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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.
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 24 2017, 08:54 AM
Oh, if only Phoenix had been aware that Viktor's on his way. A part of the man has given up - but mainly in that he decided instead of twiddling his thumbs in the cafe, that he would wind up going out on his own and searching. As it stands, the man winds up getting himself awfully lost; he's checking buildings, hands gliding along walls as he looks to and fro between the glass. More and more walking, he finds, and it brings him some note of exasperation. Yeah, he really should invest in a bicycle at some point; this is getting pathetic, how exhausting it is. Further, it'd be easier in not getting himself completely lost, which Phoenix is getting the sinking feeling is happening right about now.
It's okay, though. Don't panic. Don't panic. He can find his way around, can't he? Besides, this walk around town isn't entirely unpleasant. The birds are singing. It's bright afternoon, and the people walking around aren't giving him all that strange of looks. All things considered, this isn't anywhere near worst case scenario.
... Even though he did, in fact, forget his files. Oops.
Assuming, of course, they haven't been moved since then. And there's definitely a possibility of that happening.
He breathes a heavy sigh before he passes by a sign that catches his interest in particular, boasting despite the bustling of the streets around with some kind of tropical opening leading right into it. A building with pretty bamboo shoots;
The lawyer finds himself swiveling on his feet in order to make his way in there, though something does occur to him before he goes in.
Quick, gotta pull out the phone.
[Sorry. I'm checking out some hot springs. I have a weird feeling about them. You can meet me there, if you want.]
He took a quick picture of the sign, hoping that would suffice, considering he didn't have the exact address. With that, he's sent it all toward Viktor. He's sure this visit will be longer than a 'short walk' in duration, so it's only fair that Viktor knows exactly where he is. Maybe he can go over there with him. Hell, maybe, wait.
[While you're there, can you pick up my files? I accidentally left them on the table.]
He'd thought about putting
With everything else and its laundry list taken care of, Phoenix steps inside.
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 24 2017, 10:52 PM
Yuuri took a deep breath. In. Out. This was meant to be relaxing, so he may as well try to let it relax him, yes? He shouldn't be feeling sad just because he was on his own in a hot spring. It wasn't like he hadn't sat in hot springs alone before, anyway- he didn't have that many friends and his family owned a hot springs. It was inevitable. So he needed to stop feeling sad. Stop being sad. Dumb Yuuri.
It was just... yes, a hot spring relaxed him, but it also slowed him down enough to let him think in a way that wasn't 90% an anxious haze and... did he even know how to live by himself? He'd lived with his parents, and then he'd gone away to school but had a roommate, and when he'd moved to St. Petersburg he'd been with Viktor. He hadn't been alone in... in a long time, really. He didn't like being alone.
He didn't like that the ring around his finger may as well mean nothing when Viktor wasn't here.
Yuuri covered his head with his hands, trying not to cry again. No. Stop. This is supposed to be relaxing Yuuri why are you like this why can't you just make your thoughts slow down and be happy? He'd read the pamphlets- people didn't normally take this long to start adjusting, he had to accept that he was on his own, but he wasn't... he wasn't ready to give up. He hadn't won a gold medal yet. He hadn't won a gold medal yet, hadn't had the wedding yet, he still needed to win that gold medal-
-deep breath. Maybe this had been a bad idea. Maybe he ought to just leave and go back to trying to negotiate for practice time at the nearest skating rink. He needed to skate. Yeah. Maybe if he skated, he could get some of this out better than he could at a hot springs. He didn't know what to skate, true- neither his current short program or free skate felt appropriate. He didn't want to skate "Stay Close to Me", either- that was for Viktor. That had always been for Viktor. Even the version that had been a cry for help had been for Viktor.
Without realizing it, he actually started to cry- because he'd skated that, and Viktor had shown up. The person he'd been asking for (saying goodbye to) had shown up without Yuuri even asking for it, in the middle of the hot springs, and now Yuuri was standing in the middle of a hot springs and Viktor wasn't here and that just... hurt. It hurt a lot. And his family was nowhere nearby and none of his friends were nearby and Phichit was probably panicking somewhere and Yurio probably was pretending not to care while looking for them and-
-and he was alone.
And it was really empty and cold, even in the warm water, just like it had been for the past two weeks.
He was going to go skate. Yeah. That- that's what he was going to do, or if not that, go to the gym and do weight training, or if not that, find some way to practice flexibility and form and he'd even take ballet if he couldn't skate he just needed to get out. He wiped the tears from his eyes, and he stood up. This had been a horrible idea. The hike up had been fun but the hot springs themselves had been a horrible idea. There were too many memories associated with places like this, too many good things that he might never be getting back.
And he still had to win a gold medal.
(Part of him was certain that, if he could just finally win a gold medal, everything would be okay again.)
He stood up, carefully wrapping himself in a towel, going to get changed back into normal clothes and get out and skate and then probably lay in bed and try not to eat too much. He would anyway, because he was a fat idiot, but he could.... he could at least try to smile a little more. Maybe if he forced himself to smile he'd feel better? Maybe the hot springs were helping in their own way? He wanted to go skate. He picked up his phone. He'd look though the MP3s he had saved on it. There had to be something he could skate.
He was too busy trying to go through his choices of songs with very shaky and wet hands and also trying not to cry again and also trying to see if any of these songs made him feel properly again and staring at the text message app (he knew he had no actual phone plan at the moment but his heart still sank every time he looked and there were no new messages from- from anyone) and trying to hold himself together that he missed the spiky-haired man in his path.
Which is to say, Yuuri walked right into the spiky-haired man, tripping as he bumped shoulders. His phone slipped out of his hands. He made a somewhat useless shout as he tried to grab it. It hit the rocks below, hard. Yuuri screwed his face together and picked it up. There were two long cracks down the screen. Oh. Oh no. Please still work please still work- deep breath. It kind of worked. It was hard to read what he was looking at but he hadn't lost his music. That. That was good, at least. He wasn't sure how he would have managed had he lost all of that-
-the man! The person he walked into! He jumped around. "Oh! I'm so sorry! Uh, uh, you aren't hurt, are you? I wasn't looking where I was going, I'm sorry, I'm really sorry." He gave an apologetic bow. "I really need to be less clumsy." Oh, he hoped he hadn't ruined anything for the other man. That would just be- he'd probably need to head back to his hotel room and pretend today hadn't happened, at that point.
@VIKTOR NIKIFOROV @PHOENIX WRIGHT
enter: sad bean two, using the only device I have to force two characters to meet, aparently
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Feb 25 2017, 12:08 AM
an angel on the ice, like a bird in flightViktor is already outside, folder in hand, when the first text comes.
The woman at the register had been far too kind. They always were, but it wasn't a comfort, the ease with which she'd caved in the face of a few kind words and a dazzling smile. Viktor had been doing that to people for as long as he could remember. Boyish charm and fame went a long way, and even without the obvious marks of the latter, he carried it with him in the way he held himself - even now, the facade still in place. Can't break. Not here. Not in front of the world. Not in front of anyone.
No, that wasn't true. There'd been visible cracks before. Long, jagged things - tears that streamed down his cheeks, eyes that were red rimmed and lost - when Viktor had seen a beautiful new beginning and Yuuri had spoken of endings, as if everything between them had been nothing more than simple kindness.
'After the Grand Prix Final, let's end this.' The words had landed like a blow, catching Viktor unaware, and the tears had come before he could stop them. Welling. Falling. Falling. Falling.
The file is nestled in his lap as he replies:
-Got it!!! ^.^ Meet you there as soon as I figure out where there is. xP -
The words carry a chipper bent, all exclamations and emojis - not compensation, or even an apology for turning up late, but distraction.
A hot spring. Of course it would be a hot spring this time, just as it had been castle the last time, and a stretch of lonely beachfront the time before that. Places that reminded him of another time. Another world. Of Yuuri. Or rather, the lack of him.
-Found the address. On my way!-
He can do this. One more time. Just in case. He can. But his finger hesitates above the send button. Can he really? Can he weather one more crushing disappointment. One more blow to compound the sense of loss. One more reason to sleep in tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that. And the day after that. At least in his dreams, Yuuri is still here. There....Wherever...-Send-
The actual logistics give Viktor a headache. The here's, and there's, and how's, and why's. He's not even sure he cares anymore. How or why he ended up here.
Viktor takes a shaky breath and gathers up the file, tucking it safely under the crook of his arm. Strange hunches and wild goose chases aside, he owes it to Phoenix to return the folder and whatever it is that it contains (a whole lot of nothing, he imagines) - for all of his help, his optimism, his ability to make Viktor crack a smile at the oddest of times. Even now.
Rising from the bench, he glances at the page that he's pulled up on his phone. Utopia Of Moku Valley - Hialao's Premiere Hot Springs Oasis. Utopia. Utopia. Yutopia. Viktor winces and shoves the phone into his coat pocket, pushing it down deep. Yet another reminder.
By the time he reaches the hot springs, he feels as though he's walked a hundred miles, feet dragging with every step. Utopia. Why did they have to call it that?
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Mar 21 2017, 05:57 PM
What with the advertisement that fluttered around within the hot spring, it's not unreasonable to expect that it's getting a fair about of business - and indeed, when Phoenix steps inside, it seems awfully busy. So many people running past each other and heading into the springs themselves, and he's not doubting that it's raking up the moolah something fierce. Of course, Phoenix isn't here because he wants to partake in the hot springs; he's here because he can smell the trace of a lead. Okay, so that may be the wafting scent that they force into the hot springs for you to smell when you enter it in order to relax you (and loosen your wallet, at that), but Phoenix likes to think it's a bit more than that. Better that than to admit that he just wandered in here on a hunch, because it's all too often that others question him on his hunches and why he bothers to follow them in the first place. Sometimes, they *are* wrong, after all; but he's hoping, dearly hoping, that that isn't the case this time.
He'd been prepared to walk up to the staff of the place and ask if they saw anything, but before he can fully set his mind about doing that, a man hurries out seemingly in a rush while propping up a towel around his body, shakily working against his phone, and apparently completely unaware of his surroundings; and in typical Phoenix Wright fashion, he's not paying too much attention, either. It's a disaster waiting to happen.
And so, it does.
Right then and there, the two of them collide into each other, and Phoenix yelps as he hears the sound of plastic crashing hard against some hard material, the one that the (obviously fake) rocks are made out of and polished with, and it really isn't hard to guess even without looking that the phone the man had been carrying is likely the culprit for the noise. Dropped in the exchange, it became a hapless victim of their own carelessness, and also in typical Phoenix Wright fashion the horror that hits him at it is pretty damn palpable. It might be the wide eyes, it might be the thrumming heart, but whatever it is, Phoenix also reels his head back to witness the other man grapple for his phone in gaping silence with a very clear crack on the screen.
Phoenix has been in this situation way too often to not take a guess as to what's going to happen with the other man in a few seconds, and that it might be safer to *really* start running. Like, right now.
Of course, guilt is the one thing that keeps him rooted to his spot, although he already hears his wallet crying in the distance as he's sure he's going to have to monetarily compensate for the damage that's been caused to the other man's property. Not that he's, like, planning to run away from that or anything, but... God, is he going to have to use up every single last dollar that he has by the end of the day? He'd already used up quite a lot on the way *here*...
So he swallows, and he awaits the fury that will no doubt come. He prepares the apologies that are about to spill in a hurry from his lips, ready for the holy retribution that he no doubt deserves for not looking into where he's going and causing this man whole *heaps* of trouble just because he's looking for someone. Yep, yep, there he goes, turning right to him very obviously upset and he starts speaking out loud and Phoenix is sure it's a tirade without really listening, and before he can even fully process the words of the other man, there goes his preparation and there goes every social convention falling out the window as he speaks in a hurry, beyond horrified.
❝Oh god, I'm sorry, I'm *so* sorry, I didn't see you coming, I swear I'll pay back in full -❞ And then what the man *really* says sinks in, a stream of apologies that practically blend in with his own where the two of them are talking over each other, and he blinks, and he stops. There they are, *both* sputtering apologies to each other as if they're both willing to take the blame, and despite the fact that his phone had obviously been damaged, the man even decided to express concern for him! Bowed to him, even, in a display that made Phoenix gawk at him in probably the least cool display that the lawyer has ever given off in front of someone new. (Note: someone *new*. He knows that he's done it in front of Maya and Edgeworth before. They're not newbies. They've been around him long enough to see his goofs ten times over.)
And then, despite everything, an awkward kind of laughter bubbled up deep from within the chambers of his chest, and suddenly every worry that he'd had about this encounter evaporated into dust and relief. Because while he's still sure he should pay for the phone and he feels guilty about it, at least this isn't going to be a screaming, yelling match. Yeah, Phoenix is not sure how much of that he can take today.
And with that, the thoroughly embarrassed, but very much *okay* lawyer allows a sheepish smile to take the place of the apologetic frown that previously spanned his lips. ❝No, no, you don't have to say you're sorry. I wasn't really looking where I was going, either... Heh heh. So, um -❞ He bites his lip as the realization that impending doom isn't coming melts into concern, because while the other man asked if he was okay, well... And when he really looks at him, really, really looks at him, there's something about his countenance as well as the way he holds himself that's bothering him and making him forget all about the bumping incident even though it only occurred a few minutes ago. The kicked puppy look that's on him, completed with the fact that the man is obviously wet like a dog, and it makes Phoenix wonder what kind of bear he wound up wrestling earlier to look so much like a wreck, despite the fact that he'd just been at hot springs.
The worry seeps in. Perhaps it's just a stranger, but... Phoenix is a bit too empathetic for his own good. ❝Are you okay, uh, sir? You...look really down.❞ A thought pinches his heart. ❝I didn't rattle you *that* badly, did I?❞ Not that he hoped that the guy was upset because of other reasons; if anything, it'd be better if it *was* his fault because he could rectify it.
And, hey, come to think of it, something about this man seems awfully familiar...
PERMALINK // POSTED ON: Apr 7 2017, 12:07 PM
For a moment, the continued apologies of the man he'd run into blended into Yuuri's own apologies. Yuuri blinked. Oh, oh thank goodness, the other man wasn't mad at him! Yuuri was really glad for that, although it did make his apologies kind of embarrassing and awkward now, given that they both just kept on trying to apologize... Oh dear...
Yuuri waved his hands in front of himself. "No! No, don't be sorry either, I really wasn't looking where I was going! You're fine!" he said, trying to now make sure the other man wasn't upset because he thought anything was his fault or anything because it was totally, definitely Yuuri's fault, not his fault. For a long second after that though, he's quiet, because he's... not actually sure how to proceed now that they've both established that they're sorry and they don't want the other person to be sorry.
Except the other man still looks pretty concerned. At first, Yuuri was afraid he really had managed to hurt the other man or something, and that's why he looked concerned, except it didn't really fit. It took until the man actually spoke for Yuuri to realize what was wrong. Oh... the other man was concerned about him. That was... awfully nice of him, really... given that Yuuri was a stranger who had caused him trouble...
He rubbed the back of his head, forcing on a sheepish smile. "I'm fine," he lied instinctively. "Just... waiting for someone." Yeah. Actually, that summarized the problem pretty well. He just... couldn't stop waiting. Couldn't stop looking and couldn't stop waiting for Viktor when he really needed to just start... moving. It was hard, though, because it hurt and was empty and lonely around here. He just wanted to be a little less alone.
"But don't worry, it's not your fault! I just... have been waiting a while, ahahah..." Yeah. Yeah, that should work. He didn't want this stranger to worry about him and no stop bad time to start trying to tear up again bad. He pulled his face back into a smile. "Thank you for asking, though!" he finished, because even if Yuuri was never going to be honest with a question like that, the sentiment the other man displayed had been nice.
He was about to leave, after that. He almost did- but then, in the distance, Yuuri saw a flash of silver hair and just froze.
I've been waiting a while.
He swallowed. It probably wasn't him. Every time Yuuri had seen anything remotely resembling him, it hadn't been him. That didn't stop him from pausing and whispering "Viktor?" very quietly, staring, hoping. It looked like it could be but he couldn't just keep waiting but it looked like it could be him and he couldn't move. It couldn't be but it had to. It had to. Yuuri could only wait but so much longer.
@PHOENIX WRIGHT, @VIKTOR NIKIFOROV