In the Rough
Previously: Yuuri has survived his first day of being bodyguard to Crown Prince Victor, though not without drawing the suspicion of Prince Yuri and Otabek, the captain of the guard. Victor has proven to be quite the handful as a charge, and Yuuri is beginning to see what Otabek meant when he described the job as a “glorified babysitter.”
It takes Yuuri several months to get used to the new life he’s living, which is, in retrospect, a good thing. It isn’t permanent; can’t be, no matter how much he enjoys it. And he does enjoy it immensely, even if he’s really just doing the same thing that he would have been doing back home.
He spars with Victor during fencing practice, just like he sparred with his own bodyguard Minami. He helps tutor Victor in the ways of the other countries of the area, like he helped Mari. He goes on afternoon rides with Victor, the way he used to do at home, alone.
It’s different in some ways, he admits. They teach each other their native languages, so that they can communicate with more than just the common languages. Yuuri has grown used to (perhaps too used to) the feeling of having someone latch onto him like an overheating barnacle at night. He learns that the palace dog, Makkachin, has a particular fondness for things that he shouldn’t have, a lot like Yuuri’s Vicchan.
He learns that Victor is relatively useless in emergencies, like when Yuuri’s thoughts get to be too much for him. He tries, after that first disaster, to keep his episodes away from Victor, since it seems to cause him distress to see Yuuri like that.
He learns that though he shows it in roundabout ways, Prince Yuri has more respect for his brother than he does for anyone, even their father. He learns that for all that Victor acts like a bumbling idiot, he’s actually smart– so smart, in fact, that it terrifies Yuuri sometimes. He can also be serious and sometimes cruel when something needs to be accomplished and isn’t (though luckily that side of him doesn’t come out often). He’s highly tactile, and shows decorum only when it’s strictly necessary.
Yuuri also learns, on one particularly average day, that he’s possibly a little bit entirely in love with Victor. And that poses a problem for him, since he has always had trouble concealing his emotions. Luckily, it seems that in this case, Victor’s denseness isn’t faked; he truly has no idea.
All in all, Yuuri is happy here. For a while, he even forgets that he’s a prince; it’s still there, hovering just at the edge of his mind at all times, but he’s often too busy to dwell on it.
Fast forward three months, and Yuuri is rolling out of bed early for once. As he recalls, there isn’t much going on today. There’s a meeting with a foreign dignitary later this morning (he wasn’t told the name; he never is, and it never matters much. He just stands there, making sure that nothing suspicious is happening and hoping that it isn’t someone that would recognize him) and a few logistical things that need to be dealt with for the ball celebrating Price Yuri’s birthday. Unless he missed something in his briefing last night, it’s going to be a relatively easy day.
He gets dressed before waking up Victor. “Your Highness. Victor, come on. It’s time for breakfast and you know how your brother is going to be if he has to wait for you.”
Victor’s eyes are closed, but he smiles and pulls Yuuri down. “He’s always like that.”
Yuuri flails a bit, trying to keep his belt buckle, knife, and sword sheath from scratching Victor. It doesn’t leave him a lot of time to stop his fall, so he lands right where Victor wants him. “Victor! You could hurt yourself doing that!”
“I can’t hear you, I’m sleeping.” Victor gives an exaggerated snore and Yuuri laughs.
“No you’re not,” he says, still chuckling.
Victor laughs with him, opening his eyes. “What gave me away?”
“You don’t snore.”
“I knew it!” Victor’s voice is suddenly very loud. When Yuuri winces, he looks apologetic. “Yura always said I snored, but I knew better.”
That doesn’t surprise Yuuri in the slightest. After all, Prince Yuri has always seemed to enjoy giving his older brother grief. Yuuri gets out of bed for a second time, tugging Victor along with him. “Come on, get dressed properly. You have a meeting after breakfast.”
“You’re such a mother hen,” Victor laughs.
“It’s my job,” Yuuri says, straightening his own collar before turning toward the wardrobe to get out clothes for Victor.
Breakfast goes about as well as can be expected. That is to say, it goes as well as it ever does, with Prince Yuri making a fuss, Victor being himself, Mila and Georgi being obnoxious, and the Tzar looking to Yuuri to try to keep some sense of sanity. Yuuri, as usual, can do nothing but look back at him helplessly.
“Yuuri, let’s go have a bath,” Victor says after fencing lessons.
Before answering, Yuuri takes a quick glance out of the east window; the sun has risen past where he can see, so it must be close to noon. “You have a guest that should be arriving any time now, so I’d advise against it.”
“Exactly! I’m quite sweaty and I hardly smell very good either. Is this how you’d have me greet a royal visitor?” Victor clutches his chest dramatically, falling into Yuuri’s arms.
Yuuri, as is his instinct at this point, catches him. He really is lovely, he can’t help but think before blinking and shaking his head to recenter himself in reality. “Oh alright. But I won’t be joining you.”
Victor’s eyes widen and his bottom lip quivers in a pout that Yuuri should not find so adorable. “You’re going to leave me with Otabek?”
“Well, someone has to be around to greet the visitor, if you aren’t,” Yuuri says, grinning at the way the logic seems to hit Victor like a hammer.
He sends an errand boy to get Otabek, who arrives minutes later. He’d been right, that first day; Yuuri doesn’t call on him for help often, but there are times when he truly can’t be in two places at once. He and Victor are gone soon after, heading for the baths (though Otabek will surely stand outside the door) while Yuuri stays behind and waits for the arrival of the person who has been granted a royal audience with Prince Victor.
Mila runs up to him not thirty minutes later, panting that there’s a carriage at the gate. Yuuri makes his way to the throne room, apologies for Victor’s absence already memorized and ready to be spoken (hopefully without completely fumbling it, but that will be an issue all its own).
Those apologies die on his tongue the moment that the visiting royal is announced.
“Presenting His Royal Highness, Crown Prince of the Southeast, Phichit Chulalont!”