They had thought about telling Yakov for some time now. The coach deserved to know the true origins of their son, even if it was bizarre and somewhat hard to believe, but they trusted Yakov would try to understand. Victor reassured Yuuri of that.
But as they sat across from Yakov at the kitchen table, having just told him the truth, Yuuri found Victor’s reassurance hard to believe.
“What do you mean you’ve adopted the antichrist?”
They shared a look, uncertain how exactly to answer Yakov’s question.
“Well…” Victor cleared his throat. “We adopted a child who so happened to be the antichrist.”
Yakov’s mouth hung open but no words came out; trapped in the back of his throat as he tried to process their words. Yuuri could understand his disbelief, or even his bewilderment. It was a lot to take in. He only hoped that Yakov would be understanding of their son who was different to other children.
“You mean to tell me…” His eyes closed as his head shook, lost for words until he asked, “what gave it away, exactly?”
There were a few things that gave it away.
They probably should have seen it coming after his name was changed from Damien to Yurio before he was adopted, but neither Victor or Yuuri thought much of it at the time.
He was just like any other kid his age; maybe a little strange, but he was good.
“Well, he used to turn all our picture frames upside down every night,” Yuuri mentioned, but as Victor pulled a face as he shook his head, he too realized that wasn’t the beginning. “But at the time, we thought he was trying to be funny. We were just happy he was settling down nicely.”
“I think it was when he began to draw what we noticed something wasn’t right,” Victor suggested.
Yurio liked to draw.
He'd draw little scribbles on the table and napkins; intricate designs of symbols he made up. Yuuri would smile and ask him what they meant, but Yurio never told him. He’d stare for a few moments, eyes glistening before turning back to his doodle. They praised his creativity, but after he began drawing in red marker on the walls, they didn’t necessarily discourage him from doing so, but instead, suggested he’d stick to a drawing book instead.
He was a rather good artist too. One morning, he tugged Yuuri’s sleeve to show him a drawing he had done. It was a picture of a goat-faced man draw in red crayon with the word ‘father’ written above it. Yuuri was… somewhat concerned to say the least, but who was he to judge what his child decided to draw?
“Is this for me?” Yuuri asked him. Yurio nodded mutely. Although it made his stomach twist with nerves, he was taken back by its detail. He couldn’t deny it was a good drawing. “It’s wonderful, Yurio. Victor! Come look at this!”
He showed the picture to Victor, who patted Yurio’s head for his efforts and put it on the fridge.
“Now everyone will see it,” Victor grinned.
They hadn’t taken it down since.
“He’s a very talented artist, even if he likes to draw pentagrams and goat-men,” Victor smiled proudly. Even Yuuri couldn't deny that he was proud, regardless of what Yurio chose to draw. “We’re not going to discourage him from the arts just because of what he draws. He’s good at it and he deserves the recognition.”
“Vitya…” Yakov sighed hard. He stormed to his feet, snatched the drawing Yurio did from their fridge, and slid it across the table to show the two. “He’s drawing the devil.”
Now that Yakov mentioned it, Yuuri could see what he meant. He wondered how he didn't notice that a long time ago but it didn't change anything. "It's a good drawing too," Yuuri beamed as he picked up the picture, showing it to Victor who held a smile wider than his own. "Look at how talented he is, Victor! He could be a famous artist if he wanted.”
“You two are completely out of it!” Yakov bellowed.
They shared a glance again with a small smile on their faces. They knew exactly the thing to tell Yakov that’ll drive the coach insane, but the question was whether they should let him know. He was already stressing too much about the situation, and Yuuri wondered perhaps they should go gentler with the man. It was a lot to take in.
But it seemed Victor had other ideas.
“That’s not all he did.”
They went to the park.
Yurio didn’t want play with the other kids. He was happy to sit on the ground and rip the grass from the earth. He even actively ignored any of the kids who came over and wanted to be his friend. He was more interested in other things, and soon found enjoyment in picking daisies. Yuuri thought he was going to make a daisy chain and nudged Victor to have him watch too, but when Yurio was done, he held them out in his hand. He stared intently, eyes narrowed until a fire sparked in his hand and the daisies burst into flames.
Yuuri had never seen anything like it. He shared an equally startled look that Victor held when their eyes met.
“Did he just-?”
That night, they celebrated with chocolate cake for dessert and reminded him that fires should be set in a controlled environment. If he wanted to start one, he should ask an adult or do it out in the garden.
“He can set fires by will…” Yakov sighed, falling down to his seat with a thump. He scrubbed a hand across his face. “You do realize how dangerous that is for a child?”
“We are very well aware of that,” Victor stated. Yuuri was a little insulted that he’d assume they wouldn’t be aware of the dangers of fire. “Which is why we taught him how to be safe around a fire and ask an adult before he sets anything alight. We found it’s safest for everyone if he keeps the fire in his hand until it burns out. It doesn’t hurt him either. How incredible is that?”
Yakov didn’t share the same amazement. He continued shaking his head, exhaling heavily whenever they mentioned something he didn’t quite agree with. Again, Yuuri understood his incomprehension. It was a lot to take in that their son was the antichrist. They went through their own worry themselves, spending too many nights wide awake with questions and uncertainty in their mind, unsure what to do or how to care for a son who was different.
Yes, Yurio was different than other children, but they realized it didn’t mean it had to be a bad thing.
“And what else can he do?”
“Well, we soon found out that he speaks Latin,” Victor began, holding out a finger as he counted. “He also hates the taste of salt which… didn’t alarm us that much until we discovered he’s the antichrist, so that made sense. He also asked us if we could adopt a hellhound, but we didn’t know how to get one.”
“And you two never spoke about this?” Yakov asked frantically.
“Do you think he was abused by bad people?” Yuuri asked with a lump in his throat and his stomach twisting in despair. He couldn’t dare imagine anyone doing that to his son. “There must’ve been a reason he was put up for adoption.”
“They said he was found on their doorstep, so if he was, it’s unlikely he’d remember it,” Victor replied. It spread relief through his bones but didn’t shake his unnerving feeling. “But I do agree with you. There’s something different about him.”
And as Yuuri sat there, trying to piece the puzzle pieces together, he couldn’t come up with a logical conclusion.
“That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing,” He shrugged.
“No, but I think for his sake, we should find out soon.”
“We concluded that we didn’t want to try to change him,” Victor continued. Yuuri nodded along, ignoring Yakov’s bug-eyed glare. “This is who he is and what kind of parents would we be if we tried to change him?”
“Appropriate,” Yakov stated.
“We’d be terrible!” Victor gasped, startled that Yakov would even suggest such a thing. “We're not going to be mad at him for something that he is. We're going to encourage the good he does, even if his powers aren't so good."
As much as Yakov was huffing and shaking his head at them, Yuuri believed they were getting through to him – or at least, he was beginning to calm down. It was a lot to take in, even for himself and Victor; they were still learning something new about Yurio every day. It wasn’t an easy task to care of the antichrist, but all they needed was some extra help, or even acceptance from other people. If Yakov could accept Yurio for who he was, perhaps this could help him begin to open up to others as well.
That was the idea, at least.
“Alright, it seems you two have really committed yourselves to this,” Yakov sighed and raised his hands in defeat. “So, what was it that made you realize he was the antichrist?”
They looked at each other.
“When he summoned a hellhound.”
The morning was young as they sat in the kitchen, watching Yurio through the window as he played in the garden.
He wasn’t doing much. He did what he enjoyed; burning daisies and grass in his hand. That was nothing new to them. They trusted he’d stay safe while doing so, but they watched him cautiously, just in case.
What startled them was when Yurio jumped to his feet. He quickly ran inside and past them, bolting up the stairs with an excitement neither had ever seen from the boy before. They shared a curious glance, brows furrowed heavily.
“Yurio!” Victor called as they heard thumping from upstairs. “Yurio, what are you doing?”
But as Yurio came rushing down the stairs and past them again, coloring book and red crayon in hand, he ignored Victor’s question.
They watched him through the window as he sat on the grass. He began scribbling symbols in his book with his tongue stuck out and concentration in his eyes. It wasn't unusual for him to make sudden choices before. They'd seen it when he'd quickly grab his coloring book and begin drawing a new symbol. What was unusual was his excitement. They'd never seen him with such happiness before - even when they adopted him!
When he closed his eyes and began muttering under his breath, Yuuri turned to Victor as they shared a curious look, and asked, “what do you think he’s doing?”
Victor shrugged, “I’m not sure.”
But as they looked back, their hearts stopped as they jumped to their feet, both pressed against the window as they watched the scene unfold in front of them.
A dark portal rested by Yurio’s feet. The world turned dark, the sky went black, and they watched as a creature spawned from its depths. It climbed from the portal and into their world, and what stood in front of their son was what appeared to be a dog. It stood taller than their son; its fur was black and mangled with eyes that were glowing red, and the strong smell of burning brimstone filled the air.
The portal then disappeared. The delighted squeal from their son took them back, but what surprised them even more was the dog-like creature pouncing on the spot, tail wagging as Yurio picked up a nearby stick and threw it across their garden. The creature chased after it and safely returned it to Yurio who continued the game of fetch.
“Victor…” Yuuri gulped, “have you pondered the possibility that we may have adopted the antichrist?”
Yakov didn’t blink for thirty seconds – at least.
“And…” He cleared his throat and scratched the back of his neck. “Is – is this thing still around?”
They said nothing as they pointed to the window behind the man. He turned, watching Yurio play outside in the garden with a dog – a hellhound – that chased after the stick held in his hands, leaving behind burnt pawprint marks on the grass where it had walked.
Yakov said nothing as he turned to sit back down in his seat. His face was white. His eyes had bulged wide, clearly alarmed by the hellhound that was now their pet. Yuuri had expected such a reaction – their own wasn’t too different – but when Yakov cleared his throat, he was hopeful for the man to say something. He waited, but nothing seemed to encourage him to speak. His voice was lost – trapped as he could do nothing but stare.
“We understand it’s a lot to take in,” Victor explained calmly, “but we wanted to tell you because we want him to flourish as a person. We don’t want him to be ashamed of who he is or what his future might hold. We believe if his family is accepting of him, he’d have a brighter future. His life would be better.”
Yakov’s eyes closed as he exhaled a long breath. He still didn’t say anything, but when Yuuri caught movement to his left, all three eyes turned to their six-year-old son, Yurio.
“Papa…” He walked towards Victor as he tugged his sleeve, wanting his attention. “Papa, Makkachin wants to meet Uncle Yakov.”
At Yurio’s words, Yuuri caught the way the coach’s eyes dazzled as a smile appeared on his lips, and it encouraged Yuuri’s own to show too. He watched as the man crouched to his knees as a cautious and careful hellhound – Makkachin, so Yurio called it – slowly walked towards him. It sniffed his trembling fingers.
Yuuri understood Yakov’s terror. It was a scary creature at first glance, but they learned it was as harmless as a bunny. Yakov came to realize that too as Makkachin’s tail began to wag and allowed Yakov to pet it, excited to meet a new person as it barked a deep and growling boof!
It was then that Yuuri wondered perhaps asking Yakov to accept Yurio into the family wasn’t what they needed to do, but for Yurio to accept Yakov into the family was.
“Well…” Yakov said, clearing his throat as he stood to his feet. “If you need a babysitter, I wouldn’t mind the job.”
And as they smiled, Victor nodded. “We’ll keep that in mind.”