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Standing in front of the door to an apartment at the top of a posh high-rise that was surely worth several times that of his family’s onsen, Yuuri took a deep breath. He could do this. He had gotten all dressed up for the occasion, after all. He’d even let Phichit help him put his outfit together, and do his hair and makeup. He didn’t really know what to expect from the client, beyond…well, what people usually wanted from escorts. The agency had told him he didn’t have to do anything he wasn’t comfortable with but he knew the expectations that came along with the job. He expected to be arm candy for the evening and his client likely expected a sure thing after their “date” tonight. He could always refuse, and the agency paid well enough without the very generous tips Phichit told him he’d get if he went above and beyond.

The concierge downstairs hadn’t even blinked when he’d given them his name and the apartment number, escorting him to the elevator and turning a key for the top floor. Yuuri wondered how many others had been here before him, if they were all males, all omegas, or if the client liked more variety. He took another deep breath, willing his scent blockers to mask his nervousness as he let it out slowly and lifted his hand to press the buzzer. A muffled bark rang out from behind the door as the doorbell chimed, soon followed by the scritch of nails on the floor and the sound of human footfalls.

The door opened and Yuuri could only stare, his rehearsed greeting flying from his mind before it could leave his lips. Professor Nikiforov, the brilliant, beautiful Russian literature professor on sabbatical from another prestigious university and on whom the entire campus had a crush, stood in the doorway, wrangling a large poodle in an apparent attempt to keep it from escaping into the hallway. A lovely scent, like crisp winter air, with a hint of mint and an unmistakable alpha undertone, wafted toward him. The professor must not bother with blockers at home.

“You must be Yuuri! I’m Viktor and this is Makkachin. Don’t mind her; she’s very friendly. Come in, come in.” The professor beckoned him in while backing up and opening the door a bit farther, Makkachin’s collar firmly in hand. The brief flare of disappointment Yuuri felt was squashed down in an instant—Yuuri had never had a class with Professor Nikiforov, so of course he wouldn’t know who Yuuri was, even if he was minoring in Russian Lit and had attended a few of his lectures. Yuuri stepped inside, surreptitiously pinching himself in disbelief as he passed over the threshold as Professor Nikiforov—no, Viktor—closed the door behind him. He still held Makkachin back, her tongue lolling as she panted happily, straining to greet the new person in her space.

Maybe Yuuri didn’t know what he was doing there, but he knew dogs. He smiled, small but genuine, at Makkachin, not daring to look at Viktor again just yet. “You can let her go.”

“Are you sure? She likes to jump and you look very nice. I should have told them to have you dress casually since we’ll just be hanging out here.” Viktor’s brow wrinkled in concern while Makkachin continued to pant, a doggy smile gracing her fuzzy face.

“It’s ok, really. I love dogs.” He knelt down and reached out a hand for Makkachin to sniff. Viktor beamed down at him and released her, unwittingly unleashing a fluffy assault missile as Makkachin bounded forward to knock Yuuri off his feet. A laugh startled out of him as his butt hit the floor, Makkachin standing over him and licking his face enthusiastically.

“I’m so sorry! She must really like you—she’s never done that with anyone besides me before.” Viktor’s flustered fluttering continued above him, the professor’s apologies competing with his scolding of Makkachin. He tried to pull her off until he seemed to realize Yuuri really didn’t mind, petting and cooing over the dog as he was. Viktor gave up and flopped on the floor beside them with a laugh, Makkachin turning her attention to licking his face instead.

That wasn’t how Yuuri expected to end up flat on his back that evening, but at least his nerves were gone, obliterated by the poodle’s antics. He chanced a look up at Viktor. The professor’s bright blue eyes sparkled, cheeks flushed and mouth stretched into a heart-shaped smile Yuuri had never seen before. Viktor finally succeeded in shoving Makkachin aside and stood gracefully, holding out a hand to Yuuri. He let himself be pulled up, Viktor keeping hold of his hand and leading him to the designer sofa in the living room before dropping it almost reluctantly.

Makkachin jumped up as they sat, making herself comfortable and taking up half the couch as she stretched out beside Viktor, her head in his lap. Yuuri really didn’t mind her crowding them closer together. He gathered his courage, feeling himself blush as he asked, “So, what did you have in mind for tonight?”

Viktor chuckled and it sounded…hmm, nervous? That was interesting. He’d let his bangs fall down to cover his face but Yuuri could still see his flush darken and smell his scent grow sharper. “I’m not really sure. This is my first time doing something like this. I don’t really have anyone here and was hoping for some company. Work keeps me busy, so I haven’t had much time to make friends and my colleagues can only tolerate so much. What do you normally do?”

It was Yuuri’s turn to chuckle nervously. “Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, but it’s my first time doing this, too. I was told I’d usually be attending events, being a plus one for someone who needed one for some reason or another.”

“It sounds like I’m the one disappointing. I thought we could just talk, get to know each other?” Viktor’s scent spiked with nervousness and he blew out a breath, ruffling the silver strands still hiding his eyes from view. “And, um, maybe some scenting or cuddling? If that’s ok, of course. I just haven’t really had anyone close enough in a long time.”

Ah, so Viktor was likely touch-starved. Yuuri wondered how that was possible: surely the professor had men and women, omegas and betas and alphas alike, throwing themselves at him. How could he be missing out such a basic need? Makkachin likely helped sate his alpha’s need to care for someone, but that couldn’t compare to another person, mingling skin contact with scent. Yuuri, thankfully, had Phichit, both of their omegas content with sharing their tiny apartment and huddling together during late-night scary movie or study sessions, both of their scents all over everything. Yuuri decided to be brave again, reaching out and taking Viktor’s clenched hand in his own. “That’s perfectly fine with me.”

He felt Viktor’s hand relax and his shoulders slump in relief. Makkachin chose that moment to shift and paw at Yuuri’s now conveniently-located hand, begging for pets. He laughed and obliged her, leaning even farther into Viktor’s space to do so, and felt an arm settle around him. He curled into Viktor’s side as he scratched behind Makkachin’s ears, feeling the other man sigh and rub his cheek against his hair, subtly scenting him. They stayed like that, not really talking, pampering the poodle and cuddling into each other, until Yuuri was thoroughly saturated in Viktor’s scent.

Starting to get a crick in his neck, Yuuri shifted and straightened, Viktor slowly pulling away as he did before exclaiming, “Oh no! Makka got drool and hair on your shirt!” He paused, biting his lip. “Would you like to change into something more comfortable?” Yuuri arched a brow and Viktor gave a nervous titter. “I’m sorry; that’s so cliché, and not at all what it sounded like, I promise! I just meant I have something more casual if you’d like, so your clothes aren’t ruined.”

Well, he would be more comfortable lounging on Viktor’s couch without his tie and jacket and belt. He smiled as he replied, “Sure, sweats or something would be great,” and watched Viktor’s own relieved smile break across his face.

“Great! Let me go grab them and you can change in the bathroom.” Viktor stood, dislodging a grumbling Makkachin in the process, and headed for a hall on the other side of the room. Makka flopped over into Viktor’s spot, her sad puppy eyes begging Yuuri for more pets, which he was happy to grant until Viktor popped back in. Yuuri followed Viktor back down the hall, taking the neatly folded sweatpants and t-shirt that were offered as they paused at the door to the bathroom. “Here you go! Take your time and I’ll order dinner.” A wry smile twisted Viktor’s lips. “It’s not the fancy meal you were expecting, but is pizza ok? Or is there anything else you want?”

“Pizza’s fine, thanks. I’m not picky about toppings.”

That heart-shaped smile replaced the sarcastic one. “Perfect! But you can pick the movie. I’ll just, um, go, then.” Viktor stared at Yuuri for another beat before turning to head back to the living room.

Yuuri closed the door and took a deep breath. He couldn’t believe he’d ended up in this situation, but he certainly wanted to make the best of it. He took off his shoes and started to remove his dress clothes, deciding to wash off his scent blockers. He already smelled like Viktor, and it would only help the touch-starved alpha to scent him, too. Yuuri couldn’t really smell himself even when he wasn’t wearing blockers, unless he was in heat, but he knew his own warm vanilla scent would go nicely with Viktor’s crisp mint. He pulled on the soft cotton pants and shirt Viktor had provided, a bit too big and already lightly scented, and smiled to himself. Next, he hunted for a washcloth, finding one in a tall cabinet and using the hand soap to scrub at his neck and wrists. He left the glands on his thighs alone, not expecting to scent or be scented there.

Glancing in the mirror, he saw his scrubbed-red neck, flushed face and sparkling eyes, and told himself to calm down. He wet the washcloth again, with cold water this time, and dabbed it at his neck and wrists to calm the inflamed skin and glands. Then he smoothed his hair, it having fluffed up from the slicked-back style as he changed, but he decided the more tousled look wasn’t too bad. They’d just be eating pizza and watching movies. He took another deep breath before gathering up his clothes, arranging his suit on the hanger Viktor had kindly left on the marble counter, hoisting it over his shoulder and grabbing his shoes with his other hand, then opened the door.

Viktor was back on the couch, Makkachin back in his lap, flipping through Netflix. Yuuri padded over in his socks. “I’ll just put my stuff on this chair if that’s ok?” The chair in question was an odd thing, coat rack and chair in one, but would work nicely to hang his suit.

“That’s fine, Yuuri. I got a pepperoni and a veggie and a plain cheese. I know you said you’re not picky but hopefully you like one of them!” Viktor handed him the remote as he sat down on the couch, snuggling up next to the professor once more.

They settled on a cheesy horror movie, chatting and cuddling, both showering Makkachin with affection, until Viktor had to run downstairs to meet the delivery driver. Yuuri hadn’t had time to think, or overthink, his anxiety oddly but thankfully running at its usual background level. He was a bit overwhelmed by Viktor’s presence and his intoxicating scent, and had to pinch himself again. He couldn’t believe he was there, in Viktor’s apartment, allowed to touch him and scent him and pet his dog as much as he liked. Their conversation flowed easily, quiet and inane but genuine, mostly about their mutual love of dogs so far, and the touching and cuddling was surprisingly easy in a way he couldn’t remember it being with anyone besides his family and Phichit, the latter growing gradually through their friendship. Yuuri couldn’t help the wide smile that spread across his face as he thought about Viktor wrapping an arm around his shoulders and pulling him closer, brushing Viktor’s bangs from his face, their hands twining together and wrists aligning to better scent each other.

Makkachin gave a soft boof, startling him from his reverie and reminding him that he wasn’t petting her, and he couldn’t help but coo at her before burying his face in her soft fur and squealing in sheer delight. He heard the click of the door opening and raised his red face to meet Viktor’s, getting a fresh rush of cool mint scent along with a whiff of pizza. “Smells delicious,” he said, grinning at Viktor. He knew he looked like a loon but couldn’t help it.

Viktor returned his grin with another heart-shaped smile and made his way back to the sofa, putting their dinner on the coffee table before heading to the kitchen. Yuuri watched over the back of the couch as he stuffed a roll of paper towels under his arm and grabbed a bottle of wine and two glasses. “Is this ok? It’s a nice red.”

“Sounds good to me.”

“Great! Let’s eat!”

Viktor was a perfect gentleman, an alpha taking care of his omega, even if Yuuri was only his for the night. The professor opened the pizza boxes, letting Yuuri take his pick first while he popped the cork on the wine. He offered Yuuri a glass before pouring his own and taking a sip, then chose his own slice, sneaking Makkachin a pepperoni along the way with wide eyes trained innocently on Yuuri’s face. Yuuri giggled around his pizza, then did the same when Viktor leaned back in to get his next piece.

The movie was nearly forgotten and they had to restart it by the time they were done with dinner, having missed all but the first twenty minutes or so. Viktor shifted as the film began again, leaning back against the armrest and pulling Yuuri in to rest against his chest. Makkachin huffed at her place on the couch being taken up by their legs, but she made herself comfortable in her doggy bed, soft snores soon emanating from her corner.

Yuuri curled into Viktor’s chest, wrapping his arms around the other man. Viktor was petting him, stroking his side and nuzzling into his hair. He tried to focus on the movie but it was difficult. He was warm and cozy, replete with a full belly, a couple glasses of wine running through his veins, and happy alpha pheromones filling his nose. It was so nice to let Viktor take care of him, to just lie there and be pampered. He surprised himself by letting out a purr, snuggling closer at Viktor’s pleased hum and the answering rumble he felt through the firm muscle under his cheek. He closed his eyes and basked in the feeling, happier and more relaxed than he’d been in a long time.

***

“Yuuri,” a soft voice called. “Yuuri, you have to get up.”

Yuuri grumbled, smushing his face into the soft pillow beneath him. He had been having the best dream and didn’t want to wake up.

A chuckle, and the pillow was moving. Wait. What? “I know it’s early, but I have to take Makka out and give her breakfast.”

Ohmygod, it wasn’t a dream. Yuuri pressed his smile into Viktor’s chest before finally opening his eyes, squinting against the morning sun filtering in though the curtains. He turned his face up to Viktor’s.

“There you are, solnyshko. Up, up, up.” Viktor smiled fondly down at him, brushing his hair back from his face. Viktor was stunning, sexy as sin, but he was truly beautiful in the morning light. And that soft smile, the crinkles at the corners of his eyes, the hand still caressing his cheek…

Yuuri couldn’t help nuzzling into it, but he sat up to let Viktor shift out from under him. Viktor chuckled again and draped the throw from the back of the sofa over his legs. “Go ahead and go back to sleep. We’ll be back before you know it.”

Makkachin nosed at his hand and he gave her a pet before she was called to the door, Viktor shooting Yuuri another fond look before he left. They’d slipped down the couch sometime in the night, into a more comfortable position, and Yuuri flopped back down on the cushion, hugging the toss pillow Viktor had been using to his chest. It smelled like a happy alpha, like Viktor, and he buried his nose in it, letting the scent and his own contented purr lull him back to sleep.

***

Yuuri woke the second time to the smell of breakfast. It still felt too early, but he sat up, nudging Makkachin’s comfortable weight off his legs, yawning and rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He arched his back in a stretch and looked around the open-plan space. Viktor was in the kitchen, humming and cooking something that smelled sweet on the stove. Makkachin hopped off the couch and trotted over to sit by her master, and Yuuri followed sleepily.

Viktor turned from the stove, that heart-shaped smile smacking Yuuri in the face with its brilliance. “Good morning, Yuuri! I’m making syrniki for breakfast.” He held out the arm not holding the spatula and Yuuri took the cue, moving closer and wrapping his own arms around Viktor’s waist. The syrniki sizzled in the skillet, looking like little pancakes, and Viktor deftly flipped them.

Yuuri stayed pressed against Viktor’s side for a moment before pulling away. He merely grunted “Bathroom” at Viktor’s questioning hum and made his way down the hall. He relieved himself and washed his face, wishing he had a toothbrush. Morning breath was bad enough without red wine and garlicky pizza. He also wished he had his glasses, as his eyes felt dry and scratchy from sleeping in his contacts. He hadn’t meant to spend the night, hadn’t meant to fall asleep, but he couldn’t be anything but happy about it. He grinned at his reflection, then walked back out to the kitchen, where Viktor was putting plates down at the island.

“Would you like some juice?”

Yuuri hummed and nodded his assent as he sat on one of the stools.

Viktor set a glass of orange juice at both of their place settings before grabbing little bowls of jam and sour cream and placing them between their plates. “Breakfast is served,” he said with bow and a grand gesture of his arm.

Yuuri giggled as Viktor sat beside him, cozying up to his side. He speared one of the syrniki on his fork and took a bite, Viktor watching his face as he washed it down with his orange juice.

“Here, try this.” Viktor picked up one of his syrniki and spread jam over the top, finishing it with a dollop of sour cream and raising it to Yuuri’s lips. Yuuri blushed but took a bite, the sweetness of the jam and tart sour cream bursting on his tongue. He stifled a moan at the flavor too late and his blush deepened, but Viktor looked happy and brought the rest of the syrniki to his mouth as soon as he swallowed. “Better, right?”

Yuuri nodded his assent and picked up one of his own syrniki, topping it as Viktor had done. He hummed happily as he ate the second and Viktor let out a pleased rumble, finally eating his own breakfast. It looked a bit awkward, as close as Viktor was pressed to his side, but it didn’t seem to slow him down. Viktor seemed to realize that Yuuri wasn’t really a morning person and they finished their breakfast in relative silence, the clink of silverware and their appreciative noises providing a comfortable soundtrack.

“I had a great time last night, and this morning,” Viktor said once he’d cleared the plates away. Still the perfect alpha, he hadn’t let Yuuri help, leaving him sitting at the island still sipping his juice.

Yuuri sputtered a bit, prompting Viktor to round the counter and pat his back. He cleared his throat, blushing profusely, before replying, “Me too.”

Viktor smiled down at him. “Good! So, if you don’t have anything else lined up, would you like to do this again sometime? Maybe next weekend?”

Yuuri blinked up at him, hardly able to believe his luck. “That sounds perfect,” he said, flushing impossibly redder as he realized his mouth moved without a filter.

But Viktor simply smiled wider, replied, “It does,” and hugged him close, his happy scent suffusing the air.