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Will You Skate With Me?

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Javier had suggested it several weeks ago, just after Yuzuru had talked enthusiastically in his broken English about pair skating, lifts, and tandem jumps for half an hour. It had been as if the words had been pulled out of Javi’s chest, where they had sprung from his heart. The words blossomed between them, and Yuzu agreed almost before Javi had stopped speaking.

“Yes, let’s do it,” Yuzu had said, reached for a notepad, and planned a routine while biting his lower lip in concentration. Javi watching him, enthralled.

“We both have to get a medal,” Javi said, and Yuzu looked up briefly to look him in the eyes.

“You will win,” Yuzu said, as simple as that, as if he decided who won the Olympics by sheer will power. Javi knew that sometimes it seemed as if Yuzu did just that, changed the reality around him, forced it to bend to his will. The boy in front of him, who was all grown up now, could make him believe in anything - even winning the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. As simple as that.

In the end he ended up with a bronze medal around his neck, and with Yuzu baptized in gold next to him.

“I can’t do this without you,” Yuzu had sobbed, and Javi found himself wondering how he would be able to even breathe without him. To give up skating seemed a trifle in comparison.

 

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The exhibition skate that Yuzu had penned on paper and practiced with Javi during late evenings and early mornings was brilliant. And when they spun together, and jumped together it felt as if they had done nothing but skate together. Yuzu let himself be lifted high, and trusted Javi’s arms and legs and hands. Trusted them both. Before he knew it the music was rearing up for the end and then he found himself in Javi’s arms. He lifted one of his hands towards Javi’s face, unable to resist.

Javi's hands were tight on Yuzu's waist.

The audience roared, they gave standing ovations, the music had soared to a climax and it was as if the sounds shielded them from reality. They stood there, looking into each other's eyes. Yuzu is flushed, chest heaving and his heart beating so hard he can feel it in every inch of his skin. And he almost forgot that he and Javi were two different people. Javi's eyes were shining, and his smile went less wide but grew warmer. Then something happened that shook Yuzu to his core. Javi's arms came around his waist, and it happened so quickly there was no time to think - only to feel.

They kissed.

It's a soft press of lips against lips, almost chaste, but Yuzu has never kissed anyone before. The kiss sends sparks from where their lips meet to the tips of his fingers and his feet. His skin buzzes and when Javi tilts his head and pulls him in further he thinks he might actually have died and gone to heaven.

When they pull apart, but only by an inch, a moment later - there's so much noise in the arena that for a moment Yuzu thinks he's going deaf. Javi is smiling at him and Yuzu can feel a smile so wide on his own face that his cheeks hurt.

"Okay?" Javi asks.

Yuzu nods and has to clear his throat before he can speak, his throat that is tight with the threat of tears.

"Yes, yes," he says and feels the tears well up in his eyes. He feels them tumble down his cheeks and doesn't care.

Javi wipes his tears away with his hand. His hand that is a bit dry but oh so gentle.

"We should get off the ice," Javi says, and Yuzu only finds the strength to nod again. And so they skate, side by side, hand in hand, and bow in all the cardinal directions, before leaving the ice. If they're almost blinded by the camera flashes then they almost blind everyone around them - their smiles brighter than the sun and the stars in the sky.

Later, Yuzu will only remember walking to the greenroom by Javi's side, and seeing that Javi cried too. He didn't remember the shouts and the way people patted them on the back and shoulders, or the hugs he received and the congratulatory handshakes from the skaters and coaches alike. He Just remembers Javi's face, and squeezing Javi's hand before asking "are you okay?".

And Javi's reply, and the way his voice was rough and low, is ingrained forever in his memory.

"I'm hoping you'll let me love you," Javi says, and of course Yuzu will let him love him, and he loves him back so much that his heart is about to burst.

If the world doesn't accept them, then Yuzu will skate until they do.

 

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