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Your Forever

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Chapter 1

My head feels funny. And so does my backside. Why does it hurt so much? And why is it so sticky? Did I dream of peeing again? How embarrassing—

"Yurio?"

I open my eyes then, confused at the voice in the room. I don't share a room with anyone, so why is there someone here? Pushing up from the bed, I immediately regret my decision, crying out at the painful act. Why am I in so much pain?

"Yuri!" That voice again. Except this time it's accompanied by strong hands coming to my aid, pulling me against a very solid chest. It's warm and comforting, and I find myself almost moaning in content. What the hell is wrong with me? I finally get my brain to comply and drift my eyes upward, foggy vision clearing to reveal a topless Otabek Altin staring down with a worried, shameful gaze.

That can't be good. The first time I mumble it's something incoherent, and I have to say it again. "Why are you in my bed?"

Otabek's expression pinches, and I find myself almost terrified of what he's going to say now. "This is my hotel room," he answers slowly.

Oh, so it's his bed and not mine. It slowly dawns on me that Otabek isn't the only one topless. But that I am, too, as well as bottomless. I'm completely nude, in fact. But I don't ever sleep nude.

Oh God.

I pull away as some of the night's memories start floating back to me. I remember feeling clammy and hot, and incredibly moist.

"Oh god," I say aloud this time, pulling completely away now to pull my knees to my chest and hide my cheeks behind my knees. That's right, I'd woken up too late to refill my suppressants from my doctor, rushed to rehearsal, and went into heat. I left practice early and scarcely remember jerking off in the showers, finding it wasn't enough and…and…what happened after?

As if reading my mind, Otabek began recounting events for me, sitting up now and leaning back against the headboard in comfort. Apparently instincts had me search for someone, anyone to knot in me. And that led me to Otabek. Was that a miracle, or a curse in itself? It could have been someone less attractive, less…kind. And Otabek was closest in age, even if I was still a minor according to law.

Oh God, did he mark me?

"I didn't go that far," Otabek said aloud, once again answering my unspoken question. I don't know when my hands reached up to search my neck for indent marks, but I didn't believe him until my search came up empty and my panic subsided some.

Finally I drop my hands and peer up at him with something like flushed cheeks. I've been suppressing my heats for years, and everyone knows the longer you take them, the more harshly the effects once you stop taking them. Apparently my heat returned with enough vengeance to black me out. Or black out enough of my own consciousness, at least, for my instincts to dictate what I'd long denied it.

It's just too bad my first time would be an event I would never be able to remember. The notion was enough to make me sad. The world outside may not know it, but beneath my arrogant façade I actually hold sentimental value over memories like that. And this was a memory I wouldn't be able to do over.

Again those strong arms pulled me close, and this time I didn't pull away. Besides, he already saw me at my most vulnerable, what harm could there be in using him as comfort. His pheromones quelled my thoughts to a calming lull, and as he didn't pull away when I buried my face against his scent gland, I didn't feel inclined to end the act.

This moment would have been nice if it weren't for the fact that I could feel the slick pooling again beneath my bottom. Oh, how disgusting. And I was getting warm again.

Otabek felt the shift in posture as I stiffened, and then squirmed from discomfort at the damp spot forming below me. There was a swift intake of breath from his end and then a deep groan, close almost to a growl as he exhaled. Enough to make a pitiful whine pull from my throat. Shit, I was going to have to handle this for a few days. We were going to have a lot of explaining to do when we weren't present for skate practice in the next few hours.

"Is it starting up again?" I could hear the strain in Otabek's voice as he asked the obvious question, to which I could only nod. And when he sighed, I whined again.

I knew this was only going to end one way. It could only ever end in one way. "You are my first," I finally admitted. I needed him to know before he became my second, and third, and fourth… and however many times he'd have to fuck me until this spell passed. When he stilled, I grew nervous he would abandon me here to suffer alone after I'd finally resigned myself to screwing him. But again the nerves dissipated as he tilted my chin up and away to look at me.

I don't know why it made me nervous to have eye contact when he's already seen the more intimate parts of me. What the hell is wrong with me? "Yurio, I promise to make this as enjoyable as possible for you. Just…don't hate me when it's all done."

I was already shaking my head before he even finished. "You are my only friend. If it had to be anyone, I'm glad it's you." By the time I finish a statement I'd likely never say outside of heat, my body is on fire and I find it hard to keep my breathing even. I find I'm thankful for Otabek's patience with me, for I'd heard so many horror stories of innocent omegas having their right to choice ripped away from them when Alphas became impatient.

I pull away from Otabek's touch to shift onto all fours, and then lowering my upper half flush against the bed so that my ass sticks up. But I keep my eyes on Otabek's face, watching him go slack jawed as I present myself to him. And this time, I am mostly in my right mind.

This time, it's sincere.

I all but purr when I feel him move behind me, firm hands spreading my cheeks apart. The moment he finally enters me I hiss from the initial sting of soreness, but then moan as he sits firmly inside. He's large, I can tell. But then, most Alphas sit around 8-10 inches, no? And I just an omega, my 5 inches proving to do nothing more than serve as a play thing for whomever becomes my mate in a few years.

I realize that Otabek isn't moving, and I grumble in disapproval. "Move, Otabek—"

A surprised cry leaves my lips at the slap delivered to my left ass cheek. Warning noted. Sweet as Otabek may be, he was still an Alpha. And Alphas took orders from no one. I'm given no time to process the sting of the spank as Otabek does indeed start moving with no inclination of stopping. He was at least endeavoring to keep this as pleasurable as he promised, striking that sweet bundle of nerves deep within me over and over. It isn't long before I'm screaming louder than I ever thought I could, and my climax splashes to the bedsheets below me. I expect him to stop now, for just a moment so I can breathe. But he doesn't instead holding my hips in place to stop my wriggling away. Not wishing to have the entire hotel floor aware of what is happening here I bury my face into a fluffy pillow to muffle my cries. I don't even know when it happens, but the force of his thrusts flattens me against the bed, only my hips raised to allow him access. It's maddening to the point of overstimulation, and I cum for a second time. I know it is my heat causing everything to be extra sensitive, but God this could kill a man. This could kill me, if I'm not already dead. Which I am thoroughly convinced I am. I was never a religious man before, but if this is a taste of heaven then I could see no reason to continue avoiding sermon.

It took a few more harsh thrusts before I could feel the expansion of Otabek's knot starting to take place, and I winced at the widening of my entrance to accommodate. Eventually I could expand no more, fitting him snugly inside as he spilled within me with no more wiggle room. He went rigid once I started whining from the discomfort everytime he tried to move. It took a moment for him to maneuver the two of us to lay on our sides for him to spoon me from behind. I knew we would be like this for a while, half an hour or more until he stopped pumping his seed within and his knot subsided.

I was panting and tired, but significantly contented from our combined scents or arousal swirling around the room. And oh god, Otabek's pheromones; were they always so sweet smelling?

"I'm sorry," Otabek mumbled against my hair, now loose from it's braid and fanning about me in messy blonde locks. He was replying to my pained whimper when he shifted behind me. I am quickly learning this is the most unpleasant part of the ordeal.

I shake my head and give what I think must look like a very dopey smile. "No it is fine, you are fine."

And then we are quiet again, only the sounds of our slowing breaths and our heartbeats making any noise in the too quiet room. I almost assume Otabek is asleep, and immediately regret my jolt of surprise when he opens his mouth again. I decide I will never like this knotting business, no matter how much I enjoy the activities leading up to it.

"Sorry," he murmurs again. "I just…Yuratchka?"

The use of my pet name distracts me from the throb between my cheeks and I blink in surprise. "Beka?"

I think me using his pet name has the same effect. Well, if we're going to be doing all this rutting…

He sighs and nuzzles my neck, and my body offers him the opportunity by shifting my head to the side. He and I both know I am at his mercy. That he could claim me and mark me as his mate right this minute if he felt like it, and I would be powerless against it. I would be his for all eternity.

But he does no such thing, instead placing a surprisingly gentle kiss against the skin instead, and I swear I feel the heat of his lips long after he's pulled away. God help me.

"I will wait for you. Even if you decide by then you do not want me to be your forever…I would rather your consent when you are older. And if you turn me down, the wait will have been worth it."

I do not know when I start crying, and I am angry I can't shift away to hide my tears or bury my face against his chest. That he cared enough. "No, Beka. I don't want you when I'm older."

I almost feel him stiffen before I finish, and I reach behind to grasp his arm. "I don't want you then…because I want you now."

He is silent, and I do not know if it is from shock or confusion from my words. So I once again tilt my head to the side and reach up to pull his head down the rest of the way. There is a sharp pain as his teeth breaks skin, causing me to hiss and then sigh in content.

And I, Yuri Plisetsky, become totally and irrevocably his.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

It wasn't until many missed calls and days later that my heat finally fizzled out. For the first time in five days, I didn't wake up with a feverish body. But oh God am I sticky. How fucking disgusting.

Otabek's arm is right around my middle, even in sleep trying to protect me from any competitive Alpha who may have had any ideas from the pheromones I'd been blasting the last few days. I usually hate to be touched, but this...is nice. And while I wouldn't exactly mind staying spooned this way, I'm also desperate to get the dried combination of his semen and mine off of me.

"Oy, Beka." I tap his arm to get his attention. And by tap, I mean slap.

I probably should have known better.

He wakes up, but only to spank my ass in turn. Warning, duly noted. "Yuratchka? What is it?"

Scowling from the remnant sting off the physical reproach on my backside, I ease up with a hiss. It will be days before the soreness of our rut fades away. "I'm filthy and need a bath," I grumble, swinging my legs over the bed's side. "Can't exactly move with your arm in the way."

There's no more lovey-dovey language exchange, and I think it hurts me more than it hurts Otabek. I shouldn't really be speaking to him like this. But I don't know how to be...entirely submissive. I come from a line of Alpha's. I was raised to be an Alpha, but fate had me present as the polar opposite like some sort of sick joke. My luck.

Otabek sits up, briefly checking his phone before speaking. "Listen, Yuri-"

"I meant what I said," I blurt out. Shit, this is a lot harder to say without being drunk off of pheromones. "About wanting to be yours, I mean. I don't regret it."

And like the scared cat I am, I rush to the bathroom to hide from whatever reaction Otabek has to what I said. I half expect him to follow me to the bathroom, to make me talk to him. To order me. After all, if he invoked his authority over me, I naturally would be compelled to obey.

But he doesn't. Even though I take an extra long, hot shower to work out the kinks in my muscles from all the ridiculous positions Beka had me in, he never barges in. I wonder if he knows how much I value that bit of space? I use the time to think, really think about the consequences of the last few days. He marked me as his. And even though I am a minor, by law this act is practically irreversible. I belong to Otabek now, and he belongs to me. We're bound until one of us dies. Or divorce, but that is extremely rare. I am his, and he is mine: bound in perpetuity. I raise a hand to my neck-the left side, where two ident marks are still fresh and likely an angry red. The permanence of this situation finally settles in my brain, and my shoulders sag from the weight. What the hell am I supposed to tell my grandfather? My coach?

I jump from the suddenness of Otabek's presence behind me, and instinctively slam my back against the opposite wall. It takes a moment for me to remember it's just the two of us in this room, and I can't bring myself to look at Otabek's shocked expression.

"Yurio...?"

"What!"

I don't mean to snap. And he knows it, so he doesn't reprimand me for it. If anything, he only looks all the more worried. Still, he doesn't reach for me again until my expression loses its tension. And when he does, this time I don't pull away, allowing the water to flow over the both of us. I can see his body littered with scratch marks. Did I do that? Oops.

"Who was it?" comes his unexpected question.

It throws me off, and for a moment I forget why he's asking. But then I'm reminded of my sudden withdrawal from his touch and the deflection rolls easily off my tongue. I don't want to talk about this. "Don't be a durak."

"Yuri." Otabek had taken over the act of washing me, so I was turned around for him to scrub my back. But even though I cannot see his face, I can tell he's warning me not to lie.

But I don't want to tell him. I don't want him to know. I don't want him to think me some weak little shit of an omega. We already are the stereotypical weaker sex. I don't need more shit from anyone. It's easier just to pretend it never happened.

"Beka, please," I say with just a bit less edge than before. If I hiss it out he'd take it as a challenge and my body cannot take another rough session of sex right now. But this tone is better. And it works, since Otabek merely sighs in response.

He turns me around to finish washing my front, though I notice his eyes keep dropping to my toned belly. The scowl comes back to my face. "What? Am I getting fat?" Disaster for my career if I am. Lilia would kill me if Yakov didn't get to me first.

Otabek shakes his head once, and my frown deepens though I say nothing. "What if you get pregnant?" he finally asks.

The elephant in the room is finally addressed, I suppose. At least it's an easier question than the first. The point of a heat is to get pregnant, no? And I'd been thoroughly fucked and knotted in, over and over for the course of almost an entire week. Shit.

If it was up to me and it had been with some random Alpha, I'd have just aborted the little shit. It's not like I ever wanted kids to begin with. But it's not just up to me. Not anymore, and it's not some random Alpha.

"...I don't know."

My answer is so quiet that I thought he wouldn't have heard it. But he did, and he merely places his two large hands on my flat abdomen. "We'll find out if you bleed in the next few days."

And if my underwear comes up clean, God help us all.


My phone had 30 missed calls and even more text messages from my coaches and friends, although the bulk of them came from my grandfather and Viktor. Of course those two would worry most about me.

None came from my parents, of course. Not because my mother didn't care, but likely because my father ordered her not to, the asshole. Still, it hurts that I didn't get a single worried voicemail from them. I sigh out in frustration, a cloud of condensation forming and disappearing before my reddened face. The wind is harsh today in Russia.

I've been standing in front of the skating rink for at least an hour, half terrified to go inside but too afraid not to. Finally, after an intense stare off between myself and the ugly building, I shove my scarf further up my face and head inside. Otabek had already come and was already in the midst of training when I arrived rink-side. Mila spotted me before Yakov did, and immediately came over to glomp me in a crushing hug that made it too hard to breathe.

"Yuraaaaa!" she wailed, and I desperately flailed under a sea of red hair.

"You know I hate hugs!" I grunt, trying and failing to get the taller female off of me. I was still sore, and she wasn't helping.

Still, she didn't let go. "You durak, everyone was worried you DIED! You and Otabek just vanished. And then he comes in all fine and dandy, and now you, too?"

Too many questions I don't want to answer. And she's still hugging me. I really, really detest physical contact. But I also know Mila doesn't care about that so I'm forced to wait for her to release her death grip in order to get to Yakov.

Speaking of whom...my coach clears his throat from his position by the rink. He looks visibly upset...but when does he ever not look upset? I can't say I've ever seen him smile before. I used to think he hated me back then. Now I've concluded he hates everyone, so I don't feel so bad.

I stare at him staring at me, and Mila-who finally gets the seriousness of the situation-slinks away with the promise to text me later. Too many people in the rink are looking at us, and I don't like the attention.

"Yakov...I need to talk to you."

"Indeed," he gravels out, and walks away. He's not pleased. I mean, he's never pleased but this time is different. So nervously I follow him to the locker room where there's more privacy. The locker room Otabek found me feverish. How embarrassing.

Yakov takes a seat on a bench and shuts his eyes. "You smell like him now," he says suddenly, and I can't help but feel my ears grow hot in embarrassment.

So, he knows. Well, then. "It wasn't planned," I finally sigh out, looking down at my feet. "You know I always take my meds. That was the one day I had no refills on me..."

"Yes, but a rut and a mark are two different issues entirely, Yuri," he continues in his usual gruff manner. "Either he forced you, or you consented. Which is it?"

Again, Yakov is right. He's always right. "I...consented..." I admit, now wishing to melt into the ground from embarrassment. I want to vanish. I can't take this shame.

"Hrm."

I never know what that sound means so I remain quiet until he speaks again: "Your 17th birthday is still many months away, Yurio. This was a premature decision that should have involved parental or guardian consent. You are still a minor and ripe into your skating career as a young prodigy. But have you thought about what kind of scandal this could be warped into by the press should this get out? He is two years your senior, but it could be said he took advantage-"

"He didn't!" I swear vehemently, and with enough passion to invoke a response from even Yakov. He looks at me carefully, but then resumes looking straight ahead.

"As I said, this can be warped into a scandal that damages his reputation as an adult who took advantage of a minor. And beyond that...if you fall pregnant, you cannot skate. And will not skate for quite some time...if ever again."

There, he said it. The one thing I didn't want to hear, but he said it. My skating career. Me, skating prodigy, knocked down because I was knocked up. The irony of it is bitter and I give a twisted laugh. "Another day in the life of an Omega," I grumble, and Yakov sighs.

"It is the way it is. Now go home and rest. Tomorrow we resume training as usual until further notice."

And then Yakov leaves me to ponder my thoughts in silence. I don't stick around. I don't want to see Otabek or anybody right now. I just need to think, alone. But of course, this would be the moment my phone decides to ring. And when I pull it out of my pocket, I see it's Viktor's name spread across my screen. Of course. He's probably somewhere in the building, working privately with his pork cutlet loving Omega. Yuuri's anxiety made it so that practicing in front of the others was too much. Privacy was key when it came to him.

When I ignore the call, Viktor calls again and I sigh. Declining the call this time, I send a follow up message of 'I'm not dead or hurt. Ttyl,' and hope it's enough.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

When I was younger, I would ride the train around Russia and roam the shopping districts a bit to clear my thoughts. Even if I never bought anything, just the repetitive movement of putting one foot in front of the other helped me sort my emotions. Today was no different, though by the time I realized the habit I'd slipped back into, dusk was approaching and the temperatures had gone from uncomfortable to unbearable. Pulling out my hat, I stuffed my hair within it to protect my precious blonde strands from the chill and shoved my hands into my pockets. I could feel my phone vibrating in my pocket, but the cold prevented me from checking who was blowing up my phone now. I refused to take out my cell before I reached the train station, but once I did I could see the name 'Vitya' with too many emoji's trailing afterward on my screen, one of his recent Instagram photos I saved being sprawled across my phone's surface.

Fumbling to retrieve my earphones, I finally answer the call. "Da?"

"I'VE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU ALL WEEK, ARE YOU TRYING TO GIVE ME A HEART ATTACK?"

Of course he's practically screaming his Russian so loud, I cringe and rush to lower the phone volume to avoid permanent hearing loss. My ears still ring from the yelling, anyway. "I'm not some little kid, Viktor. Relax. I'm fine," I reply over his complaints of my disappearing act. Nothing I haven't already heard from the thousands of voicemails and texts he left on my phone. "Anyway...I didn't mean to vanish like that. A lot's happened in the last few days..."

When my voice trails off, Viktor goes silent as if finally gauging the gravity of the situation. "I'm listening, Yura," he says, and I let out a puff of air.

By now my train back to my grandpa's is arriving, so I walk down the platform to a more deserted train car so I can have more privacy. "Uh, so...I may have accidentally-on-purpose goaded Otabek into marking me..."

"YOU WHAT?"

Again with the screaming. At least now my volume is at a tolerable level so it lessens the blow of Viktor's yell. "I wanted it at the moment!" I say defensively. "I kind of still wanted it afterward. It is just that...Vitya, what do I do?"

Viktor sighs and tells me to start from the beginning, so I do. I start from my heat cycle at the rink and end at the conversation I had with Yakov. For my sake, Viktor is mostly silent except for the random noises to indicate he's listening. But once I finish, he sighs again and I can imagine him running a hand over his face like a stressed parent. I guess in a way he, is. Viktor for me was always like a strange hybrid of a father and brother, depending on how he needed to care for me.

"Did you go to a clinic for sterilizers?" he asks.

At Viktor's blunt question, I stare at the screen in shock, until I remember he can't actually see my expression and sheepishly slide it back into my pocket. "I didn't think Otabek would like that...or allow it."

I can practically hear Viktor's frustration. "So... he wants a baby?"

"He didn't say THAT-"

"He doesn't want kids?"

Viktor is giving me a new headache. "He said to wait and see if I actually get pregnant. That is all," I say in exasperation.

"And if you do actually get pregnant, Yura...?"

My head is in my hands now, elbows on my knees and palms pressed to my eyes in frustration. This is too much to process. "I don't know, I don't know!"

For a moment, there's silence on Viktor's end of the line. But finally he says, "Yuri, I want you to know that whatever you decide to do: I support you. There are people around you who will support you, even if you can't see it. Just don't push us away, yeah?"

"Yeah..."

"So...Altin, huh. Do you love him?"

"Jesus Christ, Viktor!" Why does he have to ask these questions to straightforwardly? My ears are burning beneath my hat and I slouch in my seat from the embarrassment. Viktor's laughing doesn't make the situation better, and I scowl in irritation. "Oy, stop laughing jerk."

To his credit, Viktor does attempt-and fail-to do so. "Do you like him a little?"

I don't think I want to talk about this anymore. "I mean...yeah. I guess I did. He was my friend first, before he was my mate. It's not like I liked anyone before."

"Huh?" Viktor asks in surprise. "Never? Not even a little bit? Not even me?"

"Oh get over yourself, not everyone falls head over heels for you, pretty old man," I tease. I know he hates to be reminded of his age, especially now that the center of his head is experiencing hair loss.

As expected, Viktor wails about his insecurity, and I chuckle that I'm still able to get under his skin so easily. I hear Yuuri Katsuki's voice in the background announcing his arrival home, and I can bet their pillow talk will involve me tonight. Joy. Already I can hear their lovey-dovey language exchange and I physically feel nauseous hearing it.

"Okay, I don't want to hear the pre-game to your lovemaking," I grumble. I needed to call Otabek anyway, so I bid Viktor goodnight and call my newfound mate afterward. His voice is sleepy and deep, and I can assume he's just awoken from a nap.

"Yuratchka, I looked for you at the rink," he mumbles into the phone.

Did I just wake him? Why is he sleeping so late? "Oh, that. Yakov sent me home and I kind of didn't want to deal with the questions everyone would ask, so...I left to clear my head."

There's a brief silence on his end, and when he speaks again I can tell he's wide awake. "Having regrets?"

"No!" I respond way too eagerly, and flush from it. "No. I mean...if it had to be anyone, I'm happy it's you. I'm just worried about the 'after'." When I shut up, I realize that Otabek is utterly silent. I don't even think he's breathing. I fill up the silence with more words. "What are we now? Where do we go from here?"

"First of all," Otabek starts, "You don't need to worry about 'after'. That is my job. Secondly, we're mates now. There is no where else to go from here. You know this. And I'm happy it's you, too. I liked you a little, anyway. Even if you are a bit of a brat."

In the past, I probably would have told him off for calling me a brat, but my brain is still stuck on his admitting he liked me before. "Wait, you mean like...a crush? You crushed on me?"

"Jeez, Yura, didn't I take you out to dinner at the World's last year?"

I mumble incoherently that I didn't consider it a date and I can tell he's probably rolling his eyes. "Anyway, Yakov said training resumes tomorrow until we find out whether or not I'm pregnant," I say a bit lower into the microphone. I'm off the train now and don't want to be speaking too loudly in the streets. God forbid some hidden paparazzi gets wind of this.

"Promise me you'll keep the baby, yeah?"

Otabek's sudden request halts my steps, nearly causing the person behind me to crash into my back. I don't even have the mind to offer an apology, not with all my thoughts zeroing in on his last sentence. I'm stunned into silence.

"Allo? Yuri? Did you hear me?"

"W-what? Why?" I stammer out.

I can hear his sigh through the phone. "What do you mean, why? It's the right thing to do. And... this kid would be a piece of you. I could never kill something that has a piece of you within it."

Shit, this guy always has a way with his words. My chest is tight from this unknown emotion. Oh, I'm so fucked. "But my skating-"

"Yurio, please. Promise me."

I know already that I can't say no. He doesn't order me around, even though he has the right. I could still abort, if I'm pregnant, and he'd never know. But he's honorable in not giving me a direct order, so I'll be honorable in return. Yep, utterly fucked indeed. "Okay," I whisper back, and I hear his sigh of relief on the earpiece. Otabek goes on to tell me how his day back at the rink was. All that sex, coupled with a particularly difficult practice left him utterly exhausted by the day's end. So that explains his odd nap time.

"So, Yura. You'll be back rinkside tomorrow. Are we hiding out relationship or outing it?"

The question is a good one. One I've been thinking about all day. On the one hand, I'm terrified of what reports will say. I haven't even told grandpa yet. But on the other, if we hide it, it will look entirely too suspect. And I just can't see us successfully keeping it under wraps for another year. "I leave that decision up to you," I finally answer him.

The rest of the phone conversation goes to more mundane, silly topics the way we did before this whole mess. The lights are off by the time I get home, so I know grandpa's asleep already. But Beka and I talk for hours afterward, until I fall asleep to the sound of his voice. A lullaby I never knew I needed until I had it.

And the next day when I arrive at practice, Otabek greets me with a kiss for everyone to see.


 

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

 

The sound of Katsuki-Nikiforov puking his guts out for what I swear is the eleventy-millionth time today fills the toilets. What is it about restrooms that makes all sounds that much better? That much louder? In this case, I would have preferred shit acoustics if it would help tune out the effects of retching.

"Oh god, I'm dying," Yuuri whimpers just before another wave of whatever meager breakfast he had comes up. I cringe from beyond the stall, both out of grossness and out of pity. I hated vomiting on the rare occasion I got sick, but Yuuri was pregnant with the worst case of morning sickness that ever just occurred in the morning. What if that happened to me? Puking my life away for the one inside me?

I shake my head and scowl. I wasn't pregnant. I couldn't be. The season was just getting underway...would I really throw it away to have a baby I never planned for?

Was I really weighing the life of a child against a pair of skates?

I say none of this aloud, instead responding to Yuuri's melodramatic display between bouts of nausea. "Oh don't be dramatic, piggy. There are more graceful ways to die than on the floor of an echoey, cold bathroom floor."

He laughs weakly and then spits into the toilet. I still can't see him, but from the shuffling I hear I assume he's cleaning himself up. The flush that follows confirms my assumption, and the door to the stall swings open. I'm still holding his glasses, but when he reaches out for them I remain frozen, staring up at my older Japanese namesake. Yuuri falters, his tired smile fading into a knowing, grim line.

He knows exactly what I'm thinking. And I know he knows. Yuuri had already lost a child before, and despite the era such a thing was especially damning for a male omega. Once was bad enough, despite the commonality amongst omegas of the male sex. But consecutive miscarriages held a certain...stain in the public eye. And with Yuuri being shot into the spotlight due to his relations with Viktor...

I break the silence first. "Here," I mutter, finally looking away and offering his glasses to him.

He gives a tired smile as he takes them off my hands and onto his face. "It looks really bad, doesn't it?"

"Well—"

"Please, Yuri. Don't lie to me. Viktor does enough of that to make me feel better."

With a sigh I slide down to sit on the floor, leaning my head against the cool of the tiled walls and Yuuri does the same opposite me. "Honestly...you look like shit."

He doesn't cringe like I expect, but chuckles. "I know. I know without looking into the mirror that my eyes are constantly red from the throwing up. My face is pale. Paler than usual for the season. Not like I'm lacking a tan, but...lacking in color somehow. I know without anyone telling me that on days I skip the BB cream, the circles under my eyes are concerning. I know, Yura. That none of you tell me what I already know, tells me exactly how bad it is."

I suddenly feel bad for the guy. And also incredibly anxious. "Can't doctors do something about that? The throwing up?"

Yuuri is shaking his head before I finish my words. "Hyperemesis gravidarium," he explains. "Severe morning sickness that's pretty much twenty-four seven. Lots of people get it, men and women alike. Not much one can do except grin and bear it. Yura, I..." his words trail as he looks both at me but faraway at the same time. A sort of defeated look on his face. "I don't think I'll be able to keep this pregnancy either. I know how this will end. Its just a mater of how soon...and this looming cloud of not knowing when until it happens is killing me."

I don't know when it happens, but my hands somehow find their way to my still very firm, defined belly. He sees my reaction, and immediately looks regretful. "Oh...oh."

"No, we don't know yet," I say, refuting what I know he's assuming. I know Viktor's told him I might be pregnant already. We're just playing the waiting game. "It's just, this room."

He raises a brow. "This room?"

I nod and for a moment stay quiet. My heat. I was talking about my heat. I hadn't spoken about it to anyone since it happened. Not even with Otabek. "The second I realized what was going on, I tried to find space. You know the symptoms. Feeling hot, too hot. No amount of ice water cools the fire in your skin. And the brain fog. It was getting harder to remember, harder to stay focused. I went to the showers first, in the locker room. Had an ice cold shower. I thought it was isolated, that maybe everyone was either in class. Or on the ice. Or out conditioning."

"But Otabek was there?"

I shake my head no. "Someone else. Another Alpha. I was getting desperate, Yuuri. I probably would have ended up in this same situation with that guy if Otabek hadn't interrupted."

"I highly doubt you would have mated anyone else who isn't Otabek."

Well, he had a point. "You're right. I'd still be wondering if I was pregnant or not. Abortion wouldn't have been as hard a choice if it were a stranger. Anyway, Otabek showed up once he smelled me. I don't remember much, but I know he somehow kept his wits about him despite my overwhelming stench."

Yuuri hummed in agreement. "Viktor usually drops immediately into an induced rut when I start heating, but he's a high-level Alpha. It could be Otabek is lower on the spectrum."

"You could be right." I go quiet again in thought, choosing to leave out the details of Otabek having a growling session with the other guy to get him to back off. And almost coming to blows for it. "So, Otabek tried to cool me off with another cold shower, I remember that much. But he smelled good, Yuuri. Really, really good. I kept trying to smell his neck. And...and..." I frown and then grumble, upset that I can't remember what happened next. "I'm drawing a blank. But I know we came here. It was deserted. And we..."

I don't continue. I don't have to. My eyes flick to the last stall in the room and Yuuri's eyes follow my gaze. It clicks. "Oh...this room."

"This room," I echo. We had sex here. I remember this one was hard and fast. I can't remember if my first time was in here, or the showers. Otabek never told me, likely feeling terrible for it. And I never asked.

The two of us are quiet for a moment until Yuuri shuffles to his feet to rinse his mouth and splash water to his face. "You know, whatever the outcome...you're not alone, Yura. I know you've got Yakov and grandpa, and Viktor..but none of them are omegas. So if you ever need me, I'll do my best."

I get to my feet and offer a sincere smile. "The sentiment is mutual. Thanks piggy."


 

For the next two and a half weeks, I attend practice as usual in the same rink as Otabek, the same way we do every year. Although we train separately under different coaches, Yakov makes sure to plan my breaks right around the same time Otabek's occurs so that we can at least grab lunch together. Due to my spectacular return to the rink at the beginning of the month, it's no secret to those who matter that I belong to the Kazakh now. Anyone with a good nose can smell our scents all over one another.

"What did your grandfather say when you told him?" he asks me then. We were nearing the end of our lunch break and would have to be apart for another three hours before we'd be free to relax our bruised feet. I had a terrible knot in my left thigh from a particularly bad fall this practice and could bet a thousand bucks it looked at terrible as it felt.

"Grandpa was mad…at first, since he thought maybe I'd been forced again. But then he gave his blessing once I explained it properly," I answer between bites of my salad. My grandfather is a Beta, so he never really had to deal with the complications of pheromones and the like. Lucky old man. "Maybe when I get the courage, you'll get to meet him."

I didn't realize Otabek had stopped eating until several moments of silence went by, and I shift in the awkwardness of the quiet. "Oy, Beka," I call out. "Not hungry?"

Beka pushes the remainder of his fruit parfait away, and I frown. He's not really one to waste his food. Did I upset him?

"You said 'forced again'," Otabek points out, and I immediately realize my error. Shit. I don't want to discuss this, but he keeps going. "And don't think I forgot how you reacted when I surprised you in the shower that first time after your heat broke. I see how you pull away when others touch you, Yura."

Like Beka, I push my salad away, no longer having any appetite. "Otabek—"

"We are going to talking about this."

A direct order, the first in our relationship. I'm almost surprised he finally resorts to using it, and like that I'm compelled to bend to his will. "Fine," I mumble, unable to look him in the eye. Not exactly how I planned on spending our one break together, but I guess I saw this coming.

Otabek continues speaking. "What happened to you?"

I don't want to talk about this. But I do anyway. "I had a shitty childhood," I begin. "My family male line is almost all Alpha's or Betas, so, when I presented as a damn Omega my father wanted nothing else to do with me. So he'd neglect me a lot…and make my mother neglect me, too, on his orders."

It is not often I'm made to speak on my past. The way that I deal with things I don't like, is to 'drop it in a Fuck-It Bucket', as my psychiatrist says. Meaning I don't deal with them at all. I simply pretend it doesn't exist, which is probably why I have such large gaps in memory in the first place. I take a deep breath and shut my eyes, taking a moment to compose myself before I continue.

"When I wasn't on the receiving end of his blows, I was left to my own devices," I say. "We had an uncle staying with us at the timeDmitri, but I called him Uncle Dimaand he was an Alpha of course. But he took liberties with me an uncle shouldn't take with a prepubescent nephew…But I've always been rather pretty for a male. I was even prettier as a little boy, you know. To the point where I was often mistaken for a girl..."

My voice trails off, and I'm digging my nails into my palms. Pain has always been a medium through which I could distract myself. This is why I don't like to talk about these things. But it's Beka, so I want to say it all now and never speak of it again.

I look up at Otabek's face then, and see that he looks completely horrified. I know exactly what he's thinking.

"He didn't go all the way with me!" I clarify, as if almost to justify what actually happened as being not so bad. I mean, because it's not...right? "He just toed the line too often on invading my privacy…you took my virginity, Beka, but you weren't my first sexual encounter. With him, I was made to do everything except penetration." There, I said it. And it burns my throat like acid just to say so, especially when his face crumples in pain.

Otabek shifts his seat so that he's closer to me, grabbing my hands in his. He's the only one I ever allow to really touch me, aside Mila (who does whatever the hell she wants anyway). His touch never made my skin crawl, never made me scream for space. "How long?"

"Five years."

"Shit, Yuri." Otabek rarely curses around me, always chiding me for swearing so much. So when he cusses now, I know he's more upset than he lets on, and is probably masking his scent so I don't become agitated myself. "Did you ever get help?"

I give a slow nod and after a moment, hike up my sleeves to show my arms. It's been a while so you can't really see anything there, but if one stares hard enough they can see the thin, faded scars crisscrossing my forearms. "This was how I coped for a long time until Yakov found out and told my my grandpa. That's why he took me in all those years ago, why he doesn't speak to my father. Grandpa made me get counseling."

Otabek is slowly nodding through all this, his face now stoic. He's upset, I know it. "Meds?"

I sigh, pulling my hands away. I don't want him to think I'm some broken object. "Fluoxetine, for the complex post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety," I mumble. I don't take the meds as often of course, mostly just around competition season so I can focus. Or if I feel a panic attack coming. Which doesn't happen much anymore.

"Look, Beka, I'm fine now. It's just, some days are harder getting out of bed than others. Most days are great for me. But sometimes I just cannot function…and that's okay. It sucks, but that is my normal. I've learned to live with that. You've never seen my off days, but now that you're my mate…you'll have to. Can you handle seeing me at my absolute worst?"

Otabek looks away from me for a long time, not saying anything, but after an agonizing silence he finally brings his eyes back to mine and gives a single nod. "I can't promise to be the best Alpha to you, but I can promise to give it my all. Just don't hide away from me anymore, Yuratchka. All parts of you are beautiful…even the broken bits."

And I swear I break down in tears right there on the bleachers. Damn that Kazakh.

After practice, Yakov takes care to remind me to sleep, eat and breathe the new music piece edited for my routine at the upcoming Rostelecom Cup. It is still a month away, but we don't discuss the possibility of my having to drop out of the competition if I turn out to be pregnant. Everyone has to do blood tests before each competition, and pregnant Omegas are not allowed to compete. For now, we train as though nothing has changed. I'm careful to try to nail all my lands for any toe loop or Salchow, but sometimes I fail and experience spills on the ice. Everyone experiences this, but in my case, Otabek always seems to be distracted when I do, fawning over me and touching my belly at first opportunity. Even Mila noticed, asking me if I got knocked up. I told her to mind her damn business, but it doesn't answer her question or mine either.

When Week Three of my estrus rolls around, I start to become nervous. Rostelecom is only a little under a month away and this week will determine everything for me, and for Beka too. Every day I wake, the first thing I check is my underwear. And every break in my practice sessions, Beka makes me check, too, and once more at the end of session. But everyday the result is the same, and realization dawns on the two of us. It dawns on Yakov, too, when the third week rolls into the fourth. It is actually him, and not Beka, who forces me to take a pregnancy test at my doctor's office. I don't know if I was more relieved or petrified when it came back positive. Relieved that I'd be doing my duty as an Omega, to Beka? Or regretful because it meant putting this season, and likely the next, on hold?

Otabek is overjoyed at the news, of course, meeting me outside the clinic and nearly dropping his motorcycle on the curb in his haste to pull me into his arms. "Yuratchkaaaaaa!" he exclaims in his excitement, swinging me about in his happiness. I've never seen him smile before, I don't think. I decide then and there I'd have to make him smile more often.

Yakov, on the other hand, doesn't take the news so well. But we both decide it is better not to send blood tests in, and to formally withdraw from the rest of the season due to personal reasons. Neither of us want my pregnancy in the spotlight yet, but I promise to give him updates on my wellbeing and the pregnancy, and to let him know immediately when I wish to return to the skating world.

That night is the first I sleepover at Otabek's without compulsion of his rut or my heat, now that he's finally gotten his own place here in Russia. I'm there simply because he asked to stay the night for some movies and popcorn, and all around cuddling. I'm scrolling my social media mostly, which he scoffs at time and time again. It's not like he doesn't have a Facebook or an Instagram. He just keeps most of his private life off it. My Instagram is completely public, though most of what I post is my skating rehearsals, my cat, or my fan meets. Sometimes little quotes or pictures of whatever cool place I visit. Thought admittedly with the last month being an absolute whirlwind, my account has been a ghost town. I'm surprised—or maybe not really—at the legitimate concerns some fans have. They've started posting cat emoji's under my most recent picture, sending messages of worry for my disappearance. I smirk at it. Nosy fangirls. And the occasional fanboy.

I stare at the phone for a while in thought, long after the screen goes blank to sleep mode. I don't even notice when Otabek pauses the Netflix documentary to stare at me. It takes him nudging me with his shoulder to get my attention back to reality.

"What are you thinking?" he asks me worriedly.

"I was thinking…that I don't want us to be a secret anymore," I blurt out. I rub my still firm tummy. "I mean I want to keep the baby a secret for now, at least. Until I'm out of the dangerzone, probably. But I feel like a fraud if I keep up the pretense that we're just friends. I mean, someone is bound to see us eventually. This is Saint Petersburg. It's not some remote city in some random country."

So I open my phone again to the Instagram app and raise my arm, now a complete pro at angling my arm just so for the perfect selfie. And when I snap the picture, I make sure it's at the right time: when he blinks and I sneak a kiss to his cheek.

The caption?

" What I've been up to this month. Chasing happiness."


 

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

Of course it doesn't take long for the photo to blow up all over social media. Even Otabek's media pages have received attention from both his fans, and mine. My not-so-subtle selfie of me cuddling with him earns some ire as well, of course. 'Isn't he too young for the Kazakh?' a few say in one variation or another. 'They're so cute!'most of them exclaim. JJ and Phichit comment with shocked emoji and for the next few days, Otabek's phone chime with text notifications from our fellow competitors. I'm used to the constant vibration of my phone, but Otabek isn't accustomed to internet fame and usually turns his phone to Do Not Disturb for hours at a time to escape the onslaught of notifications. I want to say I feel sorry for dragging him into the spotlight like this, but I'm not. At least this way, everyone will know that I am officially off the market.

Otabek flew back home to Kazakhstan almost a month ago to deal with competitions in his home country and handle family affairs. He originally wanted to drop out of the season as I did, at least until the baby was born. But even the thought of him withdrawing his hard earned position made me upset, so at my request he continued on. "For both of us," he had said. He was going to try for the gold. Every skater does though, and I think I'd be happy even if he brought home a bronze.

Still, I find this longterm relationship to be rather trying. I miss him all the time, and since he gave me a key to his apartment I'm often curled up amongst his bedsheets or worn T-shirts. But the distance wears on me, and without him here to support me on the bad days I often find myself spending entire days immersed within his scent. My doctors warn me against taking my medication while still pregnant, which makes things that much more difficult for me. For Beta and Omega females, taking such medication is fine until the last few months of pregnancy. But for male Omegas, gestation is so dangerous and difficult that taking any chemical is deemed too chancy. So I listen to my doctor and suffer the depression without the drugs, replacing the pills with a day spent in Otabek's old sweatshirts.

He doesn't return to Russia until after the NHK Trophy, in which he places first to be pretty much guaranteed a chance to compete in the Grand Prix at the end of the year. By then it'd already been close to two months into the pregnancy, and my bump was beginning to show through my tighter clothes. I've taken to wearing looser items when I go out in public of course, but he is my Alpha and he points out the belly almost immediately.

"I'm sorry I was gone so long," he mumbles into my hair. I must say, pregnancy agrees with my skin and hair. It's never been so shiny or so thick before. I still trim it regularly, but the rate of growth is so spectacular that it's way past my shoulders now. I've learned to braid my hair into various styles with the new time I have on my hands.

Tilting my head up some, I give my best expression of disapproval. "You had to compete. This is nothing new for us, except that I have to spectate instead of participate," I scold. Otabek still frowns in self punishment, and I roll my eyes. "Beka, please, it's not as though we didn't Facetime nearly every day. We spoke!"

"It's not the same," he grumbles, once again burying his nose into my hair. He always did like the coconut shampoo I use.

I know it's no use arguing the point with him, so I settle for compromise. "Well you're here with me now, and that's all that…"

My words trail off, and I sit up a bit. Otabek reaches for me to come back so he can indulge in my fruity scent, but I slap his hands away and take off for the bathroom. I make it just in time to fall to the floor before the toilet and empty my stomach of the pasta I ate earlier. I want to return to him, but every time I think I'm done a new wave of retching hits me. It's not long before I feel two hands move to secure my hair away from my face. It's Otabek bent over behind me, one hand holding my locks and the other rubbing circles on my back. It takes a while, but eventually I stop dry heaving and flush the nastiness down the toilet. He wordlessly helps me brush my teeth and—against my protests—carries me bridal style to the bedroom to lay down.

"See? You suffered that all by yourself," he grumbles again, and again I sigh.

"Shut up," I mutter as I turn to curl up against him. I'm tired now, and his new blast of pheromones lull me into a sudden calm. I reach for his arm to wrap around me and shut my eyes. "Just be quiet and hold me like this."

And he does. I don't remember when I fall asleep, but when I awaken it's pitch black in the room and the only sounds are the clock and Otabek's steady snores. I inch out of his grasp to fumble for my phone, checking the time to be eight at night. Looks like we slept the entire day away. We meant to go out today on a date of sorts but I guess we'll just have to reschedule for tomorrow after his rehearsal at the rink. Not too keen on sleeping again, I pad out of the room to the kitchen. All this late night eating is doing nothing for my skater's figure, the new weight now settling around my widening hips. But I don't care right now, and grab the tub of double chocolate chip ice cream. I don't put a share into a bowl, but rather grab a spoon and take the entire tub of icecream with me to the living room. Haagen-Dazs is my guilty pleasure, I admit it.

Plopping into the sofa, I flick on the TV to catch up on a series Mila convinced me would change my life—her words, not mine—because apparently nothing in the world could be better than tits and dragons. And though I'm not particularly thrilled about all the tits, I do enjoy the political storylines behind it.

Halfway into the episode, Otabek's mussy hair blocks my view of the television screen and I frown. "Oi," I complain, popping the spoon from my mouth. "I can't see Drogo's face with your head in the way—"

My words are cut off by a kiss so unexpected, I squeak in surprise. Otabek shows no signs of letting up, but not sure what's come over him I pull back a bit to look at him carefully. "Beka?" I whisper breathlessly, squinting into the dim room to his face. Only the glow of the TV provides any light, so it is hard to see too much. But I can see the unmistakeable look of want on his face. An expression I have not seen since the day he marked me.

I understand then and there that he will take me right there on that couch, and my face flushes from embarrassment. My body responds immediately to the needs of my Alpha, and already I can feel myself starting to lubricate in anticipation. "Where is this coming from?" I whisper. This is…random. Entirely random.

"Good dream," he answers in haste, immediately following up with more series of kisses. By good dream, I can assume he means wet dream. So I stop asking questions and pull away only to place the ice cream on the coffee table, returning to his eager lips. I admit my sex drive has been next to nonexistent the last few months, but Beka's never asked of sex or complained at the lack of intimacy. So I won't complain to give him what he needs most right now.

Quickly Otabek rids me of my clothing so that he can lay claim to every part of my body. Being as pale as I am, I know I will be full of pink bite marks tomorrow. I squirm under his ministrations, my eyes going wider the lower he travels my body. "W-wait," I sputter as he places butterfly kisses to my inner thighs. Without warning he engulfs the entirety of my small length into his mouth and I swear to every god I die twice from bliss. When my eyes roll shut from the sensation, Otabek hums in approval of my reactions. The vibration pulls a barely contained moan from my throat, and I cover my mouth with the back of my hand.

Otabek widens my legs and pulls me lower down the sofa for better access, bobbing his head up and down rather consistently. He occasionally interrupts to pay special attention to my tip and my balls, but always returning to suck me off in the most delicious, toe curling manner. "Ngh…hah…mmmm…" Muffled though they are, the moans are still quite audible.

Finally he releases my length with a dramatic pop, my now very engorged member resting wetly on my stomach. Already I am a panting mess before him, but Otabek continues to steal my breath with a renewed, searing kiss. I can taste myself on his tongue, a mix of salty and musky in flavor. In the midst of the kiss, I feel two fingers rub against my moist entrance and then enter me. At first I hiss from the disuse. I don't have the help of being delirious with heat to block my pain receptors. This time I'm keenly aware of the odd sensation in that back entrance, but Otabek goes slowly and kisses my neck, my nose, my chin in silent support.

"You okay?" he finally says to me once my moans return. I merely nod and when he removes his fingers, prepare to turn over to my knees to present for him. But he stops me and I look at him in confusion. "I want to see your face," he tells me then, guiding me once more to my back. He stands up to shed his pants and shirt so that he is as naked as I am, and then hooks my legs around his middle. He and I share a brief kiss before he enters me swiftly. I can tell immediately that he remembers where all my sweet spots are, as he wastes no time in keeping his angle just so. The attack on my nerves so soon, so relentlessly pulls a series of surprised moans from me.

He smirks in triumph and moves his hips slowly at first, but steadily increases both pace and strength of his thrusts so that holding my moans back become an impossible feat. But I'm not alone. I find that Otabek's grunts and groans are about as loud as mine, and the knowledge that I am the reason for them turns me on all the more. "Mmm…mmm..! More…there, fuck. Yes..!"

My words bring the desired reaction, and he finally decides that this position won't allow him to properly and thoroughly fuck me the way he wants. My ankles are brought practically to either side of my head, which is still rather comfortable from all the ballet I still take, the open access allowing him to plow into me without abandon. I'm clutching the arm of the sofa with both hands, my mouth open in silent scream from pleasure. I can hear his grunts of effort, his moans of appreciation, and the wet sounds of my fluids and the sweat of slapping thighs. It's not long before I orgasm, the ejaculate coming out in spurts on my belly and his. But he doesn't stop just yet, merely releasing my legs to guide me to stand. I bend over to grab onto the back of the sofa for support just as he enters me from behind, one hand firm on my hips and the other gripping my hair. He's tugging, hard, my back forced to arch to an impossible degree. I'm still riding out the wave of my previous orgasm and want no more stimulation, the sensations almost becoming too much for me.

"Nn...hah...no more..!" I start to plead, wanting to wriggle my hips away. I even reach back with one arm to try to stay his hips. But he holds me still and keeps going. I'm beginning to think he has a kink for making me suffer this way. And I'm beginning to think I like it.

"Take it," he grunts hotly in my ear, and from his words alone I tumble into my second orgasm. I'm convinced my legs are going to give out any second, but luckily Otabek finds his orgasm shortly after mine. He doesn't cum inside me this time, pulling out just before his knot could form to shoot onto my lower back. The fluid is hot and viscous, and when he finishes, I slowly sink to the hardwood floor. He drops like a bucket onto the sofa, a sweaty panting mess.

I'm no better, my blonde hair sticking to various parts of my neck, face and shoulders where the sweat is. I rest my head on his knees, both of us quiet in the glow of the TV now displaying credits. "What was that for?" I pant out then. My eyes are closed, but I know I can't sleep without showering first. We are filthy.

"Good dream," Otabek repeats the second time that night.

I chuckle in response and shake my head. "A dream so good it sent you into a rut? Tsk tsk, Otya."

In revenge for the tease, he tickles under my arms until I'm screaming for mercy, the two of us opting to shower together before returning to the sofa to cuddle once again. He allows me to return to my forgotten, melting ice cream and medieval fantasy, even joining me even though he has no idea what's going on this deep into the season. But he doesn't complain, and we fall asleep that way: wrapped up in each other's arms.


 

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

"I don't care, you are not going. I won't allow it," Otabek says. His eyes are shut and arms folded, and with the way his jaw muscles jump I know he's very cross.

I try again to pacify him. "Beka—"

"I already said no, Yuri."

His tone is almost a growl, and as a result I bow my head in submission as an attempt to cool his nerves. It's not that Otabek is angry at me. I've done nothing to earn his ire. His anger is more to do with my family than anything, and this situation I've found myself in. My family is having a bit of a celebration for one of my cousins, who's just presented as Alpha. Probably a sigh of relief on their end, since I am really the only one to present Omega in our line. My mother is the one who phones me about it of course, but I know it's only because my shit father ordered it. However, Otabek has strong feelings against my parents. He can't forgive my father for the neglect, my mother's passivity, or my uncle's sexualizing of my young body. He want's nothing to do with my family, and would keep me far away from them forever if he could. The only one of them he can stand is my grandpa, who he's had the pleasure of meeting once.

Still, I miss my mother, which isn't hard since I look just like her. She couldn't do much and I never hated her for the misfortune of being mated to the asshole who shares half my DNA. She did what she could to get around his direct orders, although it wasn't a lot, it was enough for me to know she still cared. I try to explain it to Otabek, but he just doesn't see it that way. I don't think he ever will.

"Otabek, unless you plan to tie me down or directly order me to cut off my family, I just can't not go." My head is still low, but my voice is sure. I want to see her. I haven't seen her in so many years, and this would be my only shot.

The Kazakh opens his eyes and turns to look at me, and his expression almost makes me take back my words. "But what if he's there? I won't be here to protect you from him—

"I don't need saving, Otabek," I cut off, scowling. "I'm not some damsel who needs someone to save her from the monster."

"And I never said you did," Otabek growls back. "But he is a monster, because only monster can do to a child what he did to you. I swear to God, Yura, if he touches you again I will kill him myself."

And I know that at least in this moment in time, Otabek really means it. I can tell from the blast of pheromones he could do it now, unprovoked, if I asked it of him. Otabek is far too irritated now to calm, so I don't bother arguing the point anymore. I simply nod and curl up next to him, shoving my face into his neck to get lung fulls of his scent. Strong arms pull my lithe body against his tightly, as if trying to protect me from some unseen danger.

Otabek leaves for Barcelona later that month, leaving me to mentally prepare for this stupid party all by myself. He's only been gone for a week, but I miss him already. Especially when the day of the party arrives. I'd gotten so very little sleep the night before due to my anxiety levels being too high for me to relax. I hate that I can't take my medication or drink any alcohol to calm myself down, and the result is a very grumpy, very agitated Omega the following morning. Even Potya, my cat, senses my aggravation and leaves me mostly alone.

This would have been one of those days I stay inside in bed all day, but no. I've already RSVP'd to this stupid party, so I force myself to look presentable. I wash my face, take a long shower, wash my long hair and braid it away rather intricately in a fishtail that goes down past my shoulder blades. The real challenge is finding clothes to not make my stomach protrude overly much. My father hates my sex as an Omega, and nothing would remind him more of the fault than my pregnancy. So I settle for a loose knitted sweater and pants that won't make it so obvious. My winter coat does the rest, and like that I'm on my way.

It's far too cold for public transport, so I opt for the taxi to get me to my grandfather's since I'd taken to spending more and more nights at Beka's. Essentially, I lived with my mate now as was proper, but I hadn't yet found the courage to live there permanently just yet.

Grandpa and I depart for the train station in our town of Saint Petersburg, and from there we endure the long eight hour ride to Moscow, where my parents reside.

"Yurio."

We'd been on the train for maybe half the trip without saying too much, since he was too tired and I was too anxious. So when he speaks now, I'd actually been dozing off a bit. His voice makes me jump to alertness, and I turn to look at him slightly.

"Yes, diedushka?" I reply then..

He's looking at his intercrossed fingers. "It's been a long time since we've spoken about your Uncle Dima..."

This is true. I was under the impression my uncle wouldn't be arriving at all. This news skyrockets my anxiety, and I try hard not to panic that very instant. So instead of replying I say nothing at all.

"Your mother says he isn't coming, but even if he does I doubt he will try anything. But even so, Yuratchka, please mind yourself. You will tell me if anything is amiss, and we will leave immediately. You understand, yes?"

"I wouldn't let him," I mumble weakly. I always told myself if he ever tried again things would be different. After all, I am older now. I have a voice now, and I can use it. I'm stronger and now better able to fend him off if it ever got that far.

At least, that's what I tell myself.

My grandfather looks unconvinced, but he drops the subject with a nod. "Very well," he sighs, and when his eyes close I assume he's fallen asleep. So I follow him and take a well earned nap.

The next time we awaken, it's because we arrive at our destination in Moscow. My mother and father pick us up from the station, of which the entire car ride consisted of everyone else speaking to one another. I only reply with the occasional words to show my attentiveness to the conversation, but mostly I go unacknowledged and I find I don't really care. It's not like I want to really be here anyway. I only wanted to see mom, but I won't be able to talk to her until we're alone.

It almost seems like forever before we finally arrive at the house, and just the sight of it makes my heart constrict. I feel grandpa's hand grasp mine and squeeze, and I look at him with what must be a pained expression. But his is of quiet resolve, so I pull up a mask of determination for him and nod in silent agreement. This will all be over soon.

My childhood home always reminded me of some closely guarded secret. It was a pretty white house with enough windows, but its high fencing always prevented one from ever truly knowing just what went on behind it. There's a swing set in the garden, upon which no one ever saw the times I was made to sit on Uncle Dima's lap while he fondled me beneath my pants. Or the pretty hedges, behind which I learned how to choke on a member that was far too big for my 10 year old mouth. I hate this place.

"You'll be staying in your old room, Yuri," my mother says, pulling me out of my thoughts. It's the first words she says directly to me, and out of habit we both immediately glance to my father for permission, asking with our eyes if this is okay. When he stiffly nods, I begin to lift my backpack but mother takes it from me and gestures I follow her.

It's not until we get to my old room that I realize how much I hate it. So many terrible things happened in here: many lonely heats were endured on that twin bed, where my father locked me away until the spells broke. It was that way until l I finally took suppressants at 13. Many belt whippings occurred in that corner. Too many times were spent hiding in that closet. And my uncle…. He took liberties here I wish I could bleach from my memory.

It still smells like cinnamon in here. I hate cinnamon, the scent remindfs me of those dark times. And my uncle. It makes me sick.

"You look green, Yuri. Still having morning sickness?" My mother's soft voice cuts through my internal dilemma and I focus on her again. She gestures I sit down on the bed, so I do, and she claims a seat beside me.

I almost jump when she reaches out to place a hand on my belly. "No, don't!" I hiss, too late. My eyes are wide, and I'm genuinely terrified of my father walking in to see this.

Mom almost looks sad at my reaction, but she knows the reason for it and pulls away. "You didn't tell me I'd be a grandmother," she whispers sadly.

"You never asked," I shoot back with a surprising amount of vehemence. And just like that, I realize exactly how much baggage I'm still carrying for this place. So much resentment I never knew I had. "None of you bothered to check on me," I continue, "but I'm sure you all enjoyed seeing me win on television."

"Yuri, that is not fair," she replies with a degree of hurt.

"Do you understand what happened to me in this place?" I continue. We never had a conversation about it. "I was treated no better than a dog here. And when the worst possible thing, the most vile thin happened to me, you all brushed it under the rug—"

"I don't want to talk about this now, Yura," my mother intercepts. She's raising a hand and is it alone will block off my words like a wall. Of course. She never wants to talk about this. Why am I shocked? I keep hoping for some resolution for this, but this always ends up being the result.

I suddenly regret coming here. Maybe Beka was right; maybe I should have skipped this party.

I scoff and look away from her to gaze at my feet. "You mean you never want to talk about Uncle," I continue. "He is father's brother, after all. It's not like you can actually do anything about it." That was a low blow and she flinches in my peripheral, but I don't care. Everyone's lack of reaction about this thing hurts me, so it feels better to inflict a tiny degree of that pain in return.

"I am fine. I didn't get knocked up. I have a mate, and soon I will have a child. That is all you need to know." And with that tone, I make it clear that this conversation is over. All these years apart from my mother, and this is the reunion we have. It's not anything like I wanted it to be and it cuts worse than I realize.

My mother rises from the bed slowly but she doesn't yet leave, hesitation making her remain where she was. And when I glance at her, I can see a guilty look on her face.

"What?" I grumble. I just want to sleep.

"Dmitri is attending the party tomorrow."

And like that, the color drains from my face. "You told me he wasn't…"

She's biting her lip, and I realize then just how tired she looks. Still pretty, but so very tired. "Alexei wouldn't listen to me when I suggested keeping him off the guest list, and you know how your father gets," she blurts out. As if whatever she could say would ever be able to justify this cruel thing she knowingly did. She decieved me willingly. "I knew if I told you, you wouldn't have come and... Oh, I just wanted to see you, Yuratchka!"

I don't know which one hurts me worse. That he's coming, or that she lied, or that she willingly put me in such a compromising position to share the same air as my terrorizer. Otabek was right. I shouldn't have come.

I don't sleep that night, but I know better than to be a grouch in this household. Not unless I want to earn my father's attention. I learned a long time ago it was better to avoid his eyes. I cant bring myself to interact much with my mother, still too hurt by her selfishness. And when I tell grandpa he is livid. My mother is his daughter, so to hear his own child was capable of such deception was hard. She lied to him too, because he likewise wouldn't have come had he known Dmitri was on the guestlist.

But it's too late now, so we merely feign joy in helping decorating for the party the following morning. But inside we're dying to get on the first train back to Saint Petersburg. The only thing that keeps me relatively sane is my communication with Beka, and the news that his scoring is going well. I don't tell him about my situation, not wishing to distract him from the competition.

So I lie and tell him all is well, despite the fact that dear Uncle Dima has arrived with a few of the guests. I pretend all is well, even though I internally scream at his handshake and immediately excuse myself to the bathroom to wash my hands. And by wash, I mean scrub until my hands are raw and red from the scalding hot water and friction.

Long after the party starts and the music is playing, I simply keep myself occupied with keeping my belly full and chatting with other members of my family I'd not seen in a while. Some of them already know of Otabek due to them following my social media, and gush about my relationship. My father looks entirely disapproving that a child he spawned was now effectively a breeding bitch to another man, but I don't really care what he thinks.

Eventually though as the night drains on, I become mentally exhausted for keeping up pretense. I don't actually want to be here, and pretending for hours that I do has taken its toll. My cousin's party started at two in the afternoon, and now that it's night time I want nothing more than a break from all the fake smiles. So I excuse myself to my old room and close the door to muffle all the music of downstairs; and kick off my shoes so that I can curl up in the small bed. I pull out my headphones and listen to the to the long voice notes sent by a drunken Viktor, some of which make me blush out of secondhand embarrassment for Yuuri. Otabek sends me selfies of the places he visits in Barcelona, and that he smiles in absolutely none of them makes me chuckle. I send a text mocking him for his grumpy habit, but before I get to hit send I feel the presence of another in the room. Thinking it's probably grandpa come to check on me, I turn my back from the door to greet him, only to see Dmitri standing there.

TRIGGER WARNING: YOU MAY SKIP HERE=

My blood runs cold. I didn't even hear the door open. I rip earphones out. "Get out," I hiss, to which he raises his hands in self defense.

"I knocked but I suppose you did not hear me," he jokes, coming closer to me.

"Get out," I say again, inching backward in the bed. But my words sound less menacing than they did the first time. Now it just sounds like I'm pleading. I make myself sick with how pitiful I sound.

Dmitri ignores me and decides to sit on the bed anyway, and I swear to god my limbs lock up. I can't move, but I want to bolt out of there. I feel cornered even though there's room to run out. Beka was right, I shouldn't have come.

My uncle's eyes rove over me and the way he looks at me makes my skin absolutely crawl. That is a look I was able to avoid for several years. "You were always so very pretty," he tells me then, and when he reaches out to brush a stray hair behind my ear I can't help but flinch away.

And he fucking laughs.

"Ah, Yuratchka, still afraid of little Uncle Dima?" he taunts, and I know then that no matter how much big talk I gave to Otabek that I am still, in fact, terrified of this man. It doesn't help that he looks eerily similar to my father, dark haired with dark eyes that seem to hold too many dark secrets.

I hate him. "Don't touch me, don't fucking touch me," I warn when he pulls the end of my long braid between his fingers. I slap his hands away, but he only twists my braid into a strong grip and tugs, yanking my head back.

He laughs at my pain, and immediately advances on me. His hands are everywhere: on my face, on my sensitive chest through my shirt, my thighs, between my legs…

"Oh, breeding already? Explains Alexei's dark mood," he muses as he touches my belly. Of course my father caught scent of my pregnancy hormones. I don't think I've ever regretted my pregnancy until this very moment in time.

I shove against him and protectively wrap my arms around my belly. I open my mouth in preparation to scream, but he launches himself to the bed, knocking me onto my back so that he's on top and covering my mouth with his hand.

"Now you shut up, don't want word getting back to your pretty mate about you fucking another Alpha, hm?" he taunts, and immediately the tears flow. I'm screaming against his hands, the sound completely muffled beneath his meaty palm. It doesn't matter that my throat burns raw from the effort I put behind my yells, no one can hear me. He only removes his hand to force his lips on mine, and I gag on the tongue shoved into my mouth. I struggle to bite down on his tongue in effort to deter him from going further. The taste of subtle copper tells me I'm successful in nicking him at least, and he grunts in pain. Yanking his head back, he glowers at me as if I'm the one who's insulted him, and backhands me. The slap is harsh, and immediately I feel the pain bloom on my face. I know already that my cheek is red and likely to swell. The force of the slap whips my head to the side, and for a moment I am too dazed to do much more than hold my now throbbing cheek. He was never violent with me before. This act genuinely shocks me.

He can't...he can't really mean to rape me?

Oh please God, no.

The bass of the music downstairs plays as the background soundtrack to this heinous act, the sound of laughing and conversation a complete opposite to Dmitri's pants and my pleas for his to stop.

"No….niet, I don't want this!" I hiss, slapping his hands away. They're crawling under my shirt, touching the intimate parts of me only Otabek is allowed to see.

But still, Dmitri hangs over me as he gives up on feeling up my chest and turns his attention to my belt. "You've become feisty, little kitten. Trying be the lion?" he taunts. He used to call me that, his little lion. The reminder makes me sick, and I almost vomit.

He's yanking off my pants now, and I start to kick my legs, bucking my hips to try to get him off me. This isn't happening. This can't happen. I won't be able to survive this. "NIET!" I scream then, sobbing as he forces himself within me. There was no prep, no attempt to even make this process easier. I'm dry as a desert when he enters, but he covers my mouth to muffle my screams of pain. It's like knives running along my insides. But eventually the slick is produced and the wet sounds make me cry in despair. I hate that I can feel myself harden just a bit, that I can actually feel some sort of pleasure from this. I hate the sounds of my childish bed creaking with each thrust, his grunts of effort, the stupid smell of cinnamon this room always had… This can't be happening…this can't be real.

You're weak. The sooner you stop fighting, the quicker it will be over.

And like that…I go limp. I release my hands from his arms and let them fall to the bed, and simply train my eyes to the star covered ceiling, waiting for it to be over. "There you go," he grunts too close to my face. He smells like cigarette. I hate that smell, too. "Good kitten."

SCENE END=

I don't know how long this goes on for. It could have been five minutes. It could have been five hours. It feels like centuries. But we both hear the door open and he flies off me, while I lay there in a daze.

"Oh my God….you fucking sick bastard," I hear someone say. I don't recognize the voice, and don't care. I want to, but I can't find the energy to do much more than silently weep where I lay half dressed and disheveled on the bed. I hear the music cut off downstairs, more feet run up the stairs, and angered tones from beyond the room. Someone has the decency to cover me with a blanket, and I curl up on myself immediately, ashamed that I've been seen this way by everyone. I don't want to be here anymore. I hate it here. I hate myself.

I'm going to be sick.

"For God's sake, get the boy to another room!"

I know that voice. "Mom," I say feebly between sobs, finally raising my head to find her face. It's splotchy red with tears. I imagine it mirrors my own.

Grandpa comes around behind her. His aged face is red with anger, and he pushes everyone aside to get to me. He'd never hurt me. He's my safe space. "Don't tell Beka," I sputter out, over and over as I'm helped to the adjacent guest room. I don't care who hears me now. "Don't tell…don't tell him, please. Beka can't know!"

I'm hyperventilating. I can't fucking breathe. I need air but no matter how hard I inhale nothing works. I hate it here, I hate this scent of slick and blood and him.

Grandpa is the only one here who knows exactly what is going on and figures I'm having a panic attack. "Slow your breathing, Yura!" he tries to remind me. But it's easier said than done, and before I know it, my knees buckle and somebody in my peripheral rushes to catch me before I hit the ground headfirst. I never get to see the face of my savior before my world fades to black, sweet nothingness.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

They tell Beka anyway.

They have the decency to wait until after he takes home a bronze from the Grand Prix, with Viktor and Yuuri taking home the gold and silver respectively. None of them stay for the annual banquet this year, all rushing to get the first flight back to Saint Petersburg. By then it had been three days since the incident, but I'd been kept in the hospital for observation. Because I refused to speak, I'd been placed in the psych ward with a constant rotation of nurses or other familiar faces. For the first day, it was mainly my grandfather who sat by me. He would read his Bible in silence, or break out into tears of grief. I couldn't bring myself to say words of comfort, even though I desperately wanted to. But no matter how I tried, the words just wouldn't come out. So I simply learned to close my eyes and turn my head away from the sight.

I never had to ask why my arms were strapped to the bed. I'd been here before, a long time ago. If they still had my records, then I knew I'd been placed on suicide watch. I want to tell them I wouldn't do it, not with the baby inside me. I could never kill what Beka helped me create. If that meant enduring this hell to keep it alive, then I would do it. But I can't, my throat won't cooperate with my brain, and so I'm left to remain strapped away.

Yuuri was the first to arrive, but being emotional Omega he is, the tears on his end were immediate. He had to be dragged away by his mate, who was equally devastated by the news but trying to hold it together for Yuuri's sake.

Otabek was just as mute as I the first day he arrived. He didn't say anything, merely holding my hand in silence. And we stayed that way for hours until visitation was over. The sixth day of my confinement, I noted I hadn't seen my grandfather, but I didn't have the words yet to ask for him…so my wonder went unnoticed in silence.

The seventh day of my stay, they remove the straps from my arms. But when Otabek asks if I'm being discharged, I hear them whisper that it will be at least a day or so more before I'm free to go. I sit up a bit in the bed, alerting them that I can indeed hear them, and the nurse merely clears her throat and walks away. Otabek looks at me with tired eyes. There are bags under them, a thing I've never seen on his face before. 'When was the last time you slept?' I want to ask him. I even open my mouth, and he looks so devastated when I close it again in defeat. I can't bear to see his face like this, so I turn away from him the way I turn away from grandpa.

Yakov comes the next day with Lilia, but like most others who come in here, they say nothing. I hate their looks of pity. I don't want them, and it's too late to pity me now. I'm already spoiled goods.

Day Number Nine is when I catch Otabek quietly sobbing to himself. He's bent over in the chair, his shoulders shaking with the force of his crying, and both hands pressed tightly to his mouth to block the sound of his grief. I've never seen him cry before, I don't think. I feel terrible that I'm the reason for his tears.

I need to talk to him. I need to tell him it's okay, that I'm sorry. That it won't happen again. That I'll try harder next time, and that I'm sorry I went in the first place. So many things I want to say, if only my fucking words would just—

"Don't cry, Otabek."

My voice sounds so hoarse with disuse, but that my mouth is finally cooperating shocks the two of us. His head shoots upward, and for a moment he merely stares at me in disbelief. Then he launches out of his chair to grasp my face between both hands, but when I flinch away he drops them again, awkwardly letting them hang by his sides. It is then I notice the reddened flesh around Otabek's knuckles. What happened to him to get him injured? Did he fall funny on the ice?

"You spoke," he whispers reverently, as if speaking too loudly will break the memory and frighten me back to the land of eternal silence. "Can you do it again? For me? Please?"

I really want to reach out to wipe away those tears. But the idea of touching anyone just makes my skin crawl, and I can't bring myself to touch even my mate just yet. So I simply scrunch my hands into fists in my frustration and look away. "I'm sorry…damaged now." My voice cracks, and I cough in vain attempt to clear my throat. It hasn't been used in so long that it almost hurts to speak now.

Otabek nods with fervor, a hand reaching out to brush my greasy hair away from my face, but I once again move away from his touch and he retracts his hand. I probably look like shit. How unattractive.

"Not damaged," he reassures me. Oh, how he sounds so sad for me. "Just a little broken. But not so broken you won't heal."

I know I had injury to my anus, and from the soreness of my neck I know I have bruises from Dmitri's hands. Speaking of my uncle... "Dmitri?"

The grief in Otabek's face immediately morphs into one of pure anger, and I almost flinch away from it. "He's been taken care of. That's all you need to know for now," Otabek replies. But I stare at him with my lips pressed thinly. I need to know what happened to him, and I refuse to be kept in the dark about it.

Otabek gets the idea and sighs in barely concealed agitation. "I dealt with him, Yura. Personally. I didn't kill him, but only because the police arrived first."

Ah, that explains his bruised knuckles. I don't ask anymore questions pertaining to Uncle Dima. "Where's grandpa?" I ask instead.

"Uh.." Otabek fumbles, but eventually forces a smile to his face. "Don't worry about him. Just rest for now."

And though I fight it, I dose off almost by command.

They release me after a few days when I start to piece more words together, and I learn grandpa suffered cardiac arrest out of grief. The guilt pushes me back into my mute state, but it is only temporary and I find my words again once they release him back home to be cared for by an aide.

I don't leave Otabek's for weeks afterward, spending most days on the couch and binge watching various shows. I get up only to tend to my hygiene, or to cook when the mood strikes me. But it becomes very apparent that I've retreated into sex repulsion, barely able to tolerate even Otabek's touch for too long. At his request, I resume sessions with my old therapist, who gives me the permission necessary to begin taking medication despite my pregnant state. I just have to stop once my third trimester nears to avoid serious complications with my unborn child.

And I do, five months to the day. My belly is very distended by then due to my naturally thin figure. I become reaccustomed to contact with Otabek and even go back to cuddling with him comfortably every night. Sometimes we push the envelope and I touch him in his most intimate places, and on occasion he reciprocates. But we don't go further than that, and though I apologize often for still not being ready to perform my duty as an Omega, he assures me that as my Alpha he will be patient and wait. And I swear each time I burst into tears. Damn these hormones, I cannot wait to be done with them.

It's currently late at night, and the both of us sit dumb founded now that we've watched the season finale of our favorite medieval pastime. Otabek gets up to flick on the lights in the living room when he hears my hiss of discomfort from behind. He turns his head to look at me rubbing my belly, and frowns in concern.

"Is something the matter?" he asks me in worry.

I merely shake my head and wave him over. "Come here."

"Why?"

"Just shut up and come over here," I grumble impatiently.

When he finally does come back next to me, I take his hand to rest it where my hands had just been on my stomach. I say nothing, simply looking into Otabek's face until the expression switches from concern to wonderment.

"It…moved…." He breathes out.

I smile at him. "She moved," I whisper in reply, both correcting and revealing the big news in one fell swoop.

His eyes shoot up to mine, and for a moment I think he's going to cry with how shiny his eyes become. But the tears never fall. Still, the emotion makes his throat bob and his reaction make my smile all the wider for it. This moment right here, in the quiet between us, makes every minute of nausea and heartburn and backache…all absolutely worth it. All for Otabek. And in a way, all for me, too.

"She moved," he echoes, placing a kiss on my round tummy. I run a hand through his hair at the intimate act and nod, unable to speak, afraid that I'll sob like the emotional pregnant mess that I am. "She's going to be so beautiful. Half of me, half of you."

"Or all of you and none of me, if the universe has a sick sense of humor," I scoff back.

Otabek merely laughs and gets off his knees to sit on the couch, pulling me against him so my head can rest on his chest. "I don't care if she looks only like me, or like you. Or like a strange combination of the two. Perhaps she'll look like none but herself. Whatever the result, I'll love her as fiercely as I love you."

"You love me?"

I shift to look up at him, my eyes wide. It doesn't occur to me until then that we never used these words with one another. We slept together maybe a handful of times and I got pregnant with his child. Sure, we were mated due to accidental circumstances, and even lived together as a Paired couple ought. But love? We never admitted to it. Not a single time.

He stares down at me for a long moment before leaning down to capture my lips. It's not a sloppy kiss, though not exactly chaste either. Our tongues dance with one another's, and before I know it I'm flushed with my heart nearly beating out of my chest.

"Does that answer your question, Yuratchka?"

I can do nothing but nod breathlessly. "I love you, too," I whisper back. And that night, we make love to each other for the first time in three long months.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

Everyone makes a big deal out of my eighteenth birthday—the media especially—since it's become common knowledge that I was dating our dear Hero of Kazakhstan. But seeing as how I rarely went out once my belly became too large to hide, no one knew that I was actually pregnant. So when my birthday arrives, I feel entirely liberated as a weight lifts off my shoulders. Never before did I know how difficult it would be to hide the most important milestone of my life from the millions of followers on my Instagram and Snapchat.

So on that day, I post a picture of my fingers interlocked with Otabek's, resting on my big belly. And the internet loses its collective mind.

I eventually have to turn my phone off from all the pings for every notification, and Otabek uninstalls his Instagram altogether, being forced to keep his phone on so that one of us can have contact with the world.

"You shouldn't have posted it," he grumbles when his phone vibrates for the umpteenth time that minute. It's his Facebook this go-round, and I only shrug a shoulder in reply.

"It's not like you weren't an active participant," I retort about the photo. He'd been entirely gung ho about revealing the extent of our relationship to the general public now that I was no longer a minor. I no longer needed my parents' or guardian's permission for anything. I could mate and divorce whomever, whenever, and the law would stand by me. We wouldn't have to hide anymore.

The feeling was glorious.

But I guess it was a momentary Alpha-like behavior on his part—to publicly announce that I was now his, and that any other Alpha who saw me as a potential mate should back off. The fallout was his own social media gaining a massive amount of followers. Ah, well. It can't be taken back now. God knows how many times the photo's been retweeted and re-shared by now.

"So," Otabek says, changing the subject. "I have a surprise for you."

I raise a single blond brow in suspicion and immediately stop my petting of Potya to regard this man I call my mate. Otabek doesn't do surprises. Ever. "What is it..?" I ask slowly.

He merely smiles in that boyish way of his and shakes his head. "Firstly, I have to get to practice. But while I'm gone, you are going out with Mila. You'll find out the rest later."

I scowl. "Beka—"

But the Kazakh cuts me off with the kind of kiss he knows always distracts whatever thought process I had, and when he pulls away I almost pout. I'm put out that I have to wait all day to know the surprise, but I don't push it anymore. "Not fair," I grumble, getting off the stool in the kitchen. I need to shower and head out soon, so I turn on my phone and immediately call a surprisingly wide-awake Mila.

I leave the house before Otabek to get into Mila's car at the curb.

"Oy, you're getting so big now, Yuraaa!" she exclaims, poking my belly.

I slap her hands away. "Hey, knock it off, durak, you know I hate it when you do that!" I grumble at her. It puts everyone else off, but unfortunately does nothing to deter her. So I roll my eyes and snap my seat belt into place. We both see Otabek leave and she honks at him in greeting. He waves at us, even winking my way to make me blush—much to my embarrassment—before he gets on his bike.

We watch him put on his helmet and start up his bike before we ourselves pull off. It's almost as though Mila were waiting for him to leave first. Suspicion clouds again, and I squint at Mila in a 'what are you up to' kind of way.

She doesn't take the bait. Damnit.

"So, Ice Princess—"

"Don't call me that!"

"—First thing's first," she continues, as though I didn't just angrily call her out on using that ridiculous nickname for me. "We're going to give you the hottest makeover, ever. And that means you're not lifting finger today. We're taking a trip to the spa, then the salon, then back home to get dressed, yeah?"

I would have grumbled that I'm hot enough as is already, except I kind of do want that spa treatment. "Hmmm...Dressed for what, though?"

"You'll see," is all Mila says, but I can tell from her grin that she and Otabek are up to no good.

"You two are planning something, aren't you?"

Mila doesn't take her eyes off the road, but her grin widens. "Possibly."

I sigh and sink lower into my seat. No sense prying any further now. If there's only one thing I learned about her over the years, it's that Mila is notoriously good at keeping secrets. She knows something about everyone but never tells a soul what she knows unless absolutely necessary.

So we go to the spa, as promised, and I receive the most delicious massage for my lower back and my feet. Those two areas always ache the worse for me, so to have them so tended to, and in such detail! I feel like jelly by the time we walk out of the facility. The facial did wonders, too. My face feels tingly and soft, like a baby's bottom. I can only imagine how expensive it was, so I don't ask.

The next stop is indeed the salon, where the stylists clucks his tongue at my gloriously thick, but uncut hair. He complains it lacks shape, and thus lacks life. Whatever that means. I give him the freedom to whatever he wants with it, so long as he doesn't lop too many inches off. I stress that my mate likes the length, and given how important Pairing is to this world, I know the stylist wouldn't deliberately cut my hair too short.

In the end, he settles for simply giving my hair many layers and giving the front a bit of subtle, long fringe work so that it frames my face better. Then it's given a deep condition and blow dry that leaves my hair feeling incredible silky and shiny. My hair is styled subtly so that the top third of my head has waterfall braids on either side of my head, that meet in the back and are tied off into a little ponytail, blending with the rest of my wavy blonde locks. And by the time we're all done, it's almost evening. Again, Mila doesn't make me pay for it even though I have the money to, and proceeds to bring me back home. But instead of dropping me off like I thought she would, she finds a parking spot and follows me indoors.

"I don't need a babysitter," I grumble, sounding incredible petulant for someone looking this pretty.

"Don't careeee!" Mila sing songs, dancing past me and into the bathroom. It would be like her to steal the bathroom first when I seriously need to pee!

I settle for the guest bathroom to relieve my bladder before heading to the bedroom, which I notice smells like a glorious blend of vanilla and coconut. I flick on the light and notice the rose petals scattered about the room. For a moment, I stand there, paralyzed in shock, before I move over to the bed where a paper has been placed in its center. I pick it up and stare at it for a moment before placing a hand to my mouth. Damn this Kazakh.

"Yurio,

I know you've never celebrated your birthdays before, but if we never celebrate another one again, I wanted to atleast make this one special. It's an important milestone for you, and I want to make this a day you never forget.

The day is still not over. I left a box of what you should change into, in the closet.

XO,

Beka"

I know immediately that Mila collaborated with Otabek this entire time and almost begin to feel a bit of anxiety for what's to come. What did he mean the day is still not over? It's already sunset!

"Well, don't just stand there, silly," Mila says from behind me. She doesn't sound patronizing or teasing this time, and when I peer behind me, she's smiling knowingly. She nods at me to get a move on, so I do, shifting to the closet where there is, indeed, a large white box that definitely was not there this morning.

Within the box is just a navy ivory cashmere sweater I'd been staring at online for a while, but refused to buy at that outrageous price, and navy blue dress pants. I pair it with the navy blue shoes found in the box. All price tags are removed, of course, but from the name brands I can tell Otabek must have planned a long while to buy me these. I never was the kind of omega who requested expensive gifts or flowers. I requested nothing but attention, really. So that he does this touches my heart.

When I'm finally all dressed, Mila comes into the room again and merely stares at me slack jawed.

"What?" I say, feeling entirely self conscious. I rest my hands on my belly and look away, wondering if maybe I look funny. I usually stick to more rugged attire. This outfit is…different. Mature, I guess.

"You look stunning, Yura," Mila says, now without an ounce of sarcasm. "Otabek will love it."

And I hope to God he does.

It takes nearly an hour to drive to whichever ridiculous place they have planned. I think it's a restaurant at first, because logically, that would make sense, no?

But instead of driving toward the heart of the city where the best restaurants are, we're driving more to the suburban parts, where there's more land and less buildings. The sun is almost gone, the sky a pretty lavender-orange-pink-blue combination that artists live to paint.

"How far is this place?" I keep asking Mila, but each time she merely chuckles and calls me impatient. I almost want to scream for joy when she finally rolls to car to a halt in some lot. But it's not empty other cars are parked here too. Cars I recognize. I hope it's not a party. I told him I didn't want any parties!

Mila sees my anxiety and reaches out to pat my arm. "It's not a party," she reassures my silent prayer, but she says nothing else to give anything away, merely gesturing with her head that we get a move on.

We walk for maybe five minutes until we come upon a sort of cobbled stoneway, the kind you see in fairytale books. The flowers in this very large garden are all gone for the winter, some covered in snow still, but as it's dusk there are little lights that decorate the place and make it feel almost ethereal. Unreal, even. The kind of thing you see only in movies. It strikes me that I remember this place, seeing it online a few times with Yuuri. We bantered it would be the perfect place for weddings to happen.

Weddings.

"Oh god," I whisper nervously, and Mila hears me. But she does nothing except grin, and I get the feeling I know exactly what's happening here.

We go up a little stone stairway and once I reach the top, the I notice that there's a group of people standing there with roses in hand, and little lanterns. I freeze up, unable to take another step, but Mila pats my arm again through my coat and assures me its okay.

As I near the group, the all the night lights in the garden come on one by one, casting the most beautiful glow over the winter foliage and all the people here. The first person I see is Yakov, and surprisingly there is something of a smile on his face. Beside him is Lilia, and then grandpa. After that is JJ, whom I had no idea was in town this week. Then I notice Viktor's white head, towering over most here. Yuuri is beside him, an open book entirely incapable of holding back his tears. Damn katsudon, it's only because of him that I start tearing up. Him and these stupid hormones!

They all part to the side, revealing Otabek standing beneath the beautifully lit gazebo. There are what must be thousands of little lights providing a soft, ethereal glow on this man I now call my mate. There are roses everywhere, one of which he gives to me. I know what's coming before he opens his mouth, but I stay quiet, even though my tears are rolling down my cheeks in advance. Otabek takes my hands in both of his and pulls me closer to the fountain so that I'm looking straight up at him. It feels like he's looking into my soul, and I feel so bare that I immediately drop my eyes again.

"Yuri Plisetsky," he starts, "we didn't get to know each other much before a year ago. If someone told me two years ago that we'd be where we are now, I would have laughed in their face and called them delusional."

There's a few chuckles from some of the people here with us, myself included, and I nod in agreement. But as I say nothing, Otabek continues with his monologue.

"I always harbored some sort of feeling for you. Even back in summer camp. But you were still maturing while I was already finished. It confused me, so I promised myself I would wait until you were older. But I never expected a heat is what it would take for us to get closer. We did this all backward, Yura. We mated before I marked you as mine. And you became pregnant before we were ever able to hold a proper ceremony. I never got to ask your grandfather for consent on your behalf. We did this all wrong, but now we're going to make it right. And I want everyone to who matters to witness it."

I'm a sobbing mess at this point, and to the side of us we can hear a few sniffles of those trying to hold their composure. I don't dare to speak, unable to even if I wanted to.

"Yuri."

I look up at Otabek finally, and when he pulls out the little velvet box from his coat pocket I swear I feel my knees turn to mush. This is happening. Actually happening. Oh my god.

I realize then that there's a new hold ring on Otabek's right hand ring finger. He doesn't wear any kind of jewelry, ever. So when he lowers onto his knee, my head drops so that my hair covers my face, shoulders shaking from emotion.

Otabek takes my right hand in his left. "I hope to every god that's listening that those are tears of joy, Yuratchka. Because I'm about to ask you to spend the rest of your life with me. I'm sorry I wasn't able to do this first, long before we shared a bed. But I'm asking now and hoping I am not too late. Yura…marry me?"

It takes some effort to stop crying long enough to get the words out. "Yes, you durak, of course," I manage between sobs.

He smiles and slides the ring onto my finger, and when he comes back up he tilts my chin upward to capture my lips into a kiss. And it's the fairytale kind, where I have to tiptoe a bit to keep up. Behind my closed lids, I see lights flickering, and I know then cameras are going off. In the background I hear Mila saying 'he said yes!', and I imagine she's uploading a very embarrassing video of a teary me, swept up in this Kazakh's arms. I'll curse her out later. But for now I'll remain in this sea of happiness. I know we won't have the official Pairing ceremony for quite a while. At the earliest, not until after the baby is born.

But it's a start, and I'm willing to wait as long as we must to get to where we need to be.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

I'm exhausted, and it's only been a day and a half of labor, and I've heard omegas can go as long as a week in the agony. The contractions are still nearly an hour apart, and nothing than a dull tightening of my stomach or mild arcing pain down my lower back; but I just want a full night's rest without interruption. I spent most of yesterday at grandpa's when the doctor sent me home, but at my insistence Otabek brought me back here and demanded to be observed overnight. And it was good that he did, because I began dilating swift enough to be admitted.

When I open my eyes in the dimly lit room that night, it's Otabek I see in the delivery room. He is fast asleep in the kind of chair that slides out into a makeshift bed. Across from him is Yuuri busy entertaining himself with some video on his phone. Based on the reflection on his glasses, I can assume it's a video of himself skating. He likes to do that, record himself doing a practice run at rehearsal and critique it later. It's good strategy.

It's my hiss of discomfort that catches his attention, and when he jolts up in his seat I wave my arm to stop him. "Don't wake Beka," I rasp out with a tired breath. I know Otabek is just as sleep deprived as I am, and it'd be best if at least one of us was well rested. My throat is dry from thirst, and Yuri thankfully hands me my cup of crushed ice cubes. Of course, I'd rather scarf down a sandwich, but the doctor said I couldn't eat anything now that I was prepping for active labor.

"How is it?" Yuuri whispers to me. The room is rather quiet since we requested a private room, the only other sounds being Otabek's quiet snoring and the steady beep of my heart monitor. Yuuri hasn't experienced true labor yet, not since his unfortunate miscarriage last year, so it's no surprise he's curious.

I give a grimace as a contraction comes and goes, rubbing my belly in discomfort. "I hate it," I reply honestly. I shift in vain to find a better position. "But I suppose I've suffered worse pain on the rink, right?"

Wrong.

Four hours later in the early hours of the morning, the contractions go from once every hour or so to every half hour, and with building intensity as the time goes by. Already it is worse than any injury I've suffered in my skate career. Beka has since woken up and gone out to eat at my request, but rushes back not too long ago when Yuuri demands he return to provide his comforting pheromones. He's sitting by me now, his larger hand enveloping mine in support and my nose shoved in his neck to his scent gland. He doesn't say much, but when he does it is always words of encouragement and praise and I'm extremely thankful for them.

Mila and Viktor rotate their visitations occasionally with Yuuri since there can only be so many people in the labor room at a time, but once the real contractions start I all but scream for Yuuri to come back. He is the one I wasn't here with me. Him, and Beka and no one else.

The contractions shorten to every few minutes but stretch out for longer periods of time, such that it begins to feel as though I'm in constant bouts of pain. I suppose I am. "I need to push!" I yell in the midst of a particularly painful contraction.

One of the nurses examining my vitals quickly stops what she's doing to look under my sheets and beneath my gown. Wordlessly, she rushes out of the room and returns with even more nurses and my doctor in tow. As a Beta, he's careful to inform Otabek of every move he makes before touching me, simply out of respect. I catch practically none of what he says, too focused on my internal agony to really care beyond my haze of pain. When I start pushing simply out of instinct, the doctor gives a shout for me to stop doing so. I almost want to cry from his words, but Beka pats my hand in sympathy and I do indeed stop as bid. I shut my eyes and breathe in pants.

I don't want to do this anymore. This hurts far more than I imagined or prepared for. Why did I even agree to become a mother in the first place? Aren't I too young for this? Maybe everyone was right. "I change my mind," I whimper almost incoherently. "I don't want this, I change my mind!"

"A bit late for that, Mr. Plisetsky," the doctor tuts almost distractedly. He's moved my testes aside to get a better view of the birth canal I think, and only looks away to write something on his notepad. Finally he passes his notes to one of the nurses and begins to move my sheets away. "It's just about time for you to transition to active labor," he warns me. "But for Omega births, having you on your back isn't quite the best position. Squatting on your heels or on your knees is best, or even standing with your body bent will do. Whichever you choose is fine."

"I'm too tired for any of that," I complain even though I'm already bracing myself to change positions. I don't really want to squat, so I use Otabek's arms for support in easing off the bed without hurting myself too much. Then I turn and lean my weight onto the hospital bed, too involved to care about the opening of my gown for the entire room to see my backside.

At least this way I'm able to hide my pitiful whimpers into the sheets I grip for dear life. "Beka," I whine, over and over. And each time, he replies with a steady 'I am here, shh.' One of his hands rub soothing circles on my back, and I try to breathe evenly as instructed, trying my best not to push on whim. But when I feel a gush of fluid trickle down my legs, I almost cry from embarrassment.

"I'm so sorry," I say sheepishly, thinking I've accidentally wet myself. But a nurse merely smiles and pats my arm knowingly.

"It is just your waters breaking, dear. It's all normal," she assures me, and I look around the room in confusion. Otabek looks as confused as I, but they explain to us that all it means is that the mucus plug has fallen away, and that I'm now finally able to begin pushing.

So I do.

I wait for the next contraction like they say and bear down for only as long as the contraction allows. Otabek is to the left of me and Yuuri to my right, both of them supporting either arm as I slowly sag to the floor. My legs lose their will to cooperate, and before long both Yuuri and Otabek are forced to uphold my full weight as I all but squat on my knees spread wide apart, a bit hunched over to that the nurses can observe my birth canal from behind. The doctor is forced to work from an awkward angle, but then finally summons my midwife for aid. I don't know how long I've been in this position, but it feels like it's been an eternity and now I am utterly drained of all energy. I don't remember when I start to cry. But I give up on wiping my face of the tears and merely continue pushing when I've lost the will to.

"You're doing great, Yura," I hear Yuuri whisper. "Only you can do this. No one else but you in this room can make this happen. So let's show'em what you've got, okay?"

I don't know why, but Yuuri's words give me the push I need to continue without further complaints. I muster up what little energy I have left and plow onward. My yells have turned into low groans of effort, my hair now loosed from its braid and falling about my shoulders and face. It clings to the skin where I've broken into a sweat for trying.

Eventually I start to crown, but this is where my patience and my will is tested. It is a game of two steps forward, one step back. For every push we thought her head would appear, once I relaxed she was gone again. Fifteen minutes of this has me sobbing in frustration, but then minutes afterward I'm sobbing again from the intense burn of her shoulders fighting to get out of me. I'm clutching both Yuuri and Otabek's hands for dear life—and to their credit, neither male complains of my death grip to their fingers. But I'm told I must wait for the baby to turn to the proper position, and for them to check for the umbilical cord before I can push again. An eternity later, I begin the hard process of pushing out each shoulder one at a time, which is when I am at my loudest. I don't tear, which is a miracle, and they don't cut me—a thing I begged them not to do at the start of this. So for this part I am lucky.

Somewhere in the haze of my solid determination to get this child out safely, I hear someone mention something about the cord around her neck. In an instant I panic, my eyes wide and set on Beka. "You just focus on pushing, let us do the rest," he reassures me. And like that, I'm once again focused on doing just what he says.

Once the shoulders are out I find the rest of the birth rather easy in comparison, and I allow my head to loll a bit so that I can rest my sweaty forehead against the hospital bed. I am mostly on autopilot now, I think. I don't even remember when I push Otabek and Yuuri aside so that I can get on all fours. I remain that way for the rest of labor, and with one final big push; one final big groan, she flows out of me in a gush of fluids.

I get to take one good look at her and wait for her cries, but they never come. "Why isn't she crying?" I ask, lifting my head completely off the edge of the bed in attempt to peer around the nurses. But they block my view deliberately, and I immediately begin to suspect something is very wrong.

"Let me see her!" I rasp out, but they ignore me, merely having some nurses take over Otabek and Yuuri's position so that I can be helped back onto the bed. It should hurt, but I'm too focused on the health of my baby to care. My breasts ache to feed her, having swelled only to about an A-cup but enough to nourish a newborn. But she's not making a sound.

Otabek kisses my forehead once before going to check on the newborn, Yuuri retreating to my side. It's then he notices that even though I've delivered the placenta, that the nurse is still having a difficult time staunching the bleeding, and that I look very pale.

"Yura, are you okay?" he asks, to which I want to reply yes. But I suddenly feel too tired to do even that. I hear a bit of beeping from the wires still hooked up to me, and that is my lullaby as I sink into sweet warmth of darkness.

When I awaken my vision is foggy at first, and it takes several slow blinks for me to get my bearings. At first I do nothing except lie there and take in my surroundings. It's quiet, besides the sounds of hospital equipment and murmured speech. I assume I've been moved to a different hospital room based on the difference in brighteness. I take note of the oxygen mask secured to my face, and the incredible soreness from deep within me. I expected pain from the birth canal, but certainly not my midsection. I groan in discomfort, and the sound is what alerts Yuuri that I'm finally conscious.

"He's awake!" I hear him tell someone. There's a bit of shuffling around before Viktor's very concerned face enters my field of view. I want to smile at them and tell them I'm fine; that they're idiots for looking like scared cats. But I know deep down there is cause for worry.

Viktor pulls up a stool to sit closer to my bedside and brushes some of my hair away. I must look like shit. "What can you remember?" he inquires softly.

I frown at the question, but since he's asking I know there must be a reason for it. So I put my energy into memory recall. I remember the labor, and that it took ages. I remember that the fetus didn't move after I pushed her out. And I remember…an operating room?

"O.R.," I rasp to Viktor, lifting my mask so that he can hear my words. "I remember lots of people being there. Stirrups. And then—"

I stop there, abruptly cutting off my speech. There was a hand inside me. All the way to the elbow! My face goes crimson, and I look away in embarrassment. Viktor's face tells me he already knows just what occurred. I skip that part to another memory, and recall that my baby didn't cry. And that she wasn't next to me causes me to panic. Immediately I try to sit up, my eyes wide. The sudden movement pulls at my stretched and sore muscles below my waist, however. I groan in pain and lay back, regretfully, against the pillow. "My baby," I ask in thinly concealed anxiety. "Give me my baby."

Viktor's face pinches, and Yuuri's expression is no better. That cannot be a good thing in any universe, or in any setting. I immediately assume the worse. "Oh god," I whisper. "Oh please, no." I can't take it. If something's happened to her, I swear I cannot handle it. I'd rather die than to have lost her.

"Put your mask back on, Yurio," Viktor suggests. And because he is an Alpha, I don't argue. I'm too tired to fight anything, so I do as I'm told. "Firstly, your placenta didn't come entirely away like it's supposed to, so you started to hemmorrage in the delivery room. They had to bring you to the operating theatre to manually remove it. I'm sorry, Yurio. I know it must have been humiliating, but I gave them the consent needed since Otabek was otherwise incapacitated."

My eyes close, but I nod anyway. Humiliating is an understatement. But I wave for him to continue.

"Secondly, the umbilical cord was wrapped several time around the baby's neck. Everytime you pushed, it tightened. But they didn't want to tell you while you were laboring that every push you made harmed her neck. So they decided the best course of action was to let your body do what it needed to, and then handle the consequences later. Between you passing out and the baby not breathing, the nurses were having a difficult time processing everything. And so was your mate. He passed out shortly after you did. By the time he awoke, you'd been brought here and your daughter's condition was finally stabilized. He's with her now, if you're wondering."

Good, good. Everything is good now. All the anxiety flows out of me like a whoosh. "Name?" I ask, moving my mask aside just lost enough to ask.

Viktor smiles. "Otabek felt it would be best for you to name her."

And at this revelation I'm stunned. Alphas are usually the ones who determine something as important as the name of their offspring. That he would wait for me speaks volumes. He's certainly not like any other mate, and I'm so glad he's mine. I'm quiet for a moment in thought, battling between the top three names I'd stored in my head. I originally wanted to name her Viktorya, in honor of Viktor who was like a big brother and father to me. But he is an Alpha, and I didn't want Otabek's jealousy to be roused. Aleksandra was also a beautiful name, but it sounded too close to my father's name 'Alexei', and just wouldn't bode well. But finally one wins out above the rest, and I settle on Vasilisa because of the struggles it required for her to get here, and yet still survived like the steadfast woman I hope to live long enough to see her become; unbent and unbroken like queens of past.

It takes quite some time, but finally Otabek is given the clearance to bring our newborn to me for feeding and gods knows my breasts ache for it. Granted my chest is incredibly small compared to a woman's, but they are big enough to fulfill their purpose and she latches on after trial and error. They allow her to stay with me in the room, and I can't help but stare at her the entire time.

Otabek sits by the two of us, everyone else finally going home to give us the needed privacy. He looks exhausted with bags under his eyes, his hair a rare tousled mess. I imagine I look as horrendous as he. We will probably look this way for at least the first few weeks, I imagine.

"Your genes are strong," I remark quietly. Our little Vasotchka is finally asleep and I don't want to wake her.

"Mm," Otabek agrees. "She has my color and dark hair. But her eyes are such an incredible blue, Yura. I almost cried when she finally opened her eyes."

I chuckle and then wince in regret. I can tell I won't look forward to the first bowel movement post delivery. "All babies are blue-eyed at first, silly man," I say to him.

But he shakes his head. "No, I just know hers are really blue. I want them to be, so I can be reminded of you every time I look into them."

"Whatever. Durak," I huff. I look away in embarrassment only because I know he means it, and such sappy remarks almost always end with me in tears.

"I will miss seeing you swollen with my child, admittedly."

I peek a look at him and purse my lips. I hated pregnancy. Everyone always says how much they missed that connection of growing another human being inside them. But I don't. I love Vasilisa uncondionally, but good gods I hated the act of being pregnant. Otabek knows this. But for him...

"We can always have another," I murmur quietly.

Otabek looks away from our sleeping infant to look at me instead, frowning. "But you hated—"

"I would have as many as you wanted," I blurt. "If you only wanted Vasilisa, fine. If you wanted two more, fine. If you want fifteen, it is still fine. As long as it's with you, I'd endure and bear every last one of them."

I mean it, every word. But after I've said them I can't help but feel my ears go warm. So I lower my face to hide what must be a very red face. I'm embarrassed even after all this time to say things like this. I've never been much of an emotional person even before Otabek, which is probably why we're such a good match now. We merely express what is necessary, when it's necessary, and fill the pauses with the assumed knowledge of how deep our care goes for one another.

Otabek stands up to lean over the bed and place a soft kiss on the top of my head, then again on my forehead. He tilts my head upward to place a final soft kiss on my lips and I sigh in content, all traces of embarrassment melting away. "Thank you," I whisper.

"No, thank you," he says as quietly, "for everything."

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

No one told me it would be this difficult to raise another human being. And I don't mean the kind of 'difficult' in terms of a math equation. At least with a math question, you can pull out a calculator and tease your brain for an answer. And poof, problem solved literally.

That is not the case when it comes to Vasilisa. She cries often. She prefers to be held, which means I'm almost always holding her just to assuage her crying. Sometimes she cries even if her diaper is dry and her belly is full and she's already napped. In those instances I sometimes cry, too, completely at a loss of what I should do next. Otabek usually looks entirely frazzled at my distress for our child.

She requires feeding so often that my nipples ached. I'd come to dread feeding time. They became raw and red and sore, and I actually whimpered every time she latched on. I eventually give up and switch to formula when my poor chest experiences cracking and bleeding. The switch makes me feel like a failure, and I do eventually vent about this on social media. But I'm flooded with support and love from other Omegas who've been there before so the guilt is short lived.

I haven't left the house in weeks. I wasn't allowed to go on meds due to breastfeeding, so I was made to suffer my postpartum as best as I could on my own. I think Otabek is happier than I am about my switch to formula so that I could finally take something. He hates medicine, but he hates my suffering more. He wastes no time in going to pick up my prescription for me, demanding I take it everyday as scheduled. This time it's a direct order, so I merely bow my head and submit to his demands.

It's two in the morning when Vasilisa's groaning wakes me. I jolt from Otabek's chest, and I can tell from his exhausted sigh that he is awake as well.

"I've got it," I sigh, patting his arm. He stayed up with her last night and ended up having a shit practice as a result of lack of sleep. I refuse to have him sacrifice his skate career just when he's improving so well.

"Mmhhmm…" he mumbles tiredly, nodding and rolling back over. I don't blame him. I wish I could do the same, but Vasilisa is grunting in agitation so I'm forced to take her from her little crib and bring her with me to the kitchen. I've gotten pretty good at doing things with one hand now, easily grabbing her pre-made formula from the fridge to stick in the little bottle warmer my mother gifted me some weeks back. My other hand bounces her a teeny bit when she starts to gurgle in hunger, my eyes fixed on the timer on the bottle warmer. When it beeps, I waste no time in popping open the lid to grab the bottle, moving the two of us to the living room so I can finally sit down to feed her.

Vasilisa's eyes are indeed as blue as mine, and we can tell that they will stay that way. She fixes her eyes on me while she drinks, on little hand gripped on my loose hair. It's in the quiet moments like these that I fantasize about how she might look in a few years when she finally starts school, or when she's older and getting Paired to a mate of her own. What if she presents as Alpha, like her father? Or Omega like myself?

In truth, I pray often to any god that listens that she will grow to be neither. I wish she wouldn't present at all and become a Beta—a woman not ruled by ruts or heats or pheromones. That she can live a life ruled only by the choices she does or doesn't make.

When she finishes her bottle, I raise her to my shoulder to burp her, still half asleep in my actions and running thoroughly on autopilot. I'm just so exhausted all the time, and my eyes keep drooping closed. I don't even remember when she and I make it back into the room where Otabek was still asleep. Only that I wake the next morning to Otabek's side of the bed feeling very cold.

When I check the time it's already past eight. Figures, Otabek must already be at the rink and midway through his stretches by now. I blink over to Vasilisa, who's already awake and awkwardly trying to shove her entire fist into her mouth. The pacifier lays forgotten to the side of her. I cluck my tongue and sit up, shaking my head. "What an odd baby you are, preferring your hand to your binky," I coo at her. Of course she doesn't reply back, merely gurgling at the slobbery mess all over her own hand.

I eventually drag myself to the bathroom to take a speedy shower—I get anxious if I leave little Vasotchka alone too long—and when I return to the bedroom I take an extra long time to observe myself in the mirror. I mostly remained rather toned everywhere on my body. My arms remained muscular, and my thighs still a sight to see. My chest has shrunken back to its usual size for the most part, now that I wasn't lactating anymore. My hips were wider of course, but not by too much. It's not like I had any to begin with.

But my midsection.

I still remain self conscious about how slowly my belly is going down. Otabek claims he finds my little pooch adorable, but I can't help but feel a seed of doubt. I'm not as in shape as some of the other Betas and Omegas he sees when he's not at home. Not anymore. My stomach has a bit of jiggle that will take some time to fully go away. I don't look horrible, I suppose, from the front. But from the side…

I turn to my profile and frown at the little bump of my belly still visible. I know it's only really noticeable when I'm nude, and of course only Beka sees me naked. But still I hate it. I've been hating it for weeks, wondering why I haven't snapped back like I've seen others do.

Aggravated, I shove on a baggy sweater and sweats and dial up Yuuri.

"Moshi mosh—"

"Oy, Katsudon," I butt in, cutting off his standard greeting. "So you were chubby once, before Viktor. How'd you lose the weight, and keep it off so fast?"

There's a silence on the phone that has me wondering if maybe I was being rude again. I've been told I'm too straightforward before, but just when I prep myself to issue apology, Yuuri replies to me.

"Where is this coming from?"

That wasn't quite the statement I was expecting. I expected whining that I was mean, or a direct answer to my question. But instead, he throws back a question that has me feeling embarrassed. I suppose my silence is answer enough for him, and Yuuri sighs almost sadly. "Yurio, I'm coming over there. I'll be there in an hour."

In the hour it takes for him to get here, I manage to sneak a tiny nap, make some bottles and clean the place up a bit. Not to mention change Vasilisa's diaper for the millionth time that day.

I leave the door closed, but unlocked so that Yuuri helps himself in while I am in the middle of feeding the baby. It's not the first time he's come over. Both he and Viktor have become regulars in our little apartment.

I don't hesitate when Yuuri reaches out to take the baby from me, taking over the act of feeding time. I use my newfound free arms to flop lazily onto the couch, my long limbs stretched over the majority of the couch. We don't speak for a while, sitting together in comfortable silence. The only sound is that of milk pulling through the bottle's nipple and Vasilisa's occasional groans of satisfaction. I even dose off for a few moments until I hear Yuuri shift my child over his shoulder. My eyes slide open, and I smile at the image of this oriental man burping her.

He takes note of me looking at him, and gives an awkward shift in his seat. "You're staring," Yuuri points out.

"This image suits you," I tell him. "Maternity, I mean. You're a natural, unlike me."

"Oh, stop it." Yuuri is hiding his reddened cheeks with Vasilisa's tiny body. I know my blunt honesty makes him uncomfortable. I'm told it's a trait that is both lovely in dreadful in people. "That's not true."

I merely shrug. "It would be nice to see you and Viktor try again. Are you, by the way? Trying again, I mean."

We both know what I mean about that, and for a moment he's quiet. I know they tried a long while before, and when they finally got pregnant, the miscarriage happened. That had taken its toll on Yuuri the most, and I wondered if they'd given up all together.

When he peeks up at me, I know what he's going to say before he opens his mouth, and my eyes go wide. They drop to his still firm tummy and then back up to his face again.

"Viktor doesn't know yet," he says quietly. "I didn't want to disappoint in case something goes wrong this time…"

I shake my head before he's finished talking. "You have to tell him, this is too big a thing to hide and he is going to be able to smell it on you soon enough," I advise. The Viktor I know doesn't like secrets, and this was too important to keep from him.

"But I'm not here about me," he says, smoothly changing the subject. Well, shit.

"Don't—"

"No, you 'don't'," he throws back, and I fold my arms stubbornly, pouting like the brat I am. He's older, so I listen. "What's with the comment on body weight? Do you not like your body as it is or something?"

I slump lower into my seat and look away. It's answer enough.

"Yurio, you literally just grew and pushed out an entire person out of your body. It took nine months to get your body this way…don't you think you should give yourself at least nine months to get back into shape? Be fair to yourself."

Of course the Katsudon is speaking sense. And he's not done yet.

"Your main concern right now is to care for both yourself and Vasilisa, and Otabek. That is a lot of work on its own, and you're doing it without help. Give yourself a break and stop being so hard on yourself, Yura," he continues. "Where is all this coming from, anyway? Did Otabek say something?"

I shake my head no. "I just..." I raise my right hand, the white-gold ring glinting in the light. "We've started planning the wedding, and that's usually the day the two participants look their best. But I looked my best nine months ago…now I just feel fat," I finally admit.

My eyes drop to my stomach, my hands now laying on the squishy, semi-round mass that is my new stomach. We set the tentative wedding date for just a bit under a year from now, but ever since then my anxiety went into overdrive at the prospect of being as thick as I am now, at that point.

Yuuri's voice pulls me out of my own head, and I look at him. "Huh?" I say, indicating I hadn't caught his words.

He shifts a dozing Vasilisa to his other shoulder, careful to support her head. "I said, you'll be fine. As soon as you're up for it, I'll train with you until my belly gets too big for it to be possible. If it helps, anyway…"

I'm embarrassed we even had to have this sort of conversation, and my cheeks are crimson. But I nod in appreciation anyway, unable to meet his eyes. A year ago we were barely even acquaintances. Who knew it would take me getting bonded to the Kazakh for a friendship to bud between us?

Chapter Text

Epilogue…

I'd been off the ice for nearly two years, and when I finally made my mind up to return to the rink I made a conscious decision not to tell a soul of my decision, except for Viktor. Yakov retired the year before, and so Viktor took over coaching me. He would agree to meet with me at odd times of the day to reacclimate my body to the ice, and to conditioning my body, and to working once again on my flexibility. I had, of course, lost all the baby weight I'd gained. And since Vasilisa was old enough, I was now able to bring her to a daycare so that I could focus on strengthening my muscles once again. It was hard, I will admit. I was always so exhausted. Being a mother to my child and also taking care of myself as a returning athlete was so draining that some days I simply cried out of frustration.

That is something Otabek, hard he tried, would never understand. Society never required him to give up sports to nurture a child. That was an Omega's job to stay home and be maternal. An Alpha was freed from restriction. It would be a lie to say that we never fought about the unfairness of the situation. Otabek never paused his skating career in part because I forbid it, of course, but a part of me had wished he would still give the idea more thought.

But perhaps the two years away were needed for me to truly appreciate the sport for what it was: a beautiful work of art. Graceful, exquisite, and a part of me that I would likely never be able to do away with.

I'd truly forgotten what it was like to be on a cold, ice stage with hundreds of eyes focused on myself. But I'm not alone…for Otabek is with me, our unitards a matching pair of white, silver and gold with enough sequins to blind a man.

A new rendition of Agape on a gran piano begins on the speakers, and Otabek and I move in perfect sync. His movements are more masculine, more powerful, while mine are as graceful as a swan in a lake. When we agreed to compete as a skate pair, we knew immediately that we wanted to finally go fully public with our bond. We needed our routine to personify our relationship in a way words never could, and our movements conveyed this: a perfect match of two halves of a whole.

When the music builds, so too does the intensity of the choreography. I keep my eyes on Otabek the entire time, tuning out the audience and cameras. To be honest, even though I want us to take home a gold for, the only opinion I care about is Otabek's. And by looking at his eyes, I can already tell he's proud of me.

Thank god the song is only a two minutes long. When it ends, it is with me crouched low on one knee, looking up at Otabek's dangerously close face. He is also crouched, though not as lowly. I realize too late that his face is far closer than we'd practiced in rehearsals, and blush at the soft peck he places on my lips. "Good job," he barely whispers to me, pulling away to smile. I return the gesture and smile back, straightening up again.

I don't care who is there to see or to judge, because I grasp his face in both my hands and tug him down for a more worthwhile kiss. "Thank you," I whisper back, the gold of my ring glinting under the stadium lights. I imagine his matching band does the same on my hips.

"For?" he questions.

I smile broadly. "Everything."