In the Rough
Previously: Prince Yuri has figured out Yuuri’s secret. Despite having suspected as much for a while, Yuuri finds his sense of security has been rocked to its core. Still, with the young general’s threat of war hanging over his head to keep him from running off, Yuuri finds himself absurdly comforted by the idea that the royal family is so fiercely protective of their own. He can’t deny the confusion that surfaces when that protectiveness seems to stem from a belief that Victor would actually abandon his country for Yuuri, of all people.
“You know, when I told you that you were required to stay, that didn’t mean that you were required to annoy me,” Yuri snaps, closing the door in Yuuri’s face. Or at least, trying to.
Yuuri sticks his foot in the door to keep it open. He’s sure it’s bruised, but that doesn’t matter; he’s dealt with bruises for years because of his own clumsiness. “I need to speak with you, Your Highness, please–”
“Go away, Katsuki,” Yuri hisses, pressing up against the door with a surprising strength. “My keeping your secret does not make me your confidant.”
At this, Yuuri raises an eyebrow, but says nothing to correct him (though keeping his secret does exactly that, he’s unlikely to make any headway with Yuri by pointing that out). Instead, he uses his trump card. “I’ll teach you the katsudon recipe.”
The pressure on the door persists for a moment before his words sink in, then abruptly stops. Yuri glares at him suspiciously through the crack in the door. “You said that was a family recipe.”
“Yes, well… that’s a part of what I wished to speak with you about.” He bows his head humbly. “May I come in?”
Yuri reluctantly opens the door to allow Yuuri inside. “What do you mean?”
“Well…” Yuuri isn’t sure how to put his question into words. Actually, he does, but he doesn’t quite know how proper it would be to voice those words.
“Just spit it out,” the younger boy sighs, sounding irritated as he falls back onto his bed in exasperation. “You’re overthinking things, piggy. If it has to do with my brother, you’re better off not doing that.”
Of course Yuri saw through him, Yuuri realizes. There’s little that Yuuri would be at his door for other than Victor. “…You’re right.”
“Of course I am,” Yuri scoffs, still laying on his back. “Now either get over yourself and tell me what you want from me, or get out.”
He has no doubt that Yuri really would kick him out, katsudon recipe or no katsudon recipe, and he doubts that the door would open for him again afterward. Oddly enough, the threat of that seems to be the push he needs to actually say what’s on his mind, because he doesn’t remember deciding to speak before the words are already out of his mouth.
“Would it be a bad idea for me to court your brother?”
Then, “I can not believe this is what you woke me up for. Your name is Yuuri Katsuki, not Yuuri Katstupid, but sometimes I really have to wonder.”
Yuuri doesn’t respond. He knows better than to think that Yuri is done speaking after an insult; prickly he may be, but he never avoids a question.
“It would be the most idiotic thing in the world for you to court my brother. You’re a runaway royal pretending to be his bodyguard,” Yuri says, blunt as ever.
Yuuri’s heart sinks. “I thought so t–”
“Was I done?” Yuri snaps, sitting up. Yuuri stops talking. “It would be idiotic and stupid for you to court my brother, yes. But seeing as he’s already been trying to court your oblivious ass for months, I doubt that it being dumb is enough to stop either of you.”
Yuuri blinks. Stares for a minute, because he half expects Yuri to repeat himself. There’s no way he heard that properly. Blinks again.
Yuri kicks him out after that with a “Save your stupid recipe for the wedding” that makes Yuuri think that maybe the boy doesn’t hate him as much as he thought at first.
It’s been weeks since Phichit’s visit, and Victor is still sulking a bit. For all that he allowed Yuuri to be “loaned out” to the visiting prince for the duration of his stay, it was clear that he hadn’t appreciated it at all. Upon Yuuri’s return to his side, they’d gone out on a shopping trip that had taken nearly the whole day. Yuuri had let himself have just a bit of fun with it, though his guard was never lowered in case of a threat to the prince’s life. They’d bought all sorts of clothes and trinkets, and even a jar of exotic nuts. Those got misplaced before they could be opened, much to Yuuri’s dismay, but Victor had waved his worries away with a smile.
“I’m glad for your company, Yuuri,” he’d said earnestly. “Don’t worry about it.”
Yuuri has never considered himself dense or unobservant when it came to social situations. To be fair, he often went out of his way to avoid them, so he may not have an accurate sample size. Despite that, he didn’t think he was dense enough to miss something like that.
That shopping trip was definitely an Outing, rather than simply an ordinary outing. They’d even had a chaperone, as Victor had insisted that Otabek join them for reasons that, at the time, had gone completely over Yuuri’s head.
He supposes, looking back, that it might have been a good thing for him to have bought those rings from that goldsmith’s place when Victor had his back turned.
It’s a good day, he realizes, noting the lack of anxiety plaguing his thoughts when he considers possibly being happy in the long term. Still, a quiet, nagging voice in the back of his mind wonders whether or not Victor will feel the same way when he realizes that Yuuri isn’t the person he says he is.
For now, it’s easily stomped down, easily ignored, easily forgotten. If he has to listen to it tonight when he’s supposed to be sleeping, he will. For now, he marches up to Victor’s bedroom door, telling himself to take a risk despite the chance that things may go bad.
He enters without knocking, as he usually does. Victor is awake now, and synching up his belt. When Yuuri left, he was sound asleep, but he’s been known to wake up shortly after subconsciously realizing that Yuuri isn’t there anymore and wow, Yuuri really is dense, isn’t he?
“Yuuri!” he says, beaming. “I was about to go looking for you! There isn’t much to do today, right?”
Yuuri gulps, swallowing the sudden nervousness that’s risen up in his throat and chest. “You’re correct. I was actually wondering if you would do me a small favor, Victor.”
Victor blinks at him curiously. Yuuri hasn’t ever asked for anything before, beyond the necessities. “Of course. If it’s within my power, it will be yours.”
Is it hot in here, or is it just the blood rushing to Yuuri’s cheeks? He may never know (or rather, he may never admit it). Still, he lets out a long breath. “Would you join me on a ride around the castle grounds after breakfast?”
He thinks it’s worth the embarrassment when Victor’s face breaks into a heart-shaped grin so wide, Yuuri worried that he may pull a muscle.