no gold everything

・Altean Prince Lance
[I’m sorry I don’t really like this drawing so I’m trying to post it and not delete it this time]

This is how he falls:

With a crack, the very first time he steps onto the ice. Yuuri breaks his glasses, breaks his fingernails, breaks open the skin on his palms and his knees and he bleeds, he bleeds, he bleeds. Takeshi laughs at chubby, clumsy Yuuri—graceless, good-for-nothing, and Yuuri believes him.

But the next day at Minako’s urging, Yuuri gets right back on that ice, and Takeshi doesn’t laugh.

Yuuko is beautiful with her red hair and her kind eyes and she doesn’t call Yuuri names. She smiles and holds out her hands to him, helps him onto his feet on her parents’ rink, and Yuuri finds love there, though never with her. He finds a home there, though it isn’t his to claim. 

(He will make it his every day for the rest of his life, regardless.)

He finds his inspiration in front of a grainy television screen when he turns twelve, and even the fuzz in the picture could not make Victor Nikiforov look less beautiful, less ephemeral, less exquisite. 

Look at me, says his silver hair. Look at me, says the gleam of his costume. Look at me, says the sorrowful reach of his hands, and Yuuri has never stopped looking since.

Look at me, Yuuri thinks as he takes of his glasses and skates onto the ice blind. Look at me, he decides that day, and knows that he’ll do anything, everything to stand before Victor Nikiforov and say look at me in person.

He emulates Victor. He worships Victor. Yuuri begs until his family bends and buys him a poodle, soft and brown in his arms, and Yuuri names him after his hero. It’s common sense, Yuuri thinks, to take this feeling and make it something tangible, something real. Vicchan can love Yuuri back. Vicchan is never disappointed. With Vicchan, Yuuri doesn’t have to feel the loneliness that Victor’s endless absence has carved in his young life.

Yuuri stands under the lights, in front of the judges for the first time at fourteen and feels clumsy and boring, but he takes home a silver. It’s not as beautiful as Victor, but it’ll do, even if he can’t quite see it through the blur of his naked eyes. He works himself up vibrant color, to costumes made custom, to junior gold medals, to high school entrance exams and college applications. He dedicates himself to diets and exercise, chasing a dream of a man in pictures, the years of a life less lived plastered on his bedroom walls.

He doesn’t take them with him to Detroit, but he may as well have. Victor’s shadow follows him there, hovering over his head and in his heart, that voice from online interviews as saccharine sweet in his ears as Yuuko’s  I’m pregnant, Yuuri, I’m having triplets, will you be the godfather, Yuuri? What do you mean you’re leaving?

Yuuri leaves home at eighteen and the guilt of it eats him alive.

He meets Celestino Cialdini. He meets Phichit Chulanont. Yuuri makes himself into a whirlwind and withdraws into his shell with one goal in mind. He falls during his jumps. He falls during his choreography sequence. Yuuri falls and falls again, even as others fall for him, and they fall as he stumbles away—broken and bleeding, licking his wounds and nursing his pride and hiding his selfish love for a man who has no idea that Yuuri breathes him, lives for him. 

It’s alone in a bathroom in Sochi that Yuuri realizes he’s lived for Victor one day too long, and Vicchan is gone. 

Yuuri doesn’t remember his free skate. He doesn’t remember crying. He only vaguely remembers Yuri Plisetsky yelling in his face, fifteen and red-cheeked and fire-eyed and selfish. He’s young. He’s dumb. And somehow he has Victor Nikiforov’s undivided attention, somehow Yuri Plisetsky has a Junior Grand Prix Gold, somehow he has everything, and Yuuri—

—Yuuri has nothing. Certainly not a commemorative photo with the man who couldn’t be bothered to learn Yuuri’s name.

So Yuuri falls. He falls and falls and he cries for two days straight in his hotel room. He barely eats, hardly sleeps, and by the time he makes it to the victory banquet, he’s a mess. He’s fractured, fumbling, falling apart, and by glass fifteen of champagne, somehow confronting Victor seems like a good idea.

He ends up facing down his fears instead.

Yuuri doesn’t remember that night. He doesn’t remember warm hards, a shining smile, bright eyes. He doesn’t remember holding Victor in his arms, swinging him and dipping him, laughing into his personal space and stripping his way out of it. He won’t remember Christophe Giacometti’s fabulous abs in the morning, and he won’t remember Victor holding out his arms toward Yuuri as he climbs down from the pole.

He doesn’t remember any of it, but maybe that’s for the best.

But what he does remember are the echoing notes of a lovelorn ballad and the way it ripped his heart out. Yuuri remembers a life that feels like a dream and the beauty of a dance. He goes home to a place that has known Yuuri’s saddest days if not his darkest, and though he feels alone, it takes friends and a family to make him realize that he has never been alone.

Yuuri skates a song that is not his, but answers a plea that could never be for anyone else.

A thousand miles away, Victor opens a video link, and this is how he falls.

companion to this