Chapter 1: Prologue
***November 19th, 1995***
“Why is she so small, Papa?”
“Because she’s only a baby, Vitya.”
“But that other baby we saw was bigger than she is.”
“Well, she was born a month too early, son, so she will be smaller the other babies here.”
The boy, who had been scrutinizing the small, slug-shaped object – who appeared to be lying in a glass tank – opened his mouth and “oh-ed” at his mother’s words. It had been a long day for the Nikiforov family. Their son, Victor, had been away at camp – for junior, Russian figure skaters – when his mother had gone into labour. The ambulance had arrived before he had, with his father, and by the time they’d reached the right ward, his new sister had been born. It was too soon, Papa had said to Victor…they hadn’t even finished painting the nursery yet.
Stepping up to the glass box again, Victor stared at the blob who was meant to be his “sister”. It didn’t look like a girl, or a boy for that matter, just a pinky-yellowish lump swaddled in a white muslin and wearing a pink cap over what appeared to be some silvery-white tufts of fluff. Yes he was happy he now had his baby sibling, but he had expected…a bit more than the slug.
“So, can I hold her yet, Mama?”
“No, not yet, Vitya.”
The blue-eyed seven-year-old scrunched up his nose and pouted. His long silver locks fell over his eyes as he huffed, which caused both of his parents to laugh. His father placed a large, heavy hand on the top of his head and ruffled his hair fondly. Hearing the slug stir and begin gurgling, his mother stood and scooped up her newest child before settling on the bed to feed her.
“Don’t worry, you can hold her as soon as she is big enough, ok?”
This generated a smile from her son, whose ears turned pink with excitement.
“Would you like to sit next to me?”
“Yes, please, Mama!”
Victor dropped his skating bag by his father’s feet and scurried over to the hospital bed. He hopped up onto the crispy-clean sheets and looked down at his baby sister. She was cuter up close, he gave her that…even if part of her did look like their grampa. While his father thanked the doctor, his mother dropped her voice to speak to him.
“You’re going to be a good big brother, yes? You’re going to help us take care of Osha?”
Blue eyes widened and his head nodded vigorously. He kissed her cheek, and then the pink cap, before nodded again with a firm “mhm”.
“I’m going to be the best big brother ever. I’ll look after Oshi, Mama! I’ll teach her how to skate and then she can come to competitions with me, Yakov and Georgi! She can help me with when I get my poodle and we can go on walks by the water.”
His mother chuckled before kissing the top of his head a few times, mumbling into his hair as his father came over and told Victor it was time to let her rest.
“I think she will love that, Vitya.”
Victor stroked Osha’s tiny hat before kissing his mother once more on the cheek. He then jumped down from the bed and ran over to his father, waving and shouting “goodbye” as he left. As they left the maternity ward he thought back to his little slug-sister and made a promise.
Don’t worry, Oshi. I’ll always protect and look after you. That’s a promise.
*** 17 years later ***
***Figure Skating Series, Grand Prix Final, Zurich, Switzerland, 2012***
Deep breaths now, Victor. Now isn’t the time to get nervous…no I’m not nervous, I’m excited. This programme is going to stun the audience, as it has in China, France and Moscow. I can do this, I can dazzle them with changes I’ve made to my programme. I don’t think Yakov was happy I kept the changes to myself, but I am glad that I have. The theme is “Mystery” afterall.
“Welcome back to the World Figure Skating Championships, coming to you live from Zurich, I’m Birger Heldschaer and with me I have, retired US skater Scott Hamilton. Welcome Scott!”
“Thanks Birger, glad to be here. Hello there, folks, we regret, again, the clash in schedules with the pair skating programmes here and the men’s singles free skate in the next rink, but thank you for choosing to watch these young skaters make history tonight!”
I’m sad that I’ll miss Oshi’s skate with Jean, tonight. I promised her I would be there to support her, but then the officials went and messed up the schedule. I told her Mother and Father would see her pairs performance, they wouldn’t want me there anyway. She was disappointed, I could tell, but I’ve promised her, wholeheartedly, that I will watch her in the singles. My season will be finished by then and hopefully I’ll have a third gold, and Oshi will be getting her first as a senior. I am so proud of her, she’s come so far.
“That we do, Scott, that we do. And back to the event at hand! Now, making their senior debut as a pair, we have Russia’s Osha Nikiforov, aged 17, and Canada’s Jean-Jacques Leroy, aged 16. It just so happens that in the next rink, Osha’s brother, two-time world champion, Victor Nikiforov is going for his third gold medal in the sport, against Switzerland’s own Christophe Giacometti. Your thought’s Scott?”
I wonder how Makkachin is doing? I asked Mrs Zillanov from downstairs to look after him, but even then I still miss him. Now is not the time to be thinking about Makkachin. The music has started.
“Well, Birger, Osha herself has had a glowing junior career and hopes to join her brother in senior success – participating in the women’s finals in two days. As for Leroy, he did very well in coming second in skate Canada, but was unable to qualify for the men’s singles. It is truly inspiring to see a pair who not only work well together, but can also skate well on their own."
Chris’ skate was impressive. He is becoming more and more sexual every year…is he trying to seduce me? Haha, he knows he isn’t my type, but we do enjoy the flirting. Mother and Father would love that…into my first quad, combination triple lutz, quadruple toe-loop. Fantastika!
“Well said. And here they are Osha Nikiforov and Jean-Jacques Leroy. Their theme is “Fantasies of Love”. They’re skating to the song “Angels”, by Robbie Williams. Now it’s been rumoured that they’ve planned 3 lifts, plus a combination lift towards the beginning of this programme…now many might see this combination lift as being quite chancy seeing as they’ve never landed it in practice. Scott, what do you think?”
That quad salchow could’ve been cleaner, but it doesn’t matter, I’m saving up for the quad flip in the start of my second half…right after this Ina Bauer.
“It’s hard to say. The lifts they’ve got planned are of the highest difficulty, but adding a combination in puts extra pressure on them both as skaters. Whether or not their coach, Andres Castello, decides to remove the combo from the programme is something we, as an audience, will have to wait and see.”
That was beautiful, no? The audience is going crazy, I can barely catch my breath over all the noise. I can hear Yakov though, he sounds happy, but I still see a lecture at the kiss-and-cry. All I have to do now is wait for the scores, everyone has been really good this year, so it will be difficult to get on the podium.
“We won’t have to be waiting much longer. The programme is about to begin.”
“And Victor Nikiforov of Russia has done it again, winning gold here at Zurich, making this his third consecutive World title! Hans Tennenbaum of Germany takes the silver and Christophe Giacometti takes bronze in his home country. This has truly been a thrilling competition in the world of Men’s Figure Skating, and I am sure we are all looking forward to seeing what the next season has in store.”
Victor smiled widely as he waved at the crowds, kissing the cold, gold metal between his fingers. He then lowered it and stroked the soft petals of the carnations in his bouquet. Hans offered a hand.
“Congratulations, Victor, you are a worthy winner.”
His English was tough to understand under his thick accent, but Victor smiled all the same and shook his hand. Chris then nudged him and he and Victor shared a handshake.
“Ooh, congratulations Victor. I hate to be beaten again by you. I will just have to work much much harder to beat you next year.”
“Thanks, Chris. Thank you, Hans. It has been a pleasure skating with and against you, I look forward to next year.”
Hans shook his head as the three of them slowly skated towards the edge.
“Sadly, this is the last year for me, I’m retiring.”
The taller man nodded, still grinning through his thick yellow beard.
“It has been fun while it lasted, but all things must come to an end, and my skating career is one of them. At 32, it has already lasted longer than I imagined, but I wish you boys the best of luck in future competitions.”
They all stepped off the ice and Victor waved as the others went to speak to their own coaches and separate news crews.
He turned around at the sound of Yakov’s voice and beamed, eyes closed as he was smiling so much. He could hear the older man puffing heavily as he ran towards him, an unusual reaction by Yakov’s standards.
“Yakov! What is it? Why are you running? You’re not actually going to initiate the hug this time? If you did I would be questioning whether or not you were really my coach or not. Haha!”
Victor stopped laughing and opened his eyes, looking down at his coach. Yakov was holding his mobile between his hands, which were shaking…Yakov’s hands never shook.
“Vitya…there was an accident at the other rink…Oshka…VITYA! VICTOR LISTEN!!”
The medal hit the ground with a heavy and desolate thud. He didn’t hear anymore, Yakov’s shouts, the screaming fans, the microphones being thrust at him. He ran, falling in his skates which he soon wrestled off and replaced with his trainers. The gold-bladed skates were cast behind him as he bolted for the doors, nearly hitting those who chased behind him. His ears were ringing, heart thudding and legs aching as he charged across the road towards the back of the second ice rink; not even caring if cars were coming at his. The air around Victor was bitter and icy, it was November after all and his birthday was coming up in the next month, but he didn’t feel it as he ran.
Skidding around the corner, he slipped on his side and grazed his hands on the pavement.
He was soon back up and then he saw it, the ambulance. Charging towards it, Victor saw more flashing cameras and heard loud and concerned voices. He saw Jean standing by the ambulance, so ran up to him.
The younger boy had been crying, his hair was dishevelled and his outfit was faintly stained with something that could’ve been blood. Panic entered Victor’s head and he grabbed the other boy’s shoulders.
“Osha?! Where is she?! What happened?! Where is my little sister?!!”
“Sir, I’m going to need you to calm down.”
A paramedic placed a hand on his back, but he roughly shoved them back.
“Like hell I’m going to calm! Where is my sister?!”
“She’s in the ambulance, si- Sir!”
Victor, dragging Jean behind him, shoved his way into the ambulance. Horror struck him through the stomach as he saw his tiny sister lying on the ambulance trolley...
She was unconscious, her long silver hair crusted with blood from a cut on her forehead. It was her leg though, that had Victor’s stomach churning. The bone inside looked as if it had shattered, as well as snapped. A large spiked protruded menacingly around the area where her knee should’ve been and part of the shin around her ankle had been torn where it had broken through…she was still wearing her skates.
The ride to the hospital was blurred. Jean sat next to him, crying, muttering to himself through his own sobbing. Their parents followed in the car behind, neither of them having spoken to him yet. Now it was just Victor, alone in the hospital room, watching his sister sleep. Her skating partner was sat outside, too in shock to move, and his parents were talking to the doctor.
It was too quiet; the only sound was her laboured breathing and the occasion “plip” from the IV line. He suddenly saw her as if it were the first time, again. The little slug swaddled in blankets and barely big enough for even him to hold. Tears pierced the back of his eyes and began rolling down his cheeks.
His voice came out in barely a whisper as he sat down and touched his sisters hand. There was no response.
Why did this happen? To her of all people…on the night I get another title…my sisters skating career is over?
Chapter 2: The Heckler in a Sea of Fans
Osha heckles her brother at the Sochi Grand Prix Final, Yuri flops and comes in sixth, Yurio is grumpy, and Victor develops a crush...which he shall then pine over :)
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The Heckler in a Sea of Fans
***3/4 Years Later***
***Figure Skating Series, Grand Prix Final, Sochi, Russia, 2015***
The Russian crowds cheered as their skating hero, Victor Nikiforov smiled, holding up his gold medal and placing a gentle kiss upon it. Banners waved, women swooned, fans clapped, and down in the ruckus of the skaters and trainers, a short silver-haired woman rolled her eyes behind a set of square, turquoise glasses.
"Really, Vitya, even I can tell that smile is fake!"
Her jest to her brother was drowned under the commentary and screaming, but Osha made it all the same. Yes she was proud of her big brother, too proud for words, but his lack of appreciation for his win made her a little annoyed.
"Sure enough, he's crushed the Free Skating event, as well. This marks the fifth consecutive Grand Prix Final win for Victor Nikiforov. Nikiforov is now 27 years old, some speculate that he may retire after this season..."
Osha snorted as she began walking behind stage, smiling and waving at a few of the male skaters and their coaches.
"That is doubtful. Vitya isn't going to retire, unless he goes bald or something!"
"...but his masterful performance here may lay such rumours to rest. Now, let's talks about Yuri Katsuki who was here competing in his very first grand prix final, what are your thoughts on that?"
"I hate to say it but he didn't perform like his usual self today"
Ah yes, Osha thought to herself, Yuri Katsuki. I just wanted to run and give him a hug after his performance today, bless he doesn't deserve to have people talk about him in his moments of crisis. I know exactly what that feels like. Hope he's ok...I'd hate to see him retire after this.
She was cut off mid-thought, by someone bumping into her.
Speak of the devil.
"Oh, I-I'm sorry. I should've been watching where I was going, sorry. Sorry."
Osha offered the Japanese man a bright smile and waved a hand.
"It's fine, no need for such a profound apology, ok?"
She chuckled at her own words and then raised an eyebrow. Yuri Katsuki looked like he was on the very brink of tears. He was hunched over, phone clutched in his hand. Osha's blue eyes couldn't read the Japanese on the screen, but she could see pictures of the skater and his coach. Had he been reading the news about himself?
That will only shake him up more.
"Are you ok, Yuri?"
"Huh? Yeah, I'm fine, sorry, I just...I just have to go..."
He ran away before she even had the chance to get a better response out of him and vanished into the men's bathrooms. Osha bit her lip, wondering whether or not to go after him, when she spotted the tall (well everyone else was tall, considering she only stood at 5'1) figure of Yuri Plisetsky, the Junior Grand Prix gold medallist for Men's Skating, and the rising star for figure skating in Russia, and he was only 14.
"Hmm? Oh, hey Osha, didn't see you there?"
Osha smirked and folded her arms.
"That a jibe on my height, Yura?"
"So, what if it was?"
The blonde boy shoved his hands into the pockets of his uniform and shrugged at her. Osha punched his arm lightly and chuckled.
"You'll never change, Yura. Have you seen Yuri?"
This caused Yuri to stiffen and straighten up. He kicked himself off the wall and looked down at her.
"Yuri Katsuki? Not since he bombed his free skate and came off the ice crying like a baby. Idiot. He should retire before I make my senior debut, otherwise it is just sad to know I'll crush him."
"You do realise that he can do better step sequences than you?"
"Yeah right, he still screws them up though. You can win on interpretation points alone, you know that."
The silver-haired girl sighed.
"I know, I know. Will you please help me look for him? I'm worried, because he didn't look to happy before."
"Urgh fine, just so stop nagging at me."
She beamed at the young boy and he attempted to hide a shy blush. Osha had always liked Yuri, ever since she had first met him and the then 11-year-old had insulted her to her face. The girl had just laughed it off and insulted him straight back, and thus Yuri had great admiration for Osha...and he liked her much better than he did Victor.
It had been a long road before she had come out of the hospital, three years earlier. Four operations now stood as permanent scars on her leg and she was bedridden for five months. Physiotherapy sessions, which she still had to go to even now, and rehabilitation with bars, crutches, and then a cane had followed, before she was eventually allowed to walk again on her own. That day had been the best in a long time. Victor would visit her every day in the mornings before practice and then in the evenings afterwards. Their parents would fill the gap in between, so not to cross paths with their son. The relationship there was strained, but that was another story. It was nearly a whole year, to the day of her accident, when she left the hospital...a promise to herself that she was never going back unless she had to.
Her doctor and physio had told her not to skate again. That had been heart-breaking. Skating was her love and life. Victor had gotten her into it when she was 4 and she could never imagine her life without it...even if the thought of the ice terrified her now. Fear was something she could get past. They said her leg needed to heal with things like running before she could even consider stepping on ice, but it would be years before she could properly perform again...if at all.
So now, Osha spent most of what used to be her skating practice at the rink watching the other Russian skaters. Yakov had enjoyed the company off the ice, even if she attempted to annoy him all the time. The rink was a home-away-from-home and her old and new rink-mates appreciated her being there, even if she didn't skate.
The short girl ran and jumped at her friend, hugging him tightly. JJ laughed and gave her a squeeze, before placing her down gently. Osha gave his chest, specifically where his bronze medal lay, a light slap and laughed.
"Congratulations, Mister I-won-the-bronze!"
"Thanks, but it wasn't the gold. Next time though, I'm definitely gonna beat your brother, Toots."
"Haha, no I don't think so, Vitya is definitely not going to stop winning any time soon."
"Don't I get even a bit of moral support?"
JJ, Jean, placed a hand over his chest and mocked being wounded, wiping tears from his eyes. Osha shook her head and folded her arms. She was proud of her friend for becoming such a successful skater, and really marvelled at his unique "JJ-style". He was fast becoming a strong competitor in the world of skating.
The sound of Victor caused JJ to sober up. He coughed awkwardly and looked behind him to see whereabouts the Russian was. Osha frowned. Ever since her accident the two men could barely be around each other. Victor blamed JJ for the accident, even after Osha had told him it wasn't his fault.
"I'll see you at the banquet later, kay?"
"Yeah, we'll do some shots!"
"Say hi to Alain and Nathalie for me!"
"Sure thing, Toots."
They high fived, before JJ ran off to find his parents and Victor appeared with Yakov in tow. The tall Russian, who was almost identical to his younger sibling, scooped up his sister into a bear hug. She returned it with the same enthusiasm and kissed his cheek, her smile glowing with pride and admiration for her idol and brother. She also gave the old coach and quick kiss, causing his to fluster and storm off ahead of them, as they all began walking out of the building and towards the hotel.
"Congratulations, Vitya! Your skate was incredible today."
"Thank you, Oshi! It still needs a bit more tweaking before the Worlds."
"Always the perfectionist."
Victor slung his free arm around her shoulder and chuckled. Yes, he like to tweak his programmes over the season, but if anyone was the perfectionist, it was Osha.
"Speak for yourself, you're always pointing out things in my performances that could be improved upon! You're basically Yakov, except you don't coach."
Here we go again, Vitya. Stop trying to get me to coach...it isn't for me. Wait, did he just compare me to Yakov?!
"Don't compare me to Yakov, I have hair you know!"
With that comment, her older brother ruffled the short mess of hair that fell past her chin. Osha squirmed away from him, prodding his sides, but to no avail and Victor stopped when her hair was well and truly fuzzed up.
"There you go, sliznyak!"
"Don't call me, slug!"
Urgh, he is so "mature". He needs to get a boyfriend, and fast.
The shorter of the pair huffed as they entered the hotel and elbowed her brother in the ribcage. Hearing Victor's yelp of pain and sudden wheezing, Yakov turned around.
"That is enough, both of you. Honestly you're worse than children!"
The scolding continued for a few more minutes, in full view of the reception staff, before he eventually allowed them to go to their room to change for the banquet.
The banquet itself, to say the least and by no means an understatement, was an event to behold...although Osha's memory of it became a little hazy as the night went on. There was A LOT of alcohol consumed and a fair bit of dancing â€“ the photos alone were little gems, but adding in the videos of that proved to be a goldmine of memories.
"Urgh, my head is killing me."
"Well that is what you get for drinking so much when you're pint sized."
"Oh, shut up, Vitya."
Yuri laughed as Osha punched her brother weakly. She had her hood pulled over her face and her glasses were askew, and failing to hide the bags under her eyes. Hangovers were definitely not Osha's strong point. The three skaters were following Yakov through Sochi airport, greeting fans and signing autographs...even Osha who's fans kept telling her how much they missed seeing her skate, on their way towards the flight back to St Petersburg. The closing press conference had been hours earlier.
"Are you looking forward to next season, Yura?"
"Yes, I'm going to win the Grand Prix in my senior debut, I can feel it."
Osha smiled warmly and bumped his shoulder.
"I like your confidence."
Victor, on the other hand, merely raised an eyebrow as he dragged his suitcase behind him.
"You did well Yuri, but I think your step sequences could use a little work."
The teen groaned, much to the girl's amusement, lolling his head back and causing his hood to slip a little.
"Urgh, I won didn't I so who really cares? Shut up, anyway."
They all paused at the gate and it took everything Osha had not to laugh loudly when Yuri started getting told off by Yakov.
"Yuri! Shut it!"
Her attention was taken by a woman outside, in the snow. In her arms she cradled a small, brown poodle puppy and it made Osha's heart melt as it's little head bopped up and down excitedly.
Awww he is just like Makkachin! I cannot wait to see him when we get home!
She adored him and loved cuddling up with him whenever she was staying at his flat, which was more often than naught. She preferred the company of Victor's dog in her bed, than the empty space of her room at home. Even her parents now recognised this.
"You want to get a photo?"
The sound of her brother's voice drew her back to reality. Osha raised a brow and looked to see who he was talking to. Her eyes found Yuri Katsuki.
Of course. I'm hardly surprised Vitya wants a photo with him considering how close the two of them got last night.
Yuri was standing with his coach and talking to a Japanese commentator. When his brown eyes met her blue ones, she offered him a kind smile, but he looked away panicked.
Is he still shy? Oooooh I wonder if he is embarrassed by what he did last night? He certainly doesn't seem the type who drunkenly asks people to be their coach.
Osha wasn't surprised, considering her though process, when Yuri jumped and then quickly turned to go in the other direction. If Yuri was embarrassed, the last he would want is for any of the Russian trio bringing up the events of the banquet, so it was best for them to keep mum about the whole thing. What surprised her was her brother's face to this reaction.
Why does he look so dejected? No not that...he looks hurt. Yuri might as well have slapped him. Surely Vitya can tell he's embarrassed? Or can he? He can be really block-headed when it comes to people like Yuri...
"Hey, assholes, the plane is boarding."
"Alright, Yuri, we're coming. Come on Osha, let's go home."
Nah, Vitya will probably realise later. I can trust him not to get too obsessed over the whole thing.
Vitya - Victor
Oshi - Osha
Yura - Yuri
Sliznyak - Slug
Chapter 3: Easy as Pirozki
Osha reminisces about her first time skating. Victor wins the Worlds. Yuri copies "Stay Close to Me".
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Easy as Pirozki, The Grand Prix Final of Tears
***3 Months Later***
Osha pulled her keys out her pocket and unlocked the door to Victor's flat.
"Makkachin! I'm back!"
She laughed as the large dog lolloped through from the living room. He jumped up and pressed his front paws on Osha's shoulders, licking her face wildly. Eve Makkachin was technically "taller" than her, but she just laughed and pushed the old dog back down ruffling his big, floppy ears and kissing the top of his curly head.
"Hello boy, I missed you too, but I had to go to college and see my tutor today. Yes, I did. Yes, I did!"
Makkachin barked again and the pair of them walked back through towards the open-plan layout of Victor's flat. Victor, himself, was actually in Tokoyo. The skating season was coming to its climactic finish with the World Championships, with Victor already having earlier success in other competitions, and he was due to skate later. He was in first place after the Short Programme, which Osha had watched the night before, curled up on Victor's sofa with Makkachin.
Osha dumped her bags on the kitchen counter and started working on an essay for her degree. The TV was on in the background so she could keep track of the competition. When her brother was mentioned she scoffed and rolled her eyes as he winked "seductively" at his fans.
Honestly, sometimes he thinks he is such a peacock when really he looks like an ass.
As seven drew nearer, Osha set about making herself a cup of tea.
"Group Two has now finished skating-"
" Tea, glorious teaaaa. Where the hell is the milk?!"
As she sung about her tea, Osha opened her phone and checked her Instagram, too see what everyone else - in the skating world - was up to.
"Looks like Chris is getting ready for his skate soon. Oh, and Otabek Altin got a new personal best, he's really starting to make a name for himself. Haha, look at this Makka."
She waved the picture of Yura wearing a cat-eared hoodie towards the poodle. He sniffed the screen, and then licked her hand, before turning his attention to the raggedy toy owl Osha had bought for him.
"All eyes will be on Russia's Victor Nikiforov, he'll be skating last. What do you think we can expect from him tonight?"
"If anyone can clench this fifth title, it's Nikiforov!"
Wasn't there meant to be a football match on tonight? Ah who cares, football sucks anyway.
Liking and commenting on a few more posts: one of JJ and his current girlfriend, and of her friend Sara Crispino and her brother Michele, who'd been in the Grand Prix last year â€“ Osha sent a quick snapchat to her friend Katya. Then she finished making her tea and microwaved herself a bag of popcorn, before running of to her room in Victor's flat and changing into some pyjamas.
I'm confident Vitya is going to win. This programme has been one of my favourites and he always skates with so much passion
Opening her phone again, Osha opened YouTube and clicked on one of her favourite accounts. It was a set of Japanese triplets known as the "sukeota3sisters" who posted videos of various skates they'd seen and liked. She had commented, liked and watched all their videos and had basically turned into a super-fan of their channel. As she clicked on a video, which was one of their mother's skates from when she was younger, she was reminded about the first time she had skated.
***16 Years Ago***
" Ok, Vitya you take good care of Oshi with her first lesson today, ok?"
" Yes, Mama! Oshi will be fine with me, I promise."
Their mother laughed and tucked some of Victor's long silver hair behind his ear. He gave her a tight hug, skating bag slipping off his shoulder. Osha, aged 4, clung onto his blue body warmer. She didn't want their Mama to go to work. She didn't want to go skating. That was Vitya's thing - not hers.
" Osha, doesn't Mama get a kiss goodbye?"
Victor's question caused her to sniffle and her eyes to water.
" I don't want to go! I want to stay with Mama."
Being pulled into a tight hug, by her mother, Osha sobbed and rubbed her eyes furiously. Her big brother never cried, so she shouldn't be. He loved skating, so she should too...so why was she so afraid? Their mother took her chin gently and kissed her nose, nuzzling them together.
" Aww, sweetie, you're going to have lots of fun! And Mama will be back to pick you both up later, but right now you get to spend the whole morning with Vitya! No Mama and no Papa, just you and him, ok?"
She rubbed her runny nose on the sleeve of her duffle coat.
At that she received another kiss on the forehead, as did Victor. Then their mother stood up and blew kisses as she walked back to the car.
" Behave yourselves!"
" Bye Mama!"
" Mama I love 'ou!"
" I love you too, darlings!"
Victor then took his little sisters hand and together they marched into the rink. He waved politely at the lady at the desk and said, "good morning". She said it back and then then tried to say something to Osha, but she hid behind Victor's arm. This generated a laugh from the lady who then asked for her shoe size.
Once they'd gotten her some skates, Victor had helped her put them on and shown her how to tie them. Her mouth formed an "o" as she watched him cleverly loop the laces around. However, the awe was replaced with anguish when she fell over trying to walk. When Victor had laughed she had scrunched up her nose, before standing up...gripping his hand as they walked into the rink. His coach wasn't there yet, so Victor decided to do a loop of the rink with Osha.
As soon as she touched the ice, however, the little girl had lost her grip of her brother's hand and had slid away - landing on her bottom. Tears began rolling down her cheeks and her silver ponytail had become dishevelled. Victor skated over to her and smiled.
" Come on, Oshi, up we get."
" NO! I can't do it, Vitya!"
" Yes, you can, give me your hand Oshi."
" No, I'll fall."
" I promise I won't let you fall, Oshi."
He crouched down, long silver hair falling around his face and held up his pinky.
" This is a pinky promise and it is one of the most powerful promises. If I break it then I have to do whatever you want for a whole year!"
" I promise I won't let you fall, Oshi."
He wrapped his much larger pinker around her tiny one and shook, a smile plastered on his face. Osha managed to smile back and Victor scooped her up under the armpits and placed her on her feet. He then took her hand again, she gripped his arm with the other, and together they set out at a gentle pace - managing to do a few circuits of the rink before Osha was laughing and smiling at the feeling it created.
' Good', Victor thought, 'All that's left now is to introduce her to Yakov and hope he doesn't scare her!'
Wow, it's been a long time since that first skate. We had no idea what was gonna happen after that day.
Osha sighed and took another handful of popcorn and the crowd on-screen began cheering loudly. Makkachin had his head resting on her lap and was snoozing quietly, as the name of his owner was announced.
"Next up, Victor Nikiforov."
I wonder what Yuri Katsuki is doing? He didn't qualify for Nationals, and he rarely every posts online, maybe he's gone home...Hasetsu wasn't it?
The girl smiled and pushed up her glasses as her phone screen lit up. It was a snapchat from JJ. She opened it and snorted as tea shot up her nose - due to the laughter she tried to suppress. The picture was of JJ who had face-swapped himself with Victor and it was the funniest and yet creepiest thing to look at. The caption was "Good Luck to the Fairy Queen of the Ice!". Osha pulled a face and replied with "Thank You Oh Mightiest of King JJs x", before locking her phone and turning her attention back to the figure of her brother.
His skating is truly beautiful.
"He has an ambitious programme, with four quads planned. Here comes his first, let's see if he lands it, a quadruple lutz, nice! Very clean! Next quad is his signature move, a real crowd favourite. Here we go - a quadruple flip, he nailed it."
He has a "signature" move? Vitya hates having a "signature" anything. It means that he is predictable...maybe that's why he has been struggling at practice? He loves to surprise the audience, it is why he skates, to inspire them. If he cannot inspire...
"A flying sit-spin. The song he has chosen is "Stay Close to Me"."
Stay close to me...Papa took us to see that opera when I was 12. Vitya and I loved the music. That the year before he "left" home.
"Flawless quad salchow."
Losing track of her thoughts, watching her brother skate, Osha looked at his moving arms and suddenly Victor seemed to resemble some kind of purple flamingo. This, once again, cause her to choke on her tea, waking up Makkachin with her coughing, because she began laughing at herself. Unaware she had spoken aloud the words "caw caw motherfucker!"
"A triple lutz!"
The music was coming to a climactic build and even from Victor's sofa in Russia, Osha could feel the emotions coming from the crowd.
"A triple flip. Now, the last quad is coming up, a quadruple toe-loop, followed by a triple toe-loop. That's it he did it, he landed all of his quads."
The crowd was going nuts.
"Now all that's left is a combination spin."
And with one final pose and beat of the music, Victor's skate was over. Osha wiped a couple of tears away with her sleeve and ruffled Makkachin's head. It was a winning performance, that much she knew. Victor would be home the next day with yet another gold medal to his name...
It's moments like this that make me miss skating.
"With his fifth consecutive gold medal in the World Figure Skating Championships Vik-"
Osha paused the screen.
"Why does it say our last name is Niliforov?! Who confuses "k" with "l"?!"
She took a picture and sent it to her old rink-mate Mila Babicheva under the caption "Who is Victor Niliforov and what has he done with my brother? (also why does Otabek look so mad?)" Then she unpaused the screen.
"-ktor Nikiforov has made history here tonight."
Osha yawned and flicked the channel. She had watched far too many of Victor's press conferences, so she really didn't need to watch this one.
The next day she greeted Victor at the airport, along with Makkachin. The siblings chatted on the bus journey home about random things like Yakov's excessive balding and Yuri's senior debut, when it came to Victor's stop the pair of them got off and went into his flat. While Victor unpacked and went for a bath, “ under strict instructions from Osha "The Clean Freak" Nikiforov, as his little sister made tea and set up a pillow fort. She was quietly sipping from a mug when her brother jumped onto the sofa, Makkachin then lying atop of him.
1 New Notification 'sukeota3sisters' have posted a new video.
"Ooooh! Yay! The triplets have posted something."
"You're far too obsessed with those girls."
"Hey, let the retired skater pine for her career."
Victor's brow creased. He hated being reminded of the accident. Osha could skate again, she just never tried...no matter how hard he pestered her to do so. The best he'd gotten was a circuit of the ice, before she complained about her knee.
"'Katsuki, Yuri copies Victor Nikiforov's "Stay Close to Me Free Skate"' Oh we are so watching this! I've been wondering what he's been up to for ages."
When Victor said nothing, Osha took this as a green light and played the video, clambering up next to her long and lithe brother as it loaded. Together they watched as the Japanese skater beautifully mirrored the skate Osha had watched, without the assistance of music. It was amazing, he landed every jump, emphasised every step sequence perfectly. By the time the video, which had already gained thousands upon thousands of views, had finished Osha was sat jaw-dropped and Victor was glaring at the screen.
"How is it-"
"-he can skate like that?..."
"Vitya, my... my phone."
"And yet he still hasn't won a single competition?!"
"No no no! Don't throw it!"
Vitya - Victor
Oshi - Osha
Mama - Mum
Papa - Dad
Yura - Yuri
Chapter 4: Two Yuris?! Drama in Yu-Topia
Victor goes AWOL, Yakov gets mad, Yurio is grumpy and Osha is tired
Two Yuris?! Drama in Yu-Topia
Who can be knocking at this time?!
Osha growled and yawned sleepily, rubbing her eyes and adjusting her glasses on her face. She pulled on her Russian skating jumper and ran a hand through her tangled, silver mane before opening the door. Her parents were away visiting her grampa, and she hadn't heard from her brother ever since she and he had watched Yuri Katsuki's skate the day before. Victor had been in a funny mood for the rest of that evening, and had quietly walked her home, eyes glued to his phone and Makkachin by his side.
A red-faced, furious-looking, glistening-bald-headed Yakov greeted her, on the other side of the door.
"Yakov? What are you doing here? It's five in the morning!"
"HE HAS GONE TO JAPAN!"
Oh, she knew who had...Yakov didn't need to tell her it was her idiot, older brother, but she wanted Yakov to confirm it.
"Vitya! He's saying he's going to be Katsuki's coach!"
That she never would have expected. Victor being someone's coach? Could Victor actually even coach? He could happily choreograph a routine or help compose a piece a music...but could he actually teach?
Well...he did teach me how to skate, right? Mostly Yakov...but...nah definitely Yakovâ...Vitya tried to have me doing jumps when I was 5 and Yakov called him an idiot for it - oh god he hasn't gone and done this because of the banquet has he?! A BOOTY CALL!? No...he's better than that...hat much I know.
"Is this because of the display at the banquet?!"
Yakov voiced her internal question and Osha could only reply with a shrug. She stepped back from the door and gestured for her old coach to come in out of the cold. Yakov, shaking his head and muttering about Victor's stupidity and lack of ability to make good decisions, marched passed her and into the kitchen. He placed his hand on the table and sat down as Osha began making a pot of coffee.
"Why has he done this, Oshka? I knew he was struggling with his new programme, but to take off for a year..."
"Maybe he just really liked Yuri's ass?"
"This isn't the time to make jokes!"
Covering a giggle, Osha passed the old man a mug and sat opposite him. She took a small sip and then looked at Yakov.
"I'm sorry, Yakov, but you and I both know that Vitya never listens to anybody but himself - just who he is."
"He'll never be able to come back from this, Oshka. He is sacrificing his career for a man!"
"You could speak to him! Call him, tell him, he's being ridiculous and to come back to Russia. Yurashka is going to blow a gasket when he finds out."
Aw crap. I forgot that Vitya has promised to choreograph Yura's senior programme this year. Yura won't have though...
"I can try talking to him, Yakov, but it won't make any difference. You know what he's like."
"I'm painfully aware."
They both silently sipped their coffee and looked at the snow falling outside the windows. Yakov left not too long after that, making Osha promise not to randomly take off anywhere like her brother and to come to practice later. Osha laughed and made the promise. Deciding she couldn't be bothered to go back to bed, she decided to get dressed and go for a jog.
It was nippy out in the chilly morning air. The cold was a surprise and it must've reached Japan as well, seeing as snow was falling and it was already late March. Her nose was red by the time she'd reached the water front, the seagulls crying out as she caused them to fly into the air.
Osha had pulled, what she could of, her hair into a small ponytail and had packed some water, a sandwich and her skates into a rucksack. Her skates had been a last minute impulse...her leg was feeling pretty good and she decided she might attempt a few laps of the rink and test the water, as it were. As she ran she could feel her phone vibrate, so stopping and pausing the classical music she was listening to, Osha pulled it out to see several texts from Victor, Yura and Mila.
6:57: 1 New Message from Milaaaaaa : Have you seen the news about Victor and Yuri K? x
6:43: 1 New Message from Yura :/ : OSHA ANSWER ME YOU HAG
6:40: 1 New Message from Yura :/ : OSHA WHY HAS VICTOR GONE TO JAPAN TO BE THAT CRYBABYS COACH?! DID HE FORGET THE PROMISE HE MADE TO ME?!
3:21: 1 New Message from Vitya : I AM GOING TO JAPAN (MAKKACHIN IS COMING TOO)! XX SLEEP WELL OSHI XX LOVE YOU CALL YOU LATER! XX
3:15: 1 New Message from Vitya : You are a really heavy sleeper did you know that?:P Seriously a bomb could fall and you wouldn't wake up XD xx
3:13: 1 New Message from Vitya : Helloooooo? xx
3:11: 1 New Message from Vitya : Oshi? xx
3:09: 1 New Message from Vitya : No this isn't because of the banquet...entirely ;) xx
2:56: 1 New Message from Vitya : I realise that you're probably sleeping and will hate me later for sending these messages and waking you up, but Oshi, I've been thinking about Yuri's skate. I want him to perform like that in competitions! He cannot retire when he can skate like that! Xx
Well at least he tried to get in touch before he decided to flit off to Japan.
She laughed to herself as she pulled out her key to the rink and opened the door. Every member of Yakov's skating group had a key to the building as their coach knew that they each liked to come and do some practice by themselves. Osha loved to come and just look at the ice, watching it and reliving her time on it.
Today, however, something about Victor taking off to be a coach had inspired her to try and skate again. She laced up her grey skates and threw her bag into a locker. She went into the rink, skates making her feet feel heavy, and took off her glasses, folding them and placing them on the bench with her water. The ice was like a white mirror, untouched â€“ smooth and clear. It wasn't cold, yet there was a frosty bite to it as she adjusted the fingerless gloves she wore â€“ before pulling off the blade-guards and going to the crossing point. A twinge of stiffness shot up her scarred leg as she stepped onto the ice, but it numbed as she pushed off. Osha kept her body close to the edge, nerves...she hadn't felt in years - keeping her there, until the excitement kicked in and she drew further and further into the centre.
Her body worked on its own as she picked up speed. A Biellmann spin. The music in her head was the same she had been going to use for her free skate, for her senior debut as a female single's skater. She slid into a fast Sit Spin and extended her hand. As she stood, her body moved around the rink as the programme continued, but her leg began twinging and aching so she stopped and went to the side. A bead of sweat rolled down her forehead and her chest heaved as she tried to catch her breath, tears in her eyes from the joy of being on the ice, but the sadness of not being able to skate to her past potential.
The true ache from her knee came later, and she had to slip on her knee support. She waved goodbye to Mila and was stopped on her way to the door by a red-faced Yura, who waved his phone in her face. He had the news open and she squinted at the title.
SKATING LEGEND, VICTOR NIKIFOROV LEAVES SKATING AFTER WINNG FIFTH WORLD TITLE? WILL COACHING YURI KATSUKI BE HIS BIG MISTAKE?
"He's going to be the other Yuri's coach?!"
"Did you know, hag?"
"Rude, and no I didn't know he was gonna do that. Just because he's my brother, and we're close, doesn't mean that he tells me when he wants to jump on the next plane to Japan. Haha."
Yura frowned and lowered his phone. He bit his lip and looked at her determined.
"I'm going to go and bring him back."
"Shut up, hag!"
Osha's eyes were wide as she stared up at Yura's turquoise iris'. Yura shook his head and began to walk past her, but she grabbed his arm and turned him around.
"Yura, you cannot be serious. Please tell me you're joking."
"No. He promised to do my senior debut programme, not babysit that cry-baby. I have to go and get him back."
"What about Yakov?!"
"What about Yakov?"
Osha pressed her fingers to her temple and massaged her forehead.
He and Vitya are more alike than they know - it's frustrating.
"Yura, he'll kill you."
"I'm still going to get him."
And with that, he walked off and burst into the rink. Osha groaned, growled, raised her hands and mimed throttling his walking figure. Then she walked out the rink, only to be ambushed again by loads of reporters.
"Oh, hello there."
She smiled at a few familiar reporters and blinked as cameras flashed at her. Mics were thrust at her and she could spot Yakov caught in the crowd.
"Miss Nikiforov, what do you think of your brother's sudden decision to take off this season?"
"Uh well, Vit- Victor is a big boy and he can look after himself. I don't know his reasons behind leaving this season, but I will support him no matter what."
"And what about Yuri Katsuki? I hear he's going to coach him!"
"Yuri Katsuki is a fine skater, but he lacks confidence in competitions. I think having someone like Victor to help him may bring out a new side we've never seen before."
"Do you plan on returning to the ice soon?"
"Are you skating again?"
"Have you recovered since your accident?"
This caused her to stop and Yakov began protesting. Osha smiled gently and shook her head.
"Sadly, I don't think I'll be returning to professional skating anytime soon, but it is my ambition to try skating again as a part of my recovery. Whether or not I remain retired is still open to question - I will have to discuss that with my doctors and my coach, but it is something that I don't see happening in the near future." A few more questions were fired at her before she managed to escape and get home.
Incoming call from Vitya
Ooooh Vitya, I wonder what he wants to say.
She answered, a wide smile on her face.
"Hello there, Mr Let's Go to Japan!"
"So, tell me, how was your flight at silly o'clock?"
"Yeah, it was good."
Osha frowned when she heard her brother sigh and turned down the volume on the telly.
Why does he sound so...sad?
"That's good. And you saw Yuri? You're going to be his coach, da?"
"Da. He started screaming when I said I'd come to be his coach."
"...well that may've been because I was naked when he first saw me."
"Ooh that was a very good impression of Yuri!"
"Oh and I may have flirted with him tonight..."
Victor laughed as Osha found herself massaging her forehead.
"Vitya, you and I both know that the "Naked Man" move has a very limited success rate. No matter how nice your body is, you cannot do that!"
There was a pause and Osha could hear Makkachin sniffing. There was something else as well, Victor was sniffling, trying to get some words out.
Is he crying?
There'd only been two other times when she had seen her brother cry and one of those was her injury. Her heart wavered and she spoke to him gently.
"...Oshi, I don't understand-"
"At the banquet, he was so, so open and beautiful and confident, but he never called or tried to get in contact afterwards and then that video came out and we saw his true potential as a skater - I'd never been so infuriated...why? Why can't he skate like that all the time?! It's so beautiful to watch and I thought he felt that connection too, but then he reacted like that when he saw me...as if I was the last thing he ever wanted to see..I...don't understand...why!"
"Oh, Vitya, it'll b-"
"I can't suddenly come back to skating, so what if I ruin my career and what if he wants me to leave?"
He was becoming hysterical and it was driving Osha nuts that she couldn't be there to comfort him. So much so, that she had her laptop open and was looking at flights out to Hasetsu. She didn't care if it clashed with the last few weeks of her college semester: her brother was more important.
"It'll be ok, ok? Yuri just needs time to come out of his shell. It's like what I said today, he lacks confidence. Take the time to understand him and be yourself, ok?"
"Ok...so...what's been happening in Russia?"
Osha let out a puff of laughter.
"Both Yura and Yakov have blown a gasket."
"Haha, I cannot imagine that being fun."
"I-I skated today."
Osha then proceeded to tell him about her morning. Victor listened and then replied with two words that made her heart swell with pride.
"Well done. I am so proud. Sorry I wasn't there to watch."
They talked for a while longer before Victor said goodnight. Osha looked at the flight listings an then shut the lid of her laptop, keeping the tab open.
***2 Weeks Later***
Things with Victor seemed to improve as his Instagram was flooding with pictures of Japan. One of Osha's favourites was of him and Makkachin posing outside Hasetsu Castle - or rather the secret ninja house. Upon hearing the word "ninja" Osha had been back looking at flights and was becoming very tempted to gate crash her brother's trip and visit him when the term was over.
At the current moment, Osha was having a lie in.
It's Saturday! What does the world want from me?!
"OSHKA WHY HAS YURI GONE TO JAPAN?!
Her hand stopped on the handle and, from the other side of the door, Yakov could hear her whacking her forehead against the wood.
I really hoped he'd been kidding!
Muttering under her breath, she opened the door.
"I don't know, but now I'm definitely going to drag Yura back to Russia!"
16:16: 1 New Message from Vitya : Heyyyy Oshi, so um yeah, Yuri is here and wants me to be his coach. So to decide I'm doing a competition, but I was wondering if you would mind maybe sending over all my performance costumes? :) PLEAAAAASSSEEE You'll be the best little sister if you do, da! Thank you xxx
Chapter 5: I am Eros, and Eros is Me?! Face Off! Hot Springs on Ice (Part 1)
Osha arrives in Japan
I am Eros, and Eros is Me?! Face Off! Hot Springs on Ice
***4 Years Earlier***
***6 Months Prior to Osha’s Accident***
“YURI, WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT TRYING TO DO QUADS?!”
“DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!”
“I AM YOUR COACH! IT IS MY JOB TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO!!”
Osha laughed into her hand as she walked into the rink. Victor was holed up with a cold and wasn’t able to make it to practice, but she had decided to come along herself…after all her senior debut was coming up and she wanted to be as prepared as possible. Her brother had told about the latest addition to Yakov’s squad – Yuri Plisetsky. Apparently, he had the sharp attitude of a tiger and yet the face of a fairy…an odd description in Osha’s head.
“WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT V- Oh it’s you, Oshka…thought it was Vitya.”
“Pah, I am offended by that. I think our newest addition is more like Vitya than I am.”
She slipped off her skate guards and glasses, before skating out to where the broody pair stood – both with their arms folded and glaring at each other. As she slowed herself to stop, Osha offered Yuri a warm smile. He merely glared back at her underneath a mess of light blonde hair, turquoise eyes piercing her own light blue.
“Who is this bitch?”
“YURI MIND YOUR LANGUAGE!”
“Hahaha, it’s alright Yakov. I’m a big girl, I can handle a little tantrum from the baby pixie.”
It took all Yakov had not to laugh as Yuri’s eyes widened. Osha smirked and folded her arms, looking the little ways down at Yuri who almost matched her in height. This face off lasted a few more minutes before she turned to her coach with a smile.
“You take a coffee break, Yakov. I’ll watch the pixie.”
“Don’t call me that!!”
Yakov patted her on the arm and muttered “Good luck”. He then skated off the side and vanished into the canteen. Osha then turned back to Yuri and offered her hand.
“Osha Nikiforov. I’m Victor’s little sister.”
“Little is definitely one way to describe it.”
She shook her head.
“Hush up you, for now I’m taller than you and can totally kick your ass.”
Yuri scoffed and swatted her hand away.
“You wish, bitch.”
“You know, Yura, you’d be able to make friends quicker if you actually tried being nice.”
As she skated off to begin practicing her solo routine, she could hear Yuri muttering under his breath. He looked lonely as he stood on the ice, turning to skate to the opposite side of the rink.
“I don’t have friends.”
Osha turned and looked at him, tilting her head and smiling. She pushed some of her silver hair from her face and studied her junior.
“Well, you have one now.”
The blonde boy jumped at her words and gawped at her. She turned to go back to her previous task, but was able to catch the small smile that formed on his face.
***2 Days before Hot Springs on Ice, Hasetsu Saga***
“Oh, holy pirozki!! I need to have one of these posters.”
Osha ran up to the wall she was walking past and stared at the “Hot Springs on Ice” poster. Having finished college for the time being, she had decided to accompany Victor’s costumes over to Japan and drop-in on whatever it was her brother had organised. The costumes had been sent towards Yu-Topia Hot Springs, ahead of, and she had decided to walk from the train station.
Now, staring at the picture of her brother dressed in a woman’s kimono, fan in hand and a large amount of colour Japanese writing – of which she couldn’t read…her Japanese was very rusty…she had decided it was one of the best decisions of her life so far. She grabbed the edge of the poster and –
“Hey what do you think you’re doing?”
She turned and looked around…then down. Three little girls – all identical in facial appearance, height and expression, but all with equally different coloured clothes and hairstyles – stared at her, arms folded. Osha smiled and lifted her sunglasses, and lowering herself to their height.
“Hiya, I just wanted a copy of this poster. My name is Osha, I’m V-”
“As in Osha Nikiorov??”
“That is my name yes, don’t wear it out, haha.”
The three girls seemed to jump with excitement and their eyes went watery with admiration. The little girl in light blue grabbed her by the shoulders and began shaking her.
“YOU’RE OSHA NIKIFOROV THE THREE TIME JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPION IN BOTH WOMAN’S AND PAIR SKATING. YOU WON THE JUNIOR GRAND PRIX WITH THE HIGHEST SCORE EVER!!”
The girl in pink whipped out a phone and began snapping pictures.
“WE LOVE YOU!! WE WORSHIP YOU!!”
The girl in purple began bowing and Osha raised her eyebrows with concern at their enthusiasm.
“Can we get a photo please?”
“Haha, I think you’ve already taken a few.”
“AXEL! LUTZ! LOOP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HARASSING THAT L- OH MY GOD THAT’S OSHA NIKIFOROV!! YOU’RE VICTOR’S LITTLE SISTER!!”
A red-headed woman, who looked a little older than she did ran over and smiled at Osha – who had now managed to detach herself from the triplets and get into a standing position again. She offered Osha her hand and smiled brightly. Osha bit her lip as she tried to figure out why she felt she knew who this woman was.
“Hi, I’m Yuko Nishigori! Sorry about my girls, they’re huge fans of skating. They record everything on their YouTube channel.”
Upon hearing this, Osha stopped. She stopped Yuko in mid-sentence, waving her hands and jumping up and down – which caused her to reach Yuko’s height.
“Oh, my god, oh my god, oh my god! They aren’t the sukeota3sisters are they?”
The purple girl – Axel – grinned and folded her arms, her sisters copying her stance.
“Hell yeah we are!”
Osha’s eyes began sparkling and her mouth began going heart-shaped as fangirling took over.
“I LOVE YOUR CHANNEL!!! I WATCH ALL YOUR VIDEOS!! YOU GUYS ARE MY FAVOURITE YOUTUBERS!!”
She turned to their mother, who seemed a little stunned that this world-famous figure skater was fangirling to the same level as her 6-year-old daughters.
“You are an amazing skater, Mrs Nishigori!!”
This caused Yuko to blush.
“T-thank you, please just call me Yuko. So, what are you doing in Hasetsu? Are you here for the competition at Ice Castle?”
Osha nodded with a smile – still a little jittery from meeting her favourite YouTubers.
“Yeah, Vitya asked me to send over his competition outfits, but I decided why not visit as well…except I got a little distracted by the posters and I’m also a little lost.”
She scratched the back of her neck awkwardly and laughed. Yuko and her girls grinned.
“We will take you, don’t worry. You’re in safe hands, the Katsuki’s will look after you, although your brother has stirred up quite a lot of publicity after becoming Yuri’s coach.”
The silver-haired woman laughed and shrugged her backpack.
“That sounds like Vitya. Lemme guess he tried acting all nonchalantly about it as well?”
“Oh holy pirozki, he doesn’t think sometimes.”
The two women talked, children following taking pictures and posting videos on social media behind them, and walked through the small village. Osha felt it was a lot like a smaller St Petersburg, and found out as much as she could about Yuri from what turned out to be his old rink-mate.
“Yurio has a lot of bottled up anger doesn’t he?”
“Oh, it’s what we’ve all called the Russian Yuri…so we don’t get confused.”
“Hahahaha, oh my god he is never going to live this down. I will not let him.”
Eventually the castle from Victor’s photos came into view, the old ice-rink was pointed out, and the hot spring was arrived at. Surprisingly enough, the truck-load of costumes was just arriving as well, so the triplets got first look at the costumes. Then, the Nishigoris waved her off, but not before Osha insisted on a selfie with her new girl friends. They all struck poses and Osha posted it on her Instagram.
“Finally met my fave YouTubing trio ❤ ‘sukeota3sisters’ Start of a beautiful friendship me thinks ;P #friendshipgoals”
Osha waved them off and then turned and went inside the building, yelling loudly as she went.
“OI DID SOMEONE ORDER COSTUMES????”
A loud woof followed after this and suddenly she was thrown against the floor and her face was being licked. She laughed and snuggled the poodle’s big fluffy curls.
Pounding feet then sounded and Osha laughed as another weight was thrown on top of her and Victor was hugging her tightly.
“Oshi! This is a marvellous surprise! I am so happy to see you, oh you need to meet Yuri! And the pork cutlet bowl! YOU NEED TO HAVE ONE! And you need to try the hot springs!! And you need to see the castle.”
“And you need to stop crushing me!”
Victor jumped off her laughing and helped her to her feet. Admiring them all in their inn robes, she brushed down her jeans and offered the now dubbed Yurio a smile.
The younger boy groaned and threw his head back.
“Aw crap, how’d you find that out?”
“Haha you’re never getting out of this.”
Both she and her brother laughed. In the doorway stood the shy figure of Yuri Katsuki. Osha, detaching her rather clingy brother, walked over and smiled.
“Hello Yuri, it’s been a while since the last Grand Prix, how are you?”
The Japanese man looked stunned at her talking to him, but offered her a small smile.
“I’m good, thank you…Osha right?”
“That’s correct. Now you two…”, she said prodding Victor and Yurio on the chests, “…come and help me with these costumes.”
“But why, Oshi?”
“Because, Vitya, you made me drag them all across Russia it’s now up to you and Yurio to get them inside.”
“No, Yuri, you are going to show me what this pork cutlet bowl is while those two actually do some work. Vitya told me it was vkusno and basically is like eating heaven on Earth!”
Her smile cause Yuri to smile and the two other Russians to frown. They were stunned that she hadn’t even been announced five minutes and already was bossing them about and introducing herself to Yuri’s family.
Typical Oshi, doesn’t even think twice about being shy with new people.
Victor smiled and then grabbed Yurio by the arm.
“We better go and get those costumes before she gets mad.”
***20 Minutes Later***
“OH MY GOD!”
Both Yuri and Osha were diving in and out of all Victor’s costumes, squealing as they reminisced about every competition each one had seen. Yurio, on the other hand, didn’t look very impressed.
“You seriously wore all of this crap?”
“Hey, these are gold medal winning costumes!”
The Russian girl had draped a few costumes around her neck and was modelling them and mimicking her big brother, much to his own amusement. He shoved her over and Yuri then waved a glittery costume at both Osha and Yurio.
“This one’s from the Grand Prix Final!”
“Hey, don’t pick anything flashier than me!”, the blonde boy snapped.
As Osha sat back, leaning against Makkachin, Yuri held up a black, half-skirted costume and looked at it with sparkling eyes.
“You wore this at the Junior Grand Prix Final, didn’t you?”
She smiled at the way he looked at her brother, such admiration and love in his eyes…that he was just too shy to show. Her heart sighed, she wanted someone to look at her like that…but for now she was content watching her brother find happiness. Victor smiled and sat forward.
“Yeah, I had long hair at the time and my costume was designed to suggest both male and female genders.”
“Yeah, I remember.”
“Your hair was a nightmare to manage.”
Victor scoffed and ruffled the short hair Osha sported. Hers was longer than his and their fringes flicked in opposite directions, but they both held that silver and blue-eyed colour combination.
“Speak for yourself, yours was longer.”
“Cutting it was the best decision I ever made, so much easier to cope with.”
Osha ran her fingers through her hair as Yuri pulled the costume close to him, staring at it with such awe and wonder. He was treating it as if it were made of glass.
“I choose this, is that ok?”
A smirk caught on his sister’s face as Victor blushed at Yuri’s smile. His heart was beating in his ears and he tried not to pay attention to his sister’s stare. Victor nodded and Yuri’s ears reddened, and he left to go and try the outfit on, not to mention show it to his mother. Yurio was still rummaging through the costumes, although his eyes kept trailing back to a silver costume – one of the first Osha could remember seeing. She took advantage of his distraction, to lean over to Victor, her arms around Makkachin, and pinch his cheek.
“Might want to stop blushing, Vitya.”
His hands shot up to his cheeks and he only blushed harder.
“Shut up, sliznyak!”
She laughed and bumped his shoulder playfully. It was nice to see him be vulnerable and open with someone… Yuri was having an effect on Victor that neither of them could fully see or understand, but to Osha it was clear.
Even if Yurio did win the competition in two days time, it would be very difficult to tear Victor away from the Japanese skater.