Those have definetly been the weirdest 24 hours in Victor's life.
He started his day trying to convince a furious small Beta that no, she couldn't compete with a broken leg and no, they couldn't tape it up like she was a doll. Juniors are wild.
And then things got out of hand when Yuuri called to normally announce that their child would be born at that very moment.
From there, he just wanted to die. Because there was no way he could get in a flight and be there in less than three hours with an injured skater that would be released in five.
Luck smiled at him and, after crying for a good half hour with Polina awkwardly patting his back, his assistant coach said he'd be fine taking care of the Beta along with five other Juniors. Victor could leave early.
His assistants needed a raise as soon as possible.
To find a flight wasn't difficult, the thing is that they all quit selling tickets. What the hell, it's not even holidays season, why do people need to travel in motherfucking September?
He was seriously considering to secretly get in the airplane as luggage when a nice old lady with Estonian accent offered to give her place after hearing him crying like a baby about not being able to see his son being born. Victor concluded she was a saint and his skater Marko would get a big and delicious caloric birthday cake next month just for being Estonian.
From there, everything just flew through his eyes. The flight, the Saint Petersburg airport, the cab. And then finally Yuuri. Ok, there was Yuri right before, with a face that his clouded mind wasn't capable of see as 'dangerous' at the time. He could only think of two things: Yuuri and pup. Pup and Yuuri. Family. Protect family. His restless Alpha mind probably saw Yuri and went '...Big pup? Big pup doesn't need me now' while promptly shoving him off the way to the bedroom. Restless Alpha Victor was 90% an ass. He'd regret it later.
And now he was here, looking at Alexei Katsuki-Nikiforov, his child, through the glass of the nursery. It felt like a dream. A crazy, slightly scary, but wonderful dream.
He was so cute, in lilac clothing (everything was lilac about Alyosha. Victor loves that color), moving his tiny fists around like his destiny was to be a pro wrestler, not a figure skater.
The Alpha's heart clenched with a smile. He'd be a skater, right? Victor would die a little if Alexei turned out to be, I don't know, a hockey player, a speed skater, or a curling player (Is curling even a sport?). But he would support him, nonetheless. Alexei could become the plain lawyer Victor avoided to be for years under his father's watch, and he would support him.
That's what fathers are supposed to do.
And still, he was the father that missed his child being born. He suffered a little everytime he remembered that. He was disappointed in himself. He should've been there, hearing Alyosha's first cry, seeing him opening his eyes for the first time, holding him, holding Yuuri. How could he mess up this bad? What stories would he tell Alexei when he grow up? 'Oh, I wasn't there when you're born, darling, I was messing around in Zagreb and left your dam alone. The one who took care of him, who watched your delivery and held you for the first time was Yuri. You might as well call him papa, instead.'
Wow, that was harsh, inner Victor.
He wasn't angry at Yuri, actually he was grateful. Maybe if it wasn't for him, Yuuri could've hurt himself and the baby. But he wouldn't lie and say he wasn't jealous. Yuri had moments he'd die to share with Yuuri and Alexei. He felt robbed. And there was nothing he could do to have it back.
Add to that the odd coldness he was received with from Yuri. He expected annoyance, teasing, even joy after finally getting the godson he's been gushing about for months. But Yuri was... skeptingly quiet. The quietness before a storm. He didn't like that one bit.
Yuuri warned him about it. Apparently Yuri was really affected about the whole 'left a pregnant Omega alone' thing, something to do with his mother. Victor kind of understood. He knew about Nina Plisetskaya. Yakov briefly told him about it years ago, when Victor was around 21 and didn't give a fuck about Juniors' personal lives, especially one who just arrived in St. Petersburg. He didn't imagine it would be relevant now, almost ten years later, when his relationship with Yuri became something so different than what it used to be.
He didn't have a lot of time to dwell on it, because now Yuri was right there at his side.
He looked relaxed. Hands on his pockets, hoodie pulled down, hair in a low ponytail. He just arrived from training, but that didn't make him any less pumped for a fist fight and Victor knew it.
Yuri had grown stupidly tall over the years. He had managed to win half an inch over Victor and that made him annoyingly confident sometimes. But they never really fought after the younger turned 18. Maybe there was maturity, or they simply ran out of reasons to pick at each other. The thing is, Victor knows there's something big going on and just hopes he wasn't out of shape to deal with angry kittens.
"He looks more like Katsudon." Yuri said nonchalantly looking through the glass as well. Again, the quietness before a storm.
"Yes." He smiled a little at the baby "Guess we'll have some fun trying to get those recessive platinum hair genes next time."
Yuri almost gagged.
"Gross, Victor, I just had lunch."
"Sorry." He said not feeling sorry at all. He wondered if Yuri planned to start on the subject himself, or if he should make a move.
"So, how's the girl with the broken leg?" Yuri asked still not meeting his eyes.
"She's fine." He said slowly "She'll miss a season or two, but it's payback for trying quads without supervision. She reminds me of you at that age."
"I see." Victor got a sideglance at him, along with slight venom in the next words "So Yuuri was alone for nothing, after all. The girl would still have a broken leg if you were here or in Croatia."
"It's my job, Yuri. They're Juniors, they need support at times like these." He shrugged, still keeping a defensive approach.
Yuri fully turned now.
"Is your job more important than your mate and children?" He said with such disgust that Victor almost flinched. Also, he reeked of an Alpha ready to a maul.
Magazines and online articles on parenting often spoke of an event called 'The Clash', where young Alphas would have a serious argument with their sires to show they weren't children to be controlled anymore. It was part of the presenting process, but it could happen at any age.
Victor remembered the two times he had his Clash. The first was with Yakov, who he might as well consider his true father after looking after him for so long. At the time, Victor wanted more independence in choosing his programs and costumes, having a very soft spot for everythng unlikely for an Alpha. Long hair, make-up, frilly clothing. Fuck gender norms. The second one, it was with his father, the biological one. A very nasty fight that ended up with a disinherited Victor and a poor relationship with his family. He also cut his hair that day.
He suspected that Yuri was having his Clash now. The blond was confronting him for leaving Yuuri alone. Good, as if he wasn't feeling bad already.
"I don't think we should have this talk here, Yura." He's bold for still using the nickname when Yuri clearly isn't in the mood for endearments "Let's head to the coffeeshop down the street. The cafeteria here doesn't have any good pastries and I'm hungry."
Yuri looked like he gave zero fucks about where they should talk, but finally turned on his heel, walking down the hall.
Well, this would be interesting.
Victor convinced Yuri to have a latte and a muffin, his treat, so he wouldn't be the only one avoiding talking with food on his mouth.
It's not like he was scared. But he knew how Yuri could get protective with people he cared about. And Yuuri was more than a friend. He wondered just how mad he was.
Now they were at an outside table in the coffeeshop, quietly eating and watching passerbies. Yuri was the only person that could look threatening while munching on a muffin. Well, damn.
Here goes nothing.
"First, I think I should thank you for taking care of Yuuri while I wasn't here." He said putting his cup of tea down. "He can be stubborn sometimes, I was afraid he'd do something stupid. I'm forever grateful, Yuri."
The blonde rolled his eyes and drank his coffee.
"I just put him in a car, Victor, it's no big deal. An Uber could have done that." He looked at his cup with squinted eyes "You know, something very simple. Something anyone could have done." He looked up in mild disgust "But you should be the one doing it."
"I'm sorry, Yuri. It was an accident. If I knew that..."
"You're sorry? That's all you have to say?" He laughed humorless "It isn't me you should be saying it to, Victor. It's to Yuuri, the Omega that carried your child for nine months and delivered him safely and alone."
"I already apologized to him, Yuri, I'm not stupid." He said with a frown "What, you think I'm okay with this? Losing Alexei's arrival, knowing something could've gone wrong because I was far away?"
"Well, you sure looked very okay with leaving Yuuri alone in the first place." He spat closing his fists over the table "Were you crazy? Starting last month, he shouldn't be left uncared for no reason. What if I wasn't there? What if he couldn't call anyone? Did you even think about your mate's health while flying to do whatever shit in Croatia?!"
Yuri was raising his voice in every sentence while slowly getting up from his seat, but Victor kept calm. Some people looked their way and that was all. Yuri needed to let off some steam. He clearly was very stressed over this and now it's his chance to cool down.
The blonde didn't look satisfied with Victor's passive acceptance. That seemed to anger him even more. Damn, he wanted to fight, why isn't the old man cooperating?!
"Say something, for fuck's sake!" He all but screamed at the older "Try to defend yourself, curse me, anything. Show me you care!"
"What do you want me to say, Yuri?" He asked much lower than the other's voice "Of course I care. I'm disappointed in myself. I feel bad for unknowingly leaving my mate and child unprotected. I feel bad for making you go through all this. I'm sorry."
Yuri stared at him in disbelief. He couldn't believe in his own ears. Had Victor changed so bad? Or was he being too radical?
He was just so tired of this talk.
"You're not the Alpha I looked up to." It was all he said before leaving the table and walking down the street, a bewildered Victor looking at him.
It's been five days.
For five days Yuri and Victor have been in this odd cold war. Well, Yuri was in a war, Victor wanted to talk. But the young Alpha wanted to be petty, it seems. He would avoid Victor at the rink, at the gym, at the grocery store they usually bought snacks. So, everywhere.
Yuuri hasn't really gone out since getting out of the hospital, so it's been some time since he saw Yuri. But he noticed the mood change in Victor. When asked about how the talk went, he said Yuri was mad and it's an Alpha thing.
"You mean it's Alpha bullshit." Yuuri said while rocking a very awake Alexei that hasn't slept since 4 AM and it was driving him insane. It's 10 AM. Again, sleepy Yuuri is mean. "Talk to him. I can't have you two bickering around my baby."
"He doesn't want to talk with me." Victor answered for the third time that morning.
He wanted to give Yuri some space. But it looked like he needed too much space now.
"You're his sire, Victor. He needs help. Help him. You know Yura, he can be strong headed sometimes. I bet he just needs a little push." The Omega sighed, sending his baby a small smile "Some Alphas can be such morons, Alyosha. Your sire and brother are morons. Please, don't be a moron Alpha, ok, honey bun?"
"You're talking shit to my baby about me." The older said with a pout.
"Don't say such ugly words in front of him, Victor." Yuuri says completely forgetting how he just said 'bullshit' two minutes ago "Talk with Yuri. I miss him and Alyosha does, too."
Yuuri talked about how Yuri was already attached to Alexei. He was so sweet when he wasn't angry. Yuri probably missed his younger brother, but his pride wouldn't let him get anywhere near Victor. That's a very Plisetsky thing to do.
"I'll talk to him." He promised to a smiling Yuuri who closed the distance between them with a kiss on the cheek.
"Thank you. I really need extra hands with the laundry. Yuri would do." He joked just as Alexei started whining for attention.
Victor smiled, motioning to hold him.
"Okay, solnyshko, how about we let Daddy get some rest while we have fun?" He said holding a not very happy baby that probably favored being held by his dam.
"He's just like you: gets moody when we ignore him." Yuuri says with a relieved sigh as he cracked some joints. Damn, he was old.
"Now it's my fault? Well, I don't think so. See this cute face?" He pointed to a bored looking Alexei "It says 'Don't ever take your eyes of me'."
If Yuuri had a pillow he'd throw it at him.
"I hope Yuri gives you the punch he promised." He said before heading to the bedroom to finally have some sleep.
The next day, Victor cornered Yuri at the rink's dressing room. He stood with his arms crossed and a serious, but calm demeanor.
"Yuri," He called in a low voice "we need to talk."
The younger one ignored him while tying his shoes. Victor saw the slight tension in his shoulders when he spoke.
"I'm serious." He tried again. "Yuuri is worried about you."
"Tell him I'm fine and that I don't want to talk with his stupid ass husband for the next two years. He'll understand." He said standing up and taking his bag. "Bye."
Victor blocked his way at the door, making him look into his eyes for the first time in days. The Alpha didn't seem amused.
"I'm still your sire, Yuri." He said in a commanding, but still soft tone "Please, make this easier for us. I don't want our relationship to be strained over something so silly."
"It's not silly to me!" He raised his voice just as his cheeks flushed, pride crumbling as his status of son was acknowledged after what felt like an eternity "I'm... Ah, fuck it. I'm not mad at you, but I want to, Victor, because I was expecting you to be, I don't know, more moved about the whole deal and you're just so fucking calm, it's like you don't even care!" He took a breath to recollect himself. This was getting him more worked up than it should "This is... This is not what I expected from you. Not from the Victor I know."
Silence sat heavy between them while Yuri waited for a reaction and Victor took in his words. So Yuri expected a different reaction? Like what, did he want Victor to be his dramatic and extra usual self? But how could this make things better?
Well, it's emotional talk time.
"Let's walk, Yuri, so you can explain me this properly." The older said getting out of his way and motioning to follow him "Also, no matter where this is going, you're having dinner with us tonight."
The blonde rolled his eyes, but went along. It's not like he had plans for after the training, anyway.
Once again, they were walking side by side out of the rink, no real destination in mind. The weather was slowly becoming too cold to walk around in light clothes, so Victor kept himself from adjusting Yuri's scarf like he did when he was a child. He'd get some annoyed remarks doing that. The boy grew up so fast.
And Victor watched him grow.
"So, I am your role model." He started recalling their talk at the coffeeshop.
"Why, are you going to get cocky over that, too?" Yuri mumbled kicking a peddle while walking. "Let's all praise the amazing Victor Nikiforov, every young Alpha and their dad wants to be like him."
So it's a yes, he thought, but kept quiet. Victor apparently went against some idealized version Yuri had of him with the whole Croatia incident. He just wasn't sure of what to do to fix that.
"What do you like about me, Yura?" He asked just as they turned a corner.
Yuri sent him a glare and then answered with dripping sarcasm:
"Your luscious shoujo heroine hair?"
"I'm serious." He said with a smile, happy that Yuri was slowly opening up, even if with jokes.
"I like... how you always work your hardest to make something perfect." He answered with a small tinge to his cheeks, a little crease in his brows as he continued. "And how you're devoted to the things and people you love."
Ah, so it's there.
Unconsciously, they've been walking the path to the Katsuki-Nikiforov's house. It'd be some time until they got there, so Victor had plenty of time to do his work as a responsible and wise sire.
"You know, Yurachka, I think I know what's the problem here." He said casually looking at the lazy traffic on the street. "What does being an Alpha mean to you?"
The blonde scoffed.
"It means shit. Fuck gender norms."
"I guess so. Then let me change the question." Now he looked right at him, with interest "What does it mean to be a father, Yuri?"
That got Yuri thinking and he answers after a moment, with little hesitance:
"It means... Someone you can rely on, who won't leave you behind no matter what, who protects you." He finished seemingly satisfied with his answer.
The older nodded slowly.
"You're not wrong." He thought for a moment. "Do you consider me a good father?"
"Yes." He answered too fast for his usual punk-ish attitude and made a point to fix that "It doesn't change that you're stupid."
"Do you think I was a bad father for leaving Yuuri alone?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.
Yuri opened his mouth, just to close it again, brows furrowing as he tried to collect his words.
"It's complicated." He made a face "I know you didn't want to leave them behind. But... You should've thought better, tried to think all the possibilities and solutions... Not just go and wish for everything to be fine."
"But if I think everything will go wrong then I'll always be afraid." Victor pointed out.
"It's your family you're talking about." Yuri accused.
"And yours, too." Wide eyed, he finally realized what was going on there "Yura, aren't you taking this too far because it's about your family? Is that why you were so scared?"
"Yes, it is, Yuri." He smiled gently, a tingle of pride blooming in his chest. They haven't known each other for a lifetime like the other families, but it was enough to make Victor think he did a good job with Yuri. "Maybe you'd still be angry if it happened with a close friend or acquaintance, but there's more here. You care about Yuuri and Alexei because they're your family. It makes perfect sense. I'm sorry."
The young Alpha was caught like a deer in the headlights. He opened his mouth a few times, just to close it again. Finalky, he just sighed like he was too tired for that and said in a hurt voice:
"This isn't something you can just be sorry about." He stopped walking, so they were were just standing there in front of some park entrance while Yuri almost had a breakdown. "This... This isn't about missing a birth day, Victor. It's so much more. Fuck, you and Katsudon, you're the closest thing I've ever had to a complete family. No missing parts, no fights, just you. I know you're not enough of a douche to hurt him and mean it, but... I was scared. So fucking scared. Because if something happened, what would happen to you two? What would happen to me?"
Victor had his eyes wide open.
"I know, it's egoist as hell to think like this, I barely considered Alexei in the worst care scenario, but I was panicking, Victor. If you ever..." He looked like even saying the words was disturbing "If you ever broke up, I'd be lost. I can't see myself picking sides, I wouldn't know what to do. I know deep in my heart that you're the best father and husband someone can have." He looked up, eyes tearing, but with the confidence of an Alpha ready to protect his family "But if you ever do something to hurt Yuuri or Alyosha, I'll make you pay, Nikiforov. I won't hesitate on ignoring your status as my sire if it means defending them."
This is definetly the most beautiful shovel talk Victor ever got, but he couldn't bring himself to care. It was so good to see Yuri opening up about his feelings, to see him valuing the family he found along the way. Victor was proud. Really, really proud.
"You won't have to, Yura, I swear." He said pulling the younger Alpha into a hug, which went with little complaints "Again, I'm sorry if I made you worry about Alyosha and Yuuri. It was my mistake and I'll do my best to avoid them from now on." He pulled apart a little, hands on Yuri's shoulders "You know, the thing about fathers is that we won't always be able to be there and help you. But we'll try anyway."
Yuri smiled and it felt like he was fifteen again, being taken under their wings to leave behind that cold and lonely life from before. He hugged Victor again and they just stood there together, a million words silently said with just a embrace.
For Victor, he'd always be their first baby.
"I still kind of want to punch you." Yuri said muffled against Victor's shoulder.
"I guess I deserve it." He opened his arms in surrender "Come on, give all you got. Just avoid my nose."
Yuri seemed to contemplate for a minute, but he just snorted and shakes his head, crossing his arms.
"I wasn't raised in a barn. It would be stupid to beat down an old man." He tilted his head slightly "But you'll pay for my speed charges. The ones I got for taking Katsudon to the hospital."
"Okay." He said mildly relieved, even allowing himself to smile. He was really expecting to be knocked down. Angry Yuri wasn't something to be taken lightly.
"And" Yuri smiled devilishly "You won't have Alyosha's first pictures."
The smile vanished.
"I took Alexei's very first pictures. Lots of them." He said taking his cellphone and shaking it over his face "Think about him, so cute, all warm and fuzzy curled against Katsudon. Your husband was a mess, but he also looked so happy and joyful. I was a mess too, but I'm more stylish, thank you. It would be a shame if you couldn't see this.... Oh, wait, you won't."
If there was true evil in the world, its name would be Yuri Plisetsky.
"Yuri." He says lowly, stretching his hand with squinted eyes "Give me this cellphone. Now."
"Nope." Yuri said sounding pretty much like a soap opera villain now. "You've been dumb and you're being punished for it. Maybe I'll let you see something when Alexei start highschool."
"Yuri, this is Alpha abuse!" The older whined and tried to take the device by force. And there we have two grown men fighting over a smartphone in public. "I want to see my baby!"
"You can see him whenever you want, don't be dramatic." Yuri laughed promptly avoiding Victor's reach. It's so fun to be taller than other people. "If you try anything against me, Beka has direct instructions to release those Lillehammer photos on the web. Your choice."
Victor froze for a moment and then went back to his target with even more dread.
"You brat, we all agreed that Lillehammer never happened! This is low!" Why was Yuri so cruel? Those photos are important!
After a few minutes, he finally gave up on his mission, resigning himself to never see the surely cutest photos in the world. He pouts while raising a finger.
"You're a bad pup, Yuri Plisetsky. I hope you're happy with your choices because now you're on babysitting duty until forever."
"Don't call me pup, old man. I'm an adult!" He said with gritted teeth and slightly red cheeks. Yuri blushed a lot these days, apparently.
"A mean one, at that. I hope you realise the evil you're doing to your poor father one day." He said with a soft punch to the other's arm "Let's get going, Yuuri needs you to help with house chores."
"I hope I get an allowance, then."
"Yuri, you bought a Tesla. You don't need an allowance."