This is my beautiful dumbass dog Waldo. Today we had belated thanksgiving dinner, and once we were sitting down to eat he got up on the kitchen counter and stole some leftover turkey bits. He would’ve gotten away with it, except he yelped and whined while he was doing it so we heard him from the other room.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
“He’s excited,” Viktor whispered softly to his fiance as they watched the scene in front of them, glancing between the members of the Russian team. Mila was grinning a little too widely. Yuri was snuggled into Otabek’s embrace and was smirking at the older man in the center of the room; Otabek himself was trying to look as passive as possible. Georgi was looking at the brunette with mirth filled eyes.
“What’d you get from your Secret Santa, Steph?” Yuuri leaned into Viktor’s side and watched as the excited man bounced happily in place from where he was sitting on the floor of the break room. Stephan’s curls bounced along with him and his blue eyes twinkled happily as he pulled the tissue paper from the gift bag excitedly.
Stephan pulled a lumpy bundle of material from the confines of the gift bag and held it out in front of him, a wide smile gracing his thin lips, “A sweater! I’ve been needing another one of these. It’s soft too!” The red and white striped knitted material was held between his hands for only a moment before he stood and slid it over his head, covering his RSU t-shirt he had been wearing. The sweater had been baggy on his thinner frame, coming down almost to his knees and covering his slender hands.
“I love it! And it’s red and white like the Russian skating jackets. I can still represent without my jacket if I want too!”
“There’s more stupid, look in the bag,” Yuri said as he leaned his head on Otabek’s shoulder.
“So are you two my Secret Santa?” Stephan turned to look at the blonde as he settled back down on the floor in his new sweater.
Yuri chuckled, “Obviously.”
“I love the sweater.” Stephan reached into the bag and found himself pulling out a matching red and white hat. The man’s smile got even wider as he put it on his head, “I love it.”
“Don’t forget those,” Otabek hummed as he pushed the bag with his toe towards the man. Stephan reached back down into the bag again and pulled out a pair of thin wire-rimmed fake glasses.
“W-what’re these for…?”
Everyone just smiled at each other as Stephan perched them on his nose.
To say the least, Stephan loved his gifts and wore them often to practice. On days when this would happen, Yuri would often burst into giggles at the sight of him for some unknown reason.
“Do I have something on my sweater?” He finally asked the Japanese skater one day as he leaned against the rink wall after Yuri and Otabek had walked away in uncontrollable laughter, “I mean, they got me this for Christmas and they won’t stop laughing at me everytime I wear it.”
Yuuri hummed and just smiled at the oblivious coach’s assistant, “You look fine, I promise.”
“So, Stephan, why don’t you come to the mall with us today?” Stephan looked up from where he was writing down notes on his notepad to gaze at Mila. She was smiling widely at him with an all too knowing look in her eye.
“All of us are going. Even Yura and Beka are coming along too.” She hummed, “I thought you might want to go look at the Christmas decorations with us.”
He arched an eyebrow but set down his notepad, “I suppose I can go with you all for a bit.”
Mila smiled, “Don’t forget to wear your sweater.”
Stephan smiled and nodded as he followed her back towards the locker rooms and the coaches office. He had loved the sweater that Yuri and Otabek had gotten him; it had been made of the softest yarn and had managed to hide his big hands. The thing he found odd was the obvious interest in the sweater by people. At the rink, the younger kids he was in charge of watching and coaching had taken to calling him “Waldo” for some reason. He couldn’t understand why everyone had found it so funny, but he rolled with it. The older skaters just looked at him with smiles and didn’t say anything to him except compliment him.
Outside of the rink, though, had been where things had started to get a bit weird. People seemed to point at him and smile; sometimes they would even wave at him. He’d caught people taking pictures of him in his sweater out of the corner of his eyes. When he had thought on it all though, he figured that people had recognized him as an ex RSF certified male figure skater and it had settled his unease about it; after all, Viktor and Yuuri and even Georgi had all gotten pictures snapped of them without permission a lot of times.
He was just finally getting his five seconds of fame is all.
As soon as they had gotten to the mall, the Russian team seemed to split up. At first, it had been Viktor and Yuuri saying they were going to look for a coffee place and making a quick disappearance. Mila made a hasty disappearance to the bathroom. Georgi had gone off somewhere when Stephan’s back had been turned. His time with Yuri and Otabek had been short-lived as well as they too had lost him in a short jaunt through Brookstone.
So much for spending time with his friends.
He wandered out of Brookstone and wandered through a few stores. Maybe if he could find Viktor and Yuuri he could find the rest of his friends later on. Viktor and Yuuri had always been nice to him and wouldn’t mind him meeting up with them by any means.
Wandering through the mall had been an interesting experience. People had been smiling and pointing at him, waving even. Occasionally he would wave back but soon he began to ignore the constant looks and stares as he fiddled with a loose thread on his sweater while walking.
He’d wandered for about half an hour before he finally found someone.
“Found Waldo!” Yuri had called to Otabek who had been browsing in a rack at Hot Topic.
Stephan came closer to the couple, “Where’d you guys go earlier? I couldn’t find you.”
“We were just having some fun.” Beka smiled at the older man. Stephan had been Yuri and Otabek’s Secret Santas’ for sure. They had known he’d enjoy the sweater, but more so they had known that the Russian team would love engaging in what Stephan had become the center of; a life-size game of Where’s Waldo.
Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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