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Heaven in Hiding

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“Yuuri, I love you, but you are completely delusional,” Phichit said while shaking his head, nonchalantly painting his nails a baby blue. “I mean I know it’s a fancy school you’re going to, but they aren’t going to send a member of the royal family there, no less the prince.” Yuuri furrowed his brows, he was so sure he’d seen the prince of this region.

“But I swear, I saw him, Phichit!” Yuuri whined, trying to convince himself that he did actually see the guy and wasn’t imagining things because he was too stubborn to back down from this argument now.

“You’ve been going to that school for two weeks now, I’m sure if a member of the Nikiforov clan was enrolled there, you’d know, don’t you think?” The Thai man replied, cocking one of his eyebrows.

“Maybe I’m just really out of the loop,” Yuuri retorted, falling back onto his bed, his head hitting his blue pillows. He stared at the ceiling, trying to remember the days events as hard as he could. He’d been finishing up in class, packing away his things while the rest of the students filed out of the room, (Yuuri was always the last to leave, too paranoid that he’d leave something important in class to pack up quickly and not double check his desk to make sure he didn’t leave anything,) when a guy with butt-length silver hair had strolled in to talk to the teacher. Yuuri didn’t think much of it at the time and slung his bag over his shoulder, ready to leave and go to his next class, starting in five minutes. That’s when he saw him– Viktor Nikiforov, icy-cold blue eyes and perfect posture with hair that fell over one shoulder and dribbled over the teacher's desk. Yuuri, in his clumsy fashion, had knocked a desk with his bag, causing a noise loud enough to interrupt the teacher-student conversation. The teacher and mystery student had turned around, and then Yuuri had made eye-contact with the Viktor Nikiforov, or at least that’s what he had thought at the time, Phichit’s reasoning was starting to convince him that it could not have been the silver haired prince.

“Dinner’s ready, boys!” Yuuri’s mum called, putting an end to Yuuri’s train of thought.

“Fooood!” Phichit squealed, getting off Yuuri’s desk chair running down the stairs, Yuuri following behind, both of them excited to get some food into their mouths.

Ten minutes later, they were shovelling food into their mouths, their previous conversation long forgotten.

“So, Yuuri, your seventeenth birthday is soon,” Hiroko started as she watched her son and his friend eat, an amused smile on her face. “Have any ideas on what you’d like to do, or any presents you’d like to receive?”

Yuuri shrugged his shoulders in response, not wanting to tell his mother what he wanted to get/do for his birthday since he knew they were tight on money and didn’t want to cause stress for his mother, knowing she was worried enough about paying the rest of his school fees that his athlete scholarship didn’t cover. “I don’t really want anything, being able to go to Emerson Secondary is a better present than any,” Yuuri replied smiling, before digging back into his dinner.

“Alright then,” Hiroko responded with a sad smile.

A couple minutes later, when Phichit had finished eating and Mari, Yuuri’s sister, had come to join them, he decided to bring up Yuuri’s run in with the so called prince again. “You know, Yuuri thinks he saw Viktor Nikiforov at school today.”

“Excuse me? Viktor Nikiforov? As in the prince of Esterlake?” Mari scoffed, staring at the pair.

“I swear I did!” Yuuri exclaimed.

“Are you sure it wasn’t his cousin or sibling or something? His cousin does run that school, you know,” Mari asked, her brows furrowing. “Actually, It wouldn’t be that surprising if he did go there since his family is apart of it– I just would’ve thought he’s homeschooled or something.”

“See, Phichit! I told you it was him,” the black haired boy teased, his faith in his memory returning. He had run into Viktor Nikiforov.

“Fine, fine. You’re probably right,” Phichit replied, admitting defeat. “I can’t believe you go to the same school as Viktor, I mean how many fancy schools are there in this region? At least a hundred that are Nikoforov-worthy, and he goes to the same school as you, Yuuri!”

“Yes, and I humiliated myself in front of him.”

“Bumping into a table is not humiliating yourself, Yuuri.”

“I bet Viktor doesn’t bump into tables,” Mari chimed.

-

Viktor learned how to skate when he was seven years old– his mum had taken him, just before her wedding night. Viktor had been terrible at first, but had been completely inspiring watching his mum skate. She’d always skate when she was overjoyed or devastated, and Viktor hadn’t seen her skate in a while so he guessed she was feeling fine, and he supposed he was too. He didn’t skate much, at least not anymore. Now, though, now was different. It was different because here Viktor was, entering his local skate rink at eleven at night for the first time in ten months. He couldn’t decide if he was here was he was overjoyed or devastated– maybe it was a mix both.

That morning, Viktor had made a discovery. A discovery that brought him so much happiness, but also made him completely and overwhelmingly sad. That morning, Viktor found a soulmate identifying mark. It was a small circle on the back of his thigh, filled with a sunset orange to blue gradient, like the sunrise over a beach. It was simple, but it was nice. Viktor was more excited over the thought that he had a soulmate rather than the cool design– but seconds after the thought that he had a soulmate occurred to him, he was washed over with an indescribable sadness. Because, oh god, Viktor had a soulmate– oh god, Viktor would never meet his soulmate.

Viktor was a prince, he would never have time to go search for his soulmate, and he knew that he was destined for an arranged marriage. There was no way he was marrying his soulmate– he’d probably marry some rich omega that he had no interest in. Viktor welcomed and said goodbye to the thought of a soulmate within the span of a minute.

Viktor had ignored at first, he pushed it to the back of his mind and carried on getting ready for school, then another thought had hit him. Soulmate marks either appear at birth or when soulmates come into contact with each other later in life. Viktor had met his soulmate? Viktor tried to remember everyone he had talked in the past twenty four hours, then he realised he probably hadn’t seen the back of his thigh in most likely months, and he’d spoken to hundreds and hundreds of people in the span of months. He’d made eye contact with so many people, it could be anyone. Viktor cursed himself for being so famous, then he wouldn’t have to talk to so many people and his soulmate pool of people would be much more smaller. There was no way in hell he was finding soulmate before his family set him up for marriage. Viktor was doomed. After realising that he had met his soulmate, the gates to emotion had opened, and he had let himself be sad about it, contradicting his former plans of suppressing his emotions.

And so, Viktor blew off school and came to the rink and decided to skate all of the emotions out of him so that he could return to school the next day and be his cheery, friendly self, and pretend he never experienced emotions because most people forgot that he did anyway

Viktor skated for hours, doing stuff he already knew,(which wasn't much but it calmed him anyway.) He left the rink at about three, feeling he got all of the sadness out of him and once he stepped off the ice, all the sadness stayed behind.

As he was walking home, he received a call from his father, and he reluctantly answered.

“Hey, Dad.”

“Hey, Viktor, I just wanted to let you know I’m returning from my trip to Prague tonight and I’d like
to have a talk with you tonight about school– nothing bad, just want to run some things past you,” Ivan, Viktor’s father, told him in a hurried voice.

“Yeah, that’s okay. I’ll be in my room when you get back,” Viktor replied coldly.

“Okay, I’ll see you tonight then,” The older russian said back, hanging up shortly after.

-

“So, I’ve done some digging around, and it’s confirmed, Viktor Nikiforov does go to your school, apparently he doesn’t like to talk about it much and wants to be treated like a normal student. He’s an alpha, he’s turning eighteen this December, he’s never had a lover before but he sleeps around a lot and he doesn’t have any siblings,” Phichit informed Yuuri as they were getting ready for a dip into the onsen.

“How in the world did you find all of that out? You don’t even go to my school!” Yuuri asked, dumbfounded.

“I have connections,” Phichit said slyly, not telling Yuuri anything else. The pair stripped and headed to the showers.

“I can’t believe he’s never had a lover before, you’d think with how attractive he is he’d be seeing multiple people at once,” Yuuri said, thinking out loud. “Maybe he has had lovers but he just doesn’t tell anyone because he’s like royal and stuff.”

“Someone’s interested in Viktor’s love life….Does my Yuuri have a crush on the prince?” Phichit teased laughing as Yuuri stepped out from under the shower to allow Phichit to wash himself off.

“Okay well, first of all, I literally have never spoken to him in my life, second, he’s probably like a giant player and a jock so, no,” Yuuri defended. Phichit stepped out from under the water and followed behind Yuuri as they went to the hot springs. Yuuri stepped in before Phichit, giving him a nice display of his ass, not that Phichit cared, they’d seen each other naked plenty of times, but this time, this time was different. Just as Yuuri sunk into the water, Phichit noticed a little mark on the back of his thigh.

“Uhh, Yuuri? What’s on the back of your thigh? There’s a little marking there,” Phichit noted, stepping into the water himself.

“Oh, really?” Yuuri asked, lifting his leg straight up into the air, trying to get a look at what Phichit was talking about. He thanked the skating gods for giving him the flexibility he had, because otherwise he would’ve never noticed. “There is too! It’s a circle with orange and blue inside!”

“It reminds me of the sun setting over a beach,” Phichit noted, taking a closer look at it. “Oh my god, Yuuri, you know what this means?!” Phichit squealed, jumping up and down in the water, sending splashes everywhere.
“You have a soulmate!”

Yuuri’s jaw dropped. He couldn’t actually have a soulmate could he?! “No fucking way…”

-

 

“Hello, Viktor,” Ivan greeted as Viktor entered his study, shutting the thick and sturdy, brown, wooden door behind him.

“You wanted to talk?” Viktor said in a small voice, hesitantly taking a seat opposite his father, only a desk between them. Viktor let out a shaky breath, and hoped he wasn’t about to get grilled for skipping school that day.

“Viktor, since it’s your last year in high school and you don’t have the largest group of friends, I think it would be a good idea for you to participate in some extracurriculars, don’t you? It would be good to start broadening your social circle, it’s never too early to start making connections,” Ivan stated sternly, his posture wide, his shoulders slack and his back straight– legs wide, asserting dominance and reeking of alpha pheromones.

Viktor was surprised to see his father not scolding him for once, and asking him to do something without bringing up how much of a disappointment he was. “Of course, I can totally do that,” Viktor smiled, looking up at his dad with a beaming smile, hiding how scared he was of his father. “What about a sports team? I can ice skate, maybe I could join the ice hockey team or something?”

“That sounds promising,” Ivan smiled. “I’ll hope to see you at a game very soon. Anyway, you can be on your way now.”

The next day, Viktor arrived early and slipped into the sports coordinator’s office, wanting to see what he could do about joining.

“Hey, Mr. Danes, are you busy?” Viktor asked as he closed the door behind him, flashing the teacher his commercial like smile.

“No, not at all, Viktor. What did you want to chat about?” Mr. Danes replied, putting down his pen and looking up from the work he was doing.

“I was wondering if I could join the ice hockey team? You see, I’ve been doing figure ice skating stuff ever since I was little and I think I would really enjoy ice hockey,” Viktor prompted.

“Ice skating? That sounds interesting! I think I have a student on an athlete type scholarship who figure skates, actually. You don’t meet a lot of figure skaters! Anyway, that would be great, we’d love to have you join the team,” Mr. Danes cheerily replied, sending a flashy smile Viktor’s way. “There’s team practice this Thursday at four down at the rink on Elizabeth Avenue. We’re so happy to have you join the team!” Viktor smiled and thanked the teacher, not really thoroughly paying attention, as mind was elsewhere, thinking about the student who skated– he’d never met any other person who skated in his life, (apart from his mother.) Viktor began to think about what the person would be like, would they be emotional like Viktor, and use the ice to express their emotions? He bet there were a total sap, probably really expressive. Also probably really jacked and hot if there were on an athlete scholarship.

-

two weeks later

Yuuri entered the cold building, the sounds of skates on the ice filling his ears. “So, why didn’t aren’t you, like, in spain or something? Why aren’t you competing?” A girl asked Yuuri, who was seated opposite him, eating a ham and cheese sandwich. “You have an athlete scholarship, right?”

“Well, I think things just kept coming up, and we kept putting it off and we were never able to find a good coach,” Yuuri lied, not wanting to tell his family’s financial troubles to a girl he’d met two days ago. He didn’t even know her name, but she did seem friendly and interested in Yuuri, so he had let her sit with him at lunch times. “But now I’m here and training a lot more because of the scholarship, I’m hoping I’ll be able to compete at least nationally soon.”

“Huh, interesting. Do you think you’ll join the ice hockey team? They ice skate,” Yuuri’s new friend, Sara suggested.

“I’m not really into team sports, the only reason I’m watching the game is because Mr. Danes wants to convince me to join, but I know I won’t be, it looks too rough and tumble for me,” Yuuri stated as they took their seats to watch the game. “Why did you want to come with me, anyway?”

“Ice hockey equals cute boys,” Sara whispered as she eyed the players. “Oh, look! There’s Viktor!”

“You know Viktor?” Yuuri asked, his interest in Sara suddenly peaked.

“Not personally, but I know a girl who has PE with him,” she answered, not taking her eyes off of the rink, eagerly watching the game.

“Oh,” Yuuri said disappointedly.

“Yuuri! I’m so glad you came!” Mr. Danes shouted, bouncing up the stairs to Yuuri’s row of seats. “Have you chnaged your mind yet? I think you’ll really like the sport.”

“Sorry, no. I just really hate team sports, I’m so bad at them too,” Yuuri replied, looking down at his lap.

“Ah, well, maybe one day?”

“Maybe.” Yuuri watched Mr. Danes leave before sighing, he really hated disappointing people. A few minutes of silence passed as Yuuri and Sara watched the game, before Sara’s brother came yelling at Sara to not be fratinising with other boys and that she better not be thinking about the ice hockey players’ butts. After that, Yuuri was left alone and he decided to pull out a book and zone out, staying in the stadium since he had nowhere else to be.

An hour later, Yuuri felt a tap on his shoulder and for the first time in a long time, Yuuri took his nose out of his book and saw the completely empty rink and stands. Yuuri, slightly embarrassed, looked up at the person who had tapped him.

“Do you like hanging out in empty ice rinks?” Yuuri’s jaw dropped to the floor. Standing above him, was Viktor Nikiforov. Viktor freaking Nikiforov. A few seconds of awkward silence passed between them before Viktor lifted his hand and put two fingers underneath Yuuri’s chin and pushed it up so his mouth closed. Viktor then sat down next to Yuuri. “Also, why are you reading at an ice hockey game? Did you think there would be a lot of down time?”

“I– uh, well, I was just– I don’t like hockey,” Yuuri stammered. “I came because Mr. Danes wanted me too but then he left so I...” Yuuri finished, pointing at his book.

“Right…” Viktor started, feeling a little in awe at how awkward this person was. “I’m Viktor.” Viktor held out his hand for Yuuri to shake. Yuuri slowly shook his hand, still staring intensly at the older man.

“I know sweaty,” Yuuri blurted before his eyes widening and he covered his mouth. “My hand was sweaty so I wanted to apologise but I also know you’re Viktor and it just came out all at once,” Yuuri said, trying to fix the situation as quickly as possible. “I’m Yuuri…”

“Haha, okay Yuuri, I think I’ll be off now, and I’ll leave you to your book and sweaty hands,” Viktor giggled. “Oh, also, you wouldn’t happen to know anyone with an athelete scholarship would you?”

“Nope,” Yuuri replied, shaking his head. Viktor smiled and nodded, thanking him before walking away, slipping out of the stadium. It was the sound of the door to the sadiim slamming shut that broke Yuuri out of his trance, and that’s when he realised that he had an athlete scholarship.

-

“Yuuri! You hate team sports, you cannot join the ice hockey team, you don’t even know how to play ice hockey.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Yuuri! You hate team sports, you cannot join the ice hockey team, you don’t even know how to play ice hockey.”

 

“I’ll learn! Plus I’m already good at ice skating, I just need to learn the rules, everything will be fine, Phichit!” Yuuri explained, trying to reason with his friend.

 

“But you shouldn’t join a sport just for a crush, just talk to him,” Phichit argued. “You’ll regret joining the team, you know.”

 

“I won’t! And one) I don’t have a crush on Viktor and two) you can’t just go and talk to a prince! You have to a have a decent reason,” Yuuri whines, his brows knitting. He’d never in a million years be able to talk to Viktor Nikiforov, not that he wanted to anyway.

 

“‘Hey, I want to be your boyfriend,’ is a pretty good one! Or you could just tell him you have an athlete scholarship, since he was looking for the person who does,” Phichit said, spinning around on Yuuri’s desk chair like he did every day when he’d come over to Yuuri’s house.

 

“I can’t tell him now! It’s too late, he’ll probably think I’m lying,” Yuuri replied. “I wouldn’t want to tell him anyway.”

 

“No? Why not? Why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to talk to a prince charming?”

 

“He’s probably an entitled jerk. The guy’s probably never heard the word ‘no’ in his entire life! I wouldn’t wanna engage with someone like that,” Yuuri said, only partly lying. He did have a massive crush on Viktor, but he was a rich snob, and probably not the nicest person on earth.

 

“Why are you joining the hockey team, then?” Phichit questioned, wiggling his eyebrow and putting his hands on hips.

 

Yuuri shrugged in response. “I like ice hockey!”

 

-

 

A week later, Yuuri turned up to practice, clad in his disgustingly big gear and a pained face. He so did not want to be there, especially after Viktor acted like he didn’t exist the entire time. But, Yuuri was stubborn as hell and sure wasn’t going to just give up the team sport. As the weeks passed by Yuuri’s need to talk to Viktor dissipated, and practice became about surviving the gruelling training rather than the king-to-be. As it turns out, Yuuri wasn’t that bad at skating, not that he was amazing, but he didn’t embarrass himself and Mr Danes was exceptionally happy with him, so it wasn’t all that bad.

 

Before Yuuri knew it, he was competing in the semi-final of that season. Viktor barely crossed his mind at that point, and Yuuri was glad. He didn’t want to ever think about that jerk face– who by the way totally was. Viktor barely showed up to practice, and when he did he only offered a grumble of an apology. And turns out he was a total ball hog or rather puck hog. Half of the team also thought Viktor was a dickhead and was the only reason Yuuri got along with them. If it weren’t for Viktor, he wouldn’t’ve said a word to any of them.

 

“Think Viktor will show up this time?” One of the guys chuckled, Yuuri was about 90% sure his name was Jeremy.

 

“I don’t know, the semi-final of the season doesn’t sound that important,” Yuuri chimed in a sarcastic tone, raising one eyebrow and smiling after his team laughed at his joke.

 

“What an entitled prick, right?” Xander replied, pulling on his skates. The guys nodded and chuckled.

 

“I wonder if he’s here for girls or because his daddy wants him to be,” Pierce joked.

 

“Probably one of Daddy’s Trust Fund Requirements– that and marrying some bimbo,” a guy Yuuri hadn’t caught the name of laughed.

 

“Probably why he keeps all his hookups on the DL, making sure his Daddy doesn’t find about all the girls sucking his dick in the maintenance cupboards.”

 

“Or maybe it’s just because Viktor Nikiforov has a tiny dick,” Yuuri said, smiling at himself because he just actually had the courage to insult The Viktor Nikiforov.

Just as Yuuri had finished laughing, he turned around to see Viktor standing in the doorway, looking unimpressed. Once he made eye contact with Yuuri he crossed the locker room to get his skates and uniform and proceeded to change. The act in itself was an insult, showing off his jacked body, stripping down to his tight blue underwear, showing everyone that he certainly did not have a tiny dick. By the end of it, the whole team was red in the face and incredibly embarrassed, their early confidence in that Viktor was nothing but a jerk was completely gone.

 

“So, let go smash these guys, huh? Let’s get to the finals.”

 

Half an hour later, Emerson Secondary’s ice hockey team was taking their positions on the ice, preparing to take down their team. Viktor was the last to take to the ice, skating to the front of the team– not the most valuable position but it certainly asserted dominance.

 

And then it started. Half the team practically did nothing because Viktor was doing all the work, and not because Viktor was being a puck hog, because Viktor was trying to prove himself. Because he wanted to show up the team, he wanted to show the team that he wasn’t just looks. He was Viktor Nikiforov, and he knew what it was like to struggle, to work hard, to lose something. He knew what it was like to want something, what it was like to chase things, to grieve. He wasn’t just a prince, or a trust fund baby. He was Viktor Nikiforov, and goddammit he was a human, and he was sick of people treating him like he wasn’t. He was angry and determined, and no one had seen Viktor like that before.

 

The majority of the team was in awe for the first two quarters of the game. When there was time off, Viktor didn’t talk to anyone, he didn’t join the other teammates, he stayed off to the side, the same determined look on his face.

 

When the third quarter began, Viktor started to tire, and everyone knew how frustrated he was becoming. He shot glares at everyone who took the puck off of him, he grunted and wrestled with his stick.

 

By the fourth quarter, they were in the lead by a long shot, but Viktor was puffing and completely red. He tried his hardest to do his best, but it wasn’t working. Towards the end of the game, Yuuri ended up taking the puck from Viktor and using his stamina to finish of the game, scoring as many goals as he could, not really paying attention to the other players or what was going on. Not really paying attention to the fact that Viktor had left the ice.

 

When the horn signalling the end of the game rang out, Yuuri was incredibly proud of himself for scoring the last couple of goals. All of the pride inside of himself shattered when he saw Viktor on the sidelines, looking exhausted, holding an ice pack to his nose with both of his hands in bandages. He looked completely defeated. Yuuri skated off to the side as quickly as he could and rushed to Viktor.

 

“Are you okay?” Yuuri asked in a rushed voice, urgently wanting to know if Viktor was okay.

 

“You don’t have to pretend to care, okay? I’m just an entitled prick with a tiny cock, right? Just leave me alone.” Yuuri was stunned at his words but didn’t press the issue, instead just walking off to join his coach and teammates in celebrating their victory.

 

That evening, Yuuri decided to call Phichit, which he hadn’t done in a while.

 

“Wow, you actually called me first this time,” Phichit greeted in a sarcastic tone.

 

“I’m sorry I haven’t been around much, Phichit. I’ve just been really–”

 

“Busy. Yes, I heard. You have your studies and your ice skating and ice hockey, but you somehow find time in your hectic schedule to call me to complain about Viktor once again!” Phichit replied, clearly angry and annoyed that his supposed best friend hadn’t been very present in his life.

 

“You’re right, Phichit. I’ve been a shitty friend, but I want to be better. Plus, I only have one more game and then the season ends and I promise after that we can hang out every day for the rest of my life, okay?” Yuuri pleaded, genuinely feeling awful for not being a better friend.

 

“Mmm. Okay. Anyway, why did you call me?” Phichit asked, his tone quickly changing to something a lot more friendly and cheery.

 

“Just to apologise and tell you that I want to be a better friend,” Yuuri said sheepishly, he did want to say that, but he also totally wanted to talk about Viktor and what happened that day.

 

“Really? Not to talk about a certain someone who yelled at you for whatever reason after the game today?”

 

“He did not yell at me! He just told me to get lost in a stern voice.

 

“Right, and uh, why exactly did he tell you to get lost?” Phichit asked, smiling smugly.

 

“Well, before the game, the team and I were making fun of Viktor, and just before I said that Viktor had a tiny dick, he walked into the room. And then after the game I went and asked if he was okay, to which he replied, ‘You don’t have to pretend to care, okay? I’m just an entitled prick with a tiny cock, right? Just leave me alone,’” Yuuri told Phichit, silently giggling.

 

“Holy shit, he hates you! I can’t believe you managed to get the future king of this fair region, Esterlake, to hate you. I can’t believe you told a future king he had a tiny penis!”

 

-

 

Yuuri returned to school the next morning, and suddenly, he found that he had friends. The guys from the ice hockey team greeted him on his way into school and followed him and talked with him on his way to his locker. Yuuri was so surprised, he’d never had friends like this. He’d had Phichit, and that was all. That were people he’d known during school, but he’d never had friends before, emphasis on the plural. When he had classes with the guys from the team, they’d chat with him and they’d pass notes and Yuuri loved it. Yuuri barely believed he had friends– and all because he made fun of Nikiforov?

 

During lunch, Jeremy flagged Yuuri down and told him to sit with his friends, which consisted of most of the team and some other sporty people. Jeremy introduced his friends to Yuuri and they all mildly acknowledged him. Yuuri didn’t pipe in the conversation much for the first half of lunch, mostly paying attention to his food, but when they started talking about ruts and heats Yuuri seemed a little more interested, since he didn’t hear people talk about it much.

 

“I had my first rut back in March,” Jeremy replied to someone.

 

“Late much?” Jess said, raising his eyebrows. “I had my first one three years ago when I was fourteen.”

 

“Yeah, Jeremy that's kinda late, the average age for heats/ruts is fourteen to fifteen,” Yuuri piped in.

 

“When did you have your first rut? Or are you a beta?” Kyle asked, a guy Yuuri hadn’t met before today, but Yuuri seemed to like him out of everyone the most. “I’m a beta.”

 

“I’m actually an omega, and I had my first heat when I was fifteen, so around this time last year,” Yuuri answered, hoping the guys wouldn’t judge him for being an omega.

 

“Wait, I thought you were seventeen this year? Aren’t you a year eleven?” Jeremy said.

 

“I am, I turn seventeen in a few weeks,” Yuuri said back, happily answering everyone's questions. “I just have my birthday late in the year.”

 

“You’re an omega? I’ve never seen an omega do ice hockey before!” A guy Yuuri had forgotten the name of exclaimed.

 

“I’m actually here on an athletic scholarship, I’m training to be a figure ice skater.”

 

“Oh, that’s super cool,” Jeremy replied. “So, when do you have heats?”

 

“I have them about every three months, I usually suppress them though, but my next one in November I won’t because I have to have one heat per year.”

 

“Oh, same for ruts then,” Takanari, a guy from the team that Yuuri rarely spoke to, said, before the bell signalling the end of lunch.

 

The rest of the day went well, Yuuri very glad to have made some friends.

 

-

 

Two weeks later, Yuuri had the final game of the season, and he was nervous as ever. Nervous about three things; one) the game (obviously,) two) seeing Viktor again, and three) the party he had been invited to that night to celebrate the end of the season.

Chapter Text

Two weeks later, Yuuri had the final game of the season, and he was nervous as ever. Nervous about three things; one) the game (obviously,) two) seeing Viktor again, and three) the party he had been invited to that night to celebrate the end of the season. Yuuri reminded him that the game was the priority and everything else was just distraction. When Yuuri signed himself up for hockey six months ago, he never planned to quit, no matter how things went with Viktor. Things with Viktor had gone pretty badly, but they could’ve gone worse. Sure, Viktor hated him, which was the opposite of what Yuuri was going for, but at least they hadn’t dated and then broken up. If they had, Yuuri was sure he’d be feeling a lot worse in this current moment. Yuuri pushed all thoughts of Viktor and the party from his mind and left his room to get to the stadium for some morning practice before his last game of the season. Yuuri knew some time on the ice would distract him from everything going on and how weird his first year at Emerson had gone. With one month left of school before summer, Yuuri couldn’t wish for it to be over sooner. He wanted to be done with that crowd. Yuuri could already imagine the relief he’d feel after school ended. And then after that he’d only have to deal with one more year of high school before going off to college, which surely would be better than high school. Yuuri couldn’t wait– but first, he’d have persevere through this final hockey game.

The hockey team’s coach called the players to the entrance near the ice for a short pep talk before the game began. For the moment, Yuuri couldn’t see Viktor anywhere, for which he was thankful for. Yuuri barely listened to the coach, instead focusing on the other team. He didn’t really need to listen anyway, he’d done this a million times– and after today, he’d never have to do it again. The coach finished his pep talk and before Yuuri knew it, he was being told to get into position on the ice. A few minutes passed as Yuuri waited for the game to finally start and for the coaches to stop speaking about how much of a great season they’d had. Yuuri looked at the other team and felt absolutely terrified– they were all huge. Tall and decked out in expensive gear to shield the body-builder like muscles. There was no way Yuuri would be able to beat them.Yuuri was so focused on the other team and how large they were that he didn’t even get to notice that Viktor never showed up.

-

So they didn’t win the game, which Yuuri predicted when he saw the other team, but if he was honest, he didn’t care at all. In fact, he was really happy. This meant there wasn’t extra pressure to join the team next year or go to any special events or compete regionally. He was off the hook– no more games, no more practice, no more of his stinky team mates, and in a week, no more school. All he had to do now was the survive the party tonight and the next week and pray that nobody pressures him into going to the school formal, because he’d rather die than attend that.

After Yuuri returned home, he was thankful that there was barely any people at his family's inn and that Mari and his dad had gone out for that evening. That meant that he wouldn’t have to talk to anyone until the party unless he bumped into his mum, but that was unlikely with how busy she was. Yuuri almost felt guilty for not helping her out constantly, but he was dead tired and prestigious school’s like Emerson really frown upon students not properly socialising. Not that standing awkwardly in a room with half-drunk, sweaty, horny teenagers was really proper socialising, but it was something. If Yuuri wanted to get into a good college, he’d need to please the administration there, and they’d bad mouth Yuuri when they were writing recommendation letters, which was something hazardous and unwanted. Yuuri needed to get into a good college so he could get a high paying job so he could look after his family. That was his number one goal in life, and if going to these stupid parties would get him that, he would go to the stupid parties.

Yuuri instantly ran to his room as soon as stepped into the halls on his family’s onsen, wanting as much time as possible to get ready and prepare himself for a night of socialization. Yuuri spend about an hour looking for appropriate clothes before he called Phichit for help. They ended up deciding on a dark green, woolen sweater hung close to his slightly wider hips because ‘you’re a cute omega and you better show it!’ as Phichit put it. Under the sweater he wore a plain loose black shirt with black skinny jeans to go with it.

Yuuri left a little earlier than he needed, or a lot, considering he arrived at the giant mansion where the party was being held about half an hour before everyone else. Usually Yuuri would’ve walked around the block a couple times before going in, as to make sure he wasn’t early and therefore noticed, but this time Yuuri went in despite his anxiety. Yuuri assured himself that he would be fine, and he was facing his fears and that was a good thing. When he finally stepped inside, he was greeted with the biggest entrance to a house he’d ever seen, decked out with millions of dollars worth of marble and giant columns with gold accents. A couple guys greeted Yuuri before going off into different groups, leaving Yuuri by himself, and with that, he decided to explore.

The house was huge and never ending, so within twenty minutes he found himself completely lost, and then it took him about another thirty minutes to get back down to where he was, and where everyone else was. When he got back, an odd fifty minutes later, the crowd he had left had sextupled. Well, he didn’t know if it had sextupled, Yuuri just wanted to use the word sextupled. But, it had grown by a lot. A fuck ton, actually. Yuuri could barely get anywhere, and he didn’t know where any of the people he actually knew were.

Eventually his ‘friends’ found him, all of them drunk and shoving alcohol into Yuuri’s hands. After exchanging a few words with his friends, they all got bored and went off to makeout with someone, telling Yuuri to get drunk and also find someone to make out with as a good bye. So Yuuri left the scene downstairs and headed up to someone’s bedroom, hoping for some peace and quiet, and hoping no one would notice he was gone because he had actual friends down there– people who thought he fitted in and thought he was worth talking to, and he wasn’t going to let them know he was socially anxious.

Yuuri stepped into the first room he could find, closing the door behind him. When Yuuri looked up, he saw Viktor sitting on the bed, leaning on the headboard, looking up at the ceiling, eyes red and teary. Yuuri stood for a moment to take the sight in. He’d never seen Viktor looking so vulnerable before. He looked sad and sorrowful. He looked regretful. Yuuri knew he should’ve left, or he at least felt like he should’ve because what he was seeing looked like something so unknown and strange he felt like he was looking at something he wasn’t supposed to.

Viktor eventually turned his head to find Yuuri staring at him, looking red and flustered.

“Sorry, did you want this room?” Viktor asked, breaking Yuuri out of his thoughts. His voice sounded so different to how he looked. His voice sounded like his normal self, but when you saw the man behind the voice, you’d see someone so weak and broken-looking. You could tell the voice was a facade he had to put on frequently Yuuri stared at him, almost forgetting to speak as he looked into Viktor’s eyes that held something so desperate behind them.

“Uh, no. I’ll just– Um, are you okay?” Yuuri managed to stutter out of his mouth, cringing at how he could not put together a sentence to save his life.

“You asked that before, a while ago, and then I was rude to you,” Viktor started, sitting up properly and turning to face Yuuri. “But you just asked it again, you asked me if I was okay even though the response you got last time was less than pleasant,” Viktor finished, looking deep in thought as the redness in his eyes faded, and the walls around Viktor built up again as he slowly regained the energy to pretend he was okay.

“You don’t look okay,” Yuuri replied, hoping it was enough of an answer to whatever Viktor was saying.

Viktor nodded and silence swallowed the air around them once again, but only for a moment before Viktor was speaking again. “Sorry for being rude to you– you were asking if I was okay, I shouldn’t have been rude.” Yuuri stared at Viktor in disbelief, he would’ve never expected an apology from Viktor, especially about something he didn’t have to apologise for. Viktor was rude, but Yuuri deserved it. He had been mean towards Viktor. Yuuri didn’t say anything in response, to focused on his thoughts to remember to say something. What do you even say to a prince who’s apologising to you anyway? Yuuri’s train of thought was stunted as he heard Viktor walk across the room towards Yuuri and the door. Yuuri stepped to the side to let Viktor go to the door, expecting him to leave, but instead of turning the door handle when he reached it, he locked it.

Yuuri couldn’t breathe. What was Viktor going to do? Was he going to murder him? Was he going to drag him to his castle and put him in a dungeon? Why had he locked that goddamn door? What was Viktor planning? Yuuri panicked, he had to get out of there. He was in a room with an almost complete stranger. Not to mention, his heat was less than two weeks away. A heat he wasn’t suppressing. But, Yuuri was sure no one could smell a heat scent on him just yet. He still had a few days before he went into pre-heat. Unless being around so many alphas had made him go into pre-heat now and Viktor could smell it on him, but Yuuri couldn’t even smell it himself.

“You did well during the game today,” Viktor said out of the blue as he clearly watched Yuuri intensely.

“You noticed how I did during the game?” Yuuri asked suspiciously. He would’ve never have thought Viktor would thinking about anyone but himself during the game.

“Well, actually, no,” Viktor admitted, smiling cheerily to make up for his lie. “I was just trying to be polite, like you have been to me– well for at least these past few minutes.

“Oh,” Yuuri said back, finding he didn’t know what else to say. Viktor was now admitting he lied too? Was this even Viktor Nikiforov or was this his clone? Yuuri smiled to himself, before realising that he didn’t actually know what Viktor was like, since he only listened to rumors about him and had never actually bothered to listen to him. Yuuri looked to the locked door which was still very much locked, even though there seemed no cause for it to be locked. At least at this moment, Viktor could pull out a knife and stab at him at any moment. But, to postpone that reality coming true, he asked a question. “You never– you didn’t answer me, you didn’t say if you were okay.”

Viktor only smiled in response, before walking backwards to the bed and sitting on it cross legged. Yuuri was relieved to have Viktor out of stabbing distance. “So, Yuuri,” Viktor started again, drawing out Yuuri’s name, practically purring it. “Who are you? What are you doing in my bedroom?”

“I didn’t know this was your bedroom,” Yuuri answered, swallowing thickly.

“Mm, did you think I lived in some sort of large castle? Well, I do, half of the time– this is my aunt's mansion, I stay here often because it’s closer to school, I sleep in here most school nights, so it’s more my room than the one at the palace is,” Viktor replied, looking around the large en suite bedroom. Yuuri paid a lot more attention to his surroundings now that he knew it was Viktor’s bedroom. The first thing he noticed was the multiple poodle plushies scattered around the room. He also noted the colour of his bedsheets– baby blue. He looked over at the silver haired boy’s bookshelves. He took note of how they messy they were and how most of the books were in Russian. He looked over at his black and white desk and saw the giant iMac, along with an iPad Pro and a stack of school books. The only other items in the room were different sets of sports gear– ice hockey, tennis, baseball, and lots of pairs of ice skates. Apart from that, the room was mostly bare and spotless, the largeness of the room sticking out the most. The size of the room almost made it feel isolating.

“It’s big– the room. It’s big,” Yuuri commented. Viktor chuckled, before he shuffled over in the bed and patted the spot next to him.

“So, are you just going to keep standing there or are you going to come sit down?” Yuuri moved quickly over to the bed and sat on it, also crossing his legs and facing Viktor. “And are you ever going to tell me who you are?” Viktor asked once Yuuri settled in.

With the thought of the locked door in mind and Viktor’s close proximity, Yuuri spoke again. “Are you ever going to tell me if you’re feeling okay?”

“Fine, okay. I’ll tell you how I’m feeling and you tell me who you are, Yuuri,” Viktor challenged. Yuuri gulped, but nodded.

“You first,” Yuuri said, putting his hands behind him and leaving back on them.

“Alright. I’m feeling… Mmm, I guess I’m feeling a bit sad– a bit lonely,” Viktor admitted, looking down at his lap, where he was fidgeting with the hem if his shirt. It was a funny picture honestly, a social recluse sitting across from a future king, looking relaxed and open, putting out his chest and looking at the other with a smug and questioning look, while the future alpha king was hunched over and nervously fidgeting.

“Why?” Yuuri asked, curious as to why an attractive, rich, alpha prince would feel lonely or sad. What did he have to be sad about?

Viktor smirked and shook his head. “No more questions, it’s your turn.”

“Well, I’m Yuuri Katsuki, I’m a scholarship student and I’m in year eleven,” Yuuri told Viktor.

“Scholarship student? You must be smart then,” Viktor commented, with an undertone of something Yuuri couldn’t really figure out.

“Maybe,” Yuuri replied, blushing at Viktor’s almost-compliment. “Why did you lock the door?” Yuuri asked, after a few seconds of silence, deciding to test the waters– trying to dive away from the small talk.

“Didn’t want anyone barging in,” Viktor said shrugging. Yuuri only nodded in response, mulling over Viktor’s reply. Why didn’t he want anyone coming in? They were just talking...well at least they were currently.

Yuuri heard Viktor sigh before he saw him get off of the bed and head towards his desk where he cleared some books, revealing a secret collection of empty bottles and packet wrappers. Guess even princes can’t be bothered to put rubbish in the bin. Viktor picked up an empty glass bottle that looked like it had once held expensive mineral water.

“Let’s play spin the bottle,” Viktor said, smirked, getting back onto the bed and placing the bottle in between them. Before Yuuri could protest or even ask why Viktor wanted to play spin the bottle with one person, Viktor had spun it and it landed pointing to him and Viktor. Yuuri found he couldn’t catch up with his thoughts, all of them racing around his mind while he stayed completely still, unable to move. What the hell was Viktor doing? “Oh, guess I’ll have to kiss you now.” Viktor leaned in, kissing Yuuri, and when he did, Yuuri’s racing thoughts instantly stopped. Everything froze. He froze. Everything was still. Except for Viktor, who was continuously crawling closer to Yuuri. Even though, Yuuri was not kissing back or moving closer, or doing anything at all, Viktor persisted and kept kissing the younger one, but after a few seconds of getting nothing in response from Yuuri, he eventually stopped and leaned back on his knees. They awkwardly stared at each other for a while, Yuuri looking at how hot Viktor looked in that moment– a pink blush spreading across his cheeks and over his noses while he panted. Viktor looked at Yuuri, expecting him to do something other than cutely stare at him in shock. Yuuri didn’t really know what he was doing in that moment, but the fact the Viktor had kissed him had somewhere in his mind registered, so he did the first thing that came to mind: kiss him back.

Yuuri slyly grabbed Viktor chin and kissed him, in a very un-Yuuri like fashion. Viktor instantly melted into the kiss, shifting his legs so Yuuri could settle in between them. Yuuri’s mind was screaming with joy as Viktor kissed him, each second the kiss becoming deeper and more heated. When Viktor decided to swipe his tongue across Yuuri’s bottom lip, Yuuri’s awareness of the world finally sunk in and everything caught up with him. Yuuri wanted to keep kissing, but his body pulled back, breaking the breath-taking kiss. Yuuri searched Viktor’s eyes for a second, not really knowing what he was looking for. Viktor looked tired, he looked relieved– he even looked a little lustful. The blush on Viktor had spread to his torso and was now peeking out of his plain, but surely expensive, boat neckline, grey shirt. It had also spread to the tips of ears which looked painfully adorable. He looked adorable. But he also looked like a complete god, maybe a sex god. But Yuuri knew without looking in a mirror that he looked completely ugly next to Viktor. He was a sack of potatoes with some dumb, ugly glasses next to Viktor. Not only that, but, being the seventeen year old he was, he was also half hard. Yuuri didn’t have to look to know that Viktor wasn’t hard. He was so much more experienced than him, there was no way a badly attempted kiss could’ve turned him on, especially when he was looking at someone like Yuuri.
It was embarrassing how awkward the whole thing was, and so Yuuri did the only thing he could think of to do: run. Yuuri quickly scramble off the bed, unlocked the door and left, completely mortified. And all of the way home, he still couldn’t believe he had the ego to kiss Viktor Nikiforov, never mind that Viktor had been the one to initiate the kissing.

Chapter Text

-One Year Later-

 

“Pretty please? I promise you’ll have a good time!” Sara whined. “And I’ll even find you a date.”

“You can say that because you already have a date and you know you’ll have a good time,” Yuuri reasoned, gesturing to Mila, a red-headed girl sitting next to Sara, her hand linked with hers.

“Yuuri, it’s your last year in high school, which means it’s your last chance to go to a proper formal, you’ll regret not going,” Sara replied back, ignoring Yuuri’s last comment about her and Mila’s relationship. “Who do you want to go with? You’re such a cutie Yuuri, take your pick!”

“Take my pick? I can’t just choose any guy I want, not that I really want any of them,” Yuuri argued, rolling his eyes at the absurdity that was the thought of Yuuri being able to ‘take his pick.’

“He wants Viktorr,” Mila purred, giggling, referencing an inside joke that had started when Yuuri had admitted he and Viktor had kissed at the beginning of this year. It had started before last years formal when Yuuri was with Sara as she got ready for the formal. Yuuri drove Sara to the formal, not going himself, but when they arrived, he’d seen Viktor and got very flustered. Yuuri, despite Sara’s consistent interrogating, never spilt. He stayed silent throughout summer, that was until school started back up again and he bumped into Viktor, who was there, guiding a tour for students interested in enrolling for next year. Viktor had pretended like they barely knew each other and that they hadn’t kissed. Yuuri didn’t know what to think, and so after that, he confessed to Sara and Mila, who had joined their little friendship group over the summer. While they comforted Yuuri at first when Yuuri felt better it had turned into a big joke that had stuck with them for all of their senior year. They had even ventured to Viktor’s college to spy on him– unsuccessfully.

“I do not! I do not want to go either, end of story.”

-

“Viktor was there! He gave a speech and everything, and you missed out,” Mila teased when she arrived the Monday following the formal on Friday, which Yuuri was stubborn about and didn’t attend. “And, he was talking about like how people make lifelong connections in high school and how they’re so meaningful and how soon we’ll all find love and god it was so beautiful. He’s so beautiful. While you were at home opening college acceptance letters, Viktor was talking about love.” Yuuri chuckled at how infatuated Mila was with Viktor, despite being in a serious relationship with Sara. “And then he actually told the entire school that he was currently looking for his soulmate, can you believe it? Whoever is Viktor’s soulmate is the luckiest person on earth!” A cough came from the doorway to Mila’s bedroom and there was Sara, looking unimpressed at Mila’s recent exclamation. “I mean second luckiest person because I’m the luckiest because I get to be with you, darling,” Mila finished, swirling around in her desk chair to meet Sara in a kiss. Mila swivelled back around in her chair to meet Yuuri again, holding onto Sara’s hand while doing so.

“So, do you regret going now?” Sara asked, pulling up a cushiony, backless chair and sitting next to Mila. “You could’ve seen him again.”

“Why would I want to see Viktor again? And it’s not like he was doing a meet and greet out the back, he was probably busy the whole time,” Yuuri questioned, raising his eyebrow. “So, no. I don’t regret it, and if I so desperately want to see him I know which college he goes to.”

“So do it, go accidentally bump into him! Go get him,” Mila squealed.

“What? Why would I do that?”

“Because you like him, silly,” Mila replied, in a tone that implied it was completely obvious that Yuuri had it hard for Viktor.

“No, I don’t,” Yuuri answered, a confused look painting his face.

“Oh, C'mon, Yuuri, enough with the denying. You like him, I mean didn’t you join the hockey team to get close to him? And then you kissed him and wouldn’t tell us about it, and then you drunkenly went and spied on him at his campus, that sounds like crushing to me,” Sara chimed, a smug, knowing look on his face.

“Okay, yeah, I did go and spy on him but it was only because it was funny– we did it as a joke! And I didn’t tell you because it was embarrassing and weird and just...weird. And yeah maybe I did join the hockey team last year because Viktor was on it but that was a long time ago, and how do you even know about that?”

“A little Phichit-shaped fairy told me,” Sara giggled.

“God, why can’t that guy keep his mouth shut?” Yuuri groaned.

A few days later, as Yuuri was walking home from the library, passing the school (his school which he had now graduated from!) he saw a rather strange sight. Three guys, completely naked. One of which, was Viktor. They were running, perhaps it was one of those things where you have to run a block completely naked? Yuuri didn’t quite know, but what he did know was that Viktor had a huge dick and was running towards him at an impeccable speed. Yuuri backed up a bit to let the three men pass him and followed them with his eyes as they ran past him. Yuuri stared at Viktor’s ass for quite some time before he realised there was a mark on his mid-thigh. A mark that looked exactly like his.

Thoughts swirled around his brain, why was Viktor running around naked? I mean, he’d been hanging around the school a lot the past year but he’d never seen anyone run around naked. And who were those other guys? They didn’t look important or royal or anything, why were they running too? And why the hell did Viktor have a matching soulmark on the back of his thigh? Was Yuuri seeing things?

 

-

-Three years later-

“So, you’ll do it? You will take Viktor’s hand in marriage?”

“Yes, for the agreed amount. Yes, I will partake in the arranged marriage– as soon as the money is deposited into my parents account.”

Chapter Text

-Three years later-

 

“So, you’ll do it? You will take Viktor’s hand in marriage?”

 

“Yes, for the agreed amount. Yes, I will partake in the arranged marriage– as soon as the money is deposited into my account,” Yuuri said firmly, trying to fight back the tears that were behind his eyes. He had to do this, it was the right thing. Yuuri didn’t think about all of the things wrong with this arrangement, he thought about all the things that were right. His parents would get money, they would stay afloat and he wouldn’t have to worry anymore. Yuuri wouldn’t have to worry about his own money, or even school or getting a job. Yeah, he’d have to be around a tight-ass prince and pretend he liked the other, but at least his family would be safe. That was the number one priority, and this would get him there. He didn’t think about the mark on his leg or his soulmate that was out there somewhere. He didn’t think about how he’d have to say goodbye to them even before he met them. He didn’t think about how awful it would be to live with Viktor and pretend that he was happy in a place where he couldn’t be himself. He didn’t think about how much he’d miss his family or how much he’d miss his home. He didn’t think about all that because it hurt, it all hurt. He thought about his family, and how he was putting them out of their troubles. He thought about how much he loved them all, and how happy they made him.

 

“Very well, the marriage date has already been set for five weeks time. That should be December 9th. My secretary is transferring the first payment as we speak, it should arrive within the next couple of days,” The voice on the other end of the phone line spoke, her voice crisp and tight. “I will call you in a week or two to arrange a meeting to go over some wedding plans– guest lists and invitations and such– until then, keep healthy and enjoy your upcoming birthday. Goodbye, Yuuri Katsuki.”

 

“Goodbye, Ms. Baranovskaya,” Yuuri farewelled, hitting the end call button and resting his phone on his desk that was in his old room from when he was a kid, before he went off the university and everything went wrong, before he had messed everything up– but this was his chance to make everything right. He was going to make everything okay again, he messed up his old plan, but this one was going to work out. It was a little weird and a little taboo and a little unconventional, but it was going to work.

 

Yuuri stood up off of his old blue desk chair and exited his room at his family’s inn and walked to their private dining/living area, where his mother was busy making dinner and his father and sister were watching TV. He looked at the people and was grateful he hadn’t been spotted yet. He felt so ashamed to be around them after what had happened this year. His family had told him it was okay and they didn’t hate him for it, but Yuuri couldn’t see how they couldn’t be mad at him, their entire futures were relying on Yuuri and he had failed them. He didn’t want them to look or acknowledge him until he had made everything right, but here he was, living under their roof and using up their limited resources despite everything. He didn’t belong there.

 

“Oh, Yuuri! I was just finishing up dinner and I was about to send Mari to come get you!” Hiroko said cheerily, spooning dinner into bowls for everyone.

 

“I actually have some news for everyone,” Yuuri announced, picking up the bowls and setting them down on the short dining table and bringing up pillows around the table for everyone to sit on. He waited for everyone to get settled around the table and start eating before speaking again. “I’m not resisting my exams these holidays, and I’m not going back to uni at all,” Yuuri started, looking over at everyone, who all looked a mix of confused and shocked. “I know the past two years and for the start of this one I was doing perfectly, but I’ve really failed everyone now, and I’ve failed my exams, which means my only options are to retake the exams or stop going to university altogether because my scholarship won’t cover my honours or masters if I failed. I know the plan was for me to finish my masters and get a high paying job so I can support everyone, but I’ve gotten an offer, a job of sorts.

 

“And I’ve already made my decision so before I tell you what it is, I want to let you know that I have already agreed to it and I’m not backing down.” Yuuri paused to take a deep breath before continuing. “I am getting married, it’s an arranged marriage. A paid one.” Once Yuuri had said it, silence fell across the room, everyone stopped eating. Everyone looked down at their food, not saying a word. Except for Mari, who piped up.

 

“Who? Who are you marrying? Who will be paying you?”

 

“Viktor Nikiforov,” Yuuri whispered, finding it hard to speak above a whisper. “Look I know this isn’t what you expected but it’s a lot of money–”

 

“Why are you doing this? You’ll hate being in an arranged marriage, especially one with a future king. Yuuri, a marriage is forever. It’s just one set of exams before you’re back on track again, you don’t have to do this,” Hiroko interrupted.

 

“I know, but it’s more money than I’ll earn in a job, and this money is now, it would take years for me to get a job, I want you all to be safe now. I want to support you as soon as possible and this will allow me to do it. Plus, it’s not all that bad. I mean I haven’t ironed out the details but it’s not like I’m going to be with the royal family all the time and I can visit you guys. And I mean I can focus on my ice skating which is what I really want to do. And they get a king and get to pretend that Viktor isn’t so much of an ass that he can’t even get the best gold diggers to marry him,” Yuuri giggled, the rest of his family also giggling. “It will all be okay mum, I promise.”

 

“Okay,” Hiroko sighed. “What about children? They probably expect you to have children, don’t they?”

 

“Uh, well. Yes, probably, but I think I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, okay?” Yuuri answered, blushing slightly.

 

“And uh, doesn’t Viktor have a soulmate? I remember a couple of years ago Viktor said he did, didn’t he? And then after that, he didn’t mention it again,” Mari chimed.

 

“Uh, yeah, they haven’t really mentioned that. I think it was just Viktor asking for attention, it was most likely fake,” Yuuri replied, thinking of his own soul mark with an ache in his heart. He never told his family about the mark, hoping to one day find his soulmate and surprise them, but he guessed he could kiss that dream goodbye.

 

“Oh, okay,” Mari said, slumping back after finishing her meal. “When is the wedding? Will there be a wedding?”

 

“Rehearsal dinner is on the 8th of December, wedding is on the 9th.”

 

“Mm, okay. Well, Yuuri, we will always support you, including now, but we do think this is a little risky but only because we want you to be happy and we think this may not be the best way for you to be happy, you know?” Hiroko said, her voice loving but concerned.

 

Yuuri nodded. “I’ll be okay, mum.”

 

-

 

Yuuri was standing outside a ramen place, clad in a nice shirt and nice jeans and the most expensive sweater he had when he saw Phichit for the first time in quite a few years. After high school and Yuuri moved away for college, they quickly lost touch due to the business of it all, but a few weeks ago when Yuuri was about to take his final exams, he called Phichit impulsively because of how panicked he was, finding that he was reverting back to his old ways of dealing with panic and being scared, but this time when Yuuri called Phichit it was a lot less appropriate considering they were barely friends now– but thankfully Phichit had accepted Yuuri’s tears and made a date for coffee.

 

When Yuuri saw Phichit, he couldn’t help but run to him, enveloping him in a tight hug.

 

“Oh, Yuuri! I have missed you so much,” Phichit squealed, jumping up and down while still hugging Yuuri.

 

“I missed you too,” Yuuri mumbled into Phichit’s shoulder.

 

Once they were done hugging, they walked into the restaurant and sat inside a cramped small booth. “So, what have you been doing? What’s happening? You just finished your bachelor degree right?” Phichit asked, grabbing a menu and grazing over it.

 

“Well, no, I didn’t graduate. I failed my exams, and they said I could retake them during the summer and then graduate and then apply for my honours but I said no, I’m not enrolled in a university at the moment,” Yuuri admitted, finding the words unfamiliar coming out of his mouth– never in a million years did Yuuri think he would quit education, Yuuri was always a top student but he ended up here. When Yuuri looked up from his fingers playing with the hem of his shirt, he found Phichit staring at him, his mouth wide with shock.

 

“You– you failed your exams? Yuuri Katsuki failed his exams? What happened?” Phichit gasped, dropping his menu on the table, making a loud thud noise.

 

“I was doing well, really well, that is until I met a guy. Earlier this year, I started dating someone and, well, I’d never really had a boyfriend before and he threw me and academically, I became a little shaky. And then– I know this sounds cliche, but he started to change. He was different and even though I knew he wasn’t my soulmate I still really loved him. He started to get pushy and mean and he’d treat me differently around his friends, but I still stayed with him. He’d always say that I liked studying more than him and so I just stopped studying and I started skipping classes and just drifted. The day after my exams I knew I had failed and I knew it was because of him, so I just ended things with this guy– his name was Adam, by the way, I don’t know if that matters but yeah,” Yuuri finished, finding it relieving to have said the whole story aloud.

 

“And this was only a few weeks ago? You look a lot better than I thought you would after your first ever serious breakup, I gotta admit,” Phichit told him.

 

“Yeah, I think I knew the whole time I was with him that he wasn’t treating me well and so when I broke up with him it didn’t feel so sudden– I mean I wasn’t even sad, I did miss him for a bit but honestly I could care less about him now,” Yuuri chuckled.

 

“Haha, yeah I have ex's I feel the same way about,” Phichit giggled, smiling at his friend, hoping to get his mind away from his failed exams that were clearly still bothering him. “So, why aren’t you resitting your exams? I thought you had this whole plan to finish university with a master’s degree and everything, what happened to that?”

 

“Well, the whole reason I wanted to do higher education was that I wanted to get a high paying job so I could support my family, right? Well, I kind of found another way to do that, a quicker way. My family has been doing awfully lately, they’re barely afloat so I’ve quit university and I’m… partaking in an arranged marriage. A paid one, my family gets paid a large amount of money, I get married, and then every single month I’m married, they get paid again and again,” Yuuri told Phichit, holding his breath in anticipation to his friend's reaction.

 

Again, Phichit was shocked, but a lot more than before. It took him several minutes to regain his ability to speak, at first just stuttering out ‘uh’s and ‘well’s.

 

“Married. You are getting married. You, at age twenty one, are getting married? To who?”

 

“Do you remember Viktor Nikiforov, who I went to school with? Him, I’m marrying into the royal family and becoming his spouse, which will technically make me king but I don’t think about that aspect of it,” Yuuri replied a little nonchalantly.

 

“Viktor Nikiforov? Wait, you had a crush on him in high school, didn’t you?” Phichit almost shouted. Yuuri only nodded sheepishly in response. “You know that’s kind of romantic.”

 

“Phichit, it’s an arranged marriage, there is nothing romantic about that,” Yuuri deadpanned.

 

“Okay, yeah, sure. But speaking of romance, you have a freaking soulmate, and I know that family must be paying you a hell of a lot of money, but like? What about your soulmate?!” Phichit whined, disappointed that Yuuri wouldn’t get to meet his soulmate. “Also, isn’t Viktor supposed to have a soulmate too? And also, why are you of all people marrying Viktor Nikiforov, like doesn’t he want some petite, shy, omega or something? No offence, but you actually have a personality, I would think Viktor would want some a little dumber than you are– wait, what about children? Are you going to have children? And why doesn’t Viktor marry someone he actually likes? He’s still young, he’s twenty-two, he has heaps of time to find a spouse, why now?” Phichit, rambled, bombarding Yuuri with questions now that he’d finally processed what was happening to Yuuri.

 

“Wow, okay. Well, first of all, family is more important than my soulmate and heaps of people never meet their soulmate anyway, so yeah I’m kinda sad about it but it’s just a too good of an opportunity to pass up, you know? And as for Viktor’s soulmate, I have no idea what’s going on there. Most people think he did it for the attention, and as for why he picked me, I don’t know. I did go to the same high school as him so that was probably a factor but other than that I have no idea. I mean we did kiss that one time in high school but I’ve seen him multiple times since then and honestly, I think he forgot or something. I don’t really know,” Yuuri answered, taking a breath before continuing to answer Yuuri’s questions. “And I have no idea why they’re forcing Viktor to marry now, I’m actually starting to think that Viktor is just lonely as hell and just went through his old yearbook or something and picked out a random person and said he wanted to marry them instead of waiting to let actual romance develop, I’m not sure. And as for children, yes I will have to have his children, but that is years and years away and I’ve kind of always wanted to have children anyway.”

 

“Wow. That’s crazy.”

 

-

 

Yuuri stood before the palace’s grand doors as he watched his chauffeur march up the steps in front of him and open the doors, on his way to show Yuuri to Ms Baranovkaya’s office, where he would meet Lilia to go over his wedding plans with Prince Viktor Nikiforov.

Chapter Text

Yuuri stood before the palace’s grand doors as he watched his chauffeur march up the steps in front of him and open the grand doors, on his way to show Yuuri to Ms. Baranovkaya’s office, where he would meet Lilia to go over his wedding plans with Prince Viktor Nikiforov.

 

Yuuri stepped inside the palace, his eyes meeting large expanses of gold and marble and diamond. His eyes ghosted over the large staircases and big white, marble columns. The room was pure marble, probably thousands and thousands of dollars worth of it. He looked up the staircases and saw even more marble and pristine red carpets leading down halls. He saw several large doors almost as big as the front door around the room, leading to god knows where.

 

“Lilia wanted to meet you in the atrium which is up the stairs and straight ahead,” the chauffeur who’s name was Dylan told Yuuri. “I’m Mr. Nikiforov’s driver and seeing as he is busy at the moment if you need a drive anywhere afterwards I’ll be right outside,” Dylan finished before leaving Yuuri and stepping outside. Yuuri didn’t bother with looking around or at the big paintings that covered the wall and instead headed straight upstairs, bouncing up the stairs quickly, not wanting to be slow with how nervous he was. When he reached the second landing, he wasn’t surprised to see even more marble. The landing was fairly bare, only sporting a few velvet seats and a few pot plants, along with a couple more paintings. It was nice, but Yuuri didn’t really care for it, preferring his family’s inn and it’s cosy, wooden feel. What did spark Yuuri’s interest was the atrium straight ahead. The ‘u’ shaped room and the end of the building was decked out in curved, lightly frosted glass. Yuuri reached for the gold handle on the large wooden door and opened. Inside was the greenest trees and plants Yuuri had ever seen. Most were ferns and there was moss everywhere. There was the occasional bright flower which stood out and made the atrium even more beautiful. Yuuri could see now why the walls of the palace were so tall– so the trees could fit in there and tower above you. When Yuuri entered the atrium, he felt like he had entered another world.

 

“Beautiful, isn't it?” Lilia spoke, coming out from behind a group of tall shrubs.

 

“It’s magnificent, Lilia,” Yuuri replied in awe.

 

“Yes, I thought you’d like to see this first so I could start this off on a good note before we get into all the details of the arrangement,” she replied, looking up at the towering trees, just as Yuuri was. “You know, some of these trees reach the third floor, and directly above is a master bedroom, with the north side covered in clear glass so you can see the trees.”

 

“That sounds amazing,” Yuuri remarked.

 

“It is amazing,” Lilia said, smirking. “So, shall we start with a tour of the palace or are you still looking at all the plants?”

 

“No, let’s go,” Yuuri answered, reaching for the door and opening it to let Lilia through.

 

“So, the second floor has the atrium, and to your left there is a conference room and to your right there is a ballroom. Straight ahead and left is the upper dining room, most likely where you will be having most of your meals since it is much more informal. To the right of that is the upper parlour, which again is much more informal– especially since Viktor put in an eighty inch tv complete with every game console known to man,” Lilia giggled. “Now through here is a bathroom and staircase leading to the ground floor. On the opposite side is another bathroom and ensuite guest bedroom. Now, do you want to see the third floor or the main level first?”

“Uh, third floor sounds good.”

 

Lilia lead Yuuri upstairs where he was shown an office, billiard room, theatre, tasting room, gym, another bedroom, a few bars and several other bedrooms. After that, they went down stairs and saw a ‘morning room’ which just looked like another smaller parlour, a family room, a kitchen, a formal dining room and parlour, a library, a bar and finally the master bedroom.

 

“So, here it is, this is where you’ll be sleeping,” Lilia said, smirking as she opened the doors to the master bedroom. “Goddammit, I told him to tidy up in here!” Lilia groaned, frowning at the bedroom which had clothes strung all over it, and was generally a mess. But beneath the mess was the biggest bed Yuuri had ever seen which had a canopy with baby blue curtains. The bed also had baby blue bedding, which reminded him of the night he and Viktor had kissed, many moons ago. Also in the bedroom was a desk and a huge walk in wardrobe, along with a mini lounging area with a giant grey couch and huge tv. As Yuuri looked around the room he noticed all of Viktor’s things strewn across the room. It then dawned on Yuuri that this was Viktor’s room . He was in a prince’s room. The room he’d share with the prince. Did that mean they would be sleeping here? It did occur to Yuuri that he and Viktor might share a bedroom but he knew that the marriage was being posed as a real one to the public and it was generally fake. Why did they have to share a bed if they knew that they weren’t supposed to really love each other?

 

“So, I guess you have a lot of questions.”

 

-

 

After Yuuri had marvelled at the bathroom and the gigantic bath in there, Lilia and Yuuri made their way to Lilia’s office, where Yuuri expected he would meet Viktor again, but when Lilia and Yuuri stepped inside, Viktor wasn’t in there.

 

“I know I said that Viktor would be here for this meeting, but unfortunately he left the country and has flown to the other side of Russia, outside of Esterlake for a few weeks, but he did send me this poster to put up on the wall for the duration of this meeting,” Lilia informed Yuuri before stepping over to a wall with a picture with a curtain over it. Lilia unveiled the poster and there was Viktor, standing on a beach in nothing but speedos. To make it even worse, the camera angle was from behind Viktor, with the man himself turning his head around to smile and wink at the person taking the photograph. Lilia sighed as she looked it over, before taking a seat at the large desk with Yuuri following suit. “I was originally going to leave the part where you ask heaps of questions at the end, but after showing you the tour, I think now is a good time to ask questions.” Yuuri didn’t respond, instead his eyes were trained on the poster, particularly on a spot on Viktor’s thigh, where Yuuri thought he had seen Viktor’s soulmark years ago, but there was nothing. No mark. Yuuri thought back to the questionable day in which he’d supposedly seen his matching soulmark on Viktor. Ever since then Yuuri had always thought he’d must of been seeing things or Viktor did have a soulmark there but it wasn’t exactly like his– just similar. But now, looking at the poster, Yuuri became even more confused. Maybe Viktor did have a soulmark and they’d photo shopped it off, but then again why would they cover up Viktor having a soulmark? Or maybe Viktor found out that Yuuri had the same mark as him and ordered for an arranged marriage to take place? Did Viktor even know it was Yuuri he was marrying? Did Viktor even have the tiniest say on the marriage? Yuuri was beyond confused, if only Viktor hadn’t gone to fucking Russia, then he could’ve been here to talk about it– and it wasn’t like he could just ask Lilia, she didn’t know the ins and outs of Viktor’s mind, only Viktor himself did, and he was the only source that Yuuri could get his answers from.

 

“Yuuri, I understand that Viktor is an attractive man but we have things to talk about here,” Lilia pointed out, snapping Yuuri out of his thoughts.

 

“Uh, sorry, Lilia,” Yuuri apologised, tearing his eyes away from the poster.

 

“So, questions?”

 

“Right, well first of all, I know you said that I would purely be a figurehead in terms of responsibility and work that has to do with the family’s responsibilities, but could you elaborate on that? More specifically, what do you need me here for?” Yuuri asked, diving straight into the big questions.  

 

“Viktor’s father is dead and his mother is sick, while Viktor is not yet the king since his mother, and yes, she is sick but she’s still the queen, but since Ivan’s death Viktor has been of more interest to the public lately. Viktor needs a spouse, he needs to look more mature and like he has more control than he actually does, especially after all of the things he’s done recently. You’re smart, you’ve been to university and the same high school as Viktor. You were on the hockey team together, you’re just what he needs! And when Viktor does become king, you won’t have to do anything, just smile pretty in public and your job is done. This whole thing is to help Viktor’s image,” Lilia explained.

 

“Well, okay. If this whole thing is for the public, why are we sharing a bed?”

 

“When I say public, I mean every single person apart from you, me, Viktor and his dead father know that this is fake. Not even his own mother knows, no one knows, and no one can ever know,” Lilia responded. “This is an arranged marriage, Yuuri. It’s quite taboo, I mean no one gets paid for marrying people– at least not anymore or for the last hundred years.”

 

“I guess that makes sense,” Yuuri replied, mulling over what Lilia had told him. “Okay, third question– what about children? I mean, you must want an heir, right?”

 

“In an ideal world, yes, children would eventually make their way into the picture. But they don’t have to, if you want children, you can have children. If you hate the idea, Viktor probably has a cousin somewhere to take the throne. I think when it comes to children, we will cross that bridge when we get to it,” the brunette answered.

 

“Alright. And what about that thing a couple years ago when Viktor told everyone he had a soulmate? Does he have a soulmate?”

 

Lilia looked down and pursed her lips. “No, Viktor does not have a soulmate,” Lilia answered, deciding to not elaborate on that topic.

 

Yuuri asked a couple more questions before he felt satisfied, the thought of Viktor’s bare thigh still at the back of his mind. Yuuri had always told himself that he was seeing things that night and Viktor wasn’t really his soulmate, but at the back of his mind he’d always like to fantasize about it. But this confirmed that he wasn’t Yuuri’s soulmate. After going over some financial stuff, they finally got to actual wedding plans.

 

“Now for the fun bit,” Lilia cheered as she pulled out a big binder full of stuff. “So, first things first: a venue.” Lilia opened the binder and flipped through the first couple pages before landing on a page covered in churches. “Would you prefer an indoor wedding,” Lilia asked, pointing to the page with halls and churches, “Or an outdoor wedding?” Lilia finished, turning the page and showing Yuuri pictures of beaches and botanic gardens.

 

“Shouldn’t Viktor be here to decide?”

 

“Viktor is here,” Lilia chuckled, pointing to the poster of Viktor on the beach.

 

“Well, Viktor is on the beach on that poster, so I think he would like an outdoor wedding,” Yuuri giggled.

 

“Alright, would you like a garden-y wedding? Or a beach wedding? I don’t know many beah spots but I know heaps of botanical gardens that are just beautiful,” Lilia said, opening her laptop and typing something.

 

“I think the botanical gardens sound nice.”

 

“Gardens it is! My favourite spot is this huge park in Sapporo, it’s wonderful. Me and my husband, Yakov, got married there,” Lilia explained, showing Yuuri pictures of the park.

 

“That looks perfect.”

 

For the rest of the afternoon Yuuri and Lilia went over wedding plans for what felt like weeks, ironing out each detail. They knew that the flowers would be frangipanis and bluebirds. The colours for the wedding were blue, gold and white. They had picked out invitations and gone over a guest list and arranged a seating chart. They had organized a menu which included practically every meal known to man. They had made appointments for Yuuri to go to tux shops to get fitted and pick out an outfit. Lilia had called a person to say the ‘Do you...etc.’ and organized for Viktor’s dog, Makkachin, to be the ring bearer. Yuuri had picked out rings– a matching pair of white gold bands with tiny diamonds embedded into it all the way around and along the top and bottom– it was a little much but it was the least in-your-face and the least expensive at 852,700 russian roubles. They had gone over practically everything in barely four hours. By the end of it, Yuuri was giddy, he’d enjoyed planning a wedding a lot more than he thought, he actually felt a little excited for the wedding, that was until it was time to leave and the thoughts of his soulmate returned.

 

“I can’t believe we managed to go over that much in such a short time,” Lilia said as she guided Yuuri to the front door. “That was definitely the most fun I’ve had planning a wedding, even more than my own!” she laughed.

 

“I’ll admit that was fun, I’m looking forward to my tux shopping next thursday,” Yuuri replied sheepishly.

 

“And I’m looking forward to dinner this weekend, so you can meet the family– even if Viktor won’t be there.”

 

Yuuri nodded as he stepped outside, greeted by the cold wintery air. It then it dawned on him that an outdoor wedding in winter would be a little weird, but it would be okay. Everything would be okay.

 

-

 

“Outdoor wedding in December? Are you crazy?” Minako asked as she poured herself a glass of sake and came to sit down with the Yuuri and the rest of his family in the living area.

 

“Maybe,” Yuuri replied, shrugging. “I don’t know, but I just had such a good time planning it! I have no idea why, since it is a goddamn arranged marriage, but it just felt very right. It’s kinda stupid, but I’m just kinda excited about the whole thing,” Yuuri admitted.

 

“Really?” Mari asked, taking a sip of her tea. Yuuri nodded in response.

 

“So, you’re joining the Nikiforov’s this Sunday for dinner, huh?” Toshiya piped in.

 

“Yeah, although I’m not looking forward to it– they’re all so rich and proper, I just don’t know how to act around them,” Yuuri answered, looking down and thinking about the upcoming dinner. He didn’t want to go, but he’d have to be around these people for the rest of his life so he knew it’s be a good idea to get to know them before the actual marriage. He just hoped he could see Viktor again before then, he seemed to be planning to stay in Russia for quite a while.

 

“I’m sure you will do great Yuuri,” Hiroko reassured Yuuri.

 

“Plus, we’re rich too you know,” Toshiya chuckled. “Who’s last name will you be taking, Yuuri?”

 

“Oh, we didn’t really discuss that, but I’m pretty sure we’re keeping our last names,” Yuuri answered. “Well, anyway, I should be heading to bed. I’m planning to hang out with Phichit tomorrow, I’m sure he’ll have lots to say about my winter beach wedding. And I can’t wait to show him the rings.” Yuuri stood up off of his cushion and walked away, leaving his family and heading to bed.

 

“I can’t believe he’s doing–” Mari started.

 

“Let sleeping dogs lie, Mari,” Hiroko interrupted sternly, her voice taking on her tone of that implied that Mari shouldn’t say anything more, but Mari went against it, as usual.

 

“But how can we let him do this? He has so much potential and he’s throwing it away!” Mari exclaimed, banging her fist on the table.

 

“Mari, please, Yuuri has made this decision, and he did it for us. While I agree that retaking his exams would’ve been a better option, I will always support him and you should too.”

 

“I agree with Hiroko, she’s right. The only reason you guys still own this inn is because of Yuuri’s bravery and love for you all, don’t betray him by not believing in his own decision making skills. Yuuri is not dumb, he knows what he is doing,” Minako said, taking another sip of her sake.

 

“But he just failed his exams, Yuuri hasn’t even gotten an A minus before, that’s gotta be hard for him– he’s probably devastated with the results. And he recently broke up with his first ever boyfriend, are you really going to let Yuuri make such life changing decisions while he is so emotional? He’s been going through so much change and he’s so young, his head is probably all over the place. He shouldn’t be doing this when he’s feeling like this, he’ll regret it when he gets over all of it,” Mari reasoned.

 

“Mari, did you just then notice who excited and happy Yuuri looked just then? Did you?”

 

“Well, yes, but he won’t feel like that after he–”

 

“I can’t remember the last time Yuuri looked that excited about anything. If this is making him happy and relieved, I don’t care if you think it is a bad idea. Yuuri deserves our support and he deserves to be happy . End of discussion.”

 

-

 

“Yuuri, those rings are so sparkly– I can’t even,” Phichit exclaimed, pretending to faint onto the table after Yuuri had showed him pictures of the rings. “They are so goddamn fancy, I kinda wish I was getting married now.”

 

“I don’t know, Phichit, we’ve only been dating a couple months,” a low voice said, sliding into the seat next to Phichit and wrapping an arm around his waist.

 

“Chris! How did you know I was here?” Phichit asked, grinning at his boyfriend before kissing him.

 

“Hello, Chris, it’s nice to finally meet you,” Yuuri said, offering his hand to shake. Chris shook it firmly and responded with a similar greeting.

 

“So, I hear you have a very sparkly ring?”

 

“I do , I’m getting married,” Yuuri replied in a flaunty voice. “One month to go.”

 

“And by the way the invitations go out today so you should receive one in a couple days and I put a plus one on yours so you take your very handsome boyfriend with you,” Yuuri explained, taking a sip out of his coffee cup.

 

“A month away? And the invitations go out tomorrow? Don’t invitations usually go out like months before the actual wedding?” Chris asked, opening up a menu to order from.

 

“Usually, but we only got engaged a few weeks ago and we just wanted to get married as soon as possible, we even considered eloping at first. But we found some great wedding planners.”

 

“Did you now?” Phichit asked, raising an eyebrow to let Yuuri know that Phichit knew he was lying through his teeth about the whole eloping thing.

 

Yuuri shot him a glare before speaking again.“So, you guys must be dying to like touch butts or something, so I’m going to head home. It was nice to meet you again, Chris. I hope to see you at my wedding.”

 

-

 

Yuuri stepped up to the same grand doors that he had been to a mere few days ago, but this time he was far more nervous. This time he was meeting his new family for the first time.

 

Yuuri pressed the doorbell to the palace and awaited for whoever it was that would be answering the door. When Lilia opened the large doors to greet Yuuri, the twenty one year old was washed with relief.

 

“Yuuri! It’s so nice to see you again,” Lilia greeted in a genuinely cheery voice– something Yuuri had no idea she could pull off.

 

“It’s nice to be here, Lilia,” Yuuri replied, shrugging off his new coat (that he’d bought after the Nikiforov’s money had come in,) once he stepped inside the heated room.

 

“So, we usually always have Sunday night dinner’s together and we start it with drinks which is held in the parlour which is just through here as you may remember,” Lilia told Yuuri as she walked them to the right and opened the door to the very large parlour where there two other people sitting, and as soon as Yuuri walked in he could tell that there was another omega in the room, and he felt very glad to know that. “Yakov, Anna, Akari, this is Yuuri, your future son in law,” Lilia said, introducing Yuuri to everyone. The two people turned around from where they were in the fancy couch they were sitting in.

 

“Hello, Yuuri, my name is Anna, I’m Viktor’s mother,” Anna said, waving. “This is Akari, my carer who helps me around since I have parkinson's.”

 

“Oh, I’m so sorry, that sounds awful,” Yuuri replied, taking a seat next to her and Akari. “Do you still live here?”

 

“Unfortunately no, I live in a nursing home a half hour drive from here, but enough about me, this is Yakov, he’s a figure skating coach and Viktor’s uncle,” Anna exclaimed, pointing to a gray haired man in his late fifties.

 

“A figure skating coach?” Yuuri asked, his curiosity peaked. “I love figure skating.”

 

“Ah, yes. Well, I don’t coach anymore, I’m retired,” Yakov explained. “But I used to coach Anna, back in the day, and I’m also Lilia’s husband.”

 

“Yes, as much as I hate to admit it,” Lilia chuckled, grabbing Yakov’s hand and squeezing while looking lovingly into her partner’s eyes. “Anyway, drinks anybody? We’ve got everything.” Lilia got up off of the couch and walked to the drinks cart, pulling out a bottle of wine and pouring two glasses for herself and Yakov.

 

“I’ll have a vodka martini, please,” Anna giggled.

 

“She’ll have something non-alcoholic actually,” Akari corrected, giggling as well. Lilia poured Anna a glass of carbonated water instead.

 

“And for you, Yuuri?” Lilia asked, setting the drinks she had already prepared down on the coffee table.

 

“I’ll just have some soda, please,” Yuuri answered, politely. Once Lilia had made Yuuri’s drink and sat down herself, the four of them began talking, some asking about Viktor and Yuuri’s relationship, which of course Yuuri had to lie about. They progressed to question about Yuuri’s school life, and he then had to break the news that he hadn’t completed his bachelor degree, which was followed by an awkward silence. After that they talked about their day’s and how Anna’s treatment was going and then they lightly touched on the subject that Yuuri’s birthday was coming up and he prayed they wouldn’t get him gifts. It was long before the drinks portion of the evening was coming to a close. Not before long, Yuuri was being escorted to the formal dining room, which of course was as beautiful as the rest of the house.

 

“So, I hope you like duck, because that is what I’ve asked to be served tonight,” Lilia told them as they all took their seat at the dining table. “I’ve organized a very special dinner for Yuuri tonight.”

 

“Oh, you didn’t have to do that just for me! Being here is special enough,” Yuuri responded before a maid walked in holding four salads.

 

“Mm, thank you, Deidra. And Yuuri is really no problem, after all, you are technically a future king.”

 

-

 

Over the next few days, Yuuri didn’t really know what to do with himself, all he could think about was the wedding and the living arrangements and the next sector of his life. Even though every time he saw or was reminded of his soulmate he felt like he’d been stabbed in the heart, he was very happy about the whole thing. He was excited to have money again, and the family he met with that Sunday had been very welcoming and they all seemed lovely. It was a change, and he was technically grieving the loss of his soulmate, but he was excited. The day before the scheduled fitting appointment, Yuuri had actually gone down to the skating rink for the first time in a long time. The last time he’d been was during a school break back in July, and even back then he wasn’t as great as it as he used to be.

 

When he arrived at the rink, he was pleased to see an old face working there. “Yuuko?”

 

“Takeshi?” Yuuko asked, sticking her head out of a storage space.

 

“It’s Yuuri,” Yuuri greeted, awkwardly waving at his old friend, glad to see her again.

 

“Oh my god!! Yuuri!!” Yuuko squealed and ran over to the twenty one year and enveloped him in a giant, circulation-cutting hug. “I’ve missed you so much!” Yuuri smiled at his friend’s enthusiasm before he noticed something hard and round pressing at his stomach.

 

“Wait,” Yuuri said, pushing away from Yuuko to take a look at her. “You’re pregnant !! You’re huge, oh my god !”

 

“Yes! With triplets!” Yuuko told him. “Three baby girls!”

 

“Aww, Yuuko that is amazing, you’re still with Takeshi, right?” Yuuri asked, feeling so excited about his friend that he could do a dozen triple flips in ten minutes.

 

“Yes, I’m still with Takeshi and he is amazing, as always. How are you, though? It’s been so long since I’ve seen you.”

 

“Well, I kinda have some big news too… I’m getting married,” the raven told Yuuko, excited to share his news, half of the reason he came here was to tell someone else that he was getting married to a prince but he’d never admit that. “To Viktor Nikiforov.”

 

“YOU ARE FREAKING GETTING MARRIED TO VIKTOR NIKIFOROV?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?”

 

And so Yuuri told Yuuko about the whole story, about the guy he dated and how he failed his last year at university, and then he started lying and said that he’d met Viktor Nikiforov recently and they’d hit it off and were getting married in four weeks. Yuuri just wanted to tell someone that it wasn’t arranged and that he and Viktor Nikiforov were really in love. He really wished it were love that was making this marriage because it would make the experience all the more enjoyable.

 

-

 

Yuuri woke up the next morning with the same smile he’d been wearing since his meeting with Lilia, he went through his morning routine with that same smile, he got dressed and he ate breakfast and he felt happy, that was until he checked his calendar and saw he had a heat coming up in four days.

 

Chapter Text

Yuuri woke up the next morning with the same smile he’d been wearing since his meeting with Lilia, he went through his morning routine with that same smile, he got dressed and he ate breakfast and he felt happy, that was until he checked his calendar and saw he had a heat coming up in four days.

Yuuri immediately froze with panic, he’d have to go through with a heat in the middle of planning his wedding? He’d have to go through a heat two weeks before getting married? And how could Yuuri forget about his heat– he’d never done that before. Every single year since he was fifteen he’d had a heat once a year in November, a week before his birthday. Yuuri was so caught up in all of the wedding plans that he’d completely forgotten about it. Now he’d have to rush around tomorrow gathering stuff for his heat, and he’d have to tell his family and Lilia. A gorgeous member of the royal family that he actually liked would have to know that Yuuri forgot that he had a heat coming up. It would be beyond embarrassing, but at least it wasn’t after he had married Viktor, that would be another whole kind of awkward. He knew that eventually he and Viktor would have to make an arrangement to deal with Yuuri’s heat, and it wasn’t like Viktor could just not know about his heat or just do the things he normally did since they did have to pretend they loved each other. Yuuri wondered if Viktor and Yuuri would mark each other and bond. He knew that bonding bites were reserved for people who were had already been married a few years since bonding was such a permanent thing, but he supposed it would have to come up eventually, especially since they’d gotten married so quickly.

“Hi, darling,” Hiroko spoke gently as she poked her head around the doorway to Yuuri’s room. “Just wondering if you had time to have lunch with us today?”

“Ah, sorry, mum, I’ve got to get going. I’m meeting Lilia today to pick out a tux and the place is over an hour away,” Yuuri apologised, moving to his dresser to pull out some socks and shoes to wear, not paying much attention to his mother.

“Oh, alright. Well, have fun, dear,” Hiroko replied. Yuuri lifted his head from looking at his sock drawer just in time to see his mother’s face looking disappointed as she slipped out of his room.

-

Yuuri turned up to the tux shop a few minutes before their scheduled meeting so Yuuri had time to look around the shop without Lilia hovering over him– not that Lilia was a hoverer, but Yuuri always liked to sniff around before he did something, and he’d always take the opportunity to be alone. He entered the shop and was instantly met with large expanses of different suit types, of all colours and fabrics. Even though Yuuri knew he would be getting a white suit, Yuuri drifted over to the vibrant suits coming in purples and blues and oranges. Yuuri then walked over to a rack of suits that were suits that were custom made and were ready to be picked up. Yuuri’s eyes widened when he looked at a particular suit where the jacket was a gradient from orange to blue, almost the exact same colours as his own soulmark. A tiny bit of hope sparked within Yuuri and he wished that this was his own soulmate’s suit jacket since it was grouped together with the suits that had been left out for people to pick up. Yuuri felt another little pang of grief as he looked at the suit, remembering that he was giving away his chance to lead a life married to his soulmate. Yuuri closed his eyes and took a deep breath, pushing those thoughts away.

The front door chimed, signalling that another person had walked in. Yuuri lifted his head and saw Lilia walking in with her head tilted up as usual like a confident alpha. Lilia smiled at Yuuri, waving at him.

“Ah, Hello, Yuuri, I was just in here designing Viktor’s suit! I just popped out to move my car so I just missed you,” Lilia explained.

“Viktor’s suit?” Yuuri asked with curiosity. Shouldn’t Viktor be here to choose his own suit? Viktor sure didn’t have a lot of say in things around here.

“Yes, yes. Unfortunately, Viktor is currently still in Russia, so I get to choose his suit! So far I’ve only chosen linings and fabrics and I’ve reviewed and picked up some of his new suits that we ordered a few weeks ago,” Lilia answered. “There’s still a couple more for me to pick up over there, actually they were the ones you were just looking at.” Lilia strode over to the suits and picked up two black formal suits along with the gradient one that matched his soulmark. “I have no idea why he wanted one with these colours! I mean, I picked up most of these suits for the copious amount of meetings he’s going to have to attend now that his father is gone and unable to attend to his duties as king but I don’t think an orange and blue suit is going to be suitable for any of them.”

“I think it’s kinda nice,” Yuuri commented, taking in the information that Viktor had wanted a suit that matched his soulmark, not only that, but it was a suit that he wasn’t planning on wearing anywhere important– so why did he want a suit coloured like that? Yuuri felt as if the universe was taunting him with hints that Viktor was his soulmate– the mark on his thigh that Yuuri had seen, Viktor out of the blue wanting to kiss a nobody like Yuuri, and now this! The universe was torturing him– giving Yuuri every idea that Viktor was his soulmate, but never actually making Viktor his soulmate. Maybe Viktor just liked the colours orange and blue.

“Well, yes. Anyway, I’ve already picked out fabric types and linings for your suit, I’ve just got some questions about the design and then we can take your measurements and be done!”

“That seems quick,” Yuuri commented, thinking about the long drive he made to get here just for a twenty-minute thing.

“Well, I wanted to get this over and done with as soon as possible so we could get back home– I’ve got some things to show you,” Lilia told Yuuri, bringing him over to a part of the shop that had a selection of fabrics. “Anyway, here are the colour options, which one would you like?” In front of Yuuri were about 20 different shades of blacks, greys, beiges and whites all made up of the same material. Yuuri settled with a white shade called ‘Esteban Chalk White’ for the trousers and vest and outside of the jacket.

“Would you like coloured lapels?” Lilia asked, again showing him a range of colours.

“Would Viktor go for different coloured lapels?” Yuuri asked, thinking of Viktor who was back in Russia and having no say in the decisions being made.

“Oh, yes, of course! Viktor can’t stand a plain suit– mainly why I got him so many black and white ones.”

Yuuri nodded as he looked at the colours. He settled for a royal blue colour, thinking of Viktor’s blue eyes, although they were much prettier. He also settled on a royal blue tie, along with how many buttons and vents he’d like to have, and when asked he settled on brass buttons on his suit, matching the wedding’s theme colours of white, blue and gold.

After he’d chosen everything, Lilia lead him to another section of the fabrics area where there were pieces of lace lying everywhere.

“Now, since you are an omega and therefore the bride, I thought it would be nice to have a lace overlay on your lapels, vest and tie since it is common for bride’s dresses to incorporate lace into them. I thought white lace would look the best, but if you want you could have black but I personally would advise against it. Here are all the lace patterns– take your pick,” Lilia said, showing Yuuri all the different types of laces– all of different thicknesses and materials and patterns. Yuuri chose a floral-y type one, that had leaves running across the pattern with the occasional rose.

Once Yuuri had chosen the lace and then gone over to pick out some shoes, (they were shiny white ones that were from a French brand the Yuuri had forgotten the name of,) Lilia lead him over to the measuring area where he finally saw an actual employee to take his measurements. After the awkward five minutes of some guy standing in Yuuri’s personal space running a tape and his hands along Yuuri’s body, they were officially done. Lilia then told the employee about the suit she wanted for Yuuri and then asked for a similar suit in black, minus the lace in Viktor’s size for the same pickup date. Once they left the shop, Lilia had insisted that Yuuri ride with her chauffeur instead of driving to the palace himself in his brand new car that Yuuri had bought himself with the money his parents had received. So, they got into Lilia’s car, Viktor’s suits hanging by the door.

“So, once we get to the palace we’re having a late lunch/afternoon tea with Anna, and then I’ll bring you up to your bedroom to show you a surprise, and then you’re coming with me to choose out new bedsheets and furniture for your new room,” Lilia explained, springing a whole day of activities on Yuuri, and enforcing the idea that Lilia was buying new furniture just for Yuuri. When Yuuri had agreed to this wedding, he never expected this level of care, he thought he’d spend the rest of his days away from anyone who truly cared about him or thought of him as family, but now Yuuri himself loved the small royal family almost as much as his own, and he’d only known them for five days. “And if we spend enough time at the store picking out furniture, you’ll just have to have dinner with us, and then of course since we are having such a special person with us tonight, we’ll have to drag dinner out for a number of hours so it will be simply too late for you to drive home and you’ll just have to spend the night,” Lilia suggested, smiling at Yuuri. It was clear that she really did want to spend as much time as possible with Yuuri, and in that moment Yuuri felt very wanted. The very thought that Lilia and the rest of the family wanted him to stay overnight made his heart swell. Yuuri wanted to agree, but then the thoughts of his upcoming heat made their way into Yuuri’s thoughts. Tomorrow was the only day he could spend preparing for his heat, and as much as he loved being with Lilia and staying at the palace and eating their amazing food, he didn’t want his stay at the palace in the morning and then drive home, since that would take up half of his day.

“I would love to stay overnight, Lilia, but I have something coming up in the next couple days which I need to prepare for– actually I’ve been meaning to talk to you about it,” Yuuri answered, scratching the back of his neck awkwardly. “I kinda have a heat coming up, and I know it’s kind of inappropriate with the wedding just over three weeks away but I suppress my heats and if I suppress any further I could damage my body so…”

“Ah, yes! You have your heats in November, I remember now,” Lilia answered.

“You remember? How do you know when I have heats?” Yuuri questioned.

“Oh, when we were selecting you for the marriage we had your school send over your file, and your heat was put on there,” Lilia replied. “Actually, as soon as I found out you were an omega and had agreed to the marriage, we immediately stocked up with heat supplies and installed scent blockers and such in your room, so you could spend your heat at the palace if you wanted. We do have everything you’ll need and want at the palace for your heat– and the bed in your room is divine, plus the walls in the palace are very thick, and our chef can prepare special heat meals with all the right nutrients! Plus, it would give you time to get used to staying and living with us– we all would love it if you spent your heat in our home, it would be an honour.”

Yuuri sighed and mulled it over in his mind– he definitely did want to, especially since Lilia had used the word divine to describe his new bed, but then his thoughts turned to Viktor. “What if Viktor comes home while I’m in heat? I’ll be in his room and he won’t be able to use it.”

“It’s your room too you know! If Viktor is there then he can stay in a guest room, or if he gets in tonight you could maybe convince him to spend it with you,” Lilia explained, raising her eyebrow.

“Gets in? Is Viktor coming home tonight?” Yuuri asked, his anxiety spiking at the idea of seeing Viktor again and then having to talk about his heat with him.

“He says he is, actually one of the reasons I invited you for dinner tonight is because Anna wanted to surprise you with Viktor since she knows you haven’t seen him since he flew off to Russia. But he may not come back, you never really know with Viktor– he’s still young and flighty and not very prompt or responsible,” Lilia explained.

“Oh,” Yuuri responded. Even though Yuuri felt incredibly anxious about seeing Viktor, he felt a little disappointed at the thought of not seeing him.


“So you may see him tonight, or you may not. But that doesn’t matter, what matters is you, because you’re responsible and you turn up to things and that's why we’d be happy to have you spend your heat here.”

“Okay, I’ll spend my heat at the palace then,” Yuuri agreed, smiling.

“Is there anything you will need from home?” Yuuri instantly thought of his box of toys back at home, but certainly didn’t want to ask to go all the way home and back for some sex toys so Yuuri shook his head at the question and decided he would just go out tomorrow to buy some.

“Is it alright if I go run some errands tomorrow? Just need to pick up some personal stuff,” Yuuri asked, not wanting to mention that he needed to buy sex toys.

“Oh, we have everything you’ll need for your heat, trust me. We have all the protein bars and lube in the country stored there,” Lilia chuckled.

“I’m sure you do I just wanna buy some other–”

“And sex toys, Viktor’s collection is extensive,” Lilia told Yuuri.

Viktor’s collection?” Yuuri gasped. He could not use Viktor’s collection, how would Viktor think of that? He shouldn’t even know that Viktor has an ‘extensive’ collection.

“He won’t mind! We all go through ruts and heats, Yuuri. And I assure you they are very clean and he only uses only a select few, obviously you won’t be using one's Viktor regularly. Most of them are stored away somewhere. Viktor even has knotting dildos–”

“Okay! I’ll use Viktor’s stuff,” Yuuri said, cutting Lilia off, wanting the conversation the end promptly, agreeing without using Viktor’s collection in mind, but rather his need for a middle-aged woman to stop talking to him about knotting dildos.

“Well, good. And you know Yuuri, you could stop taking your suppressants now that you’re not in school or working anymore, I stopped taking suppressants when I married Yakov and it was heavenly. Not the actual ruts themselves but rather I just felt a lot better and natural off my suppressants– Viktor is off his suppressants and he likes it quite a lot.”

“Gee, we love talking about Viktor’s sex life, don’t we?” Yuuri replied, blushing.

-

“Yuuri! I’m so glad Lilia convinced you to come see me!” Anna exclaimed as Yuuri entered the upper parlour where afternoon tea was being served. Before inspecting the room Yuuri greeted Akari and then Anna by kissing her cheek and sitting next to her. When Yuuri sat down, he saw mountains upon mountains of cakes and tarts sitting on tiered trays, along with a few different teapots with different teas in them. Next to that was milk, sugar and mugs.

“Wow, this is quite the spread,” Yuuri commented as he stared at the cakes and tarts in awe.

“Well, we wanted the best for you, Yuuri,” Anna grinned.

“If you keep this up you’ll use up all the cakes in the world and there won’t be any left for anyone else,” Yuuri giggled as Anna poured three cups of black tea.

“Well, you better not take having all the cakes in the world for granted! Eat up,” Anna encouraged, taking a lemon meringue tart for herself.

They spent the rest of the hour talking about how their day went and he and Lilia told Anna about the suits, then they awkwardly approached the subject of Yuuri’s heat coming up, which Anna didn’t make a big fuss about, thankfully. They then talked about all sorts of other stuff, and Yuuri learnt that Lilia was originally Viktor’s father’s secretary before she married Yakov, and she is now Viktor’s aunt as well as his secretary until Viktor became king and he would need a full time one that was not his aunt. All throughout the time, in the back of Yuuri’s mind was still the thoughts of Viktor’s suit, his upcoming heat and how nervous he was at the thought of Viktor maybe coming back from Russia that evening.

After they’d finished their two cups of tea and eaten too much cake, Akari drove Anna back to her nursing home and Lilia and Yuuri made their way to the first furniture store since apparently, Yuuri’s ‘surprise wasn’t ready yet.’ and ‘they’d just have to see it when they got back.’ On the way there, Lilia told Yuuri that the goal was to pick out a couple new sets of bedding, another desk for Yuuri to work at if Viktor was using the one currently situated there, various storage items for Yuuri’s new walk in closet, possibly a new, larger cabinet for under the tv to store DVDs and video games and anything else that Yuuri particularly wanted. They first went to a Japanese furniture store called Megamax, but they had no such luck there. Lilia then took Yuuri to various other stores that would usually be way out of his price range that had nice stuff, but Yuuri was far too uncomfortable there to actually pick out anything. So, after that, they went to good, old Ikea.

“So, here we are, Ikea,” Lilia said, dread in her voice.

“Oh, C'mon, Lilia, it’s not that bad,” Yuuri chuckled, dragging Lilia inside.

“Oh my, is that a cafeteria?” the former ballerina scoffed. Yuuri just kept dragging her to the displays section. For the rest of the productive trip, Yuuri and Lilia conversed lightly and exchanged stories from their past– Lilia telling Yuuri about her days as a former ballerina, and Yuuri telling Lilia about how he once competed in Junior Nationals as a figure skater, his proudest accomplishment. They picked out two new bedside tables, since Viktor only had one and they certainly could not have mismatched bedside tables. The ones they chose out had two drawers and were wooden and black and only 200 US Dollars, which Lilia had laughed at. Yuuri picked out a beige, swivel, desk chair that matched Viktor’s perfectly, (Lilia was shocked to find out that Viktor had bought furniture from Ikea,) a desk that was pleasantly simple and blended in with Viktor’s bedroom and matched their previously picked out bedside tables, some black wooden shelves, different storage facilities to be placed on the shelves and Yuuri’s new desk like magazine files, mini plastic drawers and letter trays, a new bookcase, a desk lamp, hanging compartments for the walk in wardrobe, a dresser, hangers, more storage cases, shoe racks, more storage boxes for the bathroom and then some new bath mats and towels. All picked out in less than 90 minutes, and they hadn’t even moved on to the decorative section where Yuuri usually had the most fun. Once they got there, Yuuri picked out heaps of candles and candle holders, a new rug for the room, a full length standing mirror and some new blue curtains, (Yuuri bought those with Viktor in mind, his mind now automatically now associating blue with Viktor.) Yuuri chose a few bedspreads in a few blue hues, a few whites/greys and a purple one just for the hell of it and then they finally left, having spent thousands and thousands of dollars.

Just before Yuuri was getting ready to go home after Lilia had ordered for Yuuri’s new furniture to be installed in Yuuri’s room, Lilia took him to Muji, a furniture and stationery store, and Yuuri knew from years in the academic system that new stationery was everything. Yuuri spent far too long there, in utter awe at the selection they had there.

-

When they got back it was almost six o’clock, and Yuuri was out of his skin because of how nervous he was– he might enter the palace doors to Viktor Nikiforov, his fiancé. He may have to sit through dinner with him, tell him about his heat and then proceed to share a bed with him. Or Viktor may not show up, and Yuuri’s worries that Viktor won’t even make it back for the actual wedding will grow less and less irrational. Lilia didn’t seem phased at all, just excited to show Yuuri his surprise.

And so, Lilia opened the palace doors and they stepped through to a completely quiet house.

“I wonder if Viktor actually came back,” Lilia scoffed. “Well, since it’s not too late I’m going to head down to my room and just finish up some work and I’ll meet you in the upper parlour in about twenty minutes?”

“Uh, sure,” Yuuri replied, nodding his head as Lilia walked downstairs to her office and bedroom, leaving Yuuri completely alone. Yuuri’s first thought was to go to his new bedroom, but instead, he wandering around the palace, getting to know the layout since he was to anxious when Lilia gave him the tour to actually remember where anything was. He started upstairs and explored all the rooms, pausing to look at family portraits– he got a peek at Viktor back when he had long hair in high school, and he got to see what Viktor’s dad, Ivan looked like again– it’d been awhile since he’d seen him in the news or on television since he was dead. Yuuri drifted through the rooms on the main level and basement, thinking about his future, about Viktor and why he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Why did he even fly to Russia in the first place? Yuuri ended his own personal tour back at his bedroom. The bedroom looked much different to what it did when he first saw it now that all of his new furniture had been installed– Yuuri was actually very surprised at how quickly the people had put together everything, Lilia had only asked them to do about an hour and a half ago. It looked a look newer, and cleaner. Yuuri explored the bathroom and found various products that were meant especially for omegas, he even saw brands that he personally liked– how did Lilia even obtain that information? Yuuri then drifted to his own walk-in wardrobe which was half the size of Viktor and surprisingly already had a few clothes in there. How the hell did they figure out Yuuri’s size? There were only some very plain white and black t-shirts and generic underwear and socks– Lilia had probably had someone buy some stuff for him when she was planning for Yuuri to stay over. Yuuri smiled at that, he’d never had someone think about what he’d need so much. Yuuri opened some drawers and explored a few sets of pyjamas for all different kinds of weather. When he’d seen everything in there, he moved to the main part of the bedroom and took out the new stationery from the shopping bags that Deidra, their maid, had dropped off in his room. He set up his desk with his new things, and then spotted Viktor’s new suits and hung them away, exploring Viktor’s own wardrobe in the process– which was a little creepy, Yuuri would admit, as he waded through Viktor’s clothes and underwear and dozens and dozens of shoes. After Yuuri had tucked away Viktor’s suits and snooped in his wardrobe which was ominously clean and tidy, Yuuri realised that this was Viktor’s room too, and he most certainly had his own things and bathroom products and books around the place. It had registered within Yuuri that Viktor had his stuff, he had two bookshelves full of books and trinkets, not to mention a trophy case full of medals from his school sports endeavours which of course he was always good at. Yuuri went straight to the bathroom and waded through the cabinet. He found three different face washes and four different moisturisers, lip balms and about five bottles of conditioner and shampoo, along with different hair products and gels. Viktor’s hygiene routine seemed very lengthy. He then inspected the towels and found they were all huge and very fluffy. Yuuri stopped after looking through the bathroom cabinets and shelves to check the time and saw that he needed to get to the upper parlour and wouldn’t have any time to go through the things in Viktor’s desk. So, Yuuri sulkily made his way out of the bathroom, hoping he wouldn’t be too tired to go through Viktor’s desk after dinner. But, as he was leaving the bedroom, he spotted something on the bed that Yuuri hadn’t seen before. Yuuri picked up the small white box with a card attached and inspected the card.

For My Fiancé

Happy Birthday

From Viktor,’

Yuuri dropped the box upon reading those words. Those words and this present it seemed would be the only contact Yuuri would have with Viktor since high school. Yuuri didn’t bother opening the present and just left it where it was and went to see Lilia.

Yuuri opened the parlour’s doors and saw Lilia sitting there, smiling, with a table with an array of presents on the table.

“Happy birthday, Yuuri,” Lilia said lovingly, patting the spot next to her on the couch.

“What? My birthday isn’t for two weeks,” Yuuri questioned, his eyes shining at the pile presents on the table. Everyone had cared enough about him to do all this? “This is amazing, Lilia, thank you.”

“Well, they aren’t all from me– some are from Anna and Yakov, some from me, some from Viktor,” Lilia replied, dread on her tongue at the mention of Viktor. “Here, open my gifts first!” Yuuri’s mouth was gaping as Lilia grab four presents and handed one to Yuuri. The first one was in a huge white striped gift bag, and inside Yuuri pulled out the most beautiful leather laptop bag he’d ever seen. The bag was a little tastefully worn and a light brown with the softest of linings.

“Oh my god, this is beautiful, Lilia,” Yuuri gaped, running his hands across the leather.

“It goes with this, sort of,” Lilia explained, handing Yuuri another gift that was wrapped in the same pattern of white and off-white stripes. Yuuri tore open the gift and was greeted with a huge stack of psychology, philosophy and English literature non-fiction books, along with some popular novels. “I know you stopped going to university, and this isn’t me pressuring you to go back or anything, but I figured you’ll now have a lot of spare time on your hands and I’d thought you’d enjoy studying or reading these, since you were taking a psychology at university,” Lilia explained.

“Aw, Lilia this is so wonderful,” Yuuri exclaimed, trying to stop his eyes from tearing up.

“It’s far from over, Yuuri,” Lilia told Yuuri, pulling another a card from her arms and handing it to Yuuri. The card was tiny and was in an envelope that was the same pattern as every other gift– white stripes. Yuuri opened the envelope and card and several gift cards fell out.

“I know gift cards are generic, but these are all for clothing stores, and I know you must be dying to fill that large walk-in wardrobe of yours,” Lilia giggled. “I know I would.”

“You read my mind!” Yuuri beamed, grinning at Lilia before being handed the last of her gifts. This one was also quite small, a tiny box. Yuuri opened the wrapping and box that was much like a jewellery box. Inside was a simple keyring with a sunset orange leather strap. “A key ring?”

“Yes, for your new set of keys to the house,” Lilia told him taking out a huge set of keys from her pocket. “They’re all labelled and go to each door of the house, except for my room and office. It also includes the key to Viktor’s holiday house near Tokyo and his apartment there, along with the key to Anna’s suite at the nursing home– she insisted I put it on there.”

“Aw, please thank her for me, this is too sweet,” Yuuri swooned, looking at all the keys and interestingly they were all shade of blue. They really liked the colour blue in this house, and with the orange from the strap on the keyring, it almost matched his soulmark. Gee, did they know he had a mark with blue and orange on it? Those colours seemed to be popping up everywhere.

“Okay, that’s it for me, but there’s still quite a lot more to get through.” Yuuri looked at the table and saw at least another ten presents on there.

“So, do you want open Anna’s, then Yakov’s and then Viktor’s?” Lilia asked, grabbing a few more presents. Yuuri nodded and started going through Anna’s extensive pile of presents. She had gifted him a whole new set of the newest and best workout clothes– she must have caught wind of the fact that he had an athletic scholarship in high school. He also received a Fitbit, some really cool earrings, (how did she know he had his ears pierced!?) a new fucking iPhone X, a new leather wallet, a set of beautiful watches and a new orange and white gym bag. It made Yuuri want to work even more than he did, which Yuuri would admit, a lot less than he used to since he started his last year of uni. But now, he could focus on skating and training, all with a Fitbit, new training bag and new cool training clothes. Then they moved onto Yakov’s one present and Lilia told Yuuri that Yakov told her to tell Yuuri that he was away on business that night but he actually had an irrational anxiety about giving people presents– Yuuri giggled at that, he stopped laughing when he saw a large group of different coloured skate guards as Yakov’s gift. They then moved onto the last present– the one from Viktor.

“This is from Viktor, and as much as I hate to admit it, this present is probably the one you’re going to use the most,” Lilia chuckled, handing Yuuri the heavy, rectangular shaped box. Yuuri tore off the wrapping paper and was greeted by two wide shoe boxes, in which held two new pairs of skates– a white set that’d you’d usually see in movies with golden blades, and a black pair with silver blades– they were beautiful. “Viktor was originally going to get you the one pair, but when he found out you actually liked to skate, he bought you a second special pair, he told me the reason he chose white and gold is because you’d be wearing white at the wedding and he wanted to take you skating after the wedding, since obviously you two won’t be going on a honeymoon or anything like that. It’s quite a sweet gift, for Viktor’s taste,” Lilia chuckled as Yuuri stared at the pairs in awe.

“These are amazing, truly beautiful. I can’t believe he wants to take me skating after the wedding,” Yuuri gasped for the fiftieth time that night. “It’s just all so thoughtful– you’re so thoughtful. I can’t believe everyone did all this for me, someone they’ve only known for a week.”

“You are family now, Yuuri.”

-

Yuuri ran downstairs from dinner as soon as he could get away, desperately wanting to open the second gift Viktor had left for him. Yuuri got into the room as quickly as he could, turning on the lights and heading over to the bed where the gift was, just where he’d left it. Everything was the same– the same tiny card on the tiny box, with the same writing. Yuuri got on the bed and sat cross-legged, taking a deep breath before opening the box.

Yuuri was very stunned by what he saw– a pair of diamond studs. They were tiny, but also looking fucking gorgeous and of course, the diamonds were blue and the stud they had been put into was white gold. The silence that Yuuri’s mind fell into after seeing the earrings was soon interrupted by the thought of ‘how the fuck does Viktor know my ears are pierced?’ and ‘why the hell did Viktor buy me these? Why didn’t he just clump them in with the other presents? Is Viktor trying to impress me or something?’

Nevertheless, Yuuri pushed them into his ears and went to the nearest mirror to admire how he looked in them, before getting ready to continue rummaging through Viktor’s things.

Chapter Text

Yuuri ran downstairs from dinner as soon as he could get away, desperately wanting to open the second gift Viktor had left for him. Yuuri got into the room as quickly as he could, turning on the lights and heading over to the bed where the gift was, just where he’d left it. Everything was the same– the same tiny card on the tiny box, with the same writing. Yuuri got on the bed and sat cross-legged, taking a deep breath before opening the box.

 

Yuuri was very stunned by what he saw– a pair of diamond studs. They were tiny, but also looking fucking gorgeous and of course, the diamonds were blue and the stud they had been put into was white gold. The silence that Yuuri’s mind fell into after seeing the earrings was soon interrupted by the thought of ‘ how the fuck does Viktor know my ears are pierced? ’ and ‘ why the hell did Viktor buy me these? Why didn’t he just clump them in with the other presents? Is Viktor trying to impress me or something?

 

Nevertheless, Yuuri pushed them into his ears and went to the nearest mirror to admire how he looked in them, before getting ready to continue rummaging through Viktor’s things.

 

Yuuri first fled to Viktor’s desk and opened the first draw on the left, and found school supplies like sticky notes and pens and highlighters– the second draw was old business textbooks and notebooks filled with notes from recent semesters, the third draw was boring old letters from school and the bank and that sort of boring stuff. The fourth, which Yuuri had put his hopes in to be full of information about Viktor’s life– perhaps a diary of sorts? But when he opened it, there was nothing but extension cords and random charges and spare sets of earphones. Yuuri moved to the other side of the desk, where another set of drawers were. Half them were empty, one had spare boxes of tissues, mini bottles of hand sanitizer, lip balms and other random stuff of the sort– the last drawer though had stacks and stacks of photos, ranging from when Viktor was a small child to when he had long luscious hair to ones from that looked very recent. Yuuri knew he wouldn’t have time to go through all of them before he went to bed so he took a random stack that appeared to be from Viktor’s childhood. Yuuri giggled at the first photo– Viktor, who looked around age three or four, and his father, standing in the snow posing for a picture. Ivan looked so different to what he did before he died– he looked younger and happier and way more attractive– he even looked like he had an ounce of love for Viktor. The second photo was of Viktor, again the same age, on a train staring out the window in awe. Yuuri continued to look through the photos, some of which were the cutest photo’s Yuuri had ever seen. Some of them made him laugh, and the certain ones with Ana or Ivan just made him sad– In these photo’s Ivan looked like he loved Viktor, he looked like he loved his family , and then Ana, despite being in her late thirties/early forties around the time of the photo’s, looked gorgeous , just absolutely stunning. Now, Ivan was dead, and probably died with a distaste for Viktor on his tongue, and Ana was rolling around in a wheelchair and had to live in a nursing home, even though she was barely sixty-two. Viktor also looked a lot different, but maybe Yuuri just hadn’t gotten to know Viktor’s bubbly, cheery side that was depicted in the photos. Yuuri hoped he would get to see that side of Viktor, which Yuuri was sure Viktor had. Yuuri smiled and yawned as he set the photo’s back in the draw, making a mental note to look at the other stacks at a later date. With that, he pulled on his new pyjamas, revelling in their softness, before sliding into the huge blue bed which of course was silky and soft. Yuuri noted that he felt quite alone in the bed, it’s size making it clear that this was a bed made for two. Yuuri wondered if Viktor had felt the same.

 

-

 

“Good morning, Yuuri,” Lilia greeted as Yuuri entered the upper dining room after having a luxurious shower and put on his day-old jeans and a new, plain shirt. Yuuri marvelled at the breakfast spread; there were all different kinds of toasts and differently made eggs and cereals and muffins and pastries– they had everything, and it smelled amazing .  

 

“Good morning, Lilia,” Yuuri copied, taking a seat at the dining table where a place had been set for him.

 

“You just missed Yakov, he just headed off to work,” Lilia told him as she took a bite out of her chocolate piroshki. Yuuri grabbed some freshly buttered toast and spooned two poached eggs onto it, along with some bacon and hash browns.

 

“Oh, what does he do? I know he used to be a coach, but I didn’t know he continued to have a day job,” Yuuri asked, digging into his meal.

 

“He’s Japan’s official representative for trades and investments between Japan and other parts of Esterlake– most frequently Russia. He occasionally gets involved in trades between other nations, I think he coordinated some between Esterlake and Aracien Islands, and a few with Parvus– so that's Europe and Asia and Oceania,” Lilia explained. “He also occasionally fills in for Viktor’s mother’s roles and engagements– attending award ceremonies and parties and writing speeches and that sort of thing.”

 

“Oh, sounds hectic,” Yuuri commented, continuing to waffle down his breakfast.

 

“I can already tell your heat’s soon– sleeping late and eating like you’ve been starved all your life,” Lilia chuckled, taking a sip of her morning coffee and glancing at her watch that read nine fifteen.

 

“Mm, sorry about that,” Yuuri awkwardly replied, swallowing another big bite.

 

“No, no, it’s fine! Just funny is all. I’ve never really been around many omega’s in my life, so this is all quite new and funny to me,” Lilia giggled.

 

“You’ve never been around omega’s before?”

 

“No, my family growing up was made completely out of alpha’s, except for of course my mother, and even she was a beta,” Lilia explained. “The only omega I’ve ever been close to was Anna, but even she stopped having heats long ago, although I did do some research before you came to meet me, so I am no longer uninformed if that worries you.” Yuuri only smiled and nodded in response, continuing to eat, at a slower pace this time.

 

“So, do you have any plans for today? Any pre pre-heat rituals?” Lilia asked after Yuuri had finished his breakfast.

 

“Actually, I think I’m going to go shopping– use those gift cards you bought me,” Yuuri replied, nodding and thinking about what clothes to buy, (and what clothes would go nicely with his new earrings.)

 

“Ah, wonderful! Any specific things that you are looking for?”

 

“Mm, not really. Just anything that catches my eye, although I really should get some more layers since winter is next month,” Yuuri explained. Yuuri wondered if Viktor needed some more clothes– did Viktor ever need more clothes? He was a member of the royal family and probably had someone shop for him or something. But, Yuuri embarrassingly indulged in the thought of buying clothes for Viktor, or even just running errands for him. His heart swelled at the idea of being so domestic with Viktor, but he never let it show.

 

“Does Viktor like shopping?” Yuuri asked, an idea popping into his head.

 

“Mm, yes, very much. He honestly should probably do it less!” Lilia laughed.

 

“Do you think he would like it if we went shopping together? I’ve been trying to think of things for us to do that aren’t incredibly awkward,” Yuuri explained.

 

“I think that sounds very nice, I’m sure he’d love to do that with you,” Lilia answered honestly. “I can’t wait for you guys to finally meet again– it feels rather strange planning a wedding with only one person.”

 

“I couldn’t agree more.”

 

Yuuri spent the day shopping around, buying simply whatever he wanted, having the time of his life. Yuuri had never known shopping could be so fun, he used to hate shopping, but that was probably because he never had enough money to buy anything. By the time he got back to the palace at six, he had about nine bags filled with different outfits and clothes. Then he had dinner with Lilia and Yakov finally made an appearance and they discuss going down to the rink together in the next few weeks– Lilia’s idea’s of course, she wanted Yuuri to have a special bond with each person in their small family. Yakov said he had some old programs lying around and said he would be happy to teach them to Yuuri so he could keep skating, even if not competitively, (but maybe one day he could try out for some minor, local competitions.) Yuuri thanked Yakov for his present and offer to teach him some programs before heading to bed. He quietly discussed his upcoming heat with Lilia– she told him that over the next five days she would have someone send meals up to him at the appropriate times and if he needed anything to just call. When Yuuri entered the room, it smelled entirely different. It smelled like almost nothing, but if you stood in certain area’s of the room, you could smell tiny whiffs of what was undeniably Viktor’s scent. Viktor’s scent was almost fluffy, it seemed light and sort of reminded Yuuri of really beaten egg whites. It was a little weird, but most people’s scents were a ‘little weird’. According to Yuuri’s mother, if you had to describe his smell, it was like sweat and white chocolate. Sort of like if someone sweated white chocolate. Yuuri was a little insecure about that fact, but he knew it wasn’t a bad smell, it was just a Yuuri smell. Just like Viktor’s egg-whites smell was just Viktor’s smell. Yuuri decided he really liked Viktor’s smell and was glad that he got to spend his heat in this room, smelling a lovely alpha but not really wanting him, it made for a perfect heat.

 

Yuuri showered and put on his nice fluffy pyjamas and then began to put away his new clothes, before hopping into bed, and for once in his life he didn’t feel anxious about his heat, he was kind of glad he would get to experience five days of isolation while he got to eat delicious meals and fuck himself for as long as he liked.

 

-

 

Yuuri woke up the next morning feeling groggy and puffy-eyed, and definitely in preheat. Yuuri’s body felt sweaty and he could tell he’d already produced so much of his scent that it had become overly thick in the air. Yuuri didn’t feel aroused, he didn’t usually during this pre-heat, but his heart was definitely filled with want . Not want for sex or to be filled, he wanted a partner, a mate . He wanted someone there with him, taking care of him– he always did during his preheat. But this time, he felt this want for love all over, clutching his heart and sending butterflies to his stomach. He felt it all the way down to his toes, he ached for it. And the faint smell of Viktor was still lingering, and while he thought it would be nice, it made his chest ache– smelling someone who wasn’t there. Viktor had gone off to Russia, abandoning him– he clearly didn’t care at all for him.

 

Yuuri knew that was his heat talking, and Viktor hadn’t abandoned him– they barely knew each other, but that didn’t stop the tears welling up in his eyes. Yuuri took a deep breath and hopped out of bed, determined to not let his preheat get him down.

 

Yuuri has had a handful of good heats in his life, a couple of inconvenient ones and maybe one or two bad ones, but none of them felt like this . Yuuri really thought that this heat would be an okay one, maybe even a good one, but of course it didn’t look like it was going to be. Yuuri should’ve seen the signs, anytime he developed even the slightest hint of romantic attraction towards anyone ended him up in a terrible heat period. He’d shuffled through Viktor’s weirdly extensive collection of photo’s, (he would’ve looked through them all but he decided against it since it was kind of creepy,) rummaging through Viktor’s possessions and closet, loving how the bed and certain parts smelled like Viktor. Yuuri should’ve realised that he was clearly developing feelings for Viktor, or old ones that he suppressed were bubbling back up again. And now, he’d have to spend the next five days locked up in Viktor’s bedroom, all while Viktor was hours and hours away. This was torture . And what was he going to about his feelings for Viktor anyway? It wasn’t like they had any sort of chance with each other– Viktor probably loathed him, maybe that’s why he was still in Russia, not bothering to even ask to speak to Yuuri. Yuuri wondered if he’d actually even come back for the wedding at all.

 

After taking another few deep breaths, Yuuri picked out some of his new clothes– comfy lounge clothes and hopped into the shower. Once Yuuri had gotten out and gotten dressed, he searched through the bathroom cabinet once more and found some scent blockers– not because he was leaving his room, just because he didn’t want his scent so thick in the air. If Viktor did happen to come back within the next day, he didn’t want Viktor coming home to a room full of Yuuri’s scent. Plus, Yuuri didn’t really like his own scent hanging around that much, he liked to be generally odourless, unless he was feeling sad or extremely anxious, at those times he found his scent rather comforting. After Yuuri exited the large bathroom attached to the room– noting the giant bath in there on his way out, (he’d definitely use that while he was staying there,) he spotted a tray carefully placed on Yuuri’s bedside table– breakfast!

 

Yuuri ate breakfast and watched tv on Viktor’s giant tv, he then went on his computer for a bit and called Phichit to chat. He then had lunch and took an hour-long bath, soaking in the jetted tub, before slipping into some comfy pj’s and did some more online shopping– has Yuuri mentioned how much he loved being rich? After that, he played some video games and then had dinner over a Japanese soap opera. After that, with the last of his energy, he got off and fell asleep, putting an end to the first day of his preheat– a day of distracting himself from the ache in his heart, a distraction from the part in himself that longed for Viktor.

 

-

 

Day two of preheat, and Yuuri wasn’t feeling any better. Maybe a little bit more horny and hungry, but the thought of Viktor was still very much present in his mind, so Yuuri did what first came to mind– looked through his sex toy collection. Lilia had hinted that it was somewhere in in large walk-in robe, but not exactly where, so Yuuri set out to explore. He’d already had a pretty good look around there, and he already knew where a couple of ominous boxes were laying around. He entered and immediately headed straight for a black, tallish cabinet where he knew Viktor had 5-6 boxes in there– Yuuri just thought they were full of old clothes that he didn’t like or grew out of, but know Yuuri knew that in one of them was a sex toy collection. Yuuri opened the cabinet and saw six boxes. All were the same size, two were covered in blue faux fur, two were plain black ones with silver along the edges, one was covered in a soft blue material, and atop that was black lace and the last one had those colours but reversed– blue lace, white fabric. Yuuri pulled out the one covered in white lace first, figuring that one probably held the stuff he needed. Yuuri thought back to his conversation with Lilia and how she mentioned that most of what he had was unused– but how would he be able to tell? Yuuri unclipped the clasp holding the lid and opened it up, and was immediately met with the smell of aroused alpha– aroused Viktor . The scent wafted around him and Yuuri took a few deep breaths, trying to make sure he didn’t accidentally go into heat early. It was then, that Yuuri looked at the box. What he was met with was little velvet lined compartments, each holding different items. There was a pull-string in the middle of it all, and when Yuuri used it, the top layer came right off and below was tons of lube. Most of it was plain, some were designed to imitate omega’s slick, and some were flavoured. Yuuri also took note that most of them were half-full. Yuuri put the top layer back on top and went through the toys, which to Yuuri didn’t look that ‘extensive,’ it only looked a little bigger than his own. He found two fleshlights, a ribbed dildo, a glass dildo, a few normal silicone ones, a purple vibrating dildo, a vibrator, a prostate massager and two cock rings. Jesus, what did Viktor get up to in his spare time? Yuuri noted that there in fact wasn’t any knotting dildo’s as Liliasuggestedd. Was there more than one box? Yuuri closed that one and pulled out another– one of the furry ones that was bright pink. Yuuri opened it but immediately shut it again when he saw it was filled with items used in bondage, he only realised that it didn’t smell like Viktor at all like the last box did. Yuuri pulled out the second purple furry box and opened it up and found more lube. So. Much. Lube. Every single fucking kind of lube. Yuuri pulled a bottle of plain lube for himself, figuring it would be good to have it in his bedside table rather all the way in here. Yuuri closed that one and pulled out another– the blue lace one. But when he opened it he found nothing, same interior design as the white lace one but nothing inside other than a note .

 

This box is empty– find whatever toys & lube you like and store it in here, preferably in your own closet though

 

Lilia

 

Well, Lilia didn’t get more thoughtful than that. It was then he realised that all six boxes had sex toys in them, apart from Yuuri’s personal one which was currently empty. Yuuri pulled out the last two black ones, which had every kind of toy you could think of. The first black box was exclusively for dildo’s nothing else. The second box had all sorts of things like vibrators and cock rings and spreading bars. Yuuri picked out a glass dildo, a inflatable knotting dildo, a rather large plain baby blue one, a prostage massager, a bullet vibe, and a fleshlight. He put the lube and the rest of his toys in his box and stacked the rest away. But, as he was doing so he stopped at Viktor’s. He reopened it and took a deep breath, inhaling his alpha’s– No– Viktor’s aroused smell. He knew what he was about to do crossed a line and was utterly creepy and gross and probably included a lot of heat hormones, but he impulsive took a dildo from Viktor’s box and put it in his own, he would put it back later.

 

Just as Yuuri was doing so, he heard a knock on the door to the bedroom and practically jumped out of his skin. Was Viktor here? Did he actually come back? Did he somehow know that Yuuri was stealing his dildo ? Yuuri pushed everything to the side and ran to the door, still clad in his pyjamas. When he opened the door, he was flooded with relief at the sight of one their maids, holding a tray of food.

 

“Breakfast, Yuuri?” the maid said with a bright smile. Yuuri found it hard to answer in his adrenaline rush, but nodded his head, welcoming in the maid. The maid placed the food on the nearest bedside table before tuning to speak to Yuuri again. “Lilia has requested for me to drop your meals off in the library attached to this room that also connects to the main foyer from now on as to not disturb you, would that be okay with you? If you would like I could send one of our beta’s to drop it off during allocated times?”

 

“No, no, library is fine,” Yuuri answered.

 

“Very well, I’ll be bring breakfast at eight thirty, lunch at twelve thirty, along with extra food if you get hungry between lunch and dinner and I’ll bring your last meal at seven, so be sure to stay out of the library during those times.” Yuuri nodded and the maid left. Even though breakfast smelled heavenly and was waiting for him, he scurried back to Viktor’s closet and began to pack up the toys and placed them away, before digging into his breakfast.

 

-

 

Four days, thirty orgasms and whole bucket of tears later, Yuuri was officially finished with his heat. It was an awful, awful heat but it was done. Yuuri pushed the thoughts of the past few days from his mind and decided to pretend he’d never been through that heat, and that he definetly did not have the realisation during these days that he still low-key had the hots for Viktor and was high-key very freaked out about it– I mean, what was he going to do? Just ignore Viktor until he died? File for a divorce in thirty years and go back to being broke? Wait and hope they went away? Or worse, actually confront Viktor about it? Yuuri didn’t know what he was gonna do, but he did know that he was starving and he was itching to get out of his room, (which was covered in his heat scent and was making his mind fuzzy and his vision blurry– he hoped after breakfast he would come back to the room the scent will have magically vanished.)

 

Yuuri got out of bed, trying to focus on finding some decent clothes, but the room and his mind were screaming about Viktor. Yuuri couldn’t look at a single aspect of the room without shuddering in panic– he had to get out of there ASAP, before he started having a meltdown. For the minutes that passed as Yuuri got dressed and showered, he felt overwhelmed and extremely on edge, and even though Yuuri knew it was just because he’d spent the past three days in heat, in Viktor’s room– a guy Yuuri had feelings for and a history with, all which made him incredibly anxious– he couldn’t shake the feeling of need and want and despair coming from within him.

 

He just wanted to see Viktor. And it didn’t have to be romantic, or even in a friendly way, he just wanted to know how he was feeling and what he was doing. He wanted to see him, and not knowing how Viktor felt about this made the nagging feeling in his gut, the nagging feeling of the unknown, was crushing him. Yuuri was happy to get out of the room, and he did so with haste.

 

-

 

Yuuri met Lilia in the upper dining room. The table was covered in food as usual, but this time it was all local Japanese food– a traditional Japanese breakfast.

 

“I thought you were probably missing the food from home, so I decided to ask our chef to make a traditional Japanese breakfast, I hope it makes you feel a bit better after your heat,” Lilia said as Yuuri took a seat at the table. “I also brought it out because I feel a little guilty.”

 

“Guilty?” Yuuri questioned, his brow furrowing as his took a bowlful of rice and some miso.

 

“Yes, I– uh– well,” Lilia fumbled, trying to find the right words. Yuuri had never seen Lilia look flustered or at a loss for words before, but here she was, fidgeting with nervousness– had she done something wrong?

 

“I’m afraid we are going to have to cancel,” Lilia finally replied, looking down in shame, an emotion that did not suit her at all.

Chapter Text

Yuuri met Lilia in the upper dining room. The table was covered in food as usual, but this time it was all local Japanese food– a traditional Japanese breakfast.

 

“I thought you were probably missing the food from home, so I decided to ask our chef to make a traditional Japanese breakfast, I hope it makes you feel a bit better after your heat,” Lilia said as Yuuri took a seat at the table. “I also brought it out because I feel a little guilty.”

 

“Guilty?” Yuuri questioned, his brow furrowing as he took a bowlful of rice and some miso.

 

“Yes, I– uh– well,” Lilia fumbled, trying to find the right words. Yuuri had never seen Lilia look flustered or at a loss for words before, but here she was, fidgeting with nervousness– had she done something wrong?

 

“I’m afraid we are going to have to cancel,” Lilia finally replied, looking down in shame, an emotion that did not suit her at all.

 

Yuuri’s heart stopped . Cancel ? Cancel the wedding ?

 

“Viktor called and he won’t be back in time for the rehearsal dinner, so, we’re going to have to cancel it,” Lilia spoke again. “Sorry, I probably should’ve started with that.”

 

-

 

Six Months Earlier

 

“No one must know, Lilia, do you hear me? No one, not a single person other than me, you, Viktor and whichever whore he marries must know, okay?” Ivan repeated, almost growling with desperation and anger. He glared at Lilia as she shakily nodded, not daring to move off her spot next to Ivan’s blue hospital bed.

 

“Yes, Sir,” Lilia responded, weakly. She didn’t know why she was so scared around Ivan, she was the strongest alpha she knew, far braver and stronger than Ivan who’s only talent was guilt tripping people until he got what he wanted. Ivan then waved her off, demanding time to watch TV that was on a small bench at the foot of his bed. Lilia turned to leave, her thin legs taking her a couple timid steps before turning back around to look at the disgrace that was lying in bed. He was not worth more than her. He didn’t deserve anything, or for Lilia to obey his commands.

 

“Viktor has a soulmate,” Lilia said after a second or two of pondering about what she would say. It came out much quieter than she would’ve liked, but she was satisfied with the sour look painting King Ivan’s face.

 

Ivan scowled at Lilia before speaking again. “He lies.”

 

“Viktor did not lie, Ivan. I’ve seen the mark myself,” Lilia said proudly, defending Viktor. Viktor was immature, he didn’t deal well with conflict and he ran away from his problems but he was no liar.

 

“Viktor is a liar .” Ivan’s his temper grew short. “After everything I’ve done for him,” Ivan muttered. “He doesn’t deserve a soulmate, no one would want him anyway– Viktor is a damn pig! You and him are nothing but fools, to think you’d talk to me in such a way after I ordered you around for decades as my secretary. Just because you married Yakov does not make you are part of this family, and it doesn’t mean you can talk to me like that.”

 

Lilia pursed her lips and stormed out of the room– how dare someone talk about Viktor that way, someone who is nothing but sweet and kind and bubbly, if a little childish and stupid. Lilia took some deep breaths as she stormed out of the hospital and out into the car which was waiting for her outside with Viktor in it. Lilia told her personal driver to take them both back to the palace before slinking back in her seat and looking down at her lap.

 

“I don’t think he has long left, Viktor… I’m sorry,” Lilia finally spoke, lifting her head to see Viktor staring out the window. Viktor only shrugged in response.

 

“What did he say?” Viktor asked, even though he knew full well what they had talked about, thinking back to the conversation he overheard Ivan and Lilia having.

 

“He said he loves you,” Lilia responded, a fake smile plastered to her face. Lies .

 

...Viktor is a damn pig!

 

Maybe he should’ve stayed in the car after all.

 

Viktor is a liar!

 

“And the marriage?”

 

“We’re working on it, dear. Ivan just wants to protect the throne,” Lilia lied– again . Viktor shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

 

Viktor doesn’t deserve a soulmate

 

“How does Borscht sound for dinner tonight?” Lilia offered, hoping one of the younger’s favourite dishes would cheer the twenty-one year-old up.

 

N o one would want him anyway

 

“Actually, I don’t think I’ll be home in time for dinner,” Viktor replied, continuing to look out the window.

 

-

 

Viktor shrugged off his light sweater as he stepped inside the shop with black painted walls and a sign out the shop that said ‘ tattoo parlour ,’ and in fine print at the bottom also said that they did soulmark removing here. Around Viktor was posters of tattoos– mostly floral stuff but the occasional pretentious drawing too. Viktor knew this was the best tattoo parlour around, (actually, it was one of the only tattoo parlours around,) and had decided to come here after the words of his father repeated around his head, hours after he’d spoken them. Although, he did know he would end up here the second he heard them. Besides, his father was right, Viktor didn’t deserve a soulmate. No one would want him– and so he was here, removing the last of the evidence that Viktor ever had a chance at being decently happy in his life. Because he didn’t, and he’d probably end up unhappy and bitter, just like his father.

 

Viktor walked up to the counter and register, where a twenty-something girl was standing there, on the phone to someone, talking in Japanese about tattoo prices or something. As Viktor waited for the girl’s conversation to finish, he looked around the room at the people. Half of them looked miserable, half of them looked drunk. Some of them looked drunk and miserable. Viktor wished he was drunk at this moment– he knew what he was about to do was going to be painful and he knew he wasn’t going to like it but , nevertheless, it was something he had to do. There was no avoiding it. Some of them were even silently, or not so silently, crying. What a morbid place to be.

 

“Can I help you?” the girl finally spoke, putting the phone down and meeting Viktor’s eyes, to which she became surprised– no one would’ve guessed Viktor Nikiforov would end up in a soulmark removalist place. “Your Highness,” the girl added, fumbling around with her fingers and blushing. Viktor should’ve worn sunglasses or a hat or something.

 

“Um, yes. I’d like to get a soulmark removed, please. And, uh, everything here is confidential, right? I don’t want anyone to know I’m here,” Viktor replied, almost whispering.

 

“Yes, of course, Mr Nikiforov. I can have you in with our best removalist in no more than five minutes,” the girl replied. “Here is a leaflet about how it is going to work and how to care for the wound afterwards, but Kubo-sensei will fill you in once she’s ready for you, and my name is Mari if you would need any help.”

 

Viktor nodded and sat down in one of their velvety chairs and took a seat. Viktor checked the time– 10:02 pm. Lilia was going to hate him for being so late home, but it wasn’t like he was out this late frequently. He checked the time in Switzerland, where is one and only true friend lived. His name was Christophe and he was the son of Parvus’s king. Once Viktor googled the time, he found out it was about 2 pm where Chris was, and it was a perfect time to call. He quickly dialled his Swiss friend.

 

“Viktor?” the man answered, his voice thick with sleep.

 

“Have you been sleeping, Chris? It’s two o’clock!” Viktor chuckled, finding himself already feeling a tad more cheery.

 

“I had a late night,” Chris groaned. “Why are you calling anyway? We haven’t talked in what– two weeks?” Viktor thought back to the past two weeks, he’d been running around dealing with his Dad’s business along with Lilia so he knew he had no reason to feel bad about not keeping contact with Chris, but he still felt a little guilty, especially since he was calling to complain.

 

“I’m sorry I haven’t been responding much, I– uh– well, there’s just been lots of stuff going on with my Dad. I went to see him at the hospital today,” Viktor told the nineteen-year-old.

 

“He’s still there?”

 

“Uh, yeah. I actually didn’t see him, I just was with Lilia and waited in the car while she went to see him. And then I followed her in and heard my dad and her talking,” Viktor explained heart, feeling the telltale lump raising in his throat. No . He wasn’t going to cry; he wasn’t going to get upset. “He said things, Chris… awful things.”

 

The platinum-haired adult heard Chris sigh. “Whatever he said, Viktor, it isn’t true,” Chris reassured him, knowing what could’ve gone on and knowing the kind of things Ivan could’ve said. Viktor pursed his lips and balled his fists, squeezing his eyes shut and furrowing his eyebrows to prevent any tears from spilling. He took some deep breaths and Chris waited, the awkward but also comforting silence lingering around them.

 

“I don’t want to do this, Chris,” Viktor finally let out in a rush, his voice breaking and high pitched. He let out a silent, muffled sob.

 

“Do what, Viktor?” Chris asked gently. A moment of silence passed between them, apart from the occasional sob and hiccup.

 

“Viktor?” Viktor heard Chris repeat.

 

“I can’t,” Viktor sobbed, louder this time, tears streaming down his face. “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t,” Viktor continued to cry, repeating it like a mantra. “Please, I can’t do this.”

 

“What do you want me to do, Viktor? What should I do?” Chris asked, his heart clenching at his friend’s sorrows. Viktor was startled by his friend's voice, forgetting he was even there. Viktor was then reminded that the environment around him was real, and such loud crying was bound to embarrass him. So, he regained his control and quieted down, taking deep breaths and vigorously rubbing his eyes, trying to stop the streams of tears cascading down his cheeks.

 

“Nothing. I shouldn’t have even called you,” Viktor finally said, after a few minutes of composing himself.

 

“Yes, you should’ve, Viktor,” Chris correctly firmly. “What is going on? What are you doing?”

 

“I-I’m getting my soulmark removed,” Viktor admitted, not only to Chris but to himself.

 

“No. No, don’t do that . You can’t do that! Your soulmark is so special,” the Swiss man replied frantically. “Why on earth would you do that!?”

 

“I’m getting married , Chris,” Viktor reminded the younger one.

 

“I thought Lilia told you they were finding a way around that?”

 

“She lied. I’m getting married to some omega that I don’t even know. I’ll never have a chance with my soulmate,” Viktor told him, resting his head on his hands.

 

“You don’t know that,” Chris argued, finding within him a passion for Viktor finding his soulmate– no one should throw away that opportunity.

 

“So, what? I find them and say ‘hey, by the way, I’m married and I’m not getting a divorce?’ I can’t do that to someone– I should just take myself out of the picture.”

 

“Viktor Nikiforov?” a short woman called– it was time for Viktor’s appointment. Viktor looked at the Japanese woman and took a deep breath. This was the right thing to do.

 

“I have to go, Chris,” Viktor said and hung up, not waiting for the other man’s response.

 

Viktor wiped his eyes again and stood up, following the woman into a hall.

 

-

 

Two months later

 

“Viktor, you are getting married in four months, you can’t just zip off to Russia now,” Yakov told Viktor sternly, crossing his arms and glaring at the boy. “Lilia has spent copious amounts of time choosing a partner for you– don’t you want to meet them? Spend some time with them before getting married? Are you really that selfish that you’ll disregard Lilia’s hard work and the feelings and thoughts of the person who you are going to spend the rest of your life with?”

 

“Yakov,” Lilia whispered, not wanting anyone calling Viktor selfish, she’d know it would only make things worse. “I know you do not want to do this, but going to Russia now is going to make everything harder for you. I know your father dying has been hard on you, and especially now that your mother is becoming even sicker, and this seems like rather bad timing, you still have to go through with it. I’m trying to make this as easy as possible for you.”

 

“I don’t want to meet them– I don’t want to stay here, I can’t stay here,” Viktor repeated himself, ignoring Lilia’s and Yakov’s pleas for him to stay. “I’ve already booked a flight and packed, so your arguments are pointless, you are just wasting your breath.”

 

“Booked flights have never stopped you from missing them before– you’ll get on when it suits you ,” Yakov growled. Viktor furrowed his eyebrows in anger– why couldn’t they see he needed this? Viktor stood up off the couch and stormed out, grabbing his suitcases and a carry on bag. He didn’t want to be here any longer. Just as Viktor was getting into the car as his valet loaded his suitcases into the car.

 

“So, when will you be back?” Lilia asked, startling Viktor. He’d thought she had stayed behind.

 

“Soon,” Viktor said, fakely smiled. “I’m sorry I upset Yakov,” Viktor continued in a much more continued genuine tone.

 

“He’ll be fine,” Lilia replied, sighing. There was a moment of silence, in which the driver closed the boot and hoped in the driver’s seat, starting the car. Viktor cleared his throat and reached to close the door to the car.

 

“Viktor?” Viktor raised his eyebrows and stopped in his actions in response. “He likes ice skating. He’s nice, I think you’ll like him,” Lilia offered, telling him about his future husband in attempt to reassure him. Viktor only offered a weak smile in return and closed the car door.

 

-

 

Present time, St. Petersburg

( Russian is in italics )

 

Viktor? Are you alright? Nervous? ” A deep, worn out voice asked through the thick wooden door to the room Viktor was staying at.

 

Viktor opened the door to the man and smirked. “ Maybe a little ,” the twenty-one-year-old replied coyly.

 

Well, you are getting married, and seeing your fiancé for the first time in five months tomorrow, it’s perfectly normal to feel like that ,” the man replied, pushing back his short hair– it was as silver as Viktor’s. Viktor walked back to his wooden bed and sat down on it, the man following. Viktor pulled his lips into a straight line and nodded– ‘ first time in four months .’ If only. “ And you’re heading back to the palace, that’s gonna be hard. That place must be littered with memories of Ivan .”

 

Yeah ,” Viktor replied sighing. “ I feel bad that I had to cancel the rehearsal .”

 

I’m sure the wedding will be just as good ,” the older answered. Viktor looked around the room– a suitcase was out and full of half-folded clothes and trinkets he’d picked up from around here. The room was dimly lit, only yellow-tinged lights nailed to the wall lighting the room. The walls and ceiling and floor were all covered in the same dark oak wood, and the bed was much the same, only a plaid red quilt covering the white sheets and mattress. Viktor had grown so comfortable here, in these past five months. But now he was leaving it all to go back to a fiancé he’d never met. The spot on Viktor’s thigh which previously held a soulmark tingled at the thought of the wedding tomorrow.

 

I don’t want to leave here, I don’t want to leave you, or even Yuri and Yulia . You have been so welcoming and kind .”

 

Yurio will miss you, but he is only ten, you still have the rest of his life to see him again. As for Yulia, now I don’t think she’d want you to leave either. But you have a family to return to, Viktor . Don’t you want to see your Yuuri again? ” Viktor reluctantly nodded. He had to see Yuuri and Lilia and Yakov. And Anna , his mother; he couldn’t bare to not see her for any longer, that much was true.

 

My family is here ,” Viktor replied, looking down at his lap. He’d never told Alexander before but he felt so much more connected to him and this part of his family than his one back in Japan.

 

Some of your family is here, but everything else is back in Japan. Remember, we’ll always welcome you to visit, okay? In fact, we demand you come see us again.”

 

“But, when will I ever have time again? I’m not even supposed to visit St. Petersburg without at least letting everyone know– it’s outside of Esterlake. If anyone outside of the royal family finds out I’m here the press will go crazy. An Esterlake prince in Parvus, undocumented, no passport? I’m already putting everyone at risk as it is,” Viktor reminded the other man.

 

We’ll figure something out, okay? Now, come join us for an early dinner and then you better rest up before your flight? You do not want to be getting married on two hours sleep ,” the man chuckled. Viktor smiled warmly, glad to be in the presence of the other man. Two seconds ago he couldn’t bear the thought of being anywhere near another person, but now he never wanted Alexander to leave, and he couldn’t wait to have dinner with Yuri and Yulia. He seemed to be so hot-cold these days. Viktor hoped his fiancé would put up his moodiness. Viktor wondered what his Yuuri did think of him– he’d sent him gifts and asked Lilia to hang a poster of him half-naked in replacement of the real him, (Viktor giggled at the memory,) but still had not returned to Japan, and wasn’t even cancelling their rehearsal dinner! Viktor found himself hoping Yuuri would like him, but sometimes wished he never existed– he frequently cursed Yuuri, as if all of this was his doing, but Viktor had to remind himself that Ivan had done this, not Yuuri. Yuuri deserved Viktor’s kindness and care, not his anger. Viktor didn’t want to skate with his husband on their wedding night, irrationally mad at the other.

 

What’s for dinner? ” Viktor asked after a moment of pondering over his feelings, quickly standing up off the bed and reaching for the door.

 

Yulia made your favourite, since it is your last dinner with us– Stroganoff! ” Viktor grinned and whispered ‘ yesss ’ before skipping down the hall to the small, cosy dining room where Yurio was setting the table and Yulia was in the conjoining kitchen, serving the food.

 

Smells amazing, Yulia ,” Viktor purred, wrapping his arms around the fifty-year-old woman from behind in a loving gesture. Yulia giggled and handed Viktor a bowl.

 

Set this on the table, please ,” Yulia instructed, throwing a warm look to Viktor as he left the kitchen. When Viktor re-entered the dining room, Yuri had finished setting the table and was taking a seat. Viktor placed the bowl in front of the ten-year-old who was currently brushing back his short, blonde locks.

 

I’m going to miss you, Yurio, ” Viktor chuckled as the child exposed his forehead. “ Your forehead is almost as big as mine, ” Viktor teased, poking the expanse of skin.

 

Shut up, you old hag ,” Yuri replied before taking a big mouthful of his dinner.

 

Manners, Yuri! Wait until everyone is seated, ” Alexander groaned from the other side of the table, taking a seat as Yulia placed his dinner in front of him. Soon Viktor and Yulia joined the table as well, and they all ate in relative silence, enjoying their meal too much to talk.

 

Viktor headed off to bed after some sweet piroshki, sad to be leaving, but hopeful for the future– Ivan was dead, and he was marrying someone who appeared to be sweet and intelligent and loved skating just as much as he did. Of course, just before slipping away into the depths of sleep, his eyes wandered over the pages of Yuuri’s profile that Lilia had sent him while he was here. Viktor ran his eyes across the bit that said he’d played ice hockey on Viktor’s team; Viktor couldn’t remember playing with him one bit, but it sparked excitement inside of him– maybe they’d spoken before. If they had, Viktor hoped he’d left a good impression.

 

Viktor awoke again at 9 pm to his alarm, alerting him and the rest of the family that it was time Viktor made his way to the airport.

 

-

 

Remember to eat on the plane, but only a little because I know how much you’ll need your sleep and eating too much before bed can throw you off ,” Yulia explained, her firm arm planted on Viktor’s shoulder in a caring gesture.

 

I promise to do so, Yulia ,” Viktor chuckled. Yulia smiled in return, her big green eyes sparkling.

 

It has been a pleasure to have you stay with us, Viktor, truly. I hope to see you and your fiancé soon .” Viktor nodded and thanked Yulia for the pleasant stay, before moving onto Alexander.

 

I’m sorry I crashed at yours for so long, Alexander, ” Viktor apologised as he lingered at the boarding gate with his newfound family, beginning his goodbyes.

 

Nonsense! We loved having you, you are family. It is me who should be apologising, I feel so guilty for never contacting you. I thought about you every single day, but I couldn’t bring myself to contact you. I just became so intimidated by Ivan, and I didn’t want to upset Anna by seeing her again after we separated, ” Alexander explained– the millionth time he had done so since Viktor had arrived, many months ago.

 

It is all forgiven– And I am so happy you found Yulia and had Yuri, I already love both of them very much ,” Viktor replied, smiling. He was so happy to have found this pocket of love all the way in St. Petersburg, in the middle of it all. “ As much as I love her, Anna should have at least told me about you. I didn’t even know Ivan wasn’t my real father until I was eighteen. ”  

 

I’m sure she was just trying to protect you, besides, you were so young when we separated, it made sense that I left the picture– Ivan made that very clear ,” Alexander said. “ I hope you return to Japan happy.

 

Being with you has made me the happiest I’ve ever been in months ,” Viktor admitted, before enveloping him in a big hug. “ Goodbye, I hope to see you again soon, Dad. ” Viktor then finally wrapped Yuri up in a huge hug, spinning him around before dropping him back down again. Yuri pouted, grumpy at the late hour.

 

Goodbye, Viktor, ” the blonde mumbled. Viktor giggled at the low tone and bid him goodbye. Viktor hugged Yulia, Alexander and Yuri one last time before waving and stepping onto the plane.

 

-

 

“Welcome home, Viktor,” Lilia said in a sly, cold tone, opening the door to Viktor’s car and ducking down to see his face. “It’s been a while, no?”

Chapter Text

“Welcome home, Viktor,” Lilia said in a sly, cold tone, opening the door to Viktor’s car and ducking done to see his face. “It’s been a while, no?”  

 

“Good morning, Lilia,”A burst of cold wind rushed into the warmth of Viktor’s car and reminded him where he was. He was no longer in Russia with his dad, he was back in Japan, where his responsibilities lay. Viktor shivered and ignored Lilia’s attempts at intimidation, getting out of the car. “Did you have a nice flight?” Lilia asked in the same cold tone– Viktor knew she was trying to get the point across that she was angry with him. Viktor didn’t say anything, Viktor already knew she was angry and annoyed. Viktor didn’t regret going to Russia, and he was going to let Lilia know that. He wasn’t going to be intimidated by her anger. Besides, today was his wedding day and he didn’t have to feel guilty about anything. Not today.

 

Viktor’s valet pulled out his suitcases and made his way up to the palace doors, doing as instructed, bringing them to Viktor’s bedroom. Viktor and Lilia followed closely behind, not saying anything to each other.

 

Once they reached Viktor’s room, Lilia finally dared to speak again. “So, the schedule for today is breakfast with the Katsuki’s, not Yuuri though since you can’t see him until the ceremony. He’ll be having breakfast with a friend and then heading here to get ready. After our breakfast, you’ll start getting ready as well, Yuuri will be getting ready on the second floor, and you’ll be getting ready on the first. Then, at eleven…” Viktor tuned Lilia out after a few seconds as a scent clouded his nose as he moved closer to the bed. Viktor recognized a scent like that anywhere. Heat scent. Was it Yuuri’s heat scent? Had he had a heat here ? In Viktor’s bedroom ? Viktor furrowed his brows and looked around the room. It was only then that he realised that the room looked a little different. The bedside tables were different. There was a second desk in the room. The bedsheets were different! How on earth did Viktor not notice that?

 

“Yuuri had a heat here?” Viktor exclaimed, interrupting Lilia’s long schedule for the day. Lilia looked a little stunned– it was the first thing Viktor had said since he’d arrived.

 

“Uh, yes. He stayed here a few times, and we got some new furniture. I wanted to make this place comfortable for him,” Lilia explained. “I thought we’d gotten the scent out– I can ask for someone to come in and clear it out again?”

 

“No, it’s fine. It’d be pointless considering he’ll be sleeping here tonight… He will be sleeping here, right?” Viktor asked.

 

“Yes, he lives here now.” Viktor took a deep breath. He was starting to feel a little bad that he wasn’t here for all of this.

 

“And where are his things?”

 

“They’re here– Here’s just a very tidy person, I guess. His closet has all his clothes, and his desk holds most of his things. And he has his own shelves and of course he was things in his bedside table,” Lilia answered, watching Viktor go over to where Yuuri had his own shelves. The shelves held mostly books, some anime figures and other nerdy stuff like that– and one shelf, a shelf that made Viktor himself feel intimidated– a shelf filled with trophies. Ice skating trophies. Viktor didn’t dare pick them up but he read them, and most of them were small skating events, nothing too major– Viktor had competed in small events like that himself. But what really caught Viktor’s eye were the medals hanging below the shelf. Half of them were gold, some bronze, some silver. Some of them were major events too– one of the silver medals read ‘ Junior World Championships .’ A good chunk of the gold medals were from different Esterlake Junior Competitions, and the rest were all Japan local. One thing Viktor noticed was that they were all from the Junior category.

 

“He was a world champion?” Viktor asked, want to clarify.

 

“Yes, he only competed twice though, when he was fourteen and fifteen. His last season he did badly and he retired– I don’t know if you’d call it retiring though considering he was sixteen. He was a very good skater, he started competing nationally when he was eleven. It’s a shame he didn’t keep going,” Lilia replied. “He still skates religiously though, almost every day, and he even keeps up his old exercise regimen. He’s very dedicated.”

 

“How am I supposed to skate with a world champion tonight? He’s going to think I’m terrible,” Viktor whined, as remembered his promise to take him skating. Viktor suddenly felt very insecure– now not only did Yuuri probably think it was a stupid idea, he was gonna be so much better at it than he was.

 

“I severely doubt that, Yuuri would never say that about anyone. In fact, he’s probably thinking the same thing!” Lilia chuckled.

 

“He isn’t a world champion, why would he think that?” Viktor said, his mouth agape. The guy was amazing, there was no way he could feel insecure about his skating.

 

“You’re a future king, Viktor, and he used to be a broke, failing university student,” the older reasoned.  Viktor nodded in understanding. He hoped once they’d met Yuuri wouldn’t feel so intimidated. “So, I’m going to check on breakfast and then greet and escort the Katsuki’s to the formal dining room. I expect to see you there in fifteen, alright?”

 

“Alright,” Viktor replied, happy that over the course of their conversation Lilia’s cold tone had gone away. He understood why she was angry, but the ice had been broken now, and they could happily move on and focus on the day’s events.

 

-

 

“So, Viktor, I hear you went to university?” Hiroko asked, taking a bite out of her scrambled eggs.

 

Viktor nodded in response, trying not to sound bored out of his mind– an hour of polite conversation, all while the thoughts of seeing Yuuri for the first time filled his mind. He was beyond anxious, and the breakfast conversation was driving him insane. “I completed a bachelor degree in Economics, I just graduated last year,” Viktor answered, taking a bite of his own breakfast.

 

“Oh, that sounds wonderful– do you think you’ll go back to university?” Toshiya said in response, stopping Hiroko before she spoke again.

 

“Toshiya, I’m sure Viktor is very busy with his responsibilities,” Hiroko commented rather quickly, elbowing her husband secretly.

 

“Ah, I might. I have actually had a lot of free time this past year, I actually made a trip to Russia for a few months, but my schedule will probably will become a lot more crowded after Yuuri settles in– my mother can’t keep up with her busy life as much as she used to and Yakov, Lilia’s husband, can’t fill in for everything ,” Viktor explained. “But if I’m ever so inclined I might go back to university.”

 

“Russia, huh?” Mari asked, piping up– she hadn’t said a word since she arrived.

 

“Mm, yes. I went to visit… some family ,” Viktor replied, smiling and glaring at Lilia– they hadn’t really had a chance to talk about the whole, ‘Ivan isn’t really my dad and yet I have to go through all this shit’ thing, so, for now, Viktor would glare at her in anger and she would shoot knowing stares, and kick his chair whenever he threatened to spill the secret. Viktor would never actually say anything, considering that he’d have to say where in Russia his father lived, and that would suggest that Viktor actually went to St. Petersburg, and Lilia would blow his head off for that.

 

“I didn’t know you had more family,” Mari commented, in a grilling tone.

 

“Um, yes. My uncle and his wife and son live in Russia– they decided to stay in Russia though,” Viktor lied, smiling and looking at everyone to see if they’d seen through his lies. “I hadn’t seen them in a while and after my father died I just had to get away. Although I do deeply regret not being there with Yuuri in the lead-up to the wedding, I feel awful about it,” Viktor explained, more to Lilia than any of the Katsuki’s. From the corner of his eye, Viktor saw Lilia smiling to herself.

 

“Well, I’m sure this past year has been hard on you, Viktor,” Hiroko replied, her face looking concerned.

 

“Well, maybe a little. But Yuuri seems lovely and I’m sure we’ll get along and life will be a little less boring with him around,” Viktor chuckled.

 

“I’m glad you think so– I know Yuuri thinks the same,” Toshiya chimed.

 

“Oh, good.” Viktor smiled to himself– any piece of information regarding Yuuri almost made him giddy. He didn’t know why, but he was really looking forward to meeting and getting to know Katsuki Yuuri– the thought of daily life with the other man made him almost feel giddy.

 

-

 

“I can’t believe you’re getting married,” Phichit sighed, taking a piece of his muffin and eating it.

 

“Me neither– And I’m only twenty-one, like I could spend the majority of my life married. If I live ‘til like eighty, I’ll be married sixty years,” Yuuri reminded Phichit.

 

“I can’t believe you’re actually doing this,” Phichit said, shaking his head.

 

“At least I get to be rich for the rest of my life,” Yuuri offered, knowing that even though it’d been a month since he told Phichit about the engagement, Phichit still hadn’t stopped trying to convince him it was a bad idea– the least he could do was offer Phichit the silver lining. “I mean if I really wanted, I could spend all my nights in a hotel, I certainly have the funds.”

 

“Well, you should really be sleeping in your home,” Phichit retorted, trying to keep his opinions to himself, but failing. Yuuri was stubborn and Phichit knew this, there was nothing he do to stop Yuuri now.

 

“The palace is my home,” Yuuri told Phichit. Phichit raised his eyebrows in question. “I’ve spent quite a lot of time there recently. And I really love Lilia and Ana– even Yakov, even though he tends to avoid me and he’s a bit of a grump.”

 

“Well, I’m sure they’re nice,” Phichit said pulling a flat smile and deciding to not push the topic. Today was Yuuri’s wedding day. “So, how is everything going to run today?”

 

“Well, we’re having breakfast here, then you’re coming with me to get ready for the ceremony at the palace, and then we’re going to the venue and getting married. After that, we have the reception for six hours at the palace– close friends and family only, and no cameras, from one-thirty to seven thirty, and then everyone leaves and me and Viktor are going ice skating,” Yuuri told Phichit for the hundredth time. He’d been over it so many times the actually marrying thing seemed so much less nerve-racking. He didn’t know why, but the fact that it was an arranged marriage made it all the less anxiety-inducing. Of course, he was still nervous about seeing Viktor again for the first time in years, and obviously going skating with him sweaty with anxiousness, and maybe the fact that his wedding was going to be broadcast on TV was slightly unnerving. He still didn’t feel as anxious as he thought he would, though. But it was only ten am, he still had an entire day to become anxious.

 

“Are you excited about skating with Viktor?” Phichit asked, taking a sip of his milkshake. Well, of course he was excited, but at the same time he felt like he shouldn’t be excited– he should be nervous because it was Viktor Nikiforov he was skating with and even though Yuuri had been an excellent skater before he family got broke and he decided to take a different career path, Yuuri could never be as good as Viktor, even if he had the medals to back it up. If Yuuri wasn’t worried about skating with Viktor before, he sure was now. Not to mention that skating was such an important thing to him, and sharing that with Viktor– a guy he barely knew– was a little sickening.

 

“Yeah, a little,” Yuuri answered truthfully after a moment of thought. “I wonder how good he is.”

 

Ten minutes later, Yuuri was paying for his and Yuuri’s Phichit, relishing in the fact that he now could. They left the cafe and took a cab to the palace, texting Lilia that they were arriving. Once they’d stepped out, Phichit’s draw dropped in awe.

 

“I’m just now realising that I’m friends with a member of the royal family…” Phichit gaped, loosely following Yuuri to the palace doors. Yuuri rolled his eyes Phichit gawked at the architecture, dragging him in.

 

“Apparently we’re meeting Lilia in her room downstairs– to the right of the stairs and through the hallway, door on the end,” Yuuri explained, still dragging Phichit to the set of stairs that would take them to Lilia’s room, reading off of his phone.

 

“There’s so much marble, Yuuri,” Phichit breathed, staring at the walls and ceilings and columns.

 

“Yes, I know , now let’s go, I have to get married,” Yuuri scowled dragging Phichit downstairs, and all through the downstairs lounge, though the hallway and into Lilia’s room where she was currently talking to Hiroko.

 

“Mum!” Yuuri yelled, letting go of Phichit and running into her embrace so fast she almost toppled them over. “You’re here!”

 

“Of course I’m here, darling, I was having breakfast with Viktor and Lilia, remember?” Hiroko laughed, hugging her son. It had been awhile since she’d hugged him like this. Yuuri nodded, remembering the plans. Hiroko kissed his forehead and pushed Yuuri out of her embrace. “Now, let’s get you all dolled up for your wedding, huh?” Yuuri blushed and nodded, letting himself be escorted to the bathroom with a lit mirror and a leather chair. Yuuri sat on the chair and Phichit hopped onto the white, marble counter introducing himself to Lilia.

 

“So how is this whole thing going to work? Like how are you going to hide the fact that this is arranged from everyone?” Phichit asked Lilia who was opening various draws and pulling out beauty products.

 

“Well, honestly, there isn’t many to keep it from. Almost all of Vitya’s family knows, I think Anna has a few siblings that don’t know and I think one of them has a few children, but we only see them about once year. Then of course Anna and Yakov don’t know about it. So, really, Yuuri and Viktor could sleep in separate rooms almost half the week, with Anna not living here anymore and Yakov not getting home ‘till late. Of course sometimes they will make public appearances and they will have to pretend to be a couple around everyone they know, but that’s about it.”

 

“What about bonding marks?” Yuuri asked as Hiroko began guarding her hands through his hair. Lilia and Hiroko seemed a bit stunned at Yuuri’s forward-ness– usually, Yuuri would never directly ask about something like that .  

 

“Well, it is expected for you two bond eventually, I’d say give it maximum two years before people start asking questions and getting suspicious, but it is ultimately up to you and Viktor, but if you don’t bond you’re going to have to come up with something convincing to tell the public. Maybe has Viktor has a diseased scent gland or something, I don’t know,” Lilia explained, passing Hiroko a spray bottle filled with water. Hiroko began spraying, lightly dampening the hair so she could do what she liked with it.

 

“And what does Viktor do during the day?” Hiroko asked, pushing all of Yuuri’s hair back.

 

“Well, he goes to the gym six times a week and keeps up with a gruelling training schedule, he also skates a few times a week, and of course he visits Anna almost every single day– 10 am on the dot. Sometimes he attends social dinners and a few times a month he goes to schools or recreation centres or even some big universities to give speeches or hand out awards or even just to sit there and make the event more valued and important,” Lilia replied, chuckling.

 

“He trains every day?” Phichit gasped, holding his hand against his chest. Yuuri rolled his eyes– yes, Viktor was that hot. Lilia smirked and nodded in response.

 

They finished Yuuri’s hair, then put a little makeup on him– mostly just concealer– before Yuuri put his suit on. It fit him perfectly and it was quite beautiful– he looked quite beautiful. Yuuri was stunning– at least to everyone but him. They did some extra touch-ups and Lilia yelled at a maid for not polishing Yuuri’s dress shoes the correct way. Yuuri felt really sorry for Deidra.

 

Finally, Yuuri was escorted out of the palace and into a horse-drawn carriage . There were two of them, one black and one white. The black one was hooded, sort of like a room or a roofless car with a moving roof that was half up. It had seemingly taken off a few seconds ago. Was Viktor inside that one?

 

Lilia helped Yuuri onto the non-hooded on and sat opposite him, where Phichit joined her and Hiroko sat next to Yuuri.

 

“So, I’ll get off first and help Phichit and Hiroko off, your best man and only bridesmaid, and they’ll walk down the aisle and next off to the left, opposite to the groom’s wedding party. You know he actually has multiple groomsmen. Well, he has three. Anyway, then I’ll help Yuuri off, everybody stands and you walk down the aisle alone. The carriage gets taken away and the ceremony starts. The celebrant will then marry you and then everyone walks over to the reception where a few people will give speeches, then we will have drinks and then a five-course meal. After that, there is dancing and general mingling and then the night ends at seven thirty. Transportation will be provided for the guests and family back to their homes,” Lilia recited like she had done it a million times. She probably had. Yuuri took a deep breath. This was really happening.

 

“Nervous?” Phichit asked, as Lilia pulled out a bouquet of flowers from nowhere– mostly frangipanes and bluebirds like they’d agreed– and handed it to Yuuri.

 

“A little,” Yuuri said quietly, his mind lost in thoughts of ‘holy shit I’m about to be on TV walking down the aisle with about a sixty people watching.’ Surprisingly, the actual wedding attendance was low– over half of the people were businessmen and their wives who were invited out of politeness and societal courtesy. The rest were Viktor’s and Yuuri’s family, though Yuuri only had a guest list of five, including Hiroko and Phichit. Yuuri didn’t have any friends, and so to make up for his lack in the guest list department, Hiroko had invited her close friend Narumi. Lilia still wasn’t impressed by Yuuri’s guest list. Luckily Victor had three uncles and four cousins to make up for it, making his guest list twelve– but still not much better than Yuuri. So, technically, he didn’t know two-thirds of his wedding guests. Oops.

 

“Five minutes til we arrive, everyone!” Lilia ordered, sitting up a little straighter for the cameras that would soon see them. A deep pit of anxiety coiled in Yuuri stomach, he was a lot more than ‘a little’ nervous. Yuuri took some deep breaths, and then they entered the park. The park was huge, so Yuuri still had about a minute to get ready. Phichit jumped in his seat, stretching his neck to look at the ceremonial area. Several rows of white, velvet seats had been set up, and then there was a celebrant dressed in black, standing behind a wedding arch covered in frangipanis and bluebirds, and other assorted flowers of similar or neutral colours. Yuuri was thankful it all seemed so low-key. The carriage stopped right behind the aisle and Yuuri could finally, finally see Viktor. Relief overwhelmed him, and his anxiety seeped away. He could see heads turning to look at Yuuri, he could see the camera’s pointed at him and he could see Viktor’s groomsmen looking unimpressed with the whole ordeal. But most of all, he could see Viktor. Only the back of his head, but still. Yuuri had the fight the sudden urge to run to him– he didn’t know he wanted to, it wasn’t like he actually was in love with the man, but Yuuri guessed it was because he was the only person in the room that was feeling the same way that he did. He guessed it was because Viktor made feel less alone. Yuuri registered Phichit and Hiroko getting out of the carriage and the guests standing for them, but his eyes were still trained on Viktor. Viktor, who he wanted to touch and hug and talk to. He wanted to talk to him so badly– he’d been hiding all his feelings from everyone because no one would’ve understood what it was like to be in an arranged marriage, but here Viktor was, someone who could understand it all, and would hopefully listen. Maybe he could even confide in Viktor about his lost soulmate. Yuuri wanted Viktor to know it all, and for Yuuri to know everything about Viktor.

 

Yuuri barely noticed when a minute later he was being helped down the carriage steps and onto the neatly trimmed grass. Yuuri again, saw just how many people were here, but this time, it didn’t matter. They didn’t get it, Viktor got it. It felt like they were the only two people in the world.

 

Yuuri made his way down the aisle, smiling at Mari, who was looking unimpressed, and Toshiya who was glaring at the back of Viktor’s head. Yuuri wasn’t bothered by it, and kept on walking, until he came to a halt beside Viktor. Yuuri grinned and looked straight ahead, too excited and nervous to look Viktor in the eye. The celebrant began speaking, although Yuuri didn’t pay much attention to her, instead focusing on not looking over and staring at Viktor.

 

Eventually, Yuuri looked at Viktor and found him looking similarly to Yuuri– looking straight ahead and grinning. It made Yuuri’s stomach fall out of his body– was Viktor feeling the same way? Did he feel excited too? Yuuri stomach jumped back into his body when he realised the look could be fake. They were being filmed. It was such an odd time to reunite with Viktor, a time where they had to act unlike themselves; when they had to pretend they were in love.

 

“Katsuki Yuuri, repeat after me,” the celebrant said, snapping Yuuri out of his thoughts at the mention of his name. This was the bit where he’d actually have to face Viktor. “ I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Katsuki Yuuri, take thee, Viktor Nikiforov, to be my lawful wedded husband.”

 

Yuuri took a deep breath and faced Viktor, and Viktor did the same. Their eyes met and they searched each other's faces, wanting to know what the other was feeling. It was evident that Viktor was nervous, so Yuuri smiled gently and took Viktor’s warm hands in his before speaking. “I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Katsuki Yuuri, take thee, Viktor Nikiforov, to be my lawful wedded husband.” Yuuri smile grew bigger, as did Viktor’s, as he spoke those words.

 

“Viktor Nikiforov, repeat after me: I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Viktor Nikiforov, take thee, Katsuki Yuuri, to be my lawful wedded husband.”

 

“I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Viktor Nikiforov, take thee, Katsuki Yuuri, to be my lawful wedded husband,” Viktor repeated, his voice deep and thick. It sounded a lot more Russian than it did in high school. It also sounded deeper. It sounded nice. Viktor let out a breath once he was finished, still smiling and staring at Yuuri.

 

“You may kiss the husband,” the celebrant finished, closing a book that she was holding that Yuuri didn’t think she’d read out of at all. Yuuri’s brows furrowed. They were going kiss? Lilia hadn’t mentioned that. Yuuri didn’t have time to curse himself before Viktor leaned over and kissed him. The kiss was stale and Yuuri wasn’t really responding– again. Luckily, Viktor let go of one of Yuuri’s hands and placed it over Yuuri’s cheek and jaw– blocking the camera’s view of their mouths. Yuuri relaxed and kissed back for half a second before Viktor pulled back. A second later, Yuuri, not happy with their previous kiss, leaned in again and pecked Viktor’s lips a second time, causing the crowd to cheer. When Yuuri pulled back, he blushed and looked down, dropping Viktor’s hand. When Yuuri finally met Viktor’s eyes again, he saw Viktor was also blushing and smiling.

 

Next thing Yuuri knew, all of the guests were getting up and walking away, along a path in the middle of the park. Viktor, without saying anything, tugged Yuuri with him and they followed the crowd, leaving the crowd behind.

 

-

 

Yuuri was just taking a seat at his table when Viktor finally spoke to him for the first time in years.

 

“Did you choose the menu?”

Chapter Text

Yuuri was just taking a seat at his table when Victor finally spoke to him for the first time in years.

 

“Did you choose the menu?”

 

Seriously ? He doesn’t speak to the guy for four years and he wants to talk about who decided we’re eating roast beef for dinner? Yuuri had gone through a cyclone of emotions for him and his first words are ‘did you choose the menu?’ Yuuri honestly wanted to laugh.

 

“Uh, no. If you’re wondering who’s to blame when it comes to why we’re eating greek salad this evening it’s probably you,” Yuuri told him, not looking the man in the eye. His words were a little devilish, he just needed Victor to know that he didn’t approve of Victor being in Russia for the duration of the wedding plans. But there was a playful lilt to the words– yes, Yuuri would have preferred that Victor stayed in Japan for the past month, but he still liked Victor and wanted to get to know him.

 

“Me?” Viktor asked, his voice filled with shock.

 

“Yeah, maybe if you were actually in Japan you could’ve had a say in the menu,” Yuuri responded, finally looking up at Victor who still had not had taken a seat. Yuuri chuckled at Victor’s distraught face, looking away and taking a sip of his water. Yuuri looked out at the arrangement of tables– twenty five tables scattered across the grass, waiters going around with flutes of champagne, a bar to the left and a long line of tables that carried covered food. Yuuri’s table was a rectangle, Yuuri and Victor sitting in the middle, with a line of people sitting next to each of them. On Victor’s side were Yakov and three men– one who had curly brown hair, one who had curly blonde hair with a brown undercut (he looked strangely familiar,) and one man with ginger hair. On Yuuri’s side were Hiroko, Phichit, Lilia and Yakov. Phichit was sitting directly from Yuuri but when Yuuri had tried to talk to him he was just staring at his phone, texting someone.

 

“You know, it’s actually rude to text at the table,” Yuuri said sarcastically, causing Phichit to look up.

 

“Sorry, I’m just texting Chris. Look,” Phichit said, holding up his phone to Yuuri and showing Yuuri a picture of Chris– a shirtless mirror selfie. Yuuri had to admit– Chris was really attractive. His dark brown hair was a nice contrast with his blue eyes. Not as nice at the contrast as Victor’s grey hair and blue eyes, though.

 

“Did somebody say Chris?” Chris asked from the left of Victor, leaning over the table to look at Yuuri and his friend.

 

“Yeah, I’m texting my boyfriend, his name is Chris,” Phichit explained, waving his phone around. Yuuri shrunk back a little, intimidated by Victor’s friend who he’d never met before.

 

“Well, I’m very flattered but you haven’t even asked me out,” Chris replied, holding out his hand for Phichit. “I’m Chris.”

 

“Phichit,” Phichit nodded, chuckling at Chris’s jokes, before receding back in his seat. “Victor has cute friends,” Phichit whispered to Yuuri. Yuuri blushed and peeked at the men beside Victor. They were decent looking enough. All better looking than him, anyway. Yuuri then looked to Victor, who was just staring ahead, looking at all the people. Yuuri decided to try talking to Victor again, hoping his previous statement hadn’t offended him too much.

 

“So, do you know any of these people? Because I do not,” Yuuri laughed, nudging Victor out of his trance awkwardly.

 

“Uh, yeah, some,” Victor answered seriously. “That’s Mari and your Dad, right?” Victor pointed to Mari who was gulping down a yellow cocktail and Toshiya who was begging Mari to stop drinking so much.

 

“Um, yes. That’s them– you met them this morning, didn’t you?” Yuuri asked, hoping Mari really would stop drinking because it was getting embarrassing.

 

“I did but they seem to have been glaring at me for a while,” Victor answered, leaning in to whisper in Yuuri’s ear so no one else heard them. Yuuri’s ear tickled at the feeling, and his stomach felt a little lighter at the scent of Victor.

 

“Oh, well, I don’t they really like this whole situation, or you– no offence– but I’m sure they’ll get used to it eventually,” Yuuri reassured Victor. At that moment, Lilia stood, raising her flute of champagne and speaking.

 

“Welcome all, to the reception of Yuuri and Victor Nikiforov’s reception!” The crowd of wedding guests cheered. “As you may have noticed, Yuuri and Victor still have to sign their certificate of marriage and exchange rings, so please join me in watching this historic event,” Lilia finished, sitting down and taking a big gulp of champagne.  A second later a man appeared behind Yuuri and Victor, holding a leather board with a marriage certificate on it. Victor stood up immediately, and Yuuri watched as he did. Seeing the man towering above him made him feel so intimidated– they’d been talking so casually two seconds ago and now Yuuri wanted to run away. The fade of emotion from Victor’s face scared Yuuri even more. How could he look to stoic when two seconds ago they were chatting casually? Victor glared at Yuuri and nudged the other man’s leg with his foot, gesturing for him to stand up. Yuuri quickly did so, the glare he’d just received shaking him up a little. Victor then pulled to black, velvet boxes from his pocket and placed them on the table in front of them. The man with the certificate laid it on the table next to the boxes and handed Victor a pen. Victor bent and signed casually, a smile returning to his face. Yuuri couldn’t tell if it was fake or not. He then handed the pen to Yuuri, who also signed. The guest clapped as he did so and the certificate was taken away. Yuuri heard Victor take a deep breath as he picked up the box closest him. He opened and exposed the glamorous and overdone ring, and picked it out of the box. Victor held his hand out, silently asking for Yuuri to put his hand in his. Yuuri complied, putting his left hand in, and watched as Victor carefully slid on the ring, the cool metal sliding around his finger. Yuuri gave a small smile before picking up his own box, picking up the same ring and repeating it as Victor did. Victor’s hand was warm, a nice change to the cool temperatures that that December brought on. Yuuri was surprised it wasn’t snowing already. Yuuri slid the ring on and dropped Victor’s hand, finally looking up to see Victor again, grinning at him, with a blush painting his cheeks. As much as they were both smiling, in the back of their heads, they both knew this was all fake. And even though they had butterflies in their stomachs and couldn’t stop blushing, it all seemed just a tad stale.

 

“Now, appetisers will be served for the next hour, and then the feasting will begin,” Lilia said, standing again. “Unlike most weddings, we’ve decided to go five course menu style. So no buffet, but I promise everything is made to best quality and I hope all of you will enjoy it thoroughly.” Everyone clapped and Lilia walked over to Victor and Yuuri, a hand on each of their shoulders. “You two better get to know each other quickly because all these businessmen are going to be making the rounds soon and it’ll seem suspicious if you two don’t know how your romance came to be or what each other’s favourite colours are, got it?”

 

“Yes, Lilia, we will provide a fake romance story,” Victor agreed, taking a sip of his champagne that had just been handed to him. Lilia straightened her back, nodded and made her way back to her table with Anna and Yakov.

 

“So, did we meet in Japan?” Victor asked, turning to face Yuuri.

 

“Yeah, sure,” the raven answered, his chin planted in his hand with an elbow on the table.

 

“Yuuri, you need to look more interested and excited, this is your wedding day,” Victor groaned, removing Yuuri’s elbow from the table, causing to Yuuri to sit up straight. “Smile,” Victor urged, and Yuuri pulled his best ‘I’m sitting next to the love of my life’ face. “Better.”

 

“So, we were on the ice hockey team and then we met again later in college?” Yuuri offered.

 

“We didn’t go to the same college but sure– how about we met at a college party during last year’s summer?”

 

“That sounds good,” Yuuri said, nodding and thinking about it.

 

“And I knew that I loved you and you were the one for me when you helped me get through my father’s death,” Victor said. Yuuri made a face. Why was that necessary for people to know? “What? It’ll be more believable if tragedy is involved. It’ll be so romantic, I’m grieving my father’s death, and there you are, my light, my love. I’ve fallen apart due to the epic tragedy, and there you are to make me feel better again,” Victor explained. It seemed believable. “Plus, it’ll make people think I actually cared about my father.” Yuuri didn’t say anything to that, he just nodded– what do you say when people bring up their recently deceased parents anyway?

 

“That means we’ve been together for just nearly seventeen months if we met mid July?” Yuuri asked after a moment had passed.

 

“Yeah, sure. Wait, what should be our anniversary date?”

 

“Uhh, July 17th?” Yuuri asked, randomly picking a number.

 

“July 17th it is,” Victor nodded. “So, what is your favourite colour?”

 

Yuuri giggled. “Blue,” he answered swiftly, looking at Victor’s eyes.

 

“Mm, what kind of blue?” Victor asked in a suggestive tone, even though the question was about favourite colours.

 

“Light blue,” Yuuri replied, still looking deeply into Victor’s eyes, and for once Yuuri didn’t care that he was staring because Victor was doing it too. “Like this kind of blue.” Yuuri pointed to the earrings he was wearing that Victor got him.

 

“Oh, you’re wearing them,” Victor said, still smiling.

 

“Of course,” Yuuri said gently, tilting his head. They were gorgeous, why wouldn’t he be wearing them? “What’s your favourite colour?”

 

Victor ‘hmmed’ and brought a hand to face, pressing a finger to his lips and thinking. “Well, I really like my silver hair, so I really like silver,” Victor began, “but I also really love warm colours. Like peachy colours and yellows and oranges– I know everyone probably says this but I love sunset colours.”

 

“I don’t think everyone says that. I think sunsets are beautiful too.”

 

-

 

“God, how long is this damn thing going to last?” Chris groaned, laying his head down on the table. Over the course of the day, crumbs and stains littered the white table cloth and most of Victor’s groomsmen had left, along with a third of the guests. The eating portion of the evening had finished about an hour ago, so either people were half asleep on their tables, trying to hook up with other drunken strangers or wishing this damn thing would end. Hiroko and Toshiya were tipsy and full of food, and just talking amongst themselves, probably about why the hell Mari had left about two hours ago. Lilia and Yakov were cuddling at their table– a thing neither Victor nor Yuuri could think Lilia and Yakov could do. Chris, Phichit, Yuuri and Victor were all sitting together at one of the abandoned circle tables. Phichit was still texting his Chris, Chris was half-drunk and shirtless, and Yuuri and Victor were just silently sitting next to each other, nervously fidgeting. The time where they’d have to skate together was fast approaching.

 

“Half an hour left,” Phichit mumbled, his eyes not leaving the screen.

 

“You two look nervous,” Chris laughed, looking at the pair who were sitting as far away from each other as possible.

 

“Well, I did just get married to someone I’ve never met before, Chris,” Victor told him, a hint of harshness in his voice. He and Yuuri were just meeting, did he really have to push them? Victor finally dared to turn to look at Yuuri, whose brows were furrowed and a confused look was painting his face. He turned to Phichit and saw the same expression.

 

“What do you mean you’ve never met before? You guys were on the same hockey team, remember?” Phichit asked, finally looking from his screen.

 

“Well, yeah, but I don’t think we actually spoke, right?” Victor said, his anxieties growing– had he and Yuuri been friends?

 

“Yeah, we did a few times,” Yuuri breathed, still avoiding Victor’s gaze. Phichit shot Yuuri a confused look before sending Yuuri a confused look.

 

Didn’t you kiss him ?” Phichit asked in Japanese, not wanting Chris or Victor to hear him. Yuuri blushed at the reminder, but thankful Phichit had used Japanese. Yuuri was very glad that Phichit had taken Japanese in high school after he’d moved to Esterlake.

 

He kissed me ,” Yuuri corrected, his voice hushed. Even though they were talking in Japanese, Yuuri still felt awkward talking about it.

 

I kissed you ?” Victor asked in disbelief, actually daring to touch Yuuri, planting a broad hand on Yuuri’s upper arm, making their eyes connect. Yuuri’s eyes widened when he realised that Victor could speak Japanese . Yuuri turned away, shifting his body so he was curled on in himself. Yuuri didn’t reply to Victor’s question, just blushed and refused to even open his mouth.

 

“I’m feeling quite left out here,” Chris joked, as he looked at the three Japanese speakers. No one said anything for a while, until Phichit decided to rescue everyone.

 

“Back in high school, Victor kissed Yuuri but I don’t think Victor remembers it,” Phichit explained, smiling awkwardly at Chris, who’s face widened when he heard what had gone on. Chris looked over at Yuuri, who looked like he was about to faint.

 

“Uh, Yuuri, why don’t you come with me to get another drink, huh?” Chris asked, standing up from his chair and pulling on Yuuri’s arm. Even though they’d only known each other a few hours, Yuuri was obviously very anxious and embarrassed and Chris had to instinctually rescue Yuuri, figuring a break from being in Victor’s presence would do him good. Plus, he could get to know the guy who’d been dragged into Victor’s pain and grief. Phichit mouthed a thank you at Chris as the pair left the table.

 

Yuuri silently walked with Chris, his head down and his mouth closed, still anxious but feeling a little anxious about his previous mistake. He should’ve really known that the prince of Esterlake who lived in Japan would know the language.

 

“Hey, don’t sweat it, okay? I’m sure you guys kissed– Victor has the worst memory,” Chris reassured Yuuri, stopping at the drinks table and pouring a glass of white wine for the both of them. Yuuri smiled and accepted the drink.

 

“I know this seems a bit odd but also a little cliché,” Chris started after a moment of silence. “But Victor really has been through a lot and I think it would mean a lot to him if you nice to him. I mean I’m not saying you’re evil or out to get Victor, but just in case you were thinking of being a stick in the mud, please don’t. Victor didn’t choose for this happen and I’d really appreciate it if you made it worth the while anyway– not that you forced him to marry you but, well, you know what I mean,” Chris finished. Yuuri looked up at Chris and smiled.

 

“Of course.”

 

-

 

“So, Victor Nikiforov,” Phichit chuckled as he watched Chris and Yuuri walk off. “What are you like?” Victor’s brows furrowed at the question. Was Phichit interrogating him.

 

“What are you like, Phichit Chulanont?” Victor retorted, not feeling up to telling his life story at that current moment. Phichit chuckled and leant back in his seat.

 

“I’m Yuuri’s best friend,” the Thai man replied. “Your turn.”

 

“Well, I’m Yuuri’s husband. Your turn,” Victor said coyly, spotting Chris and Yuuri in the background. Victor hoped Chris was getting info on Yuuri too.

 

“I’m from Thailand, and Yuuri and I met at the World Championships of Figure Skating,” Phichit informed, now waiting for a piece of information from Victor.

 

“So, Yuuri is good then– at figure skating?” Victor asked, leaning forward, putting his elbows on the table.

 

“You have to tell me something about yourself before I give anything away, Victor ,” Phichit reminded him, dragging out Victor’s name.

 

“Fine. While I’ve never competed even nationally, my mother was a world champion five times running,” Victor shared.

 

“Anna Plisetsky, or now Anna Nikiforov, I know. And, yes, Yuuri is very good at figure skating. He was a world champion– I don’t know how you’ll keep up with up him tonight.”

 

“I’m sure Victor is just as good as me, Phichit,” Yuuri groaned, taking a seat again, this time next to Phichit, his anxiety at bay but still too embarrassed to be near or make eye contact with Victor again.

 

“You’re a world champion, Yuuri,” Victor argued, raising his hand in a questioning gesture. Yuuri only laughed in response and kept his head down, to Victor’s disappointment. “Speaking of skating, we should wrap this up and get to it.”

 

-

 

Yuuri had ignored Victor the whole ride home and the for the duration of changing into more casual clothes and even to the rink, even though Yuuri had told Chris he’d be nice to his new husband. Victor didn’t seem to mind though, and Yuuri guessed they were feeling similarly to each other– a fact Yuuri revelled in; at least he wasn’t alone in this. He had Victor. Yuuri stepped out of the Sudan that Victor had driven to the rink and grabbed his skating bag before closing the door. He kept his head down as he entered the rink, but stopped as the door to the stadium was locked. Victor caught up to him, rink keys in hand.

 

“It’s just us tonight,” Victor told him, unlocking the doors and letting Yuuri in. Yuuri’s anxiety spiked at the words– was it really just going to be the two of them, no staff at all?

 

Yuuri strut past the rink and into the locker room, Victor following him. Yuuri put his bag down on the bench, his actions mundane and repetitive– he acted like this was just another day at the rink. If he treated it like his new husband and the prince of Esterlake was right behind him doing the same thing, his calm facade would surely crumble. And just as usual, the universe decided to remind him that this was not a normal day at the rink as the skates Victor had bought for him tumbled out of the bag once Yuuri had unzipped it. The sound made both Victor and the raven jump, it being the only sound in within a hundred metre radius. Victor cleared his throat and paused in his own preparations, walking over to Yuuri and picking up the skates for him. Yuuri looked into Victor’s eyes, searching for a reason for Victor kind gesture. Yuuri accepted them and sat down to begin putting them on, not saying anything to Victor, even though he knew at this point that Victor was open to conversation. Yuuri supposed he could do the same.

 

“Thank you for the skates,” Yuuri said, he voice coming out a lot weaker and quieter than he had planned. He hoped Victor had heard it and he wouldn’t have to embarrassingly repeat himself.

 

“You’re welcome, Yuuri,” Victor replied, Victor purring out Yuuri’s name like honey on his tongue. They watched each other pull on their skates– Victor wearing a black pair with gold blades and Yuuri’s white matching ones. Yuuri considered slipping into some proper skating clothes– his current skinny-but-stretchy jeans would do him much justice when doing complicated moves or jumps, but Yuuri guessed they wouldn’t be doing much of that anyway. Yuuri decided against it since Victor was wearing something similar, except of course looking a lot better than Yuuri.

 

In a burst of confidence coming from Yuuri’s oddly calm spirit, after he’d finished getting ready, he walked over to Victor, hips swaying, (sometimes Yuuri liked to use his wide, omega hips to his advantage,) and offered his hand out, expecting for Victor to take. Victor placed his hand in Yuuri’s own and stood up, to Yuuri’s delightment. Victor became even taller and the skates shaped his legs perfectly. Yuuri bit his lip– was he really admiring how attractive Victor was now ? Victor smiled sweetly and laced their fingers together, squeezing Yuuri’s hand gently. Yuuri smiled sheepishly and lead them to the cold rink and only let go of Victor to step onto the rink. Victor watched Yuuri stake out to the middle of the rink and Victor soon joined, taking Yuuri’s hand again. He wasn’t done holding onto Yuuri just yet.

 

Yuuri accepted the hand holding and began to slide along the ice, leading Victor with him. Yuuri breathed– this seemed to be turning out a lot more calmly than he’d once thought. Maybe it was time for Yuuri to actually to get to know Victor? Maybe Yuuri could actually start talking to Victor now.

 

Victor beat Yuuri to it, though. “So, how do you want to do this?” Yuuri was a little confused at the question. Yuuri had guessed they’d just skate around for a while– did there need to be a formula? Couldn’t they just see where the feeling took them?

 

“I usually start off with figure eights,” Yuuri told Victor. “It’s calming.” Victor chuckled at Yuuri’s answer– had Yuuri said something wrong? Were figure eights bad?

 

“No, I mean, how do you want to handle this whole thing between us– the fake relationship thing,” Victor reiterated. Victor decided to start leading them in figure eights.

 

“Oh,” Yuuri replied, taking a moment to think before speaking again. How did he want to do this? Even though he had been over it a thousand times with Lilia, he still didn’t know what he was here for. “I’ll do whatever is needed.”

 

Victor took a deep breath. “What about you, Yuuri? What do you need?” Victor asked. The way Victor said his name sent shivers down Yuuri’s spine. Yuuri rolled the question over in his head. What did he need? Well, ultimately, he needed the money. Didn’t Victor know that?  

 

Yuuri just shrugged in response. “Okay, well, what side of the bed do you sleep on? Do you even want to share a bed? I know some nights we will have to, when Yakov and Anna are around, but would you prefer another bed or room?”

 

“I don’t mind sharing, and I’ll take any side of the bed. You can decide,” Yuuri replied, looking at the white ice beneath him that was passing by him as the pair gathered speed.

 

“I like the side closest to the window, with my back facing it– so that’s the right side of the bed. Is the left side okay for you?” Victor asked, slowing down, bring the both of them to a stop and taking Yuuri’s other hand so that they were facing each other.

 

“Yeah, that’s okay,” Yuuri replied, his lips curving into a smile once again.

 

“Good. And what about monogamy? Can we date other people? Not because I’m interested in anyone or anything– I just feel like it’s a hard topic and I wanted to get it out of the way,” Victor rushed, breaking the sense of calm around with the hard question, bringing reality back to him.

 

“Uh, I don’t know. I mean, we’re not really properly married, so you can do as you please, although I don’t know who would want to enter a long-term relationship with a married prince,” Yuuri chuckled, brushing off the question. And even though Yuuri was laughing, they both knew he was right. They weren’t really married, and they didn’t owe each other anything. They could act how they wanted and not think about the other. They didn’t even have to be here, skating together. So Yuuri wanted a new subject to talk about– he didn’t want to talk about Victor possibly dating and sleeping with others, although it was a bit hypocritical, considering Yuuri would have definitely gone searching for his soulmate if Victor permitted it. Although the thought of searching for his soulmate brought anxiety and anguish to Yuuri, so he pressed those thoughts and feelings down and away.

 

“Well, okay. And what about routine things? Like do we do things together? Share things with each other? Do you want to share your daily life with me, Yuuri, or are you purely here because it’s a job for you to do? Because I’d like to know now rather than later.”

 

“I want to share my life with you, Victor,” Yuuri said a bit too quickly for his liking. Did he sound too eager? And why did he want to share his life with Victor anyway? “I know you are a person with feelings, and I wouldn’t discard them so quickly just because I’m getting paid to be around you.” Victor grinned almost giddily.

 

“Good. I think I feel the same,” the platinum-haired alpha said back, holding his head high as he began to move he and Yuuri along the ice again. But, Yuuri let go of Victor’s hands, refusing to follow the other.

 

“You think?” Yuuri questioned, raising his voice so Victor could hear him from the metres away he was. Victor brows furrowed and he slowed to a stop, but he made no effort to come close to Yuuri. “You think you won’t discard my feelings?” Yuuri repeated after a few beats of silence on Victor’s end.

 

“That’s not what I meant, Yuuri,” Victor finally answered, a look of desperation on his face. “I mean I just– Well, I don’t know how I feel. But I do respect your feelings and I don’t want you getting hurt or to feel uncomfortable. I didn’t mean it like that.” Yuuri didn’t quite believe him. Why would a rich alpha care about his fake mate’s feelings anyway?

 

“Okay.” After a second of looking at each other, Yuuri quickly skated to Victor, dismissing his previous thoughts, words and feelings. He didn’t want to think about how Victor could make him feel awful if he wanted to, he didn’t think about how Victor didn’t really owe him any attention or care, and he didn’t think about his soulmate or the possibility of seeing his soulmate, which came closer to reality after their last conversation. Yuuri just skated to Victor and took his hand. They skated around again, twirling and swirling on the ice, not speaking. Yuuri didn’t know why he continued skating with Victor, especially with as much care as he was showing, and he really didn’t know why he couldn’t let go of Victor’s hand.

 

-

 

After changing into some thick, woolly, winter pyjamas, Victor made his way into his now shared bathroom where he saw Yuuri who was standing, dressed in similar attire, brushing his teeth. Victor smiled at the picture in front of him. Even though everything between them was so unclear, and even Victor’s own feelings were unclear, he still could look forward to this part of the day. The part where no matter what had gone on that day, Yuuri would share a bathroom with him and he’d have his own products littered around, and after, they’d crawl under the covers together.

 

Victor walked over and stood next to Yuuri, opening their shared, mirrored cabinet and pulling out a lip scrub and balm, a face and hand moisturizer, a face wash and his toothpaste. He plucked out his own toothbrush from the cup on the sink counter and began brushing his teeth, using the sink next to Yuuri’s. Yuuri looked down and didn’t acknowledge Victor standing next to him, but Victor couldn’t miss the slight smile as he looked at the raven.

 

Yuuri finished up his night routine and sat in bed, on his phone, waiting for Victor. He checked that he was on the right side of the bed and pulled the covers over his legs. As he scrolled through Instagram, he listened to the sounds of Victor pottering around in the bathroom and the sounds of the sink turning off on and again. Eventually, Victor appeared and turned of the bedroom and wardrobe lights and strode over the bed, looking expectantly at Yuuri. What he was expecting, Yuuri didn’t know. Yuuri patted the spot next to him comfortingly, letting know that even though they still had so much to find out about each other, he still hadn’t changed his mind about sharing a bed. Victor slipped under the covers and laid down, facing Yuuri. Yuuri did the same, his head at the same level as Victor’s. They both sighed as their bodies relaxed and slowed down and sleep started to envelope them. Their eyes stood trained on each other, until Victor’s slipped closed, leaving Yuuri in darkness. Yuuri was soon to follow, spending a minute or two thinking about his feelings for Victor. He’d had a crush on Victor during high school, and maybe for a year or two after Victor had left. And yeah, maybe in his pre-heat haze he’d thought of Victor romantically, but wasn’t that just because of his heat? Did it mean anything then? Does it mean anything now ? It shouldn’t really, because Yuuri was biologically destined for someone else, but it didn’t stop Yuuri from wanting to inch over a little and fall into Victor’s embrace and warmth.

Chapter Text

Yuuri woke up the next day with his muscles aching but in a warm large bed. Yuuri’s eyes blinked open to see a large, white carved ceiling that he’d seen only a handful of times before, but in all different kinds of states. Yuuri continued looking up, refusing to look at the inevitable sleeping body beside him. He didn’t want to look at Victor because he knew all of the anxieties and thoughts about him would come flooding back, and it was just too early for that. Yuuri didn’t really know why he was so anxious, after all, it wasn’t like Victor hated him or they’d had any big conflicts. Yes, some of the things they’d both said last night had been a little awkward and maybe yes, Yuuri might have a little crush on Victor, but overall it wasn’t that bad. Yuuri guessed the one thing that terrified him the most was not knowing what Victor was like, or who he was, or what he had been through. He didn’t know was his life was like, or even what his day to day life was like. It was all so unknown, and it made Yuuri’s gut twist. He just reassured himself that one day he’d know everything he wanted to know now, and everything would be okay. If he was going to be sticking with Victor for the rest of his life, he was going to know Victor like the back of his hand. Everything would turn out okay, even if it was a hard path.

 

Yuuri, after a moment of sitting with the thought that everything would be okay , finally turned his head around to look at Victor, who was staring at him curiously.

 

“Do you always spend so long looking at the ceiling?” Victor asked, his voice taking on a conflicting tone– it sounded almost childish, like a four year old asking you a question, but it was also laced with grumpiness and annoyance.

 

“Do you always sound annoyed in the mornings?” Yuuri retorted, not moving his eyes from their place, locked on Victor’s own eyes.

 

“No, I’m usually a morning person,” Victor admitted, finally swinging his legs over the bed and standing up. Victor stretched and sighed, before turning around to look at Yuuri, who was still cocooned up in blankets. Yuuri thought what Victor meant by that admission, was Yuuri making him annoyed?

 

“Are you grumpy because of me?” Yuuri asked innocently, sitting up. Yuuri’s eyebrows arched in concern and his eyes grew– it made Victor’s heart melt. Victor had a feeling that Yuuri could never make him feel angry.

 

“I’m just tired after yesterday, it was a little bit nerve-racking,” Victor answers, managing a small, reassuring smile.

 

Yuuri’s posture softened and the concern was wiped from his face to Victor’s relief. “Me too. All my muscles ache from running on nervous energy the past few days,” Yuuri told him, stretching his back and arm muscles.

 

“I have some cream for muscle aches,” Victor offered, running off to the bathroom. “I’m used to having them– as I’m sure you are– so I keep a stash of heat cream/muscle relaxes in the bathroom,” Victor said as he returned and placed a white tube in Yuuri’s lap.

 

“How’d you figure I get muscle aches often?” Yuuri asked, picking up the cream and inspecting the label.

 

“You’re an ice skater, aren’t you?” Victor asked, gesturing to the shelf with the medals and trophies. “A world-class one at that.” Yuuri blushed as he remembered the exchange from the day before and the fact that all his winnings were on display.

 

“I used to be,” Yuuri corrected Victor, before hopping out of bed and heading to the bathroom. Just when Yuuri thought he was alone, Victor popped his head around the corner.

 

“Would you like help putting that on?” Victor asked, letting himself into the bathroom and gesturing to the heat cream Yuuri was holding. Yuuri didn’t really want Victor to see him shirtless just yet and he didn’t really like the idea of Victor rubbing his hands all over his back, but he nodded and accepted anyway.

 

Yuuri passed the cream and began unbuttoning his woollen pyjama shirt before shrugging it off and letting it fall to the floor. Yuuri watched Victor from the mirror as he popped the cap and squirted some onto his fingers before pushing them against Yuuri’s back. Yuuri sighed as the cool substance made contact with his warm skin. Yuuri felt Victor run his hands along his back with the utmost care before gently massaging his shoulders. It was almost embarrassing how careful Victor was with him, he almost wanted to run out of the room. Instead, he decided with some awkward small talk.

 

“So, what do you have planned for today?”

 

“Well, I’m going to see Mum in two hours, then I’ll probably work out or head to the rink and get some exercise in before lunch with Lilia. She usually fills me in with anything I have to get done that day or attend to, as does Anna sometimes. If not I usually just hang around for the day. I’m actually working with the Naked Heart Foundation at the moment– fundraising and organizing events and things like that, so I spend quite a lot of my afternoons working on it,” Victor informed Yuuri. “Although Lilia told me that I should take this week off so we could do things together. Do you have anything in mind?”

 

“I heard you really liked shopping so maybe we could do that? And of course, I think we should skate together more. Not like last night, but I’ve always wanted a rink buddy,” Yuuri replied as Victor finished off his massage and put the tube away.

 

“Didn’t you have rink mates when you competed?” Victor asked, wanting to know everything about Yuuri’s past. Victor knew that it would take a while, but he did want to know Yuuri like a real family member– they were in this together, and he wanted for him and Yuuri to end this thing like brothers, rather than strangers forced to sleep in the same bed. It was half the reason he offered to apply Yuuri’s heat cream– he figured a nice gesture would kick things off well and bring them just a little closer. Plus, he kind of wanted to see Yuuri shirtless.

 

“I had Phichit with me when I was sixteen for about six months, but apart from that, no. Maybe when I was very little I had friends I would skate with like Yuuko and Takeshi– they’re my childhood best friends, but they couldn’t make it to the wedding. But no, it was just me and my coach Narumi Sato,” Yuuri explained, thinking back to when he skated professionally. He missed those days when he was so young and the world seemed so bright.

 

“Well, I’d love to be your rink mate, although I don’t know how I’d compare, you’re a way better skater than I am, Yuuri,” Victor chuckled as he opened a cupboard and got out a fresh, orange towel. “Anyway, I’m going to shower and then head down for breakfast with Lilia and Yakov and then I’m off to see Anna. She really wants to see you again, so I suggest you join me.”

 

“I’ll be sure to do that,” Yuuri replied smiling and leaving the bathroom, forgetting why he went there in the first place. Victor shut the door behind him and he heard the faint sounds of their luxurious shower turning on. Yuuri skipped down to his smaller wardrobe to pick out what he’d wear for the day while he waited for his turn in the shower. He ended up picking a fluffy, oversized dark green sweater that hung off his body perfectly, and a pair of super tight and super stretchy black skinny jeans. He paired them with some wine red socks and a pair of black, slightly wedged sneakers. He hoped he’d look good enough in them to see Anna again– he did know he surely looked better than he did the first time he met her– his wardrobe had gotten a much needed update since then. Yuuri took the folded items from the wardrobe and set them down on his desk and set out to make the bed. It was only halfway through that he realised that someone else probably did that. He finished anyway.

 

Ten minutes later, Victor emerged from the bathroom in nothing but a towel draped loosely around his waist. Yuuri blushed as he saw the other and quickly darted into the bathroom, not forgetting to take his clothes with him.

 

Twenty minutes later, both Yuuri and Victor made their way upstairs into the upper dining room where Lilia and Yakov sat, both on their iPads, reading the latest news. Yuuri, even though he’d seen a few times before, was still amazed at the breakfast spread.

 

“Good morning you two,” Lilia greeted as the pair took their respective seats next to each other.

 

Victor was then reminded where he was and who he was, and the warmth of a morning Yuuri faded away. He was a prince, and Yuuri was only there because he was being paid too, even if he was being kind to him, that fact would never change.

 

“Good morning, Lilia,” Yuuri responded cheerily and politely as he watched Victor take a large number of pastries from the table. Yuuri followed by taking two raspberry ones and a stack of three choc-chip pikelets. “How are you this morning, Yakov?” Yuuri asked politely, causing Yakov to look up from the article he was currently reading. Victor was astonished at how polite Yuuri was. The last time Victor asked how Yakov was feeling was a long time ago. Yakov knew he cared about him though, right? Maybe Victor should be nice to Yakov once in a while…

 

“Yes, how are you, Yakov?” Victor prompted, trying to sound as nice as possible, but he was scared he sound a little sarcastic.

 

“I’m good, Yuuri, busy day ahead though,” Yakov replied, ignoring Victor. “What are your plans for the day?”

 

“I’m just hanging out with Victor today,” Yuuri said, smiling, before digging into his breakfast. Victor sighed. Did Yakov really have to ignore him like that? Victor figured that the one time he actually tried to be nice to Yakov he’d respond to him without glaring at him. “He’s taking me to visit Anna, right Victor?”

 

“Yeah,” Victor grumbled, breaking his second last piece of pastry into pieces, not bothering to eat. Yuuri thought that Victor must’ve for some reason been in a mood, and when he saw Lilia roll her eyes at Victor, it was confirmed. Wasn’t Victor in a good mood two seconds ago? Had he done something to cause Victor to become upset, or was Victor always this moody?

 

“Mr Kuznetsov called this morning, he said he had some things to go over with you,” Lilia informed Victor, who barely nodded in response.

 

“Who’s Mr Kuznetsov?” Yuuri asked innocently, looking to Victor and trying to read his expression.

 

Victor turned his head to look at Yuuri, who looked as he always did, but now, when they were in this dining room, with Lilia and Yakov and Victor being in a mood at the cause of his family, Yuuri looked different. Yuuri last night had been Yuuri Katsuki, a man who was doing what was needed of him, and a man who was nice to Victor, even though he didn’t need to be. Now, Yuuri was a reminder of Ivan’s punishment. Ivan gave Victor the arranged marriage as a form as punishment, as much as he and Lilia denied it. And here Yuuri was, looking innocent but reminding him of how evil his father had become. It dawned on Victor, his sentence had been served to him in the form of a sweet, kind, innocent boy. It was perfect. “He’s the person who I usually speak to with Naked Heart matters. At the moment I’m hosting their biggest annual fundraiser, the Love Ball so I’ve got a lot to plan,” Victor explained just for the sake of not pissing Lilia off. He didn’t want to deal with a lecture on politeness, especially not one that focused on Yuuri.

 

“Oh,” Yuuri replied as he finished off his pikelets and moved to his pastries.

 

“So, Yuuri, have you decided on what you’re going to do around here? I know it can get quite boring so it would be good for you to have something to do regularly like Victor works with the Naked Heart Foundation. You could work with a charity if you so pleased, or you could go back to university, or I’m sure you could get back to skating competitions,” Lilia suggested, picking up a piroshki and taking a bite. The thought of competing again made his heart clench. No, he was definitely done with that.  

 

“I’m not sure, I think going back to university and studying something I actually find interest in would be my first choice, but I think I’d like to take a break from studying first and focus on settling in here,” Yuuri explained, watching Victor from the corner of his eye as he pulled out his own phone. Yuuri thought that seemed a bit rude to do, but Victor was probably a lot more comfortable with Lilia and Yakov than he was.

 

“That sounds like a good plan– any thoughts on what you’d like to study?”

 

“I have a few ideas– probably something in the arts, English Lit or maybe Philosophy, something like that,” Yuuri trailed off, looking at Victor who was now silently chuckling at his phone. Yuuri didn’t want to seem intruding so he decided not to ask what it was.

 

“So, Victor, do you celebrate your birthday?” Yuuri asked after a few minutes of silence, spare the occasional noise from Victor or cough from Yakov.

 

Victor looked from his screen for a moment, pausing to think. “No,” Victor said, and didn’t follow up with anything. Yuuri guessed the time on his phone hadn’t improved his grumpiness much.

 

“We usually have a nice dinner with Anna– Victor’s choice, and then sometimes we’ll all go ice skating or take a day trip somewhere. Last year we went to Daisetsuzan National Park,” Lilia informed him. “Victor usually won’t say where he wants to go until last minute, so don’t expect anything,” she finished with a chuckle.

 

-

 

Speaking with Anna had been nice, although a little mystifying. Speaking with Victor and Anna brought up questions about Ivan, all of which they were both very adamant in answering. When Yuuri had asked why Anna lived in a nursing home and not at the palace, (she had the funds to,) things became beyond awkward when neither could answer, or come up with a feasible lie. Nevertheless, it uplifted Victor’s spirits, leaving him feeling a lot lighter than when he had arrived, but still reserved when it came to Yuuri. Yuuri, of course, had tried to be nice and polite and fun– he tried to talk to Victor about his home life and some odd things about himself, but all he got in return was a forced smile and maybe a small, stiff laugh. Yuuri didn’t know why Victor was acting so different to that morning or even the night before, but Yuuri did know he didn’t like this side of Victor. Yuuri hoped greatly that Victor wasn’t always like that, and how he had behaved previously towards Yuuri wasn’t all just an act.

 

Yuuri’s wishes were granted that afternoon when after lunch, Victor and himself decided to go to the mall to pick out new clothes. Just when Yuuri had feared that Victor’s mood was dropping again, (thanks to prodding antics at lunch,) it seemed that the relief that going to mall straight after leaving Lilia brought him made his feelings boost. Yuuri was happy to see the real Victor again as he told Yuuri how ugly all of the clothes he’d picked out were. Yuuri just rolled his eyes and secretly purchased the items anyway. Yuuri learnt a lot about Victor that day– that his childishness wasn’t a one-off from the day of the wedding– Victor really was childish, and with the way his eyes gleamed when he saw something he really wanted, or when he let out the biggest, heart-shaped smile that he had, Victor almost looked like a child too.

 

Yuuri really liked Victor’s heart-shaped smile. Every time he saw it that day, he knew he was letting a ‘happy omega’ scent, and he also knew that Victor wasn’t saying anything about the mass production of the omega’s scent because he really did like it.

 

-

 

“Victor, are you okay?” Yuuri asked tenderly as he was walking out of the bathroom after brushing his teeth. He turned around and watched Victor from the doorway as Victor applied a moisturizing, watermelon and cherry lip balm. Victor looked at the sweet omega in the doorway, clad in comfy pj’s and brown doey eyes, sparkling and searching for his answer on Victor’s own.

 

“I’m fine, luckik ,” Victor purred, temporarily pausing his night routine to turn to face Yuuri. “Just tired is all.”

 

“What does luckik mean?” Yuuri asked, his eyebrows furrowing.

 

“It means sunbeam.”

Chapter Text

It had been two weeks since Yuuri Katsuki had married Victor Nikiforov and a weird two weeks at that. Living with Victor felt like living with two different people– it was sometimes confusing and strange and Victor was surprisingly unpredictable, but Yuuri didn’t mind it. He mostly ignored Victor when he got into a mood– which was a few times a week and confused Yuuri beyond belief– what did he have to be sour about? Yuuri hadn’t done anything wrong, and Lilia seemed to be acting normal. The first few days Yuuri had asked if he’d done anything wrong or if he’d upset him and Victor had either waved him off with a vague answer or had oddly gone into an in-depth speech about how Yuuri was lovely and was the best fake husband he could wish for. The speeches seemed a bit dramatic considering he hadn’t known Victor for very long but he appreciated them nonetheless. Yuuri sincerely hoped he’d get another adoring speech this time because this was the first time that Yuuri had to actually make conversation with Victor and tell him he was going to see his parents for a night while he was in the mood.

 

Yuuri had returned from the rink earlier that day, showered and dressed and was now staring at Victor who had his nose in a Russian book on the bed, with Makkachin at his feet, even though Lilia hated having the dog inside any of the bedrooms. Yuuri could see the look on Victor’s face– tight eyebrows, his lips pursed and his eyes looking a little glassy. He had seen it on Victor many times before. It was his ‘I really want to tell everyone how awful I feel but instead, I’m going to ignore everyone.’ Yuuri sighed. Even though he didn’t know why Victor felt like that or had such big mood swings– he did honestly feel bad for him, but Yuuri knew he couldn’t do anything to help Victor unless he talked to him. Yuuri hoped that would happen soon.

 

“Victor?” Yuuri asked, his voice soft and gentle. Victor closed his eyes at the voice, reopening after taking a deep breath. Victor dog-eared his book and set it on his bedside table and then sat up, looking at Yuuri expectantly. Yuuri looked around the room, it seemed a little bigger than usual. “How are you feeling?”

 

“Fine,” Victor answered, sighing and looking around the room, avoiding Yuuri’s gaze. This was usually the part where Yuuri would walk away and do something else but this was different– if Victor wasn’t going to come to him, he would go to Victor.

 

“Really?” Yuuri tried, which caught Victor off-guard. It was funny how quickly the pair had fallen into a routine and formed habits and gotten to know each other’s mannerisms and ways of speaking. Victor scowled.

 

“Yes,” Victor replied in a challenging tone. Yuuri frowned– why wouldn’t he be honest?

 

“It doesn’t seem like you are,” Yuuri told him, concern painting his face. Yuuri tentatively stepped forward and sat on the opposite side of the bed. Yuuri tried to find Victor’s eyes, but Victor kept his face downcast. “Victor?”

 

“It’s nothing, just a weird day,” Victor lied again. Yuuri sighed in frustration– why wasn’t he telling him what was wrong?

 

“Well, I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to stay with my parents tonight, so if you want to tell me what’s wrong, this is your last chance,” Yuuri teased, raising his eyebrows and smirking.

 

“Yuuri, I’ll see you again tomorrow,” Victor replied, rolling his eyes.

 

“Oh, but what if I get in some sort of accident, Victor?” Yuuri said dramatically, flopping down on the bed. Victor laughed, which brought joy to Victor's heart– was he actually improving Victor’s mood?

 

“You’ll be fine, luckik,” Victor chuckled, before picking up his book again and opening to where was up to. “Now, I need to get back my romance novel, I’ll see you soon, Yuuri.” Yuuri smiled and got up off the bed and went to fetch his overnight bag before heading to the door of the bedroom.

 

“Goodbye, Victor,” Yuuri said then left the room.

 

-

 

Yuuri arrived at his parent's house two hours later and was immediately met with a big hug from Hiroko.

 

“My Yuuri! You’re back!” Hiroko wailed, squeezing her son. Yuuri rolled his eyes.

 

“Mum, I was only gone for two weeks, you do realise I was gone for months at a time earlier this year, right?” Yuuri laughed, amused as his mother who missed him so very much.

 

“I know,” Hiroko said, not laughing at one of Yuuri’s sarcastic comments like she usually would. Hiroko withdrew her hug. Yuuri waited for Hiroko to say something else, but she didn’t. She didn’t say anything. She just looked away. Why wasn’t she looking at Yuuri? Had he done something wrong? Had she done something wrong? Yuuri looked around the entrance to the hot springs, spare a few guests no one was around. Not even Mari or Toshiya. They knew he was coming, right? Surely they did…

 

“Where’s Mari?” Yuuri asked, his brows furrowing. Hiroko and he were the only ones around– where was everybody? “And dad? And Vicchan?”

 

“Uh, well, it’s a bit quiet around here so they’re just resting,” Hiroko informed him, her voice shaking.

 

“Mum, are you okay?” Yuuri asked with concern– obviously, something had happened here. Mari wasn’t around like she usually was, teasing him or being a general grump, and Toshiya wasn’t constantly doing something around the inn like the workaholic he was.

 

“I’m fine, dear, but it’s just…” Hiroko trailed off. Something had gone wrong. Something had happened– was everyone okay? Then there was silence, as Hiroko lead Yuuri away from the lobby and into their private lounge and dining area. Yuuri guessed it was because she didn’t want any of the other guests to hear what she was about to say.  

 

“I’m so sorry, Yuuri,” Hiroko whispered into the room. What did she have to apologise for? Maybe she really had done something wrong. Yuuri’s head immediately began supplying ideas to what had gone wrong, but all of them were extreme and often gruesome and terrifying. Yuuri pushed them away and focused on his mother, who was clearly upset. Yuuri needed to know what was making her upset.

 

“What do you mean? Hiroko, please, tell me what is wrong,” Yuuri pleaded, wrapping his arms around his mother’s waist and looked down at her, trying to provide as much comfort as he could.

 

“It’s Vicchan,” Hiroko started, her voice barely audible. Yuuri’s heart caught in his throat. “It started in a few days ago, we thought he was just sick. He wouldn’t eat and and he wouldn’t drink and he wouldn’t even leave his bed. We took him to the vet as soon as we could. The vet told us he had pancreatitis, which affects the pancreas, kidney and liver. Apparently, it had been going on for a long time and Vicchans organs had begun to fail once we’d brought him in so we decided to put him down. I decided to put him down,” Hiroko finished, not meeting Yuuri’s gaze but still holding onto her son. Hiroko breathed quietly, not wanting to make a single sound. She watched as Yuuri looked at his shoes, his eyes glazed over. Hiroko threaded her hands through Yuuri’s hair, wiping it out of his vision, not that Yuuri really wanted to see clearly.

 

Shoes . Yuuri was wearing shoes. And his coat. He was wearing his shoes and his coat– how long had it been since he’d gotten here? Not more than ten minutes, surely. Yuuri looked at his mother, but she seemed far away. Everything seemed far away. He seemed far away from himself. How was he far away from himself? Yuuri concentrated and looked at his mother’s eyes, trying to pull himself forward and closer to them. He felt so far away, his mother’s eyes were so far away. Why were they so far away?

 

“I need to go,” Yuuri told Hiroko, but it didn’t sound like his voice. Hiroko nodded.

 

“Where are you going, sweetheart?” Hiroko said gently, tilting her head and smiling up at Yuuri. Yuuri knew she had spoken, that she had something, but he didn’t catch it. Her voice sounded too quiet and too far away– couldn’t she speak up? But there was no time for people to repeat themselves, Yuuri needed to go. And so Yuuri began walking. He walked into the lobby and out of the inn. Yuuri walked– or maybe he floated? Yuuri wasn’t sure, but he found his driver and his car, sitting patiently for him. Yuuri hopped in, in the distance hearing Hiroko’s voice. She really needed to tell her to speak up, he couldn’t hear a thing. Yuuri noticed the closer car door next to him, well, that was probably why he couldn’t hear her. When did he close the door anyway? Yuuri didn’t remember that…

 

Yuuri put on his seatbelt and looked out the window to see greenery and snow passing before him. Had they left Hasetsu already? Yuuri didn’t remember leaving Hasetsu, maybe he’d never arrived.

 

And then he was there, at the doors. The big doors, the palace doors. Yuuri remembered the first time he’d visited those doors– it felt so long ago. Then Yuuri remembered– he remembered the drive. He’d driven here, hadn’t he? Or his driver had, at least. Then Yuuri remembered leaving Hasetsu. And then he remembered leaving Hiroko. And then he remembered Vicchan .

 

The thought sent Yuuri barreling inside, desperate to get to where he needed to go. Yuuri glanced at the clock– 6:30. They’d be dining now, right? Yuuri sprinted up the stairs, a little too fastly. He tripped over a step and landed on his knees. And that’s when it caught up with him. Vicchan was gone. Yuuri shook his head as tears came to his eyes. No, not yet. Not yet. He couldn’t fall apart now. Just a few more steps, just one more minute. He had held it together for two hours, he could push it down for just another minute. Just one more. Yuuri shakily picked himself up off the floor and took it one step at a time. He boosted himself up onto the next step, and then the next. He kept walking until he was there. Finally there, where he needed to be. Where he needed to go. Yuuri pushed the door to the dining room open, and three sets of eyes landing on him, but only one of them mattered. They also looked concerned and shocked. Yuuri swallowed. How could he say it? How could he ask for what he so desperately needed in front of these looking eyes? Yuuri looked at the blue eyes. The sparkly, blue eyes. Yuuri searched them, tried to convey what he couldn’t with his own. Then Victor stood and pushed in his chair. Yuuri held his breath– knowing that if he kept breathing he would start wailing. Blubbering and crying, which is what he did once Victor stepped out and closed the door behind him. Yuuri didn’t even move– he kept his arms to his sides and looked at the floor and cried. He wailed– he was so bloody loud, Yuuri was sure there was no point in Victor closing the door for their privacy. Yuuri kept hiccuping and blubbering, and he honestly didn’t care that he probably looked like a complete mess in that moment– snot running from his nose, his cheeks wet and his face blotchy.

 

“Victor,” Yuuri wailed, his throat constricting and lump forming. He felt like a child . “Please.” What was he asking for? But Victor understood– he knew. Of course he did. Victor wrapped his arms around the omega, pressed his face his hair and cradled Yuuri’s head, pushing it into his chest, trying to get as close to Yuuri as possible. Yuuri’s hands found Victor’s button down and held on, scrunching the fabric. “Victor,” Yuuri wailed again, which made Victor squeeze Yuuri harder. It was all Yuuri could think about– Victor, Victor, Victor, a mantra in his head. He needed Victor. Closer. Away from everyone.

 

“Do you want to go to bed, Yuuri?” Victor asked, whispering into Yuuri’s hair. Yuuri merely nodded but made no attempt to move. He couldn’t move away from Victor. So, Victor picked Yuuri up and Yuuri wrapped his legs around his husband, not letting go. Victor was glad for his upper body strength, and also for his sense of direction because right new half of his view had been taken by Yuuri’s shoulder. Yuuri’s shoulder, that smelled so sad, so lovely. So sweet. So close . Yuuri’s own face was buried in Victor’s shoulder, and his wailing and seemed to subside at the calming pheromones Victor was producing. This close, the smell felt like a tranquillizer. Yuuri closed his eyes, tears still streaming down his face as he let Victor carry him down the stairs. Yuuri breathed quietly, his thoughts clouded with Victor’s scent and the sadness of his dog passing. Yuuri felt himself get all choked up all over again at the thought. Yuuri’s grip on Victor tightened. Yuuri sniffled against Victor’s shoulder. Victor . Victor was here.  

 

Finally, Yuuri heard a door open and he felt himself being put down on a bed, and Victor releasing him and peeling himself off of Yuuri.

 

“No,” Yuuri grunted, pulling Victor towards him and burying his face in Victor’s chest. “Stay.” Victor didn’t move, not knowing how to go about getting ready for bed without Yuuri clinging to him like an octopus. But after a few seconds, Yuuri pulled away from Victor himself. Yuuri brokenly looked up at Victor. His eyes were puffy, his face was red and tear stained and snot was covering the lower half of his face, along with a few patches on Victor’s shirt. Victor’s heart broke at the sight. Yuuri unclenched his hands from Victor’s shirt, looking at his red hands and the wrinkled parts of Victor’s shirt.

 

“Yuuri, I’m just going to get pyjamas, okay?” Victor whispered, brushing Yuuri’s hair from his face. Yuuri nodded and scooted further onto the bed. Then the mantra started back up again– Victor, Victor Victor, he needed his Victor . Yuuri began crying again, a lot quieter than his previous spell but crying all the same. He needed Victor. He needed Vicchan . Victor noticed the scene and changed with haste in his wardrobe, not bothering with his usual night routine and instead picking some of Yuuri’s pyjamas out and bringing them to the bed. Victor knelt on the bed with one knee and ignored Yuuri’s crying and set out to remove his shirt. Victor pulled at the hem of Yuuri’s shirt and the other lifted their arms up, allowing Victor to peel the shirt off of his husband. Victor pulled up the blue, cotton pyjama shirt and guided Yuuri’s arms into it before setting out to button it up. Yuuri looked up as he did so. He still looked so broken and sad as his bottom lip trembled– but somewhere in the sadness in his eyes, he saw gratefulness. Victor smiled comfortingly as he did up the last button. Victor then grabbed Yuuri’s hand and pulled him up so he could slide off his jeans. After he did so, he didn’t bother with pyjama pants, Yuuri clearly needed to be close to him, and he had waited long enough. So, Victor pulled back the covers and slid in, still sitting up and held his arms out for Yuuri to join. Yuuri did so immediately. The pair laid down, still in each other’s arms, Yuuri still crying. Victor pulled the covers up and turned off the lamp next to their bed. Victor felt Yuuri wept into his embrace and Victor started sending out a calming scent for Yuuri (trying to not get upset at the omega’s own distressed one,) as well as raking his fingers through Yuuri’s hair, trying to calm his husband.

 

-

 

Victor sighed once he saw Yuuri close the door behind him. Why did they always run away? Why did Victor kiss Yuuri in the first place? It wasn’t like he liked him… The guy had insulted and lied to him, and had now just run away after they’d shared a kiss– or two kisses really. Yet, Victor was sitting on his bed, his body digesting the feeling of wanting more . Yes, Victor was interested in Yuuri at one point, once he’d found him in an empty ice rink, and found him even more so when he found he was an ice skater, but it puzzled him that Yuuri had bothered to lie. Did he not like Victor? Did he prince status repulse him to the point of wanting to escape Victor knowing anything about him? Or did Yuuri secretly want him, but was afraid of his prince status… at least that would explain the second kiss. Maybe Yuuri was just nervous, after all, Victor was a prince. So, Victor took a deep breath and stood from his bed and wandered downstairs and out into the night, deciding to take a cab to the palace. He didn’t want to be at this party anymore.

 

But even as the night progressed, and Victor was lectured by his father and his mother cleared out her sewing projects from his rarely used room, he found himself still thinking about Yuuri. It was constant– what did Yuuri think of him? Would he see Yuuri again? Then it progressed to fantasies about bumping into Yuuri and Yuuri asking him to hang out, or Yuuri ending up going to the same college as him and he and the raven became best friends. Even though through the walls of the palace he could hear Ivan yelling at Anna from the floor below him his thoughts didn’t tether from Yuuri. Even though Lilia had invited herself into Victor’s room and they’d settled down to watch Ballroom Dancing competitions, he still couldn’t stop reliving the feeling of Yuuri’s lips on his own.

 

But Lilia soon startled him out of his daze, as she paused the video and began staring at him while he traced his own lips.

 

“I haven’t seen you in a while,” Lilia started, sitting upright and shifting so she was sitting across from Victor who was leant back against the headboard. Victor dropped his hand.

 

“It’s only been a few weeks,” Victor replied, shifting nervously in his place. “I’m sure you catch up with Mary often though, she probably tells you all about me.” Victor thought back to his aunt– 65, not married, no kids, not an essential part of the royal family and a general disappointment, Victor thought they had quite a lot in common. That’s mostly why he was staying there in the first place. It was an easier route to school and he actually liked Mary. That and the fact that Anna and Ivan could hide their fights and distaste for each other a lot easier when Victor wasn’t around, not that he didn’t know about that already.

 

“Yes, she does, but it’s not the same. She told me you were hosting a party tonight while she was out of town, huh?” Lilia asked in a soft gentle voice, knowing how sensitive Victor could be at these times. ‘These times,’ referring to when Victor just had a tad too much going on, when Victor’s emotions were running high and he tended to shut people out when people started asking questions.

 

“Yeah, it was supposed to be just for the hockey team but lots of people ended up coming so I decided to crash here. I didn’t think anyone would be leaving there for a while,” Victor told Lilia.

 

“I understand that I just hope Anna didn’t leave any loose pieces of string around here. She’s been working in here for ages– I think she’s making something to cover the entire palace,” Lilia chuckled, thinking back to Anna, who stuffed herself in here most days. Despite her tone, Lilia did not think back on the memories of Anna hiding away in Victor’s room with fondness. She knew that Anna was in here purely to be away from Ivan, and close to Victor. She knew that despite sending Victor away to protect him from a broken marriage, she missed him dearly.

 

“I would love to see that,” Victor commented, smiling at the thought of his own beloved mother sewing a giant sheet together to cover the palace.

 

Victor did shake Yuuri from his head. The next morning was consumed with fake smiles and the news that Anna had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, so Yuuri was long forgotten after that, but the way his heart hung heavy after Yuuri had left him that night had never left his grieving body.

 

-

 

It was one in the morning when Victor woke to the sound of muffled cries and shuffling feet on the floor of his bedroom. Victor shot up and reached for the lamp, turning it on to look at Yuuri who was about to leave the room. Pantless, sweaty and crying, he looked like a mess. Yuuri held a hand out, reaching for the doorknob, but paused once he was spotted.

 

Victor was out of bed in an instant and by Yuuri’s side. Victor took hold of Yuuri’s hand and guided it away from the door, just as he did with Yuuri’s with Yuuri’s mind. Just with a touch, Yuuri was reminded that he did not need to run away or to leave anything behind. Yuuri wasn’t alone, and it was captured in the gentleness of Victor holding Yuuri’s hand.

 

“Yuuri,” Victor whispered, his eyes lidded. He wrapped Yuuri in a slow embrace. Yuuri’s head fell onto Victor’s shoulder and his crying subsided.

 

“I just needed some fresh air,” Yuuri whispered, trying to explain why he’d been walking out. It wasn’t necessarily a lie, but the how quickly Yuuri has said had made it seem like one, how guilty he felt proceeding the statement made it seem like one. Yuuri just didn’t want to think he was walking out from Victor, or rejecting him. He had to make him understand that Yuuri wanted Victor– a thought that stuck out clearly through all the grief.

 

“I know,” Victor whispered back, trying to make Yuuri understand that he didn’t feel rejected by Yuuri’s actions and that anything Yuuri needed to do during this time was perfectly okay . Victor heard Yuuri’s breathing slow.

 

A minute passed between them, where they melted into each other’s embrace and the comforting silence wrapped them up, along with the comforting room which circled them. As Yuuri looked around the room, he was calmed by the fact that this was their room; their safe space. There was their bed, and there was their bathroom, where every night they’d brush their teeth together.

 

“Victor?” Yuuri said, pulling away from Victor a little, but still letting himself be wrapped up in Victor’s arms as the held onto his waist. Victor’s heart fell to his stomach as he was reunited by the sight of Yuuri’s tear stained face. His hurt was so clear, he just wanted to rid Yuuri from all of it. He wanted to take him back to bed and stay there until he felt better. He didn’t want to leave Yuuri’s side.

 

“Yes, Yuuri?” Victor responded, looking down at his husband with concern.

 

“I’m hungry,” Yuuri said, chuckling a little after. It was nice to hear Yuuri laugh. Victor even laughed himself. Victor smiled, told Yuuri’s he’d back in a bit and disappeared from the room, wanting to take Yuuri with him but not wanting Yuuri to notice what lay outside. Victor exited the hallway that their bedroom door was situated and made he way across the grand entrance/landing to get to the other side, where the kitchen was. Victor entered and went to the fridge, scanning for items. He ended up pulling out ice cream and leftover potato bake and roast beef, which he heated in the microwave as he scooped the salted caramel ice cream into bowls.

 

Just as Victor was entering the hallway to his bedroom he heard pawing at the glass doors that lead out to the back veranda. A thought struck Victor– was it too soon though? Victor continued to think about it as he entered the room again and was met with a Yuuri who was curled on his side and staring blankly at the wall. Victor frowned at the sight. He pushed through and fought the urge to drop all of the food and cuddle up with Yuuri again and pulled up a small tray for in bed eating and set it up on the bed before dropping the plate of dinner leftovers onto it and the two bowls of ice cream. Victor patted Yuuri’s shoulder and coaxed him into a sitting position and told him about the food he had served Yuuri.

 

“Thank you, Victor,” Yuuri said, his voice croaky. Victor smiled weakly in response, eating his own ice cream as he watched Yuuri eat his dinner. It was nice, taking care of Yuuri. Victor hoped that after the past events, they’d become closer and he would get to take care of Yuuri more often.

 

After they’d finished their meals Victor popped their empty dishes and tray on his bedside table and had cuddled up with Yuuri, the same way they had previously. Victor’s embrace was so warm and delicate, Yuuri never wanted to leave.

 

-

 

Lilia poked her head through the door and found Victor and Yuuri tangled together and fast asleep. She sighed and closed the door and thought to ask the maid to save Victor’s desert since he wasn’t going to be eating it anytime soon. Lilia was glad she had closed the door almost as soon as she had opened it because Yuuri’s and Victor’s mixed distressed scents were already pouring out, clouding Lilia’s nose. Lilia quickly walked off, her black heels clicking on the marble floor. She then made her way over to her office to check Victor’s schedule for the next day, she guessed he wouldn’t be up to doing any work so she had to clear anything that was coming up. Just as she was making her way downstairs to her personal office, she heard footsteps coming from behind her. She immediately looked up to see who was behind her and deal with whatever they wanted. When she looked she was met with the gaze of four people– one of their guards, Ken Sato, along with Hiroko, Toshiya and Mari. Lilia was stunned to see the family there, looking pleadingly at her. Lilia cleared her throat and nodded to Ken, signalling that he could go back to whatever she was doing and could leave Lilia to deal with the three people.

 

“Good evening, you three,” Lilia said and made her way up to the top of the staircase to greet the worried looking family. “What are you here for?” Lilia asked as she leant in to hug Hiroko who accepted and kissed her cheek. Lilia then moved to shake Toshiya’s and Mari’s hand.

 

“Good Evening, Lilia. We just came to see Yuuri, assuming he is here?” Hiroko asked, desperation in her tone.

 

“We gave him some devastating news but he just took off and I think he came here,” Toshiya explained, showing the same concern on his face– as did Mari, but her expression was mingled with something else… Something unreadable.

 

“Yes, he did come here– he arrived only 45 minutes ago– you must have been right behind him! But he did seem very upset, Victor took him to bed just 25 minutes ago,” Lilia told them, remembering how she heard Yuuri’s loud cries and chants of Victor’s name just a little while ago. “I just checked on them and they’re both fast asleep.”

 

Victor took him to bed?” Mari scoffed, her jaw hanging. Hiroko nudged her, silently asking for her to be more polite.

 

“They do share a bed, Mari,” Hiroko replied, her tone firm.

 

“I’m sure Yuuri can get into bed by himself, and it’s not like he doesn’t have his own bed at home, or family ,” Mari argued, rolling her eyes. Then that unreadable expression became clear to Lilia– it was anger . Lilia felt challenged by Mari’s anger– did she not like Victor? Did she think Victor was unfit for Yuuri? Lilia straightened she posture and tilted her head up to intimidate the other alpha.

 

“Well, I think Yuuri and Victor have really bonded recently,” Lilia explained, glaring at Mari. “I’m sure Yuuri was just seeking out a comforting alpha is all.” Mari’s gaze snapped to Lilia at the threat– did Lilia really think Victor was a better alpha for Yuuri than Mari was?

 

“We’ve found Yuuri now, and that’s all that matters,” Toshiya stated, trying to interfere with the silent competition between Mari and Lilia. “I’m terribly sorry to ask, but do you think we could stay here, or somewhere around here for the night? We know Yuuri is very shaken up and we want to stay close.”

 

“Of course, I’ll ask Deidra to set up our two guest bedrooms on the second floor. Although for future reference Yuuri does seem very comforted by Victor, if that is ever a worry,” Lilia told them in the nicest way possible, while still seeming a little passive aggressive. Mari dropped her head, knowing she could never beat Lilia.

 

“I’m sure he was, it’s just that his dog, Vicchan, died and we’re the only ones who knew Vicchan as well as he did, and we just wanted to offer sympathy– plus, this is the first time something like this has happened while being away from his home,” Toshiya explained, snaking an arm around his wife. “We’re just looking out for Yuuri.”

 

Lilia smiled, “Of course. Now, I’m guessing you three haven’t had dinner?”

 

“No, we haven’t but if there’s nothing around I’m sure we could drive into town and get something,” Hiroko supplied, not wanting to intrude but also wanting to dine in the palace very much.

 

“Nonsense! We always have something around– just follow me into our upper dining room and I’ll have our chef whip something up for you,” Lilia told them, walking to the next set of stairs, but pausing when she heard footsteps coming for the right hallway. She prayed it wasn’t Victor.

 

It was. “Oh, hello, Lilia” Victor croaked, walking out from the hall in his pyjamas. “Good evening Mr and Ms Katsuki, good evening Mari,” Victor greeted, ignoring Mari’s harsh glaring but glad to see that Toshiya wasn’t, as he usually was. “I was just getting some water.”

 

“Good evening Victor,” Lilia sighed. “The Katsukis wanted to make sure Yuuri was alright because he left Hasetsu as soon as he got there.”

 

“Yes, we wanted to make sure he was okay,” the short woman said.

 

“Well, he’s asleep and he’s in good hands with me, Hiroko.”