Viktor Nikiforov first learned about the secret matchmaking figure skating coaches worked behind the scenes when he was 18. He had presented as an Alpha at the age of 14, much to the relief of his coach. Yakov Feltsman had worried that his star pupil was an Omega because of his penchant for playing with the gender spectrum is his appearance and demeanor. But since the boy was an Alpha he was not required to find a mate within six months of presenting.
However, the girl standing in front of him, blocking his exit from the ice rink was in need of a mate. He felt like he was drowning in her pheromones. She was close to her heat, desperately close by the nauseating scent clawing at him. Viktor hurriedly yanked his t-shirt over his mouth and nose, pushing backward on the ice. The girl babbled at him, Spanish he thought, slipping on the ice as she tried to follow him wearing her street shoes.
“I don't understand. I'm sorry.” He scrambled further away from her, barely registering that the new kid Georgi Popovich was screaming his head off for Yakov.
Their coach appeared from his office, lunging past the strange man leaning on the boards watching the scene unfold dispassionately. Yakov growled and grabbed the girl, ranting in English about the possibility of her breaking her neck and how possibly stupid could her coach be to let her out so close to her heat. He hauled the Omega off the ice and caught the coach under the arm before dragging them away to the office. He gave Viktor a worried glance, obviously questioning if the boy needed assistance. Viktor waved his hand gesturing for the coach to leave him alone. The older Russian was the only person besides his personal doctor that knew that the pheromones of female Omegas were revolting to him. Viktor had worried that something was wrong with him, but the doctor had assured him that he was just fine, since he was drawn to and reacted positively to the pheromones of male Omegas.
Georgi hurried over to where Viktor had slumped against the far side of the rink to wait for lingering nausea from the girl’s scent to pass. “You okay?”
He nodded. “She’s close to heat. Why is she even here?”
“To mate with you! You’re any Omega’s dream!” The dark-haired boy gaped at him with wide eyes.
Viktor’s own eyes narrowed. If Georgi weren’t solidly a Beta and heterosexual, he would have thought that he was being flirted with. “I’m only 18, why would I get mated now?”
“Omegas have to mate within six months of presenting. They probably thought they could trap you into mating with her if you got a whiff of her scent this close to heat.” Georgi glanced over his shoulder at the office door with a frown. They could faintly hear Yakov yelling but were unable to make out what he was actually saying.
“Stupid.” Viktor wrinkled his nose in disgust. He straightened up to his full height. “Tell Yakov that I went home, will you?”
Georgi nodded. “Sure, you okay?”
“Yes, just don’t want to deal with people’s stupidity.” Viktor skated away from the other boy.
Yakov found him later in the apartment that he had purchased for himself and Makkachin just two days after his 18th birthday. “I hoped I had a while before we had to have this talk. I'm sorry.” The man sighed and sank down in the armchair next to the couch where Viktor was sprawled.
Viktor shifted so he was sitting with his knees drawn to his chest, arms around them. He blinked at his coach, the man who was a surrogate father to him. “Why was that girl here? Who even is she?”
“A skater from Spain, middle-level talent. I doubt she'll ever seriously contend on an international level. She presented two months ago. Her coach brought her here so close to her heat in hopes of trapping you into being her mate.” Yakov tossed his cap onto the coffee table and scrubbed a hand over his bare head.
“But why me?”
Yakov gestured a hand around the flat. “You're well on your way to dominating men's figure skating for years to come. You have a waiting list of sponsors that are desperate to work with you. And you are a very good-looking young man. Omegas all over the world, even ones not associated with skating, desire you to be their mate.”
Viktor knew that he was his beauty and wealth were attractive to Omegas. His inner Alpha preened at the attention that he received from media and fans. “I still don't understand though. Bringing her here, that coach almost acted like I was obligated to mate the girl.”
“Omegas must find a mate within six months of presenting if they are 13 or older. Supposedly, this is to protect them. Mated Omegas are immune to the Alpha commands of anyone except their mate.”
“Yes, I know this. I did attend that Alpha/Omega class you forced on me,” Viktor growled in frustration.
Yakov gave him a stern look, silencing the growl. “As a method to protect Omega skaters, coaches try to find mates for the newly presented amongst the skating community. An Alpha that is a skater themselves, or somehow associated with skating, is much more likely to allow their Omega to continue to skate.”
The young Alpha nodded in understanding. Now it made sense why the girl's coach had brought her to St. Petersburg in hope of mating Viktor. “I would help if I could…”
“I know. I've had a few requests for you to mate Omegas since you've been in the senior division. I've rejected them all, gently, because they were female. This is the first time a coach has ignored my denial and brought their student here regardless. Usually, any matchmaking is conducted over phone and email until both parties agree to meet.” Yakov leaned forward. “It's time for you to start considering which, if any, skaters you would be willing to mate.”
Viktor blinked at him. “What?”
Yakov held up a hand to stall any dramatics from the young man. “I know that you keep tabs on both the Juniors and Seniors skaters. If you were to give me a list of skaters that if they presented as an Omega, you would consider, then I can continue to run interference for you. You're going to become more and more desirable as the years go by Vitya. I want to protect you as much as I can.”
“So I make you a list and…”
“If I'm approached by someone that is on the list, you and I will discuss what happens next. If the person is not on the list, I will continue to rebuff them as I have been.” Yakov watched as Viktor called for his poodle and buried his face in her fur while thinking.
“No girls.” Viktor's voice was muffled since he didn't raise his head from Makkachin's side.
Yakov smiled slightly. “No girls. You don't have to give me a list right now. Think about it. If there's someone, let me know.” He stood up with a groan. His knees were not getting any younger. “Make sure you eat something. I know you likely skipped lunch.”
“Goodnight Makkachin. Don't let your boy stay up too late. He has early practice.” Yakov held back a chuckle at the answering woof and moved towards the door.
Viktor finally raised his face from his dog. “Thank you, Yakov.” The man nodded silently and slipped out leaving the Alpha to his thoughts.
The next morning a pink post-it note appeared on Yakov's office door.
Christophe Giacommeti (Switzerland)
It was another 16 months before another note, this time blue appeared.
Katsuki Yuuri (Japan, Juniors div.)