“Again,” Yakov instructs from the boards as Yuri lands yet another near-perfect quad Salchow. “Soften your arms on the landing.”
Yuri shares no verbal acknowledgment, but he circles the rink to perform the jump again. Yakov watches his lines, long and graceful like always, as he lines himself up. The entry to the jump looks as good as ever – and then something goes wrong at the last second. Yuri hesitates midway through the takeoff, suddenly flailing, but it's too late, he's already in the air. The jump itself is a mess, no use even trying to count the rotations, and then he's landing, skidding on his blades and topping to hands and knees, sliding across the rink until he bumps into the wall.
“Yuri!” Yakov is across the rink in moments, heart thumping with concern for his young student even as he shakes his head at the distraction so unlike him. “What was that?”
But Yuri is still kneeling beside the boards, head down, blonde locks obscuring his face.
“Yuri?” Yakov lowers himself beside him as best he can, concern ratcheting up a notch. “Are you hurt?” He reaches out to touch the boy's shoulder – only to have him jerk away from the contact, scooting away out of reach across the ice.
“No,” Yuri mutters, and it sounds like his teeth are chattering.
Before Yakov can ask another question, suddenly everything becomes clear. It had taken time for the scent to become strong enough for his beta senses to pick up.
“Oh, Yurochka,” he breathes, understanding. That explains the fever and aches he's been complaining of the past few days – what they'd all assumed were merely symptoms of an oncoming cold. He's the right age, and Yakov feels so very foolish for not being better prepared for this possibility – Yuri presenting as an omega, experiencing his first heat. “It's all right.”
“I don't-” Yuri manages through gritted teeth. He looks up finally, hair parting, and his face is red, green eyes wide with surprise and fear. “Yakov.” His often-petulant voice is a plea. His sexual education classes have taught him what heat can be like, but it's quite a different thing to experience it himself.
“It's all right,” Yakov says again. “Let's get you up and take you home. We'll pick you up some supplies on the way, and you can ride this out. It's your first heat; it should only last for a few days. Then we'll get you on suppressants. How does that sound?”
Yuri nods jerkily. Yakov hefts himself up, old bones creaking, and reaches to help him. When Yuri manages to take his hand, his own is clammy and shaky. Yakov squeezes it reassuringly. He guides Yuri to his feet and toward the gate at the edge of the rink, a steadying hand on his back. It's impossible not to notice how Yuri leans into it, heat making him unconsciously desperate for contact. There's the tell-tale growing damp spot on the back of his pants, too, which Yakov studiously averts his gaze from. There's nothing about this but the clinical, him caring for the boy under his guidance.
Yuri slumps onto a bench and wrestles his skates off, not bothering to change from his practice clothes. Yakov retrieves his things from the locker room, and by the time he's helped him into the car, the boy is sweating, hair dark at the roots and face shining. He can't meet Yakov's gaze, and the man wishes he had the words to tell him not to be embarrassed, that this is perfectly normal.
“We'll get you home soon,” he promises instead, “and you can have some privacy.” He drums his fingers on the steering wheel for a long moment, trying to figure out where to go to get the supplies he needs.
A whimper slips from Yuri's throat, and he curls in on himself as much as he can. Yakov takes off. Minutes later, they're in front of a store he thinks might do the trick. “I'll be right back,” he promises as he unbuckles his seat belt. Yuri's only response is to drag his legs up onto the seat and wrap his arms around them, shuddering.
Yakov bites his lip and hurries inside. It's more awkward than he'd like to admit as he scans the shelves looking for the required supplies. It's been a long time since he's needed to do this kind of shopping for himself, and he never imagined doing it for anyone else – never imagined doing it for Yuri. But Yuri needs this, so he'll push through.
Lube. Condoms. Wet wipes.
Yakov surveys the shelf of colorful silicone and rubber, willing his face not to go red. He's a mature, adult man for god's sake. He just wishes he didn't have to be thinking about which of these toys would help Yuri the most.
Then, by some heaven-sent stroke of luck, he spots a small section labeled First Heat and grabs a pair off of it, one regular and one with a small simulated knot. He hurriedly pays, grateful the cashier doesn't say anything, and returns to the car to find Yuri grinding desperately against his seat. He goes stock-still when Yakov opens the door.
“Here.” Yakov thrusts the bag at him, and Yuri takes it wordlessly. He shifts, clearly uncomfortable, unwilling to do anything to bring himself relief while in Yakov's presence. The man is grateful, though he can't imagine how Yuri must feel.
He doesn't strictly stick to the speed limit on the way back to the house they share with Lilia, and as soon as the car comes to a stop, Yuri is gone, running up the walk and letting himself in. Yakov follows as his own slower pace, and the living area is empty when he gets inside. No doubt Yuri has already hidden himself away in his room, where he'll stay until his heat passes.
It occurs to Yakov suddenly to be grateful Yuri doesn't have a boyfriend. At least he doesn't have to worry about that for the moment. The last thing his star pupil needs is to make a stupid mistake right now and get himself pregnant. Yakov is grateful he was with him when this started and was able to get him someplace safe where he can watch over him. He can't even stand the thought of some alpha taking advantage of the boy.
Yakov goes to the kitchen to start making dinner. Doubtless Yuri will be ravenous later, and it might be nice to have done something for Lilia before she gets home from her ballet lessons for once. The house is strangely quiet but for the soft sounds his work.
Then he hears it – Yuri is moaning, audible clear from his room on the other side of the house, high and needy and frantic. Yakov's gut clenches as he moves as quickly as he can into the living room and turns on the TV – loud. He doesn't blame Yuri, won't shame him for this, of course not, but this will spare both of them at least that discomfort.
Yet he can still hear him, the tenor of the boy's cries turning to low moans. He must have one of the toys in himself now. Yakov turns up the TV, and when it still doesn't cover up the sounds, makes a decision without giving himself time to think. He goes to Yuri's door, intending to calmly ask him to try and be quieter, for the boy's own sake, or turn on some music or something, but as soon as he raises his hand to knock, the room goes silent.
Then Yakov winces as music suddenly comes blaring through the door, fast and angry and loud. He's sure Yuri makes more noise after that, but he doesn't hear it. Grateful, he goes back to his dinner preparations, taking his mind to other things – the improvements he wants to make to Yuri's programs, the ridiculous stunts Victor and Katsuki are always getting up to at the rink...
Eventually Lilia arrives, her face shuttering immediately when she steps inside and takes a breath. A beta like Yakov, she can still smell instantly what's going on in the house, though the pheromones don't affect them the way they would an alpha.
“So he's an omega then,” she sighs as she drops her purse on the table and rubs her eyes. “That'll make things harder for him.”
“We'll get him on suppressants as soon as this is over,” Yakov says as he puts a tray of seasoned vegetables into the oven.
“They don't always work,” Lilia says evenly “But it's all we have. He's strong. He'll manage this like he has everything else.”
Yakov grunts agreement.
“Since when do you cook?” Lilia asks, changing the subject from what can't be changed.
“I had to do something,” he admits, sitting down at the breakfast bar.
“It smells delicious.”
As dinner cooks, they sit together and talk – of their days, ballet lessons and skating practices, and contingency plans for Yuri's future, what they'll do to help him should the medication fail and send him into another heat unexpectedly. When the oven timer finally goes off, Yakov feels at ease. The three of them are an unbeatable team, and this certainly isn't going to stop them.
“Dish him up a plate, and I'll bring it to him,” Lilia offers.
The next few days are strange for all of them. Yakov and Lilia's schedules continue almost as normal, save for the lack of Yuri's presence. The boy spends most of the time in his room, tending to his needs. The adults bear with the loud music at all hours, though they can't say they're not relieved when it turns off for some periods of time when Yuri is exhausted enough to sleep. They do catch a glimpse of him on the rare occasion he slips from his room to use the bathroom or shower, wearing only baggy pajama bottoms, face flushed, blonde tresses messy. Lilia delivers food to him regularly and retrieves his empty plates.
Three mornings after it starts, it's over. Yakov and Lilia are sitting at the breakfast bar eating when Yuri wanders out of the bathroom dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and rubbing a towel over his hair. He sits down next to Lilia, dropping the towel on the floor, and pulls a bowl and box of cereal toward him.
The adults lock gazes over his head, silently thinking the same thing. Is he okay?
After a few bites, Yuri looks up at Yakov, shyer than he's ever seen him. “Thank you for everything,” the boy says softly.
Yakov nods as Lilia smiles softly. “I made you a doctor's appointment for Thursday afternoon. You shouldn't have to worry about this again.”
Yuri looks relieved.
Life goes on for them.