Lullaby in Three Parts: Parents
31 October 1991, Adelaide, Australia
It had started, as stories of this nature often do, with an alien. Well, technically, a bunch of aliens, but most of them got destroyed, which was their just desserts for trying to kill everyone. The one good one that was left, though, he was called the Doctor.
“You could come with me, if you like. See the universe,” he added awkwardly, trying to give an incentive to the two drivers.
Michael and Mika had looked at each other, then at the Doctor. “You can get us back in time for the Australian Grand Prix, right?” Michael had asked.
“Of course!” The Doctor had sounded slightly insulted at that. “I’d have you back before you’d even be missed!”
With another glance at each other, they agreed to travel with him. Just for a little while. It wasn’t like either of them would be missed, they were both rookies with no chance to win the championship this year.
“All right,” Michael said, nodding.
“Great!” The Doctor said, grinning and adjusting his bow tie. “I know a planet you two will love!”
And so Michael and Mika traveled with the Doctor. They traveled to many worlds (only about half of which tried to kill them), the distant past (it was amazing meeting Mozart), and the future (by the 40th century, Formula One has circuits on different planets, did you know?).
Through the running and exploring, Michael and Mika started to fall in love. It wasn’t like they were discouraged, in fact, Mika sometimes suspected that the Doctor invited them onto the TARDIS specifically to get them together. When he confronted the Doctor, though, he only smiled enigmatically.
some time after boarding the TARDIS
3327, Keathote Seven
They were at a festival of some sort. Neither of them remembered what exactly it was celebrating, and it was some alien holiday, anyway. The Doctor had told them to be careful of what they ate, handing them a device that would tell them what a food item was, its properties, some history, and whether it would be toxic to human bodies.
“Mike, is this toxic to humans?” Mika had said, holding up a glass filled with blue liquid. Michael waved it over the glass, skimming over all the other information (he didn’t even bother reading the name of it) until he found the answer.
“No, it’s safe.”
Having his answer, Mika took a sip. “Hmm. Reminds me of mint.”
“That means I won’t try it. I don’t like mint.”
Mika smiled. “More for me, then, kulta.” And he downed the drink.
“Mmmm,” Michael hummed as Mika pushed him against the TARDIS door, kissing him deeply. He was rock hard and sending Michael in that direction.
“I want you to fuck me Michael, so hard, drive me wild,” Mika kept murmuring, blindly trying to unlock the TARDIS. Michael stopped Mika’s hand, took the key himself, and unlocked the door, leading Mika to the bedroom they started to share after a while.
Two months later, the TARDIS
“DOCTOR!” Michael hollered as he dragged a fainted Mika out of the bathroom where he had been throwing up. “Help!”
The Doctor found them and helped Michael get Mika to a medical room. “What’s happened to him?”
“I don’t know! He’s been sick for a couple days and then he passed out just now!”
“All right, calm down,” the Doctor said as they got him onto a bed, pulling out his trusty sonic screwdriver and waving it over Mika’s body. “I’ll figure this out and we’ll…well, that can’t be right.”
“Michael?” Mika murmured as he stirred while the Doctor scanned Mika’s body again. “What’s wrong with me?”
“No, no, that can’t be right! Unless…” The Doctor’s eyes widened then narrowed. “You two. When we were at that festival two months ago, what did you drink?”
“You seriously expect us to remember what we ate two months ago?”
“That thing. That we used to check on foods. It’s on the dresser, Michael.”
“I don’t get it, though, we checked to make sure that nothing was toxic!”
“Did you check to see if there are other effects?” the Doctor said.
Mika and Michael looked at each other. It was clear they hadn’t.
The Doctor sighed. “Go get it.” As Michael ran to get the device, the Doctor looked at Mika with pity. “Oh, Hakkinen, what did you do to yourself?”
“Why?” Mika sat up. “What did the screwdriver say was wrong?” The Doctor wouldn’t answer. “Am I going to die?”
“No! No. Quite the opposite in fact.”
“What do you…”
“I got it!” Michael said, handing the device over to the Doctor. Taking it, the Doctor looked through the history until pausing at one. He stared at it, then put a hand to his forehead. “Mika. Did you drink this?”
The two drivers looked at the picture that popped up. It had been that blue drink.
“Yeah, you did, Mika. I remember, I decided not to cause you said it tasted like mint.”
“Don’t you remember why we were there? It was a festival celebrating life.”
“So what you drank, Mika, is an aphrodisiac designed to guarantee a conception.”
“But…we’re both men.”
“And if there isn’t a womb, one will be created.”
They stared at him in disbelief. “You can’t be serious.”
“I’m afraid I am. Mika, you’re carrying Michael’s child.”
The Doctor had found himself thrown out of the room as Mika went into a full blown panic attack.
“I can’t…I can’t…Michael, I’m not supposed to do this!” Michael didn’t say anything at first, just holding Mika. “I’m too young to be a father, and how will I explain this?”
“I don’t know,” Michael said, trying to keep calm, trying to keep his own panic from showing. “There’s probably something we can do. We’ve got all of space and time at our disposal. We’ll think of something.”
Seven months later, the TARDIS
Mika touched his son’s face.
“You really are beautiful. I wish I could keep you, but…this is for the best. Neither Michael and I could give you the life you deserve by ourselves, and the world would never let us do it together. And there would be so many questions about your existence that it would be difficult to answer, and you don’t deserve that.” He smiled bitterly. “I told the Doctor to find someone on Earth to take care of you. He reassured me that he would find a time period where you would flourish.” Mika held his son close. “I will always love you, even if I never see you again. Goodbye.”
Having said his farewell, Mika handed him over to Michael, whose task it was to take him to the person that would raise him. He stared at the wall as they left, feeling a sense of loss already.
21 March 1980, Leningrad, the Soviet Union
She sighed as she rose from the little headstone that read Alexei Yagudin 18 March 1980-19 March 1980. Her little boy, the one she had wanted for so long, and he didn’t even live for a day.
As she walked home from the cemetery, she came across a homeless man. Her heart softened when she saw he was cradling a baby in his arms.
“Please,” he was saying, holding the baby out. “Please, I can’t take care of him. His mother died…I’m dying…I don’t want my son to die too.”
Despite just losing her own son, she couldn’t help the stab of pity and compassion she had for the man, who had just wanted a better life for his son.
She took the baby in his arms and looked at him as he opened his eyes and looked up at her. “What’s his name?” she asked.
“It’s up to you,” he had whispered, looking at him.
Well, there was only one name she could think of.
“Alexei. Alexei Yagudin. I will raise him like my own son.”
He smiled. “Thank you.” He bent down to kiss the baby on the forehead. “I’ll always love you, Alexei. Now go home to your mother.”
As she began to head home with her new son, the man sighed before walking away to a blue police box.
As he pulled off his hat, Michael sighed and leaned against the door.
“It’s done then?” the Doctor asked, fiddling with the TARDIS controls.
Michael nodded. “Doctor? Can you take us home?”
“Once Mika’s recovered.”
Michael walked away, heading for his lover.
Mika’s head turned to see Michael next to him. “Well?”
“His name’s Alexei Yagudin. As far as people will know, he was born in 1980 in the Soviet Union.”
They didn’t say anything for a long time, before Mika said, “It will be better for him to live here, than with one of us. I just…just…” And he burst into tears.
Michael sat next to him, holding him, as they cried for their son.
31 October 1991, Adelaide, Australia
“See? Before anyone ever realized you were gone,” the Doctor said quietly.
Michael smiled. “It was fun, Doctor, I’ll grant you all that, even after…well.” He didn’t say what, but the specter of Alexei hung over their heads.
“Do you think we’ll ever see you again?” Mika asked.
The Doctor shrugged. “Why not? It’s possible.”
“Can you give us at least one hint about what to expect in the future?”
“Michael!” Mika admonished him.
The Doctor grinned. “I think you both will be very pleased with what the future has in store for you.” He hugged them both goodbye, and they watched as the TARDIS disappeared.
“Now what?” Mika asked.
“I suppose we get ready for a race.”
Before they went separate ways, Mika said, “Kulta. I don’t think we should ever go looking for Alexei. It would hurt too much. Besides, because of the time travel, there’s only about a twelve year difference between him and us.”
Michael nodded. “All right. We won’t ever look for him.” He kissed Mika. “I’ll see you tomorrow, engel.”
13 February 2002, Finland
Many years have passed since Mika and Michael traveled with the Doctor in the TARDIS. They both lived through the tragedy of their idol dying, accidents of their own, a rivalry that once threatened to tear them apart, marriages to very understanding women, children, and between them six championships, Mika two, Michael just earned his fourth.
Mika had decided to take a sabbatical. He noticed during the last season that he was beginning to lose his drive for racing, and now that Hugo was born, he was less willing to endanger his life competing. He decided to take a year off, and see how he felt then.
Michael, of course, was on a roll with Ferrari and showed no signs of stopping. Right now, Mika knew, he was busy testing with the rest of the team.
It was early morning, and the Winter Olympics was going on right now. While most sports outside motorsport baffled Mika, neither he nor Erja were able to get back to sleep, so they sat in front of the television, Erja leaning into his side. Mika’s attention span drifted in and out while the men’s figure skating event occurred, until he heard a name he hadn’t thought of in a long time: “Alexei Yagudin!”
Mika’s eyes widened and focused on the tv. His heart nearly stopped. It was him! His firstborn!
Mika and Michael kept to their pact not to go looking for Alexei. Truth be told, they only spoke of him a few times since they traveled with the Doctor, and every year at the Australian Grand Prix (barring the one that Mika missed because of his crash), they would meet up and have a glass for him, seeing as they don’t know his true birthday. Time travel, and all.
So Mika was shocked beyond belief to see him now, at the Salt Lake Olympics, beginning his short program.
Mika stared. There was no mistaking him, Mika could see where his features and Michael’s blended to make Alexei’s looks. He had grown up so well. Mika didn’t know anything about figure skating, but he knew that Alexei was doing a good job at it. And when the scores came up, putting Alexei in the lead, he looked so proud that Mika couldn’t help feeling proud along with him.
He blinked and looked at Erja. “Yes?”
Mika felt his cheeks to find them damp. “So I am. If you’ll excuse me, I need to make a call.”
Mika stood in his bedroom, dialing the number he knew he could reach Michael at.
“Michael Schumacher speaking, and this better be good.”
“I found him. I found Alexei.”
Silence. Then, “Mika, I thought we agreed not to look for him.”
“I didn’t look for him, he’s at the Olympics!”
“Alexei’s a figure skater at the Olympics. I just watched him do his first program. Michael…he’s beautiful. He’s grown up so much.”
“Are you crying?”
“A little, yeah.”
More silence. Then Michael asked, “do you know if he’ll be on the television again?”
“The second part of the competition is tomorrow.”
“I’ll figure out a way, but I’m going to watch it.”
14 February 2002, Mugello, Italy
Michael had woken up early. Going ahead and ordering room service, Michael flipped through the channels until he found what he was looking for.
Michael knew enough that Russians took skating very seriously, and he had no doubt his son was the same (even if technically he’s Finn-German). While he waited, he ate his breakfast.
He was getting a bit antsy waiting to see Alexei Yagudin perform. He would be last, since he got the highest score on the short program, they said.
It was during the next to last performer that Michael’s phone rang.
“You’re watching it too?”
“Yeah. Don’t worry about Erja, she and Hugo stayed the night with her mother.”
They kept quiet for a while, watching the skater finish up. They were saying if Alexei did well enough, he could win the gold, at the least he was guaranteed the bronze.
Then he appeared on the screen.
“You see him?”
“Yes. Mika…he has your face.”
“Well, he has your hair.”
“I never thought I would see him again. And not in such a setting.” Michael would be lying if he said he had never thought of what Alexei would grow up to be. He knew better than to hope he’d follow in their footsteps, their son was just not in an environment that would encourage that. But he never imagined that Alexei would pick another sport, and excel in it so well that he is about to skate in front of the entire world for an Olympic medal.
Neither of them spoke while they watched Alexei skate his heart out, wowing the commentators for their respective networks. As they watched Alexei finish and receive the applause and accolades from the audience, Michael finally spoke. “He’s good, isn’t he?”
“He is, Michael. I’m proud of him.”
Michael couldn’t help reaching out his hand to the tv when Alexei began crying slightly, adrenaline, exhilaration, and anticipation finally crashing on him at once. Michael felt something dripping and realized he was crying as well.
“I wish we could…”
“I know,” and Mika had sounded choked up as well. “But it wouldn’t be good to do so. He probably doesn’t even know he’s adopted.
Michael gasped. “The scores!” As they went along the screen, both drivers’ eyes widened. They were good. So good. So good that…
“He’s done it!” Mika whispered. “He won the gold medal!”
Michael’s heart swelled. Above anything, the one thing they both had hoped was that their son thrived.
And Alexei had exceeded expectations.
“He looks so happy, Mika,” he said as he watched Alexei receive his medal. “I’m so proud of him, and I love him.”
“I feel the same way. I should…I should let you go. I know you have testing, and I need to run some errands before Erja gets home.”
“Talk to you later?”
“Of course. Love you, Michael.”
“I love you.”
As he hung up the phone, Michael smiled. These past two days have been such a rush: rediscovering his son, seeing him compete at the highest level, seeing him win Olympic gold…
Not even weather or bad testing could bring him down right now.
And even if he had to lie and tell Rubens that he had had an extraordinarily good sleep, he didn’t mind.
His son, Mika’s son, Alexei Yagudin, was an Olympic champion.
And nothing would change that.