One of the things that Viktor so admired about Yuuri was his range of emotion. After all, it was his ability to show that on the ice, to do what Viktor couldn’t with that skating routine that inspired him to fly from Russia to Japan in the first place.
Throughout the entirety of the Grand Prix series, Viktor witnessed Yuuri’s vast range of feelings first hand. He had seen what it was like when he was embarrassed, determined, defeated, and apathetic. He experienced his anxiety, his tension, his insecurity, and his passion. He watched as Yuuri’s heart broke, and watched as he put it back together. He’d also seen his satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, his deeply buried pride when he managed to succeed.
Viktor stood against the barrier, elbows propped against it as he leaned forward, watching the other man skate. Not long after, Yuri joined him, scowl on his face.
“What did you do to piss off Katsudon so badly?” he demanded, glaring at the older man.
Viktor raised an eyebrow. “Why are you assuming I did something?”
Yuri scoffed. “Because it’s you,” he said flatly. “I’ve seen Yakov give you that look enough times to know when you fucked up.”
Despite the situation, Viktor couldn’t stop the corner of his lips from quirking up into the tiniest bit of a smile. Still, he didn’t respond as he continued to watch Yuuri skate. The man fell on the ice but didn’t stop, getting back to his feet and continuing the routine, even with his eyebrows knit together.
Oh, yes, he was definitely angry. And Viktor could easily recognize that the man’s anger was directed toward him. But despite those cases with Yakov, when he was well aware of the way he was frustrating his coach, he couldn’t pinpoint what it was that he’d done to upset Yuuri.
“You better fix it,” Yuri said.
Again, Viktor struggled not to smile at the comment. Despite what he’d say, it had become even clearer that Yuri was fond of Yuuri, especially since he’d returned with them to Russia. The way he joined them for dinner several times a week, despite protests and arguments—even the way that he stood up for Yuuri in times like these. Between those moments and the blossoming friendship with Otabek Altin, he could truly see Yuri growing up. It made Viktor happy that the boy could see other skaters as something more than simply competitors.
Yuuri’s time on the ice switched over to Mila’s, and suddenly the Japanese skater was coming off the rink, walking right past Viktor as though the man wasn’t even there. He sighed.
“I’m working on it,” he told Yuri, ruffling the boy’s hair. He squawked, shouting after Viktor, but again the man just smiled as he followed after Yuuri.
It wasn’t until they were finally back at Viktor’s apartment, when he sat on the couch and Yuuri merely marched past him, seemingly determined to continue ignoring him, that he called out.
“Are you going to tell me why you’re so upset with me?”
Yuuri froze, shoulders tensing. But instead of yelling, which Viktor half-expected (from experience with the other people he tended to make angry, such as Yakov like Yuri pointed out), he simply pushed his glasses up on his face, rubbing at the bridge of his nose. He closed his eyes tightly and sighed.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“If you’re this upset with me, of course it does,” Viktor responded, frowning at him. “Please. Let me know so I can fix it, Yuuri,” he urged.
Yuuri turned to him, folding his arms over his chest and looking Viktor over for a long moment. It was as though he was debating the benefits of actually telling him. After a moment, he sighed again, glancing away.
“You’re pushing yourself way too hard,” he said, tone clipped.
“You’ve already had a couple of bad falls in practice. It’s only a matter of time before you really hurt yourself,” Yuuri persisted. “You joked about catching up, and I understand but… what’s the point if you end up hurting yourself so badly you can’t get back on the ice? If you keep doing this, you’re going to end up unable to skate at Worlds anyway. It won’t matter.”
Viktor frowned. He opened his mouth to argue, but again Yuuri cut across him.
“When you first started coaching me, you said that you always wanted to be able to surprise everyone watching,” he said. “That that was the most important thing about your skating.”
Viktor nodded. He still stood by that sentiment.
But Yuuri shook his head. “Nobody cares about how you’ll ‘surprise the audience’, Viktor,” he said. “People love watching you because it’s you. It doesn’t matter what your routine is, the way you perform it is what’s amazing. You make everything look so effortless and so beautiful. It has nothing to do with doing something unexpected. You have no idea how many times I watched your same skates over and over when you made your senior debut. I learned those routines by heart. It had nothing to do with being surprised, it had everything to do with you.”
Viktor blinked at him. He pushed himself up from his seat, making his way to the other man and wrapping his arms around him. With a sigh, Yuuri let his head fall to his shoulder.
“I’m mad at you because I love you,” Yuuri said quietly, though it sounded a lot less angry and more deflated, as though keeping up his irritation was exhausting. “I love your skating, and watching you skate. And I’ve seen the way you watch everyone on the rink—I know you love it too. If you keep at it with the rate you’re going, you’ll lose that.”
“I’m sorry,” Viktor murmured. “Really.” He let his hand fall against the back of Yuuri’s head, combing through his hair.
“I know you’re a competitor and I understand what it’s like,” Yuuri said. “I know there have been plenty of times I didn’t listen to you and take it easy. But I don’t want you to push yourself too hard. I can’t stand seeing you hurt.”
“Hmm, I understand the feeling,” Viktor said. With that, Yuuri finally reached up, wrapping his arms around Viktor’s waist. “I promise I’ll try harder. Or… try less hard.”
Yuuri chuckled softly. “You’re not going to,” he said with a sigh.
“Then you have permission to drag me off the ice when you think I’m doing it,” Viktor told him, giving him a squeeze.
“Yurio would probably manage that better.”
“He does not have my permission.”
“Fair enough.” Yuuri sighed, pressing his cheek against Viktor’s shoulder. Again, Viktor tightened his grip a little instinctively. “Can we just stay like this for a bit?” he asked quietly.
Viktor smiled, pressing a kiss to the man’s hair. “Anything you want."