fivetimechamp: by me (you kept me waiting)
Виктор Никифоров ([personal profile] fivetimechamp) wrote2017-03-30 08:20 am

March 2014 – Sports Champions Club, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

There is no slowing down the sweeping minute hand that ticks implacably about the face of the clock which marks out their season: Grand Prix, Nationals, Worlds, break that never really is a break, as much as it is a chance to delve into everything that had been wrong the season before.

And this year, the Olympics. Putting Victor back in Sochi.

(Back in that hotel, the source of so many frustrations.)

Commentators falling all over themselves to discuss how much his routine has changed in the last year: it has a new dimension, he thinks one of them called it. 


A bare month between the Olympics and the World Championships, but he wouldn't want a break, even if one magically appeared in his schedule. A break would only mean time to think, or time to wander around social media and annoy himself by not finding what he's looking for (and then being annoyed at getting annoyed) and he doesn't want that.

He wants to skate. He wants the gold. He wants to win. Everything else is an annoying distraction.

Like how Worlds are in Japan, this year. 

(He didn't qualify. Didn't even try, this last year. Hasn't been anywhere since the crushing defeat at the Japanese Nationals.

Not that it matters.)

More pressingly, his current annoyance is Yakov yammering in his ear while Victor sips water at the wall and tunes him out. All the same thing: worry about next year's programs after World's, Victor! You never listen to me, Victor! My grandmother could land that triple axel better than you, and she's DEAD, Victor!


Yakov's not even finished, but Victor is finished listening to him, and pushes back off the wall, but instead of picking up where he left off with Stay Close to Me, he calls up a memory of the music he's been listening to, trying to decide between.

The seductive strings of Eros, or the unearthly beauty of Agape

Just another annoying distraction. No matter how many times he listens to them at night, with Maccachin curled at his feet, and pretends he's just planning ahead.
yuri_plisetsky: (bend it like baryshnikov)

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-03-30 11:35 pm (UTC)(link)
At the edge of the rink, near the entrance to the locker rooms, a flash of blond hair. Most of it's hidden by the hood of its owner's white-blue-and-red jacket, but it catches the daylight that slants in through the rink's tall windows.

The heavy thump of a backpack, as it's tossed onto one of the benches against the wall.

It's not his scheduled rink time yet, so Yuri isn't dressed for practice. But now that he's divested of his bag, he pauses and rolls his shoulders back, then casually grabs one foot and pulls it up and back behind him so that the sole of his leopard-print sneaker is scarcely inches from the back of his head. Not the cleanest of lines, but he isn't trying for a full Biellmann here. The stretch still feels good.

He's not looking at Yakov or Viktor. And considering the faintly tinny echo of a bass line reverberating from the headphones that are snaking up beneath the hood of his jacket, he probably wouldn't hear them unless they were right on top of him.

But you can bet that he wouldn't be here right now unless he knew exactly who was slated to be on the ice at this hour of the day.
yuri_plisetsky: (antisocial media)

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-03-31 11:24 pm (UTC)(link)
The stretch lasts for a few more moments, while Yuri lets his gaze drift over to the rink itself. His eyes narrow as he sees Viktor take to the air, and suddenly a calculating look crosses his face. His attention is definitely caught by the rest of the sequence, half-formed steps and all, and as he slowly lowers his foot to the floor his thoughts are racing far and fast ahead of this day, this rink, this season.

Maybe that's --

But at that moment, his phone vibrates, and​ it makes him blink, brought back to more mundane thoughts as he pauses his music and brings up the text message that's just arrived. The information on the screen makes him take out one headphone and wander over to the wall so he can lean against it. Before Yakov can reply to Viktor's smart remark, Yuri interrupts.

'Hey, Yakov,' he calls out, with a little wave of his phone, '​Baba says that a pipe burst at the dance studio and it'll probably be closed until Monday, and she wasn't sure if Georgi told you already because he's been crying into his phone for like an hour now, and -- oh.'​ Yuri's phone buzzes with a new incoming message, and he peers at it more closely.​ '​And s​he ​wants me to tell you that she ​might be a little late tomorrow because she wants to go buy some new...​​gross​​, I didn't need to know that about your ​​bras​​, you old hag​,​'​ he finishes with disgust, scowling at his​ screen.

Yakov stares at him, with an expression that suggests that if he could call down thunder and lightning, Yuri (and probably also Viktor for good measure) would be piles of ash. 'And what exactly are you doing here?'

Yuri lowers his phone and jerks his head over his shoulder, at the backpack on the bench. 'Was going to study before practice. It's quieter here.' This is not entirely true, but it sounds plausible enough to his own ears. ​At last, he lets his gaze drift over to the real object of his interest. ​'Hey, Viktor​, what was all that about?'
yuri_plisetsky: (am I reaching you? [Viktor])

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-01 05:47 am (UTC)(link)
'It looked interesting.' Which is not a yes and not a no, because Yuri isn't stupid enough to either go for the obvious flattery or pretend to turn up his nose at it entirely. 'Like you were playing tag with yourself, or something. Though I wasn't sure where you were going with it the whole time -- whether you were trying to get away, or to be caught so you could be it next.' He almost leaves it at that, but then adds, 'Anyway, I wanted to see who might win.'

The winner is a foregone conclusion, of course. When you play tag with yourself, there are no second places. The game ends when you say it does.

You can't ever lose.

As if he'd been anticipating the chance, Yakov takes the opportunity to pounce. 'If you put half as much thought into working on your own sequences as you do into describing his,' he says, his pointed glare that rakes Yuri from top to toe, 'you might look less like a newborn calf staggering around on the ice in the middle of your free skate.'

It's a weak shot, and Yuri treats it with the bland disinterest he feels it deserves. 'He asked me if I liked it,' he says to Yakov, not giving an inch more than demanded of him. 'I told him what I thought.' Intent green eyes turn back to Viktor. 'Was I right?'
yuri_plisetsky: (you've actually impressed me)

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-02 04:40 am (UTC)(link)
That triumphant gleam in Yuri's eyes at the sight of Viktor's answering grin

(I know who'll win)

quickly fades into his usual semi-indifferent expression, though it's modified by the faint smile around his mouth.

'Kids play to win.' Said to Viktor with the so-very-adult tone of someone who has left childhood well behind him. 'It's only grown-ups who say that kid's games are all about having fun.' With that sage proclamation, he glances at Yakov, and holds up his phone again. 'So do I tell Baba that I talked to you about the pipe bursting, or what?'

'Do it and quit interrupting,' Yakov snaps, waving a dismissive hand. 'You said you came here to study, so get to it.' A thought catches him before Yuri can turn away. 'And shut off whatever noise you're listening to right now. If you're staying here, either you listen to your performance music or you don't listen to anything.'

In response, Yuri reaches up and deliberately takes out his remaining headphone -- a simple gesture that conveys an equally simple, if unspoken, fuck you. 'I'll listen to your coaching,' he says, not looking at Viktor at all. (He's not sure he could keep a straight face if he did.)
Edited 2017-04-02 05:18 (UTC)
yuri_plisetsky: (watching your every move)

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-04 03:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Yuri does, at least, retreat briefly to the bench where he'd dumped his backpack. He pauses long enough to reply to Mila -- told yakov about pipe and your gross saggy bras, now bleaching my fucking brain kthx -- and shuts off his music before putting his headphones away. A moment's rummaging in his bag, and he comes up with a pencil and a battered copy of Eugene Onegin.

Eugene Onegin. The frivolous St. Petersburg dandy who attempts to seduce a young lady out of boredom, kills his own best friend in a pointless duel, and ends up loveless and alone after the sadder but wiser young lady rejects his heartbroken, remorseful appeal to her to take him back. A bunch of romantic bullshit; no wonder that mopey bastard Tchaikovsky made an opera out of it. If he didn't have to read it, you wouldn't catch Yuri cracking the spine.

(It's not the first, second, or even the third time that Yuri has been through this old warhorse. But it's a different experience in a classroom with more than a dozen other students all sweating over its stanzas than with a personal tutor who won't let you get away with mumbling your way through it. So he can't entirely half-ass this reading.)

He could sit on the bench and review his assigned pages without making so much as a peep, as Yakov doubtless would want. Or he could take the book back over to the wall, where he could stretch and keep an eye on the ice.

He reaches to the wall just in time to see Viktor's spread eagle, and hear Yakov's grousing in return.

'Different, different -- you think that Sochi was more of the same?' Yakov throws his hands in the air. 'Tch, just another damned Olympics; they happen every year, so tiresome, just down the road, hardly worth lacing up my skates.' His hands go back on his hips, but when he continues something has softened slightly in his tone, the sound of ice settling on a frozen river. 'If it must be different for Worlds, after Sochi, then let it be the tease for next season. Not the end of the ballet, but the last scene before the interval -- something for the audience to talk about over champagne before they return to their seats.'

Yuri thinks of the ballet studio covered in water, and snorts quietly into his jacket. Leaning on the wall, he shifts his weight, and extends his back leg out straight behind him.
yuri_plisetsky: (bend it like baryshnikov)

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-04 04:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Yakov's scowl turns black. 'In my day, the Olympics used to mean something. Not merely another chance to show off how many rotations we could do. Even the Americans tried to put in some sort of effort back then, and that was a surprise in itself.'

But with his sour complaint, he hasn't missed the change in tone, or the unexpected shift in mood, as Viktor glides over. 'So what is it, then?' he says, and this time there's less scolding and more concern in his voice. 'Forget Sochi, forget Worlds for now. You've been talking like you have something in your teeth and you don't know what to do with it. What's going on with you, Vitya?'

It's at that moment that another sound carries across the ice, a faint clittering noise of something hitting the surface of the rink. It's followed by an irritated hiss, a low thud, and a grunt -- the sound of Yuri hauling himself bodily over the top of the wall, feet kicked up well over his head and right arm outstretched in a near-handstand, as he teeters on the fulcrum of his waist to retrieve the pencil that he'd dropped onto the ice.

For a moment, his balancing act doesn't look like it'll succeed, but a second later he's managed to grab the pencil, and with another kick of his legs he tips himself back into place on the right side of the wall, landing lightly on his toes.

And then he picks up his book again as if that completely didn't just happen.
yuri_plisetsky: (am I reaching you? [Viktor])

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-05 06:39 pm (UTC)(link)
It's been a long season for all of them. The glitz of the Olympics one more strain on their resources, their talents, their physical and mental stamina, all the more so for the games being on their own soil. St. Petersburg's interminable winter nights can stretch out before its people like a black hole, and for all that the literati talk about the inexpressible depths and yearnings of the Russian soul there are certain warning signs that even a famously brutal coach like Yakov simply cannot ignore.

Not that he would, because in spite of what Viktor (and Yuri) might think of his iron-fisted demand for control over every waking and most sleeping moments of their lives, there is nothing that he would not do for his skaters.

So instead of keeping up his stern front, he lets out a quiet sigh. 'Whatever you were going to do this evening,' he says, 'do something else. Go to the Mariinsky, the Mikhailovsky. Go see whatever's being put on at the Alexandrinsky this week -- don't worry about tickets, I'll call the box office myself if need be. There's usually some student performances at the Conservatory around this time, too. Hell, go find some awful bar with a band playing whatever ridiculous noise that young hooligans like this one are listening to these days.' The last is said with a jerk of his thumb at Yuri, who catches just enough of what's being said about him to splutter in outrage that Yakov pretends not to hear. 'See what's inspiring other people for a change, Vitya. Find out what they're doing to make old things feel new again, and come back to your own work with a clearer head.'

His gaze shifts to Yuri over at the wall. 'And you,' he says then, in a much darker tone, 'will do fifteen extra laps after your warm-up, with no more than three seconds' difference in timing between each lap. One more interruption out of you, and you'll be doing them backwards as well.'

Yuri's eyes, just visible over the top of his book, flash fire, but he says nothing.
yuri_plisetsky: (rising star [Viktor])

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-05 10:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Fifteen extra laps. All for dropping his damned pencil. If Worlds wasn't so close --

But it is close, and the fire inside him is burning hotter than ever now. Last year had been his first Junior Worlds, the first one he'd been old enough to compete in, and even if he hadn't absolutely walked off with the gold he'd won it by a comfortable enough margin to paint a target on his back for the following season. Which was exactly what he'd wanted. And hadn't that been fun, seeing skaters three and even four years older than him start to look uncomfortable when they spotted him in the locker room? Feeling the sweat on their palms when they'd had to shake hands with him, because the coaches were right there and other people were watching and something something good sportsmanship? Hearing the tightness in their voices as they wished him good luck, and seeing the way they tried not to squirm when he wished them luck (for all the good it'll do you) in return?

So it hadn't been perfectly smooth skating. The other skaters weren't complete pushovers, especially those who could hear the age clock ticking against them. Yakov's critiques had only become more merciless as the Junior Grand Prix Final approached. And the temptation of the quad was always there, always waiting, as his competitors' point totals rolled in. But Yuri's sights were set on a much higher goal, and that temptation never overcame his knowledge that if he could win without quads -- and cut a swath of destruction through the juniors circuit for the second year in a row -- he'd make his senior debut with a program choreographed by the only person who mattered.

The person right here in front of him, who wanted to know whether he would rise to meet the promise they'd shaken hands over all those months ago.

That amused look on Viktor's face, though...something isn't right about it. It's not what Yuri wants to see. And it puts a bit of steel in his spine, though his gaze flickers over to Yakov and back again before he replies. 'It'll be better than everyone else's. Even without quads. I have to prove that I'm ready for the next level, don't I?'

'Which you won't be, if your mouth keeps running away with your head.' Yakov has made his way over to them, looking dour as ever. 'Not that there's much of anything in your head for your mouth to run away with.'
yuri_plisetsky: (you've actually impressed me)

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-06 08:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Yuri takes the critique for what it is, or at least for how it sounds in his ears -- you're better than everyone else there, so make me want to pay attention to you and I'll make you better still -- and his expression doesn't change.

'I'm listening now, Yakov.' Said without actually looking at his coach. 'Fifteen extra laps, you said, and I'll do them backwards if you want.' A sly look crosses his face, making his eyes spark. 'Do you want me to recite Pushkin while I do it, too?'

Suddenly, he stands at attention -- no stalwart Young Pioneer in a red neckerchief could have had better posture -- and his diction is crystal-clear as he declaims the familiar verse:

'Like fashionable parquet floor
The river glistens, dressed with ice
As flocks of boys let spirits soar,
And skates ring out in songs precise.

Yakov wasn't going to go easy on him today anyway. But it's barely a week until Sofia, and he's been feeling the itch of anticipation and excitement crawling under his skin already. He's so close, so close, and some days, working yourself into exhaustion is the only way you can sleep properly at night. Even when he hears Yakov snap out an infuriated 'thirty laps, you little brat, forward and back, and you won't have enough breath left in you to say Pushkin's name,' he doesn't look away from Viktor.

Not much longer now.
yuri_plisetsky: (call it your 2.0)

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-07 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
As if in show, Yuri huffs out a breath. 'Might as well get changed anyway,' he says calmly, shoving the book under his arm and tucking his pencil behind his ear. 'Sorry for interrupting your practice, Viktor.'

With that, he bends from the waist in a little bow, executes a sloppy pirouette, and makes a beeline for the bench to grab his backpack and head for the locker room. He's out of sight in moments.

'Mark my words,' Yakov says, looking up to the high ceiling of the rink as if addressing the Almighty directly, 'one of these days I will drown that boy in the Neva. With a full confession written up beforehand, because a shared cell in Kresty would be like a Black Sea holiday compared with hauling him around by the scruff of his neck.'

It's a common enough declaration, from Yakov. Viktor has probably been on the receiving end of it once or twice.
yuri_plisetsky: (once we were [Viktor])

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-12 08:54 pm (UTC)(link)
For all of Yakov's vitriol about too many years of working with ungrateful, undisciplined brats, there's no denying that he's been one of a select few coaches who has a definite eye for spotting potential brilliance in raw and untrained talent. Viktor Nikiforov, his greatest success, hadn't merely been a lucky find. Georgi Popovich, though still overshadowed by his more famous rink mate, is capable of turning out truly artistic (if occasionally erratic) performances on the ice. Mila Babicheva, currently number three in the world in her division, can sail cheerfully through routines that Yakov's own generation of skaters would have struggled and quite possibly failed to master. And Yuri Plisetsky -- on the occasions when he gives it his all -- seems prepared to break his own neck rather than back down from any challenge to reach greater heights in their field.

And Yakov would not have it any other way. He would like his current record of national and international wins to continue. He would like his skaters to take pride in themselves, their achievements, their careers, the legacy of those who came before them. But it's a little difficult to summon that sense of goodwill in the face of an insubordinate little hellion and...and Viktor, who is definitely old enough to know better, and who still seems unsettled in a way that any coach would find unsettling in turn. It's enough to make him follow Viktor as he moves away from the wall -- following, always following.

'I meant what I said earlier, Vitya.' He slows to a stop with a gentle hiss of blades; still in perfect control after all these years. 'Consider it an order, for this evening at least.' A pause. 'But not before you redo that step sequence.'

In what seems like an inordinately short amount of time for getting changed, Yuri emerges from the locker room, dressed for practice but with his skates in his hand and his water bottle tucked under his arm. He sets his gear on the bench and flops down into a stretch, disappearing below the wall of the rink as suddenly as if he'd vanished through a trap door.
yuri_plisetsky: (watching your every move)

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-13 04:05 am (UTC)(link)
Yakov is not about to rise to that bait. 'Unless you want to prove me wrong by joining Yuri on his laps, you already have the answer to that question.' His arms have settled across his chest, chin dropping forward a little as his focus sharpens. 'Or you can correct my assumptions right now. Begin.'

Just in time, Yuri's head pops up from behind the wall. He knows that he should take every opportunity to sit down while he still has the chance -- after sixty laps, he'll be lucky if he can manage a clean double without feeling like his shins are poking out from below his kneecaps -- but he's not missing this. So he stands, and brings his arms behind his back in a vertical stretch so he can observe silently.

He'll have to figure out Viktor's schedule, once Worlds are over and they have a bit of room to breathe. Even with schoolwork, he'll make it work out somehow. Maybe the two of them could split a pot of tea and some of those honey cakes from the coffee shop across the street from the sports club while they talk about possible short program and free skate themes. That bit of footwork that Viktor was testing out earlier looked like the start of something intricate. No chance that he'll do it again right now, not with Yakov watching him like a hawk, but still interesting. Still intriguing.

For now, though, he'll wait and watch the familiar moves of Stay Close to Me.

(Stay close to me. The day is closer, and closer still.)
yuri_plisetsky: (rising star [Viktor])

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-19 04:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Yuri is stretching, of course, but his grip loses some of its tension as he watches the step sequence unfold. To think that Viktor choreographed this whole thing himself, pulling all of the elements together -- this never, ever fails to captivate him. What must it be like to decide what to keep, or what to exclude? To understand that this gesture works better to convey that feeling, to move a hand or an arm to accentuate the flash of a blade or change of foot? It's so different from the rote steps and jumps and mimes he does in ballet class, precise but predictable, every movement already planned out in advance.

It's powerful. It's bold. It's a little scary, like watching someone caught in the middle of a fight. And he wants it so badly that his fingernails are suddenly digging into the underside of his fingers, where he has his hands clasped behind his back.

As Viktor's movements slow, Yakov doesn't immediately start needling him right away. He doesn't have to. He could point out one or two small things that had caught his eye, but he knows Viktor's body language on the ice better than perhaps anyone else alive, and his immediate silence will do as critique in a way that actual words cannot.

That sense of frustration and anger bleeding out into his steps and isn't an act. It's painful to watch, as a skater and as a coach. He might not know what has his Viktor so restless, but it is infinitely better to watch him work out some of that frustration here in his performance, rather than turn to somewhere outside the rink for relief.

(Skaters' hearts are fragile as glass, and Yakov have been around long enough to see how the lights that burn brightest can shatter without warning. The world might see the strain when it turns public and violent -- that nasty business with the American ladies' skaters before the Olympics a few decades ago, for instance -- but the struggles that never leave the ice are no less visceral.)

It isn't often these days that he can read Viktor's thoughts in his movements so clearly, but this is one moment where he can take the risk of sounding clairvoyant. 'If you do it again, will it give you what you want?' Low and even, carrying across the ice in a way that a shout could not. 'Will you let it be destructive? Or will you allow it to be constructive?'
yuri_plisetsky: (didn't sign up for this)

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-19 07:10 pm (UTC)(link)
'You say that as if we ever get to choose.' Yakov shakes his head a little. 'We don't. We choose only what we do about it. And that is the story, happy or not.'

From the outside, he and Lilia had been an ideal match for their day. The figure skater and the ballerina, Soviet strength and grace and beauty on display for the world to see. His career could not have compared with hers for prominence -- no one ever took foreign diplomats to an ice-skating rink, whereas it was nigh-impossible for them to escape the obligatory Bolshoi performances -- but they had not been competitors in that sense.

Would it have ended differently, if they had been? Would they have loved differently, in this world that children like Viktor and Yuri live in, where so many more doors are open to them and the ice is always as smooth and perfect as glass?

Perhaps it is a luxury to be old, and not have to worry about such things any longer. And yet Viktor is here now, looking tired and lost and trying to hide it, as he did when he was no older than Yuri over there. This next part is where he must be careful.

'But if you are breaking your heart on the ice over and over again, are you really trying to tell the story? Or are you trying to punish yourself for telling it?' He reaches up to push his hat up with the tip of one finger. 'One is constructive. The not.'

To Yuri's ears, from what he can hear, this is a strange sort of conversation. Viktor has always been one to throw himself headlong into his stories, and Stay Close to Me is no exception; it wouldn't be as good as it is if he'd half-assed any part of it. But why are he and Yakov talking about all of this now? Isn't this the sort of thing that they would have discussed much, much longer ago, when the program was first taking shape? Or is this like what Yuri himself has had to do in the middle of a program, when he wasn't happy with the first half and had to figure out how to do better in the second half?

The Olympics must've messed everything up. Everyone's season had gone crazy because of them, and it wouldn't surprise Yuri at all if even Viktor Nikiforov was feeling frustrated afterwards. Yakov might be a grouchy old fart on the best of days, but he's still the only coach that Yuri would've wanted, and for once he actually is listening. To both of them.
yuri_plisetsky: (bend it like baryshnikov)

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-19 09:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, so now you listen to orders so cheerfully? Even if that smile of his is so insincere that it wouldn't fool an infant. If it wasn't for the fact of Junior Worlds coming up so quickly, Yakov would consider dragging this young idiot out somewhere for a quiet drink, somewhere private where he could try to get to the bottom of all of this odd melancholy. But there's not enough time between now and Sofia for something like that, and at this point he's not even sure that he'd get a straight answer if he tried. (If there is even a straight answer for it, which is by no means certain; stress and exhaustion may play tricks on the brain in ways that defy any type of logic.) Yet in the meantime --

'If you have time to stare,' he calls out, looking over his shoulder at Yuri, 'you have time to add more laps onto the ones you'll be doing shortly!'

'I'm stretching, Yakov!' Yuri shouts back, raising both arms high above his head in a sudden grand sweeping motion before leaning from side to side. 'Keep your ratty old hat on; it's not like I'm going anywhere, am I?'

Yakov looks back at Viktor, his gaze flat once more. 'We choose only what we do about it, Vitya,' he says again, this time in a voice that is not meant to carry. 'Even if it feels like our choices have already been made for us. Think about that tonight, while you rest.'
yuri_plisetsky: (am I reaching you? [Viktor])

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-04-26 04:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Is there anything else, he asks.

(Alarm bells should be going off all over the rink, because they are certainly going off in Yakov Feltsman's head.)

'Take your time cooling down,' he says firmly. If Viktor is in this strange pushing-back mood, he can be the wall to push against. It would not be the first time that his main purpose in his skaters' lives is to plant his feet as if there were solid ground instead of ice beneath his blades. 'Full strokes, deep breaths, clean extensions, all of it. And keep your arms loose; if that shoulder of yours tightens up, you'll need an hour on the massage table to put it back to rights.' He drums his fingertips on the folded edge of his arm. 'Don't just go running off to pretend that you're following my instructions to the letter. You couldn't get away with it when you were the brat's age, and you damned well can't get away with it now.'

Speaking of the brat, he briefly glances back again at Yuri, who by this point has vanished once more below the wall of the rink...with the exception of his left leg, which is pointed straight up in the air, ankle rotating slowly, as he does something repulsively flexible with an advanced bridge pose. Shamelessly showing off, of course, but soon enough it will take all of Yuri's stamina to simply stay upright, so Yakov ignores the sympathetic ache in his own hips at the sight. A pause, one last moment to think things over, and then:

'Everything else can wait until tomorrow.'
yuri_plisetsky: (once we were [Viktor])

[personal profile] yuri_plisetsky 2017-05-29 07:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Viktor pushes off, and Yakov watches him go. His critical eye notes that the first few strokes are not quite as smooth and full as they could be; he is trusting that the simple deep breaths and long, repetitive motions of the cooldown period will gradually ease the tension that has been building up in Viktor over the course of practice -- and for some time before today, it seems.

There's movement at the edge of his vision, and he sees Yuri tapping the toe of his skate on the rubber matting, making a final adjustment to the fit before he too steps out onto the ice. What a pair, these two; barring some utter catastrophe involving fractured kneecaps or food poisoning, they'll both take gold at their respective Worlds. No one else in the field comes close to them. And even at the end of a too-long season, when they're all exhausted and snapping at each other's heels, Yakov still hasn't lost his interest in seeing what his skaters will do in the next one.

(The day he loses that interest is the day he'll hang up his own skates and find some high-windowed place overlooking the Black Sea to fade quietly from view.)

'All the way through on your left leg there -- you're pulling it up short,' he calls out to Viktor (I'm watching you, so you'd better not try anything, is the unspoken warning), and turns to glance at Yuri as he steps away from the wall. 'Now then, do you still feel like running off your mouth at your coach? Get on with those laps, and if you lose count you start over again from the beginning.'

'Yes, sir,' Yuri says, the polite response not at all matching with the sour look on his face, and he launches out into his first lap. But he can't quite resist a parting shot at the old man, so a quick dredge of his memory produces one of the sappier lines he remembers from Pushkin, the drippy, melodramatic poem written by Lenski right before Onegin shoots him in their duel: '"Oh! Whither have ye winged your way / The golden days of my young spring?...."'

He hears Yakov growl something, but he doesn't really care what it was. It's all he says before he puts his mind back to his task; the laps won't skate themselves, and if he has to do thirty of them forward and back then he can't afford to miscount any of them. And Viktor's still there, cooling down. Too much to hope that he'll deliberately distract Yakov for him, but any time on the ice with Viktor is worth it. In fact, maybe he can show Viktor how his own skating has improved -- he's definitely built some strength and speed since that competition, so it'd be good to show off what kind of form he has now. Give him a sense of what kind of raw material he'll have to work with for the choreography.

So Yuri lengthens his strides, letting his arms hang loose, and falls into a calm, steady rhythm. A proper warmup, for all that it has an ulterior motive.