A/N: Hello, people!
I don't own Yuri on Ice.
I have no beta.
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-Small surprises slipped in here. I wonder if you'll find all of them!
'It's impossible!' the girl signed in frustration, eyes tearing up. And it was understandable. She had literally just wiped out on the ice and was just laying there, staring up at the ceiling and pouting. Her one hand was griping the hip that she had landed on and the landing had been a spectacular one indeed.
To put them on a more even ground, Yuuri laid on the ice with her and waited. Sometimes it was best to wait, because what else could you do when a pre-teen was frustrated? He would be there when she wanted to discuss her problems and at times that was all Mara needed.
'Do you really think I can do it?' Mara ended up asking moments later, hands shaking. 'Sometimes I don't even think I can,' she admitted.
'I think you can do anything so long as you work hard. Don't even let your doubts to have any power over you. They haven't earned that right.'
The two remained on the ice for several more moments, just staring at one another.
She shifted and eventually pushed herself to her feet, which was his cue to join her. The tear tracks on her cheeks were still noticeable, but her eyes were dry if a little glossy, and she looked to be filled more determination. 'I'm going to try it again.'
Mara proceeded to go and do a Double Toe Loop, proving that she could do it and that she wouldn't fail every time she tried. Sometimes one needed to believe in themself in order to succeed.
Yuuri beamed with pride for the rest of the day.
'Now when you're moving on to your spread eagle, your feet aren't spread apart wide enough, nor are they bent properly, so you'll have to work on that when you do your daily yoga meetings. It shouldn't hurt when you do it, and it shouldn't be a struggle. It has be as natural as the push across the ice is to you.'
She nodded and tried to move her legs apart as she was supposed to. Yoga had been very helpful to loosen her up and to keep her body limber. But she wasn't perfect and could only do medium stretches and poses so far. It could get boring at times, but she was willing to go through whatever was necessary if it meant improving her figure skating.
The skates wobbled a little and she reached out for Victor's hand. He caught her easily and steadied her on her feet and waited for her to let go before he too removed his hands. She appreciated that, because he only ever let go when the other person did first. He was like a rock, steady and strong and willing to be there for as long as you needed him.
'I got it!' she signed happily, beaming at the sight of her heels almost touching perfectly. All she had to do was get used to doing it immediately, which would take time but it would be worth it.
'How about you do some compulsory figures to cool down before going for your jumps?' Victor suggested, skating backward to free up more of the ice. 'And maybe a few lunges and suicides.'
Mara pushed off, ready for the common figure eights. She liked them the most because they were the easiest to do. The suicides, not so much. Victor was evil even when he was being super nice and understanding.
'People are mocking me because I don't have a boyfriend!'
'Do you even want a boyfriend at thirteen?' asked Yuuri, frowning.
She shrugged and leaned against the barrier. 'I haven't really thought about it. It's not something that's going to help me right now and I can only be competitive for a certain period of time. I don't think romance can really happen right now, you know? It could be a distraction.'
The man's shoulders slumped. 'Victor and I both didn't do relationships for a very long time. I had been skating for over a decade before we got together and he has been my only relationship. And I'm pretty sure he never dated either. So it isn't uncommon. Just do what makes you happy and ignore the fools at school.'
The teen sighed. 'Then they say that there's no way I can win a gold medal because I'm too young or because I'm Deaf and what can I really do against everyone else? Who have all this experience over me?'
'Mara, what have we always taught you?' asked Yuuri, face stern and stance stiff. A common look whenever he was annoyed.
'"That we don't ever let the words of someone who doesn't know us, dictate who we are. I am not the opinion of someone who doesn't know me",' she mimed for what felt like the zillionth time. It had been something she had to repeat often because often was she filled with doubts. But it wasn't just her. Victor and Yuuri made anyone who doubted themselves, repeat it over and over if necessary.
'Exactly,' he signed with a nod. 'Don't give the idiots power over you. Besides, victory will only be more sweet when you prove them wrong.'
Victor and Yuuri stood in front of the cameras, shaking their hands over and over. "Applause," they instructed in unison. "This is how you applaud a Deaf individual," Yuuri added, slowing down for the benefit of the viewers.
And one by one, the audience mimicked them once they all saw what the two were doing on the screens all over the large rink. And even the other Novice skaters along with their coaches, were doing it as Mara finished her Short Program at the US Novice Championships.
Feeling proud of that little accomplishment, Yuuri dragged Victor toward the gate so they could tell their pupil how well she had done, and then enumerate everything she still had to work on. And Mara, who had gotten used to the way they handled their teaching, would take their criticisms with a smile and a determined nod.
Both men glomped the girl once she was off the ice, too proud to hold back.
The two shared a look of worry, because Mara had not come in for the third day in a row. Both understood how the girl was feeling. Neither of them had managed to get to their first JGPF. Victor got in on his second attempt, and Yuuri took three tries but had eventually gotten in as well.
Still, it had to feel like shit because she had been working so hard and had done really well previously as a Novice. Even won the Novice Championships. But that didn't mean she would suddenly be able to jump into the Junior Division and keep up with everyone else, who had been around longer.
So Mara was a bit heartbroken at the moment. She would simply have to work even harder and they'd have to up her training so she could come in next season and astound everyone. It wasn't the end of Mara Santiago.
It was a good lesson though. Not everything would come so easily and not everyone succeeded immediately. Even when they worked as hard as they could. Sometimes you had to fail in order to succeed.
'I did it!'
Victor laughed as Mara tackled Yuuri, the JGPF gold medal almost slapping her in the face, she'd been jumping so much. The second time was a charm it seemed. And the look on her face was pure bliss.
'We're so proud of you!' Yuuri told her as Victor nodded erratically. 'And you get tacos tonight because we have to celebrate and call your mom. She'll want to see you as soon as possible.'
Mara took a deep breath. The lights overhead were almost too much for her, but her coaches were right behind her and represented strength. They'd been there for her for the past nine years, and finally, she was going to prove to herself, that their training hadn't been a waste of time. Because this moment was what mattered most.
The seventeen year old squeezed their hands one last time, before taking to the ice upon their gestures. She slid into her starting position toward the right-hand side of the rink, and waited for Victor to raise the bright purple flag she'd chosen as her cue.
It swiveled thrice, and Mara pushed off, delicately waving her arms as if they were the wings of a bird about to take off, and then bringing them in close. A hold for security.
Right now was the most important moment of her life, and she had to prove that this was serious in more ways than one.
And in the preparation for her first jump of her Free Program, Mara lifted off for a record-setting jump she'd been working on for months.
"Mara Santiago has just landed a Quadruple Toe Loop. She is the first ever skater for the Ladies, to have accomplished such a thing! As well as the first ever Deaf skater among the Ladies that has performed a Quad jump! This is truly a history making event, folks! What an amazing action to take at her very first Senior Grand Prix Final!" the announcer practically screamed.
Victor turned to Yuuri, whose eyes managed to remain so shiny and full of life even though his hair resembled salt and pepper now and his sideburns were greying. The two embraced one another in absolute joy at their student's success. In training she had only landed the jump one third of the time she practiced it, but there she had gone and done it, setting the expectations even higher.
"She did it," Yuuri murmured in relief. "She worked so hard, Vitya!"
'I know, love. I'm so proud of her and no matter what happens today, she is the winner and nothing can convince me otherwise.'
The medal felt warm in her hand and it shined like no other medal ever had for her. Her first ever Senior GPF, and she had managed to get the gold and set a new record while she was at it. It was something that not even her Living Legend coach had managed upon his first time entering the Senior Division.
Mara was the third student from On Ice to make it to international competition. And like her fellow Deaf skater Marc McKinney, who had just won the Junior Men's Singles while under the training of his coach Yuri Plisetsky, Mara had brought in the gold for the school.
The audience were all holding their hands up and shaking them repeatedly in the customary sign for 'Deaf applause'. Since clapping could not be truly appreciated, this was the way she had learned. And Mara had only just realized that they had been doing it since she was a Junior. Even that small bit of acknowledgement was enough to make her tear up.
Mara turned to beam at her coaches who had literally made all of this possible, and signed a wide 'thank you' to them. If On Ice hadn't been created, she would have simply given up on her dream to be a professional figure skater. But because Victor Nikiforov decided that he wanted a figure skating school specifically for D/deaf and Hard of Hearing people, and he fought for the right have it, she was able to learn and grow.
Mara Santiago was the fourth Deaf figure skater to make it to an international competition. She was the second in the Ladies to make it, and the first to land a Quad jump. Also the first Deaf person to win the gold during her first Senior GPF.
It meant more than many would ever know. But her coaches did. And she owed them everything.
It was true, what the motto of On Ice stated. 'Nothing was impossible if you worked hard enough.'
A/N: Done For real this time!
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