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PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 3 2017, 12:45 AM
They weren't quite like home, which kind of hurt, but Yuuri wanted to relax, and his family had long held to the restorative properties of a good hot springs. Yuuri had been looking through all kinds of maps and brochures, recently, trying to figure out where he was and where to go from here, he'd noticed that there were hot springs in the area, and he'd figured he'd visit for a bit, see if they cleared his head at all. The ones at home, even if they'd always given him more time than he needed to think, had always relaxed him a little, after all.
Getting to the hot springs of Moku Valley proved to be a bit of a hike, which Yuuri jogged the entire time. Upon arriving in Hialao, he'd kept up basic conditioning, half out of reflex. Part of him was surprised he'd done it, considering that he was still half in shock, even now, almost ten days later. He woke up in the mornings with his alarm, went on a jog, did stretches, did push-ups, did just about every exercise and drill he could do in a hotel room, not on the ice. And his head was half-blank.
Well. Blank wasn't the right word. The right way to put it was something more like "filled with a haze of white noise". The only reason he hadn't had more panic attacks than the one he'd had right off the train was that he was constantly, constantly on overload. His head was only now beginning to slow down, but even now, he was just so overwhelmed that he was finding it hard to function, let alone have any one emotion come out of him. He was so overwhelmed that it had looped back around to dead, essentially.
But he still got up and trained, just barely running on the promises he'd made before getting here. A gold medal. A gold medal he was apparently going to be getting without Viktor, without- without anyone and god that was the thought that always broke furthest through the haze to snapping him. Eating properly was, unfortunately, a different matter, and Yuuri already felt like he was probably a balloon. But- he swallowed- small steps, right? At least he was sleeping something close to alright and trying to stay in shape, right?
He'd had trouble forcing himself to do much else, after all, other than go through the motions of off-ice training and visit every skating rink he could find, every vaguely related to skating place, actually. There was one in Hialao that he'd found and he'd actually visited Elestis already for the sole purpose of just... seeing the ice. Asking someone if anyone, anyone else at all had been there, a short, elegant kid with temper issues, a Thai skater who probably had his phone out the whole time, a beautiful silver-haired man who skated like he had been born on ice, his fiancee his finance-
-he'd also, every time he visited a place like that, vaguely asked about when various competitions were, and had latched on to the thought that he'd have to go through regional trials again. It was the least of his worries but he let himself be anxious about that one. He was actually on track to score well at Nationals, at home, and he'd end up having to do the equivalent of regional trials again here to get invited to anything? Really? Really? It wasn't much and it was kind of petty but if he could pick that thought out of the haze instead of a sense of crushing loneliness and hopelessness, he could have a mildly productive day.
Otherwise, he'd spent a lot of his time curled up on his bed, trying to pretend he could find anyone, anyone at all, and not even bothering to try to be okay.
But he was calming down a little. He was going to try to relax at the hot springs and collect his thoughts, today. Pull himself together again so that he didn't feel some horrific combination of numb and crying, you know? So he'd hiked up to the hot springs to relax and breathe a little. Except. Except now he was here. And-
-he took a deep breath. He hadn't realized it, but he'd been waiting for- okay. These hot springs weren't really all that much like home but they were like it a little (and that hurt) but he could... he took a deep breath in, a deep breath out. He shook a little and tried not to cry. Maybe he'd been hoping- but it had been a foolish hope- but he'd still been hoping that- no. No, he wasn't here.
But that didn't change the fact that Yuuri needed to try to calm down and relax and, most importantly, he'd gotten this far, which was more than Yuuri could say about anything he'd done so far that wasn't semi-desperate and sudden attempts to visit skating rinks, just in case. So he'd quietly changed and sat down in the hot spring furthest from any other people and after a few minutes he did start to relax a little, kind of.
He leaned back and just sat. He'd stay there for quite some time, just... thinking. The steam was going to his head a little bit, but that's part of why he liked it- it made it harder to be actively anxious, even when his head was moving so fast it was numbing a few minutes ago. It slowed everything down. It slowed... it slowed...
...without even thinking, Yuuri realized that he was horribly, horribly sad. Not even so much anxious or angry or scared or lost but mostly just... he really felt like crying now. Maybe he should leave. But he was also feeling, so that... that was more than... that was better and worse than...
He stayed for the time being, just kind of frozen in place, suddenly having to try very hard not to cry.
He wanted to go home.
I hope this is to your liking!
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 5 2017, 09:58 PM
an angel on the ice, like a bird in flightHow long has he been laying here, one arm thrown across the bed? Across the space where Yuuri should be laying, still snoring softly even though the sun has been up for hours. How long has he been curled up , knees pulled to his chest, with the covers tugged up over his eyes to block out the light streaming in through too thin hotel curtains, because there's no point in being up just yet? No point in going through the motions again, and again, and again. Isn't it enough that he got up yesterday? Went to the rink. Met with Phoenix. Followed another set of leads.
(All disappointing. Always disappointing.)
Viktor knows this feeling all too well. Knows the numbness that makes him feel as though he's little more than part of the scenery. Another bed, or chair, or table. Simply there. After all, that's why he'd stopped skating in the first place, wasn't it?
It had been easy enough to be the sunny Russian darling that the world expected him to be, to float across the ice like some grand ethereal being and smile for the cameras when the scores were announced. Acting surprised. Always so high. Until it became expected. Commonplace. Like Yakov's noncommittal grunt in response to those very same results, and the certainty that they could do better, that Viktor could do better. And he had, hadn't he? He'd broken his own records more times than he could count. World records. And for what? With each performance, each skater striving to reach him and falling woefully short, routines going stale even as they evoked the same outcry of support, the same roar from the crowd, Viktor had felt more and more like scenery. The crowd would roar, but the lights would blind him and, briefly, he'd wonder if there were faces to be seen at all, or just a vast wave of sound - Empty. Meaningless.
And then there was Yuuri. Yuuri, with champagne on his breath and his shirt half undone, his laughter free and wild. Yuuri, with his glasses set askew and his hand tugging at Viktor until the Russian joined him on the dance floor. Yuuri, who wanted to be just like him, but had the potential to be so much more. Yuuri, who was so much better than he could ever be. Not at skating, but at living, at existing in the moment, even when it hurt. Especially when it hurt.
"Yuuri..." His fiance's name escapes his lips in a choked whisper as Viktor fights back the tears that seem to come whenever he lets himself dwell for too long - on the empty spaces that now seem to be everywhere, on what it had felt like to have them filled with love, and trust, and understanding.
It takes another hour for Viktor to force himself from the bed to the bathroom. His feet drag the whole way, as though the longer he takes to force his way through his usual morning routine, the longer Yuuri will have to appear before Viktor goes out looking for him.
But he can't stall forever. Phoenix is waiting for him at the cafe down the street. Phoenix, who had been entranced by his skating the day that they'd met, and bumbled along until Viktor had laughed for the first time in what felt like forever. Phoenix, who had offered to help him find Yuuri without asking for anything in return. Phoenix, who doesn't have to know that Viktor has long since shattered, that their constant searching isn't an attempt at picking up the pieces of his life, so much as an exercise in piercing his fingers on the jagged shards that have been left behind.
With a sigh, Viktor crosses back into the bedroom to grab his phone, his fingers tapping out the now familiar pattern that calls up Phoenix's number.
- Running late. Text me the address. I'll meet you there. - he sends before sinking back down onto the bed, abandoning the phone at his side.
What's a few more minutes when Viktor already knows the outcome all too well? Wherever they end up, Yuuri isn't going to be there.
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 11 2017, 06:50 AM
It's only natural that Phoenix had been compelled.
The urgency with which the Russian darling spoke - the way in which he shook, jittered, eyes run ragged and teeth practically shattered - that need for reunition. How could Phoenix turn someone like that down? How could he willfully ignore the shades under those eyes, shades that remind him all too heavily of some of the defendants that he's met in their isolation? How could he turn down someone who offered honest need, to the point that Phoenix asks? It's a simple enough answer that he provides, too; he's missing someone. He's missing someone who's as much a piece of him as he is a piece of this someone, missing someone who slots into his life so naturally that it doesn't breathe or continue without him, missing someone whose presence brings him reason to continue going. Despite the persona, a gifted persona at that, that Viktor has projected, it's clear that the situation left him haggard, and honestly, how could Phoenix turn a blind eye to that?
It resonates somewhere within his core in such a way that Phoenix can't properly identify it. It's more than mere sympathy or empathy. More than just knowing that it feels bad. The attorney can't put his finger on it, makes him timid to even try, but he doesn't need to know anyway. The point is, Viktor is suffering. And Phoenix doesn't sit by when someone suffers. Especially a friend.
Certainly, it doesn't take much for Phoenix to view other people as that - as friends. But how could it possibly with someone like Viktor, who draws him in with a natural kind of charm to him? He's got wit about him, he does. Even if Phoenix may catch himself musing on his odd fashion sense.
It's what's spurred him on, naturally, to taking on the case and investigating the various dimensions as much as he can to find the name: Katsuki Yuuri. He's never heard it before (he knows, Viktor deflated when he brought it up) but he'd been quick to assure him that he knows where to find information. While he hasn't lived in Hialao, or anywhere in this multiverse really, for very long, he's managed to settle in a sort of niche. Not exactly a crowd, per say, but he knows where he fits into the big picture. With that fitting in, there's a sense of familiarity; Hialao reminds him of home, a bit. It's not quite Los Angeles, but it's got the beach and it's got the people and it's got the places and for Phoenix, that's good enough. And so, it's not so terribly hard to adjust to it. Phoenix became pretty familiar with the streets back at home simply by principle of having to ride his bike to work all day.
(He has to remember to get a new bicycle. It'll be difficult for him to run to work every day without guzzling at least ten coffees and then wanting to die later in the evening. And Phoenix prefers, you know, not feeling like he has this inexplicable urge to suffocate himself with his pillow.)
Oh, certainly, he's not expecting miracle work right away, and he doesn't think Viktor is, either. - (but then again, he's probably not expecting any work at all.) So when he has a difficult time procuring a lead at first, Phoenix finds it unsurprising; he's had to search long and hard for information even of people he knows something about in the past, let alone someone whose appearance itself escapes him. Still, Phoenix is nothing if not completely and utterly stubborn and dedicated to his work, and it's led him to looking more into it. Phone books, thoughts of contacting authorities, possible leads through random people Phoenix has pulled aside (and made a fool out of himself in front of)... It's all there. It's all on paper. No, seriously, it is, he's taken notes. He has to keep track to some degree, right? His desk's practically full of it. That, and him scribbling I'm bored to himself tons of times in waiting to take cases. It's difficult when barely anyone knows your name.
He's not expecting Viktor to give him any free publicity or anything. Phoenix is not that damn self serving. But he is kind of hoping that being able to help someone might earn him some exposure. Maybe.
He thinks he might have something today, which leads him to telling Viktor as much, to meet him at some cafe down the road. Of course, he's said that before, but a lead is a lead is a lead and no matter how many times his lead's dropped before, he's going to get a little excited about it each time because this is the time when he most needs that excitement. Even if Viktor's just about to drop all pretense of pretending they'll be able to find Yuuri, Phoenix is a stubborn fool. Everyone regards him as that. 'Simple' - that's what Edgeworth would call him. So damn simple and optimistic, but that's what Phoenix would tentatively, perhaps even dare say is one of his better qualities. It's the quality that gets him through cases. It's the quality that's kept him going for so long. It's the quality that led him to saving his friend.
It's the quality that's allowing him survival after his mentor's passing, a thought that always pinches his heart afresh no matter how long it's been since then.
Anxiety keeps Phoenix rooted, then, to the cafe as he's got his papers there and he's wondering where the hell Viktor is. It's been... What, ten minutes now? No show. Viktor doesn't seem like the type to stand someone up, either. The drumming of the man's fingers is what keeps him from getting too irritated, but it'll bubble over. Viktor's pretty lucky that Phoenix is nothing if not a pushover.
Fifteen minutes, his phone buzzes. He checks it.
Running late. Text me the address. I'll meet you there.
Phoenix bites back a sigh.
(You're not actually running late, are you?)
Oh, Viktor may think him oblivious; but Phoenix has seen hopeless faces long enough to be able to tell them apart.
He considers telling Viktor off. He considers reassuring him. He considers several things; but he decides that it's pointless in the end. He tried all the reassurances and the rest before and it clearly isn't helping any in this given situation. And right now, Phoenix just doesn't have much of the patience he did when he first accepted this case. The antsiness, of course, is not solely directed at the skater, but at himself for not finding anything. After all, Viktor wouldn't be so hopeless if Phoenix found a lead that actually stuck.
[Yeah, sure.] He chews his lip. [Actually, I'm going to walk around a bit.] Because maybe he's missing something. Something that could point him in the right direction. [So it's not a big deal.] Besides, Phoenix has been late to court before. He's hardly one to harp on someone else for a late-date.
With that, he stretches; and winces as his back cracks. That back's been getting worse ever since his tumble at the river... Maybe he should get it checked?
(Nah. I'm twenty-seven. It should be fine.)
With that, he decides he doesn't want to wait for his feet to fall asleep, getting up from the booth that he'd taken in order to go outside. In his stupor, he's forgotten entirely about the files, leaving them on the table.
the golden chain that binds us
BRINGS US TOGETHER, @KATSUKI YUURI
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 18 2017, 11:29 AM
an angel on the ice, like a bird in flightThe minutes that Viktor promises himself drag and blur until five of them become ten, and then twenty. But anyone could tell you that Viktor Nikiforov never arrives late. No, in truth, Viktor Nikiforov rarely arrives late. There have been times, practices that had been all but been skipped as he watched the sun peek over the slanted roofs of St. Petersburg, and wondered if it would ever touch him. It always did, a single sharp shaft at first, and then a rush of gentle warmth, but that warmth always felt like an illusion, like it would never find the heart of him and coax away the frost that had settled like the winter months – pale, and cold, and definable only by soft curses and pretending that it would be better somewhere else.
It never was. Even the blistering sun of Melbourne and the oppressive soup-like heat of Phuket in the summer months made little difference. It wasn't the cold. It wasn't even the snow or the drab gray that overtook everything once it had settled in to stay and been plowed and trampled again and again. No, it was him.
During those times, Yakov would call to scold him, or he would appear like a phantom cursing and muttering, and drag Viktor to the rink if he had to. But Yakov isn't here now, and Viktor's phone lays silent on the other side of the bed, where he'd flung it when he'd dropped himself down to rest, telling himself – just a few more minutes – knowing full well that Phoenix was far too polite to insist otherwise.
He really shouldn't be taking advantage of Phoenix's kindness like this – making him search, making him wait. This yearning, this pain, it isn't meant to be shared, and it's selfishness that has him reaching out, grasping at the spiky haired man as though he were a lifeboat on a glassy ocean, when Viktor has all but decided to give in and sink slowly beneath the surface, let the silent stillness carry him down, down, down until the ache in him no longer feels like anything at all.
Rolling to his side, Viktor reaches out and tugs his phone closer, noting the small flashing symbol in the corner with a growing sense of dread. He wants a simple 'okay, see you there,' or an 'already checked it out, no luck. Maybe next time.' Instead, Phoenix says he'll go for a walk, that he'll wait. Viktor's fingers tighten around the hard plastic, eyes sinking shut with the weight of the impending search. 'I don't want to,' he thinks. But he does. Sort of. Because, if he doesn't do something, he's not entirely sure what will become of him. Even forcing himself to trudge to the rink isn't enough now. He can never quite let go of everything the way he could before (before Yuuri).
He makes mistakes that should never happen, not to Viktor Nikiforov, five time world champion, painting him more as beginner than pro. Oh, it always starts out so perfectly. The ice slick and perfect beneath him, blades slicing a path, sending him gliding across the ice with all the grace of a bird in flight. The jumps timed just so, and always with just enough rotations to matter. But they don't matter, and after a few of them, thoughts of Yuuri begin to creep their way back in: Where Yuuri would be standing if he'd come to watch. The way he'd admire Viktor's form, or join him out on the ice, their fingers entwined one moment, their jumps synchronized the next as they let go, only to fall back into one others' orbit as they land, arms reaching out to guide, not because they need the stability (though Viktor has to wonder at that now. Maybe he does need it. Maybe he's needed it all along.)
Viktor doesn't notice the tears making their way down his cheeks until they drip from his nose and land on his phone, obscuring Phoenix's words as he continues to stare at them, desperately willing them to change. Maybe if he waits long enough, Phoenix will finally give up on him, the way the rational part of Viktor has stopped brightening with every would be spark of hope. Potential sightings make him wince now. How could they not when he knows. He knows: Yuuri won't be there. He never is.
“I'm sorry,” he murmurs to the empty room, repeating it like a mantra, like a prayer. 'I'm not strong enough.' ”I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry,” all in a broken whisper, because even though he knows that eventually, he'll get up, splash his face with cold water, and tug on his coat, his heart has already given up, already expects another failure.
It won't be Yuuri, he tells himself, if only because knowing makes it easier somehow, or at least lessens the eventual blow. And then, as he rises and makes himself presentable, crossing to the bathroom to scrub his face, and then to the door to wind a scarf around his neck before shrugging on his coat – 'It won't be Yuuri, but I have to go and check. I have to be sure.'
In the end, that's what it always comes down to, being sure, or maybe just being too stubborn to give up that last little shred of something, knowing that Yuuri would scold him if he did, tears flowing freely, and Viktor doesn't want to imagine being the source of Yuuri's pain. Not again.
It takes another fifteen minutes to reach the cafe, though it's only a few blocks away and, absently, Viktor wonder if Phoenix has finally given up on him as he steps inside. For a moment, his hearts sinks further - another blow, this one not quite expected (but it was wasn't it? He'd known. Of course he'd known. Told himself, even: that this wasn't sustainable. That Phoenix wouldn't be willing to help him search forever.) - Phoenix is nowhere to be found.
Viktor forces himself to cross to the counter, to inquire after 'a friend of his. a spiky haired man, probably wearing a suit and carrying some sort of envelope or folder', and fixes the woman behind the counter with a dazzling smile that doesn't quite manage to banish the haunted look in his eyes.