Author: Flying Toe Shoes
Disclaimer: Ha, as if I own anything or have money. Based off of characterizations and history from War Is Coming on Insanejournal. Pre-Chess!
To say that Svetlana was nervous would be an understatement. She and Anatoly had been together for a year and they had decided that it was time for their families to meet. True, Anatoly had met both Dmitri and Erik in passing, but that hardly counted given the circumstances that had led to it. So now the petite blond was pacing in her room, which was very out of character for the twenty one year old. Usually she was calm and collected, an ice queen. But this was the first time a relationship had gotten to the meet the family stage and no matter how much she claimed she was fine on her own, that she didn't care about approval from those not close to her, Svetlana wanted Anatoly's parents to like her. Not to mention, hopefully this would convince Erik that Anatoly wasn't like most men her age and could be trusted, therefore he could stop making his unnecessary comments.
Speaking of which, Svetlana needed her family to behave, if only for this one night. Really, she didn't ask for much. She was self-sufficient and didn't comment on any eccentricities. So just once, it would be nice for them to behave. No pressuring questions and accusing stares, no overindulgence in vodka, no disinterest in the world around them. Which meant she had to tell them to behave. With dinner near finished, Svetlana sighed before calling a family meeting. Once everyone was assembled, the blond took a breath and spoke.
"As you know, Anatoly and his parents are going to be here soon and I am asking that you act like you care, without asking accusing questions and attempting to make them uncomfortable." The last bit was directed at Dmitri and Erik as they were the two who usually intimidated any suitors Svetlana had in the past. Mikhail usually stuck to his drink and didn't involve himself unless Svetlana was visibly upset. As for her parents, they just needed to fein interest in the lives of others for one night.
"The fact that you called a family meeting with rules makes this even more suspicious..."
At Erik's comment, Svetlana just rolled her eyes.
"Yes, well, forgive me for wanting Anatoly's parents to like me."
"So it's serious, then?"
This time, the comment was from Dmitri, though the genuine curiosity stunned Svetlana as he usually joined Erik in his interrogations.
"Yes, I..." About to state that she loved Anatoly, Svetlana quickly corrected herself, "really like him. More than anyone I've seen in the past." There was no need to admit that just yet, especially since she hadn't even told Anatoly as she was fighting herself on that fact anyway. Though, it appeared Dmitri and Erik picked up on the unsaid sentiment, Dmitri growing contemplative as Erik seethed. Oh, the was going to go so well.
"Which clearly means-"
"That you will do this one thing I'm asking of you. Please." Svetlana hated pleading, but she knew where Erik's comment was going, which meant she had to play the younger sister card. Usually she didn't mind the fact that Dmitri and Erik tended to be overzealous in their questioning of suitors, because honestly, she never liked the guy much and had only agreed to a date to be left alone. And what better way to scare someone off then two overprotective brothers? But given Svetlana loved Anatoly even if she was keeping that fact to herself, she needed this dinner to go as smoothly as possible. But it seemed as though the tactic worked as Erik didn't respond. With Dmitri lost in thought, Svetlana looked to Mikhail and her parents.
"Please, just tonight. No excess drinking and at least pretend to be interested in what others are saying?"
Receiving nods from the three, Svetlana let out a slow breath and ran her hands over her skirt. Okay, this would work, it would be fine. Feeling slightly calmed, the young woman went to the kitchen and finished up the last of the preparations before going to her room and getting ready. It was only going to be a couple of hours. What could go wrong now that her family understood what this meant to her?
By the time Anatoly and his parents arrived, everything was in its place, Svetlana's family seeming to take her request seriously. Even Erik seemed to be on his best behavior. True, he hadn't really addressed Anatoly, but at least he wasn't grilling him and as currently Dmitri seemed content to talk to Anatoly, Svetlana felt that she could breathe. The conversations going on were pleasant, everyone engaged.
Feeling Anatoly take her hand under the table, Svetlana looked to him and smiled. They had both been worried about tonight, but it seemed as though their worries had been unfounded. Of course, with her attention distracted in that moment, Svetlana didn't notice that Erik was watching her and Anatoly critically. At least, until he spoke.
Brows knitting forward, the blond looked past her boyfriend to where her eldest brother sat. Oh god... And poor Anatoly had no idea.
Trying to warn him to be careful, Svetlana squeezed Anatoly's hand as Erik spoke again.
"What exactly are you intentions for Sveta?"
Hissing Erik's name under her breath, Svetlana glared at him as he ignored her, while Anatoly looked at her briefly in confusion before addressing Erik.
"I'm not certain I understand..."
"Simple. What are you intentions? I mean, there have been nights when she doesn't come home after going out to see you. Just what are you two doing?"
And now Erik had everyone's attention, the set of parents pausing their conversation while Dmitri and Mikhail paused their own conversation to look over to this one. Eyes narrowing even more, Svetlana retorted as Anatoly seemed at a loss for words.
"It doesn't matter what we're doing, Erik. That's none of your business."
And apparently that was the wrong thing to say as Erik suddenly punched Anatoly, which had Svetlana jump up.
"What is your problem, Erik!?"
"You just said-"
"That it's none of your business! We play chess, it gets late, I sleep on his couch! That's no reason to punch someone!"
Distracted by her argument with her brother, Svetlana didn't notice as Mikhail downed his vodka and Dmitri went to get something for Anatoly's face.
"It's. Not. Your. Business! You need to accept the fact that I'm a grown woman and will meet someone and leave! You can't just go around punching him because of some imagined slight!" Running her fingers through her hair in agitation, Svetlana set an icy glare on her eldest brother that seemed to stop his retort. "No more. I'm done. Until you get over yourself and accept that I'm in a relationship with someone who actually cares about me, I'm not talking to you unless it's necessary."
At that, the already silent room seemed to halt. With Anatoly's parents the only ones not knowing her, they were thus the only ones not to realize how serious she was or what that comment meant. Of the four siblings, Erik and Svetlana were the closest, Svetlana looking up to Erik. But he had crossed a line and she wasn't going to take it.
Closing her eyes briefly, Svetlana excused herself in a clipped tone before she left. A moment passed before Anatoly finally found his voice.
"I'm going to go check on Svetlana..." Figuring it safest not to address Erik, Anatoly followed the blond to the hallway in front of the apartment her family resided in, watching her pace for a moment before stopping her by placing his hands on her shoulders.
"I can't believe him! I told him what this meant and he still disregards anything I say and tries to intimidate you!"
"It's fine, Svetochka. It's not as if this is the first time he's punched me for not having the facts."
"It's not right. He needs to learn boundaries."
"He's your brother. He's just looking out for you."
Look at Anatoly, Svetlana rolled her eyes.
"He's refusing to trust me." Sighing, the blond's shoulders dropped before she raised her hand and touched Anatoly's cheek, "I just wanted them to like me, is that so wrong?"
Shaking his head, Anatoly smiled and cupped Svetlana's face in his hands.
"Of course not. I want your family to like me as well, but in the end, it's you who I want to like me. So long as I have that, everything else is secondary."
And once again, Anatoly stunned Svetlana with how different he was from the others, able to calm her down, to make her feel like things weren't so dire.
"You're right, so long as we have each other... Still. It was a disaster."
Chuckling some, Anatoly kissed Svetlana's forehead, deciding to try and make her laugh, returning his hands to her shoulders.
"Oh, I don't know, it could have been worse. We could have told them that we were getting married."
Unbeknownst to either, Anatoly's family had just been escorted to the door, so both families heard the comment, which elicited a collective exclamation of 'What?!' All the while, Svetlana pulled back slightly, look at Anatoly in confusion.
"...Did you just propose to me...?"
Really, given the fact that the two could have entire conversations through moves on a chess board, Anatoly could thus propose inadvertently and in an awkward manner. It wouldn't be the first time he had said something strange because he was used to their chess board conversations.
It was then the two noticed their families, Anatoly stumbling over his words.
"Not that we are. I meant.. It's not that I don't want to.. I mean..."
Shaking her head slightly, Svetlana tried to control the situation once she got over the initial shock and confusion of what Anatoly had said.
"He just said that as an example. It's fine. Really."
Shooting a grateful look to Svetlana as she once again knew what he truly meant, Anatoly shifted awkwardly. Seriously, of all the comments to be walked in on. One of these days, Anatoly's gift of stating things in an awkward manner was going to get him into seriously trouble. Assuming Svetlana's brothers didn't decide to beat him up for that one. At least his father seemed to regain his composure, though.
"Yes, well, we should probably be going. Thank you for dinner."
Watching his parents leave, Anatoly looked over to where Svetlana was, undoubtedly over analyzing his father's comment and tone of voice. Kissing her softly, Anatoly gave her a small smile.
"It's fine. Besides, so long as we have one another, right?" At her nod, Anatoly smiled some more. "I'll see you after work tomorrow." That said, the young man headed to his own apartment. Okay, so the dinner didn't go as planned, that was fine. It was only the beginning after all. There would be other dinners and gatherings where they could get their families used to the idea of the relationship and who knew, maybe one day, there would be a dinner where they announced that they were getting married. But that was neither here nor now and they would cross that bridge when they got to it. Together.