For all his talk of having more self-awareness than everyone in the rink combined, it actually takes about a hundred knowing smiles from Viktor, a pat on the head from Georgi, and Mila’s teasing quip of, “careful, Yura, your crush is showing” while he’s watching Yuuri nail a quad salchow—the jump that Yuri himself had taught the Japanese, take that Viktor—before Yuri comes to the horrifying realization that he does, in fact, have a crush on Yuuri Katsuki. It’s sobering and embarrassing and Yuri just wants to curl up on the cold hard ground and die.
“Kill me,” he moans, sliding down the ice in an unmoving lump. “Do it, Mila. End me.” He thinks he can hear Yakov yelling at him to get up, but Yuri ignores him in favor of latching onto Mila’s skates and blinking up at her with wide eyes.
Mila just laughs, squatting down and ruffling his hair because she is a horrible, horrible person and Yuri absolutely hateshateshates her. “Don’t be such a drama queen, Yura.”
“I hate you.”
“No, you don’t. Anyway, it’s cute. To think that you’d develop a crush on your namesake—“
“It could be worse. I mean, you could have a crush on JJ.”
Yuri doesn’t even dignify that statement with a decent response and just screeches up angrily at Mila until Yuuri skates up next to them and asks if he’s okay, because Yuuri’s nice like that, and Yuri fucking hates everyone in this stupid rink.
(Except Yuuri, of course.)
He can’t even insult Viktor’s taste in men anymore.
“—and it’s just, I dunno. He’s really, really nice, even when I’m being terrible. His step sequences are amazing and he just looks so beautiful on the ice, like what the fuck? And he smells so nice, Mila. He hugged me the other day and he smelled so, so good. I just wanted to keep hugging him but fucking Viktor has to join in on the hug too—”
“This is really fascinating, but it’s three in the fucking morning, Yura.”
“Fuck off. I listened to you ramble about Sara Crispino’s eyes for weeks, old hag.”
“Fine, fine. Please tell me more about how nice Yuuri smells.”
Yuri supposes that he should have realized it sooner.
He should have made the connection when he was still just fourteen and had hoarded every scrap of information he could about the Japanese skater who shared his name and had the most beautiful step sequences he’s ever seen. Should have had an inkling when his heart started beating like a particularly loud drum whenever Yuuri smiled, laughed, or even breathed at his direction.
But no, Yuri’s stupid brain only makes the connection when he’s fifteen going on sixteen and Yuuri Katsuki is way more than the skater who shares his name and whose posters he’d ordered online and plastered on the door to his closet, but a permanent fixture to Yuri’s life and engaged to be married to Viktor-fucking-Nikiforov.
Clearly the only possible solution is to kill Viktor and marry Yuuri himself.
yuri-p: help me beka
yuri-p: i need to kill viktor
otabekaltin: Should you really be revealing your plan to murder Viktor Nikiforov to me?
yuri-p: uh duh
yuri-p: youre my friend beka keep up
otabekaltin: I wasn’t aware that being friends equates to being complicit to murder.
otabekaltin: Why do you need to kill him though? I may need to know just in case I need to justify your actions to the authorities when you get caught.
yuri-p: bc hes annoying as hell
yuri-p: that should be reason enough
otabekaltin: Is this about your crush on Yuuri Katsuki?
yuri-p: how diD YOU FIND OIT
otabekaltin: Mila sent pictures.
otabekaltin: You are very obvious, Yura.
yuri-p: wtf the fuck mila and what do you mean i was obvious i was not
yuri-p: ok but what do you think i should do
otabekaltin: For starters, you should probably refrain from killing anyone.
otabekaltin: Well. What do you want to do about it?
yuri-p: idk confess probably which is a terrible idea and why im as kign for your help
yuri-p: im ean if i confess hes just going to reject me
yuri-p: i know that
yuri-p: he doesnt like me that way but my stupid feelings just cant seem to get the memo
yuri-p: and its ruining my fucking life
yuri-p: everytime i see him i feel like im getting heartburn
otabekaltin: Then just confess. Get it out of your system.
otabekaltin: You’ll just torment yourself if you keep it to yourself. Best to get it out of your chest.
otabekaltin: Katsuki won’t be cruel.
otabekaltin: Tell him, and get closure and maybe everything will resolve itself.
yuri-p: is terrible advice
yuri-p: im gonna do it
otabekaltin: Good luck.
Saturday afternoon finds Yuri and Yuuri at the local shopping center.
It’s their free day and by some happenstance or other, Yuri somehow manages to ask the Japanese skater out. Granted, he’d made some flimsy excuse about wanting to buy some gifts for the triplets’ birthday and needing Yuuri’s opinion, but hey, if it works, it works. Yuri really does intend to buy gifts for Yuuko’s little monsters, so it’s not like he’d lied or anything. Coincidentally, Viktor had declined Yuri’s begrudging invitation to come along, claiming that he needed to run some errands and Yuri decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Which is how he finds himself in the shopping center holding hands with Yuuri Katsuki.
Yuri’s so nervous he might actually throw up.
His left hand is clammy with sweat but he can’t bring himself to let go of Yuuri’s hand from when he’d grabbed the Japanese earlier to steer him to another store. And well, it’s not as if Yuuri had pulled away, so it must be okay and that he’s fine with Yuri holding his hand. However, Yuri’s kinda regretting the fact that he’d grabbed Yuuri’s right hand—the one with the engagement ring—but it’s not like he can say hey, do you mind if I switched hands because your engagement ring is totally cramping my attempts to woo you, and not sound like a crazy person.
They walk aimlessly around the plaza, chatting idly as they look for gifts. In the end, a street vendor offering a colorful spread of glass jewelry catches their attention. Soon enough, Yuri’s arguing with the woman in rapid Russian, because her prices are ridiculous and he’s not some fucking tourist who’ll fall for her goddamn swindling.
“This is nice,” Yuuri says once he’s done haggling with the vendor for the bracelets, and Yuri’s heart does a little jig. “I’m glad that you invited me to go with you, Yurio.”
“Whatever. It’s not a big deal.” Yuri shrugs even as a torrid blush erupts on his cheeks. “I’m sure Viktor takes you out all the time.”
Yuuri quirks a bemused smile at him before steering them towards the nearby park “Well, yeah. But what I meant is that it’s nice to be able to spend time with you outside of the rink.”
And just how is Yuri supposed to react to that? How is he supposed to convince himself that the other skater isn’t interested in him in that way when Yuuri said things like that as easily as breathing? As if spending time with Yuri is some sort of prize when it’s really, really not? Especially when Yuuri can easily spend time with his fiancé and not with a sulky idiot who screamed at him at a bathroom in Sochi and told him to retire.
He doesn’t notice that he’d stopped walking until Yuuri’s hand squeezes his, shaking him out of his reverie.
“Yurio? What’s wrong?”
“I—“ Yuri begins, looking at the blurry sign over Yuuri’s shoulder. Because if he looks at those brown eyes, he’s never going to be able to say, “I like you.”
Yuuri blinks, once, twice, before a confused smile unfurls on his lips. “That’s—I like you too, Yurio. You’re my friend—“
“No! Not. Not like that!” He drops Yuuri’s hand, taking a step back as he feels tears prick at the corner of his eyes. And fuck, he is not going to cry. Yuri refuses to cry. He sucks in a deep breath before facing Yuuri straight on, cheeks flushed and eyes bright and heart beating a mile a minute inside his chest. “I like you.” Yuri repeats, imploring, willing Yuuri to understand. “You—you make my heart race and every time you smile at me, I have butterflies in my stomach. And your stupid laugh makes my chest hurt and I really, really want to punch you in the face. With my mouth.”
“Oh. Oh.” Yuuri breathes, voice gentling and he looks as if he’s about to cry too. Which is all kinds of dumb because Yuri’s the one whose heart is going to get broken. “Yurio, I—you’re great and I care about you a lot, but—“
“But Viktor,” Yuri grumbles, averting his gaze to the ground.
“Well, yes. There’s Viktor.” Yuuri agrees, before adding, “but I’m also way too old for you.”
“You’re that that old.” Yuri blusters, looking up at Yuuri again, because what? “You’re only eight years older than I am.”
“Still too old for you.”
“Okay, fine. But—but what if Viktor wasn’t here and I’m not too young, would you—“ Yuri’s grasping at straws, he knows it, but he needs to ask, needs to know. “I mean, do I have a chance?” He asks, voice reduced to a flimsy whisper that’s almost drowned out by the heavy thud of his heart.
Yuuri looks stricken, mouth opening and closing a few times. “Yurio—“
“That’s a no, huh?” Yuri says, voice breaking into a sob as the tears that he’d tried to fight off spill down his cheeks at the rejection.
And god, it’s terrible. It’s pathetic. He’s known that he’s just going to get rejected. He’s so embarrassing, no wonder Yuuri doesn’t like him—
“Oh no, don’t—“ Yuuri babbles and the next thing he knows, there are warm, calloused hands cupping his cheeks, gingerly, as if afraid that he’ll lash out. But Yuri just sniffles pathetically and lets Yuuri brush his tears away with his thumbs.
“Yurio. Yura,” Yuuri says and his heart jumps. He blinks away the tears clinging stubbornly onto his eyelashes and wills himself to calm down. “I am…honored that you feel that way about me and I care about you, really, I do. You’re an amazing person and you inspire me to be a better skater, and I am so, so incredibly proud of you. And I know that someday, you’re going to find someone you’ll like more than me.” Yuuri finishes with a smile that breaks Yuri’s heart anew.
Yuri sniffs before throwing his arms around Yuuri’s shoulders, earning himself a surprised squawk. He hugs Yuuri tight, burying his face into the older man’s neck when he feels arms wrap around his waist.
When he pulls away, he levels Yuuri with a stubborn look and says, “no. Never.”
Because he is never going to find anyone he’s going to like better than Yuuri Katsuki.
Except, he already has.
mila.babicheva there’s nothing a liberal application of ice cream won’t fix @yuri-plisetsky #poorbby
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sara-crispino oh no, what happened?
mila.babicheva @sara-crispino baby’s first heartbreak
yuri-p: your plan sucked
yuri-p: also a good friend would book the next flight to russia and comfort me
otabekaltin: You already look well comforted by all that ice cream.
otabekaltin: Aren’t you supposed to be on a diet?
yuri-p: mila got the nonfat kind so
yuri-p: suck it
yuri-p: bribing me with cat videos really beka
yuri-p: holySHIT that first vid has a TIGER wtf
yuri-p: i take it back
yuri-p: this is adequate
yuri-p: i wont be disowning you after all
otabekaltin: How comforting.
yuri-p: but you still have to avenge me at the 4CC
otabekaltin: [thumbs up emoji]
He makes himself scarce on Monday. Mostly because people seem keen on treating him with kid gloves and Georgi keeps on making him listen to shitty Spotify playlists, but partly because there’s only so much that ice cream and cat videos can do. Tuesday finds him trading barbed insults with Viktor while practicing his jumps, and getting pointers from Yuuri about his step sequences because Yuri’s not about to sacrifice his skating for his feelings and it had been weird avoiding them in the first place.
On Wednesday, Yuri skates right in between Viktor and Mila and says, nonchalant. "When I grow up, I'm going to be Yuuri Katsuki's second husband."
Viktor chokes on his own spit.
"What happened to the first one?" Mila asks, amused.
"Nothing you can prove," Yuri says, glancing meaningfully at a wide-eyed Viktor before skating away to the sound Mila's laughter.
“—and Otabek Altin narrowly beats Jean-Jacques Leroy by 0.10 points with his Free Program! Will Russia’s Yuri Plisetsky manage to finally reclaim his second GPF gold this year?”
“If you stare any harder, Otabek might actually melt, kitten.” An annoyingly familiar voice drawls into his ear and Yuri whirls around to glare at JJ’s stupid face.
“The fuck are you talking about, Leroy?”
JJ just shrugs and walks away, an infuriating grin on his face, and Yuri grumbles under his breath before letting Yakov corral him towards the rink’s entrance. He manages to put J.J’s words out of his thoughts until he steps into the ice and Otabek yells their customary davai! and Yuri’s heart performs a fucking quad loop inside his chest and—