Fandom: Tiger & Bunny
Word Count: ~680
Characters: Yuri Petrov, Yuri's mother
Genre: gen, angst, hurt/comfort
Summary: Yuri makes a different choice. Fill for HC Bingo amnesty, mental health issues. Thanks to thecert for beta work!
Yuri held the wastebasket as his mother emptied her stomach into it, her thin frame wracked with her heaving until she only brought up clear bile. Exhausted, she lay back on the bed and smiled up at him with watery, bloodshot eyes.
"I'm sorry, Yuri. It won't be too much longer. When your father gets home he'll have medicine for me."
The certainty in her voice made Yuri's lips compress. Just a few hours ago she had been cursing the day she gave birth to him. Perhaps her fever had precipitated this particular turnaround. Not trusting himself to speak, Yuri turned to remove the wastebasket from the room.
For his mother there were two Yuris -- the devoted son with top grades in high school and an ambition to study law, and the monster who had murdered her husband. Whatever else he might be now, be it judge or vigilante, was no consequence. It was no wonder she preferred to think she was with the one and not the other, in a happier time long past.
Strangely, it wasn't the same when it came to his father. No matter what he had done to her, it had only been the difficult time he was going through, or the drink talking. Never him. Not Mr. Legend. And now even his death was no more than a temporary downturn. Yuri wrenched his fist back from where it had collided with the wall.
When he returned to his mother's room he carried a damp washcloth, and as he laid it on her forehead her eyes closed in gratitude. "You're such a good boy," she whispered. But only a few minutes of silence passed before she was retching into the wastebasket again. He braced his jaw against the stench and told his throbbing skull that this was no different from picking her up off the bathroom floor or latching her necklace clasp because she'd forgotten how. Just messier and less predictable. When she was through, he wiped her face with the washcloth and stood to get a fresh one, but she reached up to touch his cheek.
"You should go do your homework, dear. I'll be fine." She smiled, but when she lay back to stare at the ceiling her brow was furrowed with worry -- Where was he? she might as well have wondered aloud -- and Yuri felt his chest constrict.
Why doesn't she understand? he raged inwardly as he watered down the half-glass of apple juice he'd poured. By denying her husband's death, she denied his life, and the ideals he lived it by. But then, it was her madness speaking, a different form than his father's though no less tragic, and madness did not respond to logic, which was why Yuri swore he would never fall into it.
"Did your father pick this up for me?" his mother asked him as she accepted the glass from his hand, a smile he hadn't earned spreading across her face.
His head throbbed harder. My father is dead! he wanted to snarl as he had so many times before, even if it meant she flung the glass at him in a fury.
But his mother was ill, and not just in mind. And his father… before things went bad, his father would have bought her juice and sat by her bedside stroking her hair as she drank it. Even before he had begun to lose his powers and his life's work with them, Mr. Legend had been a strict disciplinarian with a quick and occasionally vicious temper, but he had been equally quick with laughter and smiles and words of comfort. Every day that Lunatic put the rabid dogs that roamed the streets out of everyone's misery, Yuri paid tribute to the ideals of the man he had been. But it was more than his ideals that merited tribute.
Even if it denies reality? a harsh voice asked. But Yuri's lips were already saying, "Yes, he bought it on the way home from the studio," and the joy that lit her eyes stripped him of all but a vestige of guilt.