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Up in the air

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“What’s this book?”

Summer is almost over in Hasetsu and nights are turning into something colder. Victor can see the leaves changing their colour, even falling, and that’s probably one of the things that are keeping him sane. It’s helping him realize that, somehow, time is also passing on him.

Well, that and Yuuri, of course.

“That book,” answers Victor when he sees what Yuuri is holding, “was my mother’s journal.”

He approaches Yuuri with a nostalgic smile on his face and keeps talking while Yuuri offers it to him as if it was a relic.

“She was an inventor and everything she learnt, the inventions she came up with, their designs, mistakes and right decisions, everything is here.”

He turns the pages and shows Yuuri their content. Neither of them can’t take their eyes off the book and the different designs on it.

“It’s really useful and inspiring. She didn’t have enough time to finish all her projects and designs, so sometimes I try to make them myself, even improve them if they became outdated.”

The cover of the book is made of brown artificial leather, and there is a strip holding it closed. The passage of time had turned the pages yellowish, but, still, one could tell by only looking at it that it was well taken care of.

Victor hands it to Yuuri again, and although his eyes are in the past, Yuuri feels him close, closer. He dares to touch it again, more carefully this time.

“It’s so soft, oh god,” he mutters, and Victor laughs.

Yuuri turns the pages again, slower this time, and stares at the designs and the handwritten notes at each side of them. Victor adds stories about some of them, and although it takes them forever to reach the end, he doesn’t stop.

There isn’t any design in the last page, though. Yuuri finds instead a list of names, with the title Great Inventors on top. The first ones are written in a delicate italic handwriting, clear and balanced, while the last one… It looks like it was a child the one who wrote it. It reads Irina Nikiforova.

“Who’s this person?” Yuuri turns his head to look at Victor.

“That was my mother’s name. Nikiforov is my family name.” Yuuri opens his mouth in surprise. “She made a list of every inventor she looked up on, but she didn’t put her name. I asked her and she told me that she wasn’t a good inventor.”

Victor runs his fingers over the letters.

“So when she wasn’t looking I wrote her name on it.”

“What did she say?” Yuuri asks with tender eyes.

“She made me believe that she was mad because I had written something on her journal without permission. But she actually cooked my favourite dish for three nights in a row.” He laughs with his eyes closed, remembering, and Yuuri joins him

“She sounds like she was an amazing woman,” Yuuri adds while he tries to picture Irina Nikiforova in his mind.

Victor’s smile speaks volumes of nostalgia and it infects Yuuri.

“She was.”

 

 

Not many days later, when Victor wakes up missing his mother more than usual and has the desperate need to cling to something of hers, he turns to her journal, to her handwriting, to her words. That always works in a way he can’t begin to understand.

When he reaches the last page, though, he is welcomed by something that wasn’t there the last time he checked. Right below his mother’s name, there’s a new one, carefully written in black ink.

“Victor Nikiforov.”

Victor beams and cries at the same time. Yuuri gets extra kisses for forever.