Where are you from? Tell us about your home town.
He is the picture of comfort and ease, relaxed in his seat, his precious poodle curled up on the floor next to him, a cup of coffee from a nearby cafe in one hand. Interviews are nothing new to him. He's a star, after all, so Viktor is quite used to being in the spotlight. He cannot count the number of times some budding young journalist has lead with questions about his homeland, and he offers a bright smile, the same expression that has been directed toward cameras more times than he can count now. "Oh! St. Petersburg! You should visit if you ever get the chance, it's especially beautiful in the winter." What he isn't used to is the utter lack of knowledge about certain things - like his home city. Where he comes from (and he's still struggling to understand how he's come to be in Ipsum), even schoolchildren around the world have at least heard the name of the city.
He doesn't know where to begin describing it. The city holds a special place in his heart, but most of his memories from there revolve around the rink. Much in his life has been neglected chasing the gold, and this does not strike him as the type of interview he's most accustomed to. Magazine spreads or television segments, he knows how to work those.
Can you describe your childhood?
It is another question that has been answered numerous times in his own world, but he has always been happy to indulge the public. As such a recognized figure in the skating world, he often had little choice in the matter and he had accepted that a long time ago. He simply counts himself lucky his natural charisma helps things along.
He shrugs pleasantly, "It was very busy, it seemed as if I was always on my way to one class or another. Outside of regular schooling, there were always dance or skating lessons." Sometimes it seemed as if his life had been planned out for him, but he knew he had always had a passion for skating and performing and could not honestly imagine a different profession for himself. "I was lucky, Coach Yakov discovered me when I was little. I don't think I would have accomplished half as much as I have if not for him." Despite his habit of disregarding advice (often to his own advantage) or instruction, he respects the man and is grateful for the guidance and support shown to him over the years.
Describe your three favourite things growing up.
It is as if the dog knows, his head lifting with a soft whuff as Viktor smiles down at the poodle. "Makkachin," an affectionate scratch is delivered to the top of the animal's head. Makkachin has been his near-constant companion for much of his life, a source of friendship for a child so busy with things most other little boys had no interest in. His has been a comfortable life in many, many, ways, but it has also been lonely. From the beginning, his talent has placed him in a class of his own and he is not sure how he might have managed without the dog.
Even so, he would not change a day of his youth. "I always enjoyed being out on the ice, as well. Learning new things, meeting the newest groups to enter the sport." he pauses, to sip at his coffee, "And winning, of course." Spoken by someone else, it may have come across as simple arrogance. The way Viktor says it is a way perfected over countless interviews, just the right amount of humor, just the right smile. He does enjoy his spot at the top of the skating world, even if he has been subject to doubt. Yuuri, and Yurio, breaking his records has been more than enough to reignite the flame of competition in him.
Tell us about your social group. Friends, Coworkers, Allies.
Coworkers? He is not sure he would call anyone he knows a coworker. Or an ally, for that matter. Competition or inspiration, sure. Friends, he finds, are few, and mostly consist of the others under Coach Yakov. "Let's see," he taps his chin, thoughtfully, with a finger, "There's Yurio, he's only just made his senior debut and already broken my record," he laughs lightly, as if brushing off this fact, but it is not so easy. He is proud, of course - he always knew the blond would go far - but as a fellow competitor the idea of simply letting someone surpass him like that is difficult to swallow.
"Coach Yakov always seems to be yelling at me for something," such as running off to Japan in search of the man who had so perfectly replicated his own performance. The man who had drunkenly begged for Viktor to coach him even before that. He is used to Yakov's lectures, though, and they have never stoped him from doing anything that felt right. "There are the others he coaches, too. Mila and Georgi." They are not as strong a presence on his radar as Yurio, though.
The rest of their fellow competitors remain something of a mystery to him, save for two. "Christophe has been a friend for many years now, I wonder if he can ever forgive me for taking a year off to coach Yuuri." he laughs again, but that doesn't change the truth of the words. He remembers meeting the other man when they were both still relatively young, standing on the winners' podium together so many times over the years, the friendship built through competition.
Do you have a significant other? If so, tell us about them.
It is instantaneous, the way he brightens at the question. It is something he'd never dared to hope for, not really, but he could not put into words just how happy he is. "Of course!" he lifts his right hand, proudly displaying the simple gold band on his finger, "Yuuri and I will be married once he wins a gold medal." That was the promise he had made but, was it possible in Ipsum? He had no idea f they had anything close to the competition system he was so used to. If not, he supposed they would need to sit down and choose a more concrete date. There was nothing, in their world or any other, that would cause him to back out of their engagement and so if the original promise had to be broken, it would just need to be adjusted instead.
"I moved to Japan to coach him, he was so nervous at first," the memory is an amusing one. Yuuri had barely spoken to him outside of coaching sessions at first, and he supposed he could understand the man being a little star-struck. It was a common problem for Viktor. "He's incredible, he was so mediocre before but he improved very fast, I could watch him skate all day." His tone turns wistful, it only now occurs to him that Yuuri may not be in the city, and the shift in mood that comes with that realization is palpable. What would he do without his fiance? He can no longer imagine spending more than a day away from the man, he doesn't think he can bear a life in a new place if Yuuri cannot experience it with him. If he has his love beside him, he can adjust, he can, but he fears the loneliness he knows will settle heavily in him if they've been separated for good.
What is your ideal date?
It is not something he's put much serious thought into and, now, he finds little reason to fantasize. Once Yuuri had made the move to St. Petersburg, his life became perfect. Before, he might have described a classically romantic evening for the sake of the magazine audience, but he knows now, without a doubt, this is not that kind of interview. Considering the busy schedule that came with training and developing new programs and competing, he thoroughly enjoyed what downtime they could find together. "A nice evening at home with Yuuri is all I need," making and enjoying dinner together, relaxing together, all the little intimate, domestic, moments he thought he'd never get to experience. Yuuri may not have been the first man he had ever been with, but he would surely be the last. "But if he feels like going out, a walk along the beach is always nice." Romantic and sentimental, but still well out of the public eye if they chose the right stretch of shoreline.
What is your life's ambition?
Every goal he has set for himself, he has achieved, with a few surprise extras along the way. He has amassed an impressive collection of gold medals, has set and broken numerous records, has risen to the top of his sport in his own world and now? What more is there for him to accomplish? He sips at his coffee again, buying himself a few extra seconds, "Not long ago, I would have said to win, to keep winning, to keep and defend my place as the top skater." Such a simple ambition, really, it it had been his main goal, the driving force behind his constant innovation, for a long time. "I do still want to compete and reclaim my record-holder status, but I also want to marry and settle down with Yuuri." He would retire eventually, he was already reaching the end of his competitive years, and once that time came he dreamed only of a simple life with his husband-to-be, with the occasional exhibition to keep things interesting and his skills sharp.
Tell us about any hobbies you have.
"Skating and competing, trying to spend time with Makkachin," there is very little room for hobbies in a life like his. So much of his time is consumed by practice or competition, even the downtime between seasons brings no relief. It is during this time his focus must shift to his programs.for the next season, and that means time spent choosing music and themes and working out choreography. If he has anything that may be considered a hobby in the usual sense, he cannot think of it.
He has even less time to himself after making the choice to return to the ice, but without giving up his position as Yuuri's coach. It means not only developing his own programs but helping to work out performances for Yuuri, as well. Competing against his own pupil. The free time he does get was once spent watching his peers' performances, or simply relaxing with a book and his poodle, but he hardly considers these hobbies. Now his free time is spent with his fiance.
What is your fondest memory?
Some might expect him to jump directly to a memorable win, but his mind immediately goes to the banquet that lit a spark which would alter the course of his life. "The first time I met Yuuri was at the banquet after our previous Grand Prix final." The first time they had properly met, anyway. More than passing each other in a hall. "He was very drunk and started a dance contest in the banquet hall," before then, he had taken very little notice of the man. It wasn't as if he stood out in competition. But it had been so endearing, his drunken antics, and Viktor had never really had someone look at him that way, alcohol or not. "Afterward, he invited me to his home and begged me to coach him. To be honest, I didn't really consider it until I saw how perfectly he replicated my free skate from that year." There had been real admiration in that performance and, while Viktor was used to people fawning over him, something about Yuuri had drawn him. This mediocre skater who had pulled off one of his programs...who had looked at him with such pure adoration through the haze of champagne, he never would have forgiven himself for ignoring the opportunity presented to him. And he could never deny the desire to learn all he could about the man which had been sparked that night, dancing with him.
Tell us the first item you think of in your room. Why that item?
Even a year ago, he might have immediately thought of his first gold medal, and the reason for that would likely be obvious. But now...priorities had shifted. He still values every single win, and every medal that hangs as a testament to his incredible career, but his room is not only his room anymore. He thinks, first, of the comfort of his own bed, relaxing after a long day, curling up with Yuuri, Makkachin at their feet. This is a scene he prefers to keep private, though - if it were only himself, he may indulge the question, but he does not now how Yuuri might feel about divulging any details of their private life.
So, instead, he chooses to share a different item, and a different reason. "Oh, my collection of stuffed poodle toys. Fans throw them after a competition, sometimes, and they all look just like Makkachin." He smiles, bright and genuine as the poodle's tail thumps against the floor. It's true, he does enjoy the soft toys and other poodle-themed items he's collected from the ice over the years. Not half as much as he loves the dog himself, and he knows they will only serve as a bittersweet reminder when his canine companion is gone, but until then, they are a source of happiness and nostalgia.
What is your morning routine?
He shrugs, "A cup of coffee, a newspaper, breakfast with Yuuri, and then Makkachin's morning walk." it is normal and he isn't sure if they expected anything spectacular. He does not leap directly from bed to practice - even a star needs some time to get himself going in the mornings. Beyond the immediate routine, there is, of course, exercise and practice, but he is unsure of where the line between morning and daily routine lies and so he does not elaborate beyond the first few hours of the day.
It's not really any of their business, to be honest, but his is accustomed to indulging prying questions and offering only the barest details when necessary. There are, naturally, times when he over shares, when he becomes excited, but this is not one of those moments. He has grown quite used to keeping the domestically intimate hours of his life private, and he finds he enjoys it.
Do you prefer sun rise or sun set?
"Oh, they're both very nice, I don't think I have a preference." He has seen so many of each, the deciding factor remains in how and why he is experiencing it. So many days up before dawn, so many that have stretched out long after dusk, all in the name of his sport. These make no impression on him. It is the sunrise or sunset experienced with friends, or Yuuri, by his side. Early morning training sessions with Yurio, watching the fiery blond improve day by day. Late dinners with Yuuri, watching the sun sink below the ocean. These are moments he would hold just as dear no matter what time of day they took place. So, he cannot possibly choose one or the other, not when each are present in so many pleasant memories he has now. Many more than he had before taking the chance and moving to Japan.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Surprise flashes across his face, because he has never had to put any thought to the question at all. "Only one?" A difficult decision, there are many, many, dishes he could eat every day. He lets himself drift in thought a moment, before his bright smile returns, "The Katsudon bowl from Yu-topia Katsuki." It was delicious, for one, but there are memories attached to that dish and that place and he can already see happy expression on Yuuri's mother's face he knows will come if she ever hears how he would choose her cooking as the single thing he could eat for the rest of his life.
One day, he will be very proud to call her his mother-in-law. Yuuri's family is warm and supportive in a way he has never truly known before. It isn't that his own was neglectful - they weren't, and many could make a solid argument that he was a spoiled child as a boy - but there was always pressure on him to succeed. He knows, without a doubt, if Yuuri chose to retire, his family would support him without a second thought. Viktor does not know, for sure, if the same could be said for his own.
Pick three items to have with you on a deserted island.
"Do they have to be items?" a small frown forms, if he must, he can choose, but he would rather have something else. "I would rather have Yuuri and Makkachin with me, but if they have to be items, I suppose photos of each, and a working phone would do." A working phone could be a way home, right? A deserted island didn't sound like a terrible vacation, for a few days. A little break from the spotlight, but with a way back to civilization when the novelty wore off. It would be nicer if he could have his precious dog and his fiance with him, but he could compromise for a hypothetical situation. He doubts they intend to actually dump him on an island somewhere.
Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla?
It is just like the sunrise versus sunset question, his preference depends on circumstance. Viktor chuckles lightly, "They're both good, it depends on what they're in." He could share vanilla ice cream with Makkachin, and he knew the poodle enjoyed the occasional treat like that. Both had their place in any number of deserts, but they were also very common choices and, more often than not, he would chose more interesting flavors.
Beyond what he's already said, he doesn't have much of an opinion on either flavor. Nor is he entirely sure what the question has to do with anything. The longer he sits and indulges the process, the more he worries. If he is stuck in Ipsum permanently, will he ever see anyone he knows again? It helps, having Makkachin with him and knowing the poodle is safe and healthy, but he misses his fiance, their friends, their peers, even Yakov.
What animal do you identify with and why?
"Animal?" The question strikes him as odd, but he considers it nonetheless. Yurio has been compared to a kitten, and Yuuri to a piglet, but he cannot recall anyone ever making direct comparisons between himself and any animal. It isn't something he's thought about before, either. Nothing immediately jumps out at him, "Something graceful, I suppose?" It doesn't narrow it down any, he knows. People throw poodle-themed things at him after a performance because it is well-known just how important his dog is to him, but he does not identify with the species. "I don't know, I've never had to think about it before," it comes with a slightly awkward chuckle, but it is the truth. The question has him stumped.
Do you prefer mountains, woods or the beach?
This is easier, the answer comes to him immediately. "Oh! The beach, definitely." It has been a semi-constant in his life. First, back home, then in Hasetsu - and there are more pleasant memories attached to the Japanese coast than the Russian. Time spent with Yuuri is at the forefront of his mind, but that is nothing new. Most of his pleasant memories from Hasetsu involve the man in one way or another, but is that really any surprise? He is head over heels for the man and while he cannot pinpoint the exact moment it happened, he knows this is true and will never try to deny it.
No, that's not quite right. Perhaps the fateful moment, where he fell fully and hopelessly for the man, was the moment Yuuri first, flawlessly, pulled off his own signature move. It was spontaneous and perfect and he felt as if he would burst with pride witnessing such growth. The memory remains vivid, and special and he knows it will always stay that way.
If you could possess any superpower or ability, what would it be?
Another strange question, and one more he does not have a solid or immediate answer for. There is a brief glance to Makkachin, a shadow of sadness in his smile, "Power over time, maybe." There are many days he wishes he could turn back time to when the poodle was a puppy and had many, many, good years ahead of him. It is a desire which grows stronger each year, and he fears the day when time runs out. It is a large reason he has considered retirement, to spend as much time as possible with his furry friend before there is no more time left. There is a vivid memory of the altar in Yuuri's home, and while that is not the way he would handle it (cultural differences and all, though he would not be surprised if Yuuri took it upon himself to set something up like that) he cannot forget what it means. The poodle is, by now, elderly by dog standards, and he does not know how much longer they have left together, so he tries to make the best of every moment.
If you could settle down anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
After everything he experienced there, this is an easy choice. "Hasetsu, Japan." The town was so welcoming, and it is where he and Yuuri began to grow closer. He has such fond memories of everyone he met while staying at the Katsuki family onsen. "I met many wonderful people there, and it's where Yuuri's family lives". St. Petersburg will always hold a special place in his heart, but it has been overshadowed by the warmth and enthusiasm found in Hasetsu. It is a quieter place, too, and the older he gets the more he finds that appealing. A quiet home by the sea, a good man, and his dog, it is an idyllic fantasy broken only by the knowledge the ice and competition will remain a part of their lives for as long as they are able to keep up with the rest of the top skaters. But when the time does come for him, and then Yuuri, to retire, it is this comfortable life he hopes for.
Tell us a scent that makes you happy, and explain why?
How to explain? "Imagine an ice rink, filled to capacity with competitors and spectators." The frigid smell of the ice, the collective smell of a large crowd, he cannot properly put into words exactly what it smells like, but it is simply the scent that he is most familiar with. The one that saturates his days and lingers in his dreams. He has made a name for himself on the ice, and so why shouldn't that bring him happiness?
"There's also the smell of a natural hotspring, soaps and fresh linens, home-cooked food," he trails off. It is the smell of Yu-topia, Yuuri''s home. Beyond that there is the smell of Yuuri himself. "It's...it's home." he finishes almost helplessly, how can he put it into words? Two sides to his life, professional and personal, and both are important, but no matter where he goes, if he can at least have Yuuri by his side, he knows he will never truly feel homesick.