It’s Yuuri’s first games as a coach and he’s nervous.
He comes into Hikaru’s hotelroom to find him glued to the TV, watching the news coverage of the games. On the screen is a grainy shot of Yuuri and Hikaru getting off the plane at the Yangyang International Airport, obviously taken with a cellphone.
“Fans on Twitter have posted videos of Japanese skater Hikaru Sulu and his coach, Yuuri Katsuki, arriving in PyeongChang late yesterday,” the newscaster announces. “Rival coach, Viktor Nikiforov was also spotted with his student, Andrei Pavelski, arriving from––”
Yuuri shuts off the TV and stands with his hip cocked and face stern, doing his best impression of Mari. He doubts he’s even half as intimidating. “Is this what you’re doing instead of studying your competitors, like I asked you to?”
Hikaru doesn’t look even a little remorseful. “The news is more interesting. They keep using graphics with you and Coach Viktor’s photo surrounded by flames.”
“It’s all made up drama,” Yuuri says, rolling his eyes. “We weren’t rivals. More like friendly competitors.”
“I think it was a little more than friendly,” Hikaru teases.
Yuuri ruffles his hair affectionately. “No more gossiping about my old skating days. Let’s go over the schedule for tomorrow one more time.”
Yuuri Katsuki met Viktor Nikiforov when he was 18 at the games in Salt Lake City. The first thing he did was freak out about how attractive he was. The second thing he did was steal his gold medal from him with a two point difference.
There’s a photo of them shaking hands, Yuuri with his first gold medal and Viktor with his first silver. The media called it the birth of a rivalry. Viktor called it love at first sight.
Yuuri runs into Viktor downstairs, placating the media, his smile plastic and his laugh artificial. Yuuri decides to save him.
“Coach Katsuki!” There’s a flurry of camera shutters and reporter hands as one of them spots Yuuri making his way towards them. Viktor turns and Yuuri sees his genuine smile shine through. He greets him with an affectionate nod of his head. The reporters seem to interpret as a challenge.
“Coach Katsuki, Coach Nikiforov! Now that you’re both coaching, will we see your famous on ice rivalry continued on through your students?”
Yuuri wrinkles his nose. “Viktor and I weren’t rivals––”
“Yes,” Viktor interrupts, patting Yuuri on the shoulder. “Andrei and I will bring home the gold. I’m sure Yuuri’s used to looking up at me by now.”
The reporters completely miss the double entendre, but Yuuri doesn’t. Leave it to Viktor to shamelessly flirt with him on international television.
“I think,” Yuuri says, reminding Viktor that he can give as good as he gets, “what Coach Nikiforov is trying to say is that Hikaru and I will show the world who really belongs on top.”
Yuuri steps in close as he says it, until he’s tilting his head back to look up at Viktor, fluttering his eyelashes in the way that he knows drives Viktor wild.
“No more questions,” Yuuri says brightly. He turns on his heel, leaving Viktor and the reporters stunned.
(Later, the video of their impromptu interview goes viral and someone takes a screenshot of Viktor’s face, captioning it “games mood.” Yuuri giggles and lovingly retweets it.)
“Please stop flirting with your husband.”
Yuuri looks up from where he’s carefully arranging Hikaru’s skate bag after the short program to see Andrei standing in front of him with his arms crossed, still sweating from his own skate. Yuuri grins.
“Not my husband, remember?”
Andrei rolls his eyes but smiles back. “Okay, yeah, not officially or whatever. Stop flirting with him. He gets distracted easily and I can’t win if my coach is distracted by my other sort-of coach. He’s outside telling the media about the ‘Barcelona Incident,’ whatever that is.’”
Yuuri groans. “Hikaru’s in the other room doing cool-down stretches. Go join him and then get something to eat. We can go over your free program later.”
“Where are you going?”
Yuuri sighs. “I’m going to go stop Viktor from causing a scandal.”
It’s not hard to find him. All Yuuri had to do was step out into the lobby and look for the biggest crowd. Viktor is smiling and gesticulating wildly, effortlessly charming everyone in the room.
The sea of reporters part for Yuuri. Viktor stops mid-story and beams.
“Yuuri!” Viktor’s grin turns radiant. Yuuri struggles not to smile back. “Have you come to steal my spotlight?”
“Steal your spotlight, like I’ve stolen all your world-records?” Yuuri asks, faux-innocent. The reporters around them chitter.
“You may have the records, but which one of us has more medals in their medal case, darling?” Viktor teases, fully aware of the fact that they’ve had both their medals in the same case since they moved in together after the Sochi games.
Yuuri smirks. “Maybe you have more medals, but can you do a quad axel?”
“Maybe I can. I might surprise you.”
Yuuri grins. “I love surprises.”
(“If your goal was to flirt less, you’ve failed,” Andrei says when Yuuri gets back to the locker room later. “Check twitter.”
“Just letting you know,” Hikaru chimes in, “people on Tumblr are already screenshotting ‘rivalry’ themed article titles and posting them with pictures of you and Coach Nikiforov holding hands.”)
Viktor sneaks up behind him while Yuuri’s watching Hikaru warm-up before his free program. He stands just close enough that Yuuri can feel the heat radiating off of him. His presence falls over Yuuri like a warm blanket.
“He’s going to be amazing,” Viktor says, low in his ear. He reaches a hand over to link his pinky finger with Yuuri’s, below the boards where the cameras won’t pick it up.
“I know. I just––” Yuuri lets out a big sigh. “You know how I get during competitions.”
“Do you need to step out?” Viktor asks quietly. He moves a hand to the small of Yuuri’s back. “I know Yurio is around here somewhere. He can watch the boys while we go get some air.”
Yuuri smiles. “I’m fine, Vitya. Not too anxious. Besides, nothing can be as bad as Vancouver.”
Viktor grimaces. “You were a professional ice skater, how did you manage to slip on ice two days before the competition?”
They fall back into a familiar back-and-forth, bantering playfully while keeping one eye on their skaters. Yuuri can’t help but think about the years when they’d be trading flirty quips out on the ice instead of behind the boards.
“Do you miss it?” Viktor asks him, while they’re watching Hikaru settling into his starting position.
“Sometimes,” Yuuri admits. “But my favorite part about performing was that I got to skate with you. And now I get to do that everyday, so not so much.”
Then, knowing that all the cameras are focused on the skaters, Yuuri leans up and presses a soft kiss to Viktor’s cheek.
In the end, Phichit’s skater wins gold.
Hikaru and Andrei land second and third, separated by only a fraction of a point. Yuuri is so proud of all three of them that he doesn’t even need to be asked twice when Phichit invites him to the secret afterparty. He’s sitting off to the side, nursing a glass of champagne when he feels someone approaching.
“May I have this dance?”
Yuuri blinks at the offered hand in front of him, registering the glinting gold of a wedding band and dragging his gaze up to Viktor’s familiar heart-shaped grin and swoop of silver bangs.
Yuuri takes his hand without any hesitation and allows himself to be swept onto the dance floor. “You’re wearing your wedding band.”
“Can I tell you a secret, solnyshko?” Viktor grin turns conspiratorial. “I’ve been wearing it the whole time.”
“Vitya,” Yuuri tsks, “I thought we agreed that we wouldn’t announce our marriage until after the games?”
“No one saw. I wore my gloves over it.” Viktor dips him dramatically, a mirror of the night they first met. Yuuri tries not to find this awfully romantic. It’s a losing battle.
“Have you seen all the articles on our intense coaching rivalry?” Yuuri asks.
Viktor nods. “I have no idea why everyone thinks we hate each other. I think I’ve been obvious in showing how much I absolutely adore you.”
Yuuri blushes. He hides his face in the crook of Viktor’s neck. He’s momentarily overwhelmed with emotion. How did he get so lucky? To love and be loved by someone who’s his partner in every sense of the word, always matching him jump for jump, always by his side. They have something special. The kind of love that cuts through the fog, the kind that shines.
“Vitya, can I tell you a secret?” Yuuri lets go of one of his hands and reaches for the chain around his neck, tugging it out from under his shirt to show off the wedding band hanging from the end.
“I’ve also been wearing mine the whole time.”
Viktor melts. He brushes his fingers lightly over the chain. “You’re wearing it like it’s a medal.”
“Best medal I’ve ever worn,” Yuuri says, before he pulls Viktor into a kiss, golden and shining and perfect.