Victor groaned from his position on the coach as he watched Yuuri and Yuri look over skating outfits online. They hadn’t moved from their seats in a few hours, had hardly done anything to increase Yuri’s skill in the rink in a month, and Victor was reaching his limit.
In the years since they had decided to continue their careers in Russia and started a family, Victor’s goals had expanded. He didn’t want to just be the best couple in figure skating, Victor wanted to have the best family anyone on ice had ever seen. Yuuri had the same ambitions, but he was willing to move slower in training their son. Looking at outfits online was what they considered preparing for Yuri’s first skating competition next month while Victor thought they should have been in the rink.
Although he could easily tell that Victor was annoyed, Yuuri made the decision to ignore the occasional furtive glances until Victor decided to start a legitimate conversation. In the end it only took a few minutes before the game show could no longer hold Victor’s attention and he turned to his family and asked, “Shouldn’t we be in the rink practicing skating? We’ve spent more time looking over outfits than we have coming up with a program.”
“You’ve been trying to come up with a program since you heard about the competition,” Yuuri countered. “You go as far as waking me up at night to see what I think about your new idea for footwork and what combination would be best to end with.” Pointing to something Victor couldn’t see but could tell by Yuri’s reaction he hated, Yuuri added, “Artistry is just as important as technique, Victor. We have to make sure Yuri looks as nice as he skates.”
Just to make a point, Victor turned to his son and asked, “Did you find something you like, Yuri?”
Taking the computer out of Yuuri’s lap to show Victor, Yuri pointed to one in the center of the screen and explained excitedly, “This one is my favorite. It looks just like a tiger. It has the stripes and tails and everything.” Victor couldn’t remember ever being as excited as Yuri as he added, “Daddy said we could even get my cat ears and use makeup to make it look like I’m a real tiger.”
Raising an eyebrow to his husband silently making the point that kids with cat ears and whiskers was not artistry, Victor diplomatically said, “That’s one thing we could do, but don’t you want to wear something more tradition like the outfits Daddy and I wear? The judges might not like this one.”
Yuri’s nose crinkled up at the suggestion and he stressed, “I want to be a cat, Papa. I want to dress up like a tiger and have the song from Lion King. This has some sparkles likes the ones you and Daddy wear. Is that good enough?”
There was a point he could make about the fact there weren’t any tigers in the Lion King, but he knew pedantics would be lost on his son. Instead, Victor tried to argue, “The judges aren’t going to like that, Yuri. They are going to think you look weird.”
“I don’t care what they like, Papa. I like cats and I want to be a cat.” As he ran back to Yuuri and pressed his face into his lap hoping he would come to his aid, Yuri repeated, “Cat, Papa. Cats!” just for good measure.
Knowing a losing battle when he saw one, especially when he was outnumbered with Yuri and Yuuri, Victor turned back to skating. Maybe if he could get Yuri to nail the program the judges would look past the untraditional debut. “If I let you be a cat can we start with the skating now.” Just to make sure he could get as much as possible from the situation, Victor added, “You’ve only gone through your program a few times and I think we can make it a little harder, too. You’ll be able to be a tiger the whole time if you want.”
Yuri looked up to Yuuri from his position on his lap for direction and when he got a nod he said, “Okay, we can start again, but I have to wear my ears so I know they won’t fall off. If they do we have to change it.”
Ready to leave as soon as possible, Victor stood up and grabbed Makkachin’s leach before instructing, “Yuri, grab your skates and cat ears and we can leave in fifteen minutes. We’re going to be there for a while so make sure to get a snack if you think you might want one later.”
Excited, Yuri lept up from his position on the floor and ran up to his room leaving his fathers to discuss the boring side of skating. He needed to be alone to contemplate whether or not including Makkachin in the performance would be going too far. They might be able to dress him up like a wolf and pretend like they’re fighting, maybe Scar from Lion King if Yuri could be Simba, but Yuri wasn’t sure how good of an actor the dog was. Makkachin mostly just did whatever he wanted.
As soon as they couldn’t see their son Victor turned to Yuuri and asked, “Why a cat? He could be anything he wanted to and he chose a cat. If he wanted to be a superhero or cowboy like a normal kid it wouldn’t be a deal, but I’ve seen a debut as a cat.” He walked over and his head on Yuuri’s shoulder as he lightheartedly complained, “You’re too easy on him, Yuuri. You let him get away with whatever he wants.”
“He’s four, Victor.” Thinking back to the past competitions Victor had had them rewatch on video repeatedly to gauge their competitions, Yuuri reminded him, “Most of the kids there aren’t going to be able to stay up straight and the ones who do are going to start crying as soon as they mess up.”
“That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be focused on his program,” Victor stressed. “There’s a lot of room for improvement, especially with his wobbly jumps.”
Tilting his head to the side just far enough that Victor could see the amused look, Yuuri asked, “Remember what Yakov said when you showed him your first program? I just wish I had my phone with me because I’ve never seen him that freaked out.”
“This wouldn’t be the first time he was wrong,” Victor said smirking. “I seem to remember him saying a lot about me becoming your coach.”
“A four year old can’t do doubles, Victor. They can barely land when they jump and even then it’s mostly always shaky.” Yuuri was sure Victor couldn’t even do doubles at that age, but he didn’t want to challenge him on it and be proven wrong. One thing worse than an annoying Victor was a righteous one.
“Yuri isn’t most four year olds. He could do anything he wants on the ice, but he’s more focused on the cat costume. If he focused he could win.”
“And he can dress up like a cat and still win.” Repositioning them so they couldn’t avoid looking at one another, Yuuri said, “You and I both know that, you just don’t like that it’s too easy. You want a challenge to excite him.”
Victor sighed and said, “I guess it’s a good thing that he’s excited at the very least. He’ll care more about it now.” Suddenly inspired, Victor realized, “I might be able to get him to compromise on a solid black suit and say it’s a panther or jaguar, whichever one he likes the most. The music and makeup might be a problem, but if we keep the whiskers clean and thin enough they might not notice.”
“He’s still going to want a tail and ears,” Yuuri pointed out. “Maybe even a song from The Jungle Book instead of Lion King.” It always surprised Victor how cute Yuuri could look while he was breaking Victor’s heart.
Looking back to the laptop, Victor decided, “I guess a tiger might be cuter. If anything we can make Yuri the cutest kid they see and appeal to them from that direction.” Taking it as a new challenge, Victor decided, “When he’s done all the other parents there are going to wish he was their son.”
Happy enough that Victor was starting to enjoy the new direction, Yuuri reminded him, “I think you should focus on adapting your program from a song from the movie. If the step sequence doesn’t make him think of a tiger he’s not going to be impressed.”
Grabbing the keys to their car and mentally working over program that could win first, Victor groaned, “If he doesn’t win first I won’t be impressed.”
Yuuri laughed as he woke up Makkachin from his nap and said, “If he doesn’t make all the judges faint from excitement you won’t be impressed.”