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Vitkor was given up as a baby for adoption, his adoptive parents immediately started making out for Viktor to be a professional athlete and supported (and by "supported" I mean "forced" and "Stage-mom"ed) him throughout his junior competitions, until the last year when he grew his hair out to do the androgynous thing because his parents were very Boys Must Be Boys, naturally Viktor coming out wasn't taken well, he came out when he was fourteen or fifteen, right before his senior debut

His parents reacted poorly and tried to "straighten him out" (literally) but didn't flat-out disown him because of the money and recognition he was bringing them

He struggled in this cage until he turned 18, at wich point he fought tooth and nail to get away from them, until that point though he spent as much time with Yakov as possible because it was the only escape he had from his parents and the only place where he could express himself freely, Yakov really does think of Viktor as his own son and although he's a hard ass he's never been opposed to people being with whoever they love, and if Viktor wants to grow his hair out and experiment with looking feminine and talk about boys then he'll let him do that although he'll force Mila to take the brunt of that "talking about boys" conversation because he just can't stand hearing the lovesick puppy shit for any gender or sexuality so tldr until the age of 18 every moment on the ice was spent being as gay as legally possible in Russia for the express purpose of flipping the bird at his parents because "If I can't be gay at home I guess I have to be gay here" and there's not much they could do because money

After he got away from All That he started low-key looking for his birth mother because he hoped somewhere in his heart that maybe she would somehow accept him now that he was famous

The thing is though that one of the most famous people in the country starting to sniff around for a birth mother, unintentionally revealing to the wrong people that he's adopted in the first place, causes Some Problems

It never leaks to the media only because Yakov uses six months worth of coaching fees to lawyer up so hard that even politicians wouldn't want to cross that line, but it does little to detour fakes from coming forward and trying to claim Viktor, who eventually just has to resort to demanding DNA tests before he'll even talk to anyone, wich, for someone who was so eager to believe that maybe his mother would embrace him with open arms upon finding him again, really caused him to become alot more isolated and jaded than he was before, sheerly out of pain

He does eventually track her down, much to his surprise she isn't one of the ones who tried to contact him herself, she never believed that her son could be the Viktor Nikiforov

He took this as a good sign

It wasn't

When he found out that she had several other kids, he tried really, really hard not to take it personally that she kept all of the others but only got rid of him, he understood, she was young when he was born, she was too young, she was trying to do the right thing

He understood

Even though his oldest sister was born a year later, even though her conditions hadn't been better, he forced himself to say that he understood why she looked at his sister and couldn't give her up, but looked at him and signed him away

He understood no he didn't

He tried not to question what was wrong with him, what was so bad about him that she couldn't have that same desperation to hold on, he tried to fathom what the big difference could have been in a year, thought to himself maybe having different fathers- the name of his, he still hasn't found out, she won't tell him, it's not on the birth certificate, no one knows- had something to do with it but if anything that just makes him feel worse because what was so wrong with his that he became intolerable?

It was for the best, he tried to tell himself

And for about a year, maybe two, he bleeds himself into trying to be part of this family

He buys them things, he visits alot too much, he pays off his mother's house and pays for his sister's college degree and he's bleeding more money than he makes and it takes Yakov stepping in and cutting him off from any funds that come his way to get him to quit because Viktor won't listen to reason

When the money stops so does any illusion that his "family" cares about him at all past what he can give to the person who gave him away

Viktor is twenty-three now, the same age Yuri was when his world collapsed on him, and he's tired and feels like he's atleast twice that age

He drowns himself so deeply into skating- so much more than ever before- that he actually forgets sometimes that having people outside of rinkmates and coaches is normal

"Family" contacts go through Yakov- Yakov demands it after the money incident and for once Viktor doesn't argue a single word

He doesn't talk about any of this with anyone, even Yuri, he's too ashamed, he thinks too much of it is his fault, he doesn't want Yuri to start wondering what must have been wrong with Viktor to cause so many family members to abandon him, use him, or give him up, he wants to pretend he hatched out of an egg or fell out of the sky because everything else hurts too much

Yura's parents are dead, he knows that, he hates that, he never met them because they died when Yura was a toddler, but he's heard Mr. Plisetsky talk about how wonderfull his daughter was from time to time and Viktor envies Yura just a tiny bit

It's the cruelest, most hideous thing he's ever felt or thought, but he sometimes wishes that he could have had just... just that glimpse of someone truly loving him that Yura had, even if it means losing them completely at only three-years-old, even if he wouldn't remember, atleast Yura has photos, he has stories from his grandfather, he has the knowledge that he was truly loved, brought into the world intentionally and not accidentally, loved so deeply that only death took his parents away from him and loved still by his grandfather who treats Yura like a Faberge` egg

Viktor envies something, wich is not a typical feeling for him to have, and he hates it, of all of his sins, he thinks, this is the one he's most ashamed of

But it's still there

What's that phrase? Better to have loved and lost? Better to have been loved and lost, he reasons, than never loved at all

Yuri's family though, is everything Viktor could have wanted and more, but he can't bring himself to envy it, he can't bring himself to be jealous, because it hurts too much

It's one thing to trade loneliness for loneliness, he knows what it's like, he knows how it feels, it's familiar, but it's an entirely different thing all together to witness Yuri's mother hug him and kiss his cheek, hear his father wish him a good day and watch his sister playfully bop him on the back of the head before he leaves in the mornings, it's foreign in a way Viktor has never experienced, in a way that's almost frightening, because he's so distant from it that he wouldn't know how to envy it if he tried

He reasons that it's sort of like why someone middle class would envy their neighbor's new SUV harder than they would envy a celebrity's Mustang- the SUV is attainable, that makes the lack of it that much more bitter to swallow; the Mustang is a fantasy, a bedtime story, it couldn't be real in their wildest dreams so there's not much point in being jealous over it in the first place

Yura's tragedy, reasonably, could have been Viktor's, he could have had loving parents once, even if he can't have them now, but Yuri's family is this fantastic thing that he feels like he's watching through a TV screen and could never be part of, never get close to, no matter how hard he tries

This, ofcourse, makes it all so much harder for him to process when they start treating him like their own

There's a definite difference in the way that they act pre and post engagement- before Barcelona they were incredibly kind people who treated Viktor like a beloved freind, wich was confusing (though appreciated) enough as it was, but then Yuri brought him home, explaining shyly that they were moving to Russia- "For now, for a wile, I promise we won't be gone forever,"- he clings to Viktor like static electricity and he clings to that word like a marriage vow all on it's own- the moment he shows off their rings and explains that when he wins gold, they'll get married, asks if his family wouldn't mind flying to Hawaii for the wedding, or maybe somewhere colder, maybe Canada or Norway or-

Then his future mother-in-law is hugging Viktor and welcoming him to the family, she pats his cheek and starts exclaiming that they'll have have two famous sons to brag about now and oh, she really does need to find out Viktor's favorite color so she can make him a scarf, the Katsukis have a tradition, when there's a new family member they get a handmade scarf-

Yuri's father pats him on the back and tells him to take care of Yuri, and that's the extent of the "hurt my son and you'll die" speech he was expecting, and then is immediately asked if he knows anything about how to grill fish because he wants to make something special for tonight and has this family mackerel recipe in mind

It's Mari who threatens him with bodily harm should Yuri's heart get broken but she follows it quickly with "I'm not too worried though, I've never seen anything more disgustingly over the top than how much you love him, but I just had to say it anyway" and then she calls him "bro", makes the satisfied remark that she now has two baby brothers and Viktor better not forget that she still reigns seniority over him, and Viktor doesn't know how to language anymore

It's not just a one-off thing either, it's .... that's life for Viktor from then on

Yuri can't take a video call without Viktor popping in for atleast a short wave and "hello" because his family is demanding to know that their other son is ok

Viktor is no longer Viktor Nikiforov in Hasetsu, he's practically a Katsuki even before he changes his name as everyone just starts referring to him as "Viktor Nikiforov- Yuri Katsuki's fiance`" and he's happy with this

For the first time in his entire life someone is asking him if he's eating enough- it's Hiroko, she never believes him, she sends cookies

The only question concerning family holiday celebrations, ever, is weather or not they can actually catch a flight to Hasetsu for the occasion in question, or if their schedules are too packed to do so

More often than not, New Year's is free, and Viktor never goes another year of his life without celebrating it in Japan, and there are other occasions too

Yuri takes Viktor home for Golden Week and Tanabata and even Halloween when they can, because he can and because Halloween is still so touchy in Russia but Yutopia always celebrates it so they go there

Viktor gets birthday wishes from his in-laws- and by "wishes" I mean "they can never go straight home from the GPF, they have to detour in Hasetsu every year so the Katsukis can throw Viktor a party"

Viktor gets everything he's ever wanted in a family from Yuri and the surreality of that never fades

The pain of loneliness eases, the ache for a family dulls, but there's also still always that sharp, stabbing hurt that comes from knowing that all of this is only borrowed

He has nothing to give back to Yuri

All of Viktor's traditions, all of his childhood stories, all of his love, they come from him and him alone, maybe with the exception of Yakov but Yakov really isn't much of a talker...

Viktor has no in-laws to give to his husband, he has no family to share, he doesn't even want to give Yuri his name sometimes because it's a bitter taste in his mouth that he would rather forget, because really, what would Viktor give him if he could? Two people who tried to push Viktor for their own gain instead of his, and who would probably shun Yuri just because of what was between his legs? Or the people he shared blood with who only cared about money and who had gotten rid of Viktor as a baby for reasons he still didn't even know?

It's all.... it's all achingly clear to him

He wouldn't change anything about his new family for the world, not even if he was given the chance at a do-over, not even if he was given the chance to get a real family of his own from the very start, he still wouldn't trade the Katsukis for it, but it doesn't stop him from aching sometimes anyway

He watches Otabek and Yura talk, sharing stories about their families, Otabek has taken on Yura the same way that Yuri took on Viktor, the Altins every bit as loving and supportive as the Katsukis are and the two families making some bizarre little quilt of relatives that accept the opposite pair as extended relations by this point just as much and as easily as they accepted their sons-in-law

He watches and he's happy

He's happy for Yura

But somewhere deep inside, as cruel and ugly and horrible as it is, he listens to those stories that Yura can't possibly remember, only repeated back from his grandfather's words, and looks at the photo albums from decades ago, and part of him still envies