from Start to Finish
So, I was just looking at this gif and had a thought. Look at how calmly Yuuri is listening to and taking in Victor’s words. This might not initially sound like anything special but what really hit me was the fact that he has neutral body language and expression. He’s listening.
Yuuri doesn’t have any over-the-top reaction to Victor’s proximity, tone of voice, or words. Especially considering what those exact words are, it really blows me away to realize how much this moment says about both their relationship development and Yuuri’s own self-confidence. Yuuri is able to truly take in the words and see the meaning behind them.
1 year, or even just 8 months, prior, there’s no way he could have reacted like this. There’s no way he could have had such a calm reaction to his idol speaking lowly in his ear while being in such close proximity and certainly no way he could have been able to sit there and listen to these words without feeling like they were some kind of insult to his person or dig at his skill level in comparison to Victor’s.
And, most of all, there’s no way he could have been holding Victor’s hand throughout the entire exchange.
Now, let’s compare it to a choice reaction from early on that covers all of those same points.
Even before Yuuri runs away, his expression and body language are completely different. Now, these are obviously two different situations, but the argument still stands. Yuuri has become comfortable in Victor’s presence.
Yuuri has gained confidence in both himself and his relationship with Victor; enough to put aside his feelings of idolization and see the situation for what it really is. Over the course of his time with Victor, they have grown close enough that Yuuri can see these words as the support they are intended to be, and see Victor as the person he is and not just the skater he looks up to.
On top of that, Yuuri has been able to gain the confidence in his skills to know that Victor is telling him that he can be better than this. Yuuri knows this now, not just dreams it under layers of anxiety and self-doubt, and takes the words as they are intended to be: a way to motivate him to push beyond any moment of doubt and be the best he can be.
Yuuri has achieved two of his longest-term goals, ones he never outright stated but were always there: building his own confidence and getting close to Victor. Through those successes, he also achieved one of the goals he did state, wanting to meet Victor as an equal.
And, as a cherry on top, over the course of the 9 months these two are together, the development of their relationship is so natural that it continues to amaze even to this day. They really do never cease to surprise us.