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Just a Dime a Dozen Omega Story

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   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…’

 

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    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.”

    “Oh?”

    “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.

    “Damn it.”

Chapter Text

 

    Yuuri looked at the clock. It was 7:30 AM. It was still early enough to call his mother.  He pulled his phone off the charging cord and dialed.

    “Okasan?”

    “Yu-chan, you are homesick already?”

    “No. Okasan, I had Aisho yesterday on the plane. It was a three year old girl.” Hiroko was silent for several moments.

    “How far did it go Yuuri? Could you hear her thoughts?”

    “Mostly strong feelings. But, brief glimpses of thought...even an image of a woman in a casket. They must have come from a funeral.”  Yuuri could hear a long, slow exhale on the other end of the line.

    “A funeral could be traumatizing to a young child,” Hiroko breathed. “Are you okay?”  Yuuri felt a tightness in his chest. He could feel the child's fear.  He could feel her sadness and confusion.  He blinked his eyes and a tear fell.

    “Yeah. I had a frightening dream...,” Yuuri admitted. “But, how can I have Aisho with a stranger?”

    “She must be very strongly omega Yuuri,” Hiroko sighed. “Together with the weariness of travel...Did you drink on the plane?” Hiroko asked suddenly.

    “No...wait. I drank with my dinner last night,” Yuuri admitted. “But, it was just one beer.”

    “That could be part of the dream, anyway,” Hiroko said thoughtfully. “Yuuri, you know how to keep up your defenses from other’s feelings. One beer is probably okay, but you know you should avoid drinking and you need to sleep.”

    “Yeah, I know,” Yuuri replied with a pang of guilt.  Using his gift on Victor was stupid. He knew it could make things confusing.  He certainly didn’t mention it to his mom. She would lose it.

    “Have you gone to see Minako yet?” Hiroko asked, trying to lighten the mood.

    “Not yet, but I have class with her this afternoon,” replied Yuuri.

    “Hug her for me,” Hiroko said affectionately.

    “Will do, Okasan. Love you,” Yuuri wrapped up the call and sat on the bed with his head against the wall. He closed his eyes, trying to clear his head.

 

    There was a knock at the door.  Yuuri pulled on some warm-up pants and answered. Victor was standing in the hall with two coffee mugs.  His hair was slightly rumpled, and he wore a robe that was open, revealing a faded burgundy Wagner University t-shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms.

    “Come have some coffee,” Victor said brightly.  “Every RA has some kind of special event they do for their residents.  I open up my room and serve coffee every weekday morning. Some students also borrow my microwave to heat up their breakfast burritos or whatever.”  Yuuri looked down and noticed Makkachin was at Victor’s heel. There was a buzz of chatter and activity on the floor.

    “That would be great. Thanks,” Yuuri sighed.

 

    “Usually, the rule is you need to bring your own cup,” Victor said, as he handed Yuuri a steaming mug of coffee. “But, I figured you hadn’t unpacked yet.” Victor leaned in and whispered into Yuuri’s ear. “I have a blueberry muffin for you too, so follow me.” Victor’s breath tickled Yuuri’s ear and gave him a shiver.  The scent of cedar and earth strongly hung on Victor’s bedclothes. ‘Of course, follow you…’ Yuuri nodded and followed, leaning down to pet Makkachin on the way.

 

    Outside Victor’s door was a man with blond curly hair. He was wearing nothing but a pair of pajama bottoms that hung so low on his hips that they were barely decent.  He had a hamster on his shoulder.

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    “Gees Chris, don’t you have any clothes?” Victor chided.

    “Victor, I need coffee,” whined the very fit man.

    “Chris, this is Yuuri, Yuuri this is Chris,” Victor quickly introduced the two as he grabbed Chris’s steel walled coffee cup and went into the room.

    “Your hamster is really cute,” Yuuri commented, trying to make small talk. Chris chuckled.

    “This isn’t my hamster, it’s my boyfriend’s,” Chris replied, picking up the hamster from his shoulder and cupping it in both hands. They followed Victor into his room.  

 

    “Residents aren’t allowed to have pets, but RA’s are. Everytime I catch him with his hamster out, I have to confiscate it. I finally just started keeping a cage in my room.”  Yuuri curled up on Victor’s couch, sipping the coffee he was clutching with both hands. The warmth was as soothing to Yuuri as the drink itself. Makkachin crawled up next to Yuuri and leaned against him.

    “Where is Phichit anyway?” Victor asked, as he handed Chris his mug.

    “He has an early class today,” Chris took a sip. “Aww, is this Zombie Cure?” Chris asked. “Hmmm, I love this stuff.”

    “Only the best for my residents Chis.” Victor smiled.  “Do you like it Yuuri?”

    Yuuri nodded, “Hmmm, yeah,”

    “Here is the muffin you wanted heated,” Victor crossed the room and handed Yuuri a warm blueberry muffin with a wink.  

    “Hey, Victor, thanks for this,” he said holding up the steel cup. “Do you mind if Phichit comes to dinner too?”

    “Oh, sure. No problem. Although, I’m not sure he counts as an adult yet and I won’t let him drink a beer in my room until next week,” Victor teased.  Victor turned to Yuuri, “Phichit turns twenty one next week.”

    “See you tonight Victor,” Chris called, already walking out the door. “I’ve gotta run or I’ll be late.”  

 

    “Victor, can I heat this up?” A young man wearing jeans and a Wagner hoodie strode in with purpose. He headed toward the microwave.

    “Sure Leo. You’re a little late today,” Victor said, looking down at his watch.

    “Yeah,” Leo agreed. “I stayed up late writing a paper, which I…” Leo looked at his phone. “Have to turn in...in 14 minute.”  

    “Cutting it a little close,” Victor chuckled and sipped his coffee. Victor folded his leg under his body and plopped onto the couch on the other side of Makkachin.

    “Hey, you’re Yuuri, right?” the young man held out his hand. “I’m Leo. You’re in my dance class this afternoon.”  Yuuri straightened up and took Leo’s hand. He had kind of relaxed into Makkachin, who was halfway on his lap.

    “Oh, nice to meet you. Yes, Yuuri Katsuki,” he said, knocked out of his reverie. The microwave dinged and Leo left just as quickly as he had come.

    “I’ll see you later,” he called as he raced out the door.

 

    “He’s...energetic,” Yuuri concluded.

    “Right?” Victor reached over and stroked Makkachin’s back. “He’s one of the really nice kids though. Good skater too.”

    “Oh, he’s Leo de la Iglesia?” Yuuri asked. “I didn’t realize that he was old enough to even be in college.”

    “Leo is pretty young, only eighteen. He’s a freshman.  Most of the kids on this floor are freshman. The kid whose room you have now did nothing but party the first semester.  He was a mess and kept me busy, even on weeknights. I think they gave you to me as an apology,” Victor sighed.

    “Wow. Did he flunk out?” Yuuri asked curious.

    “He moved back home, but I think he just transferred,” Victor considered and then took another sip of his coffee.  Yuuri remembered his muffin that was perched on the arm of the couch and took a bite. It was still warm. It had a crumb topping that fell onto his shirt. Makkachin’s ears perked and a little black nose explored up the front of Yuuri’s shirt. Her mouth opened just enough for her pink tongue to snatch the falling crumbs.

 

    “This is delicious Victor. Thank you,” Yuuri added with a laugh, “Makkachin likes it too.”

 

    “It’s from my favorite coffee shop. I needed more Zombie Cure blend, so I went early and picked up breakfast too. Kaiah’s Koffee is a great place. They grind the beans for you and make all their own pastries. Lucky for me, they have a drive-through. I didn't even have to get dressed,” Victor smiled and began stroking Makkachin again.  “Why don’t you come to practice with me in an hour? Then I’ll take you around to get your student ID, meal card, and the grocery store.

 

    “Yeah, that sounds great,” Yuuri looked over at Victor, remembering the warm feelings of affection from him last night.  The younger man could smell Victor's scent of cedar and earth as the older man stroked the pup’s fur.  It was a heady mixture of scent and emotions that gave the omega a feeling of warmth in his body. Yuuri sat up with a little yelp. Makkachin raised her head and whined.

    “Are you okay?” Victor asked, his brow knitting in concern.

    “Uh, yeah,” Yuuri stammered. “I was just getting a little too comfortable. I better go get a shower.”

 

     Back in his own room, the young omega stripped and headed for the bathroom.  Yuuri smacked the tile wall with his hand and turned the shower on cold, trying to pull himself together. ‘Those feelings of affection weren’t for you BAKA. He's not your alpha.'   He took several deep breaths allowing the cold water to fall over his hot skin. He lifted his face into the stream with his eyes closed. 'Shit. I fucked up. I've only been here a day and I fucked up.’  After a few minutes, he warmed the stream of water and then started to wash.  He hoped that going through his daily routine would help him focus.  

    By the time Yuuri was dressed and ready to go, he still had forty minutes before he was supposed to meet Victor. He decided to unpack. The closet was easy. Yuuri had two suits, a nice pair of khakis and a few button down shirts. Even with his puffy coat, he still only used half the closet.  All his other clothes went into the drawers. His books were dropped onto a shelf above his desk. His nesting bag was vacuum sealed so it looked super flat. For now, he just tossed it on one of the deep shelves in the other wardrobe.


    Yuuri opened his last box.  It was his poster collection. While there were a few other skaters, a certain Mr. Victor Nikiforov was very well represented. Yuuri sighed. ‘Is it creepy to put up a poster of someone who lives next door to you?’   Yuuri decided to put up just his framed posters.  He opened up a set of command strips and got to work.  He put up the signed poster of Victor, that he got for his birthday as a young teen, along with a signed poster of Stephane Lambiel, and a signed poster of Scott Hamilton. ‘There. Not creepy. Balanced.’ He rolled up the other six posters of Victor and stuck them in the back of his closet.  'Yeah, it's probably creepy.' Yuuri sighed.

Chapter Text

      Yuuri was very grateful to have Victor’s help. By 2:30, he had been to the grocery store, obtained his ID and meal card, knew where his dance classes were going to be, had been introduced to both Coach Feltsman and Coach Celestino, and had an amazing workout.  His outlook had improved greatly since this morning.  No matter where in the world Yuuri was, gliding on the ice, feeling the cool air on his cheeks as he gathered speed for a jump, the ice always felt like home.

 

    The young omega packed his bag for dance.  He wore black leggings and a fitted grey, v-neck shirt. Over that, he wore a black jacket and pants.  He started his trek to the Davidson Fine Arts Building. It was exactly halfway to the skating rink. ‘No wonder most of the skaters and dancers are housed in Slater,’ Yuuri thought. Yuuri heard footfalls and saw Leo coming up behind him.

    “Yuuri, wait up!” He called.

    “Hey,” Yuuri said with a smile. “I was wondering if I would see you at the rink this morning.”

    “Yeah, well, I have three classes on Monday, so I skate in the evening session,” Leo explained.  “Sometimes I skate in the morning. I kind of like having dance and skating back to back. Dance is a really good warm up, you know?”  Yuuri hummed a reply and filed that information away for the future. Yuuri wasn’t much of a morning person.

 

    The ballet studio was light and airy. The room was a little cold. Yuuri would probably throw a long sleeve practice shirt in his bag for tomorrow.  The boys dropped their bags in the corner and Yuuri removed his warm up pants and shoes, replacing them with a worn pair of black ballet shoes. He walked to the barre and started to stretch. He wanted to warm up some before Minako got there. He knew she would say…

    “Yuuri, please remove the jacket.” Minako reminded.  Her tone quickly softened, “Then, come give me a hug.” Yuuri smiled and dropped his jacket on top of his bag.  Minako had always been very strict about her dance dress code. No baggy shirts and no jackets, because she couldn’t see alignment as the dancers moved through their routines.  Yuuri knew that Minako was also concerned that such attire hid eating disorders. He walked over to the person who had been teaching him ballet since the age of three and was pulled into a bear hug.

    “It’s good to see you Minako Sensei. Yuuri breathed into her shoulder.  The familiar scent of Jasmine was comforting to the young omega. It spoke of safety and home.  

    “Oh, Yuuri, I’m so glad you came to Wagner,” Minako smiled, she broke the hug and held Yuuri briefly at arm’s length. She looked at Yuuri in the eyes and a fleeting look of concern appeared in her brow.  She patted his shoulder and addressed the class that had assembled at the barre.

    “Good afternoon class,” Minako called, clapping her hands twice.

    “Good afternoon Minako Sensei,” the class returned.

     Minako began the music with a tap of her phone. “First position, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and …” The class moved their arms and legs in a familiar routine of changing positions and stretches.  To Yuuri, Minako’s warm-up was as familiar as breathing. He was able to forget about the plane, his upcoming workload, disappointing his family, everything but the burn of his arms and legs and the pleasure of a good stretch.  

 

    

     Since it was the first class, Minako had them move through exercises to evaluate their flexibility, their jumps, and their pirouettes.  Of her male skaters, only Victor, Leo, and Yuuri were placed in regular ballet classes. The rest were in Ballet for Athletics. That class was mostly made up of skaters and gymnasts.  

 

    At the end of class, Minako passed out a syllabus to her dancers. It had a bunch of dates for rehearsals and the end of the year performance that they did with the drama department.    

    “Please be aware that a good portion of your grade in this class is for attending rehearsals and a performance in the first week of May. There is no excuse. If you can not make the performance due to athletic commitments, please change your class to Ballet for Athletics, that does not have a performance requirement. I don’t care if you’re doing Disney on Ice.” Minako spoke with a tone that meant business.  “Do you understand?”

 

    “Yes Sensei,”  Yuuri noticed that a few people did not reply. ‘I wonder who's switching to the other class.  I wonder why Victor isn’t in this class. Surely, he isn’t in Ballet for Athletics.’

 

     The class began packing up and filtering out of the room. Leo was out like a shot. ‘He must be heading to the rink,’ Yuuri thought, stuffing his ballet shoes into his bag.

    “Yuuri, are you free for a bit?” Minako said to Yuuri, who had one foot in his warm up pants. He finished putting on his pants and looked down at his phone. He wanted to shower before he had dinner with Victor and his friends.

 

    “I have about thirty minutes probably,” he replied, pulling his dance bag onto his shoulder.

 

    “Great, come see my office,” she said, pulling her long sweater on over her black leotard and heading out the door. Yuuri followed. She wore a tea length dancer’s skirt that was made of a sheer black material with a print of deep burgundy roses. Minako was in her mid-forties, but nobody would guess that she was over thirty. She was Yuuri’s mother’s best friend and something like an aunt to Yuuri.  

 

    Minako’s office was still pretty spartan since she only had been in this position since August.  Yuuri recognized her Benois de la Danse award, which resided on a cherry bookcase as you walked into the room.  Besides the bookcase, she had the usual assembly of office furniture, desk, laptop, a couple of chairs, and a mini-fridge.  She reached into the fridge and pulled out a can of green tea and tossed it to Yuuri.

 

    “Wow! Where did you find this?” Yuuri’s face lit up at seeing his favorite brand of tea. He popped the top and took a long draw on the can.

 

    “I got it from the Far East Market. I’ll take you there soon. A really sweet family owns the place and even lives over the shop.  Lucky for us, they are from Kyushu, so they carry products that are a taste of home.” Minako grabbed a second tea, popped the top, and took a sip. Yuuri sat down and let his bag slide to the floor.

 

    “So, Minako Sensei, how come Victor Nikiforov isn’t in our class? Surely he isn’t in Ballet for Athletics,” Yuuri tried to sound casual.

 

    “Oh no, of course not. Well, you know, Victor is an alpha. With his height and strength, I begged him to be in my other section of ballet that included pairs,” Minako took another swig of her tea.  “He has beautiful lines when he performs his lifts,” Minako gave a little sigh. “Have you met Victor yet, by the way?”

 

    “Actually, he picked me up from the airport and he is the RA on my floor,” Yuuri revealed.  A half smile came unbidden to his lips. He took another sip of his tea to try and hide it.

 

    “Hmmm.  Is that going to be okay?” Minako tilted her head to one side and considered Yuuri’s expression. “You used to have a pretty major crush on Victor Nikiforov.”  A faint blush appeared on the young omega’s face.

 

    “Well,” Yuuri stammered, “When you get to know people in real life, you find out that they aren’t really that dreamy ideal, you know?” ‘I just won’t mention that he is actually way dreamier and nicer in real life than I thought he would be.’ “It’s probably good to get to know him in real life anyway, since he is my competitor.” Yuuri reasoned. 

 

    “Hmph. You don’t think I’m buying that do you? Listen, you better be smart around him. Don’t get drunk around him and don’t be...nosy...and you know what I mean.  Minako walked around Yuuri and shut her door all the way. Then, Yuuri noticed, she even locked the door before returning to her seat. Minako sighed.

 

    Minako lowered her tone as to not be overheard. “You know, I know about the Koga family’s omega gift.  Hiroko-chan told me about it when she was a little girl. I'm embarrassed to say I used to ask her to use her gift. I didn’t understand what I was asking her to do.  It wasn’t until Hanako-chan started having her breakdown that I realized how dangerous a gift it was and how addictive using it is,” Yuuri was very uncomfortable with this confession and tried to interrupt, to dismiss Minako’s concerns, but Minako put up her hand to stop him.  

 

    “Let me finish,” she insisted.  “Don’t tell anyone you have this gift. If you need to talk about it, you can come to me or call your mom.  Don’t use your gift. Save it for family, for your future spouse. Think of it like a virgin saving herself for marriage.”

 

    “Sensei!”  Yuuri was aghast. ‘How did this turn into a sex talk?’ “You know my mom tells me these kinds of things all the time.”

 

    “I know she does.  Look. I just hoped if I told you how bad I felt when I realized that this gift isn’t a game...I don’t know.” Minako walked around the desk and tilted Yuuri’s chin with her index finger, so that he was looking her right into the eye.  “Just be careful, okay? You’re not the average college kid and your mistakes can have...real consequences.”

 

    “Minako-sensei, I know what you’re saying. I’ll be careful.  I also won’t sit in train stations, using my gift to find bad guys like Oba-san,” Yuuri promised.  Minako rolled her eyes. She was slightly annoyed that he wasn’t taking her seriously.

 

    “I’d better go. I want to take a shower before dinner,” Yuuri pulled his bag onto his shoulder and headed out the door.

 

    Yuuri considered the stories he had heard of Minako and Hiroko in elementary school, as he walked back to Slater.  Minako considered Hiroko to be someone with superpowers when they were little. It all started when a classmate had taken Minako’s lunch and hidden it. Hiroko thought that she knew who it was and she pushed her gift toward the back part of the room where he sat. But, the gift isn’t necessarily precise and the emotions of two children flooded into her mind.  

 

    One of the little boys had a strange mixture of emotions. She felt guilt, but also pride, mixed with pleasure from him. Over all the emotions, Hiroko felt pain.  The boy felt ashamed. His bottom was sore. He was in so much pain, that when she looked back at him, she noticed him shift in his chair. She wondered if he had been beaten.  Hiroko was certain that he took the lunch.

 

    From the other little boy, Hiroko had felt fear and uncertainty. He was hungry. She felt his sadness.

 

    Hiroko felt bad for the boys.  She didn’t tell Minako who took the lunch, but she quietly retrieved the bento from the boy’s bag when nobody was looking.  When lunchtime started, Hiroko approached Katsuki-kun and gave him some of her lunch, telling him that her mother had made too much.  Later Hiroko found out that Katsuki-kun’s mother was sick and his father was out of town on business.

 

    For weeks, Hiroko’s dreams were full of shame, fear and uncertainty. In the twilight sleep of early mornings, she felt the pain of hunger and the pain of a punishment for some unknown transgression.  

 

    Yuuri took a quick shower.  He slicked back his hair and pulled on a pair of black, skinny jeans and a brand new, burgundy Wagner University t-shirt with an athletic cut. Victor had purchased it for him when Yuuri wasn’t looking.  Yuuri wanted to give Victor some kind of thank you gift. It was small, but Yuuri pulled out a beautiful floral print bookmark that he had purchased in Hatsetsu. It had a fancy red tassel. At exactly 6:00 PM, Yuuri knocked on Victor’s door.

 

    The door was slightly ajar and Victor called out, “Come in!”  Makkachin pushed his head through the door in greeting and Yuuri bent over to give the pup a scratch behind the ear. Victor was right behind him and opened the door all the way.

 

    “Oh, you look amazing in that shirt Yuuri,” Victor looked him up and down.

    “I brought something for you. It's just a little something from my hometown, a thank you gift. You’ve been so kind to me,” Yuuri handed Victor the bookmark. The older man held the bookmark with reverence and sat on the couch to look at it closely.

 

    “Wow! This is so beautiful. Thank you Yuuri,” Before he knew it, Victor had stood up again and pulled him into a hug. Yuuri was stiff as a board for a second, but the scent of cedar and earth relaxed him and he brought his hands around Victor’s back without thinking.

    “It’s nothing…” Yuuri mumbled into the alpha’s shoulders.

 

    “Knock, knock,” Phichit called as he pushed the door open. The spell was broken and Victor was showing off the bookmark to Chris and Phichit.  Yuuri was dazed…

 

    Victor had made a wonderful meal of salmon, rice, and asparagus. Since they were all skaters, of course, they had a lot in common.  They talked about competitions and mutual friends in the sport. They also tried to give Yuuri tips about life at Wagner University.

 

    “Oh, and make sure you hide your pets and candles on the first Thursday of each month,” Phichit confided cheekily.  Victor nearly choked, laughing.

    “You knooow, we are right here,” Chris teased.

    “Why do I have to hide pets and candles?” Yuuri inquired and then took another bite of his salmon.

    “Because they aren’t allowed and we have a room inspection once a month,” Phichit ate a piece of asparagus.

    “It is a huge game Chis and Phichit play, passing hamsters back and forth between their rooms,” Victor chuckled and shook his head.

    “I know he has at least two," Chris pointed at the Thai skater with his fork as he spoke.  "That’s the most I’ve ever caught him with at one time,” Chris smiled at his boyfriend.

    “You give them back to him though?” Yuuri asked curiously.

    “Of course. As soon as he promises to find them a new home. I’m not cruel,” Chris said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.  

    Phichit leaned over and whispered in Yuuri’s ear, “I have four hamsters.”  Then, Phichit winked mischievously.

 

    After dinner, everyone helped clean up.  Victor put music on, opened a bottle of Moscato, and laid out a wooden cutting board with an assortment of cheeses and a sliced apple.

 

    “This is really nice Victor,” Yuuri sighed. The young omega sat across the couch holding his glass of wine.  Makkachin lay between the young man’s legs, hoping for a piece of cheese off the plate on Yuuri’s thigh. The pup’s eyes kept switching between Yuuri’s face and the plate.  Yuuri bent his legs slightly so that Victor could sit down.

 

    “I’m glad you’re here Yuuri,” Victor reached over and rubbed Makkachin’s back. “Now I’m not just the third wheel to those two over there.  

    “Victor you must be so relieved that you’re aren’t babysitting that drunk that was in Yuuri’s room last semester.  How many nights were you cleaning up that kid’s vomit in the hall?” Chris rolled his eyes and took a sip of his wine.

    “Or the elevator,” Victor shook his head. “You wonder if that kid never had any freedom growing up. He just came to college and went crazy.”  Victor nibbled on a piece of cheese.

 

    Chris was leaning up against the built-in oak wardrobe. His arm was wrapped around the Thai skater, his hand resting on his side.  Phichit was leaning into his lover’s shoulder. Chris had poured himself an enormous glass of wine, which Phichit was sharing. “I see that you are corrupting that child with my wine,” Victor smirked and took a sip from his glass. 

     “I’m not sure this counts as wine Victor.  It’s like Kinderweine,” Chris laughed.

     "Anyway, just six more day Victor," Phichit whined. Then he gave Chris a peck on the cheek.

     “Do you like this wine Yuuri? I like it as a dessert wine because it has a fresh grape flavor.”

    “Hmmm, yes. I’ve never had this before. It goes well with the cheese,” Yuuri nodded.  The raven haired omega listened to the other’s chat about plans for Phichit’s birthday. The eventful day and the wine was starting to make him feel sleepy. ‘I’m probably still jet lagged,’ Yuuri thought.  Victor had his arm draped over one of Yuuri’s ankles as he was petting Makkachin.  The feeling was warm and sort of domestic.  ‘If Victor was the third wheel, what does that make me...the forth wheel?’ Yuuri choked briefly on his wine and then started to cough.

 

    “You okay?” Victor tilted his head to one side.

    “Yeah, it just went down...the wrong way,” Yuuri replied coughing.

    “So, you’ll come won’t you Yuuri?” Phichit pleaded, his eyes wide.

    “Huh? I’m sorry, I missed it,” Yuuri said, trying to breathe and shake the sleepiness out of his head.

    “Come out to dinner with Chris and me for my twenty-first birthday,” Phichit repeated.

    “You’re coming too, Victor?” Yuuri asked, searching the older man’s face.

    “I’m coming a bit later.  I have duty that night. I’m on call in the dorm, but only until 10:00,” Victor explained.  “So, I won’t miss the dancing.”

    “We are planning on doing a little clubbing after dinner,” Chris added.

    “Sure, that sounds like a lot of fun,” Yuuri replied.   ‘This wine is amazing.’

 

    Yuuri felt warm. He smelled cedar and earth. The young omega pulled at the delicious smelling fleece blanket that covered his shoulder.  Then, he sat up and looked around. Yuuri had curled himself into a little ball under the warm blanket and slept. ‘For how long?’  The room was dark, but Victor was studying from a thick book by the light of a desk lamp. He was still on the other end of the couch, but now, he was wearing a black t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants.  Victor looked up from his book and smiled at the omega.

    “You’re awake, Sleeping Beauty?” Victor teased.  “I was going to wake you soon, if you didn’t wake up on your own.”  Yuuri could feel contentment and affection coming from the alpha.  ‘Are these feeling for me? Surely not...’

    “I’m sorry,” Yuuri started to get up.  Victor grabbed his arm. His brow knit in concern.

    “It’s okay. I know that jetlag is tough. You’ve had a long day,” Victor consoled the omega.

    "I better get to bed," Yuuri mumbled.  Victor rubbed his arm up and down.

    "Sure. I'll see you at practice in the morning," Victor walked Yuuri to the door. "Good night," the alpha called.

In the hall, Yuuri stopped and turned around. He was surprised to see Victor watching him walk to his room. 'Gees, I'm only two doors down.'

     Yuuri raised his hand in a wave,  "Night Victor. Thanks for everything."

Chapter Text

    “Chris, I’m in big trouble,” Victor sighed.  He rubbed a hand up through his silver hair and turned toward his kitchenette to start a pot of Zombie Cure.

 

    “You mean besides the fact that you’re dick’s half hard? I know we’re good friends but,” Chris teased.  Victor gave him a look.

 

    “Well, that is part of my problem,” Victor groaned. “I can’t stop thinking about him. I just want to...touch him...and protect him...and buy him things.  I know he is uncomfortable with it and now he’s avoiding me.” Victor threw his arms up in the air in emphasis. “It is everything I can do not to walk him home after he visits.”

 

    “You mean Yuuri, right?” Chris said, scratching his head.  “He’s two doors away from you.”

 

    “Yeah. Of course, Yuuri. Who else would it be?” Victor sat down on one of his kitchen chairs. He rested his elbows on his knees and pressed his steepled hands to his lips as if in prayer.        

 

    “First things first bro. You need to put on some underwear under those pants, because you’re distracting me,” Chris said with the utmost seriousness. Then, he clapped him on the back.  “What are you worried about? He is totally into you.” Victor looked up into Chris’s face.

 

    “How do you know that?” Victor asked, his face suddenly transformed.

 

    “I don’t know, for sure, but when you're together, you are...in each other’s space. Leo asked me if you guys were going out. So, other people have noticed,” Chris considered.

 

    “Leo asked you that?” Victor sighed again. “Yuuri’s been going to the evening practices with Leo since last week and he’s been eating lunch with Leo before their ballet class. What do I do?”  Victor looked miserable. Chris pulled the other chair out and straddled it, resting his chin on the back of the chair. He considered his friend and pushed the bangs out of his eyes.

 

    “Are you in love with him?” Chris asked softly.

 

    “I don’t know...is that possible? I've only known him a couple of weeks.  When he’s next to me though, it just feels right, like it was meant to be.  When I hug him…” Chris put a hand on Victor’s shoulder.

 

    “Victor, you know I’m nosy as hell. But, these sound like things you need to tell him,” Chris stood up.  “Seriously. You need to stop torturing yourself and just ask him out on a date. Don’t be so dramatic.” Chris walked over to the coffee pot.

 

    “Did you find someone to take your duty this evening?” Chris asked, filling his steel coffee cup.

 

    “JJ is going to take over at 9:00 PM, so I can probably meet you right when you get to the club or pretty close,” Victor poured himself a cup of coffee and opened the fridge to grab the creamer.

 

    “Alright my friend, let’s make sure my Peachy has an epic twenty-first birthday,” Chris grinned.

 

    Chris took Yuuri and Phichit to The Gingerbread Man.  It was a Wagner tradition to show the bartender your ID and get a drink, on the house, for your twenty-first birthday.  Yuuri and Chris took pictures with their phones of Phichit showing the bartender his ID. Then, they took pictures of him with his first legal drink, a green scorpion. Under the black light over the bar, the drink glowed an ominous green color.

 

    “What is in that?” Yuuri laughed.

    “Monster and Rum,” Phichit replied, taking a sip. The three split an enormous order of Nachos and another platter of assorted appetizers, which is what the restaurant was known for.  A token salad sat, untouched, on the side of the table.

 

    “So, how are you enjoying Wagner so far?” Phichit asked Yuuri, dipping a chicken strip into the Polynesian sauce and taking a bite.

 

    “I really like it. Everyone has been so nice. I’m really enjoying my classes too,” Yuuri replied, sipping a craft beer called Paramecium. It was a sour red ale with a taste of guava.  Chris had convinced Yuuri to share a beer sampler with him so that they could try all six flavors the microbrewery had to offer. Each glass only held 6 ounces of beer.  Paramecium and Johnny Appleseed, which has an apple flavor, were Yuuri’s favorites, so far.

 

    “You must have made quite an impression on Victor. He talks about you all the time,” Phichit confided with a smile.  Chris gave Phichit a wary look.

 

    “He does?,” Yuuri sputtered.  The young man took a long draw on his glass of Johnny Appleseed.

 

    “What Phichit means is that we know Victor is glad to have you around over that drunk kid who was always causing him trouble,” Chris tried to steer Phichit away from the cliff…

 

    “Yeah, I imagine it is nice for him that I am around his age,” Yuuri relaxed a bit and picked a bit of chicken off the nachos.  “When is Victor coming? I heard JJ was going to take over for him this evening.”

    “He is meeting us at Sky at 9:00,” Chris replied.   

 

   Happily full and slightly buzzed, the trio was outside Sky Bar just after 9:00.  The building was a converted cotton mill. About half of the building was Sky and the rest of it was broken into boutiques, artist studios, artisan shops, and a cafe. There was a vintage record store, which Chris was absolutely addicted to. He and Phichit would find old records from bands they liked and read the album notes, which were kind of lost with the dawn of digital music. Every month or so Chris would post a photo of an old album cover when it was a particularly good find.

 

    Just a few days ago Chris had found a vintage album of the original version of The King and the Skater in that shop.  It had two records, one with the music and one with a dramatic telling of the story with the original actors. It opened up and had a book insert with pages that had pictures from the movie. Phichit had cried this morning when he had opened it.  Chris wanted it to be his first present. All day Chris smiled, thinking about Phichit’s reaction to that gift.

 

    “I texted Victor, he’s on his way,” Chris said.  “Let’s go in and get a table.” Phichit took great pride showing the man at the door his ID.  Chris picked up the cover charge for the group and they all got green bracelets, meaning that they were over twenty-one.  Students over nineteen could come and dance at Sky most nights of the week. Yuuri looked around and was amazed at what they had done to the place.  Somehow, it looked old and new at the same time. The exposed brick wall and the old recovered wood floors blended with silver and black modern tables and chairs. The ceiling was painted black but had LED lights that hung down and looked like stars in a black sky.  

 

    The music was loud and with his happy buzz, Yuuri couldn’t wait to get out onto the dance floor. The trio found a table in a corner.  Yuuri sat with his back to the wall, so that he could see Victor come in. Chris and Phichit went over to the bar to order drinks. In a few minutes, Yuuri’s face split into a grin. Victor walked in the door and was obviously looking for them. Yuuri stood up and waved.

    “Victor!” Yuuri called. Victor spotted the young omega and smiled, walking over to their table.

    “Did you just get here?” Victor asked, taking a seat next to Yuuri.

    “Yeah, I’m so glad you made it,” Yuuri smiled so sweetly at Victor that the alpha couldn’t help but reach out and squeeze his hand.  

    “I’m glad too. Where’s Chris and the birthday boy?” Victor asked.

    “They’re getting drinks,” Yuuri replied, surprised at Victor’s touch. “You’re hands are cold.”

    “Yeah, I left my gloves in the car,” Victor smiled. “You’re hands are warm.  Yuuri looked into Victor’s impossibly blue eyes.

    “Victor! You made it!” Phichit called.  “Chris bought champagne so that we can have a toast.”

Chris opened the bottle with a pop and managed to catch the bubbly champagne into Phichit’s glass.  When everyone had a glass, Chris raised his glass.

    “Santé!” Chris toasted, using the french word for health.

    “Santé!” They replied. Everyone clinked their glasses and drank.  They sat down and chatted for a bit. Phichit told everyone the story of Chris finding the album in the vintage record store. Yuuri filled Victor in on Phichit getting his first drink and showed him the pictures he took of it.

    “That looks truly vile Phichit,” Victor laughed.  Yuuri was on his third glass of champagne when the pull of the music was too much.  The omega grabbed Victor’s hand and started to pull him.

    “Let’s dance Victoru,” Yuuri spoke with the hint of a Japanese accent.  Victor was entranced by Yuuri suddenly taking the lead and followed him onto the floor.  The silver haired alpha grabbed him around the waist and guided him to the middle of the pulsing mob.  Together, they moved to the beat of the music. Yuuri was amazing. He was using hip hop moves, but somehow, you could see the ballet dancer at the same time. His movements were fluid and graceful. Victor copied his movements and soon they were in the middle of a circle of people who were watching them dance. Victor got in close to Yuuri again. Yuuri could feel Victor’s forearm on his back.  The young omega moved his hands to Victor's hips.  He could smell his earthy scent as they moved together.  The pulse of the music, the blue lights, the burn of working muscles, it was as intoxicating as the champagne.

 

    The alpha spoke into his ear, “Do you trust me?”  Yuuri nodded dumbly. “Straighten your arms and hold it.”  Victor pushed Yuuri up over his head into a lift, twirling him in a circle. Yuuri flared out his legs into a perfect straddle split.  The omega felt like he was flying. Victor looked up at Yuuri’s face. His eyes were closed and a radiant smile lit up his face. The people watching went crazy and began to clap and cheer for the couple.  Victor carefully lowered Yuuri to the floor.

    “That was beautiful Yuuri,” Victor laughed. His hand cupped the side of Yuuri’s smiling face.  The omega’s face was pink from the exertion. His eyes were bright. Victor wanted to kiss him so much... Yuuri’s smile faded and he looked away.  'Is he going to kiss me right here?' 

 

    “I need to go to the bathroom,” Yuuri mumbled and he fled the dancefloor.  The champagne was really starting to hit. Yuuri felt a haze creeping up in the corners of his vision like one of those weird photo filters.  He ran his fingers up through his hair and tried to focus.  'I need to be careful. I don't want to mess this up.'

     Outside the bathroom door Yuuri stopped.  Feelings of terror were washing over him from the bathroom.  Fear, panic and...lust. The intensity of the emotions was like a physical blow to the empath.  He fought a sudden wave of nausea.  Something bad would happen if he didn’t do something!  Screwing up his courage, Yuuri kicked open the door and saw a tall man in a black hoodie pinning a young man against the tile wall. From the smell of the room, Yuuri guessed that the young man was an omega.

    “Get away from him,” Yuuri yelled, trying to make as much noise as possible.

    “This is my lucky day,” the man called and grabbed Yuuri’s arm, while shutting the door. He pulled him so hard, that Yuuri lost his balance and he tumbled forward into the wall of one of the stalls.  The fall mixed with the champagne put Yuuri into a daze. He shook his head and tried to get into a sitting position. The man pulled the door of the stall so that it smacked Yuuri in the side of the head.  Yuuri kicked out and tripped him as he tried to approach the wide eyed young man in the corner. The feelings of terror were now coupled by feelings of shame. The door of the bathroom opened again and Victor came into the room.  

    “Are you okay Yuuri?” Victor cried.  The alpha on the floor got up and pushed past Victor.

    “Stop that man Victor!” Yuuri pleaded.  Victor bent over and retrieved something from under the sink and then pulled out his phone and started typing away.

    Yuuri half walked, half crawled over to the boy in the corner.  The omega pulled him into a hug, sending out calming pheromones to comfort him.

    “I’m sorry,” the boy cried, tears began to course down his face. “I should have helped you. I was so scared. I couldn’t even move.”

    “It’s okay. Did he hurt you?” Yuuri asked, looking him over.

    “He pushed me into the wall and told me that I was going to be his pretty little whore.  Then, you came in...you saved me,” the boy continued to cry. Yuuri pulled him closer and stroked his back to calm him.

 

     “Can I call someone for you?  What is your name?” Victor squatted down in front of Yuuri and the boy.

    “I’m Guang Hong Ji. I’m here with my friend Leo,” the boy explained.  Victor looked over and saw Yuuri texting on his phone.

    They helped Guang Hong get up and started toward the door. Leo met them as they were leaving the bathroom and took charge of the young man until the police arrived.

    “It’s too bad I didn’t get a good look at him,” Yuuri lamented.  Victor put an arm around Yuuri’s waist.

    “Oh, they’ll definitely catch him,” Victor said with an ironic smile.

    “You think so?” Yuuri asked.

    “He dropped his wallet under the sink,” Victor held up the man’s wallet.

 

    After talking to the police, Victor told Chris that he would give Yuuri a ride home.  Yuuri leaned his head back against the headrest in the car and closed his eyes.

 

    “I’m just a troublemaker like the other guy that had my room,” Yuuri sighed.

    “Are you kidding me? Jesus, Yuuri you saved that kid from getting bonded and raped,” Victor was incredulous.

    “I should have gotten help instead of running in there like an idiot,” Yuuri countered.  Victor furrowed his brow and glanced over at the omega.

    “Don’t be so hard on yourself. How could you have known what was going on before you opened the door?” Victor asked softly.  Yuuri realized that he made a mistake and a chill went through his body.

    “I guess you’re right…” Yuuri stammered.  ‘Shut up...idiot…’

 

    Victor and Yuuri walked down the hall and stopped in front of Victor’s room.

    “Hey, come in a minute. I want to look at that bump on your head,” Victor said, opening the door.  Makkachin walked out into the hall and sniffed Yuuri’s shoes and then followed them into the room. Yuuri sat on the couch. Victor reached behind the omega and turned on a desk lamp that he often used to read on the couch.  Victor squatted in front of Yuuri and ran his hand gently over a red spot on his left temple. Yuuri flinched.

 

    “Let’s put some ice on that,” Victor said softly.  “Does anything else hurt?”

    “My shoulder, here,” Yuuri indicated his left shoulder.  Victor nodded and surprised Yuuri by pulling off his shirt all in one motion.  An angry bruise was already starting to show on Yuuri’s shoulder where it came in contact with the edge of the wall of the bathroom stall.  Victor ran his hand over the warm skin of Yuuri’s shoulder. The omega shivered. Victor walked over to the fridge and grabbed the ice bucket out of the freezer. He made two ice packs and wrapped them in hand towels.  He also grabbed a water bottle and two ibuprofen.

    “Here, take these,” Victor handed Yuuri the medicine tablets and the water.  “I’ll set the timer for the ice and help you with one of them.” Victor encouraged Yuuri to sit so that the older man could sit in back of Yuuri. Their legs were now across the couch. Yuuri leaned back on Victor and held the ice pack to his shoulder, while Victor held an ice pack to Yuuri’s head.  Makkachin wanted to be a part of the fun and climbed up onto Yuuri’s lap.  Yuuri started shaking.

 

    “Are you okay?” Victor spoke softly into Yuuri’s ear.

    “It was so frightening…” Yuuri breathed.  His chest felt tight. He couldn’t even tell Victor all that he felt.  The shame and fear that Guang Hong felt filled his mind and made him nauseous again. Yuuri closed his eyes.

    “I know,” Victor snaked his free hand around Yuuri’s chest and held him close. He began scenting the omega, by rubbing his wrist along his body. Soon, Yuuri’s breathing evened out. Victor was comforting to the omega.

 

    Victor wanted Yuuri to stay in his room all night. What if he had a concussion? But, when Yuuri moved to leave after the timer went off, the alpha lost the nerve to suggest it.  He walked Yuuri back to his room. Yuuri opened his door and considered the dark room. Victor was turning to go back to his room when the omega grabbed his hand.

 

    “Would you stay with me, until I fall asleep?” Yuuri asked softly, his gaze concentrated on Victor’s hand in his own.  Yuuri absolutely didn’t want to be alone with all these feelings. Victor could smell the distress in Yuuri’s scent, which usually smelled to him like sweet honeysuckles in summer.

    Yuuri’s double bed held a loose nest of several fleece blankets and a few pillows. Yuuri started undressing, only stopping at his undershirt and a pair of black boxer briefs. Victor took off his shoes.

    “Uh, where should I sit?” Victor didn’t know what to do next.  Yuuri had crawled into the middle of his nest. He looked up at Victor and pointed to a spot next to him.  Victor pulled off his sweater, so that he was left in his t-shirt. He knew his scent was comforting to the omega. He climbed into the inviting nest. Yuuri curled into Victor, nestling his face into Victor’s neck. Victor closed his eyes and swallowed. He wasn’t sure he was going to survive the closeness of this beautiful omega, that was clinging to him, that had invited him into his nest.  He was fighting his growing arousal. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. When he opened his eyes, he saw the young omega looking at him.

    “You like me,” he said sleepily. Victor sighed and pulled him close

Chapter Text

    “Hiroko, Hanako, remember that the Koga family Omega gift is for your family. Never tell anybody of this gift.  It is a special bond leftover from a long time ago. My Baba told me that it was meant to help mothers care for their children and others in their household, just as a mating bond helps an alpha care for their omega.”

 

<<1986>>

 

 

     Hanako Koga was running late for school.  She was tired and irritable. Her bedroom had been too warm last night and she tossed and turned on her futon. She had been so sweaty, that she just had to change her linens and now she was behind.

 

    “Hanako-chan, go ahead. I will walk Hiroko-chan to the middle school,” Okasan said, handing Hanako a bun stuffed with red bean paste.

    “Thank you Okasan!” Hanako grabbed the bun, her lunch, and her school bag and headed for the door.  She missed walking with her friend Hina. If she jogged, she could maybe catch her on the train and then eat her bun.  No luck. Just as Hanako got to the last step, the doors of the train closed. The young woman sighed and sat on the bench to eat her bun.

 

     ‘Someone…please.  PLEASE. Help.’  Hanako looked to her left and her right. She heard the voice in her mind as clearly as if someone had yelled to her out loud.

 

    Hanako stopped chewing her bun and watched dumbly as the rest of it dropped from her hand onto the floor.  The young omega grabbed the front of her shirt. She felt like she couldn't breathe.  Waves of fear and panic washed over her from behind.  She felt frozen in place. A bead of sweat began to roll down the side of her face.  Hanako turned around to see a man in black sweatpants and a Pink Floyd shirt. He was holding the hand of a girl in a middle school uniform. A chill went down Hanako’s spine. This girl went to Hiroko’s school.  Hanako’s mind was screaming, ‘RUN AWAY. MOVE.’  But, she couldn’t.

 

    They were now standing in front of her on the platform. The girl’s head was down.  Her legs were shaking.  ‘If you scream, I will kill your family. I will kill them in front of you.’   Hanako could see images of the girl’s mother, her father, her baby brother. ‘Okasan, Tousan, Hi-chan, I won’t let him hurt you.’  The train pulled up to the platform.

 

    The doors opened.

 

    The doors closed.

 

    They were gone.

 

    As soon as the train left the station, the spell was broken.  Hanako ran down the stairs of the platform. The security guard of Hiroko’s School was always out front at the beginning of the day.  

Hanako ran up and grabbed the officer’s hand.

 

    “The girl. She needs help!” Hanako was crying.

    “What’s the matter Koga-chan?” The officer asked.

    “A man was pulling an omega girl onto the train. She was wearing the middle school's uniform!”

    “But, how do you know Koga-chan? Maybe that was her father,” the officer patted Hanako on the head.  ‘What should I do? Okasan said we must never tell somebody about our gift.’  Hanako started to panic.  

 

    The young omega turned around and started to run home.  She caught her mother and Hiroko about two blocks from their house.  When Hanako looked up and saw her mother, she stopped right there in the road.  Hanako didn’t have to explain a thing. All three of the omegas shared Aisho. The mother heard her child’s tormented mind crying out to her from 30 meters away.  The three ran back to the house. Hiroko would run things at the inn that day and Tousan and Okasan went to the police station with their daughter. Hiroko saw the images in Hanako’s mind and knew the girl that was abducted.  They had a name, Aoi. From Hanako’s jumbled thoughts, Okasan had a detailed description of the kidnapper. She made it sound like she had been on the platform with Hanako and that she had heard him say that he would kill the girl’s family.  She was amazing.

 

    In the end, they found Aoi-chan. But, she was already bonded to the Alpha that abducted her.  The family refused to press charges against the man, who had been a family friend.  Instead the Alpha paid reparations to the omega’s family and they were married.  She was 13 years old.

 

 

     ‘Aoi-chan was so strong. She was willing to sacrifice herself to save her family from maybe being murdered. But me...I couldn’t even get up from a bench to save her from that man.’

 

<<>>

 

    

    Yuuri jolted awake in his bed.  He sat up, his hand moving to the back of his neck.  He sighed. He had been dreaming about the incident at the bar.  This time, the Alpha had grabbed him and pulled his hand so that Yuuri swung into him, his back was to his chest. Yuuri saw through the man’s eyes as he bit down on the sweet, omega neck in front of him.

 

    ‘I must be near my heat,’ Yuuri thought.  Yuuri wasn’t sure that he really wanted to call his mother about that particular dream.  He sat and stared at his phone, flipping through the contacts. He stopped at a name and stared at it for several moments. Screwing up his courage, he dialed.

 

    “Oba-san,” Yuuri said timidly.

    “Yuuri?”  Hanako replied. “How are you? I haven’t heard from you in a while.”

    “Yeah. Uh, something happened at a bar last month.  Another omega and I were slightly...attacked?” Yuuri was bouncing his right leg up and down as he talked.  “I keep having these nightmares and I was wondering how do you get these feeling and dreams to stop?” Yuuri had said everything quickly, like he had to get it out before he lost the nerve to say it.

 

    Silence.

 

    “Oba-san?” Yuuri ventured.  The young omega heard a long exhale on the other end of the line.

    "Well, heck, you're in America aren't you?  Buy a gun. I have to make due with pepper spray," Hanako said evenly, although, it was dripping with sarcasm.

    "I don't think..." Yuuri stammered.  Hanako cut him off.

    "I don't mean that," Hanako said thoughtfully.  Yuuri could just picture her pushing her hand up through her hair, as she always did.

    “Honestly, Yuuri, I still dream of that girl. You know the story…” Hanako sighed.  “But, as I had good experiences, the bad memories, the feelings...got...quieter. What is this dream?”

 

    “I dreamed that the man who attacked us forced a bond,” Yuuri said quietly.

 

    “Are you near your heat?” She queried.

 

    “Maybe,” Yuuri sighed.  “It’s been a while.”

 

    “I would consider a heat partner then. Are you seeing anybody right now?” Hanako said that so easily, but the very idea made all Yuuri’s back muscles clench.

 

    “Uh, kind of,” Yuuri said shyly.   ‘Why couldn’t I have a male omega in the family to ask about these things?’

 

    “Ask him.  The worst he could say is no,” Hanako shrugged.  Yuuri’s insides began churning at the thought of asking Victor to be his heat partner.

 

    “Well, I better go. Thank you Oba-san,” Yuuri ended the call respectfully, but, as quick as he could.

 

    He tossed the phone onto the mattress and rubbed his face with both hands.  ‘So, horrible nightmares about forced bonding that may continue indefinitely, or beautiful memories of a shared heat with Victor.’ Yuuri knew which he preferred.  But asking him...might just kill him.

 

    Yuuri pulled rice from the rice cooker, shaped them into onigiri and wrapped them in seaweed.  He fixed a little tuna fish with wasabi mayonnaise in a bowl and balanced three onigiri on top.  Armed with breakfast, he opened his front door.  Makkachin was sitting outside his door, waiting for him. Yuuri broke into a smile and Makkachin’s tail started to wag back and forth.

 

    “Good morning, Makkachin!” Yuuri called to the pup.  Makkachin led the way to his master's room dutifully.  Victor was busy fixing a second pot of coffee as Yuuri entered the door.

 

    “Congratulations on Silver at Four Continents Yuuri!” Victor flashed Yuuri a smile.  Even in warm-up pants and a plain t-shirt, Victor was still beautiful in the mornings for some reason.

    “Oh, thanks,” Yuuri replied, taking a seat at Victor’s kitchen table.

    “That’s the first time you medaled there. That is a great accomplishment,” Victor gushed as he grabbed a muffin and his mug and sat down next to Yuuri.  Recently, it seemed that Victor always sat next to Yuuri, never across from him. Yuuri considered it and smiled.

 

    “What is that you have for breakfast?” Victor asked, curiously.

    “Oh, nothing special, just onigiri. Here I’ll fix you the perfect bite.” Yuuri picked up his spoon and heaped a bit of the tuna mixture onto the end of one of the triangle shaped onigiri.  He held it up to Victor’s mouth and watched his eyes light up at the taste.

    “Amazing!” Victor’s beautiful eyes twinkled. “My tuna sandwich never tasted this good Yuuri.”  The omega reached up and picked a piece of rice off Victor’s lip.

 

    Victor leaned in and kissed Yuuri lightly on the lips.  

    Yuuri looked down at his bowl.  ‘Should I ask him?’

    “I’m sorry Yuuri.  Is that okay?  We've been spending so much time together.” Victor cupped Yuuri’s cheek with his hand, concern etched in his brow.  The young omega looked into Victor’s eyes, searching.

 

    “I have something kind of serious I want to ask you,” Yuuri said, averting his eyes as he spoke. 

    “Sure. Let me close the door a minute,” Victor crossed the room and pushed the door so that it was nearly closed. The older man returned to his seat and took up his coffee cup. “Okay, what’s up?” 

    Yuuri had turned in his chair and sat feet apart, with his palms on his thighs.  As he began to speak, he bowed, asking, “Will you consider being my heat partner?”

    Victors eyes went wide for a moment, but he didn’t answer.  At the delay, Yuuri looked up. Victor had a sort of pained look on his face.

    Yuuri felt himself start to crumple. ‘He’s going to say no!’  Embarrassed, the omega could feel his face heat up and tears start to prick at the corner of his eyes.

 

    When Victor saw the change in Yuuri’s expression, he stood up and took Yuuri’s hand, pulling him out of the chair into a hug.  He pushed Yuuri’s face into his neck, releasing his scent. Victor took in Yuuri’s sweet honeysuckle scent in return and closed his eyes.

    “Yuuri. It’s okay. I am not rejecting you. I would love to share your heat,” Victor cooed. He felt the omega melt into his embrace.  Victor felt Yuuri’s hot tears. “I’m just not sure that I can. Let’s sit on the couch.  I need to explain.” The alpha led the young omega to the couch and sat down.  Yuuri sat right next to him, looking down at his hands.  Victor pulled him back into an embrace. Victor realized just how much it took for Yuuri to ask him to be his heat partner, as he held the trembling omega.  The alpha rubbed circles on the young man's back, scenting him.

 

    “As a part of my RA contract, it states that I can’t be a heat partner with the residents.  The reason why is that, in the past, some of the RAs became perpetual heat partners and didn’t have time to do their jobs,” Victor explained. Yuuri chuckled, imagining him and Chris servicing all of Slater Hall as heat partners.

 

    “I guess I could see where that would be a problem. You’re so handsome. Everyone would ask you,” Yuuri sighed, resignedly.

 

    Victor lifted Yuuri’s face, so gently, with both hands and looked into his amber eyes, rimmed with tears. “There are exceptions, however, for bonded pairs, and couples.”

 

    Yuuri took up Victor's hand in both of his, “Bonded pairs and...couples?”

 

    “So, I guess,” Victor brought his index finger up to his cheek and tapped a few times. “I need to ask you a question first.  Would you consider being my boyfriend?”

 

    Yuuri leaned in and pulled Victor into a kiss. Victor deepened the kiss, pulling Yuuri onto his lap.  When the kiss ended, Yuuri smiled sweetly down at Victor.

 

    “Yes. I would love that,” Yuuri said softly, brushing the hair out of his boyfriend’s beautiful eyes.

 

    “I would be honored to share your heat Yuuri,” Victor pulled him into another kiss.

 

    After a few moments, Victor realized he still had 30 minutes of his coffee event left and opened the door.  Standing there, was Chris with a hamster on his shoulder.  Next to him, Phichit was hugging the blond alpha's arm, tears streaming down his face.

 

    “It’s about time,” Chris winked.

 

    

Chapter Text

Chris and Phichit sat at the kitchen table, both clutching cups of Zombie Cure.  Victor and Yuuri sat cuddled up on the couch with their breakfasts, Makkachin between them.  Makkachin was very interested in the savory smell of Yuuri’s rice and tuna. His face was resting on the raven haired man’s thigh, waiting for something to drop.

 

    “So, when are you going to have that little ceremony?” Phichit asked and then took a little sip of coffee.  Yuuri’s eyes went wide and Victor looked at Yuuri, a bit confused.

    “We hadn’t gotten that far yet…” Yuuri stammered, after nearly choking on his onigiri. Makkachin’s tongue instantly caught the bit of rice that landed on Yuuri’s shirt.

 

    “Yeah, it is a HUGE deal! The Japanese culture takes heat sharing very seriously. You can even go to jail for endangerment if you leave your omega in the middle of a heat,” Phichit said animatedly.  Chris quietly placed his hand over Phichit’s hand, aware of how uncomfortable Yuuri looked about this turn in the conversation.

 

    By this time, however, poor Yuuri had turned a violent shade of pink.  Victor picked up the bowl in the young omega’s hands and pulled him up off the couch.

    “Excuse me guys,” Victor said, all the while pulling Yuuri into the bedroom. “This is probably something we should talk about in private.”

    “Sure. Sorry Yuuri,” Phichit called after them.  

 

    Victor closed the door and pulled Yuuri into a hug.  Yuuri turned his head in embarrassment, pushing Victor away gently, he sat down on the edge of the bed with his head bowed.  Victor sat next to the younger man and picked up his hand in both of his. Softly, he kissed the knuckles on Yuuri’s hand. With his right hand, Victor started to rub Yuuri’s back with long strokes, scenting the agitated omega to calm him.

 

    “It’s okay, you know...I know that many of the eastern cultures consider heat sharing very special. It’s not going to scare me away,” Victor said softly.

 

    “I’m sorry. I just didn’t expect this to be such a public thing all of a sudden. Yuuri said.  “I actually wasn’t sure I was going to tell you about the ceremony. I don’t want to inconvenience you so much...”

 

    “Yuuri. Look at me,” Victor said, more sternly.  Yuuri raised his head to look into the alpha’s cerulean blue eyes.  “Wouldn’t you do anything for your precious person? How can you inconvenience me? Being asked to be your heat partner is an honor. I know that, okay?”  Yuuri melted in the silver haired alpha, overcome by the smell of cedar and earth, drunk on Victor’s patient care and loving words.

 

    “Okay,” the young omega replied.  “Victor, what evenings do you have off this week?”

    “Oh, wow. Tomorrow evening is my only night off,” Victor said while scratching the back of his head.

    “Minako Sensei would probably help us, if I asked her to,” Yuuri said thoughtfully. “I’ll call her right away.”  Victor got up and Yuuri held on to the back of his shirt to stop him.

 

    “Thank you, Victor. This means a lot to me. I’ve...never had a heat partner before,” Yuuri said.

    “Yuuri,” Victor breathed and looked down into the young man’s face, the face of his future lover. Victor saw in Yuuri the promise of a warm happiness. It was a perfect irony that Yuuri smelled to him like sweet honeysuckles on a summer day. The alpha framed the young omega’s face with his hands and leaned over for a kiss.  Yuuri’s lips were soft and warm and the slight parting of his lips was welcoming. Yuuri closed his eyes and brought up his hand to touch Victor’s cheek as the kiss continued.

 

    “Meet me for lunch, yes?” Victor asked, still nose to nose with his sweet omega.  Yuuri nodded.

    “I’ll see you at morning practice,” Yuuri replied, and gave him another brief peck on the lips.

 

    Minako squealed like a little girl when Yuuri called her about the idea of helping him have a Three Cups Ceremony. They would have it in the ballet classroom tomorrow at 7:00 PM. She knew just where to borrow a yukata for Victor to wear. She wanted to take care of everything.  Yuuri wanted it small, so he asked Phichit and Chris to be their only witnesses. Victor and Yuuri discussed the plan for the ceremony over a couple of slices at Brother’s Pizza.

 

    The young omega came back to his room after a good hard workout in ballet.  He took a quick shower, threw on some clean warm up pants and a plain navy t-shirt. Yuuri sat on the edge of his bed to dry his hair with a towel. The wardrobe was slightly ajar, revealing the edge of the space bag that held the rest of his nesting supplies.  

 

    Yuuri had a loose nest on his bed already. It had helped him get a little sleep through all of the strange dreams that he had been having. He still sometimes had images of that little girl’s dead grandmother in his dreams. He could still feel her confusion, her loss, her sadness. The smell of the nest brought him back to himself somehow, especially since Victor had covered it in his scent after the incident at the bar.  It made him feel safe, like his mother's nest.  Yuuri wanted the heat nest to be different though. He gathered up all the blankets and pillows and took them to the laundry room. He used an omega safe soap that basically removed odors, set a timer on his phone, and then started down the hall to see if Victor was back from classes. That was answered when Makkachin met him in the hall. Victor’s door was halfway open and Yuuri poked his head in, with a light knock on the door.

 

    “Victor?” Yuuri called.

    “Yuuri!” Victor replied. Yuuri smiled at the enthusiastic greeting. You’d have thought they hadn’t seen each other in days. Yet, they ate lunch together just three hours ago.  Yuuri plopped down on the couch next to his lover. Victor looked up from his laptop and met Yuuri halfway for a quick kiss.

 

    “I’ve been reading about the Three Cups Ceremony on the internet. It is really interesting. Originally, it was called Reihai, which means means worship.”  Yuuri found it endearing that Victor was so interested in the history of this ceremony.

   “I’ve always wanted to do this. I wasn’t sure if it was something I would get to have,” Yuuri said shyly. Victor reached out and ruffled Yuuri’s hair.

    “Thank you Yuuri for relying on me. I know it is hard for you to do.”

 

    “Speaking of relying on you, can I ask you a favor?” Yuuri asked a little sheepishly.

    “Of course, what can I do?” Victor replied, shutting his laptop and placing it on the table in front of them.

    “I’m starting to feel like I want to nest…” Yuuri started.

    “You want some of my clothes to add to the nest?” Victor asked. “Sure thing.”

    “Clothes are great, but maybe something from your bed too?” Yuuri asked thoughtfully.

    “Yuuri you can take anything you need,” Victor said, leading the omega into his bedroom for the second time that day.  Yuuri looked around the room. He saw pajama bottoms, a t-shirt, and a bathrobe draped on the back of a chair.

    “Victor, do you think that I could have that bathrobe and your pajamas?” Yuuri walked over to the robe and picked it up, inhaling deeply. ‘Oh my god. This smells amazing,’ Yuuri thought.

    “Of course you can. You know, I just did my laundry, so I might not have a lot of things,” Victor said, bringing a finger to his lips the way he did when he was thinking.

  

    “This bathrobe and the pajamas are a good start. But, I have an idea,” Yuuri grabbed a towel from a stack of clean towels on a shelf inside of Victor’s bathroom. “Here, sit here on the bed and drape this around your neck.”  Victor was getting the idea of where Yuuri was going with this and sat down with his legs apart. The young omega was directly in front of the alpha, placing the towel around his neck so that they lay directly on his scent glands.

 

    “Hmmm, I like this,” Victor smiled. The alpha’s hands were on Yuuri’s hips and his legs caged him in on either side.  The smell of honeysuckle filled the older man’s senses. They were so close that Victor could feel the heat from Yuuri’s body.

 

    “Close your eyes and think about me Victor,” Yuuri breathed.  The scent of cedar and earth became stronger, even with the towel covering the alpha’s scent glands. It was muskier than Yuuri remembered. Yuuri closed his eyes and snaked his arms around the beautiful head of silver hair and pulled him close, so that Victor’s head was resting against Yuuri’s chest.

 

    The young omega’s heart was pounding. Victor’s arms encircled him tighter. Yuuri’s pants were starting to feel uncomfortably tight.   ‘This might have worked little too well,’ Yuuri thought.

 

    “Victor,” Yuuri gasped. “Let me go. I’m getting too worked up.”  Victor loosened his grip with a sigh and rubbed his hands up and down his lover’s side.

    “You aren’t the only one, Yuuri,” Victor replied. He removed the towel from his neck and folded it.

 

    Yuuri couldn’t help but be distracted the rest of the day. He was afraid that adding the towel to the nest would set off his heat early, but he couldn’t help but pull it out of the plastic bag to smell it. He imagined himself taking off his clothes and just rubbing the scent on his body. ‘Get a hold of yourself Katsuki!’ He returned the towel, that basically smelled like horny Victor, to the plastic bag for the third time.

    

    The next day Yuuri noticed that Victor kind of disappeared after 4:00.  Yuuri fussed with his nest all afternoon out of sheer nervousness. The bathrobe, the towel, and the pajamas were woven into the nest along with firm pillows and colorful fleece blankets. Yuuri preferred fleece because it dried quickly and was easy to wash. He had quite a collection, since he had always found comfort in a nest, whether it was his or his mother’s.

 

    Around 6:00, Yuuri showered and carefully slicked back his hair in a similar style he wore during performances.  Next, he pulled out his yukata. It was navy blue and had a very subtle pattern of lines in the fabric. He put it in a garment bag and set off across campus.  The fine arts building didn’t have locker rooms per say, but the bathrooms had a wall of benches with hooks over them and even two showers. Yuuri carefully put on the yukata and then made his way down the hall to the ballet classroom.  Phichit and Chris stood outside the classroom. Both were wearing black suits. They had been ordered by Minako to catch Yuuri and keep him in the hall until everything was ready.

 

    “Yuuri, you look amazing,” Phichit gushed.

    “The first person I ever shared a heat with, asked me by a text,” Chris said, shaking his head. “This is a beautiful tradition Yuuri.”  The young omega hummed in agreement.

 

    Minako poked her head out the door.

    “We’re ready,” She said brightly. “You two come in first.” Chris and Phichit disappeared in the door.  Yuuri took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Minako opened the door and stood to the side so that Yuuri could enter.  

 

    Soft, piano music was playing over the studio's sound system.  The room was simply decorated with candles along the mirrored wall.  They gave a warm light to the entire room. Straight ahead of him, Victor sat up on his knees in a circle of pink, white, and yellow roses.  The different colored roses mean different things, like friendship, happiness, reverence, and new beginnings. As Yuuri approached his lover, he couldn’t believe how beautiful the silver haired man looked in the black yukata. The material had a bit of a shimmer to it and a subtle paisley print that you could only see close up. Lit by the warm light of the candles, Victor was radiant.  

 

    He smiled at Yuuri.  Yuuri reached out to Victor with his gift and felt his nervousness, his affection, his desire. Yuuri smiled and a tear threatened at the corner of his eye.  As Yuuri reached the circle of roses, the couple bowed to each other. Minako had explained to the other men that the circle symbolized the heat nest and the bowing was an like agreement to share the nest.  

 

    Minako looked at Yuuri and asked, “Yuuri, do you come to this circle of your own free will?”

    Yuuri answered, “I do.”  

 

    Next, Yuuri entered the circle and turned, facing away from Victor. Victor placed his hands on Yuuri’s hips and lowered him nearly into his lap. Yuuri leaned back onto Victor’s shoulder and Victor placed his left hand around Yuuri’s middle.  Yuuri smiled, amused at how stiffly Victor was holding him.

 

    Minako placed 3 small cups next to Victor’s right hand.  She then explained, “Victor, the first cup is sake. The cup of sake represents your protection for Yuuri at a time when he may be impaired and unable protect himself. Do you accept this responsibility?”

    “I do,” Victor replied. He picked up the cup of sake and carefully brought it to Yuuri’s lips. Yuuri drank the sake carefully.  When he had finished. Victor replaced the first cup.

 

Untitled

    “Victor, the second cup is green tea. Green tea represents enlightenment and mental clarity. Do you promise to respect Yuuri’s emotional needs during the difficult time of his heat?”

    “I do,” Victor replied. He picked up the cup of green tea and brought it to Yuuri’s lips.  When Yuuri had finished the tea and Victor had replaced the cup, Minako continued.

 

    “Victor, the third cup is water.  Water represents cleansing and the sustenance that is needed for life to thrive.  Do you promise to take care of Yuuri’s physical needs while he is unable to do so for himself?”

    “I do,” Victor replied. He picked up the cup of water and brought it to Yuuri’s lips. When the last cup was replaced, Minako completed the final part of the ceremony.

 

    “Bound by the testimony of these two witnesses and the promises you have made, you have entered into a covenant with each other.”  Victor placed his hands on Yuuri’s hips and helped him to standing. Then, the couple faced each other in the circle.

    Victor bowed slightly to Yuuri and said, “I will do my best.”

    Yuuri bowed and replied, “I am in your care.”

 

    Chris whispered to Phichit, “Well, that was erotic as hell. We should try this when we get back to my room.”

Chapter Text

    Yuuri and Victor walked back to the dorm together hand in hand.  Their bags were draped over their other shoulders. Yuuri noticed that Victor had maneuvered so that he was on the outside of the sidewalk, closest to the traffic.  Of course, the speed limit was 25 mph on campus, so Yuuri liked his chances of surviving the walk home...on the sidewalk...even if he was alone. All the same, the young omega felt light and happy.  His alpha’s hand was warm in his… ’My alpha,’ Yuuri thought. He smiled.

 

    “Yuuri, what are you thinking about?” Victor asked, squeezing his hand.  Yuuri blushed and shook his head.

 

    “It’s nothing,” Yuuri said, squeezing Victor’s hand back. “I’m just...happy.”  Victor stopped walking and stared at the omega who was now looking back at him, still holding his hand.

 

    “Can I kiss you?” Victor asked.

    “Ye...,” Yuuri started to respond, but the silver alpha had already stepped forward. Letting go of his bag, he cupped the young omega’s face with both of his hands and hungrily pressed his lips to Yuuri’s. The omega’s bag dropped to the ground and arms snaked around the alpha’s waist.  Chris and Phichit picked up the bags from the ground and then kept walking past the couple.

 

    “Why don’t we get these for you?” Chris said, laughing.

 

    “Ganbatte, Yuuri-kun!”  Phichit added, punching a fist into the air.

 

<<>>

 

    Soon, the couple was snuggled up, side by side, on Victor’s couch.  Yuuri’s hands were like ice from their walk from the Arts Center. Victor made hot cocoa for the both of them on the stove.

 

    “I’ve never made hot cocoa with milk before. This is wonderful!” Yuuri took another sip.

    “Chris brought this to me from Switzerland as a Christmas gift. You can’t buy it here,” Victor said casually. “It reminds me of cocoa I’ve had in Russia, like a taste of home.”

    “Hmmm,” Yuuri replied, sipping cocoa.

 

    “Yuuri, tell me about your heats. What should I expect?”  Victor brought his arm around Yuuri protectively and started absently rubbing his arm.

 

    “Oh, well, when I started competing as a serious athlete,  I started a birth control shot to regulate my heats. I only have a heat about every 3 months or so and they don’t last nearly as long.  My previous heat lasted about two days,” Yuuri explained.

 

    “Yuuri...do people have that ceremony before each heat or just with a new partner?  The website didn’t say,” Victor asked curiously. Yuuri blushed pink. Victor could feel his omega tense up.

 

    “Well...usually...you’d only have one ceremony.  My mother and father were bonded at the end of their first heat together.  To avoid...misunderstandings, marriages with omegas were arranged at a young age, very soon after an omega presented, especially with very traditional families.  My parents were only 16…” Yuuri could feel Victor’s arm pull him closer.

 

    “Yuuri, did we...get married?” Victor asked, in awe...

 

    “NO, NO, NO!” Yuuri sat upright, laying both his hands on Victor’s chest.  “Weddings are more of a religious ceremony...in the temples...or people just go to change their family registry at a government office, if they are not religious.  The Three Cups Ceremony is now more of a right of passage. It tells people you are growing up and presented as an alpha or omega. But, it has only changed to be that way in our generation, so...the rules are still...I don’t know how to say it in English...the traditions are still evolving, I guess?”  Yuuri sighed. He was looking at his hands, balled up into fists in his lap.

 

    “Yuuri, I understand. I’m glad we did it.  You can never have your first time back,” Victor cupped Yuuri’s cheek and gently turned the omega to face him.  “Hey. I’m glad I could share that with you, okay?” Yuuri looked up into Victor’s cerulean blue eyes and nodded.

 

    “Yeah, okay,” Yuuri replied.

 

<<>>

 

    The next morning, Yuuri awoke to his phone ringing.  Yuuri’s eyes widened when he saw the name of the caller that appeared on the phone screen.

 

    “Yuuko-chan?” Yuuri couldn’t contain his surprise.

    “Hello Katsuki-san,” Yuuko replied evenly.  The use of formal speech was like a slap from his childhood friend.

    “You’re mother showed me a picture from your Three Cups Ceremony this morning,” She said, restrained.  “What are you doing?” A lump was beginning to form in the omega’s throat.

 

    “I...I...met someone,” Yuuri stammered.

    “You met Victor Nikiforov, I see. How long have you known him, two months?” Yuuko spoke daggers.  “Did you use your gift on him too?”

 

    “Yuuko...chan...stop. I never meant…” Yuuri stumbled over his words that were barely above a whisper.

 

    “You think he loves you?  You better be sure, Yuuri. You better be damn sure what you are feeling is real, because if it’s not...you are going to hurt people.”  Yuuri heard a click.

 

    Yuuri could hear the roar of his pulse in his ears as hot tears coursed down his face.  He felt a tightness in his chest. He couldn’t breathe. Clutching his phone, he tore open his door and walked down the hall.   ‘I just need some air. I need to clear my head.’  Yuuri walked.  The young omega thought back on the day that he met Victor.  ‘All those things that he did for me, they were a part of his job. But, then they weren’t. When did it change?’

 

    ‘I did. I did use my gift. I shouldn’t of. I invaded the privacy of Victor’s feelings.’   Yuuri sobbed. ‘Why did I do that...again?’   The young omega started to jog, blinded by tears.  ‘What if everything I am feeling for Victor is a lie?   Am I just using him to end my own nightmares? What if Victor is just being kind?’ Yuuri ran.

 

<<>>

 

    Makkachin hadn’t returned from collecting Yuuri for breakfast, like she usually did.  Concerned that his Makka had gotten distracted, Victor walked toward Yuuri’s room. The door was wide open.

 

    “Yuuri?” Victor knocked on the door jam.

    “Yuuri?”  Makkachin was lying in the middle of Yuuri’s nest.  She looked like she was in doggie heaven, rolling, sniffing, and then rubbing her head on the blankets and the sides of the carefully prepared nest.  Victor's eyes widened in alarm.

     "Makkachin!  Come off of there!"  Victor grabbed her by the collar and encouraged her off the bed.  As Victor turned to leave, he looked beside the door and noticed Yuuri’s shoes, his skate bag, and his coat. He couldn’t have gone far. Victor closed Yuuri’s door, to keep Makkachin from returning to Yuuri’s nest, and walked back to his room. ‘He’s probably at the vending machines or something,’ Victor thought.  

 

    “Good morning, Victor,” Chris wandered in, heading straight for the coffee pot.  “I had a terrible night. Two drunk freshman caused me a lot of paperwork.”

 

    “Huh?”  Victor appeared to be daydreaming, gazing out the window.  Chris waved a hand in front of Victor’s face.

 

    “What has you so distracted this morning?” Chris asked with a chuckle.

 

    “Yuuri’s door was wide open, but he isn’t there,” Victor said, lost in thought.

 

    “Have you called him?” Chris sipped his coffee. Victor whipped out his phone and dialed at once.  He listened and then hung up and began typing.

 

    “It rolled over, but I sent him a text,” Victor sighed.  “Chris. I have a bad feeling...something’s happened.” Victor got up and half jogged to the elevator.  Once downstairs, he talked to Leo, who happened to be working the front desk this morning.

 

    “Hey Leo, have you seen Yuuri this morning?”  Victor asked, breathing hard.

 

    “Yeah, he left a while ago. He looked like he was late for something,” Leo shrugged.

 

    “Listen,” Victor grabbed a sticky note and wrote down his phone number. “If Yuuri returns, call me, okay?”

 

    “Sure,” Leo replied.

 

    “Chris, I’m going to just drive around and see if I can find him. His coat, his skate bag, and his shoes are still in his room.  If he shows up to practice or you see him, please call me.” Chris nodded, his face full of concern.

 

    Victor turned over the engine and cranked up the heat full blast. All of his windows were covered in a thick layer of frost.  He quickly cleared enough frost so that he could drive safely. His dashboard said that it was -3℃. He needed to find Yuuri fast.  The silver haired alpha drove slowly around the campus. His phone began to ring. Victor quickly mashed the hands free button on his steering wheel.

 

    “Yuuri? Where are you?” Victor demanded.

    “Victor...I’m not sure where I am…” Yuuri was sobbing.  Victor pulled over.

    “Okay, it’s okay. Tell me what you see,” Victor spoke evenly trying to calm his omega.

    “I see...farm fields. On the right, I see...a white building…” Yuuri stammered.

    “Is the bottom of the building gray stone?” Victor asked, putting the car in gear and pulling onto the road.

    “Yes.” Yuuri replied.

    “Keep walking toward that barn, Yuuri. It’s a safe place. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”  Victor drove.

 

    When Victor saw Yuuri on the side of the road, his heart broke. He pulled right into the grassy bank and vaulted out of the car.  Yuuri was wearing a hoodie, pajama pants, and a pair of soccer slides with no socks. His toes were red and his feet were bleeding where the slides had rubbed his feet raw.  Victor picked Yuuri up, princess style and held him close.  

 

    “Yuuri...Yuuri, I was so worried about you,” Victor carried the shivering omega to his car.  After depositing Yuuri in the front seat, Victor called Chris.

 

    “Are you still in my room?  Good. Make some hot cocoa and draw Yuuri a hot bath. We’ll be home soon.”  Victor looked over at his boyfriend. He looked so vulnerable, so broken.

 

    “What happened Yuuri?” Victor soothed his boyfriends hair.  Yuuri closed his eyes and a silent tear fell.

Chapter Text

 

     In Victor’s bathroom, Yuuri sat on the edge of the tub, head bent down. Every once in a while, a tear fell...drip...drip...drip.  The young omega had tried to protest when Victor had insisted on carrying him to the room.

 

     “I can walk,” Yuuri said, putting his hand on Victor’s arm as the alpha removed the younger man’s seat belt.  He heard Victor sigh.

 

     “You’ll let me carry you or I’m taking you to the hospital right now,”  Victor responded, evenly.

 

     Since then, Yuuri hadn’t said a word.  Even as Victor had carried him through the lobby, he had hugged Victor’s neck and turned his face into his shoulder.  

 

      ‘Why...why?  What must Victor be thinking about me?  Yuuri’s face burned with shame as he buried his face further into Victor’s jacket.  ‘ I don’t deserve him...I always ruin everything...and everyone is going to know…’  As he clung to his alpha, he just wanted to hide.

 

     Now, Victor inspected Yuuri’s injuries in silence, removing his house shoes, the older man exhaled and made a “tsk” sound with his mouth at the condition of the younger man’s feet.  Yuuri flinched as the plastic pulled away from raw flesh.

 

     “A skater needs to take better care of his feet Yuuri,” Victor admonished gently.  “Worlds is only a few weeks away. Yakov would have a fit if he saw this.” Yuuri remained passive as Victor carefully undressed him.  

 

     “The warm water may sting a bit until you warm up,” Victor helped Yuuri slip into the tub.  The young omega’s cheeks were flushed. A fleeting grimace of pain appeared on Yuuri’s face and then it was gone.  He was suddenly too tired to...feel anymore right then. The raven haired omega sank back into the warm bath and closed his eyes.  Victor folded a hand towel and placed it behind Yuuri’s head. He let him. Victor knelt by the tub, rubbing Yuuri’s hands under the warm water to increase blood flow.  Under the older man's careful attention, the omega's hands soon returned to a natural pink color. 

 

     Relieved that the initial crisis was over, Victor realized that he was unwittingly, but strongly, releasing his scent around Yuuri.  It surprised the alpha how much his instincts compelled him to protect this young omega, to calm him, to claim him.  What Victor wanted was to fix things for Yuuri. He wanted to ride in like a knight, make his rescue, and live happily ever after. 

     'How do you fix a person's feelings?  That ceremony challenged what I thought it took to be a strong alpha. It’s not a matter of being in control of others. It’s a matter of mastering myself. I’m going to have to master my own feelings and desires if I want to help him.’ Victor rubbed his face with both of his hands. 

 

     “The water is starting to cool Yuuri,” Victor laid out some of his own warm clothes for his omega. He dried his hair.  Yuuri sat still under Victor careful ministrations. The pull of the comb though his hair was relaxing. The silver alpha applied antibiotic ointment to his wounds with q-tips and dressed them with bandages.  Then, he carried Yuuri to his room and laid the young man down in the middle of his nest.

 

     “Yuuri...I want to stay with you. Can I?” Victor asked, sitting on the side of the bed.  Yuuri nodded. Victor crawled over to his omega and pulled him into his arms. Yuuri sighed.

 

Untitled

     “Gomen...sorry...Victoru,” Yuuri’s Kyushu accent slipped into his speech.

     “Shhhh, rest Yuuri,” Victor pulled Yuuri’s face into his neck and closed his eyes.  With all his might, the alpha concentrated on comforting his omega with healing, peaceful thoughts.

 

<<>>

 

     Around noon, Victor heard a soft knock on the door.  

 

     Victor carefully extricated himself from the tangle of limbs in Yuuri’s nest and padded to the door, opening it.

 

     “Wow, Victor, has Yuuri’s heat started?” Chris asked, backing up and covering his nose.  

     “Soon. Not quite yet,” Victor ran his hand up through his hair and looked back toward Yuuri’s nest.  The alpha pulled the door shut slightly, trying to contain the pheromones to his omega’s room.

     “Do you need anything?” The blond alpha asked casually backing up.

 

     “Well, just watch Makkachin for me and bring me the black backpack on my bed. I’ve had it packed since Yuuri started nesting, just in case.”  Chris retrieved the backpack and Victor went back inside Yuuri’s room, locking the door. Victor pulled out his phone and texted the dean and JJ that his omega’s heat was starting.  All his bases were covered.  

 

     As Victor returned to the room, Yuuri smelled good, really good, but the smell of distress on his omega was distracting, igniting all Victor’s instincts to care for and protect this young man.

 

    Victor looked through Yuuri’s cupboard and found a creamy chicken soup. He heated it and roused the young man enough to spoon it into his mouth. 

 

     “Did you eat any breakfast?” Victor asked softly.  The young omega shook his head. “Do you want anything else...toast?”  Yuuri shook his head again. 

     “Tea?” Yuuri spoke just above a whisper.

     “Sure,” Victor smiled a little.  “Can you manage the mug?” Yuuri nodded and took the mug from the alpha’s hands.  Victor started Yuuri’s electric teapot and brought the rest of the pot of soup over to the younger man’s waiting mug.  Victor tipped the rest of the soup into Yuuri’s cup and then he cleaned the pan in the sink.

 

     Yuuri had pulled his knees under his chin as he held the mug of soup.  Every once in a while, the young omega took a sip. His eyes stared off.  There was a little wrinkle between his eyebrows. It gave him a sad expression.

 

     Victor was really starting to worry. This burden that Yuuri was carrying could damage his health if he carried it into his heat.  Victor just wasn’t going to let that happen. The silver alpha removed his shirt and came up behind his omega. He nestled the younger man in between his legs so that Victor’s chest was against Yuuri’s back.  Victor held him with one hand around his chest, while encouraging him to finish his soup. When it was finished, The silver alpha removed the mug and wrapped the younger man in a hug. He spoke softly in his ear.

 

     “Tell me Yuuri…”

     “Why are you so sad?”  Victor could feel the tension in the young man’s shoulders and back.  Victor was a little surprised when Yuuri began to speak in a rush.

 

     “I’m…I’m not good.  I’m not a good person, Victor...You’re so good, but, I hurt my friends...Sometimes, I still feel their pain...and I don’t deserve…” Yuuri’s words petered out.  There weren’t any more tears left, even if Yuuri had wanted to cry.  

 

     Victor moved until he was facing Yuuri.  He cupped the younger man’s face in his two hands.

 

      “Yuuri, don’t listen to that voice telling you that you aren’t a good person,” Victor spoke with conviction.  “I’ve seen you. I’ve seen all 173 cm of you, go up against a man taller than me to protect someone you don’t even know.  Softening his tone, he looked into Yuuri’s eyes.  

      “How can you say you’re not good?”  He wanted to just kiss him and make the pain go away.

      “You chose me to be your alpha, right?  Do you trust me? Victor asked, softening his tone.

 

      Yuuri looked into Victor’s sea blue eyes.  The expression in his red-rimmed, amber eyes changed.  It became present and alive, and then, affectionate. The young omega nodded slowly.

      “Yes, I do trust you,” he said.  It was little more than a whisper, like a prayer.  

 

     Victor pulled Yuuri close, pressing the young man’s face into his neck.  Something changed and Yuuri began to nuzzle and nip at the scent gland there, causing the alpha’s desire to awaken fully.  Victor suddenly wanted nothing, except to surround his omega with himself, his smell, his warmth.  ‘His heat has started,’ he thought.  The overwhelming smell of honeysuckle in summer had changed somehow, and was beginning to make it hard for Victor to stay in control of his mind.  His instincts, his desire wanted to take over. ‘Not yet…’

      “You deserve...everything Yuuri,” Victor’s voice hitched for one moment.  “ You deserve love. You deserve every happiness,” Victor’s voice took on a desperate edge. ‘Mine. I want you to be mine, Yuuri…’ He thought.

 

     “Closer...Victor,” Yuuri pleaded. “I want to be closer to you.” All Yuuri could think of now was the warmth of this beautiful man against him, the smell of cedar, of earth, of his alpha’s feelings of concern, love, and building desire.  They began to quickly chase every other thought out of his mind. The omega’s movements became desperate. Victor smiled slightly as he realized the young omega was struggling to remove his shirt under Victor’s tight embrace.

 

     “Let me help you with that,” Victor smiled and pulled, as Yuuri raised his hands over his head like a child.

 

      Warm brown eyes met a summer sky blue gaze. The young man’s eyes widened.

 

     Yuuri was overwhelmed by the realization. He didn’t need to reach out with his gift. It was like the alpha’s feelings were emanating from his body like a glow, like heat and light from a fire.

 

     The empath reached for Victor’s face.  At the touch, the older man closed his eyes, then he covered the warm hand with his own and then kissed the inside of his omega’s wrist.  Yuuri gasped at the contact.

 

     “You...you love me,” Yuuri spoke in awe of the realization.

 

     “Yes,” Victor said simply, kissing Yuuri’s forearm and then the inside of his elbow. “And, I’m going to make love to you.” 

Chapter Text

     Yuuri’s eyes closed, his mind consumed with the sensation of Victor’s kisses working their way up his arm.  His earthy smell and the heat from his breath, everything seemed more ...like it was turned up somehow.  Victor’s other hand moved to the small of the omega’s back and pulled him closer.  A delicious feeling was building in the core of Yuuri’s body. Every point of contact with the alpha’s skin tingled.  Victor kissed and licked the scent glands on his neck, eliciting moans from the younger man. The silver haired man slowly maneuvered the couple so that Yuuri was laying on his back, caged by the alpha’s arms and legs.

 

     “I feel like I’m on fire,” Yuuri breathed.  Yuuri half heartedly pushed at his boxer briefs and then, feeling helpless to Victor’s ministrations, flopped both his hands behind his head.  The young omega closed his eyes so he could just feel the burn, eagerly embracing the flame that was licking and sucking at his neck, then his shoulders, then his chest.  

 

     Victor wasn’t in any hurry.  He was taking his time, eager to worship every inch of this beautiful omega.  As he continued to nuzzle the omega’s neck and chest, he supported himself with his right hand as he lazily, ran his left hand up Yuuri’s side and then moved over him to lace the omega’s hands into his own.  As the alpha stretched over his lover’s body the bulge in his pants brushed Yuuri’s center. The shock of pleasure at his center made the omega moan in earnest.

 

     “Oh god, yes…” Yuuri breathed.  He arched his back, desperate for more friction there.  

 

     “Patience,” Victor murmured.  “We have time…” Victor found Yuuri’s nipple with his tongue and then began to suck.  The feeling was like an electric current shooting to his groin. The omega came for the first time, shuddering.  Victor continued to suck and lick him through the orgasm.

 

     “Did you like that?” Victor smiled, a playful growl rumbled in his chest. Yuuri was panting beneath him, his head was back, eyes closed.  His mind was reeling, since the omega’s prior sexual experience mostly amounted to being locked in his room with a few sex toys and some drunken kissing.  The alpha gently kissed and sucked the scent gland beneath Yuuri’s right ear, while holding both his hands above his head. The scents of alpha and omega mingled creating a new scent that reminded Yuuri of everything that was good about a hot summer’s day.

 

     “It’s amazing,” Yuuri gasped.  “Nobody’s ever touched me this way…” Victor supported himself on his arm again and gently touched Yuuri’s face.  Experiencing this omega coming apart below him was absolutely incredible. It was one of the sexiest things he’d ever seen.  The young omega looked up into the older man’s beautiful cerulean eyes. He smiled and brushed a fringe of silver hair out of Victor’s face.  

 

     “Kiss me again,” Yuuri said, barely a whisper.  Victor’s expression was so soft, the feelings emanating from him were so joyful, so content, so full of love.  It was almost frightening, like the click, click, click of the first hill of a roller coaster. ‘Where will all these feelings lead?’

 

     Victor felt amazing.  Everything about Yuuri attracted him.  Every little moan, every touch aroused him further.  The sweet honeysuckle smell of his lover was like a drug to him.  The way it mingled with his own scent was intoxicating to him. Again and again the alpha nuzzled  into Yuuri’s neck to drown himself in this new scent.  

 

     Victor caught Yuuri’s lips in a sweet kiss, licking at the gap in the omega’s lips, testing, teasing. Then, the alpha deepened the kiss and carded his fingers through the younger man’s hair.  As his mind became more and more clouded with the haze of his heat, Yuuri’s hands reached down to work at the button of the alpha’s black jeans. Victor could feel a bit of desperation in the omega’s movements.  Victor laughed.

 

     “Hold on...Yuuri...you’re tickling me,” Victor kissed him one last time and pulled away, stradling the ravishing omega under him.  He started to unbutton his jeans and Yuuri put his hands over his.

 

     “Let me do it,” Yuuri said a little desperately.  His mind was fuzzy now. His inhibitions gone. How many times had he fantasized about this very thing?  Yuuri’s eyes were dilated and a little wrinkle between his eyebrows gave him an intense expression. Victor sat back, amused, as the omega kneeled in front of him and worked his pants off his body.  He pushed himself off the bed a bit, with his arms, in order to assist in the effort. Yuuri didn’t notice. After the jeans were discarded, the younger man reached out and touched the alpha’s perfect abs.  Victor closed his eyes briefly and breathed deeply. Yuuri skated his fingertips lower over the waistband of his black bikini briefs, outlining the bulge that twitched and grew under his attentive hand.

 

     “I want this,” Yuuri said softly.  The omega leaned over and began to mouth at the cloth.  Curling his fingertips on the waistband, Yuuri pulled the briefs away quickly.  Victor’s cock stood proud, flushed a brilliant pink, the slit wet with precum. The omega took him in hand and licked from the base to the tip.  The alpha laid back against the edge of the nest and moaned.

 

     “Yuuri…”  Victor breathed.  The alpha inside him was pleased to be wanted by this beautiful omega.  

 

     Yuuri took him in, running his tongue on the underside of his cock and then sucking over and over.  The feeling was incredibly intense. Victor felt like he was going to lose his mind. Yuuri could taste the slightly salty precum in his mouth, before he swallowed it down.   The silver haired alpha moaned with every stroke of the omega’s tongue. Yuuri felt powerful that he could make his alpha make such sounds. Slick ran down both of the younger man’s thighs in answer to his lover’s moans, as he continued to draw his tongue along his lover’s length.

 

     “Stop, Yuuri, you’re going to make me cum,” Victor sat up again and watched as Yuuri, eyes closed, held on to the base of his cock and worked him over with his mouth.  The omega hummed a contented reply as he sucked and stroked him again with his tongue. Victor grabbed his face with both hands. “Let me cum inside you,” he said breathlessly.  That got the omega’s attention and he came off of his cock with a gasp.

 

     Victor laid Yuuri back and removed his boxer briefs in one quick movement.  The alpha captured his lips again licking kisses into his mouth. He reached down and felt the omega’s wet hole with one hand.  He groaned.

 

     “Yuuri, you’re so perfect…” Victor said breathless.  Yuuri was again coming undone, as the silver haired man began probing and penetrating him with his fingers.  Victor flipped Yuuri over onto his stomach, gathered some of the slick onto his hands and worked him open with one hand, grabbing the omega's cock with the other, to match the long smooth strokes.

 

     The omega cried out in pleasure and came again, still rock hard afterward.  Yuuri fisted the soft blankets in the bottom of the nest and rested his head on his arm, trying to catch his breath.

 

     “I want you...please,” Yuuri gasped, as his alpha licked and kissed the back of his neck.  

 

     “Yuuri! You’re so beautiful my love,” Victor breathed into his ear, sweat glistened on his forehead.  The alpha ran his hands down Yuuri’s sides, placing his hands on his omega’s hips. Taking himself in hand, the older man lined up his aching cock and thrust into the omega.  Yuuri moaned with relief.

 

     “More...my alpha...please,” Yuuri pleaded, as he thrust backwards towards his lover.

 

     Victor closed his eyes and thrust again, now fully enveloped.  The alpha was overwhelmed by sensation. Every thrust created sparks of pleasure, building and building to produce a fire in his core.  Victor wrapped his arm around the young omega and rested his forehead on his back as they moved in perfect unity.

 

     “It feels so good...yes…” Yuuri said.  Nothing existed for the omega now. There was nothing in this world but the touch, the scent, and the love of this alpha.  Every movement was pleasure, like a wave crashing on the beach. He wanted more, more of his alpha.

 

     Victor shifted position a little and Yuuri cried out.  Victor smiled to himself as he thrust harder into that sweet place.  Then, he began to nip and lick at the scent gland under the omega’s right ear again.

 

     Yuuri came with a shout, sending Victor over the edge into bliss as the alpha’s knot tied them together.  Victor’s length pulsed his seed into the omega again and again.

 

     “I love you Yuuri. You are mine,” Victor crooned as he gently moved his omega to his side, pulling him close.  Victor wanted to bond with this omega so badly. He could barely keep his mouth and face away from Yuuri's neck.  But, he would wait.  He would wait for Yuuri's feelings to catch up to his.

 

     “So...full...Victor,” Yuuri murmured.  Victor pulled them both onto a pillow and held the omega close, laying kisses on his shoulders and neck.  Yuuri shivered and then started to purr. Victor smiled and pulled a blanket over them.  ‘I’m the luckiest man in the world,’ Victor thought.

 

<<>>

 

    They slept.  Wave after wave of heat overtook Yuuri's lithe frame over the course of two days.   

    Again and again Victor made love to his beautiful omega.  

 

     Between the waves of heat, Victor encouraged his sleepy lover to drink tea and eat soup and yogurts.  As the omega slept, the alpha cleaned the wounds on his feet and washed the sweat from his body with a warm washcloth.  It struck Victor that those little moments of care were a part of making love to Yuuri, that those moments were precious time with his omega.

 

     Yuuri had been drifting in that strange state of sleep and awareness, when he had felt Victor untangle himself from the soft blanket that had covered them and felt the weight of his body leave their nest.  Now, Yuuri sat up to find Victor was leaning over into the refrigerator, grabbing a sports drink. The haze of his heat seemed to have passed. The omega felt sore as he stretched on the bed, like he’d worked too hard at the gym.  But, otherwise, he felt good, much better than previous heats. From the soft pink light outside the window, Yuuri guessed it was evening.

 

     “Victor?” Yuuri wanted the alpha close to him.

 

     “Sorry love, I didn’t mean to wake you.  Do you want a drink?” Victor asked, popping the lid of the yellow drink and taking a deep draw on the bottle.

 

     “A green tea, they are in cans in the door,”  Yuuri said, pointing vaguely to the right.

 

     “You talk in your sleep,” Victor teased, handing Yuuri the drink.

 

     “I do?” Yuuri said, surprised.

 

     “You do.  It was in Japanese though, so I don’t know what you said.  So, fear not,” Victor shrugged and took another swig. “What does the word Takeshi mean though?  You said that a few times.”

 

     Yuuri froze. “Takeshi,” Yuuri repeated.  Yuuri tried to play it cool, but knew that a blush was blooming across his face.  “Takeshi is a childhood friend of mine.”

 

     “A boyfriend?” Victor teased.  Yuuri’s eyes got wide.

 

     “No. Absolutely not. He used to, kind of bully me, actually,” Yuuri said, avoiding Victor’s gaze.  “He married my best friend after he got her pregnant.” Yuuri was absently playing with the metal tab on the top of the can of tea.

 

     “You should probably drink that,” Victor said softly.  He knew encouraging his omega to replenish his fluids after a heat was very important.  After they finished their drinks, Victor gathered Yuuri into his arms. Yuuri’s scent had grown anxious for some reason and the alpha didn’t like it.

 

     “Are you okay love?” Victor asked.

 

     “Hold me Victor, tighter...please,” Yuuri said softly, climbing into the older man’s lap.  Yuuri didn’t want to think about his old friends in Hatsetsu. He mostly wanted to overwrite all those old memories.  They were memories of loneliness and pain.  

 

     Yuuri kissed Victor’s neck, nipping at the scent gland there.  The silver haired alpha moaned. The omega held tight to his lover to hide the tears in his eyes.  He could never tell Victor about Takeshi and Yuuko without telling him about his gift. Victor would never accept him.  He would know how much trouble being an empath causes or he would think he was some kind of freak. Yuuri’s chest ached.  He was so afraid of losing this new found love.

 

     “Make love to me Victor.  Please, just one more time before you leave,” Yuuri breathed into the alpha’s neck.  Victor pulled away enough to look Yuuri in the face. He could smell the stress coming off of his beautiful omega, his love.  A look of concern flashed across the alpha’s features. Gently, the older man stroked his omega’s hair and face.

 

     “Not just one more time my love.  This is just the beginning,” Victor cooed, as he laid him back into the nest.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Hatsetsu 2003

 

     It had been a terrible, stormy day.  Wave after wave of thunderstorms had battered the small coastal town with high winds and lashing rain.  Many of the other children in Yuuri’s classroom were nervous and fearful, especially when the power flickered off and on.  Their strong emotions set the young boy on edge. He had a feeling like someone was sitting on his chest, squeezing him. A little girl named Kana quietly cried at her desk as the wind rattled the windows.  Yuuri looked at her intently, trying to understand why she was crying. His eyes widened as a feeling of terror flooded his mind. It was like falling from a great height, helpless, and spinning out of control.  The young omega threw up on his desk.

 

     Toshiya picked up his son from school in the van that he used to run errands for the onsen.  Yuuri sat in a chair in the front lobby of the school.  His little feet dangled and he looked at the ground, still in his soiled clothes.  Everyone had seen him throw up and the event had caused absolute chaos in the classroom. 

     “It’s okay son.  Let’s go home.” Toshiya hoisted the six year old into his arms and threw a rain poncho over his head.  He ran for it through the pouring rain.

 

     Hiroko took Yuuri upstairs and removed his soiled clothes.  The little boy stood, naked on the tile floor. He was still looking at the floor, embarrassed that he troubled his tousan and okasan.

       “The other children were afraid of the storms, yes?” Hiroko thought, as she rubbed shampoo in the little boy’s hair.  Yuuri looked up into Hiroko’s face with his big, brown eyes. A little tear remained in his eye, unshed.  He nodded. Hiroko sighed and rinsed his hair with the handheld shower head.

     “You did nothing wrong Yuuri.  That much fear is hard to block out,” Hiroko said softly.  “I know for sure at least three children in your class have fathers who are commercial fishermen.  They’re so worried about the storms, because they want their parents to be safe.”

 

     The last wave of storms passed by late in the evening.  Yuuri’s mind replayed the emotions of the children in the class over and over again as the thunder cracked and the wind whistled.  The young omega slipped out of his bed and padded down the hall to his parent’s room. Quietly, he climbed up into his mother’s soft nest and curled up at his parent’s feet.  The smell of his mother and father comforted him and he finally drifted off to sleep.

 

<<2005>>

 

      “Okasan, I got a perfect mark on my Mathematics test!  Will you make me katsudon?” Yuuri thought, almost to the entrance of his family’s onsen.  “Can you hear me?” Yuuri thought with all his might, closing his eyes tightly and balling up his fists, as he stood outside the door for a moment.  Yuuri used to just think thoughts and questions and his mother would answer like he had spoken out loud. He never gave it any thought.  But, now that he was eight years old, he’d become aware that it was something unusual and he wanted to test “his powers,” like any little boy would.

 

     Mari turned the corner and entered the front courtyard of their inn.

     “What are doing squirt? You look like your about to poop in your pants,” Mari deadpanned. 

     Yuuri glared at his sister and made a tsk sound with his mouth while he opened the front door.  Sisters didn’t appreciate powers.

 

     The kids removed their shoes and ran up to their rooms to put away their school things.  Yuuri had skating practice in two hours, just enough time to eat and do his homework. Mari had lost interest in skating lessons after just two years. Dance had lasted a month.  But Yuuri still loved both.

 

     Yuuri jumped down the last two steps and smiled as he saw Hiroko Katsuki set a steaming bowl of katsudon down on the table where he always ate his early dinner on practice nights.  Hiroko encircled Yuuri from behind and thought, “I’m proud of you Yuuri.”   She kissed the top of his head.

 

      “You heard me all the way out in the courtyard,”   Yuuri thought smiling.

      “Of course,” Hiroko thought, walking back to the kitchen with a smile.  “You were so excited, it was like you were yelling.”


<<2012>>


  It was late.  Yuuri gazed up at the russian boy in the poster on his bedroom wall.  His long, silver hair flew out behind him. His eyes were beautiful, blue green, like some tropical ocean.  ‘He’s so amazing,’ Yuuri thought.  ‘I hope I get to skate with him someday.’ As the omega lay back on the bed, he closed his eyes and imagined what it would be like to kiss him or be touched by him.  His hard cock twitched and he took himself in hand, slowly stroking up and down.

 

     Yuuri’s aunt Hanako suddenly knocked sharply on the door.

     “Yuuri, open up kid,” his aunt said through the door.  The young omega yelped and quickly adjusted himself, pulling up his warm up pants before opening the door.

 

     His aunt stood in the doorway with her hand on her hip.  

     “What do you think you’re doing with me right next door?” Hanako asked, her brow was furrowed in annoyance.

     “I...I…” Yuuri stammered.  Hanako walked right by her nephew and sat down on his bed.

     “It’s time you learned how to better guard your thought-life...for all our sakes,” Hanako sighed.

     “What?”  Yuuri gasped.  The boy’s cheeks flamed bright red as he realized that not only had he been caught masturbating by his aunt, but she had basically gotten a play by play of his thoughts while doing it.

     Hanako was thoroughly nonplussed by the matter.

     “I know that young men think about sex 24/7.” His aunt said matter-of-factly.

 

     “Okay,” Hanako pulled on Yuuri’s hand and motioned for him to sit on the bed.  “Listen, I want you to close your eyes and picture that boy that you were just thinking about.”  Yuuri fidgeted uncomfortably and then sighed, resigned that he wasn’t getting out of this situation without just complying.

 

     “Now, picture placing a wall around that thought.  Nobody can get through that wall but you,” Hanako said, her tone softening.  In his mind, Yuuri closed a door on that thought, turning a key in the lock.  It was only for him to access.

     “Good,” Hanako said with a hint of surprise.  “You learn fast Yuuri...maybe I’ll get some sleep tonight after all.  Keep practicing,” She said as she stood up.

  

     The next morning, while Hiroko was cooking breakfast, Hanako came up behind her and grabbed the coffee pot.

     “When in the world were you going to teach that kid to block others from reading his thoughts?” Hanako asked, pouring herself a cup.

     Hiroko laughed, “Sorry about that. It hasn’t been an issue until this year. Since, it’s just us two with the gift, I just block him on my end...especially in the evenings.”  Hiroko grew quiet and used her chopsticks to test the doneness of the fish that she was cooking. “Hanako, you shouldn’t leave yourself so open to other’s thoughts and feelings anyway.  You could get hurt again.” Hiroko removed the fish from the pan and placed it onto a plate.

 

     Hanako sighed.  “Well, I haven’t been sitting around train stations lately.  Not since I’ve been seeing Fumio. I hope you get to meet him soon...I’m going to ask him to share my heat.” The omega took a sip of her coffee.

     “I wish you both happiness Hanako,” Hiroko smiled, dishing up a bowl of miso soup to add to the tray.

     “Thanks. Having someone...helps. I mean it helps with the bad memories somehow,” she replied thoughtfully.

 

<<2014>>

 

     Hiroko heard heavy footsteps going up the stairs and a bedroom door slam.  Yuuri looked down at the text on his phone one more time and then threw himself down on his bed.  ‘I can’t believe this is happening,’ Yuuri thought.  Tears began to course their way down his face. 

     Soon, a soft knock sounded on Yuuri’s door.  Yuuri sat up and wiped his tears with the back of his sleeve.

     “Okasan,” Yuuri thought.

     “Can I come in Yuuri?” Hiroko said, concern in her voice.  Yuuri crossed the room and opened the door.

      “She asked Takeshi…They’re going to have a Three Cups Ceremony next week,” Yuuri wiped his tears again.  “I was hoping she would ask me. I mean, we have so much more in common... I love her.

 

     “I know dear, I know,” Hiroko took the wiry teen in her arms, instinctively pressing his head to her neck to comfort him.  She looked down at the teen’s bed and saw the definite signs of a nest. He had soft fleece blankets arranged loosely on his bed.  On one side, she recognized Yuuko’s sweater that she had left here the other day. She recognized all the signs, the nest, the roller coaster of emotions, his sudden growth.  Yuuri would present very soon.

 

     The last year had been eventful for the three friends.  Takeshi had always been somewhat jealous of the relationship between Yuuko and Yuuri, but after he presented as an alpha, he started acting almost protective of both of them.  They became inseparable. They went from school, to the rink, and then to the onsen almost every day. Hiroko cooked for them happily and then they would study. They had plans to graduate and go to university together.  Yuuko would be the first omega in her family to go to college.

 

     None of that happened.  Three days later, Yuuri presented as an omega.  His heats were irregular and getting through his last year of high school was a struggle.  Yuuko gave up her scholarship to Art School and had triplets. Takeshi took over the family business and started running Ice Castle.  The only thing that kept Yuuri sane through his loneliness was his ice skating. He threw himself into his sport and found a doctor who finally regulated his heats with a birth control shot.  Yuuri's extra time on the ice paid off. He started having great success with his skating, winning the Junior Grand Prix at age eighteen.

Chapter Text

     “Yuuri.  Time to wake up Sleeping Beauty,” Victor nuzzled into Yuuri’s neck, nipping and kissing, taking in the sweet scent from a favorite spot under his ear.  The omega smiled at the contact, turning toward his alpha’s warmth, like a plant reaching for the sun.

 

     “Hmmm, five more minutes,” Yuuri mumbled.  He moved closer to Victor, burrowing underneath the blankets until he was in his alpha’s arms, held closely to the older man’s bare chest.

 

     Victor sighed, “Okay...five more minutes.”  Of course, being in Victor’s arms, surrounded by his pheromones, led to soft kisses, exploring touches, and then...other things.  Twenty minutes later, a flushed Victor untangled himself and jumped out of bed, pulling on clothes and hiding the evidence of their lovemaking. In five minutes, residents would start showing up at the door for coffee.

 

     “Yuuri, get a shower before people start showing up,” Victor said, pulling on a burgundy Wagner sweatshirt.  Yuuri sat up and stretched. It was the same hoodie that Victor wore when he picked him up at the airport in January.  Yuuri smiled as he noticed a fresh kiss mark that the hoodie didn’t quite cover. When Victor opened his bedroom door, Makkachin pushed her way into the room and jumped up onto the bed, tail wagging.  There was no going back to sleep now. Makka began to lick Yuuri’s face in greeting.

 

     “Okay, okay, I’m getting up,” Yuuri reluctantly padded to the bathroom and took a quick shower.  After showering, Yuuri brushed his teeth and finished getting ready for the day. The couple hadn’t ever formally decided to move in together.  But, bit by bit, Yuuri’s things were migrating over to Victor’s apartment, including his toiletries. Victor even started stopping by Far East Market to pick up Japanese snacks and Yuuri’s favorite green tea in a can.

 

     The migration began with Victor and Yuuri curled up on the couch, studying or talking every evening. The younger man would get up to say goodnight and Victor would grab his hand and say, “Why don’t you just stay?”  The warm feelings of affection and love that emanated from Victor made Yuuri feel so light, so content. He couldn’t resist him.  

 

     “Okay, let me go get a few things,” the omega would reply.

 

     Actually, Yuuri hadn’t spent the night in his dorm room in four days and that was only because he had pulled an all-nighter, writing a paper for one of his marketing classes.  His room seemed so lonely, so empty. After his heat, he had cleaned everything thoroughly, afraid he wouldn’t be able to function otherwise. Now, he hated being in this room.  It was devoid of their presence...as a couple. The young omega had even daydreamed about marching into Victor’s apartment and grabbing his robe to wear, just so he could be surrounded by his scent.  ‘Damn. I’m getting so needy. I’m like a drug addict,’ he thought, hunkering down again in front of the soft glow of his laptop.

 

     The smell of coffee permeated the small apartment.  Yuuri pulled a bowl of rice porridge from the rice cooker and poured himself a cup of coffee.  He topped the porridge with scallions and a hard boiled egg for extra protein. Then, he dug in.  It was warm and filling. Victor dished himself a bowl so that they could eat breakfast together.  

 

     The couple enjoyed sharing their cultures with each other, but the kitchenette limited what recipes they could try.  Rice porridge was a hit. Trying to make piroshki with canned crescent rolls hadn’t been quite as successful. The filling leaked out and made a huge mess in the convection oven.

 

     Chris wandered in with his steel walled coffee cup, actually dressed, for a change.

 

     “Oh, I know what Yuuri had for breakfast,” Chris chuckled motioning to Victor’s neck.  “Yakov is going to bust a blood vessel. You need to be a little more subtle ten days before World’s boys,”  Victor inspected the reddish purple mark in his reflection on the back of his spoon. He cursed softly in russian.

 

     “Thanks for the heads up Chris. I’ll put some concealer on it,” Victor sighed.

     “Sorry,” Yuuri said softly, a pink blush bloomed across his face.

     “It’s okay love,” Victor said, taking another bite of porridge.

     “Thanks for this,” Chris held up his cup as he walked toward the door.  “I’ll see you boys at practice.” 

 

     At the start of practice, Celestino passed out their travel packets.  They were staying at an inn in a nearby town, to acclimate to the time change, before actually competing in Fukuoka.  Yuuri opened the packet, curious if he was familiar with the place where they would be training. The young man’s heart nearly stopped.  They were staying at Yu-Topia Katsuki and training at Ice Castle.    

 

     “Yuuri, is this your family’s inn?” Victor asked with a smile.  Yuuri nodded dumbly.

     “Hey, are you okay?” Victor placed his hand on his lover’s arm, concerned. “You look white as a sheet.”  Yuuri waved him off and turned to walk toward the locker room.

 

    “Yeah, my friend Minako helped us get an amazing deal for the whole group,” Celestino was saying to Phichit, as Victor left the group to find Yuuri.

 

     When the older man found him, the young omega was leaning up against the lockers, both hands covering his face.  Victor gathered Yuuri into his arms, scenting him, to help him calm down. The tension in his body made him feel like a block of stone.

 

     “It’s okay, Yuuri.  I’m here with you,” Victor cooed into his ear.  Everything about Victor affected Yuuri much more than it did before they had shared a heat together.  Victor’s presence, his scent, his words began to untangle the confused feelings and thoughts that crowded Yuuri’s mind.  The weight of panic in his chest began to lesson and the omega’s tension melted away.

     “Are you okay now?” Victor said softly.

 

     “I’m better, thanks,” Yuuri replied, trying to push Victor away gently, so that he could see his face.

     “So, are you going to tell me what’s going on?” Victor tilted his head and looked at Yuuri with such a sweet concern.  “I’m noticing that you’re not happy to be going home.”

     “It’s not that I’m not happy. I mean, I’d like my parents to meet you,” Yuuri sighed and tried to turn away from Victor, but the alpha wouldn’t let him.  “I’m sorry...I’m not ready to talk about it.”

     “Will you warm up with me?  I...I need to skate...to clear my head,” Yuuri placed his hand on Victor’s chest.  The alpha picked up his lover’s hand and kissed his knuckles.

     “Okay...for now,” Victor said softly. Pulling him closer, he placed a kiss on his forehead. ‘Trust me Yuuri!’ Victor thought.

 

     For such an introverted person, Yuuri was absolutely terrible at hiding his feelings.  His moves were stilted and he missed nearly every jump. Yakov and Celestino were at their wits end with the young man, who seemed to be falling apart just before World’s.

 

     Victor could see that Yuuri's mind was elsewhere, by his posture and the way that he seemed to be concentrating on his hands.  Victor pulled the young man away from the lecture.

     “Thank you Yakov, for the advice! I think Yuuri just needs something to eat,” Victor said with a smile. 

     “Come on love. I’m cooking tonight.” The alpha took his hand and led him away from the red-faced coaches.

 

     For a while, the couple walked back to Slater Hall in silence.

     “You know Yuuri?  When something is on your mind, it always shows up in your skating.  Right after your heat, your skating...was so passionate,” Victor said thoughtfully.  “I’d like to think that it was because you were thinking about me.” Victor leaned over and looked at the younger man’s face, hoping to see a reaction.  Yuuri gave a little half smile.

     “Maybe,” Yuuri said softly.  He took Victor’s hand.

     “Why are you afraid of going home?” Victor asked, squeezing Yuuri’s hand.  

     “It’s a long story. But, Takeshi and Yuuko, the friends who I...hurt, they run Ice Castle,” Yuuri said, staring straight ahead.  “After it all happened, I didn’t feel comfortable training there anymore.”

     “And you came to Wagner…” Victor finished.

     “Yeah,” Yuuri said with a sigh.

     “The day you ran out of the dorm...Yuuri...was it because of what happened at home?” Victor stopped and cupped the omega’s face with his hand.  Yuuri looked into Victor cerulean eyes. His nose was red from the cold. There was a little wrinkle of concern in the alpha’s brow.  

 

     Yuuri reached out.  He didn’t mean to, really. It just sort of happened. There was love.  It was constant, like a heartbeat. He could feel Victor’s worry. He felt...longing.  The omega blinked and a single tear ran down his face. He looked down, ashamed. ‘ I don’t want to hurt him.’

     “Yeah,” Yuuri breathed.  “Yuuko called me. It’s hard to explain honorifics, but, she addressed me like...someone who is a stranger, instead of a friend.”  

     Victor sighed.  The pair started walking again.  “Yuuri. Thank you for sharing that with me. I know it was hard.”  Victor stopped again and looked his lover in the eyes. “I know there is more you need to tell me.  You know it’s killing me, right?” Victor laughed and Yuuri plopped his forehead to the older man’s chest.

     “I know,” Yuuri replied.  Then, he looked Victor in the eyes and cupped his cheek.  “I know you love me. Please...continue to be patient with me.”

Chapter Text

 

<<2014>>


     Yuuko reached out and dabbed the end of Yuuri’s nose with the black paint.

 

     “Hey,” Yuuri wiped his nose with the back of his hand, while Yuuko giggled.  Yuuri reached over and dabbed her arm with red paint.

 

     “Yuuri!” Yuuko shrieked, rolling away to avoid his paintbrush.  Yuuri stopped and looked at the young woman. A sunbeam was shining down, lighting the strands of her hair that had worked themselves loose from her ponytail.  She tilted her head and gave him a warm smile.

 

     'So pretty…’  Yuuri pushed a strand of hair behind Yuuko’s ear, paused a moment, and then went back to his painting, trying to hide his own smile.  A slight blush lit his features.

 

     “I’m sorry Yuuri, for teasing you.  You just looked so focused. I couldn’t resist.”  Yuuko looked down at their work, still smiling, and continued shading the sleeve of the chibi ninja.  The Nishigori family had decided to renovate Ice Castle in the off season. Takeshi had convinced his dad that Yuuko could design a new mascot for their business.  Looking to add to her artist portfolio, Yuuko jumped at the opportunity. Since early in the morning, the pair sat painting in the middle of the drained ice rink.

 

     “So, did you see Victor’s interview this morning?”  Yuuko switched brushes as she spoke.

 

     “Pfft, no. I basically rolled out of bed and ran down here this morning,” Yuuri admitted.

 

     “I suppose it will be online later,” Yuuko said thoughtfully.  Yuuri shrugged.

 

     “I guess.”

 

     “I thought you were Victor’s biggest fan?”  Yuuko teased.

 

     “I mean, sure, I look up to Victor Nikiforov, as a competitor. But, he’s so...far away. It’s almost like he isn’t a real person. You know?” Yuuri’s paint brush stopped as he spoke.  “It’s not like I can have a real relationship with him.” Yuuri mumbled and started painting again.

 

     “I guess it’s time to think about reality, this close to graduation,”  Yuuko sat up and watched Yuuri painting carefully. “An omega has to think and plan for the future, right?”

 

     “If I really am an omega,” Yuuri looked over at Yuuko.  “I’m almost seventeen and I still haven’t presented.”

 

     “But, you told me that only omega’s having the empathic gift,” Yuuko picked up the fill brush.

 

     “Well, maybe it’s like evolution or something,” Yuuri said, pointing the paint brush toward Yuuko, in emphasis.  “I mean, aren’t I pretty athletic for an omega?”

 

     “Maybe. I never thought about that,” The two sat in silence for several minutes, putting the finishing touches on the two ninja mascots.  Yuuri filled in the color and Yuuko came in behind him to add accents and shading. Finally, Yuuko seemed satisfied with the work and stood up.

 

     “Yuuri, thanks for helping me with the painting,” Yuuko put the lid on a quart can of paint.  Yuuri stood up next to her to get a better look at their finished product.

 

     “Sure. The new mascots are really cute Yuuko.  Takeshi's parents are going to love them.” Yuuko slipped her arm around Yuuri’s waist and leaned her head on his shoulder.

 

     “They look great don’t they?” She said softly.  Yuuri reached his hand over to grip Yuuko’s shoulder.

 

     “Yeah…” Yuuri breathed.  The young man was suddenly very aware of Yuuko.  She was warm and had a sweet smell that was comforting to Yuuri. Being with Yuuko had always been...so easy, probably because she was an omega.

 

     Yuuri was the kind of person that didn’t have a lot of friends.  Instead, he would have one or two very close relationships. For an empath, having a big group of teenage friends was exhausting, always having to block out their strong, hormone-fueled emotions. 

 

     “Yuuri, can I ask you a favor?” Yuuko squeezed a little tighter around Yuuri, as she stood on her tippy toes to speak into his ear.  “When Takeshi sees it, can you tell me what his real feelings are about it?” Yuuri had told her about his gift years ago, basically to impress her.  Two times, she asked Yuuri to use his gift. Both times were to figure out the true feelings of another boy. Yuuri let go of Yuuko, suddenly very interested in the paint splotch on his hand.

     “Sure,”  Yuuri mumbled, “Hey, I’m going to wash my hands.  Yuuri picked up the can of turpentine and walked toward the locker room.  

 

<<2018>>

 

 

     It was evening and the end of a long day for the young omega.  Yuuri felt a heaviness in his chest. He was tired...tired of feeling.  The raven haired man pushed the door to the commercial kitchen open and headed to a cabinet, towards the back of the kitchen, that held dishes and flatware that his parents used for hosting special events.  Yuuri didn’t know where the bottle of champagne came from. It was probably leftover from a wedding or some other event that his family’s business had hosted. He took the bottle from a cabinet, wiping tears from his eyes.  He grabbed a plastic cup and trudged up the stairs to his room.  

 

      ‘I’m such a selfish bastard,’ Yuuri worked the cork out of the bottle and caught the bubbles in his cup, cursing softly when some of the champagne ended up on his feet and the floor.  The young man grabbed a towel off the back of his desk chair and sank down into a squat to clean up the mess. 

 

      ‘Would I have gone that far to help Yuuko reach her goals?’   With a sigh, Yuuri sat on the floor and leaned against his bed.  

 

     ‘My own family still sacrifices for me to continue with my skating, while they can’t even take a weekend off from working at the onsen.  When have I ever sacrificed anything for someone else.’  The young omega took a long draw of champagne.  

 

     ‘Of course she chose Takeshi all those years ago. Why would she choose me?  He’s obviously a better man.’  Yuuri clutched at his chest, the feelings of pride, of affection, of a sweet happiness welled up within him again.  Tears, once again began to fall freely from his eyes. 

 

      ‘What will I have when I finish with skating?  When will these kinds of feelings be for me?’   The raven haired man looked up at his posters on the wall.  

 

     “Kanpai, Victoru,” Yuuri held his champagne in the air, toasting his favorite poster of Victor Nikiforov, before downing the last of the bottle in one go.  ‘I wish you...were real.’

 

     “I’ll always have my posters. At least, I don’t have to worry about them leaving me,” the young man mumbled.  Yuuri rubbed his hand over his face.  ‘I better get something to eat or I’m going to have a hangover.’  The omega sighed and used his bed to pull himself to standing.  He stood a moment and let the room quit spinning before carefully walking down the hall. 

 

     After a few false starts, Yuuri finally stood at the bottom of the stairs.  Takeshi was entering the dining room of the restaurant. The young omega reached out to him for the second time that evening and once again felt that same affection, warmth, and pride.  Mingled with those feelings, however, Yuuri sensed a weariness in the alpha. He knew it was because of his argument with Yuuko.

 

     Without even thinking, Yuuri crossed the room, grabbed the front of the alpha’s jacket, and pulled Takeshi into a kiss.  The alpha was taken aback as Yuuri reached behind him and held the back of his neck.  He froze for a moment, before finally, pushing the omega away.

 

     “Yuuri! What are you doing?”  Takeshi was in utter shock. The two tables of soccer fans in front of the flat screen suddenly got quiet, looking their way. 

 

     “I just...I wanted you to know that you’re appreciated, you know?" Drunken Yuuri slurred sweetly.  "What you’re doing for Yuuko. It’s so...so beautiful, you know?” Takeshi tried to maneuver the younger man to one of the tables. 

 

     “Yuuri!  Look, come sit over here.” Takeshi blurted, trying to pull Yuuri over to a quieter corner of the restaurant.

 

     Once seated, the omega had more to say.  “You’re a better man than me. I know that now. You love Yuuko soooo...soo much” Yuuri’s eyes were full of unshed tears.

 

     “I know you do,” the young omega brought his hand to his chest. “I feel it...right here.” He looked down, patting his chest in emphasis.

 

     “Yuuri, stop,” Mari said with a gasp. Mari couldn’t believe that her brother just kissed a married man in the middle of their family business.  On top of that, he was spilling family secrets in his drunken ramblings.

 

     “It’s okay Mari,” Takeshi said softly.  “Get him some food and some hot tea. We need to sober him up.”  Mari quickly headed to the kitchen.

 

     Suddenly, Hiroko came out of the kitchen.  Her face conveyed her shock and disappointment.  

 

    ‘Yuuri! What do you think your doing?’  The omega’s mind was like an open book to his mother, because of his heavy drinking.  Hiroko knew that Yuuko had come to Yuuri to discuss problems in her marriage. She knew that her son had used his omega gift to check Takeshi’s feelings for signs of infidelity.  She could sense the pain and confusion in the young man. She knew everything.

 

     Yuuri looked at his mother’s face and his eyes widened.

 

     “I’m sorry…”

 

<<March 2019>>

 

     Yuuri was snuggled into Victor’s neck, as he slept on the plane to Japan.  Even though the armrests in first class wouldn’t move, they had kind of met in the middle.  Victor observed Yuuri’s sleeping face. A little wrinkle appeared between the young omega’s eyebrows.  Yuuri’s eye movement showed that he was obviously dreaming. His head and body twitched. Victor reached out and took up his lover’s hand.

 

     “It’s okay Love.  I’m here,” Victor spoke softly in the younger man’s ear.  

 

     Yuuri’s eyes fluttered.  It took the sleepy omega a moment to remember where he was.  Victor’s hand was warm in his and his alpha’s scent grounded him.

 

     “I think you were having a bad dream,” the older man said softly.  Victor wanted nothing more than to gather Yuuri into his arms at that moment.  The airline seats were frustrating.

 

     “Victor...I have to tell you something before we get to Hatsetsu,” Yuuri was looking down at their hands, entwined and resting on a blanket between them. ‘I want to tell Victor everything,’   Yuuri thought, his mind racing. ‘Is it fair to burden him with my problems right before Worlds? But, if someone else told him about what happened that night...I couldn’t bear it.’

 

     “I got in the middle of an argument between my two married friends, Yuuko and Takeshi,” Yuuri spoke slowly, deliberately.  

 

     “At first, I took Yuuko’s side, but when I learned the truth of the matter...I realized that I was terribly wrong about Takeshi.”  Yuuri looked up into Victor’s eyes.

 

     “So, was Yuuko angry with you?”  Victor asked so gently. Yuuri wished that it had been so simple.  The young omega blushed pink.

 

     “Yuuko...she was kind of my first crush,” Yuuri explained.  He took Victor’s hand into both of his, gazing down at it. Victor didn’t reply, but turned sideways in his seat and brought his forehead close to Yuuri’s, so that they were almost touching.  The alpha reached out to hold both of the younger man’s hands.

 

     “When I realized that Takeshi was in the right, I realized that he was the right person for Yuuko all along.  I felt like all the bad feelings I had for them, over the last few years, were...just a waste of time. I got really drunk,” Yuuri laughed and wiped tears from his eyes.  Victor reached out and touched Yuuri’s face, using his thumb to wipe away another tear. The younger man took a deep breath and continued.

 

     “I went down to my parent’s restaurant and Takeshi was there.  He had just ended his shift and was trying to get something to eat so Yuuko wouldn’t have to cook for him late at night.  I walked over to him and kissed him, like really kissed him, right in front of everybody in the restaurant.” Yuuri squeezed Victor’s hand. 

 

     ‘What’s he going to think of me?’   Yuuri’s heart was breaking at the thought.

 

     “My family was really upset by it.  It caused a lot of gossip and the Nishigori family had been our friends for years.  Yuuko was embarrassed by the gossip. People would, you know, joke about it.”  

 

     “Finally, Yuuko asked me to return the key I had to Ice Castle. I’d had that key since I was fourteen.  I used to skate there late at night because it helped me to unwind and fall asleep. Sometimes my anxiety gives me insomnia.  Yuuri paused a moment.  Victor squeezed his hands in reassurance.

     I...I couldn’t fix what I’d done,” Yuuri stammered as he ended the story, totally defeated.  

 

     Yuuri heard Victor sigh.  ‘Is he mad at me? Is he disappointed in me?’   Yuuri looked into his lover’s brilliantly blue eyes, shining with tears.

 

     “I’m sorry you carried this burden by yourself Yuuri. I can’t imagine how trapped you must have felt,” Victor said gently.  The alpha smoothed his hair.

 

     “You’re not disappointed in me…” Yuuri breathed.  It wasn’t a question. The feelings that Yuuri felt from Victor were affectionate and protective.  There was also a little sadness but, no anger, no disappointment.

 

     “I think you’ve had enough of that,” Victor said, pulling Yuuri into a hug.  The alpha guided his omega’s face into his neck. Yuuri closed his eyes and breathed deeply.

      ‘Victor, thank you...for accepting me,’ Yuuri thought, as he melted into his alpha’s embrace.

Chapter Text

 

     Yakov chartered a bus to take his skaters to Hatsetsu from the airport.  Once all the skaters, costume bags, gear bags, and suitcases were loaded on board the bus, Coach Celestino passed out slips of paper with room assignments for the inn.  Victor looked briefly at the slip of paper. He squeezed Yuuri’s leg and left his seat, carefully picking his way to the front of the bus. He picked up Yakov’s hat before sitting in the seat next to him.  Yakov sighed. He was expecting this conversation.

 

     “What do you want Vitya?” Yakov grumbled.

 

     “I’d like to switch rooms and stay with Yuuri Katsuki,” Victor said. Then, lowering his voice, he added.  “He’s my mate.”

 

     “I see no bond mark on Mr. Katsuki, Victor.  Besides, this isn’t a pleasure trip. He’ll room with Guang Hong Ji.”

 

     “Doesn’t Leo want to room with Guang Hong Ji?” Victor asked, mildly annoyed.

 

     “Hong Ji requested to room with another omega. Since Yuuri is the only other male omega, that is who he is rooming with,” Yakov said firmly.  Lowering his voice, the old man added, “Think of someone besides yourself Vitya.” Victor remembered the night of Phichit’s birthday and the incident at Sky Bar.  The incident had become a topic of team gossip. Of course, Hong Ji wanted to room with an omega. Victor sighed.

 

     “Yeah, okay,” Victor went back to his seat.  Victor looked decidedly pouty. Yuuri put his hand on Victor’s thigh and gave it a squeeze.  The omega wasn’t surprised that he would be rooming with Hong Ji. It just made sense. Once they were in Fukuoka, he would room with the rest of the Chinese skaters.

 

     “Are you alright?”  Yuuri could feel his lover’s tension.  He was disappointed, annoyed, and a little...guilty?

 

     “I wanted to room with you,” Victor sighed.  “I know that you’re anxious about going home.  I just want to…” Victor paused. The truth is that he flat out wanted to protect Yuuri, but he didn’t want to phrase it that way.

 

     “I want to be there for you,” Victor said softly. He took up Yuuri’s hand, tracing the lines on the younger man’s palm.  A warmth began to build in the young omega. Victor was feeling very alpha right now, very protective toward him. Yuuri thought it was incredibly sexy when he was like this.  He leaned over and rested his head on his alpha’s shoulder so he could better take in his scent.

 

     “It’s okay Victor. The inn isn’t that big.  We’ll still see each other,” Yuuri lowered his voice and added, “We can always go hang out in my old bedroom for a while.”  A mischievous smile appeared on the younger man’s face. Victor pulled Yuuri’s hand to his lips in reply.

 

     Their arrival at Yu-topia was hectic.  There wasn’t any parking to accommodate the large bus, so Hiroko, Toshiya, and Mari were too busy helping the group unload the bus and get to their rooms to do more than nod and wave at Yuuri.  

     ‘ Welcome home Yuuri.   We’ll talk this evening.  I can’t wait to meet your Victor ,’ Hiroko glanced briefly at her son, as she handed Coach Celestino a map of the onsen.  A second later, the smallest member of the Katsuki family practically leapt into the omega’s arms.

 

     “Vicchan!” Yuuri cried, dropping a garment bag full of costumes by the front desk, so that he could cuddle the squirming bundle of caramel brown curls.  It looked to Yuuri that Vicchan had just been to the groomer. He always looked so cute with a puppy cut.  

     Victor was absolutely entranced by the little poodle.  He reached out his hand so that the Vicchan could smell his scent.  The little black nose sniffed around his fingers. After a few seconds, the pup’s little pink tongue began giving him kisses.

     “He’s absolutely adorable Yuuri!” Victor gushed.  The older man began to scratch the pup behind the ears.  Vicchan leaned into the touch.

     Yuuri watched his lover’s face with a soft look.  He loved how Victor’s smile lit up his ocean blue eyes.  

 

     “Come on.  I want to give you a tour,” Still holding Vicchan in one arm, Yuuri tugged Victor’s hand and they entered a narrow door that led to a stairway.  Soon, they were outside Yuuri’s bedroom door, in the Katsuki family’s private living space.

 

     ‘Oh gees,’ Yuuri thought. ‘The posters.’  A blush of pink erupted on the omega’s face.

     “What’s wrong Yuuri,” Victor noticed Yuuri pausing at the door.

     “Hey Victor?” Yuuri said shyly. “I...I was a pretty big fan of yours, since I was about thirteen.  So, don’t laugh or think I’m weird, okay?” Yuuri opened the door.

 

     Victor walked in and looked around the room.  Yuuri had an impressive collection of his posters.  They showed him at various ages, some on the ice, some off the ice.  A few were even advertisements. The silver haired man’s mouth hung open as he thought back to his conversation with Chris in January.  ‘And I was worried he didn’t like me,’  Victor thought.

     “Do you think I’m creepy?” Yuuri’s face held so much concern. 

     Victor reached out and touched a rare poster of him with long hair.  The picture was taken before he won a big competition, but was published after he won the Junior Grand Prix Final.  The alpha looked back at Yuuri holding the little poodle.  

 

     “This is amazing Yuuri.  It’s humbling. It’s like seeing proof...that you really do have feelings for me,” Victor stepped forward, smiling.  The omega's brow furrowed.

     “Victor, of course I do, you know?” Yuuri brought his hand up to caress his lover’s face. “I do have deep feelings for you...as a person, not just a face on a poster.”

     The silver haired man gently pulled him into a hug, careful of the pup in his arms.  Victor lowered his head and breathed in his lover’s scent, nuzzling the side of his neck.  The hours and hours on the plane had somehow left Victor starved for his omega’s touch. Yuuri felt a shiver go through his body.

 

     “Hold on a second Victor,” Yuuri put Vicchan down outside the door and shut it carefully, turning the lock.  While he was still facing the door, the older man’s hands reached around and unzipped Yuuri’s jacket. The omega shrugged the jacket onto the floor, while Victor placed his hands above both the younger man’s hips, kissing the back of his neck.  His fingers were like a flame, licking under the long sleeved, black, tech shirt that Yuuri was wearing. A few seconds later, the shirt was on the floor.

 

     “I missed your touch so much,” Yuuri breathed.  The young man braced himself with his palms, as his head fell forward to rest on the door in front of him.  His eyes closed. Yuuri’s body was like a live wire. The alpha’s touch was like a current. Yuuri’s skin tingled with every sweep of Victor’s hand.  For a moment, the older man pulled away. But then, Yuuri could feel the warmth of his lover’s skin return against his back. He had removed his jacket and shirt. 

 

     “Do you want to move to my bed?” Yuuri breathed.  His knees were beginning to feel weak. Victor was too busy licking and kissing the back of the young omega’s neck to reply.

 

      ‘I see no bond mark on Mr. Katsuki,’ Victor recalled Yakov’s words.  

 

     The phone in Victor’s back pocket began to buzz.  Victor hugged his love from behind and sighed. Then, he pulled the phone out of his pocket and answered.  Yuuri turned around in Victor’s arms, wrapping his arms around his waist.

     “Yeah...okay, Yuuri was just showing me his old room,” Victor said, giving his omega a squeeze.  Yuuri smiled and kissed his neck underneath his other ear. 

     “We’re having a team meeting in a few minutes. They’re handing out schedules, that kind of thing,” Victor sighed, stuffing the phone back in his pocket.  

 

     “Just one more minute,” the alpha said, wrapping Yuuri in a hug.  Slowly, he rubbed his hand up and down his omega’s back.

     Victor leaned over and kissed Yuuri tenderly.  The younger man wound his fingers in the alpha’s hair and deepened the kiss.  Yuuri rarely took the lead so forcefully. The alpha’s hands moved down to his lower back, pulling him closer.

     “Wow!” Victor said breathless, “Yuuri.”

     “Having you here...in my room. It’s like my dream come true.  But, you’re so much more than that to me now,” Yuuri said a little shyly, resting his forehead on his alpha’s chest.  Yuuri’s phone started buzzing in his pocket. The young omega sighed, “I guess we better get downstairs.”

 

     Vicchan was curled up outside the door.  Yuuri picked him up and walked into the dining room, still holding his lover’s hand.  The omega noticed that their bags weren’t in the lobby anymore. Mari probably took them to their rooms.  Chris motioned for the couple to sit with him and Phichit at a table on the left side.  

     Yakov passed out practice and meal schedules.  The Katsuki’s were providing two family style meals for the team each day, breakfast and dinner.  The team was on their own for lunch.  

 

    Victor squeezed Yuuri’s hand playfully when Yakov starting giving them his usual spiel about “being responsible.”  

    “We’ll have to find a place to be responsible while we’re here,” Chris whispered into Phichit’s ear from behind.  Phichit suppressed a giggle and elbowed the alpha in the ribs. Everyone knew that Yakov was talking about sex, using condoms, stuff like that. But, he never, ever said the word sex outright, so everyone on the team made jokes about it.

 

     As the meeting was wrapping up, Hiroko and Mari started placing bowls of soup, rice, salad, and stir fried pork and vegetables on the tables.  The aroma of the food was heavenly. The boys began to fill up their plates.

     “This is amazing Yuuri!  Your mom is a wonderful cook,” Victor gushed between bites.

     “Her katsudon is my favorite food, but it isn’t exactly diet friendly” Yuuri said with a shrug, munching on his mother’s homemade pickles.  

 

     Soon the skaters and team staff began to drift away from the dining room.  Hong Ji gave Yuuri a little wave before heading down the hall. Yuuri and Victor hung back as Chris and Phichit headed toward the bath.  The young man was eager to introduce Victor to his family. Once the dishes were cleared, Hiroko and Toshiya approached the couple, carrying a pot of hot tea and some cups.  Yuuri and Victor stood up to greet them properly.

 

     “Okasan, Tousan, this is my boyfriend, Victor,” Yuuri said, blushing slightly.  Hiroko put down the teapot and pulled Victor into a hug.

     “It is so nice to finally meet you Vicchan!” Hiroko said brightly.  Toshia bowed toward Victor, but then took his hand in greeting.

     “We’ve heard so much about you,” Toshia added.  Victor was taken aback by the enthusiastic greeting.

     “I am so happy to meet you all,” Victor bowed slightly before taking a seat.

 

     The four sat at the table for several minutes talking and drinking tea.  The Katsuki family had some basic English, but Yuuri stepped in and translated when needed. Soon, Mari also joined them.

 

     “Vicchan sure is happy to see you,” Mari nodded toward the pup, sleeping in her brother’s arms.

     “I’m confused.  Is she talking about me or your dog?” Victor asked.  Mari laughed.

     “Yuuri named the dog after you.  His name is Victor. Vicchan is a…mmm”  Mari paused, trying to think of the English word.

     “Nickname,” Yuuri provided. 

     “Yes, nickname.” Mari nodded.

     “You named your poodle after me?” Victor gasped.  “That’s amazing!” The alpha leaned over and kissed Yuuri on the cheek.

 

     The next hour seemed to go by in a blink.  Yuuri’s family shared old stories and Victor and Yuuri shared their plans and dreams.  They laughed together. Yuuri had worried things would be awkward, but his family obviously loved Victor and Victor just seemed like a part of the family.

     “It’s getting late.  Okasan, I think I want to take Victor to the bath before we go to bed,” Yuuri said, as he got up and handed the sleepy pup to Mari.

 

     After thirty six hours of travel, it was a relief to properly wash.  The soap that the onsen provided smelled like lemongrass and citrus. It was mild and soothing.  Yuuri sat on a stool, while Victor shampooed his hair. Eyes closed, the omega just relaxed and enjoyed the pampering.  After a rinse, they made their way out to the hot spring. 

 

     The air and the ground outside were still rather cold.  Victor could see his breath and steam rolled off the surface of the water.  Quickly, they made their way into the steamy rock pool.

     “Aaahh, this is wonderful!” Victor exclaimed, sinking down into the water up to his neck.  Yuuri relaxed next to his lover, weary from travel and the mixture of emotions he felt about coming home.

     “I missed this,” Yuuri breathed.

 

     It was after 11:00 PM before Yuuri quietly slid the door shut behind him and padded his way over to the traditional futon on the floor.  The omega quietly unzipped his carry on bag and pulled out a black t-shirt and pajama bottoms. Years of travel had taught him to carry a full change of clothes in his carry on bag.  As Yuuri settled into the futon, he heard the rustling of Hong Ji turning over in his futon.

 

     “Yuuri?” the young man spoke softly.

     “Oh, I’m sorry Hong Ji. Did I wake you?” Yuuri asked, pulling the blankets up to his chest.

     “No.  I was just texting.  Hey, I’m sorry about the room assignment. I know you’d rather be with Victor,” Hong Ji said shyly.  The glow of the younger man’s phone illuminated his face.

     Hong Ji had turned 19 in January, but he looked about 12.  He was only about 160cm and with his slight build, it was still hard for Yuuri to believe that he was a college student.

     “Don’t worry about it Hong Ji.  I’m happy to have the chance to get to know you better,” Yuuri replied.  Checking his phone, he saw that Victor had texted him.

 

🔥🔥Victor:  I’m always here for you. Good night. 😘

 

✨Yuuri:  Good night.😙

 

     As Yuuri drifted off to sleep, a feeling of fear seemed to encroach on the edges of his mind.  It was like a darkness. But the omega couldn’t grasp it, couldn’t see it directly. Yuuri started awake and sat up in the futon.  Moonlight filtered into the window, illuminating Hong Ji’s futon. The younger man was still. Yuuri wondered if the boy was having a bad dream.  He thought about reaching out...but, something made the empath pause.

     “Sleep well, Hong Ji,” Yuuri whispered.  The young omega rolled over and went back to sleep.

Chapter Text

     Victor was up early.  He pulled on a t-shirt and opened his workout diary on his laptop.  He wanted to review his notes before practice. Carefully, he advanced a video of his quad lutz frame by frame.  He took a screenshot of the beginning of his jump, making a notation right on the photo with his stylus. This, he emailed to Coach Feltsman.  Yakov gave him a lot of leeway in his practices to work on what he wanted. It was the advantage of being a veteran skater. As much as the alpha liked to play off the ice, he was all business at the rink.  

 

     JJ was babbling in the background. He had been talking nonstop since he woke up, about his girlfriend, their plans yada, yada, yada.

Victor had thrown in a noncommittal “Mmm hmm,” every once in a while, just to avoid having JJ repeat himself.

 

     “...But, don’t you ever worry about dating an omega? What if he has some kind of STD?” 

 

     Victor’s head snapped up.

 

     “What did you say?” The warning was evident in Victor’s voice.  

 

     “Well, it’s common knowledge that omega’s sleep around.” JJ shrugged, “They can’t help it.  It doesn’t mean Yuuri’s not a good person,” For some reason, JJ just kept going. Victor couldn’t believe the stream of absolute bullshit spewing from this beta’s mouth.  Victor closed his laptop with a snap that gave JJ pause.

 

     “JJ!  You just need to stop talking,” Victor said calmly, even though a feeling of rage was building inside him.  “You obviously know nothing about Yuuri Katsuki. Excuse me.” Victor gathered what he needed for practice without another word and left the room.  In the hall, Victor pulled out his phone. He needed to calm down. He needed a quiet place to finish his plan for this coming week.

 

Victor:  Good morning Love.  

 

Yuuri:  ❤️ Did you sleep well?

 

Victor:  The hot spring soak worked wonders. I slept like the dead.  Any insider tips on a quiet place to work?

 

Yuuri:  Use the desk in my room.  I’ll bring you coffee in a bit.  

 

Victor: Thanks.  I can only take JJ in small doses.😤

 

Yuuri:  I’m missing my Victor time.😘

 

Victor:  Me too. ❤️❤️

 

     Yuuri got up from the warm futon.  He stretched while he scanned the room.  Through the glass windows, Yuuri saw that Hong Ji was in the private bath.  Many omegas didn’t feel comfortable in the public bath, so Yu-topia had 6 rooms with private baths.  Even though he grew up in the onsen, Yuuri had never had the opportunity to use the private baths, except to clean them. The omega removed his clothes and entered the small, walled off garden. The white rock slab was chilly on his bare feet. 

 

     “Good morning Hong Ji,” Quickly, Yuuri turned on the shower adjacent to the round, rock pool and rinsed off under the warm water.

 

     “Good morning,” Hong Ji folded his arms and looked down.  A look of concern fleeted across his face.

 

     Yuuri sunk down into the rock pool, sitting just across from the younger man.  

 

     “Ah, this is nice,” Yuuri sighed.  Hong Ji made a move to exit the hot spring.

 

     “Sit and talk a minute,” Yuuri grabbed the omega’s arm.  Hong Ji froze in panic. His eyes flitted down to his forearm.  Yuuri followed his gaze.  A neat row of seven small, thin, white scars decorated his forearm.

 

     “Hong Ji?”  Yuuri gasped.  The younger man sank back down in the tub, covering the scars on his arm with his other hand.  A blush bloomed across his face. Yuuri had been very guarded against the emotions of others since the airport in Boston.  It was part of his preparation for big skating events. But, he suddenly felt a little guilty. A lot of Hong Ji’s behavior since the night of Phichit’s birthday now made sense.  The omega had switched his skating time to the mornings. While Hong Ji and Leo had previously been attached at the hip, Yuuri realized that he hadn’t seen them together since about a week after the incident.   Guang Hong Ji seemed to drop off the map.

 

     “Please, Yuuri.  Don’t tell anyone about this,”  Hong Ji spoke softly, he gave Yuuri a pleading look for a moment and then lowered his head.

 

     “If you’re hurting yourself Hong Ji, I don’t know that I can promise you that,” Yuuri leaned forward, trying to catch his eye.

 

     “Coach Celestino already knows about it,”  Hong Ji spoke earnestly. He...he caught me…”  Hong Ji looked up. Yuuri could see tears threatening in his eyes.

 

     “My chaperone says that it could end my career in skating if anyone finds out,” Tears of frustration began to roll down the young man’s face.  

 

     “That is why you’ve been avoiding Leo,” Yuuri realized aloud, as he moved closer to the young man, putting a hand on his shoulder in concern.  The younger man nodded, wiping tears away.

 

     “Yeah.”  The young man sighed.  “I miss him,” Hong Ji looked away.  “I’m getting better though. My counselor is good. I haven’t...I haven’t done it for a month.  I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I think that’s what Coach Celestino thought.” The younger man lifted his hands out of the water and considered them.  “I just wanted to feel...in control of my own body.”

 

     “Hong Ji.  It wasn’t your fault,”  Yuuri tilted his head in order to catch his eye.  “You are in control of your own body. Being an omega doesn’t give anyone the rights to your body.”  Yuuri was incredulous.

 

     “I know that.  Of course I know that!”  Hong Ji looked directly into Yuuri’s eyes for the first time.  “But, then I wake up in the middle of the night, after having a nightmare...and I feel out of control.”  Hot, frustrated tears rolled down the boy’s face.  “Damn it.”

 

     “You have to tell Leo,” Yuuri said simply.  Hong Ji looked up.

 

     “What if he...doesn’t understand?”  Hong Ji said it with such pain.  It was a pain that Yuuri understood. ‘What if someone I love, can’t love all the parts of me?’ 

 

     “Do you trust Leo?”  

 

     “Yeah.  I do,"  the younger man looked thoughtful, almost realizing the truth of it as he spoke.

 

     “Don’t carry the weight of all this on your own, when you don’t have to,”  When Yuuri realized what he had just said, he started to laugh. Tears started to roll down his own face.

 

     Hong Ji started to apologize.  “I’m sorry. I made you cry too.”  The boy reached over and wiped away a tear from Yuuri’s cheek.

 

     “I’m crying because I just realized I’m doing the exact same fucking thing.  I have this beautiful person in my life. He loves me, even though I’m a mess sometimes…”  Yuuri slowly shook his head, wiping away his tears. “God, I’m an idiot.”

 

     “My mom, my sister, and my grandma are all female omegas.  I always wished that I had a male omega to talk to, you know?” Hong Ji lamented.  Yuuri thought about his mother and his aunt.

 

     “Yeah, me too,”  Yuuri leaned back in the rock pool.  A feeling of relief seemed to wash over him.  “I guess, now you do.”

 

     Through his tears, Guang Hong Ji smiled.

 

<<>>

 

     Yuuri knocked lightly on his old bedroom door before opening it.

 

     “Am I disturbing you?” Yuuri placed a cup of coffee next to Victor’s laptop.

 

     “Of course not,” Victor turned in his chair and hugged Yuuri tightly around the middle, burying his face in the young omega’s chest.

 

     Yuuri felt a twitch of arousal at the forceful display of affection.  His hands carded the older man’s soft, silver hair.

 

     “Kiss me,” Yuuri spoke softly.

 

    “Mmmm, you always have the best ideas,”  Victor mumbled into his omega’s stomach and then he stood, picking up his lover, and walked over to the bed. Yuuri started to laugh in surprise.

 

     “Victor!”  Yuuri squealed.  The alpha deposited the omega onto the bed and climbed overtop of him playfully, caging him in his arms.

 

     “I missed holding you,” The smile faded, as cerulean eyes searched Yuuri’s face. 

 

     “You’ve been crying.  Why have you been crying?”

 

     “It’s alright,” Yuuri’s hand touched his alpha’s face.  “Hong Ji and I had a long talk. It was good. He needed to talk about what happened since that night at Sky.  It made me realize a lot of things.” Victor sank down next to his lover, supporting himself on his elbow so they could talk properly.

 

     “What did you realize Love?”  Victor took up his lover’s hand.  He looked at Yuuri so softly.

 

     “What an idiot I am, mostly,”  Yuuri said, a tear threatening.  The young omega gave an ironic laugh, but then grew serious.  “I realized that I can trust you...with everything...and that I want to share every part of my life with you.”  

 

     Tears sprang to Victor’s eyes.

 

     “I’m so sorry Victor.  I didn’t mean to make you cry too,” Yuuri laughed and wiped away the older man’s tears.  Victor leaned over and kissed the younger man tentatively. Yuuri’s hands snaked around his lover’s back, pulling him closer,  deepening the kiss. Victor repositioned, straddling his omega’s thigh and stretching over his body.

 

     “These are happy tears Yuuri.  I love you...so much,” Victor’s voice sounded rough and oh, so sexy.  The alpha nuzzled into Yuuri’s neck, kissing and licking his favorite spot over his omega’s scent gland.

 

     “Mmmh, Victor, scent me, please.  I want to smell like us together, as a couple,” Yuuri moaned.  Victor rolled them over carefully, on the small bed, so that the omega straddled him. In long strokes, Victor ran his hands up and down Yuuri’s back, scenting him from the glands in his wrists.  The scent of honeysuckle mixed with Victor’s scent of cedar and earth. The scent of a hot summer’s day seemed to permeate the room. It was intoxicating, relaxing.

 

     “I needed this,” Victor murmured.  “Do we have time? Please...make love to me.”

 

     Yuuri felt Victor’s warm arousal through his warm up pants and moved his hips forward, grinding down on top of the alpha.

 

     “We have time…” Yuuri smiled down at his rumpled alpha, his ocean blue eyes still shining with tears.  “You’re so, so beautiful.” Yuuri moved his hips again while removing his shirt.  

 

     “Yuuri…” Victor gasped, closing his eyes, overcome by sensation.

 

<<>>

 

     Yuuri and Victor had felt rather energized after their frenzied morning romp.  The couple felt like they could take on the world as they jogged to Ice Castle together.  It was the perfect day for a jog. The air was crisp. The sky was clear and blue, with just a few fluffy, beachy clouds here and there.  

 

     But, as Ice Castle came into view, Yuuri felt a flutter of nervousness in his stomach.  Would the Nishigories talk to him? What if they didn’t let him in?

 

     “Why don’t we jog together at home?” Victor looked over at the younger man as he spoke.

   “Hmmm?”  Victor’s question pulled the omega out of his thoughts.  

   “This is nice. We should jog together at home,”  The older man looked forward again, smiling softly.

   “Yeah, we should,” Yuuri answered .  It was nice to have someone to share skating with.  Victor understood the sacrifices, the aches and pains, and even the joy of getting the perfect costume.  He understood all of it.

 

     As they arrived at Ice Castle, Yuuri’s worry ended up being for nothing.  Yuuko wasn’t even there. Takeshi smiled and waved at Yuuri from the control booth.  He was probably loading music for the coaches. Yuuri stopped suddenly.  An article about his silver medal at Four Continents was framed and mounted on the wall next to the locker room.

 

     “Wow, Yuuri, looks like you’re quite the hometown hero!”  Chris stopped behind the omega and patted the younger man on the rear.

     “Chris!”  Yuuri said, startled.


     “Vitya, quit smiling so much and go warm up,” Yakov said, as Victor paused at the boards to wait for Yuuri. 

     The skaters warmed up and then gathered at the boards in front of Yakov and Coach Celestino.  The coaches broke them into two groups, one for jumps, and one to run through programs. Yuuri and Victor started with Yakov, working on jumps.

 

     “Are you going to add that quad flip this time Yuuri,” Victor spoke softly into the omega’s ear.  “You’re ready.”

Quadflip

     The raven haired man looked back at Victor in surprise.  

     “Maybe. How did you know I was working on the quad flip?”  Yuuri asked. The omega had wanted it to be a surprise and had been working on it in the evening practices.

     “Yakov sent me film of your quad flip after Four Continents.”  Victor placed his hand on Yuuri’s side and leaned in. “He said you would have won gold if you had done it there.”  Having the alpha’s mouth so close to his neck gave the young man a shiver.

 

     “Mmph, you’d be the first omega to ratify the jump,” JJ said from a few feet away.  Yuuri looked over at him, shocked at his condescending tone.

     “Yakov, I think I want to work on my quad flip,”  Yuuri said. The old man nodded.

     “Begin,” Yakov gestured toward the ice.  

 

      ‘That’s the kind of bigoted crap I hate,’ Yuuri thought, as he threw his first perfect quad flip.  ‘No wonder Victor said he could only stand him in small doses.  Two quad flips. Whew. That one felt pretty good.’  Half an hour later, Yakov gestured for Yuuri to speak with him.  JJ was out of breath on the wall, water bottle in his hand.

     “Those omegas have some wicked stamina, huh JJ?”  Yakov chuckled as Yuuri approached the boards. “Take a break, Katsuki.  You’ve done 14 quad flips and only put a hand down on two. I want to see that in your program.”

 

     Yuuri nodded.  “Yeah, okay. It felt good.”  Yuuri grabbed his water bottle and leaned against the boards, watching Victor practice his jumps.  He looked so effortless, so elegant in his movements. His lover looked over at him and gave him a wink after he landed his quad lutz.  

 

     Takeshi leaned on the boards next to him.

     “You looked amazing out there,” he said casually.

     “Thanks,” Yuuri said, taking a long draw on his water.

     "Do you think you could win, at World's, I mean?"  Takeshi asked.

     Yuuri smiled and looked over at his friend, "Maybe. If I did that jump at the end, my difficulty would be the same as Victor's."

     Takeshi whistled. "Wow."  Yuuri nodded.

     "I guess we'll see," Yuuri shrugged.

 

     “You look happy Yuuri. Victor seems like a nice person,” Takeshi said thoughtfully.  Both men watched Victor swing around for another jump, this time a quad/triple combo.

     “Damn. He makes it look so easy,” Takeshi shook his head.

     “So, uh, where’s Yuuko?”  Yuuri asked, trying to seem casual about it.  

     Takeshi smiled, “She has classes today.”  Yuuri looked over at his old friend, surprised.

     “Really?  That’s great,” Yuuri replied.

     “Yeah,”  Takeshi took a rag out of his pocket and slowly wiped away some grease on his hand.  He had just been tinkering with the zamboni.

 

     “How come you haven’t stopped by after closing in the evenings yet?”  Takeshi asked, stuffing the rag back into his pocket.

     “Oh, well Yuuko asked me to return the key, so I don’t have it anymore,” Yuuri looked back out at the ice.  ‘Takeshi didn’t know?’

     Takeshi paused for a moment and then placed a hand on his arm to get his full attention.  “Hey Yuuri. Don’t be a stranger, okay?” Yuuri looked into his old friend’s face.

     “Yeah, okay.”  Yuuri wasn’t sure what to think, as his old friend walked away, pulling out his phone.

Chapter Text

 

    As Yuuri walked through the lobby of Ice Castle, he thought back to that day when all of the drama started.  The young man stopped by the bench where he had seen Yuuko crying by herself that evening. Yuuri had stopped at the door to fish out the key to the building.  The last golden rays of sunlight revealed his childhood friend crumpled on the bench closest to the door. The young woman looked so small, so defeated. Her nose was red and her face was flushed.  She looked up at Yuuri as he turned the key in the lock. Her eyes were glistening with tears.

 

     The feelings coming from Yuuko were alarming.  The young omega had never felt that kind of sadness from his friend.  He fought down a wave of nausea and wrenched open the door. Yuuri closed his eyes briefly, picturing a wall of protection against the onslaught of feelings, taking a deep breath, he approached his friend.

 

     “Yuuko, what’s wrong?”  Yuuri dropped beside the young woman and pulled her into a one-armed hug.

 

     “I think Takeshi is cheating on me.”  Yuuko choked. Tears began to roll down her face as she sobbed against Yuuri’s chest.

 

     “Why do you think that?”  The shock was evident in the omega’s voice.

 

     “He’s supposed to be taking a night class at the local high school.  He wanted to be able to do some of the electrical repairs around the rink to save money.  But, I found out that the class is only offered in the Fall. He’s lying to me Yuuri…” the young woman once again dissolved into tears.  The young man was at a loss as to what he should do.

 

     “Maybe it’s a misunderstanding,” Yuuri said, trying to console the woman.  As he said those words, however, anger was welling up inside him. How could Takeshi do something like this to Yuuko.  She gave up everything to raise a family with him!

 

     “Could you find out Yuuri?  I need to know what his feelings are for me.  Is it over for us?” Yuuko looked up into Yuuri’s face with a pleading look.  

 

     “Yuuko,” the omega said softly.  In reply, he pulled her into a tight hug.  “It’s going to be okay.” Tears sprung to Yuuri’s eyes.  Of course, he would do whatever he could to comfort Yuuko.  ‘But, what if he is cheating on her? How could this happen?’   Yuuri felt a helplessness he had never felt before.

 

     The truth was...confusing.  Every time that Yuuri saw Takeshi over the next few weeks, he felt nothing but positive emotions from the alpha.  If anything, he felt more affection and pride when he was around Yuuko. He also felt a sort of nostalgic feeling and a...sort of...longing.  Yuuko was sullen and more quiet than usual. Takeshi would pull her into a hug and remind her that the class would be over soon.

     "Trust me, it's all going to be worth it."

     One evening, at Ice Castle, while Takeshi was tinkering around with the Zamboni, Yuuko caught his eye.  Yuuri shrugged and shook his head, as if to say, “Nothing yet.” The young woman turned away and continued to put away the skates the customers wore in the afternoon session.

 

     After an entire month, on the way home from the train station, Yuuri finally found the answer.  In the bottom floor of the Junior High School, Yuuri clearly saw Takeshi and another man, painting one of the classrooms.  Moving without thinking, the younger man was soon standing outside the window like some kind of stalker. Takeshi looked up and gave him a wave, breaking the spell.  Yuuri held up his hand, feeling rather like an idiot. The alpha motioned for him to wait and headed toward the entrance to the building.

 

     “Yuuri! Hey, wait a minute,” Takeshi motioned him over.

     “Sorry to interrupt you,” Yuuri mumbled.

     “Do you mind not telling Yuuko about me working here at night?  She thinks that I’m taking a class,” Takeshi scratched the back of his head.

     “Yeah, well she knows that the electric wiring class is in the Fall, so you better come up with another excuse,” Yuuri said, reaching out to his childhood friend with his gift.  Takeshi was so open - full of longing, hope, pride, and affection. There was only love. The omega sighed.  

 

     “What are you doing this for and why didn’t you tell Yuuko the truth?”  Yuuri’s tone spoke his annoyance. He could just picture Yuuko’s crying face and it stirred up his feelings.

 

     Takeshi took off his painter’s cap and ran his hand through his hair.

 

     “She never takes anything for herself,” Takeshi said suddenly.  “Every time we try to save up some money...she spends it on the kids, buying shoes, buying skating bags, everything goes to them.”   The older man sighed.

 

      Yuuri stood looking at his childhood friend, stunned.

 

     “Listen, I took this contract with the school so that I can send Yuuko to Art school. I don’t want her to know until the entire amount is paid for. I want her to be the first omega in her family to go to college.  I want her to have everything. Will you help me surprise her?”  

 

     Yuuri nodded dumbly.  

 

     “Alright then, I need to get back to work.” The alpha motioned toward the classroom.  “Thanks Yuuri! I’ll talk to Yuuko. Don’t worry.”

 

     Yuuri texted Yuuko that night.

 

     Yuuri:  He loves you Yuuko.  There’s no way he’s cheating on you.

 

     Yuuko and Takeshi had an argument the next morning.  Whatever excuse Takeshi came up with instead of the class, Yuuko didn’t believe it.  The young woman was cold to Yuuri at Ice Castle that day. 

 

      ‘I wonder if Yuuko thought that I took Takeshi’s side,’ the omega wondered as he left Ice Castle.  Yuuri sighed, hitching his bag higher on his shoulder, he began walking down the hill back to Yu-topia.


      Walking down the hallway to the room he shared with Hong Ji, Yuuri paused when he heard Leo and Hong Ji’s voices.   

 

      “Leo, can I talk to you for a moment?”  

 

     “Hey Ji. Of course you can.  I’ve missed you. How’s calculus going?”

 

     “It’s fine.  Hey, Leo, my classes...they aren’t really the reason why I haven’t been around,” Hong Ji said softly.

 

     “I know Hong Ji…” 

     Yuuri could hear the rustling of clothing and the door to the room quietly slide open and then close.  The young omega sighed and took out his phone, checking the time. Yuuri knew that Victor would be at least another hour at Ice Castle.  He wanted to go over video with Yakov before he came back to the onsen. Otherwise, the alpha wouldn’t be able to relax.

 

Yuuri:  I think that Hong Ji and Leo are going to need some time together in our room.  I’m going to drop my stuff in my old bedroom. Text me when you get back.

 

Victor:  <3

 

         When Yuuri walked by his family’s private dining room, he was surprised to see his aunt Hanako and his mother sharing a pot of tea at the table.  Hanako waved her nephew over when she saw him.

 

     “Yuuri, come talk to me.  I haven’t seen you in months,” Hanako rubbed the young man’s arm as he sat beside her.  “Congratulations on Victor. Your mom has told me a lot about him. The picture of the two of you at your Three Cups Ceremony is just beautiful.”  Yuuri’s cheeks blushed pink at the mention of the ceremony.

 

     “Yeah, thanks,” the young omega shrugged.

 

     “You love him,” Hanako searched Yuuri’s face with a soft smile. 

     The color seemed to drain from the omega’s face.

     “But, you are worried that the feelings aren’t real, aren’t you?  You’re worried that they are reflected feelings. You’ve been using your gift with Victor since the very beginning.”  Hanako spoke calmly, like she was discussing the weather.  Yuuri looked over at his mother's reaction.

     Hiroko reached her hand and placed it on Hanako’s arm.  “Hanako, stop. You’re upsetting him.”

 

     Yuuri’s eyes were wide.  The truth of what she said hit him.  Why couldn’t he block her out?  Would his mother be angry?  The omega closed his eyes and shut the door on his jumbled thoughts.

 

     “Why do you do that?”  Tears sprang to Yuuri’s eyes.  “Those are my private thoughts.  I’m trying to share them with someone I care about and…”

 

     “And you should Yuuri.  You’ve already decided. You’ve already chosen him.”

 

     “What are you talking about?”  Yuuri shook his head slowly back and forth.

 

     Hiroko cupped the back of her son’s head and spoke to him gently.

 

     “When you kissed Takeshi, those overwhelming feelings of affection and longing that you had were a reflection of the feelings that Takeshi had for Yuuko.  He was so proud of her, so proud of her abilities as an artist, that as he cleaned the school at night, he remained focused on those goals. You know that love is not really a feeling.  There are emotions that we have when we are in love, but they are just the result of that love decision. Takeshi felt pride and affection and desire and when you reached out to see if he was cheating on Yuuko, you began to feel all those emotions too.  The kiss wasn’t your fault Yuuri. Nobody should ever ask you to use your gift that way.”

 

     Hanako broke in, “What you feel for Victor is totally different.  It’s like a flame. It's real.  I can feel the warmth of it from you. Tell him.”  Yuuri looked down at the picture of him and Victor at the ceremony. His mother had a print made and put it in a bamboo frame.  It made Yuuri laugh to himself at how serious Victor looked in the picture. He remembered how he had held him, so carefully...like he was afraid he would break.  

 

    After taking a sip of her tea, Hanako spoke with an air of nostalgia, “You’re a lot like me.  I was always too open. It’s like an addiction...because the reward can be so great. I know that you are constantly reaching out to your Victor.  You can’t help it can you? He’s your true mate. 

 

      ‘God, does every word out of your mouth have to be so damn embarrassing?’ Yuuri put the photo down gently.  The two women laughed.


<<>>

 

     A warm touch...Yuuri stirred.  His lover’s scent was enticing him from the blackness of sleep.

 

     “Mmmm, What time is it?”  the young omega mumbled.  "It's dark outside?"

 

     “It’s almost 6:00.  You must have been really tired,” Victor smoothed the younger man’s hair, laying a kiss on his forehead.

 

     “Come under the blanket with me,” Yuuri pulled at the blanket.  “I want you to hold me.”

 

     “So needy,” his alpha teased, rolling his eyes.

 

     “I’m cold...and needy,” Yuuri admitted.  Victor stood and removed his warm up jacket and the t-shirt he was wearing.  The alpha just wanted to scent his lover. He knew that his omega was comforted by it.

 

     “Do you know how much I miss holding you at night?”  Victor said softly, as he nuzzled the scent gland under Yuuri’s ear.  Slowly, he rubbed his wrist up and down the younger man’s back. Yuuri melted into his alpha's arms.

 

     “Let’s go somewhere after Worlds.”

     “Where? Victor, it’s the middle of the semester!”  Yuuri said, raising his head to look at the older man properly.

     “Humor me Yuuri.  For a weekend. Where should we go?”  Victor kissed the omega’s neck. Yuuri moaned with pleasure.

     “Does it matter?”  Yuuri said it so seriously, that the alpha actually giggled.  Yuuri’s hand moved down, palming the older man’s cock.

     “Oh god, Yuuri,” Victor breathed.  His eyes closed. His hips seemed to move on their own towards the heat of his omega’s touch.

 

      “It doesn’t matter where we go. I just want to be with you.”  The younger man said as he moved. All at once, Yuuri stretched out over his alpha, licking kisses into his mouth.  Victor rolled onto his back carefully and carded his hands into his omega’s hair.

      ‘I have.  I’ve already decided...I’ve already chosen him…’   Yuuri broke off the kiss and stared, breathless into those beautiful, sea-blue eyes.

     “I love you...Victor, I love you,” Yuuri gasped.

     “Yuuri…”

Chapter Text

      Yuuri felt Victor’s hands molding themselves onto his ass, while he guided his lower half over the alpha’s center.  The young man pushed himself up so that he was straddling his lover. It occurred to Yuuri in that moment that he was wearing entirely too much clothing.  He could feel the heat from Victor’s cock through the thin warm ups, as it grew hard under him. Laying back on Yuuri’s pillow, Victor looked wonderfully debauched.  His lips were parted, his silver hair was perfectly ruffled and out of place, his brilliantly blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight coming in through his window.

 

     “Hmmm,” the omega hummed, canting his hips forward.  Victor’s hands slid down the younger man’s thighs. Eyes closed, he moaned at the friction on his center.

 

     “Say it again Yuuri,” Victor breathed.

 

     “I love you,” the omega said softly, leaning over to cage the alpha with his arms before Victor pulled him into a sweet kiss.

 

     “Hold on love. We’re all tangled up in the blanket,” the older man had to laugh at their situation.  It wasn’t exactly the storybook love confession. They were trying to have a moment in the twin bed of what looked like a typical kid’s bedroom.

 

     “Maybe what we need is more of a nest,” Yuuri crawled off the bed once he was free of the blanket and crossed the room.  He pulled a fluffy blanket out of his closet and threw the discarded clothing from the floor, onto the twin bed. Yuuri’s shirt landed in Victor’s lap.  The omega removed his pants and boxer briefs and tossed them on the bed too.

 

     “Wait...Yuuri.  Is this okay? We compete in two days,”  A look of concern flashed across the older man’s face, but then, the alpha picked up Yuuri’s shirt and brought it to his nose without thinking.  ‘God, he smells so good,’ Victor stopped when he realized what he was doing and looked up just in time to catch a pillow that Yuuri threw from his closet.

 

     “A nest isn’t necessarily just for sex.  It can be just a place to relax with your mate,” Yuuri shrugged.  “I always sleep better in a nest.”  

 

     Victor flashed a smile, “You’re kidding, right?  Come here.” Yuuri crawled back onto the bed, loosely arranging the blanket, pillows, and clothes as he went.  Victor was sitting with his back against Yuuri’s pillow, legs apart. He removed the rest of his clothing and tossed them to his lover.  The omega caught them and pressed them to his nose. Yuuri’s eyes closed briefly as he took in Victor’s scent. Then, the younger man wrapped the soft pants around one of the pillows against the wall.

 

     The alpha eyes grew soft watching his omega build a nest for them.  Victor considered their bed at home and how it had gradually started to resemble a nest.  There were more blankets and more pillows than there used to be. Certain items of Victor’s clothing, especially his robe, never seemed to make it to the laundry bin anymore. The very idea of a nest gave the older man a pang of nostalgia.  A nest just said family. He used to love tumbling into his parents’ nest as a child on Sunday mornings. The scent of the nest made him feel safe. His father would read the paper and his mother would read comics to him. ‘God, I want that. I want that so much.’ Victor breathed out, trying to calm the tumble of feelings that seemed to make his chest feel tight.

 

     “Yuuri, I do love you,” Victor said softy, evenly.  “As a matter of fact, I want to spend the rest of my life loving you.”  The omega paused, as he finished rolling a blanket and placing it on the side of the bed.

 

     “The way you said that, it sounds like a proposal,” Yuuri said, reaching out to touch his lover’s face.  Victor took up Yuuri’s hand and kissed the smooth, soft skin on the inside of his wrist.  It gave the omega a shiver of pleasure.

 

     “Maybe there’s a more restful position that wouldn’t be so hard on your body. Hmmm, turn around. I want to try something,” Victor pulled Yuuri into a sitting position, with his back against his chest.  He maneuvered them so that Victor was the big spoon and Yuuri was the little spoon. This is what Yuuri missed about home. He loved being surrounded by Victor. Even falling asleep at night seemed strange and empty in the room that the omega shared with Guang Hong Ji.  Victor propped the omega’s leg up on one of the pillows in front of him. Yuuri could feel Victor’s hot length resting on his thigh.

 

     “Let’s try it this way,” Victor spoke softly into his omega’s ear.  “Tell me if anything is uncomfortable.” Yuuri melted into his lover’s body in reply.  Victor’s warmth and his scent surrounded the younger man.  

 

     The alpha reached down and lightly began to massage the muscle around the omega’s entrance with a circular motion.  The sensation ignited a warmth in his center, his cock grew harder and began to stand up. Slick began to drip and Victor easily pressed a slim finger inside of him.   Yuuri moaned deliciously at the intrusion.

     "We'll take our time," Victor cooed.  The omega was already so relaxed that soon after, the alpha added another finger and then three. Even Yuuri’s thighs were wet as he lay panting with desire.  He felt exposed, like a live wire and his cock was wet with precum. The younger man couldn’t help but rock his hips back, trying to get more friction from Victor’s fingers.

 

     “Do you see what you do to me?” Yuuri said with gasping breaths.  Victor smiled and buried his nose in Yuuri’s neck, nuzzling his favorite spot under his lover's ear. The older man wanted to hear every word his omega said, wanted to hear every hitch of his breath, to make sure he felt nothing but pleasure.  Then, the alpha removed his fingers and brought his cock to his lover's weeping entrance. He pushed in slowly, allowing the muscle time to stretch, accommodating his girth.

 

     “You’re so hot, so perfect,” the alpha breathed.

 

     “Victor, fuck me.  I need it,” Yuuri quietly pleaded.  It was everything he could do not to cry out.

 

     The alpha pushed the rest of the way in with slow, rocking movements.  A growl rumbled deep in his chest as he became fully seated in his lover.

 

     “Yuuri. You’re alright?”  Victor’s breathing became rough.  The alpha closed his eyes. Something was different.  The sensations felt...turned up.

 

     “I’m fine.  It feels...really good.  So full,” Yuuri sighed with pleasure as he reached back and rested his hand on top of Victor’s hand.  The alpha began to move. Victor’s kisses were hot on the bonding gland of Yuuri’s neck. The omega felt a fluttering sensation rising in his core.  It was like a wave, building and building, but never breaking. It made him feel out of control and desperate, as his hips rocked back to match his alpha’s rhythm.  Victor grabbed his leg and held it in the air so that they could be even closer.

 

     “Yuuri, you’re so beautiful.”  The omega could feel the hot breath of Victor’s words against his neck.

 

     “Victor, deeper...I want you…” the omega’s words dissolved into moans.  The older man repositioned slightly and had expertly found the bundle of nerves inside his lover that took him completely apart.  As he moved, punishing that place over and over, the alpha nipped at the bonding point, sucking and licking. Their combined scent was now dizzying, amplifying every sensation.  Victor’s movements became frenzied and erratic. Yuuri could feel Victor’s teeth nipping and scraping. A tingling ignited like a flame at the base of Yuuri’s neck.

 

      ‘Do it Victor. Make me yours…’ Yuuri wanted nothing more in that moment than to belong to Victor.  

 

     The next few minutes became a blur.  The omega began to shudder and Victor followed almost immediately.  The climax hit Yuuri like a wave, breaking and washing over him. The falling away of inhibitions, the desperation, the single-minded drive to mate, reminded the young man of their shared heat. He lay on the bed for several moments, panting. 

 

     Then, the omega felt Victor’s weight leave the small bed.

 

     “Yuuri, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry,” the alpha gave a tortured cry.  The omega was confused until he rolled over and saw the wound on his lover’s arm.

 

     “Victor, are you okay?”  Yuuri was shocked at the bloody wound.  He reached down and pulled on his warm up pants.

 

     Victor was trying to pull on his pants with one hand.  Blood dripped on the floor.

 

     “Let me help you,” the omega reached for his lover’s hand, but Victor flinched away from him.

 

     “Don’t...Yuuri,” Victor snapped.  Yuuri reached out to Victor and felt his fear, his longing, his guilt, and his lust.  The torrent of feelings swept over the omega, making him gasp. A weight settled in his chest, squeezing him, pressing down.  The omega felt like he was drowning.  He fought a sudden wave of intense nausea, closing his eyes, he fell to his knees.

 

     “Close the door.  Close the door. It will be okay…”  Yuuri repeated the words like a mantra.  Then, he breathed deeply, trying to clear his head.  Victor’s voice broke the spell.

 

     “Get Yakov...please, Yuuri,” the alpha pleaded, sinking to the ground against Yuuri’s bed.  

 

     “Victor, it’s going to be okay,” Yuuri grabbed his t-shirt with trembling hands and hurried off to find Yakov.  Toshiya was already on the stairs with first aid supplies.  Hiroko had heard Yuuri crying out in her mind and sent him.

 

     Less than 10 minutes later, Yakov, Yuuri, and Victor were in the Katsuki’s van on the way to the hospital.  Toshiya Katsuki was driving.

 

     “Katsuki, you should have stayed at the inn.  You need to rest for your competition,” Yakov scolded the omega from the front seat.

 

     Victor and Yuuri sat on the bench seat in the back of the van.  Victor was holding his hastily bandaged wrist. His eyes were closed.  Yuuri held the alpha’s head to his shoulder. The omega was trying to calm the alpha with his pheromones.

 

     “Victor’s my mate.  He’s mine,” Yuuri blurted, stroking his lover’s hair as he spoke. Victor moved his hand to Yuuri’s knee and gave it a little squeeze.

 

     “Yuuri...Thank you,” Victor said thickly.

 

     Toshiya looked back at his son while they waited at a traffic light and gave him a wink.

 

     “You’re not married, are you?” Toshiya asked the older man.

 

     “Divorced,” Yakov grunted.

 

     “Hmm,” Toshiya nodded knowingly.

 

     At the hospital, one of the women in the waiting room gave him a wary look as they walked by.  The receptionist took one look at Victor and took him back to a room right away. Yuuri insisted on coming with him.  Toshiya sat down in the waiting room, while Yakov filled out paperwork.

 

     In the small room, the couple sat in two chairs, side by side.  Victor was quiet, holding his arm, looking down at his shoes. Yuuri leaned against his lover’s arm, his head on Victor’s shoulder.

 

     “I’m sorry,” Victor said softly.

 

     “You didn’t do anything wrong Victor,” Yuuri threaded his arm around Victor’s.

 

     “You don’t know what danger you were in,” Victor shook his head slowly.  “I want to bond you Yuuri. I want you to be mine forever. It’s like...an ache.”

 

     “Am I hurting you...being here right now?” Yuuri sat up, releasing Victor’s arm.  ‘I’m staying with Victor because of my own selfishness. He probably doesn’t even want me here.’

 

     “Honestly, it’s hard,” the alpha shrugged, still looking down at the ground.  “You smell so good to me right now,” Victor took measured breathes. Yuuri stood up.  The alpha grabbed his wrist.

 

     “Please...stay,”  Victor looked up. His eyes were glassy and tinged with red.  His voice was soft, but Yuuri could hear the note of panic.

     “If you left...it’d be like taking away the sun.”  

 

     About 30 minutes later, the doctor walked in, gazing down at an iPad.

 

     “Sorry about the wait. I wanted to get Mr. Nikiforov’s medical records from Russia before deciding on a course of treatment. I’m Dr. Sato,” the doctor stretched out a hand to Victor as he spoke.  The doctor inspected the alpha’s wound. Then, he stood up and pulled some bandages and antiseptic from a cabinet by the door.

 

     “You will be in full rut by this time tomorrow, Mr. Nikiforov.  Being able to turn away from your partner shows amazing control.” The doctor pulled on a pair of gloves as he spoke.  

 

     “If I were you, I’d check into a heat hotel and enjoy a very pleasant weekend with my mate.  However, the stern looking man in the waiting room says that’s not possible right now?” The doctor finished bandaging Victor’s arm and looked up.

 

     “We have the World Figure Skating Championship in two days,” the alpha said softly.

 

     “Your mate is also in this competition, I suppose?”  Dr. Sato asked, tilting his head and picking up the iPad again.

 

     “Yes, I am,” Yuuri offered.

 

     “Well then, I will give you enough suppressants for two weeks,” the doctor made a notation on the tablet.  “I’m also going to give you an antibiotic shot for the wound and a topical cream that you should use for three days.  Understand, that you will go into rut as soon as you stop taking that suppressant, so make proper arrangements.” Dr. Sato paused, looking up from the tablet to make sure the alpha understood.  

 

     Victor nodded.  

 

     “I’m not a big fan of athletes constantly suppressing their biology.  There is some evidence that it is linked to cancer if it is overdone.”  The doctor walked toward the door. 

 

     'Cancer?'  Yuuri unconsciously threaded his arm into Victor’s again, taking up his hand on the alpha’s lap. 

     “The nurse will be in with the shot and your prescriptions in a moment. It was nice meeting you both.” The doctor bowed slightly and excused himself. 

 

     “So, the doctor prescribed a weekend of hot sex.” Yuuri said evenly.  This made Victor look up and see Yuuri properly.  The couple broke into laughter. 

 

     "Yeah, he did, didn't he?"  Victor bit his bottom lip at the absurdity of it all.  The omega reached out and smoothed Victor's bangs out of his eyes.

 

     “Should we tell Yakov we’re blowing off Worlds and checking into a heat hotel?”  Yuuri asked, smiling softly at him.

 

     “No, he’d have a stroke,” Victor grew serious again, sighing.

 

     “Well, two weeks gives me time to shop for something to wear...to seduce you with,”  Yuuri’s gaze was soft, his tone playful.  Victor took up the omega's hand in both of his.

 

     “Everything you wear seduces me Yuuri.  The way you walk across the room, the way you skate, entices me,”  Victor leaned toward him, turning his head, and nuzzled the omega’s cheek.  The touch felt...too good.

 

     “Hmm, yeah,” Yuuri sat back.  “Where’s the nurse with those suppressants?”

 

     When they returned to the onsen, it was late in the evening.  Hiroko led Victor and Yuuri to the old banquet room in the Katsuki’s private quarters.  A large futon was laid out for them. A basket of food sat on a low table surrounded by cushions.  Yuuri noticed that all their things were already in the room, including the bedding from their nest.

 

     “I thought you boys might be hungry. You missed dinner,” Hiroko gave the couple a soft smile and slid the door closed.

 

     “Your mother is an angel,” Victor's mouth was agape, as he fell onto the cushion and started pulling food out of the basket.  “Do you want tea or water?”

 

     “Water’s fine,” Yuuri pulled the cushion so that he could sit next to Victor.  The basket contained two bento boxes with a variety of items and some bagged snacks.  Yuuri spied a package of his favorite strawberry Pocky.

 

     “Do you know how happy I am that I’m not going back to share a room with JJ?”  Victor used his chopsticks to grab a few slices of Hiroko’s homemade pickled radishes.  He closed his eyes as he chewed. “Your mom is such a good cook.”

 

     “I think my parents really like you,” Yuuri smiled and picked up a slice of his favorite spring onion omelette. 

 

     Yuuri thought about how much had seemed to change since they had left for the hospital.  For the first time, Yuuri felt like he was able to do something for Victor. He was able to help him, comfort him.  What Victor didn’t know was that he would have blown off Worlds.  All the alpha had to do was ask.  

 

     Lost in thought, Yuuri took a sip of water.  They didn’t have to hide in Yuuri’s old room anymore to be together.  Fixing up a room for them, as a couple, was acceptance of their relationship.  The omega smiled. His parents liked Victor...a lot. Even Mari liked him.  He was sure that it was Mari who had set up this room for them.  He would thank her tomorrow.

     A short while later, the couple snuggled together in the futon.  Victor lay on his back, with Yuuri tucked into his side. The omega listened as the alpha’s breathing became slow and even.  His body twitched as he entered a deeper stage of sleep. Yuuri closed his eyes, surrounded by warmth, surrounded by his lover’s scent.

 

      ‘Okaasan, thank you…’ 

 

 

Chapter Text

   Victor’s feelings welled up in his core, calling out to his lover, who lay asleep in the dark room.  The wave of raw emotion hit the empath in a rush. Yuuri’s eyes fluttered open. The bathroom light of their hotel room cut through the darkness.  Yuuri could hear Victor’s heavy panting as he awakened more fully. In a sleepy haze, Yuuri’s stomach clenched. The waves of raw feelings prickled across his skin and pressed on his abdomen, cold and heavy, like an iron weight. The omega padded to the door just in time to hear his lover dry heaving over the commode.  He entered the small bathroom, grabbed a washcloth, and ran it under cold water in the sink.

 

     “Vitya, I’m here,” Yuuri said softly, placing the washcloth on the back of his lover’s neck.

 

     “Yuuri...I’m sorry.  You should be asleep,” Victor spoke as he rested his head on his forearm against the toilet.

 

     Yuuri ignored the ridiculous comment and rubbed his hand in long, comforting strokes, up and down Victor’s back.  “Have you ever had this kind of reaction to the suppressants before?”

 

     “I’ve never suppressed my rut before,” Victor said, turning his head to look at him. “I’ve just been lucky with the timing.”  

 

     Yuuri replied with a hum, picked up the washcloth, and gingerly wiped Victor’s mouth.

 

     “I’m going to make a phone call,” Yuuri pulled him to his feet, kissed the older man’s forehead, and then helped him to a chair in the other room.  The alpha’s silver hair hung limply in his eyes as he stared into space, clutching the small, hotel room garbage can in both arms. He was only wearing a t-shirt and a pair of black bikini briefs and his exposed skin glistened with the sheen of a cold sweat.  His long legs were leaning this way and that, too long for the low sitting armchair. The room was cold, the way Victor liked it, so Yuuri pulled the comforter off the bed and wrapped Victor up in it, before disconnecting his phone from the charger.

 

     Yuuri called his old pediatrician, who was a family friend and a huge skating fan.  The young omega apologized to Dr. Tanaka before filling him in on the situation and Victor’s symptoms.  The omega was hoping that they would be able to keep the situation on the down low, to avoid the press getting wind of Victor’s alpha problem.  If they didn’t have to call Yakov and involve the ISU medical staff, Yuuri knew Victor wanted to avoid it. The solution to the problem ended up being rather simple.  Victor cut every other dose of the suppressant in half and a prescription was called in for an anti-nausea drug to an all night pharmacy nearby.

 

     An hour later, Yuuri listened to Victor’s breathing deepen and even out as he fell asleep in Yuuri’s arms.  The omega had called Yakov while he waited at the pharmacy. They would miss morning practice in favor of a few more hours of quality sleep.  

 

     A few hours later, Yuuri sat in bed watching his latest video on Victor’s laptop. 

‘The one nice thing about insomnia is that it gives me all this useful time.’  Victor’s back was warm against his thigh.  Yuuri glanced at him and smiled before putting in his airpods and bumping up the sound.  The omega leaned back into the stack of pillows behind him and closed his eyes, visualizing his step sequence, lining up his jumps.  The lights in his vision were bright, the ice was perfect. Yuuri could see Victor’s bright gaze following him from the boards. His quad flip was perfect.  It felt so good. ‘I wonder if I could add it into my combination jump at the end?’ Yuuri lined it up and landed it perfectly.

 

     “Yuuri?”  Victor reached out for his lover, snaking a hand over his abdomen, and falling back to sleep.  The omega stirred.

 

     “I just had the most wonderful dream…” Yuuri mumbled, stretching.  He removed his airpods and looked at the clock. His eyes widened.

 

     “Victor!!  We need to get going!” Yuuri shook the alpha’s leg.  “I’ll hop in the shower first and then get us some food.”  The next hour was a flurry of activity in the room. Costumes and clothes were packed for the day, along with the powder for Victor’s favorite energy shake.  Yuuri came back with turkey Wanpaku sandwiches and fruit for lunch. It was a surprisingly western looking sandwich, but with japanese flavors. It was made with layers of vegetables, avocado, sliced turkey, and a soft boiled egg.  

 

     Victor was ravenous.

 

     “My god, Yuuri.  This is the best sandwich I ever had in my entire life,”  He spoke with his mouth full of sandwich.

 

        “Great. Don’t choke on it,” Yuuri replied as he tried a bite.  His eyebrows disappeared into his bangs. “Mmn, this is a pretty good sandwich,” he nodded.

 

     A few minutes later, they were both brushing their teeth at the double sink in the bathroom.

 

     “We should get a double sink,” Victor rinsed and then wiped his mouth with a towel.

 

     “We should, huh?” Yuuri laughed.  He looked at the two of them in the mirror and bumped his hip into Victor’s playfully before rinsing the toothpaste from his mouth.  Yuuri wrapped his arms around Victor’s waist and looked up into his cerulean eyes.

 

     “I like when you do that,” the younger man said playfully.

 

     “What did I do?” Victor smiled and, unthinking, nuzzled the side of his face, closing his eyes as he took in his scent of sweet honeysuckle.

 

     “You always talk about our future together...like it’s a sure thing,”  Yuuri pulled him closer. A flicker of uncertainty and worry sent a jolt through the younger man’s heart.  It was like having a sudden chill. ‘This isn’t the time for this discussion.’ Yuuri pulled back to place a peck on Victor’s lips.  The alpha’s eyes were searching.

 

     “Yuuri, when I have my rut.  You’ll stay with me, won’t you?” Victor’s feelings hit Yuuri again in a rush.  The worry had blossomed to something like panic.

 

     “Of course I will...Victor?”  Yuuri had to calm him down.

 

      ‘What is happening? Why can I feel Victor’s emotions without consciously using my gift?’  Yuuri’s hand unconsciously rubbed the back of his neck and felt a sting.  The young omega knew what he had to do instinctively.

 

     “Before we leave Victor, would you scent me?  I want all those alphas, especially JJ to know who I belong to.”  The omega bit his bottom lip. Saying something so damn cheesy was out of character for Yuuri.  He hoped that he wasn’t overdoing it. Victor groaned, however. The alpha’s hands moved to both cheeks of his ass and hoisted him into the air.  Soon, the younger man was sitting on the bathroom counter, holding Victor’s face with both his hands as they kissed. The alpha ran his hands up and down Yuuri’s back, scenting his hair, his neck, his back.

 

     “Our scent...together...is so beautiful. Yuuri...my Yuuri,” Victor crooned.

     It was just what Victor needed at that moment.  Suppressing his alpha was like caging a wolf. But, Victor needed to be allowed to be a wolf to feel happy.  Scenting his mate accomplished that...for now. Yuuri began to purr as he soaked in the alpha’s feelings of pleasure and contentment.  ‘Is this what a bond feels like?  This is amazing.’ 

 

     Yuuri now suspected that Victor grazed his neck enough to give a sort of temporary bond.  He had heard of it. It was a common thing to do before heat sharing to add to the closeness, and the pleasure.  It was playing with fire, however. With enough heat hormone, the effect would be for life. Before they left the hotel room, Yuuri dug his compact out of his make-up bag and excused himself to the bathroom.  He stood nearly with his back touching the full length mirror in the door and held the compact up to examine the scent gland on the back of his neck. There it was, a small bruise at the base of his neck, at the center of the bruise was a scratch, just breaking the skin.  Yuuri exhaled. He didn’t even realize that he was holding his breath. Looking back on the last two days, Yuuri remembered a few times where he had acted instinctively, reacting to Victor’s needs without thinking about it.

 

      ‘My god, I even know when he is thirsty,’ Yuuri thought about how he handed Victor a water bottle on the bus.  Why had he done that? Yuuri closed his eyes and took several deep breaths.  ‘I need to tell him everything.  But, not now. Victor’s already at a disadvantage with his suppressants giving him a hard time.  I don’t know what I should do.’ The omega decided to wait until after the competition was over.

 

     Once they arrived at the rink, they decided to warm up away from the rest of the skaters, in the maze of black curtains put up for that purpose.  Yuuri put in his airpods and hit his warm up playlist. The omega closed his eyes and lost himself in the familiarity of his routine. The stretches felt so good.  They were lucky to find a little alcove where a barre was set up. Going through Minako’s warm up was like second nature to Yuuri, as easy as a kiss. Yuuri smiled to himself, as he grabbed his heal and stretched his right leg over his head.

 

     “Omega’s really do have amazing flexibility,” JJ said.  Yuuri noticed the alpha standing there, his arms crossed in front of him.  He removed one of his airpods.

 

     “Excuse me?”  Yuuri asked. He hadn’t heard the comment. 

 

     “How much longer will you need the barre?” JJ asked, clearing his throat.  Victor came up behind Yuuri and placed his hands on both of the omega’s hips.  Yuuri could feel the faint rumble of a growl in the alpha’s chest.

 

     “I’m done,” Yuuri picked up his team Japan jacket and took Victor’s hand.  “Let’s warm up over here Vitya.”

 

     Victor hummed a reply and turned aside to follow his lover.  They ended up having a really good warm up. Yuuri felt more relaxed before a competition than he had in his whole life.  He wondered if it was because he was so full of Victor’s ridiculously sweet feelings right now. Before their group warm-up, Yuuri pulled Victor into the handicapped restroom and scented him, rubbing his neck against Victor’s and giving him rather chaste kisses, before fixing his make-up.

 

     “Watch me Victor.  Will you?” Yuuri spoke softly, as they stood forehead to forehead.

 

     “Of course,”  Victor replied.  

 

     Yuuri skated his short program like he never did before.  He felt light. At first, he was worried about the fact that he might already be bonded to Victor by accident.  But, then he decided it didn’t matter. What was he waiting for anyway?  ‘I love him. It’s strange how taking the decision away seemed to take all the fear away.  I want him and only him. I know that he will accept all of me because...’ Yuuri came to his last jump, set up, and threw his quad flip…

 

     The omega landed perfectly.  ‘He loves me…’ Yuuri laughed, giddy at being the first omega to ratify a quad flip in a competition.  He finished, reaching out to his love who stood watching from the side. Yuuri finished 1st at the end of the first day, just a point ahead of his lover.  Victor popped his first jump, but then made up for it later by adding a quad to his combo. The omega was ranting about how unfair the whole thing was. Victor shut him up with a kiss.

 

     “What was that for?” Yuuri pouted.

 

     “I’m so proud that my boyfriend ratified the first quad flip by an omega,” Victor slipped a hand around the younger man’s hip and pulled him close.

 

     “Let’s go back and order in, since we didn’t get that much sleep the night before,” Yuuri stifled a yawn.  The adrenaline of the evening’s events was starting to wear off.

     Yuuri took a long shower, trying to warm up.  He had gotten a chill after sitting still after all the excitement and activity.  Yuuri could feel the cold air from the room enter the bathroom, as Victor opened the door.

 

     “Here’s a robe love.  I put it on hook for you, behind the door,” Victor said.  Yuuri poked his head out of the shower.

 

     “How did you know I was cold?”  Yuuri said. 

 

     “I don’t know,” Victor looked confused.

 

     “Victor, we need to talk.”

 

     The talk ended up being postponed.  Victor insisted on drying Yuuri’s hair, which made him super relaxed and sleepy.  Victor got up from the bed and put the hair dryer away.

 

     “I may have figured out why I knew you were cold Yuuri,” Victor grew very serious.  “When I was drying your hair, I saw that you have a bruise on the back of your neck.  I think we may have made a temporary bond. Please don’t be angry with me. I’m so sorry…”  Victor sat on the side of the bed, he was fiddling with the terry cloth sash that came with the hotel robes.

 

     “It’s okay Victor. It’s kind of a relief,” Yuuri said with a sigh.  Victor looked up at him in surprise. Unshed tears made his eyes shine.  Yuuri could feel that Victor was holding back something...something important.

 

     “What do you mean by a relief?”  Victor leaned forward. Yuuri placed his hand on top of Victor’s, lacing his fingers into his.

 

     “I don’t know, but somehow, when I thought that we were bonded, I thought, well, that’s it. I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” Yuuri looked up from their entwined hands and into his lover’s eyes.  “I thought we could just get on with living...with being together.”

 

     “Yuuri...there’s something else I need to tell you,” Victor looked away from Yuuri’s gaze and sighed.

 

     “It’s kind of weird to talk about this.  You see, the thing is...I have an alpha gift.

Chapter Text

     “Or maybe it’s a curse, I don’t know,” Victor looked at his hands as they fiddled with the sash of his robe. 

     Yuuri chuckled and shook his head.  ‘Fate is a funny thing…’

 

     “I’m sorry Victor. I’m not laughing at you, I promise.  “Tell me about your gift,” Yuuri took his lover’s hand again, trying to pull him out of his sudden shyness.

 

     “Well, it has a lot to do with an alpha’s normal tendencies to be protective.  Many of the alphas in my family have this ability, but you really can’t be sure that you have it until you have a bond with someone.  I’m sure you know how alphas and omegas can read each other by their scent. You may even be able to sense certain emotions by a change in someone’s scent, right?”  Victor looked up at Yuuri, trying to gauge if he was following him.

 

     “Sure,” Yuuri nodded.

 

     “Right.  Well, I mean, you always seem to be very tuned into other people’s feelings, so I knew you would understand,” Victor became animated as he continued to explain.  Yuuri’s blushed at Victor’s comment.  

 

     “Anyway, when I would watch my dads interact, it always seemed like my Papa always knew what my Didi needed.  Didi was a professor. He was terrible about taking care of himself. He would work late into the night. He would forget to eat…”  Victor got a tear in his eye remembering his Didi. The alpha stopped briefly, shaking his head slowly, trying to collect himself. The swell of sadness mixed with a sweet nostalgia settled in the omega’s chest.  Yuuri squeezed his lover’s hand.

 

     “Sorry,” Victor wiped the tear away and took a steadying breath.  “Papa was always so attentive to him...I used to tease them a lot,” Victor cleared his throat and reached for a tissue from the nightstand.  “They were very affectionate with each other. I used to tell Papa that he was the perfect alpha wife.” Yuuri’s eyes widened at the insult. Victor’s shame prickled in the empath’s stomach.

 

     “I know...I had kind of a warped view of what being an alpha meant when I was a young teen...more of a stereotypical view, I guess,” Victor hung his head and shrugged.  Yuuri squeezed Victor’s hand again, encouraging him to continue.

 

     “I’ll never forget this one night, my Didi was assaulted near our home by an alpha student.  He had stayed out late...too late and way too near his heat. I remember my Papa sitting up on the couch suddenly and running out the door - no coat - no shoes.  He knew that Didi was in danger. He knew that he was afraid and in pain. He even knew where he was and he got there just in time to stop the student from raping him.”

  

     “Was your father hurt?”  Yuuri’s eyes were wide.

 

     “He suffered a mild concussion from being pushed down.  The student ended up a lot worse off. Papa broke his jaw,”  Victor looked up and gave Yuuri a smirk.

 

     “Why would you think that the ability is a curse?”  Yuuri asked, absently scooting closer to his lover until Yuuri was holding Victor’s hand in his lap.  Victor sighed.

 

     “I don’t know,” Victor looked away, thoughtful.  “Some people get really offended by my protectiveness.  I mean I’ve always suspected that I got Papa’s ability, because I’ve always, naturally wanted to protect the people I care about.  I see potential dangers others don’t see, or don’t think about, and I’ll move to block them or just kind of stand guard.”  

 

     Yuuri smiled.

 

     “I’ve noticed that.  I’ve noticed that you always walk on the outside of the sidewalk when we are together.  I think it’s cute,” Yuuri said, picking up Victor’s hand and kissing the back of his knuckles.

 

     “Well, a lot of people don’t think it’s cute.  They see it as some sort of challenge, like I think they are helpless or something.  It really is an instinct though. Remember when you yelled at me to run after that man in Sky Bar?  Well, there is no way that I would have left you alone. My instincts were screaming at me to stay and watch over you.”

 

     The couple sat in silence for a moment.  Yuuri sighed, ’Victor...please accept me.’

 

     “Victor, the reason that I am pretty in tune with other people’s feelings...when I want to be...It’s because I’m an empath.  Nearly all of the omega’s in my family have that ability,” Yuuri looked up and searched Victor’s face.

 

     The alpha’s expression was thoughtful for a moment...but then a slow smile lit up his face.  His eyes sparkled at a memory.

 

     “You like me…” Victor breathed.  “That night...after Sky bar...in your nest, right before you fell asleep you said that.”  Yuuri blushed a deep red.  

 

     “Oh my GOD!  Did you know?”  Victor covered his mouth loosely with his hand and leaned toward him like he was telling Yuuri a secret.  “Did you know how horny I was laying next to you in your nest?”

     “Yes. I did. I thought you were sweet to stay with me.  It’s not unusual though. Guys are horny...like all the time.  I have to block it out. I don’t hold it against anyone,” Yuuri confided, giggling.  The omega stretched out on the bed, lying on his side, over the covers. Victor stretched out next to him, propping up his head on his elbow.

 

     “Wow.” Victor said softly,  “I think that’s amazing Yuuri...I guess I should be embarrassed...but, I’m not.” Victor began to skate his fingertips up and down Yuuri’s arm. “You always let me be myself, even though you know the real me.”

 

     “Victor, I mean...can feel your emotions but I can’t read your mind,” Yuuri started.  “I mean, I try not to, but…”

 

     “Why do you try not to?”  Victor asked, lifting his head off of his hand.

 

     “Well, it’s...an invasion of privacy,” Yuuri said, as if it was totally obvious.

 

     “Pffft, whatever.  I don’t mind being an open book to you Yuuri.  Now that I am thinking about what being an empath means, I am starting to realize that you accommodate me all the time, probably because you know my emotions.”  Victor propped himself up on both elbows and faced him.

 

     “Do you realize that you let me scent you like three times today.  That means a lot to me...it really does. It made me feel more in control.  I really don’t know if I would have been able to skate well today if it wasn’t for you doing that.”  Yuuri reached out and touched Victor’s face.

 

     “You can scent me all you want.  I like it too,” Yuuri said sleepily.  Victor’s hand covered Yuuri’s on his face.  The alpha leaned in to the scent on Yuuri’s wrist and laid a kiss there.  Yuuri’s wrist tingled, sending a shiver of pleasure through his body.

 

     “Listen, just because you can sense my emotions, I don’t want you to ever force yourself.  I’m a grown man and you can say no to me,” Victor kissed his forearm. Yuuri closed his eyes, concentrating on the sensation and warmth of Victors soft lips.  The bond definitely did increase...sensations.  

 

     “Mmmm,” the omega hummed a reply, wondering what bizarre circumstances would cause him to refuse his alpha.  

 

     Yuuri ordered room service for them both and they found an English movie with Japanese subtitles to watch on TV.  Every once in a while, Yuuri would reach over and feed Victor something with his chopsticks. There is nothing quite like having a native order dinner for you in their home country.  Even though Yuuri tried to stick to dishes heavy with vegetables and avoided breaded items, everything was delicious.  

 

     Victor dozed off before the movie was over.  When it was over, Yuuri gathered up all the remains of their meals and placed the tray outside the door.  Then, he grabbed his royal blue North Face Travel Kit out of his suitcase and headed toward the bathroom. Up till now, Yuuri had been using the airline approved, quart size bag that came with his gear bag.  When the omega opened his travel kit, his eyes grew wide. Inside his bag was a small, carved wooden box.

 

      ‘Why is this in here?’ Then, Yuuri remembered that Mari had moved all their luggage to the old banquet room in the family living quarters on their last night in Hatsetsu.  He whipped out his phone.

 

Yuuri:  Why are grandmother’s family pair rings in my toiletry bag?

 

Mari:  Okasan thought you would want them soon.

 

     Yuuri reread the reply several times, ‘Seriously?’   

 

     Mari had no particular abilities or gifts, but she knew her baby brother…

 

Mari:  Quit freaking out.  The rings are passed down to the omegas in each generation.  They would go to you eventually anyway.

 

Yuuri:  Okay. Good night.



     Yuuri picked up the box and opened it.  Inside, lay two gold rings. Inside each ring was an inscription that read “one heart”, but the kanji that was used for heart really meant more than a physical heart.  It means heart and soul. The rings were crafted over one hundred years ago and yet the kanji couldn’t be more perfect. The omega stared at the rings. The omega ring would have to be sized.  He smiled as he slipped it on his ring finger. It stopped just above the second joint. His grandmother had been very small, only 152 cm. Yuuri wondered if he could slip the ring on Victor’s hand while he slept.  He might be able to get an approximate size. The young man walked back to the bed and crawled across to where his lover lay sleeping. Victor didn’t even move. Yuuri couldn’t help but sweep the bangs out of his sweet Vitya’s eyes. The alpha’s right hand was resting on his stomach.  Yuuri carefully slipped the ring onto his slender fingers. The omega felt butterflies in his stomach, as a smile broke on his features. The weathered band belonged there. Yuuri couldn’t help but lean over and place a kiss on the slender fingers.  

 

     Sitting up, Yuuri saw Victor’s cerulean eyes flutter open and focus on him.

 

     “Yuuri?”

 

     “Looks like I’ve been caught,” Yuuri took up Victor’s hand and kissed the ring on his finger again. 

     “You did the Three Cups Ceremony for me as a promise to care for me...now I have something for you.” The omega removed his ring off of his finger.  Yuuri could feel the tingle in his stomach of Victor’s surprise, as the alpha sat up and gazed at the gold ring on his finger. The sensation of Victor’s emotions grew across their bond as his awareness increased. Surprise turned to something like awe and wonder, mixed with joy.  To the empath, it felt like a physical touch, sweet and soft.

     “The inscription in Japanese translates best to mean one heart, one soul ,” Yuuri handed Victor his grandmother’s ring and pointed out the inscription.  “I was going to have it sized if it didn’t fit you. My mom had Mari hide the pair-rings in my luggage.  They’re heirlooms of my grandmother’s family.”

 

     “Yuuri, it’s perfect...it’s beautiful,” unshed tears sparkled in Victor’s eyes.  Yuuri smiled.  

 

     “I’ll have to have this one sized. My grandmother was very little,” Yuuri smiled, taking back the ring and putting it on his pinky.

 

     “Wait. Wait a minute,” Victor scrambled off the bed.  “This was my Didi’s.” Victor removed a little medal of St. Thomas Aquinas from a thin gold chain that he kept in his wallet.  He returned the medal to his wallet and walked back to the bed with the chain.  

 

     “Yuuri, I can’t help but think that my Didi would have loved you,” Victor strung the little ring onto the chain and placed it around his lover’s neck.  The alpha loved seeing Yuuri wearing his Didi’s chain. He loved wearing Yuuri’s family heirloom. It gave him a feeling of knitting their two families together.  He snaked his arms around his waist and pulled the omega closer. Soon, his nose and mouth were nuzzling Yuuri’s nape.  

 

     Yuuri felt a twinge of fear...no...excitement.  His eyes seemed to roll back and close. He was wonderfully exposed, limp in his alpha’s arms, as he concentrated on each lick, each warm kiss, each touch.  Slick began to drip from his body.

     ‘Will it always be like this? It’s so intense, the sensations, the emotions.  One moment, I’m not sure I can take any more, but the next moment, I know that I absolutely don’t ever want to stop feeling this way.’ 

 

     “Victor,” Yuuri breathed. “I want to be yours completely.  I don’t want to let this bond ever fade, okay?” Victor smiled as he mouthed the back of Yuuri’s neck.

 

     “Let’s bond when we get back, in case it pulls you into a heat,” Victor spoke into Yuuri’s ear, placing kisses on the omega’s neck every few words.  

 

     “Can we make love Victor?  Will it be too hard for you to hold back?” Yuuri breathed. His heart was racing.

 

     “I think I’m okay,” Victor breathed.  “The bond, the instinct to protect you, along with the medicine, is helping keep me in check.”  Victor maneuvered them so that Yuuri was on his back, shedding clothing as they moved. The alpha curled around his omega so that his head was resting on his lower abdomen.  Victor reached his left hand all the way down to Yuuri’s heal and slowly skated his fingers up the back of the omega’s leg. Yuuri arched. A guttural moan escaped his lips. Victor took the omega’s twitching member into his mouth, pulling his tongue over the perfect spot, as he sucked, to make his lover moan. His left hand gathered slick on his fingers and tenderly, thoroughly, worked him open.

 

     “You are so...oh...fuck...good at that,” Yuuri panted.  Victor had to fight not to smile.

Soon, the alpha had his lover well prepared and Yuuri guided Victor onto his back so that he could better control the rhythm of their love making.  The omega took his time, allowing himself to slowly and naturally open up to his lover, moving in long strokes. He captured Victor’s mouth in a kiss and then moved down to kiss his jawline, his neck, his scent gland under his ear.  He breathed him in, like a drug, while Victor wrapped his omega’s middle in strong arms, scenting him. Soon, the canting of his hips quickened. The pleasure and desire that they shared across their bond sent them over the edge quickly, leaving them both catching their breath in each other’s arms.  They cleaned up and Yuuri tucked himself into Victor’s side, a warm feeling filling him. ‘Happiness? No...more…’

 

     “Vitya?”  Yuuri fiddled with the ring on the chain around his neck.

 

     “What, love?” Victor absently rubbed his hand up and down Yuuri’s arm, smiling as he caught the glint of gold on his hand.

 

     “Isn’t it amazing that we can choose someone to be our family,” Yuuri said thoughtfully.  “We can have this closeness, even now, at Worlds. Skating competitions were always so lonely for me.  It was like me against the world and now...it’s like a family event. Victor laid a kiss on top of his lover’s head.  Yuuri smiled.

 

Last chapter

     “I like that...a family event,” Victor teased, giving his sleepy omega a squeeze.

Chapter Text

 

     Chris’ score was just announced, a personal best of 301.88.  Never before had the Swiss skater broken 300.00 points. The skate pushed Phichit down into 4th, but all the same, Phichit and Chris cheered and pulled each other into an embrace at the Kiss and Cry.  Phichit had smashed his goal of being in the top ten and would most assuredly be invited to the Grand Prix series. Yuuri smiled at their image on the monitor. Their friend Chris was now ranked first, with only Victor and Yuuri still to skate.  

 

     Moments ago, before their group’s warm-up, Victor had pulled his nervous omega aside and held him close. 

 

     “Do you feel it Yuuri?  Can you feel how proud I am of you?” The alpha spoke softly in his ear, running his wrists up and down his omega’s back, scenting him.  Yuuri closed his eyes and breathed in Victor. He smiled softly in Victor’s shoulder and nodded. He still had a flutter of nerves, but it was nothing next to the warmth of Victor’s pride, his affection, and a hint of desire, not fully suppressed.

 

     Now, Yuuri stood at the boards waiting for Victor’s number to begin. His alpha looked beautiful, wearing a red collared shirt and black pants with an embellishment of silver vines and red roses along the sides.  The shirt was open to show off his strong, sexy neck. The pants made his ass look amazing.

 

     As he took his position, he briefly looked down and kissed the ring on his left finger, before wrapping his hand around his body.  Victor’s confidence was electric in Yuuri’s body. The omega’s face split into a grin as Victor looked up at him, moved his hips in a circle with the first beat of the music and threw him a wink.

 

      ‘So sexy, my love,’ Yuuri gripped the boards and couldn’t help but move his hips to the latin beat.  Victor was flawless, his quad lutz was probably the best he had ever done. His step sequences were spicy and seductive.  As the alpha entered into his final spin, Yuuri felt such excitement, such a feeling of joy. Sharing this with his lover made the omega buzz with happiness.  Victor stood in his closing pose for a moment before turning to face Yuuri. He skated toward him at full speed and pulled him into a hug.

     “Victor! You were brilliant, my…” Yuuri was cut off by Victor capturing his lips in a kiss.  The crowd in the arena lost their minds. The cheering for this couple was deafening.  

 

     Victor ran his wrist up and down Yuuri’s back and began to speak softly in his ear.

 

     “Yuuri, you are the only one I will be watching.  Show everyone that this is our moment,” Victor crooned.   Yuuri felt light as a feather. He felt like he could fly if Victor told him to.

 

      ‘If I move my quad flip to the end of the routine, I will up my base value,’ Yuuri thought as he touched his grandmother’s ring, dangling on Victor’s didi’s chain.  

 

      ‘I’ve got this,’ he thought.

 

     His free skate was to an instrumental piece called  River Flows In You, by Yiruma.  The music started softly and then picked up speed going into his first jump, a quad salchow. Perfect.  His footwork was playful, the ballet dancer breaking through beautifully. Every note evident in his hands, in his feet.  Triple axle, quad toe loop, every movement brought the song to life. Entering a spin, the omega couldn’t help but smile as he closed his eyes and pulled his hands in tight to his body.

 

     This was their moment.

 

     Yuuri flew across the ice, gathering speed, the omega launched into his quad toe loop combination jump just after the halfway point of his routine, to maximize his points.  The crowd roared, leaping to their feet. Yuuri smiled, one more jump. His skates seemed to move on their own as the music swelled, he launched into the air for his flip off of his back inside edge - one, two, three, four, Yuuri’s right hand raised and finishing beautifully, decisively.  The young omega’s eyes shined with tears as he completed his final bit of footwork and a spin before he reached his final pose. The pride, the excitement that Victor felt...for him, even though he was his competitor, was overwhelming. Yuuri wanted to treasure this moment in his heart. He didn’t care about about the score.  This feeling...he wanted to remember this moment for the rest of his life. He wanted to share it with Victor forever.

 

     Victor was waiting for him at the Kiss and Cry.  Yuuri had picked up a plushie that looked like an onigiri.  The omega always liked to hold onto something while he waited for his scores. 

 

     “Yuuri!  You were wonderful!” The older man pulled the younger into a hug.

 

     “Thank you Victor,” Yuuri choked, his eyes shining with tears.  “You...being proud of me...It means so much.” Yuuri couldn’t say another word, lest he dissolve into tears right there.  Victor walked him to the Kiss and Cry, his arm, protectively around his waist.

 

     When the score of 320.06 was announced, the crowd went wild.  The omega’s name appeared over Victor’s score of 318.17. Yuuri had won his first ever gold medal in an international competition.  He and Victor had grabbed the top two spots at Worlds with Chris taking the bronze. Yuuri also held the honor of being the first male omega in the sport to win a gold medal at Worlds.  Victor and Yuuri kissed and cried and hugged. The medal ceremony was a blur. Yuuri was again moved to happy tears as the Japanese flag was raised in his honor.  

 

      The couple moved through the usual routine of press meetings, packing, and signing a few autographs on the way out of the arena.  Already, fans of the sport were commenting on the rings and what they could mean. Yuuri showed Victor an extreme close-up of Victor kissing the ring before his free skate that appeared on Instagram. 

 

     Soon, they were at the hotel.  Victor snaked his hand around Yuuri’s waist protectively, eager to get them to the safety of the elevator and avoid any fans waiting to ambush them.  As they crossed the lobby, a couple stood up from the couch in front of the check-in desk. It was Yuuko and Takeshi. Yuuri could feel Victor pull him closer to his side.  A growl was building in the alpha’s chest.

 

      ‘Not now...Let us have this happiness today,’ Victor thought.

 

     “Victor,” Yuuri reached up and lightly touched the side of his lover’s face.  Victor didn’t take his eyes off the couple. The growl subsided. He felt no distress from his omega.  If he did, he wouldn’t stand for it, not today.

     Takeshi took Yuuko’s hand and led the couple forward.  Takeshi had his hand up, sensing the tension in the other alpha’s posture.

 

     “Yuuri-kun,” Yuuko called, taking a step forward.  Yuuri met her gaze. After a moment, she looked down at her hands.  “Can we talk for a minute?”

 

     “Victor, It’s okay,” Yuuri said softly.  He took the alpha by the hand and led the way to a seating area where the hotel served a breakfast buffet to the guests.  The couples sat at the table awkwardly for a few moments. Victor’s wariness of Yuuko churned in Yuuri’s stomach. Yuuri closed his eyes for a moment and tried to close a door on that nervousness, to block out the physical effect on his body.

 

     “Yuuri, first, I want to say that I feel like a lot of this is my fault for not communicating everything to Yuuko right away,” Takeshi started.  “I was trying to keep everything as a surprise, instead, I caused a lot of misunderstandings,” Takeshi continued with a sigh. “I’m not a person that talks about my feelings readily anyway.” The alpha scratched the back of his head.  “Also, I didn’t know that Yuuko took your key to the Ice Castle. I can’t imagine how that must have made you feel. I’m sorry” Takeshi pushed a team Japan lanyard across the table. At the end of it, was Yuuri’s old silver key to the Ice Castle.  “You are an important part of Ice Castle Yuuri. The Nishigori family will always support you. We want Ice Castle to always be your home rink.”

 

     “Yuuri-kun, I’m sorry for asking you to use your gift all those times,” Yuuko blurted.  Her face looked pained. “Your mom explained to me about how using your gift affects your emotions.  I didn’t know...I never wanted to hurt you.” She stammered, reaching across the table, she placed her hand over Yuuri’s.  “I was angry and selfish...Will you forgive me?” Yuuri looked down at Yuuko’s hand.

 

     “I should have told you properly about what being an empath means.  When I told you about my gift, way back then, I was trying to show off,” Yuuri looked up.

     “I know that you didn’t understand and I’ve never been angry with you about it,” Yuuri continued.  “I was sad and embarrassed that I couldn’t undo what happened. But mostly, I was sad at the loss of our friendship.”  

 

     Yuuri could feel Victor’s grip tighten around his waist.  The omega laughed.

 

     “So, yes, I forgive you.”  Yuuri pulled his hand away from Yuuko’s and cupped Victor’s cheek, gently guiding his head until it was touching his.  “My mate is near his rut, so we should probably not test those suppressants too much,” Yuuri said shyly.

 

     “Wow, you’re a better man than me Victor. I might have taken my head off,” Takeshi said, shaking his head back and forth.  “You must have amazing control.”

 

     “So, uh...are you two engaged?” Yuuko asked shyly, pointing to Victor’s ring.

 

     “We’ve decided to bond together during Victor’s rut when we get back, you know, in case it pulls me into a heat,” Yuuri explained. Yuuko nodded with understanding.

 

     Victor turned to his lover and placed a chaste kiss on the side of his face.

 

     “Congratulations man, that’s great,” Takeshi gushed.  Victor smiled.

 

     “Thanks.  I know that it means a lot to Yuuri that you are happy for him,” Victor replied.

 

     The couples chatted for some time, reminiscing about their years hanging out in Ice Castle.  Yuuko updated Yuuri on the triplets. Victor and Yuuri shared about how they met. Victor showed off pictures of Makkachin.  Soon, Yuuri was yawning. It had been an exciting day and his little introvert tank was nearly empty. Victor sensed his lover’s need for down time.

 

     “We should get some rest,” Victor looked at Yuuri with a soft smile.  “We still have the Gala tomorrow. Yuuri answered with a hum. Hugs were exchanged and the lovers headed up to their room.  

 

     As soon as the door to their room was closed, Yuuri kissed Victor, sweetly on the lips.  Victor smiled as they continued licking kisses into each other’s mouths. They walked that way to the bed, discarding clothing, and rocking back and forth with each step, almost like a dance.

 

    “Will you let me pamper you a little,” Victor asked, trailing his fingers down the omega’s back.  Yuuri closed his eyes and shivered in pleasure.

 

     “What do you have in mind?” Yuuri asked as he sat on the bed.  Victor held up his index finger.

 

     “Wait right there,” he said playfully.  He dug through his suitcase and pulled out a bottle of massage oil.  “Lay on your stomach,” Victor directed. “You’re going to like this.”

 

     Victor popped off the cap and warmed the oil in his hands.  The alpha started at his calves, kneading the flesh from the bottom and moving upwards in practiced movements.

 

     Yuuri moaned.  

 

     “Oh, my goooood...When did you learn how to do this?”  Victor chuckled.

 

     “So, you like it,” Victor teased.

 

     “Yes...definitely.” Yuuri folded his arms and rested his head.  Soon, his eyes slid closed. The omega was putty in his strong hands.  Victor worked his back and then his shoulders.

 

     “I love you, Victor,” the omega muttered into his arm. “...so, so much.”

 

     When the alpha was sure that he had worked his omega boneless, he switched off the light and pulled the covers on top of them.  Yuuri was awake enough to snuggle into Victor’s side.

 

     “Are we engaged Victor?” Yuuri asked sleepily.  “What do I tell people that we are?” Victor thought about it and tightened his hold around his omega.

 

     “Tell them that you’re mine,” Victor kissed the top of his head.  

 

     The question nagged at the alpha all night, however.  When Yuuri woke up, Victor wasn’t in the room.

 

<<>>

 

    The gala was an absolute party.  All their friends were there. Yuuri and Victor had been teased all day long about the hashtag #victuuri that had showed up overnight on Instagram.  Reporters had been trying to get the couple to answer questions about their relationship, but Victor had carefully steered them clear of those questions, for the time being.  

 

     It was such a treat to watch Chris’ number from the stands. Victor had bought several wrapped roses to throw for all of their rinkmates as they performed.  They threw roses and clapped for them. It was a lot of fun, just festive and relaxed. After Victor’s number, Yuuri met him at the boards with a kiss. The fans loved it, cheering and applauding even louder. Victor wrapped his arm around his omega’s waist and waved to them.  Yuuri’s gala performance was to the bar theme from the Star Wars movie. Everyone was on their feet clapping to the familiar tune. His costume was a replica of Han Solo’s outfit from the movie. At his final pose, Yuuri looked up smiling...and then paused.

 

     Victor was skating out to the middle of the ice to meet him, a mic in his hand. A look of confusion appeared on the omega’s face.  He could feel Victor’s nervousness.

 

     “If I could have everyone’s attention for just a minute,” Victor said, taking Yuuri’s hand.  The crowd slowly, but surely got quiet. “Yuuri, would you mind holding the mic?” Yuuri took the mic and held it in front of his chest.  He was smiling at the absurdity of his alpha.

 

     Victor took a little box out of his pocket and Yuuri’s eyes grew wide. When the alpha bent down on one knee, chatter began to fill the arena.  Yuuri had dropped the mic hand to his side in absolute shock.

 

     “Here, darling, hold the mic right here,” Victor laughed.  Victor opened the box, containing a gold ring with a square shaped diamond inlaid in the center.

 

     Victor leaned forward and cleared his throat to try and quiet the chatter in the crowd.  Then, he leaned in. The crowd hushed, seeming to hold their breath.

 

     “Yuuri Katsuki, will you marry me?” Victor asked, holding up the box containing the ring.  Silently, the omega nodded his head. Then, he raised the mic to his lips.

 

     “Yes, of course I will!”  The arena burst forth in cheers and applause.  Victor slipped the ring onto Yuuri’s hand. It fit perfectly.  Victor embraced his fiance.

     “Yuuri, I never want you to wonder what you are to me.”