Yuuri dragged his feet disembarking from the little commuter jet. The stuffed backpack was heavy on his shoulder and felt bulky with his coat. He was nervous because he had never been to this airport and wasn’t quite sure where to go. He glanced down again at the slip of paper with his pick up instructions. He was hot wearing his blue pea coat and cap on the plane. Evidently, once planes land, there is no moving air on them. In front of him, a mother was struggling to manage her three year old daughter. Waves of discomfort washed over the young omega from this little girl. Yuuri was tired and it was difficult to block those feelings from affecting him. He shifted his feet a bit. Once they left the plane, he grabbed his gate-checked bag and ran forward to catch the mother and child. Yuuri grabbed the woman’s arm, startling her.
“Uh, sorry,” Yuuri bowed slightly to the woman. “You’re daughter,” he said pointing across the hall,” She has to pee...really bad.” The woman looked at Yuuri like he had squirrels coming out of his ears and then saw the restroom sign the young man pointed to.
“Thank you,” she said, confused, but all the same, she picked up her daughter and headed toward the women’s restroom.
Yuuri breathed a sigh of relief. Sitting next to the pair had been absolute torture since they had begun their approach to land. ‘If only I had been able to sleep,’ he thought. The turbulence on his first flight had been unnerving. Looking at his watch, the young man realized that he hadn’t slept more than an hour or two in the last thirty-six. ‘I’ve never experienced Aisho with a stranger before. The little girl’s feelings were not terribly complex, but they were strong. Sadness, confusion, longing. Where is grandma? Fear, a vision of an older woman, cold in a casket. I’m exhausted,’ Yuuri thought. The tiredness that the young man felt was like a deep ache in his limbs and a weight on his chest. He closed his eyes for a few seconds at a time to rest them, even as he walked. ‘I’m going to fall over right here and sleep, I swear…’
He pulled his bag through the small airport and descended the escalator. Halfway down, he noticed a tall, thin man, with silver hair, holding a sign with his name on it. He was looking off toward the baggage claim. ‘Oh my God! I'm certain that's Victor Nikiforov.' He stopped dead at the foot of the escalator. 'My posters don't do him justice. His eyes are so beautiful.' Yuuri shook his head. ‘Hold it together,’ he thought. Yuuri was suddenly fully awake.
“Hello?” Yuuri said, approaching the young man. “I’m Yuuri Katsuki.”
“Hello, Yuuri! It is so nice to meet you.” The silver haired man said. “I’m Victor, Victor Nikiforov.” Victor leaned over and pulled Yuuri into a one-armed hug, thumping him on the back three times. Yuuri’s face was pulled to Victor’s shoulder and the dark haired man was overwhelmed with his warmth and the scent of cedar and earth, like being in a forest.
“Wow, you’re friendly,” Yuuri murmured into Victor’s jacket. Victor released him and clutched his sign again with both hands.
“Sorry, I’m Russian. We hug when we greet one another,” Victor said, shrugging.
“Ooohh, well I’m Japanese. We bow at each other from across the room,” Yuuri said.
Victor stared for a moment at Yuuri with his stunningly blue eyes. Yuuri started to laugh.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't tease you when I'm just meeting you," Yuuri said, shyly.
“Let me get this for you,” Victor said, removing the heavy backpack from the younger man’s shoulder.
Yuuri breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you.” The two walked to the car in silence.
Once settled in the car, Yuuri leaned back and closed his eyes.
“You know, you should really try and stay awake. Your jet lag will be worse if you can’t stay up till a normal bedtime,” Victor said, shaking Yuuri’s thigh.
“Oh! Okay…” Yuuri was startled awake. The sudden warm touch on Yuuri’s thigh sent a shockwave through his body. Yuuri rubbed his face with his hands and lightly smacked his cheeks. ‘Wake up.’
“So, let’s talk. It will help you stay awake,” Victor said amiably.
“Yeah, yeah, okay,” Yuuri replied.
“You will be on my floor in the dorm,” Victor said brightly. “I am the RA, so if you need anything, just let me know.”
“RA?” Yuuri asked. His English was good, but acronyms and some slang terms were unfamiliar to him.
“An RA is a Resident Assistant,” Victor explained. “I get free room and board and a bigger room. In exchange, I keep the undergrads from going too crazy.” Victor looked at Yuuri and gave him a wink. “Most of the resident assistants are graduate students, but not all.”
“What are you getting your masters in?” Yuuri asked curiously.
“Sports management,” he replied. “My undergrad was in Psychology though. I have to take a lot of prerequisite courses to catch up. What’s your major Yuuri?”
“Dance and Marketing,” Yuuri said. “I want to own my own business someday.”
“A rink or a studio?” Victor asked.
“Not sure,” Yuuri replied. “I have a lot of different ideas. Something more like a training center for different disciplines. I mean, it’s all just a dream right now.” Something Victor said suddenly struck Yuuri.
“So, Victor, you’re an alpha, aren’t you?” Yuuri asked, hesitantly.
“Yeah,” Victor acknowledged.
“Are there other alphas on our floor?” Yuuri asked. In Japan, having mixed alphas and omegas on the same floor was unheard of. Omegas would usually share a floor with betas and other omegas.
“Yes, but omegas all have their own rooms,” Victor explained. “The new dorms are really state of the art. The old dorms had a few heat rooms on the upper floor, but with so many more omegas attending university they had to build new dorms.”
“Why would they have to build whole new dorms?” Yuuri asked, curious.
“Well, it is actually something we learned about in my Secondary Genders class. When you get a bunch of omegas living together, their heats tend to sync up. So, as more omegas started attending university, it was easier to build special omega rooms than it was to build enough heat rooms to accomodate the need. It is better anyway, because they would sometimes pair omegas with beta roommates and there would be misunderstandings about consent. Different cultures handle secondary gender issues so differently.”
“Hmmm, I can see that,” Yuuri nodded. In Japan, being asked to be a heat partner was a very private thing. It was also considered a great honor. In some countries, however, picking a heat partner was almost as casual as a hook-up in a bar. That would be unthinkable for Yuuri, however. He shuddered at the thought.
“Anyway, the rooms are concrete block, but they have a layer of insulation, and then sheetrock overtop. This blocks noise and pheromones, protecting everyone’s privacy, alpha and omega alike, but the rooms still look homey and not like you are in a prison,” Victor concluded. Yuuri was fascinated by this information. Accomodations for omegas had really started to pick up steam as the laws changed over the past decade.
“You know, my mother never even got to finish High School. She is an omega too,” Yuuri said softly. Victor looked over at Yuuri. He knew from his resident paperwork, that Yuuri was twenty-two years old. But, looking over at him, he seemed so young with his dark bangs peeking out under his blue cap.
“I’m sure that she's happy to get to see you live your dreams Yuuri,” Victor said, looking ahead again at the road.
“Hmmm,” Yuuri agreed.
The sun was setting as they reached Wagner University. The University was over 150 years old and featured beautiful Victorian Architecture in the old part of the campus. As they kept driving, they started to see the newer parts of the campus. Slater Hall certainly looked brand new. The trees around the dorm were young and the building itself was very modern. Victor stopped at the front desk and picked up Yuuri’s key and some paperwork.
“We’re on the second floor Yuuri,” Victor motioned toward the elevator. “Are you hungry?” Victor asked.
“I...am, actually. I didn’t notice until you said something,” Yuuri said.
“Let me get you some dinner. If I can keep you awake until at least 8:00, maybe you can make practice tomorrow,” Victor said thoughtfully. Victor led Yuuri down the hall. “This is my room, 210, if you need anything, Yuuri.” They passed another door and then stopped at room 206. “Here you are. You know how nice it is to have a resident on my floor who can legally drink a beer with me?” Victor smiled at Yuuri and pushed open the door. Victor handed Yuuri a checklist. “Look this over. This paper just says everything is in working order. Why don’t you fill this out, get a shower, and then knock on my door when you are ready to go.” Victor set Yuuri’s backpack on the floor and left the room with a wave.
Yuuri pulled off his cap and his coat and sat on the bed a moment. This really was a perfect room for an omega. One entire wall was nothing but built-in, light oak cabinets. On the left of this wall was a small kitchenette with a two burner stove, a little sink, and a fridge. There were two large wardrobes, one for clothes and one for...Yuuri walked over and saw that one of the wardrobes had deep shelves...one for nesting materials.
“Wow. They really thought of everything.” Yuuri breathed. Yuuri pulled out his phone and called his mom.
“Okasan, I’m here safe. The room is really nice. They even have a big cabinet for my nesting blankets,” Yuuri said, feeling very content. He thought about telling his mother about the little girl on the airplane, but he was too tired to have an in-depth conversation at the moment. Yuuri wrapped up the conversation and took a quick shower.
Victor took Yuuri to a place called Brother’s Pizza. Victor ordered them a large pepperoni, onion, and mushroom pizza and a pitcher of beer. The pieces of pizza were surprisingly large and flopped over if you didn’t hold them with two hands.
“This is New York style pizza. Here fold it like this,” Victor said, expertly folding his slice down the center and taking a big bite. Yuuri followed Victor’s lead and took a big bite of the pizza.
“So good!” Yuuri gushed, his mouth still full. Next, he took a drink. It was the best pizza he had ever had and the cold beer was incredible with the pizza. Yuuri shook his head in amazement. “Thank you Victor! This is great.”
“Welcome to Wagner, Yuuri,” Victor smiled.
Victor and Yuuri walked down the hall and Victor stopped in front of his door. Yuuri had a faint smile thanks to his happy buzz.
“Do you want to hang out a bit? I have someone I want you to meet,” Victor said softly. Victor opened the door a bit and Yuuri saw a black nose starting to push through the crack.
“You have a dog!” Yuuri said with glee. Victor grinned. The pup pushed through as Victor widened the crack of the door.
“Come in, come in,” Victor said as he guided Yuuri into his apartment. Makkachin followed. The RA rooms were small, one bedroom apartments. Victor had a living room and kitchen that looked a lot like Yuuri’s room, except that Victor had a small microwave/convection oven over his stove. Then, there was a bedroom and bathroom through a door that was in the same place as Yuuri’s bathroom door.
“This is great!” Yuuri breathed as he looked around. The pup began to mill around Yuuri’s feet.
“This is Makkachin,” Victor announced proudly. To say that Makkachin was wagging her tail would be a gross understatement. The entire back half of the pup was moving back and forth, so that she sort of curved herself into a “c’ shape, left and then right. Yuuri bent down and scratched the sweet girl behind her ears. Makkachin returned the love by licking the dark haired man right in the face. Yuuri laughed.
“You are a good girl. Yes, you are,” Yuuri cooed. Victor watched the scene and beamed.
“Do you like dogs?” Victor asked.
“Oh yes, I have a miniature poodle back home,” Yuuri confided. “His name is Vic..chan.” ‘Whew.’ “He’s my baby.”
Yuuri sat down on the couch in back of him and Makkachin moved in between his legs. Victor walked over to the fridge and pulled out two water bottles. He walked over to the couch and sat down, casually holding out a bottle of water to Yuuri.
“You should probably drink this. I know traveling always dries me out,” Victor remarked.
“Yeah, thanks,” Yuuri said. He twisted the lid off the bottle and took a long draw. Yuuri looked over at Victor. His eyes were just stunning. It was hard for the young man not to stare at him. Even more, however, Yuuri never suspected that Victor would be so...kind.
Yuuri knew it was wrong, but he reached out to Victor with his gift. He wanted to know more about this man, more than he had read in magazine articles and the skater gossip he heard around the rink. Makkachin had climbed up into Victor’s lap. Her head was cradled in Victor’s arm. Affection, contentment, in the background, curiosity. The affection was warm, like a blanket. Yuuri's body started to respond.
“You love her so much,” Yuuri mused. Yuuri could feel it. It was comfortable and made him feel at home. The young omega started to relax into the sofa.
“I do,” Victor said, stroking the pup’s head. Yuuri pulled back his gift. This was a dangerous game.
Yuuri finished his water bottle and realized he should unpack some before bed.
“Victor. Do you think you could take me to the grocery store tomorrow?” Yuuri asked. “This water bottle reminded me that I have nothing in my fridge,”
“No problem. After practice? I was thinking about inviting you and my friend Chris for dinner tomorrow. He is the RA on the third floor.”
“Wouldn’t it be nice to meet the other adults in the building?” Victor teased.
“Sounds great,” Yuuri said, suddenly very tired. “I better unpack a bit and go to sleep.”
“Okay,” Victor said getting up. Victor put out a hand and Yuuri shook it. “I hope we can be great friends,” Victor announced. Yuuri smiled.
“G’night,” Yuuri waved as he entered the hall. He was so tired, all he could manage was to pull out his linens and his toiletries. The young omega washed his face, brushed his teeth, laid a sheet on the bed and pulled a blanket over himself. Thankfully, two of his boxes had made it before he did. The pillow and blanket smelled like home and were comforting to the omega.
Yuuri was walking the corridor of Slater Hall. It was dark, Yuuri saw a light coming under the door on the left in front of him. He looked at the door. It was room 210. Yuuri tried the door, but it was locked. He could feel curiosity coming in waves from the door. Then he felt affection. Then, he felt arousal.
The dream continued. Yuuri heard the sound of crying. He looked down the dark corridor again. On the right side of the hall, a door was open. He felt sorrow, confusion, and longing coming so strongly from that place. He didn’t want to keep walking, he was afraid, but he couldn’t stop moving forward. He placed his hand on the door frame...
Yuuri woke up with a start.