You always say that Viktor and Yuuri's story and beginings of their relathionship are really toxic and they're not at all an example for any similar situations in RL (and i totally agree with you, of course), but... how do you picture your Rivals AU if instead a toxic and heartbreaking story of painful misunderstandings, they would have progressed from rivalry/hate to love in a more healthy way? How has your story happened? Really curious because i can't imagine otherwise now!
There are lots of ways that the relationship could have progressed more healthily and Viktor and Yuuri definitely took the hardest path! Good and clear communication would have been the easiest way there to clear up a lot of the misunderstandings. Either Yuuri explaining why he hated Viktor or voicing his fears that Viktor is just using him or that their time is limited or talking about his own self doubt or Viktor telling Yuuri how he was feeling would have solved everything a lot quicker. It wouldn’t have been easy but it would have been easier at least. It would have prompted a conversation that would have been enlightening for both of them. They both had their reasons for not talking but communication is really important.
But even without the communication aspect they both could have had a much healthier start to the relationship if they had gone about things differently. Yuuri’s story is a lot about how damaging hatred can be if you let it go too far and how self-doubt and self-deprecation can blind you. If he had stopped assuming things about Viktor or assuming he knew how Viktor felt he might have been able to be more objective. If he hadn’t been so blinded by hate for so long he would have been able to see Viktor wasn’t who he expected him to be. If he hadn’t been so caught up in his own head and so convinced that he was less worthy and that Viktor could never want him he would have been able to see that wasn’t true at all.
On Viktor’s side it’s all about how damaging love can be if it’s not healthy and how impulsive decisions are a bad idea. He falls in love with Yuuri without really knowing him that well and has a very all or nothing attitude. He’s impulsive which leads to a lot of situations that could have been solved if he hadn’t rushed into it (like the banquet in chapter 8) and he gets very stuck in the mindset that it’s better to accept the love that you can get rather than seeking out the love that you deserve. You’ll see more of it in obs&bh but the way he keeps going along with Yuuri despite wanting more is not healthy. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with casual sex but he quite clearly wants more and it hurts him that all he can have is physical intimacy and not emotional. The healthy thing to do would have been to not sleep with Yuuri or stop sleeping with him when it was clear that they wanted different things. He could still try and be friends with Yuuri and be close to him but the complicated sex vs romance relationship was very damaging to them both but him especially and he could have chosen to end it but didn’t.
So in an ideal world they would have talked everything out early on. But even if that didn’t happen they still could have developed the relationship in a much healthier way. If Viktor hadn’t slept with Yuuri or had stopped sleeping with him but still been nice to him and tried to be friends it could have avoided a lot. It might have taken time but Yuuri would gradually have come to see that Viktor wasn’t the cruel person he thought of him as and he wouldn’t assume that Viktor was just being close to him for sex. On Viktor’s side he wouldn’t have been hurt with a years long semi-relationship that was a lot less than he wanted or deserved. He could still try and be friends with Yuuri of course and they would grow to know each other better over the years. In real life (and in the fic) it’s damaging to be hung up on one person who’s made it clear they don’t want the same thing as you. Eventually they would have got together after coming to know each other gradually and Yuuri eventually accepting Viktor’s friendship which would have progressed naturally into romance years down the line when he was ready and they had talked things out properly. In the meantime Viktor could have moved on from just being hung up on Yuuri for five years and instead gone out and lived his life and come back to romance with Yuuri only when Yuuri actually wanted him back rather than just pining. It might have taken longer but it would have spared them both a lot of pain.
So essentially, what they do is a guide about what not to do and in the end they both learn that. They get there in the end but my god did they not make it easy for themselves