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The Emperor's Deepest Desire

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As an omega, Yuuri knew it was his destiny to be sold to whichever rich alpha buyer would have it. It was an honour in the land of Xuhar to be born a beautiful, fertile omega. Since they were so rare, it was their duty to be sent to princes and palaces to provide more heirs for whichever prosperous kingdom wanted them. His parents had moved to Xuhar when he was young for the trade opportunities and Yuuri had always expected to be sent away to live with some nobleman or another. Yet, life was still surprising for Katsuki Yuuri.

“The… The Emperor?” he asked incredulously, his voice going an octave higher than usual. “You have lost your wits, mother. The Emperor is happily married. Everybody knows that!”

His mother tutted as she pinned the side of his qipao in place. “No noble person has ever been happily married,” she told him with a shake of her head. “They should be so lucky! They marry for alliance, riches, and politics. That’s why there are concubines and consorts.”

“Ah.” Yuuri understood now. “She’s barren, I assume?”

“Apparently, not,” Hiroko confessed, her words soft and conspiratorial.

“Ah, he’s just a sword swallower,” Yuuri surmised with a grin. “Suits me fine. How much are they paying for me?”

“Fifty copper coins, 600 grains of millet, and even a silver coin…”

Yuuri’s eyes widened. “That’s outrageous.”

“That’s the Emperor,” Hiroko retorted with a laugh.

“And if I say no?”

Hiroko continued to laugh heartily. “No-one says no to Emperor Nikiforov, you know that, Yuuri.”

Yes, she was right. Whatever Emperor Victor Nikiforov wanted, he got.

***

One Month Previously

Victor was bored and miserable. There were only so many things that he could do at night to avoid sleeping with his wife. She was a nice lady, pretty to some standards, but she wasn’t what he desired. The two of them had been paired together before they were even born and unfortunately, Victor was not attracted to female anatomy.

Now there was talk among the servants. Somehow, it was becoming common knowledge that the Emperor and his wife were not intimate and had been having some trouble in the bedroom. After all, they had been married for several years and there was still no heir. They had tried to keep it a secret and Victor had tried to pretend, but really, there was no point pretending any longer.

Everyone knew.

By Victor’s logic, that meant that there was no point being so bored then. Which was why he found himself finally admitting what he wanted and calling for his personal servant, Phichit. He trusted the beta more than anyone else within the palace walls  and he knew that he could keep his mouth shut.

“You can’t laugh,” was how he greeted the beta servant because, despite being one of the most powerful men in the world, Phichit was not intimidated by him in the slightest (which was kind of why Victor liked him so much).

“I make no promises,” Phichit teased with a wide grin. “But as always, your wish is my command. What would you like?”

“I want an omega,” he admitted. “A male one,” he said giving Phichit a firm look as if daring him to laugh.

Though the beta didn’t laugh, he did grin. He knew of Victor’s preferences and he was happy that the alpha was finally going to do something about it. The servants teased him behind his back saying that the Emperor might get off their asses if he finally got laid.

“Those are rare,” Phichit warned him, “it could be pricey and hard to find.”

“But you’ll do it?” he asked, sounding possibly more excited than he should of since he was planning to cheat on his wife. “I know you like a good challenge, my friend.”

“Indeed, Emperor.” What other choice would he have? If Victor Nikiforov wanted something, then he got it.

Victor could ask no one else. He trusted Phichit with his life and he knew that the beta would take this seriously. “You know how fussy I am. He has to be perfect,” Victor explained. “I’ll only have one chance at this, so we have to get it right the first time. I can’t risk doing this more than once.”

That was an understatement. “I know,” Phichit replied and laughed. “Tell me what you need, Your Highness.”

“I want someone that no-one else can have. Someone special. Not a royal.” He didn’t want someone that other royals had inspected, who they had been lusting over. He wanted someone new and untouched. Someone unique and just for him.

“Virginal?” Phichit asked, guessing that he knew the answer already.

“Of course.” The Emperor scoffed. “I do not want used goods.”

“They aren’t use—” Phichit caught himself before he let his tongue run away with him. “That’s fine. Virginity is important to you. Race? Age?”

Victor frowned as he turned the idea around in his mind, trying to think about what it was that he truly wanted. But after pretending for so long, it was actually more difficult than he had guessed. What did he think of in those moments alone? Someone pretty but most definitely male. Someone not too much smaller than him. He hated the drastic height difference between himself and his wife. He wanted someone a little taller.

“Younger than me. Most definitely.” It was then that an idea formed in his mind. “Do you think there may be omegas in the city that are not native to Xuhar?” he asked. After all, Phichit was not from Xuhar, and if he was honest, Victor liked the curious look of his dark hair and eyes as opposed to the light features of Xuharians. He could admit that he found it… interesting.

“Um,” Phichit began, looking a little uncertain. “I’m not sure, Your Highness, but I’ll look into it. If not, we can expand our search further afield?” If Victor wanted something different, then Phichit was going to have to leave the city. Non-natives were few and far between due to the war. The country was still recovering and people were afraid to travel due to the past prejudices. “What is it that you desire?”

Victor didn’t want to admit what he found attractive to Phichit, but if he was going to get what he wanted then he was going to have to. “Dark features,” he muttered looking away as he felt his face flush in embarrassment.

“Dark hair and eyes? Okay,” the servant agreed with a nod. “I’ll go see what I can find for you, Your Highness.” He gave a small bow, turned and left.

Victor hoped that he was making the right decision.

***

After being dismissed by Victor, Phichit went down to the War General's office. He knew if he was going to be travelling anywhere then he was going to need someone to accompany him and the letter that Victor had given him burnt a hole in his robe pocket. Phichit was a little worried. He was a servant to the Emperor and he knew that due to his features that he stood out. Everyone knew who he was and that could cause trouble for him on his travels. After all, Victor had saved his people but he had also pissed off a lot of traditionalists. He wasn't looking forward to speaking to the General, but if he didn’t want to die on his travels then he would need protection.

He loudly knocked on the door upon arrival, took a deep breath, and then braced himself.

“What do you want?” came the familiar drawl of General Plisetsky.

Phichit pushed open the old, heavy oak door, stepped inside, and tried to pretend he wasn’t intimidated by the other man, though he most definitely was. “I require protection and someone to accompany me on my travels,” he greeted, meeting the General’s eyes. The thing about Yuri Plisetsky was that he could sense your fear.

Plisetsky raised an eyebrow at him where he was sitting with his heavily booted shoes on his desk. He was holding a dagger in one hand and swinging back on his chair carelessly, his long golden hair flowing behind him. “So, you think you can come in here and demand one of my soldiers for one of your silly errands? What task have you been given? Washing the Emperor’s undergarments?” He scoffed, clearly unimpressed by such a request from a servant.

Phichit felt his face flush in shame, but he wasn’t going to let the General get under his skin. “You don’t have the authority to know the details, unfortunately, only that you must provide an escort,” he said with a small satisfied smirk.

The General sat up and narrowed his eyes, stabbing his dagger into his desk. “What business does the Emperor trust you with and not me?” he spat.

“That is not for you to know,” Phichit insisted, maintaining eye contact with him.

Plisetsky huffed, clearly annoyed. “Fine,” he snapped. “For how long?” he asked.  “And to where?”

“It may be several moons and I will need someone who knows the land well and can read the maps,” he stated. He knew Xuhar well, but past the kingdom walls, he was clueless and would easily get lost in the wilderness.

“Not many soldiers have ventured past the wall. Most who have are either dead or out of service from the war,” the alpha retorted.

“The Emperor wishes it,” Phichit replied. “I have a written request from His Highness here.” He threw the scroll onto the desk. It was sealed with the Emperor’s wax stamp.

Plisetsky reached for it, breaking the seal before skimming the contents of the note. He sighed. “We are bringing someone back... It says we must be discreet. You’ll have to cover that hideous hair of yours, you stand out too much,” he said. “You may go to the armoury and find something to disguise yourself with,” he reluctantly added. “And for goodness sakes, arm yourself.”

***

“I want you to take my horse,” Victor said as he hovered around Phichit in the stables. He fixed his supplies to one of the best runners.

“That’s stupid, everyone will know it’s your horse. Are you trying to get me killed?” Phichit rolled his eyes and then started to adjust the saddle. “Taking your horse will be like me holding a sign above my head saying, ‘I’M THE EMPEROR'S FAVOURITE, PLEASE TAKE ME FOR RANSOM’.”

“Yes, I know, but—”

“Victor… Sir,” he said firmly. “It will be fine. I will send word at each new town in the evening. Watch the skies. You know this horse is not the fastest, but he’s a good tracker and he is fierce —he does not spook for anything. And… he will be safe on our return. Do you trust me?”

The thought of Phichit bringing back someone precious, someone all for him was stressful. Many men had died outside these walls. Leaving would mean Phichit was leaving his protection. Phichit was right, it was a huge risk and sneaking him back into the palace might prove difficult. There were eyes everywhere. Although Victor didn’t care about being found out, he would prefer to keep it as quiet as he could for his new lover’s sake. “Okay, just... be sure to take him through the servants quarters on your return. Avoid the main hallways and bring him straight to me.”

“You know I will,” he replied. “What are you even doing out here, anyway? I’m supposed to leaving discreetly. The Emperor saying goodbye is not discreet.” He pulled himself up, seating himself securely and adjusting his hooded robe, covering his face as best he could while ensuring all of his dark hair was covered.

Victor shrugged him off. “Eh,” he replied as if that explained his behaviour.

“Stop worrying,” Phichit insisted. He looked over all his bags. Hopefully, he had packed enough. The Emperor had given him much silver, enough for payment of the omega they found, as well as a written promise of whatever the omega’s family would require. There would be enough for him to eat and drink and stay at inns where possible. He hugged the money close to his chest where it was hidden in his breast pocket behind his hidden armour.

“I’m not worrying,” the Emperor denied, though he most definitely was. “I was trying to make sure you have everything,” he lied.

“Because you’re worrying,” Phichit replied, unable to stop smiling. “You actually like me, don’t you?”

Victor sniffed and turned his nose up. “Just don’t fall off your horse,” he said before spitefully smacking the rump of the horse. The animal leapt forward, Phichit clinging on for dear life.

***

When Phichit made it to the edge of town, he was horrified to see who was waiting there. You’ve got to be kidding me, he thought. “I… I didn’t expect you would be here…” he said, looking a little strangely at General Plisetsky.

"Who did you expect?" he sniped back at him. "I'm the best fighter, the most travelled, and I can keep my mouth shut, unlike a lot of people in the palace walls."

He was right, although alpha Plisetsky was a pain in the ass and scared Phichit a bit, he was no doubt excellent at his job. It was just that his personality was lacking. The beta guessed he would spend the next few weeks in an awkward silence.

"No, you're right," he admitted and the General looked surprised at the admission. "It makes sense that you're here. I know you'll take care of me. I trust you, General Plisetsky."

Plisetsky looked like he wasn't sure what to say at that and he just stared at the beta for a few moments, but he didn't snap at Phichit, so he felt like it was a victory, no matter how small.

The General simply turned around and galloped off. "We're heading west," he yelled behind him. "Hurry up or I'll leave you behind. And don't go saying my name like that when we could be overheard… My name is Yuri."

Phichit smiled and followed him. "Yuri… Thank you. My names Phichit."

***

They looked everywhere, travelling from place to place, Phichit asking and looking around at local inns and residences, keeping an eye open for the rare sight of a male omega. Thankfully, Yuri was not half as bad as what Phichit had thought of him which he was happy for. Apparently, his bark was worse than his bite (or at least, he hoped). It meant that this mission was somewhat interesting. Especially as Yuri spent most of his time trying to guess what they were looking for.

“I think you’re lying at this point. It doesn’t matter where we seem to go, you tell me it’s no good. What are we looking for?” Yuri complained.

“I told you,  it’s for me to know and for you to protect.”

Yuri rolled his eyes. “This isn’t a ploy to get me out into the middle of nowhere is it?" he complained, shooting a dirty look at the beta.

"Yes, this situation is entirely about you,” Phichit responded under his breath and then rolled his eyes.

“I heard that!” Yuri cursed. Phichit laughed.

***

After a tiring day searching the entirety of Sakhir - the capital city of Xuhar - which lay just half a day’s ride from the palace, Phichit and Yuri sought beds for the night and hearty food to warm their stomachs. They came across a lower class tavern on the outskirts of the city near the slums of the city which had two rooms available. Yuri paid for the chambers begrudgingly, mumbling something about the Emperor paying him back for it. He had been particularly grumpy today so Phichit took delight in pretending he was low on the money that the Emperor had provided.  Finally, the two of them received their dumplings, rice, and tea and sat down to eat.

“How long is this going to take?” Yuri snapped with his mouth full of food. “I don’t want to drag myself halfway across the world just to satisfy Emperor Nikiforov’s perversions.”

“It’s not a perversion,” Phichit replied a little too sharply. He ducked his head in submission when Yuri’s fierce eyes met his. He knew better than to aggravate an alpha—especially a hungry one.

“Anyway, he is our Emperor and we do his bidding. You are his War General, are you not?”

“This is not war,” Yuri spat.

“And yet you still came along,” Phichit commented with a quirk of an eyebrow before sipping his tea. “Though to answer your question, I aim to complete the task as quickly as possible. However, the Emperor’s requests were rather… specific.”

General Plisetsky snorted. “Of course they were.”

“It’s possible we may have to cross the narrow sea to Shulzing in order to find someone of Emperor Nikiforov’s… tastes.”

Yuri rolled his eyes and carried on eating his food while Phichit’s eyes surveyed the room around them. It was then that he spotted him. A beautiful man was dancing freely to a melody plucked on a zhongruan by a bard whose song Phichit couldn’t quite make out over the din around them. The man, however, was clear as day. He danced freely, uncaring of those who surrounded him. Phichit noticed how alphas in the room had their eyes fixated on him. He sniffed the air, but as a beta, his sense of smell was rather lacking.

Could it be that this man is an omega? Phichit wondered. He had a complexion similar to those from Shulzing and dark hair like the Emperor had requested. However, there was no guarantee he was both available and virginal. Still, it was the best lead they’d had all day.

“General Plisetsky, can you scent that man from all the way over here?” he asked, tapping the blonde on the shoulder and then pointing in the vague direction of the dancer.

Annoyed at being disturbed from his supper, Yuri growled before following Phichit’s finger and his mouth dropped open in amazement. He had never seen such a divine creature and there was no doubt that this man was an omega. Even if Yuri could not catch his scent, the slight curve of his hips and the delicate softness of his features were a dead giveaway to his secondary gender.

“He’s an omega,” Yuri told him while he continued staring at the graceful, fluid movements of the other man. He was wearing a long, flowing qipao and he was breathtaking.

“He’s perfect,” Phichit whispered excitedly. “Let’s go get our Emperor a consort.”

It took Yuri a moment before those words sunk in and the spell Yuuri had unknowingly placed upon him with his enticing dance. “For Victor?!” Yuri cried before grunting. “Of fucking course.” He shook his head.

***

It didn’t take long to find out where he lived the next morning. It was clearly a small community and everyone seemed to know the family. When Phichit and Yuri approached the parents of the omega, the two of them looked like they’d had a fright. Upon explaining they had a request from the Emperor and handing over an official document and showing them the Emperor's seal, the couple welcomed them inside their modest home.

With a deep bow, the two introduced themselves as Hiroko and Toshiya Katsuki.

“We are here on delicate business, it goes without saying that this is a private matter and the fact we are here should not be spoken, as the Emperor wishes,” Phichit explained, looking between the two.

“Why of course, what an honour. We are honoured to assist our Emperor,” Hiroko immediately gushed.

“We’re not in any trouble, are we?” Toshiya asked unsurely, much more reserved than his wife.

“Quite the opposite. We are told you have an omega of age. The Emperor is looking for someone special, and he is willing to pay handsomely.”

Toshiya’s eyes widened. “But… Mari is past age…” he replied confused. “Isn’t she much too… old? And I’m sorry to tell you, she does not wish to mate...” The two of them had given up trying to marry Mari, she had little interest in men and was happy at home with her parents. If she was forced into service with the Emperor, she would be most unhappy.

“She? I’m sorry, you misunderstand. The Emperor is looking for a male omega.”

“Our boy, Yuuri?” The two parents looked at each other, shocked.

“Oh, great, he has my name,” Yuri complained with a sigh.

Phichit elbowed him roughly. “What the General means to say is, what a wonderful name for an omega.” Yuri glared at him, insulted but didn’t say anything else. “Please, tell us more about your son. He is unmated, isn’t he? A virgin?”

“Um, yes of course. As far as we know. Should I go and get him for you?” Hiroko didn’t like the idea of discussing such things without her child present.

“Please,” Phichit said with a kind smile.

The two parents dashed off, whispering among themselves and clearly eager to get Yuuri. A few moments later, the familiar omega appeared, dressed in simple robes and looking confused at everyone in the room. Upon seeing him up close, Phichit immediately knew that Victor was going to fall hard for this one. He had to have him to make the Emperor happy.

“Hello,” the omega greeted, bowing to the alpha and beta strangers in the room before sitting on the floor on his knees opposite them where they were gathered around the table.

“They are from the palace, Yuuri, please, answer their questions,” his father encouraged.

“O-okay,” he stammered. “I will try my best.”

“Could we have some privacy, please?” Phichit asked. He had a feeling the omega wouldn’t be comfortable talking about certain things in front of his parents. Uncertainly, the parents left the room and closed the door behind them.

“My name is Phichit, don’t worry, you have no reason to be scared. We are here today as we are interested in your gender. We are looking for a male omega to be mated and we believe you fit the description of what the alpha desires.” He smiled and Yuuri and was pleased when the omega managed to return the gesture. “I just need to ask you some questions,” he explained.

An alpha wanted him? Yuuri was surprised but he welcomed the idea. He had always wanted to get married and have children. “Okay,” he replied, trying not to show how excited he was that someone was interested in him.

“Firstly, are you untouched?” Phichit asked in a hushed voice, trying not to embarrass him.

“I… err….” Yuuri stammered. “I…” His face flushed. He glanced towards where the intimidating alpha was sat. Talking about such things in front of an alpha when his parents were not present was not appropriate. But his parents had told them to answer their questions. He leant forwards, cupping his hand over his mouth as he whispered to the beta.

Phichit pulled away and looked a little confused for a second at what he had been told, his own face flushing. “Um… General, would you mind scenting Yuuri, please, we just have to be sure about his virginity.”

Yuri did not want to scent Yuuri, but he had orders to obey Phichit so he had no choice. He tried to remain calm as he leant over to the omega and took a deep breath. He cleared his throat and then turned away, snapping, “He’s a fucking virgin.”

“Excellent,” Phichit exclaimed. “How do you feel about coming to live in the castle?”

***

“I still can’t believe it! The Emperor!” Yuuri gushed, his cheeks pink with excitement. “Tell me what he’s like again, Phichit, won’t you?”

The omega had already been told umpteen times all about his new suitor, but he couldn’t contain the eagerness he felt to learn everything he possibly could. He glanced over at Phichit where he rode on the War General’s horse while the alpha walked ahead of them, happy to get away from their mindless chatter.

“He is kind and considerate, though he is most certainly demanding,” Phichit explained. “The Emperor did not become the Emperor by being weak. He is a strong, proud alpha who will demand your submission likely in all things. He will no doubt expect to claim you as his own. You will have no other sexual partners, do you understand?”

Yuuri nodded, but more questions were spilling from his lips. “How did he become Emperor of Xuhar?” Yuuri asked. “I was still living in Shulzing at the time I believe.”

“It’s the same old story really. He came, he saw, he conquered,” Phichit answered, but he could see that Yuuri was still looking at him, begging him for more details. “He became a powerful soldier in the south and rose up to take command. The previous Emperor was a lazy man who squandered the land’s money on wine and whores. Now, with Emperor Nikiforov in charge, we have a well-defended border and well-maintained farms. He is the best thing to happen to this country in a long time.”

“So, he is a good man?” Yuuri asked.

“One of the best men I have ever known.”

Yuuri grinned. “I can’t wait to meet him!”

 

***

It felt like an eternity before Phichit returned. It was several weeks at the very least and Victor was starting to worry that something might have happened to the man. It was almost a full moon later when he finally returned.

Trailing behind him was a beautiful boy who looked to be in his late teens with dark brown eyes reminiscent of coffee beans and tousled hair to match. He was draped in silk wrappings of white with silver flecks which were fastened and tied to resemble a qipao. He kept his eyes low, not acknowledging anyone in the perfect depiction of a  submissive omega.

Victor had never felt so alive. He immediately perked up, excited for the first time in years.

"I believe I have fulfilled your request, Emperor Nikiforov," Phichit began in a loud voice, his eyes twinkling with amusement. "Allow me to introduce to you an omega originally from Shulzing, Katsuki Yuuri."

At the sound of his name, the omega curtsied in a low and practised ease but said nothing.

"Thank you, Phichit, you may retire to your quarters," he said, trying to remain impassive and to not show how truly over the moon he was.

Phichit bowed deeply and then exchanged a look with Yuuri. "Good luck," he mouthed before then bowing to Yuuri. The omegas eyes widened at a beta submitting to him. He hadn't expected that. No one had ever bowed to him before. Phichit disappeared shortly after, closing the heavy doors behind him.

Victor immediately stood from his throne and stepped forwards to inspect the young man.  It was important to Victor for the omega to be perfect. "Look at me," he commanded. "Look at your Emperor." Excitement buzzed under his skin. This boy was beautiful...

Yuuri straightened his posture and did as he was told. His fiery brown eyes were flecked with gold as they met the Emperor's chilling blue ones. For a second, the intensity of the alpha's gaze made Yuuri want to hide. He didn't want to look into the eyes of the most powerful man in the country. He knew exactly what Emperor Nikiforov was capable of and what powers he possessed. It was terrifying.

But Yuuri only faltered for a moment. He blinked and then steadied himself. He kept his arms behind his back, his clammy hands clasped together, as he took in the sight of Victor Nikiforov in the flesh. There was no denying that the Emperor was beautiful and Yuuri immediately felt himself drawn to his ethereal presence.

Victor reached forwards and ran his hand down Yuuri's face. It was smooth like an omega’s skin should be and his cheeks flushed under the attention. "What is your age?" he questioned. He looked fresh out of boyhood.

"Eighteen,"  Yuuri replied. His skin was heating and flushing with anxiety and excitement as Victor continued to touch his skin. "My birthday was fifteen moons ago."

"Young," Victor replied, impressed. "And you are untouched? Have you ever indulged in pleasures of the flesh with another?" This was especially important to Victor, he didn’t like other people touching his things.

"N-no," Yuuri stuttered in response, feeling a little embarrassed. "Though, I must admit that I have touched myself. I know some think it impure, but Phichit— I mean, your servant didn't seem put off by it."

Victor's eyebrows shot up. He had never considered omegas might touch themselves in such ways. Surely only an alpha could bring them pleasure? "I have never heard of such things. Tell me, what is it that you do exactly when you touch yourself?"

For a moment, Yuuri was silent. He almost regretted bringing the subject up, but he wanted to be totally honest before entering whatever arrangement this was. "Um, I rub my fingers on my nipples. I stroke my cock with my hand. Sometimes, I've rubbed the crease of my ass where I get wet, but I've never put anything inside it." Even the tips of his ears were pink now. "I'm sorry, Emperor. If you think me displeasing, my mother will return every coin you spent on me." He ducked his head and took in a shaky breath.

Victor licked his lips, fascinated at this revelation. "And you find this enjoyable?" he asked. "You shall show me, then I will tell you if I find it acceptable," he decided. "You must come to my chambers."

"W-what?" Yuuri uttered, his eyes widening in horror. "R-right now?" He honestly couldn't think of anything worse than showing himself to the alpha, especially if it ended with him being thrown out, humiliated, and dishonoured.

"Yes, now. You want to please your Emperor, don't you? It would be a shame to come all this way and for you to then disobey me. The Emperor's word is law. This is the only time I will remind you."

With a gulp, Yuuri nodded. "Yes, Emperor," he replied with his eyes cast down to the floor. He followed Victor through the opulent and beautiful hallways of the palace, adorned in decorations of gold and ruby. When they finally reached his chamber door, Victor stopped walking and Yuuri waited.

Victor opened the door and gestured for the omega to step inside. He closed the heavy door firmly behind them. "You will take your clothes off for me," he ordered.

Once Yuuri was inside, he nodded before reaching for the tie of his dress and pulling it loose. He shrugged it off his shoulders and held it around his waist for a moment. This was the very first time he would be naked in front of another man, an alpha, a suitor. It made him hesitate, but Yuuri found he could not disobey Victor's orders even if he wanted to.

He let go of the fabric around his waist and let it pool at his feet on the floor. Then he reached up to grip the ornate jade pin that kept his hair pinned back from his forehead and pulled it out and placed it on the nearest surface. He stood naked before the alpha with his whole body trembling in a mixture of desperation and trepidation. He hoped the Emperor would like what he saw.

Victor wasn't shy about looking at Yuuri's naked body, in fact, his eyes devoured it. His skin was creamy, his nipples pink and his thighs beautifully curved, and his cock was small as it should be for an omega. He stepped closer, looking for any sign of imperfection but he found nothing that put him off Yuuri. It seemed the more he looked the more he wanted him.

The omega tried to stay calm under Victor's gaze, but it was difficult. He was desperate to know what the alpha thought and whether this had all been a waste of time. The thought pained him and Yuuri decided that he would do whatever it took to ensure that Victor didn't send him away.

The nervous omega brought one hand to his mouth and sucked on his index finger with a moan. He covered it in saliva and then brought it to his chest where he used it to rub and pinch his perky, rose-coloured nipple.

Victor froze as he watched the erotic movement. "Yes," he encouraged. "Show me. Touch yourself for your Emperor." He watched entranced. He had never seen anything like this in his entire life.

Encouraged by his words, Yuuri began to rub with more purpose. He let out a breathy moan as he pinched his nipple hard and felt his small cock twitch from arousal. Slick had begun to gather between his ass cheeks and Yuuri should have been embarrassed, but he wasn't. He wanted this alpha and he was desperate to make this work.

His free hand dropped behind him to run through the slippery fluid from his ass and he let it pool on his fingers before Yuuri brought them to his aching, red hot cock. The first rub of it caused him to moan loudly and his knees shook in protest. He wasn't used to doing this standing.

Victor noticed the strain and slowly led him to the bed. "You may relax," he said, encouraging the omega to lie down. "Show me how you touch your cock, you're already hard." Victor had never seen an omega with an erection before. He knew that it was possible, but he had only ever heard rumours. Seeing it face to face was something that robbed him of his breath. The omega’s small hard cock looked like it was aching. Hard like this, it was the perfect size. It would fit in Victor's hand or even in his mouth if he desired.

Yuuri did as he was bid. He draped his body over the blue silk sheets of the Emperor's bed and began to rub his hot little cock. His hips thrust upwards as he desperately sought the relief he was aching for.

The omega knew he wasn't allowed to speak. He was designed to be submissive, but he had one last weapon in his arsenal to try and break the Emperor's steely resolve. He had to try it. He couldn't fail, not when he was so close…

"A-alpha," he whined in a breathy, bliss-filled voice. "Alpha Nikiforov, won't you fuck my little virgin hole?"

"Show me," he said, “I want you to show me your hole.”

Victor was hard in his trousers, his cock aching. He had never been so turned on with another person, never at all with a woman, and his interactions with omegas were sparing so this was brand new. He had never seen an omega begging like this and he instantly understood what the fuss was all about. Why have anything but an omega?

It wasn’t quite the loss of control Yuuri had been aiming for, but at least he’d caught Victor’s attention. With a husky sigh, Yuuri flipped over onto his stomach and pulled his ass cheeks apart. “Like this, alpha?” he asked with a shy look over his shoulder.

Victor’s mouth watered at the sight. “I have decided... I find these touches acceptable to yourself. But you are to never touch yourself like this again unless I am watching. Do you understand me?” Victor asked.

Pleasure sparked up Yuuri's spine. He'd done it. He'd seduced the richest, most powerful man in the whole of Xuhar and his parents had been paid for it. He'd never felt so happy in his life.

Yuuri nodded where he was, still holding his ass open and on display for Victor where the wetness glistened beautifully as it dripped down onto the sheets. "Will you just be watching, Emperor?" Yuuri asked in a low, husky voice. "It would be a shame for such a beautiful, tight, and wet hole to never be touched by anyone."

Yes, this is exactly what I’ve been missing out on: passion.

Victor smiled and reached forwards. He touched the smooth curve of Yuuri’s ass slipping his fingers down the crease and to where the omega was proudly displaying his virgin hole. He brushed his fingers over it before slowly sinking two inside of him. He felt hot and was soaking wet and it was possibly the best thing he had ever felt.

Victor pulled his fingers out and reached for his clothes to remove the layers. He pulled them off annoyed and then gripped his cock, ready to push inside the omega and take his virginity.

The sight of Victor's huge alpha cock proudly jutting out made Yuuri's eyes bulge. He'd never seen something so big and he was certain it was never going to fit inside him, but he wasn't going to tell the Emperor that. Instead, Yuuri pulled his cheeks apart further and pushed backwards, his eyes meeting Victor's.

"I'm ready for you, Your Highness. Take me. Make me yours."

Victor couldn’t resist. He had waited his whole life to actually be able to have sex with a man, and here was a beautiful hand-picked omega that was everything that he wanted. “You’re beautiful. You are very pleasing to touch,” he admitted. He had never been so hard in his life. “Are you sure you are ready to satisfy your Emperor?”

The words alone were enough to make Yuuri's body shiver, his arms prickling with goosebumps. "Of course, Emperor Nikiforov. I was born to please and serve you." He illustrated his words by sticking his ass out further and pushing back into Victor's hand.

Victor was pleased with the words, of the loyalty that he was displaying. He was excited as he pressed against the man, he gripped himself tightly and pressed against Yuuri’s hole. The feeling stole his breath. He felt different to a woman, but somehow, it was the same, but it was bliss, it was everything that he had been missing.

Yuuri's hands left his ass and clung to the headboard in front of him for dear life as his ass was stretched impossibly wide. He'd heard jokes and tales about sex, but never did he dream he would feel so full and satisfied. He moaned low in his throat and silently begged for the alpha to move inside him.

"Emperor… Alpha…" he whispered softly into the pillows. "Please."

Victor was surprised at the reaction. He’d never expected such enthusiasm from an omega. The (few) women he had slept with had been very quiet and shy and it had always made Victor feel worse. But Yuuri was canting his hips backwards as if he wanted more of their forbidden touches.

When he didn’t move, Yuuri whined in desperation and glanced over his shoulder at the alpha. “I can try riding you if you would prefer?” he offered, desperate to please the Emperor in any way possible.

Victor took a deep breath. He had been trying to gather himself as he tried to process what he was feeling, to savour it, but at Yuuri’s suggestion, he found himself curious to what to omega meant. Maybe they did things differently in Shulzing.

“Ride me?” he asked with a smile. “What do you mean?” He stroked the length of Yuuri’s beautiful back.

The question astounded him. How sheltered was the Emperor? Every downtrodden watering hole had bards telling raunchy tales and singing bawdy songs. “Let me show you, alpha,” Yuuri proposed.

Victor pulled out slowly, letting out a steadying breath at the loss of the tight heat. “Okay, show me.”

Yuuri turned and approached him slowly. He encouraged the alpha to sit on the edge of the bed before the omega swung one leg over his thighs and straddled him.

"It's like this, Your Majesty," Yuuri began to explain in a breathy, husky voice while he looked up at Victor through his eyelashes. He reached down behind himself to grasp the alpha's huge cock and pressed just the tip inside himself. He moaned at the contact and his eyes rolled back in his head.

"Then, I do all the work so you don't have to. You can just sit back and relax. After all, you're the one who works hard all day, not me." Yuuri sunk down onto the huge, warm cock and wrapped his arms around Victor's neck as he settled his weight fully on the alpha's lap. "God, you're so big, Emperor. You fill me up so good." Unable to stop himself, Yuuri lifted his hips using his strong, powerful thighs and began to bounce on the Emperor's dick like he was made for it.

Victor gripped the omega’s hips. He hadn’t known lovemaking like this. He had assumed that omegas were purely submissive and would lay and let alphas do as they pleased. Yet Yuuri was riding him, as he called it, and was very enthusiastic about being claimed.

The Emperor sunk back into the pillows and let the omega do as he pleased. It was amazing and Victor felt in awe of the perfect omega in his lap and so very possessive that he was all his. No one else had ever seen this omega the way that Victor had. He belonged to Victor and he was perfect .

Yuuri’s hands sunk down to rest on Victor’s hard pecs and he leaned on them a little to help slam his hips down harder, increasing his own pleasure as the head of the Emperor’s cock nailed his prostate. The omega threw his head back and bared his beautiful, long neck. He let out a low moan as he continued to ride Victor’s cock, enjoying each drag inside against his sensitive walls.

“Am I being good to you, alpha?” Yuuri asked in a purr as he met Victor’s eyes once more. “I’ll be anything you want me to be. Just say the word.”

“So good,” Victor agreed, nodding as he sat up and started to kiss Yuuri’s neck. “Such a good omega for your Emperor.” He thrust up, desperate for more of the sweet pleasure he was being given. Yuuri’s ass felt perfect, he was tight and wet, and so warm, and Victor basked in the feeling as he looked at Yuuri’s hard cock. It was so hot. It was everything Victor wanted. He reached to touch him, feeling the silky hardness in his hand as he started jerking him off, fascinated at the feel of another man.

“Oh, Emperor Nikiforov…” Yuuri moaned as his cock was touched by another person for the very first time in his life. “That feels so good. You’re such a good alpha for me.” He continued moving his hips and trying to keep up the pace, but he was growing tired and his muscles trembled and faltered a little. The pleasure building in his lower belly was distracting him too.

Victor couldn’t stop moaning, he couldn’t stop touching Yuuri. “That’s right, I’m such a good alpha to you. My cock feels nice, doesn’t it?” He knew it did, he could tell by the way that Yuuri was moving, the way he was out of control from his lust and need for the alpha. “Tell me how much you love the feel of me. Do you want my knot? Tell me,” Victor demanded.

Yuuri’s eyes widened at the filthy suggestion. He’d never expected the Emperor to want him knot during his very first time, but then again, Victor had been full of surprises so far. “I want you. I want you to do whatever you want to me,” Yuuri purred in response. “Why don’t you show me how powerful you are, Emperor?” He winked down at the alpha and wiggled his hips tantalisingly.

Knotting Yuuri seemed so easy when he had struggled with knotting his partners in the past. He wanted to do it. He needed it. He needed to fill the omega with his hot sticky come and to tie them together. He wanted to feel Yuuri  like this forever. Without hesitating, Victor bit into Yuuri’s neck, claiming him as his knot swelled and he came, his orgasm completely overwhelming him.

The omega cried out in bliss, his head falling back and his eyes fluttering as he came. His whole body was shaking harder than it ever had when he pleasured himself. The pressure inside of him from Victor’s cock was overwhelming and he clung tight to the other man’s body.

“Alpha, Emperor...” he moaned, his nails digging into the meat of Victor’s shoulders as he shuddered and an impossible amount of come flooded out of him, covering them both.

Victor moaned, biting down at Yuuri’s neck harder as he ground his hips flush against the omega’s ass, shoving his knot inside him as deep as he could.

"Tell me, Yuuri, does your Emperor’s knot feel good inside you? How lucky you are to be claimed by me…"

"S-so good," Yuuri answered, his breath hitching as wave after wave of pleasure rolled over him. "Thank you, Emperor. I'm so lucky." He dropped his head down to rest on top of Victor's as he panted, thoroughly exhausted.

"You're such a good boy, aren't you? So eager to please me." He licked over the mark on Yuuri's neck. "And you're so delicious…" He kissed over Yuuri's shoulder and neck.

The sweet touches had Yuuri whining and burying his head in Victor's hair. "You're too nice to me," he mumbled as he hugged Victor tight. "Can I lie down now? My thighs are sore."

Victor pulled him close, unwilling to let him go. He was so completely satisfied. This was what he had wanted his whole life. “You’re not to leave. Stay here,” he ordered, he didn’t want to let him go. “Sleep here with me.”

Yuuri was surprised at how clingy the Emperor was being, but it touched him greatly and he couldn’t stop smiling. “Of course. Whatever you want, Your Majesty,” he told him and lifted a hand to stroke his cheek gently. “Would you mind lying me down for a little while though?”

Victor couldn’t deny such a sweet request. He arranged their bodies so they could both lay comfortably. “I waited such a long time for you,” he whispered, linking his hand with Yuuri’s.

The omega’s heart began to race and he smiled over at his new lover. “Was I worth the wait?”

Victor smiled before kissing him again.

***

In the morning Victor awoke feeling so refreshed. It was nice to not awake feeling alone. He looked at Yuuri in amazement as he slept. He could hardly tear his eyes away. Oh God, you are perfect… Phichit had really outdone himself, he would be sure to give him a raise.

The peace didn’t last long since his bedroom door slammed open and his wife stormed in. The small red-head looked like a small ball of fury. “What the fuck are you playing at?” she seethed. “Why do I have to find out from the servants that Phichit snuck a male omega in last night. I see you’ve already broken him in.”

Victor sighed and rolled his eyes, sitting up. It was clear he was naked and he didn’t care. There was no point pretending. Mila knew what had happened. Denying it would achieve nothing. He had been hoping that he would at least get a few days alone with Yuuri before word managed to spread. “Be quiet, he’s asleep,” he replied, standing and then reaching for his clothes.

“Be quiet?” she echoed. “You’ve got to be joking! So your whore can sleep?!” Her voice gradually grew louder.

Yuuri sprung up from where he had been lying, his hair was mussed adorably over his forehead and his eyes were still closed. “Victor?” he mumbled groggily. “Come back to bed.”

The Empress was fuming. “Excuse me?!” she screeched. “Who do you think you are? Get out!”

“You will not talk to him that way—”

“You’ve bitten him. Of course, you have,” she interrupted, her eyes going to Yuuri’s neck. Tears fell down her cheeks as she subconsciously reached for her own neck - her unbitten, unmated neck. She may be Victor’s wife, but she would never be his mate.

Yuuri’s eyes flew open. “Oh, I didn’t…” he began and then trailed off. He looked down at himself and grabbed the sheets to cover himself as much as he could. “I sh-should just go.”

“You will stay,” Victor said, turning to look at Yuuri, “and you will leave,” he said to Mila.

Mila narrowed her eyes at Yuuri. “You’ll only ever be his whore,” she spat, before disappearing and slamming the door behind her.

The atmosphere in the room between them was thick and heavy. Yuuri couldn’t look Victor in the eye as he fiddled with the sheets that covered his naked body. He wasn’t sure what to do now. Victor had paid for him, bought him, and brought him here to the palace, but would he ever be welcome? The thought made his heart ache and his eyes water. He couldn’t bring himself to speak because a lump welled in his throat.

“I apologise for my wife. She’s jealous,” Victor said as he sat on the edge of the bed and placed a comforting hand on the omega’s thigh.

Yuuri gulped feeling completely on edge. “You didn’t tell her about…?” He trailed off as thoughts overwhelmed him and his anxiety grew. But it was too late. Even if Yuuri was uncomfortable with the situation, he’d already been ruined and claimed by Victor. There was no turning back.

“She knows,” Victor tried to explain with a sigh. “I’m not in love with her. I never was. I tried to love her, but I just... It was an arranged marriage. I don’t like females. I struggle to… well, you know.” Victor’s face flushed. It was embarrassing admitting all of this to Yuuri,  but he trusted him. “I've been so unhappy. I denied myself happiness for so long. I was bored. Miserable. Is it so wrong to try to find happiness for myself?”

“N-no, it’s not wrong,” Yuuri agreed and pulled the sheet tight around his body, feeling self-conscious about his nakedness. “I do not wish to be an imposition or cause any grief.”

“It doesn’t matter what others think,” Victor mumbled. “I’m the Emperor.” I should be able to do what I want, he thought moodily, though he knew that it wasn’t true. Victor would never be able to do what he wanted. “You make me happy. That’s all that’s important.”

Yuuri nodded his agreement though his heart felt differently about the matter. He had been under the impression that the Empress was aware of their agreement. He thought this would be the best thing for everyone involved since they were so unhappily married. Seeing her tears made him feel dreadful.

“If you two do not love one another, why does she care that you took pleasure in my body?”

“She wants children, but that’s pretty impossible when I can’t even knot her. You’re the first person that I’ve successfully...” he trailed off, not sure what Yuuri would think of an alpha who couldn’t even mate properly.

The admission made Yuuri’s heart beat faster. “That’s… That’s incredible,” he admitted as his cheeks flushed red. “You do me a great honour, Emperor Nikiforov. I hope I prove fertile for you.”

“As I said, she’s jealous is all. I hope you can forgive me for dragging you into this. I promise to make you happy where I can. You are precious and you will be treated as such.”

Yuuri pushed his sheets aside and stood. No longer feeling self-conscious about his naked state. He approached the Emperor and cupped his cheek softly. “You have nothing to be forgiven for,” he told him with a sincere and empathetic smile. “You have been living a lie for far too long. I do not envy you and if my presence brings you even a tiny bit of happiness, then I shall die a happy man.”

Victor smiled and in that moment, he knew that he had made the right choice.

***

Aside from the outburst of the fiery, red-headed Empress, the next few weeks went smoothly for Yuuri and Victor. They spent most of Victor’s free time getting to know one another over rich, succulent foods and sweet-tasting rice wine. When Victor saw to his duties as the ruler of the country, Yuuri was given many things to occupy his time. Victor bought him beautiful leather-bound books which sadly he couldn’t read, but Yuuri spent many hours looking at the colourful illustrations and pondering the story it depicted. He felt he could have spent eons giving the characters names and imaging their lives, their perils, and their conquests.

The Emperor even gave him a ‘go’ board and stones, though again, Yuuri did not have the education to understand the game. However, Phichit had learned it during his time as a servant in the palace and taught him with ease. Yuuri was a fast learner. He enjoyed spending time with the beta and soon found himself enjoying every aspect of his life in the palace.

Well, perhaps not every aspect.

Very rarely did Yuuri leave the decadent chambers that Victor had so lavishly bestowed upon him which was adjacent to the Emperor’s. He left occasionally to stretch his legs with a walk around the grounds of the palace or to fetch materials to mend and sew his few gowns that he owned. When he did leave his chambers, however, Yuuri was met with many a hateful glare. It appeared that the Empress was not the only one who disliked the young omega.

Servants sneered at him as he passed, often cursing and calling him a whore. He tried not to let it get to him. He was here for Victor, after all, and as long as Victor wished him to stay then Yuuri would. It did not matter what a few servants might say. Yuuri’s family would want for nothing after the dowry paid for him and he was falling deeper and deeper in love with his Emperor every day.

That is, until one day Yuuri overheard two servants whispering in the stairway. He usually tried not to pry, but something made him stop and listen that day and what he heard shocked his entire being. They were talking about him. They were saying that Yuuri was well-known in the capital for selling his body for money. He couldn’t believe his ears. It was one thing for them to dislike him, but quite another to spout nasty and vicious rumours.

Yuuri wanted to scream, he wanted to cry, he wanted to confront them, but it was useless. His heart ached and his head was foggy. He didn’t want them to see him cry. Instead, Yuuri turned tail and ran back to his chambers before collapsing on the bed in tears. Perhaps they had been right all along. Perhaps Yuuri did not belong in the palace.

He didn’t feel like he belonged anywhere anymore and the loneliness pulled at his heart until he sobbed and sobbed, soaking his pillow in tears.

Mama, what do I do now?

***

Meanwhile, Victor was oblivious to the misery of his omega. With talk of invasion from a neighbouring kingdom, Victor had been kept busy protecting everyone behind the palace walls and trying to keep the knowledge as quiet as possible. If the news left the palace, then the people would fall into despair and he couldn’t let that happen.

The prince had sent word to Victor that he was unhappy due to a debt that hadn’t been paid by the kingdom. One that had been from the previous Emperor. Victor had not known about, though when he asked the court advisor to check the records, as plain as day it was written. Now they were asking for a handsome peace offering or they would wage war. Victor knew it was past the point of money and he needed to gift them something truly special. But what? Their city was rich with farmland and they had clean water and well-built structures, they were one of the more developed cities, though smaller than Victor’s. Between that and enjoying his downtime with Yuuri, he hardly had five minutes to himself.

He thought it was nice when Phichit finally let himself be seen. He knew the man had been about and taking care of Yuuri for him, but he hadn’t had time to speak to his servant in several days.

Phichit, however, looked grave and serious as he approached the Emperor. "Your Majesty, I trust that you are well."

"I'm as well as I can be." He sighed. "How are you? Yuuri has taken quite a liking to you. Thanks for keeping… What's that look for?" Victor looked at him suspiciously. Phichit was avoiding looking him in the eye and was stood formally instead of cheekily taking the seat next to Victor.

"I regret to inform you that there have been some unfortunate rumours circulating the palace and while I usually take no part in idle gossip, I'm afraid these were too serious to ignore." Phichit looked down at his hands nervously.

"What kind of rumours?" Whatever it was, Victor knew that it must be serious otherwise the beta would never have bothered to waste his time when he was already so busy. He just knew this was going to be about Yuuri. He was his weak spot. "Rumours are just that. Gossip. There is probably no truth to these statements, merely bored servants spreading lies…"

"I wish that were the case,” Phichit lamented with a heavy sigh. “Alas, it didn't take long for me to find out the truth. In fact, I was approached by a man I'd never met before who had a terrible story to tell me. He told me that the omega Katsuki Yuuri is well-known in the lower echelons of Sakhir for selling his body in exchange for jewels, money, and clothes."

Victor felt his heart drop."There's no way. I don't believe you. He was pure when I touched him."

"I didn't want to believe it at first either, however, they gave me something that belonged to Yuuri…" Phichit produced a jade hairpin and passed it to Victor. "They said Yuuri had left it behind last time they were… intimate. It is beautiful and handcrafted. I've only seen one other like it…"

Victor felt pain twist in his chest. This was Yuuri's. He had seen him wear another like it many times. He had always thought it most beautiful. He gulped thickly. “So we've been deceived. He has lied to me." Victor didn't want to say it. He didn't even want to think it. "And everyone knows?" he asked regretfully.

“Everyone suspects,” Phichit stated as he looked up a Victor with sad eyes. “No one has confirmation. No one except for me. I wanted to know what you would like me to do now, Your Majesty?”

"Close the door,"  he muttered, rubbing at his temples as he tried to hold back tears and ward of the headache he could feel coming on.

Phichit did as he was bid before returning to his master once more.

"Is there any way to cover it up?" he asked. "Please, Phichit, I'm in love with him."

The servant sighed and searched his thoughts for a plan, a way to keep Victor safe from scrutiny. “The news in itself is not too troubling. Should the peasants continue with their rumours, we can always find ways to punish them, but… If it is true and there are more people who come forward with more evidence, perhaps to another person like the Empress… I’m not sure what we can do then. If word travels to one of the neighbouring kingdoms also, you may appear weak. I… If you had Mila on your side it would be different, but she believes the rumours too. She is devastated at the betrayal.”

Phichit stopped for a moment to gather himself. “I believe any children you might have with this particular omega may face scrutiny their entire lives. People will question their legitimacy and they will be unable to take the mantle of Emperor or Empress once you are gone.” He glanced at Victor’s face once more and offered a sympathetic grimace. “This is all worst case scenario, however. Perhaps if we begin with imprisoning all those caught spreading the rumour, we could try to nip it in the bud. I’m just worried about how quickly word spreads.”

"But… no matter what I do I'm going to have to punish Yuuri. Lying to the Emperor…." Victor couldn't say it.

“Lying to the Emperor is treason,” Phichit finished for him. “And treason is punishable by death… Perhaps, we could send him away instead? We could give him enough money to start a new life somewhere while everyone in Xuhar believes he is dead.”

"But… I don't want to live without him." This was so unfair. He wished there was another way but Phichit was right. Bending the rules for Yuuri would mean making himself a weak Emperor, therefore putting his people in danger. Regretfully, Victor said, "Please take him to the dungeons while I think about his punishment. Just… be gentle with him. Tell him I'm sorry."

“You’re certain that is what you want?” Phichit asked once more.

“No, but I have no choice, Phichit,” he replied sadly, letting his face fall into his hands. “What else can I do?” He struggled to hold it together. Yuuri had lied to him and that was unforgivable.

“Okay, at once, Your Highness.” Phichit turned tail and left feeling truly uncomfortable.

***

It had been long enough now that Yuuri’s eyes were no longer wet, though there would be no doubt that he had been crying. His eyes were red and his face was flushed. He no longer lay upon the bed, but instead, Yuuri chose to occupy a seat near the window and gaze upon the beautiful grounds. A knock at the door yanked him out of his reverie.

“Come in,” he called without looking.

In an instant, Phichit entered the room followed by two Imperial guards. The sound of more than one set of footsteps alarmed the omega and he turned with wide eyes. His heart was racing as he took in Phichit’s face, usually so joyful in Yuuri’s presence, was now stony and cold.

“What is the meaning of this?” Yuuri asked, his voice fearful.

“You are being arrested on suspicion of treason against our Emperor. If you would come quietly it would make it easier for all of us.” Phichit stared ahead and tried to not show how upset he was about having to arrest someone who he now considered to be one of his closest friends.

“W-what?!” Yuuri cried in despair. “I… I never did anything to the Emperor, I promise! Phichit, you know I would never. Please, tell me you believe me. This is wrong!”

“You are accused of lying to the Emperor, therefore committing an act of deception. This treason may be punishable by death. I would advise you to remain quiet. Please, you must go as you are.” He stepped towards Yuuri and held out his hand for Yuuri to take. “I will escort you.”

“How can I be quiet when you’re telling me I’m about to die?!” Yuuri protested, his eyes watering.

“I’m sorry, Yuuri. Victor had no choice,” he whispered, quiet enough that the guards could not hear him, “please trust us, we’re going to try and fix this.” He stared at him in sympathy and then held out his hand again. “Be proud, my friend. Hold your head high.”

How could he do that when his heart felt like it was breaking into tiny pieces? Yet, Yuuri had no choice. The guards approached him and placed metal shackles over his wrists. It was too much for the poor, miserable omega. He burst into tears as they walked him through the palace down to the dungeons. Onlookers were whispering in hushed tones and he knew a lot of them would be pleased by his predicament which only made him feel more bitter.

“I don’t deserve this,” he whispered, unsure whether Phichit or the guards could even hear his strangled voice.

Phichit heard him, though he remained silent, the guilt of having to report this to Victor weighed heavily on him. As he walked Yuuri down the steps, he held it together for his friend.

He walked with him inside the cell. It was small and freezing cold, merely a chamber pot and a straw mattress in the room.

“Give me the keys,” Phichit instructed the guards, holding out his hands.

“He must remain chained,” the one on the left argued.

“Give me the keys. Now. He is an omega. He will be treated as such,” Phichit defended before snatching the keys that were reluctantly handed over. “Now leave us,” he demanded. He may not be an alpha, but he knew how to talk like one. He waited for them to leave before he turned to Yuuri.

“You need to tell me,” he begged. “Please. Did you lie when I offered you the money?” he frantically whispered. “I understand, it was a lot of money and you clearly love your family, you wanted to help them… but, Yuuri, have you slept with anyone but the emperor. Ever ?” he asked. It broke him to ask, because Yuuri was his friend, at least, he had thought he was. He wanted Yuuri to be innocent, but he wasn’t even sure if he could help him if he was.

“Of course, I haven’t,” Yuuri whispered, his voice breaking into a sob. “I gave everything to the Emperor. My life, my love, my innocence. There has been no one else. There won’t ever be anyone else. Not ever. You have to believe me!”

Phichit stared   Yuuri, trying to determine if he was telling the truth. He wanted to believe him so badly. “Yuuri, I was shown proof, one of your jade clips. How would the man get it if not from you?” he asked.

Yuuri couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “I… I have no idea!” he cried out, tears streaming down his cheeks. “But I promise, I never lied to anyone. Especially not Victor. I love him so much. Please tell him! He should know. He was the only one ever to touch me. Ever.”

Phichit nodded. “He was so sorry to do this to you. He loves you too. But he couldn’t make an exception for you. I’ll try and visit when I can, but we shouldn’t be showing favour to you. If it were anyone else, they’d already be dead.”

Yuuri tried to appreciate that, but he couldn't. Victor was supposed to love him and care for him. How could he do this? "Yeah, well, I'm just a run of the mill omega. I'm sure you'll be able to find someone to replace me anyhow," he said bitterly as he turned from Phichit and sat dejectedly on the mattress.

"He'll never replace you," Phichit replied sadly before bowing to Yuuri and then leaving.

***

"I heard what happened," Yuri greeted Victor, appearing at his door. He waited outside for a moment until the Emperor indicated he could come in. "May I speak freely, my lord?"

Victor glared at him. "That depends on what you've got to say."

"Victor, he was a virgin. I know he was. I… I scented him when we met and he was a pure omega when we collected him from  the town." Yuri's face flushed, ashamed. He would admit that much, though he would never admit that he had found the omega attractive when he had first seen him - he didn’t want to end up in the dungeon with him, after all.

Victor shot him a fierce look. "Was scenting him really necessary?" Victor detested the idea of another alpha scenting Yuuri, though at this point, he may have had a large number of men touch him… he cringed thinking about it. But really, at this point, Victor wanted him so much that he was willing to reconsider everything. He wanted to forgive Yuuri, even if he had done this. It was just making everyone else think that the man was innocent. But how?

"I beg your forgiveness, my Lord, I merely wanted to ensure that this wouldn't happen. When Phichit admitted to me we were looking for someone for you, I knew I should double-check. I promise on my life you weren't deceived. My nose was not wrong. Your judgement was not clouded when you claimed him as is rumoured. He did not deceive you."

Victor was surprised at the sincerity in Yuri’s voice. They didn’t always see eye to eye, so it was nice for someone else that he respected so much to agree with him. "I thought you would be encouraging his execution."

"How can I? I know it would make you miserable. I've never seen you so happy. I fear losing him will destroy you. We need to prove Yuuri is innocent."

"How? How can I possibly prove his innocence in this?" Victor snapped, distraught.

"We need to find who started this nonsense. A crime against the mate of the Emperor is also a crime against the kingdom. Who would possibly hate Yuuri so much that they'd risk his…"

The two exchanged a look. "No, it can't be."

"Victor, I'm sorry. You're going to have to choose. You know it makes sense."

"Fine. But I'll be the one to sort this."

***

After being unable to eat the night before, Yuuri awoke from his restless sleep to find a bowl of rice awaiting him in his cell. He looked around but there was no sign of who had left it. His tummy rumbled and he began to devour the sticky starch with fervour. It wasn't until he'd eaten his way through most of it that something felt wrong.

His stomach lurched and nausea washed over him. Before he could register what was happening, he ran for his chamber pot and vomited inside. It only made his hunger and dehydration worse and he cursed his luck for eating the spoiled food.

Was it luck though? Perhaps, someone wants me to suffer.

His thoughts instantly turned to Victor and his heart ached. Surely not? Though, Yuuri had no hard evidence to believe otherwise. Victor had not come to visit nor made his intentions known accept through the words of Phichit. Yuuri did not know what to think or who to believe anymore.

A sheen of sweat clung to his pale face all morning and he clutched at his stomach as his hunger continued to plague him. When noon came, a guard brought through a meagre serving of vegetable dumplings with a chalice of water and thankfully, Yuuri ate them without incident this time.

Since he had so much time alone with his thoughts, Yuuri had entertained a few other reasons for his vomiting, though sadly none of them were good. The worst one he imagined was that he could be pregnant. After all, he and Victor had mated several times since he had arrived. Yuuri's hand dropped to his belly and felt the soft swell there. He wasn't sure if it could be a tiny baby or simply the food he had just eaten.

He tried not to dwell on it. After all, if he was hung while pregnant, the tiny life inside of him would also come to an end. If by some magic, Yuuri managed to postpone his execution for a long time, his pregnancy would be impossible to hide. Would he really want to know what Victor might do? Would Yuuri die anyway? Or would Victor allow the omega to live long enough to birth the child only to be executed afterwards?

The omega could not think of a crueller fate and spent the rest of his afternoon sobbing.

***

Confronting his wife was possibly one of the hardest things he had ever done. Despite not being in love with her, Victor did love Mila in a strange way. He’d known her since he was a child and he could understand why she had done this. If it had been anyone but Yuuri he would have simply replaced his whore. But this wasn’t just anyone. Yuuri had become the most important person in his life. Accusing her of this would be yet another slap to her face when she was already feeling disgraced due to Victor claiming Yuuri. But it needed to be done.

He didn’t bother knocking but let himself straight into her quarters. She was sat at her dressing table, a servant brushing her hair. “Get out,” Victor greeted. The girl scurried from the room. “If he dies, I will never forgive you,” he said, getting straight to the point. “I’m in love with him, Mila, and you’ve all but murdered him.”

She rolled her eyes. “No need for dramatics, Victor,” she replied as she swung on her seat to look at him. “It is all your fault for falling in love with a deceitful whore. I merely brought the truth to light.”

Victor swallowed his pride. “Mila, please, I beg you. Admit it to everyone, tell them you lied. I’m sorry I cannot make you happy but I tried. I… I tried.”

“Why should I?”

“I…” Victor wracked his brain. Was there anything that he could offer Mila? He already gave her everything she wanted - money, security, a fine palace to live in. But what she wanted was a husband she could make love to, someone who could give her a child. But it just wasn’t possible, Victor couldn’t even… It was then that something clicked in his mind. “I want to make a deal with you.”

***

Phichit waited until the shift change over before he decided to try and get past the guard. It took a while, and a little flirting, but he managed to get down again for the second time that day. He hurried down the dark corridor and to Yuuri’s cell.

“Yuuri,” he whispered. “I brought you some dinner… Yuuri?” The omega was curled up on the sheets and he didn’t move at the sound of Phichit’s voice. “Yuuri?” he repeated. “Guard! Guard?!” he shouted.

"Phichit…?" Yuuri whispered a little groggily, his mouth still tasted of vomit and it made him heave. "What are you doing here?"

“Open the gate, let me in!” Phichit demanded.

The guard hurried as he heard the panic in the beta’s voice. “What—” But as soon as the key was in the lock, Phichit was knocking the taller man out of the way.

“Move!” Phichit barged into the cell and over to Yuuri.

He touched Yuuri’s forehead and he was hot with fever. “Yuuri, you’re sick… wh…” Victor was going to be furious. He was going to have someone's head for this. He was only meant to be held here until they could figure this out. Now Yuuri was sick.

"M'sorry," Yuuri mumbled. "I don't feel so good." He lifted his blurry vision to Phichit's face and gave a weak smile. "Th-thank you… for everything."

“Fuck,” Phichit cursed. “Go and get a healer, immediately.”

***

Mila raised an eyebrow.  “You’ve got to be joking,” she said. “Firstly, you humiliate me by replacing me with that whore—”

“You know he’s not, that was YOUR lie.”

Mila merely rolled her eyes before continuing. “Now you want to sell me off to some prince from far away—”

“No, no, not sell. Gift. Did I mention that he’s really handsome and super-rich. I did some investigating and apparently, he’s been looking for an unclaimed red-headed omega to take as his own.”

Mila sniffed at the mention of riches. “So I wouldn’t lose anything? I’d still have all this?” she asked, gesturing around her. “You know I like to feel secure…”

“All this and more,” he assured her, stepping forward and smiling for the first time that day. “Mila, this is the only way I can make you happy. I’m sorry this wasn’t what you were promised. I can’t give you that. But I can damn well make sure someone else can. I hear he’s desperate for children…”

It was then that one of the guards burst into the room, unannounced. “My Lord,” he said as he fell to his knees, “There is a problem with the omega. He’s sick. We have moved him from the dungeons on the insistence of your servant. I was unsure of what to do your majesty, he said that it would be what you wanted—”

“Of course it is,” Mila interrupted. “His charges have been cleared. It was just a silly rumour from a jealous little girl. I hope a healer is with that boy, he’s probably caught a death in those dungeons.”

The guard nodded. “Of course, Mistress,” he said, and then she waved him away.

The two of them stood in silence and Victor glanced desperately towards the door. “Thank you, Mila,” he said, stepping forward and pulling her into a hug.

“Don’t thank me too much, this is all my fault. What I said was true. I was jealous. But… if you’ll let me go to the prince, and you can  guarantee my happiness, then I’ll go.” Victor nodded at her, feeling a little tearful that she was doing this for him. “Now go, your omega needs you.”

***

Victor ran down the corridors and straight to Yuuri's quarters. When he arrived the doors were already open and when he stepped inside there were several servants fussing over the omega as he lay in bed, propped up with plenty of pillows.

Victor was at his side immediately. He sat on the bed and reached for his hand. "Yuuri, I'm so sorry!" he exclaimed. "I… I never should have sent you to the dungeon. Now you're sick and its entirely my fault."

Groggily, Yuuri turned his face toward the Emperor and gave him a weak smile. "Your Highness, you came," he whispered, his throat a little strangled. "I'm so happy to see you."

"Of course I came. Yuuri, I love you. I'm so sorry for this mess." He squeezed his hand and then turned towards the healer. "What's wrong with him? Is it serious?" he asked, fearing the worst.

"Oh, there's nothing wrong with the boy. Though in his condition I'm not surprised the stress of being locked up got to him. These silly rumours were simply too much for his delicate nature. The stress on top of decreased food and fluid. Well, that's enough to knock anyone off their feet," he said, tutting at Victor. He turned to Yuuri."Bed rest, 1 week. I'll be back daily to check on you."

"Okay," Yuuri agreed with a nod. "Thank you so much."

The healer smiled at him before bowing to the emperor and then preparing his bag to leave. He looked meaningfully at Yuuri before he disappeared.

The servants disappeared to go and fetch fresh water and some broth for the weak omega, leaving the two of them alone.

"So, you're not sick?" Victor asked, relieved.

Yuuri’s hands twitched nervously. "Not exactly, but I'm going to be different for a little while," he replied, unable to meet Victor's eyes.

Victor frowned. "Is this about the rumours? Yuuri, I'm so sorry. It was Mila who started the rumour. She stole the jade clip from your room. But I have good news. If you'll ever forgive me…"

"No, it's not about the rumours," Yuuri replied and pushed himself up so he was sitting. "Victor… I'm… I'm pregnant."

Victor stared at Yuuri as he tried to process the words. "Pregnant?" he asked. "Are… Are you sure?" His heart skipped in his chest and his breath hitched.

Yuuri looked up at him with a wide smile. "I'm certain. I feel it." He placed a hand over his tummy and felt the swell there. "The healer confirmed it. I hope you believe me when I say that they will be yours. You are the only person who has ever lain with me, despite everything that's been said."

"Yuuri. I know. And I know it's not true, but I wouldn't care even if you'd slept with a hundred men, as long as you promise to be mine." He looked at him sincerely. "Mila is leaving, Yuuri," he said, unable to keep the information to himself any longer. "She's agreed to marry the prince. This solves everything. We can be together, for real. Me, you and the baby."

The omega’s eyes lit up and his mouth dropped open. "You mean it? We can be together properly? We can marry?" he asked in a rush of excitement.

"Yes!" He beamed at the omega.

 

Chapter Text

Four Years Later

The sky was an iridescent blue above them as the radiant sun beamed down upon the Emperor and his family. The young omega, Yuuri Nikiforov, had never looked so happy and more vibrant as he did on the day when his husband, Victor, decided to take lunch with him and his little ones in the courtyard of the palace on that beautiful spring afternoon. Pink roses were climbing their way through the air, desperate to reach the sun’s warmth while the cherry blossom trees shook off their leaves in the breeze.

Yuuri’s hand was clasped in his eldest son’s hand while he carried his only daughter Alyona-Aia in his free arm. He hobbled toward the center of the rose gardens where the courtyard lay with two stone benches. Yuuri squinted in the bright rays and caught a glimpse of silver shining dazzlingly in the sunlight.

“Vitya!” Yuuri called with a big smile as he tried to walk a little faster. The grumpy-faced, silver-haired son to his left reluctantly increasing his pace while Alyona-Aia continued to cuddle herself closer to her father, burying her face in Yuuri’s neck until all you could see was her chestnut coloured hair.

“Yuuri!” the other man cried in return as he stood up and walked to meet his ever-growing family. His hands went to his omega’s stomach which was swollen round once more with a child. Then he crouched down to give Lev a tight hug before taking Alyona-Aia from Yuuri. She groaned as she was pulled from her omega father and Victor smiled.

“I know, I know, my little printsessa (princess),” Victor cooed as he pulled her close to himself and began to stroke her long, brown hair. “But you can’t make Daddy carry you everywhere, he’s doing an important job of growing your new little baby brother or sister!”

Alyona-Aia groaned again before burying her head into Victor’s shoulder. “I don’t want a baby,” she complained as she reached up a hand and began to suck on her thumb.

Both Victor and Yuuri laughed in unison. “You’ll change your mind when you see them, darling,” Yuuri said as he leaned in to kiss the little girl’s head. “Until then, Papa can carry you, okay?”

Satisfied, the little girl nodded again and Victor leaned forward to press a sweet kiss to his husband’s lips. “I hope you are well, my sweet little omega,” he whispered and pressed his forehead against Yuuri’s. “Has the sickness passed?”

Yuuri nodded. “All is well. I’ve just been snuggling Aly while Lev and I practise our words, isn’t that right, baby?” He looked down to the sullen toddler on his left who was pouting. Yuuri sighed and leaned in close to his husband. “He was not happy when I told him Papa would not be playing with him this morning.”

“Oh, is that right kroshka (little one)?” the Emperor asked as he crouched down and reached out to cup his eldest child’s face. “How about I take you out on a horse ride this evening, just you and me?”

Lev’s bright blue eyes lit up. When he smiled, he was the spitting image of his father. “Yes, Papa!”

“Good boy.” Victor mussed his hair before leading the three of them toward the stone benches where he had food and drink ready and waiting for him.

“You spoil that boy,” Yuuri commented with a smile in his lover’s direction.

“Isn’t that what children are for?”