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Javi’s hair shimmers gold in the sunrise. His chocolate eyes dance like fire, sparking with that passion that he sees upon the ice, the skates. His skin turns to honey as he stands, gazing out the window, each individual strand of hair illuminated, each particle of dust turning to silver. The crinkles along his eyes carve deep shadows across his face, and gold dances across the air. His t-shirt slips off of his shoulder, revealing the hint of sharp collarbones, just a sliver of tan skin.

He is ethereal this way, standing in Yuzuru’s living room, his hair untamed, his face relaxed, his worn body at peace.

He is the most beautiful thing Yuzuru has ever seen, this man, in a stringy t-shirt and shorts, his hair all over the place.

For a moment, Yuzuru wonders what it would be like to wake up to this each morning, to smell the scent of ice and honey brushing against the skin of his cheeks, to walk out to his living room to see this man made of soft, curving lines and gentle, blazing eyes. For a moment, Yuzuru wonders what it would be like to let his mind wander beyond the rink, beyond the crowds, the stadiums, the feeling of spinning up, up in the air, trusting that he will land again. He wonders about days and days where he could melt into those arms and let himself be not the warrior on the ice, not the ray of hope, not double Olympic champion, not Yuzuru Hanyu, but be just Yuzu, be just another face on the street. He wonders of days at the beach, days where it could be just their hands, melded together as one. He wonders of moonlit nights with just the silver sparks in their eyes, the constellations above, the warmth of their giggles to guide their way.

For a moment, Yuzuru Hanyu lets himself hope.

How simple it had been, before he had aged, before he had become something more, someone more. It had been just him and Javi, and no one had given them a second glance. Just a 17-year-old kid, giggling on the street with his friend. Just a Japanese and a Spaniard.

And then, he had devoted himself to the ice, given his soul to the rink, to the screams of the crowds, the blades of his skates. And then, he had become Yuzuru Hanyu. World Champion, Olympic Champion, National Champion, Grand Prix Finalist. And he’d let himself unravel further and further, let himself slip away. He’d let himself become untouchable.

He’d let himself become nothing more than a rival.

And he knows.

Knows that he could have changed it. Knows that he could have spoken but a word, pressed that green call button just that once, let his eyes wander longer for just a moment, and that he could have had the world.

That he could have had Javi’s world.

That Javi could have been his world.

It had never been Javi, the kind man with hot chocolate eyes and a golden smile. It was always Yuzuru, chasing after gold, chasing after the ice. It was always Yuzuru, eyes cold after a competition, arms stiff after a bronze. It was always Yuzuru, unable, unwilling to peer beyond the veil of passion, to make time for Javi, make time for himself.

It was never Javi.

Never Javi, Javi, Javi.

Javi glows within the sun, and suddenly Yuzuru can see everything that he could have had, that he wishes that he had.

He can see the laughs, the smiles. He can see the quiet nights, sharing lips, sharing smiles, sharing bodies. He can see the mischievous days of teasing and light-hearted jokes. He can see a full bed, a full house, a full heart. He can see a world of joy that he could have chosen.

And despite everything, Javi turns to him with a smile on his lips, dimples painted onto his face. Despite all those days Yuzuru has stolen, all those years he has broken, all those weeks he has unraveled into a single shattering moment, Javi still gives him a smile.

Suddenly, Yuzuru is blinking tears from his eyes.

Because he knows, no matter how much he regrets it, that he cannot have Javi any longer.

That Javi is not his anymore.

That he is not Javi’s anymore.

 

He’d done this to himself.

He’d chosen this route, and yet…

Yet, staring into Javi’s golden eyes, he yearns for that world he has just glimpsed into, where he is no longer Yuzuru Hanyu, and he is no longer Javier Fernandez.

Where gold for him is not the cold, heavy metal around his neck,

But soft lips against his,

Warm eyes into his,

Golden smiles melded his,

 

Where gold is nothing but, everything but

Javier

Fernandez.