Grand Prix Final was over and around Yuuri's neck hung a silver medal. All the competitors celebrated at the hotel's ballroom, just like in the last year, but now Yuuri could enjoy his time. There were laughter and people toasting drinks and Yurio's irritated shouting because everyone else was getting drunk. Phichit was taking a lot of selfies with others. Yuuri was happy to see his friend in such a good mood even though Phichit was the last, not like it was an issue. Viktor didn't leave Yuuri's side even for a few seconds and kept saying what an amazing skater Yuuri was. Viktor also couldn't keep his mouth shut about moving together in Russia and what kind of wedding he had planned to make.
Yuuri was feeling more and more anxious and off the more Viktor spoke. This was what he wanted. He was only nervous about the moving. He had just won silver from GPF. But this feeling was not usual anxiety and worry. Yuuri was feeling off because of Viktor. But why? He loved him, so why the sudden anxiety?
Yuuri needed some air. The whole ballroom was making him nauseous. One problem was that Viktor always followed Yuuri. Right now he didn't need the Russian with him. He needed an excuse.
"Viktor, I have to use the restroom," Yuuri cut off Viktor's conversation with Yakov.
"Oh, right. Do you want me to come with you?"
"Haha, I know how to use the toilet without help," Yuuri forced a smile and walked out before Viktor couldn't comment anything.
Instead of going to the restroom, Yuuri went outside. Holy shit, he had lied to Viktor for the first time which didn't make him feel any better about himself. The weather was chilly but it wasn't much different from Hasetsu's at wintertime. The fresh air relaxed Yuuri and he breathed in. He needed to clear his head before going back inside. Yuuri rubbed his palms together and remembered the golden ring. He looked at it and the anxiety from earlier crawled back.
"Dammit... What is wrong with you, Yuuri?" he spoke to himself.
"What are you doing here, Katsuki?"
Yuuri made a panicked cry and turned to face the person who had to sneak behind him. It was the Canadian skater, JJ. Yuuri noticed the man wasn't wearing a suit.
"JJ... Uh, I'm just taking a break from partying. How about you?"
JJ shrugged:"Clearing my head."
"You're not wearing a suit?"
"Because I didn't join the party. I'm not in the mood for celebrating," JJ admitted.
That explained why Yuuri hadn't seen a glance of JJ after GPF. He had thought the Canadian was celebrating elsewhere with his friends and family, but here he was, alone. JJ wasn't wearing his medal either like he and Yurio were.
"Where is your medal?"
"I left it in my hotel room. Another bronze, no big deal. I promised to myself and everyone in Canada that I'll bring gold. Now that I couldn't keep my promise, third place is meaningless," JJ said the last sentence in a bitter way.
Yuuri wanted to say it wasn't true but he shut his mouth. It was no use to speak the words of optimism since JJ didn't want to see the "positive" side of winning bronze. Yuuri wanted to win too but he got the second place and he wasn't complaining at all. The situation with JJ was not the same.
"Hey...," he started," I know you might be feeling like after this day, your career won't be the same. And it can be true. Your skating may lack skill and your confidence might feel like it's gone. It can be scary to step on the rink and the pressure hits you harder than before. I went through it and it was shit, not gonna lie," he checked if the other was listening and Yuuri continued:
"But it won't last forever. You managed to overcome the pressure in your free skate and I believe you can overcome this. Just remind yourself why you're skating in the first place and do that every day until your confidence is fixed back together."
"Katsuki...," JJ looked at him with misty eyes.
Yuuri hadn't planned to speak that much but he couldn't help himself. It was awkward since they weren't close enough. JJ, on the other hand, seemed like he was about to cry.
"T-thank you, Katsuki. That was a good advice," the other skater wiped his eye. He was surprisingly emotional.
"Glad it helped. And you may call me Yuuri," he smiled in a friendly manner.
JJ wasn't a bad guy after all. They talked about views of Barcelona and travelling. Yuuri learned they both have been living in Detroit and JJ's hometown was Toronto. His both parents were from Quebec and JJ's native language was French. Although JJ was obnoxious and loud like western people often were, the guy was well-educated and had accomplished a lot in young age. The conversation led back to skating and JJ admitted this was the first time he had ever felt pressure. He was always excited and confident to start his performance but the whole Canada had expected him to win and it caused him crack.
"I shouldn't have proposed Isabella before the competition. I caused more pressure on me by myself," JJ said.
"It's not your fault. If she loves you, she will marry you no matter what happened."
"Hm, yeah... She will."
JJ was looking pensive. The same look Yuuri had earlier.
"Are you fine with it?" Yuuri asked without thinking twice.
"I don't know. I wonder if I'm moving way too fast. I'm only 19 and already planning to get married. What if I'll be a father before I turn 21?"
"It's your life. If you wanna get married, do it. But if you're having doubts, you can still back out."
JJ's expression lightened. He turned himself away from the city lights and looked at Yuuri.
"You're right, Yuuri! This IS my life and no one can tell the king what to do with it! I shouldn't stress about it. You have been such a great support this evening," JJ complimented with his usual big smile.
"Eh? It's nothing! I'm happy to help others."
"This reminds me... Aren't you getting married to Viktor? I saw your ring," JJ pointed Yuuri's hand.
He bought the hand close to his face. He remembered that Viktor was waiting for him back inside. The man must be worried sick. Viktor couldn't be fooled and he always read Yuuri so well. Yuuri's mind was filled with thoughts and he forgot that it was his turn to answer.
"Ah, the same problem, I see. Are you having doubts as well?" JJ asked and tilted his head.
Yuuri raised his face away from the ring and flushed a bit.
"Erm... Maybe. Kinda. I don't know... That's why I escaped here. To put some sense in me," he shuttered.
"Do you love Viktor?"
Yuuri got surprised. The question he didn't expect to hear yet it hit him hard. He did love Viktor, it was obvious. Or it used to be obvious until Viktor started showing affection back. Viktor was perfect in every way. Sometimes way too perfect. Yuuri adored him and imagined himself being as good at skating. Viktor was his idol. But was he anything else than just an idol? Oh dear.
Yuuri realised it now and he wanted to punch himself. His eyes were getting wet from tears and it was hard for him to keep them open.
"H-hey now, it's alright... I'm sorry for asking that," there was a hint of worry and confusion in his voice as he tried to comfort," are you going to be okay? Has something bad happened between you two?"
Yuuri shook his head as he spoke: "No, nothing has happened. It's just me... I have completely ignored my own feelings this whole time. I-I'm so stupid... I was so focused on the idea that my idol was coaching me which made me blind... Now the competition is over and I realise that I'm going to marry a man that I don't even love in a romantic way!" and with this, he broke down crying out loud like a child.
JJ was helpless when it came to comforting other people. He rubbed his neck and wondered what to say. Since words weren't coming out, he chose to act. JJ pulled his arms towards Yuuri and brought him into a tight hug. Yuuri automatically wrapped his arms around the other skater and wept on his shoulder. Yuuri loved Viktor's hugs but JJ made him feel safe. His tight grip, broad shoulders and the masculine scent were new for Yuuri to experience. The crying turned into silent sobbing and soon it stopped. Yuuri pulled away enough to wipe his eyes and he blushed out of embarrassment. There was a wet spot on JJ's jacket now.
"I'm sorry for messing your jacket..."
"It's fine. Feeling any better?"
Yuuri nodded and smiled. JJ's arms were still wrapped around him. It wasn't making Yuuri uncomfortable, instead, his eyes were locked on JJ's. Dark blue, like the night sky with shining stars. Yuuri's gaze moved to look at his lips. They were fuller than Viktor's. They were also wider and redder. Yuuri found himself thinking how they would feel against his mouth. JJ seemed like he was a rough kisser. Competitive and passionate. Yuuri leaned in more and more until he could feel the other's hot breath. He closed his eyes.
"Umm... Yuuri, don't-"
it was Viktor.
Yuuri opened his eyes. The world around Yuuri collapsed immediately when he recognised his voice. Viktor was there, staring at them. Yuuri couldn't describe the face the Russian was making, but it sure hurt him inside.
"Stop," Viktor raised his hand," Don't start... I get. Sorry for disturbing your moment," and with that, he went back inside.
All vanished in a few seconds. It was over. What had he done? Everything with Viktor, it was ruined just like that. Yuuri's body was shaking and he was getting dizzy. He had tried to kiss another man who was getting married to a woman. He himself was going to get married to Viktor. How shameless he could be.
Fortunately, JJ was there and he wasn't going to leave Yuuri alone. He gripped his shoulders to keep Yuuri standing.
"Hey... I know everything must be overwhelming you right now. But the world is not ending here. Right now, you need a place to sleep. You can talk to him tomorrow...," JJ spoke with a soft tone.
This guy was something. Everything was a big mess in Yuuri's head and he wanted to thank JJ for helping him out, but he couldn't speak any proper word. Everything he was saying sounded gibberish but somehow JJ understood what he was trying to tell.
"I'm alright... I don't judge you for trying to kiss me. I can't leave you here to freeze, right? That would make me a big douche! C'mon, let's go to my room."
It was strange that the most ignorant skater of all turned out to be a nice guy. Yuuri didn't have to sleep that night on the street. He got to sleep next to JJ who wasn't bothered to share a bed with another guy (who also tried to kiss him earlier). Maybe he was so used to it. The number of his fangirls proved how wanted he was. It was a horrible thought but Yuuri was glad he had met JJ.
Yuuri knew he would lose Viktor after this mess. He knew it would be hard and there would be lots of tears to shed. But he won't be lying to Viktor for the rest of his life. And now with his new friend's support, Yuuri knew, he was going to survive and move on eventually.