Fandom: Yuri!!! on Ice
Summary: When Yuuri impulsively buys a ring as a good luck charm, he never expects to be haunted by the ghost of his late idol, one Viktor Nikiforov. Yuuri isn't a great ice skater, but he knows Viktor is, and the world deserves to see his skating. Ghost Viktor AU.
Notes: Inspired by Ginban Kaleidoscope and Hikaru no Go.
Viktor, it turns out, isn't very good at being a ghost.
Out of the corner of his eye, Yuuri catches Viktor trying to lean against his desk, only to accidentally phase into it, surprised. Yuuri tries not to stare, hurriedly jerking his head away so that Viktor doesn't notice that Yuuri has seen Viktor trying to play it off as if nothing has happened.
Other times, Viktor throws an arm around Yuuri's shoulders, only for it to go right through Yuuri when he forgets to stop and pretend. It never fails to make Yuuri shiver. He tries not to, not wanting to upset Viktor, but he can't help his reaction.
So, while Yuuri would gladly let Viktor take control, he's not entirely sure what Viktor means.
Still, he follows through with Viktor's requests. Both Celestino and Phichit are over the moon when Yuuri announces his participation. Practicing around them is much more difficult, but Yuuri manages a compromise, telling his coach that he wishes to come up with his own program while he'll continue his regular training with him to polish his footwork and jumps. The suggestion surprises Celestino, but he gives Yuuri the go ahead.
It's not until after hours, when there's no one around but Yuuri and Viktor, that Yuuri takes to the ice and skates to something altogether new and magical. Viktor leads and Yuuri follows, privy to a private world that no one else even knows exists. His first few steps are hesitant, marred by self doubt and unease, but his hours and hours of practice are no lie, his body knowing the ice better than his mind. He has watched Viktor all these years, taking in each of Viktor's motions and making them his inspiration, that following along with Viktor now is just like breathing.
But better, because Viktor is right there in front of him, smiling at him, watching him just as Yuuri does the same—
Yuuri forgets to breathe, ensnared by Viktor's intense eyes.
He stumbles but quickly forces his landing into a decent one, though wobbly.
Viktor chuckles and skates away, shaking his head at Yuuri, who realizes with a sinking heart that Viktor must know exactly the reason for Yuuri's distraction, and Viktor doesn't hold back.
"I'm flattered, but do keep up," Viktor says.
Of course Yuuri will. He chases after Viktor.
For now, this is their private world. A beautiful, secret reality that is theirs only. The thought makes Yuuri's heart pound furiously, but the goal isn't to keep it all hidden away.
It's to show the entire world.
Viktor lets him see. Viktor lets him be a part of the magic. Quiet, chilling notes accompany each motion of his. His outfit shimmers, black dissolving into silver, dusk melting away to bright dawn to herald a waltz of unconditional affection. This is Viktor. This is Viktor, who is in love with figure skating, who figure skating loves back but lost all too soon.
Yuuri can't hope to capture even a sliver of the love Viktor demonstrates even as he reaches out, wishing to pull Viktor to him. But Yuuri does it anyway, and Viktor smiles.
"Yuuri..." Viktor murmurs and meets him halfway, giving him a close up of long eyelashes and pale skin.
Viktor, it turns out, isn't very good at being a ghost, but he does know how to possess him.
When Yuuri looks again, Viktor is gone but he is there. Yuuri is Viktor and Viktor is Yuuri, who raises his hands to stare at them in wonder. He touches his face, cold fingers running across his skin, tracing his cheeks as if mapping them out to learn Yuuri's visage. One finger runs across his chapped lips, and a breathless laugh escapes.
"As I thought..." Viktor says through him to Yuuri's complete confusion. "You're..."
Yuuri's heart is pounding a mile a minute, but whether he's the reason for it or Viktor, he doesn't know. All he knows is the sensation of a grin spreading across his face as Viktor throws them onto the ice. He breathes in the crisp, cold air and relishes in the feeling of the ice below his feet, metal blades carving their legacy.
He breathes. He lives. And he will skate. The music echoes on, spinning a tale of transcendence and affection.
Then, Viktor takes them into the leap of his life, spinning, and spinning, and spinning, so fast that it's over in the blink of an eye yet not, the view from the top so breathtaking that time stops then, only to restart when Yuuri lands back on earth.
He laughs then, through heaving gasps, and he's pretty sure they're both responsible. The music slowly peters out, the final notes ending the magic, but Yuuri has already tasted it once and he will never forget.
Yuuri wants to show everyone. He needs to show everyone.
This is Viktor. And he is beautiful.
The short program is all Viktor's, a program he began choreographing before his death. Yuuri gladly skates it, a tale of pure, unconditional love. Yuuri thinks he might understand it, especially with the emotions that well up inside of him at the thought of being able to skate for Viktor. For a long time, figure skating stopped being fun, but perhaps Yuuri was only momentarily lost.
For how could he not love figure skating?
He finds his path once more, and it is one deeply entangled with Viktor's, so much that he doesn't know where one ends and the other begins. He follows gladly, blindly even, but Viktor is the very same person who puts a stop to it.
"Yuuri, why don't you choose your own music for the free program?" Viktor says and gives him less than a week to do so.
Yuuri doesn't even know where to begin, but thank goodness for Phichit, who suggests that the music school nearby could be helpful. They venture there together under Phichit's eager insistence, so happy is his friend to see Yuuri interested in figure skating once again, to see that Yuuri is even coming up with his own choreography.
The lie weighs heavily, but Yuuri doesn't know how to breach it without putting everything in jeopardy.
"Won't you show me what you've been practicing?" Phichit asks along the way.
"Soon," Yuuri promises with a lopsided smile. It's not that he doesn't want to show Phichit. It's just that he's not at the level he needs to be yet, not if he wants to do justice to Viktor. Besides that, Yuuri wants to keep the magic to himself. Just for a bit longer.
A music student by the name of Ketty Abelashvili is intrigued by Yuuri's request, and they agree to meet to hash out the details. Before then, Yuuri must come up with what he wants out of his free program.
"Viktor, how do you choose your music and themes?" Yuuri asks. They're back in his room with its bare walls, the lone poster of Viktor almost accusatory. Yuuri itches to put the other posters back up, but with Viktor in the room, it's not a possibility.
Viktor has his leg pulled up on the bed, eyes halfway closed, but at Yuuri's question, one eye cracks open fully to regard Yuuri. It isn't that Viktor needs to rest, but by now, Yuuri has noticed that if Viktor doesn't focus, he might very well sink through the bed.
"It depends," Viktor answers. "Take the current short program, for example. The music and the theme came together at the same time for that one."
"What was your inspiration behind it?" Yuuri asks.
Viktor touches the ring that lies against his collarbone and replies quietly, "Many things."
Yuuri stops asking, the echoes of "In Regards to Love: Agape," taking on a eerie sensation when he realizes just how fleeting what they have is. The music describes them to a tee, a yearning for an eternal love that doesn't exist. Viktor seeks it even after death, and all he has found is Yuuri.
Yuuri stops asking, but Viktor abruptly says, "I miss Makkachin."
There must be plenty that Viktor misses, but of course Viktor misses Makkachin, and of course Makkachin is part of the many that inspires Viktor to choreograph this particular short program.
"We should go visit her," Yuuri blurts. "If you want."
Or even adopt her and bring her over.
Russia is far, but not that far. All it takes is a plane ride. If hopping on a plane can wipe the melancholy from Viktor's face, Yuuri would gladly do it.
Viktor inclines his head, his long hair drifting loosely around him. He twirls a strand around his fingers and makes a noncommittal noise. Yuuri decides this won't do. He swipes through his phone, pulling up a photo, and shoves it in front of Viktor.
"Um, this is my dog!" Yuuri all but shouts. He never plans to reveal to Viktor that he got himself a poodle because of Viktor, and that he even named his poodle after him, but Yuuri would rather do that than to see Viktor like this.
In the photo, Vicchan is licking Yuuri's face, knocking his glasses askew. It's not exactly a very good photo of Yuuri, which he only realizes just now, and he hastily tries to switch to the next photo instead.
But Viktor laughs and reaches out to stop him, only for his hand to pass right through the phone. Yuuri gives up and holds the phone out for Viktor to see.
Viktor's eyes roam over the photo, his mouth lifting up. "What's his name?"
"Vicchan," Yuuri mumbles.
At that, Viktor laughs so hard that he falls right through the bed, and Yuuri finds himself grinning right along with him even when his ears are surely red.
When Viktor is finally able to stop sinking through the bed, Yuuri says, "The Grand Prix Finals will be in Fukuoka. Maybe we can visit him then, if I'm not assigned to the NHK Trophy before that. Um, I live in Hasetsu. It's not that close to Fukuoka but not that far either, so visiting won't be a problem especially after the competition is over and I don't need to come back to Detroit right away. It'll just take a domestic flight..."
Yuuri is fairly sure he's rambling.
Viktor merely smiles at him from the bed and says, "Let's do that."
At those words, Yuuri is hit by a sudden burst of inspiration, knowing exactly what he wants his free program to be like. If Yuuri can capture even a sliver of what Viktor showing up in his life means to him, he will count it a success.
He knows just what he'll name it, too.
to be continued