Desierto, ¿qué haces llorando? Tú, que siempre me enseñaste a no inmutarme, a cambiar de forma como la arena con el viento y a seguir siendo arena después de todo. Qué haces llorando, después de tantísimo tiempo, humedeciéndote y formando pozos donde no hay, y ningún día hubo; abriendo y llenando cicatrices de ríos borrados de mapas, recordando lo que eras y hace tiempo intentaste pero no conseguiste esconder. Desierto, ¿qué haces llorando?, estás consiguiendo que no consiga ver, “¿qué haces llorando?” le pregunté ilusa, “¿qué haces lloviendo?” me respondió él.
Yuuri feels his coach’s words cut into him, piercing and expanding. His breaths are still coming in pants and his hands fall to his knees, clutching them to try and keep himself upright. “What?”
Victor doesn’t even meet his eyes. Instead, he’s fixed on the ice that Yuuri had been skating on just moments ago, fingers on his chin. “The routine. It could have been performed better. You missed the salchow.” With that, he turns to him. “You landed that every time in practice. What happened?”
“I…” Yuuri starts helplessly, because Victor knows exactly what happened, knows that the roars of the crowds are a dull throbbing that scrambles his positioning, that has his mind scattered. “I’m sorry.”
“I just don’t understand,” Victor complains, and pinches the bridge of his nose. “That could’ve won, Yuuri. If you’d simply act like you were practicing it, it could’ve won. It’s not that you can’t do it. Obviously you can do it.”
Another skater is preparing himself.
Yuuri feels numb.
“I’m sorry,” he repeats quietly. He bows his head, tries to avoid the cameras and the interviewers in the distance. They start to walk silently towards the kiss and cry, and he sees Victor give a tight smile and wave to the cameras. When they sit down beside one another, there’s a hand on his back. He shifts away from it, just slightly, not enough to draw attention.
Victor frowns, leans towards him.
Yuuri bites his lip, keeps his eyes trained straight ahead.
“Yuuri, what’s wrong?”
The scores come in. He reads them quickly, then pushes the too-low numbers into the back of his mind. “Nothing.”
The cameras flash. Victor’s hand returns to his back. “Why are you lying?”
Yuuri doesn’t answer, and a second later there are fingers laced with his own and tugging him towards the exit, past the cameras and the crowds. He’s led reluctantly into the nearest bathroom, where Victor keeps his hand held tight, eyebrows drawn together. Unsure of what to do, Yuuri simply rolls his shoulders—he’d bent an arm awkwardly during the failed salchow.
“What’s wrong?” Victor repeats, more firmly this time. “The scores?”
“Oh,” he realizes out loud, and he blinks a few times. “Oh, Yuuri, I didn’t mean to… I wasn’t… I’m sorry.”
He nods, continues to stare at the floor. “Don’t apologize. It’s fine.”
He’s scooped into Victor’s arms and swayed back and forth. “It’s not fine. You’re upset. What I said was insensitive. I was insensitive. Next time, constructive criticism.” He pulls away, stares him firmly in the eyes. “I’m sorry.”
Yuuri smiles softly and hugs him again, ducking his nose into Victor’s shoulder. “That’s okay. I’m sorry I messed up the salchow.”
“As your coach, I want you to do well, but as your fiancé, it doesn’t matter to me. We just need to keep those two things separated. I need to keep those two things separated.” He runs his thumb across the ring on Yuuri’s finger, kisses his cheek. “I didn’t mean what I said. I was just frustrated.”