[identity profile] tierfal.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] tierfallen
Title: Value Judgments, Snow, and Cats
Fandom: Yuri On Ice
Character: Yuri (with proto-Otabek/Yuri if you squint)
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2,260
Warnings: occasional language; spoilers for S1 of YOI
Summary: The problem with any time Yuri's not actively skating is that it gives him a chance to think.
Author's Note: I love my newest small, angry, blond son who kicks things/people and has a deeply questionable fashion sense. Hi, I finished this two days into January and then more or less forgot it existed. >_>'


VALUE JUDGMENTS, SNOW, AND CATS

The storm in Moscow is bad enough—thick enough, white enough, dense enough, cold enough; bad is a stupid word that doesn’t mean much of anything alone—that his grandfather takes one look out the window and then frowns at him, and Yuri knows that they are not going to be driving to the rink.  He also knows that his grandfather will tackle him to the floor and haul him into another room by his ankles if he tries to walk there.

He drapes himself over several pieces of furniture in the front room in sequence and gazes at the door a bit to make a point anyway.  His grandfather does a truly exemplary job of pretending to be too preoccupied with pierogi to notice, and then favors him with an exquisitely communicative raised eyebrow when he actually starts creeping towards the door.

Yuri scowls—but not very much—and then drags himself upstairs.  The windowsill in his room is just about the right height to stand in for a ballet bar, and he can at least do all of his stretching and then run through enough iterations of Lilia’s favorite warmup to make himself break a sweat.  If he closes his eyes until his eyelashes blur the sliver of his vision, the cold rolling off of the windowpane is almost like the chill seeping up through the ice; and the haze of paleness outside is almost like a small span of white infinity beneath him.

Anything.  (Plié, posé, fouetté—) Out there, he can do, can be, anything he fucking pleases.  He’s a flame incarnate, shedding cinders, with silver knives on both his feet.  No one can take that away from him.  The only law out there is gravity; the only thing that can stop him is a failure of his own will.

Nobody wants it more than him.  All of them have something else—something else they care about; something leaching out their drive.  Something else to want.  A distraction.

This is all he’s got.

That’s why he’s always going to win.

That’s why he has to.










When he’s out of breath, he peels his jacket off and drops backwards onto the bed to give himself a little break.  He holds the phone up over his face and scrolls mechanically through the stream of photos.  That Phichit kid smiles too fucking much; if he’s not careful, his face is going to stick that way.  Seung Gil’s dog looks a little bit like a giant cat in the right light.  Yuri knew there was something he liked about that guy—other than the brutally unforgiving analysis of his own performances and the ruthless intensity, anyway, which ring so familiar that it’s almost enough to make them feel like soldiers in the same war.

Not that Yuri wouldn’t shoot him on sight.

He’s going to retire that analogy before it gets too gory.

Victor posted a video, which is captioned Happy birthday to me!!!!! followed by a string of sixteen emoticons that Yuri doesn’t even register, because they all blend together after the fifth character or so.  It’s not like Yuri’s any stranger to mixed emotions, but mashing a crying face and a heart-eyes face and a winking face together into the same tiny gasp of pixel-space is never not going to be stupid.

He plugs his headphones in and taps to play.

In the foreground, Victor is wearing a bathrobe, Katsudon’s stupid glasses, and a grin that must be hurting his face.  Yuri’s cheeks ache just looking at it.  In the background, Katsudon—blessedly clothed—is fumbling around on the nightstand, and then among the blankets, and then leaning off the bed and presumably patting around on the floor.

“Are you looking for something, darling?” Victor asks brightly.  There’s a mumble from Katsudon, and then Victor starts to giggle, and then the video cuts off.

Yuri types out animal cruelty = illegal and selects the least-cute pig emoji.

He hesitates with his thumb over the button to post the comment.  Then he deletes it, and then he types out better keep those so he thinks ur attractive.

Perfect.

He posts it and goes back to scrolling.

When he reaches a post he’s already seen, he taps over to the little bubble begging him to pay attention to his notifications.  Apparently he’s got a message, on top of all of the usual likes and UR SO CUTE!!!!!!  rawr xoxo comments from people he doesn’t give a shit about.

The message is from Otabek.  His impulse is to sit up on the bed, but that’s a stupid impulse, so he ignores it.

Hi, Otabek wrote.  heard the storm is very bad near you.  hope you are ok.

Yuri stares at the phone.

He wants to explain that that’s a dumb thing to say about a storm, because storms can’t be bad.  Bad is a value judgment.  Storms don’t have morals; storms just are.

People are the only ones who can look at a situation, comprehend the implications of their own actions, and choose a course.  People are the only ones who can look at a climate pattern and try to pin it down with a turn of phrase that implies malicious intent.  People are the only ones who assign blame to a natural phenomenon when it interferes with their petty little lives.

Yuri doesn’t want to be those people.

Yuri wants to be the storm.

He considers saying some of that—all of it would take fucking forever to type—but he makes the mistake of looking at Otabek’s little icon next to the message.

Otabek was… probably… trying to be… nice.

Which is weird as hell, and confusing as hell.  Maybe more confusing than hell.  By and large, hell seems pretty straightforward compared to living.

Yuri goes back to his feed and scrolls aimlessly while he tries to figure out what to write back.

It is excruciatingly painful to admit it, but he should probably take a cue from the stupid name-thieving porker in Japan.  Everybody fucking likes Yuuri Katsuki, except for Yuuri Katsuki himself, which is a different problem entirely.  Sometimes Yuri almost likes him—or at least doesn’t dislike him, which is more or less the same thing.  There’s something about the way his fumbling, awkward, harmless personality pairs with his warrior’s determination.  Yuuri Katsuki would never stab you in the back, but neither would he ever back down.

Yuri doesn’t figure that most people understand all that, though, because most people are stupid, so that can’t be why they like Katsudon so much.  There has to be something that he does that makes people like him.  He must treat people in some specific way that creates affinity, or say things to them that promote affection.

Yuri scrolls back through the recent posts again.  Katsudon almost never shares anything, but he’s reacted to or commented on almost every single post by anyone he knows.

Is that all it is?  Just sort of… talking to people, and trusting them not to knife you, because you’d never in your life think of knifing them?

Yuri’s going to have to fudge the rest of it, but the conversation thing can’t be too hard, can it?

He returns to the message from Otabek and stares at it.  If he were a pathetic—albeit delicious—bowl of rice and egg and pork and so forth, what would he write back?

Hi, he types.  That’s a start.  it’s not a big deal.  That’s… true.  Which is also a start.

But he doesn’t need a fucking start.  He needs a full, complete, undeniable nice-friend-thing.

He glares at the screen for a few long seconds, and then, slowly, he types out:

hope ur ok too. thnx for asking.

He sends it.

He sits back.

He rereads it.

He is a fucking genius, and that is a fucking masterpiece.

Now he just has to keep it up for… ever… if he wants anyone to be his friend.

Shit.










By and large, being in Saint Petersburg is better—better, in this case, being a subjective judgment based on his personal productivity and the trajectory of his career.  It’s easier to focus here, and his coaches are accessible at all times.  There isn’t much to do except to practice, and to skate.  The solitude is more conducive to success.

Solitude is probably the wrong word for it.  It’s not precisely that he’s alone; it’s that he’s isolated.

In English, isolation starts with the same sound as ice—but not the kind that supports you; not the kind you can skate on.  The kind that seals you in and kills you slowly with the cold.

The shopping’s good here, too—good, that is, insofar as the selection is huge, and the stores are close by, and there’s something about swiping his card and walking away with a tangible object in his hands that files down the sharply anxious edge on the numbness and the exhaustion.  Scooping up a deal and taking it back to his apartment to show it to the cat makes him feel… not content, exactly, but… comfortable.  It makes him feel like he’s accomplished something concrete, and he’s doing something right.

“Yuri,” Mila says as he walks in to the rink one morning, and the playful tone in her voice makes him set his jaw preemptively.  “I thought you wanted to be a tiger.”

He glares at her.  She grins back, curling her fingers and making a little clawing motion at him.

“That’s much more leopard, isn’t it?” Georgi says.  “Or maybe leopard cub.”

Yuri tunes them out.  This is a nice coat; it looks cool but stays warm, and it makes him look bigger.

It isn’t until he’s lying on top of his bed that night, one hand scratching at the cat draped over his chest and the other scrolling on his phone, that he sees another one of Viktor’s soppy posts, and it strikes him all at once.

He can’t beat the impulse to sit up straight this time, which sends the cat scrabbling for purchase on his jacket with a yowl of protest, but even that doesn’t register very much.

Katsudon has never made fun of him.

Throughout their feud for Viktor’s attention, over the entire duration of their direct competition for all the medals and records and accolades—despite all of the crap he piled on Yuuri, all the insults and low blows about his personality and the way he looks and all of it—Yuuri has not ridiculed him once.  No ribbing, no joking; no insults; not a single snarky comment lobbed his way.  Yuri tried to hurt him a thousand times, and a number of them made an impact.  But Katsudon never once fought back.  Yuuri was never anything but supportive no matter how hard—or how literally—Yuri kicked him every time that he reached out.

Is that what it is?

Is that why every counter-effort has failed, and Yuri can’t help… kind of liking him?

Is it because the only people who are safe to like are the ones who have proven that they’ll never shoot you down?

He tries to settle back on the bed.  The cat gives him a dark look and then carefully curls up on top of him again, watching him like he’s liable to pull more of that shit any second, like some kind of misguided jack-in-the-box.

There’s a new post on his feed.

It’s Otabek, which is rare enough, since he almost never actually shares anything, and—

And the photo shows a left hand extended to scritch beneath the chin of a tiny all-black kitten.

The caption says Found her outside the gas station shivering and they said she didn’t belong to anybody there and I just couldn’t leave her.  guess I have a cat now.

Yuri didn’t spend a whole hell of a lot of time with Otabek, but there were a couple solid hours there, and at least one conversation.

Otabek never made fun of him, either.

He lies still—except for stroking the happy fur-lump pinning his ribcage—while he turns it over and rewinds everything that he remembers that they talked about.  He can’t think of anything Otabek said that was obnoxious.  All he can call up clearly is a weird feeling of… something.  Something other people probably call trust.

He loses track of how long it takes him to sort through his own recollections, but by the time he surfaces, there is another new post from Otabek.  He’s pretty sure this is a sign of the apocalypse, but he taps to play the video anyway.

The entire fifteen seconds is the kitten butting her head against Otabek’s disembodied hand, and him stroking her ruff and her ears and her spine every time she stops arching towards his fingers long enough to touch.

Her name is Anara, the caption says.  I think she purrs louder than my bike.

She’s definitely giving it a strong effort, but if you listen really closely, you can hear Otabek whisper “Hi” one of the times she starts sniffing at his fingertips.

It’s hard to make out, but Yuri’s just sort of curious.  And the kitten’s small and fluffy and a little bit feisty.  That’s why he watches it so many times.

His own cat cracks an eye open to look at him after a couple more plays than he has any desire to admit.

“Don’t be jealous,” he says.

There’s something about the noise she makes that has a ring of Right back at you, kid.


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