally free from the prying eyes of everyone around them.

.

.

.

.

.

INT. HOTEL ROOM - MORNING

The happy couple lies in bed, neither of them awake as sunbeams peak through the blinds from their windows. 

Sitting on the coffee table to their left is Victor’s laptop, which has been left open from the night prior. The screen is dark for a moment before suddenly lighting up with an email notification.

It’s a message from Christophe that reads:

“They said yes! Barry wants to meet with you next weekend to start working on pre-production, they want to start shooting as soon as possible. Congrats Victor, this is one of your best scripts yet!”

Chapter Text

It’s Tuesday.

They didn’t really have time to discuss what happened at the Cup of China since they got back, but that didn’t stop Yurio from complaining about how disgustingly sweet they’ve been ever since. Despite not having anything else to work on at the rink Victor still makes it a habit to stop by for most of the day and watch Yuuri practice, something that social media has latched onto in the days after their very public kiss.

As for the reaction online Victor is no stranger to drama. Fans of Victor are suddenly very defensive about his newfound relationship while fans of Yuuri are very protective of their favorite skater. Everyone seems to think they have the full story, he’s seen more than enough gossip articles about how their relationship blossomed according to the public, but none of them tend to get it right. Either every iteration that gains traction is over sensationalized or people seem to assume they’re using one another for attention. 

Victor doesn’t care though, he doesn’t need to when the only opinion he really cares about in their relationship is Yuuri’s.

However, that doesn’t stop Yurio from voicing his.

“You guys are so gross!” Yurio shouts from across the rink. “Either drop by for a couple of minutes instead of distracting everyone else or wait until after practice to act weird around each other!”

Yuuri, undisturbed, responds by waving back at Yurio with a friendly smile.

“Focus more on your biellmann and less on my boyfriend!”

He groans at this while Victor laughs and heads back into his routine. Victor feels like he’s drifting through a dream, none of this should be real. Being able to see each other everyday, holding hands as they make their way back to his car, kissing him goodbye before they part for the night, it doesn’t feel fair for him to have all of this. 

Victor’s never had a relationship that lasted more than two months, and even then those were usually set up by his agent to garner attention from the media. Most of his free time has been dedicated to his work, and to be honest the reason none of his relationships ever seem to last usually stems from his nonchalant behavior towards others. That’s not to say that he is the player that people seem to make him out to be, but rather he finds himself too distracted by his work and as a result his attention is stretched thin.

But with Yuuri it just feels different, every second they have together feels like the most precious gift in the world. He’d never even think about wasting a second with Yuuri to focus on something else because every moment counts, from the drive home after practice to the small talk they make in between water breaks. He wants to memorize every touch, every kiss, every smile, and every laugh because he’s never felt like this before.

That’s why he’s been ignoring Chris’s email.

He doesn’t really have any reason to be upset with Chris, after all he was only trying to do something nice for Victor in the long run, but if there was ever a moment where he wanted to kick himself for not paying more attention to a conversation it was when he realized what Chris was trying to ask him during their phone call. 

The thing is, after Victor got drunk off his ass when his film didn’t win the Oscar for Best Picture the image of him acting like a blubbering mess got spread around. And considering how many people see him as a hot head on set most production companies have been hesitant to work with him as of late. That was actually one of the reasons he decided to go on vacation, he thought if he got a little distance from the public eye they’d eventually forget what a complete ass he had made of himself and let him get back to work in due time.

Yeah that didn’t work out. 

But he didn’t think that anyone would want to work with him so soon, according to his agent the best he could hope for was to wait a little over a year before people started trusting him again to run a set. Getting that email felt like a punch to the gut, because in all honesty it’s probably the only chance he has of getting back to work in less than a year.

But at the same time…

Victor watches as Yuuri runs through the step sequence in his short program with a sharp look in his eye, focusing on every step and turn throughout the segment. Yuuri takes a second to shake his head before looking up at Victor with a huge smile on his face and Victor can’t help but return it with a grin.

Everything is perfect right now, why would he want to ruin that? 

Never once in his life has Victor ever felt like making a decision between his work and his relationships would be so difficult. In the past if he was faced with an ultimatum between his partner or his film he’d choose the film, and he never felt like that was a hard choice to make. It was easy to focus everything on his work in the past, afterall being on set felt like home, but being with Yuuri is different.

It’s not like he met Yuuri while they were working on set together or their agent thought it would be nice to set them up, Victor cares about him more than he cares about anyone else. And they’ve only just started dating, heading out to California to start production on a new film takes a little over a year to complete and he doesn’t want to be so far away from Yuuri when their relationship is so new.

He’s probably overthinking things, afterall he isn’t supposed to be in California until this Friday and that means that there is probably plenty of time to figure things out.

.

.

.

It’s Wednesday.

As Victor’s alarm clock goes off on the dresser to his side he cracks his eyes open to see a message from Chris pop up on his lockscreen. Letting out a groan he sits up in his bed and turns off the alarm before opening his phone to see what Chris has to say.

“Hey, just wanted to check up on you and know when you’re coming back. Do you want me to pick you up or you thinking about getting an Uber?”

Victor types up his reply.

“I don’t know yet I haven’t booked a flight.”

He puts his phone down on the bed and looks over at his dog who is still asleep next to where he was laying down. Victor lets out a sigh before getting up and heading over to the bathroom.

There’s still a good hour left before Yuuri and the others are supposed to be at the rink, he supposes he can spend that time getting ready and making breakfast for himself before he considers heading out to meet them. As he makes his way to get dressed though he can see another message from Chris pop up.

“Why haven’t you booked your flight yet?”

Victor quickly throws on a gray t-shirt and some pants before sitting back down on the bed and typing his response.

“I haven’t decided if I’m gonna meet with Barry yet.”

Victor watches as the message bubble pops up a few times, the three dots indicating Chris’s response coming in and out, before it suddenly stops and he has to assume that Chris has decided to just let it slide.

He lets out a yawn and heads towards the kitchen when his phone rings. He picks it up to see Chris’s name pop up on the caller ID and rolls his eyes.

“Hello?”

There’s a pause and Victor wonders if his friend is really there on the other line when he can hear Chris take a deep breath.

“Victor, what is going on?” He finally asks him. “I seriously have no clue and I would love to gain some insight.”

“It’s not a big deal.” Victor tells him as he puts the phone on speaker and starts to roam the fridge for something to eat. “I have until Friday to figure it out anyways it’s fine.”

There’s a brief moment after Victor says this where it sounds as if Chris has placed the phone down and started to walk away. Victor doesn’t take any note of this as he continues to pour his cereal and make some coffee.

“You need to be in California by Friday!” Chris exclaims. “Do you have any clue how many contacts I had to go through to get you this appointment? The amount of favors that I had people use so that you could get your movie made? I had to call Justin for crying out loud!”

“I thought you hated Justin?”

I do!

Victor rolls his eyes at this.

“Listen, the version I sent you was just a first draft; it was never meant to be sent off to the studios to begin with.” Victor tells him. “Besides, I haven’t even finished half of what my trip was supposed to look like because I got caught up in all this ice skating business. I just don’t think that right now is the right time to jump into a production.”

“But this is what you wanted!” Chris huffs. “Why did you send it to me if you didn’t want me to help you get the funding for it?”

“Things were different.”

“How?”

“I don’t really know how to-”

“Victor what is going on-”

“I didn’t think he’d love me back!”

Silence fills the room as soon as he says it and Victor can see Makkachin make her way from the bedroom over to him in the kitchen.

“Who?” Chris finally asks him. “Yuuri? I thought that was obvious.”

“No it was not obvious.” Victor sighs. “At least, it wasn’t to me. Look things are just starting to come together over here, I’m dealing with a lot of emotional stuff right now and I don’t think flying away to California after kissing him on live television is exactly the best thing to do. I want to go, don't get me wrong, it’s just…”

Victor can hear Chris walk into another room from his side of the phone call and decides to sit down on the ground next to Makkachin while he waits.

“So that actually happened huh?” Chris finally asks him. “Sorry, I thought I should move this conversation somewhere a little more private than a public park.”

“No problem.” Victor tells him. “And yeah, that really happened.”

He can hear Chris start to laugh on the other end. 

“Sorry, I wasn’t watching the livestream that night.” Chris says. “When I heard about everything I thought it was a rumor being spread by shitty tabloids and whatnot. So are you two like a thing now or…”

“Not sure.” Victor sighs. “We haven’t really had a chance to talk about it.”

“So running away to California then?”

“Probably a bad idea.”

“Probably.”

Victor takes a look at the clock and shakes his head.

“Look, I gotta take Makkachin for a walk here in a bit.” He tells him. “Can we talk about this later?”

“Alright.” Chris says. “But I’m serious about being back here before Friday, going to see Barry after getting off a plane would not go well for either of us.”

“Yeah I know.” Victor rolls his eyes. “I’ll try to figure everything out by tomorrow, alright?”

“Tonight.”

“Fine.” Victor says. “By tonight.”

He hangs up the phone and shoves it in his pocket. 

“What do you think I should do?” He asks his dog, only to receive an indifferent head tilt in return from Makkachin.

A knock at the door draws their attention and Victor goes to open it, only to be pleasantly surprised by the sight of his boyfriend standing there with coffee in his hands.

“Thought I’d stop by for the walk before heading over for practice.” Yuuri tells him, leaning forward to press a kiss on Victor’s cheek.

Victor smiles as Yuuri walks through the door and greets an enthusiastic Makkachin bouncing on her heels and reaching up to greet him. 

“We were just about to head out.” Victor says. “Let me finish getting ready and we’ll go.”

Yuuri nods as he takes a seat on the couch and continues to play with Makkachin. The sight of them together in his childhood home fills his heart with joy he didn’t know could exist, and he smiles to himself before heading for the bathroom.

After washing his face and fixing up his hair he goes back to the living room only to find Yuuri and Makkachin not there anymore. Glancing down the hallway he sees the door leading to his room open and Yuuri sitting there on his bed with Makkachin in his lap, scrolling on his open computer.

Crap.

Yuuri looks up at him, surprised, and slowly lowers the computer screen.

“Sorry.” He says. “I just wanted to get a look at your script, never had the chance to read it while we were in China.”

Victor feels relief wash over him as he settles down next to his boyfriend and glances at the screen. Sure enough a bit of dialogue from the third act plays out on his Final Draft document and he smiles.

“What do you think?” He asks Yuuri.

“It’s amazing.” Yuuri smiles. “It’s kinda strange, as much as I’ve loved your movies in the past, I’ve never had the chance to sit down and read any of your scripts. To see the story play out in script format, especially one that very heavily reflects on my life as a skater, is a bit surreal.”

Victor nods his head.

“You wouldn’t be able to find any online.” He tells him. “I’ve had some of my works put in online archives for film students to read in the past, but they’re usually just the shooting script. By that point, the story and the writing has been edited to hell and back, it’s not even my words.”

Yuuri lets out a small laugh.

“I guess that makes me special then?”

Victor glances back at him and feels that same joy from earlier seeping in, like coming home after a long day to the comfort of a nice meal and a warm bed. He leans forward and places a chaste kiss on Yuuri’s lips.

“You’ve always been special.”

A light pink blush rises to Yuuri’s cheeks as he glances up at Victor.

“We need to take Makkachin for a walk.” Yuuri says.

Victor nods, slowly pulling away from his boyfriend and standing up.

“You’re right.” He says, reaching for Makkachin’s leash and collar. “Come on, let’s head out.”

The rest of their morning for the most part is uneventful, Yuuri goes over the details of what he’ll be working on at practice today and Victor makes a comment here and there on his opinions of the two programs. After the walk they drop Makkachin off at the house and Victor drives Yuuri to the ice skating rink.

“You gonna stay and watch me practice today?” Yuuri asks him. 

“I want to, but I should probably spend some time editing the script back home.” Victor tells him. “I’ll be back to pick you up though.”

“That’s good.” Yuuri says. “I’ll see you later then.”

Yuuri reaches forward and plants a quick kiss on Victor’s lips before heading out the door and rushing toward the rink. Victor watches as he leaves, a melancholy dread tugging at his heart as he drives away to go back to his empty house.

Sitting at a computer and staring at the screen all day is hardly a healthy experience for anyone, but Victor finds himself using this time to reflect on how he wants to approach the situation at hand. 

Reading through the first draft, he’s pleasantly surprised to see how well it flows with the characters and overall plot. Not to say there isn’t some room for improvement, but the general quality of the story itself is at a good starting point. He makes a couple of notes for himself and fixes some grammatical errors here and there, doing his best to stay focused on the task at hand and not let his mind drift back to the ice rink where Yuuri is practicing.

The conversation with Christophe from this morning keeps playing in his head on repeat. His friend is right about one thing, if he’s serious about getting this film made he needs to be in California before Friday afternoon. Barry is his father’s old friend, and has helped fund and produce several of his more daring motion pictures, but he’s also very professional and would not appreciate a jet-lagged Victor rolling up to his office trying to work out a post production schedule. If Victor has any intentions of getting back to work sometime this year then Barry is his best bet, but if he blows him off it will be disastrous for his career.

He hates to admit it, but as much as he’s enjoyed his time here in St. Petersburg, he can’t help but yearn for the long, exhausting, and drawn out hours where he’d find himself working to death on set. Getting there early so he could watch the camera and lighting departments get set up, spending too much time near the snack table and being ushered away by the assistant director to get back to his chair, joking with the actors when the scene they were shooting gets too serious in an attempt to break the tension, the entire experience of working on set and interacting with his cast and crew sends waves of nostalgia through him. 

Victor loves working as a director, he loves working in film and television, there’s very few things in life that makes a person come to life and filmmaking ignites a spark in him that he never knew was possible. He can’t help but be drawn to the long hours and exhausting workload that comes with every production. It fills him with adrenaline every single time, the anticipation of what’s going to happen on set today and whether or not they’ll get that perfect shot or award winning performance makes him antsy to get back to work.

But as much as he loves his work, that small but strong tether that keeps him from returning comes to mind every time he entertains the thought of leaving. He sees Yuuri’s big brown eyes staring up at him, filled with love and tenderness that he’s never felt before from anyone else in his life. 

How could he leave that behind?

Why would he leave that behind?

No, when it comes down to it, the truth is he can't see himself walking away. Because every second he’s had with Yuuri has been a gift, something more precious than any award or praise he’s been given by the critics or fans. There’s nothing more precious to him than the warmth of Yuuri’s touch and the feeling of being known for the first time in his life.

Absolutely nothing could replace it.

And yet…

Time flies as he spends his day working, and before he knows it the alarm on his phone goes off, notifying him that Yuuri’s practice is done for the day. He shuts his computer and rushes over to pick Yuuri up from the rink in his car, only to find no one waiting for him there as he drives up.

Odd.

Victor parks near the entrance and makes his way inside, watching as all the other skaters walk past him on their way home. He sees Yurio with his headphones on exiting the rink and makes his way towards the young boy.

“Yurio!” Victor shouts. “Take your headphones off!”

Yurio looks up at him and rolls his eyes.

“What do you want?” He asks Victor, taking out his earbuds and shoving them in his pocket.

“Have you seen Yuuri?” Victor asks him. “I came here to pick him up.”

Yurio points back at the rink, “He’s still in there practicing, should be done here in just a bit.”

Victor nods.

“Alright.” He says. “How was practice by the way? Got that step sequence down yet or do you still fall on your but like a junior?”

Yurio’s face turns red at this as he puffs up his chest.

“I’d like to see you do any better!” He shouts. “I don’t even know why I’m still here talking to you anyways, just go find your boyfriend and get out of my hair!”

He pushes past Victor with a huff, and Victor can’t help but smile at the young boy. In the few short months he’s been training here, Yurio’s shown a lot of progress in not only his skating but also in the way he carries himself. In the past, Victor could see him doubt his abilities as a skater as he continuously compared himself to Yuuri and the others, but now he looks a lot more confident. Despite his bad attitude, there’s a level of respect and dignity that he holds himself to now, something that Victor can’t help but feel proud of everytime he sees the young boy. 

He remembers how hard it was to be fifteen and in the public eye.

Yurio handles it far better than he ever did. He’s proud, in a weird mentor way, even though he has no doubt that Yuuri’s been more of a mentor to Yurio than he has. He smiles as he watches the young boy leave and heads towards the ice to go find Yuuri. 

As he gets closer he can hear the music from Yuuri’s free program growing louder and louder. Victor glances down at the ice and watches as Yuuri goes over the same step sequence over and over again with a glazed over expression. His mind is clearly somewhere else as Yakov stands to the sidelines and shakes his head before glancing up at Victor.

“Decided to drop by then?” Yakov asks him.

Victor nods his head, “Is Yuuri staying late today?”

“We were just wrapping things up.” Yakov says. “He told me he wanted to go over the step sequence a few more times before heading home. Can’t understand why though, it’s the only part of his routine that doesn’t need too much work. In my opinion he should be perfecting that quad flip he added at the end.”

Victor smiles at the old man’s grumbling. Yakov has been harsh and blunt with Yuuri most days, but he means well with every bitter comment that he leaves. It’s clear to see how much Yuuri has improved under his tutelage, and with every improvement Yuuri makes Yakov finds it a bit harder each time to not show how proud he really is. 

Not to mention how close Victor’s gotten with the old man since arriving here. Giving Victor advice, letting him interview all his skaters, and tolerating Victor’s presence in the stands while they try to run a practice. He’s been very patient and accommodating for the past few months. He can’t help but feel like Yakov comes off as an old friend that Victor wishes he could’ve had in his life just a little bit sooner.

Yuuri looks up from his spot across the ice and notices Victor standing there with his coach. He gives him a soft smile before gesturing towards the speakers, as if to say they’ll be heading out as soon as he’s done with this last bit.

 Victor nods and waits off to the sidelines while Yakov makes a comment here or there on Yuuri’s form. When he’s finally done, Yuuri makes his way to the edge of the rink and leans forward.

“How was that?” He asks Yakov.

“Could be better.” Yakov tells him. “But it’s a nonissue in my opinion. We’ll work more on it tomorrow, but your focus at the moment should be on that quad flip you added at the end of the program. We’ll be working on that first thing in the morning.”

Yuuri nods his head before facing Victor. 

“Let me freshen up and I’ll meet you in the car.” He says before rushing off the ice and gathering his things.

Victor gives Yakov a small wave goodbye before heading back to the car and waiting for his boyfriend to show up. He doesn’t have to wait long however as Yuuri makes his way over in record time, his hair still wet from the quick shower that he took in the locker room.

“Are you ready to go?” Victor asks him.

“Yeah, but first let’s make a quick detour.” Yuuri says.

Victor looks over at him confused.

“What do you mean by a quick detour?” 

Yuuri smiles before handing him his phone and pointing to the address written there. It leads to a small shopping center a few miles away from the ice skating rink.

“I want to go shopping.” He tells Victor.

It doesn’t take long for them to get there, after parking the car they make their way towards the shopping center hand in hand.

“What exactly are we looking for?” Victor asks him.

“I don’t know yet.” Yuuri says. “Right now I just want to walk around for a bit.”

And so they do.

Going through a few stores, Victor can’t help but feel like a tourist for the first time in his parent’s hometown. When he was a kid he could count on one hand the amount of times that his dad allowed them to go outside and explore the city. They’d usually end up rushing back to the house because someone would inevitably figure out who they were and try to sneak a photo here and there, putting his dad in a bad mood and immediately sending them back home. Being able to explore and actually see the sights is not a luxury he’s really had until now.

They enter a few stores, buying pretty much nothing but junk that they’ll never use in the long run but makes them happy. He finally gets Christophe that keychain he’s been bugging Victor to get him while he was travelling, along with a few other trinkets to remember his time with Yuuri in St. Petersburg.

Yuuri pulls him further down the road and towards a ramen shop hidden amongst all the other stores.

“Come on, I’ll pay.” He says as he pulls Victor towards the entrance.

“I didn’t even know this place existed until today.” Victor says. “You hanging out down here by yourself all the time or what?”

Yuuri rolls his eyes.

“Mila recommended it to me and I wanted to give it a try.” He says. “Thought I’d judge it’s authenticity with you as my witness or she’d never believe I actually made the trip.”

Victor laughs at this and nods his head.

“Then let's try it.”

The food for the most part is pretty good, though it pales in comparison to the meals he enjoyed in Hasetsu during his stay there. Still, even Yuuri can’t deny that it was a good suggestion from their friend back at the rink.

“I doubt anything we’ve ordered is allowed on your diet is it?” Victor asks him, halfway into the meal.

“Not really.” Yuuri tells him. “But I wanted to treat you tonight, we haven’t had the chance to go on a proper date since we got back.”

Victor smiles at this.

“So this is a date then?” Victor says. “I just thought you wanted to find an excuse to cheat on your diet with Yakov.”

“That too.”

They both laugh at this and Victor can’t help but take in this moment.

It feels right.

“How was practice by the way?” He asks Yuuri. “You never told me why you wanted to spend so much time on that step sequence.”

“Oh it’s nothing.” Yuuri reassures him. “I just like to work on my footwork when I’ve got something on my mind.”

This catches Victor’s attention.

“Something bothering you?”

Yuuri pauses for a moment, not really answering Victor’s question, before looking up at him and letting out a sigh.

“No not really.” He says. “Just needed to think some things over, that’s all.”

Victor decides not to push him and returns to his food.

“What about you?” Yuuri asks him. “How’s writing coming along?”

“Oh it goes.” Victor says. “The first draft is always a toss up in my opinion, never the greatest of quality but could be worse.”

“I don’t know about that.” Yuuri tells him. “From what I read this morning it looked pretty good.”

Victor nods, “True, but it could be better.”

Yuuri rolls his eyes at this but decides not to push the topic any further.

“How much work goes into a script before you send it in?”

“Depends on how obsessed I am with the story.” Victor says. “Oftentimes I find myself pouring over the work again and again before I even send a first draft to my agent. Usually I send the worst of it to my friend Christophe back in California to see if he thinks it’s got any potential. He’s usually a pretty good judge of character when it comes to my writing.”

“Has he read this one yet?” Yuuri asks. “What does he think?”

Victor’s mind drifts back to that email sitting on his computer calling him back to work in the states and he shakes his head.

“He likes it.” He tells Yuuri. “Though I don’t think it’s ready to be put into production.”

Yuuri raises one eyebrow.

“Why not?” 

Victor doesn’t really know how to answer that question. It’s not a matter of whether or not his work is good enough to hit the studios, but rather whether or not he’s ready to take off so soon. 

He can’t sit here and pretend like he doesn’t miss his work, or that he isn’t anxious to get back into the groove of working on set, but the truth is there’s something special about getting to spend time like this with Yuuri. If he went back to California he’d be gone for over a year, spearheading a project that might not even gain traction considering how sullied his name is after he got blackout drunk in response to getting snubbed by the Academy once again. 

What would even be the point of making that trip back to California if not to just embarrass himself all over again? A part of him doesn’t think it’s worth it, but at the same time what is he going to do if he decides to stay? He can’t just sit on a story like this for a whole year, and continuing his vacation is out of the question as the only reason he wouldn’t fly back to California is so that he could stay with Yuuri. But the truth is all he’d be doing is waiting for Yuuri to finish practice and travelling alongside him for the rest of the season, and he can’t determine whether or not he’s content with not having that workload to occupy his thoughts just yet. It’s easy to fall into a rhythm when he’s with Yuuri, but he wonders if it could last for so long.

“It just needs a bit more work.” Victor tells him. “I can’t tell you right now how much.”

Yuuri doesn’t push the matter any further, but he can see the look of disappointment in his eyes at Victor’s answer. It fills Victor with a sense of dread, but the two of them decide to ignore this and continue on with their meal.

After finishing off their meal the two of them decide to take a stroll alongside the bustling streets of the city. Their hands intertwined as they take in the sights, ignoring the subtle glances over in their direction from bystanders who happen to recognize them.

Victor finds himself grateful for the fact that none of these strangers feel the need to approach and ask for a picture. He doesn’t want this moment to be ruined, so many times in his life he had wished for a semblance of normalcy and with Yuuri he can almost forget he doesn’t really have that. 

Victor stops to take a break on a nearby bench and he turns to see Yuuri’s eyes focused on something further down the road.

“You alright?” Victor asks him.

Yuuri nods his head before turning back.

“I’m gonna go grab something real quick.” He says. “Just stay here, I won’t be long.”

Before Victor has a chance to ask what he’s doing, Yuuri takes off leaving him there by himself surrounded by the paper bags of stuff they garnered throughout the night.

He waits there patiently for a little over twenty minutes when he looks up to see Yuuri rushing back, shoving something small into his pocket before stopping right in front of Victor.

“Alright.” He says. “Let’s go home.”

“You sure?” Victor asks. “Did you find what you were looking for?”

Yuuri nods his head, “Yeah, let’s head back, I think we’re done.”

Victor decides not to question it any further and the two of them head back to the car. 

The car ride to Yurio’s place is silent for the most part as neither of them make too much of an effort to carry any conversation. Both of them are exhausted from their shopping trip and happy to sit in comfortable silence all the way back. Victor glances over at Yuuri every once in a while to gauge whether or not he feels well, only to find a conflicted expression playing on the young man’s face. He doesn’t know what seems to be plaguing the skater’s mind, but he hopes it isn’t anything too serious.

When he finally makes his way into the driveway Yuuri unbuckles his seatbelt and turns back to face him.

“I think we need to talk.” He says.

A wave of cold dread washes over Victor as these words come out and Yuuri pulls a small box out from his jacket’s pocket.

“I read the email from Chris.” He tells Victor. “I know you’re supposed to be in California by Friday.”

“Yuuri-”

“You should go.”

Victor’s breath catches in his throat as Yuuri smiles up at him.

“It’s a great story Victor.” Yuuri tells him. “You’ve worked so hard on it, and it’s so good, it deserves to come to life the way I know you want it to.”

“It doesn’t have to right now though.” He says. “I can wait to bring it to the screen, I don’t have to jump at the first opportunity that comes at me.”

Yuuri shakes his head.

“But why wait?” He asks Victor. “What are you supposed to do while you wait for another opportunity like this to come around? Follow me around the ice rink for a whole year while you edit your story to hell and back? Come on Victor, you and I both know that isn’t fair to you.”

“So I should just leave then?” Victor says. “I thought you wanted me to stay here in St. Petersburg, and now you’re just pushing me onto the nearest plane?”

“That’s not what I’m saying.” 

“Then what are you saying?”

“Victor.” Yuuri sighs. “What do you want?”

 The question forces Victor to stop his train of thought and stare down at his boyfriend.

“What do you want Victor.” Yuuri asks him once again. “Not what your agent wants, not what your friend wants, or your producer, or even me. What do you want to do? Because I can’t make the decision for you, but I also won’t be the one to hold you back if that’s the case. You would never do that to me, and as selfish as it is I can’t be the one that does that to you. So what do you want?”

The question lingers in his head, and Victor finds himself at a crossroads.

What does he want?

He can’t say he’s ever really thought about it too much.

He wants to make a name for himself outside of his father’s influence in the industry, he wants to see the story that he’s spent so much time lovingly creating come to life on the big screen in a way that will do his boyfriend justice, he wants to stay in Yuuri’s arms for the rest of his life completely content to spend lazy weekend afternoons in each other’s company. He knows he can’t have it all, it’s impossible for him to choose though when the pull to return to his life’s work and the need to stay in his lover’s arms carry the same weight in his heart rendering him indecisive.

“What if I don’t want it anymore?” Victor asks him. “What if what I want has changed? How would I know until I lost it? I don’t think I can do that to myself anymore.”

Yuuri glances up at his boyfriend and shakes his head.

“But you can’t pretend like you don’t want to find out.” He says, reaching up to cup Victor’s face. “And I can’t pretend like it doesn’t kill me to see you stuck like this.”

He holds out a small box from his pocket and opens it to reveal two golden rings.

“I’m not worried anymore.” Yuuri tells him. “I have faith in how I feel about you, and how you feel about me. These feelings won’t just wash away the minute we’re apart, and I want you to be happy doing what you love. Even if that means we have to be apart for a little while.”

Yuuri takes one of the gold rings out and places it gingerly on Victor’s finger.

“So I thought I’d buy you something to remember me by.” Yuuri says. “Just to let you know I’m always gonna be right here, looking forward to our next meeting.”

Victor shakes his head.

“I just want more time.” He says. “Why can’t we have that?”

Yuuri smiles.

“We’ve already had so much time.” Yuuri says. “And we’ll have so much more in the future, this I’m sure of.”

He leans forward and places a soft kiss on Victor’s lips, pulling away slowly as if he doesn’t want to let go just yet.

“I’ll call you.” Victor tells him. “The second I land in California you better have your phone on hand, because I’m gonna need to hear your voice before heading off to see Barry.”

“I will.” Yuuri says. “I’ll be right here waiting.”

Victor leans in to steal another kiss, savoring how soft and gentle Yuuri’s lips feel against his, before pulling back.

“Good luck with the Grand Prix.” 

“Good luck in California.”

.

.

.

It’s Thursday.

Victor exits the cab after a long drive to the airport and pulls out his luggage before rushing inside with Makkachin sleeping patiently in her dog carrier. He pulls out his phone to check on the time, only to see a text from Chris pop up on his lockscreen.

So are you on your way?

Victor takes a deep breath.

He’s on his way.

.

.

.

INT. ICE SKATING RINK - DAY

Yuuri glides across the ice with his head down as he warms up with the other skaters. Everyone around him seems to keep their distance as he focuses on perfecting his footwork, even Yakov avoids bothering him too much.

A buzzing reaches his ears and he looks over to see a notification on his phone.

He picks it up to see a message from Victor appear.

VICTOR (O. S. )

Just got on the plane, call you when I make it to  my house.

 

Yuuri smiles as he reads the message and places his phone back down with the rest of his belongings. His hand reaches over to mess with the new golden ring sitting on his finger before he returns to his warm up on the ice.

Chapter Text

INT. OFFICE - DAY

An older man in his late sixties, BARRY, slumps in his chair as a stack of papers gets dumped unceremoniously on top of his desk. He takes a drag from his cigarette before putting it out and picking up the stack, glancing over the name on the script before letting out a sigh.

It’s from Victor.

Grabbing the bridge of his nose he shakes his head before opening the script and flipping through the pages to see how long it is. He looks up at the clock and sees that it is only nine o’clock and he has all day to read through this.

Perfect.

_______________________________________

The alarm in Victor’s room goes off and he opens his eyes to see his phone ringtone blaring in his face. Not having much of a chance to unpack once he arrived safely back in California, Victor’s belongings are still packed away nice and tight in his suitcase. He lets out a groan before pulling himself out from under his covers to start the day.

It’s strange to find himself back in this apartment.

He hasn’t been back home in almost a year, the once familiar setting now feels foreign to him as he gets ready for his meeting with Barry. Nothing is where it should be and yet everything is still the same. It’s a strange feeling, to be a stranger in your own home, but after spending the better part of his year following Yuuri around he can’t help but feel out of place.

Part of him still thinks that he has to hurry if he wants to catch Yuuri at practice today without disturbing the other skaters. In his head he can already hear Yuuri gently scolding him for distracting the others by bursting into the rink, Yurio in the background telling them to get a room, and Mila remarking on how cute they look together. He wonders how practice is going for them right now and is tempted to call when he takes a look at the time and decides against it.

He needs to be on the road in the next fifteen minutes.

After brushing his hair and scavenging through his luggage for anything presentable that he can wear to meet Barry he rushes out the door. 

If there is one thing that Victor didn’t miss about Los Angeles, it was the traffic.

Trying to get around the large town was already bad enough, but to throw in constant traffic jams caused by unruly drivers that don’t know how to navigate the road it becomes unbearable. Even though his meeting isn’t technically for another half hour Victor was glad he left early if it meant getting through this heap of cars in order to make it to the studio on time.

Once he landed in Los Angeles, Victor called Chris to come pick him up and they filled each other in on how their lives have been going these past few months. Chris and his husband have been doing well, with a few jobs lined up here and there from Chris’s agent to peruse. They’ve decided to slow down the workflow in their lives so they can focus on spending more time together, and were incredibly shocked to hear about Victor and Yuuri kissing on live television at the Cup of China.

Chris wants to know every last detail about his new relationship with Yuuri, and if he’s being honest, Victor is unable to hold anything back. 

He talks about the way they met, how they travelled to Russia together after meeting Yurio, the training sessions and new rink mates, all of it just flooding out of Victor’s mouth as he recounts every last detail.

 It was nice to have someone to talk to once he got back. In a way Victor had forgotten how Los Angeles is technically his home. He’d been born and raised in it’s limelight and the fact that coming back to it makes him feel so uneasy doesn’t go unnoticed. In fact it floods his brain as he tries to fall back into his lazy routine and get comfortable in the spacious apartment he used to lock himself away in.

But things are different now.

He called Yuuri as soon as he landed, and in a single phone call the world came back to life. Los Angeles feels cold and impersonal without Yuuri’s voice to reintroduce any semblance of warmth back into it. He can’t imagine how he ever endured this constantly shifting town without Yuuri’s love to anchor him back down. 

He wonders how practice is going right now.

After enduring the painstakingly slow traffic crawl, Victor finally makes his way through the streets and into the studio parking lot. The guard at the front lets him in without any questions, after all, pretty much everyone here already knows his face. 

He’s worked with Barry a handful of times in the past, the man was intense but also one of the few people in the industry that Victor actually trusted. Too many times he’s been burned by greedy media conglomerates who wanted nothing more than to try and pull the rug out from under him. Luckily his father’s agent was also his own and they were able to keep him from getting screwed over a couple of times, but he’s never had to worry about that behavior when it comes to Barry.

The thing about Barry is he doesn’t care about how marketable or groundbreaking his work is, he only cares about whether or not Victor will be wasting his money if he backs the project. Despite his numerous losses in the award category, Victor has made Barry a lot of money with his oscar bait dramas and heart pounding action films. Not to mention his father’s history with Barry goes all the way back to when they were both young and starting out in the industry. He’s always been more of a family friend than a friendly acquaintance, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to work.

As long as he is able to impress Barry with what he’s got written down then that’s all that matters. He spent the better part of his plane ride working on a pitch for his script for Barry to look through during the meeting. 

He’s done this dance about a thousand times with several producers over the years, but his nerves never seem to go away. Usually he would arrive with his agent next to him, ready to back him up and figure out the logistics of everything, but Chris made it clear that Barry wanted to talk to him alone. It makes sense in a way, afterall, he’s sure that Barry wants to talk to him about more than just what type of movie he’s been planning this whole time. 

He probably has questions.

Questions that Victor does not feel like answering.

Victor makes his way through the parking lot and towards the offices near the front gate. He catches a glimpse of the movers and gaffers making their way towards Studio C off to the side and tries to guess what it is they could be working on today. He figures it must be something small since Studio C is one of the cheaper options for other filmmakers to rent out. It does the job, don’t get him wrong, but higher budget productions usually need the three story space that comes with studio’s A and B. 

Walking inside the office space Victor comes up to Barry’s receptionist, Debby, and smiles.

“Hey Debby!” Victor tells her. “Long time no see.”

“Hi Victor.” Debby says, barely looking up from her computer. “You’re early.”

“Almost wasn’t because of the traffic coming in here.” Victor smiles. “I guess after being away for a few months I forgot about the hellscape that is our freeway.”

Debby only nods, pointing at the lounging area behind him.

“You can take a seat.” She says. “Mr. Swardsin will be with you shortly.”

Clearly getting the hint Victor takes his seat by the window and glances out at the city.

He wonders if Yuuri has ever been to Los Angeles. He can’t think of any reason why the young man would’ve travelled here in the past. From the conversation he had with Phichit while they were at the Cup of China, Yuuri had spent a considerable amount of time here in the states before going back home to rest in Hasetsu. But despite this he spent most of his time training in Detroit, and from what Victor’s seen of Yuuri’s work ethic, he can’t imagine the young skater carving out time in his busy schedule to fly down here to L.A. for a vacation. 

He can’t help but wonder what Yuuri would think of some of the spots here in his hometown. He makes a mental note of all the places he wants to show to his boyfriend, the different restaurants and tourist traps that he’s sure Yuuri would enjoy. 

It’s weird to think that in his time away he had forgotten that this was supposed to be the place he calls home. He knows Los Angeles like the back of his hand, and yet he can’t help but find his mind wandering back to the frigid streets of St. Petersburg and how warm they felt in comparison to the scorching desert of California. 

Perhaps it was simply because of the company he was keeping while there.

“Mr. Swardsin will see you now.” Debby’s voice rings out.

Victor stands up from his seat, straightens out his clothes, and walks through their office doors to greet an old friend.

Barry sits behind his desk, his work jacket slung lazily on the back of his chair and his hair a mess. He’s already in his late sixties, and even though he’s promised to lay off the cigarettes for the sake of his wife, Victor can still smell the smoke hanging off his clothes and wafting through the air.

Barry looks up at Victor and gestures towards one of the two chairs facing his desk.

“Go ahead and have a seat.” He says.

Victor settles down in front of the old man and watches as Barry raises up a printed version of his first draft.

“Alright Victor, what is this?” Barry asks him. “Just lay it on me.”

“It’s a dramatic retelling of an ice skating champion on a comeback tour after-”

“No not that!” Barry interrupts him. “What are you doing Victor? Your parents haven’t heard from you in months and the only way to get you to come back home was through the promise of work! Do you know how worried you made everyone!”

Victor can’t help but roll his eyes at this and lean back in his chair. 

Of course the only reason Barry wanted to talk to him was so that he would come back here to California and stop traveling across Europe with his boyfriend. He feels insulted and bitter at the fact that they’d use his work to lure him back to the states.

“I needed to get away.” He tells him. “Thought I would see the world for a change, maybe even find a reason to keep writing. Which I did by the way, in case you were wondering. You might’ve seen us in the tabloids recently.”

Barry lets out a sigh.

“Yeah I saw that.” Barry says. “Quite a show you’ve put on since you’ve been gone.”

Victor purses his lips at the insinuation that his recent displays of affection for Yuuri are simply for show.

“I’m serious about him you know.” Victor says. “This isn’t some kind of act that I’m putting on for the world. I don’t appreciate you trying to imply otherwise.”

Barry looks him up and down.

“I’m sorry.” He says. “I didn’t mean to insult you.”

The two of them sit there in silence, Victor’s eyes drifting back to the hard copy of his script sitting on the desk.

“Did you read it?” Victor asks him. 

Barry nods his head.

“I skimmed it.” He says. “Don’t really need to read the whole thing when I know who wrote it. You’ve never sent me a half baked script in the past, I have reason to trust it.”

Victor bites back a bitter laugh and shakes his head.

“But you won’t read it.”

Barry looks up at him, his eyebrows furrowed in.

“Your father is worried about you Victor.”

Victor tenses up at this and sits up straight.

“If he was really so concerned he should’ve called.” Victor says. “I know mom made an effort to reach out and keep in contact, he has a phone he can do so as well.”

“Would you even answer?” Barry asks. “Would you answer if any of us tried to reach out and call you?”

“You’re changing the subject.” Victor stops him. “Am I here to pitch a script or endure an intervention?”

“You’re here because this is the only way we can reach you!” Barry exclaims. “Dammit Victor! Is all you think about just work? You throw a drunken tantrum for everyone to see online and then run off to god knows where in order to avoid the repercussions and act as if this is just business as usual! Forget the script, forget the movie, just forget it all and talk to me like a person for once in your life!”

“You want to talk about my life beyond work?” Victor laughs. “That’s absolutely rich coming from you Barry. You want to know something funny? I actually wasn’t sure whether or not I was gonna come here today. Do you want to know why? I’ll tell you, it wasn’t because I suddenly found the urge to slack off and hole myself away for over a year. It was because I met someone who actually made me want to stay in place for once in my life. And you have the audacity to scold me for being here when you’re the one that asked me come!”

“So why did you come then?!”

“Because he wanted me to be happy!”

Silence fills the room as the two of them sit there at a standstill. Barry rubs his eyes and lets out a sigh.

“What were you trying to do Victor?” Barry asks him. “I don’t want to fight, I was just worried. Your father and I, the only updates we could get were from the tabloids and well…”

Victor looks up at him.

“Not really reliable sources?”  

Barry nods.

“No they’re not.” 

Victor slumps down in his chair.

“I went to the beach.” He says. “There was this hot springs town in Japan that I wanted to visit. I heard about it once from Chris, but I’d never been. At first I was just hopping around the world, going to different places and talking to new people, but then I met Yuuri.”

Barry looks up at him, his eyes laser focused on Victor’s expression.

“Tell me about Yuuri.”

Victor looks at Barry, trying to find a hint of sarcasm on the man’s face only to see none. He sits there with a stone cold expression that claims that he’s serious and Victor relaxes into his chair.

“Read the script.” He says. “If you really want to know, if you really care, then read the script.”

Barry glances in between Victor and the first draft sitting on his desk.

“I’ve already agreed to greenlight your project-”

“That’s not what I’m asking you.” Victor stops him. “You’ve known me since I was a child. You’ve helped me get several projects off the ground running. I am aware of your ability as an executive producer. What I am asking of you right now is to read my script, not as a director trying to get back on his feet, but as a friend who wants you to understand why this is so important to me.”

Victor leans forward in his chair and pushes the script towards Barry.

“I’m sorry.” Victor says. “I don’t care if you don’t believe me, but I’m sorry.”

Barry looks at Victor and shakes his head.

“You know, I’m not the one you need to be telling that to.”

Victor nods.

“Yeah, I know.”

Letting out a sigh, Barry takes the script back in his hand and thumbs through the opening pages.

“Alright.” Barry says. “I’ll call you tomorrow morning about the script. But you know who I want you to talk to in return.”

“Unfortunately.” Victor states, his shoulders tensing up. “See you tomorrow Barry.”

Victor gets up from his chair and heads out towards the lobby. He gives Debby a quick wave and a wink, which she promptly ignores, and heads back down towards the parking lot. 

From the corner of his eye Victor can see a small group of film students taking a tour of the studio with their teacher in tow. He smiles as they point at all the different equipment and towering buildings scattered across the area. It has been so long since he’s felt that childlike wonder at making films, he can’t help but ponder which of these young hopefuls will be the next big name in town.

It doesn’t register to Victor where exactly he is driving until he makes it to the driveway of a large estate in a gated community. He looks up at the familiar building, his parent’s house bringing back unwelcome memories of the last time he was here, and takes a deep breath.

It’s been a while.

The last time he saw his father was right before he packed his things and hopped on the next plane outside of the United States. They had argued for what felt like hours that night, with his father trying to convince him to step away from filmmaking while his mother did her best to diffuse the situation. He ended up telling his father to fuck off and then stormed back to his apartment and began stuffing any clothes he had into a nearby piece of luggage.

He knows that he’s an adult, but Victor can’t help but recoil at the memory. Looking back on his actions after spending the better part of a year away with Yuuri he does feel bad for running away. He feels even worse for ignoring all the phone calls his mother sent his way while he was gone. It wasn’t her fault that he needed time away from the rest of the film industry. 

The suggestion that he should give up on being a director, however, had infuriated him and continues to infuriate him to this day. He knows his father has always been critical of his work as a filmmaker, even when he was still acting, but to tell your only son to quit something he loves is degrading. His father’s words hit a certain sore spot within him that day that still hasn’t healed. 

It hurts to think that someone so important to you can feel so distant at all times. He remembers how much he used to look up to his dad, how often he would go to him for guidance growing up, and how often he felt pushed aside. His mother tried her best to make up for that cold shoulder, but as Victor grew up he learned to resent his father’s flippant attitude and inability to communicate. 

He feels a buzzing coming from his pocket and looks down to see a text notification pop up.

How’d the meeting with Barry go?

It’s from Yuuri.

Victor can’t help but smile as he types back his response.

What time is it over there? You’re not staying up late to text me when you have practice the next morning are you?

He can practically feel Yuuri’s eye roll from across the world as the next text bubble takes it’s time popping up.

Don’t worry about what time it is over here, I want to know how it went with Barry.

Victor thinks back to his argument with Barry back at the studio and winces.

It could’ve gone better. What about you? How’s practice?

He waits a few minutes for a response before Yuuri finally texts him back.

Did it go bad? Practice is fine, Yurio misses you but he won’t admit it. Everyone here is more curious about how you’re doing out there in the states.

A smile plays on his face as he imagines the small angry russian boy that he’d grown so fond of over the last few months missing him back at the rink but refusing to say so. He hopes that Yurio isn’t working himself too hard like usual.

Glad to hear he misses me. The meeting was a dud, he didn’t even read the script, but honestly I have other things on my mind then Barry acting like a jerk.

It doesn’t take long for Yuuri to respond.

He didn’t read your script? Then why did he call you down there? 

He tries to figure out a way to type his response without revealing too much about the conversation he just had. Yuuri doesn’t need to know about his family drama.

Apparently he was worried about me ditching everyone to travel the world for a whole year without any warning. I guess I really freaked everyone out when I did that.

Yuuri doesn’t hesitate.

Maybe just a bit.

Victor lets out a belting laugh at this, the weight on his shoulders from visiting his parents and getting yelled at by Barry being lifted immediately. 

Something about Yuuri just makes it all a little bit easier. From the meeting to hiding in his parent’s driveway, just being able to text Yuuri like this gives him the courage he needs to move forward.

He smiles down at the screen before typing his reply. 

Can I ask you something?

There’s a pause between when he presses send and when Yuuri starts typing again.

What is it?

Victor looks up at his parents house looming over him, his hands shaking at the thought of having to go back in there at some point.

Let’s say there’s someone I need to speak to while I’m here, but the last time we talked it went really bad. It’s been bad our whole lives actually, but I want to take the first step towards making it better. How do I find the courage to step out of my car and knock on their door? Because I can’t come up with anything right now.

Victor watches as the little typing bubble keeps popping up and disappearing over and over again. 

Should I call?

He smiles at his boyfriend’s concern and shakes his head.

No, I just need a little courage right now that’s all.

There’s a pause before Yuuri responds.

Nothing's gonna change if you stay hidden in your car all day Victor. Someone has got to take that first step, and if they aren’t ready to do so with you right now it’s okay. You’ll be ready for them when they are. 

Victor reads the message over in his head a couple times.

What if I’m scared?

Yuuri responds immediately.

It’s alright to be scared, but you can do this.

Those words echo in his head as he types out his response.

Thank you. I’ll call you later tonight.

Yuuri texts back with a thumbs up emoji and Victor smiles as he steps out of the car and walks up to the front door. 

His hands are shaking as he rings the doorbell and sits there patiently waiting for someone to answer it. 

“Be right there!” He can hear his mother shouting from inside the house. “Diana, I didn’t think you’d get here so early-”

Her sentence is cut short as she takes in the sight of Victor standing there. He gives her a half baked smile and waves.

“Hi mom.” He says. “It’s been a while.”

Tears form in her eyes as she takes a deep breath and straightens up her back.

“Victor.” She says. “We didn’t think you would- I mean it’s just been- why don’t you come inside?”

He nods his head and walks through the front door. 

She ushers him towards the living room and Victor takes a moment to look over the new pieces of decor his mom must have added over the last few months. A few new paintings, an oddly shaped lamp, and some neatly arranged houseplants sitting in the corner. 

“How have you been Victor?” She asks. “I know I called you everyday while you were gone but I still want to know. What did you think of St. Petersburg after all these years?”

“I’ve been good.” Victor tells her. “St. Petersburg is lovely, especially right about now. It looks exactly the way I remembered it, but just a little bit different.”

She smiles at this.

“I’m glad to hear that.” She says. “It’s been so long since we’ve had a chance to visit. I’ve been tempted to drag your father onto a plane and ship us out there. But you know him, he doesn’t like to travel anymore.”

Victor nods his head.

“Yeah I remember.” He says. “I was actually hoping I could talk to dad about something.”

She looks at him concerned.

“What is it?”

“I talked to Barry today.” Victor tells her. “He told me that dad has been keeping tabs on me through the tabloids. I just want to let him know that I’m doing fine, there’s no need to worry.”

She presses her lips into a thin line before shaking her head.

“Victor please don’t.” She says. “After you ran off your father and I got into a fight. He was so mad at you, and I was just scared that you were never going to come back. We’ve both been paranoid, doing everything we could to keep track of where you were going and who you were with because you wouldn’t answer our phone calls. He loves you Victor, we both do, but please don’t walk back into this house with the intention to tear it apart all over again. I can’t keep losing my son, I’m just not strong enough to endure that.”

Victor feels a lump forming in his throat as she says this.

“That’s not why I’m here.” He says. “That’s not what any of this was about.”

She looks him up and down.

“Then why are you here?” She asks. “Be honest with me Victor, I don’t want to hear another lie.”

Victor sees the pain in her eyes, the worry and stress that has been building up for almost a year staring back at him head on. He leans forward and takes her hands in his.

“I’ve been trying to impress all the wrong people.” He tells her. “And I ended up leaving behind everyone that needs me the most. I’m sorry mom, that’s all I came here to say.”

She tightens her grip on Victor’s hands and smiles.

“Silly boy.” She says. “There is no need to apologize. I just want to be a part of your life, that’s all. Promise me you won’t walk away from us like that again.”

He nods his head.

“I promise.” He says. “No more running.”

She smiles at this and opens her mouth to say something before a voice interrupts them.

“Victor?”

They turn around to see his father make his way inside the living room, his eyes trained on Victor with an intense glare.

“You came back.” His father states. “I thought you said you never wanted to step foot back in this household again.”

“I was wrong.” Victor says. “Dad, can we talk?”

His father glances over at Victor’s mom and she nods her head.

“I’m going to call Diana.” She says. “Let her know that my son is in town, and that we want to spend the day together.”

Victor smiles at this and she squeezes his hands before standing up from her spot and leaving him and his father alone together.

His dad stares at him for a while, not saying anything, before taking a seat on the couch across from him. 

“What is it now Victor?” He asks. “Did something happen on your trip? You and your new boyfriend have a fight or something?”

“I got a call from Barry.” Victor tells him. “He wanted to discuss the pre-production schedule for my new script. Funny thing, I talked to him this morning and he ended up cornering me about you.”

His father tenses up.

“Did he now?”  He says. “So you’re making a new movie? The last one didn’t turn you away from the whole career path?”

“Why didn’t you just ask me to come home?” Victor asks him. “Instead of making your friend dangle a work opportunity in front of me like some cheap bait.”

“Would you have answered?” His father asks. “Don’t even answer that, because you didn’t. I can’t tell you how many times your mother and I called you Victor, how many hours we wasted scrolling through your social media feeds and reading the tabloids just to make sure that you were alright! So yeah, I got Barry involved! I’m allowed to be concerned about my son!”

Victor shakes his head.

“There you go again.” He says. “Do you even hear yourself? I wouldn’t have even left if we hadn’t gotten into that fight. Why do we have to beat around the bush in this household to prove to one another that we care? Why are we so incapable of just talking to each other like normal people? Like a normal father and his son!”

“This isn’t a one way street Victor!” His father says. “I have tried-”

“No you haven’t!” Victor stops him. “You haven’t tried, not even once! We haven’t tried to be on good terms for the majority of my life! It’s gotten to the point where you can’t even ask me to come home anymore! How did it get this bad? Why do we keep avoiding the fact that this isn’t about my work or your anger?”

His father scoffs at this.

“What is it about then?” His father asks. “Tell me, you obviously have all the answers now.”

Victor feels years of anger and frustration welling up inside of him. His inability to find worth in his work unless he had something to show for it, his father’s constant disappointment whenever he tried to show him something he was proud of, all the fights and constant bickering that would drone on into the night. This hollow empty feeling that’s been sitting in his chest for all these years, suddenly filled with warmth and laughter after meeting Yuuri.

“There’s nothing I can do to make you satisfied.” Victor tells him. “And I don’t want to anymore, I just want you to be my dad. I don’t need you to be proud of me, I just need you to be there. I’m tired of pushing you and mom away, I want you in my life, but you have to want me back.”

His father stares at him in shock, his eyes wide and mouth slightly agape as he struggles to find the next words to say. 

“Is that what you think of me?” He asks Victor. “That I’m not proud? That I don’t want you here? Have I really failed you as a father to this extent?”

Victor doesn’t say anything, his hands shaking in his lap as he watches his father’s face fall into despair.

“Victor I love you so much.” He finally says. “From the second you were born your mother and I fell in love with you. I have always felt proud of you, everything you do just amazes me. I can’t figure out where you got that brain of yours from, because it is brilliant. The stories you come up with, the movies you’ve made, I just can’t help but shake my head because it doesn’t make sense. There’s no way a kid like you could’ve come from a guy like me, but here you are. The fact that you don’t know that, the fact that you think I wouldn’t want you in our lives, it breaks my heart.”

“Why?” Victor asks him in a shaky voice. “Why are you so cold to me then? Why do you hate it when I bring up my career or my work? Why do you keep telling me to walk away from the film industry?”

His father shakes his head.

“Don’t you get it Victor?” He asks him. “I got into this field when I was young, I didn’t know what I was doing. I got my first real job in a minor role, and then suddenly my career started taking off. I met your mom, started getting leads, and then everything just kept happening from there. It felt great at the moment, it was like a dream.

“But that’s just it, at some point you have to wake up. The demands from my agent were becoming outrageous, he wanted me to take on all sorts of roles I was never comfortable with. And each time they would have some sort of requirement where I had to dehydrate myself for three days or spend six months working with some vocal coach to get rid of my accent. And then afterwards I’d learn from some drunk producer that I’m not even being paid the same amount as my co-stars. The difference in pay was even worse for your mother, and she almost starved herself to death for three months because they wanted her to lose an insane amount of weight for a role she didn’t even have any lines in. The industry we had dedicated our lives to started to reveal who it really was, but that wasn’t even the worst of it.

“Everywhere we went your mother and I were hounded by cameras and reporters chasing down our car. Someone broke into our apartment one night and we ended up moving. We had no privacy until we settled down in this neighborhood, and even then I can’t tell you how many people we’ve had to chase off the front lawn. I couldn’t leave your mother in the house alone at night because she was so scared about someone trying to do something like that again.

“And then we had you, and I just knew in that moment I wouldn’t let them have you. Your mother and I did everything we could to keep you out of the limelight, but it was just too much. We thought we could contain it, letting you work in background so we could be together most days, but once people found out who you were they latched on.”

“But that was acting.” Victor tells him. “I’m the one in charge now, it’s not the same.”

“It’s all the same Victor.” His father says. “I see all the hard work you put into your films, how much love and care you dedicate towards each story, and I just know they’ll never appreciate it. This industry doesn’t care about us, it drains everything we have out of our soul and then leaves us to rot. They don’t deserve you Victor, they’ll never deserve you. And it just kills me that you keep letting them take all that you have to give, expecting them to give it back in return. They won’t, but I wish they would.”

Victor sees the sullen expression on his father’s face and pulls out a copy of his script from his bag.

“I don’t need them to.” He says, handing the script over to his father. “I didn’t write this for them.”

His father looks over the script.

“I met someone while I was gone.” Victor tells him. “He’s an ice skater, and the first time I watched him dance on the ice it was like opening my eyes for the first time in years.”

He looks down at his father and smiles.

“Yuuri is talented.” He says. “He is funny, and brave, and so incredibly handsome that it isn’t fair. We stayed in St. Petersburg together, we travelled to the Cup of China together, and in those few short months I realized something. 

“I had forgotten what it felt like to write for myself rather than others. I wanted to write this script because Yuuri inspired me, but at the same time I was learning how to find inspiration in myself. It has been so long since I’ve made something so selfishly for me, not for anyone else but myself and Yuuri, that I fell in love with writing all over again. 

“So I don’t care if they don’t deserve me, and I don’t care if nobody else in this shitty industry deserves to hear what I have to say. This isn’t for them, maybe it used to be but not anymore. I deserve this, I deserve to tell this story, and I deserve to see it come to life on the big screen. But more importantly, I deserve to have a father who will stand by my decisions and support me when I need him the most.”

His father stands up from his chair and pulls Victor into a hug.

“Of course you do Victor.” He tells him. “I’m sorry, I should’ve been there for you sooner.”

“I’m sorry too.” Victor says. “I never should’ve pushed you and mom away, I want you in my life from now on.”

His mother rejoins the conversation shortly after. Victor and his father pull away from their embrace and sit down to talk about his new script.

For the first time in their entire lives, Victor is able to see his father’s interest in his work and his travels across the world. He and his mom ask questions about the places he went, the people he met, and his relationship with Yuuri.

He’s more than happy to let them know all about the way that he and Yuuri first met, how he saw him on the ice after chasing Makkachin out of the ocean that morning and was curious as to who this mysterious skater could be. He tells them about their first date at the bar, meeting Yurio for the first time, travelling to St. Petersburg, and the kiss they shared at the Cup of China. His mother scolds him for kissing him on live television, but Victor can see the playfulness in her eyes as she does so.

“Well I can’t wait to meet him.” His mother says. “Will he be coming down here to visit any time soon?”

Victor shakes his head.

“He still has his other Grand Prix assignments to focus on.” Victor tells them. “But I’m sure once the season winds down he’ll be able to visit us here in L.A.”

His father nods.

“Good.” He says. “It’s not everyday we get to meet the inspiration behind one of your stories. Does he, by any chance, also play golf?”

Victor’s mom rolls her eyes at this.

“Your father has been obsessed with golf ever since Adam dragged him onto the course.” She says. “You better warn your boyfriend that when he visits he should expect a club in his hands by Saturday morning.”

Victor lets out a belting laugh at this. He can’t help but struggle to imagine his graceful Yuuri out there on the pitching fields trying to carry out awkward conversation with his dad for nine holes straight. 

“There’s no better way to get to know someone.” His dad defends himself. “But we can discuss this later. Where do you want to go for lunch Victor?”

Victor raises his eyebrows at this.

“What do you mean?” He asks. “Don’t you have plans for the day?”

“My son is in town and I want to spend time with him.” His father states. “We should get lunch as a family. Besides, your mother already cancelled on Diana and that was supposed to be half of today anyways.”

“Oh but I’ll make it up to her tomorrow.” His mother smiles. “So, where do you wanna go Victor? It’s our treat.”

The rest of their day passes by in almost no time, and as Victor makes his way back towards his empty apartment he can’t help but shake his head in disbelief at how happy he feels. 

If you had told him three months ago that he and his father would be enjoying a peaceful lunch with his mom while cracking jokes and ignoring the paparazzi he would’ve thought you were out of your mind. But it happened, he even made plans to try golf with his father while in town to keep from getting burnt out at work.

It feels like he’s living in an alternate reality, he’s only ever been able to just barely stand being in the same room as his father. To make plans with him and talk to each other like normal people feels like a dream. He wants to call Yuuri right now and tell him all about his day and how he can’t wait to introduce him to his parents.

Suddenly Victor’s phone starts buzzing and he quickly picks it up, expecting to see Yuuri’s name only to be shocked when it isn’t. His eyes grow wide as he sees the name of the man on his phone pop up.

It’s Barry.

“Hello?” Victor says, picking up the phone. “What’s wrong Barry, did I leave something in your office?”

“It’s not that.” Barry tells him. “I read your script.”

Victor feels the world around him stop.

“And?” Victor asks. “What did you think?”

He can hear the other man take a deep breath.

“It’s good.” He says. “I can see why you’re here now, it’d be a waste not to greenlight it.”

Victor can feel his heart beating out of his chest.

“Does that mean-”

“We can talk about the pre-production schedule in the morning.” Barry stops him. “Be here by eleven, and bring that presentation you had earlier. I would love to take a look at it.”

“Yes of course.” Victor smiles. “Thank you Barry.”

There’s a beat of silence between the two before he hears the other man sigh.

“Don’t thank me yet.” He tells Victor. “We have a long road ahead of us. Don’t make me regret this.”

With that they end the call and Victor starts laughing at the whole predicament. For the first time in a long time, he’s absolutely giddy. He feels like he can do anything right now.

But first, he’s going to call his boyfriend.

Chapter Text

EXT. RED CARPET - NIGHT

Camera lights flash across the screen as actors and producers make their way down the red carpet. Reporters reach out to ask questions that we can’t hear, as the sound of the crowd is muffled. Victor stands amongst the chaos by himself as a reporter reaches out his mic.

REPORTER

Victor Nikiforov, will Yuuri Katsuki be joining you  tonight?

 

Victor doesn’t even look up at him as he shakes his head, gazing forward with a blank expression.

VICTOR

No, he won’t.

_______________________________________

One Year Later…

It's a sunny day as Victor and Makkachin make their way down the beach. The sun has barely risen and the sound of seagulls fill his ears. He leans back against the railing and thinks back to where he was this time last year, who he was with, and lets out a sigh. The scraping of ice against sharpened blades, the sound of laughter coming from a small town bar, and big brown eyes staring up at him with warmth and love. These memories wash over him as Victor stands there by himself watching the waves roll back and forth. 

A wistful expression plays on his face before his phone goes off, and letting out a sigh he reads the caller ID.

“Hey Chris,” Victor says, “what’s up?”

“Just wanted to check in on you.” Chris tells him. “We haven’t talked in over a month. I was starting to worry, most people don’t celebrate a nomination by isolating themselves.”

Victor smiles.

“I’ve never been one to celebrate the normal way.” He says. “And that’s three nominations by the way. Screenwriting, Directing, and Best Picture are nothing to sneeze at.”

“No they are not.” He can hear Chris laughing. “Rumor has it that you’re not planning on attending the award show. Any truth to that?”

Victor doesn’t answer at first, his eyes staring forward at the rolling waves. He thinks about the last beach he spent his mornings walking up and down with Makkachin on, and who he would plan to see afterwards. An empty feeling wells up inside his chest as these memories come crashing forward.

“I’m not in the mood for award shows.” Victor tells him. “I’ve got a good headshot ready for them to put up on the screen instead, they don’t need me to sit there while they hand the award to someone else.”

“Oh is that so?” Chris asks him. “If that’s the case then you should give your invite to someone else, it’s wasted on a sentimental guy like you.”

Victor laughs at this. 

“Why are you calling me Chris?” He asks. “It can’t be to just sit there and make fun of me.”

“I wanted to grab lunch,” Chris says, “thought it would be nice to sit down and catch up. I also wanted to sit here and make fun of you, but that was just a bonus.”

Victor shakes his head.

“Lunch sounds good.” He says. “Same place as last week?”

“Yeah,” Chris tells him, “I’ll see you there in twenty.”

Victor agrees and they hang up, he looks down at Makkachin staring patiently up at him and pets her head.

“Looks like we gotta cut this walk short.” He tells her.

She tilts her head, confused, but doesn’t protest when he tugs on the leash redirecting their path back towards the apartment.

It doesn’t take long for them to walk back home, and as he takes Makkachin’s leash off he walks over to feed her breakfast and glances up at the untouched Oscar invite sitting on the kitchen counter.

He hasn’t opened it yet.

After filling up Makkachin’s food bowl and grabbing his car keys he makes his way out to go see Chris. 

By the time he makes it to the restaurant Chris is already seated and waving for him at a table near the back, away from the windows. This place is relatively good about giving them their privacy, but they’ve both learned the hard way that one can never really be too careful when it comes to these types of things. There have been plenty of restaurants that felt safe to visit in the past only to end up flooded with fans asking for pictures and autographs while they were trying to eat.

“I already ordered for us.” Chris tells him. “I hope you don’t mind, I just got you what you got last week.”

Victor waves him off. 

“I don’t mind,” He says, “it’s the same order every week anyways. So, how have you been?”

They fall into the same rhythm that they’ve held for the past year, with Chris complaining about his current director not knowing what they’re doing and Victor filling him in on his latest golfing adventure with his dad. Chris keeps teasing him about how Victor is going to become one of those fanatics that never leave the golf course and spends all their money on clubs while Victor just laughs it off. In all actuality, he only really plays in order to spend more time with his father, he’s not actually that good at it despite a year of practice. 

It’s nice, being able to have a normal relationship with his parents again. He doesn’t know when the shift from constantly shouting over each other to spending every weekend hanging out happened, but he’s glad it did. 

“I’m surprised your parents haven’t said anything about you not going to the award show this year.” Chris tells him. “I’d think your dad might’ve had something to say about that, or at least Barry considering how much he went through to get your film greenlit.”

Victor grimaces at this.

It took a lot of effort to finally get his script into production, if he hadn't walked into every meeting with Barry on his side he’s not sure it would’ve ever gotten made. Not a lot of people were willing to work with him a year ago, in fact not a lot of people want to work with him right now, but his reputation has gotten a lot better over time. It’s amazing how quickly people forgot his drunken outburst as soon as he put out another thought provoking drama.

Audiences loved History Maker , more than he ever could’ve imagined. The reviews for the film were beyond flattering. If Victor didn’t know any better he would’ve thought that Barry paid off the critics. But after the world premiere audiences flocked to his latest film detailing the story of Yuuri’s comeback to the ice skating world. By the end of the first month of it’s release everyone in the world had taken time out of their day to watch his film.

Almost everyone.

“It’s not their decision to make.” Victor tells him. “Besides, everyone else is gonna be there in my stead. Who really cares about a director who’s not even going to win deciding to play hooky for one night?”

Chris looks up at him.

“Is that the reason why?” He asks. “You’re not sure you’ll win, so you’ve decided to not show up at all?”

It’s not the whole truth, and Victor knows this.

Most critics and audience reviews have actually speculated that if Victor was ever going to win an Oscar it would be with this film. People are already calling it his best work yet, but despite this he still has his doubts. Afterall, how many people speculated an Oscar win after his last two films came out? He’s been trying his best to shut out any predictions online about whether or not people think that this is the film that should win him that golden trophy, but it’s getting harder as the days roll by bringing them closer to the awards ceremony.

However, that’s not the only reason he’s hesitant to go. 

“I guess I’m just a shallow man.” Victor says. “I don’t like to show up if I don’t like the odds.”

Chris rolls his eyes.

“Of course,” He says, “because that explains the last six years of you showing up anyways. I highly doubt that you’ve grown an ounce of dignity since your trip to Japan.”

Victor automatically winces and Chris takes notice.

“Sorry.” Chris tells him. “I didn’t mean to bring him up.”

Victor shakes his head.

“No need,” he says, “I need to get used to talking about him. Most interviews I get called in for end up asking about him anyways.”

Chris nods his head.

“I still can’t believe he didn’t show up to the premiere.” Chris sighs. “After everything you two have been through together, I’m still a little mad at him for that.”

Victor shrugs his shoulders and looks away.

He remembers that night, how lonely he felt being forced to walk down the red carpet by himself while cameras were flashing in his face asking him about his failed relationship.

Afterall, at that point it had only been a week since he and Yuuri broke up.

It wasn’t anyone’s fault if he’s being honest, just the same thing that happens every time one of his relationships fail. As they both got busy with work, they both started drifting away from each other, and over time it just ended up tearing them apart. No amount of phone calls and video dates were ever enough, despite them trying their best to make it so. Victor had never had the pleasure of being dumped until that week before the premiere, but he couldn’t blame Yuuri. Neither of them were happy with the situation, and yet neither of them really knew how to fix it either.

A part of him wonders what would’ve happened if he had stayed in St. Petersburg, if he had made the choice to hide his script away forever and stay with Yuuri for early mornings at the rink and lazy evenings watching television. 

He wonders, if he had chosen to stay, would they still be together right now?

“Don’t be mad at him for that.” Victor tells Chris. “We had just broken up at the time, it would’ve been awkward if he decided to show up.”

“It was awkward when he didn’t.” Chris says. “The whole show was about him, the fact that he didn’t even bother to make an appearance only put you in a bad light.”

Victor rolls his eyes.

“I’m always being put in a bad light.” He says. “That’s not Yuuri’s fault.”

The waitress arrives with their food and the conversation comes to a halt as they wait for her to leave. Once she does Chris looks up at Victor and shakes his head.

“Don’t tell me you want him to be your plus one?”

Victor doesn’t respond, instead he turns his steely gaze towards their food on the table and tries to ignore Chris sighing in the background.

“Victor,” Chris says, “it’s been a little over a year. You two haven’t spoken to each other since you broke up. So why are you still holding onto the hope that he might make an appearance this time?”

“That’s just the thing though.” Victor tells him. “I don’t really have any hope for it right now, so I don’t want to go. I’ve been to these things by myself in the past, I never really cared back then, but I think if I go on my own again it would be too much.”

“What about your parents?” Chris asks him. “Neither of them wanted to go?”

“My mom can’t stay up that late anymore,” Victor says, “and my dad said that he’s been to enough award shows to last him a lifetime. Besides, I think they could tell that I didn’t really want to go with them when I extended the invite.”

Chris nods his head.

“Your parents are a trip.” He says. “But I guess I should’ve seen this coming, afterall, you and Yuuri have been one hell of a love story to watch since the beginning. I still remember when you two first met, how crazy that night was.”

Victor looks up at him, his eyes wide as he tilts his head in confusion.

“What do you mean you remember the night we met?” Victor asks him. “You didn’t go with me to Japan.”

Chris looks at him confused.

“The night at the bar?” Chris asks. “Don’t you remember? We went out for drinks after watching Masu skate at that competition and you got super drunk.”

Well Victor certainly remembers that part, but he can’t for the life of him figure out where Yuuri factors into the situation.

Chris can see the confusion on his face and shakes his head.

“I guess you really were too drunk to remember.” Chris tells him. “Really Victor, how much did you have to drink that night?”

“I don’t remember.” Victor says. “I wasn’t in a good headspace at the time.”

Chris rolls his eyes.

“I can see that.” He says. “What’s the last thing you remember about that night?”

Victor thinks back to the day that Chris took him to see Masu perform at Skate America. He remembers not really wanting to be there, and spending most of the day browsing on his phone while they waited for Masu and his partner to perform and then going out for drinks afterwards with some of his ice skating buddies.

“We went to the competition.” Victor tells Chris. “I wasn’t really paying too much attention to the skaters, and after Masu performed we went out for drinks.”

“Do you remember anything that happened at the bar?” Chris asks him.

Victor tries to think back to what went on once they made it to the bar with Masu’s friends, but draws a blank as his memory of the night refuses to resurface. Chris can see Victor struggling to recollect what happened that night and lets out a sigh.

“You started ordering so many drinks I thought you were going to be sick.” Chris tells him. “After about two hours in Masu and I were concerned you were going to drink yourself into a coma so we decided to put a stop to the orders. By then you were pretty belligerent, so we tried to keep an eye on you as best as we could.”

“What was I doing?” Victor asks him. 

“Nothing out of the usual.” Chris says. “You were mainly just ranting about the academy and how you were tired of getting snubbed. Masu’s friends were trying to cheer you up, but by then you were pretty gone.”

Victor nods his head, a flush rising to his cheeks at the thought of him making such a scene in front of Chris’s husband and his friends.

“Soon enough they had to go back to the hotel.” Chris continues. “We wanted to go too, but you were being stubborn about leaving. I decided to deal with it after going to the bathroom, but by the time I got back I found Masu looking around frantically for you since you decided to sneak off without him. I started to panic, rightfully so, and we asked around the bar to see if anyone had seen where you went. The bartender told us he saw you make your way outside with a young gentleman and we both bolted out of there to try and catch you.

“By the time we made it outside, though, we saw you draped over Yuuri who was holding a vomit covered jacket in one hand while the other hand was rubbing circles into your back. He looked very confused about what was going on, but had the common sense to pull you into a more secluded area to make sure no one could take any pictures of you in your inebriated state. I guess it didn’t matter though, since you did the same thing two weeks later and everyone saw the results of that night.

“We apologized to him profusely about the whole situation and he just sort of laughed it off. Apparently he was looking for Phichit, who he was supposed to meet for drinks, when you crashed into him inside the bar begging to get some fresh air. He didn’t explain what happened to his jacket, but we could pretty much tell that that particular mess was probably your fault. He was really nice about the whole thing though, it didn't seem to bother him that you were crying into his shoulder drunk out of your mind.”

Victor looks up at his friend utterly horrified.

How in the world did he not know about this until now? He remembers waking up the next day with the hangover of the century, but considering he was in his hotel room that morning and nothing seemed to be out of place or missing he had just assumed nothing big really happened.

“Why didn’t you tell me this!” Victor exclaims. “How come I’m only finding this out two years later!”

“Don’t yell at me.” Chris says. “I didn’t know you couldn’t remember that night, especially after you told me that you had asked him out.”

Victor thinks back to when they crashed into one another at the hot springs, the way Yuuri looked at him like he recognized him from somewhere. He chalked that up to Victor being famous at the time but now that he knows they had already met he wonders why Yuuri never mentioned this. There had been so many moments between the two of them where Yuuri could've brought this up or asked if he remembered, and yet he never did. 

“He never told me.” Victor tells Chris. “We spent months together and he never told me. Why didn’t he say anything about this?”

Chris shakes his head.

“Maybe he thought that you remembered but didn’t want to talk about it.” Chris says. “I certainly thought that, it isn’t too far off to think that Yuuri would too. Or maybe he thought that you had forgotten the whole thing and decided not to bring it up in case it embarrassed you. Not to be rude or anything Victor, but it really wasn’t a flattering first impression.”

He can imagine.

The thought of him draping himself over Yuuri in a drunken stupor while he rants about how unfair the academy is to him doesn’t sound like an ideal way to meet the love of your life. Not to mention how Chris’s description of how he found them that night leads him to believe that he must’ve gotten sick on Yuuri’s jacket too. 

How in the world had he managed to convince Yuuri to go out to lunch with him that day if this is the first impression he gave? Thinking back to that confrontation at the hot springs, it really feels like a miracle that Yuuri even gave him a chance considering how they first met. 

“Now that I think about it,” Chris says, “it was kind of weird when we saw you two together. Yuuri never goes out to drink with the other skaters during these events, but sometimes he hangs out with Phichit after they skate. However, everytime he does he always has this look in his eye like he would rather be anywhere else. But when we saw him with you he seemed so patient and sweet, like you were some kind of delicate puke baby that he was trying to protect.”

Victor lets out a groan at this, he does not like being described as a delicate puke baby.

“Well that’s both sweet and horrifying.” Victor tells him. “Anything else I’ve done around the man of my dreams that was wildly inappropriate? Did I start stripping as well and sit him down to give a lap dance?”

“No, but I think you wanted to.” Chris smiles. “Yuuri was really gentlemanly towards you though, he told you not to do something like that in the middle of the street.”

Victor shakes his head while Chris laughs at him.

“But seriously nothing weird happened.” Chris reassures him. “I am surprised Yuuri never mentioned it though, but he probably didn’t know how to without making it embarrassing for you.”

Victor thinks back to their first date in Hasetsu, how one afternoon led to another, and eventually neither of them wanted to let go. He thinks about how easily Yuuri could’ve embarrassed him by bringing up his drunken state during that lunch and yet he didn’t. He could’ve asked about it on the beach when they would share secrets with one another and he never even tried.

Victor messes absentmindedly with the gold ring sitting on his finger, the same one Yuuri gave him the night before he left St. Petersburg.

“I miss him.” Victor says. “I want to see him, I want to ask him why he never brought this up. I wish I could just call him like I used to and act like nothing’s changed, but I don’t even know where to start.”

Chris lets out a sigh.

“Can I give you some advice Victor?” He asks.

Victor looks up at his friend and nods.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” Chris says, “but you are way too quick to let go of the people around you when they come into conflict with your work. And that’s bad, like isolating yourself in a hellscape of work kind of bad. I never really knew how to say anything about it, considering most of your romantic relationships were never that serious and your relationship with your parents was complicated, but with Yuuri it’s different. I’ve never seen you go out of your way to be with someone like you did for him, and even when you came back you were still doing your best to call him and make it work.

“But then you did the same thing you always do, you let yourself get sucked back into your rhythm of isolating yourself for the sake of work and refusing to let anyone help. It doesn’t surprise me that Yuuri might’ve taken that as a sign that you weren’t invested in the relationship anymore, most people would.

“If you really want this to work, though, you’ve got to show it. And I don’t mean by moping around by yourself in your room or writing a heartwarming script for him to hear a year later. You have to call him, you have to reach out yourself and try to make things right. If you don’t, if you just sit here with me for lunch and complain about how much you miss him then you only have yourself to blame. Relationships take work on both ends, you have to be willing to show that you care enough to make it work.”

Victor looks at his friend, shocked. He never thought that his own behavior regarding work could be so isolating, not even when he was doing his best to reconcile with his parents. But now that he’s thinking back on it he realizes just how often he pushes those around him away. How many times did he shut people out because he was too focused on writing the perfect script or putting together the perfect film? How many times did he shut out Chris without even knowing it? He thinks about his own behavior towards his friends and family over the years and feels ashamed. 

“But what about Yuuri?” Victor asks. “What if I’ve already blown it and he never wants to talk to me again?”

“Then you blew it.” Chris says. “But you won’t know until you try, and you have to give Yuuri the chance to make that decision for himself. Don’t just assume what somebody else may want. Let him know that you’re willing to meet him in the middle if he is.” 

Victor nods his head at this.

“You’re really good at this whole relationship thing.”

“It’s why I’m married and you’re not.”

“Ouch!” Victor exclaims. “That actually hurt my feelings. I hope you know that.”

Chris just laughs at him.

“Good!” He says. “I’m tired of watching you mope around town with no one else to talk to! If you really feel so bad about the whole thing go fix it yourself and call me when you’re feeling better!”

Victor shakes his head at this and smiles. 

They finish lunch together while playfully poking fun at one another before Chris gets called away by his producer who wants him on set. They say their goodbyes and Victor makes his way back to his apartment with plenty of things to think about.

Walking through the door Victor can see Makkachin waiting patiently for him in the living room and he sits down next to her to scratch her head. She looks up at him with concerned eyes and he lets out a sigh.

He glances over at the kitchen area and sees the Oscar invite still sitting there untouched and reaches out his hand to play with the gold ring on his finger.

“What do you think I should do Makka?” Victor asks her. “Should I call Yuuri? Would that be weird?”

Makkachin clearly perks up at the mention of Yuuri’s name and Victor leans back on his sofa, exhausted and confused about what to do next. 

He has so many questions he wants to ask Yuuri, so many things he wants to say to him, but after a year it feels like it would be too late. There was no way that Yuuri didn’t take their time apart to grow closer to someone else or move on with his life. He feels like if he just waltzed himself back into Yuuri’s life it would come across as awkward and unwelcome.

He doesn’t remember pulling out his phone to look up Yuuri, only watching as his hands went through the motions of typing up his name into google. A list of articles surrounding Yuuri’s success at the World Championships pop up as the top search results. 

There’s a link to his exhibition performance at said competition that he clicks on, and as the announcer introduces him Victor watches the close up on Yuuri’s face right before he takes the ice. His hand reaches up to push back his hair and as it does Victor’s heart stops in his chest as he notices the gold ring still sitting on his finger. He looks down at the date of the video posted and sees that it’s only one week old.

He’s still wearing it.

After all this time Yuuri is still wearing that gold ring that he bought them back in St. Petersburg the night before he left. Victor thought he was the only one still holding onto that promise they made last year to be there for each other, but here Yuuri was proving him wrong. He doesn’t have time to ponder what this could mean as the music starts playing and Victor recognizes the song immediately.

Stammi Vicino .

Memories of that day back at the rink when he first saw Yuuri skate come rushing back as Yuuri takes to the ice and weaves a story of love and loss. It’s different from the first time Victor saw him perform this routine, it carries with it a weight of sadness that it didn’t before. It no longer feels like Yuuri interpreting Victor’s story through ice skating, but instead acts like a declaration of heartbreak and yearning. Almost as if Victor can hear the message reaching through the screen and shouting at him.

Maybe there is hope. 

He watches as Yuuri glides across the ice, pouring his entire soul into this performance. Victor’s seen this routine more times than he can count, he remembers walking in on Yuuri practicing it when he thought no one was looking. He always had this determined look in his eye to get it just right, the memory of his fall haunting him at every turn as he did his best to correct that mistake the next time he hit the ice. 

There’s none of that fury in his eyes right now though, he doesn’t need it anymore. As Victor watches him perform he can tell that whatever barrier was holding Yuuri back is now gone. He moves through the ice as if he was made to be there, working in tandem with the music effortlessly. 

Victor waits with bated breath as Yuuri sets up for the final jump. He sees Yuuri get into position and lift himself into the air while Victor counts four rotations and…

He lands it.

Yuuri transitions into his last spin sequence and the crowd around him goes wild. He finishes in his final pose and the camera cuts to a close up where Victor can see tears streaming down his face. His hand with the gold ring is pointed upwards towards the sky and he allows the audience to cheer for him for a few more moments before stepping off the ice and looking out into the crowd.

As if he’s trying to find someone.

The video comes to a close and Victor doesn’t bother reading any of the hundreds of comments left underneath it. Instead he pulls up his contacts list and stares down at Yuuri’s number still sitting comfortably in his phone. 

What is he going to say? What should he say after all this time? Is he reading into things too much? Surely it can’t be this easy, he certainly isn’t so egotistical to believe that Yuuri would even want to listen to him since they broke up. And he doesn’t even know where to begin when it comes to his own feelings or the fact that he wants to apologize for shutting Yuuri out.

“Relationships take work on both ends, you have to be willing to show that you care enough to make it work.”

Chris’s words from this afternoon echo in his head as he walks over to the kitchen counter and picks up the Oscar invite. He breaks the seal on the envelope and looks over the congratulatory message. His eyes land on the part that mentions him bringing a plus one and lets out a sigh.

“What do you think Makka?” He asks his dog. “Am I overthinking things?”

Makkachin doesn’t respond, only looks up at him confused.

Victor smiles at his dog and shakes his head.

“I guess I am.”

His finger hovers over the call button before finally pressing it and watching as Yuuri’s icon pops up and the phone starts ringing. 

Each second that passes by makes Victor’s heart beat wildly in his chest, threatening to break out at any moment. An eternity passes before the ringing finally stops and Victor holds his breath, waiting to see how Yuuri might answer.

“...You have reached the voicemail of-”

Oh.

Of course he wouldn’t pick up. Why should he? Afterall, they broke up over a year ago and it’s not like they promised each other anything. It makes sense that Yuuri wouldn’t answer his call after over a year, he doesn’t know what he was thinking when he decided to do this.

But now he has to leave a message right? It would be weird if he didn’t, but wouldn’t it also be weird if he did? Victor’s never tried to get into contact with any of his exes in the past so he doesn’t really know what would be appropriate or not to say. Especially since the only reason he decided to call Yuuri in the first place is because he saw him performing his exhibition piece that was posted a week ago. 

What is he supposed to say?

Should he even say anything?

Is he making this weird?

“At the tone, please record your message.”

There’s a loud beep and Victor comes to the terrifying realization that he is alone and being recorded with no idea of what to say or how to talk to Yuuri after all these years. In many ways it’s worse than it would’ve been if he had answered the phone.

Victor takes a deep breath. 

“You have to be willing to show that you care enough to make it work.”

He can do this.

“...Hey Yuuri,” he says, “it’s been a while. I don’t even really know if this is still your phone number, but, I’m taking a shot in the dark and just assuming it is.

“I saw your performance at the World Championships, your exhibition skate came out really great. I’m glad to see that you finally polished up that old routine. I can tell you put a lot of work into it, you made it really stand out amongst the other skaters. 

“Chris told me something crazy, apparently we met before Japan in a bar at Michigan after Skate America. You never told me, I thought that was strange. I was kinda hoping we could talk about it but I guess you’re busy at the moment.”

He winces at the awkwardness of the whole situation and glances back down at his invitation.

“I don’t know if anyone told you this yet,” he says, “but I got nominated again this year for the film I was making. The invite says that I can bring a plus one and I was hoping-”

No, that isn’t right. He can’t just throw the invitation in his face like that, it sounds too nonchalant. What is he doing wrong? He feels like pounding his fists against his head, unsure of how to speak or what to say.

How is he supposed to tell Yuuri how much he misses him? How is he supposed to express how much he regrets pushing the other man away? This isn’t some script that he can write and re-edit, he doesn’t want to make Yuuri feel pressured to forgive him but he also doesn’t want to come off as too cocky or impolite.

“Let him know that you’re willing to meet him in the middle if he is.” 

“...I’m sorry.” He says. “I pushed you away once things with work started getting more complicated, and I shouldn’t have done that. I never really noticed how often I would isolate myself from others until I isolated myself from you, and Yuuri you didn’t deserve that.

“I don’t know if you want to hear this from me or not, but I miss you. I miss you more than I’ve ever missed anybody in my life, and that’s not me trying to exaggerate things, it's just I don’t know how else to describe it. I’ve spent so long trying to find my footing in this line of work, and now that I have I just keep coming back to how much I wish you were here to share it with me, and how much I wish I could share your life with you. I keep thinking back to those days in St. Petersburg when we’d meet each other everyday and just exist in the same space, how something so simple still feels so precious to me even now. 

“I don’t want to ask too much from you, and I don’t want you to feel like you’re obligated to respond in any way, but I’ve been staring at this stupid invite for over a month now, just refusing to open it because I don’t want to go there with anyone but you. You’re the one that inspired me to make that script, to make that movie, and to bring anyone else would feel ridiculous. 

“Ironically, I’m not the best with words when it comes to these sorts of things. I can’t tell you how long my hands were shaking while I gathered up the courage to dial up your number again. But, even if you don’t get this message or don’t want to talk to me again I just want you to know that for me it hasn’t changed. I still wear that ring you gave me the night before I left, and I have no intention of taking it off. Because Yuuri, no matter how long we’ve been apart, I still lo-”

Beep!

The voicemail stops recording and Victor looks down at his phone in shock after being cut off. 

His face feels hot as he realizes what a long voicemail he just left, and he starts to wonder just how bad that went. The minimal amount of time he just wasted when all he had to do was ask Yuuri to call him back makes him throw himself on the couch face first while letting out a groan.

“Why am I like this!” He exclaims. “How hard is it to just ask him to call me back like a normal person!”

Makkachin nudges her head underneath his hand and tries to comfort him the best that she can. He looks down at her and scratches the top of her head before letting out a sigh and placing his phone down on the coffee table.

“I guess we’ll wait and see.” He tells Makkachin.

In the end he decides to go to the Oscars anyway. Afterall, he’s the one that spearheaded the project and if he decides to act as a no go then Barry will surely chew him out. He asks his father for help commissioning a suit and they go shopping together that weekend.

Yuuri still hasn’t called by that time, and Victor’s father can tell that something is weighing on his mind. 

“Something wrong Victor?” His father asks. 

Victor shakes his head.

“It’s nothing.” He says. “I’m just waiting on a call from someone at the moment, but I’m not sure whether or not they’ll reach out to me.”

“Have you tried calling them?”

Victor winces as he remembers his disaster of a voicemail.

“Yeah, I left a message.”

Victor’s father nods his head.

“Then you have nothing to worry about.” He tells Victor. “I’m sure whoever you’re waiting on will get back to you soon enough.”

“And if they don’t?” Victor asks. 

“If they don’t then call them again.” His father says. “Or am I missing something here? Who are you trying to get into contact with?”

Victor shakes his head, he doesn’t know what he was expecting from his blunt father. It’s not his fault though, he doesn’t know what’s going on in Victor’s love life.

“Hey dad,” Victor says, “if you and mom ever hit a rough patch where neither of you were speaking to each other, what would you do?”

His father goes silent for a moment, looking down at Victor with concern in his eyes.

“Well after you left we weren’t exactly on speaking terms with one another.” He tells Victor. “It took a long time before we were able to even be in the same room together. But I learned pretty quickly that I didn’t want to lose her over something as trivial as my own pride. I told her I was sorry, and that I would do whatever it took to make things right again. After that, the ball was in her court, and I had to wait and see whether or not she’d forgive me.”

“What if she didn’t?” Victor asks. “What would you have done then?”

His father shakes his head.

“I’m not sure.” He says. “But I like to think I would’ve respected her decision either way. Thankfully, she forgave me, and soon after we were able to reconcile you came home.”

He looks at Victor with a smile on his face and places a hand on Victor’s shoulder.

“Just be patient.” He tells him. “You have to let others figure out these things for themselves.”

They decide on a dark violet suit with a gold trim and black shoes. As the Oscars grow closer and closer Victor starts getting pulled into several interviews while trying to promote his film and Barry does his best to appeal to the panel of judges. 

For the most part every interview pretty much goes the same. The person interviewing him will ask him for a quick summary of what the film is about, they’ll banter back and forth about the process they went through during production, and he’ll try and skirt around the awkwardness that comes with people asking about his relationship with Yuuri. It’s hard to avoid questions like that, even when his agent notifies the people beforehand that he doesn’t want to discuss it, since so much of the script is based on his relationship with Yuuri and how they met. 

But as the weeks roll by, Victor keeps his eye on his phone, jumping out of his seat everytime a spam call pops up in the hopes that it might be Yuuri instead. His heart breaks everytime he realizes that it isn’t him, but he tries to keep his father’s words in mind and waits patiently for Yuuri to call him back.

He continues having lunch with Chris every week, but his friend can clearly see that something is weighing on his mind. Whether or not Chris has become a bit more understanding or sensitive towards the topic is up for deliberation as he has yet to bring it up just yet, though Victor isn’t complaining. He’d rather not spend his lunch break away from prying eyes pining after a missing phone call.

The night of the Oscars arrives sooner than expected, and he sits there getting ready to make his way towards the theater when he hears his phone ringing from the other room.

Victor rushes over to grab it when he sees the caller ID pop up.

It’s Barry.

Letting out a sigh he answers the call.

“Hey Barry.” 

“Victor!” Barry exclaims. “You were supposed to be here ten minutes ago! Where are you? The rest of the crew has been waiting for you to arrive!”

“I’ll be there in five, don't worry.” He tells him. “I was just making some last minute adjustments to my outfit before heading out. You don’t want me to look unkempt in front of all you producer buddies, do you?”

He can hear Barry on the other line letting out a sigh.

“Just get here Victor.” He tells him. “And get here fast, the other reporters are starting to get antsy about your absence.”

“I will, I will.” Victor says before hanging up the phone and looking himself over in the mirror one last time.

His hair is pushed back just slightly and a light layer of makeup is applied to his face. His stylist did a good job getting him ready for tonight, but they left out one crucial detail from his outfit.

Victor pulls out the gold ring that Yuuri gave him from his pocket and slips it onto his finger. He knows that his agent suggested he shouldn’t wear it anymore considering they don’t want people to spread any rumors about him being married, but he refuses to take it off. 

It wouldn’t feel right to go without it.

He gets into the car that Barry called for him and stares out the window as the buildings pass by and they get closer and closer to the theater. He hears the crowd before he sees it and sure enough there they are.

Camera lights flash across his face as actors and producers make their way down the red carpet. Reporters reach out to ask questions that Victor can’t hear, the roar of the crowd drowning out their voices as they try to get their statements in for the night. Victor stands amongst the chaos alone as a reporter reaches out his mic.

“Victor Nikiforov how are you feeling about tonight?”

“Are you feeling confident that you’ll take home your first oscar for History Maker ?”

“Why did you wait until the last minute to confirm your attendance for this evening?”

The questions start pouring in from all sides and he struggles to make his way towards Barry before he feels a hand grasp onto his arm and he turns back to see Chris.

“Chris!” He exclaims, turning around to pull his friend into a tight embrace. “Glad to see a friendly face around here!”

The two of them immediately start playing off their friendship for the cameras. For whatever reason, their fans love to see him and Chris play off one another whenever they’re at events like these and Victor isn’t about to complain about getting to see more of his best friend for the sake of publicity.

“You must be drunk already if you’re giving me a hug.” Chris laughs at him.

The rest of the reporters ease off as Chris drags him away from their onslaught and towards Barry. 

“There you are Victor.” Barry says, walking up to them. “We’re about to head in, make sure to let them ask a couple of questions before taking your seat. But don’t take too long, the show is about to start in the next twenty minutes.”

Victor nods his head.

“I’ll see you there Barry.” He tells his producer and watches as the old man makes his way inside the building. 

Victor looks over at Chris who seems distracted, constantly glancing back at the line of cars making their way towards the entrance.

“Are you waiting for someone?” Victor asks him.

Chris waves his hand at him.

“Yeah they should be here any moment.” He tells Victor. “I sent the car for them this morning but- oh wait there they are!”

Victor looks up to see a large black limousine make its way to the front of the line. As it comes to a halt the attendee gets out to open the door for whoever is inside and Victor’s heart suddenly stops.

He knows those brown eyes.

Yuuri steps out of the car with his hair slicked back in a freshly pressed suit and a dazed look in his eyes. He glances around the space, trying to avoid the onslaught of reporters crashing into him, before finally settling his gaze on Victor.

He smiles, and Victor feels his heart leap out of his chest.

“Consider this an early birthday gift or whatever.” Chris tells him. “I flew him in this morning, but you two are the most stubborn people in the world. Go talk to him like a normal person, I think he’s been waiting to hear your voice.”

Victor feels time slow down to a halt as he makes his way across the red carpet. They meet each other halfway, and Victor holds out his hand to reach for Yuuri before stopping short a few centimeters.

“You came.” He says, absolutely breathless.

“I did.” Yuuri smiles. 

He can hear the crowd of people surrounding them from all sides trying to grab their attention, but Victor doesn’t pay them any mind. His eyes remain focused on the sight of Yuuri standing here, right in front of him, like a dream come true.

“I’m sorry.” Yuuri tells him. “I didn’t know how to tell you we met at the bar that night, or that you permanently stained one of my favorite jackets.”

Victor laughs.

“It’s alright.” He says. “I’m just happy that you’re here.”

“I am too.” Yuuri says. “Victor, I’ve never done this sort of thing before. I’ve never missed someone so completely in my life like I’ve missed you this past year, and I don’t want to go back to that ever again. I’ve stared at your phone number every single day, unable to muster up the courage to call you and see how you’re doing. I poured everything I felt into my ice skating just so I could feel like I was saying something, even though a part of me thought you would never hear it.

“But I want to be here with you tonight, and every night afterwards if you let me. I want to make this work, if you want that too. I meant what I said when I gave you that ring in St. Petersburg. I’m always gonna be right here, looking forward to our next meeting, confident that we’ll have as much time as we need to spend with each other. I never took off my ring, because I never stopped loving you.”

Yuuri looks up at him with hopeful eyes and Victor finds himself unable to respond with words, instead opting to grab the other man by the waist and pull him into a passionate kiss.

He knows the world is watching them, he knows the cameras are flashing all around doing their best to get the best angle, but he can’t seem to care. Because right here, right now, Yuuri is in his arms saying that he loves him and that’s enough. It’s more than anything he could’ve hoped for.

“I never stopped loving you either.” Victor says, pulling away, a smile on his face. “I still do, and always will.”

He hears a cry from Christophe in the distance and Victor glances down at his watch to see they’ve only got ten minutes before the workers close the doors to the theater.

“Come on.” Victor says. “We don’t want to be late for the show.”

Yuuri smiles before allowing himself to be dragged along the red carpet and answer questions by Victor’s side. They give the reporters waiting patiently by the entrance a quick statement about tonight and then hurry inside to meet with Barry and the crew. Victor side eyes Barry as he sees an extra seat next to Victor’s spot and shakes his head, aware that the old man may have been in on Chris’s surprise.

They take their seats and watch patiently as the host takes the stage and begins the award show. After a quick round of jokes from the host about the show that Victor and Yuuri just made outside and a short introduction explaining who the nominees are for the night the show kicks off without a hitch.

Victor watches as his leading actor takes home the Oscar for best performance in a drama, along with his costume designer and cinematographer. Him and Yuuri let out a roar of applause for every member of his crew that takes home a trophy with them tonight, as well as a polite congratulations towards everyone else that is awarded for their work from differing projects. 

He’s never had this much fun at any of these award shows in the past, but he can’t help but smile and laugh as Yuuri sits by his side taking in the whole spectacle for the first time. As the announcers take the stage towards the end of the night they announce the nominees for best screenwriting in a drama and Victor can see Yuuri tense up next to him.

They list Victor amongst a number of other talented screenwriters and open the envelope.

He doesn’t win.

He watches as one of his former colleagues takes to the stage and gives his congratulatory speech, which Victor happily applauds. He remembers watching their film this year, and can honestly admit he doesn’t feel bad losing to them.

Next up is Best Director. The hosts make their way towards the stage and announce the nominees, Victor’s name included, and he watches as they announce someone else as the winner once again.

He can feel Yuuri’s grip on his hand tightening and he turns to give him a quick peck on the cheek to reassure him that Victor is fine.

Finally the nominees for Best Picture get read out loud, and he feels Barry pat him on the shoulder as their film is announced amongst the other pictures. He can see his production crew watching him with bated breath as the two announcers open their envelope and pause for dramatic effect.

“And the Oscar goes to…”



...He doesn’t win.



They watch as another film crew takes to the stage, and Victor can see Barry slump down in his seat looking over at Victor with an apologetic look in his eyes. He turns to see Yuuri glancing up at him concerned, and Victor squeezes his hand with a smile.

He’s not sad.

He feels bad for his crew, who spent so long working on this film and poured their heart and soul into this production, but he can’t find it in himself to be angry or upset. Not when he has Yuuri’s hand resting in his own and the love and support of his crew sitting by him all night long.

As the show comes to a close and everyone gets ushered away towards the after party, Victor decides to stay back and stare out at the now empty theater. He feels Yuuri’s arms reach around his waist and he smiles.

“Are you going to be alright?” Yuuri asks him.

Victor turns around to face him and nods.

“I think I am.” He says. “I don’t need it anymore, and I don’t really want it either.”

Yuuri smiles up at him and leans into their embrace.

“And what do you want now?” He asks Victor. “Not what the world wants, not what your agent or producer wants, not even what I want. What do you want Victor?”

He pulls Yuuri into a soft kiss and smiles before pulling away.

“I want to go home.”

Yuuri nods.

“Then let's go home.”

.

.

.

.

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY

FIVE YEARS LATER...

A glass trophy case displays a large assortment of figure skating medals and trophies along with three Emmy’s and a single Oscar sitting in the back. Sitting on top of the case are a series of pictures including one from Yuuri and Victor’s wedding and another from Yurio’s birthday party.

The door opens off screen and we can hear the happy couple make their way inside the apartment. Makkachin barks in the distance as the reflection of her owners is reflected in the glass. Yuuri turns back to kiss Victor on the lips very briefly as they shed their jackets and settle their groceries on the table. 

The couple’s reflections walk out of frame as we hear the television turn on, and they settle in for the night, together at last.