This was bad.
This was very, very bad.
His injury has not fully healed yet and here he was out in the field. Yuuri is pretty sure that his other injury has reopened and it is not helping that the freaking Firebird and his protégé are using him for target practice. He is well aware and has always been aware that Firebird had a student, a young agent called Bolshoi. It was similar to his own relationship with Toridon. The young agent would follow him around and shadow him on a mission every now and then just to get a taste of what would be expected of him in the near future.
'I really should have brought Toridon with me,' thought Yuuri bitterly as he ducks behind a nearby wall to. 'At least then I could have a bit more firepower.'
He takes a deep breath before leaning forward and pushing off into the alleyways once more. Yuuri's mission was supposed to be simple: go in, get the information, and get out. So far he has entered Belarus, gone to Brest, retrieved the information, and was now on his way back to Japan. But his own naiveté was his undoing this time around. Yuuri had decided to take a look around the city as an agent but his slipped up. Now here he is, running and hiding from Russia's top agent and his protégé.
"Come out, come out wherever you are, Kitsune," taunts the Firebird, "There's nowhere to hide."
Yuuri grits his teeth as he continues to run. He can't stop and argue with Firebird right now. He just needs to get away. Yuuri runs down the alleys and streets that he had found earlier on his walk around the city and on maps that he had seen. But being that he has not studied these maps as thoroughly as he would on previous missions, he pauses, still not all too sure about the city's layout and confident about his ability to navigate.
But he's been stationary and thinking for much too long.
This was his opportunity. The Kitsune with his familiar white fox half mask and black surgical mask was just standing still, right in front of him. It was like the man was lost and unsure of where to go. This is unlike any of their previous encounters where Kitsune would dodge him with ease and confidence. Obviously he was not prepped for this job as much as he should have been and that is good news to him.
Normally if he sees a target in this state of lost and frightened, he jumps at the opportunity. It makes it easy on him and he can easily just put a bullet in their brain and end them right there. He could even signal for little Yura to go in and make the kill himself on this mission. That would definitely make the young agent's day if he allows for Yura to kill Kitsune.
But that would only be allowed over Victor's own dead body.
"Bolshoi," he says into his Bluetooth. "Pull back. He's mine."
"He's mine Bolshoi. Pull back."
He waits for a minute before he hears Yura hiss, "Fine."
Kitsune has been his primary target for the past year. He has tussled with Kitsune several times prior to this moment. Like any stereotypical Asian, Kitsune was really good at hand-to-hand combat and Victor knew that if he wanted any chance of taking the fox out that way, he would have to surprise him. He fixes his shooting goggles and gives his gloves one last tug before tackling Kitsune to the ground.
As soon as they hit the dirt, they struggle for dominance. He attempts to keep Kitsune pinned to the ground and through hard punches into the other man's abdomen, knowing that the wound that he had put there not too long ago would still be there. He hears Kitsune gasp beneath his mask before releasing an angry growl. He is shocked when the other man wraps his legs around his waist and pulls him down until Victor is nearly face to face with him.
"Fuck you, Firebird," hisses Kitsune before he turns them over and attempts to return the favor. He stares up at Kitsune in surprise for a moment.
An amused smirk graces Victor's lips before he brings up a leg and kicks Kitsune's abdomen once more to knock the other man back on to his back. Victor takes that opportunity while the fox is wheezing to move towards him and to straddle the other man's hips while pinning his arms over his head.
"You know Kitsune," he purrs into the other agent's ear. "Had my heart not been stolen already by someone else, I'd love to have you."
"Ah! I would rather do you instead," taunts Victor as he takes Kitsune's wrist into one hand and uses his other hand to slide down the black surgical mask so that he could see the other's lips. He quickly leans down and presses their lips together for a breath second before pulling back and getting off of Kitsune. "Having to kill you is so disappointing."
What disturbs him the most is that the voice sounds distantly familiar to him, as if he's heard it somewhere before. He cannot believe that practically let the Russian Firebird approach him like that and to be taken down by him so easily. He wants to scream his lungs out in frustration at that. He also can't believe that the Firebird had kissed him.
He wants nothing more than to
Through the pain and exhaustion, Yuuri quickly musters up the strength to swing a leg out at the Russian agent, knocking him to the ground before flipping over and bolting. There is no time for him to waste. He just has to leave as soon as he can. He does not have any backup in Minsk and he cannot risk another encounter with the Russian Firebird. As much as he wants to square off against the Russian man once more and to finally prove to him who was the better agent, Yuuri was in no way ready to handle another encounter. He boards the next flight out of Belarus to Japan and does his best to forget what just happened an hour ago.
His next major competition is the Japanese Nationals and to say that that was a major mistake would not be too far from the truth. Minako and his mother warned him about competing but his stubborn bullheadedness got the best of him. If he thought that the GPF Free skate had been his worst competition, he is severely mistaken. His injuries are nowhere near healed. Celestino tries to talk him out of this for that very reason many times but he competes anyways.
He competes anyways and falls to 11th place.
"Yuuri," says Minami's voice in concern as they meet in one of the backstage areas, "Are you okay?"
He wasn't. He isn't.
His encounter with the Firebird had been the worst thing to happen to his career to date. He has never been forced to do this much paperwork in his life. He usually isn't even at his desk for longer than a month at a time. Sure, he's familiar with after mission paperwork that needed to be documented and filed, as well as debriefings, but this was definitely not his forte despite his degree being in accounting. Yuuri looks at the stack of paperwork on his desk mournfully before recounting the events that had transpired.
The Grand Prix.
All of which were failures due to his ability to perform and fight off that damn Russian! If that stupid man would sit still, Yuuri would destroy him. But they were agents struggling for power and dominance, so just expecting the other to sit still was impossible. They are each other's targets; they only live to kill the other. It's sad; really, because sometimes as he lay in bed at night, he wonders if they could have been good friends.
The shout in the Russian Intelligence Office could not have been any louder. One would think that someone has been murdered judging by the volume of the scream. He cannot believe what he just saw. There was absolutely no way that this could have possibly happened! He does everything he can to denounce any truth to what he has just seen. This cannot be happening. In a fit of anger he throws his empty bag of chips at his laptop as continues to seethe.
"Why did you scream Yura?" asks Victor's voice.
Normally, Yuri would take the time to greet his senior agent with a proper "fuck you" but this is hardly the time for that. He is still seething over what he has just seen. Plus, how dare Victor even pretend that he did not know what just happened? That was insulting of itself to the greatness that was Yuuri Katsuki.
"YUURI FUCKING KATSUKI TOOK 11TH AT THE DAMN JAPANESE NATIONALS!" screams Yuri in both shock and anger as he gestures wildly at his laptop screen. "HE'S THE BEST ONE THERE BUT HE FUCKING FAILED AND TOOK 11TH!"
"Now, now Yura," chides Victor gently with a stupid grin on his face. "Every skater has their off year and this just happens to be Katsuki's."
Yuri glares at Victor angrily and marches right up to his rink mate and partner. How dare he try and insult Yuuri Katsuki in front of him? Yuuri Katsuki was fifty times – if not more – the skater that Victor was despite the number of medals that Victor had. Yuri does not care who Victor Nikiforov thinks he is; Victor Nikiforov does not measure up to Yuuri Katsuki at all! Yuuri Katsuki is leagues ahead of the damn silver haired idiot in front of him and he will fight anyone who says otherwise!
Besides, it was just like the GPF. No matter how hard it looked like Yuuri Katsuki was trying to conceal an injury, Yuri knew that there was something wrong with his idol. Yuuri Katsuki looked as if he was in pain but there weren't any injuries reported about his favourite skater. Yuri begins to wonder if the Japanese man had hurt himself from sleeping wrong. It was entirely possible.
"You have off years but not Yuuri Katsuki!" argues Yuri before a second thought crosses his mind. He remembers the Japanese skater being very drunk when they attended the GPF banquet and being all over his senior in a drunken stupor. A look of realization quickly flashes across Yuri's face before he is on his feet and glaring at Victor again.
"Did you do something to him, you bastard?" spits Yuri as he pokes Victor, surprising the older skater. "Answer me! Did you do something to him at the banquet? Did you break him because if you did, I'll break you!"
He sees Victor narrow his eyes at him for just a brief second before placing a hand on his shoulder. Oh no, Yuri knew that he fucked up this time. There were rumors that routinely circulate around the base about angry Victor but Yuri's never been on the receiving end of a Victor scolding/lecture. But then again, judging by how quickly Victor dispelled that look of anger, it probably is not going to be that bad? Right?
"Oh Yura," says Victor's smooth voice. "You must understand; I did nothing to Katsuki that night. His coach, Celestino, would not let us have him no matter how much Yasha demanded him. I would have loved to spend the night with him though…."
"Knock it off old man!"
It is hilarious to see Yura so flustered at the tiny mention of him wanting to be with the young blond's idol. He can almost see the Yura wanting to jump at him and fight him over the Japanese skater, but he could also see that Yura knows that he would not stand a chance against him if they were to fight. But he has to admit, it did hurt for the young teen to accuse him of hurting the Japanese skater. Victor would never do anything to harm Yuuri Katsuki; there was no reason for him to harm him, unlike Kitsune….
"But really,Yura," he says, "The only one that I really want to hurt is Kitsune, I'd never lay a hurtful hand on Katsuki."
"Yeah," scoffs Yura. "I know. I saw you two rolling around on the ground as you beat the crap out of him." He then gives Victor an impressed look. "You did do a number on him."
"I know I did," replies Victor with his own smirk. "I am the Firebird and he is my target. My goal is like my namesake, to strike fear into his heart and bring ruin to him."
"Did you really have to be so freaking extra," groans Yuri. "You didn't have to do that little spiel there! I know what the Firebird is!" Victor smiles when he hears Yura add another comment under his breath. "A freaking champion, just like you."
He skates in Russian Nationals, the European Championships, and Worlds but there is no sign of his rival agent during these months. Usually he would square off with the Japanese Kitsune at least once a month but this time; he cannot find the other man at all. This was odd an unsettling to him. He would spend a week out of every month trying to find any and all the leads he could about Kitsune's whereabouts but he cannot find a single thing. It was if the Japanese agent just disappeared into thin air. Kitsune has disappeared without a trace and Victor cannot help but feel a little worried.
It really disturbs him when he is at Worlds more than anything else. This year the World Championships are held in Tokyo, Japan. Japan. Kitsune's home and hunting grounds. If he were to face off against Kitsune in Japan, he would have a far more difficult time than normal. But to his comfort and concern, Kitsune did not show up at Worlds as a guard agent as Victor had guessed. He could see other Japanese agents milling around the venue but there were no signs of Kitsune even being there. That is when it feels as if ice has dropped into his stomach.
Did someone beat him to the chase and kill off the Japanese agent? No. That couldn't be. The Kitsune was one of the best out there and if he had trouble killing that sly fox, then there was no hope for any other agent out there. No. Kitsune was definitely alive. Only he, the Russian Firebird would be capable of killing him! If any other agent even tried, he'd kill them!
But then, why hadn't he heard anything about Kitsune?
"You're worried aren't you?" asks Yura during practice one day.
"Why would you say that?" was the dull reply.
"You've lost your spark, old man," retorts Yura before looking away. "Look, I know you're wondering what's up with Kitsune. He hasn't shown up in months. Someone might have gone and done us a favour and off-ed him."
Victor lets out a laugh. "Ha! As if Kitsune would be killed off that easily! If he's given me a run for my money, then he won't be killed that easily."
"Then where the fuck is he?"
Victor does not know how to answer his protégé's question.
He knows that his injuries are his own fault but he still cannot help but feel resentful towards the Firebird when he passes his hands over the bandages. If it were not for that blasted Russian, he would be out there in the field tracking him down. He would be out there on the ice practicing for his next competitions. If Yuuri was for sure of one thing, he was certain that if he had not been injured then he would have won Nationals and be on his way to 4 Continents Championships and Worlds.
But because of those injuries, he is not participating. He would love to blame someone else for his injuries but they are his own fault. It is his own fault that he is confined to desk work until he is fully fit to be on the field again. He knows that he is one of the best agents out there at both field and desk work, but he would prefer to be out in the field if asked.
"How are you feeling Yuuri?" asks Phichit one day during one of their study breaks. Despite the fact that they were some of Interpol Asia's best agents, at the end of the day, they are just college students struggling to make top scores in their classes and earn their degrees.
"I'm fine Phichit," sighs Yuuri back as he continues to pick at the pint of matcha ice cream in his arms.
"Are you sure?"
It is Phichit's turn to sigh now. "Yuuri, it's alright. You weren't in your best shape and honestly, you shouldn't have been competing with your injuries."
"I let so many people down."
"No," argues Phichit as he grasps at his best friend's/partner's shoulders and attempts to draw Yuuri from the recesses of his own mind. "Yuuri, you didn't let anyone down! Everybody is so proud of you for making it into the GPF! Your rinkmates! Your friends! Your country! Your family!" He takes Yuuri's face into both of his hands. "Nobody is disappointed in you for not placing high. Everybody is so proud and happy for you proving that you're one of the best skaters out there!"
"You don't get it Phichit," argues Yuuri.
Phichit gives his friend a long hard look as his best friend attempts to argue him. How could Yuuri not see how amazing he was as a skater? He wants nothing more that to beat it into his best friend's head that he was one of the best out there but there is no doubt in his mind that Yuuri would not believe him. Yuuri was smart – brilliant even – and so very talented. How many people can say that they knew a guy who could do ballet, ballroom, and pole dance? On top of that, how many people can say that they knew someone who could play piano and figure skate?
Not many people and Phichit is one of the lucky bastards out there who can.
But he is also one of the unlucky people who can say that they knew a person who did not value themselves. He could say that he was one of the people who would do anything in the world to just get their friend to believe that they were the best thing in the world. Phichit would love to say that he was not in this group of people but he is.
He would give anything to not be a member of this group.
"No, you don't get it Yuuri."