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Love's Requiem

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Yuuri woke up to a steady beeping and sterile white walls. He was dressed in a hospital gown and his arms were connected to IVs and monitors. Several of the wires were connected to chest as well and there was a mask over his mouth and nose helping him breathe.

 

Somehow, Yuuri didn’t feel surprised at all to find himself here and he let his head fall back against the pillow in silent acceptance. What had happened? He hadn’t been feeling well, that much was obvious, but he thought it had been exhaustion. Was he sick? All he could remember was skating and then falling and his heart. His heart. 

 

“Yuuri? Are you awake? Oh my god!”

 

Turning his head towards the voice his eyes went wide as Mari jumped out of a chair to approach the side of his bed, tears in her eyes. Almost her entire face was red and puffy from crying. Pulling down the mask he gave her a questioning look. “Mari? What are you doing here?” His voice was surprisingly hoarse. 

 

“You are in the hospital , Yuuri,” she sniffed angrily. “Why wouldn’t I be here?”

 

“Where’s Vitya?” The words leave his mouth without thinking and the change in Mari’s expression was grandiose.

 

“Fuck Viktor,” Mari spat, hands tightening in the blankets around Yuuri. “This is all his fault! He did this to you!”

 

Did what? “Mari, what happened? I don’t remember.”

 

“You had a heart attack!” Mari shouted, quickly covering her mouth to try and keep herself under control. Her hand was shaking and the tears were falling fast and hard. “T-the doctor said your whole body has been just shutting down for a while and there were obvious signs of an eating disorder. You were putting so much stress on an already broken body by skating and your heart just gave in. You could have died, Yuuri!”

 

Yuuri’s heart gave a hard thump and his hand grasped at his chest. His breaths started hitching and he had to pull the mask back up before he could go into full panic mode, the beeping on the monitor growing faster. Heart attack. No. Only old people got heart attacks. He was young, healthy, in shape. Except you aren’t healthy. 

 

“Yuuri? What’s wrong? Do I need to get a nurse?” Mari questioned, her hand reaching out for Yuuri’s forearm in worry.

 

Grabbing her back, Yuuri shook his head and used her as an anchor. He just needed to breathe. Breathe. 

 

“I’m finding someone,” she decided, letting go of Yuuri and rushing out of the room. 

 

It was too much. It was all too much and he couldn’t breathe and - 

 

“That’s it, Katsuki-san, deep breaths.”

 

He gasped, fogging up the mask around his mouth and there was a sudden calm. His heartbeat slowed and the pain started to subside. 

 

“There you go,” the nurse smiled comfortingly. “I’m Nurse Akari. Are you in pain?”

 

Lowering the mask, Yuuri gave a nod. “It-it’s not bad now, but my chest aches.”

 

Akari hummed. “That’s normal for the next few days. I know it’s very scary after what happened, but try not to panic too much when you start to feel the pain, okay? Deep breaths and it should pass quickly. We’re also prescribing you some medication that should help regulate that.”

 

“But it can happen again, can’t it?” Mari asked worriedly. “Another heart attack?”

 

Nodding, the nurse started to press a few buttons on the heart monitor and write on a clipboard. “Once you’ve had a heart attack, you are at greater risk for another one. The medication should help ease and prevent pain and we’ll get your brother into a cardiac rehabilitation program closer to your home.” She smiled softly at Yuuri. “You’re an athlete, which is great news for future prevention, but we have some work to do on getting your body back to full health. Proper nutrition is just as important as exercise.”

 

He could still skate though, right? Right?

 

“So what are the next steps?” Mari asked before Yuuri could bring up skating.

 

“We’ll keep him here for a few days for observation. While here, Katsuki-san will need to talk to a nutrition specialist and a therapist regarding his eating disorder.”

 

“I don’t have -” he started, but Mari shot him a glare as cold as ice.

 

“Uh huh,” Akari smiled sympathetically. “Acceptance is part of the process, Katsuki-san. And speaking of nutrition, I’ll have some lunch brought to you shortly. I expect you to eat it. All of it.”

 

Yuuri had a feeling if he didn’t do it willingly, Mari would force feed it down his throat. So he just nodded. Akari switched the oxygen mask for a nose tube now that he was awake and put in an order for his food. When the food did come, it was soup, rice, and a small container of pills.

 

Mari watched him eat from the corner of the room while she spoke to their parents. Even though he couldn’t hear his parents on the other end of the line, he knew exactly when it was they asked to speak with him and his hand tightened around the spoon. 

 

“He’s with the nurse right now,” Mari answered, covering for him.

 

Thank you, Yuuri breathed, completely unprepared to face his parents. 

 

Just as Yuuri set the tray aside there was a knock on the door. Both Yuuri and Mari looked up to see Yakov in the doorway waiting for permission to enter. Pushing herself to her feet, Mari walked over and exchanged whispers with Yakov that Yuuri could not hear. She glanced back at Yuuri before stepping out of the room.

 

Yakov looked like he hadn’t slept in weeks. There were heavy bags under his eyes and what was left of his hair was all out of place. He lacked his usual fedora and his clothes were rumpled. He looked much like how Yuuri felt. Clearing his throat, he asked, “How are you feeling?”

 

“Tired,” Yuuri responded, voice barely above a whisper. “Tired" - and broken - "and my chest hurts.” That, he reckoned, wouldn’t go away anytime soon. Heart attack aside. “I don’t know how I’m going to manage at Pyeongchang, but I’ll figure it out.”

 

Yakov’s mouth opened and closed. His expression changed in a way that had Yuuri realizing what the man was about to say and no. No, no, no. Don’t say it, he wanted to beg. Don’t say it, don’t, please. It couldn’t be true, this couldn’t be happening - 

 

“Yusha, you aren’t going to the Olympics,” Yakov said, his voice starting to crack. 

 

Yuuri could have sworn the heart monitor flat lined in that moment because whatever was left of his heart was now gone.

 

Of course he wasn’t going to the Olympics. He’d had a heart attack and was now at risk of permanent damage if he wasn’t careful. He knew he wasn’t going; no way would Japan send him now. And yet he’d had to open his mouth, had to make Yakov say it. Somehow, even knowing what was coming, hearing those words come from Yakov’s mouth destroyed his entire world.

 

The sob that left his lips sounded inhuman. 

 

“I’m so sorry, Yusha,” Yakov apologized, choking on his words. “This is so much my fault. I could have prevented all of this and yet I turned a blind eye because I didn’t want it to be true. My lack of action could have ended up killing both of you, and I will never forgive myself for this.”

 

Skating was all Yuuri had left. Skating was the only thing he was still clinging to in life and now it was gone. Viktor had taken his love, his heart, and now his life. This was Yuuri’s only chance at the Olympics after self-destructing the last time. Viktor had taken everything from him. Tears spilling down his cheeks, Yuuri reached for the gold ring around his finger. 

 

It slid off effortlessly.

 

Yakov closed his eyes and sighed before nodding and extending his hand to take the ring from Yuuri. “I know a very good lawyer. Discreet.”

 

“Does it even matter?” Yuuri sobbed, letting the ring fall into Yakov’s palm. “Everyone will know. Everyone already does.”

 

“He can help manage it all,” Yakov explained. “Media included. You won't have to speak with anyone. He’ll handle everything.”

 

Letting out another loud sob, Yuuri hid his face behind his hands. Viktor had succeeded in physically breaking his heart. “We were supposed to be together forever. The ultimate power couple.”

 

“We are all the ultimate power couple when we first marry,” Yakov said sadly. His eyes were starting to water. “Lia and I thought we were at the top of the world and that no one could ever tear us apart. Nothing could stop us. I loved her so fiercely and she loved me.

 

“We can never predict how life will change us, nor do we often want to. I would have never wanted to know that in the end we would not work out, because I would have wanted to still enjoy those golden moments that we shared. And you and Vitya had many golden moments. Don’t let the events of today or the last year destroy the memories of the past. At the time, they were exactly what you wanted.”

 

“When does it stop hurting?” Yuuri asked through shuddered breaths. 

 

“When you allow yourself to start healing,” Yakov answered. “I know that you are hurting, Yusha. I have felt this same pain myself. I know that it feels like it will never go away, but time heals all wounds. I also know not being able to go to the Olympics will be a pain you continue to feel the rest of your life, but you aren’t done. There is still so much in you left to give to the ice. Stay here in Japan and see your family. Take time to heal, but don’t give up. Not yet.”

 

How could Yakov ask this of him? How could anyone ask him to ever put on a pair of skates again? Viktor had been why he pursued it as a career.  Viktor had been why he’d continued to skate when he’d been ready to give up before. Viktor had been why he was able to come so far. Viktor had been the reason for it all - and now he was gone. Skate again, without Viktor? “I don’t know if I can.”

 

“Don’t think about it now,” Yakov instructed sympathetically. “Don’t think about it in the next few days or weeks, or maybe even months. But ultimately, you fell in love with ice skating before Vitya, and you can continue to love it without him. You just have to find the strength within yourself.”

 

How? Yuuri didn’t see how that could ever be possible.

 

Yakov placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Get well, Yusha. In mind, body, and spirit. Myself and Lia are here for you. Whatever you need.”

 

Yuuri nodded through his tears. “Will you handle things? Between Vitya and I?”

 

He nodded. “I’ll make a phone call here shortly. Divorce in Russia is relatively quick and painless given how common it is in our country. You could be free of his name in as soon as 30 days.”

 

Closing his eyes, Yuuri nodded. “Spasibo, Yakov. For everything.”

 

“I just wish I had done more,” Yakov said sadly. “I’ll keep in touch. Until then, I know your family will take very good care of you.” With one finally squeeze of his shoulder, Yakov bowed out and took his leave.

 

Minako visited a few hours later, a complete wreck. Like Yakov, she placed the blame heavily on herself for allowing Yuuri to compete despite all the warning signs.

 

“I promised your parents I would take care of you and I didn’t,” Minako cried. “I failed you. All of you.”

 

“You didn’t fail anyone, Minako-sensei,” Yuuri argued. “I was the one that wanted to skate so badly. I don’t regret going out onto the ice.”

 

“How can you say that?” Minako asked, voice cracking as she put a hand to her mouth. “You almost died, Yuuri.”

 

“I know,” Yuuri acknowledged, “and I’m so sorry to worry you all. But… if it hadn’t come to this - if I hadn’t almost lost my life out there - then I would have continued to let Viktor suck the life out of me until I wasted away. I wish it hadn’t happened like this, but… it had to happen.”

 

Sleep was impossible in a hospital, Yuuri found out. Every few hours, a nurse came in and checked his vitals. Made sure he was still alive. It was annoying and frustrating and all Yuuri wanted to do was sleep long enough to escape this world for even a moment. 

 

The next morning when Mari visited him again, he had no strength to fight against her when she spotted the lack of ring on his finger.

 

“So,” she started with a frown, “it’s officially over?”

 

Yuuri shook his head sadly. “It was over a long time ago.”

 

“Mom and Dad aren’t going to understand,” Mari sighed. “They already don’t. They love Viktor.”

 

“Yeah, well, I loved him too,” Yuuri fired back in agitation from the lack of sleep. “Things change.”

 

She hummed tiredly, rubbing at her forehead. “Well, there’s someone special here to see you.”

 

Yuuri wondered who other than his parents it could actually be and then entered Yuri. The Russian was dressed in a red hoodie and black pants, hood pulled up on his jacket and hands shoved in his pockets. His hair was a long tangled mess and there were bags under his green eyes. 

 

“Hey Katsudon,” Yuri forced a smile, voice cracking. He tried to keep his composure, tried to keep himself poised, and then he broke and he was lunging towards Yuuri and wrapping his arms around him tightly. “Fuck, fuck, fuck! I was so scared! Lilia took my phone and then at the press conference I was asked if I’d heard you were in critical condition and I lost my fucking shit. I ended up flipping the fucking table trying to get out of that press conference. I couldn’t get a flight out for hours and I kept thinking you’d die and I’d never see your stupid face again and” - he hiccupped - “Fuck!”

 

Yuuri clung to Yuri’s back, letting himself sink into the warmth as both men cried. “You didn’t kill anyone, did you?” He let out a small laugh that turned into a sob. 

 

“Not yet,” Yuri answered, squeezing tighter, a hidden promise in his words. They stayed like that for a long moment before Yuri pulled back in a panic. “Shit! I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have hugged you that tight! Are you okay? Like, your heart isn’t going to stop again is it?”

 

“My chest still aches, but the doctor said that’s normal,” Yuuri replied, wiping at his eyes. The skin around the edges was raw from how much he’d been crying. “They are keeping me here for a few days to monitor it. I have to take it easy for a while and they’ve given me some medication I’ll probably have to take permanently if I go back to skating. I’ll always be more at risk now.”

 

Yuri’s jaw tightened. “What do you mean ‘if’?”

 

“Yura… Please… I don’t want to talk about this right now.”

 

It was still so raw. So fresh. The pain of the Olympics right around the corner. Despite Yakov’s words, how could he possibly even consider returning to the ice after everything? He was breaking so many promises. He wouldn’t be on the podium with Yuri and he wouldn’t be there to hold the Japanese flag with Kenjirou. It hurt too much. 

 

Of course Yuri wanted to fight, but he visibly swallowed down his protests. Instead, his averted his gaze down and reached a hand out for Yuuri’s, a finger brushing over where the gold band used to be. “I don’t want to go to the Olympics without you.”

 

Oh, Yuri. Ever the fierce tiger on the outside, but a soft kitten on the inside. Yuuri forced a smile as a few tears shed. “You have to, Yura. You’ve worked so hard to get there, and you deserve it. Do it for me if you can’t do it for yourself.”

 

Yuri didn’t look completely convinced, and he was undoubtedly trying to formulate some sort of argument in his head. It took a moment of silence while he thought, before he finally relented and squeezed Yuuri’s hand. “Fine, Katsudon. I’ll go destroy all your world records. For you.”

 

This time, the smile was real. “Good. I look forward to it.”

 

Nodding, Yuri relaxed back a little bit where he sat on the edge of the bed, but his green eyes were still threatening to water. “I’m going to kill him, you know? I am. I should have never listened to you and Lilia when you told me to back off.”

 

Closing his eyes, Yuuri swallowed hard. “It would have ended just as bad, Yura, just differently. Viktor is hurting just as much.”

 

“How can you fucking say that?” Yuri breathed in disbelief. “After everything he’s done?”

 

“I don’t want to be married to him anymore, Yura, but you don’t just stop loving someone,” Yuuri explained. “That’s just not how it works.”

 

Yuri shook his head with a hard swallow. “I don’t get it.”

 

“I know,” Yuuri acknowledged, “but I hope that one day you’ll understand.”

 

Yuri scoffed.

 

Needing to shift in the bed Yuuri tried to sit up and a sharp pain shot through his chest. Gasping, he winced and froze as he waited for the pain to subside.

 

“Katsudon? Hey, are you ok?! Yuuri!” Yuri’s hands shot up to Yuuri’s face and cupped his cheeks.

 

A shot of electricity jump started Yuuri’s heart.

 

“Do I need to get the doctor?” Yuri asked frantically

 

Yuuri shook his head as the pain faded. “N-no, I’m okay. I’m fine.” 

 

Yuri’s hands still lingered. “You better not be lying to me.”

 

Lips twitching into a smile Yuuri reached up and carefully grabbed Yuri’s hand. “I mean, I’m not fine, but I’m not about to drop dead on you. I just… I don’t want to talk about Viktor anymore. How was National’s for you?”

 

Yuri finally retracted his hands and shrugged. “Easy. It just felt like practice more than anything.”

 

Fair. There weren’t any Russian men that could really challenge Yuri these days. “How mad were Lilia and Yakov with you for coming here?”

 

“They weren’t,” Yuri answered. “Though they’ll probably be mad when I tell them I want to stay here until Pyeongchang.”

 

“Yurio,” Yuuri sighed.

 

“I know, I know,” Yuri sighed as well. “I’m just fucking worried, okay? How do I know you’ll be taken care of?”

 

“Because it’s going to be my parents and my sister taking care of me,” Yuuri explained. “You really want to tell Mari you doubt her ability to look out for me?”

 

That finally had Yuri thinking twice. “Okay, fine, I guess I can trust Mari to look out for you. Everyone is really worried about you though. My phone is freaking blowing up with everyone asking me if I know how you are since I very publicly announced I was flying straight here.”

 

Yuuri didn’t even want to imagine what his phone was like at the moment. Wherever it even was. “What are they saying?”

 

“About you? Not much more than what happened. Yakov has done a really good job at keeping things under control and the media away. Everyone knows you had a heart attack but are stable. Viktor is another story.”

 

As quiet as Yakov would have tried to keep things, it was no surprise that news of Viktor would have gotten out and been talked about so fiercely. “Do people know he’s in rehab?”

 

“Oh yeah,” Yuri responded. “People can’t keep their fucking mouths shut. Of course, now everyone is speculating about the two of you because of that.”

 

Well, that couldn’t be helped. Yuuri would speculate about them, too, after everything. Many people had been, long before National’s. “I just… I don’t want to deal with it.”

 

“So then don’t,” Yuri shrugged. “Let Yakov handle all of that. He’s good for it. But… at least let people know you’re okay, you know? Like, your friends and shit.”

 

As much as Yuuri didn’t want to face the realities beyond the hospital room, he knew Yuri was right. Phichit was probably worried sick and he had fans that cared about his well-being. Still, Yuuri wasn’t in the right headspace to look at a phone right now. It would be too overwhelming and there would be questions he just didn’t want to deal with. Yuri however… “You do it.”

 

Yuri frowned. “Do what?”

 

“Let people know I’m okay,” Yuuri explained. “If I look at my phone it’s just going to be full of questions about me and Viktor and I don’t want to deal with that right now. But, you and I share a lot of the same fans and friends. You can post on your Instagram. I appear on other people’s Insta more than my own, anyway.”

 

“You’re okay if I do that?” Yuri asked, skeptical. 

 

Yuuri hummed. “That way you have to deal with all the comments instead of me.”

 

“Gee, thanks,” Yuri rolled his eyes before pulling out his phone. “Fine. But that means you gotta pose for a photo.”

 

Impulsive, Yuuri let his head fall onto Yuri’s shoulder and closed his eyes. “Make me look really pathetic.”

 

Yuri scoffed and wrapped an arm around Yuuri. “I don’t even have to try for that.”

 

The camera made its shutter noise and Yuuri opened his eyes. He didn’t want to move from Yuri’s shoulder. He didn’t want Yuri to take his arm away. It was the physical comfort he’d so desperately missed for so long. “How did it turn out?”

 

“You look like shit,” Yuri assured as he started to type out the caption. 

 

 

Yuuri found the strength inside himself to chuckle. “Great.” There was a moment of silence while Yuri worked on making the post. “Thank you. For coming.”

 

“Why the hell wouldn’t I come?” Yuri asked, his arm slipping just slightly from around Yuuri.

 

“A lot of people think we hate each other.” Yuuri smiled fondly, thinking about the million Instagram and Twitter wars from their fans. 

 

Yuri scoffed. “That’s because they are stupid.” He kept that strong frown for several seconds before it softened and turned into a vulnerability Yuuri had never seen. “I was really scared, Katsudon. I’ve never been so scared in my life. If I had lost you…”

 

Yuuri’s bottom lip trembled and he wrapped his arms around Yuri, breathing him in. Yuri had never let himself be so exposed before, even around Yuuri. Not like this. Yuri returned the hug, his chin resting on the top of Yuuri’s head. “I’m still here, Yura…”

 

“Good,” Yuri said simply.

 

Yuri was able to visit over the course of the next few days, but then Yakov declared it was finally time to return to Russia. It hurt Yuuri more than he thought he would, and Yuri left an emptiness in his heart far greater than Viktor, who he had been saying goodbye to him for months now.

 

As promised by both nurse and doctor, Yuuri was visited by several people over the four days he was in the hospital. A nutritionist to help get his weight back on track and to ensure he was eating foods healthy for his still healing heart. A rehab specialist that helped create a plan to ease back into exercise. A therapist to discuss his eating disorder that then led to a therapist to talk about his failed marriage. Yuuri still reached for his ring finger to play with the gold band that was no longer there. He’d spent that session crying more than anything. They’d all provided referrals to counterparts back in Hasetsu.

 

Yuuri and Mari took the train to Fukuoka instead of flying. Mari was too afraid what being in the air might do to Yuuri even if the doctor had said it would be fine. It was a five hour ride where Yuuri had nothing to do but think. Think about what he was going to say to his parents. Think about Viktor. Think about how naked his finger was. Think about how alone in the world he felt despite everyone’s support. 

 

Anxiety and depression were the most dangerous when Yuuri was left alone with them in his mind.

 

There’s something comforting about passing through the gates of Yu-topia, and despite his reservations about speaking to his parents, he found himself desperately seeking out his mother’s arms when he walked in the door.

 

“Yuu-chan!” Hiroko cried, sprinting towards her son as fast as her short legs would allow her to. 

 

Toshiya was not far behind, and despite not usually being a hugger, Yuuri let his parents scoop him into a tight hug, burying his face into his mother’s shoulder. How could he ever have been afraid to face them? Being here with them, at home, was everything that he needed. 

 

“Kaa-san, you’re going to smother him,” Mari chimed in, setting her and Yuuri’s bags aside.

 

Hiroko pulled back, but she reached up and gently grabbed Yuuri’s face as tears fell down her cheeks. “My poor, sweet boy… We were so afraid! They wouldn’t talk to Minako and we didn’t sleep until Mari was able to get to you and promise us you were okay!”

 

“I’m…” Yuuri’s lip started to tremble as all his walls broke down around his mother, needing to feel like a child that could be rocked back and forth in her arms. “I’m not okay.”

 

“Oh, baby, of course you aren’t,” Hiroko whispered, sadness heavy in her face. Now, more than ever, the years showed in her eyes. “Your father and I don’t really know everything that has happened, but we are here for you. Whenever you are ready to talk, we will listen.”

 

“Whatever you need. Stay as long as you want,” Toshiya added, rubbing Yuuri’s shoulder.

 

“Will Vic-chan be coming later?” Hiroko asked hopefully.

 

Yuuri tensed. “No. I don’t think Viktor will be coming back to Hasetsu ever again.”

 

“But-”

 

“Kaa-san,” Mari interjected firmly.

 

His parents didn’t understand. How could they? They absolutely loved and adored Viktor and Yuuri had never told them they were having issues. Now, all of a sudden, he showed up without his ring and without Viktor. Of course they were wondering. 

 

“Why don’t you sit down and rest some?” Hiroko suggested finally. “I’ve got some fish and rice cooking for you already! Relax and let us take care of you.”

 

“I’ll take your luggage upstairs,” Mari offered before pulling out a phone and handing it to Yuuri. “You want this back? Battery is dead, if that helps.”

 

Yuuri took it, knowing he couldn’t escape reality forever. Plus, he did want to keep in touch with Yuri and he needed to call Phichit. He’d just make sure to delete all social media apps the second he had juice again. It would prevent any morbid curiosity.

 

Meandering through the halls he found their family room and settled onto the couch. Some sort of rom-com was on in the background and he looked into the crack between the cushions to find the end of the phone charger stuck in it. He wanted to go soak in the onsen desperately, but that was off-limits for at least a week. 

 

He spent thirty minutes or so just absently watching the television when his mother brought him food. She stayed to watch him eat, and Yuuri wondered if that was Mari’s doing or just his mother being a mom. Secretly, Yuuri was glad for her presence, even if it was overbearing. 

 

When his phone was finally charged enough that he could turn it on, he contemplated calling Phichit. There’s only an hour of time difference between them now, so his friend would likely answer, which made him think twice. Did he really want to bring all his wounds to the surface again? But also… Since when did he feel more comfortable spilling his heart to Yuri over Phichit?

 

Me: Hey....you free?

 

It was at most thirty seconds before Phichit tried to facetime him. Yuuri’s finger hovered over the accept button before he finally swiped right. “Hey Phi…”

 

“Don’t you fucking ‘Hey Phi’ me,” Phichit responded, heavy tears in his eyes. “I have been so worried, Yuuri! I’ve had nothing to reassure me other than Yuri’s Instagram post which, let me tell you, only had me worried more. You looked so dead!”

 

“I feel dead, Phichit,” Yuuri responded with a shrug and a huff. “More than I ever have before.”

 

“Why didn’t you talk to me, Yuuri?” Phichit asked. “I could have been there for you. I am here for you.”

 

Yuuri closed his eyes and shook his head. At least Phichit wasn’t saying ‘I told you so’, though maybe this was his way of doing so. “I don’t know… I don’t know why I kept everything so bottled in other than I guess I hoped it would all just go away.”

 

“So what now?” Phichit asked. “Where do you go from here?”

 

“Well… I’m not going to the Olympics,” Yuuri began with a sad laugh, wiping at a stray tear. “And… I’m filing for divorce.”

 

Phichit was silent for a moment before sniffling. “I fucking hate this. All of it. I can’t imagine an Olympics without you. Without Viktor there beside you. I know I said that you and Viktor needed to work things out but this isn’t what I meant. This isn’t what I wanted.”

 

“I know,” Yuuri acknowledged. “This isn’t what anyone wanted, but… here we are.”

 

“What can I do? What do you need?” 

 

“Rest and time,” Yuuri answered. “A lot of time…”

 

Phichit nodded sadly in understanding. “Are you going to recover okay? From your heart attack, I mean.”

 

He shrugged. “Yeah, mostly. I should make a full recovery, but I’ll always be high risk now.”

 

“You can still skate? You know, if that’s what you want?”

 

“Exercise is highly encouraged,” Yuuri responded, not giving Phichit the answer he was looking for. 

 

Phichit sighed and looked like he might try and press the issue, but he ultimately knew better and let it go. “I’ll let Ciao-Ciao know you are okay. He’s been asking if I’d heard anything.

 

“Thanks,” Yuuri said simply, quickly losing the energy to socialize.

 

The Thai man picked up on it easily after living with Yuuri for so many years. “Alright, well, I’ll let you get your rest. Just don’t lock yourself away. Please. I’m here for you. A lot of us are.”

 

Yuuri gave him a soft smile. “Thanks, Phi…”

 

“Take care.”

 

Just as Yuuri ended the call and put his phone down Mari appeared at the top of the stairs with yet another tray of food. “Hey. I know the doctors said specifically not to over eat, but it's Mom and Dad. I keep trying to explain it to them, but…”

 

Yuuri sighed and shook his head as Mari set down the tray. It was just soup, at least, this time.“I think they’ll be in denial for a while honestly.”

 

“Well, can you blame them? You didn’t tell anyone what was going on. It’s a huge surprise that one minute you’re married and the next you take off your ring. As usual, you tried to carry this entire burden on your own shoulders and look what it did to you.” She sighed and rubbed at her temple before pulling out her cigarette pack. She didn’t light it, but she put it in her mouth. “Why didn’t you let us help?”

 

It was a shitty excuse. It was completely deflecting and using his heart attack as a crutch, but he did it anyway. “I can’t handle this right now, Mari. I just can’t.”

 

“You’re going to have to at some point,” Mari mumbled, walking away to presumably smoke a pack. 

 

Yuuri certainly had no further appetite, even if he had only eaten half of what his mother had brought up the first time. Forcing down half the bowl of soup he washed the bowl in the sink and set it aside to dry before retiring (hiding) away in his room.

 

He was immediately surrounded by Viktor.

 

Viktor had, of course, found out about the posters eventually and had insisted on Yuuri putting them all back up when they’d gotten a bigger bed for the room. Slowly, he took a step forward towards his most rare and limited edition of posters that Yuuko had managed to get him for his 14th birthday. Reaching up, Yuuri ran a finger across the top of the glossy paper until he came to the corner. His fingers easily curled beneath the poster and then he yanked. 

 

The poster ripped in half.

 

Yuuri reached up for the other half and tore it down. Moving on to the next photo, he crumpled and clawed and ripped. Each poster that was up on his wall came down in shreds littering the floor with colorful pieces. The framed photos on his desk went flying and glass cracked. Yuuri kept going and going until every piece of Viktor was turned into something unrecognizable. 

 

Breathing hard, Yuuri looked at what he had done and stumbled back onto his bed. This is what they had become. Broken glass and shredded paper scattered across the floor. Sobs starting to echo off the walls Yuuri let himself crawl to his pillow and cry all that he could cry. 

 

They always said to never meet your heroes. Yuuri should have listened.