for the promp thing! victuuri and 60) things you said that surprised me the most ♥
hiya alli!! (and thank u to @teekettle for your input ♥)
“Tadaima,” Victor called, tugging his scarf down from his mouth. The loss of warmth was distinct when he slipped out of his trenchcoat, but a smile made its way onto his lips when he heard Yuuri’s voice drift around the corner, soft and lilting around the okaeri.
He placed his shoes by the front door next to Yuuri’s, straightening them just so, before padding over to where Yuuri was snuggled into the couch. A thick, fluffy blue blanket was draped over his legs, along with Victor’s old Team Russia jacket zipped over his torso. He looked very warm, compared to the chilliness of the evening outside. A pastel green mug sat on the coffee table, thin wisps of steam still rising into the air, and his laptop was perched on the arm of the couch.
Yuuri offered him a sleepy smile as he came closer, his hair slightly damp and curling at the edges. Yuuri had felt stressed this morning, so had come home from the rink a few hours earlier than Victor did. And Victor was glad, because he looked so much better rested after taking that time for himself.
“Hi Vitya,” he murmured, pausing the video on his laptop and patting the spot next to him. “Wanna join me?”
“Always, lyubov,” Victor said, already grabbing his own purple blanket from another armchair and moving to sit down by Yuuri’s side. Once there, he noticed exactly what was playing on the screen. “Are you watching my old programs?” he asked.
Yuuri’s smile became a little shy. “They’ve always helped me relax,” he admitted, turning back to his laptop and hitting play. Almost immediately, the tinny sound of his Victory program floated through the speakers and the grainy image of a twenty-five-year-old Victor Nikiforov began to move.
Victor found himself critiquing the movements of his younger self almost instantly—he was too stiff in this one section, he wobbled slightly on the landing of the triple axel—but when he glanced at Yuuri, he was surprised to see a look of admiration on his face despite all the obvious flaws.
“I love the way you flicked your wrist here,” Yuuri said, his eyes sparkling as he pointed the movement out a second before the Victor on the screen even did. “It had perfect timing with the music, and I could feel the triumph you were trying to convey with this program. I ran out to the rink to practice my own program almost immediately after—it was really inspiring.”
“The costume choice could’ve been a little better though,” Yuuri continued, sounding thoughtful once the last notes of the music faded and the camera had cut to Victor’s smiling face. “If you were to reuse a costume, I think the one from 2010 would’ve been perfect for a free skate about victory.”
“You’re such a big fan,” Victor teased, resting his head on Yuuri’s shoulder. “Have you been following my career for that long?”
They were quiet again as the video continued and eventually settled on an interview right after Victor received a score that shot his name to the top of the board, assuring him as world champion for the third year in a row.
“How did you feel about this performance, Victor?” a reporter asked, looking eager, and suddenly everything clicked into place.
It was this season.
Victor had thought there was something strange about the program Yuuri was watching, why it had made him so uncomfortable, and now he knew. It was the year that Victor had grown tired of skating and winning and putting on plastic doll smiles for the public and his country.
The Victor on-screen smiled then, and to him it was so obvious how fake it was. No one else seemed to notice how forced it seemed, how his eyes were dark with fatigue, how his voice was overly bright as he answered.
“I’m really happy with it!” Victor replied, still smiling. “It was a difficult program to perfect, but it seems that all my hard work paid off.”
Victor remembered that the reporter had given him an almost patronizing laugh at that last sentence and said—
“Well, how hard can learning programs be for a three-time world champion, right?”
That had happened a little more than three years ago, but those words, no matter how well-intended they may have been, still stung even as he heard them now. He’d felt so much freer after meeting Yuuri, but hearing this and seeing the plastic smile he’d put on for years reminded him of how much he didn’t want to go back to a world that saw him only as Victor Nikiforov, Living Legend, instead of Victor Nikiforov, a man who liked to go on nighttime walks with his fiancé, cook anything and everything he could in the kitchen, and read as many books as there were stars.
It had bothered him more than he let on how people dismissed his hard work and drive in favor of placing him on a pedestal.
“You weren’t happy.”
Victor blinked, startled out of his thoughts. “What?”
“You weren’t happy,” Yuuri repeated, his smile a little sad. “I could always tell in your interviews.”
Victor could only stare at Yuuri, frozen. “You—what?” He swallowed down the growing lump of emotion in his throat. “…How did you know?”
He thought he’d hid it so well. No one seemed to question his loneliness or growing weariness once he started winning—no one stopped to think about how all this was affecting him. So Victor assumed that no one had noticed.
But Yuuri was there, thousands and thousands of kilometers away, watching as Victor’s energy and love for the ice was slowly sapped away by the pressure of years spent at the top.
And seeing Yuuri’s quiet, earnest expression in front of him now, and telling him how he knew how much Victor needed someone to stay close to him, all those years of suppressed emotions tumbled out.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you, Vitya,” Yuuri whispered against his hair, arms wrapped tightly around him as he cried. “But I promise that I’ll be here for as long as I can.”
Victor laughed wetly, tightening his hold on Yuuri. He was currently under two blankets, a fiancé, and a wandering poodle on the couch of his apartment in St. Petersburg, and God, he’d never imagined that his home could feel so warm.
“You never fail to surprise me, lyubov moya. Thank you.”
Then Yuuri pressed a kiss to the crown of Victor’s head. “I love you,” he murmured, and Victor smiled into Yuuri’s side.
“Love you more.”