November 7, 202
Detroit, United States
Yuuri had Beka come with him to pick the twins up. Today was the parent-teacher conference and Beka was kind enough to take the twins to the rink for him while he talked with Miss. Shay. Over the school year so far, Yuuri had been getting notes upon notes about the twins' behavior and it was a big concern to him. Yuuri felt lost as he tried everything to get them to behave in class. But it seemed like nothing was working. Mei was acting worse, already suspended for a day because he punched a student, and Yui was begging him to go to the rink with him instead. This was getting out of hand and Yuuri was in way over his head.
Yuuri smiled softly as the twins raced to him, Yuuri giving them both a tight hug.
“I have to talk to Miss. Shay for a bit, but,” Yuuri smiled, “Uncle Beka is going to take you both to the rink. You both behave for him, alright.”
“We always do,” Yui smiled as she jumped, reaching her hands in the air at Beka as if asking for him to pick her up.
Beka knelt to the ground and had Yui sitting on his shoulders as he held Mei’s hand.
“Alright, you munchkins, we’re off.”
“Hey, who you calling munchkin,” Mei laughed.
“You, munchkin, and the one on my shoulders.”
Both of the twins giggled as they waved goodbye to Yuuri. Yuuri smiled as he waved back for a moment before the smile was gone when he turned around. This conference was going to make him feel like a failure of a parent. He was alone in raising them. He needed Viktor, but he was gone. It was just him and occasionally Yuri and Beka who watched them. Sometimes, Yuuri just felt like his children would be so much happier if he wasn’t around them. They would be in a better place. Yui wouldn’t be crying to stay away from school. Mei wouldn’t be fighting. Yuuri just felt like a loser.
He sighed deeply as he made his way to the classroom, Miss. Shay was sitting at her desk looking over some papers. She looked up, a bright smile on her face as her hair was done in her normal small afro. Yuuri really liked her hair, it looked like it was soft like a sheep. He was really tempted to touch it but didn’t want to come off rude or disrespectful to her. In his youth when he stayed in Detroit during his training, at a college party, he met a black girl while a bit tipsy. He touched her hair, saying it was so soft and unusual… Only to have met her hand sting his face. One of his rink mates, who always told him he was “Afro Cubano” told him he was either brave or stupid and wanted to believe in the later.
“Mr. Nikiforov, how are you doing today?” Shay smiled up at him.
“I’m doing fine, and yourself?”
“Alright,” Miss. Shay looked at Yuuri as she put the papers face down in front of her.
“I am really sorry that both of my children have been a handful. I’m more than willing to work with you and resolve the problem,” Yuuri started as he took a seat at one of the miniature chairs.
Yuuri must have looked rather foolish sitting on one of the chairs that were clearly meant for the children. Yet, there wasn’t really any other chair for an adult other than the rocking chair at the corner of the room and the chair at her desk.
“That’s already half the battle,” Miss. Shay gave a hardy laugh, “most parents don’t want to admit that their kids might be a problem. But Mr. Nikiforov, even though your children have their problems, they are both wonderful children.”
“But they can improve,” Yuuri stated casually.
“Yui is perhaps one of the sweetest children I have ever met as a teacher, Mr. Nikiforov. But she shows her heart to everybody.”
“She got that from me, unfortunately. She’s a true skater,” Yuuri sighed, “she has a glass heart. It’s beautiful to look at, but if not careful, it shatters.”
“Sounds about right,” Miss. Shay sighed, “Yui is, unfortunately, a very easy target because of that. The others pick on her and she cries. I can only do so much with trying to stop the others from egging her on, but she also needs to be able to get a bit of a tougher skin or the world is going to eat her alive.”
“I agree with you on that,” Yuuri looked at the teacher.
“But I’m more concerned about Mei. He’s a very angry boy,” Miss. Shay was stern, making Yuuri sit straighter, “I won’t sugar coat this for you, Mr. Nikiforov, but Mei is a bully. And a very terrifying one at that.”
“What do you mean?”
“Mei is a very popular boy, very charismatic. But when somebody crosses him, he isn’t afraid to hurt others. I see that he does it a lot when it involves his sister. But he needs to learn that he cannot fight the entire world,” the teacher was stern, “he’s a good boy when he’s not angry. But when he’s mad, he isn’t afraid to make it known. If he presents as an Alpha, this behavior is only going to get worse.”
“I don’t want that for him,” Yuuri spoke softly, trying to process everything that Miss. Shay said.
“Neither do I,” Miss. Shay spoke, reassuring Yuuri, “which also brings me to something else I wanted to speak with you about.”
Yuuri looked at the twins’ teacher curiously. She flipped the pages that she was looking at, seeing many drawings. He noticed on the corners they had Yui’s or Mei’s names written in their handwriting. Miss. Shay handed the papers over to Yuuri. The first one was Mei’s. It looked like it was the world with people holding hands. Above each person was a name, and Yuuri quickly realized that Mei drew everybody in the family. He looked at the stick figure that was supposed to be him and frowned. He was sad in the picture while everybody else was smiling. He looked at the next one, this time Yui’s drawing. Her drawing was of the three of them in what he figured was the apartment, each one of them with a sad face. Another drawing was done by Yui. It looked like she and her brother were in their beds, while the stick figure that was meant to be himself was crying. On the bottom of the picture in red crayon read in poor handwriting the words Mama Cries. Yuuri shuddered at the realization that the twins have heard him crying at night. Some nights, like their wedding anniversary, his death, or other important dates, he would lay in bed, crying because he tried to think about Viktor and grieve. Only to have him not be able to cry for Viktor and he would always end up crying because he was angry at himself for not being a good Omega.
Yuuri skimmed through the drawings. All of them hurt his heart. His children were unhappy. And it was all his fault. Yuuri felt himself desperately trying to hold back a whimper unsuccessfully. He was failing them as their parent. He was raising them bad. They were sad. They were unhappy. And it was because of him.
“Mr. Nikiforov,” Miss. Shay stood up, passing Yuuri some tissue paper.
Yuuri dabbed his eyes before he blew his nose. He threw the tissues away before he got more.
“I noticed in one of the conversations Mei had with one of the students. He said that he and his sister didn’t have a father, that it was only you. Mr. Nikiforov, I wanted to ask you,” Miss. Shay looked at the twins drawing, “Are they aware of Viktor at all?”
“No,” Yuuri answered quickly.
“I think talking to them about their father might help. But I also think taking them to a therapist will also help them sort out their feelings. I understand that they never got to meet their father due to the accident… But I see right now, two children that love their mother and see their mother hurting deeply. Mr. Nikiforov, it might help you move on as well.”
Yuuri looked at the teacher with a slight smile, nodding. She was right. But he didn’t want to talk to them about Viktor. They weren’t old enough to deal with the reality of their biological father died. How could he tell them that their father died before he even knew they existed? How was he supposed to tell his children that the day he found out Viktor died was the day that he wished he had died with him?
“They are good kids, Mr. Nikiforov,” Miss. Shay spoke kindly, “sometimes, we all just need some help. I think that those things will help your family. There’s no shame in going to a therapist to have them resolve any feelings about the death of their father. You’re doing a good job raising them, considering the situation.”
“Am I though? My son is constantly getting into fights and he’s only five and my daughter is an emotional mess. It looks like I’m doing a terrible job as a parent.”
“Mr. Nikiforov, you are though. You would do anything for those two, I saw that in you from the first day I met you. Besides, nobody can ever be the perfect parent. We’re only human.”
Yuuri nodded as he stood up, “Well, I got a lot to think about.”
“Besides those things, Mr. Nikiforov, and I really do mean it, the twins are good kids. Some of the faculty may not agree with me, but they don’t spend as much time with them as I do. And they really are good kids. They’re just a little lost with their mom. Everybody is missing dad, even if they don’t know it.”
“Thank you,” Yuuri bowed politely to Miss. Shay.
She looked at him a little confused for a moment before she smiled back at him, “You have a wonderful day, Mr. Nikiforov.”
Yuuri made his way out of the room as he tried to catch himself. He felt his body shaking at the very thought of just talking with the twins about their father. He was gone. What was there to talk about? They never knew him. They never met him. The only connection they had to him was blood. But other than that, there was nothing. Yuuri had put Viktor away a long time ago, only bringing him out for special occasions. But for the most part, he did his best to not think about him.
There were days that he couldn’t. One of the students at the rink had a scarf that was the same shade of blue as Viktor’s eyes. Or somebody said something that just sounded like something Viktor would say. Or he would look at the twins and they would shock him with a mannerism that was screaming Viktor. Like when Mei cries, he doesn’t do the big ugly crying that he and Yui does, his crying was more delicate, gentle… Eerily beautiful like Viktor’s. Or when Yui was in thought or starting to worry, she would look just like Viktor when he did the same gestor.
He made his way to the rink, his mind full of thoughts that just wouldn’t go away. The one thing he got away from that conference was that his children were hurting and it was his fault. He was going to have to set them up with an appointment after the holidays. November and December were already busy times here in the US. It was pretty trippy the first year he moved to America. A day before his birthday, Americans were talking about how thankful they were for everything they had in their lives and eating turkey and a whole lot of food, only to beat everybody else senseless the next day for the last big-screen television that was being sold for fifty bucks. And then there was Christmas. The kids were always excited about that one. They had celebrated it more like the Americans would, where everybody was getting presents. Although, it always brought a bit of pain to him because Viktor was born on American Christmas. Even though it was a normal day for Russia, here in the US, it was holiday.
Yuuri reached the rink, seeing Yuri and Beka on the ice with the twins. He went from being upset with himself to absolutely terrified when he saw his daughter jump on the ice. Without thinking, he ran to the rink, forgetting that he didn’t even have his skates on. Instantly he regretted it as he fell flat on his ass. Both of the twins cried out as they skated to him. Beka rushed over while Yuri was holding his sides from laughter.
Yuuri laid on his back, not a stranger to falling on the ice. He didn’t hit his head and didn’t feel any pain that was unusual. His hip ached a little more than it should, but that was probably because he had fractured it five years ago and falls like this would aggravate it. Other than that, he knew that he was fine.
“Mama, are you okay?” Yui was crying.
“Why were you jumping on the ice, don’t know that it’s dangerous?”
“It was a bunny hop, both Uncle Beka and Uncle Yuri were watching me make sure I was safe.”
“You’re still too young to be doing any kind of jumps, Yui. I’ve told you how many times?”
“I’m sorry mama,” Yui looked down.
“Told you mama would be mad if you did them,” Mei told his sister.
Beka offered to help Yuuri up from the ice and the Omega accepted the offer, carefully making his way off the ice. Once his feet were on solid ground, he told the twins to continue doing laps around the rink and motioned for Yuri and Beka to him. The adults were sitting at the stands watching the two small children on the ice.
“Mei really hates skating,” Beka mused.
“I want him to learn how to at least be on the ice. He doesn’t have to know any tricks, but just simply skating I’m fine with.”
“Yui, though. That girl is just like Viktor, she’s a beast if given enough room to grow,” Yuri sighed.
“I don’t think she’s ready to do jumps. She’s still too small.”
“Viktor was learning jumps when he was six or seven.”
“Both of her parents dominated Figure Skating back when they were athletes. She has your stamina, it’s really unsettling,” Beka spoke casually, “just think of it. If she can hit the jumps perfectly like her father but has the step work of her mother…”
“I’m glad she’s only five. If that’s how she’s going to be when she debuts in her Seniors, I feel bad for whoever has to compete with her when she’s a professional athlete.”
“If that’s what she ends up becoming, I would too,” Yuuri admitted.
They continued watching the children a bit longer, now seeing that more kids had joined in. Mei fell a few times while Yui helped him up. It was just so interesting watching those two. Off the ice, Mei was confident, unafraid, even if he was a bully of a child. But on the ice, he was meek, unsure and nervous. But his sister. It was as if she was born for this. Yui just had a grace about her when she was on the ice. She had her hair up in a ponytail while she was skating, Yuuri noticed that she was working on her steps. Even though they were sloppy, he could see the hard look of concentration on her face. She looked exactly like Viktor as Yuuri’s breath hitched suddenly.
“Their teacher thinks I should talk to them about Viktor,” Yuuri said suddenly, “and that I should take them to therapy.”
Both Beka and Yuri looked at Yuuri surprised. Most of the time Yuuri hated bringing Viktor up for any kind of reason. The teacher’s words about Viktor must have hit Yuuri hard enough for him to even bring up Viktor to them.
“That’s not a bad idea for them,” Beka spoke as he grabbed his water bottle.
“But how do I tell them that their father died before they were even born?”
“Like you just told us. After their dad died, Viktor descended to Hell and is running shit with Satan,” Yuri laughed.
“You mean, he kicked Satan out while wearing some Proda and is now in charge of Hell,” Beka joined in.
“Ha ha very funny you two,” Yuuri said sarcastically.
“So, what happened at the parent-teacher conference?” Beka asked.
“The twins have behavior issues and it might be my fault because I don’t want to talk to them about Viktor,” Yuuri muttered, “all joking aside, how do I tell them that their father died before they were born? How do I tell them that they are never going to know or meet their father because he’s dead and buried in Saint Petersburg?”
“Like you just told us. Tell them, ‘Dad died before you were born. His body is buried in Saint Petersburg’, like that. They don’t need a long explanation. They just need to know that Viktor was their father and he’s no longer alive. When they are older and can handle more complex things, you can tell them how he died and things like that,” Beka spoke casually as he gave Yura his water.
“My grandpa would tell me stories about my real dad. He died when I was still a baby. I never really got to know my real dad. They’ll appreciate the stories about Viktor,” Yuri smiled softly.
“Besides, if Yui does decide to go pro for figure skating, she’s going to be facing not only your legacy in the sport but Viktor’s too.”
Yuuri nodded at what they said. He was going to have to talk to the twins. But he wasn’t sure when…